DO WE KNOW WHY SHIVA CHANGED HIMSELF

Shiva showed his extremely repulsive image to Parvati’s mother Mainarani during his wedding when she became rather reluctant to marry her daughter to this apparently scary aghori. While she expected a handsome prospective bridegroom for her beautiful daughter, antithetical to her wish, she saw a gruesome figure in front of her that made her unconscious.

 

Once regaining her sense, Mainarani took an oath not to get her delicate Parvati uninitiated into the codes of nuptial wisdom get married to the fearsome mendicant whose only alleged family was his bhootganas -the ghosts wandering around him. “The perpetual nomad does not even have a home of his own” said Mainarani to her husband Himaraja. “How would we ensure our daughter’s well-being with someone like him”?  Himaraja tried his level best to console his wife but in vain. Mainarani was adamant. There wasn’t anything that could provoke her into changing her decision. “See the snakes around his neck! My Goodness”. She went on profusely in her description. “How can you ever imagine Parvati would feel safe in his presence”! Himaraja just gave a final try by stating, “ But he is our daughter’s choice”! “How can we deprive her of her happiness! This is the only one thing that deters me from thwarting her to marry him”. “I am happy in her decision”. Mainarani looked at her husband with an expression that was enough to convey to him that she was shocked at her husband’s response on the subject. “What! Are you speaking! She retorted vehemently. “ I cannot believe this comes from you for whom his daughter is his world”! “Maina”, said Himaraja in a placating tone. “ Apparently he is indeed not one whom any woman would desire. I am also amazed at my daughter’s choice. However, from whatever sage Narada has informed me, I have managed to retain my patience in the matter and have decided though reluctantly, to be very honest, approve her to marry Shiva”.

 

 

“What do you mean”? Said Mainarani in bewilderment! “Do you not know the sage’s shrewd nature. He manipulates. Everyone knows it. I wouldn’t accept any of his explanations in the same stating that Parvati is the incarnation of Sati who was Shiva’s consort in the previous birth and has to go back to him in this birth as well. For me, Parvati is my daughter and she does not deserve this fate. This is horrible! Look at him. How frightening he is! Anointed with ash of the funeral ground! How impious! Snakes twirling around his neck! Ominous ghosts accompanying him! I can never choose him. Never will I ever approve of this nuptial! Years of Penance and my daughter gets what? This…This! No she does not deserve this…I would Myself pray hard to goddess Bhagwati and tell her to give a fruitful groom for my daughter- Just as…VISHNU…

 

Parvati is being informed about her mother’s decision. “Mainarani has disapproved of your marriage Parvati”. She says the groom is unworthy”! But to everybody’s surprise, Parvati just gives a smile. Her friends ask her. “Aren’t you worried! What would happen now? If Rani does not approve! Why are you smiling”? Parvati replied. “ Rani does not have to approve or disapprove my wedding”. Everyone standing there was puzzled. They asked. “What do you mean”? Parvati clarified. “Mother has to give her consent. Not Rani. “Yes”. They said. “And Mother is worried for you. That’s why she does not wish to give her approval for this marriage! Don’t you see that?” Parvati replied with a confidence in her eyes that was enough to convince everyone that she was determined to solve the issue. “Mother is testing me”. “What are you saying daughter”. Himaraja arrived there quite amazed at his daughter’s statement. “What do you mean? “Father”, said parvati with an indelible determination on her visage. “Mother wants me to prove to her that I am prepared to be fully responsible for my choice in life”. She does not wish to keep any sort of doubts in her mind”. Himaraja smiled and said. “I comprehend the import of your statement. Now what next?” Parvati replied.  “Let me go and meet Ma!”

 

Ma! Parvati came and embraced her mother with such affection that was enough to convince Mainarani that her daughter could never bargain with her love for anybody. She was the priority in her daughter’s life. With a whirlpool of affection in her eyes, Parvati said. “What are you worried about? With bleary eyes, Mainarani replied, “About you” who else? “Why”? Said parvati with such affection that once again made her mother’s priority in her life more than conspicuous. “Because I cannot let you get married to that Aghori shamshanwasi and ruin your life forever.” That’s it. Mainrani affirmed. “Ok Mother. Fine. So let it be. I swear I wouldn’t assent for the marriage unless I get your consent for the same.” “Well didn’t you listen to me and mark my words, “I would never assent to this marriage”. You do not seem to be aware of what is right and what is wrong for you. But being your mother I know what is for your benefit and marrying Shiva is not at all something that could be in your interest.” Mainrani reacted strongly. Parvati smiled again without a tinge of anxiety she said confidently. “That’s it. Fine. So now you tell me exactly why do you disapprove of him”? Mainarani was astounded. She added in the best possible adjectives that she could Shiva’s unworthiness for her daughter. “The resident of the symmetry, he does not have a father or a mother. We do not know his lineage, bhootganas emulate him day in and day out, what more…yes. He does not have a home to reside. Where would you live after marriage? Or you too want to be a perpetual nomad all your life. Parvati marriage means settling down. Having a stable life. Don’t you want it? This man would never be able to give you a conventional nuptial life! Parvati looked into her mother’s eyes and replied, “ I never wanted to get married to have a conventional married life mother! Mainarani was surprised to get this response from her daughter. “What?” She expressed her curiosity. “Are you in your senses? Why do people get married?” Parvati said, “Indeed as they wish to live a stable life. But Shiva is himself “stability”. He is the movement and the cessation that is the only unchangeable truth of the universe. He is the one that does not have the need to begin and end anything as per the social norms of convention as he is beyond time & space. We know the World has a beginning and an end. Shiva is the creator of this creation Ma wherein life evolves through death. Therefore, his domain is the funeral ground wherein every single dead body’s ash adorns his body and the soul or the Jiva gets redeemed through this union of his body with Shiva’s form. The Jiva-Shiva blend germinates life and thus continues the ceaseless process of evolution. The snakes that adorn his neck proudly represent the insurmountable intrepidity of his indomitable persona”.

She continued, “He is “The neelkantha” that can only withstand the ill-effect of Visha or Venom which brings death. None but only Shiva could drink poison. Or rather opted to drink it Mother. Everything that is discarded by the conventional world comes to Shiva’s refuge and only he has the audacity to accept it whole-heartedly as his fate. He never craves for “Grandeur”. He abstains from it and spreads the message of simple living and high thinking which makes our life worth living and brings us closer to righteousness in life; keeps us away from avarice. Shiva’s deglamorized look invites the “virtues” or the samskaras that shape our conscience. His bhootaganas personify the guileless “Past” needed to build a firm successful “present”. These ghosts surrounding him are the embodiments not of evil but of the purity that goes beyond the “material body”.  It is this purity that can enable renunciation of materialism and retain the distinction of a “Sanyasin”. The most impressive thing about Shiva is his persona of a Sanyasin that overpowers “Kama” – the desire. Only the one who can win over Kama can live a fruitful and “stable” life as desires are the root of our peril. Mother., Only Shiva can save me from the pangs of material living and can enable my spirit to escalate towards a heightened goal –i.e. union with my paramatma. Shiva is my only way of salvation Mother. He is the only one that may redeem my endless state of craving since countless births to take respite in his form -Finally”.

