Shanta: the diminished self as the doorway

The notion of diminishing is the heart of Nirveda, the feeling constellation that is the foundation of Shanta. Diminishing is portrayed by the archetypes of Shanta in multiple ways—literally diminutive in stature, being a adolescent (child-like) and through taking on the role of a beggar.

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Padma Menon
The Shanta of Green Tara

Green Tara suggests that dynamic action in Shanta is that which is essential, effortless and light (playful). It’s power is not the power we recognise in our usual understanding. Like all aspects of Shanta, the power is subtle but far more transformational than power sourced from the fear-subsumed domains of the mind.

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Padma Menon
Shanta: Surrender as an empowered state of being

Acting in surrender is central to Shanta and all of the other bhavas go towards creating this feeling space. Surrender is an active, committed and empowered feeling space where choice is reclaimed in the midst of the inescapable realisation about the central experience of life as transitory and therefore of impermanence.

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Padma Menon
Shanta Rasa and its unique feeling constellation

Shanta is a Rasa that occupies a unique place in the Rasa theory of Indian dance theatre. Of all the Rasas, it is the space wherein the contemplative focus of emotional constellation is undilutedly the core of its expression. The beauty of Rasa dance is in embodying Shanta as a dynamic, feeling state—as different from meditative practices where this is an inward focused, still state of being.

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Padma Menon
Contemplating Saraswathi

Saraswathi is the gorgeous, enigmatic goddess in the Indian pantheon. The Saraswathi space is the heart of contemplation itself. It sets out the characteristics of the contemplative experience as one that is distinct from the experience of maya-based contexts. And the language of this domain is contemplative arts as it was practised traditionally in India.

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Padma Menon
Dance as swabhava

Swabhava denotes an intrinsic expression that is choiceless in its existence in oneself. By this I mean that one did not choose necessarily to have this seed space in oneself, it is as if it was there and just rose to one’s awareness.

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Padma Menon