WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE GATEWAY

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KANDUKURI VEERESALINGAM PANTULU GARU(16 APRIL, 1848 – 27 MAY, 1919), THE FATHER OF TELUGU RENAISSANCE 

I am a native of Rajahmundry of East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, India by way of my family connections. I had lived only a small part of my life in my hometown. Within those few years, Rajahmundry very graciously connected me to the nation that we know as India. On one hand, I was introduced to the traditions of River Worship and Idol Worship, I got acquainted with the ideas of ‘AHIMSA'(non-injury), and at the same time I was also introduced to India’s history of foreign occupation, the pain imposed by the Muslim invaders, the struggle for Independence from the British Rule and equally important is the social awakening of the people. During 19th century, India saw the rise of nationalism and simultaneously there was a wish to reform the society. The natives of Rajahmundry received inspiration from a variety of sources. Ms. Annie Besant who became the President of the Theosophical Society in 1907 had visited Rajahmundry twice and established a place of worship known as ‘Divya Gjyan Samaj’ in a residential sub-division of Rajahmundry which is still known as ‘ALCOT GARDENS'( named after Theosophist Henry Steel Olcott). Bipin Chandra Pal(1858-1932), the leader of ‘VANDE MATARAM’ nationalist movement had visited Rajahmundry in April 1907. Alluri Sita Ramaraju(1898-1924) was inspired by the patriotic zeal of the revolutionaries in Bengal and waged a brief war against the British winning the hearts of the natives of Rajahmundry. 

KANDUKURI VEERESALINGAM PANTULU GARU : 

He was born into a poor Brahmin family at Rajahmundry in 1848. About one hundred years later when I had arrived in Innis Peta subdivision of Rajahmundry, the first time I had known this great man was during a visit to the municipal park on the Main Road, just a short walking distance from my grandparents’ house. There is a very imposing statue and people spoke about him with pride and admiration.My eldest brother, Hari was a student at the Veeresalingam Theistic High School in Innis Peta. During the academic year 1952-53, I studied in 3rd grade at ‘SHADE GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL’ located near ‘KAMBALA CHERUVU'( Lake Kambala) while my family resided in Danavai Peta subdivision of Rajahmundry. Myself and my older brother Pratap used to walk to the school and the easiest way to reach the school was a private road which traverses the Veeresalingam Gardens. The subdivisions of Danavai Peta and the Danavai Pond and Prakasam nagar are located on the southern side of the Gardens and Gandhi Nagar is located along the northern perimeter of the Gardens. The school is at a short distance from the north-west entrance to the Gardens. Apart from the tombs of Veeresalingam and his wife RajyaLakshmi, the Gardens had a venue to conduct marriage functions and there was a Home for Widows. On our way to the school, we used to enter the Widow’s Home and a classmate of ours by name Sai Baba would join us in the walk to the school. On our return trip, the three of us used to reach the Home and after leaving Sai Baba, myself and my brother would resume our walk to our residence in Danavai Peta. There were several occasions when we would wait at the Home while Sai Baba’s mother would be breast-feeding him. During that school year, it was my daily experience and I knew that my friend and his mother derived their support from this great benefactor known as Veeresalingam. 

As my family lived on the outer fringes of Veeresalingam Gardens during the most part of my later school years at Danavai Peta Municipal High School, walking across the Gardens and playing cricket in the evening in the open areas of the Garden became a part of my daily routine. The Gardens had several flowering plants and fruit bearing trees and to celebrate the festival of Ganesh we used to gather from the Gardens several flowers, leaves and fruits which are required for the worship. At the same time, I also knew about ‘HITHAKARANI SAMAJ’. Veeresalingam donated all his life time earnings and had established this trust in 1907. Addepalli Vivekananda Devi, a social worker and educationist lived in Danavaipeta and I had seen her several times and I was aware that she was continuing the relentless effort started by Veeresalingam to empower women and for the uplifting of women. In 1968, she had successfully established Srimati. Kandukuri Rajya Lakshmi College for Women near the Lake known as ‘DANAVAI GUNTA’. My sister had attended this College. 

