June 13, 2009 – Burrakatha by University students

It was a beautiful and special Saturday at Prasanthi Nilayam. On June 11, Swami had asked for three students to present the Burrakatha. However, He kept postponing the performance till it was finally fixed for June 13. Bhagavan has always encouraged traditional art forms and Burrakatha tops in this list. Kindly refer to our earlier update for a brief introduction to this unique mode of storytelling.

Every action of Swami has the undercurrents of profound wisdom and Love. The reasons why He does things are multi-dimensional for He achieves many objectives with a single action. Different people perceive different reasons and all of them are right if not comprehensive. One of the reasons of Swami postponing the Burrakatha recital became obvious with the arrival of the new students from the Brindavan campus of the university. Having been admitted freshly, they wanted to start their academic year with a darshan of Swami. And so, in His very loving and sweet self, Swami seemed to have planned for a programme when these students too are there in Prasanthi so that they too could participate in the joy and have a wonderful darshan too. The students from Brindavan had taken up their places in the Mandir. The Sai Kulwant Hall was quite full, it being the weekend. People come to His feet on “weakends” to get “strengthened” or recharge their spiritual batteries as Swami puts it!

It was past 4:40 p.m. when Swami arrived for darshan. He took a complete round and then moved into the interview room for a short while. Soon, He went into the Bhajan Hall where the three performers sat, costumed and ready for His command to begin their performance.

An interesting fact is to be mentioned here. One of the trio has been blessed by Swami to pursue higher studies in medicine. This boy has finished his Masters in Bio-Sciences and is determined to serve Swami in His hospitals, and Bhagavan has been his pillar of support, in the face of many trials, financial or administrative. In fact, Swami is sponsoring the entire medical education of this student and though he is already 22 years old, he is determined and steadfast in his objectives and the Lord has blessed him. Swami lovingly enquired about whether all the admission procedures had been completed.

The rajakiya (poilitical analyst) of
the Burra Katha trio

The boy told Swami with gratitude that he was the eldest in the class and that the management had stated their great expectations of him. Swami advised him to be sincere and good. That is all God asks for always - sincerity and goodness - and He does everything else giving the credit to us! Swami blessed them to do well in the Burrakatha. The warden too was present there and he requested Swami to visit the hostel once before he retires from wardenship on July 1. Swami nodded His head in consideration.

Mr. Narasimha Murthy makes the announcement
 
Blessings before the performance

At about 5:15 p.m, Swami arrived on the stage and asked for the warden of the Brindavan campus to introduce the programme. The three students, Prabhakar, Aravind Sai and Raghuram, were introduced and so was the art form. The trio arrived and offering their salutations to Swami, took their positions. The theme for the day’s performance was the same as the one on Easwaramma Day, that is , on Mother Easwaramma (Please read the previous update).

What soulful rendering!

The Burrakatha began with a prayer to Lord Ganesha. After that, the narrators were garlanded in the manner that tradition demands. Then, it was the Sai Bhagawatham! However much one may attempt to tell the story of Mother Easwaramma or Subbamma, one ends up narrating the story of dear Swami, for, it is Swami who makes lives fruitful and wholesome. The story of the divine Mother and Subbamma is very inspiring as they were so closely associated with God. The three artists narrated how the mothers were privileged to witness the divinity of little Sathya.

A sublime flow of the Sai saga...
 
They are garlanded as per tradition

Hailing victory to Mother Easwaramma, the students gave a brief chronology of events in her life. She was born in the year 1890 to Sri Subba Raju. When she was only five years old, the family migrated to Puttaparthi.  Her name now finds a place in the list of illustrious mothers of Avatars – Kausalya gave birth to Sri Rama, Devaki to Sri Krishna and Devagiriamma to Shirdi Sai. Swami was born in the Ratnakara Vamsa (clan) to Pedda Venkama Raju and Easwaramma. Swami was so full of nostalgia and emotion, it seemed.

When one sees Swami's reaction to the narratives about His mother, one wonders at the joy that the Mother would be feeling to be remembered so by the Lord. There have been many avatars but no avatar has been recorded to have been so emotionally bonded to the Mother. Of course, He is beyond emotions and it is merely a pointer and a lesson to the whole humanity about the respect and position that has to be accorded to one's parents.

