The Lord of Thousand Moons
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Learning Sri Rudram in Rudra's Presence!
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Happy Birthday - Divine Discourse, Nov 23, 1978
Sai tale from Arkansas

Learning Sri Rudram in Rudra's Presence !


One thing is certain that everything is uncertain, said someone in a most optimistic tone referring to the happenings in Prasanthi Nilayam. What we have been experiencing in this hamlet turned Spiritual Township that attracts millions and billions to the aura of Divinity is indeed stupendously astounding. Much akin to His most famous ‘visiting card’, materializing things out of nothing, He often springs with surprise packages out nothing. And one such fabulous surprise was the introduction of Rudram learning, purely a Divine initiative that came out of the blue. How did it happen? Read an account from N.Sudhindran who was the fortunate one to receive the Divine whisper commencing this epochal vedam initiative.

Sri N.Sudhindran was born in Chennai and did most part of his schooling there and joined Sri Sathya Sai University in Brindavan, Bangalore for B.Com (Hons.) in 1997. He went on to do his MBA from the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus of Bhagawan's University and graduated in 2002. Ever since, he has been serving the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam.

The Vedas form the bedrock of spirituality and Bharatiya culture and serve as guideposts to man so that he can lead a wholesome life, both in spiritual and material terms. No wonder, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the Avatar of the Kaliyuga, declared ‘Vedaposhana’ (fostering the Vedas) as one of His primary tasks in His Divine Mission. In keeping with this, Bhagawan has actively encouraged the study and chanting of the Vedas, and conducted and participated in many Vedic rituals. All students of His educational institutions, right from tiny tots of the First class to Research Scholars and teachers, chant the Vedic hymns everyday when He grants Darshan. Almost all festivals and programmes conducted in the Divine Presence begin with invocatory prayers from the Vedas. Bhagawan’s devotees, irrespective of age, gender, economic status, caste, race, religion and nationality have taken to the study and practise of the Vedic teachings in their daily lives, thus demonstrating the universal relevance and appeal of the Vedas. Indeed, the Vedas cannot be limited to any particular denomination of humanity; it is a divine gift and legacy to which every human being is a rightful heir.

The Sahasra Poorna Chandra Darshanam is a grand and auspicious occasion when the Avatar completes 82 glorious years on the earth. When many pundits and Vedic scholars were vying with one another to participate in the holy event, Bhagawan decided to give as His Birthday gift to His students, the golden opportunity to welcome Him and lead Him in a procession as He rides in to the venue on a golden chariot. And for this occasion, He instructed that each and every student should learn and chant the ‘Sri Rudram’, an important hymn from the Vedas, in praise of Lord Shiva. Bhagawan asked three of His students to teach Sri Rudram in Sai Kulwant Hall from 9th to 27th September, every evening at 4 pm. As these three students chanted every line slowly on the microphone from the dais, the rest of the students and even the devotees assembled there repeated after them twice. Often times, Bhagawan would be seated on the dais watching the class in progress. What a great spectacle it was, learning Sri Rudram in the very presence of Lord Rudra!

In order to motivate the students, Bhagawan would occasionally ask the count of students who could chant perfectly and would pick a few and make them chant. Bhagawan also promised them that He would Himself give an ‘award’ to the best of the lot. This was enough to drive the students to learn Sri Rudram, and each vied with the other to get the ‘award’ from the Divine Hands.  As the days progressed, there was a perceptible increase in the volume till the entire Sai Kulwant Hall reverberated with the chorus of a thousand throats hailing the Lord. One of the days, Bhagawan called two American boys and an Iranian boy from among His students and made them chant on the mike. And they chanted effortlessly and flawlessly, with perfect pronunciation and intonation, which even a Vedic pundit would have been proud of! Bhagawan’s Love works miracles and this was one such instance for all to see!!

