The North American premabandham which evolved into a Global premabandham was planned as an occasion for all alumni to come together and re-evaluate their way forward as a community. The meet took place on 30th and 31st of July. As per tradition, the alumni meet started with a service camp in Puttaparthi. The Registrar addressed the Alumni at the institute auditorium.
Soul of Education is Education of the Soul!
He spoke about the presence of Bhagawan felt more than ever before in every aspect of the institute's functioning. The utmost duty of the alumni, he emphasised was being Shining Examples for the society to emulate. The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning is a unique university which never needs to compare itself with any other varsity. He concluded his talk with the way forward on how the Alumni can contribute to the University.
After the Mandir Session on the 30th, Prof. G. Venkataraman addressed the Alumni and their family with an attempt to understand the concept of Premabandham, what it actually means and what the responsibilities associated with it are.
The next morning contained interactive sessions with Sri. S.V. Giri, Trustee of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and Prof. Anantharaman, Media Coordinator and Faculty of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. The role of 25000 Alumni of the University spread across the world was discussed. Their talks was followed by a presentation and interaction on the Sri Sathya Sai Vidhya Vahini Project by Sri Satyajit and other members of the team. Enemy of innovation is to work in isolation and hence the Alumni was urged to work together on this noble task.
At 1700hrs in the evening, the Alumni put up a programme of thanksgiving to their Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The programme started with speeches from Sri. SBSS Madhav and Sri. G V Ravi Shankar. This was followed by a music programme which suffused the ambience with nostalgia. Arati was offered at 1800hrs.
Updated Monday, Jul 25, 2011 1900 Hrs. IST
Taking a leaf of inspiration from Bhagawan, carrying the mantle of His precious Divine Teachings, a group of youth from Australia under the banner, Sai Youth Australia, staged a musical programme in the Sai Kulwant Hall this evening. The programme commenced at the end of half-an-hour Vedam chanting, just after 1700 hrs., with customary offering at Bhagawan's Maha Samadhi.
Beginning with an invocatory song in Telugu, "Jagamula..." the group continued with "Sathya Sai We Love You..." before bursting into a commentary, dwelling upon, reminding themselves of Bhagawan's advice during the group's previous visit last year, to share love with all. With this they sang "Swami, We Are Your Youth Autralia..." that was followed by an often heard Telugu number. One more Telugu song followed, that glorified the importance of service, yet another
familiar song, "Sai Maatha Biddalame Andharam..." which was followed by a "Qawwali "Meri Muhabbat Mera Khuda Hey...". The group ended the programme, expressing gratitude to Bhagawan, praying for continued guidance to move in the path shown by Him, following His advice "service begins at home...". Students took over to sing bhajans for the next fifteen minutes before Mangala Arathi at 1800 hrs. Special Prasadam was distributed at the end of the programme.
The group from Australia comprised of around sixty members, 35 ladies and 25 gents.
Updated Sunday, Jul 24, 2011 2000 Hrs. IST
This evening, continuing with the presentation stint, the Parthi Yatra troupe from Medak district presented a well-choreographed dance drama “Prarthana" meaning prayer in the Sai Kulwant Hall. Effulgent Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba amidst galaxy of stars formed the magnificent backdrop for the drama. The theme of the drama was the decadence of values in today’s youth with scant respect for Neeti (morality) and Nijayati (integrity) in everyday life. Three youth, who are Bhagawan’s devotees scrupulously follow the path of truth, righteousness, peace, love and non-violence. They are pooh-poohed by others in society for adhering to moral path when there was rampant corruption and materialism in the world. In this modern age there was no use in adhering to values and ideals, is the sentiment echoed by the materialistic youth.
This dance drama gains added importance when it conveys the message that though Bhagawan is not physically with us, He is always guiding and guarding us and goading us to tread the moral path. At the end, a chief executive of a company offers job to the three youth, pleased by their uprightness. The youth agree to join the company, but on a condition that they be allowed to continue Seva (service) after the working hours. Thus, the dance drama ends on a happy note.
After every scene of the drama, dances by girls of the Bal Vikas wing of the organisation provided a fitting dramatic interlude. All the cast of the dance drama were distributed clothes for their sterling performance by the members of the Medak district Sri Sathya Sai Organisation. After a few Bhajans by the students and distribution of Prasadam, the evening session ended with Arati at 1800 hrs.
