‘Meera-The Soul Divine’, an AIM for Seva presentation, touches the enchanting story of Meerabai, the princess who renounced the world in search of Lord Krishna. Ideated and executed by Padmashri awardee and legendary dancer, teacher and choreographer, Chitra Visweswaran and her team from the Chidambaram Dance Company, with music composed by Smt. Bombay Jayashri, featuring traditional bhajans, ‘Meera-The Soul Divine’ captured the hearts and minds of the audience.
MEERA: THE SOUL DIVINE 2016
Ananda, the first of our fundraiser series, was held from March 7 to 9, 2019, at the Music Academy, Chennai. The proceeds from this fundraiser are being utilised towards Krupa Care, Chatralayams and our integrated community development initiatives at Manjakkudi, the birthplace of our founder, Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati.
A unique music concert by Smt. Bombay Jayashri Ramnath titled, ‘Chintaye Guruvaram,’ a tribute by the acclaimed artiste to her Gurus, who have led her on the journey of life and gone ahead to pave the path for her to walk on. The concert was a freshly woven production with narratives. Highlights included songs from the Thiruppugazh, and an accompanying dance segment by dancers Lakshmi Parthasarathy Athreya and Bhavajan Kumar.
A theatre performance directed by Dr. Gowri Ramnarayan, titled Kurukshetra: When Things Fall Apart. An original play in English, it brought to life three characters from the Mahabharata: Drona, the teacher of the Kuru princes, his wife Kripi, and their son, Ashwatthama. The play touched on their complex family relationship, the tug of war between duty and preference, and the final choices they made.
A unique dance theatre production by Dr. Anita Ratnam, titled A Million Sitas. The performance was based on the stories of four iconic women in The Raamayana (Mandodari, Manthara, Ahalya and Surpanakha), and retold the epic from a woman’s perspective. The performance used sets and prop elements sourced from South Africa, South America, Malaysia, Japan and Europe.
Jagat Pavani Ganga 2018
The fund raiser, held on August 17, 2018, was presented by Revathi Ramachandran’s Kalasadhanalaya. The dance-drama-theatre presentation extolled the purity and sanctity of the Ganga with an underlying message to protect the hallowed river. The production interwove Bharatanatyam, classical Carnatic music, Garhwali folk music and mime and theatre, to depict the incomparable splendour of the Himalayan Ganga. The narrative was embedded in the tapestry of stories of the river and towards the end, the dance drama showcased contemporary issues concerning India’s most venerated river– pollution and preservation of the holy waters.
On August 16, 2018, AIM for Seva presented Nandalala, A Nritya Natak, directed by Smt. Anitha Guha. Lord Krishna’s life was brought alive on the dais by the renowned choreographer’s ensemble, Bharathanjali, in this multilingual thematic dance presentation on Krishna. The mesmerising story of the dark hued Lord coupled with songs of composers like Purandara Dasa, Annamacharya, Surdaas, Meera, Narayana Theerthar, Jayadeva, (Ashtapathis), Oothukadu Venkatasubaiyar, enthralled the audience.
Antar Yatra 2016
‘Antar-Yatra – The Journey Within’ was choreographed and directed by Smt. Sharmila Biswas, a Sangeet Natak Akademi Awardee and founder of the Odissi Vision & Movement Centre, Kolkata. This magical programme, featuring nine dancers showcased a wide range of talent – three classical Indian dance forms, songs sung in six different languages, and included the art of shadow puppetry and ‘kollattam’- a rural game from Tamil Nadu. This dance-drama traversed the inner conflicts of a creative artiste’s mind, the thoughts, emotions, and paradoxes that are encountered during introspection and reflection.
KG Project Day
Anupam – Incomparable was the Project Day theme of the Swami Dayananda Matric Higher Secondary School, Manjakkudi, Tamil Nadu. The Project Day was held on February 14 in the school premises with class participation from Kindergarten (KG) to Class III.
Anupam was inaugurated by Sri. M.R. Rajagopal, Head, Wipro operations, Manjakkudi and coordinator of SDET (Swami Dayananda Educational Trust) activities at Manjakkudi.
In terms of themes, the Kindergarten section explored the world of fruits. Each class, right from Montessori to UKG selected a unique fruit as their project. The little ones did role play and sang rhymes and explained the benefits of fruits.
