The Southern Peninsula of India was known to be expansively a telugu-speaking area. Though the mighty Vijayanagara Empire recognized as the single empire to rule over a larger area, the less celebrated fact is that the Kakatiyas brought the vast area ranging from Kalyan in Maharashtra to the Bay of Bengal, Berhampur in Orissa to Kanchi in the South under one rule. It was during Ganapati Deva’s time that Jayasenapati, the Chief of Elephant Forces documented most ingeniously and poetically the dances that existed in the area. While the works like Somesvara’s Manasollasa (c.10th cen.), Sarngadeva’s Sangitaratnakara (12th cen.), Parsvadeva’s Sangit-samyasara (12th cen.) have deftly presented various aspects ad moves of the dances of the day, Jayasenapati in his Nrttaratnavali, weaving the psychic component into it, consolidated the technical aspects from all these texts. Faithfully adhering to Bharata’s Natyasastra. He was presented a lucid exposition of the angikabhinaya in the Marga (following the texts of yore) and an endearing account of the Desi (provincial) dance. After giving details of the endless movements of the body, Jayana speaks very subtly of the emotion and intelligence of the body while describing the Lasyangas.
The body as an Instrument to gain clarity of mind is a concept ingrained in Indian thought. The human body is worked on, cared for and toned with dedication, as the clarity sets in it becames incidental. This concept has been analyzed and articulated by the scholars and Jayana is no exception. In his elucidation of dances, Jayana begins with a grueling training and toning of the body and later provides an exposition on expressions and finally says that a dancer not requiring to use too much of the body, is considered of the highest quality!
Pappu Venugopala Rao, D. Litt in Indology is a multifaceted scholar with doctoral degrees in Sanskrit and Telugu. Trained in music under Sri Patryani Sangeeta Rao and Dr. Balamurali Krishna, he was also associated with Dr. Vempati China Satyam. He was instrumental in initiating an academic study in Kuchipudi. Some of his notable publications include: Flowers at His Feet, Science of Sri Chakra, Rasamnjari, Fragrance of Padmas Dasarthisatakam (English translation of a Telugu poet’s 100 poems), an Five Gems of Saint Thyagraja (co-authored with Sri Neyveli Snathangopalan) (under print).Distinguished for his scholarship world over, his Natyasastra workshops are endowed with special recognition. The All-round scholarship conferred on him by the Sangeet Natak Akademic, Government of India sums up his prolific persona.
Yashoda Thakore is an exponent of Kucipudi and devadasi Natya (the repertoire of the hereditary women dancers). Reinforced with her understanding and practice of yoga she is engaged in working relentlessly with the hereditary women dancers on the social, historical an aesthetic and aesthetic aspects of the Devadasi repertoire. She has enthralled the audience globally. ‘Censorship and Women Resistance in the performing Arts: From Continental Asia to Insualar Southest Asia (May 2014) and ‘Temple, Court, Salo, Stage: Crafting Dance Repertoire in South India’ ( June 2015 ) were the themes of the confernces orgainsesd by the center for south Asian studies, in Paris where she presented her research papers and performances The IFTR at The University of Hyderabad and Nrttaratnavali Conclave by Nartanam, Hyderabad were the remarkable venues host Yahoda’s presentations recently. She is the author f Kaivalya: joy in Yoga and dance (2014). In 2017 Yashoda was conferred the Bangalore Nagaratnamma award by the Samskruti Organisation, Guntur and the Ugadi Puraskaram by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. At present she is a Guest Faculty for Kuchipudi at The University of Silicon Andhra, in California.
IGNCA has the Kalakos as its research and publication division concentrating on the textual tradition of the intellectual discourse in the artistic traditions of India. In the Kalamulasastra (KMS) series, the division undertakes the critical editions of the fundamental texts relating to the Indian Arts along with translations. The division has already brought out around thirty fundamental texts in more than eighty published volumes on the subjects dealing with rituals, texts from the puranas, seminal texts on music and dance, texts on architecture, sculpture, poetics and aesthetics. These texts spanning a period of more than one thousand years speak of a rigorous textual tradition complimenting the highly structured system of oral transmission of knowledge in diverse disciplines. The published volumes also make it clear that there were texts from different regions of India giving detailed account of intellectual tradition spread throughout India. This vitality of the textual tradition is traced between the 13th/14th century which continues up to the 17th/18th century.
