How Dance & Drama came to Earth? (Post.9915)


Post No. 9915

Date uploaded in London –31 JULY   2021           

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Natyasastra written by Bharata has 36 chapters. The first and the last chapter have interesting stories. In the first chapter we saw the origin of Natyasastra (already posted here). In the last chapter Bharata narrated how dance and drama came to earth.

The sages asked Bharata:

How did drama descend from heaven to earth?

Bharata said in his reply,

“It so happened that, once, a King called Nahusa attained the Kingdom of Gods/ Swarga   by means of his intelligence, diplomacy and valour. There he saw the musical/gandharva and dramatic/natya performance. Then he thought why should not this be performed in his own home on earth. So, he requested the gods to take the Apsaras women to his own home to perform. Then the gods led by Brhaspati told him that human beings are not supposed to come in direct contact with the divine Apsaras and hence they were unable to accede to his request.

But they said you approach the acharya (Bharata) and he might do what you want. It was thus that Nahusa came to me and said, ‘Oh Divine Preceptor, I would like to have this performance on the earth. I am told you were the first one to teach this, so I have to come to you.’

In the ancestral palace of Nahusa, Urvasi practised it with the ladies of the harem. When Urvasi disappeared, the old king went mad with grief and died. So drama again perished.

So I decided that henceforward it should be performed on auspicious days, so that the drama would bring good luck. Nahusa said he wanted it in his earthly  palace and that there  should be many characters and graceful movement of women. I agreed and called my sons and said to them ,

‘Here is King Nahusa requesting us with folded hands to produce a natya in his earthly palace. Let us do it  and get the curse abrogated. All of you go down to the earth and perform. You will be no longer objects of condemnation, for either the Brahmins or the Kshatrias.

Brahma has said that the success of production depends on following his instructions. As for other details, Kohala by his supplementary technical work will explain. make this a pretext for sporting with the Apsaras. I shall be here in heaven working with Swati in charge of musical instruments and Narada in charge of vocal music.

Thus, they went down to earth and there with he help of females produced various Natyas in Nahusa’s palace. They married earthly females, begot sons and daughters and trained them in Natya.  Brahma was pleased with my sons and admitted them to heaven.

Thus, due to a curse, the descendants of Bharata (actors) established themselves on earth.

–Natyasastra Last (36) Chapter

From Natyasasra by Adya Ranagacharya

 Drama on earth, dance on earth, Bharata, Natyasastra