Veeresalingam was influenced by the ideals of ‘BRAHMO SAMAJ‘ founded by the great social reformers of Bengal. Raja Ram mohan Roy, Keshub Chunder Sen and Iswar Chandra Vidya Sagar did much work for women’s emancipation and Veeresalingam was the pioneer of social reform in Andhra Pradesh apart from his remarkable contributions to Telugu literature and for the cause of education.

During the course of life, moments slip away and fortunately they are laid into account. If there are no memories, there is no life worth speaking about.

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,

M.B.B.S.  Class  of  April,  1970.

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE TRANSIENT

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BEADS OF WATER DROPS ON THE LOTUS LEAF

THE LOTUS EFFECT :

Botanist Wilhelm Barthlott of the University of Bonn in Germany discovered in 1982 that the lotus leaf has a naturally self-cleaning, water-repellant surface. The secret lies in waxy microstructures and nanostructures that, by their contact angle with water, cause water to bead and roll away just like mercury. Barthlott patented his discovery, calling it the Lotus Effect.

While Barthlott takes credit for his discovery of the waxy surface of the lotus leaf, Indians have known the lotus, an aquatic plant, for a very long time. Lord Vishnu, the Protector always carries a lotus flower in his hand, He is generally depicted in images in a lying pose with a lotus springing out of His belly button, His eyes are always compared to the petals of the lotus flower and His consort Goddess Lakshmi prefers to be seated on top of a lotus flower. Indians use the lotus flower for their worship and in Indian Art and Literature, lotus finds a prominent place and the Lotus has been given the official status of the National Flower. Indians are also equally impressed about the waxy nature of the surface of the lotus leaf and they know that the surface causes the water to bead and the drops roll away with great ease. This phenomenon is very often used to describe the transient nature of human existence.

TWO FACES OF THE COIN – TWO ASPECTS OF EXISTENCE :

The coins that we use are minted with two different faces and we need to flip the coin to see the face on the opposite side. So also, human existence has its two sides, an eternal entity and at the same time a transient being. I would refer to the following two verses to illustrate this view-point.

THE BHAGAVAD GITA, CHAPTER II, VERSE 13 :

“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth, and then to old age, similarly, the soul also passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change”.

Since every living entity is an individual soul, each is changing his body at every moment, manifesting sometimes as a child, sometimes as a youth, and sometimes as an old man, the spirit soul however remains the same and does not undergo any change. The individual soul eventually changes the body itself, the soul transmigrates from one body to another body and hence death is viewed as the soul changing bodies from old to new one. According to one’s work in the present life, the living entity experiences enjoyment or suffering with the changing of bodies. This view helps the individual not to lament about death.

SHANKARA’S ‘ BHAJA GOVINDAM ‘ VERSES :

The ‘ADVAITA’ school of Indian philosophy was founded by the great teacher Shankara who is popularly referred to as ‘SHANKARACHARYA’. He had composed verses known by the name ‘ BHAJA GOVINDAM ‘( PRAISE THE LORD VISHNU) in which he described the transient, ephemeral, and fleeting nature of human life and existence. He compared human life to that of the bead of water drop on the surface of the Lotus leaf. He reminded us to understand that the body’s existence is very temporary and he had observed that the entire humanity is suffering due to sickness caused by ignorance which makes people to crave with a sense of attachment and desire to keep their impermanent existence.

The individual entity is an embodied soul. The soul is eternal but the physical body is temporary and just like the water drop on the surface of the Lotus leaf, the drop could roll away any moment, and the soul would change bodies sooner than we wish or desire. There is no point in cultivating a sense of attachment to the body as the soul is not willing to cling to the physical body. Man is a created being, exists as an individual with individuality, and has substance that is immortal, imperishable, or eternal. However, Man, the physical being with a shape and form is transient as he is born with a plan for the dissolution of its form.

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,

DANAVAIPETA MUNICIPAL HIGH SCHOOL, RAJAHMUNDRY, EAST GODAVARI DISTRICT

S.S.L.C.  CLASS  OF  MARCH,  1961. 

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE PATH

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986)
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JIDDU KRISHNAMURTI GIVING HIS SPEECH IN 1929 DISSOLVING ‘THE ORDER OF THE STAR‘.

