Updated on Wednesday, Dec 01, 2010 @ 1050 hrs. IST
Tue, Nov 30, 2010: Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1905hrs to the music of Bhajans. Encircling the hall, Bhagawan collected letters and blessed some devotees and children with Vibuthi. After completing a round of the Sai Kulwant Hall, Bhagawan came onto the stage and sat with rapt attention listening to the Bhajans and watching the singers. Encouraged by the attention, the students sang many new Bhajans much to the delight of the assembly. Bhagawan accepted Arati at 1955hrs. On His way back, to the amusement of Bhagawan and the devotees in hearing distance, a small child had a long serious monologue with Bhagawan in her own baby language. Laughing, Bhagawan blessed the child. And thus concluded another joyful day in the Lord's presence.
Mon, Nov 29, 2010: Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1820hrs looking like a freshly bloomed flower. Spreading joy across the hall, Bhagawan interacted with a few devotees and blessed the Birthday Boys with Akshatas and the little children with Vibuthi. Bhagawan after completing a round of the Sai Kulwant Hall, came straight onto the stage and read the various letters while Bhajans where on. Listening to a few more Bhajans after reading the letters, Bhagawan accepted Arati at 1910hrs. Bhagawan interacted with a few students before retiring for the day at 1930hrs.
Sun, Nov 28, 2010: Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1830hrs amidst Bhajans. Encircling the hall, Bhagawan collected letters and blessed many with Vibuthi. Bhagawan after completing a round of the Sai Kulwant Hall, entered the prayer hall where a group of IT administrators working in the various institutions of Bhagawan including the Central Trust, Sadhana Trust, Hospitals and University were seated along with a few devotees who have arranged for a new IT Service Automation Project across all institutions. Bhagawan inspected a brief multimedia presentation made by the team and blessed the undertaking and the various members assembled. Bhagawan then went onto the stage and read the various letters while Bhajans where on. After accepting Arati at 1935hrs, Bhagawan gave interviews to a couple of families. Bhagawan retired for the day at 2030hrs.
Sat, Nov 27, 2010: The day of the African conquest. The Sai African Adult Choir (SAAC)[Read Full Report with Images and Video Here], first conceived in 2008, presented their first programme in Prasanthi Nilayam in July 2009. After the grand success of the programme with Bhagawan requesting for an encore at the end of the presentation, the group returned with a lot more confidence to perform on the occasion of His Birthday celebrations. The group is represented by Nigeria while the songs are drawn from Nigeria, Congo, Tanzania and South Africa. Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1905hrs amidst Bhajans. Bhagawan came on to stage after completing the Darshan rounds at 1925hrs and after about 20 minutes of Bhajans, blessed the participants to commence the Programme. The choir started with an english song composed by Jude Nnam entitled "Happy Birthday Baba" followed by songs drawn from various African countries. The Programme concluded with an english prayer to Bhagawan entitled "Sai Baba - Great Navigator". At the end of the presentation Bhagawan descended the stage and after interacting with the musicians for a long time, distributed clothes and table clocks to all the participants. As an act of History repeating itself, Bhagawan demanded an encore this time too and the Choir obliged with a South African Song, "Njalo". Bhagawan accepted Arati at 2100hrs.
Fri, Nov 26, 2010: A relaxed day at Prasanthi Nilayam. After a long time this was an open day with no programmes scheduled. Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1745hrs. Bhajans were going on in an easy unhurried melody. Not songs sung by eager amateurs but composition rendered by seasoned mavens with the natural ease derived from daily practice. Bhagawan after setting the mood, played the part to perfection. He took His time during the Darshan rounds and interacted with many devotees spending considerable time with each. Bhagawan came on to stage with a huge pile of letters on His lap. As the Bhajans were going on, He read them one by one. After finishing the letters, Bhagawan asked for Arati at 1850hrs in the middle of a Bhajan. When the students abruptly stopped the Bhajan, The Loving Mother gave an apologetic smile to the students, immersing them in Love. Bhagawan blessed the sevadal - who were on duty in the railway stations to help the devotees arriving for the Festival of Divine Love - with Vibuthi and photographs. He also spent some time with one of the oldest families who have been in the Sai Fold for four generations before retiring to His residence.
Nostalgia: Added some images from the fortnight preceding the "Festival of Divine Love". Click Here.
Thu, Nov 25, 2010: Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1730hrs welcomed by Omkara and the Ganesh Bhajan. Today was the day for the international groups to seek His blessings and obtain the privilege of wishing Him on His Birthday. The entire path which Bhagawan takes during His Darshan Rounds was decorated on either side with candles. Bhagawan collected many letters and spoke to quite a few. After completing the Darshan round, Bhagawan entered the prayer hall where the doctors who served in the international medical camp held during the "Festival of Divine Love" were seated. Bhagawan spent over 20 minutes with them interacting with them and blessing them with Vibuthi. Bhagawan then ascended the stage and interacted with a coordinator who introduced the musicians seated in front of Bhagawan. After a few more Bhajans, Bhagawan accepted Arati at 1830hrs. The devotees were thrilled when at the end of the Arati, Bhagawan raised both hands and blessed the music group and all devotees with Abhayahasta.
Wed, Nov 24, 2010:Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1820hrs amidst Bhajans. Encircling the hall, Bhagawan collected many letters and blessed a few with Akshatas and Vibuthi. Some students presented huge handmade cards thanking the Lord for the privilege of witnessing His 85th Birthday and also being able to participate in the celebrations. The sevadal from Andhra Pradesh who were the great instruments behind the successful functioning of the Festival of Divine Love took His blessings and showed Him various photographs of the preparations in general (Images) and the Food Pavilion (Images) in particular. Bhagawan blessed all the volunteers with Vibuthi prasadam. Bhagawan after completing a round of the Sai Kulwant Hall, entered the prayer hall where the Vidya Vahini group was seated. Bhagawan spent around 20 minutes with them before starting the next task in His busy agenda. Every year, no matter how busy His Schedule, Bhagawan has personally distributed Sarees to devotees during His Birthday Celebrations. The Loving God, The Ever Giving God went around the hall many times and picked up select devotees personally and gave them "Birthday Sarees" (as it is popularly known) out of His own Hands. Not entirely satisfied, He then picked up devotees from the gents side too and gave them sarees to hand over to their wives or, in some cases, mothers. Bhagawan then went onto the stage and accepted Arati at 2005hrs. Bhagawan blessed devotees from Italy and permitted them to distribute chocolates to share their happiness. After a brief halt in the interview room, Bhagawan retired to Yajur Mandiram after blessing many more devotees with Vibuthi.
Tue, Nov 23, 2010:When the big day arrived there was a festive ambience prevailing at the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium with men and women in lakhs turning up occupying every inch of space in the stadium. With many Gods watching from the hill top, mortals on earth were making merry of the opportunity bestowed upon, anticipating the grand arrival of “The Lord of 85 Years”.
With time ticking past inching towards the anticipated hours, there was heavy jostling of huge turnout of crowd, expected of such a mammoth festivity. Yes, the Hill View Stadium was anticipating the moment of her life to embrace The Lord and with her there were thousands upon thousands of mortals awaiting seeking to win a glance of The Lord on the auspicious day!
Earlier, in the morning when all the roads were expected to open towards the main venue, the Hill View Stadium was calm and quiet, warmly welcoming the inflow of devotees. Devotees vying for a vantage spot in the unreserved area started filing past in the early hours, well before the sun rise, and with the clock ticking away the stadium was gathering momentum.
