The Buddha Play Revived
- Fifteen years ago, Sri Chinmoy's play, `Siddhartha Becomes the
Buddha', was enacted by disciples in a theatre in Manhattan under
the direction of our own Ketan. It was a rousing success and everyone
was thrilled with it, including Sri Chinmoy himself. There were a few
more Avatar plays enacted by Ketan's troupe of able actors and
actresses around that time, each having their own uniqueness and charm.
Finally, after over a decade, one of those plays has been revived. Many
of the actors are new to the play but all players are experienced in
putting on Guru's plays in one form or another mostly at our
functions in New York. Inspired by Biswas and others who are organizing
a week of events in Manhattan, (`The City', as it is referred to
here), Ketan has fortunately come out of retirement in the play
directing world to once again take on the challenge of presenting
Guru's mostly illumining and inspiring play about the Buddha.
On Saturday night, March 13, at our function here in Jamaica, Queens,
the play troupe offered us a brilliant performance of the Buddha play.
For them it was a full dress rehearsal for the public performance they
will offer on Tuesday in the City as part of our week-long series of
public spiritual events.
As the wind howled outside, shaking the Tent with powerful force, and as
the accompanying rain joined in the noisy chorus, the Buddha play was
back in full force as well, delighting all who were fortunate enough to
be present there. The function actually started with Paree's Singing
Group offering 23 songs to celebrate their 23rd Anniversary. It was a
larger group than the usual locals who sing normally with her, including
some visitors who flew in just for the occasion, 17 singers in total.
They sang songs exclusively from the Brazil Christmas-New Year's
trip ten years ago, 1999-2000. It was a wonderfully inspiring and sweet
performance which easily overpowered the inclement weather outside.
This delightful performance was only to be followed by the most
enjoyable and illumining Buddha play. Although the stage props were
simple and not representative of the full set to be used on Tuesday for
the public, the performance was brilliant, most enjoyable and soulfully
entertaining. It lasted over an hour, yet it seemed like only moments as
we watched the young Prince Siddhartha journey away from the secluded
environment of his royal palace to the real world where the trials and
tribulations of life, suffering and death became all too evident to the
young, naïve Prince.
To uncover the reason for life's endless suffering and injustice, he
renounced the world and entered into the life of spiritual aspiration
and meditation. Having finally realized the Highest Truth and entering
into the highest state of Nirvana, he proceeded to teach for fifty
years, until the age of 80. This is where the play actually begins,
gradually unveiling the key scenes of a life that has offered light and
compassion to millions of seekers for over 2500 years.
Sri Chinmoy's rendering of this most important spiritual Giant in
the evolution of humanity on Earth is truly a gem worth experiencing.
Ketan's rendition of this play along with his most able actors and
musicians is truly an event worth seeing at least once in one's life
of spiritual aspiration.
Hopefully I will offer an account of the public performance after it
happens this week. The first show is already fully booked and I think
there will be a second performance to follow. Stay tuned ..
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