The three of them narrated about the birth and infancy of Swami. When they hushed the whole audience into silence to sing the lullaby song to put the "baby Swami" to sleep, it was such a fulfilling and love-filling experience. It is said that the baby, at birth, is an exactness of God till the parents humanise it with their upbringing! Imagining the divine baby, infant Sathya, and hearing the lullaby was a very special experience indeed.

Further, they described in a beautiful verse, how Sathya, the baby, was! For those who understood Telugu, it was so elevating and enthralling, for Swami matched that description even the present day, after 83 human years! This was another insight as to why God is called timeless and ageless. Continuing their narration, the students said, it was Subbamma, the first wife of Mr. Narayana Rao, who named Swami as Sathyanarayana Raju. One day when Subbamma wanted to feed pakodas to Swami, she saw all the fourteen worlds in His mouth as Yashoda saw in Lord Krishna’s mouth in the Dwapara Yuga. Karanam Subbamma experienced great joy in serving food to the devotees of Swami.

Referring to the three wishes of Mother Easwaramma, the students said the present Sri Sathya Sai University, Super Speciality Hospitals and Sri Sathya Sai Drinking Water Project bore fruit due to the humble wishes of Mother Easwaramma. In those days, Bhagavan used to do Narayana Seva to the villagers of surrounding villages while Mother Easwaramma distributed clothes.

On May 6, in 1972, when the Summer Course was in progress in Brindavan, Bangalore, Mother Easwaramma left her mortal coil.

 

She called out, “Swami, Swami …” And Bhagavan responded immediately. He came to her, and she breathed her last. When this episode was being narrated, Swami was very emotional.

Looking at Him, it was so difficult to say whether Easwaramma had mothered Him or He had mothered Easwaramma, for in the glistening teardrop at the edge of His eye, one could see the reverence of a Son and the selflessness of a mother, both at the same time.

It was a nearly one hour performance
 

Mention here must be made of the wonderful work done by the accompanying artists on the harmonium, keyboard and the mridangam. They built up the entire mood and the twain between the east and west was met with the wonderful chords on the keyboard blending 'harmoniously' with the 'key' notes of the harmonium!
The Burrakatha artists concluded with a prayer that though 37 years have passed, Mother Easwaramma is still ever fresh in everyone’s minds. "Oh Mother! Please return to earth again to see the wonderful transformation that has affected Puttaparthi.  Your sojourn here has blessed us with unimaginable bounty."

It is often said that service is more of an attitude rather than an action. It was indeed a noble act of great service that these three boys did. They filled thousands of people with joy and Love for the divine. Their song acted as a balm for stricken hearts and panacea for the pained minds.

The vibrations were so holy, pure and joyous that everyone benefitted from the glory of the Divine story. It was a physical expression of the prayer, "Samastha Loka Sukhino bhavanthu" as the trio did their bit to bring happiness and Love to humanity through their soulful rendering.

 
The Lord is absolutely engrossed

As they completed their act, Swami went to the interview room and brought white safari pieces to gift to each of them. Swami blessed them and said that He was very happy. They told Swami that the accompanying artists had also worked very hard. Swami said that He knew and He called them and blessed them too with the same. Swami asked them whether they had written the scripts themselves. They said that their teacher had done so and he was currently working on a script about the Ramayana. Swami promised to guide him on that script. Then, when Swami asked as to what he wanted, the lead singer, Prabhakar prayed, "Swami grant Sadbuddhi (good intellect) to everyone here especially the students." Such a noble prayer! Swami nodded and said that His Grace was always there. He asked him to sing an encore of a part of the Burrakatha. The singer moved down and sang out the verse describing the beauty of the divine babe Sai. Everyone thundered in their joyous applause.

Gifts from Swami for gifting all melodious music
 
The hasyam, comedian, is so grateful

Again Swami told the three of them to sing in unison and so they did. The applause was even greater this time. Swami told them that their voices gelled very well with each other. He granted them group photos. They prayed that they should get more such opportunities to make Him happy and Swami promised them that He would surely grant them.

A moment to be cherished forever
 
They spent several precious minutes with Him

Swami then asked for a bhajan to be sung. "Hari Om Namah Shivaya" filled the air as everyone enthusiastically joined in the singing. After that He asked for aarthi. Swami had only words of praises for the trio as He received aarthi and was leaving. He blessed the card that the deputy warden of the Brindavan campus showed Him. He looked surprised that there was no prasadam to be distributed! But He only gave a sweet smile and blessing everyone, retired for the day at 6:40 p.m.

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