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  Volume 4 - Issue 03
MARCH 2006
 
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PRASHANTI DIARY

CHRONICLES OF HEAVEN ON EARTH

WITH A SPECIAL REPORT FROM BRINDAVAN


As most of you are probably aware, Swami stayed in His "Trayee Brindavan" home in Whitefield, Bangalore continuously from January 20th, 2006 and returned to Parthi only on February 18th. As this chronicle covers His sojourn there for this period, it was suggested that perhaps this month's chronicle be relabelled as "Brindavan Diary". But as prashanti - the peace that passeth all understanding - in the fullest sense of the term is extant only where He stays, we decided to let the name remain unchanged and we hope that you concur with our view that prashanti is more a state of the mind and heart and not just a mere geographical term.

And while we type these words, we are also reminded of an incident that occurred just before the 75th birthday in the year 2000, which we will recall even at the risk of digressing from the main theme. As most of you know, once every five years all the Ashram buildings get re-painted. Hence all the buildings in the Ashram had just been given a new coat. From where Swami was standing on the veranda, He could see how the name on the East Prashanti Blocks had just been painted in big bright red letters. He read it out loud - "East Prashanti " and then turning to the students remarked in Telugu, "Prashanti ki direction undaa?" - Does prashanti have a direction also? It is very clear in what sense He is referring to the term prashanti!

Going back to the main story, soon after Swami arrived in Brindavan, the Brindavan boys welcomed Him with a well prepared programme "Hridaya pushpam". One of the hallmarks of the integrated system of education prevalent in the Sri Sathya Sai Institutions is effective time management. The boys put up a creditable programme and also performed well on their mid-term exams starting the next day. This time-management quality of course is so useful in today's demanding world where one always has to do multi-tasking while simultaneously resolving conflicting and demanding priorities.

JAN 29, 2006 : HRIDAY PUSHPAM - A PROGRAMME BY THE BRINDAVAN BOYS

Sundays in Brindavan are always special. On each Sunday the devotees of Bangalore start the bhajans in the morning and it is continued the whole day up to the point when Bhagavan enters the Hall again in the afternoon, and ends only when He signals for arathi at the end of the afternoon darshan. This gives an opportunity for the devotees to be immersed in devotional singing the entire day. Sundays are also special as some of the devotees from Puttaparthi also come down for the day and there is a full house in Sai Ramesh Hall.

After Swami arrived in Sai Ramesh Hall in the afternoon, He signalled to the boys to start their programme. His Excellency, the Governor of Karnataka, Sri T.N. Chaturvedi was also present that day, as he had come to Brindavan to seek Bhagavan's grace. Readers of this column may recall that Sri Chaturvedi was the chief guest at the Institute's Convocation on November 22nd last year. (To read the convocation report again, click here).

The programme "Hrudaya Pushpam" (the flower of the heart) by the students was a mix of soulful group songs interspersed with speeches. The songs varying from Hindi, Telugu and English lifted the entire atmosphere and also lit up a beautiful smile on Bhagavan's face. In between each song the students stood up to express their love, narrate their experiences, and thank Bhagavan for the wonderful opportunity.

Sreejith expressed his love for Swami in 4 different languages - Bengali, Hindi, Malayalam, and English and thanked Him for being his only solace and for helping us to be in bliss whenever He is near us. Asutosh Jha prayed to the Lord to make us true instruments in His hands and remember Him always come what may.Nishant Verma related how Bhagavan once cured him of his paralytic attack. He said that our every breath and heart-beat speaks only one thing - "Swami we can't live without You." Akshay Kamath said that the small squirrel that helped build the Ramasetu (bridge across Sri Lanka) and the flute of Lord Krishna are immortalised. It is similarly our duty also to become immortalised as His instruments.

 

Sai Giridhar feelingly prayed to Him that we realize the beautiful relationship we share - that we live for You and You alone. Vivek Thacker speaking in Hindi expressed his love through a poem (a shaire) which conveyed that our relationship is deeper than love also.

Another speaker expressed that before man realises that desires are not going to reap him any fruit, he ends his term on earth. But we are lucky that our Lord Sai has shown us the reality and has told us that He is our only motive.

The last speaker expressed his gratitude to Swami for He gave him life. He was a still-born baby when he came out of his mother's womb and only when his grand-mother put the baby on Swami's altar and also applied some vibhuti did the baby come to life. He called Swami his true mother for She gave him life.

Wonderful also were the songs that they sang that day. The songs included "Maa Prana Daivam", "Kaise jiyoon", "Every moment of my life", "O maa O maa", "Sai Matha Biddalam", "I keep feeling", "O Nesthama", and "There is something special in your love". The last song was "Maa Jeevana adhaarama", meaning the very basis of our life is our Lord! The programme ended at about 6:30 PM after which there were bhajans followed by arathi.

FEB 5TH: BHAKTI SAGAR - A STUDENT PROGRAMME ON BHAKTI

 

The following Sunday again saw another programme offered by the students immediately after the end of their exams week. The presentation that the students had planned was to highlight the profundity of the great teachings on Navavidha bhakti or the nine-fold path of devotion, on which Swami has talked about on many, many occasions.

After Swami had taken His place on the dais, He signalled to the boys who were holding an oversized card to come up to Him. After seeing the card the boys had prepared, He blessed them and asked them to start the programme.

The programme followed a similar format to the previous programme in which a speaker first expounded on a quality of bhakti and this was immediately followed by a song. Thus alternating between a speech and a song, the boys explained some of the major aspects of the ninefold path of bhakti to everyone's appreciation.

The first speaker talked of Shravanam, the foremost step of devotion giving the example of Parishith's exemplary devotion. This was followed by the song "Saptaswara". The second speaker highlighted the Keertanam aspect of Bhakthi, referring to saints like Meerabhai, Purandara Dasa etc. The song that followed was "Ram Bhajana Karo Mann". A small talk on Vishnusmaranam was followed by the Tamil song "Easwaramba". Padasevanam or worship of the Lotus Feet was the next aspect to be discussed. Vandanam or salutation was followed by the song "Vande Janani Vidyadayini" a song extolling and saluting Mother Saraswati. Referring to Hanuman as the best example of Dasyam (servitude), the speaker quoted several events from the life of Hanuman including the famous one wherein when Mother Sita gives him a pearl necklace, Hanuman bites each pearl and throws them away after putting them to his ear as he could not hear them say "Ram, Ram". This engaging program ended with a rousing Qawali, "Shirdiwale Sai Baba" to which the entire audience joined in clapping and chorus.

At the end of the program, prasadam was distributed to all. Swami also blessed all the students and the devotees profusely with His beneficent gaze for a long time before He retired to Trayee Brindavan.

FEB 6TH: CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS IN SAI RAMESH HALL

After a hiatus of a few years, Swami graciously permitted the celebration of the Chinese New Year in His Divine Presence. Accordingly, about 200 people of Chinese origin, hailing from Hong Kong , Singapore and Indonesia assembled in Brindavan during the first week of February. Putting up with myriad difficulties (due to limited infrastructural facilities in Brindavan) they nevertheless bridged barriers of distance and temporal difficulties to come together as one unit through intense practice and present a seamless Chinese New Year program on the morning of February 6th.

