Sat, July 31, 2010: This evening, emerging at 1725 hrs. to the chants of Vedam, Bhagawan went for a complete round of darshan before coming onstage at 1740 hrs.
Continuing with the spirit of festivity, in the run up to the 85th birthday celebrations, the state of Punjab & Haryana followed by Jammu & Kashmir were to stage cultural presentations in the Divine presence.
Soon Veda chanting came to a close as indicated by Bhagawan and organisers and participants from Punjab and Haryana came upto Bhagawan seeking blessing for the programme. Introducing the programme, as commanded by Bhagawan, Mr. Maninder Singh, the state representative, made a mention of the Baisakhi celebrations of this year in Delhi in the immediate Divine presence. Expressing gratitude to Bhagawan for His Northi India visit in April, Mr. Maninder Singh spoke about the good harvest during the season, crediting the same to Bhagawan's Divine benevolence. Children from big cities get to perform in big auditoriums, but these children from rural background, not well educated and coming from a distant land travelling across five states covering over 2500 kms, are lucky to perform in the highest stage, in Sai Kulwant Hall in the immediate Divine presence of Bhagawan, said Mr. Maninder Singh profusely thanking Bhagawan for His continued grace and guidance.
The first programme for the evening was a dance sequence by students from Sathya Jyoti Pioneer High School, Patiala. They danced to the tune of a famous sufi devotional number. What followed next was Punjab's trademark dance, Bhangra, by the youth of Punjab.
Wearing bright coloured patkas on the head, a lacha or lungi of the same color, long tunic and a colourful waistcoat, ghunghroos on the ankles, these youngseters sung to the beats of the dhol, singing couplets in punjabi. Moving in circles, often lifting their sticks up, raisign themselves to reach a high crescendo these youngsters successfully created a punjabi feeling celebrating the "Harvest of Love", as appropritately titled, in the immediate Divine presence. The presentation ended with a scene depicting religious harmony, hailing Mother India to be the best in the world, singing "Saare Jahaan Se Achcha Hindustan Hamara..."
The session continued with J & K taking its turn with Ms. Kailash Mehra, famous gazal singer and Head of Dept., Music, MAM college, Jammu, singing some bhajans. Invoking Bhagawan, Lord Ganesha Ms. Mehra started off with a prayer to Goddess Sharada invoking Her to dwell upon her throat, singing, "Aaye Dwar Tumhare Sai..."After three songs Bhagawan asked the students to sing 'aalaap' bhajan; "Sri Raghavam..." was sung followed by another one, "Allaho Akbar..." literally turning the twilight into a God-lit one!
It was time for Mangala Arathi. Upon accepting Arathi, Bhagawan moved down the dais to pose for group photograph. Clothe distribution followed, safari pieces for boys and men and and sarees for girls and women. Upon retuning onstage, Bhagawan accepted one more Arathi before moving off the dais at 1915 hrs. retiring to Yajur Mandiram, not before blessing the concourse with "abhayahastha".
Representing the United Kingdom, over 1300 devotees have arrived at Prasanthi on a pilgrimage that would last for ten days.
Fri, July 30, 2010: On this evening that was prematurely ageing, owing to overcast conditions, Bhagawan emerged just after 1730 hrs. to a fresh bout of Vedic chants...And when it drizzled yet again, at the right moment, Bhagawan had the escort of an yellow umbrella cover on top.
Gliding through, Bhagawan was greeted by a set of tiny tots from the North Eastern State of Skkim, arrayed at the centre pathway. These children were scheduled to stage a cultural programme in the Divine presence.
Completing a round of 'detailed' darshan, wherein Primary children, making a 'special appearance' owing to the evening cultural programme, got His special attention, Bhagawan came onstage at 1750 hrs., blessing many enroute, from the right of Ganesha.
Soon Vedic chants stopped as the programme representatives including the 'little hearts', in traditional costumes, went upto Him invoking initial blessings.
'Bhakti Samarpan', was a dance representation from the state expressing the collective yearning of His children from the land of Sikkim praying for Divine benevolence, to bless the land with His Divine visit.
Dances that followed represented the land's geographical attributes as well as diverse cultural traditions. Clad in colourful costumes, thematic per item, these children, after a half-an-hour presentation, gathered at the centre to sing, swaying joyfully, a final song, hailing Sai as Mother of the entire world, claiming themselves to be Her children.
Forty minute presentation was followed by 'presentation ceremony' wherein sarees and vibhuti prasadam were given away to the participants. The choreographer who 'orchestrated' the entire programme won special attention as Bhagawan called him unto the dais to materialise and bless him with a golden chain.
Children were awaiting a closer presence and Bhagawan, as if reading them, moved down the dais to pose for a group photo session. Time ticked away and the waning twilight was spreading her blue tinge all over. Bhagawan spent sometime in the middle enticing the little hearts with His closer presence. As Bhagawan came back onto the dais, prasadam arrived for blessing followed by an instant photo of the materialisation. As prasadam was being distributed, Bhagawan called the choreographer to pass on the blessed photo, received by the children with a round of applause.
It was 1900 hrs. and Bhagawan turned to the priest indicating for Mangala Arathi. Upon accepting Arathi, Bhagawan moved off the dais, gliding into the ladies' side, retiring for the day, not before blessing the concourse with His inimitable abhayahastha.
These children prayed for His presence in their land and the compassionate Bhagawan spent an exclusive session watching and blessing them, receiving their prayers. II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu II
Thu, July 29, 2010: Holy Thursday arrived bringing along with beatific sight of The Lord, His Divine Darshan!
This morning, emerging at 1035 hrs. to the tunes of the bhajan "Devaki Thanaya Dayanidhe..." that has a special line, pleading and praying for darshan, "Darshan Dheejo Sai Deva...", Bhagawan went for a full round of darshan, blessing the holy assembly. Frequently pausing towards the end of the round, interacting with some of the bhajan boys, Bhagawan moved towards the Primary block, spending quite a while, before moving further into the ladies side for a full length.
Returning shortly, Bhagawan came onstage at 1055 hrs. to a crescendo in bhajans. Moving off shortly, Bhagawan went into the interview room, spending next twenty minutes in, before emerging at 1120 hrs.
What ensued was a slow round of blessing through the upper portico, wherein Bhagawan spent enough time, listening to many of the International representatives (Sathya Sai Organisation), before coming onstage at 1135 hrs., from the right of Ganesha.
It was time for Mangala Arathi. Upon accepting Arathi, Bhagawan moved off once again getting into the interview room, granting interview to a senior devotee. Emerging in ten minutes, Bhagawan glided into the ladies' side, not before blessing prasadam for Primary children, retiring for the session, at 1150 hrs.
For the holy assembly, it was a sumptuous bhajan session extended for more than two and a half hour with sparks in between, of The Lord's beatific presence! II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu II
A slight drizzle as if 'she' was determined to take the privilege of welcoming The Lord, and there emerged The Lord at 1650 hrs., in His car, to the chants of Vedam, unfolding the story of this evening's Darshan Saga...
After a 'quick' round of darshan, alighting on the portico, Bhagawan had a brief interaction with Mr. Ajit Poppat of London before moving onstage just before 1700 hrs., round of Ganesha.
Something special was ensuing for the session. Music College troupe was already occypying the front slot and as soon as He came onstage, Bhagawan had a brief conversation wtih one of the faculties...Yes, yet another musical evening was blooming. Bhagawan had blessed the the troupe last evening itself giving His nod of permission.
When it is said Music is Divine", both cannot be apart. What ensued was a short but classical session that lasted for exactly half an hour, comprising of two carnatic numbers and a hindustani one. At the end, Bhagawan had a word of appreciation to the lead singer, and, in the meantime, podium was being set for something different. A 'Puppet Show', as Sri Ajit Poppat of London often refers to, was in the offing.
Beginning in his inimitable style, the erudite speaker proposed to speak on 'Guru Vandana', continuing with the spirit of Guru Purnima celebrations. Referring to Bhagawan's own acronym, PHD, meaning 'Pure Hearted Devotee', the speaker, with the help of Bhagawan's own teachings, with anecdotes from the inspired lives of past masters, exhorted the audience to understand the greater importance of being in the very 'presence' of The Avatar of the Age to become a worthy Phd. (PHD).
It was past 1800 hrs. and Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi. In the meantime, blessing the speaker, Bhagawan materialised a ring for Sri Ajit Poppat and blessed him with a 'Snap with The Divine!' As Mangala Arathi was being offered, Bhagawan moved off the dais heading into the interview room. In five minutes, Bhagawan came out to move into the bhajan hall for a brief 'two minutes' before exiting to glide into the ladies' end, at 1815 hrs, retiring to Yajur Mandiram. II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu II
Wed, July 28, 2010:This morning, along with the throng of devotees in the Sai Kulwant Hall, when time also kept waiting, bhajans continued beyond the 'scheduled' hour giving greater anticipation of a morning darshan.
...And He emerged at 1020 hrs. to come for a complete round before moving onstage at 1033 hrs. Moving off shortly, Bhagawan spent next five minutes outside the interview room, flipping through a photo album on the recently held "Alwar Festival'. Getting into the interview room, Bhagawan spent next fifteen minutes in before moving into the bhajan hall for a brief 'two' minutes.
Returning onto the dais, Bhagawan accepted Mangala Arathi at 1105 hrs. before moving off, gliding into the ladies' end retiring for the session. Before retiring, Bhagawan asked for prasadam to be brouht; blessed prasadam was subsequently distributed to bhajan and vedam boys and staff members present.
On an evening when rain God showered his bounty from the heavens, the Overlord on earth decided to emerge in His car showering His bounty of blessings, Divine Darshan!
This evening, emerging at 1720 hrs., Bhagawan went for a complete round in His car before alighting at the portico. Upon alighting Bhagawan spent awhile with a senior devotee from the US before getting onstage at 1730 hrs., round of Ganesha. Vedic chants continued for an extra ten minutes, until 1740 hrs. when Bhagawan nodded for bhajans to begin.
Beginning with the Ganesha bhajan, "Ganesha Sharanam Parama Pavanam...", just into the second bhajan, Bhagawan moved off the dais, coming round of Ganesha to the lower portico. Blessing two of the Latin American representatives, spending awhile seeing their project report and album, Bhagawan moved into the bhajan hall through the rear entrance to spend next ten minutes in. Emerging at 1800 hrs. through the main entrance, Bhagawan glided through the lower portico, blessing some of the representatives from International Organisation and a group of students before coming onstage at 1810 hrs., from the right of Ganesha.
Bhajans continued for ten more minutes before Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi at 1820 hrs. After accepting Arathi, Bhagawan moved off the dais to get into His car, retiring to Yajur Mandiram at 1825 hrs. Blessed Prasadam was distributed to the entire assemblage.
