Harimanasa Vihara

March 4, 2018

The Bhakti movement in India was an important and significant phase. It started as a repercussion and reaction to the rise of tyranny in Brahmanism. There was an increased class distinction and hence increased atrocities. In the Karnataka region, the Bhakti movement gave rise to the Hari dasa sahitya, through which Hari dasas preached about God through simple lyrics to reach the common man. Along with preachings they also wrote about problems that plagued the common people at the time and about how to overcome them and find peace in God. But, what is striking is that the instances that they wrote about are so relevant to current times that one can identify with them even to this day. This thought was the inspiration behind the thematic presentation of ‘Hari Manasa Vihara’ by Guru Bhanumati and Guru Sheela Chandrashekhar. It was presented as part of the Tarang festival organized by Smt Aparna Menon.

 

Aachaaravillada naalige – a composition of Sri Purandara talks about how the tongue if not controlled can cause miseries amongst the closest of people. What better delineation than the perfect example of familial problems between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law. Where the mother-in-law claims that her son has been stolen from her by the wife, in turn the daughter-in-law claims that the son can never stop being a Mama’s boy, and when outsiders see an opportunity, they fuel the fire between the two. Though we claim to be a much educated and well-aware society, the strains of this particular relationship still haunts our society.

 

Yet another practice that we follow mindlessly is the ‘maDi aachaara’. Though the practice was to ensure cleanliness of both the body and mind, it became a mundane practice that people lost the sense of its essence. It gave rise to untouchability and hence caste distinction. Purandara dasa says, it is not just enough if you dip your clothes in cold water and think you’re cleansed. It is more important to let the water cleanse your mind of negative thoughts and only be overcome with the respect for elders and lose yourself in the meditation of God.

 

Some of the lyrics in Sri Purandara Dasa’s compositions are so relevant that one would think that he foresaw future and wrote about them during his times. For instance, in the song Udara vairagyavidu, he writes about how there are some “swamijis’ who put on a show with japa mani in their hands and muttering God’s praise in their lips, yet when no one is looking they eye the women who come to them thinking they’re God’s incarnations or Gurus, hoping to be led into light from darkness.

