Buddha, Naatak’s grand musical in the park in San Jose is written and directed by the brilliant Sujit Saraf. Producer and dance director is Soumya Agastya and Music Direction is by Nachiketa Yakkundi.
The play is set in the sixth century BCE and viewers are given a booklet written in English, with full text of the music and brief descriptions of all that transpires in between.
Siddharth Gautam was born in a land known as Madhyam Desh (most likely today’s Nepal) at a time when aside from Ved, only about five Upanishads had been composed and the epics Ramayan and Mahabharat had not yet come into existence. This was not a time when there was a great deal of conformity of thought and beliefs. Atheists, ascetics, heterodox thinkers and others subscribed to their own version of good, bad, evil and virtuous, while Brahmanical Hinduism was a weaker sect among others.
Siddhartha was born a prince and could not find contentment in his easy going life. When he witnessed suffering, death and disease, he was deeply moved and set about trying to find enlightenment and gave up his lavish lifestyle. When poverty and suffering also failed to bring peace then he promoted the “middle way”, existing between two extremes, a life without indulgences but also without deprivation. He preached attainment of enlightenment through achieving morality, meditation, and wisdom. One can say that it was one of the first attempts at religion through spirituality, and minus the invention of a deity.
Following Buddha’s death, his disciples gathered to jot down Buddha’s spiritual journey and his path to enlightenment under the Peepal tree and to compile his teachings. The play is largely based on what emerged in these compilations.
Naatak’s play attempts to capture Buddha’s spiritual journey, almost 2,500 years ago, through a combination of songs, captivating dances and dialogues, written entirely in rhyme, in “prachin” hindi.. The play is performed outdoors in the shade of giant maple and oak trees, in San Jose, CA.
For tickets, please go to www.naatak.org .