Mahabharata Episode 1: Beginnings

Ganga, Devabrata and Shantanu

Ganga, Devabrata and Shantanu

The first episode of the Stories of Mahabharata podcast series has been missing for a long time. The episode was not added because it did not have the production quality that we have been striving for. After a long break, we finally found some time to rerecord this episode and mix the vocal track with sound effects and music to make it at par with the rest of the episodes. We hope you like it.

This episode tells the story of the beginnings of the great saga told by Rishi Vyasa and written by lord Ganesha. The story begins with the narrative of King Shantanu’s marriage with Ganga and the birth of Devabrata. Later we learn how prince Devabrata becomes the great Bhishma because of his “Bhisham” or profound vow – a vow which kickstarts the story of the Mahabharata and the destiny of the Kuru dynasty.

Mahabharata Episode 21: The Exile

The Sun God and Yudhistira

The Sun God and Yudhistira

The Pandavas go into exile as per the conditions of the game.  The Sun god gifts Yudhistira with the magic bowl to feed his followers. Upset by Vidura’s harsh comments Dhritarashtra banishes him. But he couldn’t live without him either. So he calls Vidura back to the palace. Rishi Maitreya visits Hastinapura and curses Duryodhana for his arrogance.

Listen to this episode which marks the beginning of the third chapter of the Mahabharata – The Vana Parva or The Forest Chapter.

Some Thoughts on Anahuta Sandhya

A Scene from Anahuta Sandhya

A Scene from Anahuta Sandhya

Many years ago, I heard a strange story. I was told, that there was this Bengali man (in New York or New Jersey)  who had a weird hobby. Although I don’t know if one can call this a hobby. This man, whenever he went on a trip to Kolkata, would put an advertisement in the matrimonial section of the local Bengali daily looking for a bride for himself. He would then go to a selected number of respondents house to interview the potential bride, enjoy their hospitality and a sumptuous meal.  But his intention was not to marry the girls he saw, for he had a wife and family back here in USA. I struggled hard to comprehend his motive. It was difficult to imagine that this man, who lived in USA, would do this only to enjoy a free meal each evening.  Was this some kind of a perverted adventure?  What was he looking for? What drove him to do such a terrible thing?  Although I am not sure if this story was true at all, but it intrigued me nevertheless. I thought, there must be more to this story than what meets the eyes (or ears). And this thought was the seed for my latest play, “Anahuta Sandhya”. Continue reading

10 Reasons Why You Should Watch Live Theater

10. Theater is the most ancient performing art form.  Support it for its sustenance.

An Uninvited Evening

An Uninvited Evening

Although theater has survived over the ages, survived the onslaught of technology and competition from other media, it still needs support from the audience. So watch a live theater show and help this art form survive.

9.   Theater art is ephemeral. If you miss it, you may not get another chance. 

       A theater performance is born each day on the stage, and it dies on the stage. The next day, a new show is born. To catch this spontaneity, you must watch live theater. Video recordings of plays can only serve archival purpose, but it cannot replace live viewing. Continue reading

Mahabharata Episode 20: One Last Game

The Pandavas going into exile

The Pandavas going into exile

Duryodhana was not happy when Dhritarashtra returned the Pandavas their kingdom and all the wealth they had lost in the game of dice to Shakuni. So he and Shakuni came up with another plan. They invited Yudhistira back to Hastinapura and challenged him to play one last game of dice. But this time, the wager was different. It was proposed, whoever loses the game will have to go into exile in the forests for a period of twelve long years. After the twelve years of exile, they will have to stay in hiding for one more year. And in the thirteenth year, if anyone found them, they would have to go into exile for twelve more years.
But will Yudhistira accept this challenge knowing well that it was impossible to beat Shakuni in the game of dice? Or would he walk out to save himself and his brothers from this impending doom?

Listen to this exciting episode by clicking the link below.
You can also subscribe to the podcast on your smartphone or computer  from http://bhawmik.com/mahabharata.

