Gati in Theory and Practice

by Dr. Sujatha Mohan | 2015 | 88,445 words

This page relates ‘Technical treatises on Natya (other works)’ of the study on the Theory and Practice of Gati (“gait”) which refers to the “movement of a character on the stage”, commonly employed (as a Sanskrit technical term) in ancient Indian Theatrics and the Dramatic arts, also known as Natya-shastra. This thesis explores the history and evolution of Gati and also investigates how the various Gatis are employed in regional performance traditions.

Technical treatises on Nāṭya (other works)

2. Kohalīya

Kohalīya [Kohalīyam] written by Kohala is a lost work, which should have been an auxiliary treatise on the Nāṭyaśāstra. Kohala is mentioned as the son and disciple of Bharata. He is supposed to have written treatises like Saṅgītameru, Tālalakṣana and Kohalarahasya.[1] Bharata has mentioned in the last chapter of the Nāṭyaśāstra that some of the remaining portions of his work will be completed by Kohala in the uttaratantra.[2] Abhinavagupta and other scholars, who have written works on dance, quote some fragments of this work. Kohala is the first person to have mentioned about the minor varieties of rupakas, which were later known as uparūpakas. Kallinatha has quoted one chapter from Saṅgītameru of Kohala[3]

3. Viṣṇudharmottara Purāṇa

Viṣṇudharmottara Purāṇa is considered as an Upapurāṇa, a supplement to Viṣṇu Purāṇa.[4] The date of this work seems to be between late 5 C.E and early 7 C.E. and the authorship is attributed to Vedavyāsa.[5] This work, with three khāṇḍas, states the fundamental principles of arts. The author has drawn upon aspects from Itihāsas like the Rāmāyana and Mahābhārata, Bhagavatgīta, Nāṭyaśāstra, Manusmṛti, Yājñavalkhya and Sāṃkhya for its contents.[6] The third khāṇḍa deals with architecture, sculpture, painting, dance and music.

Dance and dramaturgy are expansively explained in the chapters starting from twenty to thirty-four. All four abhinayas are dealt with in detail. Many aspects are similar to Bharata’s Nāṭyaśāstra.

He says nāṭya is imitation and nṛtta is to increase the beauty but the author names two varieties of nṛtya as nāṭya and lāsya.

parasyānukṛtirnāṭyaṃ nāṭyajñaiḥ kathitaṃ nṛpa ||
tasya saṃskārakaṃ nṛttaṃ bhavecchobhāvivardhanam ||
nṛtyaṃ tu dvividhaṃ proktaṃnāṭyalāsyāśrayaṃ sadā ||[7]

According to this work nāṭya is a complete and a comprehensive art form, which has in it the elements of architecture, sculpture, painting, poetry, drama, dance and music. These arts are interdependent.

4. Bṛhaddeśī

Mataṅga’s Bṛhaddeśī is the foremost work on the deśi varieties of music and dance. The date of Mataṅga can be assigned around the 9th century.[8] Mataṅga has quoted passages from Bharata, Kohala, Dattila and others. The dance chapter of this text is not available now. Many scholars have quoted Mataṅga in their works. Jāyasenapati in Nṛttaratnāvali quotes Mataṅga and refers to pādas, which are leg movements included in deśi cāri varieties.[9]

Mataṅga defines deśi saṅgīta as, ‘The music prevalent in respective region is referred to as deśī’.

deśe deśe pravṛtte'sau dhvanirdeśīti saṃjhitā |[10]

5. Daśarūpa

Daśarūpa of Dhanañjaya is a 10th century work consisting of four chapters. This mainly deals with the ten varieties of rūpakas in a detailed manner. The author elaborates the literary aspects of drama such as sandhi, sandhyaṅgas, avasthā, vṛtti and so on. However, he does not deal with the aspects of prayoga, aṅga, upaṅga abhinaya. He himself says that he has given an abridged version of the definitions on nāṭya. He adds, if the subject matter is spread throughout the work or not in good order, it is not easy for unintelligent persons to understand.

