July 1, 2010 – Burrakatha on Uttaara Kaanda of Ramayana by Sai Students

The new batch of students joined the Sri Sathya Sai University and the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School on June 1, so on July 1 it was a complete month’s stay. It was new wine in an old bottle as the students prepared themselves for yet another “Burrakatha” recital.

For the past two years, a trio have been mesmerising Swami and the devotees alike with their wonderful storytelling in this traditional art form from the state of Andhra Pradesh. On Jul 1, a new trio was to be introduced and it was with crossed fingers that the students and the warden sat in the Bhajan Hall. Crossed fingers? Why? Simply because Swami had been so “accustomed” to the old team and they have been a huge success.

That in itself puts a tremendous “pressure” on the upcoming new team - “Will Swami like it? Will we let Him down?” (And these are not the author’s musings but the facts confided to the author by the members of the new team!)

Swami had permitted the Burrakatha to be presented that day and so the three artists, who had been training for almost a year now, were seated in the Bhajan Hall awaiting His arrival. At 5:15 p.m., Swami arrived and He made a complete round in the Kulwant Hall. Being a Thursday, the children from the primary school were also seated.

Swami moved towards the girls of the Primary school and blessed them. He spoke to a few ladies from the US group and materialised vibhuti for them. It was with great glee that they accepted the holy ash. In the gents’ side, Swami blessed a baby of an alumnus of the University. He moved in front of the Veda chanting group and there He blessed the flutes and the violin of two instrumentalists of the Burra Katha team.

A darshan bonanza opened up when Swami, instead of turning towards the interview room, turned towards the ladies side and embarked upon another round. On many previous occasions, when Swami has done thus, He would return to the stage via the small gap between the students of the Primary school and the University.

But that day, it was the Lord thirsting for His devotees! Swami moved into the gents’ side too for another complete round! Completing the round there, Swami moved into the Bhajan Hall where the artists were seated.

Seeing them, Swami asked them what they were there for. They said that it was their great fortune that Swami had blessed them to do a Burrakatha on Lava and Kusa (the two valiant sons of Lord Rama).  Swami enquired into their names and what they were studying. He seemed to gauge their ‘confidence levels’ when they said, “Swami it is all Your Grace and in Your hands.

You have done everything.” The magic of surrender worked instantly as Swami reassured them with loving pats on their hands. He examined the rings they were wearing and also the cloth which had been draped around their waists. Blessing them with padanamaskar, Swami moved out of the Bhajan Hall.

He arrived on the stage and the Veda chanting was on. He read a few letters and soon, asked for the artists to take the dais. Swami wanted the boys to do it down, in front of the stage. The boys arrived and sought His blessings once more. The mikes in position, the Burrakatha recital began. It was that part of the Ramayana epic called the Uttara Kaandam.

It traced the story of how Sita was banished to the forest by Lord Rama when a washer-man cast aspersions on her chastity. There, tended to by sage Vishwamitra, Sita plays her role in the Divine drama by delivering the twins - Lava and Kusa. When Lord Rama performs the Ashwamedha Yajna (horse sacrifice for complete overlordship symbolic of one’s mastery over the mind and senses) His sons bind the holy horse and in the battle that ensues, defeat their own uncles and finally their father too!

The whole story was sung soulfully and narrated with great eagerness. Swami sat absorbed in the entire story. The way He emoted and reacted to the narration of Sita’s helpless condition made everyone feel that Lord Rama Himself was seated in Sai  Kulwant Hall listening to His-story! The different moods and emotions were beautifully brought out by the students with the aid of various ragas.

The instrumentalists were the foundation, ably supporting the musical tale that was being rendered. Though the trio was making their debut, they sounded like seasoned pros and it is not any great guess that it was sheerly due to their hard work and humility that had drawn His Love and Grace in abundance on them. The Burrakatha lasted about 45-50 minutes and it concluded with a prayer and glorification of Swami. The entire audience joined with enthusiastic clapping in the end.

Having done the presentation to perfection (perfection meaning to Swami’s happiness! What better measure of perfection could one conceive of?) the students moved up the stage. Swami materialized a ring for the main singer saying, “This ring that you are wearing is not good. I am giving you a nice one!” The artists dedicated the whole performance entirely to Swami and Bhagavan was very pleased with them.

He told them, “Do you know that those boys (pointing to the previous team) also do Burrakatha?” The two boys moved up to Swami and said, “Swami whoever performs, it is only because of Your Grace and encouragement.” Swami blessed everyone including those who played the various instruments.

He gifted everyone with Vibhuti packets. As a final sign of His Love, He posed for group photos. Then, blessing everyone, Swami received aarthi and left at 7:25 p.m.

Dear reader, how do you like this section? Does it help or inspire you in anyway? Please share your reflections with us by writing to [email protected]g mentioning your name and country.
Thank you for your time.

Go to Radio Sai
Go to Publications Division Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust
Go to Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust
counter for wordpress