National Independence Day was celebrated with much patriotic fervour and enthusiasm in Prasanthi Nilayam. On the momentous occasion, postgraduate students from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Leanrning, Prasanthi Nilayam presented a drama entitled "Aazadi – The Inner Dependence" in the evening in Sai Kulwant Hall. The drama was a portrayal of India's independence, with flashbacks from the past, highlighting how two cardinal values, Truth and Righteousness strung together played the vital 'chord' in the national Independence saga.
The programme began with a joyous dance reflecting the mood of India on her winning independence. Soon came the Spirit of India bursting forth with a brief profile, highlighting its bond with the cherished land of India as the most cherished one. It says, of the varied decorations the spirit possesses the most cherished one is its bond with Bharat, the sacred land, as it stands tall with the collective pride of a billion, well decorated by the sacrifice of blooming lives fragrant with patriotism. Setting the tone of the presentation, the chief presenter, the Spirit of Independence brought to ‘life’ two illustrious sons of India, Kavi Guru Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, the Jnaana Yogi and Revolutionary Chandrasekhar Azad, the Karma Yogi, to take the presentation onward. Soon these two illustrous sons took the centre-stage as narrators, taking the storyline with interlaced commentary showing flashbacks of illustrious lives and selected episodes.
Raja Harischandra whose adherence to Truth and Righteousness, who showed exemplary character at the face of oddities, being strictly duty bound, Chatrapathi Shivaji whose courage, valour and love for Motherland made him an illustrious son of the land were illustrated before the scene shifted to a jail showing the trial and tribulations of the countrymen who were made to suffer at the hands of cruel British officers.
Raja ‘Sathya’ Harischandra whose destiny took him to work as a caretaker at a crematorium had a strange visitor at a desolute hour, a woman with her dead son. This ragged and destitute woman brought to the burning ground the body of her son, a small boy who had died of snake-bite. Harischandra agreed to perform the task as per the rules, condition being the mother should pay the prescribed fees for using the crematorium. Hapless, the woman pleaded being a destitute to exempt her from paying the fees. Harischandra being a stricter refused to buy her request for exemption. Finding her mangalasutra that adorned her neck, when Harishchandra asked the lady about lack of support at the need of the hour, it dawns upon the to the lady that the caretaker was none other than her own husband, as her magalasutra could not have been seen by anyone else other than her own husband. Though became emotional at the turn of events, Harischandra was not ready to budge giving any exemptions by going against his principles. Chandramathi had no other option left than to sacrifice her mangalasutra, her symbol of chastity. It was enough for the Lord to make His entry as the test was over, the child was brought back into life and Raja Harischandra along with his wife was immortalised, as an exemplary son of Bharat.
The scene at the court of Badshah Aurangazeb showcased Chatrapathi Shivaji daring the Moghul Emperor, exposing him thoroughly, ever willing to uphold the name of his Motherland.
How much the British officers tormented Indians during the freedom struggle was aptly demonstrated from a jail scene, the next one, where the jailed patriots of the Motherland were denied essential drinking water. When the crying souls of India cried out for water, yelling “Paani Laao”, shedding copious tears, it appeared like a real scene from the pre-independent era. Soothing the feeling erupted a beautiful patriotic song, 'Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna...', a poem that talks much about patriotic Indians and Mother India.
The final scene was from the Mahabharat, where Pandavas in exile, making an attempt to fetch the 'forbidden' fruit of Sage Roma Rishi and as a consequence of which they were to face dire consequnce of a curse from the Rishi. Lord Krishna, the Aapadbandhava appeared on the scene, as a 'saving grace', 'dramatically' saving His the Pandavas... true reward for their constant contemplation and complete surrender.
Summing up the commentary Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, quoting Bhagawan Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, said, that the total freedom from the expectation of the fruit of an action that is born out of the dependence of Inner Self is true freedom. The day when the streak of sun falls upon Independent India, men shall arise in that heaven of freedom where the head is held high to show the path to that beckoning horizon of love…" concluded Tagore.
The presentation ended with the Spirit of Independence making a final appearance offering his salutations at Bhagawan's Lotus Feet. Narrating the symbolic link between Bhagawan and the Tricolour of India, the spirit went on declaring Bhagawan as the greatest patriot, at Whose behest and blessings the nation changed her course, winning independence from the British.
As sonorous tunes erupting into an Aazadi song echoed in the backdrop, the drama cast came forward, one after one, to the Altar, offering a "Flower Of Love" each at the Divine Lotus Feet! Indeed faces were full of emotions as memories of nostalgic golden days, where The Lord in physical would Himself bless these children, gushed forth engulfing the entire assemblage.
After the one-hour presentation bhajans continued for another fifteen minutes before Mangala Arathi offering at 1845 hrs. Prasadam was distributed to the entire assemblage.
Earlier, the session commenced at 1630 hrs. with Vedic Chanting for 45 mts. that was followed by bhajans for the next 15 mts. before the curtains unfurled for the "Aazaadi" presentation.