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a Report on Easwaramma Day celebrations in Kodaikanal...

The sixth day of May each year is awaited with a lot of hope and expectation by all devotees especially by the Bal Vikas students of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations, for Easwaramma Day celebrations give them an opportunity to express their love for Beloved Bhagawan. This year, the Bal Vikas children and devotees of Tamil Nadu and in fact thousands from other parts of India and overseas were blessed with an opportunity to witness and participate in the Easwaramma Day Celebrations in the Divine Presence at Sai Shruthi, Bhagawan’s Abode in Kodaikanal, famous hill station in the South Indian State of Tamil Nadu.

The morning was cool and pleasant and the sunrays were gradually lighting up the sylvan surroundings. Sai Shruthi was beautifully decorated with colourful buntings and festoons. The portrait of Divine Mother Easwaramma adorned the walls along with posters depicting Bhagawan’s teachings. At 7.30 a.m., amidst auspicious sounds of Nadaswaram, Bhagawan came out to grant coveted darshan to the throng of devotees. Soon the Mahila Wing started singing Bhajans and Bhagawan commanded His students to start distributing gifts such pens, notebook, etc. to the 3000 Balvikas students.

On this occasion, around 100 infants less than a year old and their mothers from the weaker sections of the society were chosen for adoption by the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, Tamil Nadu. They were each given a kit comprising of a plate, bowl and spoon, sweater, cream and powder for the infants. In addition to this, Narayana Seva (feeding of the poor) and Vastradanam (distribution of clothes) were also simultaneously conducted in the lower ground. The whole place was a beehive of activity as the students, elders and Sevadal volunteers were busy shifting plates full of Chakkara Pongal (sweetened rice), Pulihora (Tamarind rice) and sweet. Every single individual who came there that morning went back after having received Prasadam and a picture of Swami, and of course, with their hearts brimming with love and joy. As is always the case with Bhagawan’s activities, in spite of large numbers, the whole activity was carried out in perfect order and in an atmosphere of love. As the Prasadam distribution was on, Bhagawan moved about amidst the devotees blessing them and overseeing the proceedings. At 10.30 a.m., Arati was offered to Bhagawan marking the closure of morning session.

In the afternoon, Bhagawan came to the Bhajan Hall at 4.10 p.m. After a few Bhajans, four Bal Vikas students came on to the stage and recited vedic mantras. Following this, two Bal Vikas students were blessed by Bhagawan to address the gathering, one in local vernacular, Tamil and another in English. Both the speakers highlighted the need for loving and serving one’s parents. Parents are the very embodiments of love and sacrifice, and without earning their blessings, all spiritual exercises will be futile, reminded the speakers. Recalling the importance attached to this virtue of filial devotion in the Indian tradition, the young speaker who spoke in English chanted the lines from Taitreyopanishad - “Matru Devo Bhava, Pitru Devo Bhava” meaning that one’s mother and father should be respected like God. In conclusion, the young speaker concluded by promising Bhagawan that they would follow Swami’s teachings and example, and love and serve their parents throughout their lives.

It was the turn of Prof. G.Venkataraman, former vice-chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai University addressed the gathering. He highlighted the sad state of affairs prevailing in most of the families today; Love and respect for parents was on the decline, having been reduced to the status of merely giving cards and gifts on one occasion in a year. This, he observed, was the root cause of all the problems that were affecting mankind today. Quoting from Bhagawan’s discourses, he said that one needed to ‘pay rent’ in the form of love and gratitude to one’s ‘parent’ for the services that one has received from them. Dr. Venkataraman concluded his speech with an incident that had happened in the year 1968 when Bhagawan was preparing to visit East Africa. Mother Easwaramma had heard from some people that Africa was full of dangerous wild animals and hence she was concerned about Bhagawan’s safety. She voiced her concern to many people but none of them gave her any satisfactory answer. So finally she approached Col. Joga Rao and categorically told him that the East Africa trip should be cancelled. Col. Joga Rao told her that Swami was God and assured her no danger would befall Him. But the loving mother that she was, replied innocently, “You and I know that Swami is God. But, do the wild animals in Africa know that He is God?” Such was her unbounded love and affection for Swami.

