CAST AND CREW
Adyar Lakshman, V.P. Dhananjayan
The recording was done in Chennai, India
Gana Sabha (Madras), Leda Shantala
Sets and costumes:
Leda Shantala, Philippa Lelouda, Rodney Jacobs, Athina Piperi,
Deshavatara (The ten avataras).
Dashavatara refers to the ten avatars of Vishnu, the Hindu god of preservation. Vishnu is said to descend in form of an avatar to restore cosmic order and save humanity every time there was a disturbance. Thus he was incarnated ten times. In each one, he completed a higher cosmic plan.
These ten incarnations ymbolize the different stages of biological and ontological evolution of humankind, from conception and embryonic age until death. This evolution is not related only to the physical body. The myths, using universal archetypes, try to explain the mental and psychological structure of man who, instigated by the dark forces and impulses of the subconscious, sinks into the murky waters of uncertainty and fear, attachment and pain, attraction and repulsion. He struggles torn between opposing desires. But whoever is born as a human has the possibility to escape the stage of the ego, the "I", evade from his prison and realize inside him the blissful loving self, discover the secret of life, becoming one with his real, eternal nature, which trascends death itself.
The first four avataras are animal-like:
Matsya avatara (The fish. Often, In many parts of the world the fish is perceived as a symbol of sperm, the origin of life),
Kurma avatara (The turtle. The myth of the giant turtle who saves the world holding it atop of its carapace is universal, and often symbolizes the placenta protecting the embryo.)
Varaha avatara (The wild boar)
Narasimha (half man-half lion).
From the beginning of human life inside the womb, in a liquid environment to the first stage of his being on land, to the paleolithic age of great beasts. And the last one, the lion-man, who symbolizes the spiritual quest, the person who has balanced his animal nature with his human nature, finding thus the strength to win against the harshest obstacles and trials that will be put on his path.
The next six avataras are human (and this part of the list varies across sects and regions, s):
Vamana avatara (the dwarf),
Parasurama avatara (the waarrior with the axe),
Rama avatara (Rama, prince of Ayodya, a commonly worshiped avatar in Hinduism, and is thought of as the ideal heroic man, his exploits sung in the Ramayana),
Krishna avatara (the blue-skinned shepherd who enchants women's hearts with his flute, an important hero of the Mahabharata and especially the Bhaghavad Gita. in the Sri Vaishnava lists, and in the song used in this performance, Balarama is included as the eighth avatar instead of his brother Krishna),
Buddha avatara (Buddha means "the enlightened one")
Kalki avatara ("Eternity", or "White Horse", or "Destroyer of Filth"), will be the final incarnation of Vishnu, foretold to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, our present epoch, riding a white horse and brandishing a blazing sword, to destroy all evil. This will be the end of the present civilization and the start of a new cycle.