Therefore, he has taken few aspects and interpreted it in an easy way, without changing the technical forms.

vyākīrṇe mandabuddhīnāṃ jāyate mativibhramaḥ |
tasyārthastatpadaireva saṅkṣpyi kriyate'ñjasā ||[11]

The special feature of this work is the chapters on bhāva, rasa and the varieties of nāyaka and nāyikā, which is useful for the dramatists as well as the dancers. Many commentators and scholars, on kāvya–literature, followed Daśarūpa instead of the Nāṭyaśāstra, as this work became one of the prominent works on dramas.

6. Sṛṅgāraprakāśa

Sṛṅgāra Prakāśa is a voluminous work, which has thirty-six chapters similar to the Nāṭyaśāstra, written by Maharaja Bhoja, who ruled Malwa during 11th century. Bhoja is considered later than Abhinavagupta. It deals about kāvya in general, where śabda, artha, guṇa, doṣa and alaṅkāra gains prominence in first ten chapters. In the eleventh chapter, Bhoja deals with rasa, bhāva, prabandhas-prekṣya and śravya, rūpaka and uparūpaka are elaborated under this topic.[12] The structure and techniques of drama are described in the twelth chapter. The aspects of rasa such as vibhāva, anubhāva, vipralambha, sambhoga, etc. are dealt in detail from the thirteenth to thirty-sixth chapters.

7. Bharatārṇava

Bharatārṇava is a text referred to in the Bharatārṇava saṅgraha. Nandikeśvara is the author of Bharatārṇava. He is considered the legendary sage Taṇḍu, disciple of Bharata. Ramakrishna Kavi states this work belongs to 11C.E.[13] Thus, the exact date of Nandikeśvara cannot be ascertained. The whole work is said to consist 4000 verses but the text of Bharatārṇava, which is now available is a compilation of many manuscripts. The currently available text has only 992 verses spread out in fifteen chapters.

This is a text with some rare and unique varieties of dance. Since this work mentions the deśi varieties of dance and the navarasas, it should be a later work than Bṛhaddeśī. Though similar to the Nāṭyaśāstra, the present work which starts with the asaṃyuta hastas, saṃyuta hastas and nṛtta hastas and has some additions and deletions. Aṅgas like head and feet and upāṅgas like dṛṣṭi, which are based on rasa, sthāyī bhāva and vyabhicāri bhāva, are given importance.

The sthānas based on the Nāṭyaśāstra and some deśī sthānas with their uses, are dealt with. A chapter is fully devoted to the 108 tālas. Bhūcāris and ākāśacāris are based on deśī varieties including some of Bharata’s Nāṭyaśāstra. Nine aṅgahāras are connected with an emotional appeal and is named after the particular rasa it evokes. There are five: ‘lalita aṅgahāra’ based on sṛṅgāra rasa; three ‘vikrama aṅgahāra’ depicting vīra rasa; four ‘kāruṇika aṅgahāra’ pertaining to karuṇa rasa; two ‘vicitra aṅgahāra’ pertaining to adbhuta rasa; two ‘vikala aṅgahāra’ for evoking hāsya rasa; two of ‘bhīma aṅgahāra’ for bhayānaka rasa; two‘vikṛta aṅgahāra’ evoking bībhatsa rasa; two ‘ugratara aṅgahāra’ pertaining to raudra rasa and two ‘śāntija aṅgahāra’ in śānta rasa. The aṅgahāras are combinations of karaṇas in the Nāṭyaśāstra, but the aṅgahāras in Bharatārṇava are based on the navarasas. These aṅgahāras can be used to depict the rasa gati in nāṭya and nṛtya. Śrṅganāṭya was performed by Śiva at the request of Pārvati during the spring festivities on one of the crests of Mount Kailāsa. The author says if cāris and sthānakas are added to an aṅgahāra, it becomes Śṛṅganāṭya.[14]

Sapta lāsya has seven varieties of dance namely: śuddha nāṭya, deśī nāṭya, peruṇī, preṅkhaṇī, kuṇḍalī, daṇḍikā and kalaśa. Śuddha nāṭya consists of seven bhramaṇa tāṇḍavas. The unique feature is that, each tāṇḍava is combined with a gati, a karaṇa and a cāri. A gati is a combination of a stance and a movement. A karaṇa is a combination of hand and leg movements. For each of these items, tālas are prescribed and each tāla has its own formula in syllables of instrumental sounds.

