Saturday, January 22, 2011


Kathakali is a highly stylized classical Indian dance-drama noted for the attractive make-up

of characters, elaborate costumes, detailed  gestures and well-defined body movements

presented in tune with the anchor playback  music and complementary percussion. It

originated in the country's present day state  of Kerala during the 17th century and has

developed over the years with improved looks, refined gestures and added themes

besides more ornate singing and precise drumming.


Kathakali originated from a precursor dance-drama form called Ramanattam and

owes it share of techniques also to  Krishnanattam. The word "attam" means

enactment. In short, these two forerunning forms to Kathakali dealt with presentation of

the stories of Hindu gods Rama and krishna Kottarakkarao complement Krishnanattam,

which had its origin under the Zamorins of Kozhikode. Ignoring the first phase when it was

Ramanattam, Kathakali had its cradle in Vettattnad. Here Vettathu Thampuran,

Kottayathu Thampuran (This Kottayam is in Malabar [see Kottayam (Malabar)] and many

dedicated artists like Chathu Panicker laid foundations for what is known as Kathakali

now. Their efforts were concentrated on the rituals, classical details and scriptural

perfection. The Kottaythu Thampuran composed four great works, Kirmeeravadham,

Bakavadham, Nivathakavacha Kalakeyavadham and Kalyanasaugandhikam.

After this the most important changes in Kathakali were brought about through the

effors of a single person namely, Kaplingad Narayanan Nambudiri (1739–1789). He was

from the Northern Kerala, but after basic instructions in various faculties of the art in

Vettathu Kalari he shifted to Travancore. In the capital and many other centres he found

many willing to co-operate with him in bringing about the reformations.

Kathakali also shares a lot of similarities with Krishnanattam, Koodiyattam (a classical

Sanskrit drama existing in Kerala) and Ashtapadiyattam (an adaptation of

12th-century musical called Gitagovindam). It also incorporates several other elements from

traditional and ritualistic art forms like Mudiyettu, Thiyyattu, Theyyam and Padayani

besides a minor share of folk arts like Porattunatakam. All along, the martial art of

Kalarippayattu has influenced the body language of Kathakali. The use of Malayalam,

the local language (albeit as a mix of Sanskrit and Malayalam, called Manipravalam), has

also helped the literature of Kathakali sound more transparent for the average audience.

Contemporary trends As a part of modernising, propagating,

promoting and popularizing Kathakali, the International Centre for Kathakali at New

Delhi has taken up a continuing project since1980 of producing new plays based on not

only traditional and mythological stories, but also historical stories, European classics and

Shakespeare's plays. Recently they produced Kathakali plays based on Shakespeare's

Othello and Greek-Roman mythology of Psyche and Cupid.

Kathakali is considered to be a combination of five elements of fine art:

Expressions (Natyam, the component with

emphasis on facial expressions)Dance (Nritham, the component of dance with

emphasis on rhythm and movement of hands, legs and body)

Enactment (Nrithyam, the element of drama  with emphasis on "mudras", which are hand gestures)

Song/vocal accompaniment (Geetha) Instrument accompaniment (Vadyam)

Even though the lyrics/literature would qualify  as another independent element called

Sahithyam, it is considered as a component of  Geetha or music, as it plays only a

supplementary role to Nritham, Nrithyam and  Natyam.

Kathakali plays
Traditionally there are 101 classical Kathakali stories, though the commonly staged among

them these days total less than one-third that number. Almost all of them were initially

composed to last a whole night. Nowadays, there is increasing popularity for concise, or

oftener select, versions of stories so as the performance lasts not more than three to four

hours from evening. Thus, many stories find stage presentation in parts rather than

totality. And the selection is based on criteria like choreographical beauty, thematic

relevance/popularity or their melodramatic elements. Kathakali is a classical art form,

but it can be appreciated also by novices—all contributed by the elegant looks of its

character, their abstract movement and its synchronisation with the musical notes and

rhythmic beats. And, in any case, the folk elements too continue to exist. For better

appreciation, perhaps, it is still good to have an idea of the story being enacted.

