Published on Saturday, Aug 29, 2010 at 1615 Hrs. IST
Onam marks the "Home Coming" of erstwhile ruler Mahabali, who is believed to be making his annual visit to his former kingdom, meeting his subjects, reminiscing those good olden days in the land now popular as "God's Own Country".... When festive Kerala is abuzz, busy welcoming the emperor, a miniscule of the state descends in Prasanthi, every year, celebrating the festive occasion in His immediate Divine presence.
With thousands joining this year’s Onam celebrations in Prasanthi on 22 and 23 Aug, the spiritual township wore a Kerala outfit during the weekend usurping the festive flavor.
The Mandir bore festive decoration with typical Kerala themes parading all over. Colourful parasols and flower buntings were seen all over while the stage had a beautiful backdrop of the sanctorum of a typical Kerala temple with two hanging lamps on either side.
On this expectant auspicious evening, Bhagawan made His grand entry at 1710 hrs., escorted by auspicious tunes of Panchavadyam, a temple associated art form of music with an orchestra of five instruments, that was preceded by a group of band girls from Sri Sathya Sai Vidyapeeth, Sri Sailam, Veda chanting boys apart from girls with Thalappoli, a ceremonial procession, who stood on either side at the ladies' end, ceremonially welcoming The Lord!
Completing a full round Bhagawan moved further into the ladies' side before turning about to come onstage at 1725 hrs. Proceedings began in the next five minutes with the State President making an announcement on the Inter Collegiate and School Level Essay Writing Competition held in the state by the Organisation attended by over 15000 participants. Gold Medalists, Kum. Anjani Hariharan and Kum. Sukanya, from each of the category, were introduced to the audience who came onstage to receive the medals from the Divine hands.
Bringing in the essence of Kerala's cultural and spiritual heritage, combining art forms from the length and breadth of the state, a group of 99 Balvikas children presented a unique programme entitled "Keraleeyam" that ran for twenty minutes. To the background scores of medley of songs in vernacular malayalam, these coloufully attired children danced forth depicting stories of the glory of Adi Shankara to Parashurama, to the story of Prahlada and Narasimha Avatar finally talking about the 'home coming' of the Emperor Mahabali. Singing folklore Onam songs they danced heralding the arrival of harvest season and Onam depicting the olden golden days of the Emperor. Depicting scenes from the minority Christian and Muslim population, the presentation culminated with a song hailing the glory of the Avatar of the Age, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Popular art forms, namely, Kathakali, Ottanthullal, Oppana, Kavadiattam, Karagattam, Vanchippattu etc. were depicted illustrating the culturally rich tradition of the state.
"Margathara", a dance drama presentation by the Balvikas children from the state followed, that depicted the illustrious story of 'Balatapaswi', child ascetic Dhruva and his pious, virtuous mother, both of whom were rewarded by the greater heaven to become eternal stars for their surrender and highest devotion to God.
Beginning with a Kailasha scene wherein Nandeeshwara informs of the entry of a "new star" into the gates of Kailasha, The Lord reveals the illustrious story of Mother Suniti to a growingly anxious Mother Parvathi, explaining the virtue and devotion of Suniti and her son Dhruva.
The epical story of Suruchi vs. Suniti, the jealous and wicked vs. the virtuous and godly was well depicted through flashback scenes beginning at King Uttanapada's royal court. Great affection and understanding between the two little brothers, Suruchi's demeaning attempt at Suniti aided well by a slandering woman, Suniti's righteous approach bearing all sufferings at the hands of Suruchi with composure were depicted before the climax scene wherein the Little Dhruva was insulted by Suruchi, who dragged the little prince out of the King's lap calling him unworthy. A desolated little Dhruva was comforted by his mother, who advised him to meditate on Lord Maha Vishnu, who would accomodate him on His Divine Lap, the Highest Abode! ...and thus began the highest penance that shook the three worlds finally bringing the great good to him and his mother, ascencion to the Highest Kingdom of Godhood!
Staged with fair amount of expressive freedom, often bringing in scenes with comic sense, the drama was essentially the depiction of the story of awakening of Godly Love in a little child who was ascended to the spiritual peaks rewarding his sincere search for the kingdom of God. Illustrating, the king’s dilemma having caught up between the good and evil, the two wives, stepmother’s harsh treatment at the little prince, the classical conflict at the royal palace when the little one was forbidden to join Uttama on the king’s lap, Dhruva’s travails and steadfast concentrated meditation in the forest that finally won him the God and His Kingdom were illustrated beautifully depicting the epochal story from the fourth canto of the epic Srimad Bhagavagtham. On one side it was the father, the stepmother, and the “good son” and on the other end, the unwanted son, and his virtuous mother, the queen, and thus both the story and the conflict are classical.
Earlier, leading up to Thiruvonam, on the previous evening, the Youth from the state presented a dance drama entitled "Bharata, The Embodiment of Supreme Love", a depiction of Bharata's selfless and unsullied love for Sri Ramachandra. Showcasing Ramayana scenes leading up to Lord Rama's exile, Dasaratha's demise, Bharata's sorrow and anguish followed by his meeting up with Lord Rama in the Dandakaryana Forest, the drama comes to the climax scene when Lord Hanuman brings the great good news of Lord Rama's return to His Kingdom after vanquishing the Ravana clan.
Presented with great emotional touch aided by superb dialogue delivery, the one hour presentation had an array of melodious songs, thematically entwined, helping the flow of the illustrious epical story.
Reciprocating to the emotional presentation suffused with greater love and dedication, Bhagawan spent awhile with the participants, down the stage, posing for photographs, interacting, blessing the crew with Padanamaskar and Laddu Prasadam.
At an age when sibling rivalry gets even to the supreme court for settlement, aeons ago, a great Divine brother had set the finest example of selfless love and sacrifice for His Beloved Brother and Lord Sri Ramachandra...Kerala brought one of the most chosen theme that the Lord of Puttaparthi ever cherishes, presenting it celebrating the advent of Onam 2010.