 
 
 
Sai Ramesh Hall is decorated for the Chinese New Year
 

The Chinese Lunar New Year was actually on January 29th. However, the New Year is celebrated over a period of 15 days and the 8th day is specially marked for honouring the parents. Hence in this year of the Dog, on Feb 6th - the 8th day after the New Year, the Chinese gathered at His Lotus Feet to show their filial love to our beloved Divine Father and Mother Sai.

The entire Sai Ramesh Hall was decked out with intricate floral patterns with large helpings of the auspicious Chinese colour of red. The program began on a pounding note when Bhagavan was escorted from His home in Trayee Brindavan to Sai Ramesh Hall to the resonant sounds of drums with a pair of lion dancers and dolls leading the procession. When He reached Sai Ramesh Hall, Swami was given a traditional Chinese welcome before He ascended the dais.

After Swami had taken His seat on the dais, the lion dancers gave a vibrant display of their art. Devotees from Parthi are familiar with the lion dance since the students have performed it during the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet on January 11th this year and also earlier. However, for most of the devotees in Karnataka, this was the first time and they watched it with wonderment and joy.The lion dance has an important place in Chinese culture and is traditionally performed to inaugurate important events like starting new businesses or other social events. It is also believed that this traditionally brings good luck to the people and the pounding drums drive away all the bad luck and evil in their lives.Additionally the association with the lion's strength and character (like courage and fearlessness in all situations) is supposed to bring good fortune and prosperity in the coming New Year and help achieve success in the ultimate goal of life.

After Swami was welcomed with roses and presented with the day's agenda for His blessings, the programme started with different couples presenting in turn the following items to our divine parent: Chinese tea, two types of Chinese cakes - Nian Gao and Fa Gao, Mandarin oranges, a pair of scrolls, and red packets (Hang Baos) containing sweets as gifts to Swami.

Swami accepted each present with grace and dignity. It was very touching to see Him pick mandarin oranges from both the gentleman and the lady presenting it to Him and lovingly stacking the oranges delicately in His lap to the delight of the congregation. Swami also spent a lot of time going over the photographs of seva done by our brothers and sisters after the recent devastating tsunami in the region.

While all the presentation ceremony was going on, there were many in the crowd who wondered - is there a special significance in these gifts? We did not have to wait long for an answer, for the presentation ceremony was followed by a drama elaborating on the significance of the Chinese New Year traditions and culture.


Using a back-drop of Malay and an Indian family visiting their Chinese friends on the occasion of the Chinese New Year, the Chinese traditions were performed and explained to their young sons. Thus we learnt that pairs of oranges are presented as a mark of respect and also as a symbol of wealth - to wish people good health and that all matters in their life will run smoothly.

Chinese tea is offered to guests during the Chinese New Year and also on festive occasions for good health and longevity. Two types of cakes are offered to guests during the New Year. The moon shaped Nian Gao cake which is a New Year cake and the Fa Gao cake for prosperity. A pair of scrolls is offered to guests with inscriptions in Chinese letters to wish good luck, fortune and peace in their lives like - "Wish you a happy, prosperous New Year" or "May all your wishes come true in this New Year".

 
 
 
New Year scrolls being shown to Swami
 

And finally, through the medium of the drama they explained the significance of the red packets or "Hong Bao". They are given on all auspicious occasions (like Birthdays and weddings also) and not just on the New Year. The red envelope is decorated with Chinese characters for luck and is usually given with money inside it for luck and wealth. It is a Chinese practise to give an even amount of money as a gift rather the custom of an odd amount prevalent elsewhere. However the red packets given to Swami (and later distributed as prasad to the devotees) contained sweets and not money!

 
The Hong Bao or the red packets of Prasadam
being explained in the drama
 
Arathi brings the Chinese New Year program to close

After the short drama there was a chanting of the six-syllable mantra Om Mane Padme Hum, which means that by the practise of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech and mind of a Buddha.

Following this, Lunar New year songs and Chinese and Sanskrit bhajans were sung by the devotees before mangala arathi was taken to signify the end of a memorable morning of celebration. Heart to Heart would also like to take this opportunity to say "Xiang Nian Kuai Le" or Happy New Year in Mandarin to our readers all over the globe.

FEB 12: KAVI SAMMELAN - A POETRY READING PROGRAMME IN SAI RAMESH HALL

For the third Sunday in a row, the Brindavan students offered a unique programme for our Lord. A bunch of budding poets - 15 in number, sat arrayed in front of Him, all ready to read their poems of love and gratitude that they had penned in 13 different languages.

After Swami had entered Sai Ramesh Hall around 5:00 PM and given His darshan to all, He signalled to the boys to start. Two boys immediately went up to Him and showed Him a card seeking His blessings and presented the programme to Him. The programme started with a brief introduction by 2 students in both Hindi and English (where they addressed Swami as the poet of all the poets) and then the presentation was underway.

The poets were all dressed for the occasion in the traditional costumes of the states where they hailed from. Each poet got up in turn and stood in front of Swami and recited His offering to Him with feeling and love. The first poet rendered his poem in the grandhika style of Telugu and in flowing language described the glory and grandeur of the Avatar. This was followed by a poem in Hindi delivered in classical style and referred to the great good fortune of the residents of Brindavan and the contemporaries of the Avatar and to rejoice in His boundless grace. This was followed by a poem in Kannada highlighting a famous sloka from the Bhagavad Gita on Nishkama karma "Karmanyevadhikarasche ma phaleshu kadachana" which means that you have the right to work but not to the fruits thereof.

The Nepali poem that followed next praised our Lord Sai as the greatest gift that mankind can ever hope to receive. This was followed in turn by a poem in English which extolled the glory of Sai's mission and the role of His students who are His only property. The Tamil poem that was next resonated well with the large Tamil speaking audience that was present that day in Sai Ramesh Hall. The poem raised the question as to how we can adequately describe Him when we fail to even comprehend Him? These were followed by more poems in Marathi, Malayalam, Tulu, Gujarati, Oriya, Bengali, and again in Nepali and Telugu all expressing in one form or other their love for Him and their gratitude for what He has done for them.

At the end of their programme Swami was immensely pleased. All the poets were also thrilled at Swami's pleasure, for they live only to please Him. Slowly Swami got up from His chair and asked all the students to come up to Him. Our students don't need a second invite and immediately swarmed up to Him and milled all around Him for He was rewarding them with the rare and much coveted group photograph. Swami posed with them for long till the photographers were also well satisfied, and then in His inimitable style started joking with the boys. He called the boy who had narrated a poem in Gujarati and said "pagadiwala marriage ko jata" - the turbaned fellow is getting married.

Swami also showed His omnipresence to the Hindi poet by telling him the exact name of the place in Bihar where he hailed from and blessed him profusely. Thus He gave a lot of joy to all with a word here and a smile there. The programme ended with the song "Hum ko tumse pyar hai"- Swami we all love You!!