It didn't matter that the story had begun, because Kathakali discovered long ago that

the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the

ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit

comfortably. They don't deceive you with thrills and trick endings."

- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy''

The most popular stories enacted are

 Nalacharitam (a story from the Mahabharata),

 Duryodhana Vadham (focusing on the  Mahabharata war after profiling the build-upto it),

 Kalyanasougandhikam, (the story of Bhima going to get flowers for his wife Panchali),

 Keechakavadham (another story of Bhima and Panchali, but this time during their stint in disguise)

Kiratham (Arjuna and Lord Shiva's fight, from the Mahabharata),

Karnashapatham (another story from the Mahabharata)

Nizhalkuthu and Bhadrakalivijayam authored by Pannisseri Nanu Pillai

 Also staged frequently include

stories like Kuchelavrittam, Santanagopalam, Balivijayam, Dakshayagam,

Rugminiswayamvaram, Kalakeyavadham, Kirmeeravadham, Bakavadham,

Poothanamoksham, Subhadraharanam, Balivadham, Rugmangadacharitam,

Ravanolbhavam, Narakasuravadham, Uttaraswayamvaram, Harishchandracharitam,

Kacha-Devayani and Kamsavadham.Recently, as part of attempts to further

popularise the art, stories from other cultures and mythologies, such as those of Mary

Magdalene from the Bible, Homer's Iliad, and William Shakespeare's King Lear and Julius

Caesar besides Goethe's Faust too have been adapted into Kathakali scripts and on to its



The language of the songs used for Kathakali is Manipravalam. Though most of the songs

are set in ragas based on the microtone-heavy Carnatic music, there is a distinct style of

plain-note rendition, which is known as the Sopanam style. This typically Kerala style of

rendition takes its roots from the temple songs which used to be sung (continues even

now at several temples) at the time when

Kathakali was born.
As with the acting style, Kathakali music also has singers from the northern and southern

schools. The northern style has largely been groomed by Kerala Kalamandalam in the 20th

century. Kalamandalam Neelakantan Nambisan, an over-arching Kathakali

musician of those times, was a product of the institute. His prominent disciples include

Kalamandalam Unnikrishna Kurup, Gangadharan, Ramankutty Varrier, Madambi

Subramanian Namboodiri, Tirur Nambissan, Kalamandalam Sankaran Embranthiri,

Kalamandalam Hyderali, Kalamandalam Venmani Haridas, Subramanian, Kalanilayam

Unnikrishnan and Kalamandalam Bhavadasan. The other prominent musicians

of the north feature Kottakkal Vasu Nedungadi, Kottakkal Parameswaran

Namboodiri, Kottakkal P.D. Narayanan Namboodiri, Kottakkal Narayanan,

Kalamandalam Anantha NarayananKalamandalam Sreekumar Palanad

Divakaran, Kalanilayam Rajendran, Kolathappilli Narayanan Namboodiri,

Kalamandalam Narayanan Embranthiri, Kottakkal Madhu, Kalamandalam Babu

Namboodiri, Kalanilayam Rajeevan, Kalamandalam Vinod and Kalamandalam

Hareesh. In the south, some of whom are equally popular in the north these days,

include Pathiyur Sankarankutty. Southerner musicians of the older generation include

Cherthala Thankappa Panikker, Thakazhi Kuttan Pillai, Cherthala Kuttappa Kurup,

Thanneermukkam Viswambharan and Mudakkal Gopinathan.


A drummer playing chenda for the performance

Traditionally, a Kathakali performance is usually conducted at night and ends in early

morning. Nowadays it isn't difficult to see performances as short as three hours or even

lesser. Kathakali is usually performed in front of the huge Kalivilakku (kali meaning dance;

vilakku meaning lamp) with its thick wick sunk till the neck in coconut oil. Traditionally,

this lamp used to provide sole light when the plays used to be performed inside temples,

palaces or abodes houses of nobles and aristocrats. Enactment of a play by actors

takes place to the accompaniment of music (geetha) and instruments (vadya). The

percussion instruments used are chenda, maddalam (both of which underwent

revolutionary changes in their aesthetics with the contributions of Kalamandalam

Krishnankutty Poduval and Kalamandalam Appukutty Poduval) and, at times, edakka. In

addition, the singers (the lead singer is called “ponnani” and his follower is called “singidi”)

use "chengila" (gong made of bell metal, which can be struck with a wooden stick) and

