--> Skip to main content

Story Of Origin Of Dance In Hindu Religion

The metaphysical thought pertaining to dance has given rise to the story of origin of dance in Hindu religion. The devatas (demigods) wished for some pleasant activity which would please the senses and be available to not only to diving beings but to all living beings including humans. Brahma drew the best that was in the four Vedas – from Rig Veda the words, from Sama Veda the music, from Yajur Veda the code of gestures and from Atharva Veda the sentiments. These were combined by Brahma to create Natya Veda. This, as it was a Prayoga Shastra, had to put into practice.

Brahma requested Sage Bharata to create a performance, which Bharata did. The first performance was that of the legend of Amrita Manthana (Churning of the ocean) during Indra Dhwaja Mahotsava (the festival of Indra’s banner), presented before the devatas and the dhanavas or asuras. Brahma explained that the performance represented the activities of three worlds and of gods, demons and humans. It is a source of entertainment and learning and is in essence, unreal, created by the performers.

Thereafter, Sage Bharata presented the plays Amritamanthana and Triupradaha (burning of the three cities) before Shiva who was delighted at the art form.

Even before Sage Bharata created dance Shiva and Shakti used to dance at twilight (pradosh) and was auspicious significance. Shiva asked that his dance be included in the dramatic performance. Shiva’s disciple Tandu gave instruction to the performers and thus, the art of dance came to be included into natya as an integral part of the art form. The Tandava performed by Shiva himself was the vigorous form of dance. The softer version of this dance (Lasya) was performed by Parvati. The spread of the softer version is however attributed to Usha, the daughter of Banasura.