Natyarambha Shlokas

Namaskaram!
These are the seven Shlokas from Natya Sastra, written by Bharata Muni that a dancer must know/recite before starting the Dance. Hence, these are called Natyarambha Shlokas. Natya means Dance and Arambha Beginning.

Pranamya Sirasa Devou
Pitamaha Maheswarou
Natya Sastram Pravakshyami
Brahmanaaya Dhutahrutham

Bharata Muni sets to explain the Natya Sastra (the science of dance) that was preached to him by Lord Brahma. Before that he bows his head to Pitamaha (Brahma), the creator of Natya Sastra and Maheswara (Shiva), the creator of Dance.

Devataanam Sirasthatu
Gurunaam Aasya Samsthithaha
Vakshathaschaiva Vipranam
Seshatva Niyamobhaveth

This Sholkam sets the way in which a dancer should offer prayers (Namaskaram). Namaskaram is offered by using “Anjali Hasta” (palms together). We pray to God (Devata)who we believe resides in the Heaven), by placing the Anjali Hasta above the head (Sirasthasthu); to the teacher (Guru) by placing the Anjali Hastha on the forehead (the locus of knowledge imparted by the Guru); to the elders (Vipra) by placing the Anjali Hasta in front of the chest. There is no specific way to offer Namaskaram to the others, but they should always be respected.

Vishnu Shakti Samutpanne
Chitra Varne Mahitale
Aneka Ratna Sampanne
Bhoomi Devi Namostute

The dancer offers salutation (Namostute) to the mother earth(Bhoomi Devi) who is conceived (Samutpanne) from the power and strength (Shakti) of Lord Vishnu, and who is endowed with a magnificent horizon of picturesque colours (Chitra Varne) and many (Aneka) precious stones(Ratna).

Samudravasanae Devii
Parvathasthana Mandalae
Vishnu Patni Namastubhyam (Natyam Karishye Bhoodevi)
Padaaghatham Kshamaswamae

The dancer seeks forgiveness (Kshama) from Mother Earth for stepping on(Padaghatam) her while she dances. Mother Earth adorns oceans as her jewels, mountains as breasts and is the wife of Lord Vishnu.

Kati Karna Samaayathra
Koorparaamsha Shirasthatha
Samunnatham Uraschaiva
Soushtavam Nama Thath Bhaved

This Shloka explains the correct posture (Sousthavam), a dancer should have while dancing. The correct posture is when you align your ears (Karna) with the waist (Kati), head (Shira) raised with chin slightly up and the chest raised slightly, the shoulders and elbows(Kurpar) are also aligned, then such posture is called the Saushtavam.

Prayena Karanae Karyoo
Vamovakshasthitha karaha
Charanasyaanu gaschaapi
Dakshinasthu Bhaved Karaha

Before beginning the dance (Karana), the hands should be held in front of the chest, the feet should be placed sideways with the heels touching. Dance should always be started with the right hand and right leg.

Sarva Shaasthra Sampannam
Sarva Shilpa Pravarthakam
Natyaakyam Panchamam Vedam
Sethihaasam Karomyaham

Lord Brahma describes Natya as the enriched culmination of all (Sarva) sciences (Shastra), sculptures (Shilpa) which can be treated as the fifth(Panchama) Veda.

Happy Learning. Happy Dancing!

Purna Mudra
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