February 10, 2009 – Songs by Devotees from Hyderabad
One aspect of the evening schedule in Prasanthi Nilayam changed since the month of middle of January as Swami asked the evening bhajans to be held in the Sai Kulwant Hall and not inside the Bhajan Hall as was the normal practice before. And most often Swami arrived for darshan after the bhajans started.
It is a different experience to see Swami granting darshan as the bhajans go on. Earlier, the expressions of spontaneous joy as He nears would manifest in hands going up and people craning so hard that they would culminate in standing up to offer prostrations! Now, another dimension has been added to this and that is the increase in decibel levels as Swami nears. Once Swami moves up the stage and sits listening to the bhajans, there is a visible and audible enthusiasm in the singing. Sometimes Swami thrills the singer by Himself singing a few lines of the bhajan!
On February 10, the script of the past few days changed as Swami noticed a group of ladies with scarves and had come from Hyderabad. They prayed to Him for an opportunity to sing in His presence. It was about 4:40 p.m. and Swami enquired from them as to what they wished to sing. A short conversation ensued and then Swami called the Secretary of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and had a few moments of discussion. Soon, the students seated in the marbled blocks were asked to make some space available and the group was granted its wish!
Swami went into the interview room and after a short while arrived on the stage and asked the ladies to begin their presentation. They started with Vedic chanting and as it went on, Swami asked for them to start singing. Now this needed the instrumental support and all the instrumentalists were gents. Since this was a programme which had been divinely conjured out of the blue, the accompanists were not in place.
It was then that Swami did something so beautiful. He simply moved into the interview room for a while. This gave the members of the group precious minutes to reorganize themselves. As if that was not enough, the Lord sweetly sent word too asking whether all were ready! Once all were set and the first song started, Swami came out and sat on the stage. Roses and other offerings had already been made and the songs continued. The songs were all in Telugu on the glory of Sai. So profound and beautiful were the meanings of the songs that Swami too seemed very interested in knowing the exact lyrics! He asked for the booklet that had been prepared for Him containing all the songs and began to leaf through it. As each song was being sung, Swami seemed to be reading the lyrics of that particular song. After about 35 minutes of group singing by these ladies which was ably assisted instrumentally by the gents, Swami told something to the student sitting beside Him. Taking this as a signal for arthi, the ladies started to prepare the camphor and the wicks. Seeing this, Swami smilingly told them to wait and asked them to continue singing. And thus it was that the singing went on as Swami inspected the sarees and safari cloth pieces that He planned to distribute to the performers. After the final song concluded, Swami called a little boy sitting right in the front (presumably, the son of the keyboard player). He accepted his letter and spoke a few loving words with the boy. He asked his name and then planted a loving pat on his cheek. After this, Swami distributed the clothes and sarees. In the meanwhile, the main organisers and the key musicians came up to Swami seeking His blessings. Swami blessed them all profusely and patted many on their cheeks.
Sweets were brought for blessings after which they were distributed to all present as holy prasadam. Finally, Swami asked the students to sing a few bhajans and in an atmosphere that had been surcharged with devotional songs, the bhajans acted as an outlet for all to pour out their love for Swami. Swami sat, moving rhythmically to the lovely tunes of the bhajans. Aarthi was taken at the end of the second bhajan and Swami sat through the entire aarthi. At the end, He raised both His hands in loving benediction and people exclaimed with joy; some of the devotees too raised both their hands in humble reception! It was about 6:10 p.m. when Swami drove back to His residence.
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