Love All Serve All    Help Ever Hurt Never   Visit official website of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust , Prasanthi Nilayam
Then & Now
A day in Ashram


Dasara 2005 in Prasanthi Nilayam

"This Prasanthi Nilayam is the Nilayam of Nithya Shanthi - of the peace that cannot be disturbed - because it is based on deep discrimination and on unshakable renunciation of attachment to sense objects. To be here on this sacred day is indeed a great piece of good fortune. Thousands of aspirants and seekers have assembled here and those who have come into this auspicious company have to make the best use of this chance. Instead of celebrating this Dasara festival in feasting and catering to the frailties of the senses, I am happy that you have determined to spend it in holy thoughts". This is a piece of Divine Coucelling given by Bhagawan during the Dasara Festivity four decades ago, in the year 1965 and these above lines herald the significance of this grant festivity called Dasara or 'Devi Navarathri'. And over the years millions of devotees have witnessed this festivity at Prasanthi Nilayam with the Lord in His physical frame accepting the offering of Poornahuthi as Veda Purusha, rarest of the good fortune bestowed upon by the 'Greater Heaven'.

The legend has it that Dasara signifies the victory of Devas over Asuras, i.e., Righteousness over the forces of evil. Vouching for this mythical belief, thousands have gathered at Prasanthi Nilayam to celebrate the festivity in the very Divine Presence of Bhagawan, Beloved Mother Sai. In fact this year’s celebrations came as a fresh spiritual breeze, cooling down the turbulent minds with His nectarine Divine Discourses that served as ‘feast for the soul’.

The celebrations began on 6th October with "Kalasa-sthapanam" in the Bhajan Hall of the Prasanthi Mandir followed by the beginning of Veda Purusha Saptah Jnana Yajna in the Poornachandra Auditorium, which was filled to capacity.

Bhagavan presided over the Yajna as Veda Purusha while the ritwiks lighted the sacred homam creating fire by friction, by rubbing two sticks from churning of two wooden pieces. The homam was carried on by pundits chanting Vedic mantras and making offerings of ghee to the sacred fire.

Besides the homam, there were pundits engaged in performing Suryanamaskar, reading holy epics, the Ramayana and the Bhagavata, worshipping thousand lingas of Lord Siva, worship to Lord Ganesha and the Hindu Trinity and other rituals related to the Yajna.

While these rituals continued for a week, Prasanthi Vidhwaan Mahasabha, an assembly of learned in the Divine Presence to share spiritual knowledge was the major attraction of the evening sessions. Senior devotees, Faculty Members and Students from the three campuses of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning shared their thoughts in the Divine Presence which were followed by illuminating Divine Discourses on five days in which Bhagawan enlightened the devotees gathered on various spiritual topics with incidents from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and from His Divine Visit to Rishikesh etc.

11th October was Durgashtami and Ayudha Puja was performed on this morning in the Divine Presence at Sai Kulwant Hall.

On Vijaya Dashami day, 12th October thousands of devotees gathered in the Poornachandra Auditorium to witness the completion of week long Yajna with Poornahuti. Bhagawan who presided over the Yajna as Yajna Purusha blessed the occasion, the pundits and the devotees gathered by sprinkling the water sanctified by the Yajna going round the jam-packed Poornachandra Auditorium to the delight of one and all. Prasadam was distributed at the end of the programme.

In the afternoon students from Brindavan Campus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning staged a Drama titled “Bhakta Surdas”. It was a moving presentation on the life of poet saint Surdas and depicting his unflinching devotion to Lord Sri Krishna. Devotion was in the air as the drama unfolded the mystery as to how with single-pointed devotion one could win the heart of the Lord. Melodious songs coupled with soul lifting music and dance sequences made the presentation nostalgic and memorable. Indeed a fitting grand finale to the week long Dasara festivities.

Sri Sathya Sai Grama Seva

“If you pour spirituality into the ears of those who are tortured by hunger, it will not be assimilated. First satisfy the hunger. “Give them God in the form of food; Give them God in the form of clothes; Give them food in the form of Peace to those afflicted with anxiety; Give God in the form of medicine to those suffering from ill-health; Give God in whatever form which will assuage fear, pain and sorrow. It is only when this is done that spirituality can soak into the heart”, said Bhagawan. Further, in His discourse of 16th February in 1992 He opened His mind in unequivocal terms that “Grama Seva is Rama Seva. You need not strive for salvation as a separate goal. Service to village will itself ensure mukti (liberation). Bear this truth in mind and act upto it in your daily life.”

It was a new ‘mantra’. And He enjoined upon His students – His sole property – to march forward in their purity as ambassadors of peace and love to the villages with food and clothes – the first of His lessons in Practical Vedanta, the adwaita philosophy in practice. The programme launched in October 2000 has come to stay as an annual feature – a practice to be carried out throughout their life wherever they go. This year’s Grama Seva was planned to cover 150 villages in the three Mandals of Puttaparthi, Kothacheruvu and Bukkaptanam forming the unit that was called earlier as Puttaparthi Taluka.

It was indeed a hectic week for the students of all the three campuses who were ordained to carry out the task of reaching out the villagers with His food and cloth packets of Love. This lucky lot with minds fresh and enthused and hearts vibrant and expanded set out with “Sairam” on their lips…went to the door steps…and conquered.

It was not the sweets, food packet or clothes that were distributed that mattered, but the feeling behind the action, that was the message of this Grama Seva which Bhagawan has been stressing, all through, to reach out the needy with His Divine Love, true to His saying, Grama Seva is Rama Seva…Jana Seva is Janardhana Seva.

