Ending a drama presentation on the occasion of belated Vishu celebrations, a group of fifty-one Balvikas children who enacted the drama, came together with folded hands opening their hearts with prayerful wordings. They said: "Swami, any celebration becomes worthwhile only when it is done in your Presence!" This concluding remark makes it clear, the state's passion to have a belated Vishu celebration in the Divine presence.
Vishu is a new year festival held in the state of Kerala (and adjoining areas of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu). This occasion signifies the Sun's transit to the zodiac Mesha Raasi as per Indian astrological calculations. Vishu is also considered as the harvest festival of Kerala and thus the importance of this day to all Malayalees regardless of their religion or sect.
As is the wont, this year too both Tamil New Year and Vishu fell on succeeding days. But, unlike every year, the festive fervour was not much around, reason being, this time the celebration in Prasanthi was symbolic of the festivity that was already celebrated ten days ago by malayalees all around the world. Adding to it, only restricted number of devotees, around thousand this time, had come to Prasanthi to attend the belated festivity. Though the usual paraphernalia of bugle sounds and panchavadyam invoking and welcoming the Divine was not in place, the dais had a riot of colours with a colourful, backdrop, symbolic of Vishukkani, the auspicious sight.
The venue, Sai Kulwant Hall, bore a festive look, with decorations consisting of, flower buntings, and that of tender coconut and palm leaves hanging everywhere, colourful parasols arrayed at the entrance and at the periphery of the hall, even though the occasion was a belated celebration.
On the evening, emerging at 1752 hrs., even as He glided past the ladies’ end, Bhagawan chose to spend some in the middle, at the centre, where the drama crew was arrayed seeking Divine blessings. One girl in particular earned attention as the jewel wore on the forehead was turned reverse and Bhagawan most casually got the same reversed by Himself, while passing by.
As He came onstage after a complete round of darshan, the proceedings began with State President taking blessings followed by some children in their costumes. The stage was set for a dance drama entitled “Surdas”, on the illustrious life of Indian saint and composer lived in the 15th century.
The drama traced the story of Sant Surdas from his childhood. To his worried parents, especially father who was concerned about his schooling, Bilva, as he was known then, disagreed as he preferred singing His glories to schooling. To a strict persistent father, finally he yielded, agreeing to go by his command. He would often go ecstatic at the beauty of God’s creation around him and would wonder how beautiful the Creator Himself would be! One midnight, when all were asleep He fled his home markiing the beginning of an illustrious journey.
Wandering monk he was, he would often sing his glories, appreciating the beauty around attributing the same to God’s Mighty Power of Creation. Once while on travel, he happened to see a beautiful woman and upon casting his glance on her, appreciating her beauty like a simpleton, he was admonished by her husband who called Bilva an insult to country’s rich culture.
Repenting for his indecent act, Bilva was in tears and from his repentance came a strong conviction and resolution that God given eyes and senses should be used only to see and appreciate the beauty of God and not for ephemeral mortal things. Thinking so, he blinded himself from seeing anything else other than his Beloved Krishna.
Soon he met his would be Guru, Vallabhacharya who advised him to join his ashram to engage in utilizing God-given talent of composing Songs Divine. As he got engaged in his chosen field of activity, He had many a vision of His Beloved Krishna. His songs and compositions were well appreciated and they touched the hearts of thousands. His name spread far and wide and Emperor Akbar, upon hearing about him from his court singer Tanzen, wanted to meet the great composer. He set out of his palace to Surdas’ place where Tanzen introduced him to the great composer. To Akbar’s request, he even sang a beautiful rendition. To an appreciative Emperor the devoted Surdas requested that the Emperor should not ask him to come to his royal palace and sing in his court as he would not want to sing for anyone else other thanLord Krishna.
Krishna too was touched and on many occasions came to Surdas in His child form but the blind saint was not able to realize that the form he was beholdingin his inner eyes and the form in front of him were one and the same. When, at last, he realized it, Krishna playfully ran away and the saint burst out into the famous song, "Baah ChudayeJaat Ho Vipal Jaan Ke Moh Hiriday Se Jab Javo To Sabal Na Janoo To… Hey Giridhar Gopal Karuna Sindhu Kripaal Bhatavatsal Sab Ke SambhalMohkule O Sambhaal”, meaning"Oh Krishna! You leave my hand and run away and consider me as weak. I shall consider you strong only when you are able to break the bonds in my heart and run away from there!"
There were a couple of dances interspersed in the drama and as is the case always for the dramas from Kerala, the quality of the singing and the songs were of high standard. It was a musically enriching experience. The final song was so beautiful and moving as it sounded: "Everybody loves Sai, Sai loves everybody"...These wording kept ringing in every ones' hearts and ears. As the drama concluded and the children came together in the final formation, Bhagawan was gracious enough to move down the ramp to pose for a coveted photo session with the cast. In between, Bhagawan materialized a lovely necklace for the little girl who enacted as little Krishna. Bhajans started by Kerala troupe and even as they completed one bhajan, Bhagawan called for Arathi. Upon accepting Arathi, Bhagawan conveyed His greater appreciation for the wonderful drama presentation to the State President who in turn announced the same to the 51 member drama troupe of Balvikas children from Kerala. Laddu Prasadam was distributed to the entire assemblage before Bhagawan retired to Yajur Mandiram.