June is a relaxed, laid-back time in Puttaparthi. Swami has just returned from Brindavan. The rush of devotees for Guru Poornima is still weeks away. The darshan crowd is still sparse. It is like one cozy family, relaxing at the feet of the Lord, basking in His limitless love. The sonorous holy Vedic chants by the students pervades the atmosphere and surcharge it with spiritual energy.
This bucolic setting provided a back-drop for the students of Sathya Sai to regale Him with a choice program of music and drama, expressing their love and gratitude for all that He has done for them. We bring you this report, of course with exclusive pictures, for your enjoyment.
The programs were kicked off with a Classical concert by the students of the Sai Mirpuri College of Music on June 13. They started with Pancha Mathanga, in Malahari Raga, Roopakam Tala, composed by Sri Muthuswamy Dikshithar in praise of Pancha Mathanga Mukha Ganapathi or Lord Ganesha with five faces. This was followed by the krithi Brova Bharama in Bahudari raga and Adi Talam. Here Sri Tyagaraja asks Rama whether it is a heavy burden for Him to protect a single soul such as him. Following this was Nee Daya Rada (Vasantha Bhairave, Roopakam talam), where Thyagaraja asks Rama plainitively whether He would accept him and his devotion. In the next krithi, Varamulasagi, Sri Patnam Subramaniam Iyer asks Lord Venkatesha, the ultimate bestower of boons, to save him from worldly bondage. This was followed by a song on the leelas of Lord Krishna by Narayana Theertha. The last two songs sung by the students were Thillana and then Adi Purusha, where Sri Annamacharya describes the Lord of the seven hills, Venkatesha, as the Ultimate One and the ruler of the seven worlds. He describes His beauty and His might in this song.
Swami liked the program so much that the Music college boys were allowed to sing again in His Divine presence on June 26, 2004. This time He invited them to come up to the verandah and sit next to Him facing all the devotees. The boys were thrilled at this honour and gave a moving concert of Carnatic and Hindustani music that had the audience enthralled.
On June 17, the boys of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL) presented a drama, entitled ‘Service is my life breath’ in Telugu. The story was that of two sons and a father who reside in a village. The elder son is interested in worldly name and fame, while the younger believes in serving his fellowmen in the village. The difference in opinion breaks the family apart and the righteous father stays back with the younger son. After a series of dramatic events, the elder son realizes his folly only to return and join the brother in his good work.
Indian summer is always synonymous with the consumption of the mango, the King of Fruits. On June 19th, in the evening, Swami sent a group of students scurrying to His residence in Poornachandra. Interest was heightened, curiosity was whetted - what is going on? Everyone broke out in smiles when the boys came trooping back, each carrying a basket of the golden fruit, neatly packed in a bed of hay. The baskets were opened, the fruits were blessed by Swami and the now doubly sweet prasadam was distributed to the delight of one and all.
H2H readers are familiar with the Deena Janoddharana Pathakamu (DJP), a home for destitute boys that we featured in a recent cover story (Vol 2 Issue 12). These boys numbering 60, presented on June 20, on the occasion of their second anniversary, a playlet in Sai Kulwant Hall in the morning. They narrated their unfortunate background before they were brought into His fold. Almost all of them were either without a father or were orphans with no one to look after them, and not knowing where their next meal was going to come from. Several boys were tending sheep or cattle in the hillocks for a morsel of food. The transformation of the boys in just two years has been, according to them, phenomenal and unbelievable. All the boys who could neither read nor write Telugu when they came to the Home are now able to recite poems in Telugu, slokas in Sanskrit, and speak extempore in English. Seven of the boys who appeared for the Class X Public Exam, passed in the first class, a very creditable achievement. A dumb boy who was brought to the Home is now able to speak, a cancer stricken boy is now completely cured. As the boys related, what they have had at the Home, under the direct benediction of Bhagavan is very much beyond their comprehension. “Is this real or a dream?” they wondered at the conclusion of their play.
On June 23rd, Swami kindly permitted some students of the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Learning (SSSIHL) to speak in His Divine Presence to the crowd. All of them related their love and gratitude to Bhagavan, for the transforming effect He has had on their lives and for the care and nourishment He has shown them at trying moments in their lives.
On June 24th, the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School presented a cultural program entitled ‘Dharma Vaibhavam’ – The Glory of Dharma. The programme unfolded different dimensions of Dharma as manifested in the lives of the great men of India. The students demonstrated the glory of Dharma by presenting dharmic episodes from the lives of Lord Sri Rama, Harischandra, Gautama Buddha and Satyakama Jabali. At the end they showed that Bhagavan is the supreme embodiment of Dharma, for He is Dharma Swaroopa himself.
June 29th saw the presentation by the Bala Vikas children of the Indian states of Maharashtra and Goa on the occasion of Ashada Ekadashi. This and the Guru Poornima celebrations lasting upto July 5th is reported in our cover story.