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KC Nectar - Jan 29

Nila Madhava
Act Two 
Drama of Lord Jagannatha
HH Tamal Krishna Gosvami

Submitted by Manoj

LALITA. [She walks to the- next room and looks about]. 0. dear husband!

VIDYAPATI [From behind the scenes]. Coming! Coming!

[Enter Vidydpatil

LALITA [Bowing down in obeisances]. My lord.

VIDYAPATI [Seeing her now]. Ah, my faithful wife, Your devotion teaches me,the meaning of religion; your chastity, of self-control; while your natural simplicity strengthens my austerity. Indeed, all your good qualities have made me your willing student, though it is I who am meant to be your master. [Taking her hand and helping her rise] Therefore rise and assume your proper station, for our marriage, like an initiation, has elevated you to the status of the twice born.

LALITA. My husband's training shows my best side..

VIDYAPATI. Don't credit the, riverbanks for directing the water's flow; a strong-willed current chisels its own path, though opposed at every turn. Though I struck fire to the wood, it now burns of its own accord.

Have you already cleansed my sacred place of worship so I may begin my prayers?

LALITA. Yes, but today there' s a special worship to perform.

[Excitedly] My dear husband, father's agreed to take you to Nila Madhava!

VIDYAPATI. May Lord Vishnu bless you [With great excitement] Lalita, you speak the truth?

LALITA. Yes,he agreed just now.

VIDYAPATI. For this you shall be honored by the emperor himself!

LALITA. It's enough if my husband 's pleased with me. Oh, I almost forgot, Father says you'll have to go blindfolded.

VIDYAPATI. Blindfolded?

LALITA. I guess he doesn't want anyone to know where Lord Nila Madhava is.

VIDYAPATI. I see, Well, never mind. I agree to whatever conditions he sets, [Thoughtful, then ... ] Lalita, do one thing: Bring. a handful of mustard seeds.

LALITA. You want them just now?

VIDYAPATI. Yes, yes!

[She goes and brings - them. Vidyapati carefully takes them and ties them within a corner of his dhoti]

LALITA. Why are you doing that?

VIDYAPATI. I shall need them for worshiping Lord Nila Madhava.

[Enter Visvavasu, dressed to go, carrying some items for worship]

VISVAVASU. Ah, very good. You're ready.

VIDYAPATI [Offering pranamas]. Respectful sir, good -morning. You are like a munificent tree providing all this pilgrim requires. Your lovely daughter, like a ripe fruit sprung from your limbs, nourishes my withered body. And now you offer the shade of Nila Madhava's lotus feet--cooling shelter for the world-weary soul.

VISVAVASU [Enjoying the praise]. . Heh, heh.

Even an old tree like me feels refreshed by a morning shower of such fine words., Now it's gettin' late. Let's go.

[They walk about. Lalita watches them go and then exits]

Watch your step. We're leaving the village boundary and approaching the sacred precinct of Niladri. [Remembering] Ah, I was so eager I nearly forgot. Please don't misunderstand this blindfold. A vision of God is not easily achieved. [He ties the blindfold and places Vidyapati's hand upon his shoulder]

[They ascend]

VIDYAPATI [To himself, as he regularly drops mustard seeds behind him]. As this blindfold veils my eyes, so this soil will cover these mustard seeds. But in due course these seeds will sprout, and then the plants, like unveiled eyes more numerous than Devendra's, will guide the eager King Indradyumna to Sri Nila Madhava's lotus feet.

[To Visvavasu] My dear hunter, tell me ... This forest path seems filled with devotees softly murmuring Sri Nila Madhava's glories.

VISAVASU. No, no. That's only the sound of the bumblebees.

VIDYAPATI. They must be drunk with the sweet honey of Nila Madhava's darsana. Do I hear a chorus of lyrically singing celestials?

VISVAVASU [Laughing]. Those are only the forest birds.

VIDYAPATI. Ah. yes. Like the raised voices of palace bards praising their king, the peacocks' rhythmic calls and the cuckoos' gentle cooing, along with the sweet vibrations of the cakoras.and cakravakas, fill the air with pleasing cries in adulation of the Lord, Indeed, this whole forest resembles a palace courtyard! I hear beating drums and feel the fine, soothing spray of splashing fountains.

VISVAVASU. These are the thundering falls and bubbling streams that make Niladri like heaven itself,

VIDYAPATI. Yes, It must be heaven, for I can feel the flowers falling from the hands of celestial denizens, whose whispering voices fill the air.

VISVAVASU. Those are the fragrant breezes that sweep across Niladri, castin' bouquets of flowers everywhere,

VIDYAPATI. Is there an army passing nearby? I hear the cracking sound of plants, thickets and trees being-cleared. The whole mountain trembles with the force of their weight.

VISVAVASU. Those are the lordly elephants on their way to the lake, Out of fear, the other animals are fleeing in all directions.

VIDYAPATI. Now I hear a now sound, and does the breeze grow even cooler?

VISVAVASU, You hear the charmin' songs of ospreys, cranes, and other water fowl, We're approaching the eastern shore of Rohini-kunda, the sacred lake that lies at the feet of Lord Nila Madhava. Come. We shall soon be there

VIDYAPATI But wait. He stops visvavasu. What is that? Clearly these are the sacred mantras of the Vedas. [They listen]

[From behind the scenes can be heard the chanting of the purusa-sukta prayers]

VISVAVASU. The demigods! They've come to offer their daily worship to Lord Nila Madhava. We musn't delay. Their appearance is rare, since their day equals six of out months. Ah, we're here. Let's sit in this thicket and watch.

VIDYAPATI [Pulling Visvavasu sleeve]. My dear father-in-law, kindly remove this cloth so I may also see,.

VlSVAVASU [Removing it]. Excuse me. In my excitement I forgot.

[Enter the demigods from heaven, led by, Lord Brahma, Indra, Narada, and various others, all bearing wonderful offerings for Lord Nila Madhava. They enter dancing in a line and move about, forming a semicircle before the altar doors, which are between the two entrance doors. All the while they chant the purusa-sukta prayers, accompanied by instruments. Then one demigod, ringing a hand bell, opens the doors to reveal the wondrous form of Lord Nila Madhava, heavily highlighted by jewels. The Deity is six feet, nine inches tall. The demigods offer dandavats. Then Lord Brahma offers arati, Indra a garland (after removing the old garland), and others various gifts in bowls, etc. The demigods exit and enter two or three times, maintaining the circle. The whole scene is executed artistically, with music and dance. Finally, at the end of arati, they go to heaven]

To be continued ...