 

Listening to her daughter’s long depiction about Shiva which was indeed an implied imploration with a purpose to get her mother’s approval for marriage, Mainarani said, “ This seems to be an impressive speech but Shiva’s greatness as described in your words does not become visible in his detrimental form daughter. He looks unapproachable! How do you think ordinary mortals like us would find this appearance worthy of consideration? Even if what you’re saying is true, is there any irrationality in my doubts that for those that are uninitiated into comprehending this philosophical truth of Shiva’s personality would definitely find no reason to consider his worthiness?” Mainrani said confidently. She added. “For commoners like us, he needs to understand that our caliber is limited to the material stereotypes and we cannot go beyond the visibly “good” or “bad”, ugly or attractive. I feel the need here to therefore get assured that he deserves you and if you as our daughter find sense in my desire to assure my child’s well-being, you need to put this across to Shiva”.

 

Parvati went to Shiva. “Natraja”. I know. I am well aware that you do not need to prove yourself in front of anybody! I bow down to your feet and urge you the following!

“O the omniscient one, I am well aware that you already fathom my interior and I do not require becoming articulate in front of you. It would be nothing but impertinence on my part to say what I wish you to become in front of my Parents. However, as a daughter, I need to execute the duty to convey my mother’s concern with regards to our marriage and therefore, implore in front of you, the lord of the “Natas” to momentarily efface your “Dramatic” fearful exterior and unleash your sublime truth that redeems many a lifeless souls to life.  I do not wish to be explicit in front of you but forgive me for I would have to say it point blank as a mother’s desire cannot be overlooked by a daughter and out of sheer love for her, I hereby express her dread candidly stating that your appearance has caused many of my family members shiver and many of them to deter from the decision of getting us married. Their trepidation is the cause of my concern that provokes me to say this to you that marriage is a conventional endeavor and one needs to abide by the worldly duties to convince the society that two people are worthy of each other throughout their life. I’m afraid, what your overt looks do is to convince every single person of my family present in the wedding hall to state that the groom is unworthy of the bride and this observation, believe me, cripples my soul. The agony I experience on hearing the distasteful comments about you is intolerable and I do not feel I need to live more after listening to all this that negates your importance in my life.  O Shiva! How can you be so Nishthur – so inconsiderate as to cause such incessant pain to your Shakti that you test her at the last moment in this way! How can you do this? Wasn’t years of penance sufficient for you to examine my dedication towards you that you extend this agnipariksha – this fire ordeal for me! I cannot be a disrespectful daughter you know it well. It is my obligation towards my parents to listen to their advice and abide by their expectations. They have not only given me birth but have also forsaken every happiness in their life for my sake. How can I hurt such Parents? Mother and father have never given it a moment’s thought to see the worthiness of my desires ever. They have always believed in me. When I chose you and chose to appease you they did not hesitate sending me away from them for years to enable me fulfill my desire of having you in my life. What do they want from us? Nothing! They just want to be reassured that their daughter has chosen someone that is worthy of her. That she has not been impetuous in her decision-making! That by getting married to you she wouldn’t be unhappy for the rest of her life! O Bhagvan, you have been known as Ashutosha – the One that rejoices easily. But, then why have you become so fastidious with regards to my invocation? Why do not you listen to my requests? O Sarvashaktiman swami, do you not know that our association is something that is supposed to happen as it is an unavoidable phenomenon! Do you not know I am your Ardhangini not in this birth but since the inception of the universe? How can you be so inconsiderate as to amputate me from your life? Can Shiva and Shakti be separated ever? O lord of the Universe, you are the only one that sustains me and my existence. You are my Prana – My life! And you know it very well that without you I would cease to exist! Do you want me to perish my lord? If so, then let it be so! I Sati, Parvati would like to declare the following:

 

O Shiva! If you believe in my words, I expect you’d do the needful and the righteous in the matter of our nuptial. “I state invoking all the gods, the three worlds, the four directions, and the five elements that comprise the Universe that I am your consort. If I have ever dreamt of a Purusha – the Man, in my life, it is You my Lord! My persona is an embodiment of Your Form. I am the Prakriti created by you that dissolves at your own will in you. I am the one that attains her identity because of Your Being! I capitulate in front of you Bhagvana to grant salvation to the innumerable souls of mine pining since the countless Births for union with you. O Lord! The wish to blend in your form has not recently come to me as a momentary feeling having germinated from any earthly desire. It is my Tapasya- the Penance that I have been doing ever since I realized myself in “Yourself”. The difference between you and me is as superficial as the distinction perceived in the Jiva and Shiva! My eternal dwelling has been your abode and you know it well that leaving your domain is denying my very being! You know the turmoil I went through in Daskha’s fire sacrifice when I sacrificed my life just because I could not commit the blasphemy of accepting someone humiliating you! But we both are well aware that my dead body you carried on your shoulders for Yugas – epochs -was craving to come back to life and unite with you. In spite of the fact that my soul was already with you, it could not attain beatitude as it was yet to fulfill its aim to serve you for a lifetime as your soul mate.  Prana and Prakriti are inseparable and yet after my death, you know how much it pined for a body to be with you in person and you too experienced the misery as much as I did as in spite of being with you, I wasn’t with you! When we both know that our perennial formless union needs the support of the tangible union of our forms for facilitating my escalation towards salvation- Moksha, why on earth are you refraining from the same and wish to give me the anguish of remaining atrupta – dissatisfied for the rest of my life and then eventually deprived of attainment of liberation from this perennial cycle of death and rebirth that would keep torturing me unless I am redeemed by your blessings. Forgive me my lord but my beatitude not everyone knows is inevitable and I would strive relentlessly to achieve it no matter how much ever you test me as I am well aware that my agony frustrates you the most! You cannot see me in this constant state of turmoil on account of our separation. I know you pretend to be unperturbed by affection, but only I know the pain you are constantly experiencing because of being away from me and forgive the audacity in my words but I state it with utmost intrepidity that I would never ever let you inflict any sort of torture upon yourself! I cannot let you undergo this extreme sense of suffering that comes every time your Shakti is away from you. I could see the torment in your refractory annoyance in Daksha’s fire sacrifice as I gave up my life. All these years, ceaselessly you endured a self-imposed quarantine as I wasn’t with you. Your incessant state of tapasya for epochs till I take a human form as Parvati and be your life time companion is the unavoidable truth of the universe. How can I afford to desert you from my life? Impossible! O Lord! I revere you as you have elevated my identity in the world by acknowledging my presence in every aspect of the universe as prakriti – the life giving force. Your volition to surrender in front of me as Shava – the lifeless one respecting me as Shakti – the strength that regulates the universe is your greatness that knows no bounds! How can I not admire the “respect” you have given me in your life as the only woman for whom you are ready to destruct everything that insults her and ready to bless everything that venerates her? What more does any woman want in her life than a Man that recognizes her identity and makes it renowned in front of the world by resigning himself in front of her in spite of being her Lord and her Master! This supposedly indifferent deportment of yours at the moment is the paradoxical approach that only I can fathom and nobody else. Only I can construe O Nataraja- “Drama King” the meaning beneath this mask of complacency that you carry on your face pretending that nothing pertaining to me affects you. But I know what it does to you to even think of separation from me! Why then are you quiet at this crucial moment when you need to be expressive. I beg of you to have mercy on me as the very thought of your agony causes me the pain that would soon lead me towards my end! O Lord if you trust my words I am sure you’d do the needful immediately. Or else I feel, I need not be in this world anymore.  I choose to die at this very moment!”

