The Independence Day 'drama' in Sri Sathya Sai's presence - Part 4 - Happily Ever After
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The bhajan hall blessings...
The whole class was inside the bhajan hall. The main hall in the meanwhile had been tastefully decorated. The sets were all in place. This drama was going to be presented LIVE! That was going to be a challenge in itself - there were no recorded tracks. The audio-team was to be seated along the sides of the performance area and control all the mikes. The sets team was ready behind the scenes.The costumes team had its task cut out in getting everyone ready in time. There were also teams for the lights and sets movement.
When anyone sees the Taj Mahal, they exclaim about its beauty. But, they never realize that it has a strong and mighty foundation supporting it from below. These teams were like the foundation for the edifice that our drama was going to be. They may not be seen or appreciated but without them, the drama super-structure would collapse.
Right now, all the teams had gathered in the bhajan hall. Soon, the darshan music came on and Swami arrived. Having completed His darshan rounds, He was entering the interview room. He saw into the bhajan hall and asked the student who was holding His hand as He walked,
“Are these our students inside?”
He nodded in agreement and Swami immediately took a diversion and came into the bhajan hall.
What followed next was sheer bliss for all the students. He enquired into many boys as to what role they were playing in the drama. He enquired about the INA cadets, Subash Chandra Bose and several other characters. He suddenly asked,
“What is Subash Chandra Bose’s daughter’s name?”
None of us knew. He smiled and said that she was greatly devoted to God and she sings bhajans well. Blessed indeed was she that Swami remembered her twice on the same day I thought. Swami pointed to one of the students and said,
“See, this boy’s face is exactly like Subash Chandra Bose. He should have been made that character. The face should match.”
We just nodded for there was not much we could do immediately. I promised,
“Swami, next time, if we portray Subash Chandra Bose, we shall use him only for the role.”
The topic continued about Subash Chandra Bose as Swami continued to interact with other actors. Many took namaskar. One of the students mantioned,
“Swami, Subash Chandra Bose wrote a letter to his mother stating that he wished to achieve complete freedom. Such a freedom would ensure that he would never be bound by time, space or body again.”
Swami nodded appreciatively.
Many more interactions took place which I do not recollect vividly. One I remember because it concerns me. Since Swami had asked me whether I was the lad ‘running away to America’, I pointed out to the boy, R.Prashant, doing that role and said,
“Swami this is the boy going to America.”
Swami looked deeply at him. There was silence. I did not know whether what I had done was right. Immediately, I said,
“Swami, but his grandfather convinces him and he stays back.”
Swami just smiled.
He moved ahead and cut the cake that had been baked specially for the occasion by a few members of the class. He lit the candle atop the cake too.
Looking at the clock, Swami asked as to how long the drama would take. The warden said that it was about an hour. He blessed us all to do well and told us to start moving out.
“I shall soon come there”, He said.
As we were moving out towards the performance area, the warden called me aside and said,
“Before you start the programme, make an announcement...”
“What should I announce sir?”
“Say that the seniormost students of the Institute are putting up a drama and then say the drama’s name.”
It suddenly struck me that our drama had not yet been christened. On my way to the mike, I named it,
“From independence to Swarajya” because I thought that it would highlight the difference between independence as we know it from the rule of the Self.
The drama went on very well. It was gripping and Swami was enjoying every bit of it. The Bhagat Singh scene, the shooting scene and the scene involving the grandfather and grandson were all good. One good thing was that the grandfather, based on the input from Swami, incorporated an extemporaneous dialogue wherein he mentioned Lal-Bal-Pal. Swami smiled and looked very proud. All the dialogues were delivered live, songs were sung live and the background music was provided live.
The whole drama has been uploaded by Radiosai and you can see it for yourselves.
A 'drama' of many dimensions...
Singing the National Anthem in the presence of the “Bharata Bhagya Vidatha” (dispenser of Bharat’s destiny). As we concluded and came in for the final formation, Swami descended from the stage and came in our midst. He seemed so happy and was beaming with pride. He materialized a ring for the ‘grandfather’ who had transformed his grandson. He materialized rings for two more actors. And then, finally, He materialized another ring for the ‘grandson’ who had decided to stay back in India and not go abroad!!
There were tears of joy in the eyes of the ‘grandson’ or so I thought. It was only later that I came to know that these were tears of awe and gratitude as well. The ‘grandson’s’ story was fascinating to say the least. I must mention it here.
It was in 2001 that he happened to attend a discourse by Swami at Brindavan in Bangalore. In that discourse Swami spoke strongly against abandoning one’s motherland and going abroad. He said that one must serve one’s motherland. The lad, R.Prashant, had been planning for a bright overseas career. Hearing the discourse, he decided that, come what may, he would stay in India and work for its uplift.
This was a story he had told none and so he was amazed at the role he got to play in the drama. As he heard his ‘grandfather’ inspire him to stay back and serve the motherland, he felt deja vu. And Swami had patted him, materializing a ring for him in appreciation.
Today, R.Prashant has started many rural initiatives as his bit to serve his motherland. One of these ventures, Sai Seva, is a rural BPO that is based in Puttaparthi itself! These are the stories which constitute the drama behind a drama!
Swami went up on the stage again. He said that He would grant group photos. This time, another marvelous gesture was seen.
All the actors spontaneously signaled to the sets team, costumes team and the audio team saying,
The actors felt that it was time for the others to receive their fair share of the Lord’s physical proximity. At this point, Swami even cast a mini-test. He said that He would grant photos to only 4-5 groups. In spite of that, the ‘background teams’ were allowed to go. In fact, after those teams had their pictures taken, Swami decided to leave. None of the actors had any sad feelings!
Swami said that such dramas must travel all through the nation. He said that He was very happy and He retired for the day.
Everyone was happy all around. With Swami it is always like that - a win-win-win-win situation where there is no loser!
Before I forget, let me mention that we returned to the hostel triumphantly. With renewed vigor and enthusiasm we worked for the drama there. The drama in the hostel too turned out to be unforgettable and brilliant. The highlight was the hoisting of the Indian Tricolor made completely of oil lamps and lampshades. The flag measured an impressive 15 feet by 10 feet! There was a standing ovation for the performance.
That was how the Divine Drama had been enacted. The 2 dramas on stage that day had such a powerful, poignant, message-filled and unforgettable drama behind them. A drama that the Divine Director staged so that His children learn unity, love, inspiration, peace, harmony and more than anything else, the fact that nobody who ever places faith in the Lord is ever let down.
God brings men into deep waters not to drown them, but to cleanse them. That was another takeaway which was further enhanced through the most emotional experience of my life with Swami.
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