Swami raised His Hand and blessed everyone before He slowly wended His way back to His home in Trayee Brindavan


FEB 10TH TO 14TH: A YAGNAM CONDUCTED IN SAI KRISHAN KALYANA MANTAP

With the blessings of Bhagavan the following pujas and chantings were conducted in Sai Krishan Kalyana Mantap every morning starting from the 10th of February for five days. Bhagavan came to the Kalyana Mantap (Marriage Hall) to bless the priests on the first day and the priests recited the following everyday over the next 5 days:

 

1. Ganapathi puja
2. Punyavachanam
3. Surya Mandalarchanam
4. Nyasam
5. Yantraradhanam
6. Mahasouram Parayanam
7. 108 Suyra namaskarams with Tricha and Aruna mantrams
8. Surya Sahara Naamarchanam
9. Nivedanam
10. Nirajanam and Mantra Pushpa

 

On the fifth day, February 14th a more elaborate ritual was done for the Poorna Ahuti (the final ceremony). A small fire pit was erected in the centre of the kalyana mantap for the yagnam or the fire sacrifice. The yagnam started in the morning around 8 AM in Sai Krishan Kalyana Mantap.

However, we were all waiting in Sai Ramesh Hall for Swami's Darshan, when around 9:15 AM all the devotees were requested to go to the kalyana mantap. Swami arrived in the kalyana mantap just a little before 10:00 AM and took His designated place.

When the ritualistic prayers connected with the yagnam were over, Swami blessed the couple that had conducted the yagnam and also materialised a gold chain for the lady and asked the husband to tie it around the neck of his wife. Swami also distributed clothes to the Brahmin priests who had conducted the prayers over these 5 days.

 
Blessing the couple that conducted the yagna...
 
Distributing clothes to the Brahmin Priests

He next asked the priest to recite certain Vedic slokas. After that He also consigned traditional offerings wrapped in a red cloth and gold coins and other precious offerings also into the fire to bring the sacrifice to a close.

 
Consigning precious offerings to the fire...
 
Blessing the devotees with sanctified rice...

After that came a ritual that everyone looks forward to. Swami walked around the Hall sprinkling akshada (turmeric coated rice) on everyone in both the ladies side as well as the gents' side. He then sat for some time giving everyone the bliss of His darshan while bhajans were sung.

Then after taking of arathi He again blessed the couple that had conducted the yagnam and also posed for photographs with the family before leaving for His residence.

 
The managala arathi being taken ...
 
Sumptuous prasadam being distributed to one and all...

A sumptuous lunch prasadam of tamarind rice, curd rice and sweet rice was quickly and efficiently distributed to all the devotees at the end of the ceremony through multiple counters arranged in all corners of Sai Ramesh Hall.

MANY VISITORS SEEK SWAMI'S BLESSINGS

When Swami is in Brindavan, because of its close proximity to the metropolitan city of Bangalore, there is a steady stream of visitors who come to seek Swami's blessings. Even though Swami was in Brindavan in February, not the normal time when He usually comes to Brindavan, there was more than the usual quota of VIPS seeking an audience with the Lord. We are not aware of everyone who came to see the Lord during His stay there, but we were able to take the pictures of the few who came during the public darshan or bhajan time or were sitting in Sai Ramesh Hall while awaiting the Lord.

 

On February 2nd, the Karnataka State Chief Minister designate Sri H.D. Kumaraswamy and the Deputy Chief Minister designate Sri B.S. Yediyurappa came to seek Swami's blessings before taking the oath of office the next day. Swami received them warmly and gave them an audience in the interview room.

On Sunday, February 5th, the Ashram also had another very distinguished visitor. The Vice-President of the country Sri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who had landed in the HAL airport in Bangalore that afternoon, came to Sai Ramesh Hall accompanied by the Governor Sri T.N. Chaturvedi later in the evening close to 6 PM. They sat through the students' programme on Bhakti Sagar (reported above) and were later blessed with an audience with Swami inside Trayee Brindavan.

On the evening of February 8th, Sri Sri Sri Ravishankar, of the Art of Living Foundation came to have an audience with Bhagavan.

As most of you know the Art of Living Foundation was celebrating their silver jubilee in the Garden City on February 17th, 18th and the 19th. Swami gave an audience to Sri Sri Sri Ravishankar later in the interview room.

Taking advantage of the proximity of Brindavan, all the 850 students of Swami's school in Muddenhalli which is just 56 kilometres from Brindavan came by buses to have Swami's Darshan on February 13th.

The ever merciful Lord, who normally sits on the dais in the evening for the bhajans, chose to come down from the dais and give these boys the bliss of His darshan from up close.

FEB 18TH: SWAMI LEAVES FOR PARTHI


It was an idyllic time in Brindavan. The weather was perfect, and Swami was at His amiable best. All the devotees of Karnataka and the students of Brindavan who were pining for the Lord drank their fill to their heart's content during the few days that He was there.

Unexpectedly on the morning of February 18th, just after the conclusion of the morning darshan, Swami waited for the arathi to be completed. Then He raised both His hands and blessed everyone on both the Ladies and the Gents' side. Then turning to the Ladies in the first row He announced, "I am going to Parthi."

And right after the darshan there was a scramble. Bags were hurriedly packed, taxis were booked, bus tickets had to be arranged, breakfast had to be eaten in a hurry and soon there was a steady stream of humanity taking the long dusty road back to Puttaparthi.

Swami left His abode in Brindavan exactly at 1:00 PM on the road home back to Parthi, where He arrived around 4:30 PM and was received with full honours.



FEB 20TH: A PROGRAMME BY THE PARTHI BOYS

After Swami had settled down in Parthi, the third year undergraduate class of the Institute welcomed and felicitated Him with a well-prepared programme on the 20th of February on the theme of EDUCARE, to express their love and gratitude to Him for His benevolence while they were students in the Institute. Labelled as a "gratitude programme", the graduating class from the undergraduate programme, the graduate programme and the High School traditionally present these programmes in the month of February just prior to their annual examinations in March. It is a time for emotional farewells, for fond reminiscences, for fervent prayers and sorrowful leave-taking from the physical presence of Bhagavan, Who has been their Divine Mother, Father and Friend since their joining the campus.

Swami came unexpectedly early that evening, just before 3 PM. Most of the 64 undergraduate boys taking part in the programme were seated in the Bhajan Hall and Swami spent a few minutes chatting with them prior to the programme.

Swami questioned them about the theme and immediately the boys showed Swami the card they had prepared depicting a pond with a lotus in the centre and some leaves around. The boys explained to Swami that they were like the pond and that He was like the beautiful lotus in the centre of their lives! Swami went on to explain the subtleties and intricate details of various stories selected by the boys. When the boys were asked by Swami "Where is Sita?" on seeing a boy dressed as Rama, the entire Hall was filled with laughter.

The boys immediately took the cue and narrated briefly the story from the Ramayana that was to be depicted. Swami went on to explain that Rama was the caretaker of all and that Bharatha was the ruler of Ayodhya. The boys in reply said that Swami was the caretaker of all. Swami then said that He would come for the programme and asked the boys to get ready and assemble everything outside.