"ilathaalam" (a pair of cymbals). The lead singer in some sense uses the Chengala to

conduct the Vadyam and Geetha components, just as a conductor uses his wand in western

classical music. A distinguishing characteristic of this art form is that the

actors never speak but use hand gestures, expressions and rhythmic dancing instead of

dialogue (but for a couple of rare characters).Acting A Kathakali actor uses immense

concentration, skill and physical stamina, gained from regimented training based on

Kalaripayattu, the ancient martial art of Kerala, to prepare for his demanding role. The

training can often last for 8–10 years, and is intensive. In Kathakali, the story is enacted

purely by the movements of the hands (called mudras or hand gestures) and by facial

expressions (rasas) and bodily movements. The expressions are derived from

Natyashastra (the tome that deals with the science of expressions) and are classified

into nine as in most Indian classical art forms. Dancers also undergo special practice

sessions to learn control of their eye

There are 24 basic mudras -- the permutation and combination of which would add up a

chunk of the hand gestures in vogue today. Each can again can be classified into

'Samaana-mudras'(one mudra symbolising two entities) or misra-mudras (both the hands are

used to show these mudras). The mudras are a form of sign language used to tell the story.

The main facial expressions of a Kathakali artist are the 'navarasams' (Navarasas in

anglicised form) (literal translation: Nine Tastes, but more loosely translated as nine

feelings or expressions) which are Sringaram (amour), Hasyam (ridicule, humour),

Bhayanakam (fear), Karunam (pathos), Roudram (anger, wrath), Veeram (valour),

Beebhatsam (disgust), Adbhutam (wonder, amazement), Shantam (tranquility, peace).

One of the most interesting aspects of Kathakali is its elaborate make-up code. Most

often, the make-up can be classified into five basic sets namely Pachcha, Kathi, Kari,

Thaadi, and Minukku. The differences between these sets lie in the predominant

colours that are applied on the face. Pachcha (meaning green) has green as the dominant

colour and is used to portray noble male characters who are said to have a mixture of

"Satvik" (pious) and "Rajasik" (kingly) nature. Rajasik characters having an evil streak

("tamasic"= evil) -- all the same they are anti-heroes in the play (such as the demon

king Ravana) -- and portrayed with streaks of red in a green-painted face. Excessively evil

characters such as demons (totally tamasic) have a predominantly red make-up and a red

beard. They are called Red Beard (Red Beard). Tamasic characters such as uncivilised

hunters and woodsmen are represented with a predominantly black make-up base and a

black beard and are called black beard (meaning black beard). Women and ascetics

have lustrous, yellowish faces and this semi-realistic category forms the fifth class.

In addition, there are modifications of the five basic sets described above such as Vella

Thadi |white beard) used to depict Hanuman (the Monkey-God) and Pazhuppu, which is

majorly used for Lord Shiva and Balabhadra.In fact the "chundanga" is not really a seed

and is prepared by removing the ovaries at the base of the flowers of this plant. The

procedure used for preparing these seeds involves the rubbing of a bunch of these in

your palm until they become black (starting from a white color) and nearly dehydrated.

They often last long enough for a season (of around four months) in this condition.

Notable training centres and mastersKathakali artistes need assiduous grooming

for almost a decade's time, and most masters are products of accomplished institutions that

give a minimum training course of half-a-dozen years. The leading Kathakali

schools (some of them started during the pre-Independent era India) are Kerala

Kalamandalam (located in Cheruthuruthy near Shoranur), PSV Natya Sangham (located in

Kottakal near Kozhikode), Sadanam Kathakali and Classical Arts Academy (or Gandhi Seva

Sadan located in Perur near Ottappalam in Palakkad), Unnayi Varier Smaraka

Kalanilayam (located in Irinjalakuda south of Thrissur), Margi in Thiruvananthapuram,

Muthappan Kaliyogam at Parassinikkadavu in Kannur district and RLV School at

Tripunithura off Kochi and Kalabharathi at Pakalkkuri near Kottarakkara in Kollam

district, Sandarshan Kathakali Kendram in Ambalapuzha and Vellinazhi Nanu Nair

Smaraka Kalakendra in Kuruvattor. Outside Kerala, Kathakali is being taught at the

International Centre for Kathakali in New Delhi, Santiniketan at Visva-Bharati University

in West Bengal, Kalakshetra in Chennai and Darpana Academy in Ahmedabad among others.

