February 16, 2009 – Music Programme by Devotees from Hungary
Prasanthi Nilayam is a potpourri of people from various countries of the world. From the second week of February a group of nearly 50-100 devotees from the mid-European nation of Hungary have been eagerly waiting for a chance to sing in the Divine presence. Puttaparthi is not a totally new place for these devotees. They had come here earlier too, in December 2007, prepared with a music programme for their dear Lord. Each member of the group burned with intense love for Swami and the Heart2Heart team had a chance to speak with them and get their awe-inspiring stories of love and devotion. One of the members was on the verge of suicide after his problems and frustrations got compounded with deafness in both his ears. His ears returned to sound health in a matter of hours with Swami's grace at Puttaparthi! One can read these stories of amazing devotion and profound Grace in the April 2008 and January 2008 issues of Heart2Heart.
That trip turned a little disappointing for some of the members as they could not put up the programme they had prepared for Him. The relatively senior devotees consoled and assured everyone else of their group that disappointment is a sure sign to ‘Hisappointment’ and that His delays are not His denials. Whatever the situation was, these people never let despair get a hold on them. They continued with their daily routine with the same enthusiasm and joy. They would pray and sing in devotion and move about in the ashram in neat lines, chanting the name of the Lord. True to their faith and conviction, the February 15 saw "Hisappointment" being arranged! As the bhajans concluded that evening, Swami called the secretary of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Mr. Chakravarthy on stage. And as per His command, Mr.Chakravarthy announced, "There will be a programme by the disciplined group of devotees from Hungary tomorrow evening at the Sai Kulwant Hall." The adjective, 'disciplined', had been added at the insistence of the all-knowing Swami. Prof. Anil Kumar happened to be sitting next to Swami and Swami told him to make the same announcement in Telugu too! He did it in his own inimitable style. How the professor happened to be sitting next to Swami is an interesting event in itself.
A student had made a sketch of Prof. Anil Kumar and Swami noticed it. He called the student and on closer scrutiny, He felt that the sketch was a very good likeness of the professor. So He called him and presented the sketch to him. The student was overjoyed at this unexpected recognition from Swami, and the professor was delighted at this sudden gift of Grace. And then, after talking to Swami and cracking a few funny lines that brought a smile to the Divine face, the professor settled beside Swami. That’s how he happened to be there as the announcement of the Hungarian programme was made.
February 16 saw all the Hungarian devotees seated in neat rows in the marbled blocks of Sai Kulwant Hall. Swami arrived at 4:30 p.m. for darshan and taking a complete round, arrived onstage. Swami took a mini round around the children from the Primary School and needless to say, their Vedic chanting reached boisterous levels. Then He moved via the veranda to the gents’ side of the stage where about 30 sadhus from the Nilgiris, who had arrived in the morning, were seated. There was great awe and respect on the faces of these holy men as Swami neared them. All of them got onto their knees and bowed down to Swami. A list of all the holy men who had arrived was presented to Him and Swami blessed it. A request for a programme by the residents of the hills of the Niligiris was also made to Swami and the Lord seemed to consent for it. He blessed all the sadhus and the joy was writ large on their faces. Then, Swami moved to the centre stage and asked for the programme to begin.
Two ladies came forward and presented Swami with the programme card and a rose. They were so filled with joy, and smiles abounded as Swami blessed them. They were followed by two members of the gents presenting roses to Swami. After a short speech in which they thanked Swami with all their hearts for the most coveted opportunity to sing in His presence, they started with “Aumkaram” and chants from the Sanathana Dharma scriptures!
The songs then began - and ah! How melodious they were! The accompaniments were the keyboard, guitars, violins, a flute and beaming smiles! The conductor's movement was all grace and beauty as she carried the group forward through the highs and lows of the melodies. The songs were in a foreign tongue no doubt, but the expressions on the faces and the feelings in the air would have been understood by anyone conversant in the language of the heart! The holy men and women from Nilgiris too seemed engrossed in this, for devotion has no barriers of language or religion. It is Love in its purest form towards the Lord who is One. As each song concluded, the worshippers (performers would be a very wrong word to use here) would bow down to Swami and then begin the next. Hearts, throats and mouths opened wide as notes from Hungary filled the air. It was very evident that these people were 'hunger'ing for Divine Love and had decided to partake in the feast that He had so lovingly served. The music was so full of life and energy and yet meditative in its effect. 12 songs were sung in no time and Swami asked, "Any more songs?"
They were simply thrilled. The conductor and the leader came up to Swami and receiving those words of Love from Him, began the second innings. One more song later, Swami's hand was going round, materializing a beautiful gold chain for the conductor! Calling her closer, Swami put it around her neck. She just smiled ever so broadly and no words seemed to issue forth from her. Swami then gifted every lady with a beautiful, parrot green sari and every gent with white safari cloth. Prasadam was also blessed for distribution and as this went on, two ladies presented to Swami white hand kerchiefs that they had made for Him. The Hungarian experience proved that the Lord hungers as much for those who hunger for Him for He opened the ribbon that held the kerchiefs then and there. Taking one of them, Swami immediately wiped His face and the worshippers and the audience clapped in joy. Another man presented Swami with a lamination of mother Mary with infant Jesus and Swami blessed it for him.
Swami accepted all the letters that were given and the way these people moved and conducted themselves made it very clear as to why Swami had added the adjective, "disciplined" for them the previous day. Swami told them to sing bhajans and they sang two bhajans very well. That was followed by a few bhajans by the students. The bhajans concluded and aarthi was taken, after which Swami retired to Yajur Mandir.
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- Heart2Heart Team