The Philosophy of Classical Indian Dance


On the 12th of May 2018, Mandakini Trivedi, a leading exponent of ‘Mohini Attam’, enthralled around 50 members and ‘Friends of New Acropolis’ at a special event at our main centre in Colaba, where she explained and demonstrated The Philosophy of the Sacred Arts.

Mandakiniji explained that all meaningful form is essentially philosophical, and comprises a search for Wisdom, Truth, and Beauty; the great Archetypes, the universal Ideals.

The Classical Arts are by their essence imbued with meaning, and are fueled by a search for wholeness, unity, or Yoga. There are essentially two forms of Art: Laukika, which is empirical, and Alaukika, the transcendental.

Laukika, literally ‘of the world’, where the form imitates life, seeks to understand and express what can be seen and measured. Mandakiniji explains that at its worst Laukika art can be psychotic. At its best, although it is universal, it remains always at the level of the personal.

Alaukika, or transcendental art seeks to understand and express what cannot be seen or measured; it seeks to give a glimpse of something beyond, in the realm of the Sacred, unlimited by time and space. The sacred arts, therefore, can help us answer the basic questions of Life: Who am I? Why am I here?

Mandakiniji went onto perform an exquisite piece called ‘Ganga Tattvam’, demonstrating the essential grammar of classical Indian dance, based on the geometry of the ‘Mandala’, which depicts the creation of the universe.