Volume 7 - Issue 01
JANUARY - 2009
the Dramas of Life Divine
Convocation Drama, November 22, 2008
This drama depicted the subtle difference between ‘good work’ and ‘God’s work’, and enunciated the golden formula that transforms ‘good work’ into ‘God’s work’ through the life of Anand Vardhan, an alumnus of Sri Sathya Sai University, and a young idealist.
SCENE 1 - HIS VISION
Narrator: After completing his MBA from the Sri Sathya Sai University, Anand Vardhan has returned home and is about to embark on a career that can fulfil his dreams.
(Bhajan is going on, father is reading a book and Abhay (Anand's younger brother) comes. The door bell rings.)
Abhay: ArreKaka …(Oh Uncle!)
Uncle: JeeteRaho …(my blessings…)
Father: Arey, Rajesh... Anand.
Uncle: Anand! Congratulations for the gold medal! So Anand! How is Swami?
Anand: Oh, Swami is as blissful as He always is.
Uncle: Hmmm… now you are an M.B.A! You have made us all proud, Anand; so, what are your plans? Which Multi National Company do you intend joining?
Father: For joining he must apply, isn’t it? So far, two-three top companies have called him, but he has turned down their offers. He says, he’s waiting for the ‘perfect offer’. Of course, let him choose…
Abhay: Kaka, maybe, he wants to start his own company? Someone like my brother could make a fortune company. Am I right, Anand?
Anand: You know, one of my fondest memories is of the occasion when Swami called us, all the MBA boys for an interview. During that interaction, Swami painted for us His picture of a glorious Bharath ( India) - A Bharath, where every individual lives on the ideals of Brotherhood of Man and Fatherhood of God, a Bharath where every village is an epitome of spiritual prosperity and every town engaged in righteous nation-building activity. He went on to say, ‘ I am depending on you students, for a great transformation, a silent revolution. Do not be under the impression that you and I have come together only now; our bond is age old! You have come to Me for the sake of far higher triumphs, not just for studies.
Uncle: Profound indeed, Anand! And we are sure you will live upto Swami’s ideals. And …
Father: Wait Rajesh, Anand… I feel, there is something you want to tell us. (questioning)
Anand: Yes father, and forgive me for confining it in my heart all this while. I intend to contribute my mite in rejuvenating our country. I have decided to work in a village and create an ideal model
Uncle: That’s great, we expected this from you... So, you are going to spend your weekends in the village? We too will join you.
Anand: Not weekends Kaka, everyday... That will be my job, my profession, my life!
Abhay: Wait a minute! You are going to work full time in a village!? And do what?
Anand: Help them find a life for themselves - a life where economic prosperity will fuse with social and spiritual harmony.
Father: And your livelihood?… I mean income and…
Anand: You mean food and home?… I’ll stay with them and live among them.
Uncle: Anand beta (Son)… have you thought this out seriously? Is this not youthful immaturity? You are young, smart, and virtuous. This is the time for you to focus on your career.
Anand: That is why I am doing this Kaka. If not now, then when? This is the time!
Abhay: This is foolish, Anand! Father, just give him some time and he’ll come out of it.
Anand: Father, Abhay, Kaka… Swami is there. It is His vision and it cannot fail. And you all want to see me happy, right? (everybody reluctantly nods) This is what is going to make me happy and Swami proud.
Narrator: Anand’s decision to serve in the villages has left his family perplexed though his father has half-willingly given his blessing to his venture. Is it an act of youthful immaturity or a divinely inspired adventure?
(two seconds gap)
Ramnathpuram is a poor village located on the banks of a river. The mostly illiterate villagers too have been praying for someone to come and redeem them from their hard life of deprivation. Will their Grama Devata, Shri Ramachandra respond to their prayer?
SCENE 2 - DANCE
Narrator: It looks as though their Grama Devata has answered their prayers; Anand has chosen Ramanathapuram as his centre of activity. His objective is to achieve Swami’s vision of a model village where prosperity and nobility complement each other. Is it going to be a smooth ride for him or a roller-coaster ride?
