CHENNAI: Bhagavatha Puranam highlights the impressive accounts of bhakthi bhava of a devout. It not only gives way for the path of devotion, but also becomes a definite route to salvation. It highlights the truth that god’s grace is necessary if the bhava of devotion and bhakthi have to take roots.
Whenever dharma or the code of righteousness loses ground, and evil forms gain upper hand, the lord incarnates to protect dharma and saves his devotees through his incarnation as Narasimha. It is the form that god assumed, which was novel and hitherto unimagined, to save his devotee Prahlada, whose life was threatened by his own father Hiranyakashipu.
We are aware Hiranakasipu did not like lord Vishnu, ever since his brother Hiranyaksha was slained by him in his Varaha Avatara. Hiranyakashipu had abolished the usage of the word ‘Narayana’ in his kingdom, which was a punishable offence. Whoever used it was subjected to death. But his own son Prahlada was a Narayana bhaktha.
Once, the king left his son Prahlada in Sukracharya’s Ashram. However, Sukracharya was unable to teach him anything he wanted. On the contrary, Prahlada ended up teaching the other students Narayana Mantra. Frustrated, he returned the boy to his father. Hiranyakasipu in his anger, ordered that his son be killed. Prahlada survived all attempts of murder by the king’s servants.
Hiranyakasipu asked Prahlada where the saviour Narayana was, and if he was in the pillar before them. Receiving the response in the affirmative, he proceeded to destroy the pillar, only to find a roaring Narasimha before him. Narasimha killed Hiranyakasipu and crowned Prahlada as the king.
The presentation of Prahlada - A Sangeetha Natya Roopakam before the overcrowded audience, was conceived and scripted by Aswin Kumar Iyer and choreographed by dancer Mahalakshmi Aswin, who founded the Tapas Academy. It was indeed a connoisseurs’ delight. The dance drama was wonderfully performed by the students of Tapas academy,.The performance took the audience into a mythical world of forms, sounds, songs and story. The play dealt with great sensitivity, love, poignancy and anxiety that human instinct can arouse, as a combination of natyam through facial expression, nrittam (dance), nirtyam (enactment) focused on mudras and sangeetham.
With Embar Kasturi, the spiritual guru giving the rendition of the significance of the story, before the performance, the remarkable presentation had a vision, retaining the depth and tradition of Indian culture.
All credits go to dancers Balagurunathan as Hiranyakasipu and dancer Sivakumar as Narasimha. But for a few technical glitches, I can reiterate that it was one of the most enlivening presentations that identified the subtleties and inner essence of all, as revealed in Bhagavatha Puranas, while at the same time retaining the Indian ethos.
I am sure that Tapas Academy, a non-profit cultural organisation, which devoted its full effort to promote classical music and art forms of the country, will carry the divine message throughout the country and abroad, through their innovative and enlightening presentation with complete depth.