Volume 7 - Issue 10
OCTOBEr 2009
Other Articles

Part - 9

Dear readers, till the December 2008 issue, in this section we serialized for you “Shirdi Sai Parthi Sai”, the glorious saga of Shirdi Sai and the divine life of Sathya Sai till His early childhood. This series continued for 48 episodes, and we received very positive responses to this serial. In fact, now that the script is available, this television serial has been re-enacted as a play in many Sai centres.

Encouraged with this, we decided to continue this section and offer something in a similar format. And now, after the Divine Life story of Bhagavan Baba, it is the innumerable dramas presented in the Divine Presence by the students of Bhagavan’s Schools and University, as well as by the Bal Vikas students and Sai devotees from all corners of the world. We hope the current series, which is accompanied with lots of pictures and video stills/clips, will not only make an enriching and edifying reading experience, but also will help devotees everywhere to redo these inspiring plays in their own settings with little effort. So, enjoy these divine dramas where the Divine was a keen spectator and the hidden director!

The current drama, which was staged by the students from the Brindavan campus of the Sri Sathya Sai University on January 13, 2009, demonstrated to the world the potent power of Love for God through the life of one of the greatest saints of the modern era, Bhaktha Potana. The tests and twists in the life of this celebrated poet-saint is a true guide for every sincere spiritual aspirant of the Lord.

Dear reader, for the benefit of all, Radio Sai has launched ‘Sai Blossom’ – a collection of product offering consisting of books, audio CDs, MP3 CDs and video DVDs.

This drama ‘Bhakta Potana’ too, which is tastefully edited and embellished, is currently available as a video DVD in the Shopping Complex as well as in the Book Stall in Prasanthi Nilayam.

For more information, please write to [email protected]


Sportsmeet Drama, 2009



Scene 1

The Ambience in Potana’s Village


Potana: (song) Antah Ramamayam...

Villager 1: Potana seems to be at it again, zamindar garu.

Village 2: A jobless fellow! Always singing the praises of the God whom nobody has seen; ‘God is everything,’ he says.

Zamindar: (arrogantly drawing out the words…) Ah, what does he know of the power of riches?  Wealth is everything. (Flicks his angavastram) Do not our scriptures proclaim, ‘Dhanam agnir dhanam vayuhu dhanam suryo dhanam vasuhu’...Money can buy anything. With wealth comes power and the combination of the two is invincible...ha..ha!

Village1: Absolutely true sir. (Pauses) In one sense, what you say is absolutely true.

Zamindar: In one sense? No, in every sense! God is everywhere, even I know that. Then why does He need a temple?

Village 2: Yes sir, these villagers come to you if they need any help…Where does God have time listen to their pleas? He has so many things to do…


Zamindar: Yes, all these villagers bow to this Gajendra Sharma…Should I not get the Agra pooja (first worship) everywhere?

Village 2: Very pertinent question sir...Shall we ask Potana for an answer?

Village 3: (pacifying) He will start arguing about God and we cannot escape it. Do we not have better things to do? Sir, let us go and survey your farmlands. (Flattering the Zamindar)

Zamindar: (A few seconds of silence) hmmmm…Nevertheless...here is Pothana’s son, Mallanna; let us ask him...

Village 2: Whatever you say, sir.

Mallanna: Welcome Sharmagaru....What brings you to this temple square leaving behind your ivory tower?

Zamindar: (warning) Mallanna, you should know your limits!

Mallanna: Limits are created by men for men; all of us came from God.

(vedic hymn) Brahmanosya mukhamaseet bahurajanyah krutah urutadasya yadvaishyah padbhygum shudroajayata.

Village 1: Do you think that you can hide your poverty by quoting scriptures?

Mallana: A truly rich man is one who has no desires... (turns to the Zamindar) It is obvious you are far from it.

Village 2: How dare you insult the great Zamindar Gajendra Sharma garu? Don't you realise he can take away everything you own in no time?

Mallana: There is nothing that he can give me or take away from me. Papanna!

Potana: (gently) Mallanna, what is the matter? You seem to be angry.

Mallana: Father, he was insulting you.

Potana: Whom can he insult - the body or the atma (spirit)? Have I not told you, “He that angers you conquers you!”

Mallana: I can't take it lying down.

Potana: Then bow down to the Lord and chant His sweet name!

