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Sai tale from Arkansas

When Narayana swayed in the swing, and music flowed…


Published on Sat, Nov 15, 2008 at 23.00 Hrs.IST

With each passing hour, every inch of space in Puttaparthi and the Ashram is getting filled with devotees. Yes, it is with each passing hour, instead of the oft repeated each passing day, that multitudes are flocking this spiritual epicentre. All that one sees is a sea of humanity.

Sai Kulwant Hall, the venue of the evening programme was filled to its seams, and many were waiting outside the Hall craning their necks to have a glimpse of the Lord of Puttaparthi, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Today also happens to be the penultimate day of the Bhagavata Saptaham. The decoration of Govardhanagiri (Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhana hill to save the cowherds of Vrindavan from prosecution by Indra, the Lord of devas and rain) was done on the idol of Venugopala Swami. The idol was beautifully placed on a swing, with priests continuously swaying the Lord.

The evening talk on 15th November was by Dr Rajagopal Chakravarthi, a scholar. He began his talk by saying that Bhagawan’s abode was the confluence of Puttaparthi and Tirupati.

Throwing light on the Bhagavatam, Dr Chakravarthy said it was first discoursed by Narada, who in turn passed it on to Vyasa and thereafter his son Suka Maharishi gave a sermon to King Parikshit in his final moments.

The story of Ambarisha in the Bhagavatham is very sacred. Sages Vashishta and Gautama once instructed King Ambarisha to perform the Aswamedha Yaga. During the Yajna, Ambarisha forgot his kingdom and even his body. He concentrated only on Lord Narayana. At the end of the Yajna, Lord Narayana appeared and presented His personal weapon, Sudarsana Chakra, to Ambarisha. Armed with this blessing of Sudarsana, Ambarisha was able to enjoy the world and surmount all difficulties in his life. He had no worries, sorrow or desires. He concentrated wholeheartedly on the Lord.

Sometime later, Ambarisha performed the Dwadasi Vratam, a twelve-month vow. After observing certain disciplines for twelve months, Ambarisha was to fast on the day prior to the completion of the one-year period. The fast was to be broken at a particular time the next day, just before the one-year ended.

These were the stipulations of the vow. Ambarisha was getting ready to break his fast on the last day when Sage Durvasa arrived unexpectedly. Ambarisha received him with great respect. Durvasa said, “Oh King, no one has performed such a vow in the world. You will achieve great fame.” Ambarisha pleaded, “Swami, you must accept my hospitality today.” Durvasa said, “With pleasure. But give me some time. I will go to the river, bathe and complete my daily prayers.”
So saying, Durvasa left for the river with his entourage.

The next programme for the evening was a classical Carnatic music performance by the famous duo, Priya Sisters – Shanmukha Priya and Hari Priya.

The first song was an invocation to Lord Ganesh in Raga Naatai – Mahaganapatim Manasasmarami…What followed this was a torrential outpour of mellifluous music. To name a few: Bantureeti Koluviyyavayya Rama… sung in Hamsa Nada Raga, Mudakarata Modakam Sadavimukti Sadakam… in Yamuna Kalyani Raga, Jo Achudananda Jo Jo Mukunda… in Neelambari Raga. This song, which is specifically sung as a lullaby song, had a special significance today evening as the Lord Venugopala Swami was being continuously swayed in the swing.

The soulful renditions also included two bhajans, Jaya Maa Jaya Maa Jagadeeswari Sai Maa and Shankara Siva Shankara Siva Shankara Shambo sung in Darbaari Kaanada and Chakravagam respectively. After the programme, Bhagawan blessed the sisters and the accompanying artistes with clothes. The eventful day ended with offering Arati to Bhagawan at 7.30 pm.