Volume 8 - Issue 06
JUNE 2010
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THE KODAI FESTIVAL 2009

Day Five

 

Puttaparthi is where the Lord was born and where He continues to stay for almost the entire year conferring love, support and solace to devotees day in and day out who throng in thousands to this sacred town. However, when summer arrives on most occasions, the Lord generally decides to move to His ashram in Bangalore or often to ‘Sai Shruti’ in Kodai Kanal so that the devotees are saved from the dry and zapping heat of Puttaparthi. For the devotees who now collect in Brindavan or in Kodai Kanal it is the coming of the special ‘Sai Season’ which brings with it so many beautiful blessings.

The Kodai sojourn especially is very unique and fascinating, and it is for this reason that Kodai Kanal is often described as the Lord’s playground. Though Swami has skipped visiting this holy hill station on a few summers, He did visit there in 2009. And we carried the first part of this “Kodai Festival 2009” in July 2009 of H2H. The second part in April 2010 issue had an account of the proceedings of Day Two of this visit along with many interesting anecdotes from earlier such trips. The May 2010 issue had the third and the fourth part of this series. And now the current article gives you the story of Day five.

 
                  Day Six                                  Day Seven
 

Welcome to this beautiful story where we relive the Kodai sojourn of the Lord that lasted for 12 days in April-May 2009. There were essentially two items that dominated the fifth day: the boat ride that students had in the morning and the third Burra Katha. Let us start with the boat ride.



Perhaps the most famous landmark of Kodaikanal is its lake; in a sense, the entire town is built around the lake. Not many may be aware that this lake is not natural but a creation of man. If one stands near the lake and looks around one would find that the place is surrounded by many hills.

 

Originally, rain water running of the slopes of these various hills would just collect at the bottom, forming a swamp of some kind, from which the excess water would flow down to lower heights and be used by villagers there for cultivation.

Feeding the marshy area were several streams rolling down from above, forming little creeks that merged into the swamp. Today, the remnants of those creeks can still be seen if one goes to the top ridge but they would be seen as fingers of a big lake.

In 1863, by which time, Kodai was beginning to attract many summertime European visitors, a Frenchman named Ciceron who had a house there, brought it to the notice of Sir Vere Levinge, a retired Collector of Madura District [now Madurai District] that if a small bund was erected at the lower end of the low-lying swamp, then in a few years the town would have a fine lake.

Sir Vere then tried to hire villagers to do the required manual labour but they refused to oblige since they feared that the bund would act as a dam, stop water from coming down and thus interfere with their agricultural work. Sir Vere pacified the villagers by promising to pay them well for their labour and also pull down the bund if there was acute water shortage.

 

The bund was quickly completed, but the low lying regions took three years to fill to create the lake that has since become famous. Nowadays, there is always a good overflow during the rainy season, and in fact the water now flows all the way to the plains and even feeds a reservoir in Palani town, where there is a famous shrine for Lord Muruga.

The Kodai Boat Club was started in 1890 and over the years this Boat Club became a popular hangout for its members. To earn revenue, boats were made available on hire and no one can miss tourists going round the lake in boats.

 

Ever since Swami started taking students, four items became a regular part of the trip. They were: outings which, in olden days included a full picnic, visit to the Hill Top Bungalow, horse riding and finally shopping.

So the fifth day was designated as boating day, and as always, Mr. V. Srinivasan who is a member of the Kodai Boat Club, made all the arrangements, after of course, taking, as always, all the due instructions from Swami. Boating came after the morning sessions.

The Sun was up and believe it or not, it was somewhat hot, even in Kodai. So hats were bought for the boys and to preserve the memory of this lovely outing plenty of pictures too were taken.

 

So that is how the morning session went on. Let us now move to the evening bhajan session, when the boys presented their third Burra Katha performance in a row. To know more about this, here is a clip from a recording made on that occasion. It starts with an introduction to the day’s performance by Prof. G. Venkataraman. The Burra Katha itself follows next.



 

After the musical performance ended, the boys sang a couple of bhajans and then Bhagavan accepted arathi, and thus concluded the fifth day of Kodai 2009 which was really special as the devotees had the blessed opportunity of listening to the moving story of the Divine Mother in the Presence of the Divine Son – our beloved Bhagavan Baba!

 

In the next part of this series, we will offer you the proceedings of Day Six of Kodai 2009.

 
                  Day Six                                  Day Seven
 

(To be continued)

- Heart2Heart Team

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