Jihve rasajne madhura priyatwam satyam hitam tvam paramam vadami
avarna yeta madhuraaksharaani
govinda damdhar madhaveti

Don't waste your time in idle argumentation.

Zamindar: Good, very good; teach him some humility. …Hmmm, let us go.


Potana: Son, sukha dhuke samekrutva labha labhou jaya jayou - You should learn to  maintain  equanimity under all circumstances; never waver in your devotion to the Lord.

Mallana: But father ...

Potana: God has His own timing. Everyone will learn when his turn comes. Let us not lose our peace over it. Channelise your energy towards God and godly work.


(The focus now shifts to another elevated stage where Lord Vishnu and His vehicle Garuda are in a conversation.)

Vishnu: Vainateya!

Garuda: Yes, my Lord!

Vishnu: Mallanna and Potana are both devoted to Me, but do you see any difference between them?

Garuda: The love that Potana has for You is filled with satwa (piousness), but Mallanna....

Vishnu: Yes, rajas (characterized by passion and activity) dominates his personality. (Turns to Hanuman who is standing to one side) Anjaneya is the matchless example for the great power of namasmarana; he shall be My instrument to transform Mallana.


Scene 2:

Transformation of Mallanna


Mallana is lying down on the pandal outside the temple.

Mallana: Oh God, why do I get agitated over everything? My father is the very embodiment of tolerance and humility, why does equipoise elude me?  Unable to restrain myself I react violently to every situation. Please help me curb these impulses. Lord! Guide me onto the path that leads to Your divine feet.

bhakta potana

(Old man enters. He is walking with difficulty and is coughing. Mallana gets up immediately and helps the old man to the temple and gives him some water.)

Mallana: Are you fine now, grandfather? (Old man clears his throat and nods) Where are you going?

Old Man: Where else my son, to the same destination where all of us are headed, Godward. Aaah! (He begins to press his own feet) Age weakens the body.

Mallana: Allow me Grandfather. (Sits down and begins to press the feet of the old man)

Old man: You have a very good and kind heart and seem a dutiful son. God bless you my boy. But tell me (gestures to the bedding that Mallana has spread) what are you doing in the temple at such a late hour?

Mallana: I was just… (gestures vacantly) I was talking to God, I was…(hesitates)

Old man:
Go on my son…go on.

bhakta potna

Mallana: I was beseeching God to grant me self-control and lead me to Him.

Old man: Why this particular prayer, may I ask? (Gently laying a hand on Mallana’s shoulder)

Mallana: (Exhales with a loud sigh) I love my father a lot and cannot tolerate any slur against him. I find it difficult to stomach the insults of that pompous lout of a Zamindar, Gajendra Sharma. Sometimes I really feel like (raises a fist…)

Old man: (The old man grips the raised fist) No! (Strong) No! (Soft) In a silent congregation even the cry of a child is disturbing ...isn’t it so?

Mallana: Yes!?

Old man: Likewise in the calm and placid pool of your mind, thoughts arising from innate rajas will take you away from peace...

Mallana: But, but...how can I not react to an insult? Will not my silence be construed as cowardice?


Old man: He that cannot understand your silence will never understand your words...so why waste your words on him...chant the name of the Lord. It alone can confer peace upon you and lead you to liberation...

Repeat after me…srirama rama rameti....chant the sweet name of the Lord. (Fades out softly, Mallana looks up at the old man and seems to be in a daze. The old man leans against a pillar and places Mallana’s head in his lap. Sings very softly and gently, stroking Mallana on the head.)

(A song) O rama, nee namamemi ruchi raa, Sri rama neenama memiruchi ra, entha ruchi ra rama, entoruchi ra…[fade out]

After a few moments, finding Mallana asleep, the old man gently places his head on the folded mattress. Salutes Vishnu who is standing above; Vishnu shows Abhayahasta (blessings). Old man exits. All the music gently fades out into silence.

Sounds of daybreak, birds chirping, animals mooing, cock crowing in a distance. Students are chanting…)

Mallana’s friend: (placing hand on Mallana’s shoulder) Mallanna! What happened?

Mallana: Rama...Sri Rama...Kodanda Rama...

Potana: I am thrilled to see that the name of the Lord gives you such joy...(looks at the villagers). Chanting His name as you work turns work into worship. Sanctify your lives with the true spirit of Namasmarana. Sarve janaah sukhino bhavantu

bhakta potna
bhakta potna

The focus shifts again to Vishnu and Garuda

Vishnu: Are you happy now, Vainateya?

