Friday, April 13th, 2012
It was a very special Tamil New Year in Prasanthi Nilayam. Hearing and speech impaired children from Vela School, Villipurum captured all hearts with a scintillating dance performance in the Divine Presence entitled, “Dikku Leni Vaariki Devude Gathi!“. The school is adopted by Alumni of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning and the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, Tamil Nadu.
The celebrations began early in the morning with auspicious music on the Nadaswaram. At 0800hrs, the Sundaram Bhajan group performed Veda Chanting and Bhajans in the Sai Kulwant Hall even as delicious sweets were distributed to the assembly. In the evening Professor Anil Kumar introduced the programme in English and Telugu after which the state president of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, Tamil Nadu, Sri N. Ramani addressed the gathering in Tamil.
Sri Venkata Krishnan, Alumni Coordinator, then explained about the school and the alumni association with it. Vela Special School, Villupuram was started in 1992 as a means of Seva and today caters to the needs of about 214 special children. All the teachers who teach at this school have demonstrated enormous amounts of dedication, patience and commitment to better the lives of these children. On the 26th February 2011, during the Tamil Nadu Alumni meet, Bhagawan had blessed the association of the alumni with this project and had Himself instructed to bring these children to Prasanthi Nilayam.
The first song of the program was a solo performance by Janiswari, a child who is speech and hearing impaired from birth. The song was an offering to Lord Ganesha. The songs were played only for our benefit. These children cannot hear the song or match their steps with the beats of the song. Yet, they have been taught these dance steps by their teachers using only hand sign language, eyes and facial expressions. The dance was orchestrated live by their teachers seated in front of them using this noble communication. In the second song ‘Kayyil deepam endhi vandom’, the little ones pray to Bhagawan to light up their lives and help them overcome their challenges.
As a prelude to the third song, a patriotic number entitled ‘Vande Mataram‘, the master of ceremonies prayed to Bhagawan to bless these children to be able to lead a normal life. An interesting incident happened after that. There appeared to be a loose connection in the audio system and the song did not play correctly. Any other group of dancers who had actually danced based on the music of the recording would have got disoriented and missed a step but these children, special as they are, danced on perfectly, least affected unlike their auditorically sound neighbours. It was as if Bhagawan replied that He did not make them special so that they could wish to be normal. He made them special because they are meant to achieve extraordinary things.
The fourth song, ‘Kannuku Oli Kodduppom‘ was written by former President of India, Bharat Ratna Prof. APJ Abdul Kalam. In this song, he extols the value of vision and the importance of eye donation to the citizens of India. This was a solo performance by Chitra, a truly gifted child. The dance programme ended in a celebratory note with ‘Mukunda Mukunda‘.
This cultural presentation was followed by seven melodious songs in various languages by youth from Tamil Nadu indicating how all distinctions melt away and amplify harmoniously in His Divine Presence. Invoking Lord Ganesha with ‘Raja Gajanana‘, the youngsters then sang the praise of great devotees of Lord Shiva in Tamil with the song, ‘Eppadi Paadinaro‘ before linguistically travelling the length and breath of India. A highlight of the programme was an instrumental presentation to the tunes of ‘Raghuvamsa Sudha‘. As if handing over the stage to their brothers and sisters from Kerala for the Vishu Celebrations the next day, the youth fittingly concluded with a Malayalam number, ‘Valam Kannu Sooryanum‘.
Even as the Sundaram Bhajan Group commenced Bhajans, all participants were honoured with clothes. Also special gifts with Baba’s blessings was distributed to the children from the Vela special school. With the beginning of the Tamil New Year, let us recount the Divine Discourse delivered by Bhagawan on this auspicious occasion in 2008.