Three thousand five hundred devotees from the coastal district of Andhra Pradesh, Srikakulam, have joined in a pilgrimage to Prasanthi Nilayam spanning for three days, from 11th to 13th August 2009. Besides, there are groups from other parts of India and overseas countries, making every available space in Ashram a scarcity. All common halls and rooms in the Ashram are filled to the brim, creating a festive environment.
On the 11th of August 2009, devotees from Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh put up a dance drama “Sai Bharati”, which sang paeans of praise on the greatness, grandeur and glory of the sacredness of this great land of Bharat. A beautiful backdrop with the hues of the Indian tricolour bearing the map of India formed the perfect setting for the dance drama.
Bhagawan came to Sai Kulwant Hall at 1715 hrs. to the chants of the Vedas. At the outset, the district president presented the programme for the evening and also gave a brief speech expressing his gratitude to Bhagawan for the opportunity to present a dance drama in His presence. He said that they were doing Seva in many villages of the district which included Deenajana Seva (service of the destitute). It was due to His grace that they could come to Prasanthi Nilayam for the past eight years, opined the speaker. After his speech, there was a mini procession of the cast came to stage to offer their obeisance.
The musical drama began with a dance by tiny tots carrying lamps in their palms to the song “Jaya Jaya Priya Bharata Janani Tri Divya Dhatri …” (Bharat is the divine motherland) which also happened to be the theme song of the dance drama. The drama was a medley of dance and dialogues depicting scenes from the hoary culture of Bharat eulogising its greatness.
The storyline runs thus: Three youth meet Max Muller, the famous Sanskrit philosopher from the West, Sri Bal Gangadhar Tikak, the great freedom fighter and Sri Rabindranath Tagore, the poet who penned the National Anthem of India and a freedom fighter in Prasanthi Nilayam. The dance drama is an imaginative portrayal bringing alive the three great characters of the past. They are happy to be in the abode of peace. The three great men give their opinions on this sacred land of Bharat extolling its sanctity. Bal Gangadhar Tikak opines that Bharat is the land of sacrifice and spirituality and is based on the foundation of Indian culture. It will shine forth as a beacon for everyone. A tiny tot Swati, brilliant in studies is encountered by Rabindranath Tagore who hears the child reel off the nursery rhyme “Ba Ba Black Sheep …” The poet is pained to know that children are being taught such rhymes in school which have no meaning. The teachers hesitate to teach the greatness of the epic Ramayana and Mahabharata to children. Max Muller says that even now his hair stands erect when he thinks that Rama and Lakshmana set foot on this land of Bharat. He says that some people have a wrong notion that the Ramayana and Mahabharata belong to the Hindu religion. Bharatiya culture is based on Sanathana Dharma and not on any particular religion, explains the great German philosopher. Bharat is fortunate to have great souls like Emperor Sibi, Harischandra and Prahlada who demonstrated great ideals to the world. The word Bharat means ‘Bha’ (Bhagawan-God) ‘Rat’ (Rathi – attachment, love). So, the Bharatiya is one who has love for God. Axioms like Isavasyam Idam Sarvam (the entire universe is permeated by God), Tattwamasi (That Thou Art) have originated in Bharat, says Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Modern inventions like aeroplanes, modern systems of medicine have their roots in Bharat. They were visualised by our ancient seers.
This land of Bharat has given birth to many noble women like Savitri who brought her dead husband back to life; Chandramati who extinguished wild fire with the power of truth; Sita who proved her chastity by coming out of blazing fire unscathed and Damayanti who reduced an evil-minded hunter to ashes with the power of her chastity. This land of piety and nobility attained plenty and prosperity and became the teacher of all the nations of the world because of such women of chastity, says Max Muller glorifying Bharat. (At this point, Bhagawan called the actor who played the role of Max Muller and materialised a gold chain for him.)
The drama ends with Max Muller praying for being born as a Bharatiya and Rabindranath Tagore reciting the immortal verse,
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the
dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action--
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”
All the artistes converge at the performing area and the theme song, “Jaya Jaya Priya Bharata …” is played again. Clothes were distributed to all the artistes. Bhagawan graciously went amidst them and gave them the coveted opportunity of being photographed with Him. He also lighted a lamp and cut a cake lovingly brought by them. Prasadam was distributed to all the devotees.
Continuing the tradition of senior staff who has done yeomen service in the Ashram, this evening it was the turn of Sri Narasaiah from Maintenance Department to offer rose to Bhagawan. Arati was offered to Bhagawan at 18:45 p.m. Thus, concluded the emotion-filled dance drama portraying the greatness of Bharat by the devotees of Srikakulam district.
An apt precursor to the ensuing Independence Day, 15th August!!!
On Wednesday morning the entire contingent of devotees took out a massive rally outside Prasanthi Nilayam showcasing district's cultural diversities.