All the classrooms were decorated colourfully with student activities such as collage, colouring and glue work displayed on the soft board. A few of the students opted for a fruity fancy dress costume.
Students from Class I to III showcased their talents in maths, science and social science. The presentations included both working and static models. Twelve classrooms had different models, Students exhibited their talents in 12 classrooms .Each room have center model as follow–, 5 major lands, Indian states and capitals, rangoli using shapes like vegetable rangoli and solar system. The parents and other visitors were impressed with the confidence levels of the students as they went about patiently explaining the various project installations that were on display.
The principal of the Swami Dayananda Matric Higher Secondary School, Manjakkudi, Tamil Nadu, Smt. Padma Raghunathan, parents and other visitors appreciated the efforts of the students and teachers. Based on the positive feedback, the school management has decided to have a project day, every term.
Sixteenth Annual Convention at Manjakkudi
The Sixteenth Annual Convention was conducted from 20 January 2020 to 26 January 2020 at Sri. G.R.Auditorium, Manjakkudi, Tamil Nadu. The main highlights were though provoking speeches on intangible cultural heritage that include artwork, monuments and ancestral values. In the evenings, the audience was treated to some spell binding dance and music performances on all 7 days.
The annual convention at Manjakkudi is structured as a cultural knowledge sharing platform that enables students from rural India to gain education of our vast heritage and traditions and also experience the aesthetic beauty by appreciating classical dance and music.
The 16 annual convention began with the lighting of the traditional lamp. Smt. Sheela Balaji, Chairperson & Managing Trustee, Swami Dayananda Educational Trust (SDET) gave the welcome address. Dr.Alarmel Valli, director, Dipasikha Dance Foundation, Chennai gave the inauguration and presidential address.
The week long convention saw a galaxy of speakers who dwelt at length on the contributions by the Imperial Cholas. Dr.Kodavayil Balasubramaniyan, an eminent epigraphist and archaeologist gave a lecture on ‘Cultural elements and art work of the Chola Dynasty.’ He said that the Cholas are one of the longest living dynasties which are remembered even today in arts, architecture, literature and culture. The monumental architecture in the form of majestic temples and sculptures in stone and bronze reached a finesse never before achieved in India. The following evening saw the inaugural musical performance by Smt. Bombay Jayashri Ramnath with the Mangala Isai Nadaswaram of Sri. K.S.Sivasubramanian and group.
The second day, eminent historian, Dr.Chitra Madhavan spoke on ‘Rajendra Chola – the Greatness.’ She pointed out that temples and architecture of this time still serve to this ecstatic period of history. In her presentation, Dr. Chitra Madhavan showcased a series of images of the successful campaign led by the great Chola king and also shared how the king got the title ‘Gangaikonda Chola.’ For administrative and strategic purposes, Rajendra Chola built another capital ‘Gangaikonda Cholapuram.’
Chitra Madhavan’s knowledge sharing sessions continued the next day where she narrated how Indian craftsmen have been fascinated by figures from mythology. The ancient tradition of sculpting is still preserved in all its glory and at the same time artisans have innovated and brought in new forms of sculpting, working with diverse materials and exploring myriad themes. In the evening, the audience was witness to musical concerts by Sri. Ramakrishnan Murthy along with Kumari Sriranjani Santhanagopalan and Sri. N.Vijaya Siva. Sri. R.K. Shriram and group mesmerised the audience with a violin and percussion concert. The Chief Gueest were acclaimed choreographer and dancer, Dr. Anita Ratnam and Smt. Meera Chari, a senior enterprise architect.
On January 23, music historian and heritage activist, Sri.V.Sriram spoke on the ‘Trinity of Carnatic Music.’ He said that the collective contributions of the Carnatic music trinity to the Indian philosophy and spirituality were unparalleled. The compositions, handling ragas and talas and also the creative ability of the outstanding trio of composer- musicians were described. In the evening, the Carnatic music concert of Sri. Sanjay Subrahmanyan and Kumari Bharathi Ramasubban were well received. The Chief Guests for the function were Dr. Gowri Ramnarayan, founder, Just us Theatre Repertory and carnatic musician, Dr.M.A.Bhageerathi.
