The best of Odissi this weekend in Auckland

Raye Freedman Arts Centre, Epsom Girls School, November 4, 2017

Venkat Raman

Auckland 30, 2017

Dr Ghulla (Sam) Goraya, who has enthralled audiences all over the world with his exquisite execution of footwork, facial expressions, hand and body movements recreating the ‘Rasas’ of Odissi, will lead a small team of three dancers in presenting a Concert in Auckland this weekend.

The core theme of the performance, ‘Mystery of Chakras,’ would be a unique, never-before-presentation, embracing one of the most important and yet ill-understood aspects of all existence of living beings in the Universe.

The programme will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2017 at Raye Freedman Arts Centre, Epsom Girls Grammar School, Sliver Road, New Market, Auckland.

The Auckland performance is a part of Dr Goraya’s tour of Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne, where he lives and works.

Other emerging dancers

Dr Goraya will be joined by Samir Panigrahi and Kamal Kumar two emerging dancers from Odisha, India. They belong to the Rudrakshya Foundation that he supported in 2016.

Their tour of Australia and New Zealand with Dr Goraya will indubitably give their career a boost, affording them opportunities to showcase their talent and enrich India’s cultural heritage.

“The prime purpose of this performance is to help underprivileged artistes, collaborate with exceptional talent from India and provide them a platform to engage with Kiwi and Aussie audience. The proceeds from these events will be used to provide hope and assistance to those who, unfortunately, often go without life’s essentials,” he said.

Dr Goraya said that a part of the proceeds will also be set aside for the next concert, perhaps next year, with ‘Madhavi Mudgal,’ a renowned Odissi Indian Classical Dance exponent.

About the Chakras

Dr Goraya said that the concept of Chakras comes from Tantras that is highly complex and challenging to comprehend, especially in performance of just two hours.

“I will attempt to present the concept in a methodical and spiritually uplifting manner through a simplified commentary that will entertainingly link it to appropriate dances. It will also provide visual representation of the highly complex subtle human body functions,” he said.

Here is a little explanation of this concept and rising of Kundalini phenomenon that will be used in ‘Mystery of Chakras.’

“The vital life force (Prana) is the means by which the subtle and the gross bodies in human organism are connected. It activates all of the systems in the body, including the nervous system to help them work together in harmony.

Energy Channels

“Prana is distributed throughout the body by Nadis (channels of energy). The whole process of spiritual growth is made possible by Prana and Nadis. According to Tantras there are 14 principal Nadis. Of these, Ida, Pingala and Sushumna are considered to be the most important. In a mystical sense, in Tantric Yoga, there are six major Chakras namely, Muladhara, Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha and Ajna,” he said.

The main objective

According to Dr Goraya, the main purpose of Chakra meditation is to make the Chakra inactive by arousing the upward flow of Kundalini energy.

“The influence of the five elements on the first five Chakras is depicted in the illustration of each Chakra by the particular shape (Yantra) of that element,” he said.

“Traditionally, each Chakra is seen in the form of a Lotus – a circle around the Yantra, surrounded by a particular number of petals. The petals are the seats of mental modifications (Vritties) and connected desires. Mental modifications are a mode of our being and are maintained by sense functioning. All Vritties do not work all the time but some Vritti is always occupying the mind. The lotus petals are normally pointing downward, causing energy to flow down, but when the Kundalini Shakti rises, the petals go upward like a blossoming lotus. This upward movement of the petals blocks the downward flow of energy and acts like a lock.”

Bija Mantras

In the Chakras, each petal has a seed sound (Bija Mantra) associated with it. Bija Mantras are sound frequencies used to invoke the divine energy inside the body. The seed sound is the storehouse of divinity in a most concentrated form. Producing seed sound in the correct manner arouses the latent power of the deity. When the divinities are invoked by seed sounds, they are absorbed in the Kundalini as the uncoiled energy that moves upward. The Chakras stop working when Kundalini rises and breath is suspended. When breathing begins again, the chakras are reactivated and the game of Prana, the mind, ego, and intellect resumes.

About Dr Sam Goraya

A Melbourne based Odissi dancer who has many years of performance and production experience, Dr Sam Goraya produces powerful performances that invoke the latent energy that resides within the human system.

His works are confined to themes that are spiritually uplifting and possibly use consciousness concepts which are highly complex in nature and, at times, difficult to comprehend. He always attempts to present these concepts with care and clarity, using Odissi as the medium of expression.

“I found Odissi classical dance more fulfilling and rewarding since 2012 when Zlatko and I started to support underprivileged children and artistes in India. Zlatko is a Melbourne based acclaimed creative designer who has many years of experience to back him up.

He has a very futuristic approach in terms of designs that is aesthetically pleasing and tasteful to represent this ancient art form. Many creative designers are aspired by his perpetually evolving work of art,” Dr Goraya said.

With four postgraduate (Masters’) degrees and PhD in Mathematics and Oceanography, his career is in the telecommunication industry.

Rudrakshya Foundation

New Zealanders many remember ‘Purusha & Prakriti,’ which Dr Goraya presented last year at the same venue and in Melbourne.

The performances helped him to raise a substantial amount to help underprivileged artistes in India through the Rudrakshya Foundation of Odissi Dance, which supports about 35 Odissi dancers in Bhubaneshwar, the Capital of Odisha.

“With the funds raised, we were able to provide basic food such as rice, lentils and vegetables for this Foundation for one year.

“Mr Ashok and Anu Bhatia of AB International Limited in Auckland have been strong supporters of our initiative of giving back to the community. They believe in this worthy cause and have generously provided Rudrakshya Foundation ongoing assistance and support with food supplies,” he said.

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Photo Caption:

Dr Sam Goraya with Samir Panigrahi and Kamal Kumar

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