UPDATE_15th July_Concert by Kailash Kher

This evening, Swami had agreed for a concert by Kailash Kher- a singer famous for his quick exciting numbers especially on Sufi mysticism. A "blue carpet" welcome had been arranged for him on the stage. Swami arrived to Kulwant hall at about 4:25 pm on the chair. Swami took the detour to the stage after the ladies side. All the accompanying artistes were already on stage. Most of them were in white kurta and pyjamas. A few however were in jeans and t shirts Obviously it was their first trip to Parthi and the first ever time they would be seeing Swami. Swami came on the stage and sat by the artistes. Though a little of a fantasy, it would be interesting to make this narrative as one of the the artistes on stage would probably have seen it! Here goes anyway!

"Swami comes on stage and all eyes rivet to him. He sits simply and yet with an unseen kind of elegance. All the people in front are dressed in white and they are all (or atleast most of them) holding folded papers and seem to be pleading with their eyes for him to take! He calls a few of them and takes their notes. Oh! Those are letters that have been written to him and he opens a few of them and reads through. The others he simply stores on his laps or gives them to the aides by his side. Chants are going on and everyone seems to know them. Amazing! All of a sudden, Swami, as everyone seems to call him, calls a foreign boy and speaks a while with him. Anyone coming even within metres of His ambience suddenly seems to have joy and peace blossoming on the face. Swami speaks very little and whatever little he speaks, everyone around eagerly lap up. He then turns back and leaves the stage."

Swami sat for a while and then moved into the interview room. He went around for darshan rounds in the bhajan hall and the portico. The artistes too went to the portico Swami then came on stage. It was then about 5:20 pm. He was smiling gently and watched on as the artistes came and took their positions on stage. Kailash Kher was the last to arrive and he went ahead and offered a rose to Swami. Swami blessed him and told him to begin. Now I let our fantasized onstage 'artiste-reporter' to take over.

"Kailash began with his usual panache and style with his uniquely soulful, raw, high-pitched voice. The song was Allah Ke Bande. Normally people go gaga and start swaying and dancing the minute he begins. Here it was different. There was that excitement on the faces but none would give expression to it through their bodily movements. And all that calm as Kailash was storming seemed to arise from the other presence on stage - Baba! He was clapping his hand on his lap rhythmically and that beat seemed to control the clapping and rhythm of the entire hall. Kailash was in his usual elements and he moved over to faster songs and kept urging the people to join him. But these people instinctively are so loyal to Baba that nothing seemed to excite them out of the decent squatting posture they had all adopted."

Swami was amused at times seeing the raw enthusiasm that Mr.Kher embodied. He suddenly narrated what had happened in the morning- "Today am fortunate to be in Guruji's presence. I arrived late yesterday evening and was sleeping in the morning. Guruji asked here in mandir to the organisers,'Where is Kailash?' When I confirmed later, I realized that He had asked exactly at the same time as I opened my eyes there. That was a miracle for me and I realize that I was sleeping in Guruji's lap and He woke me up!" There was a loud cheer from the crowd.

"As Kailash spoke that, I was touched and what would have surprised me anywhere else but not here was that people now seemed aroused and excited! He then continued with other songs and providing the music for him today was turning out to be a unique sort of experience."

It was an interesting evolution that was going on at the stage. Mr.Kher who had begun with addressing Him as Guruji was now calling Him Swamiji. The second song he sang was "Om se kar lo preet pyaar se". Inspired by his father and by the earthy, energetic strains of  legendary Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Kailash Kher has also been completely influenced by Sufism. He dedicated a few Sufi songs to Swami and was all energy and josh as he sang out. Infact, during one of the songs, he even got up and lifted the mike with the stand to his face and sang out aloud! That energy was infectious and everyone were clapping hard for the songs and some even started gently swaying to the tunes. "Teri bin nahi lagta", followed suit soon. In between the songs, he did something very sweet and good. He introduced all the members of his band,'Kailasa' and spoke highly of their skills and talents. He had everyone applauding for the members of his team, a very noble leadership trait indeed.

"The people received us very warmly as Kailash introduced us to them. Kailash did everything and built a rapport with the crowd. But still I could not help noticing the fact that inspite of him suddenly rising in middle of the concert and clapping vigorously, the crowd maintained a reserved excitement. Loud clapping was the only way they vented their enthusiasm. On the left, Swamiji was smiling always. He kept tapping his lap all the while and encouraging Kailash to sing more! There is something very magical about Baba! Before another Sufi song Kailash said boldly that it was a great fortune to be in the presence of almighty God and he would sing a song of the Atma to the Paramatma!"

After a very touching Sufi song calling out to the Lord, Swami called out for Kailash Kher to come to Him. Waving His right palm, He brought a gold ring and put it on the singer's finger. Then as he kissed His knee in supplication, He created a gold chain also and put it around his neck. A few loving words and many 'teethy'  smiles were exchanged between the Lord and His Sufi devotee. Mr.Kher went back and started another song. He said, "Swami is Lord Shiva. I now sing a song on Lord Shiva."  At the end of it, Swami called all the artistes and presented them with shawls of honour. By now, most of them fell at His feet and sought blessings. Swami was all smiles and He spoke to almost all of them. As Swami was looking around apparently for bhajans/songs by boys, Kailash Kher made a request, "One last song Swamiji! This is for those people who are mad like me. So now atleast, please do not hold yourself. Go on let loose!"

