Sathya and Dharma was the centre topic of Bhagawan’s Divine Discourse on the Vijaya Dasami day on 21st October 2007. True Dharma is acting in accordance with the feelings within; All are embodiments of Truth…all are verily the form of Sathya Sai. For the world to unite as a single large family Sathya and Dharma will have to get due attention and reverence and for that one needs to awaken the Divinity within, the Mother, and take refuge in Her, “Jaago Maa, Tumi Jaago”
The festival of Dasara, atypical in Prasanthi Nilayam by its conduct and style, brings nostalgic memoirs of the grand festivity of olden days in the immediate Divine Presence. The festivity would get much deserved majesty and grandeur those days with an array of activities tagged to it, apart from the Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna that has been a traditional practice once the same was a revived after a short breakage. Dasara of olden days would be a grand spectacle with the spiritual fervour of tens and thousands of devotees thronged to Prasanthi Nilayam met with the benevolence of Greater Heaven resulting in shower of Supreme Benediction. Hoisting of Prasanthi Flag, a symbolic representation of Harmony and Regeneration and Reconstruction of Humanity, annual conferences of All India Prasanthi Vidhwaan Maha Sabha, where scholars would speak on various spiritual topics, grand feast to tens and thousands thronged to Prasanthi, and not the least, series of Divine Discourses suffused with Ultimate Wisdom allied with an array of other activities, all would render resplendence to the week long affair.
"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 Counselling given by Bhagawan during the Dasara Festivity four decades ago, in the year 1965 and these above lines herald the significance of this grant Dasara festivity, also known as 'Devi Navarathri'. 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'.
Veda Purusha Sapthaha Jnana Yajna - Day 1
October 15, 2007
Veda Purusha Saptaaha Jnana Yajna 2007 got underway on the 15th October in Prasanthi Nilayam in the Divine Presence of Bhagawan. The Ritwiks officiating the Yajna were exclusively blessed by Bhagawan in the Bhajan Hall on that day that was followed by a procession wherein the Kalasha blessed by Bhagawan on the previous day was taken by the Rithwiks to the venue Yajna at Poornachandra Auditorium witnessed by a capacity crowd, marking the beginning of the weeklong Saptaaha Jnana Yajnam.
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. With Bhagawan presiding over the Yajna as Veda Purusha, 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.
As the Yajna had been continuing every morning and with Bhagawan blessing the occasion with brief darshan at the Poornachandra Auditorium, evening sessions witnessed Prasanthi Vidhwaan Mahasabha, an archetype assembly of the learned that got to share spiritual and practical wisdom in the immediate Divine Presence, a practice that has been there from the Dasara of olden days in Prasanthi Nilayam wherein senior devotees, faculty members and students from the three campuses of Sri Sathya Sai University shared their thoughts in the Divine Presence.
Dr. G. Venkataraman, former Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai University and Prof. M. Veerabhadraiah, faculty member, Dept. of Telugu from the University were the two speakers for the 15th evening of Prasanthi Vidhwan Mahasabha. Dr. Venkataraman who dwelt on the significance of the festivity in bit detail, spoke about Bhagawan’s Pure Love; Bhagawan’s Love is the lone hope for the new world. The world is full of problems and these problems are so strongly interconnected that no solution seemed comprehensive enough. Telling that Bhagawan's message of Love alone is the solution for all problems ridding the world, he urged the students to make the world conscious of Bhagawan’s Love. Mother is not just one, but is a comprehensive entity with core components and hence one should remember not to forget his or her duty towards anyone, urged the speaker concluding his speech. The second speaker, Prof. M. Veerabhadraiah, who chose to speak in Telugu narrated how all merciful Bhagawan has been showering His grace on him ever since he came into His fold and how he considers Bhagawan as the foremost parent. Talking about Bhagawan’s omnipresence, the speaker narrated a beautiful incident happened very recently in the United States. One fine morning, a friend of the speaker who was in the United States, was passing by a shop wherein he happened to see a big photograph of Bhagawan in black and white hanging on the wall. Curious he was, upon enquiry, to his utter amazement he was informed by the shop owner that the person in the photograph had come to his shop very recently with another person, spoke to him nicely with compassion leaving lasting impression on him…and the other person acknowledged the shop owner that the person with him was a popular figure in the country…and to keep those who come to his shop the shopkeeper had decided to keep the photo of him hanging on the wall.