Meanwhile, the Sri Sathya Sai International Orthopaedic Conference on Pelvis and Lower Extremity Trauma concluded at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences (SSSIHMS), Prasanthigram this evening.
Some of the topics discussed on the concluding day included “Arthoplasty for Acetabular Fracture in Elderly Patients”, “Open Fractures in Children”, “Current Status of Orthopaedics in India”, amongst others.
The Head of Department of Orthopaedics, SSSIHMS, Dr. Kailash Rao in his closing remarks thanked Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for His kind benevolence for the successful completion of the conference. Dr. Rao also thanked the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust for its overall support and co-operation in the organization of the conference. Further, he thanked all the faculty members for their time and for sharing their expertise. All the faculty members were felicitated by the Department of Orthopaedics for participating in the conference.
The second batch of Sevadals from Himachal Pradesh took over Prasanthi Service today and the outgoing batch was felicitated in the Poornachandra Auditorium this afternoon. After a video presentation Sri SV Giri, Trustee, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, spoke to the Sevadals for an hour before Mangala Arathi was offered to Bhagawan concluding the session.
Updated Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 1850 Hrs. IST
The first Parthi Yatra, post the new phase of Prasanthi with Bhagawan's Maha Samadhi, that came from Medak district of Andhra Pradesh offered a bouquet of devotional songs at His Divine Lotus Feet this evening in Sai Kulwant Hall. The programme commenced at 1700 hrs., after the half an hour Veda chanting by students, with an invocatory prayer "Shuklambhara Dharam Vishnum..."
Revelling in His unfathomable glory, entwining various attributes of the attributeless Divine, the guest artiste for the evening representing the district, Sri Sasidhara Sharma, an accomplished TV artiste, accompanied by eleven accompanists sang for the next 45 minutes before students took over for a fifteen minute bhajan session. At the end of the session, before Mangala Arathi, an announcement on the Water Project Scheme implemented in the district was made, offering gratitude to Bhagawan for His immense love and compassion to the suffering people of the district. 196 villages have been benefitted from this stupendous scheme supplying "Elixir Divine' to the drought affected areas of the district. Mangala Arathi was offered at 1800 hrs. and special prasadam was distributed to the entire gathering.
The group from Medak included 200 men and 500 women devotees. The group is to continue with their cultural offering tomorrow as well.
A special guest block comprising of medicos attending the ongoing Ortho Conference was also present for the evening session.
Updated Friday, Jul 22, 2011 1900 Hrs. IST
The Sri Sathya Sai International Orthopaedics Conference on pelvis and lower extremity trauma began at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences (SSSIHMS), Prasanthigram on July 22. The release by the Institute is available here.
Continuing the festive season in Prasanthi Nilayam, 121 devotees from California arrived on a pilgrimage from 21st to 30th July. They got an opportunity to present a song medley, "From Many To One". The programme was presented by the Glendale-Arcadia Sadhana Group and the Glendale Balvikas of Southern California.
The programme had 2 parts. The first part was entitled "Many Voices" and it contained Devotional songs from the Religious and Cultural Traditions of the United States of America. It started with a song of surrender, "Humble Thyself" and continued with the songs "Go Out With Joy", "Shema Yisrael" (Listen, oh Israel), "Oseh Shalom" (He who makes peace), "Demos Gracias"( We give you thanks) and finally the first part concluded with the Cherokee Morning Song sung with a lagged echo effect.
The second part of the programme "One in Adoration" had the participants singing with the an unsullied adoration emerging from the hearts of all. "There is No Birth, There is No Death" was the first song, followed by the Bhajan, "Brahmanda Nayaka" to be continued with some well composed swaras to lead into the song, "You are my Mother, You are my Father", and concluding with the Bhajans, "Allah Eswar Tu", "Saakshaat Parabrahma Sai" and finally "Yuga Yuga ke avataara". Arati was offered at 1800hrs.
Meanwhile, a large contingent from Medak District has arrived in Prasanthi Nilayam for its Parthi Yatra. The contingent is scheduled to have a two day session starting tomorrow that includes cultural programmes, talks and a group Lakshaarchana.
