August 10, 2010 – Scintillating Concert by Sri Lakhwinder Wadali

Sai Youth from the Capital state of Delhi (known as NCR which is short for National Capital Region) was here at Prashanti to partake of their bounty of the Lord. They had arrived with a two day programme and the first of the two was a concert by Sufi singer, Lakhwinder Wadali. It was shortly after 5 p.m. that Swami arrived for darshan. He moved through the ladies’ side and as He arrived to the students’ area, He indicated to some of them to keep the letter in their pockets and prayers in their hearts!

He moved into the gents’ side which now had different groups in different coloured scarves, representative of the people from different lands who had arrived here with a common goal. Swami then came to the front and blessed the boys holding trays by sprinkling akshatha grains on them. One of the research scholars of the University offered to Swami a paper of his that had been published. Swami showed keen interest in it and enquired into which journal it had been published in before granting padanamaskar.

Swami took a round of the portico and as He was ascending the stage, He saw two things that caught His attention - the microphone cables behind the pillar and Prof. Anil Kumar! He asked the professor as to what the wires were about and then there was an amiable talk between Swami and him which presented a beautiful sight for all those who witnessed it.

As Swami spoke, from the corner of the eye, He noticed the singer seated in the front. He gifted him a broad smile and moved towards him. Sri Lakhwinder rose and presented Swami a rose. Bhagavan blessed him and told him to sit. Moving across the stage, Swami sat on the ladies’ side of it, facing the carpeted area for performance at an angle.

The Veda chanting continued and Swami was browsing through the letters He had collected during the rounds. Here and there, in between, He would look up and join in the chanting. Those were the times we would hear a surge in the chanting! For instance, when Swami joined in to chant, “Hamsa Hamsaya Vidmahe”, everyone either joined in or attempted to join in the chants! Ten minutes thus passed after which Swami asked the Delhi state president to begin the proceedings.

Sri Wadali moved up to Swami, gave a rose and took blessings. In the meanwhile, on Swami’s command, the Delhi state president (incidentally, Mr. Cheema is the youngest State President in the Sai Organisation!) made an announcement introducing the programme. He revealed the fact that Lakhwinder’s father, Padmashree Ustad Puran Chand Walia who formed 50% of the famous Wadali brothers, had sung in the Divine presence in Mogha in 1973! Then, the programme began.

Sufi singing is unique in the sense that it has no barriers of religion. It sings out the glories of the love between the Lord and the devotee. And so, sadhus, fakirs and devotees from all walks of life figure in the songs. The songs sung that day were all very energetic and set to lively beats. It had the people in the audience either nodding or clapping or tapping their feet to the rhythm. Among the numbers included Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's popular Sufi Qawwali, Dama Dam Mast Kalandhar.

A mention must be made here about the tabla player. He was simply beating away at the drums with such vigour and vitality that one wondered whether his hands were made of flesh or steel! The tempo of the songs was high and the enthusiasm infectious. Each song began with an aalaap in Hindi which had profundity and meaning in it. Swami sat listening to each of these openings and on many occasions was very moved by the meaning and rendering. Sri Wadali scaled great heights of the pitch with relative ease and many were in awe at his ability.

His singing looked like the singing of one intoxicated in the love for God. And when he almost screamed out with an open throat, it seemed as if he was divinely mad pining to be with his Lord. He sang on for about 45 minutes the compositions of Sant Kabir, Amir Khusrou and Sant Baba Bulle Shah. During the programme, Swami’s left eye throbbed for a while. This gave rise to an interesting thought.

It is considered lucky for a woman if her left eye throbs and lucky for a man if his right eye throbs. What about Swami? Bhagavan is the Shiva-Shakthi avatar with His left half being Shakti and right being Shiva. And so, when His left eye throbs, it is lucky for it is the left eye of a ‘woman’ and the right eye throbbing is lucky for it is the right eye of a ‘man’! It is symbolic of the fact that with Swami, it is always good fortune and good luck!

Swami looked at the singer and told him to sing one more song and as he began, Swami moved into the interview room. As Swami was leaving, disappointment was evident on Sri Wadali’s face. He, however, continued to sing. Swami was inside for about 10 minutes. On concluding his song, he began another one. This one had a refrain which went as follows, “Loye Loye Aaja Mahi”. As Swami arrived on the stage, the singer spoke out, “Swami when you left, all my spirits dropped. I didn’t feel like singing. So I cried out to you to come” and he continued to sing Aaja mahi. Swami heard him and nodded to what he said. The beat picked up tempo and concluded with a bang.

Swami decorated the singer with a blue shawl and materialized an emerald ring for him. Swami indicated to the tabla artist and seemed to say that He was very impressed with his skill and power. Everyone went into raptures of applause and the artist was visibly pleased. Swami gifted safari pieces and shawls to all the accompanying artists. Bhagavan also granted group photos to the team and then asked for aarthi. He also spoke appreciatively to the State president. Mr. Cheema recounted again, Swami’s visit to North India in 1973. Then, the announcement for the next day’s programme was made.

The picture of Swami giving the ring to Sri Wadali was presented to Swami. Bhagavan took the photo, put it in a cover and then gave it to the singer. He then asked for aarthi as it was done for a second time. Swami told all the students to go back and have dinner.

After this, He called one of the singers and asked whether he had completed dinner. He replied, “Swami, being is Your presence is filling and fulfilling. That’s enough.” Swami smiled and said something about Shimla. The student who had been privileged to accompany Swami to Shimla in April 2010 relived the vivid memories of devotional scenes in Shimla. Swami was moved. He blessed everyone and then retired to Yajur Mandir as the clock showed 7:40 p.m.

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