updated at 18:00 Hrs. IST on 01-02-2007
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Bhagawan blesses Chennai with His Divine Visit...
It was on the 19th January, 2002, the occasion of the first anniversary of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Bangalore that Bhagawan came out with a surprise declaration:
“Today, I have made a new resolve. Madras is suffering from acute shortage of drinking water. The rich can buy water sold by the tanker services but what about the poor? They have to depend on rain water that has collected in puddles and ditches, thus spoiling their health. I have therefore decided to work towards bringing drinking water to Madras, no matter how difficult and costly that task is. This wish of mine will fructify without fail. Success always springs from deep conviction”.
It was not an impromptu declaration, it was a resolve. A resolve that tags with a deep conviction, a resolve that is the part of a Mission, a Mission with a Vision…and Bhagawan’s usual adage goes on supporting this, Service to Mankind is Service to God.
The announcement was about the launching of a project to solve the city’s acute water shortage, a promise to make available Rs. 200 crores for the project. …And the spadework to improve the Kandaleru-Poondi Canal carrying Krishna water to Chennai began soon after.
The rest is history…and water started flowing towards Chennai. A popular newspaper covering the incident wrote: “Happy tidings for Chennai residents from Andhra Pradesh. Water from Telugu Ganga is flowing towards Chennai”. On the 23rd November 2004, the occasion of Bhagawan’s 79th year of Advent, the shutters were opened to release the water to flow towards the blessed city. That was the fulfilment of His Divine Declaration, the came into being of the Sathya Sai Ganga Canal, carrying the elixir of life – water.
Referring to the Chennai drinking water project, Mr. V. Srinivasan, National President, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations said, the mammoth works, undertaken at a cost of about Rs 200 crore so far, was initiated by Bhagawan on His own. "There was no request from either Andhra Pradesh or Tamil Nadu. Realising that the city was suffering from acute shortage of drinking water, He initiated the project”.
On the 15th January 2006, during the Makara Sankranthi Divine
Discourse at Prasanthi Nilayam, Bhagawan made a mention about the plight of the city when He had visited the city a decade back. He said: “I have seen small children bathing in cesspools and drinking the same dirty water. I felt very sorry for them. I have decided then itself, “I will not visit Chennai till we supply pure drinking water to the people of Chennai.” That was ten years ago. Now I have supplied drinking water to them. I am now visiting Chennai in the backdrop of the children drinking pure water and happily spending their time in play”
Bhagawan in Chennai
…And it has been a decade after He set His holy feet in Chennai. Now, on the occasion of the Second Ati Rudra Maha Yajna that was announced during the Maha Poornahuti of the first Ati Rudra Maha Yajna that was performed in His Divine Presence at Prasanthi Nilayam, Bhagawan decided to bless the city with His Divine Presence, yet again.
Bhagawan arrived at Chennai airport to a rousing welcome by a large gathering of devotees on 19th January 2007 at 2:20 p.m. and straight away drove off to Sundaram, His Divine Abode in Chennai. Bhagwan was received with Poornakumbham by the devotees and officials of Organisations in the backdrop of a welcome song by Balvikas Children. All merciful Bhagawan who knew very well the pulse of devotees whose long waiting has just come to its fulfilment, granted His coveted Lotus Darshan just after His arrival at Sundaram, atop first floowr of the Divine Abode, a sight to behold for the devotees, watching the Lord standing on the architecturally designed lotus. Significantly, 19th January also happens to be the day of 27th anniversary of Sundaram, the Abode of Bhagawan in Chennai. Earlier in the day Bhagawan left Puttaparthi at around 1.30 p.m. by a chartered flight to Chennai.
In the evening, Bhagawan again came for Dharshan around 5:20 p.m. He went inside the Bhajan Hall where Ritwiks were made to sit in rows. Bhagawan blessed them all individually with immense love and compassion. Bhagawan distributed the bags to the ritwiks after ensuring the contents and blessing the same. This was followed by bhajan for half an hour and Mangala Arathi was offered. Thereafter Prasadams were distributed to all the devotees.
20-01-2007 First Day...
The Ati Rudra Maha Yajna commenced with religious fervour on the 20th January 2007, being conducted at Dr. Vasudevan Nagar, Thiruvamiyur with Bhagawan formally charging the Linga with His Divine Hands. The Yajna is to continue for 10 days to end with Maha Poornahuthi. Elaborate arrangements have been made for devotees’ convenience.
On the 20th January, the day of the commencement of the Yajna, devotees started gathering at the site by early midnight. The much awaited Yajna commenced at 3:00 a.m. with the invoking of Ganapathi Manthras. This was followed by Swasthi Vachana, Bimba Suddhi, Kalasa Sthapana and Nethronmeelana. …and the entire area was vibrant with the resonance of Vedic Chanting.
Bhagawan arrived at around 8:30 a.m. Mr. G.K.Raman, the Trust Convener welcomed Bhagawan. He said: “Thiruvanmiyur, which has the holy temple of Marundeeshwara (oushadeeswara – Shiva, The Lord of medicine), today, is blessed with the Rudra Himself as Sathya Sayeeshwara.
