By Sukanya Mahadevan
PANCHABHUTHAM, as the Sanskrit word suggests is dedicated to the five cosmic elements. This project has been a labor of love for me for well over 8 months.
It started simply with learning more about an artwork I purchased from the Rural Painter called ‘Kala Chakra Mandala’. The Five cosmic elements are beautifully represented in this artwork. From there I started digging into more facts and substance about these elements, their connection to Hindu Mythology and Scriptures, the connection to yoga and their connection to human body itself.
The pan- chamahabhuta are the five elements of nature. According to Hindu mythology, every human body is made up of five elements -Earth (Prithvi), Water (Jalam), Fire (Agni), Air (Vayu) and Space (Aakasham). The Hindu tradition believes that, upon death, all these 5 elements of human body are dissolved to respective element of nature, so that it can rebalance. In the human body , Earth represents the five senses , Water represents blood, Fire represents body temperature, Air represents oxygen, Sky represents the Soul or Consciousness.
Na | Ma | Shi | Va | Ya – these five syllables indicate the five elements (known as Bhoota in Sanskrit) – Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether. The five elements are the building blocks of everything in Creation, including the human body, and Lord Shiva is the upholder and governor of the five elements.
The Pancha Bhuta Linga Kshetra kritis by the brilliant Muttuswami Dikshitar" describe the five kshetras or regions sanctified to lord shiva where the lord is esteemed as a manifestation of pancha bhutas (The 5 elements of Nature). Therefore Shiva is the BhoothaNatha or Lord of the Bhoothas.
There are specific Yoga mudras that represent each of the elements , which I have used in my choreography, in this project.
My research led me to 3 facets of representing these elements – ancient hymns depicting and worshipping these elements, Dikshidar’s celebration of these elements through their connection to the cosmic dancer Shiva with his panchbhutha krithis and my own modern day interpretation of these elements and their relevance. I have used creative choreography, unique music and some crazy music and video editing along with deeply thought out poetry to deliver this multimedia sensory treat to you all. I am grateful that my Shishyas all bought into my crazy idea and worked tirelessly with me to present to you this final product.
To learn more about my process, my research and my final product, come watch us at Princeton High School Auditorium on May 21st, 2023 and I truly hope you will walk away with as much awe of the cosmos and the five elements , as I did doing this project...
Watch this teaser and be enticed to join us.....
Tickets available at www.shishya-arts.com
The Rural Painter