 

Shiva looked at Parvati’s downcast face which said even more than she had already expressed. He remained calm and just added a sentence that surprised her even more. “What do you want me to do at the moment O daughter of Himalaya? “ Parvati looked at him and replied, “ Do what you feel is right. If you think my imploration is worthy of consideration, do consider it or else not”. Shiva said, “ Indeed. Whatever is right would be the course of my action. But, I wish to know one thing. What is your desire?” Parvati folded her hands in the mode of request and said, “Lord. It is improper for me to expect you surrender in front of my parents’ wish and present yourself as the desirable groom. Nonetheless, I feel you have the prowess to change their mind. So be it. Change their thinking and give them the magical ability to see your worthiness and appreciate as well as accept you the “Way you are”. Shiva smiled. He went to meet Himaraja and Mainarani but in the manner that they wished to see him, “the suitable bridegroom befitting their beautiful daughter Parvati”.  And we all understand very well why he did so… Do We?

**********************************************************************************

“Theater is a reflection of life” is an oft quoted statement by many erudite literary scholars associated with the field drama. However, the reality about realism in theater becomes evasive with the conception of “subjective reality” time and again emphasized worldwide as the only means of comprehending or making sense of the constantly fleeting nature […]

via IS THEATER REAL OR UNREAL? — poorvita

IS THEATER REAL OR UNREAL?

“Theater is a reflection of life” is an oft quoted statement by many erudite literary scholars associated with the field drama. However, the reality about realism in theater becomes evasive with the conception of “subjective reality” time and again emphasized worldwide as the only means of comprehending or making sense of the constantly fleeting nature of life which renders all our efforts of stereotyping people or things helpless. Since everything is believed to differ from person to person the idea of “uniform reality” is certainly debatable. In this sense, the dramatists’ struggle to present “Reality” as we “know” it appears nothing but a “utopian ideal”. Consequentially, directorial attempts in theater towards providing “Experiential reality” to its audience seem apparently a superficial endeavor. It also undermines the popular notion that art gives a non-committal unbiased perception of reality; a belief that boosts the globally accepted principle of change and provides repose to the anxiety which springs from aversion towards conformist ideals of fixed realism. Countering this risk of appearing myopic, theater directors continue over the years to create a dramatic world “As Real as Possible” “Realism” in theater is a strange paradox; almost irresolvable however much exciting to explore.

A play based on real life characters and incidents is also a reconstruction and not an actual incident ongoing in front of the spectators. Coleridge’s “Willing suspension of disbelief” that constitutes poetic faith seems the most logical argument to buttress the theory of “theatrical realism”; a conception that has become better known ever since stage, curtains and other theatrical amenities came into being. Stage, lights creating varied kinds of silhouettes providing us the means to realize incidents that cannot be dramatized by humans, different types of stage settings with varied properties used to provide the feel of “actuality” are the ostensibly artificial technical aids in fact used to make a play appear “Real”. This is indeed an obfuscating reality of theater.

That any play is a “performance” cannot be dismissed and this is in fact the “reality” of theater; a matter of proud acknowledgement that theater is exemplary of the prowess in art to make the unreal real. This becomes comprehensible by the willingness to transcend the ordinary notions of reality and accepting the existence of a reality that does not follow the norms of worldly realism. In the scholarly Indian treatise on the nature of poetic composition, Kavyaprakasha, the author Acharya Mammatta begins by saluting the “ unreal world of the artist” terming it as superior to the world of Brahman the creator as it is free from the obligations of earthly reality bound by the essentially conformist rules of propriety which makes it bland.

The real world is indisputably different from the artistic world. When we see a performance, we might get involved in it and relate to it but the consciousness of watching a rendition is perpetually present as the backdrop. However, most astoundingly, this awareness itself allows us to embrace the process of dissolving the pragmatic reality around us which enables the realization of eternal pleasurable truth which we know as Brahmananda.   Attempts to cross the circumference of “worldly realism” seems the most intelligent modes through which artists like William Shakespeare made it possible for us to realize “truth” unadulterated by the ephemeral reality of the earthly life. His most bizarre characters like cannibal, witches, fairies etc., by which he violated precepts of apparent realism in his plays spoke the most unchangeable truth about life which is still remembered as the words of wisdom like “Blow Blow thou winter wind thou art not so unkind as man’s ingratitude”… from his famous play As you like it. In one of his sonnets, the author has indicated the longevity of art even after the artist’s death which is the clear indication of the truth that art is timeless and therefore it lives forever in the mortal world wherein every living creature is bound to perish. If the world is temporary, it is obvious that its reality is also the same and therefore our quest of reality and efforts of fixing it seems extremely worthless. An enterprise to recreate worldly reality in art is fructified when its latent essence is made the crux of the presentation and not its evident form. The witches of Shakespeare’s play Machbeth are the most unrealistic creatures but they foretell the most horrendous future which gives the message of human being’s unprecedented thirst for power that corrupts the soul. The horrifying witches are the apt openers for the play that deals with ambition and bloodshed. Therefore, the dramatist’s statement, “All the world’s a stage and all men and women players”, makes perfect sense wherein we value the concept of truth revealed through allegory and symbolism that play a crucial role in all forms of theater. It is not merely  an aspect of those plays that involve myths and folktales as the means to reveal certain realities of life for instance Girish Karnad’s Naga-Mandala that selects a folktale of a serpent’s love with a woman as the allegorical means to expose the unwarranted predominance of patriarchy in a woman’s world. It is also present in those plays that are deemed to be realistic like Vijay Tendulkar’s Sakharam Binder, Kamla or Kanyadan or Mahesh Dattani’s Tara, Bravely Fought the Queen or Final Solutions or even Dance like a Man.