Sri Nanjunda Dixit, the Chief Priest explained the significance of the Ati Rudra Maha Yajna in detail. “Our Swami is both Shiva and Vishnu” he declared and added that that was the reason for the Yajna starting on Shravana and ending on Arudra stars (the stars for 20th and 30th Jan respectively).
It was the turn of Bhagawan to surchage the lingam, known as Prana Pratishta that marked the formal commencement of the Yajna. Bhagawan left Sundaram at around 10:00 a.m.
The afternoon session began at 3:30 p.m. with the chanting of Rudarm followed by Abhishekam to the Lingam (Eashwara). Bhagawan arrived at 5:45 p.m. Mandolin Maestro U. Srinivas and party gave a beautiful instrumental rendering that would have taken one and all to the many musical feats done at Sai Kulwant Hall in Prasanthi Nilayam in His Divine Presence.
The day’s proceedings came to an end with Mangala Arathi to Bhagawan.
On the 20tht morning, Bhagawan had made a surprise visit to the residence of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Dr. M. Karunanidhi at Gopalapuram. He spent almost an hour with the Chief Minister’s family.
21-01-2007 Second Day...
On the 21st, the morning session began with the chanting of Aruna Parayana (an invocation on Lord Aruna, the charioteer of Surya, the Sun god). This was followed by chanting of Mahanyasa (a section of SriRudram) in the form of parayana (chants), that was followed by by Panchamrita Abhishekam to the Sri Sathya Sai Sundareshwara Lingam (as christened by Bhagawan).
Bhagawan arrived at around 9:30 a.m. accompanied by Union Cabinet Ministers Sarvasree Shivaraj Patil and Raghupathi. He sat through for almost an hour watching the proceedings. The priests performed Homa (agni-yagna when performed on a small scale is also known as havan, homam or agnihotra) on Rudra and Sai Gayathri after the Rudraabhisheka and Parayana.
Bhagawan left the site at around 10:40 a.m. to the Nehru Stadium, the venue of the official felicitation function. The session ended with Around 10.40 a.m. The proceedings for the session ended with Ashthavadhana Seva (an eight-fold ritualistic service to the Lord).
This was indeed the day, the occasion for Thanksgiving, a formal Thanksgiving by the citizens of Chennai, an official function, Water – the Elixir of Life organised by the Chennai Citizens’ Conclave at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium to felicitate Bhagawan. It is apt to take a flashback to 19th December 2004 at Prasanthi Nilayam, when three thousand odd devotees from Chennai Metropolitan arrived in a fleet of buses to have Bhagawan’s Divine Darshan and express their heartfelt gratitude on behalf of the Metropolitan City for His concern and blessings upon them.
This grand function attended by the glitterati from bureaucracy including His Excellency the Governor of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Surjit Singh Barnala, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Karunanidhi, His Excellency the Governor of Maharashtra, Mr. S.M.Krishna, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Karnataka, Mr. H.D.Kumaraswamy, Hon’ble Union Minster for Home Affairs, Mr. Shivraj Patil, Hon’ble Union Minister for Railways, Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav, Hon’ble Union Minister for Communications & IT, Mr. Dayanidhi Maran besides some ministers from the cabinets of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Bhagawan in His Discourse underlined the need for people to cultivate selflessness. He also said that the rich should come forward to undertake such welfare activities for the benefit of people. The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and a few other ministers present also spoke on the occasion.
The afternoon program started around 3.30 p.m. and the hall was brimming to its full capacity leaving the rest of the gathering to spill the open grounds…an estimated assembly of over sixty thousand devotees, and a few of them were also seen standing on both sides of the road leading to the venue, waited in the blistering sun to catch a glimpse of Bhagawan.
After the Panchamrita Abishekam and Rudrabishekam, Ashthavadhana Seva was performed. Bhajans started at 6:20 p.m. and Maha Mangala Aarathi was offered at 6:50 p.m. which marked the end of the second day of the Yajnam.
22-01-2007 Third Day...
The third day of the Ati Rudra Maha Yajna began at 5.00 a.m, with Aruna Parayana followed by Mahanyasa Parayana. An estimated gathering of 25,000 were present listening to the vedic chants, while awaiting Bhagawan’s arrival. Panchamritha Abishekam was performed to the Sri Sathya Sai Sundareswara Lingam followed by Rudra Parayana.
Bhagawan arrived at the Yajna Vedika at around 9.05 a.m. Bhagawan came directly on to the dais to watch the proceedings, while Rudra Homam was in progress, All merciful Bhagawan went for a full round of the entire stretch of the hall, blessing the devoted gathering. Bhagawan also went into the Yajna Saala, going round the 11 homa kundams. Bhajans started at 9:50 a.m. At the end of the Bhajan session Maha Mangala Aarathi was offered to the Sri Sathya Sai Sundareswara Lingam.
