Upanishad Ganga is a 52-episode television series produced by Chinmaya Mission and directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi. Upanishads are the source of all the teachings of Sanatana Dharma. There is no parallel to the universal teachings found in them. Upanishad Ganga will be aired on Doordarshan from March 11, 2012 from 10:00 AM to 10.30 AM.
Chandraprakash Dwivedi, who captured the imagination of the nation as Chanakya in the Doordarshan serial, is at the helm of this unique television series.
From promotional material
"Upanishad Ganga", a treasure trove of stories Never told before on celluloid. A series depicting the story of you and me. A series depicting the concept of Upanishads. A series exploring vedic culture. A mammoth attempt to unravel the glorious heritage of
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Inspiration and concept Swami Tejomayananda.
“Upanishads or Vedanta deal with the issues, the quandaries that we face even today. Questions like what is happiness, what is true love still trouble us. We live with all the material trappings and towards the end of the life ask ourselves: were we loved or not? It is this contemporary appeal that makes them relevant. Also Upanishads don't belong to one religion. They help in understanding the idea that is
Dwivedi says the challenge was to make it visually exciting as Upanishads deal with concepts. There are no stories to justify those concepts and even if they are they are too thin to make a 22-minute episode. “So initially, I told the producers that this could be a theme for documentary not drama but after long hours of contemplation I realized there could be a way out if we use stories from our rich past to explain the thought but for this I needed a narrator.”
Dwivedi relied on Sanskrit theatre to make the narrative coherent and cohesive. “It is perhaps the first time that somebody is using the two media. Every episode opens with a travelling Sanskrit theatre with a sutradhar and a vidushak. They put forward a concept and then go back in time to explain it through a story and then come back with an inference.”
So if the story of Yama and Nachiketa explains the conflict between materialism and knowledge as Nachiketa asks for enlightenment of soul instead of material goods, the story of Akbar and Birbal is used to elucidate the concept of henotheism. “After visiting a number of temples, Akbar asked Birbal why he worships so many gods. Birbal took the help of Upanishads to explain the idea of one god in different forms. Similarly the concept of true love is explained through the story of sage Yagnavalkya and his two wives Katyayani and Maitreyi.”
Abhimanyu Singh, popular television and Bollywood actor, is playing the narrator and many characters in the series.