In 1973, Vidya's mother introduced the very young and impressionable artist to Dr. V. Subramaniam, the noted Carleton University professor, renowned for his unique contribution to the world of Buddhist Literature in his 23 Sanskrit and Tamil Dance Dramas written in Carnatic Music. An inquisitive 5-year-old, Vidya posed an on-going barrage of questions to her mother, as the divinely inspired choreographer was assembling the various elements of the very first stage presentation of the professor's "Ambapali" dance drama.
In "Ambapali", a very lovely court dancer is inspired to understand the fleeting nature of beauty and seek the permanent bliss of the path of the Buddha. In a very similar experience, as life unfolded for Vidya, more than 10 dance dramas came to life in the imagination of Sudha with Dr. Subramaniam's watchful coaching, and the not-so-young anymore dancer found her firm footing in the methodology of Buddhism.
Playing various roles, from the gypsy in "Sujatha," to the title characters in "Madhavi," and "Manimekhalai," Vidya grew more and more disenchanted with her own real character, feeling it was a facade for her true self, thereby finding her authenticity in the same way that her characters found themselves. "Arya Satyam," was a dance drama in which Dr. Subramaniam followed key Buddhist characters in short vignettes, as each of them were enlightened to the Four Noble Truths from the Avatamsaka Sutra:
- Conditioned states are Unsatisfactory
- This Misery has a Cause: Desires
- This Misery has an End
- The Way to the End Exists: The Eightfold Path
The Eightfold Path: Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Work, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration
In "Arya Satyam," Dr. Subramaniam contrasts the stark simplicity of the ease of the Eightfold Path, with the complexity that each individual creates in the drama of life, until reality begins to crack the surface of the facade that we each create for ourselves. Through crisp vignettes of Buddhist legends, the enlightening episodes opened Vidya's mind to the possibilities of wisdom by walking the simple path.
Though Vidya has honed her expertise professionally, this personal path of the seeker has been an increasingly challenging one when coupled with life experience. She holds the humility of the beginner's mind as the most important aspect of her self, and owes immeasurable gratitude to the Professor V. Subramaniam for showing her the way.
It is with great reverence for his guidance that she submits to website readers that the Professor has joined the Enlightened Elders in the Ancestral World now. He is survived by his beautiful and compassionate artistic wife, Jaya, and a son, Gautam. His work also survives in many libraries globally. Do look up his work: Pancha Kanya Tarangini, and a CD is also available, released by the Priya Sisters.