Devotees from South East Asia and China have arrived at Prasanthi Nilayam along with
Tibetan monks from their monastery in Karnataka for the celebration of the Chinese
New Year. This evening, they were to present a programme of chants. In the morning,
Bhagawan had told the UAE group that He would give them prasadam in the evening.
they were seated
separately in rows with paths between rows. Swami came for darshan at 4.45 pm, and
moved among them in His chair for more than half an hour, giving them vibuti
packets. After a brief visit to the interview room, He then emerged onstage for the
Chinese New Year celebrations to begin with chanting by the Tibetan monks.
Bhajans by Devotees from Middle East, 29-30 Jan 2009,
The programme of chanting was preceded by the presentation of Katas or ceremonial
scarves and other items to Bhagawan. The half-hour of chanting by the Tibetan monks
was followed by chants by all the devotees of various Buddhist and Tibetan mantras
followed by the Gayatri mantra. The devotees sang a bhajan while prasadam was
distributed, and Bhagawan accepted Arati before returning to His residence at 6.50
Devotees from the UAE and other Gulf states presented a programme of songs and
bhajans this evening. The 400-strong group was seated in the centre of Sai Kulwant
hall with their green scarves. Some of the Tibetan monks who have already arrived
for the Chinese New Year celebrations later this week were seated next to the UAE
group. Bhagawan arrived just before five o'clock, and when He came onstage, the
devotees began with "Sundara Sundara Vinayaka". After every couple of bhajans, they
sang simple devotional songs in Persian, Arabic and Urdu, extolling the many names
of Allah. After half an hour, Swami accepted Arati and returned to His residence at
This evening, the Delhi youth presented their cultural programme. Bhagawan arrived
at five o'clock, and after a round of the hall, went into the interview room and
emerged in a few minutes to go onstage and begin
Programme by Youth from Delhi
'Aasthaa...', a Skit and 'Dil Se...', a Music Programme
January 28, 2009
the programme - a half-hour bilingual drama
in English and Hindi and then half an hour of group songs. Bhagawan blessed them
with prasadam and clothes, and asked for bhajans by the students. After a couple of
bhajans, He accepted Arati and returned to His residence at 6.30 pm.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009This
evening, Bhagawan blessed both the Delhi youth and Krishna district groups to have their
distributions. The centre of Sai Kulwant Hall was filled with items for distribution. Sewing
machines, bicycles, grinders and other kits for vocational self-sufficiency were being
provided by the devotees from Krishna district to 83 needy recipients.
Distribution of Essential Implements
Organised by Devotees from Krishna District,
A.P. and Delhi
The Delhi youth were
distributing tricycles to physically challenged folk from Anantapur district. Arriving for
darshan by 4.10 pm, Swami moved to the interview room after taking a look at the items arrayed
for distribution. At 4.25, He came onstage and moved down from the centre ramp to sit among
the recipients. The distributions of both groups concluded in twenty minutes, with the
recipients coming up to Swami as their names were called out. Bhagawan then asked for prasadam
to be distributed. Not content with that, He Himself moved among all the recipients and their
helpers in His chair, giving them vibhuti packets and interacting with many of them. It was
5.15 when He returned onstage and asked for the bhajans to begin. Half an hour later, He
accepted Arati and returned to His residence.
30 New Photos
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Groups from Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kerala, the UAE,
Delhi and Krishna district (of Andhra Pradesh) have gathered at Prasanthi Nilayam, so the Sai
Kulwant Hall is packed and overflowing. This evening, the devotees from Krishna district
presented a programme. Bhagawan arrived at 4.50 pm in His chair, and after He reached the
centre of the hall, gave some directions to Mr. Chakravarthy, the Central Trust Secretary who
was following Him. After Mr. Chakravarthy returned completing the errand, Swami turned back
and the children sitting on the path moved to make way for Him. Swami then came onstage and
the programme began with devotees bringing up items for Blessings. An announcement was made
about the seva activities undertaken in Krishna district, and a tiny tot made a short Telugu
speech about his Lord. The drama 'Krishna Tarangaalu' then got underway. Bhagawan's message of
Value-based service to humanity was brought out in the drama which had many dances and songs.
At six o'clock, when the performance concluded, Swami came down from the stage and blessed the
group with group photographs and clothes. At 6.15, bhajans began. Prasadam was distributed,
and at 6.30, Swami accepted Arati and returned for the day.
The last few days have been quiet at Prasanthi Nilayam after the Sankranti celebrations.