Tue, July 27, 2010:After long more than a 'fortnightful' of hectic schedule packed with cultural presentations on the trot, today appeared to be a 'blank' day without any special schedule...but, The Lord had 'His Own' plans...
Emerging at 1745 hrs., Bhagawan took a detour through the ladies' side to get into the interview room. Coming out shortly, Bhagawan moved into the bhajan hall. Gliding through He exited through the rear entrance, to glide past the lower portico coming onstage at 1800 hrs. , through the doctors' block.
As Bhagawan sat on, it appeared that His attention was 'riveted' to a special group of men and women in 'green scarves'. This fortunate lot was from Orissa, belonging to the 'Orissa Flood Rehabilitation Housing Project' sponsored by Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.
In another five minutes, Bhagawan moved down the dais, moving towards the group at the ladies' side. Blessing the group with His closer presence, moving through the rows, Bhagawan gave away sarees to the group with His own hand and as He glided through, the group was permitted to take Padanamaskar. These 'Anathas turned Sanathas' were a blissful lot in His presence and one could see many a teary-eyed face with great love and feeling writ on them...a great feeling of Gratitude!. The entire contingent was blessed with Vibhuti prasadam also. After spending ten minutes at teh ladies' side, action was shifted into the gents' side where a ditto blessing act was repeated.
...And for the general devotees that missed out His full round of Darshan, this sudden 'gift of grace' came as a special boon as they relished His presence from a much closer angle, for ten minutes apiece, both the ladies and gents.
Returning onto the dais, Bhagawan sat on adorning the centre-stage...Bhajans went into a high gear with added vigour and enthusiasm...It was 1950 hrs. and the twilight was slowly creeping in stealing her share of joy at the auspicious sight of The Lord!
...And Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi. Leaving the dais, Bhagawan glided into the ladies' side retiring for the day, at 1900 hrs., leaving His stamp of "Love and Compassion" in many a heart and mind.
Mon, July 26, 2010:Prasanthi continues to bask in the festive glory, as it rained music yet again! The morning after Guru Purnima witnessed the carnatic duo, Malladi Brothers, continuing from where they had left ln the previous evening.
Emerging at 0815 hrs. in His car, Bhagawan took a detour through the ladies' side to come onto the portico. Moving into the interview room Bhagawan spet next 45 minutes in before emerging yet again at 0900 hrs.
Bhagawan came onstage shortly after 0900 hrs. to the holy chants of Vedam. The stage was set for the music concert and the artistes were already onstage as per His Divine instructions.
It appeared that Bhagawan wanted to continue from where He had stopped in the previous evening, when He profusely blessed the carnatic duo at the end of their Guru Purnima concert. What ensued was a Divine felicitation. The duo was felicitated and draped with Shawls by Bhagawan Himself. Giving away dhothis, sarees and other presentations, Bhagawan turned to the accompanying artistes to bless them with gifts.
Blessed by Bhagawan, the duo took over, singing carnatic vocals for the next 75 minutes, enchanting the Divine with Music Divine. As the concert went on, with Bhagawan sitting onstage immersed in the music that flowed, there was a constant inflow of devotees, both ladies and gents, specially allowed through the front entrance as per the Divine directive.
It was 1025 hrs. and the duo was singing Mangalam to various God forms, supposedly the final song. Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi. Blessing the artistes with Vibhuti Prasadam, Bhagawan moved off the dais to interview room. Coming out in ten minutes, Bhagawan had a series of short interactions cum blessings before gliding into the ladies' side at 1040 hrs. retiring for the session. Prasadam was distributed to the entire assembly.
After a fabulous musical morning session, in the evening, Bhagawan emerged at 1650 hrs. to come for a slow, detailed round that took fifteen minutes. Moving into the bhajan hall after the round of darshan, Bhagawan spent next five minutes in before emerging through the main door to come onstage, not before spending sometime interacting and blessing some seniors.
Music was to continue...this time music with a difference. 'Whistle Wizard' of fame, Shivaprasad from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh was to perform. As soon as Bhagawan came onstage, the artiste alongwith his accompanists sought Divine blessings to commence the show.
Whistling can be musical; it is art of careful controlling of a stream of air flowing through a small opening between the lips, air control made possible mainly with the help of lips and tongue.
What followed next was a most entertaining session of musical extravaganza with the talented artiste producing amazing tonal variations, striking awe and wonderment. What a vocalist would do with his gifted voice, same was achieved by this blessed artiste of rare talent with the use of his lip and tongue movement, with elan. The concert which lasted for ninety minutes was packed with handful of Thyagaraja compositions and some of the popular bhajans. Starting off with an offering to Lord Ganesha 'whistling' Mahaganapthim..., He went on 'singing' EntharoMahanu Bhavulu..., Ramanannu Brovara..., Raghuvamsha Sudha..., Nagumo..., Pibare Rama Rasam..., Govinda Krishna Jai..., Sai Bhajana Bina..., Prema Muditha Manase Kaho... etc. An hour into the concert, Bhagawan called the artiste to bless him with a golden chain followed by blessings to all the accompanists giving away gifts. This was followed by the final session singing the last two songs...namely, Nagumo, Pibare Rama Rasam.
It was the gift of rare talent, of His own creation, that the versatile artiste 'played back' unto Him, the bestower of talent.
Time clock ticked to 1845 hrs. and Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi. After Arathi, all the artistes including Malladi Brothers, who were also present listening to the concert, huddled around Bhagawan receiving bounty of blessings that included a photograph session.
It was 1900 hrs. and Bhagawan moved off the dais. Enroute He had a series of interactions with many seniors before gliding into the ladies' end, at 1910 hrs., retiring to Yajur Mandiram.
Ace Chess Wizard of India and reigning World Champion Vishwanathan Anand was in Prasanthi for evening darshan receiving Divine blessings.
Sun, July 25, 2010:When year 85 of His Divine Advent projects itself to be the 'one off' occasion so far witnessed, Guru Purnima of this 85th year cannot be anything different. Yes, on this auspicious Guru Purnima Day, in the evening, The Mighty Lord was ushered into receive a stupendous welcome, as Divinity richly deserves! Emerging at 1625 hrs. donning dazzling crimson robe, Bhagawan came into the hall to the melodious tunes of Gurupaduka Strotram sung by students accompanied by the rhythmic sounds of Nadaswaram and Panchavadyam.
Gliding through the surge of devotees, conferring auspicious benedictions, Bhagawan went for a complete round, in between blessing many a student who were having special cards and memenots for the occasion, before moving further into the ladies' side for a full length. Taking a 'u-turn', Bhagawan came onto the portico where the Guru Purnima Special Cake done by Italian devotees was awaiting the Lord along with couple of other ones. Blessing these cakes, Bhagawan moved further to come onstage at 1650 hrs. to melodious tunes of qawwali sung by students.
In another five minutes, famous Carnatic duo, Malladi Brothers took over, singing onstage, facing the Lord upfront. The next ninety minutes saw Indian classical music's finer variety, Carnatic, that is so dear to the Lord, dominating the proceedings, exhibiting her distinct variety. As they went on singing, Bhagawan sat through, keenly attentive, gazing at them, often reflectig emotive expressions, enjoying the melody often lifting His tender fingers beating to the tune, a sign of His 'involvement' in the musical melody. The duo went on singing some special compositions on Bhagawan, His Love and His Mission.
The duo was accompanied by their composer father and a group of men on various instruments, namely, violin, veena, tabla, mridangam etc. The violinistt deserves a special mention for he often reproduced, solely, repeating the vocal aalaap with equal dexterity. Towards the end the musicians engaged in a mini jugalbandhi giving needed fillip to the prevailing devotional ecstasy. The concert that began at 1700 hrs. continued for the next ninety minutes till the duo sought His blessings after their round of performance.
It was time as Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi. The next almost ten minutes Bhagawan spent onstage as family members of the duo came unto Him seeking Divine blessings. Accompanists were also blessed by Bhagawan. In the meantime, Italian chocolates and Laddu Prasadam were blessed by Bhagawan that were subsequently distributed to the assembly.
Prasanthi experienced unprecedented rush of devotees and every available space in the spacious Sai Kulwant was filled by the rush of devotees. Huge screens were erected on both ladies' and gents' side to facilitate better view of Bhagawan from every possible angle. An extra set of devotees were accomodated in the Poornachandra Auditorium.
Retiring at 1845 hrs. Bhagawan moved through the ladies' side, blessing the concourse, heading towards the Poornachandra Auditorium. In the auditorium, Bhagawan spent two to three minutes onstage conferring blessings upon the assembly, blessing prasadam, before retiring after granting abhayahastha to the delight of thousands assembled in the hall.
Sat, July 24, 2010: Guru Purnima along with Maha Shivarathri and Bhagawan's Birthday comes on top of the list in terms of festive fervour, congregation of devotees and oftentimes, for important announcements with reference to Trust, Organisational and Institutional activities! With a day to go for the grand festivity, Prasanthi is already bustling with steady inflow of devotees, especially from Andhra Pradesh. As is 'her' won't during such mammoth festive occasions, 'Prasanthi', after filling to capacity, started accomodating this surge of devotees in the verandahs of Ashram residential blocks.
...And on this Guru Purnima eve, emerging at 1708 hrs. to the holy chants of Vedam, Bhagawan went for a complete round blessing the capacity audience that filled every available slot in the spacious Sai Kulwant Hall. As He was gliding past the centre block, Bhagawan had a detailed look at the Balvikas children and Youth from Tamil Nadu arrayed in drama costumes, for the scheduled dance drama presentation later in the evening. With Bhagawan slowly completing the round, Veda chanting reached a crescendo, enhanced by the vibrant primary school children. Completing a full round, Bhagawan moved further into the ladies' side, blessing and interacting with many, before taking a "u-turn" to come into the bhajan hall. Gliding through, Bhagawan emerged through the rear entrance to come onstage at 1725 hrs., round of Ganesha. Veda chanting ceased soon as drama participants made a beeline unto Him, along with senior officials, seeking initial blessings before the commencement of the programme.
An announcement by former State President, Mr. TG Krishnamurthy followed, who briefly introduced the theme of the presentatiion entitled Sai Yugam Sathya Yugam to be presented by the Balvikas and Youth of Tamil Nadu.
The presentation had episodes from the past and present, essaying the colossal, magnificence of the present day Mission set in motion by Bhagawan. Lord Brahma, after creating four progenitors, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanātana, and Sanat Kumāra, gives them a tour comprising of comparative study of their present, explaining in detail corresponding mission that would happen in the times of the Avataric mission in Kali Yuga. The colourful, innovative presentation ends with Bhagawan Krishna's declaration that He would come back in Kali Age as Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The fifty minute presentation emphasised the title Sai Yugam Prema Yugam, singing a theme group song echoing the same.