Updated Saturday, Jul 16, 2011 2018 Hrs. IST
This evening saw a musical dance drama presentation: "Saint Avvaiyar" by the Balvikas children from Tamil Nadu. The evening programme started at 1630hrs with Vedic recitation. At 1700hrs, two children offered flowers at The Lotus Feet before the commencement of the programme.
The programme started with a beautiful Bharatanatyam Dance by children to the song, "Puttaparthi Punidha Boomi". The narrator then introduced Avvaiyar and the story of her birth. The first scene shows Avvai as a small girl completing a complicated verse showing her poetic acumen from a tender age. Fearful of being bound by marriage, she seeks the boon of old age from Lord Ganesha. The lord confers the boon on her telling that she can now roam the lands of the nation and teach the power of chastity, truth and good living. She freely moved along with common people and decried caste discrimination.
Thanking Bhagawan for sending so many messengers like Avvaiyar to teach humanity with example and for himself descending on earth with His supreme compassion, the narrator continued the story.
Avvaiyar visited many kingdoms and advised the rulers. She is responsible for Thirukural to get the far fetched recognition it now recieves. She also wrote many verses for children to learn and understand morality in her unique and sweet style which remain popular to this day.
Tired after continuing her mission for many years she prays to the Lord for salvation from the bondage of the physical. To remove her last semblance of ego, Lord Subramania, known as the God of Tamil, appears as a cowherd and tricks her with his play of words. Slighted by the youngster, the saint recognises the Lord and sings his praise before making her final trip to Kailasa. Meeting Lord Shiva and Parvati she prays for her salvation. Much pleased the Lord asks her a few questions for the benefit of humanity.
What is Good? Praying in a temple is always good.
How to overcome Fear? The chanting of the Lord's name will remove fear.
What is your want? Not having another birth.
If there is another birth, what blessing do you want? Always remembering the Lord.
What is the greatest boon? To be born as a human being and even greater is to be born when The Lord Himself comes down as an Avatar.
The children then assembled in a formation and sang a paen in praise of the Lord. All the 43 participants were given gifts and prasadam was distributed to all. The programme was followed by Bhajans and Arati.
Updated Saturday, Jul 16, 2011 1215 Hrs. IST
The day after Guru Purnima, the alumni of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning got the opportunity to perform in the Sai Kulwant Hall. They started the programme with a beautiful aalap, "Kaise Keh Dun Ki Aap Pas Nahi Hote..." (How can I tell that you are not near me...). This was followed by a moving prayer from the alumni expressing their gratitude and seeking blessings.
The first song was a number titled "Dil Ye Gungaaye" which was a song of Divine Romance describing how the Lord was the first one with whom they were in love with. The second song titled "Mann Mero Laage Na Tere Bina Re" spoke about how their minds are always circling around their Lord. The next song with an inspiring aalap was a song in Telugu titled, "Aruna Aruna".
The students then raised the tempo with the popular song, "O Sai Ma". Many in the audience who were familiar with the song also joined in. Continuing with the fast pace, the students then sang a qawwali, "Tere Dar Pe Jo Bhi Aayaa...". The students concluded with a specially composed piece, "Mere Sai Mere Baba" before which the narrator described how once a boy becomes a student of Bhagawan, he never becomes an old student but always remains a 'Sai Student'.
The music programme was followed by Bhajans with the male and female students alternating between them. The Bhajans began with the emotional number, "Arj Suno Mere...", followed by Guru Mahima, Hum Sab Milkar and Ragupatey Sri Ramachandra. Arati was offered at 0940hrs.
Updated Friday, Jul 15, 2011 2050 Hrs. IST
The evening session began with Vedic recitation at 1630hrs. At 1700 hrs Prof. Anil Kumar announced the artistes for the evening, Smt. Aruna Sairam and Sri Hansraj Hans. Smt. Aruna Sairam has one of those rare voices which suit every genre of singing with perfect compatibility. There was no sign of an accent in any song as she effortlessly shifted from Carnatic to Bengali and back to Bhajans with every song having a native touch to it as though she belonged to every region of the country. A truly inspired performance which left the audience asking for more.