A group of visually impaired girls were brought to Bhagawan for His blessings. One of the visually impaired girls said: “I could feel Bhagawan’s Divine Love when He came near”.
In the afternoon, Bhagawan arrived at around 4.30 p.m. He went straight on to the dais to occupy His specially arranged seat. The first speaker for the afternoon was Sri R. Krishnamurthy Sastrigal, a retired Principal of Madras Sanskrit College. The scholarly speaker who chose to begin his speech in Sanskrit, then switching over to Tamil narrated the greatness and significance of the SriRudram. The next speaker was Sri Sanjay Mahalingam followed by Sri Sashank Shah, both research scholars from Bhagawan’s Institute in Prasanthi Nilayam, who accompanied Bhagawan to Chennai. Sanjay Mahalingam, who chose to speak on the subject, The Purpose of Life was exuberant and vibrant with his rare rhetoric skills that got the gathering to an exalted level. The speaker emphasized that the purpose of life is Absolute Wisdom and the only means to attain this wisdom is Absolute Detachment. Sri Sashank Shah, chose to speak on various service activities being done by Bhagawan, namely, Medi-care, Socio-care and Edu-care citing statistics from various international sources.
The guest artiste for the evening was Master Umayalpuram Sivaraman, a Mridhungam exponent of repute. The blessed percussionist, who sought Bhagwawn’s blessings before the performance was accompanied by Neyveli C.S Radhakrishnan on double violin, Sri E. M Subramanian on ghatam, Sri Shrirangam on morsing, Sri Anirudh Athraiyya on Kanjira, Sri Shivakumar also on mridhungam. The artiste rendered two classical pieces enthralling the audience with his beats on the drum in carnatic style and the whole audience including Bhagawan were fully immersed in the musical offering that had energy that was vibrant, tempo that had momentum and rhythm that had harmony, that there was rhythmic clapping to the beats on the drums, all around. The synchronization of various instruments was the highlight of the performance. The final performance by the troupe was the famous bhajan Prema Mudhita Mana Se Kaho Rama Rama Ram…the entire gathering accompanied the piece in ‘chorus’ clapping to the tune. Bhagawan left the dais at 6:30 p.m. marking the end of the day three of the Maha Yajnam.
23-01-2007 Fourth Day...
The fourth day of the Yajna saw the regular rituals in the forenoon session. …And in the evening session, It was prayer all along, with much intensity… and bhajan session was on…and there came Bhagawan, all merciful Lord…a fitting finale to the heartfelt prayers emanated from the thousands assembled… a happy ending to a day long wait!
The guest artistes for the session were Sarvasree Vasu Rao and noted playback singer Malaysia Vasudevan; the troupe was introduced to the assembly by the Trust Convener, Mr. G.K.Raman. They produced six melodious songs in six different languages, an apt offering to a gathering of multitudes, coming from different languages with varied cultural background. This was followed by a musical offering by Bhagawan’s students from the Institute, who were blessed to be a part of His entourage; The students were Sri Guru Prasad, a first year student of School of Business Management, Sri Om Prasad, a second year student of Master of Science Programme, Sri Ashwath Narayanan, a Second year student of Master of Science Programme, Sri Ravi Teja who accompanied on flute, a former student of School of Business Management and Sri Nishikant Barodekar, noted Tabla exponent, currently serving in the Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music at Prasanthi Nilayam.
Music is undoubtedly a vehicle for prayer…and these students with their melodious rendering once again proved the same…as to how best you could win the heart of Bhagawan…through Naadopasana…The first song rendered was “Sindhanai Sei Manamae…”, meaning “O mind, dwell upon The Lord!” composed in Raag Kalyani, a famous Tamil song in praise of Lord Subrahmanya. This was followed by “Eppadi Padinaro Adiyaar…” in Raag Aaberi glorifying those saints whose lives were devoted to Lord Shiva. After these two songs, at the instance of Bhagawan they sang a popular movie song “Amma Endrazhaikkaadha Uyir Illayae…”, in Raag Kalyani meaning “There is no life without seeking the Mother…” Yet another one… “Janani, Janani, Janani…” a fantastic song rendered in Raag Revathi, devoted to the Mother of the Universe. …and throughout the session Bhagawan was seen completely engrossed in this Naadopasana, musical offering. It is truly said: rhythm is the pulse of Indian music; its essence is spiritual…and with a touch of feeling it reaches Him…and these renderings stand testimony to it. …and the curtain was drawn for the twilight session with a beautiful song “Swamiki Entha Premayu…” sung by the three students together, a song on Bhagawan’s all conquering love…literally conquering the thousands assembled at the venue...
Prasadam was distributed at the end of the session and Maha Mangala Aarathi was offered to Bhagawan…Bhagawan blessed the entire assembly with His Abhaya Hastha before leaving the premises. …A day long waiting finally turned out to be a wonderful musical evening…
24-01-2007 Fifth Day...
