A Girl's Quest for Self-Realization (Abridged)
Vasanthi was brought up even without allowing her to know the difference between a male and a female. Her father wanted her to remain unmarried and acquire proficiency and fame as a musician; she was more interested in acting. When her youth bloomed, she struggled to learn about the body, its sexuality and their purpose in life.
Saradhy was a great actor; he knew her from her childhood and treated her as his own daughter and friend. A chance contact during a drama triggered a feeling of physical love in both of them; he was able to understand immediately and tried to suppress it but she was unable to understand the strange feeling. That drama was written by Avadhani who considered himself court poet of the zamindar’s court; Ranganadham also made the same claim. Vasanthy’s acting was superb.
Saradhy wanted to stage the drama of ‘Ranapratap’; he felt that the senior poets would not be suitable for the job. He got the drama written by a young poet Kireeti. The senior poets joined hands to take revenge against Saradhy. With the help of the zamindar, they brought an actor, Arjunarao; he was presented a thousand rupees for his inaugural performance and was appointed on a monthly salary, to stage four dramas a month.
Saradhy staged ‘Ranapratapa’ drama. Vasanthi’s performance was exquisite. Avadhani engineered a disturbance during the drama; he was exposed. Vasanthi was a good singer but was no actress. She wondered how she was able to act so well in the last two dramas and went to Saradhy to find the secret.
He replied that some desire that she was unaware of, has germinated in her heart and was maturing without her knowledge and that during such periods one can accomplish anything one attempted. She asked him how he became such a good actor. He replied that when he wanted to enact Kalidasa’s Sakuntalam, he went to a learned scholar who explained all intricate aspects of the drama. In it there is a sloka which explained that a human being realized his full potential after experiencing deep anguish which can be experienced in several ways. Saradhy told her what he suffered in life and explained the anguish she was then suffering.
Saradhy desired sanyasa. One evening he went to the beach and started walking aimlessly and thinking about several matters. The sun started to rise. The early sunshine, seeping through the droplets generated by the waves splashing on the coast, split into several colors over the sea. In the background of the fast fading darkness the swift changing sceneries looked beautiful. He realized that all colors and beauty were illusory. He remembered Umapathy telling him that one could reach salvation through such illusions; he did not quite understand. He went to Umapathy for clarification. He saw how exhausted Saradhy was. Both had their breakfast and rested on easy chairs; soon Saradhy dozed off.
On another occasion Saradhy asked Umapathy how upasana of beauty could lead to salvation when beauty itself was an illusion. Umapathy gave a lucid explanation of how upasana of beauty can give deeper happiness transcending physical senses. He also explained in detail Savikalpa Samadhi and Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
Saradhy struggled but failed to achieve detachment. By yoga, he transferred to Kireeti what attracted Vasanthi, got her married to him and moved away from them. He was addicted to drama and continued to give performances even as he changed religions and moved from place to place.
Saradhy was performing in their town a drama in which Vasanthi played the heroine earlier. She requested him to permit her play that role again; he stoutly refused. She convinced the day’s heroine and replaced her after the drama commenced. In a situation in the drama, they embraced each other. They experienced a transcendental pleasure and satisfaction and their lives left their bodies.
Published: 9 September 2016
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