Message from the Artistic Director
LIFE ETERNAL is the aim of India’s three ancient religions – HINDUISM – BUDDHISM and JAINISM. The final destination is the same for all three religions but their paths to reach their destinations are different.
In our dance presentation we are exploring these divine messages given by Markhandeya in Hinduism, Buddha in Buddhism and King Payesi in Jainism.
It is a great privilege and honour to be working to explore the lives and teachings of such great souls and pass them on to our audiences though dance.
I would like to thank Dr. Tulsiram Sharma, who for the last eighteen years has been my guide and research advisor for my major dance works. Dr. Naren Wagle a friend for the last thirty years has given me so much information on Buddhist subjects.
Working on LIFE ETERNAL has been a very unique experience for me because by merging into three different philosophies, dealing with and learning from the lives of three great souls has taken me to a greater level of understanding – both divine and human.
I hope to continue – with the help of my wonderful dancers – creating influential dance works and serving the purpose for which I came into this world.
- Artistic Director
Janak Khendry Dance Company
ATHARVA VEDA: This human world unsurpassed by any other is the dearest of the divines, dedicated to which and destined to die. O Man, you are born here. You of the desire and privilege, we call on to come and we pronounce and you must not die before you have a full span of life and perfect old age of ripeness.
RIG VEDA: Your seat is on the ashvattha tree, on the air and the cloud, your residence is made on the leaf and on the parna tree, you share your efficacy with the earth, sun rays and the cow by which you bestow health and vitality for life.
BHAGAVAD GITA: From anger rises delusion, from delusion comes memory loss, from loss of memory the intelligence is destroyed and from the destruction of intelligence the person perishes.
But (a person of) disciplined mind, enjoying sense-objects from self-restrained senses, free from attachment and aversion, attains purity of spirit.
|HOMAGE TO JAINA: Homage to the Jainas who have conquered fear. Homage to the goddess of tradition. Homage to the venerable Revelation. Homage to the Exalted One, the arhat Payesi, the good Payesi who has the right understanding.
STORY OF KING PAYESI: In the town of Setvya was a ruler called Payesi, well-born in stainlessly pure long line of royal family. He was materialist, very impious, notorious for his injustice, not following the dharma, with blood on his hands, wicked short-tempered, cruel, fierce.
QUEEN SURYA KANTA: Now the king had a queen with delicate hands and feet, and named Surya Kanta, who was Dharani (her senses and body were unimpaired and perfect).
|SURYA KANTA and PAYESI Dance in happy times
KAYSI: Kaysi arhat (the liberated one) taught the doctrine to King Payesi and queens led by Surya Kanta and to the very big assembly there. When he had heard and learnt the Dharma, King Payesi rose up, saluted Kaysi and bowed down in front of him. From the time King Payesi became a devotee of the renouncers, he no longer paid attention to his state, realm, army, draft animals, implement rooms, granaries, the town and the people.
SURYA KANTA SCHEMES TO KILL PAYESI: The Queen Surya Kanta had the following thought: From the time King Payesi had become a devotee of the renouncers, he was no longer paying attention to the state, realm, harem, me and the people. It would be better to do away with King Payesi by means of a weapon, fire, charm or poison. Then one day, when Queen Surya Kanta had found an opportunity for King Payesi to be killed, she prepared his food, all his clothes, perfumes, wreaths and ornaments with poison. She brought King Payesi the poisoned food, clothes, ornaments and killed him, when he was sitting on a comfortable seat after his bath and propitiatory rites.
PAYESI DIES AND IS REBORN: King Payesi dies after a lapse of time and was reborn in the Sohamma heaven in a Suryabha palace. When his vital matter has run out, Suryabha is reborn as a son in the family living at Mahavedeha. For this exalted one the highest , unlimited knowledge and vision will arise, boundless, beyond comparison, total, full, without obstacle or impediments, when he has purified himself by highest understanding, vision, conduct, attitude, wandering, mildness, dexterity, patience, control freedom from passion, in an incomparable way to find emancipation as the fruit of sincerity, restraint, austerities and good conduct.
Then he will be an Exalted One, Arahat, Jina and Kevalin and know the course of the world with its gods, men and asuras. As an Arhat, he will live, knowing and seeing all conditions of souls in the whole world.
THE LIFE OF BUDDHA: I was young, my hair coal black, possessed of glowing youth, in the prime of my life. My father and mother were reluctant to let me leave the home. They wept with tears flowing from their eyes. Nonetheless, I cut off my hair and beard and putting on yellow-orange robes, went forth from home into homelessness. I wandered around searching for an incomparable, unsurpassed path to calmness.
The Buddha tries fasting to attain nirvana, He thought: “Suppose I take very little food, a handful each time, whether of munga bean, dal or kulattha. While I did so, my body reached a state of extreme emaciation.”
The Buddha says: “Being myself subject to death, having understood the danger of what is subject to death, seeking deathless security from bondage, nirvana attained. The knowledge and vision arose in me. My deliverance is unshakable. This is my last birth, now there is no renewal of being.”
I am one who has transcended all. A knower of all. Pure among all things, renouncing all, I am freed since I put an end to all my cravings (passions and desires). One whose fires are quenched and extinguished, I go now to the city of Banaras, to set in motion the wheel of Dharma.
ANGULIMALA: [Angulimala to the Buddha] Samana, while you are moving, you tell me that you are standing still. While I am standing still, you say that I am not standing still. Samana, I ask you what is the meaning of your statement.
