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Updated Friday, September 30, 2011 - 2203 Hrs. IST

Today was a historic day in Prasanthi Nilayam. Today we complete 50 golden years since the first Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna was performed in Bhagawan's Divine Physical Presence at Prasanthi Nilayam in the Navaratri of 1961. The ritwiks assembled at 0700hrs in the Bhajan Mandir of Sai Kulwant Hall. After the preliminary chants they accepted diksha vastram (new clothes) from the Ashram elders and invoking the blessings of Bhagawan changed into the same. The Kalasam was then taken in a procession to the Poorna Chandra hall where it was installed on the western end of the dais,. A special Kumkum Archana along with Lalitha Sahasranama Parayanam was commenced by the Head Priest and his wife.

At the venue in Poornachandra Auditorium the dais was most magnificently adorned fitting for such a solemn event. A large silver throne of Bhagawan which the Lord has blessed during many birthday celebrations presided over the stage on the left side. A large picture of Bhagawan with His most benign smile adorned the right side of the stage. Statues of Rama Lakshmana Sita stood in all readiness to the left of the stage as if guarding the Yajna Sthala against the 6 enemies of the mind: Desire, Anger, Lust, Greed, Attachment and Ego. The stage had the Yajna Kunda (Sacrificial Pit) prepared as per the injunctions and students dressed in orange chanting Vedam.

With Bhagawan presiding over the session, the priests lit the sacred homam creating fire by friction, by rubbing two sticks from churning of two wooden pieces. The fire produced was deposited in the sacred sacrificial pit, marking the beginning of the Yajna. Soon other rituals commenced. As one priest went on doing Surya Namaskar, a group of priests got engaged in Parayanam, reading of holy scriptures. Mantra Pushpam was chanted by students before Arati was offered at 0930hrs. After the Arati, the devotees lined up in Sai Kulwant Hall for close Darshan of the Sanctum Sanctorum and the students continued their Grama Seva with Puttaparthi Village being the beneficiary today.

The evening programme commenced at 1630hrs with Veda Chanting by Primary School Children. Sri Shashank Shah introduced the Prasanthi Vidwan Mahasabha which has been conducted every evening during the Yajnam for the last five decades. Navaratri is a festival of victory, of Power (Shakti) adored and celebrated in 3 forms for 3 days each. Anger, Adventure and Audacity (Tamas) dedicated to Mahakali; Wealth, Authority and Prosperity (Rajas) dedicated to Mahalakshmi; Self-Control, Knowledge and Discipline (Satwa) dedicated to Maha Saraswati.

The Avataric Resolve of Nurturing the Vedas and the Scholars, Protection of the Righteousness and the Devout lead to the formation of this holy yajna, said the learned speaker. At the conclusion of the very first Veda Purusha Saptah, Sri Ganapathi Sastri who could expound every syllable of the Vedas stated that he had not had the privilege of witnessing such a scrupulously correct Yajna, which could pass the most rigorous tests of ancient Indian scriptures and traditions while quoting Vedic Mantras in support of what looked like casual acts of Bhagawan and declared that Baba was the Veda Purusha.

Sri Jagadish Chandra, Asst. Prof, Dept of Physics spoke on the interesting topic, 'A Deal with Divinity'. He recalled the deals between Young Krishna and the fruit seller, between Bhagawan and Prof. Kasturi and said that God is the best one to have a deal with since He is the only one who roots for us to get the best of the deal. Those who believe in Me, will not only be provided with food but also with Bliss, he quoted Bhagawan. Take the name of Sai once and everything will be achieved, he advised.

Sri Nagarjuna, student of II year MBA spoke on the significance of Navaratri Festival in our lives. The highlight of his speech was a beautiful anecdote of Bhagawan. A person carrying a heavy bundle on his head gets into a train and having taken his seat continues to carry the bundle. When questioned he replies that since the train is already carrying so much weight, he wants to help by carrying his own burden. Similarly ridiculous, Bhagawan said is the fate of man who does not surrender.

As per tradition, the speeches was followed by Bhagawan's Divine Discourse. Excerpts from the Discourse on Oct 20, 2001 where He gives the true inner significance of Navaratri, the purpose of worship of Mother Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati and the message on the importance of Morality in Human Life.

