3 - Issue 4
FEB 18th, 2005: CARNATIC AND HINDUSTANI VOCAL PROGRAM AND A SITAR RECITAL BY THE MUSIC COLLEGE STUDENTS
The end of the academic year is a pleasant time in Prashanti Nilayam. It is the time when the music college students present to the dear Lord what they have learnt during the year. A final exam, if you will, with Swami as the examiner. So while a formal program is planned they still expect a few surprises, as Swami usually picks a student or two to play for Him.
The first was a Carnatic recital by a team of student singers - Rama Rama Rama Sita Rama Eni Ro. This was followed by the famous Jagadodarana Adisida Yasoda. After this song, another student of Hindustani music rendered the song Wo Kala Eka Bansuri Wala Suda Bisaragaya Mori Re. Two more songs followed and then Bhagavan signalled to one of the boys seated behind. He came forward and Swami asked him and another boy to play the Sitar. For the next 15 minutes we had an enchanting Sitar recital by these 2 boys. This was again followed by two more Carnatic songs (Vocal) - Innu Dayabarade Dasana Mele and Mokshamu Galada Bhuvilo before Arathi was taken.
FEB 19th: A MRIDANGAM CONCERT IN SAI KULWANT HALL
Padmabushan Umayalpuram Sivaraman, a mridangam maestro, was blessed by Bhagavan to give a scintillating recital in Sai Kulwant Hall. He was given vocal accompaniment by Sri Acharya R. Krishnamurthy, Principal of the Music College and Sri Ajit Prasad, a student of the College. It was a sight to see Bhagavan clapping His hands for the emotional finish of the song 'Devadi Deva' in Sunada Vinodini Raga. The scholarly rendering of the Purva Kalyani Raga Kriti 'Parama Pavana Rama' drew ovation from the devotees for the brisk Swarakalpana; the enchanting 'Tani Avartam' of Umayalpuram Sivaraman was also very well received. At the end Bhagavan materialised a gold bracelet for the mridangam artiste Sivaraman and also gave silk dhotis to all the artistes.
This evening the graduating High School Class presented their farewell program to express their gratitude to the Lord for His benevolence to them during their twelve years of stay at His Lotus Feet by presenting a program entitled, "Maa Jeevitame Mee Sandeshamu' - "Our Life is Your Message".
These programs are usually fast paced and involve a variety of different
items to ensure that all the students have a part to play. In the
opening skit, three eminent social persons from different walks of
life are asked in a TV interview for the events that helped shape
them into what they are today. Being alumni of the Sri Sathya Sai
School, they recount events that bring to light Swami's teachings
that helped them evolve to such useful members of society. Other items
included a number of songs that express the students' love for the
Lord and of course a first hand narration of their experiences of
Swami's love and protection for them over the years. The grand finale
was another small skit to bring out the main purpose of life of realizing
the divine through the portrayal of the King Janaka drama wherein
on waking up he questions if this is a dream or that is a dream. A
sage finally explains to the king the truth of the self. At conclusion,
Swami blessed all the students with the coveted group photo.
In a grand ceremony in the Institute auditorium, we were witness to a moving program, the installation of a new vice-chancellor, Sri Anil Gokak, after the retirement of Sri S.V. Giri. Swami was welcomed by both the vice -chancellors at the door and received with full honours and led to an elaborately decorated stage. In a moving speech Sri Giri outlined the major efforts of the Institute during his tenure and also expressed his profound sense of gratitude to Bhagavan for His guidance. Sri Sanjay Mahalingam, a Ph.D. student, outlined the achievements of the Institute during the six year tenure of Sri S.V. Giri. Sri Anil Gokak in his talk sought Bhagavan's guidance and encouragement and gave a word that he would do his best to translate the objectives of the Institute into reality. Swami in His divine discourse said that in future ‘educare’ would assume increasing importance and this Institute would be a leader in propagating the goals of educare.
Swami also blessed the Vice-Chancellor Sri S.V. Giri by adorning
his wrist with a bracelet. He also blessed Mrs. Giri with a similar
bracelet and a necklace. It was a moment of great joy for all.
Further tales from mythology of Karna, a noble character from the Mahabharatha, who gave away his gold tooth (the only valuable thing he then had) on his death-bed to a Brahmin in need; and the sacrifice of his life by nineteen year old Khudiram Bose to win freedom for the country makes the transformation complete. The highest form of sacrifice of giving up the evil tendencies of the mind was also illustrated by the life of Bharatha, the brother of Lord Rama.
Inspired by these lives, the painter paints a masterpiece on 'Sacrifice'
which wins him a handsome award. He donates the money to build a destitute
home and thus exemplifies the Vedic dictate 'Tyagenaike Amruthathwamanashuhu',
i.e. other than sacrifice there is no way to liberation.
