Friday, May 19, 2017

Radha Madhava Mahotsavam . . !

When we say Radha Madhava Mahotsav, we immediately remember the cutely divine images of Radha and Krishna. For those, who are devoted in devotion and spirituality, this Mahotsav gives some inspiration and sense of “Gyan” (Knowledge). For the rest of us, we keep questioning, why do the humans need to celebrate the wedding – union of our creators. All “Gopikas” considered Sri Krishna Paramathma as their husband. But Sri Krishna Paramathma married only Rukmini and Sathyabama. Intriguing, right? Humans perform a wedding – a marriage – a divine reunion of two people who were never said to marry each other. There are some “puranas” that claim Krishna and Radha had “gandharva vivaham”.

Brahma Vaivartha Puranam – probably the only puranam that describes “Go - Lokham” to its fullest, also says that Go – Lokham is always above the Sathya – Lokham. And, in this Go – Lokham, the existence of Radha and Madhava is described as the “Sthri and Purusha Shakthi”, a form of energy that has no physique attributed to them. This existence, by itself, is considered to be the blissful state of togetherness, is playing into the world in the form of Krishna and Radha. We, by performing this simple act of Radha Madhava Mahotsavam – Sri Radha Krishna Kalyanam are actually glorifying the most potent spiritual wisdom. Goosebumps, right?
In this digital world we all live in, and in the midst of our busy family and career obligations, namasankeerthanam (i.e. chanting the name of the Lord) is the easiest avenue for us to profess our love to Krishna and Satsangams such as the Radhakalyanam provide us the opportunity for this namasankeerthanam.
Sri Radha Kalyana Mahotsavam is performed every year, by various Bhagavathars, for three days. In India, Aalangudi is very famous for this festival that there are historical facts to state that Radha Madhava Mahotsavam has been happening for seventy years. And, various Bhagavathars deem it their blessings to perform and / or take part in this Utsavam.
It is indeed our blessings and pleasure that people of New Jersey can witness one such divine happening, at Morganville Sri Guruvayurappan Temple, on 27 and 28 th of May 2017. Sri Satguru Seva Samajam, USA is conducting for the third successful time, “Sri Radhakalyana Mahotsavam – 2017” by Sri Swaminatha Bhagavathar and team.

NJ Swaminatha Bhagavathar and his team have been providing a platform for all of us to immerse ourselves in the devotion of Radha and Madhave. Let us all dunk ourselves in the divine ocean of namasankeerthanam, discover the “Radha” or the “Krishna” in us and pray for courage and strength to perform our karmas dutifully.
Also, Sri Satuguru Seva Samajam is taking an important step to educate our future generation on the importance of Bhakthi (devotion) towards God and Guru. All the children attending the event will be gifted the following two books published by Vidyuth Publications:
1. Short stories from Indian Mythology (4 stories with illustrations).
2. A short biography on the 68th Acharya (Mahaperiyava) of Sri Kanchi kamkoti Peetam.
Let us make sure to attend this Treasure Trove of Auspiciousness and feel the presence of divinity. Mark your calendars,


“Third year celebrations of Śrī Rādhā Kalyāna Mahotsavam in New Jersey during the Memorial Day weekend - May 27th and 28th, 2017 at Sri Guruvaayoorappan Temple, Morganville, NJ” . For more details, find the attached invitation and RSVP +17323258695
Radhey Krishna!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Dance, Music and Fridays

Life in New York has always been fun but there remains a yearning to witness a performance of Indian Art Form , every now and then! And also, speaking in our mother tongue and hearing it being spoken - ah, that feeling is so divine that no one can afford to miss!  There are lot of 'societies' and 'communities' which conduct Indian Arts and it is prudent to have the list of them so as to not miss a chance of being close to homeland.

Fridays are always , day to look forward to for it marks the beginning of celebrations and fundays - the weekend, obviously! After a long week - that definitely had not more than five days, we keep expecting the Friday Evenings. On one such Friday, (12th of May to be precise), seeing the 'face book events near me' I walked in to the Pearl studios to witness a "Mehfil" performance by "Aalokam" dance artists. The evening was also to feature The Madras Pianist -  Anil Srinivasan and The Delhi Dancer -  Ms. Abhinaya Penneswaran along with Aalokam dance company artists Varsha Radhakrishnan, Smruthi Suryaprakash and Vasudha Sharma. The choreography was done by Bharathi Penneswaran and Jyotsna KalyanSundar with Vignesh Ravichandran supporting them on the vocals.

(A collage of groupfies, selfies and performances)

To say a bit about these artists, Anil is known for his creativity in mix matching the unmatchable Indian Classical music with the unmistakable Western influences. His creations are so intrinsically twined with subtle structures and is soothing to the listen.  No wonder, he won "Pride of Tamilnadu" award earlier this year.

Abinaya, a young and energetic dancer trained in contemporary dance, jazz, ballet and  the classical Bharatanatyam, she took up dancing in 2010 at the age of 20, and has been training, teaching and performing ever since. She is a member of the Company and Faculty at Big Dance Centre and is also the Head of Department of Professional Dance Study Program at the institute.

