Bari Barsi Khatan Gaya Si … Bhangra in Amritapuri

Amritapuri is where there are absolutely no differences of any kind – North co-exists with South, the East embraces the West and above all, Amma showers her compassionate hugs equally on one and all!

Amritavarsham 60 (7:10 am 28th Sept morning) stood witness to this unity in diversity through the display of the famous Punjabi (North Indian) dance form – Bhangra – in this southernmost state of India. Bhangra is a lively dance from Punjab that looks a little like the folk dances found in Europe and is characterized by light steps and dance patterns.

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Team Mauj Punjabi (“Joy of Punjab”), led by Harpreet Singh, took the stage after a whole night of outstanding performances. Harpreet and his team of energetic artists still managed to infuse a new lease of life energy into the audience! The troupe lit the stage with their bright traditional attire – Sardars in yellow kurta & red pagdi’s (turban – the pride of Punjab!) with the “feather in their cap” – the yellow turla.

It was a literal wake-up call ….the drum beats ….the well-timed hoots & the cheer ….then, Harpreet poured out his heart “jisne jagat banaya” (“Who created this world”) …. “sauna sansar rachaya”(“created this beautiful world”) … Amma turns & looks on at this 6 footer devotee eulogizing his Mother!

The tired feet slowly start to tap, naturally & effortlessly…. the audience was in complete tune with the hurrahs and the drum beats by now…. 7 hefty Sardars on stage in Amritapuri!
Then, 7 Sardarnis, clad in salwar kameez (traditional Punjabi dress) & chunnis (colorful pieces of cloth wrapped around the neck) too joined the men and it looked like we are in a village in Punjab.

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At one point of time, the beautiful, rhythmic steps seemed to be in sync with the darshan hugs….as the camera brought both Amma and the dancers on screen at the same time. Engaging music, feet tapping lively dance, colorful costumes and, above all, consciousness thriving at its best in these bodies… What a treat for Amma’s children!

Towards the conclusion, the group shot their hands in the air in the typical Punjabi style, which reminded the devotees of the “mata rani ki jai” clarion call that Amma gives at the end of bhajans! Harpreet dedicated the usual “bari barsi khatan gaya si” bhangra call (“I was away (working) for a dozen years (& now back home)”) to Amma with this addition: “jad Amma aange…” (“When Amma comes, all troubles go away”).

The finishing line was a request from Harpreet giving “badhai” (congratulations) to Amma on “Ammaji ka birthday” (her birthday) and called out to the audience to join him in singing “mata rani ne thi kripa barsaai….meri har ghal puri undi aai” … and, yes, to this joyous dancing in bliss, Amma’s children joined in full swing.

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Unlike the other performances, the story didn’t end here! The Punjabi spirit came out in full expression as, when Brahmachari Akshayamritaji presented the memento, Harpreet & team once again started the drum beats and made Swamiji dance! It was a pleasant surprise for the devotees to see the swami soon lifted up on two Sardars’ shoulders and the rest dancing around them. The joy inside Swamiji’s heart got outward expression as he danced along with them, bathing in the sweetness of their love!
Where else can all this happen but in Amritapuri, in our beloved Amma’s presence?!

– Varsha