The second, namely deśī nāṭya, has five varieties of tāṇḍavas each having its own gati, karaṇa, cāri and the appropriate tāla and syllables. It is noteworthy that, the śuddha nāṭya has been conceived and performed by Paramaśiva and deśī nāṭya by Pārvati. The word tāṇḍava and lāsya appear to be used in the text indiscriminately for male and female dancers. The whole group is called sapta lāsya, but the constituent of the first two varieties are called tāṇḍavas. The other five items namely peruṇī, preṃkhaṇī, kuṇḍalī, daṇḍikā, and kalaśa were originally performed by Braḥmā, Sarasvatī, Mahāviṣṇu, respectively and the last two by Mahālakṣmi herself. Each of these is combined with karaṇas and cāris. Puṣpāñjali is the offering of flowers for the worship of deities. Nandikeśvara says this can be danced before deities, kings and an audience; karaṇas are to be used here. He mentions about a text called Karaṇa bhūṣaṇa, which explains these elaborately, but this work is not available now.

8. Nāṭya Darpaṇa

Nāṭyadarpaṇa is an excellent work on rūpakas by the Jain authors Ramacandra and Gunacandra, of the 12th century. This work deals with the aspects of nāṭaka in detail in the first chapter and the other nine varieties of dramas in the second chapter. The third chapter explains the vṛttis, rasa, bhāva, and abhinaya in general. The fourth chapter mentions about the dramatic elements like pūrvaraṅga, nāndi, dhruvā and the nāyaka nāyakī lakṣana.

He adds nāṭī as a variety of dance drama and says—

nāṭayati nartayati.......nāṭī ||[15]

The author also acknowledges Bharata in many places. Though the work is titled Nāṭyadarpana, the author has brought in all the aspects of drama and thus followed Bharata in understanding the term Nāṭya.

9. Mānasollāsa

Someśvara of 12th century[16] a Hoysala ruler wrote a book called Mānasollāsa, which comprises of various subjects. In this text, the nṛtya vinoda the eighteenth adhyāya of fourth viṃśati deals mainly with the deśī style of dancing popular during his time. He deals with the aṅgas, upaṅgas, pratyaṅgas, sthānas, cāris, nṛtta hastas and deśī karaṇas. According to him, nartana is of six varieties: nāṭya, lāsya, tāṇḍava, viṣama, vikaṭa and laghu. He devoted his entire attention to music and dance.

10. Bhāvaprakāśa

Bhāva Prakāśa is written by Śaradātanaya who belonged to 12th century. In this work consisting of ten chapters, the author deals mainly with bhāva and rasa, rūpakas and uparūpakas. These uparūpakas (minor varieties of dramas), which are named as nṛtya prabandhas, form the base for the present day classical and folk-dance dramas and dance forms. Śaradātanaya also explains terms such as nāṭya, nṛtta, nṛtya, tāṇḍava, lāsya and so on. This work gives some information about three types of tāṇḍava and lāsya and the deśī dance forms, dhruvās, guṇḍali and so on.