The stage may have a perfect setting exposing the realities dormant within domestic confines of the upper/lower middle class Indian homes, yet this evidently realistic aura created by the immaculately defined sets following the elaborate stage directions is all a theatrical medium to bring realization of truth that is bitter when conveyed bluntly but looks appealing when presented through a dramatization. This is the reason that Mammata puts it in Kavyaprakasha that artist’s way of disseminating truth is appealing as a beautiful woman’s discourse. Presented using a story-line may be based on reality or fiction, an artistic representation for instance drama though unreal becomes real as it conveys a moral which provides us enlightenment. We all are well read that Tendulkar’s Kanyadan touches the most sensitive aspect of pursuing idealism rationally while Dattani’s Dance like a Man questions conformity that boycotts a human’s birth right to pursue interest of one’s choice in life. Questioning whether a woman may give up the moralistic norms of caste can become successful in her decision to choose a man of lower class society Kanyadan illumines our frantic approach towards equality of class and caste. Similarly, Dance Like a Man helps us to reconsider our myopic beliefs like classical Indian dance is essentially a woman’s prerogative and a man having a flair for it is a idiosyncrasy welcoming nothing but derision. A play like Tara is the means to criticize the distasteful gender bias. The fictitious story of conjoined twins (brother and sister) wherein the parents choose to sacrifice a limb of their baby girl to satiate their thirst of saving their baby boy is a poignant truth that unfolds itself as we read or see the play performance.

Stage is always set to PERFORM- Be it a “Realistic” drama with technical particularities of the proscenium stage like that of Mahesh Elkunchwar’s Wada Chirebandi which shows the decline of a Wada culture – a hierarchal patriarchy with the changing passage of time or a “dream-like” play belonging to the realm of the imaginary tale governed by improbabilities like Karnad’s Hayavadana wherein we have talking dolls, man with a horse’s head and two men with their heads exchanged by a woman’s folly. Both these plays belonging to two distinct traditions of playwriting realistic and symbolic are directed towards the single goal i.e. exposure of truth that we seldom wish to accept in our life. Rabindranath Tagore writes a play like Dakghar the story of an invalid young boy Amal that slowly awaits his death which eventually fades him away from the world. The unavoidable truth of death is the essence of this play with fictional characters that open us towards the acceptance of tragic phenomena in life. Rakt Karibi or Red Oleanders by Tagore is another example of symbolic theatrical representation that acts as a revelation of truth. Exposing the worthlessness of human avarice towards materialism juxtaposed against the noble values of humanness personified in the characters of the greedy King and the benign and innocent Nandini metaphoric of redemption from evil, Raktkaribi essentially dealing with an imaginary tale facilitates the realization of truth about the futility of clinging to selfish desires in life and the need for altruism.

The tradition of folk theater in the world blurs the distinction of real and unreal most convincingly. It believably shows us the triumph of the unrealistic reality in theatrical rendition of imaginary tales or myths and/or history that is far removed from the present-day.  If we look at plays like Habib Tanvir’s folk play Charandas Chor which deals with the Panthi folk artists unfolding a story of a chor- thief and his failure in remaining truthful in life, we learn the difficulty involved in being truthful in life. The folkish representation including chorus of panthi dancers that narrate the tale musically do not follow the conventions of proscenium realistic drama and yet, the story is reality of not a culture but of the world. Badal Sircar’s play Spartacus based on history unfolds the story of a brave Roman soldier Spartacus. This tale of the past with not a tinge of connection with our practical reality today enlightens us with the presentation of a timelessly relevant message about the contribution of the soldiers that put their life at stake for the benefit of their nation. Sircar’s imaginary story of Bagala and his encounter with Nila a fairy that transforms him from a dependent meek fellow to a confident man in Bagalcharitamanas indeed conveys the perennial truth of being self motivated and driven towards one’s goal without being stirred by any sort of illogical fears.

I believe the “unreal reality of performance” transcends its lexicon meaning and becomes comprehensible only through the work of artists that know how to represent fiction that is believable. Acting skills of dexterous artists is a process of possession wherein the soul of a character possesses the body of the actor and dictates it. This phenomenon again defies the notion of pragmatic realism but is perfectly comprehensible to those that fathom the meaning of “True art”. A director’s vision makes a play something beyond just a stage rendition to regale an audience.  Theater direction is not achieving the knowledge of the tenets of theater. A study in a reputed acting/directing institution does not guarantee a truthful dramatist and theater practitioner. A successful theater director knows the means of enabling his actors experience the sublimity in theater that transgresses the boundaries of the ephemeral realism and makes all his characters eternal. This immunity is achieved only through a holy theater direction that does not believe in the codes of stage effects, but is strongly rooted in the “tradition” that humbly aims at the exposition of TRUTH. It is not merely reality as the word realism itself is susceptible to conjecture in the world governed by the notion of subjectivism. Therefore, genuine theater practitioners are able to comprehend the nature of theatre in its true form and they are well aware that exposure of this truth is not dependent upon any sort of worldly realistic norms. Instead, the basic principle that a play is the means of self-realization through dramatization of incidents based on fact or fiction becomes the staple goal of such sincere theater artists. It is thus that senior Indian playwright like K.N.  Panikkar for instance resorted to unreal folktales and folk theater not complying with the means of pragmatic reality to get across the message in his plays. The playwright acknowledges the need for a theater artist to retain the understanding that a play is a play and not reality and therefore restrict oneself to the level of a performance not get drifted in the pool of emotional fervor while acting. He differentiates the acting from temple rituals wherein the participant gets possessed by the divine energy and states this isn’t a stage performance. However, Panikkar does involve the artificial tenets of folk theater to compose a play a performance with chorus, musical dance dramatic narration of the story which all appears distinct from the codes of naturalism and realism in theater governed by the Western proscenium drama influenced by the wave of modernism. This consciously selected mode of theatrical representation on the part of the dramatist is I feel a proud recognition of the RIGHT that theater has to be THEATRICAL. It is a simple logical truth that when we speak of plays like Zoo Story, we understand that why the characters are not animals of the jungle when the title talks about a Zoo. We care to delve into the implicit truth that the play reveals for us and that is the irrelevance of avoiding the truth whether by camouflaging your existence in the midst of the so-called orderly society or by trying to act as a maverick flouting the social norms. There isn’t any respite anywhere in the human world essentially turned into a ZOO with people trying to battle against their own insecurities in life. The play Look Back in Anger by John Osborne with the introduction of the angry Young Man that defies all notions of conformity and the symbolic ironing board on which the rancor is continually expressed aptly conveys the agony, turmoil and frustration of the alienation experienced by humans during the time when society demands them to be clones of orderly behavior. The play has effectively stood the test of time with its exposure of truth about human obsession with material reality. The American play All My sons by Arthur Miller dramatizes the tale of a hardworking man Joe Keller and his tragic end on account of his own flaw which enlightens us towards the futility of avoiding truth in life. Joe Keller responsible for a crime that causes the death of 21 pilots in World War II ultimately comes to a point wherein he’s unable to conceal the fact about his involvement in the same in spite of being evicted by the court.  The play ends in the tragic death of the man which shows the detrimental consequences one could face in life when not adhering to the principle of preserving humanitarian values. This message is the ultimate truth which unleashes itself as the play comes to its close and becomes universal.

