It is Vittala flavour and fervour in Prasanthi Nilayam and the holy chants of Jai Jai Rama Krishna Hari rings all over. It is Ashadi Ekadashi today. ...And on the auspicious occasion... reminiscing the past, rallying behind the great traditions set by two of the greatest spiritual sons from Maharashtra, Sant Tukaram and Sant Jnaneshwar, Sai fraternity from the twin states of Maharashtra & Goa thronged Prasanthi Nilayam rekindling their golden spiritual memoirs of the great tradition called Pandharpur Dindi this morning in Prasanthi Nilayam.
Ashadi Ekadashi is the festival that marks the beginning of the Chaturmasa and that ends with Kaarthik Ekadashi. It is celebrated during the months of June - July (Ashad Shukla Paksha). People consider the two eleventh days, “Ekadashi”, of every month to be of special significance. The eleventh day (bright) of Ashad is known as the great Ekadashi or Maha Ekadashi. This is the day on which people go walking in huge processions to Pandharpur, the Abode of Lord Vitthal singing the abhangas (chanting hymns) of Sant Tukaram and Sant Jnaneshwar to have the darshan of their Lord Vitthala.
The Vaarkari Sampada is a time honoured cult and an important landmark in the colourful history in the state of Maharashtra. Large number of devotees from the city of Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra and from the state of Goa come every year to celebrate this festival at the Divine Lotus Feet of Bhagawan at Prasanthi Nilayam.
This morning, the proceedings began at 0800 hrs. with Rudram chanting by the mahila wing from the twin states. Further proceedings went on with an enacted introductory commentary on the grant Vittala devotional tradition, both in English and Marati. Procession of the Vittala contingent from the twin states approached the Sanctum Sanctorum next to the tune of a Marati devotional "Para Brahma Lingam Bhaje Pandurangam...".
Following next, the grant palanquin procession entered the venue, marking the arrival of Lord Vittala, well greeted by a sea of saffron flags, waving at Him in an expression of devotional allegiance.
It appeared that the glorious days of yore, of the time of Sant Tukaram, Jnanadev and Namadev is back, as a folk of traditionally dressed girls danced next to the tune of the holy chants of 'Jai Jai Rama Krishna Hari...', a dance, Dhol Pathak, that is unique of the one-off Vaarkari Sampradaya.
A tableau depicting the Saints Of Maharashtra next was accompanied by a song Vithu Maza Lekurwala.
A riveting colourful Dindi dance by the youth of Wardha district that ensued literally wrapped the Sai Kulwant Hall up with bountiful devotional excitement.
The final offering for the morning was a devotional musical garland by the youth from Nagpur and Akola. The programme titled 'Sai Vittla - Bhakta Janavatsala' featured an string of devotional numbers, inclusive of traditional folk songs, interspersed with commentary in English. Beginning with 'Hey Gajavadana Vakratunda Mahakaya...' the session went on with songs... Avaghe Garaje Pandharpur..., Rupe Sundar Sawala Ge Maye...an Sant Eknath composition on Lord Vittala, a traditional folk song Gondhal appeasing Lord Vittala... to name a few.
Marata flavour prevailed all over in the graceful morning in Prasanthi with Lord Sai Vittala's supreme munificence gracing the entire Sai Kulwant Hall and the world around.
Bhajans next ended with Mangala Arathi to Bhagawan.