THE STORY ABOUT ‘ THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM ‘:

The New Testament Book of the Gospel according to Matthew, Chapter 2, verse 1 and 2 describe the visit of the ‘Magi’. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his STAR in the east and have come to worship him.” And verse 9 further states that after they had heard the king, they(Magi) went on their way, and the STAR they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the STAR, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.

THE DISSOLUTION OF ‘THE ORDER OF THE STAR’ :

‘The Order of the Star’ was an organisation built around Jiddu Krishnamurti by Ms. Annie Besant and other Theosophists with the hope that he would be the vehicle for the return of the Christ or ‘MAITREYA’.

JESUS THE WAY TO THE FATHER :

In the New Testament Book of the Gospel according to John, Chapter 14, verse 6 describes Jesus as the way to the Father. Jesus answered, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

“TRUTH IS A PATHLESS LAND” :

‘Truth is a pathless land’ was the speech made by Jiddu Krishnamurti in 1929 when he dissolved the Order of the Star. “I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you can not approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organised; nor should any organisation be formed to lead or coerce people along any particular path.” Krishnamurti believed that the individual must establish his uniqueness, he should discover for himself that absolute, unconditioned Truth.

THE FEAR OF THE BEATEN PATH :

The much traveled or a beaten path is recommended if you are aware of your destination. The beaten path provides the wayfarer a sense of security and comfort. In India, thinkers tend to believe that the principles underlying macrocosm(Universal) and microcosm(Individual) are related. According to Vedas which guide the Indian mind, the ‘BRAHMAN'( the Absolute Reality or ‘The Father’) cannot be known by any empirical means of knowledge. Socrates had stated that ‘ Know thyself, and you will know the universe and the gods ‘. In a similar manner Indian thinkers have always encouraged the values of introspection, to reflect upon your own mind and thoughts to understand self and self-knowledge is a tool, is the way and the path to the Truth. As an Indian, I always experience a sense of fear about the ‘Beaten Path’ and the assurance given by Jesus that He is the Way somehow does not dispel the sense of fear to travel on that path. I need an unbeaten path.

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,

Danavaipeta Municipal High School, Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, India,

S.S.L.C.,  Class  of  March,  1961.

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE STAR

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ANNIE BESANT, b. OCT.1 , 1847 , LONDON – d. SEPT. 20 , 1933 , ADYAR, MADRAS. THE CHARISMATIC ENGLISH WOMAN WHO MADE INDIA HER HOME. Mylapore, Madras is my birth place. I am native of Rajahmundry. Ms. Annie Besant had visited Rajahmundry twice and opened a place of worship known as ‘DIVYA GJYAN SAMAJ’ to honour the memory of Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, the first President of Theosophical Society International at Adyar, Madras. This temple is located in Alcot Gardens, Rajahmundry.

THEOSOPHY – THE CULTURAL ENRICHMENT OF INDIA :

Theosophy is derived from the Greek ‘theos’; “God”, and ‘sophia’; “Wisdom”, and is usually translated as “Divine Wisdom”. Theosophy is based upon the principle that God must be experienced directly to be known at all. It lays emphasis on mystical experience. It claims that a deeper spiritual reality exists with which direct contact may be established through intuition, meditation, and revelation, by transcending man’s normal consciousness. It is held that knowledge of the ‘Divine Wisdom’ gives access to the mysteries of nature and man’s deeper being. It views that the ‘reality’ is constituted by one principle. Theosophists have affirmed an underlying all-encompassing unity that subsumes all differentiation. The Theosophical Society affirms the following objectives; 1. to form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour; 2. to encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy, and science; and 3. to investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man. The Society insists that it is not offering a new system of thought but it merely identifies certain universal concepts of God, nature and man that are known to wise men in all ages and that may be found in the teaching of all the great religions.

AN ENGLISH WOMAN IN INDIA :

Annie Besant after her conversion to Theosophy in 1889, traveled to Adyar, Madras and made India her home. She was active in educational and humanitarian work in India. She founded the Central Hindu College at Varanasi. Beginning in 1916, she became involved in the Indian independence movement and established the Indian Home Rule League. She was the president of the Theosophical Society from 1907 until her death in 1933. She wrote several books to promote understanding of theosophical belief. Her leadership gave Indians a sense of pride in that they were exporting ideas of importance to the West. The Theosophy movement has been a pioneering agency in the promotion of greater Western acquaintance with Eastern thought.