He gives a beautiful verse on nartana which says–

vṛttibhiḥ saṃhitaṃ gītaṃ tathā vādyādibhiryutam |
nartanaṃ gātravikṣepamātramityucyate budhaiḥ ||[17]

11. Nāṭakalakṣaṇaratnakośa

Nāṭakalakṣaṇaratnakośa written by Sāgaranandin dated around 12th to 13th century is mainly based on Bharata’s work. It deals with major and minor types of plays chiefly with the variety of bhāṇaka and bhāṇika and the importance of lāsyaṅgas in these forms.[18]

12. Saṅgītaratnākara

Saṅgītaratnākara of Śāṛṅgadeva is a work on Indian music and dance. It closely follows the Nātyaśāstra and Abhinavagupta’s commentary, Abhinavabhārati. Śāṛṅgadeva also adds some details of the deśī dances of that region during his time. He belongs to Kashmir and he lived during the reign of Yādavā King Siṅghaṇa of 13th century. The two available commentaries on Saṅgītaratnākara are Siṃhabhūpāla’s Sudhākara and Catura Kallinātha’s Kalānidhi. The maṅgala śloka of this chapter is given in the Abhinayadarpaṇa also.[19] Many verses of this work matches with the Abhinayadarpaṇa and so there lies a controversy in the date of the authors.

Saṅgītaratnākara of Śāṛṅgadeva consists of seven chapters out of which the first six are on music. They deal with svara, rāga, prakīrṇaka, prabandha, tāla and vādya in order. The seventh chapter called nartana adhyāya, deals about the classifications of nartana, the origin of nāṭya, merits of nartana, performance of nartana, features of nāṭya, abhinaya, dharmī, nṛtya, nṛtta, tāṇḍava and lāsya, āṅgika abhinaya, aṅga, nṛtta karaṇa, definition of karaṇa, deśī karaṇas, aṅgahāra, cāri, sthāna, maṇḍala, nyāya, vṛtti, lāsyāṅga, rekhā, practise procedure, qualities of a dancer, merits of a dancer, defects of a dancer, decorations of the dancer, qualities of upādyāya, qualities of acārya, dance troupe and its merits and defects, śuddha paddhati, gauṇḍalī vidhi, peraṇī paddhati, naṭa, nartaka, vaitālika, cāraṇa, kohlāṭikā, qualities of audience and rasa.

The deśī lāsyāṅgas called cāli and cālivaḍa are like cārīs of Nāṭyaśāstra. The author gives a detailed description of the uses of karaṇas for gati but he has not included any chapter on gati as in Nāṭyaśāstra.

13. Nṛtta Ratnāvalī

Nṛtta Ratnāvalī is a work written by Jāyasenāpati. He belonged to Andhra and was a commander-in-chief in the army of Reddy King, Komativema (Ganapati deva) of Kākatīya dynasty in 13th century. This work in eight chapters encompasses the aspects of dance such as nāndī, nāṭyāvatāra, nāṭyalakṣaṇa, abhinaya, tāṇḍava, lāsya, and lāsyāṅga and so on, in the first chapter. The author classifies the body as aṅga, pratyaṅga and upāṅga also; he explains the abhinaya hastas, nṛtta hastas and hasta karaṇas in the second chapter. The third chapter deals with the cāri, sthāna and maṇḍala. The karaṇas, aṅgahāras and recakas are explained in the fourth chapter. These are all completely based on Bharata’s work and are of the mārga style. The fifth chapter explores the deśī (regional) elements such as, deśī sthāna, utplutī karaṇa and deśī bhramarī. The special feature in this work is the author deals with the deśī pādas, which are like jumping and striking movements of the feet[20] and gati in nṛtta in the sixth chapter. The seventh chapter deals with the deśī dances such as, pūjā, raṅgapraveśa, rāsaka, carcarī, nāṭyarāsaka, daṇḍarāsaka, peraṇi, preṅkhaṇa, kuṇḍalī, kollāṭa, kanduka nartana and so on. The final chapter has a description of sabhāpatī, nāṭya maṇḍapa, nartakī, nepatya, yavanikā, ātodya and raṅgabhūmi. The whole work concentrates on the elements on nṛtta as in the Nāṭyaśāstra and some deśī elements, which were prevailing at that period. Jāya refers to Bharata and submits his opinion on the Nāṭyaśāstra humbly, wherever necessary. He also mentions Kohala, Mataṅga and many others.

