Sacred Hindu Dances

from ‘The Tantric Dancer’ by Maya Swati Devi

Dance is an ancient ritual that leads to the roots of Being, a self-healing practice for the benefit of humanity as a whole. From the beginning of time, humanity has known the art of dance. Our ancestors danced to celebrate the harvest and the full moon, to welcome newcomers, to heal, to mark the rites of passage of human seasons, to raise hearts and to say thank you to the Divine. Dance has always functioned as a link between the physical and spiritual worlds. Sometimes dancing can lead to important insights, revelations, and even visions of future or past. One dances for renewal, for recreation and for the pleasure of movement that relaxes and illuminates the Self. In all sacred dance styles, the ultimate goal is to bring participants to higher levels of communion with the Divine. Appropriate understanding of the inner meaning of sacred dance enables dancers to approach the state of divine consciousness through sound, movement, and emotion. Every dance is sacred, in a sense. What makes it so is our intention. We intend to connect with the Divine and bring it to Earth. We can channel the Divine’s healing energy and release the negativity that does not belong to us by transferring it to the ground of the earth.

“Your body is here and now, it is the “living rite”.
The cosmos is found within your body.
Your body is the Temple of all possibilities”.

Conscious intent behind dancing greatly intensifies the dancing experience that, besides being devotional, is playful, fun, creative, and healing.

The most notable feature of Hindu sacred dances is certainly the hand gesture known as mudra. Following a complex code of rare beauty, the hands represent not only a broad spectrum of emotions, but also gods, mortals, animals, natural scenarios, actions, and so on, and each posture and movement of the body creates an effect that evokes a transcendental emotion.

According to the Hindu tradition, the currents generated by the rhythmic and repetitive movements of the body were thought to create feelings and atmospheres that could have a positive impact on men and nature. Ultimately, through practice, dancers should be able to awaken their own spirituality by dancing their own path to divine consciousness.