Look Beyond Yourself

A Musical Written and Directed by – Dr. Rekha Shetty.

(A train going fast through a tunnel in darkness. Suddenly, the screen explodes with scenery, as you emerge from a tunnel.)

Let us begin the longest journey of all. A journey into yourself. Close your eyes.

(Vedic chanting begins. The seeker who is sitting in meditation opens his eyes and sees the guru.)

VIJAY : I thought a guru should have a long white beard and the clothes of a sanyasi.

GURU : I rather thought you would be more comfortable with this form, I will change.

VIJAY : No. No. What do appearance matter so long as you can answer my questions about life, about love, about the universe…..

GURU : Why don’t we start with you. To know yourself, first love yourself. Do you love yourself?

VIJAY : Ofcourse O do. (Does aerobics and audience later joins in)

I love every inch of myself.

Look at the way I stretch

Like a cat ….

I don’t tolerate any fat.

I don’t gulp coffee

Or munch toffee

Or guzzle liquor

Nor do I bicker

About who is going to be first

Fashion show (Music).

VIJAY : They seem to love themselves.

Ofcourse I love myself

(Fast Aerobics)

GURU : So do you think the fat and the ugly and the sulky don’t deserve to be loved?

Become this twisted wicked man consumed by hatred.

(into the heart of a violent man. Starting with an angry scream:)

I hate, I break, I crack

I fear, I crush, I don’t care.

Destruction, demolition, retribution

Retribution is mine

Revenge, avenge

Detest, disgust

I don’t trust anyone.

Deplore, disgust,

desolate, destroy :

I will destroy.

My God, please stop.

GURU : O.K. O.K. Let’s try something simpler. How do you know a tree?

VIJAY : Look at it, Touch it, Taste its leaves. Hug it. Taste its fruits, smell the fragrance of its flowers.

GURU : Mm. You are close. But, to really know a tree, you must become a tree.

(Guru : Hypnotically, to the audience – Shut your eyes…. Become a tree in a storm. Echo…. Sound of the storm.)

I will become a tree in the storm.

Tossing my green and hoary locks.

Turning my sightless eyes.

Towards the arrows of lightning.

Shivering with delight.

As the dark and angry skies

Thunder through my heart

And the battalion of rain

Tear down the mighty mountain side

I feel – –

Like a million flickering lamps were it

In the dark violence of the hurricane

Like a thousand temple bells

Were rung, in the stillness of the night

And all the mighty forces of the storm


And flowed like molten music

In my veins.

VIJAY : Now that I have understood a tree, I will never, never cut a tree…. I never really understood trees till now.

GURU : Knowing is beyond understanding. The intellect is an obstacle to knowing. It obscures the direct experience of knowing.

Anyway remember this, the next time you want to cut people down to size.

VIJAY : You know that chap full of hatred. Has he ever known love?

GURU : All of us have opportunities to understand love.

(Lullaby mother & child).

I do not find you my toothless one

In the tall and sullen stranger

Who questions every world I say

Who seems to hate me anyway

GURU : Love means learning to let go.

VIJAY : It’s funny how kids forget their old parents.

No one is too old for loving

No one is too old for caring

No one is too old to give

No one is too old to take

No one is too old for a hug

No one is too old for a smile

No one is too old to laugh

No one is too old to cry.

No one is too old for beauty

No one is old to do their duty

No one is too old to fight for the right

No one is too old to do their duty

No one is too old for loving

No one is too old for caring

GURU : You can do so much for others. But we spend all our time competing.

VIJAY : I think people should not let go of their dreams. People are always putting off things to do in the future.

When I am older I’ll write me a song

When I’m older I’ll build me a mountain

When I am older I’ll reach out and paint

Rainbows and Rain clouds and roses

When I am older and bolder

When I’m bigger and faster

When I am older,

I’ll build us a brand new world

Where people are nicer

And colours are brighter

No trees shall be cut

No animals shot

I’ll build us a brand new world.

When I was young, I always dreamed

Of the great novel I’d write

The mountain I’d build

The wonderful symphonies, I’d create

The revolution I’d lead

I wanted a brand new world

Now I’m sadder and older

Wiser and grayer

It’s still the same old world

And now its too late

R : Ready, steady, go….

Competition, competition,

Competition is the name of the game.