On the fifth day of the Ati Rudra Maha Yajnam, Bhagawan arrived at the venue at 11:00 a.m. while Gayathri chanting as a part of the customary offering of the Yajna was on….After the Gayathri chanting, at Bhagawan’s instance rithwiks chanted SriRudram…and this was on for quiet some time Bhagawan was seemingly engrossed in the chanting and at times was repeating the lines … “Namah Shambhave Cha Mayo Bhave Cha Namah Shankaraya Cha Mayaskaraya Cha…” Towards the end of the session Bhagawan blessed Prasadam for distribution and Mangalaarathi was offered to Him.
In the evening Bhagawan arrived while bhajan session was in progress. The speakers for the session were Sri Ranganatha Raju, student of the School of Business Management, Prasanthi Nilayam and Sri Sai Giridhar, student of Masters in Science Programme, SSSIHL at Prasanthi Nilayam. Mr. G.K. Raman, Trust Convener, introduced the speakers and their credentials to the devotees.
Sri Ranganatha Raju, a Telugu speaker, spoke about Bhagawan’s Divine Mission. His speech in Telugu, often intertwined with poetry was indeed a treat for the huge assembly that it went into continues raptures…Sri Raju ended his speech serving a silent reminder that - the entire humanity is indebted to Bhagawan and there is absolutely no way to repay him back as everything belongs to him alone - The second speaker dwelt upon the subject Absolute Truth - “The Absolute Truth is One; The Wise speak of That in many ways” – Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanthi. He observed: - the root cause of present day evil prevalent in the society is nothing but, ego and one has to surrender at His Lotus Feet to get rid off this curse. We may call Him by any Name, worship in any Form, but, surrender is the key to attain True Wisdom - said the speaker. His speech was coupled with beautiful narrations and stories from the epics, that of King Janaka and that related to Bhagawan Sri Krishna. He even highlighted a personal conversation that he had with Bhagawan wherein He was blessed to learn the great lesson that - everything in this world is worthless without God… as was the case, adding any number of zeros was useless, until these zeroes were preceded by the numeral 1. The speaker concluded with an emphatic note that only by the removal of ego that one can realize that HE and SAI are ONE!
Maha Mangalaarathi was offered at the end of the speech that drawn the curtain for the fifth day of the Ati Rudra Maha Yajnam.
25-01-2007 Sixth Day...
25th January 2007, on the sixth day of the Yajna, Bhagawan arrived at the venue in the evening, while bhajans were on… The speakers for the session were Hon’ble Mister Justice, R. Ramasubramanian and Sri Jagadish Chandra. Justice R. Ramasubramanian has the distinction of being the youngest justice from Tamil Nadu, and belonged to the first batch Balvikas of 1971 and Sri Jagdish Chandra, is currently pursuing M.Phil programme at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam. The State Trust Convener, Mr. G.K. Raman introduced both the speakers to the assembly.
“With Swami, all are heroes; without Him, we are mere zeros…” was the emphatic declaration by Justice Ramasubramanian marking the beginning of his speech. Highlighting an incident wherein a boy of Christian origin was made to chant Vedas in Prasanthi Nilayam, he stressed the absolute importance of attaining unity among various religions. Profusely thanking Bhagawan for the boon of Sai Ganga Water Project and for His greater magnanimity in blessing the city with His Divine visit, the speaker prayed to Bhagawan to visit the city at least once in a year. Concluding his speech, Justice Ramasubramanian had a word of advice from His own professional life for the devotees assembled over there… “Today the High Court Judges are eager to join Balvikas after knowing my background. Mark this… in the future all the spheres in the society will be filled with only Sai devotees. So make use of the opportunity now itself”.
The second speaker for the session, Sri Jagdish Chandra, spoke on the Guru aspect of Bhagawan; Sai as Guru - Brahma…Vishnu…Maheshwara…all in ONE. Substantiating his views, he narrated a beautiful incident that had happened in Prasanthi Nilayam, long back.
Once in Prasanthi Nilayam, Bhagawan came to a group of 20 devotees who were seated in the Mandir and asked the leader of the group, “How many?” (as to how many of them were there in the group - a question Bhagawan normally poses before calling any group for interview) “20 Swami”, pat came the reply. “No, 21 including Me” came an emphatic correction from Bhagawan. The next day Bhagawan again posed the same question to the group, “How many?” Having learnt the great lesson on the previous day from Bhagawan directly, the leader was confident this time. He said: “21 Swami”. “No, not 20 but 40, as I am in each one of you”, this was a superior dose from Bhagawan. The third day when the question was repeated yet again, the leader said: “40 Swami” …but, Bhagawan had yet another point to prove, to teach. Bhagawan said: “you are wrong again - “We are One and not many”. …a great lesson to preach Unity in Diversity, from Bhagawan Himself, in His own inimitable style. “Indeed Swami is our mother, father and guru guiding us at each step in every moment of our life”, said the speaker concluding his speech.