Veda Purusha Sapthaha Jnana Yajna - Days 2 & 3
October 16-17, 2007
On the 16th afternoon Sri Anil Kumar Kamaraju who spoke in Telugu, narrated the three aspects of Mother Divine Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Recounting his personal experiences with Bhagawan where he has seen Bhagawan granting supreme strength to His devotees as Maha Durga, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati, the speaker went on narrating an incident that had happened in Kodaikanal where Bhagawan miraculously made vessels get filled up with food during Narayana Seva and drawn attention into the magnetism of Bhagawan that draws devotees from all corners of the world to Prasanthi Nilayam.
On the 17th afternoon, the first speaker was Sri Srinivasan SriRangarajan, faculty, School of Business Management Accounting and Finance who spoke on grand "Karma Yajna" that was happening simultaneously with the “Jnana Yajna". Narrating an incident from the life of Prof. N. Kasturi, the speaker highlighted Bhagawan’s revelation that human life is the greatest miracle, the greatest gift that Bhagawan has bestowed upon…and one should not take the same for granted. In “Vasudaiva Kutumbakam”, conglomeration of society in unison, we must offer our heart, mind, body and all skills and talents bestowed upon by God for the society, for humanity at large…and one need not wait for auspicious time to initiate such an action…said the speaker referring to the Grama Seva activities that was going on. Outlining the essential features for every action to become Karma Yajna, he listed out five quality standards that qualify ordinary action into Karma Yajna, namely, offering should be done as an offering to God…offering should be perfect…offering should be done with a sense of equanimity…intend of the offering is important and not the content…one must offer every act to God and can never be selective…The speaker briefed all these points with convincing anecdotes from the life of devotees. Sri Rangarajan concluded his speech on a high note with a prayer to initiate the process of Karma Yajna and harvest the crop of peace and harmony in the hearts, in the society and world at large. The second speaker, Sri Natesh Shankar Shetty, 2nd Year M.Sc. student of the University spoke on Bhagawan’s Motherly Love. Revolving his talk around the bhajan, "Janani Maa" the speaker narrated various aspects of Bhagawan as was portrayed in the bhajan. Concluding his speech the student expressed grateful thanks to Bhagawan saying that the opportunity to speak was the best gift Bhagawan could give him on a day happened to be his birthday.
Veda Purusha Sapthaha Jnana Yajna and Ayudha Puja Celebrations- Days 4 & 5
October 18-19, 2007
Sri B.N. Narasimha Murthy, Warden, Brindavan Hostel of Sri Sathya Sai University, first speaker for the 18th evening, spoke about the various phases of Bhagawan’s Divine Mission. Talking on Sanathana Dharma, the supposedly sixth phase of Bhagawan’s Mission, Mr. Murthy exhorted that Sanathana Dharma is not any religion, but, is the eternal religion, the universal religion. A speech suffused with an array of interesting incidents from the lives of various devotees, the speaker took the entire audience into an interesting ride on to various facets of Bhagawan life and mission, tagging interesting incidents in between, appropriately. Narrating a Kodaikanal incident involving former caretaker of Prasanthi Nilayam Col. Joga Rao and the setting up of the Super Speciality Hospital at Prasanthigram in record time, whom Bhagawan had said, this country of Bharat is a Karma Bhoomi, Thyaga Bhoomi, Yoga Bhoomi, Punya Bhoomi…If any one takes up any work in this land with a pure and selfless motive, all the men money required for that work will come to him…
19th October was Durgashtami and Ayudha Puja was performed on this morning in the Divine Presence at Sai Kulwant Hall. Bhagawan who came into the hall bit late at around 11:00 p.m. blessed the vehicles that were parked in line for the occasion, as a symbolic gesture signifying the occasion, amidst veda chanting, bhajans etc.