The programme was followed by Baul Sangeet, typical folk songs of Rural Bengal which derives devotional inputs of Hinduism, Sufism and Buddhism. Its hymns give the lessons of spiritual practices in daily life. Sri Purna Das Baul a world famous Baul singer has performed in front of Bhagawan on Nov 1975 during the celebrations of the 50th year of Divine Advent where in Bhagawan blessed him with a locket which he wears to this day. He performed with his son Sri Bibyendu Das Baul. The programme was followed by Bhajans. The artistes were honoured with gifts. The day's session concluded with Arati at 1830hrs.

Updated Thursday, September 29, 2011 - 1950 Hrs. IST

On the second day of Dasara, the students covered 23 villages of Puttaparthi and Kothacheruvu Mandals in the morning after circumambulating the Mandir. The evening programme started at 1630hrs with Vedic invocation.

At 1650hrs Sri Ajit Popat started his talk in his characteristic style. He reminisced about the very first Grama Seva and the instructions Bhagawan had given him and his group then. Stressing on the strength and power of one's mind, He recounted the four stage of Sadhana or Spiritual Practice as defined by Bhagawan to him, namely, Feel->Know->Experience->Realise. It is important to feel that the throne in the Sanctum Sanctoram is not empty. He is seated there as the eternal witness, he stressed.

In the house of the Lord, there is no regression, frustration or depression, only Sai Session, he quipped. Concluding with the reminder, "I am not a beast, I am not a bird, I am a man, I am a Sai Devotee, I am verily God", Sri Ajit Popat prompted the assembly to follow him in his Jaikars.

Sri R. Raghavendra, son and disciple of Padmabushan Sri Mushnam Raja Rao and Padma Sandilyan performed a Carnatic concert in the Divine Presence. He was accompanied on the violin by Smt. Charulatha Ramanujam, Sri Sudhindhra on the Mridangam and Sri Sashi Shankar on the Ghatam. With his faultless voice, Sri Raghavendra started the concert with Naadha Tanu Manisham, upping the tempo with Shiva Shiva Shiva Enna Raaya, continuing with Arunachala Naayakam and other songs before concluding with Chandrasekara...

The concert was followed by Bhajans by students and concluding with "Prema Mudhitha.." in the Divine Voice. The artistes were honoured with clothes and Prasadam was distributed to the assembly. The Publishing department of the hostel released a new edition of "Vandana" with Divine blessings.

Updated Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 2004 Hrs. IST

On this extremely auspicious day of the birth anniversary of the Beloved Sai Baba of Shirdi (as revealed by Bhagawan), Prasanthi started her Dasara festivity with Kalasa Sthapana at 0800hrs in the Bhajan Mandir of Sai Kulwant Hall. At 0830hrs, students of Bhagawan started this year's Grama Seva. 23 villages including Kodapaganipalli and Narepalli of Kothacheruvu Mandal was covered today.

This evening saw a scintillating presentation of Classical Hindustani Music by Ustad Gulshan Bharti, a renowned exponent of the Lucknow and Senia Gharana. Ustad has earned name and fame across the globe, showcasing Indian classical musical forms at the Festival of India in France in 1991, Russia in 1987, Canada in 1988 and Pakistan in 1986.

He started the presentation with the song Tujhe Doondtha, followed by Mohein Ab Mere, Raja Maharaja and concluded fittingly with Satguru Maharaj Sai. Accompanied by Sri Moinuddin, Sri Ilyas Khan, Sri Shyam Kumar, Sri Aqeel Ahmad Khan, Sri Chandan Warsi, Sri Muquim Warsi and Kum Meena Verma, Ustad Gulshan Bharti took the assembly into a transcendental state with his mystic Sufi rendition.

The programme was followed by Bhajans. The artistes were honoured with gifts and Prasadam was distributed to all. The day's session concluded with Arati.

Updated Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 2323 Hrs. IST

Every year during Grama Seva, Bhagawan has permitted a group of youth from London to join the students in the annual labour of love. These blessed youth presented an hour's programme last evening comprising of Vedam chanting and a Bhajan Medley.

Updated Monday, September 26, 2011 - 2323 Hrs. IST

Dasara season begins in Prasanthi Nilayam. The grand tradition of Grama Seva and Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajnam are to begin on 28th and 30th respectively. Grama Seva T-shirts, socks, kerchiefs and caps were distributed to the boy students and sarees to the girl students of the various educational institutions of Bhagawan.

