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Tamil Newyear Celebrations

Speeches, Divine Discourse and a skit entitled, 'Prema Vahini'

April 13, 2008

Puthandu, more frequently known as the Tamil New Year is celebrated in the State of Tamil Nadu. The Tamil New Year is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu Solar Calendar. The day is marked with a feast in Hindu homes and entrances to the houses are decorated elaborately with kolams.

The highlight of the festival is the ‘Maanga Pachadi’ (a dish made of raw mangoes, jaggery and neem flowers), which is at the same time sweet, sour and bitter. This signifies all the different aspects of our life

Tamil New Year celebrations began on the morning of 13th April 2008. The Hall was beautifully decorated with festoons and banners, the pillars were adorned with the photographs of illustrious saints and sages of Tamil Nadu. Large hoardings depicting the Sai Ganga Canal were put up in the Hall. The state of the Poondi reservoir before and after the canal was built was well portrayed.

This morning too, the devotees could feast their eyes on the Lord as Bhagawan was wheeled into the Hall on a sofa. As Bhagawan came to the dais, the ladies wing of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, Tamil Nadu began singing devotional songs. Offering their obeisance to Lord Ganesh, they sang Parthi Ganesham Pranamamyaham (salutations to Lord Ganesh of Parthi). The next song Sai Sathyam, Sai Nithyam …Sai Sarvam …Prema Palakula Bangaru Sai (Sai is truth, Sai is eternal … Sai is everything … His words are suffused with love). The song extolled the various names of Sai and His qualities. Their programme was followed by Bhajans by students. After Bhajans an announcement was made wishing everybody a happy new year and the happing tidings of Bhagawan’s Discourse at 4 p.m. Arati was offered to Bhagawan at 9.35 a.m. Thus, concluded the morning session at Sai Kulwant Hall.    

In the evening again Bhagawan was wheeled into the Hall in a sofa at 4.10. After Bhagawan came to the dais, Sri V. Srinivasan, All India President, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations offered his reverential Pranams to Bhagawan and said that they are fortunate to be in the Divine Presence of Bhagawan on the auspicious festivals of Tamil New Year, Vishu and Rama Navami. Then he introduced the two speakers for the session. The first speaker Justice V. Ramasubramanian, a Judge of the Madras High Court has the distinction of being one of the youngest judges. He is a Bal Vikas student having completed 9 years of Bal Vikas. He has been a Seva Dal and regularly participates in Seva activities. He has been elevated in 2006 to Madras High Court. The next speaker Dr. V. Mohan is the Chairman and Chief Diabetologist Dr. Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre and President and Director Madras Diabetes Research Foundation. He is a sincere devotee of Bhagawan and has been blessed by Bhagawan to be the Convener of Sri Sathya Sai Trust, Tamil Nadu.

Justice V. Ramasubramanian began his speech with the Sanskrit Sloka Hridakase Sadabhantam Santham Anandam Rupinam, Jnana Bhanum Aham Vande Sadgurum Sathya Sayeenam. Offering his obeisance to the Sadguru, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, The speaker related the acute scarcity of water which the city of Chennai faced till recently and now due to Bhagawan’s munificence, every drop of water the people drink, they owe it to Bhagawan. He recollected a maxim of the celebrated poet of Tamil Nadu Avaiyyar: It is very rare to be born as a human being and still rare to be born without any physical deformity. If she would have been alive today, she would have coined another adage that it is very rare to be born as a Sai devotee.

Relating an incident from his profession, he said that many times they get anonymous letters. One of the letters that he received was unique because it read that I hope I would get justice because you are a Sai devotee. Thus, he concluded his speech.

