A perceptual delight- Ardhanareeshwaran.

A perceptual experience that comes to my mind is a dance (Bharatanatyam) recital that I recently went to watch. A dance piece that caught my eye was that of Shiva and Parvati -Ardhanareeshwaran where the body is vertically divided into Man-Shiva and Woman-Parvati. While it was a visual treat for the audience, there was also a philosophical significance to that piece and to the recital itself. A multitude of interpretations can be drawn from the Ardhanareeshwaran avatar. One being, that all of us innately have a masculine and feminine traits that lie within us. Second, man and woman co-exist with each other, without a woman, a man cannot survive . Finally, without the notion of Shiva there cannot be knowledge of Parvati, a dependence of the subject (Parvati) over the object (Shiva), thus a possibility of a realism ideation.

Sartre’s conception of a nauseating feeling once brought back to reality and the idea that, that which is beautiful is apprehended by the Imaginary, therefore ‘unreal’,  was best understood to me after this performance. Unfortunately, that is exactly how I felt as the performance drew to a close. I was so submersed in the performance that it was enough to make Ardhanareeshwaran come to life and real. It was only until the end of the performance, when the house lights were brought back on and the dancer let go off her role, that it dawned on me that what I went through however beautiful was unreal. The acclimatisation of the real hence was nauseating and disappointing. Oh well! At least I came back home relished with happy memories of the performance!


-Namrata Kumar.


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