The present work Nrttaratnavali is one of such texts which can be categorized under the categorized under the category of regional texts. It is a Sanskrit text originally written In Telugu script. It was composed in a region of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, which has now become the new State of the Indian Republic known as telangana since 2014 Warangal was the capital of the Kakatiya dynasty during the 13th -14th centuries. Along with overall development the region witnessed remarkable growth in the spheres of art and culture during this period. It may be worth mentioning that the Deccan Plateau as a terrain had no irrigation potential of its own. But, owing to new technology and the strategically used manpower way back in the 13th/14th centuries, it enjoyed good water supply which continues till date. The growth and development of culture during that period was exemplary and it exhibited high standard of living.
Jayana, the author of the Nrttaratnavali was a Commander-in Chief of the elephant force of Ganapatideva of the Kakatiya dynasty. Earlier, one of his Generals named as Recherla Rudra, is said to have built the Ramppa temple which is the architectural marvel. It is a matter of amazement how an efficient commander like Jayana, who was an expert in elephant fighting, could write such delicate text which is full of lasya and srngara. Interestingly, many believe that Jayana had got inspired by this temple to compose his Nrttaratnavali in which he describes Dance and the equalities of dancer which have been compared by the scholars with the dancing figures carved on the walls of the Ramappa temple. Whatever may be the reality but undoubtedly all this reflects upon the flourishing tradition of theory an practice Warangal have been done on Dolerite, which is supposed to be the Hardest rock. This speaks volumes about the advanced knowledge of technology these artistes had for carving so precisely and beautifully.
Focusing on the text of Nrttaratnavali, IGNCA organized a Sastra and Prayoga seminar in collaboration with the Kakatiya Heritage Trust at Warangal in January 2019.The seminar brought together scholars and the practicing artistes particularly from this region to discuss the text and its reflections in the performance. Under the guidance of Prof. Pandu Ranga Rao, the Kakatiya Heritage Trust at Warangal is doing a remarkable work for the restoration and preservation of its lost glory. Performances were orgainsed to get first-hand information of the text being adopted in the prayoga during the seminar. A field trip was also arranged for the scholars to the temples where these postures were carved out by the artistes 700 years back.
One more point, that requires a mention here, is regarding the senior most participant in the above programme. The renowned archeologist and accomplished scholar Dr R Nagaswamy Participated quite actively in all the discussions during the seminar and that he accompanied us to the field trip, was in itself an inspiration. While visiting the temples he not only explained various architectural manifestations with interesting details, but also mesmerized us with his dynamism by capturing many details with his own camera.
I am glad that Dr. Pappu Venugopala Rao and Dr. Yashoda Thakore jointly prepared the translation of this important text along with notes, for our Kalamulasatra series. This series of IGNAA facilitates the researchers particularly in the field of arts to lay their hands on the sources, obviously for non-availability of the original texts or the reliable translations. The KMS series has filled this desideratum to a great extent. The young researchers must take advantage of the series more and more for raising the standard of research. We at IGNCA will continue to bring out valuable gems from the cultural treasure of India.
I congratulate the Kalakosa team for conducting the seminar and bringing out this publication on a very important text.
Kalakosa Division of IGNCA investigates the Indian intellectual traditions available in multi-layers and multi-disciplines. By doing so it endeavors to place the arts within the integral framework of a cultural system, combining the textual with the oral, the visual with the aural an theory with practices. Emerging from the same perception is one of the programmes of the division known as Kalamulasastra. It is a series of fundamental texts relating to Indian arts ranging from architecture, sculpture, painting, theatre, music, dance etc. along with translation and scientific/technical commentaries/explanations wherever possible.
