Lineage & Training
“At the heart of knowledge is the love between teacher and student known in sanskrit as Guru-Shishya-Parampara. My greatest blessing in this life has been to learn at the feet of great masters. Their patient efforts have given me not only valuable techniques, but an approach to living that draws out profound meaning in art and life. Guru (meaning dispeller of darkness), the very word invokes the vivid transformation which takes place in the presence of a master. The Guru leads the student (shishya) into the light of truth, an expansion of human potential.”
“Dance is a living art and embodied in its exponents, the tradition is re-created each time it is transmitted from Guru to disciple in a one-to-one relationship. The cultural meaning of Indian dance lies as much in the way the art is communicated to the student as it does the finished performance. The dynamic training process, which itself does not exist in a single moment, but is extended through time, gives rise to a specific kind of performance. The knowledge of dance may be codified in text, but the human chain through which the dance is handed down, parampara, is the source of its life breath.”
– Rosemary Jeanes
GuruS & LINEAGE
A highly ordained Vedic monk who hails from lineages of meditation adepts from the Himalaya, His Holiness Swami Vidyadhishananda is a rare combination of mystic, yogi and scholar. His Holiness is an awarded Mahamahopadhyaya (great ordained teacher) due to his scholarly and meditative interpretation of Sanskrit literature.
“Humbled at the feet of this saintly master, in 2008 I was able to take initiation into lineage-based Himalayan meditation practices and directly learn many nuances of philosophy, art and yoga. The peace and contentment experienced through meditation has unfolded a clarity and profound sense of intuitive intelligence that guides not only my art, but my vision of life. I continue to study directly under his guidance and with his blessing share with my students his teachings of Vinyasa Krama Yoga and pranayama as a part of our school’s holistic curriculum.”
Globally considered one of the most extraordinary dancers of our times, the highly sought after Smt. Sujata Mohapatra is an emblem of ‘devotion to Guru’. She works tirelessly to uphold her Guru (and Father-in-law’s) choreographic genius.
“I remember vividly the first time seeing Sujata Mohapatra perform. To witness her perfection shattered me. Everything I had thought to be possible in dance was destroyed and a whole new level of commitment in art opened up to me. When I see her, I see much more than a dancer, I see ‘the art that is bigger than the artist’. Sujata Apa has patiently worked with me over the years transmitting not only clarity in technique, but most importantly the deep ethos of Indian classical art and Guruji’s spiritual vision of dance as ‘Maha Prasad’. She continues to guide me on the path of Odissi as I humbly pass on to my students what she has carefully taught me.”
“The first step I took on to the kalari floor, I knew my whole life had lead up to this moment. For the love of extraordinary hard work, meditation, forging the body with devotion and embodying ancient art forms rooted in the holistic vedic vision, I took up Kalaripayattu as a complement to my years of intensive classical Indian dance training in India. As a practice to cultivate concentration and body awareness, much like yoga, Kalaripayattu helps me to connect to the source of my inner strength. I fell in love with the practice and the honorable way in which the tradition is presented at CVN. My patient teacher, Rajasekharan Nair and my fellow practitioners under the guidance of Satyanarayn Nair remain immense inspirations with their patient dedication to holding this impeccable tradition of Kerala.”
CVN Kalari Sangham in Trivandrum was established by Sri C. V. Govindan Kutty Nair Gurukkal following the lineage of Sri C.V. Narayanan Nair Gurukkal in the year 1956 coinciding with the formation of the state of Kerala. This pioneering institution was the first traditional school offering training in northern style Kalaripayattu in the southern part of Kerala. During the last 6 decades, it has pioneered many schools of thoughts and practices and guided the evolution of the tradition of Kalaripayattu. CVN Kalari also runs a traditional ‘Kalarichikitsa’ clinic specializing in Ayurvedic orthopedic treatments.
“My love of Kathak dance came as a surprise to me, as I began training after 10 years of studying Odissi in India. When I went to Guru Ranjana Shrivastava to deepen my understanding of classical dance theory and develop my Rajasthani Folkdance with classical dance techniques, I was profoundly taken by her approach to art. She is a truly classical woman who embodies and conveys the most subtle and complex nuances of Indian art with her loving teachings. Although I do not perform pure Kathak, the movements and methodology I have encountered through Guruji has deeply influenced me and informed my Rajasthani folk dance, Fusion dances and widened my perspectives of classical Indian dance and music.”
Professor Ranjana Shrivastava, an eminent master of the Lucknow Gharana, has authored several compelling books on Kathak and classical Indian dance, as well as serving as Dean to the Dance Department at Benares Hindu University for several years. Ranjana Srivastava comes from an aristocratic family of the city of Lucknow, India. From childhood she was taught by the master Vikram Singh. When her above-average talent was visible, other masters such as Shambu Maharaj, Birju Maharaj, Sunder Prasad and M.R. Kalyanpurkar gave her their blessings by teaching her.