November 19, 2009 – Ladies Day Celebrations in the Divine Presence


As per the annual tradition of celebrating the glorious concept of Motherhood, Ladies' Day was celebrated in the Divine Presence of Bhagavan Baba. The whole hall had been very wonderfully decorated with flowers in multiple hues. There were lamps on the steps and a 'tastefully' decorated cake stood at the western end of the stage. It was at 9:15 a.m. that Swami was welcomed into the hall by the brass band of the Anantapur girl students followed by another group of girls students chanting Vedic hymns.

Swami, during the course of His darshan round, passed by little girls holding lamps in their hands and welcoming Him physically into the hall and symbolically into their hearts. Swami took a full round and arrived on the stage via the portico. The first thing He did was to light the lamp in front of the main altar wherein the pride of place had been accorded to Mother Easwaramma. Sitting at the centre, Swami asked for the programme to begin.

Ms. Chetana Raju, Trustee of the Easwaramma Women's Welfare Trust, introduced the speakers for the morning after sharing her thoughts. "Every seeker of Truth must make a monastic cell in his own heart and to retire in it every day and seek Swami's guidance," she said, stressing on the importance of being with Bhagavan.

The first speaker of the day was Mrs. Sharon Sandwiess, a school teacher, advisor and coordinator for the Sri Sathya Sai Young Adult Programme in California and editor of Sai World, a newsletter for Sai Children and Youth. She fell at Swami's feet and was so lost in that joy that she moved towards the podium to speak without giving Swami the rose in her hand! Realizing her "folly", she openly exclaimed and rushed back to Swami. Swami smiled and received the rose from her.

The speaker went on to describe how Bhagavan’s presence had changed her family's life forever. She said that she was amazed at the sea change in her husband since he had first met Sai Baba in India Bhagavan had spared her a life of despair and she called Bhagavan the Living Presence in their lives. She remembered with a thrill as to how Swami had declared about the declining state of the world - "If not for Me, all would be lost."

The third speaker was Mrs. Harriet Tay-Agbozo from Ghana, who has been teaching in Ghana from 1975 onwards and has been an active faculty member of Sai Education, Ghana. Mrs. Harriet, in her short speech, proudly declared that joining the Education in Human Values programme was the best decision she had taken as it had given her a clear vision on life, and an understanding as to who she was and who she is.

Seeing Swami as Sathya Sai and Sai Jesus, she recalled many miracles of transformation and healing. She also narrated how Bhagavan saved her husband and brought him back from near death situations in life. "I pray to Bhagavan and He has always responded," she said.

This was followed by a global ethnic dance presentation by Sri Sathya Sai Schools from various countries that included India, Mexico, South Africa, Indonesia, Fiji and Thailand. The children filed up neatly and sweetly in the front and came in pairs to seek His blessings. Swami smilingly saw everything that was presented to Him and blessed the dances to begin.

The Indian troupe, which was the first to perform, presented a traditional Indian dance praising the all-pervading cosmic principle Lord Sai.  A small girl whose body seemed to be made of rubber was the highlight of the dance. She moved with great agility and formed poses that made all wonder in admiration. It was no surprise that as they concluded the dance, Swami called her and materialized a golden necklace for her.

This was followed by dances by children from Indonesia and Southern Mexico, a country where the sphere of education is completely taken care by women so that it remains spiritual along with being secular. Children from Fiji Islands offered a traditional dance, followed by the children of Sri Sathya Sai School, Thailand, who presented a classical dance based on ancient mythology.

The last dance was by South African children, who performed a Zulu dance followed by three special bhajans by the same troupe. The climax was a perfect example of unity in diversity as children from all countries performed together. A loud round of applause for the children echoed through the hall and Swami moved down the stage to present the children with gifts.

Before that, He posed with the children for group photos. In the meanwhile, one of the photographers presented Him with the picture of the little girl who had danced so well and was blessed with a chain. Swami presented the photo to that girl. Then, He opened up one of the packs and showed to the girls the gift - a heart shaped frame which held His picture - an example of what our hearts must be!

He went about handing over the gifts personally to each child. At the end, He gave the same to the men and women involved in the programme too. They seemed to be taken aback in joy and responded with tears of joy and gratitude.

Swami then received aarthi and as He was moving towards the car, He blessed the cake that had been placed there by lighting a candle and making a cut on it. The journey back to Yajur Mandir was lead by the bands from the Anantapur campus and girls chanting Vedam. As Swami moved into the residence, He blessed them by taking a complete round in the chair and all the girls were immensely happy with His gesture. Leaving happy smiles behind, Swami retired for the morning at 11:25 a.m. 

The evening programme began with Swami's arrival at 4:40 p.m. The bagpipers band from the Primarry school and the Veda chanting contingent dressed in blue led Swami from His residence. Swami passed by the central screen and was soon on the stage. Two musical programmes and a drama had been planned for the packed evening.

The first for the evening was a musical offering by the Greek Choir. The magical tunes weaved by Christos Kotsmonis playing the traditional Buzuki enthralled everyone and it was really beautiful. His forty years of experience showed as he seemed to waltz on the instrument accompanied by two guitarists, and the chorus sang in praise of Greater Heaven.

They had four songs for the evening, Intelligible Sun of Justice by Odysseus Elytis, Around the islands of Aegean Sea, Joy to the Eyes that Cry for Someone Else in Pain and finally the famous “Tuu Pyaar Ka Saagar Hey…”, a song often sung by Sathya Sai Students praising Swami as the ocean of Love. This was followed by a European Choir conducted by Alma Badings, from The Netherlands, a familiar face in Prasanthi during the Christmas season. After they sang about four tunes, Swami asked for the drama to begin.

The drama entitled, “Panchali Charitamu”, the life of Draupadi, was a fine portrayal of the crowning glory of Indian womanhood, organized by the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. In the beginning a number of devotees came to Him with poorna kumbham and offered Him flowers, cards, silver plates, and so on. Swami kindly blessed all of them patiently!

The story ran through the entire Mahabharatha highlighting the glory of Draupadi and her battle for righteousness and modesty. It portrayed three episodes from her life. The first was the defeat of the Pandavas in the game of dice leading to her humiliation where Krishna comes to her rescue with an inexhaustible supply of saree when Dushasana tries to disrobe her.

The second episode was that of sage Durvasa visiting the Pandavas with all his disciples for a meal when they had nothing at all. Again Krishna comes to Draupadi's rescue wherein He eats a single leaf and the hunger of the sage and all his disciples is satiated! (Shows that all we have to do is please the Lord. The world automatically is pleased and appeased!)

The final episode showed her patience and forbearance when she pleads with her husbands to spare the life of Ashwatthama who has murdered all her sons at night. 

The whole drama was punctuated with powerful padyams (verses). Some of these were composed by Swami and all of them were sung beautifully with wonderful music in the background. It will be no exaggeration to say that half the impact of the drama was due to these verses. Mention also must be made about the very realistic acting done by "Draupadi" and "Bheema". Bheema impressed more for it was a girl performing the role of a man with great ability! Swami was so moved on many occasions and especially so when Draupadi delivered her potent dialogues studded with poems.

As the drama concluded with the final formation, Swami called Draupadi to the front and materialized a golden chain for her. He then moved down the stage and posed for pictures with all the children. He was in a mood to shower them with all His Love.

Once again, like in the morning, Swami distributed the heart shaped frames with His picture to each and every one of the participants. The distribution itself went on for about 15 minutes. Finally He blessed the organisers too with the same. Swami looked resplendent with the backdrop of a flowery radiating sun! Swami blessed prasadam to be distributed and received aarthi at 7:15 p.m. and retired to His residence.

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