The programme began in the Divine presence at around 3:20 PM . The various aspects of Educare: E-Education, D-Duty and Devotion, U-Understanding, C-Compassion, A-Action, R-Reverence, and ultimately E-Enlightenment were depicted as individual characters who explained the importance of each value through instances from Swami's life, various parables and stories from mythology.

The importance of Swami's free education system was highlighted through an incident where a graduate was asked in an interview what he had received from Swami (the interviewer was referring to the many rings, watches, pendants etc that Swami manifests as gifts for those He wills).

 
   
A speaker explaining one of the values of Educare

The boy replied that Swami had given him the most important gem that had made him what he was - the gift of free quality education and more importantly, self-confidence!

Duty and devotion was portrayed through a small skit depicting the story from the Ramayana where Bharatha on being unsuccessful in convincing Rama to return back to Ayodhya, then reverentially asks Him for His sandals and with great devotion takes it back to Ayodhya to fulfil his duty of ruling the kingdom in Lord Rama's absence.

Speakers next spoke about how their hostel life had taught them the importance of understanding and oneness.

Compassion was highlighted by the story of Siddhartha (Gautama Buddha) saving the swan. A contemporary story was related next of a benevolent Australian who agreed to pay the medical school fees for a poor boy who had undergone a major heart surgery in Swami’s hospital after reading about his story in the Healing Touch section of Heart2Heart.

 

Nishkama Karma - action without expecting the fruits thereof - was highlighted by a story from Swami's Chinna Katha, wherein a boy is sent by the father to buy fruits for the puja.

The boy however, comes back empty handed and explains that the fruits meant for the prayer had been given by him to a beggar boy who had not eaten in days. The father is impressed by the son's act and declares that he has imbibed the good values of Bharat and had earned the true fruit of action.

 
   
The boy comes back empty-handed for the puja

Reverence was highlighted by the Mahabharatha story where Yudhistira removed his armour and crown, walked across the battle-field and sought the blessings of his grandfather Bheeshma.

Moved by this reverence, Bheeshma blessed Yudhistira to be victorious even though he was arrayed against him on the battle-field. The boys also presented that by following Swami's teachings, one could achieve enlightenment.

In an unusual twist, there was a blindfolded boy sitting dejected on a stone to convey that without these values life is not worth living. In the end, after all the values had been touched upon, in a dramatic gesture the boy removes the blind-fold to signify that he has acquired all the values and then thanks Swami on behalf of everyone for giving us these values that are so vital to life.

 

The whole presentation was interspersed with songs between these skits and speeches. Many soul-stirring songs were sung that day, including

"Maa Prana Daivam", "Hum Tere Hain Sai","Dil Yehi Kehta Hai", "Marichithi Vemo", "Yenta Manchi Teepi", and "Duniya Tere Bina Kuch Bhi Nahin".

 

 
   
The singing of group songs after every speech or skit

As each new song would start, a rose would be presented to Swami by one boy while another group of 2 boys would present Him the words to the song written in neat calligraphic handwriting.

 
A rose for the Lord before every song
 
Lyrics to the song being sung is given to the Lord

Swami spent some time talking to all these boys who went up to Him at the start of each song, and also blessed them by putting His hand on their heads.

At the end, there was multi-lingual rally wherein 8 boys gave a very short speech for just a minute or two in duration, in eight different languages, on the theme of Motherly Love.

The languages they spoke in were Tamil, Tulu, Kannada, Lithuanian, Nepali, Manipuri, Hindi and Telugu.

The program was over just a little before 5:00 PM after which arathi was taken before Bhagavan went back to His Poornachandra residence.

 
   
Speaking about Swami's motherly love in Lithuanian

FEB 23rd: A PROGRAM BY THE 10TH AND 12TH CLASS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

 

Not to be left behind, the 10th and the 12th Class of the High School - the graduating class - had also prepared a programme to express their gratitude to Swami for all that He had done for them during their stay here.

The programme started with the students singing songs of gratitude and love, after they had their programme card blessed by Swami.

This was followed by some of the students expressing their feelings for all the grace Swami had showered on them.

Among these, some of the students narrated their personal experience of how Swami had saved their lives or the lives of their family members on numerous occasions.

Students showing their card to Swami
   

Jeemut expressed how Swami had saved the life of his grandmother.

"Once while Swami was returning to Parthi from Brindavan and as was the prevailing custom and is even now, Swami broke a few coconuts before embarking on the journey. Swami called a boy and whispered something in his ear. The boy nodded his head and got up and started scanning the students. Spotting my father, he signalled him to go up to the dais as Swami was calling him. My father rushed and knelt before Swami. Picking up a broken coconut, Swami handed it to my father. Immediately after darshan, my father rang up my grandfather in Assam and enquired about his mother’s health. My father was shocked to know that my grandmother was suffering from severe gastric ulcer for a month! My grandfather had not told my father thinking that he would be disturbed. Surrendering completely to God, my father took the coconut, cut it into miniscule pieces and with the Lord’s form in his heart and a prayer on his lips, dropped it into the letter box after addressing it to my grandfather in Assam.

 
   
Jeemut talking about Swami saving his grandmother's life

Fortunately, due to Swami’s grace, the envelope arrived just in time, when my grand mother’s condition was getting critical. Partaking of the remedy given by the greatest doctor, my grandmother was cured within a week, with no sign of the gastric ulcer remaining what so ever! The disease had disappeared completely without a trace! Swami had shown yet again that when man’s hands fold in a sincere prayer, God’s open to shower his blessings. "

Tarun Bali of the tenth standard talked about how his brother got into a medicine rack kept by his mother who was a medical practitioner and happened to rub some transparent liquid into his eyes. Being a Friday Islamic holiday in the town of Tahalla, Libya in North Africa, there were unavoidable delays in getting the young child to the hospital.

When they finally reached the hospital, staff gave the desperate parents the bad news that the liquid had not spared the young child's eyes and he would probably be blind for life. Day and night the parents prayed to Swami but each day saw the sight deteriorating further.

However, on the 11th day, when the dressing was removed they found that the eyes had been spared due to Swami's grace and the child can see even today without the use of spectacles!

 
   
Tarun Bali talking about his brother's vision...

Kamal Chand of Std XII related how Swami had saved his father from not receiving a scratch in a motor cycle accident while the photograph of Swami in his pocket was torn to pieces.

 
Kamal Chand talking to the audience.....
 
S. Sugeet narrating his experience...

S.Sugeet of the Xth class related how when his mother met with an accident and was lying seriously wounded in the countryside, a competent doctor arrived out of nowhere and provided timely medical treatment that saved his mother's life. He said that the unknown doctor who disappeared after giving the treatment was none other than our beloved Swami.

