the Dramas of Life Divine
Dear readers, till the December 2008 issue, in this section we serialized for you “Shirdi Sai Parthi Sai”, the glorious saga of Shirdi Sai and the divine life of Sathya Sai till His early childhood. This series continued for 48 episodes, and we received very positive responses to this serial. In fact, now that the script is available, this television serial has been re-enacted as a play in many Sai centres.
Encouraged with this, we decided to continue this section and offer something in a similar format. And now, after the Divine Life story of Bhagavan Baba, it is the innumerable dramas presented in the Divine Presence by the students of Bhagavan’s Schools and University, as well as by the Bal Vikas students and Sai devotees from all corners of the world. We hope the current series, which is accompanied with lots of pictures and video stills/clips, will not only make an enriching and edifying reading experience, but also will help devotees everywhere to redo these inspiring plays in their own settings with little effort. So, enjoy these divine dramas where the Divine was a keen spectator and the hidden director!
In the previous issue, we had the first half of the drama “Divya Premaashrayam” presented by the students of the Sri Sathya Sai University on the Convocation Day, November 22, 2008. We now have the second and final part, along with a pdf download of the entire script.
Convocation Drama, November 22, 2008
(Continued from the last issue)
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.
In the first four scenes we saw how Anand Vardhan, after completing his MBA from the Sri Sathya Sai University, decided not to engage himself in a career in the corporate world and instead serve in the villages. To achieve this goal, he chose Ramanthapuram, a small hamlet, as his site of activity. Soon he emerged as a lovable and admired leader, and in a short while, transformed the state of the village from infighting and poverty to harmony and prosperity. Just when everything was unfolding as per Anand’s dream of converting the disorganised and desolate hamlet into a model village, a terrible crisis in the form of a devastating flood and cyclone ravaged the area. All that Anand had achieved disappeared overnight; and worse, now the people were again hostile to each other, even Anand was not welcome anymore. Utterly dispirited, Anand returned home and then…
SCENE 5: THE CRISIS DEEPENS
Father: Anand, are you alright? Thank God, you are safe. What if something had happened to you?
Anand: I am fine, but all that I had built is gone!
Father: We know…. Chowdary Garu told us everything. But what is important is that you are fine.
Brother: Anand, at least now come back! There is nothing left for you there.
Uncle: Sometimes life could be harsh while teaching lessons. Look at what it has done to you. It has left you penniless, helpless - crushed under the burden of a problem much larger than what you can handle.
Father: That’s why you must listen…Elders advise you on the basis of their experience in life.
Brother: You wanted to tread an untrodden path; and after all these years ask yourself, ‘Did all your sweat make any difference to you or to the village, except leaving you with nothing but tears?’
Uncle: Under the spell of a youthful euphoria, you envisioned a utopian world. It was a mirage that you mistook for a dream. Wake up Anand, to the realities of life.
Brother: Anand, your past has been erased by this calamity and your future is uncertain. I am not asking you to give up your ideals. I am just asking you to be more practical.
Anand: So you want me to give up all this and come home...
Uncle: We are not asking you to give up your dreams. We just want you to stabilise yourself before you plunge into service. Come home, and take up a job.
Father: Yes Anand, what uncle says is absolutely right. Take up a job now; after some years, you can come back here and pursue your dreams.
Anand: What you say seems to be right, but I need more time to think.
Father: Anand, don’t worry, take your own time. Whatever be your decision, I will always support you. Take care.
(Father, Uncle and Brother leave)
Anand: Swami, how do I deserve this? Did I commit any folly to have my dreams shattered? I did everything I could to follow Your footsteps and now... Lord, where do I go from here? Swami, please show me the way …. Swami, please!
(Songs Begins… 'Socha Tha Kya hoga')
(Towards end of song lights go dim and bright. He falls on the altar, a swish of wind comes and there is thunder…)
LIGHTS OFF, SPOT LIGHT ON ALTAR AND ANAND
(A few books fall from the top shelf of the altar and as Anand picks up one of them and opens it, a background voice begins)
Embodiments of Love!