Senior Kathakali exponents of today include Padma Bhushan Kalamandalam Ramankutty

Nair, Padma Shri Kalamandalam Gopi, Kottakkal Sivaraman, Madavoor Vasudevan

Nair, Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair, Kottakkal Krishnankutty Nair, Mankompu

Sivasankara Pillai, Sadanam Krishnankutty, Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboodiri,

Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharody, FACT Padmanabhan, Kottakkal Chandrasekharan,

Margi Vijayakumar, Kottakkal Nandakumaran Nair, Vazhenkada Vijayan, Inchakkattu

Ramachandran Pillai, Kalamandalam Kuttan, Mayyanad Kesavan Namboodiri, Mathur

Govindan Kutty, Narippatta Narayanan Namboodiri, Chavara Parukutty, Thonnakkal

Peethambaran, Sadanam Balakrishnan, Kalanilayam Gopalakrishnan, Chirakkara

Madhavankutty, Sadanam K. Harikumaran, Thalavadi Aravindan, Kalanilayam

Balakrishnan, Pariyanampatta Divakaran,Kottakkal Kesavan, Kalanilayam Gopi and

Kudamaloor Muralikrishnan. The late titan actor-dancers of Kathakali's modern age (say,

since the 1930s) include Pattikkamthodi Ravunni Menon, Chenganoor Raman Pillai,

Chandu Panicker, Thakazhi Guru Kunchu Kurup, Padma Shri Kalamandalam Krishnan

Nair, Padma Shri Vazhenkada Kunchu Nair, Kavalappara Narayanan Nair, Kurichi Kunhan

Panikkar, Thekkinkattil Ramunni Nair, Padma Shri Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair,

Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair, Mankulam Vishnu Namboodiri, Oyur Kochu Govinda

Pillai, Vellinezhi Nanu Nair, Padma Shri Kavungal Chathunni Panikkar, Kudamaloor

Karunakaran Nair, Kannan Pattali, Pallippuram Gopalan Nair, Harippad

Ramakrishna Pillai, Champakkulam Pachu Pillai, Chennithala Chellappan Pillai, Guru

Mampuzha Madhava Panicker, and Vaikkom Karunakaran.

Kathakali is still hugely a male domain but, since the 1970s, females too have made entry

into the art form on a recognisable scale. The central Kerala temple town of Tripunithura

has, in fact, a ladies troupe (with members belonging to several part of the state) that

performs Kathakali, by and large in

Travancore Kathakali stylesKnown as Sampradäya these are leading

Kathakali styles that differ from each other in subtleties like choreographic profile, position

of hand gestures and stress on dance than drama and vice versa. Some of the major

original kathakali styles included:

    Vettathu Sampradayam

   Kalladikkodan Sampradyam

   Kaplingadu SampradayamOf late

 these have narrowed down to the northern (Kalluvazhi) and southern (Thekkan)

styles. It is the highly stylised Kalluvazhi tradition (largely developed by the legendary

Pattikkamthodi Ravunni Menon - 1881-1949) that is implemented in Kerala Kalamandalam

(though it has also a department that teaches the southern style), Sadanam, RLV and

Kottakkal. Margi has its training largely based on the Thekkan style, known for its stress on

drama and part-realistic techniques. Kalanilayam, effectively, churns out students

with a mix of both styles.

Other forms of dance and offshootsKerala Natanam is a kind of dance form,

partly based on Kathakali techniques and aesthetics, developed and stylised by the late

dancer Guru Gopinath in the mid-20th century. Kathakali also finds portrayal in Malayalam

feature films like Vanaprastham, Parinayam, Marattam, and Rangam. Besides documentary

films have also been shot on Kathakali artistes like Chenganoor Raman Pillai,

Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair, Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair, Kalamandalam Ramankutty

Nair, Kalamandalam Gopi and Kottakkal Sivaraman.

