|April 4, 2010 – Belated Tamil New Year Celebrations
The 14th of April is traditionally celebrated as the Tamil New Year’s Day and Tamil-speaking devotees from the state of Tamil Nadu and elsewhere arrive in large numbers to Swami’s presence on this day. In 2010 however, Swami was blessing the devotees far North in Delhi and Simla during the same period.
Hence, belated celebrations were in order and once again devotees from Tamil Nadu thronged the holy hamlet to celebrate the beginning of their New Year with Him. It just went on to prove that for the devotee, all the festivals and holy days are just excuses to be in the Divine Presence. Any day becomes special when spent with Swami. As part of their belated celebrations, a concert or kachcheri as it is known in South India had been arranged. The special thing about this concert was that it was going to be performed by children in the age group 9-14!
Everything was set and at a few minutes after 6 p.m., Swami arrived for darshan. A huge hanging proclaimed the Tamil New Year and Swami passed underneath it in the ladies’ side. Then passing through the students and the gents, Swami arrived to the front. Taking a round of the portico, He arrived on stage. As soon as He came, He heard the Veda chanting for a while and then calling one student, asked him to begin bhajans.
When the student clarified, Swami asked for the concert to begin. And so the children moved up to the stage, one by one, and Swami accepted roses from all of them granting them the chance to take padanamaskar. As the lad began to sing with the accompaniment of the mridangam, ghatam, violin, kanjira and the tanpura, Swami sat engrossed reading the pile of letters in His hand.
Swami appeared like someone who wanted to get done with all the official work before sitting back, relaxing and enjoying a beautiful evening. It was with great speed, purpose and focus that Swami went through His daily mail! Having done that, He handed over the letters to one of the students by His side and then sat back, enjoying the concert. He was particularly amused by the little boy playing the ghatam. He was playing it with great effort and passion, but the sound emanating was a bit feeble.
Swami smiled and looking at a student in the front said, “That boy’s fingers are so tiny. To top that he has not worn any bracket or ring on the fingers that enhance the sound!” Swami was on the verge of bursting out laughing at the sweetness of the tiny one’s focus and passion. Everyone around too was enjoying this beautiful scene and smiling with Swami. Indeed blessed was the boy for He was a source of such happiness to God at the physical level.
“Rama nannu brovara” and other Thyagaraja kirtans followed in quick succession and Swami began to rhythmically keep beat with all the songs. There was a jugalbandi too between the mridangam and the ghatam at the end of which the boy began to throw the ghatam up in the air like the professionals do. At this point Swami burst out laughing and told the boy that He was very impressed and he need not throw the ghatam!
The joy for the Lord was such that He asked for clothes to be brought immediately and in between the concert itself, He presented clothes to all the participants, calling them one by one to the stage. After the distribution, He told them to continue. One song later, He asked for the violinist to play a solo bhajan. The solo was played but it was not a bhajan. It pleased Him a lot however. The next was the bhajan, “Eswaramba Priya Nandana” and the whole audience joined whole-heartedly in singing it. Swami was so moved and very happy.
He asked for the students to sing a couple of bhajans. Then, He blessed prasadam to be distributed to all. As the aarthi was taken, He called all the children to Him and placed His blessing hand on all of their heads. He asked them who their Guru was and then told them that they should all get together and practice with unity and harmony.
One of the boys who gave a rose to Swami, confided a personal problem for which Swami gave him vibhuti packets as prasadam. And then, Swami gave Vibhuti packets to all those around him. Leaving behind smiles and joy, Swami retired to Yajur Mandir at about 7:30 p.m.