As long as you consider that you are the doer, problems will haunt you. Relinquish this feeling of doership and all problems will vanish in a trice. God is the only doer. You are merely an instrument. Here is a little story which demonstrates this truth. Once Chatrapati Shivaji faced a crisis….
SCENE 5b – SHIVAJI AND RAMDAS
Baji: Maharaj! You seem to be lost in thought. What is it that troubles your mind? Please disclose to us your worries and we shall spare no effort to decimate their cause.
Shivaji: To have Baji Prabhu and Tanaji by the side is like wearing impregnable armour. I have complete faith in your capabilities; but some kind of despondency overpowers me.
Tanaji: If it is the impudence of the Mughals, we can give them a befitting reply. If it is our own kingdom… well, only a skin-deep order prevails, hiding beneath it the embers of chaos.
Shivaji: While our external enemy grows stronger; our inner enemies thrive to make us weaker! Even as we take pride in our victories, doom seems not too far off. If I cannot establish the reign of flourishing prosperity and enduring principles, what would I have achieved after all these conquests, Tanaji?
Tanaji: Maharaj, we have no answers to your question. Your predicament baffles us!
Shivaji: Only the Lord can provide the answer… I hope and pray that He does it now!
Disciple (enters): – Greetings Raje, Sadhumaharaj Samartha Ramdas is on his way, and he conveys his blessings to you.
(Samartha Ramdas enters…)
Shivaji: Gurudev! You come as a spring of nectar for the parched throat. I seek your counsel... Master, please salvage me from the whirlpool of despondence.
Ramdas: It is the Lord’s will that has brought me to your doorstep at this hour of despair. Tell me, what is the problem?
Shivaji: Master! I have taken upon myself the task of unifying the country. The kingdom, which I built brick by brick, has grown in stature but, has shrunk in morals. All the hard work that I did has only led me to despair!
Ramdas: Hahaha… Nation-building is not an easy task, O, king! Why are you so anxious about the results? You have done a splendid job thus far and by the grace of the Mother Almighty, you shall continue to do so in the future too. Shivaji, a true winner is not overwhelmed by problems; he overcomes them.
Shivaji: But, Gurudev, my ability and wisdom seem to be too weak to protect me from the enemies within. Every time I raise my sword against my own countrymen, I feel an unbearable anguish gnawing at my soul. Please allow me to rest at your lotus-feet throwing away the burden of this empire. I cannot bear it anymore, Gurudev, I cannot bear it anymore.
Ramdas: Ah! I see your problem; it is not within your kingdom, but it is within you! You are right... you cannot rule a kingdom this way. Hand over your kingdom to me, and I shall rule it from now on.
Shivaji: Merciful Gurudev, you are truly the Kalpa-vriksha. You have taken the entire burden off my frail shoulders in a trice.
(Shivaji immediately removes the crown and sword and places them at the feet of his Guru. Ramdas covers him with an ochre robe. Shivaji then turns to his bewildered chief minister and commander-in-chief.)
Shivaji: Gurudev is the ruler of this kingdom from this very moment. I shall live the life of a hermit as his humble disciple.
(Bereft of the burden of kingship, Shivaji finds solace and joy in leading an ascetic life. Two days later Samartha Ramdas brings him back to his palace.)
Ramdas: So Shivaji, how do you feel now?
Shivaji: I feel so relieved, Master. Service to your lotus-feet has brought me joy supreme.
Ramdas: You are now a disciple committed to obeying my command. I hereby, command you to rule the kingdom as my representative. The kingdom continues to be mine!
(Ramdas returns the sword back to Shivaji. Shivaji receives the sword with reverence and rises with a confused expression.)
Shivaji: Gurudev! I fail to fathom this act of yours. My happiness lies solely in this ochre robe and no more in this golden crown!