Drama is a reflection of the values that pertain to human culture worldwide. It therefore is global art form and not a cultural tradition.  Natyasastra, the famous Indian treatise on the nature of dramatic composition states that theater is a means of Mokshaprapti or salvation that can only be obtained by sages through rigorous penance. This elevated concept of theater in India makes it a pious ritual more than merely matter of stage presentation as according to the Natyasastra doctrine, theater originated as the means to free humans in tretayuga or the third epoch from the vices like jealousy, anger etc., that had consumed them and therefore, Brahman the creator of the world was requested by the gods to create a mode by which humans could attain beatitude by becoming emancipated from evil impulses. Thus dramatic art appeared in the form of the fifth Veda to redeem humans from the sinful existence. This exalted concept of theater owned by the Indian tradition is reflected worldwide as we see in the message contained in every honest attempt of writing a play. This message becomes evident as the play unfolds itself in varied forms as we read it. Though we are free to interpret it the way we want, it cannot be denied that eternal truth inherent in it does not escape the attention of attentive and sensitive readers. Thus, we are able to make sense out of the most absurd plays like Waiting for Godot for instance wherein there is nothing but waiting and yet we derive the meaning that the play talks about the eternal human quest in life which is never-ending. In theater, weaving the authorial and directorial intent skillfully, it is the director that explains a play in his own way incorporating sensible novelties though without losing its crux that bears the message ingrained in it. A play like Naga-Mandala could be directed in varied modes but its folk essence and story that narrates the pathos of a woman struggling against patriarchy cannot be dismissed altogether.  The overall appearance of this play is undeniably purely imaginative without a tinge of pragmatic realism. However, the message ingrained in the play about a woman’s triumphant glory resisting the onslaught of male-dominated society makes it the most truthful play ever.

I would like to conclude by stating that for me, “conscious attempt of creating experiential reality” in a play is “unrealistic” . Instead, the most “unconscious attempt of presenting a play as a “performance” that gradually unfolds “truth” for us is indeed “Theater” . Such a theater is not to be “taught as a part of a school/college syllabus or with the aid of any “workshop” it is felt within every true theater practitioner who is not simply passionate about theater but in fact one who “exists because theater exists”… One who breathes theater…one who loves theater because its UNREAL. This apparent falsity makes it the most ingenious art form and only a true theater artist understands the pleasure of the “false” that is inherently “true”. Theater is the embodiment of Shiva- the Natraja –the  actor who is conspicuously adorned with everything in the world that is profane – Snaikes, human skulls, ash of the funeral ground, is surrounded by the fearful ghosts, resides in the symmetry with aghoris and tantrics is the perpetual drunkard but is perpetually worshipped as the EMBLEM OF BEAUTIFUL TRUTH -SATYAM SHIVAM SUNDARAM – Theater is Satya, Shiva and Sundara that is unadulterated by anything that is untruthful  in spite of being untruth. This is the impressive paradox of theater irresolvable by material understanding of true and false. Only by the willingness to cross the material border, one may come to terms with the deep-rooted essence of the TRUTH – The REALITY OF THE UNREAL THEATER.

Dr. Payal Trivedi

AND WE MODERN TELLERS CALL OURSELVES “KAHANIKARS”

Story-telling is an ancient tradition of India. Countless primeval stories are narrated by the country’s adept raconteurs known far and wide as kahanikars or accomplished story tellers that seamlessly involve us into the imaginary world of tales. Telling & also retelling provincial or nationwide popular mythical, historical and folk stories in varied languages across diverse regions and adding innovation in every narration, these kahanikars are the delegates of the oral art; one among the many spontaneously created indigenous cultures of world. However, Indian tradition of story-telling is unique in its own respect since it is primarily rooted in the religion that promulgates divine worship through the means of varied stories of gods and goddesses.

 

The major distributors of these spiritual legends are the elders in the Indian homes. They principally tell these stories to preach moralistic values to the posterity. Narratives of lord Rama and Krishna from the Indian mythological epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata describing the feats of the gods Rama and Krishna slaying the demons like Ravana and Kansa are chosen to teach a lesson that “goodness has the prowess to annihilate evil”.  Many mythical legends of devotees like Dhruva and Prahalada’s indomitable faith in lord Vishnu that enabled them attain beatitude serve the purpose of providing the message that “unshakable devotion in god is bound to bring fruitful results”. Another such example is the story of Vamana Avatara or the legend of Lord Vishnu appearing as Vamana in front of King Baliraja testing the monarch’s generosity that was unanimously applauded by one and all. This legendary narrative is told in almost every Indian household while lauding the important humanitarian attribute of altruism reflected in King Bali’s decision to submit all his valuable material possession to the Vaman sage’s demands. Such illustrations indeed boost the famous belief that Indian cultural tradition is principally founded on the concept of didactic story-telling for human enlightenment. The elders are indeed the basic tellers of the narratives but going one step higher than this, professional disseminators of these stories known as “Kathakars” are also invited in many Indian homes. These tellers of Ramayana and Mahabharata stories are the delegates of the “Kathavachana” tradition in India that sprung from the primeval folk art of musical story-telling by the nomadic bards that wandered across regions of India while telling the mythological tales of Rama and Krishna in every region of the country. Jatra, Yakshagana, bhavai, pandvani etc., are the yet surviving paradigms of this mode of peripatetic story-telling in the country.

A Bhagvatam/Ramayana Kathakar narrates the entire Srimad Bhagvatam (the holy book of the Hindus narrating the expedition of lord Krishna) or Ramayan so adroitly that the  recipients relish the experience of being transported to the spiritual world of Ramabhakti and Krishnabhakti or devotion towards Rama and Krishna. Attentive listening brings miraculous outcomes. Scholar Ramanujan (in the book Folk Tales of India) recollects one incident wherein listening to the Bhagvat kathakar, the listener became an active participant of the entire narration that was actually a dramatized enactment of the story.

