You know Ahimsa as something that Mahatma Gandhi preached and followed till the very end but did you also know that Ahimsa was personified as a Goddess in Jainism? Twenty six girls from Avvai Home enlightened all present at their school about the concept and her various names. “Ahimsa Devi” was a production conceived and organised by Aseema Trust as a part of their extended Gandhi Jayanthi celebrations.
In dance form
The girls, dressed in knee-length cotton sarees and pyjamas, depicted a third of the Goddess’ 60 names through dance that was set to a song sung by Bombay Jayashri, accompanied by Ananathanaryanan, the Veena exponent of Kalakshetra and musician Ganapathy on Mridangam, Tabla and Pakhawaj. The soulful music blended well with the smooth choreography by guru Premnath, a long-term associate of Aseema in its workshops.
In the dance, the visibly nervous but excited girls explained to the audience how Ahimsa Devi grants protection, bounty, access to knowledge, generates happiness and bears our sins.
“When I was reading a book on Ahimsa, I stumbled upon this ideology of the Jains where a concept is personified as a Goddess, just like how we have personified ‘Mother India’.
I was also reading about the 60 different names that she has and then it struck me that it would be interesting to make it into a dance production. That’s when I started working on it,” explains V.R. Devika, Managing Trustee, the Aseema Trust.
The girls, all of them students of Std XI, who participated in the programme were also equally enthusiastic about having a different outlet apart from just academics and also put up a social awareness play on HIV AIDS as it was important to raise awareness and educate their fellow students about it.
Apparently, the girls were involved in a discussion about the “Ahimsa Devi” production and they examined each name and its significance, and also suggested possibilities of concepts like how Ahimsa ensures wealth — possibly, by not destroying the environment; we only stand to benefit from Nature’s bounties in return.
The girls explained how Ahimsa devi grants protection, bounty, access to knowledge and happiness.