Jeffrey Erhard also of the Xth class related,

"I would like to narrate an experience that changed the course of my life. For my first few years of schooling I was studying in the United States. My mother tried to teach me to read but I just could not catch on. I remember that it was like a torture just to read a few sentences. Eventually I was tested and it was discovered that I was dyslexic. Many different remedies were tried but nothing seemed to help. In my third standard I was very frustrated and somehow wanted to read. I remember clearly that I took an easy to read children's book and hid under a table so that I can concentrate. I struggled through 2 or 3 pages word by word and finally gave up. In my fourth standard we were here in Prashanti Nilayam. One day when I was sitting in the Mandir for darshan, Swami came out and on his rounds glided up to me and pressed mysteriously on my head. I began to read. At first my mother did not believe me when I told her that I was reading. But when she realized that I really was reading, she knew Swami had changed my life ".

 
   

Jeffrey Earhard talking about Swami's
influence in his life


Though out the programme, the students pleased Bhagavan with some heartrending songs in English, Hindi & Telugu which were leavened in between the speeches. The various songs sung by the students were -

"Kya Kush Naseeb Jo Sai Ko Paale (Hindi)", " Pyaare Sai Hamaare (Hindi)", "Dandaalaya Dandaalaya (Telugu)", " Smile your ever loving smile ", "We want to be with you Oh Lord!", " Kannula Mundara (Telugu)", "Teri Hai Zameen Tera Aasmaan (Hindi)", and " Dil Yehi Kahataa Hai Maa (Hindi)".

 

 
   
The students sing for Swami

The boys presented roses and the script of the songs. Swami lovingly accepted and spoke to the students & blessed them profusely.

 
Swami blessing the students
 
A beautiful card for Swami

The students also made beautiful greeting cards which were appreciated by the loving Lord.

 

The programme concluded with the students thanking Swami in various languages such as Gujarati, Marathi, Nepali, Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Telugu and English.

In view of their coming Board Exams, Swami also blessed Vibhuthi packets and the pens with which they would write their board examinations.

 

Getting vibhuti blessed by Swami
   

 

Pleased by their effort, Swami blessed them with an unexpected Divine Discourse emphasizing the path that a student must follow in his life. He said,

"It is very nice to know that so many of you have been here from Primary School and have studied till your 12th class. It is very heartening to note that you have secured good marks and a good name. But in the Primary School your heart was full of compassion, love, feelings of caring and sharing. There was a feeling of brotherhood. But once you come to Higher Secondary School your behaviour and actions deteriorate. They become cheap and mean.

Your words are full of devotion and make all happy. But some of you have taken to the wrong path fostering a perverted mind. Think for yourself, how your minds are.

The Divine Discourse
   

Human life is a combination of Manas, Buddhi, Chitta, Ahamkara and the Body. These five are most essential for liberation. Above all, the mind must not be polluted. You must never expect for that which does not belong to you. Be cautious with those things that do not belong to you.

Whatever you do, do it as an offering to Swami, to please Him. Tell yourself - this is not mine. Who am I? From the microcosm to the macrocosm, everything is Divine. From the mosquito to the elephant, all are Divine! The characters keep changing just as in a drama, but all roles are played by Him alone. All words and songs are His. Only the attire is different. Whatever is said and seen is all Divine.

The whole Viswa is Viswarupa. Therefore, we must have Viswa Prema. Only then you can see God and be God. Differences and anger make you an animal. Animals do fight between themselves. But should we also fight like that? Whatever you do, it should be like gold. God is Hiranyagarbha. What is the specialty of gold? It remains as gold even if mixed with mud. You all are golden. But you have joined with the mud. To purify you all, noble people have to come and clean you. But you all entertain doubts. Why do doubts come? It comes because of the feeling of difference. I am different and you are different

Special Blessings To A Fortunate One

At one point in His Divine Discourse, Swami beckoned to one student sitting in the first line to stand up. Pointing to him, Swami said, "I know everything about everybody. But I act as though I do not know."

 

I know everything about everyone

 
Swami manifests a ring for a student
in the middle of His discourse

Then Swami narrated the story of another student who had lost his mother when he was a young child. Since then, Swami had taken care of this boy and today he was doing his post graduate studies in Swami's college. Bhagavan then signalled for the boy and he came to Swami. This boy happens to be the band leader and our readers must have seen his picture along with that of the band every time they play on festive occasions. Bhagavan patted him and later materialized a green diamond ring and slid it onto his finger, saying that green stands for Kshema (welfare).

He further said, "See, I know all about this boy's family. My true property is Love. I Love all, those whom I see and even those whom I do not. Even at times when I appear angry it is just that I am pretending to be angry. Iswara Sarva Bhootaanaam. It is with this Love that God takes care of this entire Universe. "

FEB 24TH: A THANKSGIVING PRESENTATION BY THE SECOND YEAR POST GRADUATE STUDENTS

Can one describe the relation between a flower and the fragrance, the ocean and its waves, the Lord and His children? To express their love and gratitude to their beloved Lord, the final year post graduate students offered at the Lotus Feet of their Master a bouquet of songs. The boys were part of the programme from the MSc, MBA, MA, M.Tech, and the final year Diploma students of the Music College.

Bhagavan requested the Vice Chancellor to introduce the programme for the evening. He stressed on the need for the passing out students to keep two aspects ever in their mind. One is the 'spiritual vision' and the second is 'social service'. He said that they were now entering the phase of 'active participation' in Bhagavan Baba's Master Plan and Mission .

At 3.45 p.m. the students began their offering. Two students took a beautiful card to Swami. The card was a heart-shaped nest with a mother hen feeding its little chicks. After the "card-boys" were blessed 4 boys took a lovely cake to be cut by Swami which the boys had baked themselves. The words on the icing of the cake read 'I in You, You in me. So we begin, so we end.' As the programme began with a prayer to Lord Ganesha, an ornamental sheet containing the list of songs was presented to Swami.

 
The cake prepared for Swami
 
A card of a mother hen and her chicks prepared
by the students for Swami

This programme too followed the same format as all the previous programmes. The songs were interspersed with short speeches expressing their love towards Swami.

 
The boys singing the group songs
 
Presenting a rose and the lyrics to Swami

Among the songs that they sang were "Jhil Mil Jhil Mil Khilte Taare", " Maa Jeevana Aadhaarama Maa Hrudaya Sangeetama ", " We Love You Swami ", "Sathya Dharmamu Shanti Premalato Nee Nitya Jeevana Yatra Saaginchu", "O Maa Sai Maa", "Enta Premayo Swamiki Enta Premayo Satya Sai Bhagawanuki Enta Premayo", "Ye Bandhan To Pyaar Ka Bandhana Hai Janmo Kaa Sangama Hai", and"O Nestamaa Priyamaina Bandhamaa". The mellifluous sounds of a pair of violins playing in the background lifted the songs to melodious heights.


In all about 25 boys expressed their gratitude in 12 languages - English, Kannada, Hindi, Telugu, Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Konkani, Tamil, Sourashtra and Nepali.

The themes of these little speeches varied from thanking Swami for the education He had given, poetic expression of love and gratitude, nostalgic memories of yesteryears in the primary school, to promising Swami that they would lead their lives by practising Swami's teachings. The last speech - in Telugu - adored the glory and beauty of Swami's words.

The song following this, expressed the prayer of the students that Swami should speak to them. Bhagavan blessed the boys and answered their prayers by giving them a discourse.