As for fictional literature, Kathakali finds mention in several Malayalam short stories

like Karmen (by N.S. Madhavan) and novels like Keshabharam (by P.V. Sreevalsan). Even

the Indo-Anglian work like Arundhati Roy's Booker prize-winning The God of Small Things

has a chapter on Kathakali, while, of late, Anita Nair's novel, Mistress, is entirely

wrapped in the ethos of Kathakali.Another variation of Kathakali that is popular

in Kasargodu district of Kerala and costal karnataka is yakshagana. Though,

Yakshagana resembles Kathakali from Kerala in terms of its costume and makeup, it is

different in a way that it also involves dialogue.

Noted Kathakali villages and beltsThere are certain pockets in Kerala that have

given birth to many Kathakali artistes over the years. If they can be called Kathakali

villages (or some of them, these days, towns), here are some of them: Vellinezhi,

Kuruvattoor, Karalmanna, Cherpulassery, Kothachira, peringode, sreekrishnapuram

Kongad and Ottapalam in Palakkad district, Vazhenkada in Malappuram district, Thichur

or Tichoor, Guruvayur, Thiruvilwamala and Irinjalakuda in Thrissur district, Tripunithura

in Ernakulam district and Kuttanad belt in Alappuzha district besides places in and

around Thiruvanathapuram in south Travancore and Payyannur in north Malabar.

Awards for Kathakali artistes

Main article: Awards for Kathakali artistes

Anurag PAGLU Deb,Won 1st prize at Kalamandir in 2010 March,Kolkata in All India

Kathakali exponent meet. His Paglu dance was well appreciated

Sangeet Natak Akademi Awardees - Kathakali (1956–2005)

Nambeesan Smaraka Awards-- For artistic performances related kathakali{1992-2008}

[Debasis Pradhan(botu maharaj),Won award as best kathakali dancer in 2007,kolkata, Kathakali Attams

Attams or more specifically "elaki attams" are sequences of acting within a story acted out

with the help of mudras without support from vocal music. The actor has the freedom to

change the script to suit his own individual preferences. The actor will be supported ably

by Chenda, Maddalam, and Elathalam(compulsory), Chengila(not very

compulsory). The following are only some examples. 'Kailasa Udharanam' and 'Tapas

Attam' are very important. Two of the many references are:

 Bhima in Kalyana Saugandhika. Modern man looks at the forest, indeed the birthplace of

primates, with a certain wonder and a certain respect. Kathakali characters are no

exception. When Pandavas were living in the forest, one day, a flower, not seen before,

wafted by the wind, comes and falls at the feet of Panchali. Exhilarated by its beauty and

smell, Panchali asks Bhima to bring her more such flowers. To her pleasure Bhima is ready

to go at once. But Panchali asks him what he shall do for food and drink on the way. Bhima

thinks and says " Food and Drink! Oh, this side glance (look) of your's. This look of

longing. This look of anticipation. The very thought fills me up. I dont need any food and

drink at all. Let me go." He takes his mace and off he goes. Ulsaham (Enthusiasm ) is his

Sdhayi Bhavam (Permanent Feature). "Let me go at once in search of this flower" says

Bhima "The scented wind is blowing from the southern side. Let me go that way". After

walking some distance he sees a huge mountain called Gandhamadana, and three

ways. He decides to take the middle one which goes over the mountain. After going

further "The forest is getting thicker. Big trees, big branches in all directions. The

forest looks like a huge dark vessel into which even light can not penetrate. This is my

(Bhima's) way. Nothing can hinder me" . So saying he pulls down many trees. Sometimes

he shatters the trees with his mace. Suddenly he sees an elephant. "Oh! Elephant". He

describes it. Its trunck. Sharp ears. The itching sensation in the body. It takes some

mud and throws on the body. Oh good. Then it sucks water and throws on the body.