'Watch and ward' sevadals coupled with senior students were in full swing action, providing guidance with reference to seating arrangement. Refreshments were given in the form of tea, coffee, snacks along with drinking water.
Proceedings began with the usual one hour Vedam at 0800 hrs. and bhajans commenced at 0900 that continued till 0945 hrs. when a group of boys took over the stage coming up with commentary in English, Telugu and Hindi. Prof. Anil Kumar as well joined the boys and the show continued up to 1030 hrs. Bhajans continued beyond 1030 hrs. till the Divine arrival.
Long enduring wait did not seem to be a facade any more for the awaiting audience nor the sun that turned scorching beating down the earth mercilessly did deter the assembly, for every soul present has only one intention, to win His Grace of Love!
At 1120 hrs. Prof. Anil Kumar’s voice echoed the spacious stadium, announcing the imminent arrival of the Lord. With it began the minutes countdown. At 1125 hrs., when all eyes were fixed at the western end of the Hill View Stadium, there He appeared, shining in creamish-white, enthroned on the Golden Chariot! Yes, the Lord of all lords began His Birthday Journey, casting the highest benedictions. Bhagawan was ushered into the venue by Vedam group followed by the Institute Band of boys and girls.
The procession took fifteen minutes to reach the venue, Shanti Vedika. Throughout the procession, the theme song, “parithranaya sadhunam” with groundbreaking beat music rendered the air, echoing the entire stadium, with the Lord making His ‘strides’ towards the Shanti Vedika.
The Shanti Vedika resembled a royal court of yore with a silver throne awaiting the Lord at the centre. Upon reaching on stage, Bhagawan assumed the Seat of The Divine, presenting Himself to the multitudes present before Him.
A host of VIPs were also present on the stage. Hon’ble External Affairs Minister, SM Krishna, Union Ministers, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Governor of Andhra Pradesh, ESL Narasimhan, Governor of Punjab, Shivraj Patil, Dy.CM Tamilnadu, Stalin, Union Minister Virbhadra Singh, Minister from Andhra Pradesh, Dr. J. Geeta Reddy, Industrialist Sri Ratan Tata were among the host of dignitaries present on the occasion.
Proceedings began with singers of fame Hariharan, Suresh Wadkar, Shankar Mahadevan, P. Unnikrishnan and Sumeet Tappoo presenting the Birthday Anthem, singing the glory of the Lord, wishing Him “Happy Birthday”. Shankar Mahadevan presented a solo, Mahaprana Deepam, regaling with excellence, enticing the vast audience.
All India President of SSSS Organisations, Sri V. Srinivasan introduced the various speakers of the evening. There were a host of speakers including Minister S.M.Krishna, Governor E.S.L Narasimhan, Worshipful Mayor of Chennai, Dr. Subramaniam etc.
The occasion also witnessed the launching of the much talked about Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini Project, an open ended project extending modern education facilities through the medium of internet based web based tools. Sri S.V. Giri spoke on the subject elaborating the salient features of the project. Tata Consultancy Services that has been playing a key role in the project providing Management skills in the areas required came for reference. A short video presentation on the same followed after which Sri Ratan Tata , Chairman Tata Sons Ltd. and Sri Chandrasekhar, CEO, TCS Ltd. officially handed over the TCS Software for the project in presence of Bhagawan. The Vidya Vahini Project was subsequently launched by the Divine hands, marked by fire works as an act of merriment. An announcement followed, informing the Vidya Vahini Project is Bhagawan’s 85th Birthday gift to the nation.
The occasion also witnessed launching of a dedicated ‘sainetwork’, a connecting link for the millions of Sai devotees. Sri Sathya Sai Digital Archival System, a mission that takes care of entire Sai related archivals, was also launched by the Divine hands. Both the projects are initiatives by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations.
“Testimonies of Gratitude” by direct recipients of His Love and Grace followed, wherein selected beneficiaries coming under various humanitarian projects initiated by Bhagawan echoed their voice in His divine presence. Covering Anantapur Water Project, East Godavari Water Project, Gujarat Earth Quake Project, Tsunami Relief Project in Tamil Nadu, Flood Relief Project in Orissa, Super Specialty Hospital Project and Medicare Mobile Hospital Project in Anantapur, six persons shared the stage speaking their hearts out in their own language, with touch of innocence.
Soon came an important announcement. Free Food was declared by Bhagawan to all the villages around Puttaparthi that are covered under the Sri Sathya Sai Mobile Medicare Project that came as a Birthday Gift from the compassionate Lord! This Prasadam would be distributed to the covering villages on all the days of Mobile Medical Mission during the month.
It was 1310 hrs. and Bhagawan accepted Mangala Arathi. Ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde, Vilas Rao Deshmukh, Former CM, Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan along with Dy. CM Tamil Nadu Stalin went to Bhagawan offering Pranams at His Lotus Feet.
At 1320 hrs. Bhagawan moved down the dais retiring for the session.
In the evening:
HILL VIEW STADIUM WAS TRANSFORMED INTO A WONDERLAND OF LOVE & LIGHT!
Heaven does not need to come down to Earth; where Lord is walking the Earth, it is verily heaven on Earth. And Prasanthi aptly holds the title; the huge turn out of multitudes, notwithstanding the possibilities of hardships expected of a carnival of this magnitude, stands a testimony to this fact! Verily Prasanthi has the highest ever turnout of devotees during the months leading unto this very day.
In a sharp contrast to the morning where scorching sun dominated the proceedings, evening was as cool as a moonlit night, with glitter n' shine all over!
Vibrant stadium was the scene of frenzy of actions with multitudes barring religious, ethnic, lingual, economic and social barriers gathered under one roof, identified as children of One God, to pay homage to the Great Teacher commemorating 85th Year of His earthly advent!
With three gigantic monumental architectural marvel shining with brilliance from the top of the hill, Gods in varied forms watching over from the hill led by Lord Hanuman, huge welcome arches shining with golden glitter, the centre-stage, the Shanti Vedika shining in golden hue filled with 'His Properties', the stadium was a sight to see - a carnival ground where Gods would ever prefer to come and watch the melee involving God walking the Earth!
Expecting Bhagawan to come out en route stadium, hundreds and thousands have gathered behind the Mandir, ever ready to steal a glance while He is passing by.
Bhagawan arrived at 1940 hrs. donned in yellow. Welcoming The Lord laser beams flashed around the stadium making dancing greenish waves all around.
As Bhagawan assumed His special throne the stage was being set for the proceedings for the evening. "Prema Pravaham" - a loving offering of musical bouquet by a bunch of talented musical boys working with various institutions in Prasanthi was the schedule for the evening.
Seeking blessings, after a brief introduction, the session got underway with music weaving magic, love echoing in the air, singing all about Bhagawan and His mission. "Prema Pravaham" was an essay of songs portraying His Divine Love, Compassion towards humanity, structured through a series of seven songs, ably assisted by visuals, showcasing His mission in a nutshell.
As the presentation was peaking to its climax laser beams revisited the stadium again flashing all over, dancing with waves around.
All the songs, except the final one were introduced for the first time, all selected from Bhagawan's collections. The one hour show concluded with the song "Tuu Pyaar Ka Sagar Hey..." sung by the troupe en masse, with special music scoring, done with added effort. As the song progressed Anantapur students sitting in the front held aloft lit lamps symbolically representing the song being rendered.
