Maharashtra Bhakti Gaatha, the scheduled programme for the morning of Ashadi Ekadashi was shifted to the evening session as per the Divine command. The postponement came as a blessing in disguise as the tenor, the colour, the act, everything related to the show bloomed to boom into a wonderful showpiece on the twilight of the auspicious Ashadi Ekadashi Day in the immediate Divine Presence. Maharashtra is a rich saga of Bhakti and the presentation titled Maharashtra Bhakti Gaatha was a saga of song, dance and melody with the central theme revolving around the rich religious tradition of the state.
Presented by the Bal Vikas students and Gurus of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations of Mumbai, Nasik and Pune, the Musical Drama was a walk through to the times of great spiritual masters of the blessed state. Tablets inscribed with Bhagawan’s quotations highlighting the greater importance of Namasmarana were displayed in vantage points in the hall while the sprawling stage which was the centre of performance on the previous day was again put to use as the music artistes played on their instruments on the two levels of the stage.
Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra is popularly known as the financial capital of India. At a time when the world is reeling under economic recession, the Bal Vikas children from the twin states had some important message for the world that often tend to run after money. Presenting the greater importance of Namasmarana and the folly behind running after “dabbu”, the children aptly conveyed the message running through the great lives of saints of Maharashtra, through dance, dialogue interspersed with commentary. The world is caught in the grip of economic recession, but in Maharashtra, there is only “Sai Session”. This is true because Maharashtra believes that to enjoy continuous peace and happiness, simplicity must be the way of life.
The great saints of Maharashtra have proved from their own lives that even a humble householder by chanting the name of the Lord and doing his daily duty with sincerity and devotion would be able to scale great spiritual heights. The time spent in Namasmarana alone is the time rightly and worthily lived.
Earlier, on a day that had a long waiting for Bhagawan to come out, He was accorded a conventional Maratha welcome by the men dressed in traditional attire, typical of Maharashtra, blowing conch shells, surcharging the surrounding with spiritual vibration, while taking one and all to the nostalgic past of Maratha legacy. After the artistes and organisers offered their obeisance to Bhagawan, the programme started with the collective chanting of Pandurangashtakam:
“I worship that Panduranga, who is the absolute Brahman,
Who is the source of immense happiness,
Who stays in the great seat of yoga, in the banks of Bheema,
Along with great seers to fulfil the boon to Pundarika …”
As the song “Jai Jai Vitthala Jai Hari Vitthala …” (Victory to Vitthala) was sung to the accompaniment of sweet music, two youth blew bugles to signal the formal commencement of the programme. At the outset, Dindi procession group members offered their humble salutations to Bhagawan to the song, “Maze Mahe Pandhari …” (my native place is Pandhari).
Why was this theme chosen? As the announcer went about explaining the concept of the musical, it became clear that the only solution for the present economic crisis was constant contemplation of God, chanting His name incessantly. People want Dabbu, Dabbu, Dabbu (money, money, money). Money is everything, money is life for them. They struggle day in and day out for earning money. The world is caught in the vortex of economic crisis. The only way out is chanting of God’s Name. Namam is Dharma (righteousness), Jnanam (wisdom), Santhi (peace), Sukha Pradayakam (bestower and happiness and welfare). The only way to peace and happiness is simplicity in life. In Maharashtra, great saints have proved beyond doubt that by chanting the Name of God even a householder can scale great heights in life.
Songs accompanied with deft movements of dancers provided the perfect relief and acted as interludes to the musical.
Maharashtra is home to illustrious saints like Sant Tukaram, Sant Ramdas, Sant Jnaneswar, Sant Namdev, Sant Sakkubai, Sant Eknath etc… These saints took refuge in the Name of the Lord. What saints did was “Sai Session”, but now because of misuse of money there is economic recession. The name of the Lord must dance forever on the tongue. It is because of these saints that Bhagawan visited Maharashtra a number of times in the past. He visited Satara, surcharged the idols of Vitthala and Rakumai at Pandharpur. He would visit Dharmakshetra quite frequently. Maharashtra is the State where the earlier incarnation of Bhagawan lived. Shirdi Sai Baba gave the message of Sraddha and Saburi (steadfast faith and patience) to the whole world from Shirdi. The depiction of famous Chavadi Procession of Shirdi Baba with the accompaniment of the Bhajan “Dham Dham Dham Damaru Bhaje” evoked nostalgic memories of those glorious days of the previous incarnation.
Interestingly, as if evoking a positive response from Bhagawan, the narrator in his innocent, childish voice posed a question to Bhagawan, “Swami, is it true what we heard that Swami would again visit Dharmakshetra?” and pat came His answer, when He smilingly nodded indicating His positive response.
This offering of song and dance concluded with earnest entreaties by the cast to Bhagawan to visit Maharashtra again…they sang in chorus… “Raava Raava Rakshimpaga, Kapadaga, Palinchaga, Paripalinchaga …” (“come, come to protect, to save, to look after …”). Yes the old memories will come alive again was the chorus. After the distribution of Prasadam, Arati was offered to Bhagawan at 6.50 p.m.