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Video Cassette of Sanskrit Drama "SwAmi DESika Vijayam"

From: Anand Karalapakkam (kgk_at_md2.vsnl.net.in)
Date: Wed Jul 26 2000 - 22:02:37 PDT

SrI:
SrI Lakshminrusimha ParabrahmaNE namaha
SrImatE bhagavad rAmAnujAya namaha
SrImatE nigamAnta mahAdESikAya namaha
SrImatE nArAyaNa yateendra mahAdESiKAya namaha

 namO nArAyaNa!

 Dear devotees,

 Note: Please take time to read this quite lengthy posting,
       which carries an important announcement.

 On 11th June,2000 the Sanskrit Drama "SwAmi DESika Vijayam"
 was staged at KrishNa GAna Sabha, T.Nagar,Chennai. You must
 have already read about the grand success of this very good
 play, through the article which appeared in the daily "Indian
 Express", posted to the e-group by SrI Achutha RAman,Singapore :
 http://www.egroupS.COM/message/bhakti-list/9925?&start=9913.

 The year 1999 was declared as the "Year for Sanskrit" by the
 Indian government, for promoting Sanskrit. Popularisation of
 this very important language is an essential kainkaryam to be
 taken up. Also, one (esp. Children) should have a feel of our
 rich culture, not only in terms of reading some books, but
 also by seeing a drama, that too in the ancient sanskrit
 language. One has to remove the mental block that, one can't
 understand sanskrit. Everyone knows that vast amount of
 scriptures are only in Sanskrit. Moreover, if the focus of
 the drama be on our SrI VaishNava sampradAyam, it would be
 a great treat to watch and enjoy the acts. Hence, this Sanskrit
 drama was staged by the talented young SrI U.Ve. Mukundagiri V. -
 Ananthapadmanaban, who belongs to a good lineage following
 SrI Ahobila Muth sampradAyam. He has learnt Sanskrit from
 SrI U.Ve. OzhappAkkam R. RAjagOpAlAchArya, an eminent scholar
 of Sanskrit and son-in-law of the late SrI U.Ve.MadhurAntakam
 VeerarAghavAchArya of great fame. SrI RAjagOpAlachArya has been
 teaching Sanskrit all through his life from his young age. He
 is still teaching it to many, inspite of his health problems
 due to old age.

 SrI Ananthapadmanaban has underwent traditional kAlakshEpam of
 SrI BhAshyam etc sampradAya granthas under the  well known
 "SrI BhAshya SimhAsanAdipati" SrI U.Ve.Purisai NadAdUr -
 KrishNamAchArya, the aasthAna vidvAn of SrI Ahobila Muth and
 editor of the magazine "SrI Nrusimha Priya". It has to be very
 specially mentioned that, he has been intimately serving SrI -
 Purisai swAmi right from his childhood days. Most of the
 time, he would be found performing some kainkaryam at his
 AchArya's thirumALigai (house). Though only in his late twenties,
 he is editing the magazine "SrI SrIranga SaThajit kripA" and has
 lot more goals in his mind for serving our sampradAyam in its
 various spheres.

 SwAmi VEdAnta DESika is an AchArya-SArvabhouma unparalleled in
 many a ways. No amount of glorification can justify the greatness
 of this "VEdAntAchArya", one of the greatest SrI VaishNava AchAryas
 highly loved and admired for his supremacy in jn~yAna, bhakti,
 vairAgya, anushThAna, aatma-guNas, grantha-nirmAnam etc. SwAmi
 DESikan, a "Kavi-tArkika Simha" (Lion of Poetry and Logic) has a
 very high place in the history of Indian Philosophers and Poets.
 It is well known that SwAmi DESikan's service to Ubhaya-VEdAnta
 is unparalleled through his immortal divine works exceeding
 hundred in number. The world of Sanskrit knows the immense
 contribution made by SwAmi DESikan and SrI Ananthapadmanaban
 found quite fitting to stage a Sanskrit drama on this
 "Sarva-Tantra-Svatantra".

