The Cosmic Dancers

Ragamala Warli Bock Image 1

In ancient Indian mythology, lord Indra, the king of the Heavens had two beautiful female court dancers named Rambha and Oorvashi. They were the best dancers and the most beautiful among the seven heavens he was ruling.

Indra had 1000 wives and one day one of his wives asked him “Who was a better dancer ? Ramba or Oorvashi ? Indra could not answer since both were amazing dancers who studied under the same teacher and were best in their class. When they danced, they danced in unison and no one can see even a small move separate one from another. No one had ever thought of this question as both entertained the gods and goddessess of heaven together.

Sage Narada used to be very wise person who used to travel around heavens and advised kings in the heavens. Indra could confide in him and so he asked Narada whom did he thought was a better dancer. Narada suggested Indra to have a competition to decide. So, a big competition was arranged where all the 300million gods and goddessess in heaven were invited to be part of the celestial extravaganza.

The best of the musicians were called and the stage was set and decorated with the most exquisite items. Since it was a competition, various musicians got ready to play one by one.

Since, both dancers were equally talented, it was decided that whoever failed in their moves would be the loser. They started with slow dance to slow music. Both danced synchronously and everyone forgot it was a competition. The music changed to fast beats and the results were same. The competition went for days together and Indra and his dance masters could not evaluate one dancer over the other.

Indra then decided to make the competiton tougher. They were given objects to hold and dance such as bells, lamps etc., and the stage was set with obstacles such as lamps, water holes and fire. Both danced equally well balancing the objects in hand and avoiding obstacles. The results were equal.

Finally, Indra reached out to Narada and asked him what can be done. Narada thought for a while and asked to bring four equal sized lotus flower buds. Then with his magical touch he did something to the lotus flower buds and gave two each to the dancers. He told them to hold it in their hands and dance.

Then Narada ordered the musicians to play slowly and increase the tempo of the music. They both held the lotus buds and danced fantastically in sync as the crowd cheered. The tempo of the music increased and so was the speed of dancing. They were dancing at their maximum speed when Narada asked the tempo to be increased further. No one has seen such a tempo and both put their maximum energy into dancing. Both their body and mind experienced tremendous fatigue and exhaustion. And as they danced Rambha suddenly threw one of her lotus bud from her hands in a sudden jerk reaction.

The whole music stopped. Rambha is defeated. No one could believe their eyes. Indra was confused how it happened and so were others. Then Indra asked Narada for explanation.

Narada explained – Both were given 4 lotus buds with a scorpion inside each bud. If they applied slight pressure on the bud, the scorpion would sting. A fantastic dancer should be aware of her moves and dance with a delicate touch. If a dancer at any point misses concentration and gets stressed, she would squeeze the lotus and get the sting which would disqualify the dancer. Since both were equal in physical strength, grace, charm, talent and expertise, I decided to put them to stress test. Hence, working under tremendous pressure determined who the winner was.

This story has great significance in modern life as we all have the lotus buds in our hands with the deadly scorpions in it. One is “work life” and the other our “personal life” where we are supposed to perform the “work-life balance” dance. The scorpions are technologies such as internet, smart phones, fast cars, fast food, fast processors, quick fixes and fast surgery to mention a few.

But, these things cannot help us live our life happily if these technologies, which are supposed to make our life easier, consumes our life by causing stress, sleeplessness or inter-personal problems. We should learn to use technology properly to complete our job and enjoy our personal life equally well, by applying the right pressure both ways like the dancer Oorvashi did.

If these tools are used by us like Rambha, we willl allow these external things affect us like scorpion sting and will be prone to all types of inter-personal, intra-personal and psycho-somatic disorders

So, let the music begin and whatever the tempo, let’s enjoy and be aware while dancing.

Source: Quora: Interesting myths that people outside your country don’t know.

P.S: I am unable to find another source to verify this myth. Nonetheless I find it quite an interesting read, so just enjoy the story.


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