Upon the end of the programme, Bhagawan moved down the dais, blessing the contingent with group photo session. Spending sometime around, Bhagawan materialised an emerald ring for one of the youth before moving through the rows, casting His benedictions upon many. Coming onstage Bhagawan asked for Mangala Arathi. Upon accepting Arathi, at 1850 hrs., Bhagawan moved off the dais, enroute interacting with many including Carnatic vocal duo Malladi Brothers, before gliding into the ladies' end retiring for the day.
Earlier, before coming into the Sai Kulwant Hall, emerging at at 1550 hrs., Bhagawan went for a drive towards the hospital end to return to ashram aften an hour, at 1700 hrs.
Fri, July 23, 2010:With two more days to go for Guru Purnima, Prasanthi is already full and there is a steady inflow of devotees ahead of the grand festivity.
Today, in the evening that was marked for the Latin American Choir to perform, Bhagawan emerged at 1750 hrs. to come for a full round of darshan to the merriment of thousands upon thousands filled every available slot in the spacious Sai Kulwant Hall.
A slow, detailed round ensued, conferring blessings on many, before Bhagawan ascended the dais at 1810 hrs. to the holy chants of Vedam. The chanting continued for another 15 minutes, after which He blessed the co-ordinators and officials from the region to commence the programme. As per His Divine command an announcement on the programme was made through the loud speaker system, listing out the participating countries.
The programme for the evening was entitled VAMOS CON SAI, a Latin American Choir with twelve participating countries, that included Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, El Salvador, Columbia, Ecuador, Haiti, Uruguay etc. making their presence His divine presence. Starting with three Omkars followed by Ganesh Prarthana, the Choristers soon switched over to Latin American tongue singing an array of songs in various 'regional' languages. Songs sounded 'Greek and Latin' for the general devotees, still, it was their pure devotion poured forth in a united voice, lighting the twilight with infectious tunes, that brought great joy unto the friday evening's congregation that relished every moment of the programme gazing at Him in physical.
The fifty minute programme ended at 1920 hrs. upon which Bhagawan accepted Mangala Arathi. Asking for an encore of " Samastha Lokaaha..." Bhagawan sat for some more time watching the prasadam distribution before moving off the dais to retire for the day at 1930 hrs.
Earlier, while gliding past the students' block, Bhagawan blessed a group of boys from Sri Sathya Sai Junior Hostel, who sought His blessings with a replica of the hostel building, being the 15th anniversay of the New Hostel Building that was inaugurated on the same day in 1996. Brindavan students have already arrived Prasanthi Nilayam and students from the Anantapur Campus were expected to join Prasanthi this evening.
Thu, July 22, 2010:In Parthi it rained again and this evening when the Sai Kulwant assembly was awaiting the emergence of The Lord, Prasanthi was still experiencing intermittent drizzle. Emerging at 1725 hrs. with an yellow umbrella cover on top, Bhagawan came into the hall to go for a complete round before coming onstage in fifteen minutes, at 1740 hrs. Upon coming onstage Bhagawan lit the lamp before asking the Veda chanting to cease.
Being the final day of the Ashadi celebrations, Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Mandir, Dharmakshetra, Mumbai was scheduled to stage a dance drama presentation entitled "Samarth Ramdas" on the illustrious life of one of the spiritual giants from the state, Bhakta Ramdas. Presented with the original Marathi flavour, the drama depicted the spiritual odyssey of little Narayana born in a Maharashtra village, Jamb, who went on becoming one of the greatest ever devotees of Lord Rama. Episodes related to his marriage wherein the scene depicting his aversion to marriage as well as final fleeing to escape the clutches of married life, Maharaja Shivaji's prayer to accept him as his disciple, service activities with the motto, Dil me Ram hath me kaam, his meeting with his aged blind mother after long seperation etc. were depicted essaying the greater message of constant contemplation of God's Name with unflinching love and devotion towards God.
Upon the end of the fifty minutes programme, Bhagawan had a lengthy interaction with the officials commenting about the programme. As He was interacting with them, He asked the organisers to give away safari pieces to all the participating boys. The 'trainer' was called onstage and was blessed with a materialised ring. At 1855 hrs. Bhagawan asked for bhajans to begin. After 2,3 bhajans, He indicated for Mangala Arathi and as the Arathi song was over He raised His palms blessing the concourse with a double abhayahastha. After Arathi, moving down the stage, Bhagawan posed for a photo session with the participating children. Coming onstage, He paused for a while looking at the backdrop on the stage, before moving off the dais retiring to Yajur Mandiram in His car at 1910 hrs.
As Guru Purnima is in the offing, ensuing evenings are expected to have cultural programmes. Latin American group, which has been camping and practising for sometime is likely to show up tomorrow, while Tamil Nadu Youth will be getting their turn on saturday, the penultimate evening leading to Guru Purnima. Students from Brindavan and Anantapur campuses will be reaching the Ashram tomorrow to take part in the Guru Purnima celebratiions.
Wed, July 21, 2010:Holy Ashadi Ekadashi morning dawned in Prasanthi bringing along with reminiscence of the great Marata tradition of Varkari Sampradaya, wherein, lakhs and lakhs of devotees from all over India, especially from Maharashtra, reach Pandharpur, the seat of Lord Vittala, after a twenty-one day long 'spiritual journey'!
Responding to the holy morning assembly's prayer, Bhagawan emerged at 0935 hrs. to sonorous notes of Gayathri chanting, thematic of the scheduled cultural presentation. Coming for a complete round, Bhagawan moved further into the ladies' side, this time for a half round, taking a detour from the ladies' end to come onto the portico. Gliding through, Bhagawan came onstage at 0950 hrs. setting the stage for the morning presentation to begin.
The seat of the Lord bore the background of the great Marata tradition with images of Lord Vittala and other saints of Maharashtra getting prominence. Upon coming onstage, Bhagawan had a detailed look at the backdrop before lighting the lamp sanctifying the occasion.
The programme commenced with the presentation of the "Palkhi" carrying Lord Vithala along with His sandals, symbolically carried by the 'varkaris' from Dharmavaram to Prasanthi Nilayam during their three day 'yatra'.
The main presentation for the morning was a dance ballet entitled, Veda Mata Gayathri, by Balvikas children from Mumbai, propouding the glory of the Great Mantra that carries the essence of entire Veda.
The presentation was weaved in the form of a conversation between Bhagawan Sri Krishna and a youngster, who took refuge to get rid off the six vices, gets into details of the great Mantra, illustrating every aspect related to the Mantra, either through a song or by enacting a dialogue. Depicting the role of Sage Vishwamitra, his altercation with Brahma Rishi Vasishta, and the episodes related to celestial damsels Menaka and Rambha etc., the storyline finally touched the climactic scene, the birth of great Gayathri Mantra. The fifty minute presentation was colourfully intertwined with meaningful dance sequences by tiny tots in colourful costumes..
Shortly after the programme Bhagawan asked for Mangala Arathi and upon accepting Arathi, Bhagawan sat through a session interacting to organise the presentation to be given to the participants. Soon, safari pieces, shirt pieces and sarees were brought and distributed to the participants by the organisers. Simultaneously special Maharashtra prasadam was distributed to the entire assemblage.
Shortly, Bhagawan moved down the dais posing for a photo session with the participants. Moving off directly into the ladies' side, Bhagawan went for another round of bonus darshan, taking a detour from the ladies' end, to come onstage to accept one more Arathi, at 1130 hrs. Blessing the concourse with His abhayahastha, Bhagwawan moved off the dais at 1133 hrs. moving into the ladies' side to retire to Yajur Mandiram.
Being a declared holiday, students fraternity including Primary children have attended the session. It drizzled overnight and during the day when Bhagawan was retiring, it was still drizzling as if heaven opened up its gates to receive His bounty on this most auspicious day.
Arrangements have been made to serve free Maharashtrian lunch in the North Indian canteen celebrating the special occasion.
On a damp evening that experienced intermittent showers, Bhagawan, upon emerging in His car at 1755 hrs. went for a complete round before ascending the dais at 1800 hrs. setting the stage for the evening programme to begin. What else could have been a better presentation to the original Dance Master in physical form than what ensued later during the session, a scintillating dance drama entitled 'Natya Veda', a treatise on cosmic creation!
Veda chanting continued for next 7 to 8 minutes until Bhagawan signalled for the programme to commence. "Natya Veda" is undoubtedly a 'one off' presentation Prasanthi has ever witnessed, choreographed by popular Bharata Natyam exponent Deepak Mazumdar who 'materminded' the programme with the assistance of his disciple, Pavitra Bhatt. Sri Deepak Mazumdar was an alumnus of Balvikas who had the rare privilege of performing in His Divine presence as a little boy. He was the direct recipient of Bhagawan's guidance and inspiration that made him what he is today. ...To such a 'Master Mind' who anchored his career, Deepak and Co. presented a dazzling display of dance and music that lasted for fifty minutes, depicting the 'Trinity Affair' of the Cosmic Concert of Creation! The presentation was an offering by the Balvikas students of Thane District of Maharashtra.
Upon the end of the programme, Bhagawan moved down the dais to pose for a group photograph. Coming onstage Bhagawan sat through, interacting with the officials from Maharashtra while glancing at the twilight's assembly sending subtle blessings. As He continued with his interaction, prasadam was being distributed to the entire assemblage.
Time clock ticked to 1920 hrs. and Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi. Upon accepting Arathi, blessing the student beneficiaries, blessing the concourse with double abhayahastha, twice, Bhagawan moved off the dais. Interacting with Team Vidya Vahini for sometime, Bhagawan got into His car driving back to Yajur Mandiram, bringing curtains down for a glorious evening that witnessed one of the best presentation ever! II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu II
Tue, July 20, 2010:Today, in the evening that leads to the auspicious morning of festive Ashadi Ekadashi, Bhagawan emerged at 1715 hrs. to the holy chants of Vedam. Completing a full round of Sai Kulwant Hall, Bhagawan, upon coming onto the portico, spent quite sometime interacting with many including 'Russian' representatives, before coming onstage at 1735 hrs., round of Ganesha.
The 'Russian' representation had a photo album titled, "Beloved Swami in Ukraine" containing 62 images illustrating all-round service activiities by the Sai Organisation helping the poor and the needy in the country. Bhagawan flipped through each and every leaf of the album, scanning through all the photographs, in between seeking some clarifications. This is an extension of the 'Divine Romance' that was on show a week ago, wherein devotees from the Russian speaking countries made merry of His immediate presence singing their hearts out unto Him. Eversince, Bhagawan has been quite pleasingly entertaining the Russian representative who would invariably be sitting with bunches of letters from devotees or vibhuti packets (for distribution among devotees) for blessings.
