Thursday, March 12, 2015

BHARATHANATYAM – FROM DUSK TO DAWN


Today the art of Bharatanatyam enjoys global recognition and is being learnt with reverence.  What is now being considered as a divine art had for several centuries been thrown askance at as mere breadwinner for the women of courtesan danseuse community (Devadasis).   


      Who or what brought Bharatanatyam from dusk to dawn then?  It was Mrs. Rukmini Devi Arundale.  Rukmini was born into an orthodox Tamil Brahmin family on 29th February 1904.  Her father, Neelakanda Shastri, was an ardent patron of Annie Besant’s Theosophical Society, which is headquartered at Chennai.  Rukmini was naturally drawn to the Theosophical Society, which consequently made her to marry forty-two year old George Sydney Arundale, a close associate of Annie Besant, when she was barely sixteen.


       Once when the Arundales, Rukmini and George, had been sailing to Australia, they had Anna Pavlova, a Russian dancer, as their fellow passenger.  The friendship between Rukmini and Anna made Rukmini to nurse immense interest in Russian dance.  Anna suggested Rukmini to start working on traditional Indian dance forms.


        Anna’s words drove the Arundales to perform profound research on traditional Indian dance forms.  They were appalled to learn the disregard that was bestowed on Bharatanatyam (literally ‘Dance of India’) by the society.  The Arundales strove to work for the revival of Bharatanatyam.  At the threshold, they wanted to obliterate from the minds of the masses the misconception on Bharatanatyam.


       At the age of 28, under the shades of a banyan tree, at Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai, Mrs. Arundale started mastering the art from Guru Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai.  Soon she started performing on the stages.  She profoundly instilled in the minds of the people that Bharatanatyam was actually an art to be mastered.  She also brought some changes in the art, like, designing new attire for Bharatanatyam, new stage design, new dance style etc.


       Rukmini established a dance school, called Kalakshetra (literally ‘Place of Art’), exactly where she started learning it.  It now stands as a university.  Today Kalakshetra draws students from all over the world.  Apart from Bharatanatyam, other traditional Indian dance forms like Manipuri, Odissi, Kathakali, Kathak and Kuchipudi are also being taught there.


      Before the reforms made by Mrs. Arundale, even the very idea of learning the art of Bharatanatyam was considered as belittling oneself and one’s family.  Now, children, especially girls are being made to learn the art with reverence, when they are barely five years old. 


      Until her death in 1986, Rukmini devoted her whole life for propagating Bhartanatyam and vegetarianism.  One of the former Prime Ministers of India, Moraji Desai, offered her to become the President of India but she fervently turned down the offer.  She also features in India Today’s list of ‘100 People Who Shaped Up India’.    

      Summing up, what was disregarded “Parathaiyar Naatiyam”(dance of the Devadasis) is now being revered as “Bharatha Naatiyam” only because of the painstaking efforts of Mrs. Rukmini Devi Arundale.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thirupaampooranathar Temple - Rahu & Ketu Enshrined Together

Date: 17th October 2014

        This year, on 20th of September, my husband and I had a wonderful opportunity to worship Lord Siva enshrined as Thirupaampoornathar along with His consort Goddess Vanduser Kuzhali at Thirupaampooram, which is about 30 km from the temple town of Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu.

      It is an ancient temple.  One of the great Saivaite Saints, Thirugnanasambandar, has sung devotional hymns in praise of the presiding deity in his Thevaram.  It is being said that once in Kailayam, the abode of Lord Siva, when Lord Pillaiyaar(Lord Ganesha) was worshipping Lord Siva, Adisheshan, the serpent that adorns the neck of Lord Siva felt proud that Lord Pillaiyaar was also worshipping him while praying to the Supreme Deity. 

      Lord Siva, immediately, wanted to put an end to the pride of the serpent.  He castigated Adisheshan by cursing him that he and all other snakes in the heaven and on the Earth would lose all their venom and consequently all their powers.  The curse was a bolt from the blue for Adisheshan and the other eight heavenly snakes.  Some of which are Vasuki, Karkodakan and so on and so forth.  By virtue of the curse, the shadow planets Rahu and Ketu also lost their powers.  Adisheshan and all the other heavenly snakes pleaded to Lord Siva to set them free from His curse.

