May 17, 2010 - "Sai Bhakta Samrajyam" by Swami’s Students

The mid-may period in Puttaparthi is a very poignant time, especially for the students. The results of the entrance exams pour in at this time and there is an eager anticipation among all the students who have written the exams to get into higher classes. At the same time, it marks that period when most of the graduates who have passed out develop wings to fly out into the vast world with their Lord Sai in their hearts.

Swami has an unenviable role - to welcome some and bid farewell to some - all at the physical level. And that was the in the third week of May - Swami was accepting letters, reading them, counseling the students and materializing vibhuti, chains or rings as the need be.

On May 16, the students had requested Swami that they would stage a small music cum dance programme. Swami had agreed and they were delighted. Their delight knew no bounds when Swami had continued to sit after the aarthi interacting with many of them. One of them had not cleared the entrance exam and Swami told him to speak with the vice chancellor about it.

Another student had an ailing patient at home and Swami comforted him. "Career counseling" also took place and all this in a completely different ambience too! The skylight over the students' block had been slid open and it was a wonderful sight to see the whole mandir, with Swami and the students at its base.

On May 17, the students were ready with their programme. Swami arrived at 5:30 p.m. and as He was entering the Kulwant hall, He saw a red tent that had been erected at the ladies' side to provide some protection from the sun. He asked what it was and was informed about it. Then Swami entered the hall and took a complete darshan round.

As He arrived in front of the students' block, He saw that they had been seated a few lines back. He enquired from them as to what the programme was about. Moving into the Bhajan Hall, Swami blessed the actors who were waiting there in their costumes. Swami then arrived to the stage and sat for a while. The actors began to file out of the Bhajan Hall and Swami was intently looking at them. A few minutes before 6 p.m., Swami asked for the programme to begin.

The presentation entitled "Sai Bhakta Samrajyam" was a collective effort of singers, dancers and actors. It was the depiction of Bharat's glorious devotional tradition presented in dance form entwined with lucid narration. Set against the backdrop of Saint Vyasa's predicament seeing the disastrous Kurukshetra scenes, Sage Narada advises him the right antidote, to embark on compiling Lord Hari's story.

What follows are glimpses from the lives of past masters namely Saint Thyagaraja, Saint Annamacharya, Saint Thukaram, Sadashiva Brahmendra (an Avadhoota lived in Tamil Nadu), Saint Tulsidas, Sakkubai, Bhadrachala Ramdas, etc., depicting devotional trails. It was the wandering saint, Sage Narada's privilege yet again, donning the role of "interlude presenter cum commentator" to "introduce" these foremost devotees of yester years to the presiding deity, Lord in physical, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba!

And Narada did a wonderful job of compering. He was in his most joyous elements as he was in the presence of such exalted souls. The procession of these saints consisted of them coming up front and singing their compositions. This was rendered wonderfully in the background by the "play-back" singers - singers who sat as the backdrop for the little plays!

Swami was moved on a few occasions and He seemed so happy that the Bhakti rasa was flowing profusely in the hall. Needless to say, everyone in the audience too was moved into clapping rhythmically or swaying with the music divine. The dances also were done beautifully and gracefully. An array of instruments ranging from the Veena and Sitar to the tabla and talam provided accompaniment.

By 6:45 p.m., the programme concluded and all the students came into a formation. The song, "Madhurama" filled the air and all the boys joined in the singing. The song too concluded and Swami immediately expressed His desire to move down and be amidst His boys. Granting group photos and interacting with them, Swami asked for the prasadam.

Mangoes were brought and Swami personally distributed the mangoes to every participant. They definitely had the fruit of their efforts! Blessing all of them thus, Swami moved back to the stage and received aarthi.

It was 7:00 p.m. when Swami started back towards Yajur Mandir but not before He blessed the cast in specific and the audience in general with repeated abhayahasthas.

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