September 6, 2008 – Programme by Devotees from Kadapa District
Puttaparthi has become one of the most fulfilling pilgrimage centres on the face of earth. And this is purely because of the living presence of the Lord. If we just examine the history of the world briefly, we will notice that men of God came quite often to the earth. They have a huge devoted following today but few had the good fortune of recognizing their greatness and spiritual splendour when they lived in flesh and bones. Swami is special in that sense as so many have been privileged to know His divinity and have been blessed to see Him, speak to Him and work for Him.
Today, as a part of their spiritual sadhana, all the Sai centres undertake an annual pilgrimage to Puttaparthi to recharge their spiritual batteries. So, the devotees from Kadapa district of Andhra had arrived in thousands for Swami and they had been permitted to put up their programme on September 6, 2008.
Wet grinders, sewing machines and iron boxes had been placed for distribution to the poor from Kadapa. It is a very special chance for these people who have to think twice even before getting into a bus to check if they have the necessary fare required for even an inter-village journey. The members of the Sai Samithis identify such poor and as a token of Swami's Love gift them with articles to carry out their livelihood. And when Swami graciously agrees to Himself gift away the articles, those people are brought to Puttaparthi so that they are blessed with also the wonderful gift of Grace-Darshan.
When Swami arrived inside Sai Kulwant Hall, it was completely filled. He moved through the ladies side blessing the girls from the primary school. Then at the center of the hall, He looked keenly at all the items placed. Moving to the gents’ side, He received the adoration and devotion that was laden in the air as the devotees' rose to different heights to see Him and then stood even 'higher' with the sheer joy of just seeing Him. Swami completed the rounds on the gents’ side, and then moved through the students and finally went into the interview room. After a while, He came and sat outside listening to the Vedic chants. He called the district president of Kadapa and enquired into the programme scheduled. He also called Prof. Anil Kumar and gave him a few instructions. Then as the chanting ceased, the district president spoke for a few minutes outlining all the activities being undertaken at Kadapa. While introducing the programme, Prof. Anil Kumar specially mentioned the role of the alumni of the Anantapur campus of the Sri Sathya Sai University in running a school in Kadapa district, mentoring children of extremely poor parents, who had now come to Prasanthi Nilayam to present the dance drama. After him, Prof. Anil Kumar spoke on why Kadapa was so special to Swami; it had played an important part of His "education" and hence has got embedded in all the leelas and mahimas the little Sathya performed there, years ago. The famous fair and Pushpagiri that Swami attended too are in Kadapa. After a beautiful 25 minutes when Swami seemed to become very nostalgic about what was being spoken, Prof. Anil Kumar concluded his talk.
Then the names of the recipients of the articles of Love were read out and they reverentially came forward to receive the tokens of Love. There were volunteers to help move the heavy gifts! The distribution went along very quickly and without much fanfare - the way it always is when it comes to Swami. The Lord, all His life has been giving and giving. Never once has He stretched out His hand to ask. And people who have seen and experienced Him even once are in love with Him forever. In a world where publicity, pomp and show rule with all regality, they have no place for a foothold even in the thoughts of the people at His lotus feet. And that is what makes Swami so divine - not only because of what He is but what people are when they are touched by Him just once!
As the distribution concluded, the next programme, a dance ballet entitled “Annamaya” began. It consisted of the compositions of the saint Annamacharya and dances tuned to their rhythms. The children participating in this programme had been drawn from the poorest strata of society. Some of them were also children of people who had taken to begging as a means of living! But on the stage, they were such wonderful performers that they won everyone's hearts. They were all extremely rich in their love for God and simple in their faith in Him. Swami sat watching the dance providing the rhythm through the beat of His hands. There were about 5 dances in all performed by different sets of children. The most prominent among the songs was "Adigo Allidigo Sri Harivasamu" for which every member in the audience also began to clap rhythmically. Every dance was received by rounds of hearty applause. As the final dance concluded, all the children came forward and in a very disciplined manner stood in lines. Swami was very happy. He had sarees and white cloth pieces distributed to the girls and boys respectively.
As the distribution concluded, He said that He would move down to bless them all with group photos. He slowly moved down and smilingly sat amidst the children. As the photos were taken, Swami told the photographers to move to the right and then to the left so that none of the children get left out! That was a very sweet gesture from Swami. He asked the names of a couple of kids and blessed them. Moving back to the stage, Swami asked the devotees to sing a few songs. They were ecstatic! It was already late and they never expected that chance. But with Swami, it is joy always! He always wants everyone happy and will always go out of His way to ensure this. And so, the group songs began. Though it was already dark, Swami sweetly sat tapping His hands rhythmically for two songs that followed, one each by the gents and the ladies. After that, He received aarthi and left.
- Heart2Heart Team
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