Coming onstage, with Veda chanting on, Bhagawan sat through as hundreds of varkaris, who have arrived from Dharmavaram after a symbolic walk representing the Pandharpur tradition, were seated in the front block, wearing typical Marata headgear. Adding to the festive flavour on this penultimate Ashadi evening, soon heaven opened up sprinkling light shower over Prasanthi.
Veda chanting stopped at 1800 hrs. as indicated by Bhagawan, and, as bhajans began, Bhagawan moved off the dais, soon to return in five minutes. As the session progressed more and more varkaris arrived and Bhagawan, who was watching over, sent word to make them comfortbaly seated in the Sai Kulwant Hall. Half-an-hour into the bhajans, Bhagawan moved Himself to the left block of the dais, more towards the gents' side, and He sat through till 1840 hrs. when He called for Mangala Arathi.
An announcement about the Ashadi Ekadashi celebrations for tomorrow morning followed. Balvikas children from the state of Maharashtra & Goa would be staging a programme entitled "Veda Matha Gayathri" followed by an evening programme entitled "Natya Veda". Yet another programme, a dance drama on the life of Samartha Ramdas, would be staged by the students from Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Mandir, Dharmakshetra, on the day after, 22 July.
After a pause, watching over prasadam distribution, Bhagawan moved off the dais to get into His car, retiring for the day.
The second National Conference of Editors of Sanathana Sarathi (India) was convened in the Multimedia Room of the Book Trust building in Prasanthi Nilayam today, 20 July 2010. The conference was attended by the All India President of SSSO, the Convener of Book Trust, Editors of English and Telugu versions along with all the regiional editors of Sanathana Sarathi. Speaking on the occasion Mr. Srinivasasn emphasised the need to go by the changing times, without sacrifising and compromising the values and guidelilnes set by Bhagawan Himself, to take the magazine to a higher level. Hailing the contribution of a group of alumni in bringing out "Beacon of Love", a Times of India pan India newspaper supplement on Sathya Sai service activities, Mr. Srinivasan stressed on the greater need to induct young minds, repositories of fresh ideas, in all regional committees as well at the central level. II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu II
Mon, July 19, 2010:With Maharashtra's 'iconic' cultural symbol, Ashadi Ekadashi, in the offing, Puttaparthi is already smelling the festive flavour. Being the first day of the proposed four day festivity, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, Maharashtra has organised to assemble over two hundred beneficiaries of the Jaipur Foot Camp, as part of the Medical Seva, that had been on from July 14 to July 18 in Prasanthi Nilayam.
Emerging at 1730 hrs. to a poornakumbha swagatham by devotees from Maharashtra, Bhagawan entered into the hall led by Vedam procession by the Youth of Maharashtra. Completing a full round of darshan, Bhagawan came onstage at 1745 hrs. , round of Ganesha, not before blessing many, enroute, in the lower portico. Veda chanting reached a higher pitch as Bhagawan lighted the lamp marking the commencement of the Ashadi celebrations 2010.
Veda chanting stopped soon as Mr. Nimish Pandya took over, introducing the significance of the occasion. Calling the occasion 'extra special', wherein Bhagawan showers His Divine benediction, Mr. Pandya sounded that in His Divine presence it is 'everyday festivity'. These are the occasions that come as 'extra special', said Mr. Pandya while expressing gratitude to Bhagawan for the love and guidance unto the hundreds who were specially seated, recipients of His touch of grace! Two hundred and twenty nine lives, both men and women from neighbouring districts, have benefitted from this camp, organised as part of 85th year of His Advent!
As Bhagawan sat onstage, these beneficiaries were brought unto the dais to receive blessings. Two lucky souls, who were given artificial limbs demonstrated 'walking' without any help, as normal as they would otherways be, to a round of applause from the assemblage of devotees. They were lucky to demonstrate the same in presence of the Mighty One, the "Master Mind" of the "Fairy Tale" of their lives! ...and Bhagawan sat smiling at their good fortune!
It was 1810 hrs. and Bhagawan indicated for bhajans to begin. Half-an-hour into the session, at 1840 hrs, Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi, upon which, Bhagawan moved off the dais to retire to Yajur Mandiram, at 1845 hrs.
Earlier, upon emerging from " His Residence" at 1700 hrs., Bhagawan moved into the Poornachandra Auditorium, wherein 29 Medical Ambulances were kept ready for Divine Blessings. These Ambulances, twenty of them, were already pressed into service activities, going into different districts in Maharashtra rendering service to the needy, while nine of them were new ones. Blessing the project, Bhagawan went around the fleet of ambulances before getting closer to 'supervising' the facilities inside. A video show on the medical seva was arranged and Bhagawan sat through watching the presentation. Hundreds of men and women who are active in medical seva were also present during the occasion. After spending almost half-an-hour inside the auditorium Bhagawan moved off, moving into Sai Kulwant Hall. II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu II
Sun, July 18, 2010: Sunday dawned in Prasanthi and with it the grand finale of the ongoing five day Sri Alwarula Bhakti Samrajya Mahotsavam. Main event for this concluding day was the Sri Sathya Sai Sathya Narayana Vratham attended by 1108 couples.
In the evening, in Sai Kulwant Hall, the main sitting block was almost completely occupied by the participating couples, who were seated in their specially allotted blocks, well in advance of the scheduled time at 1600 hrs.
The function began at 1600 hrs. with Vidwan Nidumamidi Srikanta Rao, master of ceremonies, explaining step by step instructions, in Telugu and English, for the couples to follow. First part of the function, main rituals, lasted for 55 minutes upon which Sai Gayathri chanting went on, invoking Bhagawan.
As the sacred chanting went on, Bhagawan was received with Poornakumbham at His Residence at around 1748 hrs. by the group of officiating priests and organisers.
Emerging at 1750 hrs. to the escort of a procession by priests, Bhagawan went for two rounds of Sai Kulwant Hall blessing the participants, before coming onto the portico in fifteen minutes. Gliding through the lower portico, Bhagawan made a round through the bhajan hall, through the upper portico to come onstage, round of Ganesha, at 1815 hrs.
Gayathri chanting stopped and penultimate steps of rituals of the function followed that lasted for three minutes. Customary practice of sacred reading of Sathya Narayana Story followed, wherein, the first four chapters of Bhagawan's Life Story were narrated in english, lasting for almost half-an-hour.
A five minutes pause ensued after which final proceedings were completed. Mangala Arathi was offered at 1850 hrs., upon which Bhagawan sat through the next twenty minutes watching over the prasadam distribution. Sumptuous prasadam, Tamarind Rice, Sweet Pongal, Kesari Baath and Bobbattu were distributed to the entire assemblage including all the participants.
Moving off the dais at 1915 hrs., Bhagawan went into the interview room to spent next 25 mintues in. Emerging at 1940 hrs. Bhagawan glided into the ladies' end retiring to Yajur Mandiram.
Earlier in the morning, the regular one hour Veda chanting was followed by a forty minute bhajan session, after which Pushpayagam (Pushpabhishekam) to Lord Ranganathar, the main Idol on the dais, was performed to the holy chants of Vedam. Over twenty two varieties of flowers were used for this abhishekham, done by a group of priests, that lasted for more than half-an-hour.
...And for this final day, Sai Kulwant's main stage, the dais, wore a thematic costume, symbolising and illustrating the special ritual for the day, Pushpabhishekam. It was a riot of flowers and colours everywhere...and in the evening, every heart and mind joined in unison, relishing every moment of the occasion in the immediate Divine presence. Yes, it was Pupshpabhishekam in the hearts and minds in His immediate Divne presence! II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu II
Sat, July 17, 2010: On this saturday morning, while sacred Vedic hymns rendered the air bringing soothing, holy touch to many an ear assembled in the Sai Kulwant Hall, the centre of main activity turned out to be on an elevated platform turned mandap (covered structure with pillars), in the centre down the stage, facing the original Seat of The Divine! The elevated platform, a square shaped one, had all the paraphernalias related to the morning rituals, including eighteen Kalashas placed reverentially for worship along with a Sudarshana Yantram, apart from having a sacred fire pit for the proposed Maha Sudarshana Homam. Nicely decked up, showing up with a riot of floral decor, quite pleasing to eyes offering a visual treat, the special seat of worship had the touch of grandeur and could be seen by everyone present in the hall without any exertion. The elevated platform also had two ramps on both sides, facing ladies and gents, to fecilitate Bhagawan to get onto the venue.
The morning proceedings commenced at 0700 hrs. with initial rituals for Maha Sudarshana Homam, worshipping the eighteen Kalashas, that lasted for more than an hour. By 0830 hrs. the activities were shifted to the sacred pit where the second and final part of the proceedings of the Sudarshana Homan began.
His entry is always timed by Him alone! As the Sudashana Homam went on with the holy chants of Vedam reverberating the air, Bhagawan emerged at 0955 hrs. to come for a complete round. Coming onstage at 1006 hrs., Bhagawan spent sometime over the stage before moving off the dais to the bhajan hall. Spending sometime inside and later, around the interview room interacting with the organisers, Bhagawan once again came onstage at 1022 hrs., soon to return to the interview room. Coming onstage yet again at 1040 hrs., Bhagawan moved down the dais on His way to the Yajna Vedhi.
The Chantings that had been on from 0700 hrs., reached its highest point with Bhagawan climbing the aisle from the ladies' end to come onstage to officiate the Maha Poornahuthi. As He sat facing the sacred pit, priests got the sacred offering blessed by the Divine Hands, and as the chanting went on, these sacred offerings were made into the sacred pit officially marking Maha Poornahuthi. Bhagawan just spent five minutes onstage before moving down the aisle through the gents' side to come upfront where another elaborate ritual was scheduled.
Sudarshana Moola Mantram chanting for 10000 times had been going for the past two days, chanted by fifteen participating priests, and the ritual to follow was offering to the idol of Sudarshan Alwar. The double faced statue had both Sudarshan Alwar and Narasimha Swami, two in one, facing opposite to each other. As Bhagawan took His seat, facing upfront, down the stage, the rituals continued with sacred bath offered to the Lord, using the eighteen kalashas, that were being worshipped during the previous day and this morning. One after one priests took these Kalashas to get them blessed by Bhagawan before offering the same, giving the Lord a sacred bath, in the immediate Divine presence of The Lord of all Gods! These eighteen Kalashas, named after eighteen selected names of Lord Vishnu, namely, Kesava, Madhava etc. contained waters from seleted holy rivers across India.
After the rituals "Vastram" was offered to the Lord, before He showed up on the specially erected dais facing the Seat of The Dvine! Bhagawan sanctified the 'abhisheka theertham' (holy water offered to the Lord) with His Divine touch and even sprinkled the same onto some of the priests before asking the priests to sprinkle the same to other priests and officials present near the dais.
