‘Death is not a problem to be solved but a fact to be accepted’ - Swami Tapovan Maharaj, in the play ‘Death’.
‘Death’ was conceptualized to facilitate clarity because only from clarity comes courage; courage to face Death! Based on the ancient text Kathopanishad, the play reflects upon the various concepts of birth and death. Upfront, inquiring and with a dash of humour, ‘Death’ comes alive, challenging many of our conditioned beliefs.
The play is about a journey of an ardent seeker, Nachiketa, an astronaut from Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), whose quest for knowing that which is unknown brings him face to face with Death. Together with Death (Mr. D) and his personal assistant (CG), Nachiketa embarks on a journey that cuts across time and space.
Nachiketa has the privilege to meet the rare few who faced Death courageously like the young martyr freedom fighter, Khudiram Bose. Quoting the Geeta, Khudiram Bose claims that “Death is nothing but change of garb”. The wisdom of the saint Tapovan Maharaj is also transferred to Nachiketa through his journey.
Constantly questioning, probing and curious, Nachiketa is enthralled by the various revelations that unveil themselves and come to light. A witness to various kinds of deaths, he finds himself drawn further and further towards that reality which transforms his life forever. Being a true student, Nachiketa quickly learns to conquer his senses with the mind and then conquer the mind.
The idea was conceptualised by Swami Mitrananda and executed by the students of the third batch of the Youth Empowerment Programme and Chennai Chinmaya Yuva Kendra members. A team of Death consists of atleast forty youngsters, both local and performers from Chennai and hence till date, at least 200 youngsters have been a part of the team.
With more than nine shows performed in different parts of India including in cities like Chennai, Chandigardh, Guwahati, Mumbai and Kolkatta, Death’s aim of facilitating clarity culminating into courage has been realised to an extent.
“With a loud scream the man next to me fell dead and the funeral boys took him away! That was the scariest part. But now I know how to face death. I will not be scared,” said Meghna, who had just witnessed the show. “My Death is dead,” she smiled confidently.