In a span of over thirty years of its existence, IGNCA has successfully brought out nearly forty texts. Many of these texts cover more than one volume but in a few cases even a single text covers several volumes. Among the published texts some are seminal texts relevant to the arts while other are primary texts on specific arts. The Vedas are the fountain head of knowledge. They present the origin and evolution of human consciousness through sacred mantras. The main thrust is ritual with its deeper meaning and some implicit doctrines underlying the system of ritual. Different recensions of the Srauta sutras, the Agama and Tantra, formulate the procedure of rituals. These texts are indispensable for the study of Indian arts In order to have a proper comprehension of theory (sastra) and practice (prayoga). IGNCA is highly grateful to scholars, the specialists in their respective fields for undertaking the arduous task of editing and translating the complex texts, fundamental to the arts, for our Kalamuslasastra series. The Kanvasatapatha- brahamana by C R Swaminathan, Latyana-srautassutra by H G Ranade, Baudhayana-srauta-sutra by C G Kashikar, Baudhayana-srauta-sutra with commentary of Bhavasvamin by T N Dharmadhikari, Svayambhva-sutra-samgraha Vidyapada with commentary of Sadyojyoti by Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat, Ajita-mahatanra by N R Bhat, Jean Filliozat and Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat, and Isvarasamhita by V Varadachari have already appeared in the series. Many scholars among these are not with us physically but undoubtedly, their work has made them immoral. We are hoping to bring out another set of seminal texts in the near future which include Satyasadha sruta sutra, Jaiminiya brahamana and Gopatha brahmana. In the stream of primary texts on the specific arts several texts on architecture, sculpture, music and dance have specifically brought out the hidden facts of the tradition. One of these facts is that the regional developments. Matralaksanam, puspasutra, Dattilam an Brahddesi are the seminal texts on sangita and the texts prakasika, Sangita Narayana, Ragalaksana, and Tarjuma-I-Mankutuhal va Risala-i-Ragadarpan(twin text I Persian) have emerged from different regions. The Nrttaratnavali written by Jayasenapati during the 13th century has been present here in two volumes of the Kalamulasastra series under the series nos. 72 & 73 . The publication of this text places before the contemporary scholars yet another stream of the textual tradition of the performing arts as it is one of the earliest primary texts on dance. Emerging from the Telangana region and originally written in Telugu script the text of Nrttaratnavali delves into the intricacies of dance in detail and speaks about the intrinsic connection between the physical and the psychic an the significance of both. Another important aspect of this text is the emphasis on the dance of women. In confirmation with the tradition of holding the trained human body as one of the powerful means of communication, the detailed descriptions of body as one of the powerfu
l means of communication, the detailed descriptions of body movement from the subject matter of this important text, Through its classification of eight chapters into two sections, Nrttaratnavali stands as yet another proof of the "medieval phenomenon of continuity and change; unity and diversity; the pan-Indian and regional; the universal and the specific." The initial four chapters of this text deal with the marga or Margi form conforming to the continuity or pan-Indian and the latter four with dese tradition that encompasses regional development in the form i.e. flowering of the style/s. One can very well observe all these developments taking shape within the overall framework of Indian world-view. The earliest notice of the categories Margi and desi are traced to the Natyasastra. However, Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan rightly points out that the discussion and discourse within the framework of the Indian arts. Therefore different texts treat the subject differently. She cautions by saying " … the subject of classification and evolution of categories and their changing profile is a subject all into its own inviting scholars to address issues pertinent not only to the arts but also those of upward and ‘downward’ social and artistic mobility etc.
The project on the preparation of the present publication was assigned jointly to Dr. Pappu Venugopala Rao and Dr. Yashoda Thakore in the year 2013 as both of them showed their keen interest in this text and its reflactions in traditional practices, especially in the performance of dance as reflected in the dancing postures carved in the temples of the region where from the text has originated. Dr. Yashoda Thakore is herself also an accomplished dancer. We are grateful to both these scholars for completing this project within the stipulated time an submitting the final material to IGNCA.
