Published on Wednesday, Aug 4, 2010 at 1355 Hrs. IST
With the spirit of celebration continues on this epochal 85th year of His Divine Advent, every region, every country, every state is taking its turn to present an offering of love and gratitude to the “Master Beloved” in human form at His ‘headquarters’ in Prasanthi Nilayam. With the ever increasing inflow of devotees ahead of the 85th Birthday celebrations, the Prasanthi Calendar of group events had been finalized well in advance and these regions, countries and states are currently on a celebrating spree, taking their due slots, making the best of their offering.
Joining this band, came a group of about 600 from far off Southern Europe to Prasanthi Nilayam, in the process exemplifying one of the favourite Sathya Sai maxims, Unity in Diversity. This group of precisely 580, 400 ladies and 180 men are from Region 6 of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations – Overseas and the participating countries are Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia and Switzerland.
On their scheduled day, on the evening of 2nd July, they had a unique choir presentation entitled “Unity in Diversity” in the immediate Divine presence of Bhagawan.
In the evening, upon coming onstage at 1805 hrs., after a twenty-five minute long darshan round, Bhagawan blessed the organizers from the region to commence the programme.
Starting with three Omkars, chanted in perfect unison and devotional fervor, the group burst into a short stint of Vedic chants before commencing the choir presentation.
The choir that consisted of six national choirs had nine songs sung in unison. The first song was an English one on purity, light and joy. “And let it shine, and let it shine, in the heart of mine, Love Divine…” the choristers sung in chorus. One could witness the spark of joy and love for God shining in their faces as every member of the group joined in singing with great passion and devotional fervour.
As indicated by Bhagawan, subsequently, each song was preceded by an introduction in English. The song to follow was “Potpourri”, a scintillating Italian medley. Electrifying an already charged up hall with vibrant beats and tunes they sung in chorus into the heart of the Divine keeping the audience spellbound.
A Swiss number followed, “De frohe Senn”, describing a shepherd like Lord Krishna, happy to be in the mountains with His cows. This was ably assisted by the typical swiss musical instrument alphorn that produced music magic.
A spanish number followed, with the song “Salve Rociera”, generally sung to the Virgin of Rocia as an offering of love to the Divine Mother. This song had in it the famous Spanish word “Ole” which is an expression of deep feeling, and the singers indeed made full justice to this phrase as they sang with vigour and emotion effortlessly alternating between high and low notes.
A French tune followed, that reflected the pilgrimage of souls that are searching for their true home. Greek came up with a piece entitled “Get Up and Dance Syrtaki”, a typical folklore Syrtaki dance (a popular dance of Greek origin) song and it was again unique because it was accompanied by Bouzouki, a traditional Greek instrument.
The next song was the second one in Spanish which was composed to the rhythm of Buleria, one of the most important tempos of the famous Flamenco music (part of Spanish culture). The lyrics exalted there is no “You” or “I” but only God. After this interesting piece, there was another song in Greek entitled “The Myrtle Tree – Hartaetoi” and again the strings of Bouzouki filled the air to everyone’s delight. This song talked about the spiritual quest of a person seeking to build a sanctuary of love and the song’s verses were dedicated to Swami adoring Him as their Mother and Father.
A bhajan in Indian tongue, Dam Dam Dam Dam Damaru Bhaje… followed, before the final refrain, “Love All Serve All”, theme song of the European Youth Project that spoke about the journey from humanity to Divinity.
This en masse devotional rendering in varied tongues was enhanced by scintillating musical score by varied hands on varied instruments. While the Swizz brought the long wooden shaped alphorn or alpenhorn that consists of natural wooden horn of conical bore, having a wooden cup-shaped mouth opening, the Greeks had their favourite Bouzouki, a stringed instrument with a pear-shaped body and a very long neck followed by the Spaniards with Cajon. The front row occupants, numbering over twenty five, had their hands on an array of other musical instruments, namely, guitars, violins, clarinets, metal flutes, an electronic keyboard, a drum, mridangam etc., spicing up the session with high musical beats. The presentation comprising of six individual choirs, English, Italian, Swiss, Spanish, French and Greek had six different conductors, sung by all the choristers in a voice of unity.
At the end of the forty minute session, special Italian prasadam was blessed by Bhagawan and, as the ‘choir’ continued to sing bhajans as permitted by Bhagawan, the blessed prasadam was distributed to the choristers. Bhajans in Indian tongue, emerged from over 600 vocal cords with Bhagawan presiding over the session crowning the dais, literally lit the waning twilight inducing great devotional fervour.