Thursday, July 5th, 2012
Six months from their previous pilgrimage to Prasanthi, in December 2011, a large contingent of 1800 devotees from the State of Odisha made it again to Prasanthi Nilayam in a Parthi Yatra during the first week of July on the occasion of Guru Purnima 2012.
Offering gratitude and love at Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet, children and artistes from the State presented a host of cultural presentations, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the State, at the Sanctum Sanctorum on 5th July evening.
Tribal Cultural Art, Jodi Shanka Dance, was the first item for the evening. Jodi Sankha, literally meaning Double Conch, is a unique folk dance of Ganjam District in Odisha. It is a unique presentation of rural music, dance and martial arts coming in unison. In this form of art, while blowing the conch, artists display greater harmony between the modulation of the conch and the physical movements. Back in the State, the art is martial, spirit is rustic and the costumes colourful. Main accompanying instruments are “Changu-Baja” and “Mahuri”, while combined together with the thrills of the conch present an emotional orchestra of rural music, a veritable audio-visual treat.
In a grand exhibition of artistic and martial talents, tribal youth from the State delighted the audience enacting various scenes from Bharat’s glorious cultural history. Scenes depicting Bhagawan Sri Krishna as the Eternal Charioteer, Lord Hanuman flying over, the Advent of Kalki Avatar on the horse etc., were enacted along with various other scenes, to the rhythmic backdrop music emanated from the drums and cymbals.
The State that earned the rich inheritance of devotional chanting from none other than illustrious Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, epitome of devotion, fashions the same even today with tribal and other devotees in the state follow this mode of ecstatic devotional chanting. Presenting this rich tradition devotees from the State presented Namasankirthana, Congregational Chanting of the Divine Name, to the accompaniments of various instruments such as Dholak, Mrudangam, Ghanta and Kahali, in typical Chaitanya style.
Sri Krishna Leela Madhuri, a dance ballet by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Mandir, Bhadrak was the next item followed. The presentation was based on the writings of renowned devotional poet Banmali Das, who lived during the 12th century. As various childhood pastimes from the epochal life Little Krishna came to the fore to the accompaniment of soothing Oriya Melody, audience in the hall sat spellbound watching the spectacle as if got caught in a reverie. It was a delectable display of sheer talent of little ones from the school, who enacted illustrious scenes from the epical life, dancing to the tunes, to perfection. This art form was originated in Bengal, penetrated into Digapahandi and Athagada in Ganjam district after the visit of Chaitayana Mahaprabhu to the State during the 16th century.
The final item for the evening was a Musical Bouquet entitled, ‘Sai Symphony’ presented by the Youth from the State, both men and women. When their voices blend together to perfection, with hearts beating for the Indwelling Lord in their heart, it turned out to be a perfect finale, singing glories of the Lord. Satya Ki Raha Dikhane Aaye…, Namo Devyaii Maha Devyaii, Dhanya Bhag Seva Ka Abasara Paya…, Sai Rama Sai Krishna were the songs that echoed in the evening in the spacious Sai Kulwant Hall and Prasanthi Nilayam.
Upon the presentation, groups of children and youth lined up for photograph session. Bhajans by the State troupe continued and ended with the Thursday Special, “Hey Shiva Shankara Namami Shankara…” in Bhagawan’s mellifluous voice. Prasadam was distributed and Mangala Arathi was offered at 1850 hrs.
Earlier, before the commencement of the programme, Sri P. Jagannath Prasad Rao, State President of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations – Odisha, delivered a brief introductory speech. Touching upon Bhagawan’s special love for the State, often expressed and exhibited in public, the State President echoed feelings of gratitude for Bhagawan’s “Love In Action”, that revived and rehabilitated thousands of homeless people from the State, victims of the horrendous floods that wreaked havoc in September 2008. The State President echoed that Puri and Parthi are the same and so are Lord Jagannath and Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai.
Odisha takes to the street in a huge procession…
Hundreds of men and women from the State of Odisha took to the main street of Parthi on the morning of 5th july in a huge procession displaying great devotional fervour. This is the second time, in six months, the State is taking out a huge procession in Puttaparthi, last one being on 27th December 2011.
Beginning at 0830 hrs. from the birthplace of Bhagawan, Lord Shiva Temple, the procession moved along the main road. Led by a group yellow clad men blowing ‘twin conch’, performing ‘Jodi Sankha Dance’, followed by a group of enthusiastic drummers beating rhythmic tunes, the procession, infectious of devotional exuberance, moved through the main road in a measured pace granting an audio-visual treat to hundreds of onlookers.
The men in the front were followed by a group of men in drums, who often turned excited, jumping and dancing to their drum beats, followed by another set of men playing cymbals, joining in circular dance movements.
In the centre was a small chariot carrying Lord Jagannath, Sister Subhadra and Brother Balabadra.
A small group of tribal dancing women followed the men, that was followed by hundreds of women carrying auspicious ‘kalasas.’ Another huge coloumn of women, all clad in uniform sarees, joined moving in tandem, often bursting into eerie whistling, typical of East India tribal tradition.
Namasankirthan group of men, in yellow scarves, followed, singing bhahjans and towards the end came a huge chariot with a smiling Bhagawan in the backdrop and the Seat Of The Divine at the centre.
In all the whole affair was full of spectacle, drama and colour, in line with the original festive splendour in Puri, which is slated as a typical Indian fair of unmatchable proportions.
II Samasta Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II
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