There was an extensive repertoire of musical feast awaiting the audience in the twilight session in His immediate Divine Presence. The guest artiste for the evening was Sri Unni Krishnan, noted Carnatic Vocalist, who along with his troupe enthralled the audience taking them to musical ecstasy. The weaving of pure music that emanated from the blessed artiste was indeed a treat for the packed audience. He began with “Shambo Mahadeva, Shankara Girija Ramana“. Bhagawan was seemingly following the piece, engrossed in bliss. Next to follow was a Marati piece on Bhagawan followed by a famous Soordas composition “Hey Govinda Hey Gopala”. The last song of the troupe was indeed a clarion call, heralding the underlined message that GOD IS ONE ONLY, “Bramham Okkate”.
The stage was set for the students to take over. …and they sang reproducing the old magic of legendary singer, Ghantasala through his famous song, “Shiva Shankari, Shivananda Lahari”…an apt offering for the ONE who is the embodiment of Shiva and Shakthi. The stage was perfect for the inner feelings to pour forth, as the sun was slowly vanishing and as the nightfall was taking the stage, and under the beaming light on the decorated dais was seated Bhagawan, a huge gathering keenly focussed on the rarest moments befell, and the song was indeed the right one for the occasion. As the song with high aalaps rendered the air, …that had everything in its blend, raaga, thaala and bhaava and the audience who were spellbound at the feat that was done with aplomb, a rare quality that comes to fore at the right occasion with Bhagawan’s students, it was devotion at its peak with a surge of emotion that was seen on many faces presented on occasion. The boys continued with three more songs in Tamil and at the end of the programme Maha Mangala Arthi was offered to Bhagawan. Yet another day with Bhagawan…to cherish…for the little hearts.
26-01-2007 Seventh Day...
As the Maha Yajna is closing in to the final stage there was lot of bustle among devotees to get a glimpse of the most coveted occasion. There were devotees from all over the globe pouring in to the venue. SaiRam was the mantra one could hear all around and the trademark discipline of Sai fraternity was very much in practice with the surging devotees, inspite of little hardships, common with such a mammoth occasion. This was vouchsafed from the remark made by a police official who has come for the first time on duty, “though I am a skeptic, the devotees’ love for Bhagawan Baba and their discipline is amazing and I am witnessing the power of Bhagawan Baba’s divine love.” Indeed, Thiruvanmiyur, located at the southern end of the city of Chennai, better known for housing the legendary Marundeeswarar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva has a new name and fame ever since Bhagawan has blessed it to be the venue of this epoch making spiritual festivity.
In the morning there were close on 12000 devotees gathered in the hall and the proceedings began with abhishekam followed by Rudra Parayana, Rudra Homam, Ashtavadhana Seva in the order. Towards the end of the session a melodious Tamil hymn rendered the air cooling the minds. This was followed by Mangala Aarathi marking the end of the morning session.
Devotees in Chennai are reaping the benefit of Bhagawan’s Divine Darshan at His Holy Abode Sundaram every day …and they seem to be enjoying every bit of it. This was a day when devotees were fortunate to witness His bounteous love and compassion coming to fore in yet again...for them to experience. Bhagawan came on to the stage at 10:15 a.m. while bhajan session was on…and shortly climbed down the dais to move in to the entire length of the devoted gathering leaving everyone happy beyond feeling and expression. There was still something to come…a rare display of His love and compassion!… a poor boy seated among the devotees was blessed to be drawn towards Him, almost unaware of…Bhagawan called the boy near and after enquiring his name materialized a long gold chain to put the same around the boy’s neck…leaving devotees with awe. God’s perfect Master Plan…right time and right occasion…and none fails to get his or her dues!
In the afternoon an estimated 60000 devotees had gathered at the Yajna site, and a few more were seen standing on the sides, failing to find a place, still determined to get a glimpse of the Lord. After the regular rituals, bhajans began at 5:35 p.m. Bhagawan arrived at the venue at around 6:15 p.m.
Sri G.K. Raman, Convenor, Sri Sathya Sai Trust, Tamil Nadu, introduced the speakers for the evening. Sri Vijay Krishnan, State Youth co-ordinator, the first speaker for the day, began his speech thanking Bhagawan profusely for making this Ati Rudra Maha Yajna a reality. He said, from the day Bhagawan made this declaration, it was only Bhagawan’s love which had been guiding the youth. He further added that Sai path was the only path for global peace and sought Bhagawan’s blessings for the project, the Youth has prayerfully submitted at the Divine Lotus Feet. The project named ‘SHARE’ – Social Harmony and Rural Empowerment, has been envisaged to empower 250 villages in a period of 3 years. Concluding his speech the youth leader prayed to Bhagawan to guide and bless the youth in their endeavour.
Sri T.G.Krishnamoorthy, formerly, President, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations, Tamil Nadu, the second speaker for the day appealed to the devotees to thank Bhagawan profusely for the boon of Sai Ganga Project. He said God has incarnated as Sri Sathyanarayana in Puttaparthi, and Bhagawan’s physical features match with the descriptions available with Srimad Bhagavatam, about the coming incarnation. It was indeed a scholarly exposition and the devotees enjoyed every bit of the speech and gave a thunderous applause to the veteran speaker.
