March 18, 2010 – Day Two of Bhagavatha Sapthaham

The second day for the Bhagavatha Saptaham dawned in Prasanthi Nilayam on March 18 and shortly after nine, the commentary by Sri Rituraj Maharaj began. The highlight of the morning talk was the episode of King Parikshit’s intense desire to listen to the Divine leelas of the Lord from sage Suka after he was cursed by Sanghi, the son of sage Shameeka, to see his death by the poisonous fangs of the king of serpents in seven days.

As the story progressed, Swami arrived for darshan at about 10:10 a.m. There was a silence as every ear listened to the story of the Lord and every eye concentrated on the form of the Lord. Passing through the ladies' side and the students, Swami collected letters.

Completing the round, Bhagavan passed by the "picture of the day" - a mural of Lord Vishnu rescuing his devotee elephant, Gajendra. By 10:25 a.m., Swami was seated on the stage by the side of the Maharaj and the grand stage seemed even more beautiful and glorious with His presence. 

Swami sat on the stage reading a letter that He had taken during His rounds. The story meanwhile moved to the narration of the sacrifice done by King Daksha to which he did not invite Lord Shiva.

The story of Sati and the appearance of Veerabhadra followed. The narration was on for more than an hour in Swami's presence and at about 11:25, the concluding song was sung.

As the session ended, Swami beamed a smile and asked for the aarthi to be taken. He spoke at length with the boy who presented a rose to Him and seemed to clarify some issues to him. Once the aarthi was complete, Swami called a primary school student, Sathya who hails from Iran, and asked him to chant a vedic hymn.

The little boy did so with great elan and confidence. He began with the Durgasuktam. Swami stopped him midway and then began to speak to the artists who accompanied Sri Rituraj's commentary on the keyboard, harmonium, tabla and the octopad. These artists in fact lend the flavour to the whole commentary. The background score blends in so naturally and gracefully and one is transported into the stories being narrated.

Returning to our main narration, Swami began to talk to these artists. He told them, "This boy is a Muslim from Iran. Coming here, he has picked up the Vedic chants so perfectly. He can chant many suktams!" Then Sathya was told to chant the Rudram which he did so. Swami then asked him where his brother was. The little Rama was called and he came running up to the stage. Even at his full height, he struggled to come up to even the neck of our seated Swami!

Bhagavan lovingly asked him as to whether He knew Vedas. He nodded a Yes and kept looking at Swami. Bhagavan patted him on his cheeks and told the artists, "He is his brother. He also has learned Vedas. They both want to stay here with Swami. I tell them to go back home but they say they will stay here itself." Swami introduced the brothers to Sri Rituraj also. Then He sent them both back to their places.

The boy seated beside Swami is from Spain and Swami told that also to Maharaj. Maharaj seemed simply dumbstruck in Swami's presence and he repeatedly bent down to take padanamaskar - a blessed wise soul indeed for he knows the best things to be done when in Swami's presence. It was almost 12 p.m. when Swami retired after the morning session.

The evening session began with the presentation of the summaries of the talk delivered the previous day evening and that day morning at 4:00 p.m. At 4:30 the talk by Sri Rituraj Maharaj began. He narrated the inspiring story of the little boy, Dhruva. The son of Uttanapada and his elder queen Suniti, Dhruva pines to sit on his father's lap.

But the king, who is very attached to the younger queen, Suruchi, stands mute witness as she banishes the little Dhruva from the kingdom saying, "If you want to sit on your father's lap, be born of my womb." It was at this point in the story that Swami arrived. The time was 5:15 p.m.

The Maharaj then narrates the story with many sub-plots and intelligent deviations which relate to the state of modern day society. Swami moved towards the stage, taking a detour after the ladies' side. As He arrived on the stage, the story continued. Suniti tells her son, "If you pine to sit on someone's lap, pine to sit on the lap of Narayana." Inspired, young Dhruva goes to the forest.

The celestial sage Narada tries to convince Dhruva about the dangers and hardships involved but seeing his determination, prays, "Lord, even if I may never have your darshan again, it is fine, but let this child not return defeated." Using the mantra, "Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya", Dhruva wins the Lord's love and with it, everything in life and after life too!

The commentary concluded at 5:45 p.m. Swami then asked the students in front to sing. Taking His padanamaskar they began. The first was a Meera bhajan, "Payoji Maine" which was followed by another Meera bhajan, "Darashan Deejo Aao Pyaare". Both were rendered in classical Hindustani style and as they concluded, Swami told two other singers to sing Carnatic songs.

One of them was the Kannada classic of Purandaradasa which sang out the great good fortune of Yasoda, "Oh Yasoda! Blessed indeed are you for you played with the One for whom the whole world is a Play!" Two more songs later, Swami asked for another couple of students to sing. They too came up with a song on Krishna in Telugu.

After this beautiful music session which lasted more than half an hour, Swami blessed prasadam, (lingam-shaped chocolates) to be distributed to all. Aarthi was then taken. After this, Swami looked at a student sitting to His extreme right and said that He would like to move that way. So taking a circuit around the portico and the veranda, Swami moved back towards the Yajur Mandir.

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