The morning of Yoga Siddhi Raga Sagara started off splendidly, with Sri Swamiji performing Sri Chakra Puja. Sangeeta Seva consisted of the presentation of Pujya Swamiji’s Swaradevata Krtis, led by Smt. Rajeshwari Bhat of Houston. Between each krti, Smt. Hira Duvvuri briefly introduced and spoke on each krti’s associated deities and particulars. Smt and Sri Srinivas Ganti offered garland to Pujya Swamiji after Sri Chakra Puja. Smt Rajeshwari Bhat and Sri Harish Bhat, Smt. Vijayashree Venkatraman and Sri Venkatraman Subramanian and Smt. And Sri Sastry Vedam who led the rendering, came from Dallas to participate, and helped coordinate the musicians, respectively, were felicitated by Smt and Sri Ram Duvvuri. Sri HV Prasad conveyed that Sri Swamiji, after listening to the Swaradevata Kritis, stated, “The tradition continues” and related that during Pujya Swamiji’s 50thbirthday celebrations in 1992, these same kritis were led by Vidwan Sri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, accompanied by Vid. Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman on violin, Vid. Sri Umayalpuram Sivaraman on mridangam, and Vid. Sri Vikku Vinayakram on ghatam. Watching this doyen of Carnatic music was Vid. Sri Maharajapuram Santhanam, Vid.K.V.Narayanaswamy, Vid.Karaikkudi Mani amongst others, sitting next to Sri Swamiji, , This is the tradition established in 1992, which was continued by the Houston and Dallas area devotees on this day in 2019. Pujya Swamiji spontaneously materialized a gold bracelet for Smt. Rajeshwari for her efforts in leading the group and having taken a responsibility to propagate Sri Swamiji’s music across the states.
Pujya Swamiji blessed devotees with a discourse entailing how Sri Swamiji’s visit seemed like a dream for local devotees until the day Sri Swamiji arrived, as Sri Swamiji many a times would always promise a visit would happen the following year. His Holiness tied this in to the story of Dhruva, demonstrating that one should never lose hope since the words of God or Sadguru always come true. Pujya Swamiji directed Gayathri, Sanmathi, and Sreekruthi to sing the bhajan “Nav Chal Padi” and much to devotees’ delight, sang along with them. The bhajan illustrates how devotees safely navigate the Ocean of Samsara on Guru Datta’s boat.
Next, Smt. and Sri Siddheshwar Gubba were honored for helping to provide security and escort services throughout Sri Swamiji’s visit. Smt. and Sri Srinivas Mullapudi offered a garland to Pujya Swamiji. Smt. and Sri Murali Babu Chilakapati offered a unique saptaswara birds sari to Sri Swamiji in anticipation of the evening concert. Smt. and Sri Sunil offered a memento on the occasion. Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple trustees and Bilva Osmer offered a Gaja mala to Sri Swamiji. Sri Swamiji kindly blessed devotees with a darshan line after the discourse.
The evening of June 29t hheld the most awaited event of this Houston visit and the first music for meditation and healing concert of Pujya Swamiji’s USA tour. The Jones Hall for Performing Arts was the lucky venue for the free concert, attended by about a stunning 3000 members comprising of music enthusiasts, devotees, and those curious about music therapy. They were given concert souvenirs describing Sri Swamiji’s various activities and brief description of His Holiness’ music, as well as tokens of appreciation for attending the concert. Yogini Kaliji gave the introductory address for the evening, describing her past experiences with Sri Swamiji’s unique music. She introduced onto the stage Pujya Swamiji and members of the Celestial Music troupe: Vidwan Jaitra Varanasi on violin, Vid. Narasimham Mani on keyboard, Vid. Shankar Ramesh on Mirdangam, Vid. Mahesh Bhatt on Tabla, and Sri Jaya Datta on Drum Pad. Smt. Geetha Ravula invited Fort Bend county Commissioner Andy Meyers, and Sri Sam Merchant, representative from Congressman Al Green’s office lit the lamp to inaugurate the concert. Sri Ramesh Bhutada from the Hindu Swayam Sevak Sangh and Smt Kirthi Jain, director at Seva International, offered welcome garland to Sri Swamiji. The mayor of Houston had announced June 29thas “Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji Day” on the occasion, by the efforts of Smt. Geetha Ravula. Congressman Al Green’s commending certificate for Datta Yoga Center, Houston for the services rendered to the community. Sri Sam Merchant and Sri Andy Meyers offered the proclamation, certificate and flower garland to Sri Swamiji. Fort Bend County Sheriff Ted Nehls offered the flag flown over the capitol in commemoration of 12 June 2019 – Jyeshtha Shuddha Ekadashi birthday of Sri Swamiji.
Before playing, Sri Swamiji instructed the audience to relax and sleep well during the concert. The stronger the sleep, the stronger the healing, explained His Holiness. As is customary, Sri Swamiji played Rushyaketupriya Raga (Pranava Swarupam) to begin the concert, and went on to play Hindola Raga (Palaya Palaya Sri Lalite). Yoga Siddhi Raga Sagara’s main ragas of the day were Raga Vaasanthi (Gana Gana Mrogedu ), Raga Alankaarapriya (Jaya Jaya Saptambhujavase), and Raga Dharmavathi (Namo Namo Ganapathaye). Sri Swamiji spoke before commencing Raga Dharmavathi, which heals the entire body, aids in meditation, and helps one fall asleep quickly; Sri Swamiji expounded that He has been experimenting and improvising music therapy with this raga for 18 years. Sri Swamiji gave a brief introduction into Raga Ragini Vidya by explaining that different notes and different sounds influence each nerve in the body, and mentioned the process of how a synthesizer was chosen as the main instrument for His Holiness’ music.
The relaxed audience was woken up from their slumber by the energetic “Dancing Tune” (Shankarabharanam Raga), before Sri Swamiji closed with Raga Ragini Devi Mangalam in Sama Raga. Tani Avarthanam between the percussion instruments mridangam and tabla after Dharmavati Raga was so perfectly coordinated that the audience was mesmerized. For more than 2.5 hours, the audience, a large portion of which was completely new to Sri Swamiji’s music, was enthralled by Sri Swamiji’s lilting notes and the accompanying musicians’ appropriate support of Sri Swamiji’s melodies.
As Yogini Kaliji expressed immense gratitude in her closing remarks on behalf of everyone present, all gave a standing ovation with thunderous applause. Sri Ramesh Chikkala and family offered a garland to Sri Swamiji thanking His Holiness for the enchanting concert and Houston visit. Dr. Nandini and Dr. Prakasa Rao Velagapudi offered the crystal concert memento. Artists were honored by Sri Srikar Jonnalagadda and Smt. and Sri Suri Duvvuri.
With this, the gratifying three-day programs concluded, and Houston devotees await Sri Swamiji’s promised return.