The one hour presentation came to an end at 2050 hrs. and Bhagawan asked for Mangala Arathi. Subsequently Bhagawan blessed the boys with Padanamaskar.
23rd Nov 2010 wanted to sign off in style, and so was the Hill View Stadium as they have earned the privilege to celebrate the mammoth festivity in His Divine presence. Pyrotechnic - the grand finale for such unique carnivals - followed as hills around the Hill View shot skyward with a barrage of fireworks yielding multi-colour showers from the heavens. These were the final moments of the grand 85th Birthday celebrations in Prasanthi Nilayam.
It was time for Bhagawan to leave. With tens and thousands watching, Bhagawan came down the dais to get into His car, moving off the stadium, bringing the curtain down for the Festival of Divine Love!
Earlier in the evening, Bhagawan blessed a barrage of Birthday Cakes by various Prasanthi Institutions in the Sai Kulwant before setting off to the stadium.
Mon, Nov 22, 2010: Monday morning presents the frenzy mood of devotees vying to get a place inside the Sai Kulwant Hall, the venue of the 29th annual convocation of SSSIHL. The Chief Guest, His Excellency The Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh is expected to arrive at 1045 hrs. Convocation is expected to begin at 11:00 hrs. This is going to be the second visit of the high dignitary; his earlier visit was in 1995, as Finance Minister of India, with the same assignment as Chief Guest of Convocation during the 70th birthday celebrations.
Unending serpentine lines of devotees, both ladies and gents, started snaking through the lanes and by lanes of ashram from the early hours. With the Prime Minister arriving and a host of other Central and State Ministers, State Governor and Chief Minister are expected to accompany, heavy security blanket has been thrown throughout the township by the State Police.
Annual Convocation 2010 of SSSIHL
The annual convocation of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning was held in Sai Kulwant Hall in a glittering ceremony graced by the Chancellor of the Institute Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba attended by Chief Guest for the convocation His Excellency The Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh along with a host of glitterati from the political world.
The host of dignitaries included Sri K. Rosaiah, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Sri E.S.L. Narasimhan, Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Y.S. Yeddyurappa, Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri Shivraj Patil, Governor of Punjab, Sri M.K. Stalin, Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Sri Sushil Kumar Shinde, Union Minister for Power, Sri Ashok Chavan, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Dr. Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Sons, Tata Consultancy Services Chairman Sri N. Chandrasekaran, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Tata Consultancy Services.
The Convocation procession started at 11.10 a.m. from Yajur Mandir with the Institute Brass Band leading the procession playing sonorous tunes. Bhagawan in a crimson-hued robe along with the Chief Guest and a host of glitterati from the world of politics were ushered in to the venue by the Band followed by a student carrying the Sceptre on one side while the Registrar carrying the Ceremonial Mace. As the procession reached the dais, the Vice Chancellor of the Institute Dr. Shashidhara Prasad garlanded the Prime Minister. Ceremonial Vedic chants for the Convocation followed. On the request of the Vice Chancellor, the Chancellor of the Institute Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba declared the Convocation open and pressed the button to unveil the plaque of 29th Convocation of the Institute. On the dais along with Bhagawan and the Prime Minister were seated the Governor and Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. On the other side facing the dais were seated the members of the Academic Council.
Extending a cordial welcome The Vice Chancellor spoke about the Institute before getting into introducing the honourable Chief Guest for the occasion. Institute Oath was administered after which doctorates and gold medals were given away by the Divine Chancellor.
Dr. Manmohan Singh delivering the convocation speech Dr. Manmohan Singh recalled his earlier visit as Chief Guest in 1995. Opining about the International status of Prasanthi Nilayam, Dr. Singh highlighted on the point of diversity here, watching the microcosm in the township. “Yours is a relatively young University, already established its place as a centre of excellence”, lauded the erudite Chief Guest. Dr. Singh then paraphrased the words of Baba: “This is not a place to earn degrees, but a place to cultivate self-sacrifice, self-knowledge leading to self-realisation”. The true meaning of education is knowledge in action, said Dr. Singh. Speaking on the hallmark of education, Dr. Singh said is to combine science with spirituality.
Addressing the students, Dr. Manmohan Singh said, you are graduating today. I have no doubt you will face challenges, but you will come successful, I have no doubt. You have been exposed to fine minds, excellent libraries. Dr Singh advised that the students that your life will not be complete if you do not reach out to those less unfortunate ones. Render help to them. God bless each and every one of you. With the Institute Brass Band rendering the National Anthem, the Convocation function came to a close at 12.15 p.m.
After the function, Bhagawan went inside the interview room with Dr. Manmohan Singh. After a few minutes, Bhagawan and Dr. Manmohan Singh emerged from the interview room and came on the stage. What followed was the Divine Benedictory Message. The Academic Council members too came on the dais after some time.
Pouring Divine Wisdom as usual, Bhagawan spoke about the glory of Bharatiya culture, the innate divinity, the greater importance of discipline in life, before coming into the crux of the message, on the importance of educare in the present day.
There is no unity at the national level. There is no unity, but instead there is enmity. Everyone should work for the unity of this land. In fact, in every field of public life, unity is required, echoed Bhagawan.
Concluding His benedictory message, Bhagawan exhorted: All are the children of God. You should mingle with each other as brothers. This is the message of Bhagawan on this occasion of Convocation.
Mangala Arathi was offered at 1310 hrs. The Prime Minister was called inside the Interview Room for a private audience that lasted for thirty minutes, upon which Bhagawan retired for the session.
In the evening:
This was the penultimate evening before the big day and none had any special schedules for the evening, but the Divine! He had His set plans and the evening turned out to become a glittering Birthday Eve, a carnatic session, showcasing the abundance of talent in His backyard!
Emerging at 1900 hrs. in the evening to soul-filling tunes of spirited bhajans Bhagawan went for a complete round before coming on to the Verandah. "Prema Pravaham" music troupe was called inside the bhajan hall for a short session after which Bhagawan emerged on stage for some flash seconds before retiring to the Interview Room for the next five minutes.
Team Vidya Vahini also got to interact with Bhagawan. The Vidya Vahini Project will be officially launched tomorrow, on the occasion of 85th birthday celebrations.
Returning on stage at 1920 hrs. Bhagawan blessed the State Governor, Sri ESL Narasimhan who sat squatting on stage. A host of VIPs including Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Dy. CM, Tamin Nadu, Sri M.K. Stalin, Sri Ashok Chavan, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Dr. Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Sons were also present for the evening session.
Assuming the Seat of The Divine, Bhagawan went on glancing through letters, as bhajans continued. In the meanwhile, blessed prasadam went for distribution.
Bhajans continued for some more time after which a pause ensued and Bhagawan interacted with leading bhajan duo for some time. Releasing the pause bhajans continued. ...Soon the duo returned donning special clothes as instructed by Bhagawan. Some more interaction followed and the stage slowly getting set for a grand Birthday Eve Programme!
At 2000 hrs. the duo took over as proposed by God Himself! An hour long session followed, with the duo singing mezmerising variety of carnatic rendition enchanting the divine. Capacity assemblage of devotees burst into loud cheers at every possible interval rejoicing the session every bit.
This was not a man made proposal, but a proposal by God Himself and how soon everything came in place as willed by Him. And Prasanthi was lucky to witness a glorious Birthday Eve!
Bhagawan accepted Mangala Arathi at 2100 hrs. and as He was leaving the dais, an announcement on the Birthday programme followed. It was announced that the programme would commence at 1000 hrs. in the Hill View stadium and Bhagawan would be arriving at the stadium on the Golden Chariot!
