June 18, 2009 – Cultural Programme by Bal Vikas students from Gujarat

“Let the programmes for the year begin!” That seemed to be the statement to describe June 18, 2009. A set of cultural programmes by the devotees from Gujarat had been approved for presentation and they waited in readiness for Swami’s arrival. A contingent of over hundred students had arrived from the two schools in Gujarat: the Sri Sathya Sai Vidyaniketan, Navsari, and the Sri Sathya Sai School, Surat. A huge backdrop carrying the words, "Samastha Lokaha Sukhino Bhavanthu" stood in the centre of the hall. Just for the information of those who have come in late, the widely accepted universal mantra, “Lokah Samasthah Sukhino Bhavanthu” got a twist almost a year ago when Swami advised the students to chant it with a wider universal appeal, modifying the same to “Samastha Lokaha Sukhino Bhavanthu” and ever since, this has been the Universal Mantra for the Sai fraternity all over the globe. (Read our earlier update for more details of that wonderful discourse).

A huge backdrop carrying the words, "Samastha Lokaha Sukhino Bhavanthu"
The tiny tots from the Primary School
with their Mother Sai

Swami arrived into a packed Sai Kulwant Hall and moved through the ladies side blessing them. As always, He had a good look at the backdrop that had been erected. Moving through the gents’ side and the students’ area, He reached near the Primary school children. The tiny tots from the first standard were seated separately in sky blue shirts and they too sought His blessings at the beginning of their beautiful sojourn at the school. The headmistress spoke to Swami and prayed on their behalf.

The kids did not voice their feelings but it was evident in the way they were craning and bending their little bodies over one another to get close to Swami! The Lord was so happy and He moved up and down the little corridor where these children were seated. He asked many of them their names and places from where they had come. Many of the kids also took padanamskar and Swami all the while was beaming so happily. God loves child-likeness and these innocent children, with a perfectly round, huge vibhuti dot on their foreheads and close cropped hair, won His heart instantly. 

Seeking blessings before the programme begins
Offering their love through a card

Swami moved to the stage and as He sat there, the children participating in the first part of the programme came up to Him with offerings. Then there was a dance invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesha. Picked from the popular album, “Vishwa Vinayaka”, the song had a brisk pace and was impressive.The children danced in uniformity.

The second part of the programme was a drama that was more of a group discussion amongst the "intellectuals" and "luminaries" of the world. They come together to discuss means to get peace and love in the world when two beings, Love and Peace, descend and inspire a simple school teacher to speak out his heart.

Through two songs with dances, the conclusion they arrive to is profound, “The best and only transformation that man should bring about, is self-transformation. Inner change will inevitably result in an outer change too."

 
The program begins with a dance, invoking Lord Ganesha

They come together to discuss the means to establish peace and love in the world
''The best and only transformation that man should bring about, is self-transformation''

The final part was a presentation on Patanjali Yoga. The protagonist, Rahul has a dream where sage Patanjali guides him through the eight steps in Yoga and also shows him asanas (postures) and pranayamas (breathing exercises) that he can easily practise. The students from the Sai School at Surat displayed amazing postures holding yellow cloth pieces, depicting the various religions of the world. Much to the thrill of all assembled, the holy symbols of all religions were depicted beautifully. It was "bending the body" portraying the message to "mend the mind" to live in religious harmony. During the programme, Swami went briefly into the interview room and as He returned, He arrived with packets containing safari cloth pieces!

The Sai school kids display the exercises of pranayama with proficiency
The eight steps in Yoga presented by the
Sai School of Surat

The end of the drama saw a beautiful moment. The protagonist, Rahul told Swami, “Swami, you answered my mother’s prayer so immediately. Please answer mine too. Give me a place in your college after I finish my schooling.” Swami burst into peals of lovely laughter and nodded in assurance! Whenever anyone asks Swami for a place in His College, they actually are asking Him for a place in His heart! He seems to smile because everyone already has a place in His heart! Else how could one develop Love for Him? Let us remember, if we Love Him, we already have a place in His heart, for hasn’t He Himself said, “If you need me, you deserve me.” The students then rolled a red carpet inviting Swami into their midst. With a smile and an abhayahastha, Swami moved down the stage.

The beneficiaries of those Loving Words and Bewitching Smile
Very pleased, Swami showers an abhayahastha, and moves down the stage

He posed with the children for photos. Then He asked for the safari cloth pieces to be brought, and began to distribute them personally. When the ‘mother’ came forward to take it, Swami asked, “Are you a boy?” He seemed to have a surprised look which unfolded into such a beautiful smile that the answer was of no significance. The boy was mute as the others around answered, “Swami, he is a boy!” As Swami has said, everything on which His eyes fall upon is transmuted; He alone knows of all that would have happened within to that boy who was the beneficiary of those loving words and bewitching smile. The other group of children who performed the drama too came next and posed with him for pictures. Swami distributed clothes to them too. Finally, the girls who had danced were given sarees after their picture-moment with Swami.

Sarees for the dancers
A dream-picture for the Bal Vikas girls

Swami moved back to the stage and then blessed prasadam to be distributed. The Bal Vikas girls from Gujarat were blessed with the opportunity to sing two bhajans after which Swami asked the students to sing. One bhajan later, Swami received aarthi and after blessing everyone retired to Yajur Mandir at 7:15 p.m.

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