Monday, April 14, 2008

Satyagraha and Our Lady of Vilnius

When I am not standing in a holy place singing "Marija, Marija," I sing in two choruses. The leader of one of them also works for The Metropolitan Opera, so we have been privileged to hear some technical detail of the chorus's preparation for Philip Glass's "Satyagraha." In today's New York Times, Anthony Thomasini reviews this production: "Fanciful Visions on the Mahatma’s Road to Truth and Simplicity". This opera is based on a period of Mahatma Gandhi's life when he set about helping Indians in South Africa achieve human and civil rights. The word sanskrit "satyagraha" has been translated to mean "reality force" or "truth force": another way of standing in a holy place, and perhaps the only way.

Let us all aspire to be "SATYAGRAHI," as described below:

A) A satyagrahi (one who practices satyagraha) must be willing to shoulder any sacrifice which is occasioned by the struggle which they have initiated, rather than pushing such sacrifice or suffering onto their opponent, lest the opponent become alienated and access to their portion of the truth become lost.

B) The satyagrahi must always provide a face-saving "way out" for the opponents. The goal is to discover a wider vista of truth and justice, not to achieve victory over the opponent.

I will strive for the above AND, I'm going to the opera. It's sung in Sanskrit. Maybe it will help me with my Lithuanian!

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