Sri Hansraj Hans who had performed in front of Bhagawan during Bhagawan's recent Delhi visit, gave a spirited performance in his unique contemporary sufi style of music. With his whole being in tune with the music, he sent the assembly into a trance of devotional ecstasy. It was indeed a performance fitting the occasion. Sunsequently the artistes and accompanists were honoured by senior devotees of Prasanthi Nilayam.
The programmes were followed by Bhajans and Arathi at the conclusion of which Samadhi Darshan was commenced again for the public.
Updated Friday, Jul 15, 2011 1230 Hrs. IST
The grand festival of Guru Purnima, the day the mind presided over by the moon which is shining in its full glory is humbly offered at The Lotus Feet of The Guru, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba who was also our friend, our companion and our Lord. This was also a red letter day in Prasanthi Nilayam for another very important reason. This was the day when the Maha Samadhi of the matchless physical body which the eternal one in all His compassion chose to adorn was to be unveiled.
The programme began at 0730 hrs with Vedic Recitations. The Sai Kulwant Hall which was packed to capacity was vibrant with the devotion of the thousands seated there. Those could not be seated in the hall were ushered into the nearby Poornachandra auditorium where a live feed enabled them to see on screen the happenings in the Sai Kulwant Hall.
At the dot of 0800 hrs., the red curtains which were adorning the centre stage parted to bring into view the magnificent structure which housed the physical casing of the Avatar of the Age. The main portion of the Mahasamadhi is a rectangular pure white marble clad edifice 9 ft long, 6 ft wide and 2 ft 2 ins high, located exactly over the final resting place. This in turn is situated in the centre of a 6 inches high white marble platform, 21 ft long and 12 ft wide. Two large pillars supporting the porch roof have also been clad with white marble and tastefully decorated. The remaining floor area of the porch has also been redone in white marble. The two flanks of the porch have been remade with deep green marble with a white marble border.
Students of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning inspired by the sight started singing Stothrams in the praise of the Divine Guru. Interspersed with experiences, the students went on to sing a variety of songs in various genres in praise of the One. At the conclusion of this programme, Sri Anil Kumar Kamaraju introduced the two speakers of the day, Sri Leonardo Gutter, a psychologist and a member of the Prasanthi Council from Argentina and Sri Nimish Pandya, the district President from Mumbai.
Sri Leonardo Gutter spoke about the four great blessings of the devotees. To be born as a human being, to be a contemporary of the Avatar, to be aware of His divinity and to be His chosen instrument. He also spoke about devotees who came to criticise and went back overwhelmed with love of the lord.
Sri Nimish Pandya after expressing his gratitude to Bhagawan for the manifold blessings he has conferred on him, spoke with clarity about the activities of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and then said how this is only a segment of what the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation world wide has influenced lives. He declared emphatically that no one has ever inspired millions of people across the globe to serve the fellow human beings as Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has done and that along with his various projects is the legacy He has left for us.
Prof. Anil Kumar, who was the master of ceremonies, thanked both the speakers and congratulated students for their thematic presentation. A couple of bhajans continued as Prasadam was distributed to the gathering. Arathi was offered at 1030hrs. An announcement was made regarding the new Telugu stream of Radio Sai. Details can be found here.
At the end of the announcement, devotees were allowed to come in lines and have the Darshan of the Maha Samadhi from close quarters. Music programmes by students and other artistes continued in the hall enhancing the ambience of the hall.
Music concerts by Smt Aruna Sairam and Sri Hansraj hans and party are scheduled for the evening which begins with vedic recitation at 1630 hrs.
Updated Thursday, Jul 14, 2011 2350 Hrs. IST
As a curtain raiser to the Guru Purnima festival, on the morning of 14th July, the programme commenced with Veda chanting at 8.00 a.m. Sai Kulwant Hall was filled to capacity. The Hall was tastefully decorated with Chinese lanterns and buntings which added aesthetic value to the ambience. The altar with Bhagawan’s photographs was beautifully decorated with fresh flowers. Malladi brothers, Sriram Prasad and Sri Ravi Kumar, the famous Carnatic music duo enthralled the audience with their performance for the sixth time. They were accompanied by artistes on violin, Ghatam, Mridagam and Tanpura. The singers and artistes sat facing Swami’s majestic throne and the photographs.
