February 17, 2009 – Dance Programme by Devotees from Nilgiris
On February 16 Swami satiated the Hungarian hunger and on the next day it was the blessed time for the devotees from Ooty. These devotees from the Western Ghats of India had arrived and accompanying them were about 30 sadhus - men and women. These devotees have been continuously rendering service and spreading His message in the Nilgiri hills for many years now. Nestled among the mountains, the story of transformation of places near and around Ooty is really inspiring. H2H had an article about their beautiful seva in the January 2006 issue.
Swami had acceded to their prayers and requests the previous day and had permitted them to put up their programme in the Divine presence. A huge backdrop depicting the "Raasa leela" dance of Lord Krishna with the gopikas had been suspended in the centre of the hall. It was 4:40 p.m. when Swami arrived for darshan. As He moved through the ladies side, His attention seemed to be captured by the backdrop. He kept looking at it for quite a while and also blessed the performers for the day who were seated in front of it. Moving through the gents’ side, He completed His rounds and took a small round through the portico too. Just before 5 p.m., Swami arrived on the stage and the programme was underway.
The simple village folk and tribal people had prepared a sequence of dances under the theme, "Brindavan folk dances". A brief summary of the programme would be, "The village folk danced to the tune of songs on Krishna in their language for more than 45 minutes." And what was "their" language? It was a mixture of Kannada, Tamil and Tulu. A single sentence in a song would be composed of a harmonious blend of words from these different languages. It was evident that the language of the heart was in full swing and the gopalas and Krishna danced in front of Swami. For some of the songs which involved the gopikas, the gopalas themselves doubled up as the gopikas! Very often, while presenting, we often try to get the best possible costumes and make up. Here were simple folk and they laid emphasis on the spirit rather than the physical. All their depictions were in the way they moved and expressions on their faces. They never felt it out of place if a man doubled up as a gopika in the dance!
The dance went on for 45 minutes. In between, Swami visited the interview room briefly and the dancers continued with no drop in enthusiasm or energy. Swami called the " Krishna" of the dance troupe and materialised a gold chain for him. He also gave clothes to all the performers as they came up to Him one by one. They all utilised that opportunity to take padanamaskar. Then Swami said that He would move down and gift them with group pictures too. Slowly, He moved down the stage and sat amidst them, smiling and blessing all of them. They too poured out their love for Swami and returned His smiles. Swami then returned to the stage. Meanwhile, the students had started singing bhajans, and that too, Krishnabhajans in particular. Swami was back on the stage and the elderly person, who was the leader of the group, went to Swami. Swami called the Krishna too on stage and they all posed for photographs. After that unfolded a beautiful scene.
" Krishna" was lost in the ecstasy of the moment. So much so that, he began to dance with the bhajan, "Govinda Krishna Jai" that was going on! He moved down the stage and continued to dance. Swami seemed to watch him with amusement at his innocent joy. And frankly, the audience seemed to enjoy this dance the most - it was so spontaneous and forthcoming. After this, prasadam was distributed and Swami received aarthi. It was about 6:15 p.m. by the time the Lord returned to His residence.
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