A short play written by Dipa Nivedh and Natarajan Sundar and directed by Dipa Nivedh
Performed on the Tamil New Year Function of South Indian Society, UK on 27th April 2013 in London.
Vivek – Engineering student, son of rich parents, high handed behavior, never had to work hard for anything in life
Ajay – Engineering Student, Atheist, a Non-believer.
Suresh – Believer to such an extent that he has lost all belief in self... he expects to pass all hardships in life merely by prostrating in front of God and praying all day
Swamiji – A vision of Swami Vivekananda
Vivek, Suresh and Ajay coming out of the exam hall just after writing their last set of engineering exams.
Vivek: Dude, the exam was OK, I guess. I have spoken to Ramlal our college peon. He will sneak my papers out tonight so that I can have them completed. I should surely pass the exam this year.
Ajay: Well, I know I have written enough to pass, and even if I don’t, who cares!! Some day I will. If I pass, it will only give mother another chance to tell that I passed with ‘God’s Grace’!!
Suresh: Shut up Ajay!! Don’t you say such things about God. I have taken a vow to break 108 coconuts for our ‘theru’ Pillaiyar. I’m sure He will make me get through. Hare Rama Hare Krishna!
(After a while, a phone call to Vivek, which makes him smile)
Vivek: Guys, Ramlal just rang. He has switched the answer paper. This calls for a party.
The other two yell at the prospect of party. Some music plays. The boys are seen dancing with bottles of beer and go off to sleep.
When the boys are asleep, a saffron clad figure enters the room. Some smoke and sound of the tanpura in the background.
Swamiji: Utthishttatha; Jaagratha; Prapya Varatthibhee Dhatha
Utthishttatha; Jaagratha; Prapya Varatthibhee Dhatha
Arise! Awake!! And Get Enlightened
Arise1 Awake!! Stop not till the goal is reached!!!
The boys sit up startled and rub their eyes in disbelief. Suresh, thinking that an evil spirit has entered the room, begins to chant Hanuman Chalisa. Vivek is still staring groggily thinking that this was a dream. Ajay who has been calm until now, suddenly jumps to action and turns to Suresh
Ajay: Suresh, stop blabbering. Whatever you’re reciting, it is not going to help. (Turns his attention to the figure in the room). Now, who are you and how did you break into our room? If you are here to steal money, remember we are three and can tackle you very easily.
Swamiji: (in a very calm tone)
Fear not, sons. I am not an outsider. I am your conscience.
I mean no harm. I just want to awaken your inner voice and help you hear it.
Ajay: Oh, Dear. My mother will do anything to make me believe in God, will she not? I am sure she has sent you. How much money did she pay you to play this trick on me?
Swamiji: (Laughs) Money! No, no, no!!
Son, the question is not – whether I can make you believe in God, but, do you want God? That is the question. Do you want God?
If you want God, you will find Him.
You want to breathe, you find the air to breathe in; you want to eat – of course, there is food to eat. Likewise if you want God, you will find Him. The whole thing starts with your desire.
Suresh: I do not understand. Are you saying that all you have to do is to start with my desire???
Swamiji: Yes. Let me tell you a story. There was a guru and a shishya. Day after day the shishya asked his master, "Guruji, I want God." For many days, the master did not answer, but only smiled. But, one hot day, he asked the sishya to follow him to a river and take a plunge. When the young man’s head was in the water, he held it there by force. After letting the young man struggle for a while, he released his head. The Shishya asked him ‘Guruji, why did you do that?’ The Guruji asked him what he wanted most while he was under the water. "A breath of air", the disciple answered. The Guru said "That is the point. Now, if you want God as badly as you wanted air, you will get Him".
So, first, awaken the desire, the sincere desire, to find God.
Suresh: (All excited) So, if I want God, well, I will get Him – that sounds fantastic. Then, I can make most of my wishes come true. This is turning out to be better and better. (Turning to Ajay and Vivek) See, I told you that prayers work! All we need is faith.
Swamiji: You are right, but, the faith that you need is faith in yourselves. If you have faith in all the thirty three crore gods, but, no faith in yourselves, there is no salvation for you. I said ‘Arise, Awake’. Arise! Within each of you, every one of you, there resides the ultimate Power. Believe in it, seek it and that Power will be manifest. The second important thing: Divinity is within you.The day you believe in self, your actions will change automatically.
Vivek: That is exactly what I have been telling these fools. If we need to attain something then we must work towards it. And, I have my own means to reach my goals. I don’t need your advice!
Swamiji: Very true. Even Geeta emphasizes Karma Yoga and says that one must ‘do’ in order to achieve. You are however missing something. Goal is important, but, the means to achieve the goal is more important.
Chandogya Upanishad says – ‘Yad-eva vidyayaa karoti, shraddhaya, upanisada – tadeva, viryavattram bhavati’. Vidya means science or the knowledge based on which you can do something; sraddha refers to doing things with sincerity and right attitude. Vidya and sradda are however not enough. You also need upanisad, deep thinking on the subject. Only when you combine all these three, it results in superior result.
Let me summarize: start with lofty goals and be sincere and use the right means; the end will take care of itself.
Vivek: But what is the point? I know I won’t clear my exams if I don’t cheat. I have the money to cheat, then, why not use it? I don’t believe in anything that you have just said. I will get the fruits I want.
Swamiji: Son, I am not here to tell you what you should, or should not, believe in. But, like I said, I am your conscience and let me speak as your conscience. The money paid to the peon belongs to your father. It is the fruit of his karma. The peon switched the paper. In the whole activity, you are nothing but a middle-man and you don’t own any of the results of the exercise. Yes, you can deceive yourself to believe that you own the fruits but the reality is different.
Ajay: This man is beginning to spike me now. Who do you think you are - God?
Swamiji: No, I am just someone who wants to do good to all living beings created by God Almighty. I believe that every being is divine, is God.
Vivek: So you think, God resides in me? Then why don’t I have the powers to change things? Why can’t I perform miracles?
Swamiji: Miracles! Of course, you can perform miracles. Take a look at the poor, the lower classes, downtrodden of India. They have little self-belief or self -respect. Give them education and employment. Give them hope and the means to achieve them. Help them to work towards their own salvation. The Upanishad says ‘mathru devo bhava’, ‘pithru devo bhava’. I would like to add ‘daridra devo bhava’. My message to you is serve the society, serve the poor. That is a miracle you can perform!
So, let me give you, Three S’s
- Seek the divinity that is within you;
- Set yourselves lofty goals and pursue them using the right means;
- Serve the society and the poor!
And, you will make miracles happen. Yes, you can make miracles happen.
Utthishtatha; Jaagratha; Prapya Varatthibhee Dhatha
Arise! Awake!! And Get Enlightened!!!
(so saying the swami disappears)
It’s Morning. The boys sit up straight. No body discusses anything about last night’s vision.
Vivek: Guys, I am going to Ramlal and switch back my papers. Even if I fail, I’ll try again next time. If I pass that way, I can be genuinely proud that I passed with my own hard work and have laid the right foundation for my life.
Suresh: Yes, I shall also go to the temple today and pay to God that He helps me study hard so that I pass my exams. Do you guys want to come with me?
Ajay: (ready to reply with an acerbic comment, but, stops and smiles and puts his hands around both his friends). Okay, let’s all go. But, even as we say, Hare Rama... Hare Krishna, let us seek the Divinity that is within us.