When the D-Day dawns tomorrow morning, all attention would be diverted to the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium where God would be ushered in as King of kings in the Golden Chariot!
Sun, Nov 21, 2010:The countdown for the big day comes down to two days and with that the huzzle buzzle of the mammoth spiritual carnival peaked today with constant inflow of devotees throughout the day. After filling the available ashram apartments, the sheds and the temporary accommodation facilities, the fresh entrants are slowly occupying the building verandahs inside the ashram.
Ladies darshan line turned out to become a long serpentine one, turning at every possible detour, finally ending up at the western end passing through the shopping centre - book trust buildings. Adding to this comes the security cordon in view of the VVIP movement expected tomorrow. Hon'ble Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Chief Guest for 29th annual convocation of SSSIHL, is scheduled to fly down from New Delhi tomorrow morning to deliver the convocation speech. Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Sri ESL Narasimhan is already camping in Prasanthi ahead of the VVIP visit and some of the Union Ministers along with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister are expected to attend the glittering function scheduled for 11:00 hrs. tomorrow morning.
This evening, penultimate day for the Annual Convocation, Bhagawan arrived at 1755 hrs. granting darshan to the packed audience. The stage was set for the annual convocation drama by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. The drama entitled "Twameva Sharanam Mama" depicted the story of a tailor who, when fell short to deliver a duty assigned to stich 16 pairs of dresses ahead of Bhagawan's 85th birthday celebrations, gets the unseen blessing of His chosen deity, Lord Vittala of Pandharpur, in response to his desperate call, as saving grace. Chinna Katha story involving King Alexander who invaded India, showcasing high morale exhibited by Bharatiyas of those days was shown as an anecdote. The drama ended with a Qawwali, sang in celebration of joy of His Advent.
Upon the end of the drama Bhagawan posed for photograph with the drama crew before Mangala Arathi at 1915 hrs. One bhajan followed after which the cast sung the Prasanthi Love Song, Humko Tum Sey Pyaar Kitna... Bhagawan asked for an encore of "Samastha Lokaaha..." after which an announcement on the next day's convocation programme followed. It was announced that Prime Minister of India, His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh would be attending the Convocation as Chief Guest and the entry to the hall would be from 0900 hrs. onwards.
Yajur Mandiram, the Divine Abode, is indeed the cynosure of all eyes. For an onlooker watching from outside, the Mandiram shines with brilliance under the shades of changing colour themes. Information Kiosks have mushroomed at every vantage points, aiding and guiding devotees, well managed by grateful old students (boys) of Bhagawan's Institute.
Earlier, the 9th World Conference of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations - World Wide that got underway yesterday concluded this afternoon at 1430 hrs. with the final session held in the Poornachandra Auditorium.
Sat, Nov 20, 2010: Bhajans are indeed the high point of Prasanthi sessions. This evening, upon emerging at 1840 hrs. Bhagawan went for a full round of darshan before coming on stage at 1850 hrs. Bhajans continued with full spirit and Bhagawan was seen fully engrossed, often giving finger beats, enlivening the session. The session continued till 1935 hrs. when Bhagawan accepted Mangala Arathi. Spending another ten minutes on stage, conversing with some of the students and senior officials of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations - Worldwide, Bhagawan left the dais at 1945 hrs. retiring to Yajur Mandiram.
Earlier, the 9th World Conference of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations was held in the Poornachandra Auditorium during the day.
Fri, Nov 19, 2010:Annual Ladies' Day 2010 turned out to be a noon affair when Bhagawan was ushered into the hall by the Anantapur and Primary School Band just after 12 noon today. The Chief Guest for the occasion, Her Excellency, The President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil along with other dignitaries, His Excellency ESL Narasimhan, Governor of Andhra Pradesh, His Excellency Sri Shivraj Patil, Governor of Punjab, etc., Hon'ble State Tourism, Information & PR Minister Smt. J. Geeta Reddy accompanied Bhagawan into the hall.
The programme commenced with lighting of the lamp by the Divine Hands. Smt. Chetana Raju, Managing Trustee of Easwaramma Women Welfare Trust in her introductory speech, spoke about the evolution of the Easwaramma Women Welfare Trust that was founded in 2005. She spoke in detail about the various service activities done by the Trust, attributing the success story to Bhagawan's grace and guidance.
Smt. Mallika Srinivasan, Director of Amalgations Group and CEO of TAFE India Ltd. who spoke next made a mention of the chaotic world outside suggesting His Love to be the perfect antidote for all adverse situations. Talking on women power, the speaker mentioned on the achievements of Smt. Pratibha Patil who rose to the highest office of the country. Smt. Srinivasan's speech was a blend of Bhagawan's Divine Teachings, current scenario around the world while attempting to successfully portray the story of Women Welfare Programme initiated by Bhagawan.
Smt J. Geeta Reddy, followed next who spoke with elegance, grace and beauty submitting herself at His Lotus Feet. Referring to the introduction made of her as Minister from the State, Smt. Geeta Reddy said, despite her ministerial portifolio, she is in His presence as an ordinary devotee, not as a Minister. Spelling out His touch of grace and love in her life, the speaker declared in no uncertain terms that her life has been greately touched by the Divine grace of Bhagawan. Calling political life a tough call, she said, by His Grace anything and everything is possible and she has been the recepient of His grace all through her life. Giving a brief intro on Bhagawan and Mother Easwaramma's selfless ambitions, calliing on the President, the speaker, in an emotionally charged tone said that, this is our Bhagawan who has been sacrificing His life for the past 85 long years for the sake of humanity, living His life as His Message. Smt. Geeta Reddy spoke without a prepared text.
President Smt. Pratibha Patil who spoke next, while extending her warmest greeting to the august assembly made a reference to the late Indian Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi as an epitome of women empowerment, whose birthday, incidentally, the nation is celebrating this day. Mentioning on the programme of women empowerment initiated in Prasanthi Nilayam, Smt. Pratibha Patil expressed her appreciation in the progressive views of the role of women as envisioned by the Trust. Citing some of the steps initiated by herself to enhance women's empowerment, the President spoke on the various national schemes where women could be counted and considered to make their lives better. The President ended her speech by quoting Smt. Indira Gandhi that there were two categories of people, the first category worked hard selflessly, and the second category took the entire credit without contributing to the cause. It is better to group ourselves in the first category since there was hardly any competition in that front.
Vote of thanks by Mrs. Hyma Reddy, USA followed after which Balvikas children from Tamil Nadu made a brief dance drama presentation entitiled "Mahishasura Mardhini". Upon the end of the programme, Mangala Arathi was offered to Bhagawan at 1305 hrs. National Anthem followed after which Bhagawan retired to the interview room granting an interview to the President.
Before moving into the interview room Bhagawan graciously cut the colourful Ladies' Day cake, a dedicated offering by the devotees from Italy.
Earlier Her Excellency, The President of India arrived at the Sri Sathya Sai Airport in a specially chartered Indian Air Force Aircraft at 11:40 hrs., and was received by the Governor of Andhra Pradesh Sri ESL Narasimhan and other dignitaries.
In the Evening:
As is the wont during the annual Ladies' Day over the years, womenfolk seemed to have not left any stone unturned to make their day a grand affair, today, in Prasanthi Nilayam.
