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Ugadi Celebrations

Music Programme by Students of the Sri Sathya Sai University

March 27, 2009

With the completion of another eventful year of the telugu calendar, Prashanthi Nilayam resplendent with floral and other decorations welcomed the New Year with a lot of cheer. Though the almanac declares the year name as "Virodhi", with the Lord's assurance of "Why Fear when I am Here", there can but only be celebrations on every occassion.

This Sai Avatar has a special quality; to pour unconditional and unbounded love and grace on anybody and everybody. As He says, there is ‘No reason for Love, no season for Love’. And this evening, the students of His institutions were the benefactors of this outpouring. Having taken much interest over the past few days about their music programme, Bhagawan had it announced in the morning in the Sai Kulwant Hall.

At about 5 pm, the Lord arrived in the special golden white throne. After completing a full round of Darshan, Bhagawan came and occupied His position on the dais and indicated for the music programme to begin.

The programme began with a special song composed by the students for Ugadi. The song welcomed Swami and everyone into the New Year. It beautifully conveyed that though this year was called ‘Virodhi’ there would no Virodh (Fights) since Swami was there pouring His Divine Love to everyone. The song meandered through high pitch notes and was a perfect start to the evening. Swami appeared touched with the meaning and happy with the rendering.

This song was followed by the famous ‘Appa Rama Bhakti Yento Gopparaa’ by the poet saint Sri Thyagaraja. It began with an alaap which brought out the exquisite beauty and toughness of the raga (Raga Panthurali) marvelously. The two singers (one from the institute and other from the music college) fully blossomed in the course of the alaap garnering several rounds of applause. Swami too was all smiles & pride for them. Some of the notes they were able to scale were superlative and only possible through dedicated practice and divine grace. The song followed the alaap, and everyone was left swinging from side to side. Swami too joined the song in bouts, singing and putting talam for the song. The presentation showed off the brilliance of the singers and the applause after the song was a resounding one.

A sufi song followed the Thyagaraja song. It was a total contrast in terms of singing style. The song was laced with insightful meaning and incredible range. These sufi songs have a very lilting tune and convey in the prayer of an ardent devotee for the Lord.

This was followed by another virtuoso performance by the students of music college. This time it was a Hindustani Bandish. A bandish is a presentation of a raga in all its glory. The words are very few but the beauty lies in its presentation. The singers did full justice to the raga (Rag Jog) strolling through the song with mastery of swaras and bhrigas and gamakas. Such presentations beautifully showcase what happens when talent meets practice and both stream forth skillfully. They had done justice to the song and, through that, to Swami’s instructions.

Sai Naamam Tarakamuraa.... was the next offering at His Lotus feet. The song beautifully conveyed the efficacy and potent power of Sai Nama and that only by its incessant chanting, mukti (liberation) is attained with ease. This song too boasted of high pitch notes and the extremely melodious singers sang their heart out. Swami too responded to the plea of their song.

The last but one song was a Surdas composition (Gopi Gopala Bala...) tuned to rag Poorvi Kalyani. The song had a lot of energy and vibrancy and was sung commendably by the singers. The programme ended with another lilting tune of Hari Guna Gao.... as Bhagawan signaled for the Mangala Aarathi.

The beauty of any programme in His divine presence is that it is He who prepares, it is He who performs and in the end it is He who applauds too. Such is His Grace and Love.

He only teaches us how to love Him and how to pray to Him and becomes pleased if that is done with sincerity and love. Such is His compassion. It was a great start to another year in His most Divinely auspicious presence.