For a couple of days the curiosity of the entire
devotee crowd was whetted by the sight of turbaned men and women sitting
in a group in Sai Kulwant Hall. Swami in His rounds always paid special
attention to them, either blessing them or having a word with their
leaders. Soon the mystery was cleared. They were Swami's special devotees
- tribals living deep in the forests of the Nilgiri Hills - who had
come to pay homage to Him through dance on the occasion of His 80th
birthday. The Todas dance in a circular form wearing their traditional
garment of a shawl, known as a put-kuli, of a thick white cotton cloth
with red and blue strips and accompanied by a simple flute called
the 'baguri'. The Kotas, the only artisan community in the Nilgiri
Hills, depict their customs, rituals and folk tradition through their
dance. Their dress involves multi coloured shirt, silk turban with
coloured strings and with one and half feet tail left on the back.
The Badagas have unique cultural traits and their song and dance depict
their folklore, tradition and ritual practices. Their unique dance
with circular hand and leg gestures meaningfully follow the rhythm
of their music and songs. Though their dance was simple in movement
and rhythm, their deep devotion and feeling for the Lord won everyone's
3rd: A DANCE
PROGRAM BY THE GRADUATE STUDENTS OF THE SSSIHL
The following day, the dance boys had come better prepared. A group of 5 students now performed classical dances to lend meaning through hand and finger movements and body postures to the emotional and devotional feelings expressed in songs. The boys performed with a lot of gusto in spite of the oppressive heat and were soon bathed in sweat. Swami enjoyed their presentation and appreciated their palpable desire to please Him.
At the conclusion of their presentation, Swami called one of the boys waiting on Him and told him something. The boy disappeared and came out of the interview room a few minutes later with a tray full of glasses of cool and refreshing pineapple juice for these 5 boys. Truly Swami's love is that of a thousand mothers!
The Music College students put up an enthralling and wonderful program in the divine presence. The music was based on the theme, Raga Anandadhwani, and composed by Pt. Dipak Choudhary.
The students performed ragas which depicts the seasons. The various ragas performed were: Sudha Sarang (Summer), Miyan ki Malhar (Monsoon), Bahar-Vasant (Spring), and Shri for Winter. A song in raag Bageshri and a beautiful melody based on raga Manj Khamaj (which is an expression of welcome) was also performed.
The whole program was well co-ordinated by Sri Prabir Bhattacharya,
visiting Professor for Sitar and Sri Jayanto Sarcar, Tabla Professor.
They were ably accompanied by students playing a full range of different
instruments - 4 students on the tabla, 4 students on the Vocal, 4
students on the sitar, 2 students on the mridangam, and 1 student
on the key-board.
The Mahasivarathri celebrations, as in yesteryears, saw huge crowds congregate to Prashanti Nilayam. Sai Kulwant Hall was full to overflowing on the 8th morning itself with the devotees also seated along the pathway in front of East Block. In the morning Swami asked Sri Anil Kumar to speak. He was followed by Dr. Narendra Reddy from the USA and then by Mr. G.K. Raman from Chennai. Then to delighted gasps from the audience, Swami lovingly consented to bless everyone with His divine discourse in the morning itself.
After Swami's arrival in the afternoon, both the Vice Chancellors - Sri S.V Giri and Sri Anil Gokak spoke to the audience. Then Swami gave His second discourse for the day. The details of these Divine discourses are available online at www.srisathyasai.org.in and are not reproduced here.
The Global Akhanda Bhajan began at 5:15 PM. The students held sway till 7:00 PM when the mikes were switched off. After that, a half-hour slot throughout the night was provided for all the different interest groups ranging from the staff of the different institutions to seva dals from the different states and groups from India and abroad. The bhajans were done with gusto as Swami was expected during the night, similar to last year. A prasadam of pulihora (tamarind rice) and laddus was served to all at the conclusion of the Akhanda Bhajan in the morning of the 9th, after Swami's arrival. In the evening of the 9th, Swami gave yet another discourse, in which He extolled the devotees of yesteryears who had won His grace through their karmas.
On the evening of March 16th, a function was arranged to felicitate the students who had successfully completed the All-India competitive examination called GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test for Engineering). This competitive entrance examination is administered by all the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science, the country's premiere institutes for higher education and research, to identify the best students for admission to their post-graduate courses.
About 20 students had cleared the examination, the highest by the Institute to date. The most noteworthy feature was that one of the students, Sri E. Nareshkumar, secured the first rank in this country wide examination. Swami created a gold bracelet for Him, which He tied lovingly around the student's wrist. Swami gave watches to all the students and also lovingly draped a silk angavastram around their shoulders to honour them.
In a speech, the Vice-Chancellor explained the competitive nature
of the examination to place this achievement in the proper perspective.
The 2 students who spoke attributed their success to their teachers
and parents and of course, Bhagavan's love and guidance. Swami in
His divine discourse stressed that character is end of education and
all students must develop character along with their education.
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