The guest artiste for the evening was Sri Ustad Rashid Khan and party, and it was all along loud applause around. The evening was made doubly beautiful by the Hindustani rendition that left the audience in divine ecstasy. An immensely pleased Bhagawan materialized a ring for the artiste at the end of his programme. Bhagawan left the venue at 7:20 p.m. after receiving Manga Aarathi.
27-01-2007 Eighth Day...
On the eighth day of the Ati Rudra Maha Yajnam, at Sundaram, the Divine Abode in Chennai, Bhagawan came out at 10:15 a.m. and most magnanimously moved around the assembly of devotees leaving trace of bliss in every little hearts present over there. This was a day when everyone in the society had their share of Divine Blessing, the general devoted public, the traffic and police personnel and a even the Supreme Court Judge who was present.
Bhagawan arrived at the Yajna site at 11:20 a.m. and the veda chanting was on…Bhagawan listened to the hymns of Rig, Yajur and Atharva Vedas and towards the end blessed the entire gathering before leaving the premises.
In the afternoon, Bhagawan arrived at 5:15 p.m. After a short bhajan session, Sri G.K.Raman introduced the first speaker for the session, Sri. “Pulavar”Arivudai Nambi. Sri Nambi has been in active politics, and was a member of Legislative Council and a patron of “Thiruvalluvar Thiruchabai”. Before handing over the mike to the speaker, Mr. Raman thanked the 4000 odd sevadals arrived at the venue on the previous day to participate and partake the blessings of the Yajna.
Sri Nambi’s rhetoric exposition in Tamil had tales from the lives of great saints of Tamil Nadu, namely Thiruvalluvar, Thirunavukkarasar, Thirugnanasambandhar and Vallalar, household names among the devoted. He recalled a beautiful incident that had happened in his life wherein he was saved by Bhagawan. Once when he was critically ill and was in coma, a white clad person came to his house and told his wife: “Don’t worry, your husband will be alright with the grace of the Lord of Puttaparthi; he shall be cured within few days.” …then he declared: “Till date, I have had no problems with my health. I have been a devotee ever since for the past 10 years!” At the end of his speech Bhagawan blessed and materialized a ring for the speaker.
The second speaker, Sri Vijay Krishnan, Youth Leader for the state of Tamil Nadu prayed to Bhagawan, - We bow down at Thy Lotus Feet, O’ Mother Sai. We are indeed blessed to have received Thy Divine Command in August 2006 to organise Ati Rudra Maha Yajna in Chennai…A complete living is only when a person lives in accordance with God’s Command and Bhagawan has given us that chance…Just like a mother feeds her hungry child with healthy food, our Mother Sai has fed us with this Yajna, the spiritual food…Only with Bhagawan’s grace, we, ordinary people have been able to do extraordinary things. Many incidents have happened during the preparations and every time, we have felt the presence of Bhagawan either directly or indirectly…” Ending his speech, the youth leader prayerfully requested Bhagawan to bless the audience with His Divine Discourse.
That was the moment they have been waiting for…and there came the announcement. Bhagawan has conceded to the prayer to deliver a Divine Discourse. Bhagawan started his speech in Tamil switched over to Telugu. Following are the highlights of the Divine Discourse.
Karma is the cause for all; with God’s grace we can overcome the same; you don’t have to search for God anywhere else; you are all embodiments of love; all are sparks of divine…
Youth is a stage in which there is strong body, mind and intellect. But, you are misusing this gift of God. Instead, make proper use…What do you mean by making proper use? It is to use them in the Pravritti Marga. Soordas was blind but he always had Lord Krishna in his lips and finally Gopala Himself granted Darshan to him. Sing Divine glory; lips are given with that purpose; sing with love and not with arrogance; song is sung not for Raaga but to cure the Roga (disease).
The Nama of Krishna of the Highest of all…Service to the needy is more important thatn chanting the Name of the Lord. One should speak softly and sweetly; speak wholeheartedly…
Love is the most powerful of all. We are all the children of One Mother, God Himself. Always recall, “The Brotherhood of Man and Fatherhood of God” It is God’s love alone that protects the entire Universe. We too should love such that our love should generate love in others.
With a touching incident that had happened during the Rangoon war Bhagawan re-iterated the absolute importance of serving and loving mother as God. He said: “During Rangoon war time, a mother and her child survived and came to Madras (Chennai). The mother, in order to feed her son, had to go out into the streets to beg leaving the child under a tree. The son ate everyday and as time passed, he grew strong and in turn the mother became weak. One day the son told to his mother, “O mother, now you take rest, I’ll go and get food for you.” He went and begged. A learned man, who happened to see the boy, took pity on him and offered him food. The child kept it in its pocket and continued begging. When the man enquired the reason, the child replied: “This is for my hungry mother. She is weak. All these days, she was feeding me. Now, I am strong enough to beg. It is my turn to feed her hereafter.” Uttering these words the boy collapsed and died.