[The Buddha says] I stand against violence, Angulimala, towards all living beings once and for all. You are not, you are unrestrained. While you are standing still, you are not standing still.
[Angulimala thinks] the Samana, a great sage, for the sake of welfare all has come to the great forest. Hearing your expressions infused with dharmic meaning, I have made up my mind to abandon my thousand-fold evil ways.
So saying, the robber threw his sword and weapons over a cliff into a chasm and a pit. The robber thereafter bowed to the feet of the Buddha and then and there pleaded the Buddha to allow him to go forth to become a monk.
The Buddha, the great sage full of compassion, the guide of mankind and the gods, saying to him “come bikkhu” he accepted him as monk.
CHANDA THERI (NUN): I had fallen on bad times. I was a widow, no children, no friends, no circle of relatives, and hence no means of obtaining food and clothing. Acquiring a staff and bowl, I wandered for seven full years, begging from household to household defying cold and heat.
Seeing Bhikkhuni (a nun), and obtaining food and water from her, I reached her and said, “Let me go forth into a stage of homelessness and join the Buddhist monastic order.” Out of compassion she let me go forth. She guided me to the highest goal. I did her bidding.
Fully comprehending her instruction, her exhortation was not in vain. I, a woman, now in possession of the knowledge of past lives, knowledge of death and rebirth. I am freed of the desire for greed and ignorance, and have attained nirvana.
RAHUL: I am Rahul the contented one. On both sides of the parents, I belong to the prestigious Sampanno lineage. I am the son of the Buddha. I see all with the Dhamma-eye. My āsavas (the flow of desires, greed and ignorance) have been extinguished. There is no rebirth for me. I am liberated. I am worthy of deference.
I am in the possession of three knowledges of past, present and future. I am immortal. Those who are guided by desire, encased in the net of greed and cravings, entangled in the unmindful kin folks, are like the fish about to enter the trap of the sansara (cyclicality of all life).
I have severed the Death incarnated bondage. I have removed the roots of desires and cravings. I am in the total state of coolness. I have attained nirvana.
|ACCEPTANCE INTO BUDDHIST ORDER
MARKHANDEYA: Markandeya was born and brought up, receiving all the purificatory sacraments of the twiceborn ones. He learnt the Vedas from his father, observing austerity and the rules of Dharma, and practising daily recital of the Vedas. He worshipped Sri Hari at sunrise and sunset in fire, the sun, the teacher, holy men and the Self.
LORD INDRA’S ATTEMPT TO DISTURB MARKHANDEYA’S MEDITATION:
As the austerity of Markhandeya entered the seventh Manvantara, the Indra of that period became jealous of him out of fear that he might take over the Indraship, ousting him from that place.
Leading the community of Apsara, Kama now arrived there, equipped with his bow of flowers and followed by a Life Eternal vanguard of Gandharvas playing on musical instruments.
These emissaries of Indra saw Markhandeya there sitting with eyes closed in meditation. Kama aimed at him his five-pronged arrow having thinning, inflaming, deluding, heating and inebriating as its five heads. They had to run away before that power.
As for Indra, he felt completely crest-fallen to note the discomfiture of his emissaries and was wonderstruck at the spiritual power of the sage.
NAR-NARAYAN’S VISIT TO MARKHANDEYA:
In order to bless the sage Sri Hari appeared before him in the form of the divine Nar-Narayana.
On seeing the form of the Rishis Nar-Narayana who were the embodiment of the Supreme Lord, Markhandeya arose from his seat. And with great respect and devotion, made a full prostration, laying his body like a stick at their feet. He seated them, washed their feet, and adored them with unguents, incense and wreaths of flowers.
“O All-pervading One! How can I describe Thy greatness? Thou art the power that stirs and guides the life principle in all beings, including Brahma, Parameswara and myself too.” We are extremely pleased with your observance of unbroken continence. May you fare well! Choose whatever boon you want from Me, who is the first of boon-givers.
But then, O lotus-eyed Lord ! Thou the most noted for Thy holy fame. I have a desire to experience Thy Yogamaya.
MAHESWARA AND UMA’S VISIT TO MARKHANDEYA:
Once the Lord Rudra, while he was moving through the sky on His bull-vehicle accompanied by His divine consort Uma and surrounded by His attendants, saw the sage Markandeya absorbed in meditation. There upon Uma, seeing the sage, said to Lord Maheswara: ‘O worshipful one! Look at this sage sitting with his body, mind and senses absolutely still. See him resembling a sea absolutely calm, with its winds, water and the aquatic creatures all at rest. Thou art the grantor of boons. Be pleased to bestow the fruits of his austerities to him.’
Maheswara, the worshipful, the Lord of mountains and the ruler of all, understood this, and so just as air penetrates into a room through a hole, he entered into the sky of his heart.
Yet I shall seek one boon of Thee, the Perfect Being, who is Himself without any wants, but who showers on others all that they want. May I have unfaltering devotion to Sri Hari, Thyself, and all Thy devotees.
‘O great sage and holy one endowed with the aura of Brahmic glory! All that you have asked for - devotion to Mabavishnu and His devotees shall be yours, and besides, your fame shall last for all time, and free from the trammels of old age and death, your life-span shall extend up to the cosmic dissolution.
You shall also have the knowledge of the past, present and future, as well as renunciation, complete illumination and the status of a teacher of the Puranas.
|THE GODS DANCE