November 20, 2009 – Felicitation of EWWT Medical and Paramedical Staff, and drama on Mother Sita by Primary School Children

Swami came for darshan an hour after the nine o'clock bhajans began on the morning of November 20. As He moved through the ladies' side of Sai Kulwant Hall He was electing ladies for saree distribution and sending them to the Bhajan Hall. He moved around the ladies side for another round of the selection process! Then He completed a full darshan round before moving into the Bhajan Hall via the upper portico. In the Bhajan Hall, He personally gave sarees to the ladies gathered there.

Having completed this, He moved out and cut a cake brought by the students of the Mirpuri College of Music who were celebrating their anniversary day. He blessed them and took a round of the lower portico and the stage. On the way, He also blessed Malayalam cine-star, Mohanlal, who immediately fell on his knees when the Lord came in front of Him.

As the grateful actor recalled to the Malayalam daily Mathrubhoomi - "A broad smile appeared on Baba's face. I took His smile as a blessing and placed it on my head. After meeting Baba, I was asked, by phone, by so many people, what my experience was. I cannot explain that, because, it was my first meeting with Baba; I was experiencing that coolness for the first time. That flower will grow into a spring in my coming lives. I wait for that patiently. I went to Puttaparthi not to gain anything, not to ask for anything, but to just see a pure holy soul resting on a lofty pedestal, much higher than all. I saw Him. I saw the childlike smile and eyes. That vision continues to haunt me. Let it lead me hereafter. Let it support me when I fall."

The morning bhajans concluded with aarthi and Swami retired at 11:30 a.m.

The evening session belonged entirely to the tiny tots of the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School. It seemed like Children's Day after Ladies' day! It was at 5:10 p.m. that Swami arrived, welcomed into the hall by the bagpipers' band, the Veda chanting children and a group of dancers. There was a round of applause even as these tiny tots led Him into the hall.

The marbled block in the centre had been occupied by the medical and paramedical volunteers from various parts of India who contribute their services to the Mother and Child Welfare project under the sponsorship of Easwaramma Women's Welfare Trust. Swami arrived at the centre and took a detour towards the stage. He looked at Mother Easwaramma's photo on the stage for quite a while and then seeing that two boys seated there seemed to cover her image, He told them to move to the sides. Swami soon arrived on the stage and immediately asked for the drama to begin.

And now everyone in the audience witnessed another drama unfold! Swami was told that the medical and paramedical staff awaited felicitation at His hands but it seemed that He had already decided that it was primary school Childrens’ Day! He told them that if all moved and created space, the drama by the children could begin. But they seemed equally intent on getting His Grace - Shraddha (earnestness) and Saburi (patience) are the key to get His grace as He said in His Shirdi form!

Swami called the principal of the school and told her to begin the programme. She said that once the area was cleared she would begin! Swami also asked about the bagpipes band, making a signal with His hand! Finally Swami seemed to relent. He asked for the felicitation to begin. A voice came alive on the PA system and it brought some fantastic facts to everyone's notice - The programme which was kicked off on July 19, 2005, in two villages, had grown in great proportions covering all the forty five villages of the Sathya Sai Mandal, by October 2009 - all within four years of service.

The programme presently benefits 400 mothers and 800 children as opposed to 68 mothers and 68 children when it was started. Swami was very happy as this was presented and soon gifts as tokens of His love were distributed to the assembled volunteers.

Swami, calling one of the students, said, "If that backdrop is moved, the children behind can come to the front and begin the drama!" That made it very evident that the Lord was keen to see His little children who have worked intensely for almost a month to put up the presentation. The bagpipes band was scheduled to perform but seeing Swami's keen interest, the children in costumes came up to Him and made their offerings.

The girl playing the role of Sita offered a very ornate card to Swami and the Lord read the whole Telugu script on it. The drama opening was a dance sequence by kids about two feet in height! It was so beautiful to see such a large synchronisation among such tiny beings! Then it moved to the Ramayana proper.

The story began with Sage Vishwamitra requesting the king Dasharatha to depute the services of his son, Rama, to protect the fire sacrifice which was being hampered by the demons. Though presented with a wealth of facts about Rama’s divinity, Dasharatha is still unconvinced. Sage Vasishta, the preceptor of the royal children, cautions the king and asks him to summon the children to render their services for the benefit of the world.

The next scene was that of Rama’s marriage with Sita and it showed the beautiful story that Swami narrates - Sita is so short that she is unable to reach Rama's height to put the garland. Sensing this, Lakshmana bows down to touch his brother's feet and when Rama bends to pick him up, Sita garlands Him! Swami was so moved as He saw this.

The children then depicted the golden deer episode where Sita gets kidnapped by the demon Ravana. Swami so aptly says about this episode, "You lose Rama (God) when you are overcome by Kama (desire)!"

The next scene opened at Lanka where the holy mother is incarcerated by Ravana. Despite his wife, Mandodari’s, fervent plea not to harm but release the hapless woman, Ravana, overcome by lust, does not pay heed to the plea. Hanuman then appears before Mother Sita, imparting courage to withstand the trials and tribulations.

In a final attempt, Lord Rama sends his emissary, Angada, son of Vali, to convince the egotist, Ravana. Angada stood on a small table that had been placed and it was at this point that Swami went briefly into the interview room. When He returned to the stage again, the scene was in its climax. Ravana himself comes forward to throw Angada out as none in his court are able to even move his leg.

When he bends down to hold Angada's leg, Angada says, "Oh fool! Instead of these feet, catch hold of the feet of Rama and be redeemed." Finally the war is fought and Lord Rama annihilates the demon Ravana, bringing peace unto the world.  The war was well depicted with two chariots moving on the scene.

The drama was punctuated with lovely dances. It concluded after 50 minutes and the curtain was drawn with the entire crew joining together, singing the glory of Lord Rama in His physical presence! As the song concluded, Swami called the actors, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita to the stage and posed with them for pictures. There was absolute discipline among the children as they sat down and awaited till Swami called them onto the stage.

Once the sequence was set, small groups of girls came to the stage in a neat sequence and Swami posed with them for pictures. He asked many of them their names and granted namaskar to all who asked; others simply fell at His feet. And so it was that every child participant got the privilege of being close to Swami and getting a photograph. As the children descended from the stage, the band leader of the bagpipes requested Swami permission to perform and Swami agreed.

With great thrill, the band quickly assembled in front of Him in the marbled block. They began their performance. It was crisp and precise. The drummers performed for a while followed by the bagpipers. There was a wonderful solo drum piece by one of the girls and it was a sort of beating the retreat. As they completed, Swami blessed them and they asked Him for a group photograph too. Swami told them, "Not now! Later."

Swami sat in the car and was lead to the Residence by the band. At the residence, Swami agreed to pose for pictures with them. As He did so, they all thanked Him. Swami seemed to reprimand them, "Don’t say ‘thank you’! I am not separate." Hearing this, the girls were so thrilled that one of them shouted, "Oh God! So sweet!" There were smiles all round. Suddenly, the lights went out! In the dark, Swami waited with everyone for the lights to come. They came back in a few moments and Swami retired with a smile.

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