It was 10 past 1100 hrs. and Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi. Maha Mangala Arathi was offered to Bhagawan and upon Arathi Bhagawan moved onstage, moving off to Yajur Mandiram, not before blessing special prasadam for the session.
Tamarind Rice, Sweet Pongal and Curd Rise were offered to one and all as Prasadam marking the auspiciousness of the occasion.
In the evening, Bhagawan emerged at 1710 hrs. to come for a full round of Sai Kulwant Hall. As He was completing the round, Bhagawan spent sometime pausing at the Easwaramma English Medium children blessing birthday children as well others, who had some 'handiwork' for their Swami.
Coming onto the portico, Bhagawan glided past, listening to many, blessing some of the seniors before coming onstage at 1725 hrs., round of Ganesha. Veda chanting continued till 1740 hrs. when Bhagawan indicated for an aalaap bhajan resulting in "Sri Raghavam....", popular Rama bhajan.
At 1745 hrs. Bhagawan indicated for the scheduled programme to begin. Vidwan Nidumamidi Srikanta Rao, the speaker for the evening with a pleasant task of rounding off the "vidwan maha sabha" (assembly of the learned speakers) that has been on for the past three days, spoke on the lives of three Alwars, namely, Sri Thirumangal Alwar, Sri Nammalwar and Sri Madhurakavi Alwar.
After an hour's speech, profusely thanking Bhagawan, offering his salutations to the audience, the learned speaker made a mention of the next day's schedule. It is to be mentioned that Srikanta Rao was one of the 'brains' behind the 'Alwar Festival' that has become a reality by His Divine Grace!
After the speech there was a pause of five minutes when Bhagawan sat onstage watching over the prasadam distribution.Time clock was ticking to 1900 hrs. and Bhagawan asked for an encore of "Samastha Lokaaha..." ...and He moved off drifting towards Yajur Mandiram. II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu II
Scheduled programme for tomorrow, the last day of the five day festivity, includes Pushpayagam (Pushpabhishekham) in the morning followed by the grand Sri Sathya Sai Sathya Narayana Vratham by 1008 selected couples in the immediate Divine presence.
Fri, July 16, 2010:Adding festive fervour to this beautiful friday evening, sonorous tunes of Nadaswaram rendered the air welcoming The Lord at 1720 hrs. to the august assembly in Sai Kulwant Hall. Being the third day of the ongoing Sri Alwarula Bhakti Samrajya Mahotsavam, the dais bore a festive decor of aesthetic theme, while the portico behind had a riot of floral buntings artistically hooked and on to the ceiling.
A full round of Darshan ensued before Bhagawan came onstage in fifteen minutes, at 1735 hrs. The priests were awaiting Bhagawan to come onto the dais, as the final rituals for the evening Nithya Pooja was to be done in His Divine presence. After the rituals, Mangala Arathi was soon offered to the Idol and Bhagawan in physical. Bhagawan continued to sit onstage and Veda chanting went on with added vigour till one minute past 1800 hrs., till Bhagawan indicated for the evening proceedings to commence.
Soon, Vidwan Nidumamidi Srikanta Rao took the podium after receiving blessings from Bhagawan. He had the pleasant task of introducing a speaker of repute, Sahithya Shiromani Samudrala Dr. Lakshmanaiah of Tirupathi. The renowned speaker dwelled on the lives of three Alwars, namely, Sri Andal, Thondaradippodi Alwar followed by Sri Thiruppani Alwar. His fifty minute speech ended at 1900 hrs. and as Bhagawan had by then moved in, a fifteen minutes silence prevailed till He emerged to come onstage at 1915 hrs. to accept Mangala Arathi. Upon accepting Arathi, Bhagawan moved off, retiring to Yajur Mandiram at 1920 hrs.
Earlier in the morning, as part of the rituals, consecration of 18 Kalashas was done followed by chanting of Sri Sudarshana Moola Mantram. Nithya Pooja followed in the evening upon which after Bhagawan's arrival Mangala Arathi was offered to the deity and Bhagawan. Fourth day's schedule includes Maha Sudarshana Homam followed by Mahapoornahuthi in His Divine presence. II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavantu II
Thu, July 15, 2010:Today, in the evening, upon emerging at 1625 hrs. to the chants of Vedam, Bhagawan went past the ladies' end before taking a detour from the gents' end to come onto the portico climbing the eastern aisle, to move into the interview room.
Spending an hour inside, Bhagawan came out at to glide past the upper portico, listening and blessing many to come onstage at 1730 hrs., enroute, blessing the speaker for the session, Sahasravadhani Sri Medasanimohan of Tirupati.
As Bhagawan sat facing the decked up Lord Ranganathar Idol, Vedam chanting went into a higher pitch with the priests awaiting the Lord to complete their nithyapuja (ritualistic offerings) before offering Arathi to The Lord.
Soon Veda chanting stopped as further proceedings for the the second evening of the "Alwar Mahotsavam" was to begin. Intoducing the speaker for the session, Sahasravadhani Sri Medasanimohan, Vidwan Nidumamidi Srikanta Rao presented a brief sketch of the speaker's high credentials to the august assembly.
Covering next three of the twelve Alwars, namely, Thirumalasai Alwar, Kulasekhara Alwar and Periyalwar after yesterday's elucidation on the first three Alwars, the learned orator speaking on the Alwars and their unparallelled devotion gave an intellectual rhetoric presentation bringing beautiful insights from the epics and the Bhagavad Gita, that lasted for an hour. Upon the end of the speech the speaker was blessed with a golden chain while receiving blessings from the Divine. It was 1845 hrs. and Bhagawan asked for Mangala Arathi.
Upon accepting Mangala Arathi, still onstage, Bhagawan asked the students for an encore of "Samastha Lokaaha...". Moving off the dais, Bhagawan spent awhile interacting with some devotees, including the visiting Minister for States, Railways, Mr. KH Muniyappa. Time was 2 minutes to 1900 hrs. and Bhagawan glided into the ladies' end retiring for the day.
Earlier, before the commencement of the proceedings for the session, Bhagawan blessed the priests officiating the Mahotsavam with angavastrams. II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavantu II
Wed, July 14, 2010:Today, this evening, emerging at 1715 hrs. to the chants of Vedam, Bhagawan went for a complete round before reaching the Vedam block to have a detailed look at the dais that was decked up to grandeur, being the first day of the "Alwar Mahotsavam".
Coming onstage through the front aisle, Bhagawan continued to have the 'in detail' look at the various arrangements onstage before lighting the ceremonial lamp!
Entire Mandir including the dais was nicely decorated with big hoardings, flower buntings, billboards displaying details on various Alwars etc. The dais, the main venue, had a big statue of Lord Ranganathar or Sri Rangam (Lord Vishnu) along with that of Lord Ganesha and the 12 Alwars, with flowers and other ritualistic items spread all over.
Moving off into the interview room Bhagawan spent sometime inside before emerging at 1747 hrs. to come onstage, round of Ganesha, marked by a crescendo in chanting, joined by the Easwaramma English Medium children.
Sitting onstage, diagonally facing the gents' side, Bhagawan sat through as the chanting continued to 'beat the air', rendering subtle vibrations bringing in great sanctifying touch. The chanting ended at 1805 when further proceedings with reference to the programme commenced with a scholarly elucidation by Vidwan Nidumamidi Srikanta Rao or Bengaluru who spoke on three Alwars, Poigal Alwar, Bhoodattalwar and Peyalwar. His 45 minutes exposition in Telugu was full of profundity educating the audience on this select class of great devotees of The Lord. The speaker chose to dwelve in detail on some of the interesting episodes happened in the life of Lord Rama, involving King Bali and Lord Hanuman, to the great delight of the august assembly.
One particular episode narrating the story of Kulasekhara Alwar from Kerala, who was the ruler of the land is worth mentioning. The Alwar would be so immersed in the story of Ramayana that when the story depicting the scene of Lord Rama stand facing the demonic hordes the Allwar would invariably stop, quite instinctively, the narrative. He would then command his general to have the armies ready for battle on Rama’s side!
Another narrative, this time that involves Lord Hanuman!
It was an interesting story set during the construction of the great bridge across Lanka. All the boulders on which the name of Rama was written floated miraculously to set the bridge. When Lord Rama threw a boulder, it went straight down, sinking! Lord Rama was 'perplexed' and asked Hanuman for explanation. Hanuman replied, “Lord! The power of your name works to make the boulder float. When You don't hold on to something and drop it, what else can happen other than sinking!"
One more episode was lucidly narrated that illustrated Bhakti, devotion as the highest and biggest thing in this world.
Earlier, in the morning, the Mahotsavam proceedings began at 0600 hrs. with Shuddha Pravachanam followed by cosecration of Ranganatha Swami and Alwars. Chanting of Sri Sathya Sai Ashtothara Satha Namavali followed before continuing the session in the evening with Nithyapuja.
Mangala Arathi was offered at 1855 hrs. and upon accepting Arathi off He moved into the interview room. Emerging shortly, He spent sometime outside the interview room interacting with some seniors before gliding down to the ladies's end at 1920 hrs. retiring for the day. Laddu prasadam was distributed to the entire assemblage.
Ahead of the ensuing Ashadi celebrations, scheduled for the next week, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, Maharashtra & Goa are organising a Jaipur Foot Camp as a part of their Medical Seva activities, in Prasanthi Nilayam.The main objective of the camp is to help rehabilitating physically challenged to live a life of dignity. Over 200 selected men and women from three districts of Andhra Pradesh will be benefitted out of this service. They will be aided with artificial limbs, calipers, modified footwear, special shoes etc. This camp will be continued till the 18th of this month. Being the first day of the camp, Mr. V. Srinivasan, President, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, gave away the related items to the first batch of selected beneficiaries. II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavantu II
Tue, July 13, 2010:Today, on a drizzly evening, emerging at 1724 hrs. to the 'escort of a colourful umbrella' covering Him from drizzle., Bhagawan went for a complete round before coming onstage at 1740 hrs., round of Ganesha, after spending quite sometime in the lower verandah interacting with some devotees.
Being the second day of the Russian Cultural Programme, 'centre-stage' was set with a colourful, scenic backdrop, thematic of the ensuing presentation.
The presentation for the evening, entitled Hallowed be Thy Name, talksa bout the Love of Bhagawan that reaches every nook on planet Earth, opening up people's hearts, flowing through songs, glorifying God in all languages. The presentation narrates the story of a youngster from Russia, who sets out on a journey covering many countries, collecting songs on God's glory. In the process, the youngster learns about the present day Avatar, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba!