The Malladi brothers began their rendition with a song in Hamsadhwani Raga. The songs extolled Bhagawan as a Brahmajnani (one who has the wisdom that reveals the inner reality), as the One who chose to be born in the Ratnakara clan and the mother of the Avatar, Easwaramma. The concluding songs raised the tempo to a crescendo, namely, Janula Madhya Tirugade Jagapati (the Master of the universe who moves amidst people), Sai Namasmaranam Sai Rupa Dhyanam (Chanting the Name of Sai and meditating on the form of Sai).
At the end, Prof. Anil Kumar showered praises on the singers and compared them to the singers Sri Rama and Sri Lakshmana who sang along with Bhagawan in Venkatagiri during those earlier days. Sri V. Srinivasan, All India President, Sri Sathya Sai Organisations honoured the singers and artistes with silk Angavastrams, after which the singers paid their obeisance to Bhagawan. A few Bhajans followed and the morning programme concluded with Arati at 10.15 am.
Meanwhile in the Poornachandra auditorium, the second day of the World Youth Conference began with opening prayers at 0830hrs. The first speaker for the day was a young adult speaker Aparna Murali, a member of the International Youth Council from Zone 1 comprising the countries – U.S.A., Canada, West Indies and Israel. The second young adult speaker was Mathias Seital, again a member of the International Youth Council from Northern Europe. The third and fourth young adult speakers were Anatoli Dikunov from Russia and Alvin Leo from Zone 3 comprising the countries – Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. Both were members from the International Youth Council.
The delegates dispersed into study circle groups and deliberated on the topic “Sai Young Adults – Sai Ideal Leaders of the Future.” After the lunch recess, the reports on the deliberations of all the study circles were presented by the group facilitators. The day’s proceedings ended with concluding remarks by Sri Shitu Chudasama, International Youth Coordinator and closing prayers.
The evening programme commenced in Sai Kulwant Hall with Veda chanting at 1630hrs followed by speeches by two youth from the International Sathya Sai Organisation. The first speaker was Sri Shitu Chudasama, International Youth Coordinator. Sri Chudasama said that Bhagawan had granted permission for this youth conference in last November to Dr. Michael Goldstein. This youth conference is “of the youth, for the youth and by the youth.” There are 440 youth leaders. Many of them are active participants in international youth programmes.
The next young adult speaker was Sri Daniel Strauss, Member of the International Youth Council. Speaking on the deliberations of the conference, Sri Strauss said that delegates examined on the ways to improve the organisation. In addition to new guidelines, delegates were asked to structure the old ones. An important deliberation was to make Sai leaders for the future. Young leaders are important for the Sai Organisation.
After the speech of Sri Strauss, youth from 16 countries presented a choir in unison. The group was christened LASA (Love All Serve All). The voices of the youth, both gents and ladies gelled well with the musical instruments. The international choir enthralled the audience for about an hour. At the end, the leader of the group expressed his gratitude to Swami for the opportunity. The students from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning sang a few Bhajans, and then Arati was offered at 6 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Jul 13, 2011 2000 Hrs. IST
On the sidelines of Guru Purnima celebrations, over 440 youth leaders from seventy countries convened at the Supreme Abode, Prasanthi Nilayam for a two-day World Youth Conference on the theme "Ideal Sai Leadership". The conference got underway this morning, at the Poornachandra Auditorium, at 0830 hrs. with prayers at His Lotus Feet.
After the short prayer, the conference kicked off to an inspiring start with a welcoming address by Sri Shitu Chudasama, International Youth Coordinator, who subtly laid down the objectives of the conference, aimed at cultivating ideal leadership qualities in youth through diligent application of Sai principles. Mr. Chudasama also gave an overview of the current tasks facing the youth force that has increased in magnitude since the last World Youth Conference at Prasanthi Nilyam in 2007. He also touched upon the development on youth wings throughout the globe anbd successful formation and development of the Internationial Youth Council.
Dr. Michael Goldstein, Chairman, Prasanthi Council and Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation, who followed next with his key note address introduced the fundamentals of this year's conference, namely the spiritual principles that should prevail in the lives of every Sai youth and organisation as whole.