Students from the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur Campus for women and senior girl students from Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School with faculty members and staff from both the campuses engaged in packing the food and cloth materials while boys from both Prasanthi Nilayam and Brindavan Campuses along with faculty members and staff would go out everyday to various villages with meticulous plan to carry out the task within the schedule. The last day of the Grama Seva activities, on the Vijaya Dashami day, students from the Anantapur Campus distributed sweets, food packets and clothes to the inmates of Ashram.

Indeed, an act worth emulating and one would wonder whether the Gods of highest heaven would be watching this “White Army” of students who were immensely lucky and privileged to carry out the task at the direct command of God walking on two feet.

Excerpts from Bhagawan’s Divine Discourses:

Talking all the day aimlessly, eating three times a day, breathing continuously day in and day out; do you think these are spiritual practices? Do you think being lost in deep sleep is a spiritual practice? Is this the purpose of God’s Creation?

Divinity is present in all beings. Elders always advise that we must think of God every morning and night so as to make our hearts sacred. God is in everything – in mankind, in insects, birds, - in all beings. To see God who is everywhere, does one need to meditate?

God cannot be experienced by merely following spiritual practices. All Sadhana that we undertake is only for Chitta Shuddhi – cleansing the mind, purifying the mind. Purity of heart has to be attained. We think that fasting and observing vows takes us closer to God. This is a false notion. God is always there everywhere. To see and experience this omnipresent God, one must have Chitta Shuddhi.

Just as a utensil when washed again and again becomes shining, so too by persistent spiritual practice, the heart starts shining with Divine effulgence. Once the heart becomes sacred, Divinity can be seen and experienced. This is the way to see God, not by mere meditation.

We must convince ourselves that God is in all beings. But nobody is doing that. Whomsoever we see is verily God. I am present in everybody but not attached to anybody. Gopikas alone understood this Truth. The Cosmic Self is Divine but is seen as the individual self.

Whomsoever we come across, be it a businessman or a farmer, we must consider them as God only, not as a farmer or a businessman. God is present in all forms serving you. From today onwards, have this strong faith and you too will see God everywhere.

Once you please God, everything will be added on to you. You think that I am God, but you too are God. We all are forms of God. Think like this and you will see God alone. Yad Bhavam Tad Bhavati.

Truth is One. Now the question may arise that if the individual self is verily the Cosmic Self, then why do we die? It is because we have not yet realized our Cosmic Self. I am You – You am I. Tat Tvam Asi.

Ekam Eva Adviteeyam Brahma. God is Only One, Not Two. Recognition of this Truth will give you the experience. Strongly hold on to the Truth that you and God are one. Differences arise only in our mind. God is not separate from us. He is in you. I am ONE, without the second! No Two. This Truth is made apparent gradually to seekers. Once you strongly hold on to the Truth that God and you are one, He will manifest in you.

Ten ones make ten. Therefore, ‘one’ is most important. ‘Ten’ is not the reality. ‘ONE’ is the reality. You can add any number of zeroes to ‘One’ and increase the number value, but zeroes by themselves have no value. ‘ONE’ is the Hero!!

All forms are Sai Baba only. Go by this Oneness alone. Whatever Bhagawan is telling is the Truth of Truth. Have full faith in this Truth. All scriptures talk of this same Truth. Once this Truth is known, there will be no doubts. Do not accuse anybody or blame anybody. Never entertain any doubts. Doubt means duality. There is no ‘He’ and ‘I’. All is ‘I’ only.

Oneness is the Truth of Truths. If you cannot experience this, give it up but never argue that God is two. Ekatvam Sama Jeevatvam. Never have the view of separateness. For worldly purpose we may consider many numbers but in essence we are one. Today you may not understand this clearly, but slowly it will become clear. Truth is One and not Two! Look at this kerchief, there may be many yarns / threads but the cloth is one.

God has no desires, no mistakes. All that we perceive is in our own mind. Enta Maatrame Evvaru Teluchino Anta Maatrame Neevu. God manifests only to the extent to which each one perceives Him.

We can transform anything in this world but not the mind. God alone can change the mind. One may be able to bend and straighten a tree but never the mind. Therefore, surrender to Him. Mano Moolam Idam Jagath. Strong faith in God is very necessary.

God is not a specific Form. It is a power. This power can bring about any type of change. Atma is one and the same in all, just like the current which remains the same whether it is A/C or D/C. Mind cannot be changed either by Mantra, Yantra or Tantra. God's Will alone can change the mind.

God is only One. He can do anything, anytime anywhere. He can go anywhere. Ekam Eva Adviteeyam Brahma. God is changeless – Only One – whether you call Him Rama, Krishna or Sai Baba.

God's Will is most powerful. If He Wills anything can happen. God’s Mind is steady and strong. We may sometimes think that we have changed God's Mind but this can never be true. The Universal Mind can Will anything and bring about any change. The Lord if He wishes can give His Darshan at one instant to everybody, simultaneously.

Today, you all have known the secrets of Divinity. Once you know these secrets, you will be able to know the whole world.

After this Swami went on to narrate the story of His visit to Rishikesh and how He had met Purushottamananda and Sivananda over there. He spent the next half an hour or so on this topic and gave a graphic description of the yearning of these great saints for Bhagawan. He concluded with the passing away of Purushottamananda in the cave and mentioned that at that time, the whole cave was full of Vibhuti.

Later, the disciples of Purushottamananda came to Parthi to visit Bhagawan and witness their Guru in Swami as they had the firm conviction that their Guru had merged in Bhagawan to which Swami also agreed.

In conclusion, Swami said that was the yearning that these sages and saints have for Bhagawan; and you have this type of yearning.

Was it a caution to remind us of His True Reality and our great opportunity and intensify our yearning for Him?