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Unique book on Saivism
- Vijay Shanker

June 7, 2024

'Ananda Siva Natanam: The blissful dance of Siva' by Dr Geeta Radhakrishna is a unique book on Saivism (the cult of Siva). Siva forms the trinity of Hindu mythology, along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu. The book is dedicated to Siva Shakti - the divine energy of Siva and Parvata Nandini, the daughter of the mountain king Himavan, divine mother of this world.

The book pertains to the Lord of Gods, Mahadeva. In the preface, veteran scholar and writer V Sivaramakrishnan, former associate editor of Bhavans Journal, reproduces an extract from Shankaracharya's Sivanandalahiri: "I contemplate in my heart (Hrdi bhaje), the God, the great God (Devam, Mahadevam Sivam), the first (adyam), the one to be known through the three Vedas (tryi vedayam), the destroyer of three cities (tripuraharam), the three eyed (trinayanam), majestic with matted locks (jatabharodharam), with a garland of moving snakes (chaladuraga haram), bearing a deer (mrigadharam), merciful to me (mayi sadaya bhavam), lord of all creatures (pasupatim), Tripuraharam - destroyer of three cities of the demons (gold, silver and iron) or the three types of bodies (gross, subtle and casual)" Verse 3. He explains as to how Lord Siva has been a prominent part of Hindu religion from Vedic Rudra Siva to Puranic Siva, a meticulous study commencing from Pre-Indus valley civilisation (before 2000 BCE), the Vedic Period subdivided into the Samhitas (Prayers), the Brahmanas (Rituals),the Upanishads (philosophy), the Epic Period and finally the Puranic period from 300 CE to 1000CE.

Ananda Siva Natanam: The blissful dance of Siva by Dr Geeta Radhakrishna

Chapter one commences with Siva Kavya, beautiful and descriptive verses in praise of Siva. Chapter two deals with philosophy of Saivism, Kashmir Saivism, Saiva Siddhanta, Pasupata Saivism, Vira Saivism, Siddha Saivism, Siva Advaita, Adi Shankara - the apostle of Advaita Vedanta - Siva Linga and twelve Jyotir Lingas in India, Siva Nataraja, Siva Puranam, various Siva legends, Siva Stotra and Siva Mantra in Sanskrit with English transliteration and translation. The tenth and last chapter features the exquisite poem Nartaki. Geeta says, 'The content of this book focuses on both Saguna Siva and Nirguna Siva. If I had focused on Nirguna Siva, the pure consciousness alone, I would not have given a true and complete version of Siva worship in India. To comprehend the philosophy of Saivism, an understanding of the various aspects of Hindu religion is necessary. Of all the Saivite schools, I was fascinated by the high philosophy of Kashmir Saivism. The Siva Sutras proclaim that the divine consciousness is a spanda that is active and throbbing with life. The philosophy of Saivism reveals the Supreme identity of the individual self with the divine."

Dr Geeta Radhakrishna is an eminent Mohiniattam exponent, with several performances both in India and abroad. A scholar, writer, mentor and Yoga teacher, she obtained her doctorate degree from Mumbai University with the theses "Narayaneeyam - Philosophy, Bhakti and Aesthetics". She has choreographed solo dance drama on Narayaneeyam, Sanskrit classic about Lord Krishna by Narayana Bhattatripad, "Mary Magdalene"(from The Holy Bible), "Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa" etc. The books written by Geeta are 'Mohiniattam - Adavus and Mudras,' 'Mohiniattam - dance of the enchantress,' 'Devi Mahatmyam -Mystic Powers of the Radiant Goddess,' a book of poems 'Prakriti Nrityam' and 'Jai Jai Natana Ganesha.' Her forthcoming books are on Reiki and Narayaneeyam.

'Ananda Siva Natanam - The blissful dance of Siva' by Dr Geeta Radhakrishna
Published by MNK Charitable Trust, Mumbai
Price: Rs.1600
ISBN: 9789352359141

Vijay Shankar
Vijay Shankar is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.

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