I wish to be the best

I will try, I will try

I will push with all my heart and soul and might

I will be better than the best —

At least for the next one minute.

(Two tennis buffs, young, a boy and girl are playing a game.)

BOY : It takes guts to be in this racket.

GIRL : Flexibility is to stretch rules without breaking them.

BOY : It’s the service that counts.

GIRL : I have met my match…. obviously.

GURU : Records are made to be broken.

But winning is not everything….

There is so much we can explore within ourselves. If only we give ourselves permission….

(Two young people)

Why don’t you paint, the colours of this earth?

I’ve never done it before

Why don’t you try

It’ll be a mess….

Why don’t you write, the beauty that you feel

I’ve never done it before….

So start now

I don’t think it’ll interest anyone.

Why don’t you dance, your heart is full of joy….

I’ve never done it before

Try it now….

What will people say?

Why don’t you sing, raise your heart in song,

I’ve never done it before

No one will care, I wouldn’t dare

I’ve never done it before….

Why don’t you dance?

I’ve never done it before, I’m too fat

Come on, look at that….

But I’ve one step at a time

I’ve never done it before….

Look, it’s easy, you can

I’ve never done it before

Well you’re doing it now

So do it again….

Yes I’ll do it again

I’ll reach out and touch

The shape of my touch

I’ll dance to the tunes

Of my silent heart beat

I will explore

I will dance

I will sing

I will live

I will do it again

And again.

VIJAY : What about love? When you are in love you don’t care about winning.

GURU : Love certainly expands your spirit.

You have opened the doors,

Long shut tight

And set free

The imprisoned laughter

Of a child long dead

And let in the whirlwind

Of a million unexplored dreams

Awakened a storm of thoughts

That take flight to unknown lands

You have made me reach out

Beyond the far reaches of myself,

To explore limitless inner worlds,

And touched with magic the trifles of everyday

Like the touch of the moon

On the silent ocean

Transforming it into a metalled silver pathway to the stars.

GURU : Love means taking risks.

VIJAY : Something happens in my stomach, when I watch that like when a plane takes off…..

Actually I think something happens in my heart

Like watching a bird take flight

GURU : But when you lose someone you love, life still has to go on.

Since the day you splashed

Upon a grey and empty space

An exuberant rainbow

I cannot face the challenge

Of an empty page

Now I have learnt to mix my own colours

Painstakingly one by one

Violet and Indigo

Blue and green

Yellow and Orange and red

They stand there one by one

In stiff self-conscious bands

Their studied gaiety

An affront to spontaneity

I don’t know how to make them glow

With the magic amalgam

Of sun and rain

That flowed so effortlessly

From your hands.

VIJAY : But there is always a tendency to bind and crush people whom we love.

GURU : Yes.

(He sees her dance and marries her. Then does not allow her to dance.)

Why did you tame the deer

That ran like the wind

If what you wanted

Was its wild grace in the woods?

Why did you cage

The bird that soared

If what captured your heart

Was the lovely freedom of its song?

Why did you bind her

With children and home,

If what you loved

Was the swift

Movements of her dance?

GURU : Cutting people down, reducing them is as bad as cutting a tree.

You cannot make a bonsai of a tree

By pruning its spreading branches

By trimming its luxuriant roots

For it has known the glory of the heavens

And the tender warmth of the living earth

It can never become a conversation piece

In a bowl of china blue.

Do not try

To make a bonsai

Of a mighty tree

It is better that the tree should die.

GURU : All experience are supposed to teach you.

VIJAY : I thought a guru is supposed to teach you.

GURU : Look at the sky. Far far away, you can see an eagle swift and strong and free. In a single instant, it can swoop down to earth and capture its prey. As far as vision and speed is concerned, that eagle is your guru.

See the lion in the forest (lion roaring). See how majestic is its gait. As far as grace is concerned that lion is your guru.

Watch the sinous serpent (music). He is not anxious about his prey. He waits and watches. That serpent will teach you confidence… All of life is designed to teach you. Those who love you teach you something. Those who hate you teach you more.

VIJAY : So, sorrow and pain are sent into our lives for a reason, so that we can sympathize with others.

GURU : Empathy is a better word. It is feeling your pain in my heart…..

Feel the falling of a leaf.

Feel the plucking of a flower.

Feel the cutting of a tree.

Feel the breaking of a heart….

Feel a bird being torn apart.