On day five of the convention, Sri. D.V.Sridhar, founder, Yoga Rakshanam, Chennai spoke on ‘Secret of Healthy Body and Mind’ – from Patanjali Yoga Sutras. He explained the yoga philosophy of the asanas practice and how that can be applied in the fabric of our lives. Dr. Sridhar mentioned the eight limbs of yoga and the ancient terms related to do’s and don’ts (yamas and niyamas). The subsequent evening, a theatre play titled ‘Kurukshetra – When Things Fall Apart’ was enacted. The play written and directed by Dr.Gowri Ramnarayanan, playright director and founder Just Us Theatre Repertory. The Bharatanatyam performance – ‘Hara’ of Sri. Parshwanath Upadhye, Punyah Dance Company depicted the spirit and beauty of art. The chief guests were Sri. Victor Banerjee, renowned actor of many languages and Smt. Sharmila Biswas, artistic director, Odissi Vision & Movement Centre, India.
On January 25, Dr. K.Manivasagam, assistant professor of Tamil, Swami Dayananda College of Arts & Science, Manjakkudi, Tamil Nadu gave a presentation on ‘Ayurveda, Food and Yoga’. He emphasised that eating the right food is an essential part of living a yogic life. A demonstration of yoga practices by our students followed. Following that, Dr.Kodavayil Balasubramaniyan, an eminent epigraphist and archaeologist gave a presentation on Darasuram Airavateshwara Temple which is a grandeur in sculptures and a store house with respect to the art and architecture of the Imperial Cholas. Later in the evening, a Manipuri classical dance performance by Sri. Sinam Basu Singh and group and was well appreciated by the audience. Dr Pramod Deshmukh, board of directors, AIM for Seva USA was the Chief Guest on this occasion.
On the concluding day, Sri. Niranjan Bharathi, poet and film lyricist who is from Mahakavi Bharathiyar’s lineage shared his thoughts on the life and poetry of Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathi. He described the lyrical outpourings filled with the tales of Bharathiyar. ‘The thematic multigenre production ‘Fire and Ash’ was performed with the concept and direction by Dr. Gowri Ramnarayan, playwright director and founder, Just us Theatre Repertory. Sri Vijay Kapoor, Acharya of Arsha Vidya Center, California, USA, was the Chief Guest.
A question and answer session took place at the end of every lecture series. Throughout the week, the Vedanta Talk Series of Swamini Brahma Prakashananda Saraswati JI and Satsang – the video presentation of Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati’s talks were also held.
The Morning Raga
Celebrated across India, navaratri is a time for worship, sacred offerings and classic music. Spirit of the Earth presents ‘The Morning Raga’ – an open house where nine talented musicians will take centre stage and perform classical compositions.
The joy and contentment derived from listening to classical music is unparalleled. It imparts serenity, peace of mind for both the performer as well as the rasika. Our founder, Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati extolled, “We have a profound form of music, unheard of in other cultures. Also through Carnatic music, one is in constant with the ancient dharma.”
Music is the language of emotion, and no art arouses emotions so deeply as music. We believe singing or listening to Carnatic music evokes positive emotions in a person. This navaratri, come and listen to the music over nine days.
|29 September||Kadambari Prasad with Acharya Pavithra Srinivasan|
|30 September||Gopika Devarajan|
|1 October||Chinmaya Arjun Raja|
|2 October||Alladi Sumana|
|3 October||Samyuktha Raghuraman|
|4 October||Arya Karthikeyan|
|5 October||S. Athmanam|
|6 October||Tanvi Kamat|
|7 October||Smt.N Visalakshi & Neelayathakshi|
Dates: September 29 – October 7, 2019
Time: 10:30 am – 11:15 am
Spirit of the Earth, an initiative by AIM for Seva, was set up in 2017 to promote and encourage sustainable lifestyle practices. We believe that the planet’s resources are not merely a source for our consumption and personal gratification; like earth, we need to learn to share (vibhakthi), to give in abundance (vriddhi), provide nutrition (vrihi) and be compassionate (daya) – to render harmony in society. Spirit of the Earth is committed to increasing social impact, reducing carbon footprint and protecting the earth’s resources. The immersion centre operates as a non-profit outlet that sells organic artisanal heritage rice cultivated at our 40 acre farm in Manjakkudi, Tamil Nadu. We also retail hand-crafted lifestyle products made by differently-abled adults living in Krupa Home. In parallel, our interactive workshops, events and discussions provide experiential opportunities that encourage people to move towards conscious living and through all this, we believe we can create awareness and motivate consumers to become contributors.