The three-day celebrations of the Guru Purnima festival began with much aplomb in Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli. The evening saw an impressive array of diverse cultural presentation by the devotees from Germany, Italy and Greece.
The programme began as soon as Bhagawan arrived in the Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham Hall around 6 PM. Bhagawan was lead in to the hall by the ceremonial procession of Poorna Kumbam and Veda chanting by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva educational institutions. The festive excitement was palpable and the mellifluous rendering of Bhajans by the students in the background added to the delight.
Once Bhagawan was seated on the dais, the evening proceedings commenced with the invocation prayers by the Pre-University college students.
The second edition of the book ‘Sookshma Sathya Sai’, authored by Dr Hiramalini Sheshadri was officially released in Bhagawan’s presence. The book chronicles the unseen basis of the seen, the unique manner in which Bhagawan has been continuing His mission through His students and devotees. Dr Sheshadri, an alumnus of the Christian Medical College, Vellore, is a renowned physician and rheumatologist from Chennai. She is also a visiting consultant at Bhagawan’s hospitals and has previously authored four other books on Bhagawan and His teachings. The first edition of this book was released on the occasion of Ugadi, earlier this year.
The rest of the evening was a treat to the senses, filled with music, art and culture, presented by the devotees from Italy, Germany and Greece. The entire programme was put together under the able guidance of Mr Dimitris Lambrianos, the Greek composer and musician who can play over 20 instruments. It merits attention here that about 21 years ago, Bhagawan had told Mr Lambrianos in an interview that one day he will come to Bhagawan and teach music to His students. Not surprisingly, he now teaches many musical instruments to the students of Muddenahalli and Alike, and has made Muddenahalli his home!
The first performance was an Odissi dance by Sister Chiara Gopika Iozza, a long-standing Sai devotee. The performance was set in Raag Basant, the same Raag in which Mother Parvathi and Lord Shiva, depicting Prakrithi and Purusha, danced during the creation of the universe. The intense energy generated with their performance propelled the audience into a dimension of great devotion, awe and wonderment.
The next programme was a musical treat by Mr Guglielmo Piccolo, a musician of world renown. A singer, pianist and guitarist, Mr Piccolo went on to explore deeper in the world of musical notes and symbols to become multi-instrumentalist. A Sai devotee, he came to Bhagawan’s fold in 1995 and has since performed many times in the divine presence. He performed on two self-composed songs, for which he played the Irish whistles, Indian flute and a traditional Peruvian and Bolivian instrument called Pan Flute. He was accompanied by sister Elonora Brussato on the violin, sister Anandra George from the United States and brother Michael Mritya from Australia. Sister Elonora, who has been playing the violin since she was five-years old, came to Bhagawan’s fold in 2005. She has since performed in His presence many times. The musical offering brought to fore the universal teaching of Bhagawan, Love all and Serve all.
This was followed by a performance from Mr Luciano Calo. He boasts of a singing career spanning more than two decades, and is a part of Synagogue of Rome Choir. He performed on a famous philosophical Italian song, Volare Kantare, which means flying and singing. The song, which speaks about how one is happy to fly up to the Sun when the world slowly disappears in the background, was reminiscent of Bhagawan’s teachings of God first and world next.
The next presentation was choir singing by the devotees from Germany, who have been singing in Bhagawan’s presence during Christmas celebrations in Prashanthi Nilayam for many years. They began by invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesha and sang ‘Mudakaratha Modakam’. Their choice of songs emphasised the unconditional love that Bhagawan has for His devotees. Interestingly, the songs had preludes played from Bhagawan’s own voice, adding to the beauty of their performances. The theme of their performance was ‘Sai is Love’. They also performed on a song called ‘Sai is Love’, which Bhagawan had enjoyed very much when He visited Germany earlier this year. Bhagawan asked them to sing the song a second time and enjoyed the beautiful and soulful singing of the choir.
The last performance for the evening was by the Greek team. Three professional musicians, Mr Nikos Balaskas on percussions of Shaker, Darabuka and Drums, Mr Fotis Apostolaras on the Base, Mr Anthonis Bastianos on Electric Guitar, had flown all the way to perform in the presence of Bhagawan. Mr Dimitris Lambrianos performed on the Baglama, a string instrument, Seaboard, Linnstrument, Piano, Piccolo, Flute, the Soprano Sax and Bouzouki. The entire Greek performance, which comprised of songs from various places in Greece, was a special creation by the musicians for Bhagawan on the auspicious occasion of Guru Purnima.
The evening ended with the offering of Arati to Bhagawan.