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Published on Thursday, Oct 16, 2010 @ 1535 Hrs. IST

The Seven Day Ritual coinciding the Navarathri Festival, Veda Purusha Saptaaha Jnana Yajna got underway in Prasanthi Nilayam on 12 October morning at Poornachandra Auditorium in the immediate Divine Presence.

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. 

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 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.

The beginning of Vasanta Ritu (spring) and Sharath Ritu (autumn) are two very important events in the Bharatiya Calendar, for they not only signify the change of season but their consequent effect on the human body and mind. These two periods are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother in the form of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi in India. That is why the festival of Dasara (ten days) or Navaratri (nine nights) is an important festival celebrated all over India with piety and grandeur.

At Prasanthi Nilayam, especially during the Sharath-Navaratri that falls every year in or around September - October, people gather in thousands to pay their homage to the Divine Mother incarnated as Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Over the past many years, the festival of Dasara in Prasanthi Nilayam has been closely associated with the ‘Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yagna’, the week-long sacrificial ritual conducted in the Divine Presence, for the welfare of the whole world.  

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Yajna Commences…
At the venue in Poornachandra Auditorium, at 11:00 hrs., the dais wore a most solemnising picture, with the Yajna proceedings had just begun. The hall was resonating with the holy vedic chants and students were just filing in.

Bhagawan arrived onstage at 11:00 hrs. and sat on watching over the proceedings. With onstage, the priests lit the sacred homam creating fire by friction, by rubbing two sticks from churning of two wooden pieces. The fire produced was blessed by Bhagawan and shown to the audience before depositing in the sacred sacrificial pit, marking the beginning of the Yajna. Soon other rituals commenced. As one priest went on doing Surya Namaskar, different groups of priests got into holy reading of the scriptures and chanting of the four Vedas.

After sitting for half-an-hour, Bhagawan moved towards the western end of the dais where special Kumkum Archana along with Lalitha Sahasranama Parayanam was commenced by the Head Priest and wife. After receiving Mangala Arathi, Veda chanting was paused for a while when one of the priests offered a bhajan at His Lotus Feet, singing aloud, "Easwaramma Priya Tanaya..."

Soon Bhagawan moved down the aisle at the ladies' end, moving through the centre pathway for the entire length blessing the packed assembly with His close darshan. Turning about, Bhagawan moved along the pathway coming onstage before retiring at 1142 hrs.

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Earlier, Bhagawan came into the Sai Kulwant Hall at 1035 hrs. for a full round of darshan. Moving into the bhajan hall, Bhagawan blessed the priests who were engaged in Veda chanting, anticipating and invoking Bhagawan. As commanded by Bhagawan the procession began with the priest carrying the sanctified Kalasha moved to the Poornachandra Venue. Vedam group by the students followed suit. Bhagawan came out and instructed the boys to move on. He sat for a while watching the students who were filing past to the Yajna venue. Soon, at 10:55 hrs., Bhagawan glided into the ladies' side moving towards the Poornachandra.