3 - Issue 10
Aug 27, 2005 : Krishnashtami Celebrations in Sai Kulwant Hall
THE MORNING PROGRAMME - KRISHNASTAMI
The day of Krishnashtami dawned with a cool, holy and serene atmosphere. The entire hall was well decorated to celebrate the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna. A lot of activities were squeezed into this morning's programme.
After the lapse of a couple of years, Swami permitted a procession of decorated cows, a traditional feature of the Krishnashtami celebrations, to start from the Gokulam to Sai Kulwant Hall, a distance of over a kilometre. A few selected students dressed up as cowherds were leading the cows. These students (laconically termed as "cowboys") had been practising for a couple of days the art of gently leading cows by the noose without causing any pain to the cow. Leading the procession was our dear Sai Gita, Swami's pet elephant, looking majestic after being decked out in all her finery. With a keen eye and sense of occasion, Sai Gita really relishes this role as "procession leader" and zealously guards her position of seva to Swami. Sai Gita was accompanied by the Nadaswaram Group and the Vedam chanting boys. After the Vedam Boys came the Bhajan Boys and then the line of the blessed cows tended by two "cowboys" each. Needless to say that this unique procession gave great joy to the denizens of the town of Puttaparthi as it traversed the main street of town from the Gokulam to Sai Kulwant Hall (SKH).
After Swami arrived, He blessed the puja materials and also some cement that would go into the construction of the temple. A good crowd that had collected at this site were thus doubly blessed - having not only Swami's divine Darshan but were also witness to this sacred and unique temple consecration ceremony.
Never one to miss an opportunity, Sai Gita went up to the dais trumpeting loudly in ecstasy so she could be fed by the divine hand. And the Ocean of Compassion obliged, feeding her apples to her heart's content.
He was driven down from the airport (in Swami's car) straight to Sai Kulwant Hall with the 10 or so members of his party. Swami gave his entire group a personal audience that lasted for more than an hour and it was late - after 10:45 AM - that Swami finally retired to Poornachandra.
Sept 3rd & 4th: Sai International Conference On Ideal Healthcare For All
On Sept 3rd and 4th a big group of 900 medical personnel from a total of 27 countries, gathered in Sai Kulwant Hall for an international medical conference on the theme "Sai Ideal Healthcare For All" . The conference was well organised and was very fruitful. A detailed report is featured as this month's cover story.
Sept 7 & 9: Ganesha Chaturthi Celebration
On the morning of Sept 7, there was a simple but serene Ganesha Chaturthi celebration in Sai Kulwant Hall. After giving Darshan Swami sat down and listened to the Vedam chanting for a few minutes. Then the boys sang some Ganesha Stotrams like Mudaakaratha Modakam, Sree Mahaganapathy Stothram, Shree Ganesha Stothram, Pandurangashtakam, and Sai Mahadeva.
Though a departure from previous years, in the sense there was no divine discourse, still the joyous singing filled everyone's hearts to the brim with joy on this holy day. The students had an eventful morning as they do worship in their hostel in the morning to Ganeshas that they have made from earth before coming to SKH.
Three days after this event, on the evening of Sept 9th, is a programme that the students look forward to all year - the Ganesha Immersion Day.
On this (usually the third or the fifth third day after Ganesh Chaturthi) the Ganeshas that the students and other different groups have fashioned from bio-degradable materials are brought in a colourful and exuberant procession to Sai Kulwant Hall on floats so that they could be blessed by Lord Sainatha Himself.
Many and varied are the Ganeshas that are on display. The boys really channel their energies and let their creative juices flow in full measure to make an eye-catching, attractive and enchanting Ganesha. All different groups vie in a friendly fashion to make their version more attractive and their float more unique so that they stand out.
Using a background of varying themes some fashion their Ganesha as a charioteer, some as a musician in a float of musical instruments, the Hospital staff show Ganesha as a healer, some use floral motifs, but each and every float is a work of art representing the many hours of sustained co-operative effort of a group of boys.
Then the floats leave the SKH premises one by one, to the raucous shouts of 'Ganapathi Bappa Morya'. The boys then take the floats to a deep tank just outside the city where they are immersed and thus the Ganeshas fashioned out of earth are dissolved and 'return back home'.
Swami waited patiently for these boys to come back after the immersion ceremony and then started the bhajans and the distribution of prasadam to one and all so that these boys would not be left out. Only the Lord pays such thoughtful attention to all these details. Hence it is said that living with God is true education.
Sept 8: Distribution of Clothes to the Ashram Workers
On the afternoon of Sept 8 was organised a function that is dear to the Lord's heart - giving clothes to the workers who are employed in different capacities in the Ashram - as cooks, gardeners, cleaners and so on. The Ashram owes a lot to all these unsung and unheralded people who quietly serve one and all.
These workers were seated in the centre of Sai Kulwant Hall with the gents on one side and the ladies on the other. After Swami gave Darshan, He made a gesture that only He is capable of. He had His chair brought to the centre of Sai Kulwant Hall so that it was stationed right amidst all these dedicated devotees who have been serving the ashram so well.
After going around these workers giving His blessings, He asked that a mike be brought. He then asked these workers who wished to do so to come up and speak a few words. Quite a few overcame their initial shyness and stood up in front of all and spoke well since they spoke from their heart. All expressed their gratitude to Swami and some related how He had come to their family's rescue time and time again. A few expressed their gratitude by singing Bhajans to which the audience enthusiastically joined.
Swami then distributed a pack consisting of a trouser and a shirt to the gents and sarees to the ladies. All received a watch from the Divine Hands. Many wept copious tears on receiving this token gift from the divine hands.
Truly, the Lord only gives, gives, and gives.
This brings to an end this month's instalment of these chronicles. So till next time, all of us at Heart 2 Heart wish all of you the very best.
- Heart 2 Heart Team
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Vol 3 Issue 10 - October 2005
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