Radhe…Radhe…A Powerful Expression of Love for the Supreme

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By Manu Shah

HOUSTON: The tinkling of ghungroos, the haunting notes of Krishna’s flute and the evocative dances by the gopis captivated an almost packed auditorium on 15 March in Pearland.  Presented by GOD – Global Organization for Divinity to celebrate their Namadwaar Prayer House’s fourth anniversary, the dance ballet titled Radhe…Radhe… depicted Radha Rani’s divine love for her Krishna through the medium of the Bharatnatyam form of dance.

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A global nonprofit organization, GOD’s basic tenet is that universal harmony can be sought through spiritual awakening and achieved by chanting the Mahamantra or the Divine names of God. There are 20 Namadwaars around the world established by GOD.  Houston has the distinction of building the first Namadwaar outside India in 2010.

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Setting the tone for the evening was young Kruthi Bhat who invocated the blessings of Krishna, Radha Rani and His Holiness Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji through a superb rendition of Bhava Bhaktim Dehime Sri Radhe.  Hema Salvady welcomed the gathering including the luminaries – Mayor of Pearland, Tom Reid, Mayor of Manvel, Delores Martin, Kim Sinistore, Padmini Chari, Indrani Parthasarathy and Naomi Stevens.

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“Humanity and Divinity are inseparable,” explained Sriram Ramanujam and outlined several initiatives such as Health Fairs, Blood and Bone Marrow, Food, Clothing and Educational supplies drives undertaken by the organization to better the community. Sriram also mentioned    the new construction for Namadwaar that would enable the organization to extend its services.

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This line of thought was continued by Jeevan Nair who stated that the “giver benefits more than the receiver.” Representatives from Forgotten Angels and Adult Reading Center were invited to accept a contribution for their wonderful work.

Offering a traditional Namaste to an appreciative gathering, Mayor Reid stated that Pearland has been “busy building a city, roads, waterlines, utilities…it was time to have some culture.” He lauded the organization for “its stupendous outreach” and “was delighted to be a part of this evening.”

In his message, His Holiness Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji expounded on the four precepts of Krishna bhakti: pilgrimage to Brindavan, scriptures of Srimad Bhagavatam, singing Krishna’s divine names and service to Radha Krishna. He also explained why Radha Rani is not mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavatam despite her high standing in the hearts of saints and how Uddhava understood the true meaning of Bhakti on visiting Brindavan.

Choreography Director, Dr. Surbhi Veeraragavan made excellent use of nine accomplished dancers to bring the story alive. The dance ballet opened with Radha Rani’s birth. As she grows up, she dreams and yearns for her childhood playmate recalling his stealing butter, dancing on the serpent Kaliya’s head and his magical flute which mesmerized the gopis. 

This unconditional love conquers Krishna who also cherishes his Radhe. The two spend time wrapped up in their love for each other and seeing the Divine couple, even Shiva is ecstatic. This blissful state, however, is short lived as Krishna leaves for Mathura to fulfil his destiny and Radha is heart-broken. But her love never wavers or lessens and is, as Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji sings, of such divine nature, the world has never and will never know.

The credit for conveying this haunting tale of love must be given to all the dancers – Anu Nagasimha, Shubha Soman, Nisha Gosar, Roopa Nagarajan, Maya Iyer, Akila Raman, Kavya Rajan, Suwetha Kalyan and Nrithi Subramanian. The lift of the eyebrow, darting looks, yearning, pensiveness and other soulful emotions flit easily across their faces, the expressive hand gestures and the delicate footwork succeed in convey the deep abiding love between Radha and Krishna even to those in the audience who were not well versed in the dance form.

Uma Ranganathan, Janakiraman and Karthik Jnaneshwar worked with His Holiness’s compositions to provide the soulful music. They were supported by Ganapathyraman on the Mridangam, Ananthakrishnan on the violin, Devraj on the flute, Ramesh on the veena and Shankarraman on the keyboard while sound engineer Radhakrishnan brought it all together.

Secretary of Hindus of Greater Houston, Thara Narasimhan concluded the evening by articulating the fact that without music there is no dance and there’s no dance without love and devotion. She congratulated all those who had worked tirelessly for this evening after which the dancers were facilitated by a charmed Mayor Reid.

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