The Gurukula system is one such effort at providing a space where learning happens without interruptions, where one is disconnected from the rest of the world and is solely there to enrich his/her knowledge and implement those lessons to live a more fulfilled life. Gurukulas are also tweaking their ideologies to inculcate the modern day changes which are attracting many city dwellers. If nothing else, it certainly allows metropolitans to breathe soulfully and savour every minute of the time spent there, at the least. Kalakshetra exemplified the Gurukula system for the very popular South Indian dance form-Bharatanatyam. Among the many styles of Bharatanatyam the Kalakshetra style, founded by Rukmini Devi Arundale , which was obtained by refining the movements of neck, hip and chest from the Pandanallur style was popular for being socially acceptable that in turn revived the dying dance form.
Centuries have gone by and India has witnessed revolutionary changes in what remain today as traditional art forms, some of which have stood the test of time while retaining their original ideas whereas others have incorporated new elements. People’s ideologies about life are also diversified because of how ethnicity and culture influence us as a society. Youth today are more awakened and invested in exploring the depths of their minds and oceans alike, thanks to technological advancements, the impossible and the unheard of are within reach. This has also been a time when individuals want to go back in time when things were simpler, when there was meaning in much of what we did in our lives on a regular basis, when there was peace and quiet.
Bharatanatyam by itself contributes to mental and physical well being. The eye movements enhance vision by targeting the muscles of the eyes, the mudras used also play a role in circulation of blood from the fingertips to the rest of the body, therefore providing a calming effect, and overall it helps improve the tone and strength of various muscles of the body. Bharatanatyam also teaches its students to incorporate discipline like any other traditional dance form. In Gurukulas where the ‘shishya’ had to share the premises with the ‘guru’ and undergo rigorous routines that told the mind how to be disciplined, the body how much to move and how to move, and the soul what to pursue and how to, there are no boundaries to learning and that is why Nandi Kalagram encourages individuals to experience learning without inhibitions and distractions in a space that is secluded from the humdrum that is our lives. The sounds of the night that soothe one’s mind and the early bird that awakens one’s senses in the morning provides the perfect setting for a fusion of all the elements that makes an individual’s existence more meaningful.