Basant Bahar 2012: “Aum Sad Gurubhyo Namaha – An Ode to the Guru.”

By Remitha


The Guru – Shishya Parampara or the Teacher–Disciple lineage has been one of the strongest building blocks of Indian culture. That is why Indian tradition has always placed the Guru on par with the Supreme. In fact, no invocation or prayer is complete without invoking the blessings of the Guru, who takes you by hand and guides you in your quest for enlightenment. In other words, it is the Guru who lights the spark of Divinity inside you and helps you realize the Supreme Being which is nothing but the realization of your own true self.

Therefore it comes as no surprise that the beautiful choreographer duo of Ramya Sundaresan Kapadia and Rinku Bhattacharya Das chose to pay tribute to their Gurus through their excellent dance rendition titled “Aum Sad Gurubhyo Namaha – An Ode to the Guru.”

Now, the two choreographers, Ramya Kapadia and Rinku Bhattacharya Das need no introduction to the art loving public of the Triangle Area. They have been part of the rich and varied multi cultural warp and weave that forms the vibrant tapestry that is the cultural scene in the Triangle.

The performance naturally began with an invocation to Brihaspathi or Jupiter, the celestial Guru of the Devas, seeking his protection, like an armor covering each part of one’s body. Then it follows the journey of the seeker or Manushya, caught in an intricate web of relationships and tangled in the cycle of birth, life and death, till he realizes the illusory nature of his self.

That is when he begins to question his existence and purpose of existence. Caught up in the tumultuous waves of the Sea of Samsara, he realizes that despite the turmoil he experiences around him, his inner Self remains unperturbed. He recognizes this as the Guru who can lead him from untruth to truth, darkness to light and death to immortality and begs to be guided.

The Self offers ‘Upadesha’ or guidance and imparts to Manushya, the way to the Truth, which has been lying dormant in him like the Kundalini energy, deeply coiled within himself. He must rise in knowledge and ultimately realize that Renunciation of the fruits of one’s action is the highest form of Sadhana – the idea that forms the core of the Bhagavad Gita.

Then the scene shifts to the various gurus in one’s life who create order out of chaos and guide the disciple to attain perfect harmony of breath with the cosmic AUM. Here, Yoga, Nada Yoga (Music) and Natya Yoga (Dance) are celebrated as means to realize the Inner Self or the Sadguru.

In conclusion, the seeker offers oneself in totality, Samarpan to the Guru and beseeches Him to come take over one’s life and guide the self to the Inner Self.

While that forms a summary of the day’s performance, no words are enough to describe the beautiful presentation offered by Ramya Kapadia and Rinku Battacharya Das, ably supported by the team of excellent dancers from the Natyarpana School of Dance & Music, Aakrisht Indian Contemporary Dance Group and Natya Academy. All praise goes to this vibrant bunch of dancers, for grace beyond compare, exquisite footwork, sublime expression and flawless execution of the concept. And if the excellent narration of the idea being portrayed left you with any questions, the accompanying visuals projected on the backdrop simply removed all doubts.

Trying to pick moments of the performance to cite as examples of excellence in this beautiful blend that brings together the classical elegance of Bharathnatyam, Kathak and Manipuri and the modern flair of contemporary styles is no easy task; yet some moments stand etched in mind like a living tableau – the angst undergone by Manushya caught in the tangled web of relationships and illusions of this world, the elegant movements of the Self ferrying Manushya across the Sea of Samsara, the beautiful harmony of the three yogas being practiced on stage – and I must specially mention that it is not often that you get to see the Surya Namaskar presented as part of a dance- and the final Samarpana, the total surrender to the Ultimate Guru…

What is amazing about the danseuse Ramya who conceived and scripted this show, is that she is an accomplished musician as well. Credit for the music score goes to her and hers is the voice of most of the pieces. And the final rendition of the Samarpan chant, beseeching the Guru, in total surrender to come reside in the seeker was absolutely sublime.

This dance presentation was no doubt a daunting task as you could see from the depth of ideas presented. Ramya has plumbed the depths of Indian scriptures and philosophy to elucidate her concept and the amount of research that has gone into this project and the dedication with which it was pursued, was clear for all to see, up on the stage.

And the stage offered by the Cary Arts Center with its state of the art lighting and audio equipment made the whole experience even more enjoyable.

Hum Sub is once again proud to present such immense local talent in an extravaganza of music and dance, enriching the cultural milieu of the Triangle Area, through its annual celebration of Spring – Basant Bahar!