An unusual program in song, word and dance
The Hindu Women's Society commemorated Swami Vivekananda's 150th
birth anniversary with a Presentation in song, word and dance on The
spirit of Swami Vivekananda on May 4 at the Ramakrishna Hall.
Mrs.S.Duraiswmay’s Welcome Speech.
We were at the Ramakrishna Hall on the 4th of May this year. The hall
was full and around 6.10 in the evening, Aarathi was taken by two
danseuse for Swami Vivekananda while a third was ringing the temple bell
softly as the audience stood up in silence paying homage to the great
Swami whose 150th birth anniversary, the Kalagam was celebrating All was
still and the curtain gently opened depicting the emerging dawn at Kanya
Kumari - the tip of South India where a young man in sannyasin's garb
was sitting in deep meditation.
The breeze of early dawn was felt, the twitter of birds was heard and
a group of ashram students were performing the Surya Namaskaram to the
singing of the sloka Om Suryaya Namaha. A danseuse came from amongst the
ashram students and danced to the words of the Mantram Guru Brahma! Guru
Vishnu! Guru Devo Maheswara: ....
The setting was beautiful - ideal for the spirit of Swami
The compere's words, "Born on January 12, 1863, Naren who later
became Swami Vivekananda strode like a colossus on the Indian and
international scene. He introduced Hinduism to the west and reawakened
the Hindus of India from their slumber and servitude. He was born at a
time when his country was under British rule and his people were
politically suppressed, economically impoverished and socially divided.
He carried the message of the oneness of humanity and Hinduism's
acceptance of all religions as true," introduced the story of the
The story goes back to the time when together with his peers he
received the Sannyasin's orange robes being initiated into Sannyasam by
Sri Ramakrishna himself. It was sacrosanct to us in the audience to see
the six novitiates bowing low, touching the feet of their Guru and
receiving the orange garb - the ochre colour reminding each of the vows
they were taking representing the mental flame in which all desires are
extinguished. This physical symbol offers a protection to the young
monks as each pursues his life of spirituality and service.
Soon after the ordination, Naren, had a calling to live for a time as
a wandering monk. The urge to travel the length and breadth of India and
see for himself the plight of his country and his country-men started
him off on this wandering mission.
He left Kolkata and travelled far and wide and finally swam across
deeply agitated in mind and sat on the rock in the southern tip of India
that today bears his name.
Vote of thanks by Mrs.Indra Raj,
Mathaji's benediction speech
It was here that he received a vision of the future of one India and
realised, that even though as a nation, India may have lost its
individuality yet there was hope for his country and his fellow Hindus
to arise and awake in keeping with Hindu spiritual traditions. He
realised that religion was still very important in the peoples' life and
that this could be harnessed for spiritual and cultural renovations of
And the compere's voice tells us that it was then that Swamiji
resolved, "to dedicate himself to the service of India and to spread the
message of the Vedanta. This could be made possible through the training
of the young minds and the uplift of women and the masses."
He is seen invoking Mother India saying; "Arise O Mother and change
this sad scenario!" and a bevy of young dancers come dancing in invoking
Mother India asking, "Is this the great land where we were born into? -
the land that is now in this miserable state forgetting the beautiful
and great past? Where is that land? Arise! O Mother! and bring back this
land to its ancient glory!"
Swamiji was invited to participate in the World's Parliament of
Religions in Chicago in 1893 and the words of the compere comes saying,
"Sri Ramakrishna appears walking across the water directing him to
accept the invitation to go abroad.
And with the blessings of Shri Saradha Devi, he sets sail to America
as the Hindu representative.
The day he stood before the audience in Chicago at the Parliament of
Religions unfurling the Hindu Dharma flag saying, "Sisters and Brothers
of America," he emanated a magnifying power that mesmerised the audience
into pin-drop silence, only to rise to give him a standing ovation. The
significance of the opening words was certainly not lost on his
audience. The words reverberated with the exquisite beauty of the
spiritual message of the Atman resounding with the all embracing call to
kinship, unity and love for all as we listened mesmerised so many many
years later seeing the young Swami addressing the American audience..
He said, "I bring greetings to the youngest of the nations on behalf
of the most ancient order of monks in the world, the Vedic order of
Sannyasins, a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and
"We accept all religions as true," he says quoting the Vedic sloka.
He infused this spirit of tolerance and acceptance and its sense of
universality into Parliament as he received the resounding applause.
Several girls came dancing, beating the drum singing, Kottu murase!
Arise! Awake... One danseuse depicted the Hindu prayer followed by the
inspiring words, Buddham saranam gachchaami! Dharmam saranam gachchaami!
Sangam saranam gachchaami. And the remaining dancers brought out the
prayers of Islam and Christianity, as the Compere's words,
"As the different streams having their sources in different places
all mingle their water in the sea so, O Lord, the different paths which
men take through different tendencies, various though they appear,
crooked or straight, all lead to Thee!" floated through the air.
Swamiji's Vision of the future of India
This is followed by the touching scene of Sri Saradha Devi in
discussion with Swamiji and his colleagues. "Mother Saradhai! We are
here to humbly do your bidding; and give us your blessings," said the
young monk. Remember that service to mankind is indeed service to God,
she said blessing their endeavours.
And in came a bevy of young dancers dancing and asking questions
about the work that Swamiji and his colleagues are doing. "Can a bird
fly on one wing only," they danced and sang seeking equal opportunities
for women to receive education as men, considering a woman as mother and
respecting her always.While they discussed in song and dance the work
the Ramakrishna Mission was doing, the dancers danced saying that
several mission have been founded all over the world spreading
spirituality and serving to uplift the poor people And the Compere's
words came floating through the air -
"No peace and harmony could be brought about and no improvements
could be effected in any society until and unless the women and the
masses who form a greater part of the population are educated. If women,
who according to Swamiji are the embodiments of the Divine Mother, are
elevated then culture, freedom, peace and harmony will spread not only
in the homes but also amongst humanity."
The finale to the presentation was the singing of the Mangalam, a
benediction itself where the senior dancers came dancing-in singing,
Mangalam! to the worthy son of Bharata Mata! The son who realised the
importance of uplifting the woman and the masses through education -
The participants of the presentation carrying the lamp lit from Swami
Vivekananda's lamp came dancing to answer the curtain call and the grand
programme came to an end as the curtain came down.
Swami Vivekananda was the giant who in a span of thirty nine years
lived a life of five thousand years of spiritual and national
He strode like a colossus in the national and international scenes
carrying the universal message of the Oneness of humanity and harmony of
religions advocating a new social order based on Hindu spirituality and
the scientific advancement of the west - a happy blend of religion and
science, moral excellence and material prosperity.