While we were engaged in the preparation of the final camera ready copy of this interesting project for publication, we also planned to organize a seminar on this text under our Sastra and Prayoga programme at Warangal. We are grateful to our Member Secretary Dr Sachchidanand Joshi, for granting the permission, and in addition receiving his guidance and suggestions for organizing this event even more effectively. We are highly thankful to Kakatiya Heritage Trust for collaborating with IGNCA in organizing the Sastra and Prayoga programme at Warangal with great enthusiasm. Our special gratitude goes to Prof. Pandu Ranga Rao and Shri Pappa Rao , who are the founding trustees of the Trust. The visual materials to the present publication were appended only after the above seminar. This has for sure enhanced the value of the publication. The proceedings of the seminar contain interesting research papers. These will be brought out separately after some time.
I am personally greatful to our Member Secretary Dr Sachidanand Joshi for his continued support and encouragement in completing this project. I am also grateful to Shri V B Pyarelal, IAS, our Member Secretary (in-charge) during 2012/13. He was deeply interested in art and culture and the present was initiated under his guidance. We are thankful to Shri A K Sinha, Director Publication, and IGNCA for getting the volumes printed efficiently. Appreciation is due for my young colleagues in Kalakosa Division. They include Dr Abhijit Dixit, Research Officer; Production Assistant; Shri Munnalal Arya, LDC. Whithout their continued support and assistance the publication process would not have been so smooth. Finally, we are pleased to place in the hands of the scholars and the researches the Nrttaratnavali (in two volumes) for making use of this original source to carry out deeper investigations on the subject.
Commonly referred to as South India, the South of the Central Indian mountain ranges is populated largely by Telugu speaking people, besides speakers of various other dialects. Although definite historical references to ‘Andhra’ (as a major part of this area was called) can be seen from the Mauryan dynasty of the North From the late 4th to the 2nd century BCE, a perfunctory chronology of the rulers of the area could begin with the Satavahanas or Satakarni of the 1st century CE, 230 to 220 BCE to be precise. They ruled over the entire Deccan Plateau.
The Andhra Ikshvakus ruled the region along the Krishna Delta during the latter capital from the 4th to the 9th century.
The Pallavas ruled from Southern Andhra to further south with Kanchi as their capital from the 4th to the 9th century.
In the 11th century most of this area was brought under the Eastern Chalukyan dynasty. Hinduism became the popular faith as against Buddhism. Nannayya, generally believed to be the first Telugu poet who began translating the massive Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata into Telugu, lived during this period. Eventually, Telugu became the literary medium over Sanskrit and Prakrit.
During the 12th and the 13th centuries, the Kakatiya dynasty (kingdom) emerged as the largest state, bringing the entire Telugu speaking area and beyond less than one umbrella. This dynasty was the center of activity involving the present work; it would be detailed after the sketch of the chronology. In 1323 CE, the Turkic Delhi Sultan, Ghiyath-al-Din Tughlaq sent a large army under Khan (who later became the Delhi Sultan as Mohammed bin Tughlaq) to conquer the Telugu land. He laid siege to Warangal. This was however short-lived.
The Musunuru Nayaks enjoyed an astonishing victory over the Delhi Sultanate leading to the glorious Vijayanagara Empire (1336-1646 CE), with Krishna deva Raya’s rule being the crowning glory of the dynasty. This empire was supplanted by the Bahmani Sultans from Central India. Alauddin Bahman Shah established a tolerant Bahmani Sultanate which ruled for 200 years from the beginning of the 16th century to the end of the 17th century.
By the year 1792 CE, the British achieved complete supremacy over the Telugu land. And by 1948 after India’s independence, the Nizam of Hyderabad had to cede his kingdom to independent India as Hyderabad State. In 1956, the State of Andhra Pradesh was formed on linguistic grounds, merging with it the Telugu-speaking Hyderabad State.
The year 2014 saw ten districts grouped together to form Telangana State. Warangal, the Fulcrum of the fulcrum of the Kakatiya reign and the place of Jayana, the author of the Present work Nrttaratnavali, is in Telangana State.
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