Indian Dance Mythology

             Like many Indian arts, Indian dance also has its root in religion. Without the religious and cultural background of India, the growth and beauty of Indian dance is not possible. In 'Natya Shastra", there is a small story about the origin of Indian dance. According to Hindu mythology, dance first existed in heaven. There was always a constant conflict between the Asuras and the Devas for wealth and power. The Devas were tired of the Asuras" greediness and jealousy.

             It was during this long period of tedium that all the Devas approached Lord Indra too find good ways and means of entertainment. Lord Indra, who was also tired of the Asuras, approached Lord Brahma (believed to be the creator of the Universe) and asked him to help them. They made a request to Lord Brahma that this method of entertainment should be pleasing to both the eye as well as the ear, and that it should be enjoyed by the masses of both higher and lower classes. Lord Brahma gave a long thought to the request of Lord Indra and finally decided to help them.

             Lord Brahma went into a state of deep meditation. He called to mind the four Vedas. Vedas are the earliest scriptures of the Hindus. He distilled the essence from each of the Vedas. From 'Rigveda", he derived the words, from 'Sama Veda", he derived the music, from 'Yojurve Veda", the code of gesture and from 'Atherva Veda", the element of sentiment or flavor. He blended all of these ingredients and added his own divine genious. Thus, he created an entirely new activity. Brahma named this activity 'Natya", which was later renamed 'Natya Veda".

             Brahma had simply created a technique, but someone was needed for putting it into practice. Lord Brahma sought the cooperation of Bharat, a trusted sage. Bharat, with the help of his sons, started working. Vishvakarma, the supreme architect of heaven, then created a splendid theater in the hall of India"s court for the performance.

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