 
   
An expression of gratitude

 

It was 4.50 p.m. when Swami stood up and began His discourse. He said,

"To live in this world you need secular education (Hemataaraka Vidya). For the life thereafter you need spiritual education (Brahma Vidya). Even with all great degrees like MA and MBA, with all wealth, affluence and property, and with all name and fame; man is not able to win over the worldly life.

Worldly knowledge will only help in living a comfortable life. What great thing do we gain by merely studying? Chaavu Leni Chaduvu Chaduvavalayu.. one must study that which leads beyond death. All worldly education is like bulbs and fans (negative) whereas spiritual education is the current (positive).

The Divine Discourse
   

Man forgets and is ignorant of the inner current (there is static current even in your hair) and runs after the outer current. Along with secular education, spiritual education should also be acquired. Mere secular education cannot even make an ant move. Once you control your five senses nobody can be greater than you. Everything is contained within man. All is contained in the Viswa Rupa - Cosmic Form. Without realizing this truth undertaking any amount of spiritual pursuit is in vain. All our descriptions of Divinity are waverings of our mind. It has nothing to do with Godhood. That is why Tyagaraja said - 'Who can ever describe You O Lord?'

When bad thoughts enter your mind, replace them with good thoughts. If you practise this, you will become virtuous. All great people have achieved their greatness in this manner. Can anything happen without God's Will?

The human being is the one with a single desire not the one with multiple desires. Jantu Naam Nara Janma Durlabham. Human birth is very rare and precious. Do not entertain bad feelings like hatred, jealousy, anger towards anybody. To be truly human, one must control the bestial qualities. However fragrant the flower may be, when it is mixed with dirt it will smell foul.

What is Manasu? 'Ma' means 'I', 'Na' means 'No' or 'remove'. Therefore, remove the ' I' feeling and then 'Su' remains. 'Su' stands for Sugandham - fragrance. Born as a human being, belonging to the human race, if we go by 'Ma' and 'Ma' alone it will lead to Maya. Therefore remove the Ma - 'I' feeling and then Sugandham will come into your life. Su symbolises Sugandhaswarupa, Supriya, Sunandamaya, Sukhaswarupa.....

Good and bad belong to you. God has no role to play in this. He is the very embodiment of Love and Peace. Under any circumstances, be peaceful. You will surely find peace in your vicinity."

Swami concluded His discourse by singing the bhajan Hari Bhajan Bina Sukha Shanti Nahin. After a few bhajans by the boys, Swami took arati and retired for the day.

FEB 25: AN ENCHANTING EVENING OF PROGRAMMES

It was quite an evening, on the day before Sivarathri. After Swami came into Sai Kulwant Hall, He sent a lot of boys scurrying over to Poornachandra. It soon became clear why - when they came back carrying a couple of watermelons each from Poornachandra for distribution in Sai Kulwant Hall.

 
 
 
Bringing the watermelons from Poornachandra
 

It was quite a sight to see the boys bring the watermelons two at a time and give it to the crowd and then run back again for more. It reminded all of us of Lord Rama's monkey army that helped Him build a bridge across the ocean to Lanka by bringing a stone each and dropping it into the ocean.

 

But the evening was not over yet. Swami then called Sri AVS Raju, an elderly devotee of long standing. He is the author of many books of poetry on Swami and Swami blessed him by releasing some more books that he had written on this auspicious day.

Swami later gave him permission to read his poetry to the crowd and he sat right beside the Lord and read his Telugu poems of praise of the Lord. Though many in the crowd did not understand the words, the feelings of devotion came through and were appreciated by all.

Sri AVS Raju reading his poetry
   

 

But the evening was still not over. Swami then called Sri Ajit Poppat a devotee from London and asked him to speak to the crowd. Mr. Poppat started off by asking the question - 'What is discipline? Is it just sitting silently or speaking softly and so on, or is it something more profound.'

He then devoted the rest of his speech to addressing this question. Speaking in a mixture of English, Hindi with a smattering of Gujarati, and quoting Sanskrit verses often, Mr. Ajit in his humorous style drew upon his experiences with Swami to get his important message across. He said that we are not animals or birds but humans and even more - we are Sai Bhaktas. We should always listen to the inner voice and lead a life in light of Swami's teachings so we can be considered disciplined and true devotees of the Lord.

It was an enchanting evening and a precursor of the exciting promises that the morrow - Maha Sivarathri day - had in store for one and all.

Sri Ajit Poppat addressing the crowd
   

FEB 26TH AND 27TH: MAHA SIVARATHRI CELEBRATIONS IN SAI KULWANT HALL

The Morning Programme on February 26th

Maha Sivarathri, the night devoted to Lord Siva, is celebrated over a couple of days in Parthi, as we have a night long Akhanda Bhajan session that lasts for over 12 hours. On the morning of Sivarathri day, the Institute boys traditionally sing Siva stotrams and songs in praise of the glory of Lord Siva to usher in the day in an auspicious and fitting manner.

 
 
 
Swami being welcomed by nadaswaram music
 

February 26th, Mahasivarathri Day, dawned to an eager, expectant crowd in Sai Kulwant Hall - a crowd fully saturated with fervent and devotional feelings on this Holy Day. The entire Sai Kulwant Hall was fully decorated with festoons decorating the roof and floral decorations adorning the façade of Sai Kulwant Hall. Swami entered Sai Kulwant Hall around 8:30 in the morning and was welcomed by the Institute Nadaswaram and the Pancha Vadyam group in the traditional Indian custom. After He had taken His place on the dais, the Vedam chanting continued for some time.



There was an air of hushed expectancy in the Hall. Earlier in the morning 4 spanking new red cars that had also been adorned with floral decorations, had been driven into Sai Kulwant Hall and it was quite obvious that Swami was going to be presenting it to some chosen devotees.

Soon the mystery was cleared. Swami called Sri Sanjay Sahni, Principal of the Brindavan Campus, and gave him some instructions. Sri Sanjay Sahni then announced that Swami was going to felicitate 4 long term devotees who had rendered yeoman service to the organization.

 

 

 

 


The first was Sri A. Ramakrishna. Sri Ramakrishna, now retired, was the Vice-President of ECC (a part of the Larsen & Toubro Group). ECC was the chief construction company that had executed many of Swami's social projects. Notable among them were the water projects in Anantapur, Medak and Mehboobnagar districts. The Chennai water project and the East and West Godavari water projects were also executed by them. They were also instrumental in constructing the Super-speciality Hospitals in Puttaparthi and Brindavan, the Chaitanya Jyothi Museum and the Sai Kulwant Hall. When his name was announced, Sri Ramakrishna came up to Him and was garlanded by another devotee standing next to Swami. Swami then personally handed over the keys of the car which had been driven and was now parked in front of the dais. Sri Ramakrishna thanked Swami profusely for providing him the chance to participate in the divine mission and also said that ever since his group had been of service to Swami, it had grown by leaps and bounds. He further said that Swami was doing all the work and giving him all the credit. Swami then personally escorted Sri Ramakrishna to the car and asked him to seat himself beside the driver and was ceremoniously driven a short distance.

