Thiruvonam in Prasanthi Nilayam…

Continuing the tradition set by Bhagawan decades ago, devotees from the State Of Kerala, pupularly known as ‘God’s Own Country’ celebrated their national festival Onam today here in Prasanthi Nilayam in the immediate Divine Presence of Bhagawan.

Ever since Bhagawan’s gracious magnanimity brought the festival to the hallowed Prasanthi precincts, Onam has been a dotted festival in the Prasanthi festive calendar. As per the legend, it is believed that the erstwhile emperor Mahabali returns to the State on Thiruvonam Day enquiring after the welfare of his subjects.

In this Thiruvonam morning the programme commenced at 0820 hrs. after half-an-hour Rudram chanting, with a devotional musical offering by popular devotional singer Sri TS Radhakrishnan & Co.  Presenting a garland of vernacular composition, singing in Malayalam, the blessed singer along with his two children, Shankar Vinayak and Lakshmi brought the nostalgic ‘Homely Feeling’ for the hundreds assembled in the Real Home away from home celebrating their major festival.

Some of the numbers were “Oruneramengalum Kaanathey Vayyente…”, “Enna Thapam Cheyyana Easwaramma…”, “Ambaadi Vaanambaadi Aanadaganam Paadi…”, “Sai Sai Sai Ramaaya Namo…” etc. Sri TS Radhakrishnan along with his son Shankar Vinayak (harmonium and vocal) and daugher lakshmi (vocal) was accompanied by Sri Nishikant Barodekar, faculty member at Sathya Sai Mirpuri College Of Music, Prasanthi Nilayam on Tabla.

Bhajans by Kerala devotees continued and ended with Mangala Arathi at 0930 hrs.

Evening Programme:

A dance drama, instrumental music and award ceremony for the winners of essay writing competition marked the Thiruvonam evening celebrations in Prasanthi Nilayam.

The programme commenced at 1650 hrs. with an instrumental music programme led by Thiruvizha Viju S Anand on Violin, accompanied by Palakkad Mukesh Kumar on Mridangam, Vellattanjoor Sreejith on Ghatam and Payyanur Govinda Prasad on Mukha Sankh. Beginning with “Mahaganipathim…” the foursome presented a half-an-hour scintillating display, playing many popular bhajan tunes, well appreciated by the august assembly.

Winners of Annual Essay Writing Competition was given away gold medals next. The winners are Kum Manju Krishna of Govt. Law College, Trissur for the inter-collegiate level, Sri Sai Shyam T of St. Thomas Higher Secondary School, Trissur and Kum Karthika R Krishnan of Fort Mission High School, Thiruvananthapuram for High School section, topics being “Glory Of Womenhood”, “Family – Father & Mother I Love You” and “Water – Gift Of God”. Over 20699 students representing 750 educational institutions participated in this year’s competition.

The final presentation for the evening was a beautiful dance drama, Mahabali, by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, Aluva, on the legend of Onam, illustrating the story of Emperor Mahabali.

The legend has it that Aditi, the Mother Of Devas pleaded with Lord Vishnu to curtail the powers of Asura ruler Mahabali who went on expanding his kingdom, conquering world after world….in response to Aditi’s prayers Maha Vishnu resolves to come as Vamana, as a dwarf, seeking a mere boon of 3 paces of land… Blinded by his pride,being a man of charity, when Mahabli loses sight,  questions the dwarf of his foolishness, as he sought a silly boon of 3 paces of land. Vamana sticks to his demand citing the necessity to be contented; the king agrees despite Preceptor Sukracharya’s advice. Mahabali decides to stick to his promise despite the threat of being annihilated from the face of the earth.

Vishnu in the guise of Vamana then increases His stature and with the first step covering the sky, blotting out the stars, and with the second, straddling the netherworld. Realising that Vamana’s third step will destroy the earth, Mahabali offers himself to the Mighty Lord.

Mightly pleased with Mahabali’s unconditional surrender Lord grants the emperor a boon to return to his kingdom once in a year….the Thiruvonam day.

Bhagawan’s Divine discourse followed that was well received by a packed audience with pindrop silence. Speaking high of the Emperor and his surrender, Bhagawan reminded the Keralites of their heavenly fortune of celebrating Onam in His immediate Divine Presence. Onam in Prasanthi Nilayam is the real Onam as all join together celebrating Onam together in Bhagawan’s Presence, said Bhagawan ending His Divine discourse with the bhajan “Hari Bhajan Binaa Sukha Saanthi Nahin…”

All the artistes were felicitated and bhajans continued, ended with Mangala Arathi at 1850 hrs.

II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II