Sai Kulwant was lit up to resplended beauty, ever ready to welcome The Lord in her midst and in the background scored soul-filling bhajans sung with high devotional fervour.
Bhagawan was royally ushered into the hall at 1910 hrs. by the Brass Band of Anantapur Campus.
Two cultural programmes were in the offing, the first programme, a short dance programme by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, Hyderabad followed by a Vocal Concert by the popular Carnatic Vocalist of South India, Smt. Sudha Raghunathan.
Presenting an absorbing session with scintillating dance and music, tiny tots in colourful costumes enthralled the audience for the first ten minutes before leaving the stage for the main programme for the evening.
Carnatic is so dear to the Divine Heart that the talented singer who figured in the "Jodi Adippalli Somappa" episode of Bhagawan's 108 Name Story, (Namavali), revelled with some of the selective numbers making it an apt offering at the Feet of the Lord, who appeared to her in childhood, as "Jodi Adippalli Somappa", bestowing saving grace!
Beginning the concert with "Vatapi Ganapathim...", she went on singing "Jagadodhdharana...", "Bandureethi Kolu...", popular carnatic numbers intermittently singing some Meera Bhajans bringing variety. Producing a highly vibrant "Bho Shambho Shiva Shambho Swayambho...", sung with great elan building a crescendo, the gifted singer regaled in His presence filling the hall with high devotional vibrations, before ending up with "Brahmamokkade..." as asked by Bhagawan.
The forty-five minute programme was followed by ten minute session, with Bhagawan giving away sarees and dhothis to the artistes and accompanists respectively. A short bhajan session followed, with two aalaap bhajans, sung by the students at His instance, before the offering of Mangala Arathi at 2050 hrs.
Bhagawan spent sometime inside before retiring to Yajur Mandiram, well beyond 2100 hrs.
Italian chocolates and Prasadam were distritubuted to the august assembly.
Thu, Nov 18, 2010:This evening Bhagawan was ushered into the hall by a host of Primary school children, that included the Veda chanting students, the Primary School Band, students dancing Bhangra steps deftly and a couple of students holding umbrella in their hands.
As He emerged out of the Yajur Mandiram at 1840 hrs. He was religiously received with Poornakumbham by the children before the commencement of the procession invoking The Lord into the Sai Kulwant Hall. All along the procession a welcome song was played in the background giving an added flavor to the Lordly entry.
As Bhagawan came on to the dais, students presented the programme to Bhagawan before they burst open into a dance scene commencing the presentation.
The leading cast or the narrator of the dance drama announced that such universal acceptance of God in human form has never occurred in the annals of history. A divine declaration by Bhagawan on who is He was then screened to the audience which set the benchmark for the dance drama. There were two short episodes in the drama, the first was the episode of Upamanyu from the Sivapurana and the second was the episode of Uddhava counselling the Gopikas after being sent by Lord Krishna.
The speciality of this drama was a backdrop of LED screen which beamed crystal clear visuals to the audience. Added to this were two LED screens, one on the gent’s side and the other on the ladies side telecasting the proceedings in real time to the audience.
Giving a colourful visual spectacle towards the end of the drama students from the Primary, en masse, were seen waving colourful wands with lights. Bhagawan went down the dais and gave a prolonged photograph session to the cast, followed by the Veda chanting students, Band boys and Bhangra dance boys. The cast arranged themselves in small groups for the photograph session with Bhagawan. Bhagawan then directed the Institute students to distribute clothes and sweets to the participants. After group Bhajans by the Primary School students, Bhagawan was offered Arati at 2010 hrs. Then Bhagawan retired for the day to Yajur Mandiram.
Earlier as Bhagawan came on to the verandah after His usual darshan rounds, latest edition of Sathyam Sivam Sundaram - Vol 7 was taken to Bhagawan for blessing by the Publisher Sri KS Rajan along with the author Sri BN Narasimhamurthy. Bhagawan glanced through the same before conferring His blessings.
Morning: Ratotsavam is an annual feature that normally comes as a forerunner to the grand Birthday Celebrations of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. ..And ever since its inception many years ago, this festivity has been a fixed schedule for the 18th November. For so many years, this day had been tagged with another big event, Narayana Seva, en mass for the villagers in and around Puttaparthi, where in Bhagawan would present Himself through and through, along with hundreds of University students and sevadal volunteers, held at the Vidyagiri Sports Stadium.
This morning, at around 1015 hrs. the procession began from the bhajan hall with the idols, mainly Venugopala Swami idol, were taken out to be mounted on the main chariot stationed outside the main gopuram gate. The idols were taken out in a procession with the escort of Vedam and Bhajans by group of students from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.
Upon mounting the idols on the chariot, coconuts were broken and arathi was offered before the procession continued with great religious fervour attended by students and hundreds of villagers. The ecstatic mood of the village folk dancing to the tune of drumbeats, breaking coconuts and offering arathi enroute, is evidential of the religious fervour attached to the festive occasion.
The Venugopala Swami idol will be mounted at the Pedda Venkama Raju Kalyanamandapa before return procession commences, carrying the Sita Rama idols, a custom that has been in place ever since the Chariot Festival began in Parthi.
Ahead of the Ladies' Day festivity tomorrow, tiny tots from Sri Sathya Sai Primary School will be staging a cultural programme this evening in the immediate Divine presence.
Wed, Nov 17, 2010:Two music concerts were slated for the evening session. The first was by Sri Pandit Ronu Majumdar, the renowned flautist and the second by Sri Sikkil Gurucharan, a vocal concert. After the long morning session, which ended well past 1 o’clock in the afternoon, Bhagawan came to Sai Kulwant Hall at 1830 hrs. as the bhajans were in progress. After giving Darshan to the devotees, Bhagawan came to dais of the Hall and listened to the invigorating and lively Bhajans of the students for nearly one hour.
At the outset, the State President of Delhi, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations introduced the two artistes who were to perform on the third day of the Festival of Divine Love. Sri Pandit Ronu Majumdar is a renowned flautist who has performed in many international and national forums like The Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. He is the innovator of new age music. He is famous for his epoch-making album “Travellers Tale”. He has many awards to his credit like All India Radio Award, Aditya Vikram Birla Award, Lifetime Achievement Award by Sahara India, National Kumar Gandharva Award and Pandit Jasraj Gaurav Puraskar. The next artiste, Sri Sikkil Gurucharan is a vocalist from a reputed family. He learnt initially from his grandparents, the illustrious Sikkil Kunjumani and her sister Neela, and then from Vaigal Sri S Gnanaskandan, Smt. Mala Chandrasekar, etc. He has won numerous awards as a youth performer like Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar, Yuva Kala Bharathi, to name a few. He has travelled frequently to Middle East, Singapore, etc., giving concerts in these countries.
Pandit Ronu Majumdar began his concert by saying that he is the most fortunate musician sitting at Bhagawan Sai’s Lotus Feet. The flautist mesmerised the audience with his musical pieces. His second piece was the famous Mira Bhajan “Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo …” He began by playing the piece in his flute and then even sang the song. He ended his concert with the song “Vaishnava Jano Tho …” Bhagawan honoured the artiste and his accompanying musicians with shawls.
The next artiste Sri Sikkil Gurucharan began his concert by saying that he was honoured to sing at the Lotus Feet of Sai Baba. He sang a few Thyagaraja Kritis (compositions) in his mellifluous voice and ended his concert with the famous lullaby song “Vuyyalaluguma Sri Sathya Sai …” Bhagawan then honoured Sri Sikkil Gurucharan and his accompanying artistes with shawls. Arati for the day was offered at 2035 hrs. after which Bhagawan retired to Yajur Mandiram.