To Love God is to Love the Children of God…When you solve their problems, that is Liberation…There is no greater charity than food; There is no greater divinity than Parents; there is no greater enemy than anger…If you want to deserve the love of God, first deserve the love of people…HELP EVER, HURT NEVER…have a sacred heart.
Concluding His Divine Discourse, Bhagawan said: “You are all embodiments of Love. I AM NOT SEPARATE FROM YOU; I AM IN YOU AND YOU ARE IN ME.”
The discourse came to an end with the bhajans, Prema Mudita Mana Se Kaho followed by Govinda Krishna Jai.
28-01-2007 Ninth Day...
Regular rituals were in process as scheduled on the 9th day of the Maha Yajna on 29th morning. While the agony of long waiting for Bhagawan continued, Karthik, a 14 year old boy hailing from Chennai rendered the air with a beauteous melody, a tamil hymn that cooled the minds and swept the hearts of the devoted assembly that has been waiting for Bhagawan’s arrival. The morning session came to an end with Mangala Aarathi at 11:30 a.m.
In the meantime at Sundaram, there was an estimated gathering of 6,000 devotees awaiting Bhagawan’s darshan. Among the dignitaries were Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarath, Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Chief justice of Madras High Court A.P.Shah, veteran film maker Sri K.Balachandar, Dr. Rangabashyam waiting for Bhagawan’s darshan. Sitting under the blazing sun for quiet long eagerly waiting for Bhagawan to emerge, the assembly of devotees simmered down once their attention was diverted towards the gate through which Bhagawan gently emerged at 10:20 a.m. Sri Narendra Modi offered a bouquet to Bhagawan seeking Divine blessings. Bhagawan graciously accepted letters from devotees and chose to move till the end of the road blessing one and all. After this He slowly moved into the ladies’ wing and accepted letters. Bhajan session was on and Bhagawan sat on the dais for sometime listening to the bhajans. A photographer who was capturing the invaluable moments during the days was blessed by Bhagawan with a materialized Shivalinga. Bhagawan left the venue at 11.00 a.m. after receiving Aarathi.
In the evening Bhagawan arrived at the Yajna Vedhi at 4:45 p.m. with the Veda Ghosham “Namaste Asthu Bhagawan Vishweshwaraya…” meaning (Salutations to Bhagawan, the Lord of the Entire Universe) was heard chanting by the priests.
Sri V. Srinivasan, All India President of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation in a brief addressing to the gathering mentioned that all those who assembled were fortunate to have His Divine company, every day with unique and different experiences. He said, “This evening, the medical fraternity has come to see Swami. Swami, in order to fulfill the wish of His mother, built, instead of a small dispensary, an entire Super Specialty Hospital at Puttaparthi followed by another one at Bangalore. In these hospitals, the most critical treatments are also done at the highest quality absolutely free! Up to date more than 25000 surgeries for cardiac care have been performed for people of all ages totally free of cost”.
“Bhagawan says that Medical care should reach to each individual. We should not wait till one has to go to hospital but instead, we should go to people. To implement this, lots of mobile hospitals are sent to villages near and far. Bhagawan has also started a “Mother and Child” programme in which both pre and post natal care shall be provided.”
Sri Srinivasan further mentioned that 63 medical institutions from Chennai have come forward to give one bed each for free treatment under the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation. He expressed hope that soon this act of charity would grow manifold.
Prof.N.Rangabhashyam was the guest speaker for the evening. The speaker, a professor at Madras Medical College, currently working at Government General Hospital, Chennai is a recipient of Dr. B.C.Roy Award. He began his speech with “Bhagavan is Narayana (Lord)…We are all Vaidhya Narayana (Lord in the form of Healer)” addressing the medical fraternity present, quoting Bhagawan, the speaker posed, “What use is the medical service if it is not for the poor?” He made a mention about the free medical service rendered by the twin hospitals of Bhagawan at Puttaparthi and Bangalore and explained “They give not just physical care, but also spiritual care…” Prof. Rangabhashyam mentioned that 63 hospitals have come forward to give a bed each for free treatment. “This shall soon be increased to 200.” he added. With a special mention about the youth wing and sevadals, he lavishly praised the medical camps arranged by them, thus making Sai health care a grand success. He expressed his grateful thanks to Bhagawan for blessing the city with His Divine visit. The speaker concluded his speech with a request to Bhagawan bless them all with His Divine Discourse. In the end Bhagawan materialized a ring for the speaker.
Bhagawan graciously blessed all the medical equipments for distribution among the representatives of all the 63 hospitals who have come forward to be a part of this free medical service venture.
The next speaker was Sri. S.G.Chittibabu, formerly Vice Chancellor of Annamalai University. “Our Lord is the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer…This Ati Rudra Maha Yajnam signifies the highest form of worship of Lord Shiva” said the speaker beginning his speech. Being an educationist, Prof. Chittibabu spoke in detail about the education at Sri Sathya Sai Deemed University, highlighting the quality spiritual education it imparts to modern world. Citing the absolutely free education that the university offers, Prof. Chittibabu hailed the University as the best in the world. Bhagawan left the venue at 6:00 p.m. after receiving Mangala Aarathi.