SCENE 2A - HIS ENTRY
(Chowdary, the village headman, Anthony and Ibrahim are talking to each other, Krishna enters.)
Chowdary: Come Krishna come, yesterday one Anand had visited our Ramnathpuram. He has some plans, it seems, for the community. We couldn’t understand much of what he was talking. I told him that you would take him around and show him whatever he wants to see, today.
Krishna: How many such people have come and gone, Kaka? A hundred promises but zero deliveries. Why do you entertain such people? (Anand enters)
Anand: Namaste Chowdary Kaka. (All get up and welcome him)
Chowdary: Namaste, Anand Babu, please come, (They usher him into his seat) Anand Babu, this is Krishna, a young, dynamic, educated boy of our community.
Ibrahim: We are all illiterate, but he can understand whatever you say. He’ll take you around. Ok, Krishna?
(Ramaiah and Lakshmaiah murmuring come there… quarrelling)
Lakshmaiah: Chowdary garu, you have to settle this issue today. I don’t care for his problems which are always there; I want my share.
Chowdary: Look, this is your personal issue. Why don’t you resolve it yourselves? Look, Anand Babu, this is our problem. You were saying so many nice things yesterday, but we have a myriad variety of problems in the village.
Ramaiah: Who is this young man? And why are you publicising our problem to some stranger, eh?
Krishna: You fellows have gone about scandalising each other around the whole village; everyone knows about it! Anand Babu, these two are brothers. This Ramaiah had borrowed 20,000 rupees from Lakshmaiah, a few years ago. Some unavoidable circumstances prevented him from repaying the sum till today.
Anthony: Their father passed away a month back and now when it has boiled down to division of property, Lakshmaiah is demanding his amount from his share of the property. The point is that Ramaiah needs the amount for a bore-well.
Lakshmaiah: What bore-well? All white lies... not a drop is going to surface from that ground. Aye, Ramaiah, I am warning you; either you give me back my money or you know what I am capable of!
Anand: Ramaiah garu, are you sure that the bore-well will yield water?
Ramiah: Absolutely. The experts have surveyed the land and they expect a good yield of water. The problem is about procuring a loan!
Lakshmaiah: Who’ll give him a loan? Who will guarantee for him?
Chowdary: You, Lakshmaiah, who else?
Lakshmaiah: After all that he has done to me, you expect me to stand guarantee?
Anand: If you don’t mind, I can arrange that. I’ll stand as a personal guarantor for him. We will work with Ramaiah to see that he gets a good crop and pays back the money. (Pause) Is that ok?
Krishna: You, Anand Babu!
Anand: This is no time for hesitation, Krishna. If one part of the body suffers, the rest of body rushes to help it. He is one among us in the body of the community; he needs help.
Krishna: If Anand Babu is ready to stand as guarantor, I think we have finally found a solution.
(Everybody else acknowledges the same)
Anand: Lakshmaiah, you are brothers. This relation was designed in heaven. And now for a paltry sum, you are ready to sever that sacred bond.
Krishna: Anand babu is absolutely right. (Looking at Lakshmaiah) Settle your differences; it will help both of you!
Lakshmaiah: Don’t blame me; He is the one, who raked up the issue and precipitated it!
Anand: As I came here, I noticed that you have a beautiful Rama temple adorning your village; which means this is Ayodhya. My Swami, Sathya Sai Baba says, ‘A temple is not merely a place where you pour out your anguish and beg for your desires; it is a silent but powerful reminder of the ideals that we have to practise in our daily lives. You both are fighting for a small sum of money; there where two brothers who fought for a kingdom... but it was totally a different kind of fight!
Narrator: The divinely potent story of Shri Ramachandra has been echoing in the heart of mankind for aeons. The epic is, was and will continue to be contemporary in its message for it contains eternal truths of life and living. There is something for everyone in it. One such episode is that of Bharata meeting Ramachandra on the Chitrakoota mountain. He has brought along with him the entire Ayodhya with only one objective in mind – to take Rama back and crown him on the throne.
