November 23, 2010 – “Prema Pavaham”: The Torrential Flow of Love

The evening programme of the Birthday was also to be held in the Vidyagiri stadium. Many were of the view that it would be a strain on Swami as He was out for a long time in the morning. Swami’s thoughts must have been on the devotees who patiently and willingly bore the hot sun of the morning session. Ah! That is the beautiful bond of Love where the concern is always for the other! If the morning session was characterised by the blazing sun, the evening session was taken over by the cooling moon. That made the Birthday so symbolic of life - sessions of hot and cold but nothing ever comes as an obstacle in the flow of Love between the Lord and the devotee.

It was about 7:15 p.m. when the moon was seen with a mellow yellow glow in the cool skies. At about the same time, the doors of Yajur Mandir opened and out came the Lord dressed in soothing yellow! A broad smile played on His face and the gates of the Sai Kulwant Hall were thrown open. Assembled here were the various cakes and the cake makers. Swami had decided to cut all of them before heading to the stadium. As He entered the Sai Kulwant Hall, the Institute brass band struck up the lively birthday melody. Swami glided down the slope and began the cake cutting session.

He lit the candle atop each cake before proceeding to ‘leave His mark’ on each of them. The makers were delighted to say the least and the photographers clicked away happily. Swami also blessed many of the ladies assembled there with sarees - the return gifts of the Birthday! And then began the journey to the hill view stadium. In the stadium meanwhile, bhajans were on after an hour long Veda chanting. It was in this atmosphere of devotional singing that Bhagawan would make His entry.

Devotees had lined up the entire stretch of road from the Yajur Mandir to the stadium which meandered via the Sai Srinivas guest house, General Hospital and the Primary School. At the Primary school was a 45 feet structure of lights and more lights had been erected as a sign of joy and jubilation on His 85th Birthday. Having a look at that, Swami entered the stadium in the Porte car. Swami’s driver kindly switched on the interior lights of the car and so all the devotees could glimpse the lovable form. And He was captured on the multiple cameras which projected it onto the huge screens that had been erected. He was talking with His driver and seemed so happy. Soon, Swami arrived at the stage and moved up. As the curtains were unveiled to reveal Him on the beautiful silver throne, there went around the stadium an applause of joy.

The stage had been meticulously and tastefully decorated. It looked like a golden palace and the lights lent an ethereal beauty to the atmosphere. The stadium was beautifully lighted and Swami sat for a while looking at all the decorations. He looked to His right and asked a student as to how the ambience was. The student only had a look of awe and admiration and Swami smiled, looking at His left. Here were the students who would be performing a concert for Him. They came forward with bouquets and the card about the programme. Swami gave them padanamaskar and blessed the performance to begin. The programme was entitled, “Prema Pravaham” (The Torrential Flow of Love). The genesis and development of the programme is a wonderful story in itself and we shall refrain from entering it now. For now, it will suffice to say that it had been conceived to be sung for Him just as the twins, Lava and Kusha, sang the Ramayana to their Divine father Rama!

The first song was on the torrent of Love (Prema Pravaham) that brings relief to those in distress and agony, banishes ignorance, breaks down barriers built by prejudice and hate, elevates as well as enlightens, and transforms one and all irrespective of race, religion, nationality, caste or language. Even as the song was sung, beautiful videos which depicted the meaning of the lines being sung lit up the screens. Immediately, Swami and everyone in the audience were glued to the screens. The second song was titled “Vedamurthi-Shree Sathya Sai”. This one celebrated Bhagawan as the Veda Purusha or the Embodiment of the Vedas.

The next song “Vishwa Guruvu” described Bhagawan as the Chancellor of the Universe. The next two songs were on His wonderful projects - the gift of health and water to ailing and wailing humanity.

The videos that depicted these songs were so beautiful and took one down the memory lane. For many it was nostalgia while for the others it was revelation! But for all, it brought tears of joy and gratitude. It immersed everyone in the feeling of Swami. Bhagawan too was glued to the screen if one may be permitted to use that phrase! In fact, after the third song, Swami asked how many songs were there. But after that, He was totally engrossed in the videos. The Bible says that God inhabits the praises of His people and the videos were totally soaked with Divinity! It brought goosebumps of joy and tears of gratitude as one watched the infinite ways in which Swami had blessed mankind. That day, worship and adoration became more than a monologue. Though Swami sat silent watching the videos and hearing the songs and though everyone in the audience too sat silent doing the same, there was a dialogue that was on between God and devotee.

One of the students who has been in the Sai system for more than a decade had this to say, “Those videos were of Swami in various activities like the vibhuti abhishekam, dasara yajna, blessing school kids, feeding the cows at Janmashtami time, Narayan seva when He served food to the poor and hungry with His own hands, the different occasions when He talked about the Hospital projects and educational projects. It was so nice to see Swami in younger days and then see glimpses of Him blessing school kids. His energy and enthusiasm seemed to flow throw the video too!” The singers too had put in their blood and sweat into the programme.

One of the teachers observed, “The music director Mr. Rajkumar Bharati was extremely pleased with our boys' rendering. Many times we tend to take their talents and capabilities for granted and move on but we need to pause, step back a little to really understand and appreciate the sincere efforts, the long hours of practice late into the nights of these wonderful singers. It is not easy for a Tamilian or a Malayali or a North Indian to pick up a pure (Graandhik) Telugu pronunciation. It is not at all easy for a non-classical singer to pick up swaras ("Sargams") and sing - while Swami wanted the boys to sing swaras in every song and reminded them repeatedly. All of that requires great effort, practice and a very deep sense of commitment. It is so wonderful. Indeed the whole event was a very fulfilling and sumptuous treat to the ears, eyes (with wonderful video clippings) and heart with Bhagawan's presence.”

The final song was a description of how Swami’s glory was growing at “every step”. Wherever one put a step, there was His glory, the song said. With that song, the formal portion of the programme came to an end. But then Swami asked whether there was another song. It was indeed there! The final song that had been prepared - just in case - was the all time classic, “Tu Pyaar Ka Saagar Hain”. As the song began, all the students sitting in the stadium, joined in. The girls from the Anantapur campus seemed to have come specially prepared for this as they lit up lamps and candles and began waving it. Swami also began to gently tap His hands in rhythm. It was a beautiful five minutes. The lyrics of the song had been modified to sing out to Swami. Once the song was complete, fireworks filled the air as Swami received aarthi. He moved down the stage and the song, “Humko Tumse Pyaar Kitna” (Oh Sai! How much we love you, you alone can fathom!) filled the air. There was joy and satisfaction and a sense of history in every heart.

Watch the Birthday Evening Video

The evening was so aptly summed up by a girl who said, “When Swami went back in the car, He seemed so much more energetic, despite the time He had been seated there all through the programme. It made me think of how much He loves His children and it felt like it was the right gift to be given to Him, an evening where His children sang for Him. The whole of humanity are His children and that was what we felt. I just hope we are able to make Him proud each day whereever we are.”

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