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Published on Monday, September 6, 2010 at 1718 hrs. IST

When Prasanthi Nilayam dons the role of the Peacemaker, she does it in the most unique fashion, as is her wont, most silently sans any publicity. Peace is her very name and every action mooted in Prasanthi is tagged to this end result of universal brotherhood of humanity or in other words World Peace. These happenings are of utmost relevance at a time when universal brotherhood and humanity are slowly blasting out of existence in many part of the world.

Marriage is termed an auspicious ceremony in the physical plane; a Divine Marriage of Universal Divine Parents in presence of the Supreme Avatar does gather the supreme significance!

The latest in the series of this peace bringing effort is the Divine Marriage of the Divine couple in the immediate Divine Presence of The Supreme Divine, Shiva Parvathi Kalyana Mahotsavam!

On the day of the auspicious Arudra star, on the evening of 4th September 2010, Prasanthi Nilayam witnessed the most auspicious Divine Marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi in the immediate Divine presence of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba!

Assuming the greater significance of the holy occasion, as such occasions come as a rarity, the Sai Kulwant Hall and Mandir as a whole wore a festive mask with natural decorations parading all over heralding the significance. Flower buntings and festoons coupled with special tender coconut leaves with matted designs were spread across the entire Yajur Mandiram premises and at the centre block and lower portico in the Mandir.

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In the front block, facing the seat of the Divine, there was a mandap (covered stage structure with pillars) erected, a square shaped one with dome atop, fully studded with natural decor in place. It was "Pachchathoranam", greenish tinge, the sign of prosperity and auspiciousness, parading all over. ...All the ritual related paraphernalias were arrayed in the mandap, arranged in neat order.

At 1720 hrs. Bhagawan emerged to the holy strains of Vedam. Bhagawan was accorded a Poornakumbha Swagatham and was ushered into the hall by a grand procession led by a Veda chanting youth of Karnataka. The Divine Idols of Lord Chandrasekhara and Goddess Parvathi were escorted into the hall in a grand procession including a nadaswaram band, as divinity richly deserves.  A group of men carrying various ritualistic items for the marriage also accompanied the procession. While the Idols were brought into the mandap directly, to be kept on pedestals,   Bhagawan went for a full round of darshan before coming onstage at 1732 hrs. As He as He arrived, Bhagawan lit the lamp ‘solemnising’ the function.

Earlier, as Bhagawan emerged from His Divine Abode, a special musical troupe rendered special bhajans that continued for fifteen minutes, till 1735 hrs. The Parvathi Chandrasekhara Kalyana Mahotsavam virtually began thereafter with the rituals commenced in the Divine presence.

Songs on the auspiciousness of the holy marriage were sung in between, that was followed by the 'marriage announcement' listing out various attributes of the Lord and the Goddess, the bridegroom and the bride, including their lineage with clear reference on the place of the marriage, the star, the day and a mention of the presiding deity in physical at whose behest the marriage is performed. The same announcement was repeated again, representing the bride's caravan.

Preceding to the holy marriage, both the sides, that of bridegroom and the bride, engaged in an interesting argument, showering attributes at each other, persuading the opposite party to take the first step to propose for the marriage. This episode evoked laughter around as related dialogues were coined with a sense of humour that enticed the Divine and the audience equally.

The whole session was interspersed with holy strains of Vedam, commentary on the function, bhajans in praise of the Divine couple while a set of priests were engaged in various ritualistic rites, with Bhagawan watching over. Holy chanting continued to invoke blessings while related rituals went on. The rituals included Punyahavachanam (purificatory rites), Thamboola Seva, Kanyadanam, Mangala Sutra offering, Vadhoo Vara Puja etc.

Bringing in the final phase of the ceremony, the couple was taken onto the stage where the Divine marriage was performed. The sanctified Mangala Sutra was tied around the neck of Goddess Parvathi, symbolising the completion of the holy marriage. Bhagawan moved towards the idols before sprinkling the holy akshatha grains and flowers on the idols., much to the delight of everyone.

 After the Divine Marriage, Gowri Kalyana Vaibhavam rendered the air, rejoicing the auspiciousness of the occasion.

Bharat's rich spiritual lore is replete with stories of such unique Divine Union, union of Prakrithi with Purusha, foremost being that of Lord Rama with Mother Sita, Lord Krishna with Goddess Rukmini and of course, the Supreme Divine Parents, Lord Shiva and Goddess Gowri, that brings supreme benedictions. Lord Himself sat through presiding over the whole ceremony granting Prasanthi and her assemblage the highest privilege to witness a rare spiritual 'feast' of supreme benediction.

As holy prasadam was sanctified by Bhagawan, bhajans by the troupe rendered the air that was sung in a different tune, most unheard in Prasanthi. After some bhajans, as blessed by Bhagawan, students burst into a melodious rendering of Sita Rama Kalyanam, “Ra Re Choodaga podhamu” - a song which invites one and all to come and witness the marriage between Rama and Sita. This was followed by a couple of bhajans before Bhagawan asked for Mangala Arathi at 1900 hrs.

Sumptuous prasadam, specially packed, were distributed to the entire assemblage. The prasadam pack contained, Tamarind Rice, Sweet Pongal, Bobbattu, Banana etc. As is the custom in Andhra marriages, special gift packets containing, fruit, special sweet prasadam, savoury item, betal leaves, turmeric powder, vibhuti prasadam, a leaflet containing Prayer of Surrender etc. were also distributed to the entire assemblage.

Leaving the dais, Bhagawan glided towards the ladies' side, when Primary School children with prasadam packets in hand, chanted "Brahmarpanam....", the food prayer en masse. Bhagawan paused for a while, accepting their prayers, before moving on retiring for the day, presenting yet another most auspicious evening to cherish.

Earlier, on the 1st September evening, preceding to the auspicious day, Bhagawan had performed the Prana Pratishta of the deities, an act of infusing the Divine Life Force, followed by Netronmeelana, opening of the eyes of the deities, amidst Veda chanting. Upanayanam for the deity of Lord Chandrasekhara was also done as a part of the proceedings. The deities had been named as 'Chandrasekhara' and 'Parvathi' by Bhagawan Himself. These deities had been brought to Prasanthi Nilayam from Kumbhakonam, the 'temple town' of South India in Tamil Nadu.

The auspicious function was officiated by Mr. Nanjunda Dixit as Chief Priest, who was the Chief Priest for the Ati Rudra Maha Yajnam in 2006. The Shiva Parvathi Kalyanam was a humble offering at His Divine Lotus Feet by the dedicated Youth of Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, Karnataka.