Dr. V. Mohan began his speech by echoing Sri V. Srinivasan’s sentiments of the privilege of being in Bhagawan’s presence. “There are crores of people in Tamil Nadu and only a few thousands have assembled in this Hall. We are the chosen few to be in Bhagawan’s Presence,” he said. He narrated three moving incidents he experienced as a doctor. A lady was diagnosed as having advanced breast cancer by an Oncologist and Radiologist. She needed immediate chemotherapy treatment. Just the day before her treatment Bhagawan materialised Vibhuti right on her bed. When the biopsy report came, she was diagnosed to be having no cancer. Her cancer was cancelled by Bhagawan. Another person had advanced foot infection. His ulcer had deteriorated and there was gangrene formation. Amputation of his leg was a necessity. He prayed to Bhagawan with all his heart. Bhagawan Himself appeared in the hospital and stoked his leg. Next day, he showed improvement. Within a week he was discharged from the hospital completely cured. A Muslim gentleman was having sleepless nights due to severe pain. Even sleeping pills did not work. The speaker was at his wits end. He just held the hand of the patient and prayed to Bhagawan and left him alone. The patient slept that night as if he was given anaesthesia Next day, the patient asked him as to what miracle he had performed. When the patient was told that he prayed to Bhagawan, the patient too said a silent prayer to Bhagawan. He also mentioned about the project of giving free beds in Chennai hospitals for patients referred by the Sai Organisation. He said that this project was becoming a reality now.

Excerpts of Bhagawan’s Divine Discourse
After Sri Mohan’s speech, Bhagawan delivered His Divine Discourse, excerpts of which follows:
Bhagawan began the Discourse with a Telugu poem which reads thus:

This land of Bharat is the motherland for great people, who acquired name and fame in different continents.
This land of Bharat is the battlefield where the warriors of the foreign country were driven out and freedom from foreign rule acquired.
This land of Bharat has acquired great name and fame for erudite scholarship.
This land of Bharat is a divine land which has produced great intellectuals in the fields of music, art, literature and various sciences.
Having been born in such a great land of Bharat, Oh boys! The responsibility to protect and uphold the righteousness of this country is yours.

You may be an expert in different fields of knowledge, but if have no spiritual knowledge, everything is a waste.
Right from earth to space, all beings are the creation of the Creator. All are one. Ekam Sath Viprah Bahudha Vadanti (truth is one, but the wise refer to it by various names).In this world there is nothing like second. Sarvatah Panipadam Tat Sarvathokshi Siromukham, Sarvatah Sruthimalloke Sarvamavruthya Tishthati (with hands, feet, eyes, head, mouth and ears pervading everything, He permeates the entire universe). Everything is divine in this world. Be they gain or loss, victory or defeat, everything is God’s gift. If we investigate, there is vast land and so many rivers in Bharat and still people don’t have food to eat. All the energy latent in man in misused. He is wasting his intelligence. If man puts in right efforts, he will achieve the results. There is nothing else beyond Divine. In this world, there is nothing that you cannot achieve. Man today is not attempting to know his true nature.

If we put a question to man, who are you. He tells his name. But if the same question is put to God, He will say Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahman). We are making every effort to know that which is impossible. Is it possible to fathom the Divinity which is vast and all-pervasive?

Never consider that God is separate from you. You are not the body. Body is like a water bubble. Mind is like a mad monkey. You are not the body, mind and intellect. You are you only.

Bhagawan then narrated incidents from the Ramayana. In the Treta Yuga (aeon), King Dasaratha and King Janaka ruled the land. One belonging to Kosala kingdom, Kausalya was married to Dasaratha. A daughter by name Santha was born to them. But Dasaratha wanted a male child. Afterwards, they did not have any children. The law of the land those days was such that if the husband wanted to remarry, he had to take the consent of his wife. Kausalya readily agreed to his proposal. Dasaratha married Sumitra. But again they had no children. Then Dasaratha married the daughter of the king of Kekaya, Kaikeyi. Before marriage, the king had extracted a promise from Dasaratha that the son born to her should be crowned the king of Ayodhya. Even after marriage to Kaikeyi they did not have any children. As per the advice of the head priest in the kingdom, Dasaratha performed Putra Kamesti Yaga (a sacrifice to beget children).

