Bangalore, India, August 15, 2013
A soul-stirring choir of 12,000 sang the Jnanappana, a traditional devotional poem from Kerala at the Independence Day celebrations hosted by The Art of Living at its International Centre in Bengaluru, in the presence of its founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
The rendition of the song, written by the 16th century poet, Poonthanam, was one of the highlights of the August 15th celebrations. It expresses the essence of Vedanta in simple Malayalam and was sung in pre-Independence years to spread the light of knowledge and happiness around the world.
Addressing the large gathering, Sri Sri spoke on the importance of spreading the values of peace and harmony. “The nation is passing through a difficult phase. The coming 2-3 years are very crucial. India is a spiritual country whose freedom has come through satsangs and sacrifice of the lives of our elders. Mahatma Gandhi traveled across districts organizing mass satsangs. We need to preserve that,” Sri Sri said.
Mr. Vellapally Natesan, General Secretary of the SNDP (Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam), Mr. S Krishna Kumar, former Union Minister and Mr. Devan, Kerala film star were some of the dignitaries who spoke, emphasizing the increasing relevance of spiritual knowledge for today’s turbulent times.
Adding color to the occasion, a troupe of 170 performed Thiruvathirakali, a popular dance of Kerala. The graceful performance of the smiling, beautifully costumed dancers captivated the audience as did the Kalaripayattu and Mohiniattam.
Speaking in the context of the inauguration of the Art of Living Happiness Program, Sri Sri urged the people to spread the wave of happiness everywhere. Sri Sri encouraged people to take a pledge to Volunteer for a Better India on the 67th Independence Day and see that our country prospers.