DISCOVER ‘ THE STAR OF INDIA ‘ – THE SECOND COMING OF BUDDHA :

Jiddu Krishnamurti born into a Telugu speaking Hindu Brahmin family at Madanapalli in the present State of Andhra Pradesh was adopted by Annie Besant in 1909 when he was about 14 years old. She proclaimed that Krishnamurti is the vehicle of a coming World Teacher, a reincarnation of ‘ Bodhisattva, “MAITREYA” the Second Buddha. She traveled in Great Britain and the United States with Krishnamurti whom she presented as a new Messiah. In 1911, she founded the ‘Order of the Star of India‘ based on the claim that he was Buddha reincarnated. She was his legal guardian till 1921.In 1929, Krishnamurti dissolved this movement.

THE QUEST FOR TRUTH :

The keynote of Annie Besant’s varied activities was her unswerving loyalty to Truth. As she said, “She(Truth) may lead me into wilderness, yet I must follow her; She may strip me of all love, yet I must pursue her; though She slay me, yet will I trust in her; and I ask no other epitaph on my tomb but ‘she tried to follow Truth’ .”

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,

Danavaipeta Municipal High School, Rajahmundry, East Godavari District, India,

S.S.L.C.  CLASS  OF  MARCH,  1961.

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE BRAHMIN

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COLONEL HENRY STEEL OLCOTT(BORN. AUGUST 2, 1832,ORANGE, N.J. U.S.A., DIED. FEBRUARY 17, 1907, ADYAR, MADRAS( CHENNAI ), INDIA)

“OH, EAST IS EAST, AND WEST IS WEST,

AND NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET.

TILL EARTH AND SKY STAND PRESENTLY AT

GOD’S GREAT JUDGEMENT SEAT”.

(Rudyard Kipling, English poet, novelist, Nobel Prize winner)

THE WEST MEETS THE EAST – THE EAST-WEST CONFLUENCE :

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Colonel Henry Steel Olcott founded the Theosophical Society and established its headquarters at Adyar, Madras( Chennai ).

Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, an American lawyer and philosopher founded the Theosophical Society in New York City in 1875 along with Russian-born religious mystic Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, William Judge and others. He became the first president of the Theosophical Society. In 1878 he and Blavatsky visited India. The two settled there in 1879 and in 1882 established the permanent headquarters of the Theosophical Society at Adyar, Madras. Theosophy incorporates aspects of Buddhism, Hinduism and Christian esotericism. His acceptance by and influence on the Buddhists was far reaching. Identified with Eastern philosophical thought, he also helped revive Hindu philosophy. A Pandit conferred on him the sacred thread of the Brahmin caste.

Olcott dedicated his energies to fraternal understanding and the search for truth. He referred to theosophists as “original searchers after spiritual knowledge”. In his farewell message he expressed the wish ” to impress on all men on earth that ‘there is no religion higher than Truth’ and that in the Brotherhood of Religions lies the peace and progress of humanity.”

Upon his death at Adyar, Madras, India in 1907, Olcott was succeeded as president by Ms. Annie Besant, a social reformer and Indian independence leader. She had visited my home town Rajahmundry twice and had established ‘Divya Gjyan Samaj'(Divine Wisdom Assembly) building at Alcot Gardens. The teachings of the Theosophical Society emphasized human service, a spiritual evolutionism and the role of suprahuman masters of Wisdom(“ADEPTS”).

The natives of my home town Rajahmundry still honour the memory of Colonel Olcott. The residential community of ‘ ALCOT GARDENS ‘ has derived its name from “OLCOTT”. (Kindly review the comment posted .)

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,

Danavaipeta Municipal High School, Rajahmundry, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, India,

S.S.L.C.,  Class  of  March, 1961.

