You cannot win the grace of God by empty rhetoric. It is only through devotional singing suffused with Bhava, Raga and Thala, that Divinity can be attained, says Baba.
The fourth day of the Sri Sathya Sai Annual Sports and Cultural Meet was a testimony to this; it was a heart warming confluence of fine art and music that was on display.
Proceedings of the evening began as soon as Bhagawan arrived at the Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham auditorium to the mellifluous bhajans sung by His students.
Swami has always said, the purpose of all that we do is self-transformation. And only selfless service can encourage a person to reach the higher state of humanity. He has reminded us that “All service should be regarded as an offering to God, and every opportunity to serve should be welcomed as a gift from God. Service should be done in this spirit.”
Service, in other words is “Love made manifest”. And one person who ONLY lived as Swami often says, ‘Jesus First; Others Next, Yourself Last, is Sri Indulal Shah, grandsire of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations! His steadfastness in pursuing a spiritual life, dovetailing service with humility, has made him an epitome of the often quoted 5Ds – Duty, Devotion, Discipline, Determination and Discrimination. Many say Sri Indulal ji’s undeterred and single-minded commitment towards the Lord’s mission is a result of his unwavering devotion and selfless love! Even today, he has only one thing to say – ‘Give me some work that I can do for Swami!’
To celebrate Sri Indulal ji’s 96th birthday, a cake was cut and he was felicitated by Sri U Gangadhar Bhat, Chairman of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust. A short video, depicting his journey and contribution to the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation was showcased. The audience, especially the students were captivated by the simplicity of his love for Swami and His mission, and his untiring zeal for service in propagating His mission.
The first programme for the evening was a musical presentation by the brass band from the Alike campus. Christened ‘Sai Symphony’ by Bhagawan Himself, the brass band mesmerised the audience with their soulful renditions, which included popular bhajans such as ‘Hara Hara Hara Hara Mahadeva’ and ‘Govinda Krishna Jai, Gopala Krishna Jai’. The ensemble of over 30 students, proficient in a range of instruments like the saxophone, trumpet, bugles, drums, flute among other instruments, have performed at various music festivals, thus spreading Bhagawan’s message of integral education in their own unique way.
‘Sai’s Angels’, the brass band from the Muddenahalli campus, offered their instrumental music at Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet. The young artists enthralled the audience with their many renditions. Swami first gave them the instruments, a couple of months before Bhagawan’s 89th Birthday Celebrations. They are all self-taught with guidance from alumni who have been part of the University brass band of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.
Swami blessed the band with a tutor Sri Dimitris Lambrianos, who plays over 20 instruments, and practically every instrument in the brass band and more. Sri Dimitris, who has now made Muddenahalli his home, is an accomplished professional Greek musician, who accompanied both the band performances.
The musical night reached a crescendo with the next performance, a medley of various artists and songs. Arranged by Sri Dimitris, the first song titled, ‘Sai, Tum Hamare Praan Ho’ (Sai, You are our life!) was offered with love and adoration, by the alumni of the Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music, Prasanthi Nilayam.
The next song was rendered by Sri Cass Smith, a practicing psychologist and the composer of the famous song, “I keep feeling your love in me“, presented his latest composition which was inspired by Swami Himself. This was followed by the famous song, ‘Krsna ne bhegane baro’, composed by famed Indian musicians Sri Hariharan and Leslie Lewis.
Devotees from Croatia and Slovenia placed a Croatian song at Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet thereafter; a song that celebrates Swami’s love and glory. Sri Luciano, a professional singer, who performs Italian folk music in the ancient capital city of Rome, sang one of the most famous Italian songs, “O Sole Mio,” which translates to “Oh my sun!” He definitely serenade the Lord and entertained all gathered with his quintessential Italian charm!
Ms Anandra George, from the US, now residing in India per Swami’s command, performed a jazz song ‘All of Me’ in light of Swami’s wondrous declaration on His 90th birthday, that our best gift to Him is to BE Him!
‘There comes a time when we hear a certain call; When the world must come together as one!’ These popular lines from the famous song ‘We are the world’ by Michael Jackson, was the grand finale. Led by Sri Kunal Ganjawalla, popular playback singer and a well-known musician in India and abroad, all the singers joined him to offer their love and gratitude at Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet.
Two excellently choreographed dance presentations, by Sri Pawan Kumar, dance instructor for all the campuses, followed next. The first dance ballet titled ‘Sri Krishna Leela’ was offered 47 boys from High School, Pre-University and the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence, all from the Muddenahalli campus.
This was followed by the final performance for the night, a dance celebrating the glory of the Shakti aspect of divinity, by the girl students from Sri Sathya Sai Prashanthi Bala Mandira and Sri Sathya Sai Prashanthi Nikethanam Pre-University College for Girls, Chikkaballapur. The college is a standing testimony to the magnitude of Bhagawan’s love and compassion. A high school student who did not have any means to further her education prayed to Bhagawan for help, and that was when Bhagawan decided to establish a Pre-University college for girls right here in Chikkaballpur. Today, it stands as a ray of hope for thousands of girl students wanting to peruse their education.
The evening ended with the offering of Aarti to Bhagawan, followed by prasadam distribution.