"As Kailash sang with all energy, I was sure that a part of the crowd atleast will be on its feet. But no! Swami's presence is The Presence. He has a magical effect on everyone and I can myself feel it and it is so thrilling. The song concludes and the crowd jumps up with joy finally. But wait a minute! They are shouting, "Jai Bolo Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki- Jai" Simply amazing! And Swamiji sits calm and composed on the stage. A faint flicker of a smile lights up his lips as He tells everyone to remain calm!"

Swami blessed the prasadam to be distributed and Aarthi was taken. Kailash Kher went up to Swami and bending down, kissed His feet. At the end of the Aarthi, people began shouting Jaijaikars to Swami. Swami told them to calm down and blessing everyone, retired to Yajur Mandir at about 7:05 pm.


UPDATE_13thJuly_Programme by Kunal Ganjawalla

As part of the Ashadi Ekadasi function, the introductory honours had been gifted to Sri.Kunal Ganjawalla and his wife Gayatri Ganjawalla. Swami had agreed to a concert by the musical couple and the whole stage had been set and kept ready for them. Swami came out at about 3:45pm and in the car took a round in the Kulwant hall. Swami is called "Nitya Nootana" meaning the ever new. No two days are ever similar in the things He does. Today, He took the route via the portico from the gents side and then moved to the ladies side again. From there He went back towards Yajur Mandir and via the passage between the Yajur Mandir and the Kulwant Hall, He drove out! He went for a darshan granting ride in Puttaparthi and then returned to the mandir.

This time, He came straight to the portico and then soon onto the stage. He called the artistes of the day and asked them to begin. The veda chanting came to a halt and the artistes sought His blessings. The first song by Sri.Kunal was on Lord Ganesha and it was an auspicious beginning. He and his wife kept alternating between themselves in the songs and it was a treat for the ears and more so for the eyes - the music was so good and Swami's reactions and responses to the songs were so sweet and full of Love. When Gayathri began the song "Thumak Chalat Ramachandra" after saying that it reminds her of the beautiful days when Swami would come glidingly walking down for darshan, Swami seemed to get overwhelmed. He began singing along with her. In fact at one point, when the singer stopped singing to allow the flute to play a piece, Swami continued singing and was apparently surprised as to why the singing had stopped! He looked at the singer and gave vigorous rhythm on His lap indicating her to begin singing. Kunal then sang the song, "Sainath Tere Hazaro Haath" from the movie Shirdi Ke Sai Baba. Being a very popular song, the members of the audience too began to sing along with him. At the end of that song, Swami looked at the artistes and lipped, "Very very happy!"- and that was exactly the feeling shown on the faces of the artistes too for what can be greater reward than being able to make the Lord happy. A Meera bhajan followed next and the audience lapped it up as it went through the highs and lows of pitches and loudness! As the songs continued, Swami called Kunal and made some enquiries of him. Then taking leave for a few minutes, Swami went into the interview room. He returned soon and sat on the stage. One other lady too sang the song,"Oh Rama! Nee nama yenta ruchira" and Swami sat swaying to it and enjoying it. Really, the only tunes the Lord dances to are the tunes of Love from the heart.

Every action of Swami has so much of meaning to some people. It may appear that it means nothing for the world, but it definitely means the world to somebody! Knowing the story in the background sometimes helps one in appreciating the actions He does. And in today's case, having met the artistes and got a chance to interact with them, the writer is able to enjoy and share some of these stories. Some time back, Swami had appeared in the dream of Kunal's sister telling her that Gayatri must sing the bhajan -"Sri Venkatesha Saishwara" - and very soon she began that bhajan. It appeared as if Swami had been waiting for that bhajan. As soon as it concluded, Swami called Kunal and began waving His palm. At this juncture, it is necessary to reveal another part of the story in flashback. As Gayatri put it, "It was our dream that we get married in His presence. It did not happen that way, but He knows every desire in the heart!" Swami created a golden chain and instead of putting around Kunal's neck, gave it to him and told him to tie it around his wife's neck! Then immediately, He materialised a ring and gave it to the wife to put it on the finger of the husband! Both man and wife broke down. Showers of Grace and showers of tears are often synonymous. And thats what happened on stage as Swami fulfilled a deep desire in the devotees' hearts without them even telling Him physically. Seeing them in tears, Swami also momentarily was overcome with emotion. He presented sarees to the ladies and shawls to the gents.

As this shower of Love came to a pause, Swami asked Kunal to sing a bhajan. He started, "Bolo bolo Sab mil bolo"- a bhajan which urges everyone to sing out the name of the Lord. Having witnessed all that happened on the stage, nobody needed any urging, only an excuse was needed, to sing out the divine name! The bhajan had a whole hearted and vociferous following. At the end of that, Swami told the artistes that He would come to centrestage and pose with them for photographs. They were all thrilled and overjoyed. When Swami wants to make you feel special, He goes all out to do so. As the pictures were being taken, Swami looked at the lad shooting the video and told him, "Move your fingers! Don't block the video!" everyone smiled in merriment. Then, Swami spoke to almost every member of the performing troupe. He blessed the prasadam to be distributed to all. Then as Aarthi began, He called Prof. Anil Kumar and told him to announce the next day's programme He also blessed a couple of books that the state president of Maharashtra presented to Him. After Aarthi, giving the abhayahastha blessings to all, Swami retired to Yajur Mandir.

Trust God with your everything

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Courtesy:  forwarded by Mukesh Patel -19.07.2008 via email from aravind balasubramanya

sourced from Puttaparthi Live More details of the Ashadi News coverages direct from Puttaparthi Live  (Please also view the next page which has reported the detailed news