Some of the youth leaders, all members of International Youth Council, shared their experiences in implementing various programmes that effectively helped in the transformation of hearts and promoted human consciousness. These included Ivan Bavcevic from Southern Europe, Parani Kumar and Anjali Daswani from Far East Asia, Daniel Strauss and Perla Yannelli Fernandez Silva from Latin America.
At the end of these succinct talks, the group broke into Study Circles and deliberated on the Ideal Sai Leadership and the way forward.
The third block (the section of Sai Kulwant Hall directly in front of the stage) was empty. Backdrops were in place. A few official looking people were running around with tension on their faces. Thousands of others sitting packed in the Sai Kulwant Hall with anticipation writ on their faces. Familiar sites in Prasanthi. But the first time since the Maha Samadhi.
The programme started at 1630hrs with Vedam Recitation. Bhajans commenced at 1715hrs and went on till 1745hrs, at the end of which Sri Nimish Pandya continued his role as the master of ceremonies. He announced that under the Omnipresent guidance of Bhagawan, the organisation work in Mumbai is going in full flow. Various coordinators presented their work reports at Bhagawan's Lotus Feet. Sri Pandya also spoke about the star project of Maharashtra, the mobile hospital which is now being expanded further. Sri Ramesh Sawant, State President of the Maharashtra Organisation, placed the keys of the new vehicles at the Lotus Feet.
"Dhanyanti Parthi" (Blessed is the Land of Parthi) was the name of the Dance Ballet which was to follow. This dance was also a deep spiritual lesson helping the audience understand the philosophy of the Varkari's system of devotion. Sri Deepak Mazumdar, one of the earliest Balvikas students was the teacher for the event. The dance started with a group of children headed by Sri Mazumdar all dressed up as Varkaris, starting their pilgrimage to Pandharpur. Their one prayer to Vittala being that let them always be attached to Him and be completely detached from the world.
A question is then raised that since God is omnipresent, what is the need to travel to pilgrimage sites like Pandharpur and Parthi. The answer is given that since the Lord had taken human form and lived there, the sacredness of even the soil here can raise the consciousness of the pilgrim to great spiritual heights.
As the Palkhi Seva commences, the point is brought forward that body is in fact the temple of God and hence the search for God should always lead us within. Finding the omnipresent companion within, the devotees dance to the tune of Divine Music, in the company of the Divine. Demonstrating this beautifully, Sri Mazumdar worshipped an empty screen with flower petals only to find it forming the silhouette of Bhagawan.
Bhagawan is the Divine Director, Composer and Artist of this play called life. It is only in union with Him can we rid ourselves from the travails of the world. Attachment to Him and Detachment from the world is the message with which the dance programme reached its completion.
Gifts were distributed to all participants. At 1730hrs Bhajans resumed and Prasadam was distributed to the entire gathering. Arati was offered at 1740hrs. This was a very important event as it revived the grand festivity of Prasanthi Nilayam - the land of Nityakalyanam (eternal auspiciousness) and Panchathoranam (eternal celebration).
Prasanthi woke up this morning to a festive ambience and who better to add colour to an occasion than Maharashtra. The Varkaris continued their grand tradition of Palkhi Seva. Every year they carry a Paduka for Bhagawan in a pada-yatra ( through walk) from Dharamavaram to Puttaparthi. Sri Nimish Pandya (District President of Mumbai), who played the master of ceremony today, recollected how Bhagawan used to always enquire about the welfare of these simple devotees from him again and again over the years.
The programme for the day started at 8:00 AM with the chanting of the Holy Rudram. At 8:20, Sri S.V. Giri, after taking Bhagawan's blessings, lit the lamp to start the proceedings. It started with the sacred sound of the conch. The sound of victory, the sound of truth, the sound of clarity, lit joy in the hearts of all as it declared the festivities open.
Sri Pavithra Bhat who has performed on numerous occasions in front of Bhagawan led the procession with a rhythmic dance. The flag bearers followed behind and then came the solemn bearers of the Palkhi. The Palkhi was brought near Bhagawan's throne and the bearers, removed the Padukas from it and placed it at the lotus feet before lovingly adorning it with a garland made from Tulasi. At the conclusion of the dance, Sri Pandya announced the music programme by the Mategaonkar family.