Somewhat better. Slowly it starts dosing even though alert at times. A very huge python is

approaching steadily. Suddenly it catches hold of the elephant's hind leg. The elephant

wakes up and tries to disengage the python. The python pulls to one side. The elephant

kicks and drags to the other side. This goes on for some time. Bhima looks to the other

side where a hungry lion is looking for food. It comes running and strikes the elephants head

and eats part of the brain and goes off. The python completes the rest . "Oh my god, how

ruthless!" says Bhima and proceeds on his way.

Nala in Nalacharitham 2nd day Descriptions of Gardens are found in most dance forms of

India and Abroad. These are also common in Kathakali. Newly married Nala and

Damayanthi are walking in the garden. When Nala was lovingly looking at Damayanthi a

flower falls on Damayanthi. Nala is overjoyed and thinks that this is a kindness nature has

shown on his wife. Nala says " On seeing the arrival of their queen, the trees and climbers

are showing happiness by dropping flowers on you." He tells her " See that tree. When I used

to be alone the tree used to hug the climber and seemingly laugh at my condition". Then

he looks at the tree and says " Dear Tree, Look at me now. See how fortunate I am with

my beautiful wife." Both wander about. A bumble bee flies towards Damayanthi.

Immediately Nala protects her face with a kerchief. He looks at the bee and then at

Damayanthi. He says " On seeing your face the bee thought it was a flower and came to

drink the nector." Nala and Damayanthi listen to the various sounds coming out of the

garden. Damayanti says " It appears that the whole garden is thrilled. The flowers are

blooming and smiling. Cuckoos are singing and the bees are dancing. Gentle winds are

blowing and rubbing against our bodies. How beautiful the whole garden looks." Then Nala

says that the sun is going down and it is time for them to go back and takes her away.

Hanuman in Kalyana Saugandhikam While Bhima goes in search of the flower, here

Hanuman is sitting doing Tapas with mind concentrated on Sri Rama. When he hears the

terrible noises made by Bhima in the forest he feels disturbed in doing his Tapas. He thinks

"What is the reason for this?". Then the sounds become bigger. "What is this?" he

thinks "The sounds are getting bigger. Such a terrible noise. Is the sea coming up thinking

that the time is ripe for the great deluge(Pralaya). Birds are flying helter -

skelter. Trees look shocked. Even Kali Yuga is not here. Then what is it ? Are mountains

quarreling with each other? No, That cant be it. Indra had cut off the wings of mountains so

that they don't quarrel. Is the sea changing its position? No it cant be. The sea has promised

it will not change its position again. It cant break the promise." Hanuman starts looking

for clues. "I see elephants and lions running in fear of somebody. Oh a huge man is coming

this way. Oh, a hero is coming. He is pulling out trees and throwing it here and there.

Okay. Let him come near, We will see."

Ravana in Bali Vadham After his theranottam Ravana is seen sitting on a stool. He says to

himself " I am enjoying a lot of happiness. What is the reason for this?" Thinks. " Yes I

know it. I did Tapas to Brahma and received all necessary boons. Afterwards I won all ten

directions. I also defeated my elder brother Vaishravana. Then I lifted Kailas mountain

when Siva and Parvathi were having a misunderstanding. Parvathi got frightened and

embraced Siva in fear. Siva was so happy he gave a divine sword called Chandrahasa. Now

the whole world is afraid of me. That is why I am enjoying so much happiness. " He goes

and sits on the stool. He looks far away. " Who is coming from a distance. he is coming

fast. Oh it is Akamba. Okay. Let me find out what news he has for me."

Arjuna in Kiratham Arjuna wants to do Tapas to Lord Siva and he is looking a suitable place

in the Himalayan slopes. He comes to place where there is an Ashram. Arjuna looks

closely at the place. " Oh. What a beautiful place this is. A small river in which a very

pure water is flowing. Some hermits are takimng bath in the river. Some hermits are

standing in the water and doing Tapsas. Some are facing the Sun. Some are standing in

between five fires. Arjuna salutes the Hermits from far. Arjuna says to himself " Look at this

young one of a deer. It is looking for its mother. It seems to be hungry and thirsty.

