July 25, 2010 – Guru Poornima Day in the Divine Presence

Ever since that beautiful and glorious day in 1940, when young Satyanarayana Raju sang the now immortal bhajan, “Manasa Bhajare Guru Charanam”, Guru Poornima in Puttaparthi has been attracting larger and more diverse crowds each passing year. The concept of a ‘Guru’ is universal and even the toughest of atheists are amenable to it. People may protest against God being the ultimate goal of life or may even argue against the existence of God. But they all agree to the need for a guide in life - the Guru.

The Guru is beyond religion and any other distinctions. Millions around the globe consider Swami as their Guru and so it is little surprise that Guru Poornima has assumed significance equivalent to The Birthday or Shivarathri in terms of the number of people that come flocking to this spiritual retreat.

The Sai Kulwant Hall was decked with flowers and filled with devotees. The overflow from the hall had filled up the Poornachandra Auditorium and even to the lanes and bylanes from where a speck of Swami could be seen. The surge of the crowds was simply tremendous.

Swami did not come out for darshan in the morning. The crowds were disappointed, but only for a moment though! As aarthi was taken in the morning, people began to rush and catch seats for themselves for the evening! The pining to see the beloved Guru was all the more strengthened and it was such an amazing scene of love, devotion, patience and resilience! Ah! This is indeed the true Guru-Shishya relationship.

The evening saw similar scenes in the whole of the Nilayam. This time, at about 5:10 p.m., Swami arrived for darshan. People expected Him to enter the auditorium first but Swami moved to the Sai Kulwant Hall. The devotees in the auditorium had their Guru’s darshan on the giant screen that had been erected there and was being fed constantly by four cameras. The air was filled with stotrams on the Guru. A gasp of sheer delight passed through everyone as they saw Swami dressed in magnificent maroon!

All eyes were riveted on Him and a few began to cry, unable to bear the joy within. Swami was gently smiling as He moved through the hall. In the centre were two bands from the university - the Panchavadyam and the Naadaswaram. They played with religious fervour and there was the professional Naadaswaram troupe too adding notes to the already musically laden atmosphere!

Swami took a complete round of the hall which was bursting at its seams and as He came forward, blessed the various cards that the students had lovingly made. Passing in front of the music group Swami blessed the cards of the Primary school children. He moved deep into the ladies’ side as He went about blessing the children. Making an about turn, Swami arrived at the portico where He cut a huge cake that had been made specially for the occasion by the Italian devotees.

The qawwali by the students was on when Swami came on the stage. It was in full gusto and Swami kept beat with the song. After that was completed, Swami called the Malladi brothers who were seated nearby. He blessed them and the accompanying musicians and they began their concert.

The Malladi brothers have that magic in them. Their song and raaga selection and rendering style is so dear to Swami. The combination of all of the above has a mesmerising effect on the audience and Swami alike. They sang compositions of the great Thyagaraja. A greater part of the songs they sang had been written by Pappayya Shastry - a great poet of the yore who had the unique combination of poetic flair and unflinching devotion.

All his poems spoke of the glory of the Sathya Sai Avatar. Swami was moved to tears as He sat absorbing the devotion that was emanating along with the heavenly music. Technically too, the Malladis were so rigorous that the classically accomplished people in the audience too were in delight. The singing catered to both the head and heart simultaneously.

The accompanying artistes on the violin, tabla and mridangam too added to the beauty of music. There were times when the lead from the singers was followed to perfection by the violinist. The audience was thrilled with this. The concert went on for 80 minutes and time seemed to fly by.

The Lord is Gaanapriya and Swami gave ample proof for that statement that evening. At about 6:30 p.m., Swami asked for the aarthi. All the artists gathered around Swami and He expressed His happiness to them. He told the Malladi brothers to perform on the next day too. Swami then blessed prasadam for distribution.

Italian chocolates too were blessed for distribution and Swami personally distributed the same to the artists. The Malladi brothers requested permission for their wives and children to come up to Swami and seek blessings. Swami graciously permitted and the whole family was at His feet. It was about 6:50 p.m., when Swami moved towards His residence after blessing all.

Near the Yajur Mandir, Swami turned the other way and entered the Poornachandra auditorium. It was bliss supreme for the devotees who had gathered there. Swami blessed prasadam to be distributed there too as once again He lived the saying, “God’s delays are never His denials.” Blessing the packed auditorium, Swami retired for the day.

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