Sri Parag Mategaonkar led the family in taking Bhagawan's blessings. He played the keyboard. His wife Smt Suvarna Mategaonkar and daughter Ketaki Mategaonkar were the singers of the morning and Sri Amit accompanied them on the tabla. Smt Suvarna started the proceedings with a dedication to Lord Vittala, "Sundare ke...". She was followed by her daughter Ketaki who sang the Bhajan, "Ram ke gun gaan..." (Sing... Sing the glory of Lord Rama). There was an emotional piece by Kum Ketaki, "Sai Ke Sang..." which spoke about the travails in the path of devotion and how a true devotee sticks to the Lotus Feet even when everything is taken from him. They concluded traditionally with a Vittala Bhajan. The participants were honoured with clothes.
Bhajans began at 9:30 AM and Arati was offered at 9:45 completing the morning's programme. A dance ballet by Balvikas children from Maharashtra is scheduled for the evening.
Updated Sunday, Jul 10, 2011 1218 Hrs. IST
The festival season is here. Ashadi Ekadasi which often marked the first programme in the festival calendar of Prasanthi Nilayam will be celebrated tomorrow and four days thence, we shall have the unveiling of the Mahasamadhi of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba fittingly on the holy occasion of Guru Purnima. The complete schedule is available here:
A two day International Youth Conference is also scheduled to be held in the Poornachandra auditorium on the 13th and 14th of July. This will be an event attended by delegates from various countries across the globe.
Updated Friday, Jul 8, 2011 1843 Hrs. IST
The first batch of Sevadal from Kerala and Rajasthan who completed their duty in Prasanthi Nilayam assembled in the Poornachandra Auditorium by 1415hrs. A Darshan Video of Bhagawan uplifted the assembly and had them in raptures.
Sri S.V. Giri spoke in English. He assured the assembly that Bhagawan has kept the institutions in fine health and it shall continue to run in the same manner as they were functioning during the Physical Presence of Bhagawan. Infact the admissions in the Institute have gone up indicating the trust that devotees are having on the Sai Institutions.
He invited some of the pilgrims to stay back till next friday, the 15th of July, when The MahaSamadhi of Bhagawan will be opened for public view on the auspicious occasion of Guru Purnima.
He appealed for the continued support of the organisation members to carry the Sai Mission forward. He also requested the group leaders who will be guiding the second batch to insist to them that they speak in a polite manner to the Devotees so that they have a good experience while visiting the ashram.
He encouraged everyone to listen to radiosai both for staying connected to Prasanthi Nilayam through Bhajans, Discourses, Musings etc and also to get factual information from the trust so that we are not flustered by reports in the media.
The State President of Kerala recalled that on the 31st January of this year, Bhagawan had chosen to start the Poornachandra auditorium audience when Kerala were doing service. That time Bhagawan had called him close and expressed that this was a beautiful scene, seeing all the Sevadal assembled in this grand hall.
He then informed the esteemed trustee that many of the devotees had approached him and said that they did not feel Bhagawan's absence even for a split second. Overwhelmed with emotion he reminded the fellow devotees of Bhagawan's dictum,
Look Back - Thank God
Look Forward - Trust God
Look Around - Serve God
Being ambassadors of Bhagawan, we need to watch our actions carefully and behave in accordance with teachings of Bhagawan, he warned. With this we need to make Kerala into a Sai Samrajya, the Kingdom of Sai, he declared in the end.
The State President of Rajasthan invoking Bhagawan in his heart, appealed to the pilgrims to take this energy which was obtained in doing service in the holy land of Prasanthi Nilayam and use if for spreading Educare, Spiritual Growth and Service in the form of Narayana Seva (Feeding of poor) and Grama Seva (Sri Sathya Sai Village Integrated Programme).
He encouraged everyone to read the literature of Bhagawan so that we get a true idea of the grandeur of this Avatar and we are able to appreciate the opportunity given to the fullest.
Sri Janakiraman thanked the Sevadal for their valuable service rendered and emphasised on the lessons learnt from the speakers. He reminded everyone that Prasanthi Nilayam is our Mother's house and there is no place more special than this. The work which Bhagawan has given us must be continued by us, was the parting message from the speaker.