Feel the crying of a child.

Feel the hunger.

Feel the hurt,

Feel the tears,

Feel the pain.

VIJAY : Stop, Stop…..

GURU : If you know others as you know yourself, you cannot hurt anyone.


(People walking like robots)

Have you seen your neighbour lately,

Have you seen your neighbour lately,

Have you seen his eyes, his face his life?

Have you ever looked

At the milk abandoned at his door

At the child resigned to its fate

Have you seen the plants drooping

Right outside his door….

As you walk through the faceless crowds….

Have you seen him crying aloud?

(The incident of a mother whose child has died – a boy murdered for his watch.)

MOTHER : He was so young, so beautiful. How could you watch him die on the street?

How could you watch him bleed? How could you shut ears to his cries…?

Chorus : What would you do?

Would you rush to his aid?

Or would you cower by the gate?

Would you refuse to see what is happening outside your door?

Where were you when the children cried?

Where were you when the homes were burnt?

Where were you when the trees were cut?

Where were you when the deer were shot through the heart?

Did you act?

Did you write?

Did you speak?

Did you walk out against?

Did you cry out?

Or did you watch in silence?

As the world died….

(A man is drowning. A priest walks by. Gives him a lecture on how to be careful).

Can’t you see where you are going, why do you walk with your head in the clouds.

Can’t in the clouds.

Can’t you see where you are going…..

Life is a serious business

You can’t dance through it all….

DROWING MAN : Please pull me out first. And then we can talk…..

GURU : This sad world needs so much. Why don’t you start by giving.

(Busy yuppie going to office)

I have nothing to give.

I have worries of my own.

My banker’s calling in his loan

My stocks are rather bearish

My nights are all nightmarish,

I have no time to spare….

I have no time to stare….

GURU : Let us leave the poorest man in the world, notwithstanding his expensive car, his splendid home and his plastic wife and start giving.

GURU : Stand up everybody. Turn to your right. Turn to your left and smile. Smile to your right. Smile to your left. Turn around and smile. Every smile is free. Give it away. And get a hundred more in return. Now sit down and smile…..

(An acrobat with his act).

Now clap for our friend

Give him a cheer, Make him smile, Make him laugh.

Make him enjoy this day.

(A star leads the song).

Laughing makes you happy

Laughing clears the air

Laughing is the antidote

To every poisonous tear

Laughing is God’s signature

On every human face

Laughing can heal, Be happy, be light,

So, gentleman, let’s share a smile

If you are sad and lonely

Laughter in the air

Can banish all your care….

If you have had a fight

And the air is cold with blight


VIJAY : But you can’t be laughing all the time. If I don’t like something about my friend, I think I should tell him.

GURU : Come. Let me assure you that there’s enough sorrow, enough unhappiness, enough despair in everybody’s life. Certainly, there is no need for you to make your own unique contribution to the sum total of sadness in anyone’s life.

Humans are the only people, created to make others happy

Our hands can clap

and life and cheer

They can comfort and heal

And when we clap together

We are mighty force

Our faces are created for happy happy smiles

To radiate encouragement without a single word

Our voices can be gentle, soothing, kind and bright

When we make others so happy,

Why do we make them sad.

Watch this,

(The Chairman of the meeting talking to a poor man.)

Comrade Federov, if you had a house, would you give it to the State?


CHAIRMAN : If you had two houses, would you give them to Mother Russia?

COMRADE FEDEROV : Yes, Of course.

CHAIRMAN : If you had two cows, would you give them to the Motherland?


CHAIRMAN : If you had two pairs of shoes, would you give them to the country?

COMRADE FEDEROV : Of course not.

CHAIRMAN : Why on earth? You were willing to give your two houses and your two cows to the nation. Why don’t you want to give your shoes?

COMRADE FEDEROV : Well you see, I really have two shoes. I don’t have two cows. I don’t have two houses.

GURU : It is always easy to give away someone else’s property. It’s always easy to bear a toothache, especially when its another fellow’s.

VIJAY : Caught you. That’s Mark Twain.

GURU : O.K. O.K.

(TWO young men commenting on a pretty girl).

A : Look at that walk. What a chick man. What a peach.

B : Stop…..

A : Wow. What’s your phone No. baby?

B : Please stop.

A : Why…..

B : That’s my wife.

