Posted on: July 17, 2011
- A reflection on a drama staged in the Sai Kulwant Hall on July 16, 2011
On the day following Guru Poornima 2011, the Bal Vikas children from Tamil Nadu staged a drama on the life of a grand old lady - the Avvaiyar. It was such an inspired and beautiful presentation that one felt Swami’s presence throughout. Avvaiyar’s childhood name is not known much and is actually not even relevant.
But here is a little girl so mad in her love for God (she loved the entire Divine family - Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and their sons, Lord Ganesha and Lord Muruga or Subramanya), that she decides to spend her entire life only for God. She refuses to get married but her mother tries to force her into entering family life. So she does a unique penance for Lord Ganesha and prays that she be turned into an old woman! That happens and suddenly nobody has the least interest in her! The mother laments and blesses her ‘old’ daughter to take up the path her heart desires.
As the scene played, another scene played in our hearts - Swami stressing that God is the only friend. Everyone in life comes to us only in order to get something of us and only God loves us selflessly. But what do we give Him from our side?
In an interview to a student, Swami made a revelation of God’s pain - “When you go to marriage, you see that the guests are well fed. If food remains, the family members partake it. If there is still excess food, it is served to servants and helpers. When even after all this there is still food left, then the beggars on the road are fed. Finally if anything still remains it is discarded into the dustbins where crows and dogs feed on them.” Swami continued in a soft tone, “My plight is like those crows and dogs. People give their love to the world, family, relatives, friends and well wishers. When all are gone or lost, they think of offering it to Me!”
Thus seeing Avvaiyar make a sacrifice of her youth, life, wealth, progeny and everything in one go for God’s sake was so inspiring and it brought a few tears in many eyes.
With Avvaiyar (which literally means ‘venerable grandmother') becoming an old lady, the drama attained new beauty as she sang poems in chaste Tamil; those who understood Tamil were in raptures of joy. But it was not all lost for the others. The singer who had lent her voice for the Avvaiyar was herself a veteran over the age of 70. Her voice had such magic, power, and most importantly, devotion that every heart was simply thrilled! Words can never do justice to that sweet love and devotion. Please taste it for yourself below:
One more episode was almost startling in its profundity. Avvaiyar spends her entire life in teaching everyone about God. She inspires the simple-minded with her devotion and the intellectuals with her thought provoking poetry. Single-handedly she embodies the three paths of Karma (action), Bhakti (devotion) and Jnana (wisdom).
Avvaiyar thus travels all round Tamil Nadu, dedicating her life to truth. She teaches people and leaves behind inspiring works, through her people, for the world. Finally one day feeling extremely tired she sits under a tree and sings:
“This is tiring…I have travelled and traversed the lands of my people…
I have met and spoken with everyone what the Divine spirit inspired in me…
Even then, I am tired…
Let me sit awhile below this tree and perhaps again I may see clearly the way still ahead of me…”
And then she hears a young voice, “Hello grandma! Look up - up here!”
When she raises her glance, she sees a child sitting on a branch.
“Are you tired, grandma?”
“Yes, I am, child.”
“Would you like some fruit? I’ll give the branches a gentle shake and these little fruits will fall on the ground; you can then pick them up.”
The grandmother smiles, “Yes... please, child.”
But the lad asks strangely, “Do you want the fruit hot or cold?”
Avvaiyar laughs. She has seen many children and taught many of them but had not come across such a mischievous one. Certainly not in the mood for silly jokes, she asks, “Hot or cold? Child, I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
“Hot or cold?” asks the child, quite firmly and looking away at the sky.
“All right. Have it your way, child. Since it is a hot day, give me some cold fruit.”
The lad laughs, shakes a branch gently and the fruits fall onto the ground. Avvaiyar picks up a fruit and blows away the sand before eating it.
“Ah”, says the child, “You blow at the fruit like someone blowing at a vada (a South Indian deep fried delicacy) just out of the frying pan. Is the fruit not cold as you desired, grandma?”
Avvaiyar looks at the child in amazement. All her life, she who has been a master of words; who played with words with alacrity; who took words and ordered them into texts to contain truth and the dharma and the ways of a just and beautiful life, now stands before a child humbled in a game of words. She sees the auspicious Divine child there - the Child of Beauty, the Child of Wisdom - Lord Muruga.
And spontaneously she bursts forth in beautiful Tamil and in a mellifluous voice, “Pazham Neeyappa”. In this poetic composition the opening term is a pun in Tamil - “Lord, You are the fruit of wisdom!” and “Lord, grant me the fruit of wisdom!” Her joy at seeing the Lord and anguish at not being able to recognize Him before are both beautifully depicted in this song.
It also reminded one that God sees only the feelings and not the eloquence. What comes in the mind’s eye is the thundering proclamation of Bhagawan, “I am Bhaavapriya (one who loves feelings) and not Baahyapriya (one who loves show and external pomp). Anyone who needs Me, deserves Me.”
Swami often tells us that the name of the Lord is equal to the form of the Lord. Listening to His stories is equivalent to having His darshan. Our gratitude to these sweet Balvikas children for helping us see Swami on the beautiful evening following Guru Poornima.
And for your pleasure, here is another song in that wonderful voice.
- Radio Sai team
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