 Just before the commencement of the play, a quite big-sized
 photo of Lord VeerarAghava alongwith Kanakavalli thAyAr and
 ubhaya-nAcchimAr, sponsored by SrI K.G.KrishNan (aDiyEn's father)
 was presented to SrI Ananthapadmanaban in recognition of his
 service to the SrI VaishNava community, by a noted scholar
 SrI U.Ve. MannArgudi RAjagOpAlAchArya, who has underwent
 kAlakshEpam under the current Azhagiyasingar (HH Jeeyar of SrI
 Ahobila Muth) in his pUrvAshramam. SrI MannArdudi swAmi is
 atpresent very actively delivering kAlakshEpams on SrI BhAshyam,
 Bhagavad Vishayam etc sampradAya granthas at various parts of
 Chennai. He lauded the efforts of SrI Ananthapadmanaban and
 remarked that the Divya Dampati, who are the cause for the
 success of his activities, have themselves appeared to bless
 him for the successful staging of the drama.

 aDiyEn extremly enjoyed watching the live play and it is a very
 memorable experience. The play took us back to the times of SwAmi
 DESikan, with its appropriate settings and make-ups. Apart from
 excellent performance by many actors, the outstanding rendition of
 the sanskrit slokas into very sweet music (vocal) by SrI RangarAjan
 (advocate; kAlakshEpam under SrI PuriSai swAmi) really stirred
 aDiyEn's emotions. The title song on SrI VEdAnta DESika, a gadyam
 written by SrI Ananthapadmanaban was very well sung by the
 All-India-Radio artiste Smt Janaki RAmAnujam, who is already
 known for singing selected pAsurams of AzhwArs set to carnatic
 music. She has also given a cassette on the SuprabhAtam to Lord
 SrI VeerarAghava of ThiruvalUr (Thiru-yevvuL).

 The dialogues are in simple sanskrit and esp. those who know the
 biography of SwAmi DESikan can easily follow the dialogues.
 Important messages from SwAmi DESikan, while exhibiting his
 aatma-guNAs are very well brought out. Some dharma sUkshmams and
 anushThAnams are also nicely incorporated. Ofcourse, its
 impossible to cover all aspects of SwAmi DESikan's life and
 achievements. The main focus of the play is on various important
 life-events of SwAmi DESikan. The reviews that follow will tell
 you more about the play.

 One of the important aspect to be noted was the sincere and
 dedicated efforts from the school students (Mostly 12th std
 pass-outs) of SrI Ahobila Muth school at West Mambalam,Chennai.
 Many of them are non-SrI VaishNavas, including the student who
 acted as SwAmi DESikan. But, they got totally involved in this
 play, right from the day they started to practise their
 dialogues. SrI Ananthapadmanaban was previously their Sanskrit
 teacher and now their "Director". He made the students work
 day and night for the play and the students responded equally
 well with full enthusiasm. The student-team alongwith SrI
 AnanthapadmanAban did all the jobs for the play, to the extent
 of pasting wall posters around the city by themselves during
 the nights.

 aDiyEn is very happy to announce that the video cassette of this
 excellent drama is now ready for distribution. The details are
 given at the end of this mail.

 SrI U.Ve.VELukkudi KrishNan graced the occassion on 11th June and
 spoke on the importance of staging these dramas. By recalling
 the scene from the drama, in which SrI Sudarsana SUri entrusts
 "SrutaprakASika" to SwAmi  DESikan, SrI V.KrishNan quoted a verse
 by the illustrious Sudarsana SUri and stressed the importance of
 protecting PramAna (VEdas and Upabrahmanas), PramEya (SrIman
 nArAyaNa) and PramAtas (SrI VaishNava AchAryas). SrI KrishNan
 pointed out from the Drama as to how the pramAtAs viz.SrI VaishNava
 (and SrI VaishNavas) gave their life and soul in protecting the
 pramEya viz. Lord SrI RanganAyaki SamEta RanganAtha, and the
 PramAna "SrutaprakASika", during the Muslim invasion. He added
 that, the same situation is still prevailing to this day and that
 we have a very big task ahead to protect PramEya, PramAna and the
 PramAtAs ie. SrI SUktIs of our AchAryas etc. He praised this
 Sanskrit Drama to be one such very good effort fulfilling the above
 objective. He appreciated SrI U.Ve. M.V.Ananthapadmanaban, the
 script writer and director of this drama, to be a skillful person
 who can even propagate the sampradAyam through modern medias like
 Computer and the "omnipresent" Web. He wished the drama on this
 great AchArya to be spread all over the world and get good response
 from all the people, and thereby carryout the objective of
 propagating our sampradAyam.

