When Satyug commenced after the end of Tretayug, the lord of heavens, Indra once went to Brahmaji and requested him to advise some such means of entertainment for gods, which should be audible as well as visual i.e. which may be heard as well as seen.
Following the prayers by Indra and other gods, Brahmaji was pleased and formed a new Ved, taking the essence of the four Vedas. While subject selection (storyline) was made from Rigveda, music was contributed by Samveda, art of emoting (Abhinaya) from Yajurveda and ‘Ragas’ were taken from Athervaveda and thus a fifth Veda i.e. Natyaveda was born.
After delivering the Natyaveda, Brahmaji asked Indra that he should arrange for’ Abhinaya’ by gods and the art should be practiced by the gods who are skilled, elegant and adept in the art of speech. However, the gods expressed their inability in learning and practicing the art of ‘Natya’ and requested that this art be exhibited/ demonstrated by the sages i.e. Rishis. Brahmaji then taught the Natyaveda to sage Bharat who taught the same to his hundred sons and made them enact the Natya before Brahmaji and also proposed the scheme of’KaushikiVrutti’. Brahmaji then created Apsaras and gave them to sage Bharat for the purpose. In this way, ‘Natya’ was developed fully and the first performance of dance was made in the ‘Indradhwaj’ festival.
This performance depicted the defeat of Asurs (demons) and victory of gods but the Asurs were obviously displeased and created trouble during performance and by using their magical powers rendered the dancers standstill. Then, Indra removed the Asurs by using force and the need for a theatre (NatyaMandal) was felt. A new theatre was built by Vishwakarma and simultaneously Brahmaji made Asurs understand that ‘dance’ was not only a means of entertainment and pleasure but also a strong medium for depicting the Bhavas (feelings) of the entire universe and thereafter for the first time in a closed theatre,’ Amrut Manthan’, a play was enacted.
The play received praise from gods and this made the sons of sage Bharat proud and they started ridiculing other sages. Aggrieved with this behavior, the sages cursed the sons of Bharat but when the gods requested them, they modified the curse to the extent that while the art of Natya would not perish, the residual curse would continue to remain effective.
After sometime, when King Nahusha attained the position of Indra, he requested sage Bharat to have the Natya performed by his sons on the earth as a result of which the curse on his sons would lose effect. Then the sons of the sage Bharat married the woman (Manushi Stri) and performed Natya on the earth as a result of which they were delivered of the curse and returned to the heavens.