Updated Sunday, September 25, 2011 - 2023 Hrs. IST

The second day's proceedings by devotees from Prakasam District consisted of a dance drama entitled 'Seva Aradhana' based on the Educare philosophy of Bhagawan.

The programme commenced with Vedic recitation at 1630hrs. At 1700hrs, the skit opened with a colourful dance by children. At the end of the dance, the scene shifted into morose mood with parents confronting the teacher for the unconventional curriculum of the school. The teacher explains that the educational philosophy of the school is based on the ideals of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and his aim is to convert every student into a Vivekananda.

The sceptical parents put forth a number of question which are answered by their own wards who take the side of their loving teacher. Seeing the confidence and idealism in their wards the parents realise the value of Educare and they enquire with the teacher about Bhagawan. The teacher replies that Prasanthi Nilayam cannot be explained. One has to come, see, experience and enjoy. He explains that Bhagawan lived his life as an epitome of Selfless Service and while questioned on His identity, replied , " I am God and you too are God. Realise that this is the Truth.".

As this conversation was going on, a poor villager comes to an elder and informs him that one of their brethren was admitted in Hospital and urgently needs blood of a rare blood group. The elders are scared due to misconception about blood donation which is clarified by the teacher who offers to donate his blood thus demonstrating the educational philosophy is one which is put into practice. The skit concluded with another dance and a palanquin procession of Bhagawan. Children from the district sang Bhajans while Prasadam was distributed to the assembly. Gifts were distributed to the participants. Being a Sunday, the day's proceedings came to a scintillating end with the recording of a Bhajan sung by Bhagawan followed by Mangala Arati.

Updated Saturday, September 24, 2011 - 1932 Hrs. IST

Devotees from Prakasam District got their opportunity to perform their annual pilgrimage to Prasanthi Nilayam this week. A speech and a Carnatic music concert comprised today's programme. A skit entitled 'Seva Aradhana' is scheduled for tomorrow.

The programme commenced with Vedic recitation at 1630hrs. At 1700hrs, Sri . Sriramamurthy, District President of Prakasam District addressed the gathering. He started his speech enumerating the contribution of Prakasam District to the culture of Bharath, to its society and the holy mission of Bhagawan. Conveying his salutations to the various temples of the district, and expressing gratitude for the various industries it houses, he reported on the activities of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations in the district.

The District President in a Nostalgic Mood

He then went on a nostalgic mood, recounting the past pilgrimages of the group, the programmes performed and the loving interactions with Bhagawan. He remembered the various groups of Islamic devotees, Lawyers, Principals and Teachers from the district who arrived with the pilgrimage in previous years.

The artistes seek blessings before the programme

Sri Prakash Rao, the cultural coordinator introduced the artists of today's music programme: 'Sangeetha Sevamani', Dr. Dwaram Lakshmi (Prof of Music, Padmavathi Mahila University, Tirupathi) performed in the accompaniment of 'Sangeetha Sevamani' 'Violin Kala Deepika' Smt Challa Prabhavathi, (Principal of Venkateswara College of Music, Tirupathi) on the violin, Sri Parupalli Subramanyam on the Mridangam and Sri Alugolu Satyanarayana on the Ghatam.

A scintillating presentation.

The concert started with the Aalap, "Sathya Sainam Vishnum" leading to the song Vatapi Ganapatim in Hamsadvani raag, followed by Appa Rama Bhakthi in Pantuvarali raag, Krishna nee beganae in Yaman raag and concluded with the Bhajan, Govinda Krishna Jai. Very melodious aalaps for each song enhanced their beauty. A sublime voice and a flawless rendition on the violin was the highlight of the programme.

Mangala Arati

Updated Friday, September 9, 2011 - 1952 Hrs. IST

Prasanthi Friday celebrated Onam,  Kerala’s  most important and colourful festival, with traditional gaiety and fervour commemorating a mythical past of plenty, peace and equality.

With the state of Kerala celebrating its most colourful festival Onam, with gaiety and fervour commemorating mythical past, peace and equanimity as practised by its erstwhile Emperor Mahabali, a miniscule of Kerala camping in Prasanthi celebrated the festivity commemorating the golden past of Onam in the immediate Divine presence.

