“Na Gururōr adhikam tatvam | Na Gurōr adhikam tapaḥ||  

Tatva gñānāt param nāsti | tasmai Śri Gurave namaḥ ||

As part of the 18th  program sequence of Bharatīya Samskriti Darshana, Vanamala Center for Art and Culture conducted and presented Guru Vandana program on 25th of August at Suchitra cinema and cultural academy. This beautiful Sunday was chosen by Dr Meera Rajaram Pranesh,   managing trustee of Vamala Center for Art and Culture,  to celebrate, acknowledge and honor all the Gurus on the auspicious occasion of Guru Pūrnima and also to release the book on Gīta Gangādhara, a romantic gēya prabandha (opera), in Sanskrit, of 18th century by Kaḷale Nañjarāja, a king-maker in Mysore .

 The program began with a mellifluous rendering, featuring compositions on Guru’s, composed by various composers as Sri Tyagaraja, Muttusvami Dikshitar, Mysore Vasudevacharya, Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wodeyar, Basavanna, Purandaradasa, Abhangs, Meera bhajan. The compositions were presented in unison by artists Vid. Mangala Subrahmanya, Vijayashree Rao, Mansa Gireesh, Vaishnavi Mayya, Nagashree Narayan, Thejaswini, Manasa K.S, and Pavani Kashinath. Kum. Aishwarya Mahesh preceded each one of these compositions with apt information which kept the audience involved. Their soulful presentation touched everyone in the audience who perhaps, offered their salutations to their own Guru’s.

After respecting the Guru parampara musically, Dr Archana Bhat, member advisory board, introducing the organization to the audience, invited all the Gurus, the guests of honor, Sri. Keerthanacharya Lakshmandas Velankar, Vid. Sudha V. Murthy, Vid Rohini Manjunath,

Dr. B. M.Jayashree and Vid.Kamala Balaji to grace the stage. “Guruvina gulāmanāguva tanaka doreyadaṇṇa mukuti”-says Sri.Purandaradasa.  Respecting this tradition, the Pranesh couple-Dr Meera and Dr Anant Pranesh felicitated the guests of honor. Dr Meera reminisced and acknowledged her association with all her gurus narrating wonderful experiences with them,  as she thanked them on how each of them has sculpted her, every stage of her life.

The guests shared their wonderful experiences as her teachers and had priceless words of wisdom for us, her students. Sri. Keerthanacharya Lakshmandas Velankar narrated a beautiful anecdote from Srimad Bhagavatham of Lord Krishna, the universal teacher and a painter who tried to paint his portrait. The first few attempts from the painter unguided did not yield a good portrait however, guidance from his Guru led to the right painting. Velankar ji stressed on the importance of the right direction a disciple is bestowed upon by his Guru and the insatiable quest a disciple should have to seek out for this invaluable knowledge.

  All the guests of honor spoke in length on the unlatchable bond of the Guru – Śiśya tradition, the route they have chosen to inspire and impart their knowledge to students. Virtues of humility, as a sign of strength, was stressed upon by each of them.    The main take away for each one of us as students were the lessons of humility, perseverance, dedication to the art and devotion towards the teachers who guide us in every step of our journey selflessly. Each of their words was a reinforcement of values that have been cascaded to us from Dr Meera Rajaram. It strengthened our motivation to imbibe more such qualities and endeavor to build a selfless personality of our own, enabling us to humbly share knowledge with society to the extent possible by us.

As a tribute to her Guru and guide Dr. BVK Shastri, Dr Meera Rajaram has brought out a  book on Gīta Gangādhara. This work sees the romance between Śiva and Pārvathi as the main protagonists in the form of aṣṭapadīs. The original manuscript transliterated to Kannada by Sri BVK Shastri was handed over to Dr Meera by him. This has been published now, as a book by Vanamala center for art and culture, which has the Sanskrit, Kannada and English versions of all the aṣṭapadīs and their summaries. The work was scholarly translated into all the languages by Dr.Rajani Jayaram, Dean, Student’s Welfare and Head of the Sanskrit department, Jain (Deemed to be) University along with Sri Ramachandra. The guests of honor released this book open to the public. The book, a must-have to any artist is available at Vanamala center for art and culture and any one interested can reach out to Dr.Meera Rajaram Pranesh.

With us, the students of Dr Meera being blessed by her to carry forward the Guru – Śiśya Parampara, the beautiful event concluded thanking one and all present. Post a sumptuous lunch, all present dispersed enriched carrying pleasant memories of this wonderful event. – Ragini Sanath

Gurave sarva lōkānām    | bhishajē bhava giṇām        ||

Nidhaye sarva vidyānām | Srī Dakśiṇā mūrtaye namaḥ   ||