14. Saṅgītasamayasāra

Saṅgītasamayasāra is attributed to Pārśva Deva, a Jain ācārya of 13th century.[21] The unique feature of this book is inclusion of special deśī dance forms. The music and dance prevailing in his time is understood from this work. His native place might be Maharashtra or the place where Marathi was spoken, as he had made use of many Marathi words in his work. Pārśvadeva commences his work with a maṅgala śloka on Vāsudeva. This work consists of ten chapters and the seventh chapter called nṛtta lakṣaṇa, deals with the dance elements. He mainly deals on the nṛtta elements. He states that he gives the essence of nṛtta in this work, as nṛtta is extensively explained in the śāstras earlier.

Pārśvadeva excludes vācika, āhārya and sāttvika abhinaya and deals only with āṅgika abhinaya in this chapter. The ślokas on āṅgika abhinaya are mostly based on the Bharata’s Nāṭyaśāstra. He adds some deśī elements of nṛtya, sthāna, bhramari, pāla (similar to cāri) and utpluti karaṇa.

15. Abhinayadarpaṇa

Abhinayadarpaṇa of Nandikeśvara is the most famous work in South India. This is a work, which deals with the aspects of āṅgika abhinaya, especially the hastas. This work is described to Nandikeśvara. His mistaken identity as Taṇḍu is not accepted by some scholars. If it is taken as if this work is written by Nandikeśvara, the author of Bharatārṇava, there are lot of discrepancies between the contents and slokas of Abhinayadarpaṇa. Therefore, it cannot be an abridged version of Bharatārṇava. However, Manmohan Ghosh opines that this work is of 5th to 13th century.[22] This text gained importance because it was discovered earlier than the Nāṭyaśāstra. Many translations in various South Indian languages are available for this text. This book consists of 324 ślokas and it is all in one chapter. This text exclusively deals with āṅgika abhinaya. Other than the basic aṅgas and upāṅgas, the special feature of this work is that it gives the uses for all single and double hand gestures. However, this text does not explain the upaṅgas of the face, except for the eyes. Other varieties of hastas such as daśāvatāra hastas, jātī hastas, bāndhavya hastas, and navagraha hastas are mentioned. Sixteen varieties of maṇḍalas and sthānakas, five varieties of utplavanas (jumping movements), five varieties of braḥmaris (whirling movements), eighteen of cāris and ten gatis are mentioned. The explanations given by Nandikeśvara for sthānas, maṇḍalas, cāris, nṛttahastas and the like are different from those of the Nāṭyaśāstra in many aspects.

16. Saṅgītopaniṣatsāroddhara

This treatise on music and dance is written by the Jain writer Sudhākalaśa in the fourteenth century.[23] The movements of the limbs are divided into aṅga, upāṅga and pratyāṅga. Karaṇas and aṅgahāras are defined and karaṇas are given as elements of lāsyaṅgas and nṛtya. He lists all the one hundred and eight karaṇas but some are different from that of Nāṭyaśāstra.

17. Saṅgītacandra

Saṅgītacandra is written by Śuklapaṇḍita, also known as Vipradāsa who belongs to 14 C.E.[24] The text gives the origin of the nāṭyaveda, nāṭyamaṇḍapa, pūrvaraṅga, abhinaya and vṛtti. He describes nṛtya and divides it into mārganṛtya, nāṭyanṛtya and deśīyanṛtya. Karaṇas of the mārga and deśī varieties are described. sthānas, maṇḍalas, nyāyas, aṅgahāras, recakas, etc. are given almost based on Bharata’s technique.

