After this process is over, the first item begins which is a dance by Chandravali and a companion who could be a consort. The Chandravali naach has many interpretations tagged on to it. Some say that she is one of the gopis of Lord Krishna and the consort accompanying her is Kanha i.e. Krishna himself; others say that Chandravali is none other than Goddess Parvati and the consort who but Lord Shiva, playing the Tartdoo, Avdhoot or Vidushak (jester) initiating the play. This latter interpretation may be more authentic since Himachal Pradesh is the land of Lord Shiva and Parvati and not of Lord Krishna and the gopis as such.
And since the local name prevalent for the accompanying Avdhoot is 'Chirgiya' which means the tickler, the starter, one who triggers it off, it could be, that the pristine Lasya-Tandav dancers used to grace the occasion with their antics, though disguised and impersonating, which in essence is the function of drama, as visualised by Bharata Muni himself. This dance then is performed to a slow rhythm of fourteen beats with Chandravali lifting her right hand straight, parallel to her right profile and her left hand resting on her bosom, horizontally. She does not sport the ankle bells and goes round the Akhada, the arena, in this very pose with her face veiled, with the Chirgiya also, mindful of the fourteen beat cycles dressed comically with a dangroo (small axe) in his right hand, sporting his off-beats, within the frame of fourteen matra time-scale. This dance also serves to some extent as filler, till the arrival of the late comers, so to say and also it rises to a crescendo when suddenly the on-coming Swang of the Sadhus is superimposed on this scene, by their chorus for benediction by a collective drone providing the tonic - saluting the five Deities, the primordial Goddess Bhawani her son Lord Ganesh, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva soliciting their benediction.
In the Sadhu Ka Swang, the entry of hordes of Sadhus of different nomenclature and sangat from various points and angles in the audience and beyond is so effective and dramatically apt, that this very first number of this variety programme arrests the attention of the audience. The arena being filled by the dancing and singing Sadhus vibrates for quite some time with the famous opening chorus-cum-dance.
After they have settled down, the village elder acting as Poochhnewala, the questioner, starts the preliminary pleasantries, the whereabouts and also the serious questioning regarding life here and beyond and the Eternal Truth and all that Indian spiritualism stands for.
The important point to be noted here is that matters depicting the most serious and deep problems of man and his existence are discussed in the very first item of the play. This is not just an accident but an example of the consummate, collective dramatic skill of the naive villagers, whose main work is other than that of being professional dramatists. This Sadhu Ka Swung is also the longest item in the whole repertory of Karyala. The exposition of various schools of Indian Philosophy is debated with much vigour and dialecticism and the conclusions communicated to the audience in the simplest and most concise terms. Every intonation, gesture and movement is punctuated with rhythm, rhyme and reason. All that the show has to provide in terms of education and knowledge, is imparted in this very first item, and the heaviness and the depth of the substance reduced to the felicitous movement as if it were, a spiritedly butterfly dancing in the air.
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