Legend has it that Kerala was once ruled by the 'Asura' king Mahabali, under whose reign everyone were happy and lived in an Utopia where falsehood and deception were unknown. The 'Devas', however, grew jealous of the popular king and had him banished down to the netherworld by Lord Vishnu, who incarnated as Vamana, the dwarf, for the purpose. Before going down, Mahabali secured a boon from Vishnu that he would visit his subjects on 'Thiruvonam' day every year.

The evening programme commenced with Veda chanting by Balvikas children from the state at 1700 hrs. after the regular stint of Vedam. Prof. Mukundan, President, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisatons, Kerala introduced the evening briefing about the scaled up activities in the state. He introduced the distinguished speaker for the evening, Sri K. Jayakumar, IAS, who is currently serving as Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala.

In an illuminating and inspiring speech, Jayakumar, an accomplished poet by himself, burst into a spell of poetic imagination, ruminating over the current phase of physical absence of Bhagawan. Talking about the futility of grieving, the speaker conceded that emotional frame of our heart does miss the Beloved form. He compared his mind of the day with that of a clouded sun, while thinking of Bhagawan physical passing over.

Defining Bhagawan as Eternal Truth personified, running into infinity, Sri Jayakumar said, Bhagawan showed what could be possible with a human birth by following His own dictum, My Life is My Message. By looking into His actions we should be able to understand what and how we can reciprocate for all that Bhagawan has bestowed upon us, most selflessly; we need to focus on two things, that Bhagawan has left on us to complete and these are: Purification of Heart and Love All Serve All. The speaker spoke with confidence calling Prasanthi Nilayam to become a Worldwide Revolution of Love. He exhorted the gathering on the importance of being united while pursuing most selflessly rendering greater service to humanity to bring the meaning of "Samastha Lokaaha..." in action.

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Annual winners of Essay Writing Competition held at college and school level were felicitated next with Sri Sathya Sai Gold Medal. All India President of SSSSO, Sri V Srinivasan gave away the medals to Ms. Manju Krishna and Thara Elizebath (was not present).

Sweet immortal stories of enchanting Lord Krishna took precedence at the final phase of Onam 2011 celebrations as students from Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, Aluva along with Balvikas children from the state presented a colourful dance drama entitled 'Krishna Kripa Sagaram'.

The drama entwined with colourful episodes of Little Krishna stories had interludes of melodious songs adding flavour to the programme. Some of the episodes were, Krishna's inimitable style of teaching Sandeepani His true form, how the fruit vendor lady at Brindavan was blessed by Lil Krishna abundantly, when a handful of rice grains turned into glittering diamonds, the water pot story, where Krishna initially refuses to 'put the burden' on to the woman who requested the Little One to help her, but later volunteered Himself to carry the burden, Radharani's travail to enter into Brindavan as Krishna forbidden any woman to enter into, Krishna's gurudakshina to Sandeepani etc.

The drama ended with a group song of prayer to Bhagawan. All the children participants were felicitated with clothes and prasadam was distributed to the entire gathering. Bhajans continued for sometime and Mangala Arathi was offered at 1900 hrs.

Report on the Thiruvonam morning:

Onam, the Kerala fetival that has been greatly privileged to be present in the immediate Divine Presence of the Mighty Avatar of the age, year after year over the past more than three decades, returned to Prasanthi once again with a miniscule of Kerala present here this morning welcoming the advent of the auspicious day. Today is Thiruvonam, the day when the whole of Kerala await, as per the legend, the arrival of erstwhile emperor Mahabali who is supposedly making his annual goodwill visit. More than the emperor, it is sure, on this beautiful friday morning, every single Kerala soul present in this township, has been on the look out for The Presence, of the Beloved of all beloveds, Bhagawan Himself, for Onam has always been the rarest and most beautiful happening for both Prasanthi and Kerala in His direct physical presence eversince its inclusion in the Prasanthi festive calendar.

The auspicious morning dawned wearing a Kerala garb, with many from the state, coming out in the early hours participating in the early morning schedules of the Ashram. Men and women came out in typcial Kerala costume and with them, many others, belonging to other states also took a cue from the state, joined wearing the traditional Kerala costume and what one could hear was 'Happy Onam' Greetings.

Mandir had aesthetic decorations in place, with plantain leaves, coconut leaves along with colourful parasols adoring the hall bringing in an added flavour.

