So often we hear phrases like, “It’s not a trifle!” or “The game is not worth the candle!” Should life be taken so seriously? Trying on different roles, do we become different, or does our personality remain unchanged? Which games are worth playing and which are not worth playing?
From an early age, a child tries to imitate adults. During life, we play different roles: son/daughter, husband/wife, boss/subordinate, mother/father. Playing from birth, we lose an understanding of what we really are. We believe that the roles we assign to ourselves are ourselves. Although initially, an infant is pure, potentially he or she can play any role: rich or poor, healthy or sick, having a home or homeless. A child can learn more and more new roles, depending on the conditions in which he/she will live.
Theatre art helps to master new roles and play them on stage. It has been developing inseparably from society and human culture, reflecting the realities of society, and it was called to guide the viewer, to convey some insights. The audience, feeling the non-verbal message, was inspired by the mastery of the actor and avoided making personal mistakes moving forward. If the performance succeeded to reflect the real life on stage, it made a strong impression.
Yoga and acting
We remember that there are as many types of yoga as there are manifestations of human life. And, of course, the manifestation of a man on stage is fascinating and beautiful! The type of yoga that includes the basics of theatre art is called Natya yoga.
The oldest text describing Natya’s features is “Natya-shastra”, translated as “Reading about drama”. It is one of the largest and the oldest treatise on the theatre art and the theory of drama and music. Authorship is attributed to Indian wise man Bharat, who narrates how he received Natyaveda from Brahma. Reading was taken from Rigveda, singing from Samaveda, the presentation from Yajurveda and the sensual component from Atharvaveda. Thus, in the form of dance and acting, a representation of the state of the three worlds was to be transmitted. This Natyaveda “teaches us to commit and to love, communicates courage and provides entertainment.”
The theatre was a temple of wisdom!
Unlike other Vedas, Natyaveda could be studied even by the lowest class — the untouchables. Simple language, dance, gestures and mimics have been explaining the complex aspects of the Universe.
The purpose of the theatre was to arouse the interest of the audience in personality, question, process and philosophy. It was difficult for untouchables to concentrate their consciousness on studying the complex Vedas. And the acting was fascinating, attractive and enjoyable. That’s how wisdom was absorbed!
What does Natya yoga teach us?
The ability to change is an important tool to combat our ignorance. Like a good actor, playing different characters we assume different roles, and realize that there is nothing permanent. This is how we identify ourselves with our various manifestations. We stop “clinging” to them and approach the realization of our Higher Self, which is above all qualities and masks.
By separating areas of life and their respective roles, we overcome Maya (illusion) and come to understand our true nature.
Sometimes we fit into an image and carry it with us when it’s already inappropriate. We bring a strict and focused image from our work to the family where we need to relax and enjoy interacting with loved ones. Or, after a noisy get-together where we make jokes and entertain everybody, we come to work and behave in the same way. Therefore, instead of showing competence, we behave inappropriately.
There is nothing good or bad, dirty or pure in the Universe. There are only appropriate and inappropriate things. Sand on a beach is appropriate and pleasant, but sand in a plate of soup is dirt and inappropriate. Natya allows us to play a wide variety of roles on stage, and then in life, it is appropriate to apply the roles that are needed at a particular moment. All you have to do is believe there’s nothing wrong with the play. But only if it does not harm others and is based on the desire to bring a little joy and happiness to this world!
The process of self-knowledge, like our lives, can and should give us pleasure!
Take it easy! Let your life be filled with ease and fun! Try out different roles and play good games! Don’t forget that our lives are in our hands! It is in our power to compose the most beautiful and wonderful scenario of our own life!
Share the good and be happy!
Author: Marina Mirra
Edition: Kerigona, M. Sarvasvati -Bhavani
Curator of the project: Kerigona
Translators: Dmitriy Bobrov, Teya Sweet, Nat Satcitananda