“Shambavi! please come inside,” a beautiful and serene looking lady answered the door when my mother rang the bell. The four-year-old me was surprised at how this lady addressed me as if she knew me. My mother, held my hand and we entered inside her house and I immediately fell in love with the ambrosia of the sandalwood incense wafting through my nostrils.
I became an ardent devotee of my gurumaa Nritishwara, an epitome of dedication and zeal. Dance was the only thing in the world she knew. When she twirled and whirled, spin and swayed in divine ecstasy, she became one with the dance. I was so spellbound by her passion for dance, that I prayed and prayed during my dance practice at home to always be with her and be devoted to her.
Fifteen years passed. I danced without any sense of time and totally forgot everything else. I prayed with all my heart and soul, like I had been praying from the past fifteen years and suddenly one day a miracle happened.
I prayed with so much intensity that I was preternaturally transported to the stage where gurumaa was performing that evening. I was right behind her and replicating each and every step with her. I could not understand how my steps matched so accurately to hers. I knew each and every transition she took and never missed a single beat. It was a transcendental experience. The audience, it seemed was oblivious to my presence. As soon as her performance was over, we bowed down to the audience and the curtains dropped.
“Pranaam Gurumata. I don’t know how it happened! Is it a dream? Or am I really standing here with you?” I asked Maa with utter inquisitiveness. “I always knew this day would come. You have been blessed by Lord Nataraja himself. Your prayers have been answered,” she babbled joyously. “You have become my shadow and will dance to the tune of the divine forever unbound. Just look at your hands, your feet! They are my shadow.” I instantly looked at my reflection in the mirror. She was right. I was her shadow. I could not believe my eyes. But I could not deny that there was something utterly beautiful and magnanimous about my new look.
“I am so proud of you Shambhavi,” Gurumaa continued. “Your devotion to dance is inexplicable and incomparable. The whole universe is rejoicing in your divine realisation. You are going to dance for the divine, not bothering about who is watching you, whether they appreciate you or ridicule you. It’s a remarkable feat indeed.” Gurumaa’s words danced to the tune of infinity to which my heart just followed beat. I danced behind Gurumaa forever being her shadow. My mind was totally in the present moment, effortlessly, all the time, matching every fraction of movement with her, always devoted to her, right behind her, being her shadancer.
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