July 7, 2009 – Guru Poornima Day in Prasanthi Nilayam

Guru Poornima is a day of great solemnity and reverence for it celebrates the unique relationship that exists between the shishya (disciple) and the Guru, the seeker and the sought. The Guru is regarded as the boat to help an individual cross the ocean of life. And when the Lord arrives as the Guru, what more need to be said? In His own words, when on some occasion the famous nursery rhyme 'Baa Baa black sheep', was being discussed, Swami said, "This Baba is a white ship! Not black sheep!" It is indeed reason to celebrate for when in need of a 'boat' we have been taken aboard the 'divine ship'! It was on such a significant occasion that Swami chose to honour the services of some of His long standing devotees. The dais in Sai Kulwant Hall was arranged with chairs. The hall was bedecked like a bride and everyone had been waiting from almost 5:30 a.m. longing to see their Guru.

At about 10 a.m., when the Sun had moved from its cooling orange to a slightly flaming yellow, Swami appeared. The Sun seemed to have taken the cue from Him for He had put on the golden yellow vesture giving up the usual saffron, and a halo of brightness seemed to emanate from Him. Spontaneously people clapped and it was such sheer joy to behold Him in all celestial majesty. The devotees craned and strained to see Him seated on a special white chair and the overall scene was just breathtaking. Swami blessed all the thronging thousands.

. It has been more than 69 years since Swami sang the ever-new bhajan, "Manasa Bhajore Guru Charanam" and humanity seems to have taken this seriously! Swami completed the darshan round and moved to the portico where two cakes awaited His arrival. Swami lit the candles and cut the cakes. One of them - the vibronics cake - a special one based on a system of healing was also blessed. Then, Swami arrived on the dais and calling Prof. Anil Kumar, asked to begin the proceedings. The stage was set for a felicitation programme.

Prof. Anil Kumar began with Mr. A.V. Appa Rao, Financial Controller, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram. He was formerly Deputy Accountant General in the States of Kerala, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Though he held positions of eminence, he was happy to be called a Sevadal in which he served from 1978 to 1992. He narrated an experience wherein Swami diagnosed from the X ray of Mrs. Apparao what had escaped the keen eyes of the doctors! Mr. and Mrs. Appa Rao prayerfully occupied their seats on the dais.

Another senior functionary, Prof. Nanjundaiah, Controller of Examinations, Sri Sathya Sai University, who had the privilege to be with Bhagavan from 1973 was introduced. Formerly, he was the head of the Department of Commerce, NES College affiliated to Bangalore University. He stood first in his university in 1962. He had felt teaching would be a hindrance in his spiritual life but Swami cleared his misconception by saying that it was his mind that was interfering in his spiritual life. He asked Swami, “How am I to understand You?” Swami told him, “Don’t understand Me, experience Me.” He was the translator of many of His Discourses. Starting his career as a lecturer in the Department of Commerce, he rose to the position of Controller of Examinations. After offering their obeisance to Bhagavan, Mrs. and Prof. Nanjundaiah took their seats on the dais.


 

Mr. A.V. Sathyanarayana Murthy, Senior Engineer in Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences was the next senior functionary to be introduced. Mr. Murthy used to say that one should be a servant of God and not to mortals. If you have devotion Swami will confer everything. Before coming over to Prasanthi Nilayam, Mr. Sathyanarayana Murthy served as Engineer in Bilaspur, Kenya and in New Delhi. He had a miraculous healing after a major heart surgery due to Swami's grace. Mr. Sathyanarayana Murthy then sought Bhagavan’s blessings before occupying his seat on the dais.


The next to be honoured that morning was Prof. A.V. Lakshminarasimhmam, who served as Registrar of Sri Sathya Sai University. Prof. Anil Kumar said that his devotion to Swami could be compared to that of the devotion of Gopikas for Lord Krishna. His eyes radiated kindness, always had a smile on his face and spoke very softly. He was again from a Sevadal background. He did his Ph.D. from Osmania University. Joining the Brindavan Campus as a lecturer, he was elevated to the echelons of Reader, Professor, Principal of Prasanthi Nilayam Campus and finally as Registrar of the University. He too humbly took his seat on the dais. 

 

As each of the functionaries arrived on stage, they rushed straight to the Lotus Feet, their object of desire and service for all these years, and offered roses to Swami. Once the functionaries were seated, they were garlanded in the Divine Presence by their worthy successors in some cases and in other cases, by other eminent people in His mission. There were two scheduled speeches. The first was by Dr. A.N. Safaya, Director, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences. He began his speech by saying that he had lots of experiences and to narrate them would need another Bhagavatham. Narrating how Swami has been guiding him always, he lavished praise on Mr. Apparao for his precision work and accepted the fact that he would sorely miss him.