18. Saṅgītamuktāvali

This work was written by Devanācārya, who adorned the court of Prowda Devaraya of Vijayanagar in 15th century.[25] It deals mainly with the aspects of dance and briefly brings in musical elements. In the topic called abhinaya nirṇaya, the author deals with the four abhinayas in a very brief manner. He defines nṛtta, nṛtya and some varieties of deśī dances and songs. He classifies the dance (nartanam) as nṛtya and nṛtta. It is again classified as tāṇḍava, that which is uddhata (forceful) and lāsya, that which is madhura (soft). Lāsya is predominant with sṛṅgāra rasa and tāṇḍava is that which was incorporated by Śiva and followed by Taṇḍu. The four varieties of nṛtta are preraṇa, preṅkhaṇa, guṇḍalī and daṇḍarāsaka. Aṅgas, pratyaṅgas and upāṅgas are elaborated in this text. Sthāna, cāri, karaṇa, aṅgahāra and gati are briefly described. Some deśī karaṇas are also added. This work, which deals mostly with nṛtta elements, also describes gīta, vādya, śabda, tāla and śabdaprabandha paddhatis. One of the special features of this work is pāda kuṭṭana cāris, like aḍavus, are mentioned. Tāla and syllables for aṅgahāra is seen in the second manuscript, which is available in Tanjore Library.

19. Nṛtyaratnakośa

Nṛtyaratnakośa of Kumbhakarṇadeva starts with an introduction to the Nāṭyaśāstra. All the four abhinayas, along with sāmānya abhinaya and citra abhinaya are dealt in this work. Chapters on āṅgika abhinaya, which contains aṅgas, pratyaṅgas, upāṅgas, sthānas, cāris, recakas and maṇḍalas are explained elaborately. Almost all the aspects of dance in this book are based on the Nāṭyaśāstra but the karaṇas are not discussed.

The special feature of this text is that a set of twenty-five pāda kuṭṭana deśī cāris similar to aḍavus and fifty-four deśī cāris are mentioned.[26] Kalāsa karaṇas, which are concluding dance cadences, are mentioned in this work.

20. Nṛtyādyāya

Nrtyādyāya of Asokamalla contains fifteen chapters on dance. It deals with all aspects of āṃgika abhinaya such as aṅgas, pratyaṅgas, upaṅgas, hastas, dṛṣṭi, sthāna, cāri (mārga) and deśī cāris called muḍupa cāri. Nṛtta karaṇas are given, just as the Nāṭyaśāstra, but the order is changed. Almost all the karaṇas have viniyogas as in Saṅgītaratnākara. The work also deals with aṅgahāras, recakas, maṇḍalas, lāsyāṃgas and kalāsa karaṇas based on tālas.

These muḍupa cāris are so called because movement is done with the backside of the toes[27] i.e. the sole is pressed like in aḍavus. Some of them are named as: puraḥ paścātsarā, paścātpuraḥsarā, ekapādakuṭṭitā, padadvayakuṭṭitā, pādasthitinikuṭṭitā, samapādanikuṭṭitā. Though there are many, only a few are noted down by Kohala says author.[28]

He adds utpluti karaṇas and deśi lāsyaṅgas called cālī, cālīvata, ullāsa, laya, nouka, etc. which are based on rhythmic movements like gati.

nartakīnartane gītavādyatālayeṣvapi |
askhalantī yadā naukītadā janamanoharā ||[29]

Some of the kalāsas like vidyut kalāsa, khaḍga kalāsa, mṛga kalāsa, baka kalāsa, plava kalāsa, haṃsa kalāsa are to be noted.

pādāṅgulībhirākramyabhuvamutthātjānunī |
muhurmuhuḥ sannipātya garbhakhinnamṛgīvacet ||
sālasya gamanopetā mṛgaśīrṣakarānvitā |
nartakīgurumānena hariṇaplutayā plutam ||
vidadhyād vicitryāṃ yatra kalāso'sau mṛgādigaḥ |[30]

21. Saṅgīta Dāmodara

Saṅgīta Dāmodara is a 17th century work written by Śri Śubhāṅkara of Bengal.[31] This has five chapters, which deal with music and dance. The first chapter deals with bhāva and its varieties. The special feature of this work is that a whole range of 384 varieties of nāyikās is explained.

Aṅgas, upāṅgas, sthānas, cāris, maṇḍalas are given as in the Nāṭyaśāstra. Karaṇas and aṅgahāras are also enlisted, but they are not explained. The author also deals with the rūpaka and uparūpaka elements in this work. Śubhāṅkara talks about the navarasas as accepted by Abhinavagupta and he adds prema as the tenth rasa.

