The Sree Shanmugananda Sangeetha Sabha a prime Cultural Organization of
the Indian capital, Delhi, is most popular and sought after, simply for the
exquisite selection of the artists and presentation. Smt. Vasanthi Sridhar stole
the show for the dance features by the very apt theme and presentation. The
Music support by Dr. Vasanthi Rao was brilliant and added melody to the visual
As part of St. Thyagaraja Music and dance Festival, what better theme than
an attempt to recapture the raptures of St. Thyagaraja in his unmatched devotion
and love for Lord Rama as is evinced in the wealth of his myriad music
compositions?The dance recital by Vasanthi Sridhar, presented a special tribute to St
Thyagaraja for his unparalleled contribution to the field of music. The program
was designed to motivate the viewers on the true essence of Thyagaraja’s music.
The true essence of the music is to reach out to the Parabrahman (the supreme
being). The true self-expression of the ultimate reality is ” Thyagaraja Tatwam”
It aims to reach out to the Parabrahman. It is a stepping-stone to the Satya
Anubhava Chinnam- the emblem of true experience. Our journey through life aims
to achieve this ultimate and Supreme Reality by experiencing the joys and
sorrows of living every day. Life aims to unite the Jeevatman and the Parmatna.
The divine journey of self-realization is Soham (I Am You). If you listen to
your breath carefully, you will see that the measured inhalation and exhalation
forms the word Soham. I is the Parabrahman. It is the voice within you and it
says continuously through your breath I Am You. The universe is created out of
this breath; this breath pervades the whole Universe, which is the Cosmic
Energy. This Cosmic Energy is the Divine Name, which we can call by any name,
Rama, Shyama, Yeshu, and Allah or anything we choose. All of us present here in
the universe are a form of the Parabrahman. When we realize this we break free
of the shackels of human wants and desires and merge with the infinite.
This was attempted deftly with the following musical pieces
Satya Sanidhana Ganaraya Rama Gopala
In this item Lord Ganesha is invoked in order to understand the word Satya
Sanidhana. He alone can lead us to the threshold of ultimate reality.
Gao Sab Jana Thyagaraja Abhinanadan
This is an ode to the various musical instruments, which together brings
in harmony. Let us all open our hearts and souls and take in the beauty of
Thyagaraja’s music says Vasanthi with her exquisite Bhava and abhinaya. It’s a
tribute to every one of the accompanying instruments. First, the Natwa Talam.
Its chimes tell us to surrender all the five senses at the feet of the Supreme
Being. The mridangam teaches you the rhythm of life. The notes of the flute show
that Life’s path is full of twists and turns. The veena shows us that we have to
cross the ocean of life by overcoming the colors of Maya. When these instruments
combine they are a grand metaphor for the ups and downs, highs and lows and joys
and sorrows, which constitute the grand symphony of life.
Rama Shyama Kadamba Manadhama
There is no difference between Rama and Shyama. They are the fruits of the
same tree. The nectar obtained by chanting their Divine Names through
Namasmarana enables out to the Parabrahman.
The breath of the newborn child says Soham (I Am You). The child can be
called by any name. The name merely represents the Cosmic Energy, which fills
and pervades the whole of the Universe.
Hari Nam Ram Ram Sheesh Mukuta Sairam
To realize the Ultimate reality and that there is NO difference between
Hari and Ram. Our souls have to undergo a lot of churning, and the dark veil of
ignorance has to be removed before self-realization dawns. This universe is like
a mirror, which reflects the one true reality of the Parabrahman. We have to
realize that we are the Parabrahman and that there is NO difference between this
Supreme Reality and us. The ultimate merging takes place when you realize that
you merge within you. There is NO difference between the body and the soul.
Yeh Kaisi Ahat
Here Ahat means cosmic energy and Pukar is the pull of the soul towards
it. The soul in its journey assimilates the cosmic energy thus invoking the
Supreme enabling it to access the Parabrahman. The soul is now ready to receive
it just like the flowers receive the bees. Due to the colours of Maya for every
step forward we go two steps back. The soul cries out for salvation and asks for
Divine succor to help the body cross the river of life. Then the souls journey
begins and it realizes that there are many paths, which lead to the Supreme
Being. Whichever path you chose ultimately leads to HIM. Once you begin to do
Namasmarna. (Chanting of the Divine Name) of any Supreme Being you chose, the
soul then begins to walk in step with the Divine Spirit and ultimately merges
Sab Ranga Sangam
One life is over. Our breath has been stilled, our footsteps have merged,
the colours of Maya have also merged and become one with the Supreme Being. Just
like the rising and setting of the sun is an endless cycle so too is the cycle
of birth, rebirth and death for all. The major distinction is that it is only
the human form, which is given repeated chances to break free of this cycle and
attain Moksha. It is only when we strive to attain the Divine grace and to live
by the Divine Will do we break free of the shackles of human existence can we
achieve this ultimate goal.
Rama Rasa Pawana
Human beings only can experience the sweetness of the Rasa, which comes
from the ultimate union with the Supreme Spirit Thyagaraja surrendered totally
to Lord Rama fixing him forever in his heart and. thus tasted the Divine Nectar.
Similarly we can take any path to Liberation and we too can partake of the
Divine Nectar. What is essential is Total Surrender to the Divine Will.
The concert ends with the Aarrti. Hara Ram Gopala Dhyan Karo Sab Dhyan
Karo. Let us meditate on the Divine Spirit and take the first step to our
liberation from the bonds of life and death.
The audiences who were thoroughly lulled into a peaceful repose, sent into
a trance by the musical dance and transported into a mystic world were jolted
back to the present as her time slot was over and the curtains came down.
Smt. Vasnti Sridhars’ performance was discussed about passionately
eulogizing her beauty, great footwork, excellence in the interpretation of the
attempted theme and about the good vocal support rendered by Dr. Vasnthi Rao and
the able accompaniments.
In the incredible India, a secular state, religious passion is an integral
ingredient of the music and dance forms. And one significant comment was that
artists enact such performances and are enjoyed by the audience probably because
of the blessings of divine persons.
Author: World Music Central News Department
World music news from the editors at World Music Central