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Channeling the Himalayas

Sunday, 15 June 2008 / Published in Caru Das, News / 3,114 views

By Caru Das

Teenagers Namisha Balagopal, left, and Surabhi Kasera prepare for a dance performance at the Himalayan Performing Arts Festival at the Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork on Saturday. Divya Narayanam of Salt Lake City performs at the event, which showcased Asian cuisine and Indian dance, drama, music and songs.

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Reflections on the drama in the Himalayan Festival
by Harsh Vora (BYU)

In the previous post, Carudas Prabhuji mentioned about the comedy as well as insightful drama “Genie & the Lamp,” written and produced originally in England by Parividha Das and played last Saturday in the festival by Jai Krishna as the king, Caru of Buddhi as the minister, Sri Hanuman as the Genie, Sadie Kilpack and Yasoda as the vendors. It was cordially received by the audience who laughed heartily at the funny parts.

For the devotees as well as other people who could not attend the festival, here are some reflections on the useful teaching expressed through the drama:

The minister bought some precious things from the market for the king. One of the things in the cart was the Lamp. Similar to the Aladdin story, a genie appeared from the Lamp as soon as the king rubbed it. But unlike the genie of the Arabian Nights, this genie summoned by the king was different. This genie had an obsessive inclination to remain engaged in some or the other work. Hence, he told king to ask for a wish that would keep him always engaged. The condition had a second part to it. The king’s failure in giving genie an ever-engaging task would lead to the king’s death. Hence, after a deliberation, the king asked the genie to clean the entire kingdom. The genie, being powerful and speedy, cleansed the kingdom in a very short time. To this, the king was awe-struck. The genie, being enraged at the king for giving such a “small task”, proceeded to kill the king. But before it would happen so, the king asked the Genie to wipe all the windows in the kingdom. Again, genie returned to the king after doing the task in a very short span of time. In this way, the king kept the genie busy till all the works were completed and there was hardly any left. The genie, returned, quickly completing the works, every time. But this time, it was the end. The king would be killed. There was no other work left to engage the genie.

At this time, after much thoughtful reflection, the minister remembered a verse from Bhagavad Gita which said that “engaging in the service of the Supreme Lord is an eternal task, the results of which are also eternal.” This lighted the minister’s mind and before the genie would kill the king, the minister ordered the genie to chant the Maha-mantra, “Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna, Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare Hare.” Initially, it seemed weird to the genie to chant, but as soon as he experienced the bliss of chanting and surrendering unto the Supreme Lord, he engaged himself in the sacred work all his life. In this way, the king was saved and the genie was liberated.

The story is fantastic but has a profound teaching. The teaching reflected in this drama is apparent: Engaging in the service of the Lord is an eternal work. The results of this service are also eternal. Since, the service is done unconditionally and lovingly to the Supreme God, Krsna, who is transcendental to the effects of the material nature (e. g. the effects of karma), the conditioned being achieves freedom from his conditional works and life and is thus liberated.

In other words, one should engage himself in tasks that are permanent and not the ones that are temporary.

How can one distinguish between the two?

Carudasji elucidated that the tasks that give us pleasure for a short period of time and then the effects of which are exhausted sooner or later are all temporary. For example, drinking alcohol, eating/sleeping more than is needed (e. g. eating for sense gratification), having illicit sex, gambling, and numerous other actions are temporary in nature because the results of those actions are temporary.

On the contrary, performing devotional service to the Lord, engaging in chanting, surrendering, and serving Him are all eternal tasks. Their results are never exhausted. Krsna very clearly states in the Bhagavad Gita that for one who renders devotional service to the Lord and does not achieve liberation due to the incompleteness of the service, there is no loss in this world or the next. One who takes to this auspicious line of spiritual culture is never completely vanquished. He is reborn into an aristocratic or a religious family from where path is then continued where it was previously left. Ultimately, the yogi achieved liberation from bondage.

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