Related Article : http://bhavanajagat.wordpress.com/2008/05/08/the-east-west-confluence-discover-the-star-of-india/

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE BLISS

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DHARMA RAJA, THE ELDEST OF PANDAVAS RECEIVING “AKSHAYA PAATRA” FROM ‘SURYA BHAGAWAN’

THE STORY OF AKSHAYA PAATRA :

The word ‘Akshaya Paatra’ in Sanskrit language means an inexhaustible vessel. This pot could supply delicious meals in an endless manner. This story is found in the Indian Epic of Mahabharata. Akshaya Paatra was a divine gift given to Dharmaraj by the Sun god, Surya. The pot was given to help the princely family of Pandavas to tide over their difficulties while they spent twelve years in the forest. They had to spend time in exile after losing their kingdom in a game of dice. Akshaya Paatra would provide meals so that the Pandava family could keep up with the Indian traditions of hospitality.Also keeping in line with the tradition, each day Akshaya Paatra would serve the final and last meal to the hostess. The hostess, Draupadi was very mindful of her traditional role and each day she would feed all the guests, all the dependents, all the family members and would then take the last meal.

THE DISCOVERY OF BLISS FROM AN EMPTY POT :

As per the story from Mahabharata, one evening, Draupadi found herself in a troubled situation. A Hindu sage by the name of Durvasa with a large entourage of his disciples had arrived at the forest abode of Pandavas after Draupadi had taken the last meal from Akshaya Paatra. She prayed to Lord Krishna seeking help to feed her guests. Lord Krishna appeared before her and had asked her to feed Him from Akshaya Paatra. Draupadi regretfully answered that the pot was empty. He had directed her to take a closer look. Draupadi carefully reexamined the pot and discovered a single grain of rice that was stuck in the pot. As instructed, she fed the last grain from the pot to Lord Krishna and now the pot became truly empty. Lord Krishna had derived His satisfaction when the last grain from the pot was removed and simultaneously, the entire party of guests experienced full satiation and Draupadi escaped from the burden of actually feeding them that evening.

I am speaking of this story about Akshaya Paatra to understand the concept about emptying the mind to discover pure consciousness. In Indian literature and idiom, the mind is often compared to a vessel or a pot. When all thoughts( or desires) are taken out of the mind, what would remain in the mind is like that single grain of rice that Draupadi had discovered in the otherwise empty Akshaya Paatra. This last grain would represent the pure consciousness which easily united with the Divine consciousness to provide pure Bliss and Joy. Lord Krishna could have easily provided a hearty meal to the entire party of guests. He did not choose to provide happiness through gratification of the physical needs of the body. Akshaya Paatra if seen as the representation of the mind, the mind was truly emptied when the last grain was removed from it and Lord Krishna had demonstrated that there is no need to fill-up the pot to feed our desires. He had delivered Joy, Bliss, and a total sense of perfect satisfaction while the pot remained empty. Just like the empty Akshaya Paatra that provided Bliss, when the last grain of desire is removed from the mind and given in offering to the Lord, the Lord would provide all that you may need without physical gratification of the senses. Man at any given age, under all given circumstances, in good health, or ill-health exists in this physical world because of ‘God-Connection’, the Connection between man, the energy seeker, and God, the energy provider. When the God-Connection is recognized, man experiences a sense of satisfaction, mental satiation, and he would have no desires to be gratified.

 

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,

 Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh,

 

 

 

M.B.B.S.,  Class  of  April,  1970.

 

 

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE CONTENTMENT

HIS HOLINESS, THE 14TH DALAI LAMA SPOKE ON “ENGAGING WISDOM AND COMPASSION” ON APRIL 19-20, 2008 AT ANN ARBOR.

