November 2005, 10:15 a.m. IST Reporting from Prasanthi Nilayam
November 2005, Prasanthi Nilayam
inadequate to describe the grandeur, glory, splendour, magnificence
and majesty of the 80th Birthday celebrations of Bhagawan Sri Sathya
Sai Baba at Prasanthi Nilayam. It is said, "When the heart is full,
words are few". However, we have made a humble attempt to pen the
picture of the evening programme of Bhagawan Birthday which was held
in the Hill View Stadium. Bhagawan arrived at the stadium in a
dazzling yellow robe at 5.00 p.m. Swami was led to the stadium by a
long procession of performing artistes from different States. The
first group in the procession was a folklore dance from Tamil Nadu
followed by Garba dance from Gujarat, folk dance from Orissa, folk
dance from Sangli district of Maharashtra, Kavadi dance from Kerala,
Nadaswaram troupe from the Anantapur Campus, Pipers from the Primary
School, Band from the Anantapur Campus, Band from the Primary
School, the Institute brass band and Bhangra dance from Primary
School. After arriving in the stage, Bhagawan sat in the beautiful
silver throne for the programme. Oh! What a sight, a sight to behold
even for the gods and angels of the highest heavens. All along the
procession, a welcome was sung in the background with the lyrics
"Sai's Birthday is a festival for Sathya, Dharma, Santhi and Prema.
Happy Birthday to You Bhagawan."
The special stage
set up on the western side of the stadium looked magnificent with
lighting and other paraphernalia. Two renowned artistes of
Hindustani music Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
sought the blessings of Bhagawan before beginning their
performances. Sri Sai Kumar compering the show began saying that
people from all countries, cultures without any barriers of caste,
creed, religion and nationality have assembled here in Prasanthi
Nilayam for Bhagawan's Birthday.
The first to
perform was Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Rahul Sharma on Santoor.
Shiv Kumar Sharma began by saying that he had the good fortune of
playing in Bhagawan's presence in the 70's. He also had the good
fortune to perform in the 60th, 70th and now in the 80th Birthday of
Bhagawan. Fazal Quereshi played on the drum and Yogesh Samshi played
on the Tabla. The audience was treated to a rich variety of music.
The santoor recital ended on a high note with the refrain "Baba, we
love you". The Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan with Aman Ali Bangsha,
Ayan Ali Bangsha and wife Subbalakshmi gave a scintillating
performance. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan said that it was a great
opportunity for them to offer musical tribute to Swami. His second
piece Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram was enjoyed by one and all.
Sultana, doyen of Hindustani classical music thanked Bhagawan for
this greatest opportunity. She began her performance with a
composition of Ustad Dilshad Khan. The Ustad had specially composed
the song for the occasion. Her next song was Payoji Maine Ram Ratan
Dhan Payo (I have got the precious wealth of the gem of Rama Nama).
She ended her performance with the song Sai Ram, Sai Ram, Sumiran
Karoon Sakhala Dukh Haran (the holy name Sai Ram, if chanted removes
all types of grief). Suddenly from the top of the stage, one could
see green streaks of light beaming all over the stadium. It was a
laser light show coupled with high decibels of music. The streaks of
light could be seen in the sky making different types of patterns.
Then L. Subramanyam
with Kavita Krishnamurthy took the centre stage. The speciality of
the programme was 80 students from the Institute participated in the
choir. We are fortunate and blessed to be here in the Divine
presence, said the violinist, Sri Subramanyam. L. Subramanyam began
with Vathapi Ganapathim Bhajeham, a composition of Muthuswami
Dikshitar. Then the special Birthday song composed for the occasion
was led by Smt. Kavita Krishnamurthy, in which the students
participated. The lyrics of the song ran thus: "We seek Your
blessings Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, You are the guiding light."
The celebrated western classical vocal singer Dana Gillespie was the
next to perform. She sang two songs:
"What can I give to
the One who has everything
Who holds the whole world in the palm of His Hand? …"
"With the lamp of
love you'll never be in darkness
If you hold it near, it'll take you far …"
Both the songs enraptured the audience and maintained the tempo of
Again there was the
laser light show, this time with a fabulous display of fireworks.
The fireworks illumined the sky and it was a spectacular sight to
watch. What more, with music in the background, the audience enjoyed
every bit of it. Another impressive sight to watch was
multi-directional lights from the Hanuman statue. One could see
streaks of light swaying in the sky. Then, Ms. Richa Sharma sang a
devotional song, all along signalling to the audience to participate
in her song. After Ms. Richa Sharma's performance, all the artistes
went down the stage to seek blessings from Bhagawan. Again there was
a display of fireworks. After Arati was offered to Bhagawan, He left
for His Abode at 7.25 p.m.
memorable and grand 80th Birthday Celebrations of Bhagawan Sri
Sathya Sai Baba will be etched in the hearts of one and all.