He also paid glowing tributes to the work of Mr. Sathyanarayana Murthy. After Dr. Safaya’s speech, it was revealed to the audience that Mr. Appa Rao and Mr. Sathyanarayana Murthy were brothers and Prof. A.V. Lakshminarasimhmam was also the chip of the same block, being the youngest among them! There was an applause for the dedication of this family to Swami. Prof. Vishwanath Pandit, Vice Chancellor, Sri Sathya Sai University, then paid tributes to the efficient and rich work done by Prof. Nanjundaiah and Prof. Lakshminarasimham.

The speeches having been completed, there was absolute silence in the huge hall. The prasadam bowls were taken to Swami. Bhagavan sat playing with the sweet packets for a short while. Then He called out for four boys in the front and personally gave them the prasadam! Blessed indeed were they to get prasadam from the Guru on Guru Poornima! Then Swami distributed the prasadam to all those who had been felicitated and they accepted it with gratitude. Swami also blessed chocolates to be distributed.

. Then, Swami presented the felicitated functionaries with silver plates and tumblers. He finally posed with all of them for a group picture and what a memorable picture that would be for them! Just before leaving, Swami asked for the universal peace prayer to be chanted once again. Samastha Lokaha Sukhino Bhavanthu was chanted followed by a high pitched “Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ki…” which was met with a resounding jaikar! It was nearing 12:00 p.m. when Swami retired for the morning.

The evening session began with bhajans at 5 p.m. Swami arrived at 6:00 p.m. Completing the darshan round, as Swami came on the stage, He asked where the other chairs were. Quickly the morning arrangement was being made when Swami called out the two felicitated couples, Mr. and Mrs. Nanjundiaih and Apparao. He materialized gold coins and presented one each to them. He had them seated and Himself sat in the centre. Bringing the bhajans to a halt, Swami asked for His mike and began His divine discourse.


Starting off on a lighter note that in the morning He was not allowed speak about those who were honoured, Bhagavan had all the good words about the seniors who were felicitated in the morning. Mr. Appa Rao who has been serving as auditor right from the inception of the hospital has taken care of everything in minute details putting an all-round show.

 

He has been rendering service without any expectation and without remuneration. Referring to the service rendered by the other two brothers of Mr. Appa Rao, Mr. Sathya Narayana Murthy, Sr. Engineer in the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram and Dr. Lakshmi Narasimham, outgoing Registrar of Sri Sathya Sai University, Bhagawan said that all the three brothers were serving Bhagavan with utmost dedication.

Hailing Mr. Appa Rao’s yeomen service to the hospital, he said it would be difficult to leave and lose such a person. He has taken care of everything most meticulously, taking everything as his own responsibility and put in all his hard work for the development of the hospital.

Mentioning that the special session was convened in honour of Mr. Appa Rao, Bhagavan said, He was immensely pleased, touched and moved by his dedicated hard work.

Dr. Lakshmi Narasimham has done a lot to the best of his satisfaction without any complaints. It is absolutely necessary to thank him profusely for his hard work. Being a bachelor he has dedicated his life for the welfare of the university; he had no other responsibilities and this was his lone concern. Starting his career as a Sevadal, with an intention to serve the university, he completed his Ph.D. to join the Brindavan Campus as a lecturer. Hailing Prof. Nanjundaiah, the outgoing Controller of Examinations, for his systematic approach towards the examination system, Bhagavan made a mention of the exalted status of the Institute which has become a reputed institution of national and international reckoning. 

In an apparent reference to the prevailing corrupt practice in the educational and medical system, Bhagavan said that in Sathya Sai Institutions no such collections and no corruptions could be found. Neither students nor patients need to worry, said Bhagavan assuring that he would take care of them.

Making a mention of the girls attending to work, Bhagavan asked: If you go to school to teach other children who will take care of your children? A woman who goes to work will never be happy; it is their responsibility to take care of their children and parents.  Parents should be well taken care of. They should not be kept at ‘home for the aged’; keep them with you; feed them and take care of them. It is an absolute must to take care of your home and responsibilities. Students should take note of it. This is right education, said Bhagavan. Discoursing on the greater importance of emulating the ideal lives of elders, Bhagavan exhorted the students to follow the path shown by the elders to come up in life.

 

Completing the discourse which lasted almost 75 minutes, Swami looked a bit tired but very satisfied and happy. He asked for bhajans to be sung. Two bhajans were sung and Swami was so happy and lost in the bhajans. Aarthi was performed and prasadam sent for distribution. Swami called one student from the front lines and accepting his letter, advised him for quite a while. Then He called all the tiny tots from Primary school and blessed the various Guru Poornima cards that they had made. Having done that, He smiled so broadly for all. He was really so very satisfied. In fact, He bestowed nearly 6-7 abhayahasthas towards various directions. Then, at 7:45 p.m, Swami returned to Yajur Mandir in the car.

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