THE NATURE OF EXISTENCE-THE CONCEPT OF ‘SUNYATA'(EMPTINESS OR NOTHINGNESS) :

Acharya Nagarjuna(A.D. 150- A.D. 250) born into a Brahmin family had lived in the present State of Andhra Pradesh, India. The emptying of the mind and the attainment of an undifferentiated unity is the theme of the ‘SUNYATA’ doctrine developed by Acharya Nagarjuna. ‘Sunyata’ can be stated as a state of “PURE CONSCIOUSNESS” in which the mind has been emptied of all particular objects and images. The emptied mind reflects or manifests the undifferentiated reality in which the world appears without distinctions and multiplicity. Nagarjuna was critical of both Buddhist and Hindu views on existence. According to Nagarjuna, the individual person is empty and lacks an eternal self. He extended the concept of ‘Sunyata’ to cover all concepts and all entities. Nagarjuna’s philosophy is also called ‘Madhyamika’ because it claims to tread the middle path. As per Nagarjuna, the nature of existence is relational. There is no eternal reality behind changing forms of existence. There is no soul, no thing, no concept independent of its context, all things are empty of an absolute reality and exist only in relation to conditions. The knowledge, perceiving the emptiness of all things and hence becoming detached from them, would help us to practice “nonattachment” in our engagement with people. If “EMPTINESS” is the highest Wisdom, it would help us to develop a sense of detachment and enable us to act with Compassion.

H.H. DALAI LAMA’S PRESENTATION-“ENGAGING WISDOM AND COMPASSION”:

“At the root of all our suffering lies a form of ignorance, a form of unknowing”. The origin of suffering is attachment. “Self-grasping( or self-focus) gives rise to suffering. It is the root of all afflictions”. “Self-grasping” leads to attachment to impermanent things or thoughts which gives rise to suffering. Emptiness is created by casting aside the attachment to everyday things and worries. “The ultimate awakening mind is the Wisdom that directly realizes emptiness”.

H.H. Dalai Lama advised practicing loving kindness to eliminate the afflictions caused by attachment. The ultimate goal, he said is “cultivating the Wisdom of no self”, a sense of grand emptiness that leaves behind everyday pollutants that can take both physical or emotional form.

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE KATHA

THE PRIDE OF TELUGU PEOPLE-ALLURI SITA RAMA RAJU

BURRA KATHA :

Burra Katha is the most popular art form of narrative entertainment in the State of Andhra Pradesh, India. In this theatrical form, a story teller accompanied by two partners, one on either side, recites a story while speaking, singing and dancing. The term “BURRA” refers to a stringed musical instrument called “TAMBURA”. The resonating chamber is made of a hollow shell( and the word ‘burra’ also refers to the human skull in Telugu language). The main performer wears this instrument across his right shoulder. The term “KATHA” means a story. Story telling is an important Oral Tradition in India and there are several traditional ways of narrating a story.

The main performer (‘KATHAKUDU’) plays the ‘tambura’ as he dances rhythmically moving forwards and backwards on the stage while reciting a story. He also weras a metal ring and carries a ring in his palm to add to the tempo while he sings. The co-performers play two-headed earthen drums(‘DAKKI’)to accentuate the songs. All the three performers will be wearing anklets with tiny bells called ‘ANDELU’ or ‘GAJJELU’ which add to the music when they dance and perform. One of the drummer is referred to as the ‘RAJKIYA’ and he comments on contemporary political and social issues even if the main story concerns historical or mythological events. The other drummer is known as ‘HASYAM’ and he cracks jokes and provides comic relief and constantly keeps the audience well entertained and keeps up their interest in the performance. The performers regularly address each other and the co-performers often interrupt the main performer to ask doubts and they add emphasis to the main events in the story with short words and phrases. Generally, the performance would begin with a prayer song. Then the main performer introduces the story by establishing the place, time and historical context of the action. The co-performers repeat the refrain of the narrative. The story begins with the statement, “VINARA BHARATA VEERA KUMARA, VEERA GADHA VINARA” whcih means,HEAR, THE YOUNG BRAVE SON OF BHARAT(INDIA), HEAR THE STORY OF THE BRAVE and the co-performers affirm the proceedings with the words ” TANDHANA TANE TANDHANA NA “. After these introductions, the main plot begins in which all three performers take an active role assuming various characters in the incidents, as well as providing narrative bridges between incidents. Thus, dance, recitation, songs, dialogues and enactment of scenes provide variation within a strong narrative line of Burra Katha.

Burra Katha stories could be mythological, historical and sociopolitical. It became the medium to enlighten the people about the political situation and played an effective role in conveying the message to people and awakening them during Indian Independence Movement. This art form became so popular, the British government banned its performance in the Madras Presidency and Nizam, the ruler of the princely State of Hyderabad, prohibited these shows in Telengana region.