Everybody’s somebody’s wife

Everybody’s somebody’s child

Every tear they shed

Will break somebody’s heart

(A huge group of laughing children enter and dance).

What does tomorrow hold?

For the little girl in her mother’s clothes?

For the wistful bride with the brimming eyes?

Will it be like the world of make believe?

Or be washed away like a rainbow bubble in the kitchen sink?

What will happen to this bird with a broken wing?

(Child affected by polio)

(Enter children eating icecreams – a dance)

(Ragged child watching longingly)

Oh I wanted it so much

So rich, so soft, so cold…

I wanted it so much…

Just once…

Jut one icecream cone…

Can I ever taste

Such a delight

Just once.

It would be heaven to eat

Just one icecreams cone.

(Two maamis talking).

What is this. Can I feel all the millions of hungry children in the world.

GURU : No. But, can’t you feed one hungry child, once a week, once a month, once a year?

Why don’t you start. Instead of waiting for funds waiting for the perfect moment. However small your contribution, why don’t you start?

VIJAY : I feel terrible when I think of terrorists who kill innocent children.

GURU : Have you looked into the mind of a revolutionary. (An explosion which rocks the audience).


Oh life, make me vulnerable

Oh life burn me up

Consume me, immolate me

Gather me in your whirlwind

Embrace me in your storm

Not for me the placid years

The quiet days

Deafen me with the thunder of battle

Chasten me with the lightning sword of catastrophe

Sweep me away in a torrent of passion

Fling me down into the depths of despair

Raise me to a pinnacle of hope

Engulf me in the poignance of death.

Let me watch as my children are sold into slavery

And my beloved stoned to death

Oh life

I will be a candle

For you

To burn at both ends

Melt me, burn me,

Bleed me

Make my tears flow in a torrent

So that my country may live

GURU : Life should be patriotic, not fanatic.

VIJAY : You are right, so much blood has been already shed.

GURU : Children are the dreams of tomorrow. So, teach your child today.

VIJAY : Nothing should be regretted in life. So we should start now.

That tomorrow may be bright,

I seek the martyrdom

Of lonely battle fields

Today the earth will be wet with my blood

So that my son will ride into the future

With the light in his eyes.

Let us arise and sing

In the memory of all who died

That India may be born.

GURU : Pick up the flags and wave them as we sing to the Motherland

(People come marching up the aisle.)

GURU : So you see, all of us have many chances to experiment with love, to understand the nature of love.

So let us love ourselves,

Let us look others

Let us love learning

Let us look beyond ourselves


Look beyond yourself

At the hungry child

Look beyond yourself

At a mother’s tears

Look beyond yourself

At the homeless man

Look beyond yourself

At those whose endless toil

Makes all your dreams come true

Look beyond yourself

At the sad and dreary road

That stretches out before the old

Look beyond yourself

At the hopeless wanderer

Who drowns himself in drink

Look beyond yourself

And bring to all the lost

All the sad despairing lot

A little bit of happiness

A little bit of kindness too

There is so much you can give

There is so much you can share

If only you stopped to care

If only you can give

A little bit of yourself

Look beyond yourself.


‘Look Beyond Yourself’ is a musical extravaganza with a cast of over 200. This programme is an attempt to involve you in the experience of looking beyond yourselves. Nine songs were composed specially for this programme by A.R. Rahman.

The key to enjoying this event is to participate completely. Forget the world outside. You will receive indications on what to do by listening and responding.

This is essentially a dialogue between a guru and a sishya about the theme. It forces us to face ourselves and our reactions to laughter, hunger, pain, death and life.

To enjoy this experience, and your own capacity to respond, let your imagination loose from its barriers. Settle down comfortably in your seats and begin the incredible journey into yourself.

(The Chairman of the meeting talking to a poor man.)

Comrade Federov, if you had a house, would you give it to the State?


CHAIRMAN : If you had two houses, would you give them to Mother Russia?

COMRADE FEDEROV : Yes, Of course.

CHAIRMAN : If you had two cows, would you give them to the Motherland?


CHAIRMAN : If you had two pairs of shoes, would you give them to the country?

COMRADE FEDEROV : Of course not.

CHAIRMAN : Why on earth? You were willing to give your two houses and your two cows to the nation. Why don’t you want to give your shoes?

COMRADE FEDEROV : Well you see, I really have two shoes. I don’t have two cows. I don’t have two houses.