By William S. Sax
For ten years, William Sax studied the population of the previous country of Garhwal in northern India. Sax attended and took part in performances of the pandav lila (a ritual reenactment of scenes from the Mahabharata in a dance) and saw its context in village existence. Combining ethnographic fieldwork with refined mirrored image at the higher meanings of those rituals and practices, this quantity provides the data in a method obtainable to the uninitiated reader. Sax opens a window on a desirable (and threatened) element of rural Indian existence and on Hinduism as a dwelling faith, whereas offering an obtainable advent to the Mahabharata itself.
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Additional resources for Dancing the Self: Personhood and Performance in the Pandav Lila of Garhwal
It was sung four times), except for the line in boldface, which was sung only once, presumably for effect. 30 DANCING THE SELF takh pdncdm takh pdncdm takh pdncdm takh pdncdm takh pdncdm yodhd arijund bai. durepate bai. yodhd bhim bad bai. sahadeva pandito bai. nakula kumvar bai. 1"1 They had spinning pinnacles and a gleaming stone courtyard. Fog, dissolve so I can look around. In Victory palace, how the drums are beating! The Pandavas shed bitter tears, how those gods shed tears of blood. The Pandavas shed tears, and heavy was their load!
According to my notes, the performance began on the seventh solar day of the month of ltdrttik. 22 DANCING THE SELF Plate i. The Pandavas' altar in Jakh village. Note the calendar art and wooden weapons. Photo by William S. Sax. and approached the shrine; the drums fell silent. Shiva Singh worshiped the god with light and sound, circling the niche with oil lamps and uttering his powerful mantras Then he turned to the crowd and, assuming a stance that would become very familiar to me over the following months and years, cupped his right hand behind his ear, bent forward a bit at the waist, and began a peculiar singsong chant while pacing back and forth across the square.
Kunti was weeping as she danced, and so were many other characters not involved in the scene, who sat and watched from the side. Amid this outpouring of emotion, the Das sang:13 Here is fire, my mother, much fire, and smoke in the Pandavas' faces. Among the five is the warrior, Arjuna. Among the five is the woman, Draupadi. Among the five is the champion, Bhima. Among the five is the pandit, Sahadeva. Among the five is the prince, Nakula. yakh dg hunt bhoti mdtd bai takh pdncdm rdjd dhupasard bai.
Dancing the Self: Personhood and Performance in the Pandav Lila of Garhwal by William S. Sax