Gati in Theory and Practice

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

This page relates ‘Description of Gati as in Bharatarnava’ 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.

Description of Gati as in Bharatārṇava

Nandikeśvara in Bharatārṇava deals with the aspect of gati in a different approach, which seems to be more appropriate for dance. In the chapter called śuddha nāṭya, he describes the seven tāṇḍava varieties. Each tāṇḍava is interspersed with gati, karaṇa, tāla and sollukattu.

The seven varieties of tāṇḍavas form a part of śuddha nāṭya. The following gatis are added according to practice and they are:

  1. mayūragati—the peacock’s gait,
  2. rājahaṃsagati—the swan’s gait,
  3. kṛṣṇasāragati—the deer’s gait,
  4. gajagati—the elephant’s gait,
  5. siṃhagati—the lion’s gait and
  6. śukagati—the parrot’s gait.

These six types of gaits have been used by Lord Śiva in his tāṇḍava. The prayoga of these can be such; for the first varieties of tāṇḍava known as dakṣiṇa bhramaṇa or the clock-wise rotary movement, the first three gaits mayūra, rājahaṃsa and kṛṣnasāra gati have to be combined one after the other. However, for other kinds, one gait is introduced between two tāṇḍavas. Thus, for the remaining six tāṇḍavas, the three remaining gaits are employed. At the end of the gati comes the karaṇa, the combined movement of hands and legs and then comes the cārī. These are the features of tāṇḍava described in Bharatārṇava.

Mayūra gati:

The hands hold kartarīmukha, the standing posture of Śaiva sthānaka is assumed, and the dancer moves on the left foot in contact with the ground. The tāla for this gati is mallikāmoda.

The karaṇa for this is mayūralalita.

hastau tu kartarīyuktauśaivasthanakasaṃyutam |
saraṇaṃ vāmapādena mayūragatirīritā ||[1]

Haṃsa gati:

When beginning from samapāda sthanaka with the hands holding pakṣavañcita, the feet change to viṣamasañcara and it is then called haṃsagati. The tāla for this gati is haṃsanāda. Pakṣavañcita is a nṛtta hasta seen in the Nāṭyaśāstra.

pakṣavañcitakauhastau sthanakaṃ samapādakam |
paścādviṣamasañcarī saiṣā haṃsagatirbhavet ||[2]

Kṛṣṇasāra gati:

In this gati, the hands hold mṛgaśīrṣahasta and the feet are in the khuṭṭa pose. The tala for this gati is jhampa.

mṛgaśīrṣābhidhau hastau pādau khuttabhidhānakau |
kṛṣṇasāragatiḥ khyātā nṛttakarmaviśāradaiḥ ||[3]

Gaja gati:

In this gati, the hand assumes padmakośa, looking downward either in front or at the back and the feet stamping the ground. The tāla for this gati is pūrṇakaṅkalā. The karaṇa for this is karīhasta karaṇa.

agrataḥ pṛṣṭhato vāpi padmakośāvadhomukhau |
pādau tu kuṭṭanayutau gajasya gatirīritā ||[4]

Siṃha gati:

In this gati, the hands assume siṃhamukha hasta. The foot performs a jump and the dancer moves with the right foot in contact with the ground, and repeats the movements changing the feet. The tāla for this gati is siṃhavikrama and the karaṇa is siṃhavikrīḍita.

hastau siṃhamukhābhikhyau pādau cotplutisaṃyutau |
paścāddakṣiṇapādena saraṇaṃ vāma īdṛśaḥ ||
siṃhasya gatirākhyātā śuddhanāṭyavicakṣaṇaiḥ |[5]

Śuka gati:

In this gati, the hands assume śukatuṇḍahasta and they are held eight angulas from the chest. The standing posture for starting the gati is vardhamāna, the movement of the foot is sārana and tāla is kokilapriyā.

ekatuṇḍābhidhau hastau vakṣaso'ṣṭāṅgulisthitau |
sthanena vardhamānena sthitvā caiva tataḥ param ||
saraṇābhidhapādābhyāṃ yānaṃ śukagatirbhavet |[6]

Mayūrī gati:

The hands should hold kartarīmukha hasta and standing the sthāna of nāgabhanda the foot is in sāraṇa or in contact with the floor and the tāla is rājanarāyaṇa.

hastau tu kartarīkākhyau nāgabandhasthitirbhavet |
pādāgrāmyāṃ tu saraṇaṃ mayūrīgatirīritā ||[7]

Haṃsī gati:

In this gati the hands hold haṃsapakṣa hasta, the dancer starts from the standing posture of maṇḍala and the steps are taken with the left foot moving from side to side. The tāla of this gati is haṃsalīlā.

karau tu haṃsapakṣākhyau maṇḍalasthanakaṃ tathā |
vāmapādena gomūtragatya saṃcarāṇaṃ bhavet ||
haṃsī gatiriti khyātā deśī nāṭyaviśāradaiḥ |[8]

Harinī gati:

In this gati the hands hold ardhapatāka hasta, the dancer starts with the standing posture of kūrmāsana and the steps are repeatedly taken with the left fore-foot in an oblique direction. The tāla for this gati is siṃhanāda.

hastāvardhapatākākhyau sthanaṃ kūrmāsanaṃ tataḥ |
vāmapādāgratastiryakprasārya ca punaḥ punaḥ ||
saṃcaredbhariṇīnāṃ tu gatiḥ kavibhirīritā |[9]

Karinī gati:

In this gati the hands assume karihasta, the right foot is placed in the normal position, the left foot describes a half-moon on the ground and quickly proceeds forward and the movements are repeated changing the feet for proceeding backward. The tāla is gajalīlā and the karaṇa is gajavikrīḍita.

karihastayutau hastau dakṣiṇāṃghriḥ samasthitaḥ |
vāmāṃghriṇāpyardhacaṃdraṃ likhitvā tarasā vrajet ||
purobhāge ca paścāttu gamane dakṣiṇāṃghriṇā |
evaṃ likhitvā gamanaṃ kariṇī gatireva sā ||[10]

Sārikā gati:

In this gati, the right hand holds ardhacandrahasta and the left śukatuṇḍahasta. Starting from vaiśākha sthānaka, the right foot is placed at the contact of the left hand with the body. In this the left, foot moves in contact with the ground. The tāla for this gati is kandarpa.

dakṣiṇo'pyardhacaṃdraḥ syādvāmapāṇiḥ śukānanaḥ |
vaiśākhasthanakenaiva sthitvā dakṣiṇapādakam |
abhisaṃdhau vāmabāhorniveśya tadanantaram |
saraṇaṃ vāmapādena saiṣā sārī gatirmatā ||[11]

Footnotes and references:


A\. ? Bharatārṇava A.XIV.792





















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