Basic Beliefs: "Vampires are Death. Brahma the Creator and Vishnu the Preserver made the World, but they saw that it was static and lifeless, and mourned their too-perfect work. From the mourning came forth Shiva the Destroyer, who shattered Brahma into himself and 999 other gods, of many personalities and powers. The gods saw how Suffering and Destruction had brought new dynamism to their own existence, and decreed that the same fate must befall the World so that the peoples of the World would truly know Life. So Shiva searched among the thousand and one gods until he found his twin soul (for destruction begets destruction), Kali Ma, and they became husband and wife and bore a son. Their child is called Nataraja [Lord of the Dance] and he dwells in the World amongst us to bring the change and death that is necessary to make Life out of mere Existence.
In gratitude, Brahma and Vishnu have given Nataraja the ability to make children like himself, that his work may be easier and more pleasant. These children are the Vampires."
Dancers believe that vampires literally embody Death. Not only must vampires hunt the living to survive, they point out, but the mere presence of vampires in any area causes death, decay, entropy and violence to collect in that area, often actively encouraged by the vampires themselves. The Path of Nataraja encourages the vampire to come to terms with the fact that he or she is death incarnate, and to play that role well. Dancers believe that they must be true to their vampiric natures, but also that they must be true to their ultimate purpose, which is to enhance Life.
Vampires on this Path study both themselves and the world around them in order to better comprehend the cycles of existence. Many of them have become great scholars, and many others have created beautiful works of art to express their insights. They are all skilled murderers, believing that the best way to fill their roles as Death is to kill with full intention and consciousness of their action, rather than rely on the sloppy, incidental murders that surround non-Dancers like dark halos. Many Dancers kill in highly "artistic" ways, while others have constructed for themselves strict guidelines for determining what does and does not constitute proper prey or a proper killing method. Most Dancers don't quibble over these minor differences; in their view, it doesn't matter how a vampire does her work, as long as it gets done.
Dancers believe that souls are extremely long-lived, if not necessarily eternal, and reincarnate throughout a long cycle of lives and experiences. Many also believe in some form of karma.
While the Path does not officially condone diablerie, it does not discourage it either. Dancers may practice diablerie for any of several reasons: the power it gives makes survival easier, eases Nataraja's burden, and makes it possible to carry out more of the great work. Diablerie keeps the vampiric race dynamic by keeping the old ones on their toes and giving the young something to strive for, and a logical extension of Dancer beliefs is that even Death must die. All vampires can be killed, all vampires must eventually be killed, and diablerie is the most productive and beneficial way of killing a vampire.
Those who follow this Path believe that the only way a vampire can find peace is to accept that she was created for a sacred purpose, and to fulfill that purpose. For most, this entails coming to terms with the Beast. Thus, it is possible for vampires to follow this path to Golconda. Indeed, some Dancers believe that Saulot found Golconda with the insights given to him by an early follower of Nataraja.
The Ethics of the Path of Nataraja
* Never feel remorse for killing. You are only doing what you must to survive. Without death, there would be no life.
* Savor and protect the good and beautiful things in life, for they have been bought and paid for with blood and pain. Let no sacrifice be for nothing.
* Meditate and spend time alone to better understand yourself and your purpose.
* Learn as much as you can about the world you dwell in, so that you will understand and appreciate your place in it.
* Study the Beast inside you. Understand it. The Beast is Death, and can teach you many things about existence.
* Never fight frenzy. Always ride the wave. Frenzy is a force of nature, like hurricanes and earthquakes, and should be treated as such. This is the way of the Dance.
* You must Sire at least once. Our father bears a grim burden and it is our duty to help him carry it. Choose your Childe carefully and train her well.
* Avoid Final Death at all costs. It is the struggle to survive that gives existence meaning. However, do not fear Final Death, for the soul is eternal and you will be reborn into another life.
* Respect life, and do not kill casually or without good reason.
Path of Nataraja Hierarchy of Sins
10 Failing to spend at least two hours per night in solitary meditation or study.
9 Refusing to Sire when presented with a good candidate.
8 Failing to feed whenever hungry (less than maximum Blood Points) and time permits.
7 Permitting prey to live once you have decided to kill it.
6 Feeding without hunting. (Saving the amrita from an earlier kill is acceptable, but practices such as "banking", scavenging, and grave-robbing are not.)
5 Fighting frenzy.
4 Failing to protect those things and people that give your life meaning and pleasure.
3 Contemplating or attempting suicide.
2 Feeling guilty about killing.
1 Refusing to kill when it is necessary or would be beneficial to do so.
This Path is primarily practiced by the Dakini, though other Indian Kindred have been known to follow it. Legend has it that in the distant past, a powerful and visionary vampiress called Sati caught a glimpse of the true nature of vampire-kind. Wishing to study her vision in peace, she travelled to the Indian subcontinent, which at that time was devoid of all other vampires. Fasting and meditating, Sati searched for wisdom without success. At length, starving and weak, she exposed herself to the sun in a last attempt to gain her answers.
As she felt her death approach, Sati found herself in the presence of a dark, powerful, and terrifyingly beautiful being. It spoke to her, saying, "You are all my children, the blood of my son. By the sorrow you cause you bring Light to the world. By the death you cause you bring Life." Then the presence was gone and Sati somehow found the strength to drag herself to shelter. There she lay for many months, healing her wounds. When at last she emerged, she had changed: the truth she had sought had branded her with honesty, and she could no longer feed upon the living. All her Childer bore this trait, and Sati thus became the founder both of the Dakini and of the Path of Nataraja. Sati named the presence she had felt "Kali Ma" [Dark Mother], and the Dakini have honored Kali ever since.
When Kindred of other clans began to trickle into India, they brought tales and myths from the Nod cycle with them. The Dakini began to equate Nataraja with Caine to the point where the names became interchangeable, but managed to keep the basics of their belief system intact. Though they do not proselytize, they will teach the basics of the Path to interested seekers. Nearly all Dakini follow the Path of Nataraja.