WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE TRIBUTE

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Rajahmundry
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GOVERNMENT ARTS COLLEGE, RAJAHMUNDRY WHERE STUDENTS EXCEL IN PERFORMING ARTS

THE TRADITION OF PERFORMING ARTS IN RAJAHMUNDRY :

Rajahmundry gets credit for being the home for great artists. The first drama in Telugu language was written by Kandukuri Veeresalingam, a native of Rajahmundry. During the few years I spent in Rajahmundry, I had witnessed several wonderful performances and all of them without paying an entrance fee or buying a ticket. The community supports these performances and they are staged for public enjoyment free of cost. I had earlier mentioned about a traditional art form known as ‘BURRA KATHA‘. There is another traditional form of story narration known as ‘HARI KATHA’ and it introduced to me several interesting stories from the Indian epic poems. Apart from story narration, Rajahmundry is a great place to witness artists performing drama. The themes are selected from mythology, history, social satire and modern social life. We have several companies in Rajahmundry that provide costumes, makeup artists, and stage equipment. During the major festivals and summer school vacations, we very often get a chance to enjoy the performances on makeshift stages putup at road intersections during night time. At the Government Arts College, Rajahmundry, students always celebrate their annual functions with several drama performances.

JUST IN TIME- A LITTLE PERFORMANCE FOR LITTLE KIDS :

There is a memorable performance that I had witnessed at the Government Arts College, Rajahmundry, fully enacted by little kids. I remember some of the lines from this song drama :

A little girl sings,

Found a peanut, Found a peanut, Found a peanut Just Now”,

The girl relishes eating the peanut,

Very soon, the girl is in trouble,

“Stomach aching, Stomach aching, Stomach aching Just Now”,

The girl can not bear the pain and asks for help,

“Call the Doctor, Call the Doctor, Call the Doctor Just Now”,

A young kid in doctor’s costume arrives, and the girl instructs the doctor,

“Cut it Open, Cut it Open, Cut it Open Just Now”,

The young doctor performs the mock surgery as the girl demands,

“Find the Peanut, Find the Peanut, Find the Peanut Just Now,

The doctor successfully removes the offending Peanut, and the girl recovers,

“Thank You Doctor, Thank You Doctor, Thank You Doctor Just Now.

My sister was the little girl in this performance and the audience received this brief show with a great sense of amusement and because of that pleasurable experience, I still happen to remember the lines.

This is my tribute to the great lovers of performing arts whose patronage makes Rajahmundry a wonderful place and I still cherish those pleasant memories of spending the evening hours watching very entertaining dramas.

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

DANAVAIPETA MUNICIPAL HIGH SCHOOL, RAJAHMUNDRY,

S.S.L.C.  CLASS OF MARCH, 1961.

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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

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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.