As promised, the ‘award’ did come! From among a thousand of His students, the best were chosen who could chant Sri Rudram perfectly and without seeing the script. On the morning of 6th November in Sai Kulwant Hall, Bhagawan distributed red silk dhotis and angavastrams to each of the 150 students as they came up to Him, touched His Divine Feet and received the gift from His Divine Hands. Their beaming faces said it all. They had more than one reason to be happy… after all, they were the chosen few who would lead the Lord in the procession on the glorious day!

…and how earnestly the world emulated the Divine Initiative…we have an account from Ms. Ramya Kumar, a Young Adult from the United States of America.

Rudram for Sai 83

“The Lord comes as an Avatar when He is anxiously awaited by saints and sages. The pious prayed - and I have come…My tasks are…Veda Rakshana and Bhaktha Rakshana - fostering of the Vedas and fostering of devotees.”  - discourse in the year 1963 at Prasanthi Nilayam

“It is Swami’s wish that the Vedas shall be spread to every country, so that every human being irrespective of religion, caste, nationality, etc., learns Vedas and chants them.” – Ati Rudra Maha Yajna at Chennai 19th Jan 2007

Time and time again our Beloved Bhagawan has declared the importance of Veda chanting and preservation of the sacred texts. We read His discourses, marvel at its depth, enjoy the accompanying photos and then put it aside for future reference. The Lord patiently repeats His messages year after year. We listen to His teachings year after year. But how often do we really take it to heart and jump right it? After the World Youth Conference in 2007, youth resolved that this time around things would be different. The opportunity of a lifetime – to make our lives His message - will not slip out of our fingers that easily. So it was only natural that when Swami’s directive to chant the Sri Rudram came, the opportunity was embraced with full force.

On September 8th 2008, Bhagawan gave the divine directive that everyone should learn and chant the Sri Rudram mantra before His Birthday festivities this year. The unified chant is for the welfare of the entire world.

No sooner had He given this directive, word spread to far corners of the world and fervent preparations began to follow through. Youth in the United States of America took the directive to heart and cherished the opportunity to learn and dedicate our fruits to the Divine Mother – our Sai Maa. From daily conference calls that span the nation’s four time zones, to weekly in-person sessions, youth groups all over the country have found innovative ways to bridge the distance and come together in unity to learn the Rudram. Swami has often talked about the rise in technology and the destructive use it has been put to. Youth in the United States of America have found ways to harness this advancement and put it to good use. Alumni of the Sri Sathya Sai University – beacons of Sai Love, have gladly come forward to help achieve this goal of chanting Rudram on the auspicious occasion of our Beloved Lord’s 83rd Birthday. Youth who are unable to attend the group sessions have taken upon themselves, the task of listening to the audio tutorials provided by our Sai fraternity in Prasanthi Nilayam. Even something as simple as the audio and text resources have been seen as Divine Prasadam and an opportunity to receive from the Lord Himself.

While the list of initiatives being undertaken is expansive, a small glimpse reveals that youth leaders across the country have created several opportunities to chant Rudram in unity and harmony, spreading positive vibrations and doing our part in cleansing the world of the condition it is in today.  In one part of the country, youth have been participating in 83 days of daily morning prayers starting at 5 a.m. which include Omkar, Suprabhatam, and chanting of the Rudram. Participants come together via a conference call bridge to chant in unison. An Ati Rudra Parayanam is also underway with eleven days of chanting that is being webcast live for increased participation around the globe. In other parts of the country Rudram was chanted during the recent Akhanda Bhajan celebrations as a precursor to Swami’s birthday.

Regardless of the scale of undertaking, youth are coming together to fulfil Swami’s mission of fostering the Vedas and spreading it’s wealth to countries far and beyond. As our most loving Lord has often said, “The future of the country depends on the skill and the sincerity of the youth.”  The coming together of youth from all walks of life, with one goal in mind – Rudram for Sai 83 – is but one step in our journey as Ideal Sai Youth; making our lives His message.

Sri Rudram Learning