  SrI K.ParAsaran, ex-Attorney General and son of the illustrious
  late SrI U.Ve.KESava Iyengar, was full of appreciation. He shared
  his feelings to the audience that he has never seen such an
  excellent full length Sanskrit drama filled with very good
  dialogues, settings and trick-shots. He recalled his father's
  words "Just like there are two eyes and one sight, two ears and
  one simultaneous hearing, two hands and one anjali, Sanskrit and
  Tamil together constitute our Ubhaya VEdAnta SampradAyam". He
  congragulated SrI Ananthapadmanaban and his team for having
  produced a great play, quite comparable to the likes of Nawab
  RAjamAnikkam and Manohar.

  SrI O.R.RajagOpAlAchArya lauded the efforts of his student. He
  was extremly happy about the many new improvements esp. music,
  in comparison with the drama's earlier version staged during
  1996 at VAni MahAl,Chennai. During 1996, SrI AnanthapadmanAban,
  the script writer and another youngster SrI O.R.Devanathan,
  son of SrI RAjagOpAlAchArya, were the main architects of the
  play. Sri Ananthapadmanaban has incorporated improved stage
  settings and display, in his new version.

  The play was made possible to be staged, mainly because of
  the contributions from the following bhaktas :

  1. SrI M.S.Hari, Singapore.
  2. SrI Madhavakannan, Singapore.
  3. SrI Achutha RAman, Singapore.
  4. SrI Vijayakumar, Singapore.
  5. SrI Kasturi Varadarajan, USA.
  6. SrI Murali Kadambi, USA.
  7. SrI Deepak Rajasekar, USA.
  8. SrI Vijayaraghavan SrInivasan, USA.
  9. SrI Vasudevan of VAS Chemicals, Chennai.
 10. SrI RAmabadran, Chennai.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

  Lets have a look at the  review from the daily "The Hindu" :


                     ESSENTIALLY SPIRITUAL
                    ***********************

  Those who take delight in scoffing at Sanskrit as a "dead
  language" and that it cannot be understood by all, the
  presentation of a play on some of the important incidents
  in the life of Vedanta Desika (13th Century) who strengthened
  the edifice of 'Visishtadwaita", the foundation of which was
  laid by the Alwars and spread by Ramanuja, totally belied
  their aspersions. Enacted mostly by young students who are
  learning Vedas and supported by a few elders, the dialogues
  for the characters were simple. The sequences were dovetailed
  well and the scenes changed quickly. A Vedantin, prolific
  writer in Sanskrit,Tamil and Manipravala, Desika, who it is
  believed was conferred the titles "Vedantacharya" and "Sarva-
  Tantra Svatantra" by the Lord and the Divine Mother and
  "Kavitarkika Simham" by scholars, chose to lead a simple life.
  He was chiefly responsible for saving the "Sruta Prakasika",
  a commentary on "Sri Bhashyam".


  The script for the play, enacted at the Krishna Gana Sabha on
  sunday was by <a student> of the noted scholar
  O.R.Rajagopalachariar. The music rendering of the slokas was
  pleasing.

  The play commenced with the boy, Desika, revealing his precocity
  among scholars. The procession of Lord Varadaraja with all
  paraphernalia on the stage had a tremendous impact. The downpour
  of gold coins to help a poor bridegroom on appeal to the Divine
  Mother, the defeat of scholars of other religious schools, the
  composing of the poem "Paduka Sahasram" during one night, the
  lesson taught to a sorcerer who with his powers tried to cause
  damage to his physical system, the saving of the valuables when
  marauders plundered Srirangam Temple, his expertise in various
  fields like sculpture and his reverence shown to co-religionists
  who mistook him, were some of the scenes depicted.

  The play only reveals parts of Desika's life, such as the way in
  which some people tried to mix gold with the alms collected by
  him daily only to help him tide over his chosen lifestyle and
  his polite refusal to accept Vidyaranya's request by saying that
  his grand father (Brahma) has left him a great legacy (Lord
  Varadaraja).