In the morning, bhajan troup from the state rendered soul-filling bhajans, presenting some new compositions as well. In the evening a cultural programme is scheduled where the children from Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, Aluva along with Bal Vikas chilren from the state will stage a dance drama, Krishna Kripa Sagaram.

Updated Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 1830 Hrs. IST

The sky was overcast this evening, but not to deter or dampen the spirit of ongoing Onam 2011 celebrations.

This evening, on the eve of Thiruvonam, there was a musical offering by Child Prodigy S. Mahadevan, a 12 year old from Kerala, who was fortunate to perform in many stages across the India. Beginning with the invocatory song Ekadantam Bhaje, the little artiste went on singing for the next 45 minutes, presenting six carnatic pieces.

Some of the other compositions rendered were Paripalayamam..., Sri Sathya Narayanam..., Peetambharam... etc. all sung with interludes of aalaaps presented with aplombl. The blooming artiste did excel bursting into lengthy aalaaps as interludes, in his tender voice, with great dexterity infusing life into the session.

The 45 minute session was followed by another rendering, a solo, by the familar artiste during many an Onam celebration over the decade, Music Director from Kerala Sri TS Radhakrishnan.

The artistes were accompanied by Ananda Padmanabhan in violin, Uduppi Sri Krishna in Mridangam, Shankar Vinayakam in Harmonium, Sahayak on Tabla etc.

Bhajans continued for the next ten minutes that ended with Subramaniam...Subramaniam in Bhagawan's Own Golden Voice.

Artistes were felicitated with clothes and prasadam was distributed to the entire assemblage before Mangala Arathi offering at 1800 hrs.

Thiruvonam, the day that is marked with the return of erstwhile emperor Mahabali, will be celebrated in Prasanthi Nilayam tomorrow. Over the years Prasanthi has seen many such live Onam sessions, where in, invariably, Bhagawan would address the devotees from the state with an initial vernacular greeting and reveling on the greatness of the emperor Mahabali.

We Wish Our Readers a Happy and Holy Thiruvonam 2011.

Updated Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 1840 Hrs. IST

Bhajans that has been an integral part of every day Prasanthi sessions took a slight detour today presenting an innovative style of bhajan singing known as 'Sampradaya Bhajans' as the ongoing Onam celebrations 2011 entered in its second day here in Prasanthi Nilayam this evening.

The programme for the evening was Sampradaya Bhajans by Sri Vinaya Chandra Menon. Sampradaya Bhajan is a traditional bhajan singing, more popular in South India, a tradition, as the name suggests, is handed down by one's ancestors and is considered to be the forerunner of modern day Carnatic music concerts, as it has a harmonious blending of the divine, art and music elements.

Beginning with invocation of the prime deities, with his rich and melodious voice echoing the Sai Kulwant Hall, Sri Menon invoked next The Supreme Lord Presiding Over the session, Beloved Bhagawan, with a 'dhyana sloka' Sada Sadswaroopam Sadgurum Sainatham...before commencing the programme with the song Jaya Jaya Sai Namo...Jaya Jaya Jagadisha Namo...

Adjusting the tune within the fabric of Carnatic rules, almost following a medley pattern, the versatile singer sung with elan another 12 compositions, regaling Prasanthi to greater devotional heights, while remaining himself completely engrossed in singing. His mixture of songs included vernacular songs in Malayalam and Tamil and some of Prasanthi's Own bhajans, namely, Vande Uma Nandanam..., Amba Mandahasa Vadhani..., Subramaniam Subramaniam etc...

Sri Vinaya Chandra Menon is a trained artiste in this mode of singing, trained under the expertise of various Bhagavatars, and has been performing this particular form of bhajan in various temples, namely Tirupathi and Shabari Mala etc...Sri Menon was accompanied by Natesan, Gururaj Murthy, Rajesh Menon, Hari Menon and Parvathi Menon in vocal, Ramakrisnna in Harmonium, Swaminathan in Mridangam and Shankar Vinayak in Dolki.

At the end of the 50 mts. session, the artistes and accompanists were felicitated with clothes. Bhajans by students continued for the next ten minutes before Mangala Arathi at 1800 hrs. Blessed laddu prasadam was distributed for the entire audience.

