Indian Classical and Balinese Dance Programme
held in Omkarananda Ganga Sadan, Rishikesh,
on 27th December 2012

Report by Siddhartha Krishna

On the evening of the third day of Omkarananda Mahotsava, a beautiful Indian Classical and Balinese Dance performance was held at Omkarananda Patanjala Yoga Center, situated in Omkarananda Ganga Sadan, Rishikesh. Indeed, dance can be both: a method to reach inner stillness, and also an aesthetic expression of the ecstasy experienced within that stillness. Even though Indian Classical and Balinese dances are unique in their style, both share a common origin in the esoteric experience of this blissful inner stillness. Undoubtedly, they are artistic expressions of the rapture experienced after beholding the inner beauty. Therefore, for centuries both dances have been performed as an essential part of worship in the temples of India and Indonesia. The evening allowed both streams to merge into one which enabled the viewers to worship and celebrate the presence of the Divine Master.

Siddhartha Krishna welcomes everybody for a Cultural Programme
of Balinese and Indian Classical Dances as a part of
Omkarananda Mahotsava.
Indra Udayana, President of Ashram Gandhi Puri,
Bali, speaks to the audience.

Guru-Bhakti-Ratna Kumari Somashekhari, Director of Omkarananda Natya Kala Academy, presented the Indian dances, and Diya Mahayani and Yastika from Sacred Art Ashram Gandhi Puri presented the mystical Balinese dances. "Sacred Art Ashram Gandhi Puri" is a dance group situated in Denpasar (Bali) that actively seeks to construct a cultural bridge between India and Indonesia by exchanging artists from both countries. The group has been visiting the yoga center since many years as part of its extensive travelling in India.

The program commenced with lighting of the Deepas by H.H. Swami Vishveshwarananda Saraswati (President, Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas) and the distinguished guests from Bali which included Indra Udayana (President, Ashram Gandhi Puri, Denpasar), I Dewa Putu Sukardi (Vice Chairman Parishada Hindu Dharma Indonesia), Dr. Praptini (Vice Rector of Institute Hindu Dharma Negeri, Denpasar), Pedanda Ida Pandita Mpu Yoga Paramadaksha (High Priest of Bali), Ida Ayu Pujawati Parvati and Tarsana Acarya Shankar Dev (chairpersons of Sai Puja Ashram, Denpasar).

The first Balinese item "Jauk Manis" was performed by Yastika. This dance portrayed a hero travelling through a jungle filled with dangers. With the inner strength of his divine virtues, he subdues every enemy and protects the peaceful lives of the humans and other beings living in the forest. Behind the fierceness of this warrior one finds an ocean of compassion in his heart. Harmony is restored as good conquers evil. This reminded us of the principle of "Tri-hita-karana" (the three beneficial acts) on which the social, economic and political system of Bali is based: Parahyanga, our relationship with our creator; Pawongan, our relationship with fellow human beings; and Palemahan, our relationship with Mother Nature.

  Dance-Performance by Diya Mahayani from Bali.

Kumari Somashekhari speaks about the value of Indian Classical Temple-Dance.
Kumari Somashekhari in a typcial Indian Classical Temple-Dance pose.
Excellent Duet-Dance by the Balinese Dancers Dia and Yastika.

The second dance item "Legong Tri Shakti" was presented by Diya Mahayani. In this dance the beautiful artist touched the hearts of all viewers by presenting the three forms of the Divine Mother that are worshipped in every Balinese village and city: Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge; Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth; and Parvati, the Supreme Goddess of Cosmic Beauty, Intelligence and Wisdom. With over 93% of the population identifying themselves as Hindus, Bali is truly a flourishing outpost of the Vedic way of life in the East. The Vedic culture was brought to Indonesia many centuries ago by three great Maharshis: Markandeya, Bharadwaja and Agastya.

The next item was a solo Bharatnatyam dance "Ganesha-Kauthuvam" presented by Kumari Somashekhari. This meditative dance belongs to the ancient Temple-Repertoire of the South Indian Temples. It starts with an offering of flowers to the Divine which is followed by a prayer in adoration to Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles and the personification of the most sacred syllable OM.

The next dance item "Shiva-Vandana" presented by Kumari Somashekhari was a deeply devotional dance in which Lord Shiva's greatness, purity, beauty and bliss are described and worshipped. He radiates the divine light of wisdom which is soothing to everyone like the soft light of the full moon. Lord Shiva is the immortal nectar of Divine Love. This dance evoked the sacred feelings of devotion in the hearts of all, that were present. Indeed, the audience was spellbound after viewing this heart-touching performance.

Then once again the Balinese artists presented a breathtakingly beautiful dance known as "Oleg Tamulilingan" (the graceful movements of the beetle). This dance reenacted the intimate play of a beetle sipping nectar from a flower in the garden. The charm and elegance of this dance really won the hearts of all viewers.

Swami Vishveshwarananda appreciates this event as a wonderful opportunity
for a cultural exchange between Bali and India.
Arati offered to Gurudev Swami Omkarananda and Lord Patanjali.

Then H.H. Swami Vishveshwarananda Saraswati, President of Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas, gave vote of thanks to all the artists and distinguished guests from Bali, and blessed the yoga students by reminding them of the ultimate goal of their practice - Union with the Divine within. Dr. Praptini (Vice Rector of Institute Hindu Dharma Negeri, Denpasar) presented H.H. Swami ji a beautiful statue of Devi Saraswati, the Goddess of wisdom, carved in Balinese style.

The evening concluded with Omkarananda Arati, a dance presented by Kumari Somashekhari. Through this dance Sadgurudeva Paramahamsa Omkarananda Saraswati, the great Mystic, Sage and Philosopher, was worshipped and adored.

All students and teachers of the yoga center expressed their gratitude and thankfulness to Sadgurudeva for blessing them with all the possibilities and opportunities required to explore the depth of yogic wisdom in the world capital of yoga, Rishikesh. At the end everybody received prasadam, sweet food offered to Sadgurudeva and Sage Patanjali, and everybody’s hearts were filled with a continuity of immense peace and joy for the rest of the day.

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