22. Saṅgīta Darpaṇa

Saṅgīta Darpaṇa of Catura Dāmodara is a treatise on the aspects of music, including one chapter on dance. The author belongs to the 17th century.[32] He was a court poet of Thirumalai Raya of Vijayanagar. The editor of this work Vasudeva Sastri opines that this work must of been written after the ‘Dark period’ in South India, the invasion of Malik Kafur during the 14th and 15th century.[33] The author says that he follows the ancient authors like Bharata to write this book. He defines Saṅgīta as the combination of the three, vocal music, instrumental music and dance. He also adds, mārga is that which is taught by Braḥma to Bharata and was presented before Mahadeva and deśī is that which grew up according to the taste of different regions. This text has seven chapters out of which six deals with the elements of music and the seventh nṛtya.

The text elaborates mukhachali, dhruva, lāganṛtta, gīta nṛtya, cindu nṛtya and so on. Some deśi dances like the puṣpāñjali, peraṇi, goṇḍalī are mentioned. The principal features of nāṭya such as rasa, bhāva, abhinaya, dharmi, and so on, are defined. Aṅga, upaṅga, sthāna, cāri laksāna are mentioned, but its varieties are not elaborated. The author himself acknowledges Saṅgītaratnākara and Saṅgītamakaranda for having taken some ślokas. Some ślokas are similar to Abhinayadarpaṇa but the author has not acknowledged Nandikeswara or name of the work.

23. Saṅgīta Makaranda

Saṅgīta Makaranda of Vedasuri is a work on music and dance who belonged to 17th century. Raghavan opines that only some chapters on dance are available in manuscript forms. Some information can be gathered from the journals of Saraswathi Mahal regarding āṅgika abhinaya. This work gives a detailed description about gati along with karaṇa, sthāna, cārī, hasta and mukhaja abhinaya.

Mandakranta Bose opines that the author treats each gati like a dance sequence and describes the gati with all its components of movements.[34] But these are still in manuscript form. There are so many controversies regarding the author of this work, as there is another work in the same name written by Narada which deals mostly with gīta and tāla.[35]

24. Nartana Nirṇaya

Nartana Nirṇaya of Puṇḍarīka Viṭṭala is a late 16th century and early 17th century work. This deals mainly with music and dance. The four chapters in this work are tāladhartṛ prakaraṇa, mṛdaṅga prakaraṇa, gāyaka prakaraṇa and nartaka prakaraṇa. The nartana adhikāra contains the abhinayas, dharmis, citra abhinaya, bhāva and rasa. The āṅgika abhinaya elements such as, aṅgas, pratyaṅgas, sthāna, cārī, karaṇa, aṅgahara and recaka are dealt within this work. The special feature of this work is that, the deśī dance forms of provinces are given and pushpāñjali, gati, nāndi and the like are explained.[36] The two varieties of dance known as bandha and anibandha nṛttas are referred here. The former is structured with gati while the latter doesn’t follow any rule. Here gati refers to rhythm.

25. Bālarāmabharata

Bālarāmabharata is a work by Maharaja Sri Bālarāmavarma who was the king of Travencore, during 18th century.[37] This work deals with the lakṣaṇa of vocal, instrumental music, aṅga, pratyaṅga, upaṅga, and gati. This work contains definition for these body actions and gati. Though the explanations of aṅgas and upaṅgas are similar to that of the Nāṭyaśāstra, there are no descriptions about the cāris and karaṇas.

26. Saṅgīta Nārāyaṇa

Saṅgīta Nārāyaṇa, a work by the King Sri Gajapati Nārāyaṇadeva, is an 18th century work.[38] This is a treatise on music, containing four chapters and one chapter called Nāṭya nirṇaya, with 824 verses, on dance. In this chapter, the author deals with the aspects of āṅgika abhinaya such as aṅgas, upāṅgas, pratyāṅgas, cāris, karaṇas and aṅgahāras in a very brief manner. Karaṇas are not mentioned in the order as seen in the Nāṭyaśāstra and they do not have any explanation.

