Chakra Announcements

Ranganiketan To Perform ISKCON Benefit In San Jose, California On June 4, 2006

by Akruranatha Das

Posted May 22, 2006


ISKCON of Silicon Valley is proud to present "Journey to the Foothills of the Himalayas," an exciting and beautifully devotional dance and martial arts performance by the Ranganiketan Manipuri Cultural Arts Troupe.

Showtime is Sunday June 4, 2006, from 7:30 p.m. - 9:45 p.m. at Le Petit Trianon Theatre, located at 72 North Fifth Street in downtown San Jose, California. Tickets are $25 for general and balcony seating, $30 for preferred seating, and $35 for V.I.P. seating. Delicious snacks and drinks will be sold in the Theatre's banquet room during intermission.

Tickets may be purchased by calling (408) 353-9099. Tickets will be available at the door if the show is not sold out, but it is assigned theatre seating and seating is limited, so please purchase tickets early to get good seats.

Ranganiketan (literally "house of colorful arts") is a 20-member performing arts company direct from Manipur, India. The troupe has toured the world since 1990 under the auspices of His Holiness Bhaktisvarupa Damodar Swami, showcasing the diverse cultural arts of Manipur in 18 different countries, including such prestigious venues as the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the WOMAD Festival in Singapore. The performance at the Petit Trianon Theatre in San Jose marks the only stop in the San Francisco Bay Area on the troupe's current North American tour.

Titled "Journey to the Foothills of the Himalayas," this year's repertoire is certain to dazzle both young and old audiences. The show features colorful and energetic folk and tribal dances, virtuosic and acrobatic drum dance rituals, sweet instrumental music and thrilling martial arts. The performance culminates in the beautiful and deeply devotional classical dance of Manipur, the "Vasanta Rasa Lila."

Manipur, a state in the far northeast of India, sharing a border with Myanmar (Burma), has a long history of Viashnavism. It was an independent kingdom for over a thousand years and it has remained secluded, keeping its unique music, dance and other cultural traditions alive and vibrant.

Manipur is mentioned in the Mahabharata as a place where all the inhabitants are devotees of Krishna and think of Him day and night. It is recorded in Mahabharata how in Manipur the great Pandava hero Arjuna married Citrangada, a Gandharva warrior princess, and their son Babhrubahan became the ruler of that land. The inhabitants are thus said to be descendants of Gandharvas, which may explain their natural talent for music and dance.

In more recent history, Narottama Das Thakur deputed his disciple Ganga Narayan Chakravarti to preach in Manipur, and Ganga Narayan eventually succeeded in converting the King into a devotee of Lord Caitanya. Today, Manipur's two million or so inhabitants are almost all Gaudiya Vaisnava devotees of Lord Caitanya, and the Sankirtan style of music and dance practiced by Lord Caitanya's followers in Bengal 400 years ago has been incorprated and preserved in their own culture.

Manipuri classical dance is one of the main traditions of Indian classical dance and is quite distinct from the Bharat Natyam, Kathak, and Odissi styles which are more often performed in the Bay Area. It is performed to accompaniment of songs from Srimad Bhagavatam and from Vaishnava poets such as Jayadeva Goswami and Chandidas who were beloved by Lord Caitanya. The Vasant Rasa Lila dance, which will be the finale this show, was designed by an 18th century Manipuri saintly king, down to the costumes and choreography, after he had a vision of Lord Krishna's rasa lila in a dream.

Please visit www.ranganiketan.com for more information and to watch a 5-minute flash presentation slide show about the troupe. For more information and tickets, please call (408) 353-9099.

Proceeds of the San Jose show will go to ISKCON of Silicon Valley's temple purchase fund. ISKCON of Silicon Valley operates the Sri Sri Radha-Madanamohan temple at 951 S. Bascom Avenue in San Jose, but the rented premises are small and the lease is not permanent. For more about ISKCON of Silicon Valley and its temple purchase fund, please visit www.virtualtemple.org.

Adam Bernstein
bernsteinlaw@earthlink.net