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Published on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 015:00.00 Hrs.IST

Alluring 23rd November
Celebrating the Divine Advent

The term birthday has greater connotations of profundity when it is used with reference to a sublime spiritual persona. And when this spiritual persona in reference is incidentally Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, we need to take a refreshed look at the term birthday. For Him who has made the characteristic and profound declarations about His coming on to planet earth, it is obvious that the most apt term to be used to commemorate His coming is ‘Divine Advent’.

The Birthday of Bhagawan is always a very special occasion in any calendar year in Prasanthi Nilayam. But with each passing year, the Birthday festival is growing in grandeur, splendour, magnificence and majesty. People from all parts of the globe swarm like bees to this spiritual capital to witness the grand birthday festivity. This year, the festivities had begun as early as 10th November with Bhagavata Saptaham and Sahasra Poorna Chandra Shanti Mahotsavam. Devotees who were present in Prasanthi Nilayam during these days would have experienced the Divinity of Bhagawan in full measure. One can say that the rain god was at Bhagawan’s beck and call. On the 16th of November (2nd day of Sahasra Poorna Chandra Shanti Mahotsavam Yajna), there was heavy rain, but on the 17th there was not even a drop of rain. Similarly, on the 22nd, there was heavy downpour, the roads were flooded, and there was slush everywhere. On the 23rd, there was not even a trace of rain. On the contrary, the sun had come out shining brightly. It was as if the Sun god was offering his obeisance to Bhagawan. Yes, the Birthday of Bhagawan is a moment to cherish for the gods of the highest heavens. After the Birthday function, when this report is being made, there is a possibility of rain lurking in the sky.  

But, albeit all these anticlimaxes, Prasanthi Nilayam was basking in glory for her rare privilege of housing the Avatar of the age and as the Day approached, the day that was etched in the history of time in bold and gold, it was joy of anticipation every where.

Ushering into the day all have been waiting for, Prasanthi had the hustle and bustle in the wee hours when every single devotee wished to occupy a slot in the Sai Kulwant Hall, the venue of the Birthday celebrations. Much before the eastern sunny rays splashed over the spiritual township, the throng of devotees were up from bed with just one thing in mind and thousands of hearts blossomed into ecstatic joy of anticipation of beholding the sight of the Avatar yet again coming out granting the rarest of the boons, a birthday Darshan!

A beautiful arch with the lettering 83rd Birthday of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was seen richly decorated with flowers and other paraphernalia of decorations. The dais too was a treat to the eye with magnificent flower decorations. Video cameras were stationed at important points to catch all the live action. Pressmen had cramped every available space in the exclusive gallery allotted to them with their scribble pads. Lensmen too had taken their positions in their allotted places.  

Welcoming the Lord in white was a pageantry comprising the University Brass Brand, both Men and Women in their gleaming uniforms, the Bagpipers from the Primary, both by Boys and Girls, and the Vedam Group with Poornakumbham. This glittering cavalcade forming the pageantry welcoming Bhagawan stole the show when the Lord in white came out of His Divine Abode just after 9:35 a.m.  Bhagawan who came in His special chair moved through the throng of devotees for a complete round while Sri Rudra Prasna was heard reaching its crescendo in the background.

As Bhagawan came to the dais, the brass band, both the boys’ and girls’ played Happy Birthday song with the audience keeping beat to the song. After this sonorous tunes were played by the brass band of boys and girls followed by the primary school bands. Then Bhagawan went to the portico of the Mandir to cut cakes lovingly brought by students of various educational institutions, staff of hospitals and the institutions in the Mandir. After a while, Bhagawan again came to the dais and signalled to the students to start Bhajans. Even songs like “Sri Raghavam Dasarathmaja Aprameyam ...”, “Namo Sathya Sai Baba ...”, “Manishini Madhavuni Chese Mahine Swargamuga Marche Sathya Sai Bhagawan Ki Enta Premayo, Enta Premayo …” This song has a profound meaning, which is worth mentioning in this context: “The love of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for humanity is incomparable and indescribable that He is transforming humans into divine and earth into heaven …” After these songs and Bhajans, Arati was offered to Bhagawan at 10.55 a.m.  

What entailed on this auspicious morning was very clear. It was His Divine Darshan that was foremost in the agenda of every devotee the benevolent Lord was magnanimous to bestow the boon, as He chose to sit on the dais for a long time, in resplendent white. The Karnataka Governor His Excellency Rameshwar Thakur was present on the dais paying obeisance to Bhagawan while  Sunil Gavaskar was seen presenting a cricket memorabilia, a bat signed by the members of the 1983 World Cup Winning Team.