From Tatkaar to Omkaar- by Sunil Sunkara

Stretch a Breath and it becomes Meditation

Stretch a Sound and it becomes Music

Stretch a Movement and it becomes Dance

Present moment awareness is a deep form of relaxation to our body and mind. When the mind is not fogged by thoughts of the past or the future, our whole being is 100% involved in the current state and that keeps our inner self fresh. The practice of music and dance is a state of complete awareness yet complete relaxation making it a meditative experience. When we let go of our inhibitions and dance for pure joy, we take our art to a level beyond that imparted by our training. The pure uninhibited joy transcends the boundaries of technical finesse and refined beauty making our art and our dance a divine experience for both ourselves and anyone who is watching us.

Sound or vibration began with the cosmic dance of Nataraja, making spirituality the seed encompassed within the flesh of music and dance.  It is the essence of the poetry and music of Meerabai, Surdas, Amir Khusro, Dyaneshwar, Bindadeen Maharaj and every other great poet of India who ensured that the space between their poetic lines in infused with the soul of bhakti, liberation and moksha. The Gods in the Indian pantheon are associated with various musical instruments- Shiv with the Damru and Rudraveena , Ganesh with the Mridang, Saraswati with the Veena, Sage Narada with the Thambura, Vishnu with the Shankh and Krishna with the Bansuri, symbolizing that the pursuit of music takes us closer to the divine. 

Using a purely Newtonian description, when the frame of reference or axis for movement becomes our body and not the Earth, the movement becomes still with respect to the Earth. This is meditation-in-motion, which has been practiced by the swirling dervishes of Turkey, the ghoomars of Rajasthan, dindi folk of Maharashtra and recently part of the popular sufi repertoire of Kathak. There is also great similarity between a number of yogic postures and the poses struck in Indian classical dances, which is the reason why the practice of dance can be transformative.  Using the control of breath while dancing makes riyaaz one of great healing; for example, 20 minutes of kathak tatkaar with breath control is an excellent cardio exercise while also being a meditative experience.  Thus, music and dance is considered a sadhana, one with the capability to transcend barriers of race and religion. The thread of spirituality connects all Indian arts into one unified whole, bringing out the sadhak within...






About the Author- Sunil Sunkara- A chemical engineer who has pursued his doctorate in biofuel research, Sunil Sunkara holds a masters degree in Kathak from Bharata College of Fine Arts and Culture, Mumbai, and Nritya Nipun from Bhatkhande Sangit Vidyapith, Lucknow. He performs regularly as well as pursues research in Kathak apart from curating dance events and regularly writing on various facets of dance through both print and online medium.