Wednesday, July 1, 2009 to Saturday, July 4, 2009
More than 2000 devotees from the state of Maharashtra and Goa came to Prasanthi Nilayam to celebrate the sacred Ashadi Ekadashi festival in the Divine Presence of Bhagavan Baba. The festival was celebrated from 1st to 4th July, 2009.
On the morning of 1st July, 2009, the Bal Vikas children and Sai Youth of Maharashtra clad in the traditional dress of Vedic Pandits, led Bhagavan into Sai Kulwant Hall in a grand procession, amidst Vedic chanting at 9.00 am. Bhagavan was welcomed with Poorna Kumbham amidst Vedic chants in Sai Kulwant Hall. Bhagavan lit the sacred lamp on the dais and inaugurated the Ashadi Ekadashi celebrations. Bhagavan sat on the dais for nearly an hour listening to the chanting of Vedic hymns by the youth of Maharashtra and Goa. Mangala Aarati was offered to Bhagavan at 10.00 am marking the conclusion of this excellent demonstration of Vedic chanting.
On the evening of 1st July, 2009, a devotional music presentation was offered in their Divine Presence of Bhagavan at 5.10 pm. A veteran Hindustani classical singer Smt. Kalapini Komkali presented her devotional music concert in Sai Kulwant Hall. Smt. Komkali, daughter and disciple of the celebrated Hindustani classical singer, Pandit Kumar Gandharva, exhibited the musical genius of her father in her singing. At the conclusion of the concert, Bhagavan blessed the artiste, gifted her a silk sari and also materialised a gold chain for her. Bhagavan also gifted clothes to the accompanying artistes. Mangala Aarati was offered to Bhagavan after a brief Bhajan session at 6.30 pm.
On 2nd July, 2009, in the evening, the renowned Tabla maestro Pandit Suresh Talwalkar presented an Indian classical ensemble comprising a unique blending of Tabla, instrumental and vocal music in the Divine Presence of Bhagavan at 5.40 pm in Sai Kulwant Hall. At the end of this concert, Bhagavan blessed Sri Talwalkar and his accompanists posing for group photos with them. All the artistes were honoured with shawls and clothes were presented to them. After the distribution of Prasadam, Mangala Aarati was offered to Bhagavan at 6.45 pm, marking the conclusion of the day’s programme.
On the holy day of Ashadi Ekadashi, the 3rd July, 2009, Bhagavan’s arrival in Sai Kulwant Hall at 5.15 pm was heralded by blowing of conches by the youth group of Maharashtra. Bhagavan lit the sacred lamp and inaugurated the celebrations at 5.00 pm.
The programme began with a song in praise of Lord Vittala and a dance by the Bal Vikas children. The traditional palanquin was brought amidst singing and dancing in the Divine Presence. Following this, the Bal Vikas students and former students from Maharashtra and Goa presented at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan a colourful, devotional programme, ‘Maharashtra Bhakti Gatha’ (Saga of Devotion of Maharashtra).
This presentation highlighted the devotional spirit of the illustrious Saints of Marashtra, i.e. Tukaram, Ramdas, Gyaneshwar, Namdev, Gora Kumbhar, Sakku Bai, Eknath and many others. In conclusion, Bhagavan’s visit to Pandharpur, the sacred Abode of Lord Vittala was highlighted. And also a Bal Vikas student showed to Bhagavan the pictures of that visit. The student also referred to Bhagavan’s earlier visits to Dharmakshetra, Mumbai and requested Bhagavan to bless them with these memorable moments again. Bhagavan was very much pleased with that invitation. He called that student near Him and materialised a gold chain for him. With these happy moments, the programme concluded with offering of Mangala Aarati to Bhagavan at 6.50 pm. Prasadam blessed by Bhagavan was distributed to one and all.
On 4th July, 2009, the Bal Vikas students of Navi Mumbai offered a drama presentation at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan in Sai Kulwant Hall at 4.35 pm. This drama, ‘Sant Gajanan Maharaj’ depicted various episodes from the life of this great saint of Maharashtra, Sant Gajanan Maharaj. This also portrayed how in his life sojourn, he spread the message of the unity, kindness and devotion, chanting the Mantra, ‘Gani Gana Ganath Bothey’. Bhagavan sat through the presentation, blessed the cast in the end and posed for group photos with them. After Prasadam distribution, the celebrations concluded with offering of Mangala Aarati to Bhagavan at 5.25 pm.