The twenty minute presentation was interlaced with many songs, all featuring the Name of Sai. This programme was followed by a musical session having songs in different languages, lasted for ten minutes. At the end, Bhagawan blessed one of the participants with a golden ring. As many of the participants made a beeline unto Him, a somber sounding solo, sung by a lady in praise of Allah, followed. As they continued to sing in group, Bhagawan was busy giving away gifts to individuals. One particular number followed, typical of Russian, having many beats, started at a slow pace, raised a bit to fall down further, then to climb to peak finally to end up emitting a loud cry with a tail, calling His Name, that faded off merging in silence.
Bhajans by Russians continued and as the clock was ticking to 1900 hrs. Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi. Upon accepting Arathi, Bhagawan sat through, personally giving away clothes to all the participants who made a beeline, coming unto Him in disciplined order. At the end, Bhagawan asked the group to sing bhajans and after one bhajan another Arathi followed. Moving off the dais at 1915 hrs. Bhagawan interacted with one of the students followed by a senior before gliding into the ladies' end retiring to Yajur Mandiram.
Alwarula Bhaktisamrajya Mahotsavam, a five day programme highlighting the devotion of Alwars (great devotees of The Lord) will be commencing tomorrow to culminate with a grand Sathya Narayana Vratham on the 18th July, in the immediate Divine presence.
Mon, July 12, 2010: A fresh week is born and with the fresh week, His Unique Graciousness! Divine Darshan!
On this beautiful, pleasant, Monday morning, when Sun-God remained aloof, Bhagawan emerged at 0941 hrs. to come for a full round of Sai Kulwant Hall.
Ascending the portico, Bhagawan spent awhile 'interacting' with some of the officials from Sathya Sai Organisations before getting into the bhajan hall through the rear entrace. Sanctifying a Ganesha statue followed by an array of Alwar statues, pertaining to the ensuing Alwar Festival, Bhagawan came out of the bhajan hall through the front door to come onstage at 1000 hrs., through the doctors' block.
...And, after the United States, now it is the turn of the erstwhile Soviet Union with Russian as the common language. A group of twelve Russian speaking countries have come together gearing up to present a united show in the immediate Divine presence, and the Prasanthi. Mandir bore a festive look with colourful decorations, typical of the Russian culture, adorning the centre-hall, the dais and the portico, with flowers of various hues, creepers, flying squads of 'birds' etc. showing up greeting one and all into the "Russian Festivity".
Back in Mandir, as the session progressed, with bhajans on, Bhagawan sat through, conferring highest benedictions, until 1035 hrs. when He indicated for Mangala Arathi. As the Universal Prayer was emanating from a thousand throat, Bhagawan raised His blessing palm unto the gents first followed by the ladies. Leaving the dais, Bhagawan had an interaction with the Russian group in-charge, who was appraising Bhagawan of the programme scheduled for the evening, before leaving the dais retiring for the session. II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu ll
This evening was the evening of Russian Rejoicing! ...And on this evening, emerging at 1720 hrs. to the chants of Vedam, Bhagawan went for a complete round acknowledging the presence of the "Russians" before blessing a couple of them, from the ladies' contingent, with Vibhuti Prasadam, spending awhile at the block. Coming onto the portico after a slow and detailed round, Bhagawan went into the interview room, soon to emerge to come onstage at 1740 hrs., through the doctors' block.
Veda chanting stopped soon as indicated by Bhagawan and the Russian inchage went up to Bhagawan seeking initial blessings.
An announcement was made about the evening's programme expressing gratitude for the grand opportunity. What followed was a colourful parade of flag-bearers, representing all the twelve Russian speaking countries, who came marching towards the dais, up front, 'saluting' the Lord before dispersing on either side, men and women respectively.
After this a few ladies came unto the Lord seeking invocatory blessings for the ensuing programme.
A thrilling session was in the offing. With the graceful conductor waved her baton in the air, soulful music weaved magic in Sai Kulwant, as hundreds of men and women in white, women wearing colourful floral headbands, went 'on air' tickling their vocal cords producing mellifluous music. Synchronizing the music to help able to render in a voice of unity, suffused with feeling, this Russian batch excelled in their attempt to appease the Lord, tuning their effort to perfection. It was an ample testimony to their yearning for Bhagawan.
After twenty-five minutes of singing, the troupe switched over to bhajans, making a successful attempt to win His heart through Indianised devotional rendering. After a couple of bhajans, they again switched over to singing original Russian numbers, sung in rapturous rhapsody.
It appeared as if a group of Russians arrived in Prasanthi finally winning His heart with simple exhibition of purest devotion. As Bhagawan sat through, enjoying every bit of the session, completely involved in receiving the Russian Love, one could hear murmurings from the "front bench", who were trying to respond to Bhagawan as He went on insisting for more...and more...and more...
Soon came a materialisation as the graceful conductor was called unto Him to receive His Special Benediction, a golden chain, to the amusement of the twilight's assembly, and much more to the loud cheering of an excited bunch of Russians.
Bhajans commenced yet again as Bhagawan sat through, 'demanding' more and more from the Russians. After every bhajan Bhagawan went on demanding more and enjoying His Love, the Russians often burst into laughter, making merry of His greater magnanimity and love. Soon came an 'instant photo', of the conductor receiving special blessings, and as the conductor was called unto Him to receive the same there were loud cheers and applauses from the assembly.
It was 1850 hrs. and Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi. As the Russians led the Arathi song along with the students, Bhagawan went on blessing the beneficiaries for the session. In the meantime, Chocolate Prasadam, specially from the Russians was being distributed to the assemblage.
A lengthy pause ensued, as Bhagawan sat through glancing over, interacting with the Russian in-charge, before moving off just before seven, retiring for the day.
It was indeed a Russian exhibition of Pure Love! II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu ll
Sun, July 11, 2010:In Parthi, it rained overnight, almost continuously, dawning a fresh beautiful morning with greater anticipation of yet another "Act of Highest Benediction" - Divine Darshan!
On this weekend morning, emerging just after 10 past 10 to the soothing, soul-stirring Rama bhajan, "Sri Rama Sri Raghurama...", Bhagawan went for a complete round blessing the sunday morning's assembly. Towards the end of the round, moving through the front block, Bhagawan accepted many a letter from students before spending "extra-time" at the Primary block, watching over the tiny tots. At the end of the round, Bhagawan moved bit further into the ladies' end before returning with a "u-turn" to come onstage at 1028 hrs., round of Ganesha.
As the session progressed, with Bhagawan sitting onstage (often seen) going through letters from devotees, fifty minutes into the session, Bhagawan indicated for a special aalaap bhajan, resulting in "Allaho Akbar.." for the bhajan Rama Hare Hari Naam Bolo....
It was 1128 hrs., an hour after He came onstage, and Bhagawan turned to the priest indicating Mangala Arathi. Upon accepting Arathi, Bhagawan called the "aalaap" singer unto Him blessing him with interaction and Paadanamaskar. Moving off the dais, Bhagawan spent sometime interacting with some of the seniors before gliding past towards the ladies' end at 1140 hrs., retiring for the session.
In the evening, the US contingent is expected to stage their second and last cultural programme in the immediate Divine presence of Bhagawan. II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu ll
This evening, on the second day of the US cultural programme, emerging at 1725 hrs. to the chants of Vedam, Bhagawan went for a full round of 10 mts. before attending to the Primary School children, pausing for a while, watching them chanting Vedam in all earnestness and confidence. After a pause of seven minutes at the Primary block, Bhagawan later came onto the portico, to glide through the lower portico, coming onstage at 1745 hrs., round of Ganesha, well received with a high-pitch Vedam chanting.
In a couple of minutes, the Vedam chanting stopped as the US representatives moved onstage seeking Divine blessings before the commencement of the scheduled programme.
"All Our Relations", the programme for the evening, by the SSE children from the US, was based on the sacred teachings of the Native American Medicine Wheel, used by the original inhabitants of the United States, the Native Americans. The Native American teachings urges to see God in the entire creation promoting universal harmony.
At the end of the colourful 45 minutes programme, the children made a fervent appeal to Bhagawan expressing hope that Bhagawan would visit their country to see 'in person' the rare culture of the United States of America.
Soon Bhagawan moved down the stage for an elaborate photo session, wherein He spent quite sometime interacting and amusing the children. Ascending the dais Bhagawan asked the students to start bhajans as the US children started sitting in orderly fashion as directed by Bhagawan. One could see the enchanting Divine sitting onstage grabbing eyeballs, especially of the children from the US, who were lucky to be seated at a close quarter in the immediate physical presence of The Lord.
After three bhajans Bhagawan asked for Mangala Arathi and upon accepting Arathi, Bhgawan moved off the dais, not before blessing the concourse with abhayahastha. As He was moving off, Bhagawan accepted a "Rose of Love and Reverence" from one of the eldest member of the Native American community, 83 year old George Walking Bear Gillette, who has been a devotee of Bhagawan for the past 35 years. He is a man of repute having miraculous experiences related to Bhagawan and, quite interestingly, is travelling out of his native country for the first time!...to see God in person! II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu ll
Sat, July 10, 2010:Saturday's pleasant, beautiful evening was made 'holy' by a group of men and women from the United States who sang their hearts out echoing the 'Voice of the Soul of America' in the immediate Divine presence of Bhagawan.
In the evening, making an early entry at 1631 hrs. to the chants of Vedam, Bhagawan showed up on the dais at 1644 hrs. for a brief two minutes before moving off into the interview room. Coming out at 1716 hrs. Bhagawan came onstage, signalling to stop Vedam chanting to commence the scheduled programme.
The programme for the evening was a Choir cum Orchestra entitled Sathya Sai National Choir & Orchestra, USA, attended by over sixty musicians from various centres of the United States.
The programme had nine devotional numbers, including "Hallelujah" chorus from Handel's Messiah. The forty-five minutes programme, that showcased the United States' longing for Bhagawan, ended at 1605 hrs. with a special prayer song, Let the Rain of Your Presence Fall on Me. This was followed by a forty minute bhajan session by the US devotees. Half-an-hour into the bhajans Bhagawan called a lady from the US group, blessing her with a materialised golden chain. Bhajans continued for ten more minutes before Bhagawan called for Mangala Arathi. Upon accepting Arathi, off He moved from the dais, retiring for the day, not before engaging Himself in an 'in-detail' conversation with some, including the visiting Russian group incharge.
Indeed "His Presence' was raining benedictions all over as prayed by the 'US Choir' singing its concluding song.
Over four hundred devotees from Russia and another strong two hundred plus from Latin America are also camping in Prasanthi, ready to show up with their offering in His Divine presence. II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu ll
Fri, July 9, 2010: Today, on a cool, rainy friday evening, breaking a twenty minutes pause of silence that ensued the one-hour regular Vedam chanting, another bout of Vedam chanting started at 1750 hrs., heralding His entry, while invoking Bhagawan to the assembly in Sai Kulwant Hall!