The next speaker was Prof. Anil Kumar, faculty member in the department of Bio-Sciences in the Prasanthi Nilayam campus of Sri Sathya Sai University. He started with the recital of a beautiful poem in Telugu about the most blessed and privileged women in human history – Aditi, Koushalya, Devaki and Easwaramma, all of whom were chosen by the Lord Himself to be His mother in His various incarnations. Prof. Anil Kumar concluded his speech by narrating two wonderful incidents that took place in Kovvur and Chirala, two places in Andhra Pradesh that vividly demonstrated the omnipresence and omnipotence of Bhagawan.

Following this, Bhagawan most graciously granted His Divine Discourse. He began by saying that one without control of mind is no man at all. He then materialized a gold necklace with a pendent of Goddess Lakshmi. Bhagawan then recalled how Mother Easwaramma extracted a promise from Bhagawan that He would not forsake Puttaparthi and move to another place. He also described His visit to East Africa, and also the events that led to Mother Easwaramma’s peaceful and blessed departure from this physical world.

The programme concluded with vocal concert in Carnatic music by Sri Raghavachari and Sri Seshachari, the famous duo from Hyderabad. They had everyone immersed in their soulful music for close to half an hour. Bhagawan accepted Arati at the conclusion of the programme.

At Prasanthi Nilayam, the celebrations were conducted in the serene environment of the Samadhi of Bhagawan’s parents (memorial building where the earthly remains of Bhagawan’s parents are interred) near the ashram campus. At 8.00 a.m. the proceedings began with Bhajans. Pooja was conducted in memory of Bhagawan’s parents in the sanctum-sanctorum of the memorial. After arati was offered, Narayan Seva was conducted and Prasadam was distributed to all who had gathered there.

Earlier Bhagawan and His blessed entourage left Prasanthi Nilayam to the Kodail Hills on 26th April 2007.

The Divine Sojourn 2007 to Kodai Hills with His blessed entourage consisting of selected students and devotees had a kick-start with the party leaving Prasanthi Nilayam just after 9:00 a.m. on 26th April 2007. A packed Sai Kulwant Hall was rejoiced to receive Bhagawan and wish Him a happy ‘farewell’ and Bhagawan reciprocated by moving through the chunk of devotees, moving among them, blessing one and all. He was offered Aarathi before leaving the Mandir premises and throughout the 3 kilometer stretch of road leading to the Airport there were hundreds eagerly waiting to catch a precious glimpse, overlooking the simmering summer.

The retinue left the Sri Sathya Sai Airport at 9.40 a.m. to land at the Madurai Airport 11.20 a.m. At the Airport, Bhagawan was ceremonially welcomed by the Convener of Sri Sathya Sai Trust, Tamil Nadu, District Collector of Madurai, DIG and DSP of Police, Madurai and Airport Authority, Madurai etc..

From the Madurai Airport, Bhagawan proceeded to Ananda Nilayam where He was religiously welcomed by the Chief Patron of the Mandir Sri Srinivasan Chettiar and other devotees. After spending sometime listening to Bhajans, Bhagawan proceeded to Kodaikanal, blessing the devoted gathering.

Enroute, He was offered Aarathi by many villagers. After taking a break at the Highways Inspection Bungalow at Ganguarpatti, Bhagawan’s convoy consisting of many vechicles and Police escort reached Sai Shruti, Kodaikanal at 4 p.m. Bhagavan was received with loving devotion by large number of devotees led by the All India President of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations. Nadaswaram music hailed Bhagawan’s entry to His residence upon His arrival He was offered Arathi by Mahila devotees and there were thousands eagerly awaiting at Sai Shruti to catch a glimpse of the precious sight.

On the 27th morning at 10 a.m. many hearts were filled with bliss as Bhagawan came out and motored to the newly constructed blocks consisting of 24 flats (a property of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust) and was received with Poorna Kumbham and Veda Chanting, Bhagawan inaugurated the New Block and after listening to a musical offering by the Malladi brothers, blessed prasadam offered by Smt & Sri AdiKesavalu. This was followed by Narayana Seva and Vastradhanam to 1200 needy people to mark the importance of the occasion.The function culminated with Mangala Aarathi to Bhagawan…and eversince, it has been joyful days at Sai Shruthi, with Bhagawan conferring Divine Benediction every day both morning and evening. With the rest of India fighting the simmering summer, Kodai Hills remain cool, basking in the glory of her privileged status…play host to the Ultimate Divine!!!