Ramdas: Your happiness is neither in the ochre robe nor in the golden crown! It is within you and you realise it when you overcome this feeling of ‘I and mine’! Ahamkara and Mamakara! Nothing belongs to you, my son. Every act of yours bears my signature. Rule your people not as a king but as a trustee.
Shivaji: Master, I see the light now! Gurudev, I have no cares now since both the burden of guilt and the crown of glory belong to you!
Tanaji: My wisdom refuses to understand this logic! Has anything changed?
Baji prabhu: Perhaps everything has changed! Shivaji raje rules the kingdom that doesn’t belong to him! Hence, its problems too do not belong to him.
Ramdas (smiles at Baji): My dear son, you are right! Atma Nivedanam [Self-surrender] is the royal path to victory. May the Divine lead you the ultimate victory! Vijayi Bhava.
As long as you have the feeling of I and mine, even good activities will bring you sorrows at some point. Dear students! Realise that I am always with you. I am like your shadow… nay, not shadow, I am your Indweller! Surrender to Me and see what I can do for you.
SCENE 5c – CRISIS ENDS
(After the Shivaji scene)
Anand: Swami, now I have realised my folly! All the while, I thought it was I who was doing all this, being blinded to the truth that everything and everyone belongs to You. I am but a hollow reed and it is Your breath that works through me. Lord, Thy will be done!
(There is a knock)
Ramaiah: Anand, Chowdary garu has called you to the temple. He is gathering all the villagers. It seems some important person has come.
(A voice from the background says:)
Anand has overcome the inner crisis but does it solve his problems in the external world? Anand has received his succour but what about the people of Ramanathapuram? Anand follows Ramaiah to the temple wondering what is in store for the village.
SCENE 6 – GRAND FINALE
Chowdary: Sir, this is Anand, he is Sai Baba’s student who has dedicated his life for the welfare of this community. Anand, this is…
Shashidhar: Oh you are Anand?
Anand: Yes sir.
Shashidhar: Now I understand what Swami meant when He said, ‘I’ve given My Anand to them, assure them that my Anand will continue to be with them.’ Anand, Swami gave me this prasadam to be given to all villagers. I think you should do it.
Anand: O Swami! You have taken over. You always remember us; we are the ones who forget You.
Shashidhar: And Anand, I have an important message for you all. Dear residents of Ramnathpuram, Bhagawan Baba has willed that your broken houses be replaced with strong homes. Thousands of houses made of concrete will be built, for each and every family of Ramnathpuram and the villages around. Not only that, your entire village will be restored to its original grandeur. All that is required for achieving it will be provided by the Ultimate Provider – Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba!
(Anand shouts) ‘Jai bolo Bhagawan Sri Satya Sai Baba Ji ki… Jai’!
(A voice is heard) Bhaiyya bhaiyya … (It is Srinath, Krishna’s brother…)
(Everyone is stunned and so is Krishna)
Krishna: Srinath! My dear brother! (They hug each other) Where were you?
Srinath: A powerful current of water swept me far far away from here. When I opened my eyes, I was holding this Baba’s picture which Anand bhaiyya had given us. A few Sevadal uncles found me hugging it close to my heart and brought me here.
Krishna: Oh Swami! How can I express my gratitude to you? You are Sarvantaryami. You are Sarva-shakta. You are God. You have gifted us our lives back. My dear brothers and sisters, these lives must be dedicated to His mission.
Chowdary: Dear residents, He is our mother and father! Why else would His heart melt for us? We may be physically far from Him, but His love knows no boundaries. It is all powerful and infinite. Baba, our koti koti pranams to You.
Anand: As long as we think we are the doers, the dualities of life haunt us. When we realise that You are the only doer, we experience the real joy of life. Even as He builds these material homes for us, let us build and decorate our hearts with noble virtues for Him, for that is His home. Our lives must become His message.
(Final song begins)
Jai Sai Ram
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