Coming for a complete round, pausing in between attending to some groups including the one from the US, Bhagawan completed the round ascending the portico. Moving through the lower portico at a slow pace, pausing, listening and blessing many on His way, Bhagawan came onstage at 1802 hrs., round of Ganesha, marked by a crescendo in chanting.
The state of Rajasthan was to stage another cultural programme after yesterday's programme on the ruler of Mewar, Rana Pratap Singh. Veda chanting continued for another fifteen minutes before Bhagawan signalled for the programme to commence. The programme entitled "Khwaja Garib Nawaz" was a narrative drama, in Hindi, on the life of illustrious sufi saint Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisty, lived in 12th century, of Ajmer. The programme lasted for 45 minutes and after a pause of 7 to 8 minutes Bhagawan asked the Organisational office bearers to distribute clothes to the participants. Soon Bhagawan moved down the aisle to pose for a group photo session with the participants. At 1920 hrs. Bhagawan accepted Mangala Arathi, upon which, before leaving the dais, Bhagawan blessed the concourse with abhayahastha.
Moving into the interview room for a short while and thereafter into the bhajan hall, Bhagawan emerged in five minutes, retiring for the day to Yajur Mandiram.
The visiting US group is expected to show up in the coming days with a couple of cultural programmes.
Thu, July 8, 2010: On this Thursday morning, after an initial bustle five minutes in advance, Bhagawan emerged to arrive into the hall at 0826 hrs. to the holy chants of Vedam. What ensued was a slow but complete round with a couple of pauses in between, including one at the US gents' contingent, where Bhagawan interacted with one of the seniors.
Advancing to complete the round, when Bhagawan showed up moving towards the Vedam block, there was a crescendo in Vedam chanting with tiny tots joining the lead, en masse. Bhagawan chose to spend awhile at the block 'entertaining' the little hearts, many of whom were craning their necks to have a glimpse of the Lord!
Coming onto the portico, Bhagawan glided past the lower portico to come onstage at 0845 hrs., well received with louder chanting. As the Vedam session continued Bhagawan sat onstage till 0903 hrs. when He moved off heading into the bhajan hall for a brief pause before getting into the interview room.
As bhajans, that began three minutes behind the schedule, continued, Bhagawan came out of the Interview Room to come onstage at 0922 hrs. Mangala Arathi was offered at 0930 hrs. and after a pause of a couple of minutes, in between blessing one of the bhajan singers with Divine Whispers in his ears, Bhagawan moved off the dais retiring to Yajur Mandiram, not before blessing the auspicious morning's assembly with His abhayahastha benediction.
In the evening Bhagawan emerged at 1652 hrs. to the chants of Vedam. Coming for a slow and detailed round, blessing the cast of an ensuing cultural programme for which a backdrop was already set in the centre, Bhagawan paused for a while at the Primary block watching the children chanting Vedam in presence of their "Swami".
Coming onstage at 1710 hrs. Bhagawan blessed the organisers from the state of Rajasthan to commence programme. As commanded by Bhagawan, the State President of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, Rajasthan, made an introductory announcement on the programme. The forty minute programme by the Balvikas and Youth of Rajasthan was a depiction of the lofty ideals of the great king of Mewar, lived in the 16th century, who stood for the honour and dignity of his Motherland. Upon the end of the programme Bhagawan moved down the aisle posing for a photo session with the participants.
It was 1805 hrs. and Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi. After a pause, Bhagawan moved off the dais, round of Ganesha, gliding through the lower portico at a slow pace, interacting with and blessing many, with His characteristic, loving smile beaming from His enchanting face. Soon He got into the bhajan hall, to exit in three minutes before getting into the interview room spending next half an hour in. Upon emerging at 1852 hrs. Bhagawan glided into the ladies' side retiring for the day. IISamstha Lokaaha Sukhino BhavanthuII
Wed, July 7, 2010: This morning, damp owing to intermittent drizzle, upon ushering in at 0850 hrs. to the chants of Vedam, Bhagawan went for a complete round before coming onstage just after 0900 hrs. Bhajans that began at the scheduled hour went on till 0930 hrs. when Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi. Upon accepting Arathi, Bhagawan left the dais retiring to Yajur Mandiram. As Vedam continued beyond the scheduled hour, tiny tots from the Easwaramma English Medium School, who were on their weekly wednesday darshan, also joined the lead for sometime.
This evening, damp again due to overcast conditions, Bhagawan emerged at 1650 hrs. to the holy chants of Vedam. Going for a detailed round granting darshan, Bhagawan spent a minute at the US Ladies' contingent conversing with some before gliding into the gents' side. Moving further, Bhagawan spent awhile at the old students' block, conversing with a couple of them before materialing a golden chain for one of them.
Coming onstage at 1715 hrs., Bhagawan sat through the next 45 mts. presiding over the session. As Vedam chanting continued beyond the scheduled hour, tiny tots from Easwaramma English Medium School who have made it for darshan also joined the lead for sometime. Bhajans began at 1745 hrs., half an hour behind the appointed hour, and continued till 1800 hrs. when Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi. Upon accepting Arathi, blessing the beneficiaries, Bhagawan moved off the dais, not before asking for an encore of "Samastha Lokaaha...". The day-long intermittent drizzle had by now strengthened into a downpour lashing out at Prasanthi and Bhagawan 'called it a day' retiring to Yajur Mandiram, driving back in His car, at 1810 hrs.
Tue, July 6, 2010: This morning Bhagawan was ushered into the hall at 0812 hrs. to the holy chants of Rudram. Going for a full round of the hall, Bhagawan, upon coming onto the portico moved further to come onstage at 0825 hrs., round of Ganesha.
Moving off in the very next minute, Bhagawan spent sometime in the middle interacting with some students at length, before getting into the interview room. After a long pause of 75 mts. Bhagawan came out of the interview room to come onstage at 0955 hrs. Mangala Arathi was offered at the stroke of 1000 hrs. and upon accepting Arathi, soon Bhagawan retired for the session, not before conferring His abhayahastha benediction to all who were present in the hall.
Mon, July 5, 2010: This morning, after an initial bustle indicating His arrival, Bhagawan emerged at 0845 hrs. to the chants of Vedam. Going for a complete round, interacting with some in between, including the gents' contingent from the US, Bhagawan came onstage just at the stroke of 0900 hrs. Veda chanting stopped soon and bhajans began with the invocatory Ganesha bhajan "Lambhodhara Hey Vigneshwara...." The session continued for next forty minutes, with "Bolo Narayana Jai Jai Viththala..." being the concluding bhajan. Mangala Arathi was offered at 0941 hrs. and upon accepting Arathi, Bhagawan moved off the dais to glide into the ladies' end, retiring for the session at 0950 hrs, not before asking for an encore of "Samastha Lokaaha..."
This evening that was made cooler after a spell of afternoon rains, upon making an early entry at 1637 hrs., Bhagawan went for a complete round before coming onstage at 1649 hrs., round of Ganesha. Veda chanting continued till 1700 hrs. when Bhagawan indicated for bhajans to commence, half an hour ahead of the scheduled hour. Half an hour into the bhajan, Bhagawan asked for an "aalaap" bhajan resulting in a high pitch aalaap "Allaho Akbar..." singing the bhajan, "Rama Hare Hari Naam Bolo..."
The session prolonged till 1855 hrs. when Bhagawan accepted Mangala Arathi. Asking for an encore of "Samastha Lokaaha...", repeatedly for the second successive session., Bhagawan continued to sit for some more time watching over the assembly as prasadam was being distributed. At 1905 hrs. Bhagawan moved off the dais heading into the interview room. After 40 mts., Bhagawan emerged at 1945 hrs. to glide into the ladies' end, retiring for the day.
Sun, July 4, 2010:This sunday morning, emerging 'quite early' at 0755 hrs., much before students and many devotees showed up anticipating darshan, Bhagawan went for a full round before coming onto the portico. Gliding past the lower portico Bhagawan moved into the bhajan hall through the rear entrance wherein He spent the next almost half-an-hour interacting with some members of the Youth of Karnataka.
Exiting in half-an-hour, just after half-past-eight, through the rear entrance, Bhagawan spent sometime on the lower portico, accepting letters and casting His benediction upon many, before moving onstage at 0837 hrs. to loud chants of Vedam.
Sunday audience had the enterprising children from Primary School, apart from senior students, who joined the Vedam lead en masse, as indicated by Bhagawan, resulting in a crescendo, reverberating the hall and entire Prasanthi, emitting subtle vibrations all around.
Bhagawan sat through the next almost half-an-hour presiding over the Vedam session before indicating for Mangala Arathi at 0905 hrs.
Blessing the students, blessing the concourse with abhayahastha, off He moved from the dais, enroute interacting with some, before retiring for the session at ten past nine.
In the evening, it was yet another 'early entry' as Bhagawan emerged to come into the hall just after 1630 hrs. to the chants of Vedam. The hall appeared half empty with students were still to arrive while the Primary children were just making it into the hall.
Being the second day of the East Godavari Programme, the 'centre stage' was set for another cultural programme. A backdrop with Bhagawan in various postures, from His yester years, with a longboat in River Godavari, signifying the 'golden olden days' when Bhagawan had travelled from Rajahmundry to Bhadrachalam, boating for three long days, was set in the centre. Bhagawan, while gliding past, showed keen interest in the same and was seen explained by one of the seniors about the same.
Scanning the devoted assembly, Bhagawan moved along, slowing down at the students' block, blessing some of them with closer interactions. Primary children got special attention as Bhagawan paused for a while watching them chanting the Veda, resulting a crescendo in volume, as the innocent ones made a full throated attempt, en masse. Spending sometime at the block, moving along, Bhagawan moved onto the portico. Moving further through the lower portico, this time at a slower pace, patiently listening and blessing many, Bhagawan moved into the bhajan hall through the rear entrace.
Exiting through the main entrace Bhagawan came onstage at 1700 hrs. Soon Veda chanting stopped as Bhagawan indicated for the programme proceedings to begin.
Initial intro on the programme followed, with representatives coming onstage seeking blessings. Some of the selected old devotees, most of them octogenarians, who were the recipients of boundless Divine Grace in those olden days when Bhagawan visited their homes, were brought onstage to receive Bhagawan's direct blessings. Many of these devotees could not make a trip to Parthi in the recent past, due to advanced age, and thus this initiative by the Sri Sathya Sai Organisations served as a great boon satiating their hunger to have Divine Darshan of Bhagawan. Lauch of SSSVIP website was the next item that was followed by a gratitude speech in Telugu and an ensemble of cultural presentation tagged to many an activity taken up by the Organisation for the upliftment of the tribals in the region.
