"The Appearance Day of Swami Vivekananda"
Right after the celeberation of Makar Snkranti. Lohri and Pongal. The third weekend of January was full of festivity for the Vedanta Society of Southern California- Hollywood. The Appearance Day of Swami Vivekananda was celebrated with great zeal. The monks, devotees and guests started arriving at the Shrine from 6:30 am. Morning prayers followed the Breakfast. Thereafter the Puja, Hawan (Fire Sacrifice), Prasad, Play based on Biography of Swami Vivekananda, followed by discourse by Swami Atmajananananda of Washington DC, dicourse by Swami Swahanandaji head Swami of Hollywood branch, Aarti and Dinner (Prasad). This was the routine of the Vedanta Religious Boot Camp.
The most illuminating and soul touching event was the live play. "The Lion between Matter and Spirit : Swami Vivekananda". A one half hour long interesting play kept the audience spellbound. With Live Musicians and superb acting. It was a rare event in the City of Angels.
Hollywood has been the World Capital of entertainment. We witnessed the great performance about the first Hindu Missionary’s Life in Hollywood itself. The same play was also performed at Malibu Hindu Temple on January 22nd.
This Folk Opera is the brainchild of the group : TRUTH IS ONE CHOIR
and is Written & directed by Mr. Peter Shnieder& Anya Liffey. This couple has also composed the remarkable music and have sung the songs originally penned by Swami Vivekananda himself.
The characters in the play were portrayed by :
Lewis deDios, Dr. Sunit Kumar Gupta, Alehandro Sahagun, Jonah Chilk, Calvin Erdal, Karl Whitmarsh, Swami Atmavidyananda, Calvin Erdal, William Bergfeldt, Elea Breitling, Durga Cobre, Jonah Chilk, Anya Lifey and Pankaj Purohit.
When asked about the performance Dr. Sunit Gupta pointed " We all tried our best in a limited time frame. The results are right here. As the audience is giving standing ovation every few minutes. Like the name of our show Swamiji was a Lion and also he had a sensitive and giving heart. He was the Son of India to sow the seed of Hinduism in North America. We were able to mesmerize the audience and took them back to 19th century. We were also successful in conveying the Biography of Swami Vivekananda to the Local people and our youth ".
Sunit concluded "I myself received so many compliments from the audience. Specially when a sensitive little boy Pranav insisted on meeting the RAJA (me) after the show. I was so much touched that this pure soul has been touched so much with my performance? This incident endorsed that I portrayed the character well."
A twinkle in the bespectacled eyes of Gupta flashed when he reminisced "In 1983 I played Sheikh Shahabudin in Shri. Girish Karnad’s famous play "Tugluq". We were competing on All India basis at Dalhousie Institute , Calcutta.
"Delhi school of Drama" had their best actor Mr. K.K. Raina playing the same role in the same play. He was 20 years older than me and was a professional whereas I was just a student. I can’t forget the day. When the judges and audience voted for me as better performer than Mr. Raina". Gupta also made a sarcastic remark about the Indian promoters "Why waste so much money, time, etc. and also put up with the funkiness of Bollywood Stars when better talent is right here in Hollywood?"
Dr. Sunit Gupta, a prominent personality in USA and Asia has a number of a achievements behind him. It becomes a mystery, how such diverse Qualities could converge in one person?
Bringing the benefits and blessings of East to the West, let each of us try to reap the rich harvest from his experience and gifts.
Besides being very busy, Spiritual Counselor, Astrologer, Palmist, Holistic Medicine, Reki Practitioner and healer. Though some still insist upon calling him "GURU". Dr. Sunit Kumar Gupta is also an experienced actor with extensive background in theater , movies, television, singing and photography. With years of experience behind him . Trying to promote the portrayals of great personalities of India. Like Swami-Vivekanada.
Dr. Sunit K. Gupta is producing a fascinating play on Swami Vivekananda. This is a Solo Play wherein Dr. Gupta will play more than 60 characters himself and will also sing Bhjajans live on the stage. He invites readers who want to help him with the forthcoming shows. Actors, Musicians, Sound Artists, Singers, Make up people, Backstage help, Producers, Sponsors, Promoters all are invited to help.
Also Dr. Gupta is willing to perform more shows and invites people and religious organizations to arrange the show in their cities.
Having 4th Degree Black Belt and being the Chairman of North America for Ashihara Karate InternationalSunit and his associates are also available to teach "Self Defense", Acting and produce a live play for other organization.
Please call for details :
Dr. Sunit K. Gupta
Photographs by : Sarita & Hersheeta Gupta, Ravi Sagar and Zubin Upadhyay.