The lady who fed her jhoota to Rama and lived to tell the tale. Don't try this at home - just watch it on stage.
On the occasion of its 29th anniversary, Kinnera Art Theatres is organising 29 days of Telugu stage dramas from different parts of the state, at Sri Thyagaraya Gana Sabha, from 9th November to 7th December. As part of the 21st day of celebrations, Shabari is being staged today.
This is a story of a die-hard devotee of Lord Rama, who lives on to finally meet him in person. Shabari was born to a Kshatriya father and a hunter mother, and since she belonged to the Shabara tribe, was named Shabari. In a bid to serve Lord Rama, she sacrifices her life's comforts and leaves her parents' home for the forests.
She finds refuge in Sage Matanga's ashram, who teaches her the basics of spiritual life that would sustain her for the rest of her life. The local brahmins do not approve of Matanga giving spiritual guidance to a low caste woman, and so boycott Matanga.
One day, Shabari's cloth touches a brahmin coming in the opposite direction, who becomes furious. He rebukes her severely and again goes to the river to take a bath. As soon as he enters the waters of the river, the water turns red and worms began to crawl in it.
After many years, Lord Rama, during the course of his exile, comes to the forest known as Dandakaaranya and visits Shabari’s hut first, as a token of appreciation for her devotion. He eats with great relish the berry fruits offered to him by Shabari. To confirm whether they are ripe or not, she bites each berry, tastes them and offers the goods ones to the Lord. Rama and Lakshmana get moved by her ecstatic devotion.
All the sages of the forest come to meet Rama and narrate about the nearby river that they used to bathe in daily, which is now dirty. At this Lakshmana explains that to was due to the treatment meted out by the brahmins to Sage Matanga and Shabari, that the water turned impure. He also says that if Shabari bathed in the river, it would regain its original purity.
As soon as Shabari touches the waters, they become crystal clear. The brahmins realise their fault and beg forgiveness of Shabari. They understand that the Lord looks at internal purity and does not discriminate on the basis of races.
The drama is being directed by Meka Ramakrishna, and presented by Meka Arts of Nizamabad.
Kinnera Art Theatres was started in 1977, and has since organised various programs, including musical nites, classical dances and vocals, felicitations and releases of books. It has served as a platform for many upcoming artistes, and has at the same time provided recognition and appreciation for established ones. Dr R Prabhakar Rao, IPS, is the chairman of the association, while M Raghuram is its dedicated secretary.
Please contact M Raghuram of Kinnera Art Theatres at 98660-57777 for further details.