July 22, 2010 – “Samartha Ramdas” by Maharastra Bal Vikas Students
The final presentation of the Ashaadi celebrations was due on July 22. It was a drama by the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Vidya mandir, Dharmakshetra. They had been introduced to everyone as students from the Marathi school and this presentation was to be in English. Naturally one did not have very high hopes of a sterling performance. But what happened, simply swept everyone off their feet!
The steady drizzle continued and there were fears that it would force Swami to come in the car just like He did the previous day. Beams of joy emanated from everyone as Swami came out on the chair with a yellow umbrella being held over Him. Entering the Sai Kulwant Hall Swami took a full darshan round and moved to the stage.
As He sat on the stage, He quickly browsed through the Telugu edition of the Sanathana Sarathi magazine. Soon He asked for the programme to begin and four children came up the stage with flowers and others items for blessings. Swami’s eyes seemed to be so lit up and He had a different sort of look that day. It was as if He was simply gazing into eternity. The programme began soon after and a few ladies still made their way to the stage and offered Him roses.
The drama depicted how young Narayana was initiated into the name of Lord Rama by the greatest devotee, Hanuman. The little boy did such wonderful acting that everyone was impressed. His enthusiasm to sing God’s name was infectious and everyone who witnessed him acting had a smile on their lips.
Swami too had a gentle smile throughout. The boy grows into Ramadas and works miracles in the lives of the Maratha people. He brings the dead to life, cures the ailing and counsels the distraught.
Since he always moved around with a bow, people challenge him to bring down a bird which he does with ease. But, the great saint also bestows life back to the bird with a prayer to Lord Rama and that deed popularises him as Samartha Ramadas. He later becomes guru to the great king Shivaji, and guides and enthuses the emperor into undertaking social service.
The episode of the bird being hunted and then revived was depicted very vividly with the help of a toy bird that flapped its wings! The drama had beautiful music backing it and the dances were all well co-ordinated and colourful.
Most important, everyone’s attention was riveted on the drama throughout. And remember, all the actors had only rudimentary or no knowledge of English. The expressions and acting were simply excellent and it was tough to choose who was the best actor among all of them.
The children came together into a formation at the end when Ramadas takes Mahasamadhi. They all paid obeisance to their Lord Sai Rama. Swami smiled and asked for both the ‘little’ and ‘big’ Shivaji to come on stage. He blessed them and then told them to go back to their places. He asked for their teacher to come on stage too and then created a gold ring for him. He said that all the children had done very well and He was very happy.
Clothes were distributed to all the participants. Swami asked for bhajans to be sung and so the students began to sing. The photo of the teacher receiving the ring from Swami was brought and Swami gifted it to him. Swami told the organisers that the children had done very well and they had picked up everything in just two days time. He also had a special word of praise for the boy who had done the role of the little Narayana and He saw him sitting straight with his eyes closed.
After a few bhajans, Swami received aarthi and once this was done, the organisers requested Swami for a group photo. Swami’s face instantly lit up and He seemed to say, “Yes! Why not?” He moved down the stage and sat amidst the children. The pictures were taken and then Swami moved up the stage again. He looked at the shrine for a few moments before moving towards His residence.
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