Wed, Nov 17, 2010:It is said, marriages are made in heaven! ...And when marriages are done in the heaven on earth, in the immediate Divine presence of the Avatar of the Age, the joy of such a feat can only be described by the direct recepients of the benediction, ninety five couples who tied the nuptial knot in Prasanthi Nilayam this afternoon.
This morning, Sai Kulwant Hall, the venue of the mass marriage function presented a festive look with beautiful decorations in the traditional way. The dais was decorated traditionally with coconut leaves and flowers of various hues. The brides and bridegrooms were seated in an orderly fashion along with their parents for the function. Bhagawan came for the function at 1125 hrs. After Bhagawan came to the dais, the chief priest started the rituals for the marriage asking the brides and grooms to follow him religiously. At the outset, the chief priest declared that it was a very auspicious moment for the brides and grooms since they had the opportunity to celebrate their marriage in the Divine Presence of Bhagawan on the occasion of Bhagawan’s 85th Birthday Celebrations.
The proceedings began with the worship of Ganapati by the brides and grooms with Akshata (sanctified rice). Rituals like tying of Kankana (protective thread, which acts as a talisman) on the wrist and Kanya Dhanam (giving away the bride by her parents) were followed according to scriptural injunctions. Since this ritual entails that the bride and groom should not look at each other, a veil was placed in between them. Then came the most auspicious moment, the tying of Mangalasutra at 1159 hrs. when the bridegroom tied the Mangalasutra round the bride’s neck to the chant of hymns from the Vedas. Garlands were exchanged by the bride and groom and the couples went round the sacred fire observing the vow to be faithful to each other.
An announcement was made that a few former students of Bhagawan from the Institute too had entered the wedlock on this auspicious occasion along with brides and grooms from the nearby villages. Bhagawan in His unbounded compassion had arranged for the distribution of articles of immediate household need. Even decorative jewellery, watches and sweets were distributed to the couples. Bhagawan then went down amidst the couples blessing the couples and their parents while the couples did Padanamaskar. Swami went in between in each of the rows as the research scholars from the Institute facilitated the free movement of Bhagawan. Swami had arranged a sumptuous feast for the couples and their relatives on this occasion. An announcement was made Bhagawan wants the couples to wear the new attire and come for the evening Darshan. Arati was offered to Bhagawan at 1255 hrs. and Bhagawan retired for the morning session.
Tue, Nov 16, 2010: The day was gloomy with overcast sky followed by intermittend rains and the bright spot arrived with Bhagawan entering the hall at 1800 hrs.
As the large assemblage of devotees in Sai Kulwant Hall was awaiting Bhagawan’s arrival, Bhagawan took everyone by surprise and went in the opposite direction towards the massive food pavilions at 1800 hrs. He entered the pavilion as the devotees were having their dinner - the devotees present there had Bhagawan’s Darshan. This was direct manifestation of Bhagawan’s love for His devotees; He wanted to see for Himself the arrangements made, though He is the all-knowing One. He also had a look at some of the replicas of structures put up at various points in the Ashram like the Bahai Temple, the Srirangam Temple. Bhagawan then went to the Sri Sathya Sai International Centre for Sports where the various State Organisations had set up an exhibition on Sri Sathya Sai Village Integrated Programme (SSVIP). Bhagawan had a look at the exhibits, after which Bhagawan returned to the Sai Kulwant Hall at 1835 hrs. and gave Darshan to the devotees.
The brides and bridegrooms who were to tie the nuptial knot on 17th November were seated in the Hall for Bhagawan’s blessings. Swami spoke for some time to Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, the Santoor maestro and then went in between the brides and bridegrooms and gave with His own hands the wedding attire. How fortunate were these brides and grooms to receive the clothes from Bhagawan’s Hands! Bhagawan gave the dress to each bride and groom and ensured that no one was left. He also spoke to a few of them. Arati for the day was offered at 1930 hrs.
Mon, Nov 15, 2010: Echoing Music Divine, The Festival of Divine Love - a Nine-day long festival celebrating the 85th Year of the Advent of the Lord - got off to a sublime beginning in Prasanthi Nilayam this evening.
Setting a perfect background for the "Festival of Divine Love", Prasanthi experienced evening rains, an auspicious sign as is believed, for any fresh venture. With the dark clouds coupled with rains forcing an early sunset, the Divine Assembly in Sai Kulwant Hall shone brilliantly under the lights anticipating the Divine entry. Adding charm to the glare, the dais was bedecked with floral costumes. Enhancing the audio facility, in view of the week-long festivity, special speakers were installed at proper locations and facilitating closer view, two LED display, on both gents' and ladies' side, along with number of closed circuit tv sets were also set in place.
Emerging at the twilight hour, at 1845 hrs., His twenty minutes' round of darshan found the magnanimity of the Lord coming to the fore as Bhagawan negotiated the round most patiently, attending to many on the ladies' side, the primary school students and devotees from both within India and Overseas before coming on to the verandah where the artistes for the evening as well as many an organisational office bearer got the opportunity to seek his blessing.
Coming on stage at 1905 hrs., the stage was ready for the session to begin. An announcement on the programme was made introducing the artistes for the evening with brief description. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, the Sarod Maestro of fame along with his sons Aayan Ali Khan and Aman Ali Khan were to perform to be followed by Abhishek Raghuram, a child prodigy and grandson of legendary Mridangam Artiste, Palghat Raghu, on Carnatic Vocal.
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan began his concert with a solo, an own composition inspired by a piece of Saint Puranadaradasa set to Raga Sivaranjini. He announced that this piece had been rendered by ML Vasanta Kumari, the Legendary Carnatic Vocalist of yester years. Beginning the second piece with an introduction of his sons, the maestro on Sarod along with his sons produced a magical spell of instrumental music that lasted for more than twenty minutes, well received by the audience with rapturous applause.
Music is Divine and when legendary musicians perform on the stage with music's sublime touch at the highest platform, it not only entices the onlooking mortal audience, but the first and foremost recipient of the offering, the Divine Musician Himself. With serene musical notes emanating from the blessed Sarod producing subtle waves, often raising and rising, slowing down, pausing, harmoniously blending with accompanying tabla, the session turned out to be a scintillating jugalbandhi, a perfect start for the Festival of Divine Love.
Bhagawan blessed the artistes by draping shawls over them while giving away other presents.
From the world of Instrumental into the world of Carnatic Vocal. The second programme for the evening was by Abhishek Raghuram, an upcoming Carnatic Vocalist who began with a Thyagaraja composition "Nee Dayarada" set to Shrutibhairavi on Rupaka Talam. Perfectly harmonising with the accompanying mridangam and violin, the solo lasted for fifteen minutes. One more piece followed before he took the bow. The singer was completely engrossed in his devotional rendering and one could read his devotion to his dedicated profession. He spellbound the audience with his mesmerising rendering.
The blessed artiste earned his moment when Bhagawan blessed him with a golden chain. Accompanists on mridangam and violin were also blessed before Bhagawan called for Mangala Arati at 2020 hrs. Prasadam was distributed to all devotees. Blessing the artists one more time enroute, Bhagawan retired at 2028 hrs..