      Lord Siva then instructed all of them to go down to the holy place of Thirupaampooram on the Earth, where He is enshrined as Thirupaampooranathar(Seshapurieeswarar in Sanskrit) and observe severe penance until Maha Sivarathri.  He, also, told them that upon observing severe penance over there all the heavenly snakes and the snakes on the Earth would get back all their powers on the great day of Maha Sivarathri. 

      As per the advice of Lord Siva, the heavenly snakes descended to the Earth and performed severe penance.  Rahu(which has the body of a snake) and Ketu(which is snake-headed) joined together as one serpent(the head being Ketu and the body being Rahu) and observed severe penance at Thirupaampooram by keeping Lord Siva at the point where They conjoined.  Lord Siva, who was moved by the penance of the heavenly snakes, alleviated them from the curse on the mid night of Maha Sivarathri.  The only place on the Earth where Rahu and Ketu are enshrined together is nothing but Thirupaampooram.

       While alleviating them from the curse, He took a promise from the serpents that nobody in the village of Thirupaampooram should be attacked by a snake.  Also, those devotees of Lord Siva, who worshipped Him at Thirupaampooram should not be harmed by Rahu and Ketu thereafter in their lives, immaterial of their positions and/or their transient positions in their horoscopes or even for some unforeseen reasons in their present and/or previous births.

        Thus far, there has been no case of snake bite in the village of Thirupaampooram.  Also, every Tuesday and every Friday night snakes roam around the temple.  Those are believed to be the heavenly devotees of Lord Siva, who transmogrify themselves as snakes to worship the Supreme Deity.

        Thirupaampooram is easily accessible by road from Kumbakonam and Mayiladuthurai. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Why Is Lithium Aluminium Hydride A Better Reducing Agent Than Sodium Boro Hydride?

Both Lithium Aluminium Hydride(Li[AlH4]) and Sodium Boro Hydride(Na[BH4]) are co-ordination complexes.  They serve as reducing agents by releasing the hydride(H-) ions from their respective co-ordination spheres.

 The central atoms in both the cases, namely, Al & B, belong to Group - IIIA of the periodic table.  As we know that electro positive character increases upon going down a group in the periodic table, aluminium(Al) is more electro positive than boron(B).  Hence, by virtue of greater electro positive character, Al easily releases the H- ions that are bonded to it than B. 

Thus, Li[AlH4] serves as a better reducing agent for organic compounds than Na[BH4]

Friday, September 4, 2009

Spanish as a Foreign Language

Date: 4th September 2009

Here I would like to expatiate why I chose to learn Spanish, in particular, as a foreign language.

Until December 2006, it had been my unfulfilled desire to learn and master a foreign language. My parents have always been considering learning a foreign language as a colossal waste of time, energy and captial. On the other hand, I have always been having an inclination to learn and master as many languages as possible. I find immense happiness in doing so.

But their constant discouragement didn't set me aback. On the contrary, it boosted my spirits. I fervently decided to learn and master a foreign language and prove them totally wrong.

I was bewildered to choose between French, German, Russian and Spanish. I sought the help of search engines to find a solution for my bewilderment. While surfing the net, I came across so many facts which ultimately made me to choose Spanish.

Let me narrate the basic facts now. Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world with approximately 500 million speakers(Mandarin dialect of Chinese stands first). So, one basic fact is that Spanish speakers outnumber English speakers.

Spanish has been recognized as one of the six official lanugages of the United Nations. The other five are: Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Russian.

Also, Spanish serves as the official language of about twenty-five countries in the world. Some of them are: Spain, Mexico, the whole of the South American continent(other than Brazil) like Bolivia, Gautemala, Hondruas, Panama, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru. In the United States, Spanish has been officially recognized as the second language.

Spanish and Portugese are mutually intelligible languages. Hence, Spanish is widely understood in Portugese speaking conturies like Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique etc.

The aforesaid reasons drove me to start learning Spanish as a foreign language. Now let me share with you all, the fact, that how I am at an advantageous position with my knowledge in Spanish.

I now possess "Diploma in Spanish". I studied "Spanish as a Foreign Language" at "Instituto Hispania", India(http://institutohispania.com/index.html)

Instituto Hispania is obviously the top ranking institute for learning Spanish. The management of the institute does commendable service in promoting Spanish language in India. I would strongly recommend the people of India to learn Spanish at any one of the branches of Instituo Hispania.

