July 1, 2009 – Vedam by Mumbai Bal Vikas and Concert by Ms. Kalapini Komkali

The devotees from the states of Maharashtra and Goa had arrived to celebrate the festival of Ashadi Ekadasi with their Lord. The eleventh day (bright half of the month) of Ashadh (Indian lunar month) is known as the great ekadasi or Maha- ekadasi. It is a day of fasting and also the day of the huge "Yatra" or pilgrimages to the god Vithoba (Vitthala) of Pandharpur, a town in south Maharashtra, situated on the banks of the Bhima River, a tributary of the Krishna River. Now that their Vitthala is at Puttaparthi on the banks of Chitravati, these devotees arrive here every year.

A contingent of Veda chanting boys in red and pink dhotis waited at the Yajur Mandir awaiting the Lord's arrival. Swami arrived for darshan at 9:00 a.m. and the whole hall resounded with the chanting of the Vedic hymns as devotees from both the gents’ and ladies’ side joined in the chanting. As the procession moved into the hall in front of Swami, He moved through the ladies' side accepting letters and throwing vibhuti packets to a few fortunate ones. It is a glorious site to see Swami as He comes under the glass domed area in the Sai Kulwant Hall when the sunbeams kiss His tender face. The curls of His hair gently move like black clouds in the welcome monsoon season.

As He moved to the gents’ side, a new development could be observed. The letters being offered to Swami nowadays are so many in number that often Swami would instruct those behind His chair to collect them on His behalf. From that day onwards, that great chance had been given to two sevadal volunteers appointed for doing that! So as Swami moved through granting darshan, whenever He indicated, these volunteers collected letters on His behalf.

The Veda procession seated itself in the marbled block and Swami moved to the stage via the portico. Arriving on the stage, He lit the lamp and sat on the stage. The Veda chanting continued for the next 35 minutes or so wherein the Purushasuktam, Narayanasuktam, Durgasuktam, Narayanopanishad, Ganapathiatharvasheersham and the Mantrapushpam were chanted. Swami sat listening and many times joined the chanting. It was a wonderfully vibrant atmosphere. It was evident that all the children and youth had picked up these hymns with a lot of efforts.

The ladies’ chants however, seemed to drown that of the gents' in volume! As one cycle of all the chants learnt was complete, the chanting restarted and Swami noticed that! He said that they could stop and they concluded with the chanting of the Sai Gayathri. Swami enquired into what the evening programme was and He was told that it was mainly a concert. Swami then received aarthi and blessed everyone present with abhayahastha before moving into Yajur Mandir.

 

IIn the evening, a music concert by Ms. Kalapini Komkali was scheduled.

Ms. Kalapini is the daughter and disciple of Pandit Kumar Gandharva and Vidushi Smt. Vasundhara Komkali. Kalapini has performed widely across the country in many prestigious music festivals.

After her post graduation in Library Science, Kalapini learnt music from her father and is now an active trustee of the Kumar Gandharva Sangeet Academy.


Swami arrived for darshan and as He was going round, enquired into what the huge structure at the centre of the hall was about. He was told that it was the stage for the next day's programme.

Arriving on the stage, Swami sat listening to the Veda chanting for about 10-15 minutes. Then, after a brief visit to the interview room, Swami returned and the programme started.


The artist offered her salutations to Swami and began her performance. After about three songs, Swami asked her whether she knew any Telugu songs to which she answered in a sheepish smile. Swami told her to sing some Meera bhajans which she did. However, her selection of Meera bhajans was unique and all of them seemed to be new to the ears of the audience and seemingly to Swami too! Swami materialised a gold chain for her at the end of her performance and also presented a golden brown saree after her concert.

He presented the other accompanying artists with safari cloth pieces. He then signalled the students to sing and told Ms. Kalapini, "Now my children will sing!" The two alaap bhajans were sung. As a third bhajan was on, Swami called one of the students and asked him whether he knew any Marathi songs. (Ms. Kalapini sings a lot in Marathi). Returning to his place the student sang, "Ye O Vitthale", a famous Marathi song and the whole audience was clapping in rhythm. At the end of it, Swami received aarthi and retired to His residence.

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