 

 

Next was Sri Kondal Rao, Senior Technical Consultant to Govt. of Andhra Pradesh for the Sri Sathya Sai Water Supply Project, and also the Chief Engineer supervising the Chennai Water Supply Project. Mr. Kondal Rao had been closely working with L&T in the execution of these projects. Sri Kondal Rao in the true spirit of dedicated service worked night and day in the execution of the projects over the years.

Sri Kondal Rao was overwhelmed by Swami's Grace and fell at His feet and took padanamaskar. Swami then commanded Sri Kondal Rao to get into the new car and profusely blessed him for all his service to the organization.

Sri Kondal Rao being gifted with a new car
   

The other two who were similarly honoured were our very own - Sri K. Chakravarthi, Secretary of the Central Trust and Dr. G. Venkataraman, Director of the Prashanti Digital Studio and Radio Sai Global Harmony. Sri Chakravarthi, joined the Indian Administrative Service (Andhra Pradesh Cadre) in 1960; He worked as the Collector of the Anantapur District and held various positions including Finance Secretary (projects), Commissioner of Relief, and Commissioner of Commercial Taxes.

He left the IAS in 1981 to become the first Registrar of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning and ably nurtured the fledgling institute in its initial years. Currently he is the Secretary of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and is one of the busiest men in the organization working long hours each day handling all his myriad responsibilities.

 
   
Sri Chakravarthi getting Swami's blessings

 

Dr G. Venkataraman, who surely needs no introduction to our readers, had a very illustrious career in public service and research and is a former Vice-Chancellor of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. He also served at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai and the Indira Gandhi Atomic Research Centre in Kalpakkam.

He was the Founder Director of ANURAG, a unit of DRDO - Defence Research and Development Organization. He is the recipient of the Sir C. V. Raman Centenary Award, Indira Gandhi Award and the Padma Shri Award from the Government of India. He has authored many books including 'Journey into Light: Life and Science of C. V. Raman'. He currently teaches at the Institute besides running the Prashanti Digital Studio and Radio Sai.

Dr. Venkataraman being honored for his contributions    

After all the four had been honoured thus and presented with their gifts of a car, Swami posed for photographs with them. First He posed with Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Kondal Rao and praised both of them profusely for their contribution.

 
Sri Kondal Rao on the left and Sri Ramakrishna
 
Dr G. Venkatraman on the left and Sri K. Chakravarthi with Swami

Next He posed with Sri K. Chakravarthi and Dr. Venkataraman and listed all their achievements over the years to the boys seated in front of Him.

After this heart-warming ceremony was over, it was the turn of the Institute boys to sing songs in praise of our Lord Shiva Himself. About 9 singers of the Institute sang the following songs and stotrams that was a fitting finale to the ceremony we had just witnessed.

 
Ashwath Narayan singing Shiva Shankari
 
Amey Deshpande and Guru Prasad
singing Om Namah Shivaya

The songs that they had selected were "Chidananda Roopaha Shivoham Shivoham", "Bilva stotram", "Lingashtakam", "Vishwanaataashtakam", "Neela kandara deva", "Sada Shiva Bhajamyaham", "Shiva Shiva Shiva Shiva Yanaraada", "Shiva Shankari", and the last song was a well rendered duet "Om Namah Shivaya". The boys were ably backed by 3 key-boards, 2 violins, 1 flute, 1 tabla, and 1 harmonium.

The tiny tots of the Primary School had made many cards and handicrafts especially for Bhagavan on this auspicious day. Swami with His immense love and grace asked them to bring it to Him and talked with all the little ones who had toiled hard to prepare these gifts for Him.

 

Tiny Tots from the Primary School show
their handicrafts to Swami
 
Cutting the cake

Swami finally cut the cakes prepared by many groups in the Ashram before He went home to Poornachandra. Prasadam was also distributed to all the devotees.

The Evening Programme on February 26th

The Sivarathri evening programme is one that most of the devotees look forward to all year, especially after Swami resumed the lingodhbhavam (bringing out the lingam from within Him) a few years ago. The queues to get into Sai Kulwant Hall started forming early so as to get a vantage position to witness this unique, divine event.

 
Cloths for a safari suit being distributed
 
Calculators are taken for being blessed before distribution

Swami was welcomed again in the evening by the same Institute Nadaswaram band as in the morning. After His arrival trays containing blue boxes and white safari cloth pieces were brought out and kept for distribution. Swami instructed the boys to begin the distribution of the cloths and the blue coloured boxes that were actually calculators with a musical alarm clock.

 

Swami sat and kept watching the distribution occasionally giving the boys some instructions. After some time to everyone's surprise, Swami got into His car and went towards Poornachandra and later went out again for a short while, leaving all the devotees perplexed.

Are we going to have the Sivarathri discourse? Is there going to be a lingodhbhavam? We just have to love His uncertainty - as He keeps repeating often! After about half an hour He returned again to Sai Kulwant Hall. After Swami came walking to the veranda, He raised His right Hand and gave the Abhaya Hasta Blessings to one and all.

The Abhaya Hasta blessing on Sivarathri evening
   

Smt P. Susheela, a famour playback singer took her place near the veranda. Swami asked the Institute boys to start with a Ganesha Bhajan. Then, Smt. P. Susheela sang two Bhajans -

"Esawramba Priya Tanaya Sai Narayana" and "Manasa Bhajare Guru Charanam".

After these two bhajans the boys continued and we thought the all night Akhanda Bhajan was well underway.

However, a few minutes after 6:00 PM, Swami stopped the bhajan singing and asked Sri AVS Raju to share his poems with the audience as he had done the previous day.

He read some of his Telugu poems for about 20-25 minutes.

 

Then Swami stood up and to everyone's delight and began His nectarine Sivarathri discourse around 6:30 PM. He said,

"The whole Universe is in Him. Can you build a temple for Him? When He resides in all beings, what name can you give Him? When all the oceans find refuge in Him, can you give Him a bath? He is not merely Iswara; He is the Iswara of the whole Universe. Prapancha is a combination of the five elements. 'Pra' means expression or manifestation or blossoming. 'Pancha' stands for the five elements. There are the five elements - earth, water, fire, air and ether. There are also the five senses - Shabda (sound), Sparsha (touch), Rupa (sight), Rasa (taste) and Gandha (smell). The five life breaths are Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana. The Lord is the basis for the expression of all these. Is any among these permanent? No, only Brahma Tatva is eternal. What is Brahma - that which represents these five elements.

 
   

The divine Sivarathri message

Love is the foundation of the Universe. There can exist neither Nature nor world without Love. The world is sustained by the Love that is distributed in the five elements. Forgetting Love, following any mode of worship is in vain. The five elements express their power through the human life.

Good and bad are all in your thoughts. Correct your thoughts. If there is any element of hatred, feel ashamed of it. If you are attracted by anybody, it is because of attachment. Understand that it is God who attracts. All forms are His. You have none but one true enemy and that is your own mind.