27. Saṅgīta Sārāmṛta

Saṅgīta Sārāmṛta is a work done by King Tulaja of the 18th century. It deals, elaborately, with the musical elements in fourteen chapters. Nṛtta Prakaraṇa, the chapter on dance, is taken from the manuscripts and added, but it is incomplete. Many verses are based on works such as Saṅgītaratnākara, Saṅgītamuktāvali, Nṛttaratnavali, and so on. This chapter deals with the lakṣaṇas of sabhā sanniveśa, sabhā nāyaka, ācārya, naṭa, pātra, nartaka, kohlāṭika, vaitālika, cāraṇa, goṇḍalī and peraṇī, which are the deśī dances.

Aspects of āṅgika abhinaya that are dealt within this work are aṅgas, pratyāṅgas, upāṅgas, cāris, karaṇas, aṅgahāras, recakas and so on. Karaṇas are of two types, śuddha and utplutī and cāris are of śuddha and deśī. These refer to the mārga and deśī varieties. Though all the elements of āṃgika abhinaya are mentioned, the author has not included gati pracāra. Aspects of sāttvika abhinaya, namely rasa and bhāva are also dealt with, other than that of rūpakas.

Then the author elaborates on śikṣārambha and aḍavus. He is the first one to mention about the aḍavus, which are prominently used in present day Bharatanāṭya. The special feature of this work is that, the author mentions the names of various aḍavus out of which some are prevalent now and some that have different names in the present. Names mentioned are taṭṭaḍavu, khanatpāda kuṭṭana, nāṭṭi taṭṭaḍavu, pārśva kuṭṭana, digidigi aḍavu, pāda pārśva kuṭṭana, utplutthothana, santāḍya bhramaṇāhvaya, santāḍya pārṣṇi kuṭṭanākhya, anukkur aḍavu, kaṣraṇāhvaya, kaḍaśakkāl, sāraṇagati aḍavu, cakkaracuttu, moṭita, prasārita pāda and so on.[39] Almost all the aḍavus have their names in Sanskrit. Some of these aḍavus are out of vogue now, but this is the only text that has the references of present day aḍavus.

Footnotes and references:


Ibid.Translation by N.P. Unni Vol.1,p.229




Saṅgīta-ratnāvalī Vol II.Com.p.679


Studies in the Upapuranas-R.C.Hazra. Vol I. p.10.


Sri Visnudharmottara Purana, Translation by Priyabala Shah, Third Khanda. p.12.


A socio-religious study of Visnudhamottara purana -Kusum Kumari Gupta.


Nṛttaratnāvalī Intro. p. 46.


Ibid. p.46.


Bṛhaddeśī 2.


Daśarūpaka I.5.


Sṛṅgāra-prakaśa pp.462-469.


Bharatakosa Tirupati 1951. Intro. p. 111.


A\. ? Bharatārṇava A. XI. 637.


ND. p 121.


Mānasollāsa Vol. I. p. vi.


A\. ? Bharatārṇava P.p.46.17,18.


Nāṭakalakṣaṇaratnakośa Intro.


Saṅgīta-ratnāvalī VII.1.,AD.1.


NR.VI. 1


History of Classical Sanskrit Literature-M.Krishnamachariar


MM Ghosh Intro p. 38


Saṅgīta-sārāmṛta Intro.p.vii.


History of Classical Sanskrit Literature-M.Krishnamachariar


Saṅgitamakaranda pg XXIV.




Nṛtyādyāya X.1098


Ibid.X. 1100.


Ibid. XIV. 1656


Ibid. XV.1700,1701.


History of Classical Sanskrit Literature-M.Krishnamachariar p.865


Ibid. p.866




Saṅgitamakaranda Ed. By M.R.Telang.


NN. Refer book


Bālarāma-bharata p.3


History of Classical Sanskrit Literature -M.Krishnamachariar p.872


Saṅgīta-sārāmṛta Nrtta prakaranam

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