What is “Sant Smaran” program? 

The “Sant Smaran” program which takes place annually at Maharashtra Mandal, Chennai was initiated by Mrs. Mayatai Joshi in the year 1988. It is also great to know that she contributed a certain amount to the Mandal so that the program doesn’t stop due to the want of funds. Sant Smaran literally means remembering all the saints. This can be best done by singing the Abhanga, Bharuda, and other devotional songs written by them. Thus, this program holds its importance in the light of “Ashadhi Ekadashi” Ashadhi Ekadashi is an annual festival celebrated in Maharashtra. It is believed that Lord Vishnu enters his state of Yoga Nidra on this day every year. Numerous Vitthal Devotees walk their way from far away to Pandharpur to get the divine glimpse of their dearest Lord. Vari, as it is called, can be a 

separate blog in itself. 

Know more about Bhaktidhara Group! 

This year also Maharashtra Mandal, Chennai celebrated “Sant Smaran” with great enthusiasm and fervor.” Bhaktidhara group” with its experienced and expert singers like Ms. Lata Karnad Rao, Ms. Uma Sheshashayee, Mrs. Kalpana Rao, Ms. Shraddha Thatte, Ms. Surekha Palekar, Mrs. Meghna Dandekar, Mrs. Snehalata Datar, and many others has been very instrumental in continuing the rich tradition of this Sant Smaran program since the year 1988. The seed of this 30-year-old group was sown by Mrs. Mayatai Joshi not knowing that the tree would grow up so wide and would accommodate many new people like Snehal and me. We, the 5 am mommies, joined this group and have learned a lot about music and devotion since then. We take this opportunity to thank everyone in this group who made us feel at home

Have a look at the program through my eyes! 

It was one such Sunday and we rushed to the Mandal with the enthusiasm of a small child. After all, this was one of the most awaited functions. Mrs. Joshi( Daughter-in-law) of Late Mayatai Joshi was offering garlands to the various saints. The photos of the various prominent saints like Sant Tukaram, Saint Dyaneshwar, Sant Namdeo, Sant Ramdas Swami, Saint Eknath Maharaj were beautifully decorated with flowers and amidst the arrangement stood the “Vithu Mauli” with its own grace. 

People from all over Chennai started coming for the program and after the mic testing, the program started with a small address from Secretary of Mandal, Mr. Ashutosh Apte. Lata Maushi started the anchoring and Bhaktidhara group sang “Ekdantam Umasutam” to invoke Lord Ganesha. The song was followed by an Abhang “Vitthal Geeti Gava, Vitthal Chitti Dhyava” which literally means we should always sing Vithhal songs and meditate on HIM. 

This year also marks the birth centenary of three stalwarts of Maharashtra namely 

Pu.La.Deshpande, Sudhir Phadke and G.D. Madgulkar. We celebrated the same in Chennai by singing the songs by these legends. “Utha Pandharicha Raja” by Devraj Patil won great applause from the audience. It literally created an atmosphere where the devotees are waking their God up. This was followed by “Nijrup Dakhava Ho” song from the movie “Zala Mahar Pandharinath” by Joshi Sisters. Any such celebration is incomplete without the famous “Majhe Maher Pandhari” song by Pt. Bhimsen Joshi. Mr. Pravin Vaidya with his deep devotion wonderfully justified the Abhang and took us down to the memories of Pt.Ji songs. Lata Maushi in her melodious voice rendered “Indrayani Kathi” song. It was surreal as we almost reached Alandi-the Samadhi place of Sant Dynaneshwar by listening to the song. 

It is magical to see the younger generation understand this culture and little Ikshika and Purav Sarode mesmerized us with “Hari Alla Rey”. Chokhamela and his abhang “Abir Gulal” is etched in our memories from years together. Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki has sung this song and Snehal Sham dared to attempt it. We could visualize the flare of Abir, Gulal(black and pink colors) being played by Lord Vitthal in the hall. 

A man with several hats, Ajit Joshi, showed us the picture of Lord Vitthala in his “Roope Sunder Savala Gey Maye” song. He was excellent at his play with Tabla. Shraddha Thatte, a Radio Jockey and a professional singer, gave the entire program a different shade by singing “RhunuZunu RhunuZunu Rey Bhramara”. This song is originally sung by Latadidi. She along with Lata Maushi made her mark in our hearts by singing “Kanada Raja Pandharicha” meticulously. Bhaktidhara group sang “Pandharisi Chalala Vaishnavancha Mela” and “Vithu Mauli Tu”

Mrs. Dandekar took over the stage and extemporaneously sang abhang “Teerth Vitthal” with great devotion and brilliance of a pro. The star of the entire program, of course, was Babu Sir. He accompanied us for all the songs on the harmonium mellifluously. His play of music was euphonious and soothing. Each Swara was hit directly from his heart and yes it reached the heart of every other person seated in the hall. Bhairavi,” Jani Namyachi Rangali Kirtani” summed up the entire program. Vitthal Arti was carried by Manju Joshi and Mrs. Joshi. 

We thank each and everyone who attended the event. Our warm regards to all the elders at the event and love for all others. We appreciate the efforts of our mike and sound system organizer Mr. Limaye. Let us meet next time for the same event. Till then, “Amcha Ram Ram Ghyava”.