29-01-2007 Tenth Day...
At Sundaram, more than 7000 devotees had gathered for Divine Darshan. Bhagawan came out at 10.30 a.m. and went for a full round through the entire stretch of the road. For devotees who were waiting from as early as 4:00 a.m. this was indeed a moment of fulfillment. Bhagawan most graciously accepted letters from many devotees. Film actor Prabhu, s/o thespian of tamil film, late Shivaji Ganesan offered a bouquet to Bhagawan. After listening to the bhajans for sometime sitting on the dais, Bhagawan left Sundaram after receiving Managal Aarathi.
The penultimate morning of the epoch making Yajna started with regular offerings - Rudra homam, Sai Gayathri homam etc.. Bhajans began at 10.50 a.m. It was indeed a long waiting for the devotees but in the end Bhagawan came at 12:50 p.m. After a brief ten minutes of listening to the chanting of the Vedas Bhagawan left the venue at 1:00 p.m., after receiving Mangala Aarathi.
In the afternoon there was a surging crowd of devotees estimated to be around 70,000. There was a special enclosure provided for the police officials to have Bhagawan’s Divine Darshan. Ending a long wait with great expectancy Bhagawan arrived at the venue at 6.15 p.m. Sri V. Srinivasan, All India President, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, introduced the speakers for the evening.
The first speaker for the session was Dr. Mahendra Kumar Rathod, I.P.S. Invoking Bhagawan to speak through him as he was not prepared to address such a vast gathering, the police officer, referring to the service offered by the force during the ongoing Yajna, mentioned that for the past 10 days, the police force and the volunteers of Sai Organisations were working together with great harmony and tremendous discipline and devotion. Bhagawan’s message has entered these hearts and that was what reflected in them rendering sincere service. This wonderful mega event is for all of us to learn to Love all and Serve all and one has to serve mankind to serve God, said the speaker concluding his speech.
Sri D. Ramaratnam, the second speaker distinguished scholar who spoke next said that the devotees were fortunate to have Bhagawan as their Guru. He is Brahma, the creator, Vishnu the saviour, and Shiva the destroyer. He dispels the darkness and illumines our minds. It is enough if one meditates on His beautiful form and follow His words. His words are the essence of the Veda and He practises what He preaches. He appealed to the devotees to follow His words and serve mankind. At the end of his speech Bhagawan materialized a ring for him.
There was an announcement made by the Sri Srinivasan inviting one and all to participate in the concluding function of the Yajna, Maha Poornahuthi on the next day.
Bhagawan left the venue at 6:35 p.m. after receiving Mangala Aarathi.
Maha Poornahuthi 30-01-2007
The day has finally arrived. The day to offer Maha Poornahuthi at the Ati Rudra Maha Yajnam in Chennai, that has been going on for the past 11 days, done at the auspices of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba aimed at Universal Peace and Prosperity. Thiruvanmiyur, the blessed venue has definitely earned a name to posterity having been chosen by the Divine Himself to host this epoch making Maha Yajna. And more so, would be the disciplined assembly of devotees, dedicated youth and sevadals, scholarly rithwiks, and the beautiful mornings and evenings blessed by His Mighty Divine Presence…all these would be etched deeply in the memory of every spiritual seeker who has chosen to make it to the venue to partake the blessing from the coveted, holy occasion.
Religious fervour and devotion marked the Maha Poornahuthi offered at the Ati Rudra Maha Yajnam in the Divine Presence, culminating the 11 day spiritual feast. The last day's function in the morning was attended by a huge multitude of devotees from various parts of the world.
The proceedings of this day started as early as at 4 a.m. Devotees were pouring in from midnight onwards and every inch of space was occupied. Chantings of Rudram and Chamakam and Rudrabhishekam went on in the same order of preceding days of the Yajna. This was followed by gopuja, with a cow and a calf brought into the scene and as a customary ritual, were offered to a brahmin couple. Bhagawan arrived at the dais at 10:50 a.m. and Maha Poornahuthi began at 11:15 a.m. with Bhagawan, the Yajna Purusha occupying His seat right infront of the main Yajna Kundam (fire pit). With the chanting of Rudram in the backdrop, ghee was offered in continuous stream into the fire by the priests. This was followed by sacred offerings containing navadhaanya and navaratnas; Bhagawan blessed the same by taking a fistful of the contents to cast into the fire pit followed by dried coconuts filled with turmeric and kumkum respectively…Kumbabhishekam was the next to follow, the kalasas laden with holy water that were installed on the first day of the Yajna were opened and the holy water was offered to Sai Sundareshwara Linga. Bhagawan chose to move around the assembly of devotees; the rithwiks, at Bhagawan’s instance, were seen sprinkling the sacred water on to the devotees, blessing one and all, a final boon that the gathering would have definitely yearned for. Bhagawan left the venue after receiving the offering of Maha Mangala Aarathi at 11:50 a.m.
Earlier in the day a two minutes silence was observed marking the National Martyrs' day.