Garuda: Happiness is indeed union with God. Oh Lord…when will You confer this blessing on Potana.

Vishnu: Each has his role to play in the cosmic drama...Potana is like the empty flute ready to resonate with the breath of God... My glory shall be revealed to whole humanity through him.


Scene 3

Potana is Blessed with a Task

Potana: (a song) yevvani chee janinchu jaga mevvanilopala nundu leenamai, yevvaniyandudindubara meeswarudevvadu moolakaaranam, bevvadanaadimadhyalayudevvadu sarvamu dana yainavaa,
devvadu vaani naatmabhavu neeswaru nee saranabmu veededhan

Rama...how much longer do I have to wait ...I long to come back to You...

bhakta potna

Rama: Potana (soft voice full of love).

Potana: Swami! Sri Raghavam Dasarathaatmaja……

Rama: Potana, are you willing to undertake a task for Me? 

Potana: Lord, should You seek my consent for it, I am Yours always, make use of me as You deem fit.

Rama: Then compose the Srimad Bhagavatam as your offering to Me. Suffuse it with your love and devotion… let the whole creation enjoy the Love of God. (Pauses, waits for Potana to look up) I will be waiting for you...

Potana: Karishye vachanam tava...dhanyosmi.. swami...dhanyosmi [I will certainly do as You say, I am beholden to You, Lord]

Potana: (a song) Palikededi Bhagavatamata
Palikenchedi vaadu raama bhadrundata
Nee balikina bhavaharamagunata
Palikeda verondu gaadha palukaganeelaa

(Mallana enters) Mallanna!!! This day is the most joyous day of my life… the Lord blessed me with His divine darshan and commanded me to write the Srimad Bhagavatam.

Malanna: Lord Rama Himself came? Indeed father...what a great blessing.

Potana: Yes my son, yes! Henceforth I shall devote all my energies to this noble task. You have to take over all the responsibilities of the household. Let us together sanctify our lives.

Mallana: It is my good fortune father.

Potana: Be on your way now.
(Sloka extolling saraswati)

Talli ninnu dalanchi pustakamu chetambhunitin neevu naa yullambandhuna nilchi Jrubhnamugaa sukhthul susabdhambu soobhillam balkumu naadhu vaakkunanu sampritin jagnamohinee fhullabhjaakshi saraswati bhagavtee poornendhu bimbananaa.

Srinadha: Baava (Brother-in-law)! What a heavenly composition...


Potana: Srinadha! What a pleasant surprise.

Srinadha: The pleasure is all mine to have listened to such a glorious poem. It is beyond the imagination of mere mortals... worthy of royal recognition. What are you composing?

Mallanna: This is part of the Srimad Bhagavatam.

Srinadha: Srimad Bhagavatam! It is an onerous task. Such a marvellous composition must be offered to the King Sri Ranga Bhoopala. He will reward you well and wipe away your poverty forever.

Potana: This composition has been commanded by Lord Rama and shall be offered only to Him.

Srinadha: Baava! Once the king comes to know of such a great composition, he will definitely ask for it.  And even if you refuse to offer he will not hesitate to take it by force.

bhakta potna

Potana: Srinadha, I appreciate your concern for me, but this work belongs to the King of kings, Sri Ramachandra and none else...

Srinadha: Listen to me, baava. It is not wise to provoke the king to anger.

Potana: The will of Rama is higher and more potent than the anger of the king.

Srinadha: You are obstinate…

Potana: I am just following the command of my Lord.

Srinadha: Who else but the king can appreciate and reward this marvellous composition? Don’t waste sandal paste on the forehead of cattle. Baava!

Potana: I am just an instrument!

Srinadha: Let me go now, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Ramaya sa lakshamanaya cha …

bhakta potna

The focus is again on Lord Vishnu and Garuda

Garuda: Lord! You say if one were to have a noble intention the whole creation will conspire to make it come true, but, I seem to perceive an obstacle... am I right?

Vishnu: Test is the taste of God. I told you Potana is pure gold and it can be demonstrated only by an ordeal of fire. I have no doubt that Potana will emerge victorious, but the world should learn from his example. Watch My divine drama.

(To be continued)


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