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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 742

Author Reply

Professor and Head Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism, Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication19-Aug-2014

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Krishna G Seshadri
Professor and Head Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism, Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai - 600 116, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Seshadri KG. Author Reply. Indian J Endocr Metab 2014;18:742

How to cite this URL:
Seshadri KG. Author Reply. Indian J Endocr Metab [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Jan 26];18:742. Available from: https://www.ijem.in/text.asp?2014/18/5/742/139226


I am grateful for the valuable comments in the letter on Apasmara's illness. It is gratifying to note that the column has found an erudite audience that critically reviews it. It is with this fulfilling feeling that I venture to reply to the learned correspondent.

The real Apasmara is indeed the ignorance of the sages of the Daruka forest (and indeed the forests in our hearts). However, the purpose of the column is to look beyond the theology and explore an endocrine meaning to the art.

It is true that there are several interpretations of the Nataraja bronze, including the famous five poses in the five sabhas (halls) of which Chidambaram is the most famous. The poses of the Lord in each of these are different. The example that the correspondent quotes in Nallur, though not one of the five, is an exquisite example of craftsmanship. It may be noted that even in the Nallur sculpture, Apasmara is a dwarf, not a grotesque cretin that stares out from the other forms but an example of a proportional short stature nevertheless. The absence of even a grimace in the dwarf's face is probably testimony to Nataraja's exquisite dancing skills. I had chosen the Chidambaram Nataraja only because, while it may not be the first, it is certainly the most famous and the most sacred.

In Tamil as well as Sanskrit, in the times gone by, names were given based on a cause or reason (kaarna peyar). Thus, one finds references to koon pandian (because he had a hunch back). [1] or Krishna because he was dark. While Apasmara may represent lesser neuropsychiatric manifestations, the Tamil term for Apasmara-muyalagan (derived from muyalvali) points out to epilepsy as the disease behind the name. [2],[3]

The objective of this column is to provide an endocrine link to the art form. Congenital psuedohypoparathyroidism appears to be a reasonable fit to the Chidamabaram and other Apasmaras that explains the whole constellation including neuropsychiatric manifestations. [4] I must hasten to add that art and sometimes even endocrine disease depend so much on the eye of the beholder. The eye does see what the mind wants it to.

Thank you once again for a stimulating letter that will help this column improve.

   References Top

1.Dundas P. The Jains. Routledge. 2002. p. 127.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Sundarar. Thevaram 7.2.3. Available from: http://www.shaivam.org/tamil/thiru07_1.pdf. [Last accessed on 2013 Oct 19].  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Smith D. The Dance of Siva. Religion Art and Poetry in India. Cambridge University Press. p. 226-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. Vol. 37. 1962. p. 26-32.  Back to cited text no. 4


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