Today is Thiruvonam... the festivity of plenty and prosperity, the day that marks, as per the legend, the arrival of erstwhile Emperor Mahabali, enquiring after the welfare of the citizens of God's Own Country, Kerala. Onam has always been a different experience in Prasanthi Nilayam compared to the ‘home’ experience back in the state. Where, in modern times, culture, traditions and the legends connected to festivities take a back-seat owing to unhealthy exploitation by the commercial interest with excess materialism, Prasanthi Nilayam often welcomes the holistic side of all festivities, embracing and disseminating true purport of each festivity.
Reflecting the festive mood, this morning, the venue, Sai Kulwant Hall, bore a festive look of gaiety and majesty, with Kerala's typical natural decorations reflecting the state’s valued cultural traditions. Flags, buntings, festoons and colourful parasols formed the decorative party for the auspicious morning. Panchavadyam, an ensemble of five musical instruments popular in South India, rendered fillip to the festive spirit in the morning. Onappookkalam, typical, colourful, artistic floral decoration on the floor, right in front of the Sanctum Sanctorum stood as a symbol of auspiciousness on the decorative morning.
Feasting the occasion, upcoming classical vocalist Sri Abhiram Unni offered a Carnatic concert, serenading Bhagawan for over 40 minutes.
Beginning with MahaGanapatim... Abhiram flowed on singing Shambho Mahadeva..., Govinda Gopala Narayana Hari..., Krsna Nee Begane... to conclude with the famed Telugu number Brahmamokkade... A regular bhajan troupe member for the state, Unni was a picture of simplistic elegance this morning, singing with professional elan. Abhiram Unni regularly features in AIR and TV programmes in the state. This morning he was effectively accompanied by Smt Vedavati Ganesh on Violin, Sarvasree Kallaikkulangara P. Unnikrishnan on Mridangam, Sreejith on Ghatam, Payyanur Govindankutty on Morsing. A brief session of Panchavadyam by the SSSIHL students followed next.
Bhajans by the Kerala troupe continued and the session ended with Mangala Arathi to Bhagawan.
During the occasion a mini-shrine with a photograph of Bhagawan was opened near the Ganesh Gate check-in point by senior ashram official.