Our young cross cultural family Eswaran family in Penang is doing a wonderful job nurturing cultural advancement in their community. We have this inspiring report of Vijayadashami activities.
“On Sunday, September 27, 2009 in conjunction with Vijayadashami Prayers also known as Ayudha Pooja, Tirumati Devika Eswaran, invited all her Bharathanatyam and Sangeetham students and their parents for morning Siva puja at our home followed by the student’s perfomance, learning of a new lesson and also breakfast feast for all. This observance of Vijayadashami is done in all Hindu arts/cultural centres and schools. It is the most auspicious day for beginning the study of any subject, and on this day every year the students would seek the blessings of God, Gods and Guru to bless their studies during the coming year. Vijayadashami was actually on the following day, which was a Monday, September 28, 2009 but since it was a working and school day for all, so we decided to do it on Sunday itself, which was actually the day for Sarasvathi Puja.”
Photo: Shrine room after the puja. Classical instruments such as Veena, Mridangam, Cymbals, Shruthi box, Bharathanatyam bells, Bharathanatyam wooden hitting stick used for making appropriate sounds for the lessons, books and stationeries are offered and seeked for blessings on them.
Shrine was full of fruits, Indian sweets and fragrant flowers
Four (4) of Tirumati Devika’s Sangeetham students (names from left to right) Thareni Arumugam, Sharmila Marigandan, Umasangeri Velan and Shamita Sathiaseelan. Two (2) of them are singing while the other two (2) are patiently waiting for their turn.
The Sangeetham students are paying attention to their Sangeetham Guru, Tirumati Devika’s instruction.
Tirumati Devika then recites a new sloka lesson and also shows the physical body movement for all the Bharathanatyam and Sangeetham students. This is the tradition whereby a new lesson would be taught on this auspicious Vijayadashami day. The sloka was:
“Mooshika vaahana modaka hastha Chaamara karna vilambitha soothra I
Vaamana roopa maheshvara puthra Vighna vinaayaka paada namasthe II
“O bow to the feet of Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, who rides on a mouse, holds a modakam sweet in his hand, has ears like fans, wears a sacred thread, has a short body, and is the son of Lord Siva.”
A group photo together while their hands in Anjali mudra, showing Namaskaram.
The Bharathanatyam students are now posing in different dance poses of Lord Ganesha. Prior to this they also performed here being a final rehearsal since they will be performing in the evening in the temple. This would be their first time performing after years of classes and intense practice.
Another group posing.
Later in the evening the group performed at the temple.
The qualified Bharathanatyam students of Tirumati Devika Eswaran performed for the first time at the Nagarathar Sivan Temple, Dato Kramat Road, Penang, Malaysia. Navarathiri is infact one of the grand temple celebrations in Malaysia and most temples would have daily special pujas, chantings of the 4 vedas and upanishads, processions, and cultural performances like Bharathanatyam and Sangeetham.
So, seven (7) of Tirumati Devika’s students performed at the temple. Five (5) out of the seven (7) students were performing for the first time, while it was the second time for the other two students.
The three (3) sisters, Saraniya Asokumar, Viynotinii Asokumar and Dhivya Asokumar prior to their performance posed like Lord Ganesha.
A group photo prior to the performance, with their Natya Guru, Tirumati Devika. Tirumati Devika learned Bharathanatyam from Srimati Mythili Kumar, Artistic Director of Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose, CA, USA since 1996 and did her Arangetram in 2003.
Another group photo, all posing in Anjali Mudra showing Namaskaram. (Names from the left to right) Thareni Arumugam, Viynotinii Asokumar, Sharmila Marigandan, Tirumati Devika (Natya Guru), Saraniya Asokumar, Mashni Nilamani, Dhivya Asokumar and Umasangeri Velan. All the student’s parents were very cooporative as they got the dance customes stiched on time, all the necessary accessories ready and also learned from Tirumati Devika on how to dress them ready for the performance.
As the special puja ceremonies of the day were coming to a completion after the chantings of some portions of the four (4) Vedas and Upanishads, the temple trustees requested Tirumati Devika to sing a composition of Saint Thiagaraja. She sang “Neebhakthi” in raagam Jayamanohari, set to Roopakathaalam. Tirumati Devika had been learning Sangeetham from Srimathi Jayashree Varadarajan, Founder/Director of Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandir School of Fine Arts in Sunnyvale, CA, USA since 1995.
Tirumati Devika sings quite regularly in this temple and everyone admires her devotion in singing and her examplary living as a devout Hindu being born and raised by her proud parents Hotranatha & Punita Ajaya, in the US and, now married happily with the blessings of Satguru Bodinatha Veylanswami and settled down in Penang, Malaysia. Many temple devotees have complimented her singing as they feel carried away in devotion and strong vibration whenever they hear her sing in praise of the God, Gods and Guru.
This is the first piece, a Pushpanjali with Ganesha Vandana, Raagam: Arabhi, Taalam: Aadhi. Performed by (left to right) Thareni Arumugam (10), Saraniya Asokumar (9), Mashni Nilamani (12), Umasangeri Velan (10), and Dhivya Asokumar (11). This is the dance pose of Lord Ganesha known as Lambothara, the one with big belly.
Piece one (1) ends with a group pose.
The second piece was a Jathiswaram, Raagam: Kamas, Taalam: Roopaka. Performed by Sharmila Marigandan (15), Viynotinii Asokumar (13), Mashni Nilamani (12) and Dhivya Asokumar (11). (Only Viynothinii and Dhivya in this photo)
espite the strenuous movements in Jathiswaram, they still continued dancing with full energy.
All four (4) were well synchronised, in position, and in beat with the music.
Dancing to the beat of “Thei Yaa The Hi…”
Piece two (2) almost coming to an end. All of them did a marvelous performance and the crowd were clapping their hands loudly appreciating their pieces.