On the 11th day of the Yaga, a divine being appeared from the fire with a vessel of sacred payasam (pudding). This pudding was to be equally distributed between his three wives. Kausalya and Kaikeyi took the pudding to their chambers. Sumitra took the pudding to the terrace. After having a sacred bath, she was drying her hair. At that time, an eagle swooped down and carried the sacred pudding in its claws. It took the pudding to Anjana Devi, the mother of Hanuman. She partook of it. Kausalya gave birth to a male child and as per the horoscope, he was named Rama. Sumitra gave birth to two sons – Lakshmana and Satrughna. Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharata. But Sumitra had a predicament. Both her sons would never sleep and were constantly crying. When she consulted Vasishtha, the head priest, he advised her to put Lakshmana by the side of Rama and Satrughna by the side of Bharata. When this was done, the children stopped crying. This was because when Sumitra lost her bowl of pudding both Kausalya and Kaikeyi gave half of their share of pudding to Sumitra.
Manthara, the head servant of Kaikeyi poisoned the ears of Kaikeyi and reminded her of the two boons she asked Dasaratha. Kaikeyi removed all her jewels and resigned into a chamber grief-stricken. When Dasaratha came to know of it, he had to fulfil the promises given to Kaikeyi. As a result, Rama had to be sent to the forest. When Lakshmana came to know of it, he flew into a rage and wanted to kill both Manthara and Kaikeyi. Rama pacified him. Lakshmana too decided to accompany Rama to the forest. When he went to Urmila, his wife to take leave of her, she was painting the coronation scene of Rama. When Lakshmana suddenly entered the room, she too got up. In the confusion, the paint spilled on the picture. Then Lakshmana told her the purpose for which she was painting the picture had become a distant reality. Urmila then advised Lakshmana to consider Rama and Sita as his everything, and never to think of her even for a moment.
Rama, Sita and Lakshmana proceeded to the forest. The grief-stricken father Dasaratha wanted to have glimpse of Rama before he went to the forest. Rama did not agree to his request saying that once he had started he would not turn back. Dasaratha did not have food or sleep because of separation from Rama. As a result, he died.
There was a reason for Dasaratha to have such an end. Once when he had gone to the forest for hunting, Sravana Kumar, a dutiful son was leading his aged parents on a pilgrimage. His parents felt thirsty, so he went in search of water. Hearing some rustling sound, Dasaratha shot at the direction of the sound and killed Sravana Kumar mistaking him to be a deer. When Dasaratha told the parents of Sravana Kumar about the death of their son, they became inconsolable and pronounced a curse on Dasaratha that he too would meet the same fate in his life.

Bhagawan then described the grandiose marriage of Rama and Sita.

He said that 5,000 years had passed since Rama left the earth. But still His name is ever fresh and ever new in the minds of people. There is not a village without the temple of Rama. Of all the names of God, Rama’s name is very important. Bhagawan exhorted the students to chant the name of Rama when they go to college from their homes. Rama’s name is our life-breath.

Prema Vahini: A Drama by Bal Vikas Children of Tamil Nadu
After Bhagawan’s Discourse, the Bal Vikas children of Tamil Nadu presented a drama “Prema Vahini”. Swami blessed the cast at the beginning of the drama. The drama was interestingly narrated in the form of Villupattu (a traditional folk art form of Tamil Nadu). It revolved around the topic of Sai Ganga Canal in Chennai.

The scene opens with a convocation scene wherein a few boys are shown coming out of the portals of the university in flying colours. Ranganathan advises his son Ramesh to serve society as service to society is service to God. The company where Ramesh joins proposes to take up massive projects for the city of Chennai. One of them is the Kandaleru-Poondi canal.

As the drama progresses, the pathetic condition of people struggling to get even a pot of water is portrayed. Bhagavan’s declaration on the 1st Anniversary of Super Speciality Hospital in Whitefield that he would provide water to the people of Chennai is played on the public address system. Canvases showing the Kandaleru-poondi canal before its completion, and after the canal was built with water gushing through it, was shown to the audience. The drama ended with people thanking Bhagawan for providing them with copious amount of water through the Sai Ganga Canal.

Efficient stage management was the hallmark of the drama. Arati was offered to Bhagawan at 6.30 p.m. Thus, concluded the Tamil New Year celebrations in Prasanthi Nilayam.