As Ms Gopika Varma, a passionate Mohiniyattam danseuse from South India has chosen to compose a presentation on the legendary theologian Adi Shankaracharya, the life of the great philosopher is all set to enter into the world of classical dance forms as well; arguably for the first time.
A renowned performer that has adorned many a covetous gathering in both India and abroad spanning the last two decades, Ms Varma is reported to be considering her latest work to be her magnum opus.
From her briefings given to some of the leading media houses, it is perceivable that her point would linger around the divine concepts of the seer including the Ganga, Yamuna, Siva, Vishnu and Devi. Considering the fact not many philosophers since Sankara have said anything beyond what he already has, the point/points Ms Varma has chosen to prove might bear a valid point in them.
If Ms Varma is attempting to convey the message of motherhood highlighting the last dialogue of the sage and his dying mother, the demonstrations might simply pack more the flavour of aesthetics as against the distant possibility of her choosing the reforms brought about by Sankara on a decadent moral state of Hindu society those days, which would have definitely invited at least some controversy.
The first case seems more viable here as Ms Varma has in one of her recent briefings stressed the famous last dialogue between Sankara and his mother where the visionary asks his mother if anything was more agonising for her than bearing him in womb for nine months. She had added to that her feeling on the episode as giving an unparalleled message on universal motherhood.
Then according to the celebrated danseuse, a member of the royal family of Travancore, she was doing her part in a medium she knew best as part of a larger stage where many have attempted to make the story of the legendary figure accessible to common people.
An expert Mohiniyattam instructor based in Chennai presently, Ms Varma also tends to outline the divine facet of Sankaracharya by emphasising the beliefs of many people that he was an incarnation of Lord Siva himself, all the while leaving a loophole for the sceptics as well saying, “Or you just could view Sankara as an extraordinarily wise man”.
It is understood that Ms Varma who has spent over a couple of years on the project had sacrificed many key projects of her in order to pursue this passion of hers. Nevertheless, she also acknowledges immense help that she had received from the Kanchi Kamakodi and Sankara mutts in her research.