“अवघा रंग एक झाला, रंगी रंगला श्रीरंग…” These immortal lines of Soyrabai actually came to life on Sunday, 26th of May 2013 at the Padmashri Dr. D.Y. Patil Stadium. It was the occasion of the ‘never before never again’ Premyatra (journey of love), titled Nahu Tuzhiya Preme (bathing in the shower of your love), a bouquet of chosen abhangas to be offered at the lotus feet of our beloved Sadguru, Aniruddha Bapu. When this idea was born out of a routine conversation, never did I imagine that it would assume the kind of proportion and magnitude that it finally came to achieve. The driving force behind all that could be achieved was the Sankalp of Bapu that came with His ‘go ahead’ to us for holding this ‘once in a lifetime’ event. What started with a modest estimate of an audience of 15,000 eventually touched close to an unbelievable number of 38,000. When this proposal was first broached with Dr. Vijay Patil, he was so taken up by this thought that he expressed his wish to see the entire stands of the stadium filled up with Shraddhavaan; and Bapu did fulfil his wish.
After the announcement of Nahu Tujhiya Preme… there was an avalanche of responses from bhaktas from all corners of the country and all over the world. Before we could even realize it, the numbers had crossed 25,000 and we were looking at a figure upwards of 35,000. The thrill of having such a huge attendance of Bapu bhaktas was somewhat moderated by the logistical challenge that it posed on various fronts, viz. crowd control, parking, toilet facilities, eating facilities, drinking water, etc. But with Bapu’s blessings and the untiring efforts of our volunteers very ably led by Swapnilsinh Dattopadhye and very ably supported by the CEOs and the various committee members, everything fell into place, the way one would have wanted it to be. However, the icing on the cake was the arrangements that were made for the live streaming of this programme across the world where numerous Bapu bhaktas are domiciled. Even people in Mumbai and other parts of India, who could not make it due to whatever constraints they might have had, could watch it from the confines of their homes.
Since many of the bhaktas attending the Prem Yatra had not participated in one of more of the 3 rasayatras (Shirdi, Akkalkot & Goa) and 1 Bhavayatra (Pandharpur), Shree Avdhoot Chintan, Shree Varadachandika Prassanotsav, a three hour footage of the video clippings from all these functions was compiled played from 11.30 am onwards. This was announced well in advance so that Bhaktas could plan their entry into the stadium, gates of which were to be opened at 11.00 am. As expected, there was a huge turnout of bhaktas right from 11.00 am, who braved the hot sun just to catch a glimpse of their beloved Sadguru. For many, who had participated in these events, it was like reliving that experience.
Bapu, Aai and Dada arrived on the dot as scheduled. Before the start of the satsang, Bapu, Aai and Dada came on stage and Bapu spoke a few words and gave His choicest blessings to the vast congregation of His bhaktas and also to the performers on stage.
After Bapu, Aai and Dada had taken their respective seats, right in front of the stage, the Satsang commenced at 4.00 pm sharp with the chanting of the Vijay Mantra – “Ramo Rajamani Sada Vijayate…” The stadium was packed to its capacity. It was a massive congregation of close to 38,000 Shraddhavans who were ecstatic at sight of their Sadguru. The buzz of excitement of the bhaktas upon seeing Bapu, Aai and Dada was to be seen to be believed. Even before the programme had commenced, the Shraddhavaans were already bathing in His love.
And finally the Satsang commenced with ‘Aniruddha Shloki’ and “तिमीरातून पसरुनीया बाहू…”. Could there have been a better start to THE SATSANG of THE PREMYATRA!!! After several deliberations and discussions, 50 abhangas had been selected. It wasn’t an easy choice to make as there were several other abhangas that deserved to be included in the list; but time was the only constraint.
Abhangas from Pipasa I, Pipasa II, Pipasa Pasarli, Vahini Mhane, Bol Bol Vaache and many more albums. It had compositions from the purest of souls who had attained His ‘Saamipya’ viz. Aadya Pipadada, Sadhanatai, Meenavahini, Chaubal Ajoba and Shrikrishna Shastri Inamdar.
The selection and the sequence of the Abhangas reflected the journey of every Bhakta; of how Bapu came into our lives, what we were before and what we are now (“शुकराचे लेकुरे…”, a self-introspection of the intensity of our bhakti – what it was in the initial stages when we experienced His grace and unconditional love and what it is today – is Bapu who was once very close to us now visible only on the horizon? – has the distance increased over time? – the words “क्षितीजावर तू नकोस राहू, नको नको ही सबरी…” in the abhang “एक वेळ तू सहजची ये रे अनिरुध्दा मम् घरी…” reflects that Shraddhavaan’s state of mind – and then moving further to singing the praises of His attributes – “हाची नववा, नववा आगळा…”, “समोरी बैसला कैसा…”, “सावळा सुंदर…” and finally moving to a stage where the Shraddhavaan resolves that everything that he/she yearns for in life lies only at His lotus feet – this feeling being aptly expressed in the abhang “सद्गुरू दारीचा आहे मी हो श्वान…”. The ending could not have been more apt and heart rending, with the Shraddhavaan’s desire to offer himself unconditionally at the Sadguru’s feet, being expressed in the form of “सब सौप दिया है जीवन का, अब भार तुम्हारे हाथो में…”. The preface (Nivedan) to every abhang brilliantly written by Swapnilsinh, gave every Shraddhavaan a perspective and understanding of what feeling each abhang had to convey, thereby enabling them to enjoy listening to them all the more.
There were very poignant moments during the satsang, but one moment that stood out was when Nandai became very emotional while listening to the abhang “सद्गुरू दारीचा आहे मी हो श्वान…”, during which the picture of her just departed beloved Guddu was shown on the LED screen. Another moment when time almost stood still was when the last abhang was being rendered. After the rendition was over, there were no applauses – just pin drop silence. Bhaktas were actually unable to come to terms that the satsang had ended; and the thought that there probably would not be another satsang like this, had hit them even harder. Six hours had passed by as if in a flash.
The climax to Nahu Tuzhiya Preme… was when raindrops fell for a few seconds shortly after the satsang had ended, only within the confines of the stadium… as someone put it beautifully – these were the tears of joy shed by Mothi Aai on seeing the love of the Shraddhavaans for Her son. There could not have been a more befitting finale to this grand, unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime event.
As I am writing this post, I am drowned in an avalanche of feedbacks, phone calls, text messages, Facebook posts, etc., many praying to Bapu to having such satsangs in future. Whether that will happen or not, only Bapu knows. However, it is my firm conviction that the wave of bhakti that this satsang has generated is enough to carry us through to our destination; only we have to nurture it and make it grow from here onwards and leave the rest in His hands.
Published at Mumbai, Maharashtra.