The growing importance attached by Sai devotees to the Guru Purnima celebrations at Prasanthi Nilayam was evident from the unprecedented assemblage of devotees from all parts of the world at Prasanthi on July 25th. When year 85 of His Divine Advent projects itself to be the 'one off' occasion so far witnessed, Guru Purnima of this 85th year cannot be anything different.
Streams of devotees had started flowing into Prasanthi Nilayam well before the D-day. The Mandir and its precincts wore a festive look with aesthetic décor in place.
As is the trend in Prasanthi these days, anticipating to witness His majesty on the auspicious day, the spacious Sai Kulwant Hall was filled to capacity well before the scheduled Vedam hour at 1630 in the evening …And those who were left out without a slot were accommodated at the additional darshan venue, Poornachandra Auditorium. Adding to the festive flavor, students from all the three campuses were present in full force.
Precisely at 1625 hrs., as Bhagawan emerged out of Yajur Mandiram, He was greeted with hymns in praise of the Divine as Guru by the students of the University to the accompaniment of rhythmic sounds of Nadaswaram and Panchavadyam. As He was gliding past they burst open with, singing in chorus, the "Gurupaduka Stotram", nine hymns in praise of the sacred sandals of the Guru. This was followed by a couple of songs, including a Qawwali. Bhagawan, donning sparkling crimson red robe, went for a complete round of darshan, conferring blessings to one and all. Among the students there were many that were having special cards of greetings for the Lord of all lords.
Upon coming onto the portico, Bhagawan blessed the Guru Purnima Cake done by the Italian devotees, followed by another cake by Sai Vibronics Team before moving onto the dais to commence the further proceedings.
It is said, Music is Divine and Carnatic Music has the rarest privilege as The Lord Himself would often sing this version of music during His years gone by…To that Guru who Himself promoted this form of Divine Music, nothing else could have been better than a Carnatic offering. Malladi Brothers, famous Carnatic duo, were ready to lay their heart bare for the Lord alone…it was a divine serenade and the Lord was charmed…
The next ninety minutes witnessed Indian classical music's finer variety, Carnatic, dominating the proceedings, exhibiting her distinct variety. As they went on singing, Bhagawan sat through, keenly attentive, gazing at them, often reflecting emotive expressions, enjoying the melody lifting His tender fingers beating to the tune, a sign of His 'involvement' in the musical melody. It was an apt, rich tribute to the Lord of Parthi, as the duo went on singing special compositions on Bhagawan, His Love and His Mission. The concert had some compositions by Pappayya Shatry, a poet of repute who had the unique combination of poetic flair and unflinching devotion to Bhagawan.
The duo was accompanied by their composer father and a group of men on various instruments, namely, violin, veena, tabla, mridangam etc.
Mangala Arathi was offered and subsequently, the duo with family members and accompanists were blessed by Bhagawan. In the meantime, Italian chocolates and Laddu Prasadam, blessed by Bhagawan, were distributed to the entire assemblage.
Huge screens were erected on both ladies' and gents' side to facilitate better view of Bhagawan from every possible angle, apart from the extra darshan venue at Poornachandra Auditorium.
Upon retiring, Bhagawan made a three minute Darshan appearance at the Poornachandra stage, filling and fulfilling thousands of hearts and minds that had been waiting for His glimpse for long hours.
An Encore of Carnatic Recital
The next morning witnessed an encore of the Carnatic recital by the duo. It appeared that Bhagawan wanted to continue from where He had stopped in the previous evening. What ensued was a Divine felicitation. The duo was felicitated and draped with Shawls by Bhagawan Himself. Giving away dhothis, sarees and other presentations, Bhagawan turned to the accompanying artistes to bless them with gifts.
Blessed by Bhagawan, the duo took over, singing Carnatic vocals for the next 75 minutes, enchanting the Divine with Music Divine.
After long 75 minutes of singing, as the duo was singing Mangalam to various God forms, Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi. Blessing the artistes with Vibhuti Prasadam, Bhagawan moved off the dais soon to retire for the session.