Aarambh: yet another pearl added to Manchesterís chain of events  
- Ragasudha Vinjamuri 
e-mail: ragas_v@yahoo.co.in   

March 25, 2006 

It is often not simple to impress a multifarious audience. The arresting dance presentation on the evening of 18 March got its objective across to the audience simply and effectively. The central theme revolved around the creation of nature and the world as cited in intense Indian philosophy but applied to a larger context of harmony among the peoples of the world. Complex Sanskrit verses interspersed with English interpretations supplemented by Archana Nayak's brief and beautiful dance mudra jargon made the audience's task of understanding the theme much easier. It was indeed a pleasure to all alike, whether the Studio at the Lowry had spectators wanting to have a mere visual delight of movements and postures of Indian classical dance, art critics, persons of grasp and intellect or those whose roots lie in Hindu religious practices wanting to refresh their spiritual bent of mind. 

Teachers are revered very specially in India as they hold a prime task of dispelling the disciples' ignorance and initiate them into knowledge and spiritual bliss. Though God is the ultimate to grant salvation, the method of approach to attain it can be through a Guru, a teacher. This was presented in an audience-friendly manner as an opening piece to the program. The teacher narrates to the children the aspects of nature and God, and how the esoteric practice of different religions would lead us to the same ultimate goal of self-realisation. 

The dance presentation drew its gist from the Advaitha Philosophy, the non-dualistic theory propounded by Adi Shankaracharya. It professes that infinite and finite are one and the same. He the Supreme is everywhere, around us and within us. The Vedas say that the Infinite cannot be measured arithmetically. The Infinite can be represented in infinite ways and does manifest in infinite ways. Deepa Ganesh skillfully played the role of Siva as the Supreme power. Siva with his consort Parvati (played by Archana Senathirajah) was personified as Ardhanareeswara symbolising the interconnectedness of spirit and matter.  Siva is the soul and Parvati is his illusive power  -the fusion of both in one body each occupying one half, is an excellent symbolic manifestation of male and female principles working together as equal parts in the universe. Inseparable and interdependent, one is incomplete without the other. 

The Macro cosmos is brought forth from Himself and is represented by five Gross elements (Pancha Bhootas) namely Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth which are compared and connected to the micro cosmos - the faculties of perception namely sound, touch, sight, taste and smell respectively through the cognitive sense organs ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose (Panchendriyas) responsible for bringing sensory stimuli to the brain. We find peace, happiness and health when we live in harmony with these creations of God and elements within us. 

As many paths lead to one goal, any faith from ancient Buddhist Mahayana, Yin Yang to Caodaism recognises God as the source of Universe, with the underlying message to seek Him within, to live in peace, harmony, in love and justice. 

Beautifully conceived and choreographed by artistic Director Deepa Ganesh, the presentation owes its success to the team behind the curtains - Hariprasad and M S Sukhi, from Kalakshetra, India and M H Gopalakrishnan who helped her with research and script. 

Though there were some jiffies of nervousness and confusions by participants on the stage that could not escape critics' eyes, Aarambh did leave a lasting impression upon the viewers.