SCENE 2B - BHARATA AND RAMA
(Rama and Bharata along with Vasishta and Janaka are seated. Lakshmana and Shatrughna are also present standing along with two soldiers)
Vasishta: Dear Ramachandra, Bharata, today as we assemble here, your glorious ancestors are watching proudly over you. What Bharata has done today is unmatched in the history of Emperors. I stand overwhelmed by what has transpired between the two of you, Bharata, pour out your heart to your brother without any hesitation.
Bharata : Brother! Ever since you left Ayodhya, the place has verily become a graveyard, where one hears only cries of lamentation. For the sake of the people of Ayodhya, please accept the crown and return to the city. (Padyam)
Rama: Brother, I too experience the pain of parting with Ayodhya, but My swerving from obedience to father’s command will bring ignominy to the entire clan of Raghu. Is that what you want, Bharata? Tell me.
Bharata: But Ramachandra, Gurudeva is witness to the fact that Mother Kaikeyi has withdrawn her demands that she made on father and even publicly apologised for her folly.
Rama: Bharata, our mother might have withdrawn her demands; but, it is to father’s command that we all are bound. One son must be in the forest and the other should rule over the kingdom.
Bharata: If that is the case, I shall spend the fourteen years in exile. You return to Ayodhya, and bring joy to the people.
Rama: Bharata, dharma is not something that can be tampered with by barter. I have to practice my Dharma and you, yours at any cost! (A telugu Poem)
Bharata (in desperation): Lakshmana, you understand my predicament! At least Rama may pay heed to your words. Please intercede on my behalf.
Lakshmana: Brother, you know Rama much better than I do. He will not swerve from the path of dharma. His duty is to follow dharma, and my duty is to follow him.
(Rama looks at Lakshmana and nods in approval)
Bharata: (Looking at Rama) Alright brother, you fulfil your dharma, and I shall fulfil mine. [A telugu Poem] Unless you accept the kingdom and come to Ayodhya, I will forsake food and water, and give up this worthless life.
Rama: (He gets up) Bharata, do not push me into a dilemma by such drastic step. Gurudeva, I plead with you... kindly tell us what we should do?
Vasishta: Rama, Bharata’s devotion has the power to submerge the three worlds. The love of Bharata has created ripples of emotion in my otherwise composed mind. (Looks at Janaka.) The only person who can resolve this dharma sankata is Rajarishi Janaka. Maharaj, you are the epitome of equanimity and wisdom. Please enlighten us.
Janaka: Brahmarishi Vashishta has put me in an unenviable position by asking me to resolve this intricate situation where the irresistible waves of love confront the immovable bedrock of dharma. But perhaps, it is the Lord’s wish that He gives His judgement through me. Rama! Bharata! Dharma Moolam Idam Jagat. The power of Dharma is what sustains the universe. But Prema is higher than Dharma. When Prema as devotion, reaches its zenith, God himself breaks the laws of creation. This is not a conflict between brothers, but a confrontation between God and His Devotee. And God has to bow to the will of devotee.
(Shouts of Sri Janaka Maharaj ki jai!)
Janaka: But Bharata, Prema has its own dharma. Selfless love asks for nothing, it gives away everything. Love is Sacrifice, Bharata, Love is Sacrifice. Ask your brother, what he wants. In his happiness lies yours. [A telugu Poem]
Bharata: Maharaj, I express my deep sense of gratitude to you for lifting the veil of selfishness that blinded my eyes. Forgive me Ramachandra, never once did I ask you what you wanted. Your wish is my command. Please bless me with your guidance and grace.
Rama: Rama surrenders to your devotion. None can match the depth and intensity of your love. Rama promises that He will rule over the kingdom. But, in His physical absence, Bharata will be the guardian of the empire.
(Rama loosens his sandals and gives to Bharata which he reverentially accepts and places on his head. “Bantoo rithi….” in the background ….)
Narrator: The sublime and touching story of the two divine brothers opens a new chapter in the lives of the two rustic brothers – Ramaiah and Laksmaiah.