Updated Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 1900 Hrs. IST

Stories of His healing touch, stories of transformation of Heart and stories of welling gratitude echoed in the holy precincts of Sai Kulwant Hall this evening as God's Own Country, Kerala kick-started their Onam 2011 programme here in Prasanthi Nilayam.

The centre-hall was occupied by a special bunch of Kerala 'devotees' who are the beneficiaries of the unique Sri Sathya Sai Rehabilitation Programme, Kerala that takes care of post operative care of patients operated at the twin temples of healing instituted by Bhagawan, at Prasanthigram and at Whitefield in Bangalore. The group has assembled here celebrating "Hridaya Sangamam", a unique get-together of patients and families in the Divine Presence.

The programme commenced with the State President of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, Prof. Mukundan giving an introductory talk briefing the unique programme.

Two speakers followed, beneficiaries of the unique medical service, Ms. Zeenath Ashraf from Kondodi, Malappuram District and Mr. Chandran from Kozhikode.

Invoking the Divine in traditional Islamic style, Ms. Zeenath spoke about the miraculous, all conquering touch of Bhagawan, that she, as a distressed mother experienced outside the gates of Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital, Whitefield, under the scorching sun. With tears of gratitude for the yeomen service being rendered by the hospital, Ms. Zeenath called the hospital one of its kind in the entire world. The Malabari muslim woman concluded saying that Bhagawan's presence is being felt in her family throughout.

Mr. Chandran, an atheist who often compared Bhagawan with petty magicians expressed gratitude saying His life has been touched and adopted by Swami. Bhagawan's hospital is unique, concluded the grateful speaker.

Dr. Anand Mohan, the State co-ordinator for the Rehabilitation Programme who spoke next, narrated the two malayalam speeches preceded in short before divulging in to some essential details about the programme. He also had a word of appreciation for the counseling departments at both the hospitals that assist the project immensely. Ninety-five percentage of total patients operated have been covered by the project, said Dr. Anand Mohan concluding his speech with grateful thanks at His Divine Lotus Feet.

Bhajans continued and Arathi was offered at 1800 hrs. Prasadam was distributed to the entire audience.

Updated Monday, September 5, 2011 - 1815 Hrs. IST

Marking the auspicious homecoming of legendary king of yore, Emperor Mahabali, the land of Kerala, popularly known as God's Own Country, is all set to celebrate Onam festival once again during this week, in Prasanthi Nilayam.

Sai Rehabilitation Project, a noble scheme that takes care of post operative patients from the twin Super Speciality Hospitals in Prasanthigram and Whitefield, is entering in its third year of inception with the advent of Onam 2011. The project that began with Bhagawan's explicit blessings in 2008 has been an epochal one, touching many lives, serving thousands upon thousands in the past three years in the field of medicare.

Under the project, a first post operative check up of patients is be done after 15 days that is followed by two more checkups in the next three month gap. A get-together, aptly named 'Hrudaya Sangamam' follows sharing the joy and awareness of entire 'family' of benefitted patients. Last year Prasanthi had witnessed the first ever Hrudaya Sanghamam in the immediate Divine Presence, when a sizeable number of 'patients', including many of muslim origin, had come from selective districts of Kerala, during the holy month of Ramadan, celebrating the final festive day in His immediate Divine Presence.

This evening Sai Kulwant had a special gathering of over 400 operated patients and families along with another Parthi Yatra group of 500 School Teachers. The coming days, till 9th Sept Prasanthi is scheduled to have special Onam programmes.

This evening as usual Vedam and Bhajans continued and Mangala Arathi was offered at 1800 hrs.

Updated Sunday, September 4, 2011 - 2015 Hrs. IST

Today was the celebration of an anniversary, an anniversary of 39 years of service to man, an anniversary of the love between the instruments and the Master, an anniversary of the day Bhagawan blessed His Students who he lovingly handpicked to be part of his mission in the most direct way, the day Bhagawan blessed their parents and thereby taught them the lesson of Filial Piety, the day Bhagawan expanded the scope of the Prayer Chant to "Samasta Lokaah Sukhino Bhavantu", the anniversary of the day when Bhagawan told His boys that faith is the most important strength of man, not a faith in an external entity but the faith in his own innate divinity. Today is Sai Sannidhi day.

