God and I - Expresso Saturday September 11, 2010
For Anita R Ratnam dance is her prayer
What are your spiritual beliefs?
I pray, but not on a regular basis. As a dancer, I worship
my body and treat it as my temple. It is with daily cleansing, breathing, exercise, sweat and hard work that I practice the ritual and religion of life. I worship through dance.
I try to use prana as taught by healers, my yoga teacher of 15 years, Sri Nandakumar and my gurus, to listen to my atma and protect the bubble of laughter that is inside of me.
What is your understanding of God?
God is gender neutral. God lives in my 95-year-old grandmother's smile and my mother's luminous eyes that stare back at me from a photograph hung on a wall. God can be kind and cruel and is not responsible for everything that happens on earth.
What are your spiritual practices?
I undertake a two week liquid cleanse or a weekend fast to cleanse myself. I try to watch my dreams and note them down because I am most creative at night. I rise at 5am and visit my home puja space where I read, think and argue with Krishna who smiles back at me. Like dance, God is not just a good friend but also a lifelong companion who will see you through all your highs and lows.
Do you visit any pilgrimage place?
I visit my ancestral village in Tirukurungudi. The place has a magnificent Vishnu shrine and is home to the only all female theatre troupe in the country. It is also the subject of my PhD thesis. Given a choice, I would visit temples daily, sit in a corner and absorb centuries of civilisation through the stories of the stones.