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Religion & Theology
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Final Interpretive Exercise (Coursework Sample)



The image I have selected to discuss is the narrative dance of Kathak that is normally performed by priests. This dance has high amounts of religious connotation and was used by the priests to tell stories about the gods and goddesses. These dances bear great connotation to ritualism and date back to the Brahmin priests if the ancient temples of ancient India. Originally, these dances were referred to as Kathakar and held significant religious notion, but later the name was changed to the Kathak. This image represents a form of worship as well as a form of evangelism as it tells the people stories about the gods.
I plan to discuss
1 The youth stage of life, what it entails, and the gravity of the Kathak as far as this stage is concerned.
2 The adult stage of life. The religious notions held at this stage and the impact and effectiveness of the Kathak on this stage.
3 The renunciation and retirement stage of life. The religious notions and implications of this stage and the significance of the Kathak to this stage.
4 A hostile observer’s opinion of the Kathak
5 A sympathetic outside observer’s opinion of the Kathak.
The Indian dance of Kathak dates back to ancient temples in India where Brahmin priests used dance as an elaborative and simple way to tell stories about their gods and goddesses. These dances were previously known as Kathakar, and later they came to be known as Kathak. The name Kathak can be traced as far back as the nomadic bards who resided mostly in the northern section of ancient India who were famously known as storytellers or Kathaks in the local dialect. Forms of these dances in existence in modern times, clearly exhibit visible traces of ritual related dances as well as temple dances.
Youth/student point of view
For a youth in India, these dances bear great is in this stage that most of learning and teaching is done (Penney, Sue, p.32). Youth being exposed to this kind of dances would view them with the highest degree of curiosity possible. They would be interested in garnering as much information from these dances as possible. They would pay special attention to all the aspects involved in the dances and the information being strategically relayed through the dances. These dances would make them especially interested in knowledge about the gods and goddesses as they present this crucial religious information in a manner that is rather unique and especially appeals to the youth. The youth would stare in fascination at the dance maneuvers on display by the priests and pay special attention to each dance aspect. Some youth, in response to their full acceptance of these dances and the message they carry, might even go as far as imitating the dance styles in a manner very similar to how the priests danced. The entertainment aspect would also be of paramount importance to the youth. Their age and level of mental development dictates that they would naturally find these dances very entertaining and simply put the embodiment of religion into a form of art for easy comprehension.
Adult point of view
An adult’s perspective of the Kathak is indeed be much different from that of a child. An adult would look past the entertainment aspect presented by these dances and see right through to the message of a religious nature being put across by these dances. An adult would register higher levels of receptiveness of both the dance and the deeply religious symbolism that accompanies it. An adult would seek a deeper understanding of the stories being told about the gods and goddesses and try to link these stories to the average daily life in an attempt to appease these gods and goddesses and in the process gain a sense of spiritual closure and peace (Penney, Sue, p.56). An adult would register higher levels of receptiveness of the story being told about the gods and pay little if any attention to the dance maneuvers being pulled by the priests. This occasion would provide a deeper session of spiritual enlightenment for adults who would take as much advantage of the occasion as possible to garner as much information about the gods and goddesses as possible. These dances would bear significant religious meanings to adults who would not dare mimic them unless in the occasion of a religious event where renditions of these dances were necessary as a form of worship and appeasement to the gods and goddesses. These dances would carry deep religious meaning to adults who would always view them in the highest of regard and revelation as a form of worship and narration of tales about the gods and goddesses.
Retirement and renunciation point of view.
Retirement and renunciation would entail paying less attention to the dances and maximum attention to the message being carried across by these dances. Retirement is a stage of self-exile and involves alienation of oneself from mainstream society to a secluded area (Penney, Sue, p.73). During this stage, one would have ample time to reflect upon the message that was pot across about the gods and goddesses by those religious dances by the priests. During this period, one would be free from numerous distractions that tend to cloud one's judgment thus hinder full comprehension of particular aspects. During this stage, the environment is highly conducive and suitable for deep reflection and analysis of the message carried by the dance and their impact on the life of an individual with respect to the will of the gods and goddesses. This stage of deep meditation and self-evaluation enable an individual to renounce all their activities and habits that are clearly out of line with the will if the gods and goddesses as extrapolated from the dances, the symbolism, and the message they carried. This stage would enable an individual to fully submit to the will of the gods and goddesses and sideline the inherently sinful human nature that always seems to wander away from practices advocated by the gods and the goddesses. One can be able to carry out a full evaluator analysis of their personal practices and values and juxtapose the findings with stories about the gods and god...
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