The programme commenced at 1630hrs with Vedic invocations. At 1700hrs Dr. Shashank Shah, a post-doctoral fellow of the School of Business Management, Accounting and Finance at Bhagawan's University introduced the days programme which he entitled, "Sai Sannidhi: A Love Story". He spoke at length on the most wondrous relationship between Bhagawan and His students, the absolute involvement of Bhagawan in every activity of their's and his leadership from the front. Indeed Living with God is True Education.

The second speaker was Sri. Vedanarayan, a national award winning Sanskrit teacher from the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School. He recounted Bhagawan's mission of Service to Man is Service to God and the fortune to be part of that matchless mission and to have an enviable one to one relationship with Him. He listed the three most important qualities essential for the students: Trikarnasudhi (Unity and Purity of Thought, Word and Deed), Self Confidence and Namasmarana (incessant chanting of the Lord's name). Only these qualities he quipped will help us learn to swim before saving the drowning.

The final speaker was Sri Aravind B, an accomplished speaker, writer and photographer, working in the Prasanthi Digital Studio. Recounting some wonderful moments of his personal interactions with Bhagawan, he said that He always hold our hand. Our prayer to Him is to ensure that we don't leave His hand. Being a student of the institute he said is an academic process but to be a Sai Student is in everyone's grasp as it is only Surrender that will make us one. Surrender, he quoted Bhagawan, is the acceptance that everything which happens is for one's own good. Hence we need to be joyful always as everything we get has been handpicked by Him for our own personal good and growth. Tears of joy, love and gratitude he said is the most appropriate 'speech' that we can offer Him.

The inspiring talks were followed by a beautiful music programme, a bouquet of five songs. The songs were interspersed with experiences shared by some of the students. Many of the old songs which Bhagawan enjoyed in previous programmes had fresh instrumental pieces woven between them symbolic of the ancient but ever fresh nature of our Master, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

The programme was followed by Bhajans and Arati. Prasadam was distributed to the assembly.

Updated Saturday, September 3, 2011 - 1825 Hrs. IST

Today, Saturday, on the third day to the grand Ganesh Chaturthi festival, scores of Ganeshas were taken out in a procession to the Sanctum Sanctorum in Sai Kulwant Hall before retreating for the immersion ceremony, marking the culmination of the grant religious extravaganza that gripped Prasanthi Nilayam for the past three days.  

The procession that started from various Prasanthi locations, mainly from the hostels of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning and Schools arrived at the venue, Sai Kulwant Hall at 1610 hrs. By the entry of the last entrant, it was time for Vedam to begin. Shortly after Veda chanting began, the processionists moved forward, towards the Sanctum Sanctorum, going for a circumambulation of the Mandir.

The fleet of Ganeshas were arrayed, all in varied fanciful shapes and decor, colourfully adorned, ready to salute the Lord, Beloved Bhagawan in the Sanctum Sanctorum. The fleet that stretched from the Yajur Mandiram end to the East Prasanthi end, further projecting towards the south from both the ends, contained twenty-five Ganeshas representating hostels mainly, and various other sister institutions of Prasanthi.

After the circumambulation, that took fifteen minutes, the students from the Higher Secondary School presented a ceremonial dance, invoking Ganesha to come back next year.

Soon it was time for the Ganeshas to retreat. As one after one each batch brought its respective Ganesha to the Sanctum Sanctorum, the Chief Priest offered Mangala Arathi to each individual Ganesha before The Lord retreated towards the immersion ghat. The whole procession concluded at 1715 hrs. Throughout the session, Sai Kulwant Hall was resounding in loud chanting and bhajans as the colourful pageantry of Ganesha ruled the roost for the entire session.

This is the occasion when Prasanthi showcases Ganeshas in varied theme, displaying colourful innovative ideas with the enthusiastic devoted bunch of students putting their best to impress upon The Over Lord of Prasanthi. This year too, like previous years, the procession had all the variety of craftsmanship, representing greater spiritual truths of yore to modern innovative ideas. Some of them were the Phoenix Bird Ganesha, Garuda Vahana Ganesha, Helicopter Ganesha, Swan Ganesha by the tiny tots from the Primary School, Garden Ganesha by the tiny tots of Smt. Easwaramma English Medium School, Butterfly Ganesha etc...The whole programme was compeered by the students detailing structures and their, inner significance.

Bhajans continued for the next 45 minutes and Mangala Arathi was offered at 1800 hrs. Prasadam was distributed to the entire assemblage.

