Conversations with Sri Sathya Sai on the Convocation Drama Casting

Monday, October 16, 2000

After the interview, Swami came to the Ganesh portico. He looked at His wrist as if to see time. Then to a student...

Swami: It is already 4.05 pm, Brindavan boys have not come.

Student: (He checked the time in his watch.) Yes, Swami. They may be on the way.
Sri Sathya Sai in the Sai Kulwant Hall at Prasanthi Nilayam
Swami went further and sat on His chair. He inquired about the teachers who are doing the security duty in the fourth block. He also called the Brindavan Warden, and asked him about the students who are going to play different roles in the Convocation Drama. Few of the students came forward.

Swami: (To Prof. Anil Kumar) The drama has roles of grandfather, father and a grandson. There are also scenes of Markandeya (Markandeya is an ancient sage from the Hindu tradition, born in the clan of Bhrigu Rishi. He is celebrated as a devotee of both Shiva and Vishnu and is mentioned in a number of stories from the Puranas. The Markandeya Purana especially, comprises a dialogue between Markandeya and Sage Jaimini, and a number of chapters in the Bhagavata Purana are dedicated to his conversations and prayers. In the drama, the episode of Markandeya, Shiva and Yama was to be depicted.) and Dhurva (Dhruva is a devotee of Lord Vishnu and the son of Utthanapaada. His story is recorded in the Vishnu Purana and the Bhagavata Purana.).
(To Dr. Chatterjee, Faculty Member in the Department of English at Swami’s University) How many scenes? 

Teacher: Six scenes, Swami.

Swami: Arishadvargas (Six bad qualities in man). Give the grandfather role to Anil Kumar. 
(To Prof. Anil Kumar) Will you do?

Prof. A. K.: Yes, Swami.

Swami: Grandfather is a bad man.

Prof. A. K.: Then I don’t want to do that role.

Swami: No, he is good man. His grandson is always near him. I am not involved in the selections (of the students for the different roles in the Convocation Drama). They (teachers from both the campuses) only selected.
Swami said that they should not feel that Swami is partial to any one campus in selecting the roles and hence teachers are selecting.

Prof. A. K.: Swami, they will not feel like that.

Swami: (Swami gripped His hair in His palm) I know so many (as many as the number of hair) who feel like that.

Prof. A. K.: Outsiders see that the students belong to one Institute and not two campuses.

Swami: Outsiders don’t think like that. Only the participants think like that.

B. Warden : Swami, the boys here go there (Brindavan) and the boys there come here.

Swami: That is different. Why the Brindavan students have not come yet?

Prof. A. K.: They may be having practical classes and hence they may be slightly delayed. 

Swami: (To Prof. Anil Kumar, pointing out at Shailesh, a student from Darjeeling, who is going to play the role of Markandeya in the drama) His face looks like Buddha’s face. How can he play the role of Markandeya?
An Artist's Impression of the Markandeya, Shiva and Yama Episode
Prof. A. K.: Swami, people may know how Buddha looks like. But nobody knows how Markandeya looks like! Seeing him, people may think that Markandeya also looks like Buddha. (Swami smiled and called a School student who was showing a poem, written by him. Swami took it from him and read the full poem. Later he also gave a letter. After reading the letter) Is it your handwriting?

Student: Yes, Swami.

Swami: Good. (Swami blessed him and he went and sat back in his place. 

To Prof. Anil Kumar) What is his name?

Prof. A. K.: Swami, Abhay.

Swami: Not Abbai? (Telugu word for ‘boy’. All smiled. Seeing his letter) What is BPC?

Prof. A. K.: Swami, Bi.P.C., Biology, Physics and Chemistry.

Swami: This time during Birthday, no music programme.

Prof. A. K.: Swami, so many devotees are coming. Something should be there.

Swami: Some world-famous singer is going to sing and there will be a programme by Dilshad Khan.

Swami mentioned few other names also. After spending some more time, Swami went back.

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