MY CONNECTION TO THE NATION :

I am connected to the place known as Rajahmundry of East Godavari district by way of my family connections. The most important connection is that my father and my grandfather belong to Rajahmundry and both of them worked for the ‘CROWN’ while the British ruled India.The British created opportunities to render public service and Natives who served in the name of the Crown remained in their jobs even after Independence as their services were very much appreciated by the community and such public service was not seen as a hindrance to winning the political freedom. I had arrived on the scene after India’s independence and the relics of the colonial rule were still fully evident. For example, the elementary school in my neighborhood was known as King George elementary school. As I grew up, it is Rajahmundry which had shaped my connection to the rest of the country. The spirit of ‘NATIONALISM’ was fully thriving even after the departure of the British. The people of Rajahmundry loved all types of freedom fighters. On one hand, they adored Mahatma Gandhi and on the other hand, they embraced ‘NETAJI’ Subhash Chandra Bose, a revolutionary as their true hero. They made no distinction between the non-violence, ahimsa credo of Gandhi and the revolutionary tactics of armed rebellion advocated by Bose. Fighting the foreign occupier was important to the natives of Rajahmundry and all kinds of tactics were equally welcome. The story that connected me to this spirit of ‘nationalism’ had reached me by way of Burra Katha performances that I had witnessed in Rajahmundry. The one story that had made a lasting impression was about a young freedom fighter known popularly as “RAJU”.

“ANDHRA SRI “, ALLURI SITA RAMA RAJU( July 4, 1897- May 7, 1924) :

He lives in the hearts of the Telugu people as the “Manyam Veerudu”(Hero of the Jungles). He was Andhra’s early revolutionaries. He was disillusioned with Gandhi’s nonviolence. He was inspired by the patriotic zeal of the revolutionaries in Bengal. He fought for social justice, for freedom and to liberate the innocent tribals from ruthless exploitation and oppression. The tribal corridor known as ‘MANYAM’ extends from Vijayanagaram to Godavari districts. He made this Agency area as his home and launched his struggle against the British with the help of the tribal people. This young man renounced his marital life and became the leader of what is known as the ” RAMPA REBELLION “. In Telugu language, it is known as the ” RAMPA PITURI “. The word ‘pituri’ means complaints. He believed that freedom is not something to be begged for. He waged a successful but short lived guerilla warfare against the British occupiers from 1922 to 1923. The British general Rutherford who was deputed to crush the uprising used trickery and enticed Raju with a deal for peace.The British burnt down entire villages of the tribals, beaten the old and the children, molested the women, killed the young and tortured the captives. Raju who had innocently shown up to talk peace to save the tribals from the campaign of terror unleashed by the British forces was unceremoniously captured, was tied up to a tamarind tree and was brutally shot dead with a rifle in Mampa village, in the forests of Chintapalli. He became a martyr at the young age of 28. He was executed without a trial on May 7, 1924. His story generates the feelings of nationalism and is very effectively narrated to the people in the format of Burra Katha. Raju had his early education at Rajahmundry and I feel connected to my place and to the rest of the country because of this man of great spirit and honor.

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE LORD

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Moses parts the Red Sea in “The Ten Commandments” (1956) film directed by DeMille.

 

This entry is dedicated to the memory of legendary actor Charles Heston who passed away on April 5, 2008 at age 84.

In the Holy Bible, The Old Testament, The Second Book of Moses known as EXODUS traces Moses’ personal development and his emergence as one of history’s most decisive, powerful leaders. In Jewish history, Moses earned a place primarily as a liberator. He led the march from slavery to freedom, from Egypt to the Promised Land. Jews celebrate their liberation from slavery in Egypt as “PASSOVER” festival. Passover is one of the most important Jewish festivals. It is celebrated for seven days(by the Jewish calendar, Nisan 15-22). This year the festival begins on Saturday, April 19th. Jews celebrate the festival while reading the Book of Exodus. It includes encounters and conversations with God that have no equal in the Bible. Exodus contains much material about the nature of God. Moses met God in intimate ways which is not possible for other humans.

