February 24, 2010 – Gratitude Programme by Class X and XII students

Once again, with the onset of summer, began that genre of programmes where the 'outgoing' students from the various educational institutions of Swami express their gratitude for everything! Its 'outgoing' because once a student of Swami, always a student of Swami. There is nothing like leaving Him or Him leaving us, but the physical separation itself seems so difficult.

And so, on that day the students from the class X and class XII were seated prepared to pour out their hearts to Swami. The marbled blocks presented a colorful sight as students in various costumes sat waiting for Swami to arrive.

At about 5:45 p.m., Swami arrived for darshan. He finished the usual round and as He came near the students, He blessed the birthday boys and accepted letters. Moving through the portico, He interacted with the devotees seated there and also seemed to speak at length with one of the staff members. Then, He arrived outside.

The principal of the Higher Secondary School showed Swami the hall tickets of the students for the upcoming board exams. Swami evinced great interest in them and began to leaf through the tickets that had been filed. He looked at the photo of each and every student who would be writing the Board exams in 2010. That in itself took about 15 minutes! Blessed indeed are those students!

The principal then requested Swami on behalf of the students for an opportunity to present the gratitude programme. Swami nodded as He moved on.

Also seated there was the expert percussionist Anandan Shivamani. He offered his pranams at Swami's feet and spoke with Him a few words. Blessing him, Swami moved on and arrived at the centre of the stage.

The Veda chanting was on and Swami began to read through the pile of letters on His lap. The boys in the front rows were eagerly trying to catch His attention for permission to begin their programme. But Swami seemed to be absorbed in His letters. After a while, Swami too began to participate in the chanting and moved His fingers up and down with the notes of the chants.

At about 6:45 p.m., He asked for the aarthi. It was done and the student who presented the rose to Swami again requested Him for the gratitude programme. Swami only smiled and nodded. As the aarthi was completed, Swami asked the principal, "What is the programme today?" Excited murmurs coursed through the 'body' of eager students and soon Swami was seeing their card and blessing them to begin their programme.

As always, the presentation was studded with highest emotions and deepest feelings. Recipients of amazing instances of grace stood up and spoke out as to how doctors had ruled them as dead or soon-to-die at birth when Swami's invisible yet all powerful hand stretched out to their aid. There were some for whom a sentence from Swami had become the mantra for life and the cornerstone about which they based all their daily activities.

For some others, Swami's support in the darkest of their times had proved beyond doubt that Swami's love is indeed that of a thousand mothers. A few of them also recounted anecdotes that brought a smile on everyone's faces. It was a beautiful and emotion-filled journey down memory lane and everyone were drenched in the love that abounded in every word spoken.

Interspersed in between were songs that had been specially written and composed by the students for their beloved Swami. It is said that poetry is moments of inspiration and love recollected in tranquility. In the fading twilight, it was sheer poetry as the students sang and spoke. The songs were eloquent in their meaning and the talks were musical to the ears!

Towards the end, there was also a dance by the students to the tune of a popular song, "Kannula mundara." The dancers came in all sizes and as they moved about, Swami blessed them with a sweet smile. The final song having been sung, the students requested Swami to come amidst them. Like the cherry atop the icing on the cake, Swami moved down the stage and posed with the children. They quickly changed and different groups got their pictures with Swami.

It was almost 7:50 p.m. as Swami moved up the stage. Students offered Him trays of pens, refills and vibhuti packets - instruments to aid them during the board exams – and He blessed them. It was almost 8 p.m. when Swami moved into the Yajur Mandir.

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