Sun, Nov 14, 2010: The final forty-five minute session of the Global Akanda Bhajans in Prasanthi Nilayam was blessed by His gracious Divine presence. Arriving just after 1730 hrs. Bhagawan went for a complete round of the fully packed hall that was reverberating with subtle singing vibrations of the glory of The Lord. As He made His round Bhagawan blessed the Akanda Bhajan prasadam with His sanctifying touch before moving on to complete the round.
Coming on stage for the final session, Bhagawan sat on, presiding over, and boys came up with several new compositions, as was advised by Bhagawan before the commencement of the bhajan. Mangala Arati was offered at 1815 hrs. Prasadam distribution began soon with students getting into action serving tamarind rice and sweet pongal. In the meanwhile, Prof. Anil Kumar took over the stage with a string of announcements about the special food prasadam to be distributed for the next ten days followed by a detailed announcement on the "Festival of Divine Love", birthday programmes commencing tomorrow, 15th November.
Celebrating the "Festival of Divine Love", from tomorrow onwards breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner would be served to all devotees till 24th November in Prasanthi Nilayam. Special stalls have been erected at vantage points to facilitate the same.
Highlight of the announcement of the programme commencing tomorrow evening includes Ladies' Day programme on the 19th November that would be attended by Her Excellency, The President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil. Annual Convocation of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning would be held on the 22nd November morning that would see the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh presiding over as Chief Guest delivering the Convocation Address.
Divine Birthday Celebrations on the D-Day would be held in the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium on the 23rd November.
As the the announcement went on Bhagawan left the mandir, retiring for the day.
Sat, Nov 13, 2010:Global Akhanda Bhajan 2010 got underway this evening in Prasanthi Nilayam with Bhagawan lighting the "Akhanda Jyothi" at 1820 hrs.
Global Akhanda Bhajan, the most significant and far-reaching annual spiritual exercise initiated by Bhagawan on a global scale aiming at promoting unity and harmony, got underway in Prasanthi Nilayam this evening in the immediate Divine presence of Bhagawan. Serving as a precursor to the birthday celebrations of Bhagawan, as a practice over the years, Akhanda Bhajans have been scheduled for the second Saturday and Sunday of the birthday month, November. Akhanda Bhajan represents a unique attempt at making people in every part of the world conscious of their Divine essence and to experience the sense of oneness spiritually.
On this auspicious evening Bhagawan arrived at 1805 hrs. to the holy chants of Vedam. Completing a full round of the Sai Kulwant Hall that was well lit and filled to capacity, Bhagawan came onstage at 1820 hrs., blessing many enroute.
Soon Bhagawan lit the "Akhanda Jyothi" set on the dais behind the "Seat of The Divine", officially marking the commencement of the 24-hour Bhajan Yajna. ...And simultaneously boys burst open with an opening aalaap bhajan, "Shuklambhara Dharam Vishnum Sashi Varnam Chaturbhujam..." singing the bhajan invoking the Lord of remover of obstacles, "Vinayaka...Vinayaka...". Anantapur students followed up with the thematic bhajan, "Anatara Jyothi Jalaao Sai..." and the session continued with both boys and girls singing alternatively.
As Bhagawan sat through, glued at the devoted public, many an aalap piece were produced intermittently by boys, giving a twist to the normal Akhanda Bhajans over the years. Some of the old bhajans, not so often heard in Prasanthi Nilayam, were also sung, especially by the Anantapur wing invoking nostalgic feeling of the golden past. Interestingly this is for the first time in the history of Prasanthi Nilayam, Akhanda Bhajan is held in the open Sai Kulwant Hall. For the past more than a year, ever since Bhagawan started the trend of twilight darshan sessions, Prasanthi has been blessed with longer bhajan sessions, effectively resulting in mini-akhanda bhajan sessions invariably.
After officiating the session for more than an hour, Bhagawan left the dais at 1925 hrs. moving into the interview room. In ten minutes Bhagawan moved into the bhajan hall. Exiting through the rear entrance, Bhagawan came onto the lower portico, slowly gliding past, blessing many with His benedictory glance, before retiring to Yajur Mandiram at 1945 hrs.
Before leaving the dais, Bhagawan indicated to the boys to keep the vigil during the night singing Divine glory with enthusiasm.
Closed-circuit Television sets have been placed on both ladies' and gents' side facilitating closer view for the devoted public.
The public address system was turned off at 2100 hrs. as bhajans would continue with many a group taking turns singing glory of the Lord. Full night vigil followed by daylong bhajans that would end at 1800 hrs. in the evening.
Fri, Nov 12, 2010: Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1836 hrs and came for a complete round of Darshan. The music boys of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning Alumni is a closely knit group as they come together every year for recording of the "Bridge Across Time" (Bhajans with instrumental background) series. This year on the occasion of 85th Birthday Celebrations of the Lord, they had recorded many of the songs composed by Bhagawan and those composed by students under His guidance. After Darshan, Bhagawan entered the Prayer Hall where these Alumni or "Old Boys" were seated. Bhagawan listened to some of the songs and interacted with the group before heading towards the verandah.
Bhagawan blessed the translated versions of all the 42 volumes of Sathya Sai Speaks in Tamil. Tamil has obtained the privilege of being the first regional language in which all Bhagawan's Discourses have been translated. This was followed by the release of the 85th Birthday Souvenir of Sri Prasanthi Society, Hyderabad. Bhagawan interacted with the society team for sometime and glanced at the copy of the souvenir. Incidentally it is the 25th anniversary of the Society.
Bhagawan then came onto the stage and spent sometime listening to Bhajans. After Arati, Bhagawan instructed a senior devotee to announce that (24 hours) Global Akanda Bhajan would commence in Prasanthi Nilayam at 1800 hrs on Nov 13 and after 24 hours of continuous Bhajans, Arati would be offered at 1800 hrs on Nov 14. After the Bhajans, Bhagawan instructed the "music boys" that they must sing well and also sing some new Bhajans on this auspicious occasion. Bhagawan retired at 1942 hrs.
Wed, Nov 10, 2010:The glory and significance of collective group singing has come in for reference many a time during Bhagawan's Divine Discourses over the past many decades. For those seekers who adhere to the teachings with due diligence, Prasanthi presents the finest platform to be a part of Bhagawan's global peace mission. These evening sessions, that involves invoking the Physical Divine, are no ordinary sessions, but privileged occasions that happens only in Prasanthi Nilayam with a global impact.
Today, in the evening, when bhajans prolonged beyond the twilight hour, that comes much early owing to advancing winter season, Bhagawan arrived at the hall at 1910 hrs. to come for a complete round of darshan. Ascending the verandah after the round, Bhagawan blessed many, including some groups and organisational elders, before coming onstage at 1930 hrs.
As the session progressed Bhagawan was busy attending to devotees' letters, often glancing at the huge concourse filled to capacity. Just before 2000 hrs, before calling for Mangala Arati, Bhagawan blessed one of the faculty members with a golden chain. Upon accepting Arati, Bhagawan spent another ten minutes onstage, interacting with a couple of boys and stressed on the importance of collective chanting of Sri Rudram. He blessed one of the students with a Vibuthi packet, 'flung' in His inimitable style.
Leaving the dais, Bhagawan got into His car at 2015 hrs. moving towards the ladies' side retiring for the day.
Tue, Nov 09, 2010: Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1823hrs. The number of parents with children is ever on the raise since Bhagawan started blessing them with Vibuthi. Coming onstage Bhagawan listened to Bhajans while reading the letters of the devotees. Bhagawan accepted Arati at 1907hrs.
