September 1, 2009 – Onam Celebrations, Day - 2, Drama on Saint Tukaram

The second day of the Onam celebrations began on a beautiful note as the beautiful Lord made His appearance in the morning at 8:30 a.m., seated majestically on the chair. The Keralites rejoiced at this special privilege that was being conferred and everyone else too rejoiced. The Veda chanting was on as Swami moved through the darshan lines.

He spoke to many people and spent quite some time near the Gents area where the sevadal from Orissa had been seated, having completed their period of service. The students from Kerala studying in the University had also come for darshan and Swami blessed them all as He moved through the lines. He saw many of the cards and also watched a small video presentation that they made for Him on a laptop!

Completing the rounds, Swami arrived on the stage and the Veda chanting was on. He made enquiries into the number of Sevadal from Orissa who had been seated in the hall. Their strength was 900 and Swami was happy with that piece of information. Swami continued to sit for Veda chanting before moving into the interview room. Bhajans began and concluded with aarthi as always.

The evening had two programmes scheduled. The first was a drama by the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Vidyapeeth, Srisailam. The second was a concert by the music icon, Ms. Chitra. It was 4:50 p.m. when Swami arrived for darshan. He moved till the centre of the hall in the darshan rounds and then decided to take a detour. After this He came on the stage and asked for the programme to begin. The drama entitled “Bhaktha Tukaram” began with the children making offerings to Swami and the Lord blessing them to begin.

The drama was a depiction of Tukaram’s unflinching devotion and faith in the Lord of Pandharpur, Lord Vittala. The saint who led a devoted life, singing abhangs in praise of Lord Vitthala was oblivious of worldly life and responsibilities. His life showed that one's faith in God will always sail him through, no matter how hard and trying the circumstances.

Whether it was hungry stomachs he had to feed at home or the lost money in the forest that he had to retrieve, Tukaram always had unflinching faith in God. It was that faith that finally won over his wife too into trusting completely in God in spite of all the apparent difficulties.

Once the drama concluded, Swami looked at the students and told them to begin the music programme. As the mikes were placed and the boys got ready, the State President requested Swami whether Ms. Chitra could make her presentation.

Swami agreed and seemed to welcome her to the stage. It was interesting to see the stalwart singer seeming so nervous on stage while Swami sat with a gentle smile adorning His luminous face. Swami blessed her and the accompanying artists and told them to begin. Starting off with Ganesha Vandana she had a string of ten songs that included one bhajan, and it was a fruitful mix of songs including ones in classical carnatic music that exhibited her rare talent of weaving vocal magic.

The songs included, Madhura Mukhada Sai Natha, Bhaavayami Gopala Baalam, Jai Jai Jai Jai Sai Janani, Aalarey Giridhara Gopal, Pashupathi Thanaya Vighna Vinashaka, Krishna Nee Begane Baaro, Koi Kahiyo Re Prabhu Awan Ki followed by the popular Prasanthi Bhajan Chittha Chora Yasoda Ke Bal, Navaneeta Chora Gopal.

Swami made a visit to the interview room and arrived again with sarees and cloth pieces. When she finished, Swami called her and spoke to her. It was a very moving moment that took place next. Before we talk about that, a brief peep into history might be relevant. It was in 1995 that she had sung in His divine presence and that was also the last time she had seen Him before this trip.

Being childless, she told Swami about her plight. Swami said, "The next time you see Me, you will give me good news!" And as Swami spoke to her that day, she said, "Swami shall I get my child to the stage?" Swami smiled and agreed and so, Nandana, was brought to the stage by her iconic mother. Again, when she ran to and fro from the stage, the wires connecting to her earphones were dangling and she was so lost that she did not make out even when Swami pointed it out.

Once the mother and child were on stage, Swami materialized a beautiful gold chain for the child. He put it around her neck and then presented all the artists with clothes. In the meanwhile Ms. Chitra moved down the stage to place her daughter back. Swami called her to the stage again and said that He would pose with her for a photograph in the centrestage. After the pictures were taken, Swami blessed her by placing His hand on her head. Then, Swami blessed everyone and the already emotionally charged atmosphere became even more moving.

After this, Swami received aarthi and it was past 6:30 p.m. when He looked at the students and asked them to sing bhajans with aalaap. So the original music programme that Swami had initiated was on finally! Two bhajans were sung and from the looks on their faces, the artists were clearly impressed with the talents of these students. After that, Swami nodded and moved towards the car. It was almost 7:00 p.m. when Swami retired to Yajur Mandir.

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