A Measure of Success Called Joy!

The cosmic dance of the universe is the ultimate form of creative expression. A thing of mesmerizing beauty. Gaze at the stars above and one feels simultaneously a palpable joy, peace and a sense of connectedness. It’s the same sensation you get when gazing on the deep blue sea or when sitting atop a hillside looking out over rolling hills. Sensing the emotion in the receiver, I am sure the Creator of the Cosmos feels joy too. Ah, She or He has succeeded! A connection has been made. Maybe not with millions of adoring fans. But one fan. Or a couple.

As with the Master Creator, so with every single artist in this world and her or his creation. Be it a cook, sculptor, painter, musician, singer, writer, dancer, or even engineer.

I have a friend, Aruna Trada, who began learning Odissi* dance rather late in life. Well, better late than never because it was something she always wanted to do. A student of the Temple of Fine Arts in Kuala Lumpur, there was this time when she went on an institute organized class trip to the homeland of Odissi dancing – Odisha in India.

On her return, she told me about this young boy she saw performing there. I still remember the awed expression on her face when she described the genius of the boy’s performance. And the regret she expressed that such a talented young artist would probably go unrecognised as he came from an economically challenged, quiet part of the world.

“What a waste.” That’s what I recall her lamenting.

“No, Anu,” I said. “His talent is not going waste. If he performed the way he did, he was probably lost in the joy of his dance. He was, in fact, so joyful that he transmitted his joy to you. What greater success can you ask for.”

We both agreed then that the joy of creative expression and transmitting that joy should be the true measure of an artist’s success. Never mind if that joy has been experienced only by a mere handful. After all, how would you measure the untold value of that one moment in time? You can’t. But the very fact that I am recounting her experience and our subsequent conversation here, years later, speaks of immeasurable value.

There is more to it as well. Many religions see forms of creative expression as devotion. As an example, Hinduism sees the dance form as a method of experiencing oneness with the Divine or Absolute Reality. It is this theology that is expressed in the form of the dancing image of Siva, or Nataraja, the Lord of Dance. According to Ananda Coomaraswamy, regarded as one of the foremost modern ambassadors of Indian thought, the “Dancing Sivan” or Nataraja symbolizes the fact that…

“dancing came into being at the beginning of all things, and was brought to light together with Eros, that ancient one, for we see this primeval dancing clearly set forth in the choral dance of the constellations, and in the planets and fixed stars, their interweaving and interchange and orderly harmony…. Whatever the origins of Siva’s dance, it became in time the clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of….” (Younger, p. 226)

Siva Thandavam by Balu Velachery (Flickr.com CC BY-SA 2.0)
Siva Thandavam by Balu Velachery (Flickr.com CC BY-SA 2.0)

I recently connected with a singer-songwriter, J. P. Kallio on Twitter. From what I have heard of his music and understood from his blogs, Kallio is focused on the sheer joy of expressing his emotions and worldview through his music and blogs (a link available at the end of this post). In much the same vein, I know that Aruna Trada’s two sons, Trishay Trada and Rahul Trada, found a lot of joy in collaborating on a Doom Metal album. Their group is Ksyatriya. Their album Truth may never reach any bestseller lists. But here’s what one reviewer had to say, “The abstract nature of truth – or, indeed, ‘ Truth’ – is paradoxically perhaps best defined by this lack of explicitly guided direction. It makes the album more of a meditative canvas than a conceptual one, and absent of any particular attempts at emotional manipulation. Do not expect to be lulled into melancholy, or fired up with aggression – the music sets no such agenda or mood of its own, and leaves the listener to interpret it as they will. That challenge is its own reward, on the journey through this solid pair of debut works” (link to review at the end of this post).

Like that young boy in Odisha, like J. P. Kallio, like Trishay and Rahul Trada, these days I find a lot of joy in writing. And yes, I feel joyful when I feel I have connected with a few people. I woke up this morning to feel joy when I read one comment on the blog I wrote yesterday – Yes. I am Mumbai.

The comment from Shweta Dave said, “I am a mumbaikar and so so loved your post….no bhankas, no rada and no kharcha paani….just love and a spirit to keep going :)”

Thank you for reading this post. If you enjoyed the read and found value, may I request that you share the post with your networks? Perhaps you would also like to subscribe to my blog site? Or connect with me via LinkedIn or Twitter where I regularly publish my posts on my feed?

#Cosmos #successtips #CreativeMomentum

Featured Image: Aruna Trada in an Odissi dance performance at the Temple of Fine Arts, Kuala Lumpur.

Related blogs:

Lata Subramanian. Have You Seen God?

Lata Subramanian. The Thing About Success.


Younger, P. The Home of Dancing Sivan: The Traditions of the Hindu Temple in Citamparam. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

J. P. Kalio. Silencehttp://www.jpkalliomusic.com/silence/

Mike Liassides. Ksyatriya : Truth (split with Mind (((O))) Reader). http://www.doom-metal.com/reviews.php?album=2607

*Odissi dance – also known as Orissi (Oriya: ଓଡିଶୀ Oḍiśī), is one of the eight classical dance forms of India. It originates from the state of Odisha, in eastern India. It is the oldest surviving dance form of India on the basis of archaeological evidence (Wikipedia).






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