The one common problem that plagues everyone in recent times is ‘the lack of patience’. This is obvious in every walk of life and everyday we see instances of this. Right from road rage, driving to broken relationships, the root cause seems to be lack of patience and tolerance. Sripada Rayaru, in his composition, ‘taluvikeginta tapavu illa’, says that only when you have patience will you be able to see the fruit of your labour. When someone elderly tells you a word of advice,The Bhakti movement in India was an important and significant phase. It started as a repercussion and reaction to the rise of tyranny in Brahmanism. There was an increased class distinction and hence increased atrocities. In the Karnataka region, the Bhakti movement gave rise to the Hari dasa sahitya, through which Hari dasas preached about God through simple lyrics to reach the common man. Along with preachings they also wrote about problems that plagued the common people at the time and about how to overcome them and find peace in God. But, what is striking is that the instances that they wrote about are so relevant to current times that one can identify with them even to this day. This thought was the inspiration behind the thematic presentation of ‘Hari Manasa Vihara’ by Guru Bhanumati and Guru Sheela Chandrashekhar. It was presented as part of the Tarang festival organized by Smt Aparna Menon. Aachaaravillada naalige – a composition of Sri Purandara talks about how the tongue if not controlled can cause miseries amongst the closest of people. What better delineation than the perfect example of familial problems between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law. Where the mother-in-law claims that her son has been stolen from her by the wife, in turn the daughter-in-law claims that the son can never stop being a Mama’s boy, and when outsiders see an opportunity, they fuel the fire between the two. Though we claim to be a much educated and well-aware society, the strains of this particular relationship still haunts our society. Yet another practice that we follow mindlessly is the ‘maDi aachaara’. Though the practice was to ensure cleanliness of both the body and mind, it became a mundane practice that people lost the sense of its essence. It gave rise to untouchability and hence caste distinction. Purandara dasa says, it is not just enough if you dip your clothes in cold water and think you’re cleansed. It is more important to let the water cleanse your mind of negative thoughts and only be overcome with the respect for elders and lose yourself in the meditation of God. Some of the lyrics in Sri Purandara Dasa’s compositions are so relevant that one would think that he foresaw future and wrote about them during his times. For instance, in the song Udara vairagyavidu, he writes about how there are some “swamijis’ who put on a show with japa mani in their hands and muttering God’s praise in their lips, yet when no one is looking they eye the women who come to them thinking they’re God’s incarnations or Gurus, hoping to be led into light from darkness. The one common problem that plagues everyone in recent times is ‘the lack of patience’. This is obvious in every walk of life and everyday we see instances of this. Right from road rage, driving to broken relationships, the root cause seems to be lack of patience and tolerance. Sripada Rayaru, in his composition, ‘taluvikeginta tapavu illa’, says that only when you have patience will you be able to see the fruit of your labour. When someone elderly tells you a word of advice, you should learn to listen to them and when people talk behind your back and spread rumours about you, you should learn to ignore and walk on. A seed sown now will take many years to bear fruit. Just because you water it everyday, you can’t expect the process to fasten. If you wait patiently, you can enjoy the fruits. Guru Bhanumati and Guru Sheela enacted each of these songs with examples from real life that the audience could relate to. Hari dasa sahitya was composed in language that would be understood by the common man and it was a clear example on that day as most of the audience clearly understood each of the instances that were presented in dance. That it was also represented by crystal clear abhinaya was an addition. They were giggles and laughter, tears and sniggers running through the audience as they related the dance scenes to their own personal lives. Real life mother in law, Sheela and her daughter-in-law, Deepthi Radhakrishna, played the parts so perfectly, that those who do not know them personally would be convinced that they too shared a bitter relationship. But truth be told, they’re a shining example of how this relationship can be something so beautiful that it brings joy to their lives and the ones around them. Bhanu Ma’m as the “Swamij” was a stark reminder of the ‘con men’ whose antics are so rampant but still have a strong following. It was indeed a pleasure to watch Shruti on stage – personally to have seen her from when she started her Adavu practice to this day when she shared stage with her aunt and mother playing her roles convincingly was a proud moment. It was a wonderful treat to the audience to watch an entire family come together on stage to present this beautiful concept. Bhanu Ma’m and Sheela were greatly supported in dance by their second generation artists, Shruthi and Deepthi. They were assisted on the Natuvangam by Sri.ChandraShekhar. Vid.D.S. Srivathsa who has been an integral part of Nrityakalamandiram lead the music ensemble. They were ably supported by Sri Narayanaswamy on the Mridangam, Sri Jayaram on the flute and Sri Pradesh Achar on the violin. There is no doubt that the performance was thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. But even if a small percentage of the audience present there took a lesson back home from that day and made a small change to their lives, then the artists will truly feel like they’ve been able to make a difference with their art. you should learn to listen to them and when people talk behind your back and spread rumours about you, you should learn to ignore and walk on. A seed sown now will take many years to bear fruit. Just because you water it everyday, you can’t expect the process to fasten. If you wait patiently, you can enjoy the fruits.

 

Guru Bhanumati and Guru Sheela enacted each of these songs with examples from real life that the audience could relate to. Hari dasa sahitya was composed in language that would be understood by the common man and it was a clear example on that day as most of the audience clearly understood each of the instances that were presented in dance. That it was also represented by crystal clear abhinaya was an addition. They were giggles and laughter, tears and sniggers running through the audience as they related the dance scenes to their own personal lives.

 

Real life mother in law, Sheela and her daughter-in-law, Deepthi Radhakrishna, played the parts so perfectly, that those who do not know them personally would be convinced that they too shared a bitter relationship. But truth be told, they’re a shining example of how this relationship can be something so beautiful that it brings joy to their lives and the ones around them. Bhanu Ma’m as the “Swamij” was a stark reminder of the ‘con men’ whose antics are so rampant but still have a strong following. It was indeed a pleasure to watch Shruti on stage – personally to have seen her from when she started her Adavu practice to this day when she shared stage with her aunt and mother playing her roles convincingly was a proud moment.

It was a wonderful treat to the audience to watch an entire family come together on stage to present this beautiful concept. Bhanu Ma’m and Sheela were greatly supported in dance by their second generation artists, Shruthi and Deepthi. They were assisted on the Natuvangam by Sri.ChandraShekhar.

Vid.D.S. Srivathsa who has been an integral part of Nrityakalamandiram lead the music ensemble. They were ably supported by Sri Narayanaswamy on the Mridangam, Sri Jayaram on the flute and Sri Pradesh Achar on the violin.

 

There is no doubt that the performance was thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. But even if a small percentage of the audience present there took a lesson back home from that day and made a small change to their lives, then the artists will truly feel like they’ve been able to make a difference with their art.

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