By virtue of my knowledge in Spanish, my English word robe has increased by leaps and bounds. It is because of the fact that Spanish is actually an offshoot of Latin and Latin has a telling influence in English.

I would like to corroborate this statement with an example. In Spanish, the word "Salud" refers to "Health". Once, while going through an article in English, I came across the word "Salubrious". With out even refering to the dictionary, I could make out that it would mean something related to health. Spanish and English possess innumerable identical and similar words.

Also, now since I know Spanish, I am able to understand Portugese, Italian and French.

The aforesaid three languages along with Spanish fall under one language family.

Now, by the Grace of The Almighty I have been living in a country for almost a year where Spanish has been given the status of second language. Here, I end up conversing in Spanish with the native speakers of the language and consequently I have won the hearts of innumerable native speakers of Spanish.

Summing up, I would sincerely recommend those Indians, who have an inclination to learn new languages, to learn Spanish at the outset.

யாம் பெற்ற இன்பம் பெருக இவ்வையகம்

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Las bromas en Espan~ol (The Jokes in Spanish)

Date: 25th November 2008
La fecha: 25 de Noviembre 2008

Here, I wish to share some wonderful Spanish jokes with you all. I came across these jokes through different sources. I wish that my non-Spanish speaking/knowing friends should also enjoy these jokes. Hence, at the end of every joke, there will be an English translation of the same.

* Joke - 1:

Jo'se: Mama', Mama'! Aprendi a Escribir!

Mama': Que' escribiste?

Jo'se: Co'mo voy a saberlo, au'n no he aprendido a leer?

In English:

Joseph: Mom, Mom! I have learnt to write!

Mother: What did you write?

Joseph: How do I know it, when I have not yet learned to read?


* Joke - 2:

Obelix: After having had treated me for twelve long years, my psychiatrist told me something, which made to cry

Friend: What did your psychiatrist say?

Obelix: "No hablo Ingle's" ("I don't speak English)


* Joke - 3:

La persona - 1: Y cua'nto me va usted a pagar?

La persona - 2: Depende de tu trabaja

La persona - 1: Oh! Tan poquito!

In English:

Person - 1: And how much are you going to pay me?

Person - 2: It depends on your work

Person - 1: Oh! So, less!


* Joke - 4:

El paciente: Doctor! Doctor! No puedo recordar nada

El doctor : Vaya, y desde cuando tiene usted este problema?

El paciente: Que' problema?

In English:

Patient: Doctor! Doctor! I am not able to remember anything

Doctor : Ok! How long have you been having this problem?

Patient: Which problem?

Make every body around you happy and be happier

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sanskrit Loan Words in Spanish

Date: 25th November 2008
La fecha: 25 de Noviembre 2008

In this post, I wish to share my meagre knowledge in Spanish with you all in a different manner. This post is going to reveal the influence of Sanskrit on Spanish language. Because of the proximity of Hindi to Sanskrit, here, I have used Hindi words also and have referred those words as Sanskrit words.

Case - 1:

Spanish: La naranja - the orange (fruit)
Sanskrit: Narangi - orange fruit

Case - 2:

Spanish: puro - full
Sanskrit: pura - full

Case - 3:

Spanish: madura - ripe (For example: la fruta madura - the ripe fruit)
Sanskrit: maduram - sweet, honey like

Case - 4:

Spanish: el diente - the tooth
Sanskrit: dantha - tooth

Case - 5:

Spanish: el nombre - the name
Sanskrit: naam - name

Case - 6:

Spanish: la pierna - the leg
Sanskrit: pai-ir - leg

Case - 7:

Spanish: la camisa - the shirt
Sanskrit: kameez - shirt

Based on my own understanding, I have furnished the aforesaid information. Any views, suggestions, corrections are welcome!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

La Gramatica Espan~ol - 1

La fecha: 18 de Octubre 2008

En Espan~ol el significado de algunas palabras cambian con los arti'culos.

Por Ejemplo:

Uno:

La derecha - the right side
El derecho - the right/correct thing

Dos:

La capital - the capital city of a country/state
El capital - the money

Tres:

El pez - the fish
La pez - the pitch

Hasta este momento no se' nada ma's. Si usted sabe algunas ma's de esas palabras, usted comparte conmigo. Hasta la vista con esos puestos!