Mon, Nov 08, 2010: Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1750hrs amidst Bhajans. Encircling the hall, Bhagawan collected many letters and blessed a few with Akshatas and Vibuthi. Some students were seated with huge cards thanking the Lord for the wonderful opportunity of spending a very colourful Diwali with Bhagawan. Bhagawan blessed them and saw few photographs of the event before heading onto the stage. Bhagawan accepted Arati at 1850hrs.
Sun, Nov 07, 2010: "The ideal of the Bal Vikas is to raise a generation of boys and girls who have a clean and clear conscience. Bal Vikas is the primary basis of the great movement to restore Dharma in the world. The young minds of children are not polluted and hence they can be led into good ways of living, simplicity, humility and discipline.", instructed Bhagawan in 1969 to the members of Sri Sathya Sai Mahila Vibhag which was founded the previous year. The Balvikas movement was the first stone laid by Bhagawan in His institutionalised methodology of Educare.
As time passed by, slowly and steadily the Bal Vikas Programme designed by Bhagawan for children between 6 years to 14 years of age, in three groups, took shape and with the formation and expansion of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, Bal Vikas spread far and wide. Training modules were developed, research went in deeper, and with Bhagawan's active and continuous guidance Bal Vikas was crystallized into a 9 year non-formal education system for children enhancing their learning to become role models in character and also in academic performance.
Over 2000 members of the alumni of this unique programme had assembled in Sai Kulwant Hall to pay their obeisance and express their gratitude to their Lord. Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1810 hrs by car on this rainy evening. Bhagawan lit the lamp on the stage to commence the program. Among the various speakers for the day were a high court judge, a doctor specialising in endocrinology and a teacher. Each expressed and explained the impact that the Balvikas training has had on their lives. Often chocking back tears of emotion they expressed their gratitude to their Guru and Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. This was followed by a musical recital by 22 current balvikas students which kept every one captivated. Bhagawan blessed the gathering and apprised the children of His satisfaction with their performance. Bhagawan specially appreciated the child who played the violin. Bhagawan accepted Arati at 1945 hrs.
Sat, Nov 06, 2010: There was a surprise in store for all devotees who had come to Prasanthi Nilayam. There was no Darshan scheduled in Sai Kulwant Hall. All were requested to head towards the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium. Some students were seated in a formation in various parts of the ground with some thing kept on platforms strewn here and there in some kind of organised randomness. Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1750 hrs and went up the open elevator onto the stage with the Bhajan group welcoming Him with paeans of praise. After Bhagawan was seated on the stage and a couple more Bhajans were lilted, two students with beaming countenances came forward holding a switch board for Bhagawan to press.
At the touch of His finger, the stadium saw an unprecedented choreography of light and sound. To the cheers of the little children and the awe of the elders, the senior students of the institute set in forth a new dance, one that could rival the big bang itself. Starting with the bursts of serial crackers, followed by the glow of the flower pots and the soar of the rockets which in turn burst into many showers on the sky, the process was reinitiated with a quantum leap of joy. Amidst all this how can the students sit still? A dance group came forward and broke into a jig to a song on Lord Rama's glory reminding us what this celebration is for - The Victory of Dharma over Ahamkara. There was a cyclone warning in Andhra Pradesh for the day. Without any formal declaration of "Vaana Raadu", all clouds were cleared away for the occasion. Accepting Arati at 1850 hrs, Bhagawan blessed all the assembled on His way back.
Fri, Nov 05, 2010: A very happy Diwali to all our readers. Diwali was celebrated with much rejoice in Prasanthi Nilayam. Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1830 hrs. As soon as He crossed the place where primary school children were sitting, Bhagawan indicated sarees to be brought for distribution to the girls studying in the school. Soon after that, Bhagawan distributed safari cloth pieces to all students and teachers of the school and university. When the joy of receiving gifts from their loving mother was at the crest, Bhagawan indicated the Diwali programme organised by the Gujarat Devotees to commence. The first programme was a Radhiyali folk dance by the Gujarat youth from SSSVIP (Sri Sathya Sai Village Integrated Programme) village Rajupura. This was followed by a programme by the children from Gujarat entitled, "The Child is the Father of Man". Bhagawan blessed all participants with clothes and a group photograph. Prasadam was distributed to all. Accepting Arati at 2000 hrs, Bhagawan brought the festive day to an auspicious close.
Thu, Nov 04, 2010: This evening Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1845 hrs. Primary School Children had come for their first Darshan after the reopening of schools. Bhagawan read their cards, accepted letters and blessed many of them with Akshatas and Vibuthi. Coming onstage Bhagawan listened to Bhajans while reading the letters of the devotees. Chocolates along with other Prasadam were distributed to all devotees.
The already enlivened session got a fillip when Bhagawan beckoned two of the security personnel sitting in front of the stage on either side and materialised a ring each for them. Speaking to them for sometime, Bhagawan blessed both the youngsters profusely and the entire scene was thoroughly enjoyed by the capacity audience on the eve of festival of lights, Diwali. He then interacted with some of the students in the Bhajan group before accepting Arati at 1935 hrs. Bhagwan proceeded to the interview room before leaving for Yajur Mandiram at 2000 hrs.
Wed, Nov 03, 2010: Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1800hrs. En route, in His mischievous way, Bhagawan blessed an elderly devotee with a chocolate and many children with Vibuthi. Bhagawan spent a lot of time listening to Bhajans before accepting Arati and retiring to Yajur Mandiram at 1905hrs.
Tue, Nov 02, 2010: 27 Rathams or SUVs decorated like Chariots with Bhagawan's pictures occupied by 2 drivers, a cleaner and one or two speakers started from the various districts of Andhra Pradesh and covered 4460 villages across the state over a span of 85 days. During the day wherever they go, the speaker would speak about Swami and the various aspects of His Glory. If the chariot were to reach some village in the evening, then they would camp there for the night and put up a video (screen) show for the villages. Food, clothes and Amruta Kalashams (a bundle that would contain the uncooked cereals, rice, vegetable oil and kerosene) were also distributed. The statement given by 80 year old woman sums up the experience: "Because i could not come all the way to see the lord, the Lord HIMSELF has come to my house to give me darshan!" Bhagawan, by coincidence or Divine-Incidence, had gone on a drive at the exact time when the chariots were making their way to Prasanthi Nilayam on Oct 31.
On the evening of Nov 02, about 150 of the devotees who were part of this massive Ratha Yagna were seated in the Prayer Hall. Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 1750hrs and after blessing the gathering proceeded into the Prayer Hall and spent time with every devotee and blessed them all with Vibuthi, Photographs and Prasadam.
Bhagawan then came onto stage and read the letters He collected during Darshan rounds with Bhajans adding power to the prayers of the devotees. Arati was offered at 1915hrs and Bhagawan retired to Yajur Mandiram.
Mon, Nov 01, 2010:The Bal Vikas children from Mysore District of Karnataka got the opportunity to present a dance drama entitled "Satsankalpameva Jayate" in the Divine Presence. Amidst a pleasant shower of a mood lifting drizzle, Bhagawan arrived at 1805 hrs blessing the ever expanding gathering.
Arriving on stage, Bhagawan commenced the programme at 1820 hrs. After the presentation, Bhagawan blessed the participants with a group photograph and one of them with a chain. Beckoning for the Prasadam, Bhagawan ensured that sweets were given to all before accepting Arati and retiring to Yajur Mandiram by 1940hrs. Click here for full report with images.