But as Ganesha concentrated, his fat body took on an elegance all its own, and his dance was as beautiful as the rhythm of the tides and the music of the stars. Brahma's frown, trying hard to stay on his face, melted away, and he broke into a smile. "Truly you are a son of Shiva, Ganesha," said Brahma. "Like the strokes of a pen that end each verse of a poem, Shiva's dance ends each cycle of creation. But your dance - your dance has in it the laughter of creation itself, the joy of the universe." Finally Ganesha stamped and whittled, did a final whirl, and ended with his feet planted squarely on the ground. He faced Brahma, laughing, and held his right hand, palm facing out, in the gesture of blessing called the abhaya mudra. Brahma bowed down to Ganesha in respect. "You who are young, yet have such exquisite dancing in your soul, I bow to you. I was about to curse for interrupting my thoughts, but now I bless you instead, O Ganesha. You will be known by people as the Master of the Dance.All who perform this art in town and in city, in temple and in court, must first invoke your blessing. May it be so, as long as the earth shall live." In the classical Indian dance style called Bharatanatyam, Ganesha's gesture of blessing, the abhaya mudra, means "be not afraid." Even today, every Bharatanatyam performance begins with a special brief dance that recalls Ganesha's grace and seeks his blessings.
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