By Elizabeth A. Hanley
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Extra resources for Asian Dance, 2nd Edition (World of Dance)
Vishnu is important in the perspective of dance, due to his avatars, or reincarnations, in the form of Parasurama, the sixth avatar. ” The epic of Rama, the seventh avatar, is the Ramayana. These tales are the foundation for temple dramatic dance forms such as Kathakali, which educate and reinforce the reality of the gods in Hindus’ daily lives. Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, is similar to Greek mythology’s Dionysus. Krishna is known as the “Blue God” due to his deep blue skin, and he has great beauty and enjoys many amorous adventures.
Elaborate descriptions detail what happens in the cycles of destruction as well as the new creation. Brahma eventually became identified with Brahman, the world spirit: the “Non-Personal Supreme One,” who pervades and transcends all things. He becomes the “Great Principle” (of beingness, life essence, and spirit, referred to as the “Unknown Knower,” or more abstractly, as pure potential, or “suchness”). At the same time, Brahma also is seen as one of the Trimurti (trinity) of deities. His aspect was Creation.
Shiva’s negative shakti aspects—known by the names Kali, Durga, and Devi—are frequently associated with his bloody rites and depict the female as destroyer, black, and evil. Devi performed a Tandava that corresponded to Shiva’s dance of destruction. In it, she ﬂourished 1,000 destructive arms, defeated the demon Durga, and henceforth took the demon’s name. Because of his dual nature as creator and destroyer, Shiva also has negative male aspects. Bhairava, the many-armed destroyer pictured in the videotape Cosmic Dance of Shiva,23 is one of them.
Asian Dance, 2nd Edition (World of Dance) by Elizabeth A. Hanley