Dramatic story-telling is one among the many ways in which the kathakar may add attraction for one’s audience. Quite similar to the genre of Natak or drama in particular, such story-telling makes it easy for the people to relish the presentation with the  characters in front of them playing their vivid roles. Episodes from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana for instance Sita’s abduction in Ramayana and Draupadi’s insult in the Mahabharata when enacted instead of merely being told create an indelible impression for the people as they not only listen but also become eye witnesses of the incidents presented in front of them. In such cases the spectators believe whatever presented is true. The documentary film Chena Kintu Ajana by Debojit Majumder (2014) is a clear evidence of the unforgettable impression that effective dramatization of stories (folk, mythological/historical/fiction) by talented actors on the stage could bring about in the audience. The people that saw men in feminine array (in the 1940s and 50s) did not hesitate to believe they were watching women in various roles. This is because the actors had the ability to make their roles credible through their acting which was a combination of facial expressions, body language and above all their impressive dialogue delivery that accompanied adept voice modulations which made them impressive story-tellers.

Story-telling is a demanding art. An effective rendition accompanies erudite accompaniments like intonation, appropriate accent and dialect befitting the setting of the tale and the characters’ temperament and finally the voice throw that intelligently mixes with the mood of the story that is to be told. Simply by the clever combination of these primary elements a dexterous kahanikar approaches an audience that becomes helplessly driven to his irrepressibly enticing narration. We are engrossed listening to Pandavani artist Tejan bai’s solo narration of stories comprising Indian myths, history and legends not only because she is a skillful manipulator of the technical amenities available to aid her rendition but also because she knows how to engross her listeners even without these. Almost every recital by this artist evinces the manner in which she is capable of arresting our attention even without any other theatrical device like lights, camera etc., Many folk story-tellers in India continue to enthrall with their simplicity for instance the prabhat Pherias or the musical bards that begin their day with the first light of the dawn musically telling varied ancient stories that belong to the soil of the Indian land and those that are already known to us but become new with every narration. They just have one small ektara or ravanhattha (traditional musical instruments) dholak, cymbals, tamburine etc., by which they tell a story and regale us so beautifully that we forget we do not have a sophisticated auditorium with complex technical devices to facilitate our entertainment. This retention of simplicity is actually preserving the ethnic Indian culture of narration that began in the domestic households with our forefathers that of course perhaps did not take any sort of formal training in the craft of telling tales i.e. the one that’s available today through the mass media communication sector.

Indeed, today, we have trained story-tellers, those that are adept in manipulating voice, accent, pronunciation and mastering the art of articulating tales with gripping notes of emotions that capture the gamut of moods like love (sringara), laughter (hasya), sadness(karuna), anger(raudra), valour (Veera), fear(bhayanaka) etc. However, these varied feelings created through the means of instrumental techniques on radio/Television or the modern stage were not available when we heard the stories from our elders and even nowadays when we hear the tales often through word of mouth publicity by our family members, relatives and friends. I appreciate dissemination of stories simply through this mode since its “artless” narration overthrows every bit of scrupulous technical complexity and wins our hearts through merely honest representation meant with a purpose i.e. to educate the society and this is appreciable since it takes the huge onus of “Transforming lives”. In Panchatantra, the famous collection of Indian folktales, Pandit Vishnu Sharma is to execute the responsibility to educate the moron princes of the King. With this aim begins the series of interesting stories meant simply to preach the lessons of life that can make us “wise”. This indicates that Indian tradition exalts the story-teller’s responsibility of bringing about a “change” for the betterment of humanity. Since this is one among the many noble causes in the world, a Kathakar or kahanikar for that matter, needs to be selfless. Indian tradition offers example of the self-effacing figure of sage Narada who begins engaging his listeners attributing the credit for his art to his deity Vishnu preaching samarpana or total submission to Lord.  The legendary narrative of Mahakavikalidas recounts the tale of this famous artist Kalidas’ surrender in front of goddess Kali to expiate his ignorance. Kali appeared and granted the boon of wisdom to the poet and he became the creator of great epics like Raghuvansham. The tale of Telegu Poet Tenaliraman gives us a similar account of the dumb-witted Tenaliraman having blessed with sagaciousness by goddess Kali. Unless the so-called “Modern” Story tellers comprehend the significance of peremptory submission of ego while telling a tale, I feel no tale would be a “tale selflessly told” but every story told would be full of “selfish interest” i.e. to be praised by the public and attain “Grand stature” as a “Celebrity Raconteur” which brings name fame and money for the teller but not blissful state of redemption which should be the ultimate goal of every artist.

Liberation from the pangs of life by transcending the materialistic existence enables our escalation towards Moksha or salvation. This is possible only when Abhimana/ worldly vanity is annihilated and self realization comes as natural as the “Story from the mouth of a genuine teller” of moralistic stories… Even today, the genuine Kathakars or Kahanikars are driven by the urge of initiating people into the values of righteous living. However, are these kahanikars in the modern auditoriums with technical amenities? Or they are amongst us day in and day out? We need to decide ourselves.

Dr. Payal Trivedi

 

ETERNAL GLORY OF INDIAN CINEMA: THE CLASSICAL SONGS OF OLD HINDI AND GUJARATI FILMS

DEDICATED TO MY MA:

