Bombay Showcase

The art of spirituality

Path of joy:The event will mark Prabhat Sarkar’s 95th birth anniversary. Kishu Pal (right) has choreographed the production—Photos: special arrangement  

Early one morning in 1921, Lakshmi Narayan Sarkar from Brahmanpara in erstwhile Bengal, learned about the birth of his son. The new father had not imagined that the boy would be drawn to spirituality. The son, Prabhat Sarkar, named after the time of day he was born, grew up to be a spiritual preceptor who propounded the two-mission approach to life: self-realisation and service to all.

Fondly called Shrii Shrii Anandamurti by his disciples, Sarkar in 1955 founded Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha. The institution seeks to help the less fortunate, and guide individuals who want to follow his philosophies. He composed over 5,000 songs, which are now classified under the genre called Prabhat Samgiita. Even 16 years after his death, Sarkar’s life and contributions are being celebrated by communities around the world.

To mark Sarkar’s 95th birth anniversary, the Renaissance Artists’ and Writers’ Association (RAWA), the Cultural Wing of Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha will host the 18th edition of the Prabhat Samgiita Cultural Evening.

Before the main segment of the showcase, the orphan students of Ananda Marga Children Home will pay homage to Krishna with an invocation dance. This is followed by a rendition of devotional songs by Maneesha Kulkarni, faculty at the Department of Music, Mumbai University.

Finally, there will be a dance-drama titled Pranam Tumhe Sadashiva based on Namah Shivaya Shantaya , a book written by Sarkar. Prabhat Samgiita music will be used for all acts of the evening.

The performance

Haratmananda Avadhuta, script-writer of Pranam Tumhe Sadashiva , says “It is Lord Shiva who is the original architect of the Indian civilisation. I wanted to popularise a lesser-known fact and have designed the production in episodes for easy comprehension.” The episodes deconstruct ways in which Shiva introduced nuanced details to Indian music and dance. “Shiva also introduced the concept of marriage,” he says.

The entire production has been choreographed by Kishu Pal, director of Nrityalika Dance Academy. The institute’s troupe will be the performers. “The narrative unfolds through the conversation between Shiva and Bharata Muni,” says Pal. The latter is the saint who compiled the Natya Shastra , the Sanskrit text on Indian performing arts.

“In the first episode, Shiva, inspired by the sounds of birds in the jungle, creates the saptaswar (the seven musical notes). Next, he introduces the hasta mudras (symbolic hand gestures) and refines Indian classical dance,” says Pal. For this production, he choreographed movements for dancers in the age group of five to 40. “I am proud to say I’m performing too, and at 51, I am the oldest,” says Pal, smiling. The dance-drama mostly uses movements from Bharatanatyam.

Aarti Rajayaksha, Pal’s senior-most student, who will play the role of Shiva in the drama, says, “For the past two days, I have been studying the songs used in the production. Every age group brings a certain perspective to the dance-drama. Even the little ones help us adults widen our perspective.”

The event will start at 7 pm at PL Deshpande Maharashtra Kala Academy, Prabhadevi. Entry is free.

The writer is an intern at The Hindu

Prabhat Sarkar had composed over 5,000 songs, which are called Prabhat Samgiita

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 7:56:32 AM |

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