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Sri Krishna Parijatam – Celebrating 20 Years Of Samskrita Bharati

K. Arvind
03/08/2016

Sri Krishna Parijatam – Celebrating 20 years of Samskrita Bharati 

न तज्ज्ञानं न तच्छिल्पं न सा विद्या न सा कला |
नासौ योगो न तत्कर्म नाट्येऽस्मिन् यन्नदृश्यते ||

na tajgyaanam na tachchilpam na saa vidyaa na saa kalaa |
naasau yogo na tat karma naatyesmin yannadrushyate ||

There is no knowledge, no craft, no learning, no art, no action that is not found in dance
(
Natyashastra (I.116))

Samskrita Bharati USA is celebrating its 20th anniversary with “Sri Krishna Parijatam”, a colorful and vibrant Kuchipudi dance drama choreographed by the eminent dancer Padmabhushan Sri Vempatti Chinna Satyam, and presented by gifted dance teachers and professional artists including Prafulla Velury, Sushma Yechuri, Krishna Sampada Velury, Leela Mennillo, and Roger Mennillo. The opera, based on a story drawn from Harivamsha Purana, is scheduled for Saturday, April 16th 2016, 3:30 PM at Keefe Tech Auditorium, Framingham, MA. Tickets may be purchased online via Lokvani. Tickets include catered dinner from an Indian restaurant. All funds raised through this event will be used to support Samskrita Bharati’s mission of revitalizing Sanskrit.

Sri Krishna Parijatam

“Sri Krishna Parijatam” is a tale of possessiveness, love, ego, pride, jealousy, quarrels, the ultimate folly of all this, and the supremacy of Bhakti (devotion). The story drawn from Veda Vyasa’s Harivamsha Purana, which is considered a supplement (khila bhaga) to the Mahabharata, gets its name from the flowers of the magical Parijata tree, which provoke a quarrel between Sri Krishna’s consorts Satyabhama and Rukmini. The Parijata tree is a wish-fulfilling tree with miraculous powers that can heal the sick, restore youth to the aged, restore sight to the blind, and which fills its environment with divine music.

The drama starts with the divine mischief maker Sage Narada, who brings a present for Sri Krishna - blossoms from the Parijata tree - and suggests that Sri Krishna give it to one of his consorts. Sri Krishna gives it to Rukmini, the paragon of devotion to Sri Krishna, thus incurring the wrath of the Satyabhama, who is the epitome of pride and egotism. Sri Krishna tries to pacify Satyabhama by seizing the Parijata tree from Lord Indra, the king of the Gods, in whose garden it grows, and replanting it in Satyabhama’s garden. However, true to its divine nature the tree always deposits its blossoms in devout Rukmini’s garden, which Rukmini uses for her daily devotions to the Lord. This annoys Satyabhama and compounds the quarrel between the consorts. The drama ends with Narada’s enlightening instruction that Bhakti is the true way to win the Lord’s love. Please click here for a video clip from a past performance of this opera.

Vintage Bollywood movie fans may recall the 1966 Telugu movie “Sri Krishna Tulabharam”, in which this story is played out by the great thespians N.T. Rama Rao (as Sri Krishna), Anjali Devi (as Rukmini) and Jamuna (as Satyabhama).

Vempatti Chinna Satyam

Acharya Dr. Vempatti Chinna Satyam, hailing from a family of traditional dancers in the village of Kuchipudi in Andhra Pradesh, founded the Kuchipudi Art Academy in Chennai in 1963, out of a deep desire to spread the heritage of the great style of dance taught to him by his Guru Sri Vedantam Lakshmi Narayana Sastry. “Sri Krishna Parijatam” was his first composition and a great hit. Dr. Vempatti Chinna Satyam, who is featured in “Awakening Indians to India”, a Chinmaya Mission publication which presents all that is great about India, is renowned all over the world and is known for his charismatic choreography and scintillating style. Dr. Chinna Satyam traveled the world and raised funds to grow Kuchipudi Art Academy into a premier residential school, dedicated to the spread of the Kuchipudi dance form. This co-educational school, recognized by the Government of India as a Category 1 Eminent Institution, features spacious dance halls, a broad-based library and hostels. Students are trained here in the practical and theoretical aspects of the Kuchipudi dance form. The students are taught not only dance, but also music and Sanskrit, as these are considered subjects closely related to dance.

The Artists

Natya SudhalahariPrafulla Velury (who plays the role of Satyabhama) is an accomplished Kuchipudi dancer, choreographer, Carnatic singer and teacher, who started performing at the age of three. She is a student of Guru “Nataraja Hamsa” Sri D.V. Satyakumar, a disciple of Dr. Vempatti Chinna Satyam. She has over 300 performances to her credit and has appeared on many popular Indian TV channels. Prafulla runs “PADAM”, a school dedicated to Kuchipudi dance and Carnatic Vocal music. Sushma Yechuri, who plays Sri Krishna, runs the Kalamandapam School of Kuchipudi Arts in Seattle, WA. She is an experienced Kuchipudi dancer who has given many performances in the US and India.   Krishna Sampada Velury, who plays Narada, and Leela Mennillo, who plays Rukmini, are students of Prafulla. Krishna Sampada, who is Prafulla’s daughter, was along with her mother awarded certificates by the Guinness World Records for her participation in “the largest Kuchipudi dance” during the first annual International Kuchipudi Convention organized by SiliconAndhra in Cupertino, CA in 2008. Dr. Roger Mennillo plays the Suthradhara who introduces the dance drama. The accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer Soumya Rajaram, who runs the Samskrithi School of Dance in the Boston area, will deliver the invocation.

Samskrita Bharati

Samskrita Bharati USA is a non-profit volunteer driven organization working to revive Sanskrit. Samskrita Bharati provides many immersive opportunities for adults, youth and children living in the United States to acquire proficiency in Sanskrit. Samskrita Bharati offers a course of study for youth called “Sanskrit as a Foreign Language” (SAFL), and is engaged with various school districts in the United States to recognize the course for high school academic credit. Samskrita Bharati also offers classes for adults, weekend camps, and yearly residential camps, as well as a distance learning program. Samskrita Bharati publishes various books, CDs and videos relating to Sanskrit, and also publishes “Sambhashana Sandesha” (संभाषण संदेशः), a monthly magazine in Sanskrit with a variety of content, written in a style that makes a lot of the content comprehensible to even beginners in Sanskrit. Samskrita Bharati USA is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015, and is active and vibrant in over 30 centers across the United States.

 

 



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