Sri Sathya Sai Navaratnamala was the first item that was chanted by the tribal children, who sang the customised composition to existing popular tunes, raining Gratitude to Master Beloved suffused with devotion in its purest essence. Colourful dance sessions bringing forth cultural essence of tribals from the district, explicitly showing up their gratitude and devotion to Bhagawan followed, that included chakka bhajan, peacock- snake friendship dance to conclude with an innovative dance programme "Railu Vache Railu Vache..." depicting Bhagawan as the engine with His name being the switch to move His the train and rails signify human values to promote peace, love and non-violence, indirectly exhorting to practise human values.
Next half-an-hour witnessed the tribal children singing bhajans while Bhagawan moved off the dais into the interview room. As bhajans continued Bhagawan emerged yet again, at 1835 hrs., to come onstage in next five minutes, round of Ganesha. After the bhajan session got over, there was a pause of silence when Bhagawan sat through watching over, interacting with some of the seniors from the group, passing on some instructions. Clothe distribution to the children followed and in due course of time Bhagawan moved down the aisle to pose for a photo session with the children.
It was obvious that His compassion was filling and fulfilling. Bhagawan, upon coming onstage after the photo session, moved down yet again, this time to pose with the girls, moving among them in between the disciplined rows followed by the boys to come back onstage at 1910 hrs. Bhagawan asked for Mangala Arathi in next couple of minutes and upon accepting Arathi, off He moved from the dais, retiring to Yajur Mandiram. Prasadam was distributed to the entire assemblage before the Arathi offering.
Over 600 tribals and another thousand, approximately, devotees have joined the three day Parthi Yathra that concluded with this evening's cultural programme. In the meanwhile, the second batch of US devotees has arrived in Prasanthi Nilayam and is already busy engaged in rehearsal sessions expecting to show up in His Divine Presence. The group is scheduled to stay for next ten days starting from tomorrow.
Sat, July 3, 2010:This morning, emerging at 0823 hrs. to the chants of Vedam, Bhagawan went for a full round before coming onstage at 0835 hrs., round of Ganesha.
Sitting onstage, silently watching over, Bhagawan was seen repeating the Vedam in between, while remaining glued at the assembly casting His benedictory glance upon them. Veda chanting continued beyond the scheduled hour, till 0907 hrs., when Bhagawan asked to commence bhajans.
Ten minutes into the bhajans, Bhagawan moved off the dais into the interview room. Emerging after a pause of twenty minutes, at 0935 hrs., Bhagawan chose to interact with some seniors outside the interview room and later with some of the students before coming onstage at 0950 hrs. Two more bhajans continued before Bhagawan asked for Mangala Arathi.
Upon accepting Arathi, Bhagawan called a few boys unto Him, in turns, interacting and blessing them while creating Vibhuti Prasadam for two of them. Moving off the dais at 1005 hrs., Bhagawan blessed some more enroute, before gliding past the aisle to the ladies' end retiring for the session.
With the arrival of a huge group of devotees from East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, Prasanthi Mandir bore a mini-festive look with tasteful decorations adorning the 'centrestage'. While a colourful balloon arch welcomes The Lord at the centre facing the dais, colour parasols take place on both side of the 3rd block, heralding auspiciousness and festivity. Colourful buntings and flowers were decked onstage as well, reminiscent of a festive occasion. A huge arch with writing, "Giridhari Sannidhikki Girijanula Parthi Yathra" (meaning tribal's pilgrimage to the Abode of The Lord) has been erected at the east prasanthi pathway leading from the Ganesha temple end, welcoming the devotees. The group is expected to show up with a cultural presentation later in the evening.
On a cloudy evening, that was slowly waning, that was made damp owing to early evening drizzle, Prasanthi had a special group of six hundred, of tribal origin, awaiting Bhagawan to grant them Darshan!
And, as if He was keen to grant them what they desired for, Bhagawan emerged five minute after an initial bustle at 1830 hrs., that indicated His imminent arrival. It was 1835 hrs. and tickling thousands of vocal cords resounded three omkars, invoking the Divine into the august assembly of the twilight.
Coming into the hall to take a detour from the centre pathway, Bhagawan came onstage in next two minutes, through the aisle at the front block leading unto the dais directly.
Veda chanting concluded in next three minutes as the proceedings for the evening was to commence. Representatives from the visiting group made a beeline unto the dais with various offerings, starting with Poornakumbham, symbolically signifying a traditional 'Welcome to The Lord'. Among the various things presented included an album comprising of photographs of Bhagawan's various visits to East Godavari, 18 in all, starting from early 1960s.
The programme for the evening, entitled Nava Vidha Bhakti Sumanjali, a musical dance ballet by Balvikas and Youth of tribal origin from the district, was a depiction of various forms of devotion as discoursed and taught by Bhagawan. The presentation was interwoven with various incidents and teachings of Bhagawan along with glimpses from the lives of illustrious devotees. This absorbing presentation had all the elements of the East Godavari culture, explicitly showing up their gratitude and devotion to Bhagawan. The programme was interspersed with colourful dance sequences and soulful rendering and the entire presentation was reminiscent of the golden olden days of Bhagawan.
At the end of the one hour programme, as the participants converged at the front block in disciplined order to the background score of mellifluous devotional piece hailing The Lord of Parthi, Bhagawan, blessing the lot with abhayahastha, indicated for Mangala Arathi, at 1945 hrs.
Greater benediction in the form of a photo session was in the offing. Upon accepting Arathi, Bhagawan moved down the aisle to pose for a coveted photo session with the orderly disciplined tribal children and youth, granting them the picture of their lives! A photo with 'Devudu' Himself!
At 1955 hrs. Bhagawan moved off the dais not before blessing the entire concourse with abhayahastha. A small round of interaction ensued before Bhagawan moved down the aisle leading to the ladies' end retiring for the day. Laddu Prasadam was distributed ot the entire assembly before Bhagawan retiring for the day.
Fri, July 2, 2010: This morning, emerging at 1035 hrs. and coming for a full round of darshan, Bhagawan came onstage at 1045 hrs. after a brief 'stop over' in the interview room. As bhajans continued, Bhagawan sat through, in between blessing a boy with Vibhuti Prasadam, first with a packet followed by materialised Vibhuti. The session continued till 1015 hrs. when Bhagawan nodded for Mangala Arathi. Upon accepting Arathi, Bhagawan moved off the dais at 1025 hrs. retiring to interview room. A lengthy pause ensued as Bhagawan called a couple of seniors in for interaction. Emerging at 1100 hrs. Bhagawan interacted with and blessed some seniors in the upper portico before gliding towards the ladies' end retiring for the session.
Every heart will sing its own distinct song, if given a chance to express, while awaiting The Lord's Grand Entry - Divine Darshan! When the clock ticked past 10 minutes to 1800 hrs., the slow tuned bhajan, "Mahadeva Maheshwara Sai Narayana...", that has a miraculous soothing effect rendered the air immersing Sai Kulwant assembly in ecstatic bliss. This bhajan stands apart, quite distinct from others, as it induces deeper concentration with an awesome power to touch the deep recesses of human heart, evoking most soothing magical healing touch.
Bhajans continued and The Lord was yet to emerge. Soon it was time ...and a sudden quiver ran through the assembly, Yes, there He was making His grand entry, majestic and just!
Emerging at 1812 hrs., Bhagawan went for a full round of Sai Kulwant feasting the assembly that yearned for His emergence. Coming onto the portico, Bhagawan glided past the lower portico to come onstage at 1820 hrs., round of Ganesha. Bhajans went into a higher gear, full throated, with many a fast bhajan help building the tempo.
With time passing through its transitional phase, from evening to twilight to nightfall, next one and a half hour, Sai Kulwant assembly went immersed in the joy of His immediate physical presence as The Timeless Divine powered through the session, dissipating His most subtle blessing.
At 1952 hrs. Bhagawan nodded for Mangala Arathi. Upon accepting Arathi, accepting the Universal Prayer, blessing the concourse with abhayahastha, Bhagawan moved off the dais, not before asking for an encore of the Universal Prayer, Samastha Lokaaha... Moving off the dais, He had short interactions with a few before gliding into the ladies' end retiring for the day.
God He is, He was giving Himself away!... Giving Himself to the devoted, to take Him in their heart, imprinted, to become a fine picture for Him!
With the US contingent, that has been camping since 23rd July, is set to return tonight after spending 10 days in the ashram and the next batch from the US is due for arrival on the 5th July, filling the gap of three days a large group of devotees including tribals have arrived from East Godavari on a Parthi Yathra for three days. The group is expected to stage cultural programme in the coming days, pending Divine approval.
Thu, July 1, 2010: Auspicious Thursday arrived heralding an early evening darshan! Emerging at 1715 hrs. to the chants of Vedam, that got enhanced with the primary children joining in full throat, Bhagawan went for two full rounds of Sai Kulwant Hall before ascending the portico at 1740 hrs., after 25 minutes of Darshan rounds!
Moving into the bhjan hall Bhagawan blessed three students who were set to make their debute in Burrakatha, in the evening in His divine presence. Exiting through the main door, Bhagawan glided through the lower portico to come onstage at 1750 hrs., round of Ganesha, to the holy chants of Rudram.
It's to be mentioned that the three new boys, Amit Chandra and Janakiram of 2nd MSc. and Manikant of 2nd BA have been practising the art for quite sometime gearing up for their maiden show. As had been blessed by Bhagawan, the trio were ready and the stage was set for a Burrakatha, entitled "Lava Kusha", on the sublime story of the 'Holy Twins' of Treta.
It was past 1800 hrs. and the fresh faces were ushered into the Divine presence to a round of applause from fellow students and special loud cheers from the tiny tots from Primary School, who seemed amused at the arrival of the new 'heroes'.
Full throated Vedam continued till 1805 hrs. when Bhagawan sent His green signal for the commencement of the programme. An intro on the folk art form explaining what it entails alongwith a prayer for Bhagawan's guidance and blessing was given before the commencement of the programme.
Weaving through the epic Ramayana, next 45 minutes witnessed the illustrious life of Lord Rama and Mother Sita and the holy twins under depiction, often bringing inserts with reference to the present day Avatar. The forty-five minute programme concluded at 1900 hrs., highlighting Bhagawan's message in essence, My Life is My Message, urging one and all to sing Sai's glory..
Next fifteen minutes saw Bhagawan, flanked by the artistes and accompanists, interacting and imparting blessings in abundance. Singer artiste in the Burrakatha troupe was blessed with a golden ring while the others were blessed with Vibhuti Prasadam followed by group photo sessions.
Mangala Arathi was offered at 1915 hrs. Upon accepting Arathi, blessing the assembly with abhayahastha, off He retired from the dais, enroute blessing prasadam for primary children before having a series of interactions with some seniors. It was 1925 hrs. and Bhagawan slowly glided past the western aisle leading to the ladies' side, retiring to Yajur Mandiram.