The Musicians of Tomorrow: Kal Ke Kalakar

The future of our culture and our rich heritage lies in the hands of our next generation. Within our community, we have many talented artists, musicians, dancers and other performers. They all need encouragement and a platform to showcase their talent. Raag-Rang, a premiere organization of Indian Classical Music, arranges for such a concert every year where they scout for talented young artists and present them in a professional manner to the audience of New Jersey. The concert is aptly titled, “Kal Ke Kalakar” or the “Artist of Tomorrow.” This year, Raag-Rang announces “Kal Ke Kalakar” to be its first concert of 2015. The concert will be on 22ndMarch.

This year’s featured young musicians are Vibhas Vatve ( student of Shree Kedar Naphde) on harmonium solo,
Aditya Phatak ( student of Pt.Samir Chatterjee) on tabla solo.
Debolina Mukherjee ( student of Shree
Parthasarathi Mukhopadhyay) on Hindustani vocal and
Bharat Natyam presentation Dashavataram Presentation by Priyanka Chowdhury, Sonali Desai, Chandni Patel, Anagha Shrikumar, Raagini Kandaswamy, Shreya Krishnan, Shruti Prasanth
students of Guru Shrimathi Selvi Chandranathan.

Date: Sunday, March 22nd, 2015
Time: 4:30-6:30 PM
Venue:
Balaji Temple Auditorium (HTCS)
1075 Route 202/206, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
For Directions Visit: www.venkateswara.org
Admission: Non-Members: $15
RaagRang Members: $10
RSVP will be appreciated.
Email: raagrang07@gmail.com
Phone: 732-570-3332, 908-429-1120

Mahabharata Episode 19: Draupadi’s Insult

Draupadi's Insult

Draupadi's Insult

Yudhistira bets his wife Draupadi in the game of dice and loses her to the Kauravas. Dussasana drags Draupadi to the assembly hall in front of everybody. And there, the Panchal princess is subject to the cruelest humiliation while her husbands sit still with their eyes shut and heads hung low. The Kuru elders, Bhishma, Drona, Kripa and Dhritarashtra also sit and watch the inhuman behavior of their descendants without raising a single voice of protest.  Listen to this exciting episode to know what happens next.

You can also subscribe to the podcast in  iTunes at http://www.bhawmik.com/mahabharata

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Mahabharata Episode 18: The Game of Dice

The Game of Dice

The Game of Dice

The greatest mistake Yudhistira made in his life was to agree to play the game of dice with Duryodhana. He knew, the game wouldn’t be fair, but still he couldn’t refuse. His excuses were, that he couldn’t say no to his uncle Dhritarashtra, and also he would never retreat when challenged. But was that the real reason? Listen to this episode and be the judge.

Mahabharata Episode 17: The Game Plan

Shakuni

Shakuni

Duryodhana’s envy of the Pandavas keeps consuming him. Moreover, he is humiliated by falling for the illusions of the grand palace Maya had built for them. But scheming Shakuni has a plan to rob Yudhishthira of his kingdom. Even the righteous emperor has a blind spot. Duryodhana and Shakuni work out their game plan to shred Yudhistira to pieces.

Listen to this exciting episode below:

Mahabharata Episode 16: The Death of Sishupala

The Slaying of Sishupala

The Slaying of Sishupala

Sishupala, the King of Chedi, was an invited guest to King Yudhistira’s Rajasuya sacrifice ceremony. He had accepted Yudhistira as his emperor. But when Yudhistira decided to offer Krishna his first worship as the most revered man present in the audience, Sishupala lost his cool. He had an old animosity with Krishna, and he lashed out at him with outrageous insults. Krishna tried to stay calm, but finally he couldn’t take it anymore. He summoned his Sudarshana Chakra and severed Sishupala’s head from his body in front of the assembled Kings and royalties.

Listen to this exciting and dramatic episode by clicking the play button below.