Performing arts

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(Shobha Mitra:) “My being always wants to be busy with something or the other, with some creative activity, some cultural programme. In the midst of dance, music and theatre, I derive profound joy and enthusiasm. I feel they are the very stuff of my being! It cannot survive without these. I know, Mother, that all this is but a play of the outer nature. This attraction projects us from the inner to the outer world. And yet, I cannot keep myself away from it. Tell me, Mother, if these activities, dance, music, theatre, are harmful for my sadhana?

(Mother:) No, not at all. (silence, as if in deep thought) A cultural programme has two aspects, one is mastering the technique of art, making it as flawless as possible. The second is to create something from within oneself which can help us purify our being, illumine it. (silence) There are a number of artists who actually live in this creative world. However their outer nature might be, and... (silence during which the Mother looked at me intently) and they create extraordinary things. I want my children to do the same. Whatever they take up, they go to its very depth. Then only can they learn a lot through the programme. … Listen, my dear child, always keep an inner aspiration when you do a programme.”[1]

(Shobha Mitra:) “Douce Mère, You always appreciate and encourage us for our smallest endeavours, our playlets, our recitations. But, Mother, our efforts are so incomplete, so run-of-the-mill! I myself am so dissatisfied with my own efforts. How did you see so much that's positive in this programme? What was it really that you liked? I thought many times of asking you but never plucked up enough courage to do so. Divine Mother, you are Mahalakshmi, you are the symbol of perfection! How did you see beauty in this programme?
(Mother laughed a little and then stayed silent for a while. Then, She spoke:)

(Mother:) Whenever I see a programme, I identify myself with its director. I identify myself with his or her efforts, her force of imagination. I see the effort, the imagination, the force of vision that has gone into the making of the programme. You know, when you identify yourself with the director in this way, you see everything differently. (silence) In the new world this identification will happen quite effortlessly. Then, any programme will be approached in this way by people who have developed this power of receptivity. The completeness of technical perfection will obviously be present. Each programme will have to be executed in an aesthetic way in its totality, but the cardinal need would be this inner aspiration, this inner feeling with which the director has executed the work, the inner vision that has guided the director. This is very important here, my dear child, and that is what I see in your programme, present in a very beautiful way.”[2]

(Shobha Mitra:) “Mother, yesterday during a rehearsal, I lost my temper with the participants in the dance-drama. When they are supposed to get ready for their scene, they are always chattering away. They talk and giggle so much that the atmosphere becomes very light and casual and I am just not able to work.

(Mother:) (almost cutting me) You must not work in such conditions. Tell your students that when they have decided to do anything, whatever that might be, singing, dancing or anything else, there should absolutely be no talking. If they can't do that, then they must endeavour towards it. Ask them to leave the rehearsal area if they can't do this. When they are capable of controlling themselves, they can come back for the rehearsals.”[3]

  1. Shobha Mitra, Living in the Presence, p.132
  2. Ibid., p.173
  3. Ibid., p.175

See also