  Sri K.Parasaran commending the actors' dedication said that the
  drama was neither purely religious nor social, but essentially
  spiritual. By staging it frequently, the drama can reach the
  standards set by troupes like that of Nawab Rajamanickam.

  Sri Velukkudi Krishnan explained that through such plays, we
  could propagate the message of our illustrious spiritual
  leaders. M.V.Anantha Padmanaban, editor of the magazine
  "Sri Sriranga Satajit Kripa" and director of the play "Desika
  Vijayam", referred to his ambition to present the glory of
  the 108 Divya Kshetras on stage.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

  The reports/reviews on this play appeared also in the Tamil
  Daily "Dinamani", Magazines like "SrI RanganAtha PAdukA",
  "SrI Hayagriva PriyA" and Newsweek. The NEWS of Chennai
  Doordarshan, showed a clipping from this drama and reported
  the unique achievement of a full length Sanskrit drama with
  very good settings and acting, and able direction and script
  writing by SrI Ananthapadmanaban, who made the play easily
  understandable for everyone. He has also been interviewed by
  the Internet Radio viz. "Num-Radio".

  These reports and sample Photos of this play will soon be made
  available at the Web-site http://www.garuda.com. SrI Achutha -
  RAman of Singapore will update us about it.

  The Master-Copy of the video cassette of this play is ready.
  Depending upon your orders, copies will be made.

 *******************************************************************
 * It is priced at US$10 for those at US, (Singapore)$15 for those *
 * at Singapore and Rs.300 for those at India and elsewhere.       *
 *******************************************************************

  The summary of each act of the play was announced in Tamil during
  the live show. It has been well recorded in the Video-Cassette as
  well and it will help a lot in understanding each act. Pamphlet
  summarizing each act in English will also be given alongwith the
  cassette.

  Kindly come forward to get the video cassettes. aDiyEn need not
  elaborate on the impact of visual media, since you all know much
  more about it. In this generation, its very important to support
  and encourage these ventures, which makes the sampradAyam reach
  the people at large. Apart from oneself getting benifited out of
  watching the play, it will be a big encouragement for
  SrI MV Ananthapadmanaban also to produce more such plays. He is a
  real "trend-setter" for this age, in making the sampradAyam reach
  the people through dramas.

  He remarked that he is only following the footsteps of our
  pUrvAchAryas like SwAmi DESikan, who presented the tenets of
  ViSishtAdvaita through the outstanding drama "Sankalpa -
  SUryOdayam". Even NammAzhwAr's ThiruvAimozhi is like a play
  with many characters viz. PerumAL, PirAtti, parAnkusa nAyaki,
  thAyAr, thOzhi and others.

 aDiyEn sincerely wishes that each and every SrI VaishNava should
 have a copy of this video cassette. Please do convey your pledges
 to me. Kindly mention the type of format you need : Indian (PAL),
 US (NTSC) etc. Please issue the cheques in favour of
 "M.V.Ananthapadmanaban" and mail to my address  11 Hasthigri St,
 Chennai 600-033,India.

 aDiyEn's Tel # : 483-4676. You can reach SrI Ananthapadmanaban
 at 471-2284.

 aDiyEn humbly requests the co-ordinators of various organizations
 like NAMA to pass on the information to their members and actively
 participate in distributing these cassettes. If possible, one can
 locally get the orders for the cassettes and finally inform me.
 The cassettes will be kept ready here and arrangements can be
 made to deliver them at appropriate destinations within Chennai.
 We shall also discuss about the way in which the cassettes can
 be made available to those who want them at US,Singapore, Bahrain
 and other such places.

  The script for the next "Mega Play" in manipravALam (Judicious
  mixture of Tamil and Sanskrit), on Lord VaradarAja of KAnchi,
  viz."VAraNa veRpu" (Elephant Hill ie.Hasthigiri), has already
  been written by SrI Ananthapadmanaban. More on this very
  exciting play later ....

 For now, please come forward with enthusiasm to order these
 cassettes, specifying the format you need. 

 There is also an idea of making a CD-ROM. aDiyEn will inform
 you all, when the plan gets finalized. 

Thanks a lot in advance.

 Eagerly awaiting for your pledges,

 aDiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,
 K.K. AnantapadmanAbhan (alias K.K.Anand).
 krishNArpaNam.

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