Nearby a female tiger is feeding its young ones. The little deer goes towards the tigress

and pushes the young tiger cubs aside and starts drinking milk from the Tigress. The

Tigress looks lovingly at the young deer and even licks its body as if it were its own child.

How beautiful. How fulfilling." Again he looks" Here on this side a mongoose and a serpent

forgetting their enemity are hugging each other. Thisplace is really strange and made

divine by saints and hermits. Let me start my Tapas somewhere nearby." A sloka called

"Shikhini Shalabha" can also be selected instead of the above if time permits.

ansrit slokas are sometimes shown in mudras and it has a pleasing and exhilarating effect.

Different actors use slokas as per his own taste and liking. However the slokas are

taught to students during their training period. An example is given below. Sloka: Kusumo

Kusumolpatti Shrooyathena Chathushyathe Bale thava Mukhambuje Pashya

Neelolpaladwayam Meaning: A flower blooming inside another flower is not known

to history. But, my dear, in your lotus like face are seen two blue Neelolpala flowers (eyes).

Sanskrit slokas can also be used to express an intent. One such example is a sloka used

by Arjuna addressed to Mathali the charioteer in Kalakeya Vadham. Sloka: Pitha: Kushalee

Mama hritha Bhujaam Naatha Sachee Vallabha: Maatha: kim nu Pralomacha

Kushalinee Soonurjayanthasthayo Preethim va Kushchate Thadikshnavidhow Cheta

Samutkanuthe Sutha: tvam Radhamashu Chodaya vayam Dharmadivam Mathala

Meaning: The husband of Indrani and the lord of gods my father - Is he in good health? His

son Jayantha - Is he strictly following the commands of his father? Oh, I am impatient to

see all of them.

Arjuna in Kalakeya Vadham Arjuna goes to heaven on the invitation of his father, Indra.

After taking permission from Indrani he goes out to see all the places in Swarga. First he

sees a building, his father's palace. It is so huge with four entrances. It is made of

materials superior to gold and jewels of the world. Then he goes ahead and sees Iravatha.

Here he describes it as a huge elephant with four horns. He is afraid to touch it. Then he

thinks that animals in Swarga can't be cruel like in the world and so thinking he goes and

touches and salutes Iravatha. He also describes the churning of the white sea by

gods and demons with many details and how Iravatha also came out of the white sea due

to this churning. He walks on and sees his father's (Indra's) horse. It is described as

being white and its mane is sizzling like the waves of the white sea from which it came.

He touches and salutes the horse also. Then he goes to see the river of the sky (or milky

way). He sees many birds by this river and how the birds fly and play is also shown. Then

he sees the heavenly ladies. Some are collecting flowers, and one of them comes

late and asks for some flowers for making garland. The others refuse. She goes to the

Kalpa Vriksha and says 'please give me some flowers'. Immediately a shower of flowers

occurs which she collects in her clothes and goes to make garlands chiding the others

"See.. I also got flowers". After this he sees the music and dance of the heavenly ladies.

First it starts with the adjustments of various instruments Thamburu, Mridangam, Veena

and then the actual music starts along with the striking of cymbols. Then two or three

types of dances are shown. Then comes juggling of balls. It is described by a sloka

thus: Sloka:

Ekopi Thraya Iva Bhathi KandukoyamKanthayaa: Karathala Raktharaktha:

Abhrastho Nayanamareechi Neelaneelo Bhumau Talcharana Naghamshu Gaurgaura:

Meaning: One ball looks like three balls. When it is in the hands of the juggler, it takes the

redness of the hands, when it goes up it takes the blueness of the eyes, when it strikes the

ground it becomes white from the whiteness of the leg nails. Once a juggled ball falls

down. Then she, the juggler, somehow manages to proceed and remarks "See.. how I

can do it". At one time a garment slips from a lady's body and she adjusts the cloth showing

shameful shyness (Lajja). Then the ladies go in for a Kummi dance. As Arjuna was enjoying

this dance, suddenly somebody calls him. Arjuna feels scared. 'Oh God, where am I?' he

says, and then he beats a hasty retreat.

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