You are the origin of everything. You are all Embodiments of Love. None of you is separate. There is no second at all. There is nothing like a 6th element. Your Love represents the Divine Form. Brahma (God) is not away from you. To think that He is away is Bhrama (Delusion). Action (Karma) is also Divine. Never accuse or criticize God. All is God.

Doubts and imaginations rob us of our Bliss. Never entertain any doubts. It is like poison. You get doubts about your wife, children..... all this is useless. Why don't you doubt yourself? Then you will feel so ashamed. Even if doubts come, brush them aside. You can develop strong faith only when you remove all doubts. Doubts can be dangerous and can sometimes prove fatal.

Love God and it will transform your hate towards others also into love. Therefore, develop Love. When all of you enjoy supreme Bliss, it is Sivaratri for Me. My Blessings to all of you. Sing the glory of God all night. Do Naama Smarana whole heartedly. Then you will attain Divinity ".

It was very late, almost 8 PM when Bhagavan retired for the evening. It had been a hectic and an enjoyable day for all. A lot of devotees stayed behind to spend the entire night singing His Glory in compliance with Swami's command.

The Morning Programme on February 27th

Swami came early around 6:30 AM to Sai Kulwant Hall. After He had sat down in His seat, he commanded that the air-coolers be brought closer to His chair. A few minutes later, one of the boys serving Swami also brought many flasks of water. An excited buzz went around the Hall. Is there going to be a lingodh bhavam this morning?

After Swami sat down in His seat, He commanded that the vessels containing the prasadam (Pulihora or Tamarind rice and Sakkara Pongal or Sweet Rice) to be distributed at the end of the Akhanda Bhajan be stacked on the veranda. The boys not only brought the serving vessels but also the huge vessels that contained the remaining prasadam and stacked them all next to the Lord Himself.

Soon Swami began drinking copious quantities of water. The lingering suspicions became a certainty, for as noticed in previous years, He drinks a lot of water before the emergence of the lingam. The expectations of the crowd were heightened and they started singing bhajans with renewed vigour and devotion.

Soon Swami's physical discomforts also increased. He occasionally burped as if bringing out the lingam but it was not time yet for the emanation of the lingam. Just as a mother has to undergo birth pangs, Swami undergoes severe physical discomfort in order to manifest the lingam so that man may realise that behind Creation there IS a Creator who is Supreme. It is this Supreme One alone who can grant permanent Bliss, and man must strive to achieve Purity because that is the only gateway to God and Bliss.

The boys attending to Him tried their best to alleviate His physical discomforts. Added to it were the fervent prayers of all who could not bear to see our beloved Swami in agony.

Swami requested that "Om Namah Shivaya" be chanted. The chanting went on uninterrupted and soon picked up a fervent pace. Swami continued drinking more and more water.

In earlier times, the Lingam that emanated from Swami used to be of crystal etc. These days, however, the lingam is of pure gold, shining with incredible lustre. Can anyone have so much gold inside one’s body? Wherefrom does all that gold come? Swami says that the gold forms in Him from the five elements present in subtle form.

Initially, the gold exists inside as liquid or molten gold. For gold to exist in the liquid state, it must be at very a high temperature. At such temperatures, the stomach of normal mortals would be completely burnt but not so in the case of the Avatar.

The pace of the chanting increased. Bhajans with a fast beat were now sung and the atmosphere in Sai Kulwant Hall was electric.

The tension was palpable and everyone was mouthing silent, fervent prayers in the heart. Just before 8:30 AM, Swami nodded gently, as if to say that the lingam is now formed and ready to emerge.

 
   
The atmosphere is electric!

Soon Swami bent His Head down and opened His mouth wide, and an incredibly big golden lingam - as big as an ostrich egg - emerged out into the world.

 
The big gold lingam has finally emerged!
 
The lingam is placed on a bed of flowers on a silver plate

The agony (of being unable to see Swami's physical discomfort) and the ecstasy (of the emergence of the gold lingam) of the Lingodbhavam were experienced in full by all. Swami, after holding up the lingam for all to see, placed the lingam in a bed of flowers on a silver plate.

 

But Swami though visibly tired physically was not done yet. He was fully aware that not all had witnessed clearly this momentous event, due to the huge crowd.

So He expressed and carried out His desire to go around Sai Kulwant Hall and show the lingam to all personally. Such is His love for all of us!

Swami shows the lingam to the devotees

   

And this day was not over yet. Soon a red car was driven in front of the veranda and we knew it was going to be gifted to some eminent devotee. Swami then called Sri Paramahamsa and his wife to the front of the veranda.

This couple run the Deenajanodharana Pathakamu - Swami's orphanage. Sri Paramahamsa was honoured by being garlanded and the car keys were handed over to him. Swami was also kind enough to pose for pictures with the couple in front of the car.

 
   
Swami poses for a photo with the Paramahamsas

Swami then asked that all the children of the orphanage be brought to Him. They all came post-haste in obedience to the Lord's command. Swami first asked them to do some Veda chanting, which they did quite creditably to everyone's joy and appreciation. Swami then had chocolates distributed to all the little kids.

Swami then talked to all of them with a mike in His hand and said that they were not orphans for He was their mother and father. He said that they should redeem their lives and live up to all His expectations. He also said that Rs 100,000 had been deposited in their names and the full amount would be given to them when they are ready (after graduation) to enter the world.

Swami said that He not only provided them with education but also with all the other needs like food, clothing, etc. that they needed. It was a touching, poignant moment when time itself stood still and oneness was experienced as a common emotional bond. And there was not a single dry eye in the entire Hall, including Swami's!

 
The boys sing for their Mother and Father
 
A boy thanking Him for all that He has done for them

The boys of the orphanage then sang a few Telugu songs for Him. A couple of them were even bold and confident enough to thank Him for all that He had done for them in English! They said that before they came to the Ashram, their lives were drifting. Now they had love and purpose in their lives through Bhagavan's Grace and they were determined to fully utilise the opportunity.

After this ceremony, at Swami's command, prasadam was distributed to all the devotees. He supervised the distribution of the prasadam for some time and then asked that arathi be taken before He retired back to Poornachandra.

Wherever we are, this is what we must remember on this Sivarathri day. Firstly, we all have come from the Creator and thus are born as the Embodiments of Divine Purity. That is what Lingodbhavam really ought to call to our mind.

Secondly, though we start off pure – as Swami says, children are always pure, at least at the start – desires soon invade us and contaminate the Mind as much as possible.

However, we must resist this and try to purify the Mind by burning the desires, and Vibhuti or sacred ash is the symbol of this ultimate burning of desires. Vibhuti Abhishekam thus ought to remind us of the need to first limit desires and then burn them entirely.

We might miss observing other functions but Sivarathri must be taken very seriously because it is all about becoming Pure and then truly become one with God.

So we bring to a close this rather long edition of this month's chronicle of events. It has been an exhilarating time for all. And the future looks if anything even more exciting, for really inexplicable are Swami's Leelas.

So till next time, all of us at Heart2Heart wish you the very best.

Jai Sai Ram!

- Heart2Heart Team


 
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Vol 4 Issue 03 - March 2006
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