August 9, 2009 – Music Programme by UK Devotees

It was a day that brought some hope and cheer and with very good reason too! The marbled blocks were occupied by devotees and youth from the United Kingdom - Sai Kingdom as they also call it and why not. Where there is Unity, there is Purity and then there is Divinity Swami says. So a truly "United" kingdom is indeed a Sai Kingdom! It brought hope in the sense that for the past 3-4 days, Swami had been arriving for darshan at around 5:30 p.m. or so. He generally sat for a few bhajans and left by 6:15p.m. To top that, morning darshans have become a rare privilege.

When we wake up to a reality that we had been avoiding due to familiarity, it stirs up so many things within. People throng every evening and wait to see that Lovable Form draped in orange. On that day everyone hoped that they would be blessed with a darshan session in which they would be able to drink longingly for long, His beautiful form!

The Veda chanting was done, as usual from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. It was around 6 p.m. that there were signs of activity at Yajur Mandir and soon Swami arrived for darshan. The crowd was huge and the hall was full. The passage in front of East Prashanti building was also full of people waiting to glimpse at Him. It was like the sunrise at twilight as Swami moved into the Sai Kulwant Hall in all beauty and grace.

Near the students were seated paramedical students from the SSSIHMS Bangalore. They had made a card and had also come to have His darshan. Swami spent a few minutes looking at the card as one of the seniors from the hospital's student-staff explained to Him about the paramedics. Swami gave a patient ear and blessing the paramedical students, moved on. Soon, He completed the darshan round and arrived on stage. The co-ordinator for the programme showed Swami the details of the presentation and Swami blessed the programme to begin.

A few members of the group moved up to the stage and offered the programme and a few other items to Swami. One among them was a little plump and Swami immediately indicated that he must pull down! There were smiles and laughter everywhere. That showed another beautiful aspect of Swami, and in turn, of pure Love.

When anyone makes fun of us, we feel emotions that range in a spectrum from indifference to violent rage! But when Swami jokes about us, we are so happy! We celebrate it and even share it with pride to others! And that is the power of Love. Love may be disguised in any form - praise or blame, seriousness or fun - it always elicits a positive response.

 Sai Vandana seemed to be the theme of the programme that day. As it is always with this group, they began with the offering, "Brahmaanadam Parama Sukhadam", which tells about the inexplicable joy and bliss that is brought by association with the Lord. The thrill of Unity was instantaneously felt as the group began to sing vigorously with synchronized clapping! That became a common feature for all the songs that followed.

There was an instrumental piece in Raag Bhairav on the sitar by a woman from the group. Heart strings were pulled as her fingers danced on the metal strings of the Sitar. Songs in Hindi and English followed in quick succession. A qawwali was also sung for which the women involved donned the traditional caps. When it was nearing 7 p.m., Swami asked the devotees to sing bhajans. He also blessed the prasadam to be distributed.

Many times during the programme, Swami seemed lost to the mundane world. He smiled to Himself and the audience just watched. For some parts of the songs, Swami kept rhythm and that spurred the group into greater intensity.

Many members of the group were in tears and many others were beaming smiles. The responses were so varied but all were due to their intense Love for Swami. The clock had ticked past 7 p.m. when Swami asked for the aarthi. As the aarthi completed, Swami clarified something with the Secretary of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Mr. Chakravarthy. And then, raising both His hands in abhayahastha He blessed everyone andretired for the day.

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