Bhagavatha Saaramu, a drama by Bhagawan’s Students

13th Jan 2011: After two days of hectic sporting and cultural activities at the Vidyagiri Hill View Stadium, action shifted back to Sai Kulwant Hall on the 13th Jan evening with Prasanthi Nilayam Campus presenting a dance drama in the immediate Divine presence.

The dance drama entitled "Bhagavatha Saaramu" was a portrayal on the true essence of the epic Bhagavatham, as explained by Bhagawan in many of His Divine Discourses.

The presentation, in the form of dialogue between Lord Vishnu and Sage Narada opens with Devarish’s Narada’s visit to Lord Vishnu at Vaikunta. To an eager Narada, who showed great enthusiasm to know the true meaning of the epic, Lord explains that the epic is more a story of how God descends so that man can ascend. The Lord further elaborates that Bhagavatam stands for Bhakti, Jnana, Vairagya, Tatva, and Mukti. Clarifying thus, Lord Vishnu takes Narada on a journey through these different stages.

The epic is rightly described as Bhakthi Jnaana Vairaagya Thathwa Mukthi Saagaram. All these essential features were explained with flashback illustrations from stories of yore, namely, Hanuman’s story for Bhakthi, Lord Brahma’s story for Jnaana, Divine Mothers, Yasoda, Devaki and Easwaramma for Vairagya, Nachiketa’s story for philosophical insight and lastly, the story of Radharani illustrating Mukthi.

Bha – Bhakti
Bhakti derives from the ‘Bha’ of Bhagawan and the ‘Kti’ of bhukti, rakti, yukti, anurakti and virakti. Bhakti is not just love for the Divine, but also the state of intolerance and fearlessness in the face of Adharma. Lord Vishnu cites the example of Hanuman for Bhakti, from the Sundara Kanda of the Ramayana. The scene opens with Meghanad presenting Hanuman before Ravana after having captured him using the Bramhastra. What follows is a heated conversation between Hanuman and Ravana. Hanuman advises Ravana to return Mother Sita to Sri Rama, but Ravana is too intoxicated by his power and conquests to pay any heed.

Ga – Gyana (Jnana)
The next stage, Jnana, is explained by Lord Vishnu as Advaita Darshanam Jnanam: Jnana is seeing the non-duality in all creation. The example cited here is how Bala Krishna dispels the Ajnana of Lord Brahma. Brahma, deluded by Lord Krishna’s pranks, thinks Him to be a mere human and abducts all the cows and Bala Gopalas. But Lord Krishna takes the form of all the missing cows and Gopalas. Then, as Brahma approaches his abode, Satya Loka, he is denied entry because there is a Brahma already seated inside. It is the Leela of Chinni Kishna that he has taken even Brahma’s form. Chinni Krishna then appears and explains to Brahma that the entire creation is his, and even Brahma is created by him and he is bound by the limitations of his creation. He tells Brahma to see that Divinity in everything.

Va – Vairagya
Vairagya, which is the next stage, is beautifully brought out by giving the example of the mothers of the various Avatars – Mother Devaki and Yashoda. The depiction of this scene is through a song where Lord Vishnu says that those who have not tasted Anuraaga cannot know Vairagya. Then, Mother Devaki’s tearful parting with the just born Krishna is portrayed, followed by Chinni Krishna’s games with mother Yashoda. Then, Krishna leaves Yashoda to free Mother Devaki from the chains of Kamsa’s prison.

Ta – Tatvabodhana
The next stage, Tatva, is explained by the conversation between Nachiketa and Yama. Nachiketa, making use of the three boons Yamadharma Raja offered him, seeks the boon to explain the essence of life and creation. He asks Yama to unravel the mystery of the life and afterlife. A mightily pleased Yamadharma Raja grants him the boon.

Mu -Mukti
The four stages above lead to the final one – that of Mukti: Merger of the devotee with the Divine. This is illustrated with Radharani’s devotion to Lord Krishna. The scene opens with Radha waiting for Krishna in Repalle during the final moments of her life. When Krishna appears before her she tells him that she had never missed Him because she always felt His presence. But what she missed was the melody of His flute. So she asks Him to play the flute. She sings “Paata Paadu Maa Krishna”, in response to which Krishna breaks a reed and starts playing it. The Melody from the reed-flute of Krishna carries Radha out of her mortal coil and she merges with The Lord!

The drama ends with a song which is based on Bhagawan’s wordings, ‘Bhagavatamu chadivite baagautavu’.

The hour-long presentation essentially portrayed as to how God and His devotees co-existed to make alive the epic called Bhagavatham. It’s essentially the story of God and His devotees.

After the presentation Bhagawan moved down to pose for a photo session with the troupe. Blessing the troupe as Bhagawan moved back on to the dais, He asked for Mangala Arathi, at 1920 hrs. After Arathi, Bhagawan blessed the sweets for distribution; as sweets went for distribution to the devotees, Bhagawan blessed the drama boys distributing in person. Bhagawan left for Yajur Mandiram at 1935 hrs.

Earlier in the evening, Bhagawan arrived at 1745 hrs. granting Divine Darshan. After a full round of darshan, Bhagawan moved into the bhajan hall to bless the drama troupe before emerging to come on to the dais at 1800 hrs.