India has seen the hay day of traditional music in some of the most erudite compositions by legendary music directors of the Hindi and Gujarati films of the yester years. I feel, almost everyone who has a flair for Indian classical music would somewhat agree that the films made earlier (in the period known as the Golden era of Indian cinema) displayed an extraordinary unbreakable tie with classical raga based music incorporated by the film makers almost regularly in most of their films. The remarkable musicians like C. Ramchandra, S.N. Tripathi, Khemchand Prakash, Kundanlal Saigal, Anil Biswas, Naushad, Shanker Jaikishan, Jaidev, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Kalyanji Anandji, Madan Mohan et al made Hindi cinema indelible by giving place to the classical Indian music in the Hindi films. The songs like Diya jalaao jagmag jagmag (Tansen 1943), Do Naina Matware tihare(Meri Behen 1944), jab dil hi toot gaya (Shahjehan 1946), Ayega aanewala (Mahal 1949), Kare Kare Badra (Bhabhi 1957) Are Ja re hat Natkhat (Navrang 1959), Vande Matram (Anand Math 1952), Manmohana Bade Jhoote (Seema 1955) , Nain So Nain Nahi Milao (Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje 1955), Madhuban mein Radhika Nache re (Kohinoor 1960) Kabhi Tanhaiyon Mein Hamari yaad aayegi (Hamari Yaad Ayegi 1961)O pawan Veg se udne wale ghode (Jai Chittod 1961), Jyoti Kalash Chalke (Bhabhi ki Chudiyan 1961) Allah Tero Naam (Hum Dono 1961), Tum Gagan Ke Chandrama Ho (Sati Savitri 1964), Pyar Kiya to Darna Kya (Mughale Azam 1960), O duniya Ke Rakhwale (Baiju Bawra 1952), tu Ganga Ki mauj main jamuna ka dhara (Baiju Bawra 1952), pucho na kaise maine rain bitayi,(Meri surat teri aankhen 19 63)… Radhike Tune Bansari Churai(Beti Bete 1964) Tora Man Darpan Kehlaye(Kajal 1965), gori tori Paijaniya (Mehbooba 1976), and many more are an ineffaceable part of the music library of those that still acknowledge the worth of the traditional Indian music. Besides, the Hindi films, the Gujarati films have also given us exceptionally talent musicians that have made some of the old Gujarati movies immortal through their immaculate compositions based on classical Indian music. The veterans Dilip Dholakia, Avinash Vyas, Ajit Merchant or the respected duo Mahesh Naresh for instance have given us perennial classics of Indian cinema through songs like Garaj Garaj Barso Jaldhar (Tana riri 1975 Mahesh Naresh) Tari Aankh no afini (Deevadandi 1950 Ajit Merchant), SajanMari Pritadi Sadiyo Purani (Jigar Ami, 1970 Mahesh Naresh), Dhuni Re Dhakavi Beli ame tara Naam ni (jesal Toral 1971 Avinash Vyas etc.,) which are still regarded as creations par excellence. It may not be fair to categorically dismiss the contemporary music of today’s Indian cinema heavily influenced by the modern Western trends by comparing it with such historic work. However, most of us may assent to the fact that classical raga based songs gave an unparalleled dignity to the cinema of the yester years which is often absent as we see the movies today. Moreover, the choice of Indian classical music by their makers reveals their interest in being rooted in their native tradition in a profession that constantly demands accompanying the need for change. This effort of retaining the cultural identity in films through classical music makes some of the songs of those times true representatives of the “primeval” Indian tradition which regards art as a sacred practice or invocation to divine and is far from merely being a means to regale an audience. In fact, this elevated conception of art as worship has its origin in The Natyasastra, an important treatise of Indian artistic tradition that postulates the unique theory of dramatic art as the fifth Veda presenting theater synonymous to the ritual of Yajna or the fire sacrifice. Indian classical music is defined at length in this treatise which uplifts the raga based endeavors in the field of Indian music as paradigms of the spiritual Indian art. Art as a holy practice described in the Natyaveda implicitly propagates that bhakti or devotion is the core of the country’s artistic tradition; the spirit that is witnessed in most of our classical songs like bhajans composed by our renowned Indian saints like Meerabai, Tulsidas, Raidas, Narsih Mehta et al. These hymns for ordinary mortals are merely songs but for the connoisseurs that construe their significance, these evince the devotee’s faith in the deity which brings extraordinary results beyond the material understanding. The devotional music of India also witnessed in its religious folk musical tradition is in fact, the most veritable proof of the country’s unbending belief in the inherent sacred power of its musical tradition which transforms a mortal into a divine. It overthrows skepticism and restores human belief in god. Some of the most inimitable songs of the Indian films illustrate this miraculous Indian music rooted in the spirit of devotion which upholds classical Indian music as the redeeming divine force that makes the impossible possible. Let us revisit some of the valuable classics of the Hindi and Gujarati films which categorically ascertain that Indian classical music is the magical elixir which cures all illness and restores life. It is the wondrous potion that performs unimaginable deeds beyond human comprehension as it is not merely a means of attaining name, fame and money for the artists but is a holy practice for them that paves way for the attainment of divine bliss. A glance at some of these timeless songs facilitates the understanding of the holiness perennially latent in “traditional Indian music”.

The Veteran singer Tansen is suffering extreme agony after having sung Deepak Raga for saving the life of a princess in a moribund state. Deepak Raga ignited numerous diyas-lamps indicating the resurrection of the princess’ life but it resulted into a ceaseless incineration in the classical singer’s body which has brought him near his death end. Only an accomplished singer who is able to bring rain by singing Megha Malhar can save the legendary singer’s life. Tana riri, two sisters from a remote village in Gujarat are popular on account of their finesse in Indian classical singing. Their father happens to invite Tansen to bless his daughters after hearing their recital. The venerable singer agrees to come as for him, nothing else matters in front of the privilege of appreciating great talent in music; not even his discomfort on account of his ill health. The performance space is all-set. Tana and Riri sit with their awesome instrument Tanpura surrounded by hoards of villagers who are here to watch the show and get regaled. Tansen the great himself arrives in hope to soothe his pain momentarily by listening to some good music. A Goddess’ statue adorns the show representing the initiation of devotional art and to everybody’s pleasant surprise; the two sisters choose to sing Megha Malhar; the song Garaj Garaj Barso Jaldhar. The awe inspiring recital by these girls manages to accomplish an awe-inspiring task i.e. to bring thunderous rain which relieves Tansen from his pathos. The much acclaimed song is the part of the Gujarati film Tana riri (Gujarati Movie Tanariri (1975) – Kanti-Ashok – Music : Mahesh-Naresh )

Sant Haridasji, the devotee of Lord Krishna is on the verge of his death end. He is counting the number of hours he would probably survive. All his disciples are in a despondent state wherein no medicine or cure seems to have a promising effect on the elderly saint. At this moment of extreme distress comes a light of hope as everyone hear’s Baiju, (popular as Bawra or insane) invoke his Guru Haridas in the most poignant words “Mana Tadapata Hari Darshan Ko Aaj”. This song from the film Baiju Bawra enjoys a place of pride in the Hindi film industry and remains unconquered as singer Mohammad Rafi’s Best playback which no song by any other singer ever has been able to or probably will replace. Mana Tadapat belongs to the category of Bhajans or hymns sung in the praise of the almighty wherein the devotee urges his God to appear in front of him. Listening to Baiju’s devotional imploration, with everyone’s astonishment, Sant Haridas is able to get on to his feet and descend down the stairs to have darshan of his deity Lord Krishna. It seems Baiju’s voice brings energy to the Guru’s fading body, it perhaps stimulates his will to live and we see the power of music in restoring life proving to us that true art can do wonders.

