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Then & Now
A day in Ashram


Ashadi has come…with the typical Maharashtra flavour…29th July 2004 was again a day marked for devotees from Maharashtra….they sung, danced and made everybody happy including their Vittala, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

In fact this is the day, when lakhs and lakhs of Varkaris from all parts of the country, especially from the state of Maharashtra throng the spiritual capital of the state, Pandarpur to have darshan and blessings of their chosen deity Vittal Rakumai.

Bhagawan was accorded a traditional welcome to the beautifully decorated Sai Kulwant Hall at around 7:30 a.m. to the accompaniment of Vedic chants by students of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam. There was riot of flowers in the dais set for Bhagawan as it was beautifully bedecked with flowers of various hues…and a statue of Lord Vittal adorned the dais. An invocation song by the Maharashtra Choir and the subsequent arrival of ‘Varkaris’ dancing in ecstasy (symbolically signifying the ‘Dindi Yatra’ that happens every year during this period in Maharashtra) surcharged the atmosphere with divine vibrations. This was reminiscent of those days when two of the greatest saints of Maharashtra, Sant Jnaneshwar and Sant Tukkaram set out for Pandarpur with their hearts resonating with …Jai Jai Ram Krishna Hari and mind fully engrossed in spiritual ecstasy. This time Varkaris from 22 districts of Maharashtra participated in this Dindi Yatra from Dharmavaram to Prasanthi Nilayam.

It was a fine blend of old and new, devotion and perspective of yore, and the so called devotion and confusion of the present times that set the stage for the morning presentation entitled “The Divine Verdict”. The programme clearly depicted the modern man’s confused mindset to choose the right path to attain Godhood. Whether one should follow the Dwaita (worshipping the form) path?.... Is not Adwaita (worshipping the formless) proclaimed by Adi Shankara the proper path?....then what about Visishtadwaita…which defines your relationship with God?...Yes…we are a confused lot…and the Bal Vikas and Youth Wing from Maharashtra had something definite to say about it. At the climax they invited the jury of experts to the Divine Appellate Court. St. Francis of Assissi, Sant Kabir Das, Saint Thyagaraja, Guru Nanak, Narsi Mehta, Sant Jnaneshwar all of them gave their version and with them joined the preceptors of three different paths, Madhwacharya, Adi Shankaracharya and Ramanujacharya. …still no consensus on the contentious issue and it was left to the Ultimate Divine…Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. …the curtain came to a close when Bhagawan’s Message was aired to the august gathering.

‘The Supreme Verdict’ commands us to look inward rather than concentrating on mundane illusory world which is unreal. To understand the Atmic Principle that the Supreme Divinity is present in every atom of the universe, and true devotion to Bhagawan is to recognize this Truth first in our own selves and then through Saguna Bhakti (worship with form) moving on to Nirguna Bhakti (formless worship) and thus establish eternal relationship with the only One.

Bhagawan blessed the participants with a photograph session which was followed by bhajans by Maharashtra devotees. Prasadam was distributed and Mangala Aarathi was offered to Bhagawan in the end.

In the afternoon the Bal Vikas and Youth Wing of Mumbai gave an illuminating presentation on the life and teachings of the illustrious Sufi Saint Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti of Ajmer. As the Musical Drama unfolded to its climax, it was his message of love, humanity and brotherhood, which even won over his enemies, was lingering in the mind of the audience.

The Musical Drama came to a close at 5:00 p.m. with Magala Aarathi offered to Bhagawan.