Smt. Anjali Devi, an ardent long time devotee of Bhagawan and a veteran actress of fame from South India was the first speaker for the evening. She had come to Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet 46 years ago, she said, 46 years ago, but said 46 years have passed like 46 minutes. Referring to Mr. V. Srinivasan’s introduction to her, wherein he made a mention about her contribution to Sundaram, Chennai, she asked: Who am I to contribute anything? Everything belongs to Bhagawan. When we (with husband) suffered a heavy loss out of a movie we produced, it was Bhagawan who saved us. He has been protecting us in a number of ways. There are many experiences to narrate. I am sure, each one of you will have an experience of Bhagawan's Divinity. Or else, how can lakhs and lakhs of people from all parts of the world gather here? paused the veteran devotee. Talking about Bhagawan’s recent visit to Chennai she said, the whole city was sanctified by the Divine Visit. Mentioning about her much famed serial Shirdi Sai Parthi Sai, she revealed that it was after twenty years of repeated prayers, that Bhagawan granted her permission to make the movie. She was fortunate to play the role of Mother Easwaramma and also that of Mother of Shirid Sai in the serial which brought her great name and fame and a great sense of fulfilment.
Prof. Anantaraman, faculty, Dept. of Business Management Accounting and Finance in his rhetoric excellence coupled with beautiful tales of experiences of Sai fraternity, spoke of various hues of Bhagawan’s all conquering love narrating each one in detail. “The day I became a teacher here, I also became a student. You can drink in the esoteric wisdom presented in the afternoon so creatively by several of the students and you can watch Swami and observe this many faceted gem shed hues in the colours of the rainbow, each hue more resplendent than the others…” Emphasising the point that under the umbrella of One God there should not be any scope for the feeling of individual ego in the hearts, and the greater need to understand and internalise His teachings, Prof. Anantaraman exhorted the audience to live with the teachings of Bhagawan, reading at least one page or volume of Sathya Sai Speaks, and resolving to live the rest of the lives as per the tenet of that page or volume. Ending his speech on a high note, referring to Arjuna’s predicament during the Dwapara, the speaker made the audience to do a repeat of Arjuna’s promise to Lord Krishna, ‘Karishye Vachanam Tava’…I will give You my word, to Lord Sai Krishna.
Earlier, commencing his speech with a reference to the humbling experience of listening to a veteran long time devotee, the learned speaker, Prof. Anantaraman with rich corporate and academic experience said: “over the last few years that I have been staying here one of the most resounding experiences that I have had is rather than what Swami was Swami’s devotees. Calling Smt. Anjali Devi’s devotion a humbling experience, he went on…as the Avatar reaches another threshold each one of us carry His message and we may find eminent devotees carrying His message with all their eminence and humility and devotion they have for Bhagawan, as a standing example for other mortals to follow.
Veda Purusha Sapthaha Jnana Yajna and Poornahuthi- Days 6 & 7
October 20-21, 2007
The 20th evening, there was an enthralling clarinet concert by Pandit Narasimhulu. Bhagawan came onstage at 5.45 pm and the concert began after a few minutes. At the end of the programme Bhagawan blessed the artiste with a chain and clothes.
It was on a Vijaya Dasami day the previous body of the Avatar, Shirdi Sai Baba left His mortal coil popularly known as Seemollanghan. And Bhagawan aptly made a mention of the same commencing His Divine Discourse.
Recalling Bhagawan Shirdi Sai’s final day before His popularly known Seemollanghan on a Vijaya Dasami day Bhagawan made a mention of an incident, wherein Bhagawan had called Lakshmi Bhai, an ardent devotee and gave her two coins on which the date of His passing was inscribed, commencing His Divine Discourse. In an enriching Divine Discourse where Sathya and Dharma took the centre stage, Bhagawan exhorted the jam packed audience to do one’s duty based on the principle of Truth; Sathya and Dharma are the true Sadhana; never give up Sathya and Dharma. True Dharma is acting in accordance with the feelings within; All are embodiments of Truth…all are very form of Sathya Sai. This was preceded by two speeches by Sri Ajit Popat and Mr. S.V. Giri, former Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai University.
Earlier in the morning, the seven day long Yajna came to a grand finale with Bhagawan receiving Poornahuthi as Yajna Purusha, witnessed by thousands in a jam-packed Poornachandra Auditorium. Bhagawan who presided over the Yajna blessed the occasion while the final offering were being made in to the pit; later, blessing the pundits, Bhagawan sprinkled the sanctified holy water on each one of them that was followed by Prasadam distribution to all devotees.
This was followed by the final lap of Grama Seva 2007, wherein women students of Sathya Sai University along with staff members from the University and Primary School distributed Prasadam to all inmates at their door step inside the ashram. …Yet another memorable occasion in the annals of Prasanthi Nilayam!!!