Rani Rupmati is one of the most popular singers in Malva. Samrat Tansen, the glorious singer happens to hear about the prestige of this talented artist and decides to test the sincerity in her art. He disguises himself and reaches Malva only to challenge this versatile singer. Tansen puts Rupmati to an arduous challenge but in an implicit manner. Introducing himself as a singer in front of the royal court, he happens to sing the most melodious song which forces a honeybee to pop out of the Lotus flower and fly into the garden. Everyone present there are motivated to appreciate the marvelous knack of the artist but for Rani Rupmati. Instead of getting pleased, the Queen becomes sad and expresses her pathos by singing a song which interprets the act of sending the honeybee away from the flower as a mark of separation of the lovers and makes sure the honeybee returns to the flower listening to her musical call. Everyone who is the witness of this spectacular event including Tansen is pleased with the dexterity of this artist and utter panegyrics in her praise. The song Udja Bhawar Maya Kamal from the film Rani Rupmati is remembered by many music lovers without a tinge of exaggeration as one of the most beautiful compositions of the Indian film industry. The competition depicted between Tansen and Rani Rupmati is not meant to point a better artist of the two. Instead it diminishes the conception of the Good, the Better and the Best in art and promotes humility for those that wish to be disciples of the artistic tradition. Similar message is promulgated in the film Baiju Bawra’s inspiring song Aj Gawat Mana Mero Jhumke Teri Tan Bhagwan. Baiju beats Tansen in the competition of melting a stone through their musical art. Nevertheless, Tansen accepts this defeat graciously as he does in front of Rani Rupmati and adorns the musical talent baiju in the most praiseworthy manner. For lovers of Indian classical music, this song is a paradigm of unmatched classic which occupies a place of prestige in the Indian film industry.

Some of these the most renowned songs of the Indian film industry that have been adopted by many a classical singers far and wide stand unconquered as classics even today after so many years since their inception. The songs are exemplary of the most unparalleled precision that is required to execute Indian classical raga based singing; far from any amateur’s or untrained artist’s reach. It cannot be contested that these songs are very difficult for any ordinary singer to sing and one cannot even just hum these compositions momentarily without making serious errors while trying the same. This gives us a clear idea of the expertise that is required for any maker in comprehending the essence of the classical Indian ragas before giving it a form of a film song. Nonetheless, these musical compositions are not just a presentation of the scholarship inherent in the classical raga based songs. It engenders the realization in us that any form of art if practiced selflessly with utter dedication can be life-saving. Moreover, Tana Riri and Baiju Bawra’s recitals are not just exemplary of the healing spirit of music. These songs are also an evidence of the fact that a form of art possesses that intrinsic ability to bring about unbelievable miracles as we see in Aj Gavat Man Mero Jhoomake and Udja Bhanwar Maya kamal as well. All these awe-inspiring occurrences demonstrated in these songs indicate that art brings desired results only when a human being surrenders one’s ego completely. Self-effacement on the part of the artist is the sole means that encourages the positive feelings of paropakara or altruism which benefits the entire humanity. The song Garaj garaj barso, clearly puts the feelings of selflessness to the forefront when tana riri sing, “paradukh ma thaine dukhiyara laiye khoda ma angara(we participate in others’ sorrow and audaciously invite their problems in our life)…which encourages the philanthropic ideal of compassion and when Baiju invokes hari or the lord by singing Mana tadapat hari darshan and gradually calls his guru by musically uttering, “Bina guru gyan kahan se pao”(where and how will I get knowledge without a preceptor), it bears the connotation of complete submission in front of art, and consecutively the Guru that represents that art. It is this sort of total resignation that brings the blessings of the divine and tansen is cured of his illness as tana riri’s song brings rain and swami Haridas is restored to life from his moribund state with Baiju’s musical incantation. Similarly, when Rani Rupmati calls the honeybee back to the flower, she does not prove herself to be a greater artist than Tansen who is capable of provoking a creature to escape out of the flower. It is her complete abnegation of her worldly ego in front of the art that in turn ascertains her greatness as an artist. When she musically calls the insect back in the flower, her canorous chant bears not a learned artist’s flamboyant display of artistic knowledge but instead a lover’s pathos that urges its lover to return to her in spite of the fact that it requires him to be in a state of lifetime imprisonment. Thus, instead of enjoying his freedom, the honeybee chooses to be with the one and only love that beckons him earnestly. However, it is not that the song only elevates the emotion of true love. It has a profound philosophical implication which makes it perpetually relevant to the human world. In a larger context, the lyrics of the song hint that Tansen’s musical address to the bee is the means by which an artist judiciously utilizes his art for achieving a higher aim to illumine the people regarding the need to liberate themselves from the false enticements of the material world and reach a state of liberation – Moksha or beatitude which is the state of supreme bliss. The saints in the Hindu tradition often speak at length about the irrelevance of this Jagata or the world terming it as Mithya or lie and Brahman or the ultimate creator of the universe (god) as the only truth or Satya that pervades in the universe. The key to the attainment of freedom from the mundane cycle of life and death in the Hindu spiritual terrain is believed to be the ultimate union of the human soul with the supreme soul termed as salvation or Moksha which emancipates humans from the incarceration of the material world. The same connotation seems to be presented in the song udja bhanwar maya kamal when Tansen musically explains the honeybee regarding the futility of his clinging to the lotus flower being lured by its Maya(Woh tera Janjal hai) and therefore, the creature gradually manages to free itself from the material bondage which symbolizes human enlightenment regarding the constantly fleeting life and the uselessness of craving for hedonistic pleasures. Despite such high sounding aim intrinsic in singer Tansen’s call, the honey bee chooses to answer Rani Rupmati’s request as she does not challenge the inspiring message of the artist in her musical assertions to the honeybee. Instead, when she calls the creature back, she explains to him the extreme agony the loved ones face when the ones they love go away from them forever. Viraha vyatha or the pain of losing a lover may be a very worldly sentiment far from the immensely exalted philosophical targets of abnegating material desires and aspiring towards a higher goal but the very emotion is so strong that it has the power of overtaking any other worldly phenomenon. This spirit however is far removed from materialism in spite of apparently being an adherence to the worldly emotion of amorous love. It is the escalation towards the transcendental essence of love through the means of an earthly emotional bond. When Mirabai called Krishna her husband, it clearly conveyed the inspiring message of reaching the abode of the spiritual through using worldly emotion as a medium to establish connection between heaven and earth which is possibly the way in which the ordinary mortals can experience the immortal blend of Jiva and Shiva. Her musical verses represent the art which bestows the redeeming pleasure of the “sat chit ananda”. The same message is imbibed in all these classical songs of Indian cinema which promulgate the inherent sacredness in raga based Indian music that becomes the means through which humans can attain divine bliss. Therefore, I feel These compositions are indisputably “The Eternal Glory of Indian Cinema”.

Dr. Payal Trivedi