Bharathi Penneswaran is a full time dancer, Jyotsna Kalyanasundar  - a dancer and Organizational Psychologist, Vignesh Ravichandran - singer and cancer research data specialist, Varsha Radhakrishnan - dancer and Public policy management, Smruthi Suryaprakash - a Ph D student in biomedical engineering and a dancer, and Vasudha Sharma - dancer and Lawyer.

The much awaited performances began with Pushpanjali - a classical piece in Bharathanatyam, invocating the Almighty  with Vignesh singing a few jathiswarams and Anil mesmerising on the keys. Audience who were expecting to see dancers in their traditional sarees or Baratham costumes adorned with temple jewellery were in for a  disappointment. All the performers  stunned the audience with their mordern yet ethnic kurtis and pants, simple yet elegant jumkas and natural looks. The back drop, as  the word Mehfil denotes  was an intimate set up yet pleasing to the eyes of the audience.

Following the Pushpanjali,  Anil Srinivasan  had the stage. He performed few songs of the Indian Music Director - "Isaignani" Illayaraja and Mastero A.R.Rahman. His performance showed how Piano could be versatile for Indian Classical, Semi - Classical and Western music, giving a new spin to those favorite songs of almost all Tamil people. For the western eyes, a performance is supposed to be a calm and quite one. However, for people like  Mr. Anil, responses from audience, in any form -  like singing along, clapping to the rhythm is always welcomed. After a brief talk to break the ice, when his fingers began to move effortlessly  on the keys of the piano, the audience were spell bound and stupified

The Madras Pianist - Anil Srinivasan
Abinaya's Solo performance was filled with so much energy and radiance, that the audience were in awe, seeing the young girl's co - ordination of her hands, legs and body movements and synchronizing them all with the music on the tape. Oh! watching this girl was pure bliss. It was sheer grace and no sooner did she start with slow arcs of the arms and torso than you felt the subordination of the dancer to larger principles.

Abinaya and Bharathi - Duet performance
Varsha, Smruthi and Vasuda's "Alarippu" and "Thillana" group performance looked remarkable. The whole dance performance was a study of contrast, I should say - looking down or up, moving in and out, bending left or right and coordination, every body part seemed to come into play in different combinations. one can witness the ladies' spontaneity.


yothsna's Solo Performance describing the romance of Radha with Krishna was ably supported by Vignesh's vocal "Hey Ra Radha!" The lady's performance - the length, the rhythmic complexity and intricate physical co - ordination, the expressions changing in a split second, proved to be amazing.
Bharathi's traditional performance on "Aanandha Nadanam" performed to taped music was so perfect that one could spot no flaws. Her steps, finite stretching of limbs and legs, the rapid eye movements, the body gesture beaming forward into the space, everything in transcendence. Her embellishment in some elaborate rhythms were note worthy to mention. 
Jyotsna Kalyan Kumar - Hey Ra Radha
The heartthrob of the evening was a duet performed by Bharathi and Abinaya - Bharathi performing Bharatham and Abinaya contemporary style, for an "English" song. Yeah, you read it, right. The duo brought in the contrast in one single frame, leaving the audience spell bound for about a couple of minutes. The duo never paused over those two minutes, passed through several accelerations, several swift movements covering the whole stage with a very remarked dynamics. 

The final performance of Thilana
The whole evening was aimed in appreciating the fusion of traditional and contemporary styles was a gala success. As audiences, we might see the efforts taken by all of them to make it happen, however there was traces of evolution seen - evolving from traditional purity to the contemporary richness. Hopes are that with the supports and criticisms from the audiences, these art forms would definitely evolve to take a better shape and stage.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

What you Miss, you Miss(ter)?

Missing has become a part and parcel of life.
We miss being just care free kids.
We miss the bread and jam.
We miss teddy bear school bags
We miss WWE play cards.
We miss 'Building block' video games.
We miss Prince of Persia
We miss super mario
We miss that computer miss
We miss that 'rose color ball - pen'
We miss MS Paint.
We miss those 'Neengal keattavai'

We grow up. People around us grow up. We get friends. We get love.

We miss friends.
We miss classrooms
We miss labs
We miss movie sessions
We miss tours.
We miss loved ones / once!
We miss 'family'.
We miss dreams

And, Missing all this, we also miss the Present - that is NOW !

People . . .

I do not understand people's emotions and the "WHY"s of all those emotions.
I do not know why they love those who are not meant for, why they betray those who are really good, why they be in a relationship and why they break up later. 
I do not know why they are weird or why they are kind.

People are unenlightened. They do not know who they are. They are lost in egos. They are lost in delusions. They swing from past to future. They do not stay in the present. 
People spend lot of time earning money. They amass plaudits before they are gone for ever. 
People dream. They imagine. 

It is indeed crazy to know people. People are not formula, to behave in the same way. People are not standard operating protocols to give always the same responses. That is the difference. 

People are different. People think different, People do differently. People behave differently. People are people. If we want to move forward, try to see people as people - different people and that is the beauty!
PC: WBK Photography