April 25, 2010 – Belated Vishu Celebrations in the Divine Presence

"Swami, any celebration becomes worthwhile only when done in Your Presence!" One of the concluding lines of the drama that evening spoke more than aptly for the delayed Vishu celebrations by the devotees from Kerala. Just like the Tamil New Year's Day, Visu happened to fall on the 15th of April during which Swami was in the skies, airborne from Delhi to Simla.

(Soon we will be having an elaborate write up with photographs and videos on the historic Delhi-Simla trip. Please bear with us for a fortnight!) And so, keeping with the tradition of Vishu being celebrated one day after Tamil New Year, devotees from Kerala arrived to Prashanti Nilayam and were permitted by Swami to put up their programme on April 25.

A beautiful altar had been constructed on stage in front of the Ganesha idol and the traditional Kerala items had been placed there. The backdrop with its three partitions had been placed and all the children were ready to put up the drama entitled "Surdas". At about 5:55 p.m., Swami arrived. He entered the hall that had been spruced up with festoons and buntings.

Gliding through the ladies' side, He blessed the keen and devout from “God's Own Land” - Kerala. When He moved through the central area where all the kids had been seated, He stopped to interact with them. One dancer girl in particular received His attention as He examined the crest jewel on her head and smilingly blessed her.

Moving on, Swami made some enquiries about the drama and then entered the gents' side of the hall. Swami then moved past the students and re-entered the ladies' side where He spoke and interacted with the Bal Vikas children from Kerala who were thrilled with this proximity.

Soon, Swami was on the stage and even as He came, He asked for the programme to begin. The roses were offered by the co-ordinators and then the kids in costumes came up the stage to offer a card and flowers to Swami. Two children walked up to Swami from the front and placed rose petals on His lotus feet! Since Swami was on the raised platform, everyone could see everything happening on the stage and surely the devotees would have sent prayers of gratitude to Swami for having got the stage erected. Then the drama began.

The drama traced the story of saint Surdas from his childhood. When a nobleman condemns him for casting glances at his beautiful wife, Surdas feels very bad and blinds himself, not wanting to possess those senses which lead him away from Krishna. From then on, Sur's life is a song for his beloved Krishna. His songs and compositions are appreciated and they touch the hearts of thousands including the Moghul emperor Akbar who comes all the way from the royal palace to meet him and hear him.

Krishna too is touched and on many occasions comes to Surdas in His child form but the blind saint is not able to realize that the form he beholds in his inner eyes and the form in front of him are one and the same. When finally he does realize it, Krishna playfully runs away and the saint bursts out into the famous song, "Baah Chudaye Jaat Ho - Oh Krishna! You leave my hand and run away and consider me as weak. I shall consider you strong only when you are able to break the bonds in my heart and run away from there!"

The pathos in the saint's life touched Swami and He was quite emotional on one or two occasions. One felt that Surdas was so blessed that he had won the love of two Avatars - Krishna and Sai Krishna. There were a couple of dances interspersed in the drama and as is the case always for the dramas from Kerala, the quality of the singing and the songs was very high. It was a musically enriching experience. The costumes were also very meticulously done. The final song was so beautiful and its words, "Everybody loves Sai, Sai loves everybody" kept ringing in everyone’s hearts and ears.

As the drama concluded and the children came together in the final formation, Swami moved down and interacted with the children. He created a lovely necklace for the little girl who had done the role of little Krishna. He put it around her neck and then slowly moved up the stage. He asked for the devotees to start bhajans.

One bhajan and prasadam distribution later, Swami asked for the aarthi. After the aarthi, He spoke to the state president and told him as to how the children had done the drama so very well. Filling them with His praise and blessing them, Swami retired for the day.

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