Earlier the hostel set of Ganeshas, that formed the crux of the contingent, were taken out half-an-hour in advance. Enthusiastic batches of students in colourful attire, chanting in loud with devotional exuberance assisted by musical paraphernalia led the procession.

Updated Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 1830 Hrs. IST

Soul-stirring music rent the air this evening in Prasanthi as students continued from where they stopped in the morning offering salutations to Lord Ganesha.

This evening, students returned to Mandir spirited and charged up, after installing and worshipping their favourite Ganesha kick-starting the three day festivity (three day in Prasanthi Nilayam as has been scheduled by Bhagawan over the years). Continuing with the offering from the morning, students, musical batch from Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music, Prasanthi Nilayam offered a programme entitled, "Naada Brahmarpanam", an apt offering to the Lord Who is verily Naada Swarupa Himself!

Following the often styled pattern of songs interlaced with commentary, in English, Hindi and Telugu, the talented musical college bunch produced some rare gems of musical excellence, mesmerising the audience in musical rhapsody. Of the six songs rendered, a Hindustani number "Vighna Vinashaka..." sung with excellent tonal variations, followed by the often heard Muthu Swami Dikshitar composition, "Mahaganapatim Manasa Smaraami..., Raktha Ganapathim Bhaje, another Muthu Swami Dikshitar  composition in Ragam Mohana, Talam Adi, all Carnatic, were notable and received with appreciating applause by the audience.

These Prasanthi sessions vouchsafe the unparalleled nurturing of the innate talent of student folk in Prasanthi institutions, nurtured by none other than Beloved Bhagawan Himself, bringing forth the best in them, aptly offered back at His Divine Lotus Feet, with full or reverence and gratitude.

At the end of the programme the 'musical bunch' moved forward to the Sanctum Sanctorum, offering loving gratitude to Beloved Bhagawan.

The forty-five minute programme was followed by a couple of bhajans by boys and girls before winding up with the Thursday Special Bhajan, in Beloved Bhagawan's Own Voice, "Prema Muditha Manase Kaho Rama Rama Ram...", an apt finale to a wonderfully auspicious day in Prasanthi Nilayam.

Prasadam was distributed to the entire assemblage before Arathi offering at 1800 hrs.

Updated Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 10:00 Hrs. IST

Thousands of devotees Thursday welcomed their favourite deity with fervour and gaiety to the precincts of Prasanthi and Puttaparthi in general as the auspicious Ganesh Chaturthi festival kicked off with much religious fervour in the hallowed spiritual township.

Today is auspicious Vinayaka Chaturthi, a festival that received its fullest dues over the years in the most inspiring physical presence of Beloved Bhagawan. Keeping those golden lively memories in the backdrop, Prasanthi woke up this morning, tuned to the Lord of remover of all obstacles, readying herself to celebrate the auspicious day.

As usual it was a students' affair in the morning, with the Institute students offering a string of hymns attributed to Lord Ganesha. Singing special hymns propitiating the Lord, Who is hailed as 'Prathama Vandana', the students regaled the audience with devotional music for the next forty-five minutes. The numbers included Ganashtakam, Ganapathi
Strothram, Ganesha Pancharatham and a couple of Carnatic pieces.

The musical offering had interludes of commentary in English and Hindi, alternatively, propitiating the Lord of The Day. Gajavadana Karunasadana Sri Shankara Bala Lambodhara Sundara in Ragam Sri Ranjani Talam: Adi Papanasam Sivan Pallavi was sung with elan and expertise, well appreciated by loud applause by one and all in the morning assembly. After the 45 minutes programme, students from Prasanthi Nilayam and Anantapur Campus sang bhajans for the next fifteen minutes before Mangala Arathi was offered at 0930 hrs.

This is the day Ganesha fills over in Prasanthi, with various Institutions installing separate Ganeshas in their premises, worshipping the deity for the next three days, before taking Him out for immersion on the third afternoon. It is going to be Ganesha all over in Prasanthi Nilayam for the next few days. As Bhagawan would often repeat in His Divine Discourses, Ganesha is the Lord without any OverLord and Prasanthi experiences the Mighty Lord's 'presence' with the beginning of the auspicious festivity, that is celebrated with great religious fervour, pomp and show in many other parts of India as well.