THE PROPER NAME OF GOD :

EXODUS, Chapter 3, verses 13-14

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you’, and they ask me, ‘What is his name ?’ Then what shall I tell them ?”

God said to Moses, ” I AM THAT I AM “. This is what you are to say to the Israelites. ‘ I AM has sent me to you.”

I AM is the most proper name of God because it signifies that the being of God is His very essence and it is the proof of His existence. The great ” I AM ” would represent the following ideas :

1. I AM THE LORD GOD.

2. I AM THE SUPREME BEING.

3.I AM GREATER. THERE IS NO THOUGHT GREATER THAN I AM.

4.I AM THE UNCHANGING REALITY.

5. I AM THE TRUTH.

6. I AM THE PRIME CAUSE. I AM THE CREATOR.

7. I AM THE SOURCE OF LOVE, GRACE, AND COMPASSION.

Rudra N Rebbapragada, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.,

Organization: The Spirits of Special Frontier Force.

 

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE PROPHET

MOSES PARTS THE RED SEA IN ” THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ” 1956 FILM DIRECTED BY DEMILLE

This entry is dedicated to the memory of legendary actor Charles Heston who passed away on April 5, 2008 at age 84.

In the Holy Bible, The Old Testament, The Second Book of Moses known as EXODUS traces Moses’ personal development and his emergence as one of history’s most decisive, powerful leaders. In Jewish history, Moses earned a place primarily as a liberator. He led the march from slavery to freedom, from Egypt to the Promised Land. Jews celebrate their liberation from slavery in Egypt as “PASSOVER” festival. Passover is one of the most important Jewish festivals. It is celebrated for seven days(by the Jewish calendar, Nisan 15-22). This year the festival begins on Saturday, April 19th. Jews celebrate the festival while reading the Book of Exodus. It includes encounters and conversations with God that have no equal in the Bible. Exodus contains much material about the nature of God. Moses met God in intimate ways which is not possible for other humans.

THE PROPER NAME OF GOD :

EXODUS, Chapter 3, verses 13-14

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you’, and they ask me, ‘What is his name ?’ Then what shall I tell them ?”

God said to Moses, ” I AM THAT I AM “. This is what you are to say to the Israelites. ‘ I AM has sent me to you. “

I AM is the most proper name of God because it signifies that the being of God is His very essence and it is the proof of His existence. The great ” I AM ” would represent the following ideas and you may explore these thoughts and the references are cited :

1. I AM THE LORD GOD.(Genesis 46:3, Leviticus 18:2)

2. I AM THE SUPREME BEING. THE GOD OF THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE.( Jeremiah 32:27)

3. I AM GREATER. THERE IS NO THOUGHT GREATER THAN I AM.(Genesis 35:11, Isaiah 51:15)

4. I AM THE UNCHANGING REALITY. I CHANGE NOT.(Malachi 3:6)

5. I AM THE TRUTH.(John 14:6)

6. I AM THE PRIME CAUSE. I AM THE CREATOR.(Isaiah 45:18)

7. I AM THE SOURCE OF LOVE, GRACE AND COMPASSION.(Exodus 22:27)

8.I AM ETERNAL. IAM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA. ” WHO IS, AND WHO WAS,

AND WHO IS TO COME “. THE BEGINNING AND THE END.(Revelation 1:8, 21:6)

9. I AM THE FIRST AND I AM THE LAST(Isaiah 44:6)

10. I AM HOLY.(Leviticus 11:44,45, 19:2, 1 Peter 1:6)

11. I AM THE COVENANT MAKER.(Genesis 9:12, Exodus 34:10)

12. I AM THE PROVIDER OF LAWS.(Deuteronomy 4:8, 12:28, 13:18)

13. I OFFER LIFE OR DEATH.(Deuteronomy 30:11, 32:39)

14. I AM THE SAVIOR.(Isaiah 45:22)

15. I AM THE LIVING BREAD.(John 6:51)

16. I AM THE TRUE VINE.(John 15:1)

17. I AM THE TEACHER.(John 13:13)

18. I AM THE HEALER.(Exodus 16:21)

19. I AM THE DESTROYER.(Genesis 6:13)

20. I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.(John 11:25)