August 11, 2009 – Parthi Pilgrimage of Srikakulam District

Three thousand five hundred devotees from the coastal district of Andhra Pradesh, Srikakulam, joined in a pilgrimage to Prasanthi Nilayam spanning for three days, from 11th to 13th August 2009. Swami came to Sai Kulwant Hall at 5:15 p.m. to the chants of the Vedas.

At the outset, the District President presented the programme for the evening and also gave a brief speech expressing his gratitude to Bhagavan for the opportunity to present a dance drama in His presence. He said that they were doing Seva in many villages of the district which included Deenajana Seva (service of the destitute). It was due to His grace that they could come to Prasanthi Nilayam for the past eight years, opined the speaker. After his speech, there was a mini procession of the cast who came to the stage to offer their obeisance.

The programme begins with a conversation between Max Muller, the famous philosopher from the West, Sri Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the great freedom fighter of India, and Sri Rabindranath Tagore, the poet who penned the Indian National Anthem, and a freedom fighter residing in Prasanthi Nilayam. The dance drama was an imaginative portrayal bringing alive these three great characters of the past. They are happy to be in the abode of peace.

The three great men give their opinions on this sacred land of Bharat extolling her sanctity. Bal Gangadhar Tilak says that Bharat is the land of sacrifice and spirituality and is based on the foundation of Indian culture. It will shine forth as a beacon for everyone.

A tiny tot Swati, brilliant in studies is encountered by Rabindranath Tagore who hears the child reel off the nursery rhyme “Ba Ba Black Sheep …” The poet is pained to know that children are being taught such rhymes in school which have no meaning. The teachers hesitate to teach the greatness of the epic Ramayana and Mahabharata to children.

Max Muller is thrilled with the realization that Rama and Lakshmana set foot on this land of Bharat. He says that some people have a wrong notion that the Ramayana and Mahabharata belong to the Hindu religion.

Bharatiya culture is based on Sanathana Dharma and not on any particular religion, explains the great German philosopher. Bharat is fortunate to have great souls like Emperor Sibi, Harischandra and Prahlada who demonstrated great ideals to the world. The word Bharat means ‘Bha’ (Bhagawan-God) ‘Rat’ (Rathi – attachment, love). So, the Bharatiya is one who has love for God. Axioms like Isavasyam Idam Sarvam (the entire universe is permeated by God), Tattwamasi (That Thou Art) have originated in Bharat, says Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Modern inventions like aeroplanes, and modern systems of medicine have their roots in Bharat. They were visualised by our ancient seers.

Thus the drama highlighted the glory and grandeur of Bharath and also attempted to define what a Bharatiya is according to Swami's teachings. The whole drama was liberally spiced with Swami's quotations and poems on Bharath and that had Him fully involved in the drama. Swami was almost in tears at many points of time in the drama. Definitely none can ever be more patriotic than God!

But even the words of the Lord when put through a good "medium" or "instrument" has a tremendous impact. And the power with which His poems were sung that day proved just that. It appeared as though the great Ghantasala, the legendary singer from Andhra Pradesh, himself was singing.

The drama also brought home a subtle lesson about role plays in the divine presence. For once the saying, "Imitation is human" could be seen in the positive light. There is no need for us to delve on subjects of "great" spiritual significance or "newer" teachings. If we study and understand His teachings and imitate all that He has said, it is more than sufficient. Nothing is more powerful and more Universal than His teachings and the best we can do is (follow them of course!) depict them for all to see and get inspired. And this drama did just that with many songs and colourful dances interspersed with the dialogues.

As Max Muller was mulling and later thundering about the glory of Bharat, Swami beckoned him to the stage. In a flash, He materialized a gold chain and put it around his neck. The boy just broke down and tears coursed down profusely. Swami smiled and lovingly patted him. The drama went on as the prerecorded disc played but all eyes were riveted to the emotional drama that was unfolding on the stage.

Swami then sent back Max to resume his "role" in the drama. The final song and dance was performed and the children came together in the final formation. Swami seemed extremely happy and He moved into the interview room and fetched safari pieces and sarees. He moved down and posed for photos with the children and had the clothes distributed.

When Swami moved up the stage, tens and tens of people began to come to Him. Some gave letters, some others sought advice while still some others had items that they wanted blessed. Swami also cut a cake that they brought up. He then lit a Jyoti that would go around the district. As the lamp was lit, the glass cover on top fell to the ground and shattered to pieces. Swami smiled! Everyone pines to take refuge at His lotus feet and the glass cover was no exception. But it was also a reminder of the care that has to be taken when in the presence of the Lord. Even a slight "slip" may have "shattering" consequences! At 6:45 p.m., He received aarthi and retired, blessing everyone with His hand and smiles.

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