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Hyderabad Chronicle

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‘Vibhuti fell on stage as Sai Baba’s blessings’
By Rajeshwari Sainath

I get up on stage, I close my eyes, and as I hear the first strains of music, my mind opens to an experience that is difficult to describe in words. As my body articulates the nuances of the raga and my feet interpret the rhythm of the underlying tala, I move into a realm that can only be sensed in the innermost recesses of being. For me, dance is a way to reach that inner realm, where the mind and heart are one with some greater power. 

Most people tend to think that dance is about shringara, the outward expression of beauty and romance. However, dance is also about bhakti, it is about devotion to that supreme power. Every performance is a spiritual experience, when I feel touched by some divine force that takes me in its grip as my feet move across the stage. The experience is intensified when the forum itself has a touch of divinity. 

The first time I performed at the annual birthday celebrations of Satya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, I did so with no expectations other than that I should show my devotion in the best way I could — through the purity of dance, which is an expression of purity of mind.

Sometime during the middle of the performance, there was a very slight pause in movement, a brief silence, when a small bowl of vibhuti suddenly fell from the platform at the rear and the contents spilled across the stage, around my feet. Though I was startled, I had to continue with the dance, and it was only at the end of the performance that I realised what had happened. I saw this as evidence of Baba’s blessings, and it energised me that evening, and has continued to do so ever since.

(The writer is a Bharatanatyam dancer)

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