(Two seconds gap)
This and similar such insights bring Anand close to the people of Ramanathapuram. Anand has found a place in the hearts of the residents. He now has a task to rebuild and rejuvenate the poor village. He has to bring them out of their inertia and make them participate in a village-building activity. This will not only require a Herculean effort but also bountiful grace of the Lord.
SCENE 3 - VIDEO
(Pyar Hun Main video begins… the video shows how the villagers worked together with great joy and enthusiasm under the leadership of Anand and transformed its landscape from brown to lush green in a few days. But more importantly, the unity among them is heartening.)
LIGHTS REMAIN OFF
Narrator: Anand’s effort has paid off. Within a few years, Ramanathapuram has turned into a model village. The village has a school, primary healthcare facility, and all the basic material requirements for every resident. Everybody is involved in productive activity. Anand has done it! Accolades and praise are showered on Anand. But the real test of gold comes when it is put in fire.
(2 seconds gap)
A sudden quirk of fate has brought complete misery to the people of Ramnathpuram and the villages around.
FLICKER LIGHTS IN SPURTS
Narrator: A cloudburst has resulted in ceaseless rain over seven continuous days. The consequent fury of floods in the river has completely devastated the agricultural fields, has washed away the cattle and destroyed the houses. Even as people struggle to find a morsel of food, epidemics are on the rage.
For Anand, it is a test of faith. He has put every penny of his into salvaging the people from starvation and death, and in the process, has become a pauper. But, how long can he sustain his beloved villagers, and more importantly himself in his struggle?
LIGHTS ON (DIM)
SCENE 4 - CRISIS BEGINS
Anand: There you are, Ibrahim kaka! Please go along with Chowdary garu; Srirampur has received some food supplies and we must rush there to bring something here.
Ibrahim : I cannot, Anand. I need to take care of whatever is left.
Anand: Where are your sons, Ismail and Anwar? Can’t they do it?
Ibrahim : Parents are a big burden to carry around, Anand babu. They have left. I hope, they have a better life in a better place!
Anand: You mean to say they deserted you!?
Ibrahim : In the face of crisis, you are on your own, son; all values become insignificant.
THUNDER AND FLICKER
(Chowdary and Ibrahim proceed; some gunny bags are being taken under the watchful eyes of Anthony to his house and Anand notices it.)
(Joseph comes to Anthony who lives across the street.)
Joseph: Anthony brother! I am in dire need. Could you spare some of the food you have?
Anthony: I have very little for myself. I am sorry.
Joseph: Even a morsel will do.
Anthony: I have nothing, ask someone else Joseph. I am not the only person in the village.
(Anand is watching all this)
Anand: Uncle, did you say you have nothing? I noticed sacks carried into your house. I reckon that is enough for you and your family for at least a month. His condition is desperate.
Anthony: Look here Mr. Anand, that rice belongs to me. Who are you to interfere in our affairs? What do you know? I have lived in this village much before you came. You are a novice and you talk about values. If you want, you can help him.
THUNDER AND FLICKER
Anand: Krishna, Where were you? The village needs us.
Krishna: Srinath is missing. Anand, I don’t know where to find him.
Krishna: Somebody told me that they saw him last about twelve hours back near the temple. We have searched every inch of the surroundings but he …
Anand: Don’t worry Krishna, Swami is there. Nothing will happen to him. We’ll complete the work here and then I’ll join you in searching for your...
Krishna: Anand, my brother is more important to me right now. My parents had left him in my custody. Nothing else matters. I gave my life for this village and what did I get in return. I am sorry I won’t be able to support you any more. You are on your own, Anand.
Anand: Krishna! Krishna!
THUNDER AND FLICKER
Narrator: The tempest has devastated the village but that is only half the problem. The old instincts have come back to haunt the people of Ramanathapuram. Anand is crestfallen with the sudden disappearance of values. His close compatriot has left him high and dry. All his efforts in the village have come to a nought, and now, he stands at crossroads. Will he be able to survive this crisis?
LIGHTS ON (DIM)
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Vol 7 Issue 01 - JANUARY 2009
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