Bhagawan has been coming in the evenings, and occasionally before the five o'clock bhajans
begin. Some of the bhajan sessions were extra long, like on Sunday morning, with Swami
accepting Arati only after more than an hour of singing. Evening bhajans continue to be in the
Sai Kulwant hall, so all have the blessing of seeing Swami while singing to Him. This evening,
Bhgawan came for darsan by 4.10 pm, and a couple of days back He had come at 4.30 pm.
This evening was the last session for all the students of the Sai Educational Institutions to
gather together in this Sankranti season. Bhagawan arrived at 5.30, and after a round of the
hall as the Bhajans went on, sat onstage till He accepted Arati. The 'Birthday boys' were
blessed for the last twenty minutes onstage before Swami accepted Arati after the 75 minute
Wednesday, January 14, 2009 "...Led
by the brass band from the Prasanthi Nilayam campus for men, accompanied by a group of flag
bearers representing various houses, Bhagawan, clad in special
reddish maroon robe arrived at
the fully packed Sai Kulwant Hall at 9:10 am. Feasting thousands with the auspicious
Sankranthi darshan, the packed Sai Kulwant Hall was immersed in bliss when Bhagawan moved
around for a complete round before alighting on the dais that was decked out with trophies and
shields meant for the winners of just concluded Annual Sports and Cultural Meet for the year
Read More...>> including Excerpts from today's
After a day's rest, the presentations by the students continued with a drama by the
Brindavan campus this evening. Bhagawan arrived at five o'clock and after a round of
the Kulwant Hall in the car, came to the Bhajan hall where the actors were ready in
costumes. He interacted with them for 10 minutes, asking after many of the
Skits by the students of
the Sri Sathya Sai University
"Bhaktha Pothana", a skit
by students of Brindavan Campus
January 13, 2009
The drama 'Bhaktha Pothana' got underway at 5.20 once Swami
came onstage. The 70 minute extravaganza was filled with songs, dances and famous
stanzas of Pothana and was embellished with a magnificent temple backdrop. Bhagawan
was very pleased with their efforts and called them up for group photographs.
Bhajans commenced and prasadam was distributed, and after a couple of bhajans Swami
called up the Brindavan Warden and asked him to tell the students that He would soon
come to Brindavan and make all of them happy. After one more photo session, Bhagawan
accepted Arati at 7 o'clock before retiring for the day.
Monday, January 12,2009 Darshan ACCOUNT BY A DEVOTEE - Last
Darshan-"...Swami comes, towards the end of the bhajans. He comes in the
sedan-chair, the sunlight is brilliant upon his form, and waves of love pour off him
as he enters the darshan Hall. I offer my love...." ... " look over the assembled
devotees, all drawn by that desire to see the Lord, to felicitate the Lord, to offer
him their worship, their pranams, their love. I think of Church services I have
attended over the years and try to compare being here in Prashanti Nilayam. It is
incomparable, for grace flows into the Darshan Hall, non-stop...." Read More >>
SPORTS DAY ACCOUNT BY A DEVOTEE "
...students wearing jungle-green army trousers and grey t-shirts come forward and
perform some exercises. All the students from all the campuses must be here. My
attention keeps returning to the small white Swami, way down there, clearly visible
on the Throne Chair, in white..." Read More >>
Prasanthi Bulletin - Darshan
News Sunday, January 11, 2009: Bhagawan had come to the stadium in the
mornings and in the evenings over the last few days, and had seen all the items to
be presented by the students on the Sports Festival today. The morning programme
commenced in the Vidyagiri stadium with Bhagawan arriving in a white robe just
before 8.30 am. As He was escorted to the stage by the slow-march contingent, brass
bands from Anantapur and Prasanthi Nilayam played marching music. This morning, the
march-past of the Sai educational institutions with the torch-lighting ceremony was
completed by 9.15 am. The torch was carried up the Hanuman hill by this year's torch
vehicle in the shape of a majestic Lion. The Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur and
Brindavan campuses then completed their presentations in rapid succession by 11
o'clock, when Bhagawan accepted Arati and returned to His residence.
The evening presentation was by the Sri Sathya Sai Primary school, and Bhagawan
arrived at the stadium by 4.15 pm. Swami was escorted into the Shanti Vedika stage
by young cart wheeling gymnasts and their hour-long performance commenced with
gusto. The younger children and the girls presented colourful mass items, and the
boys presented gymnastics and roller-blading events. Bhagawan was very pleased with
their presentation and blessed everyone profusely while returning to His residence
after Arati at 5.20 pm.
Saturday, January 10,2009 : Highlights from Puttaparthi with Photos -
Prasanthi Nilayam : "...The ashram was gaily decorated overnight; upon entering the
ashram, the Ganesh Temple is festooned with flags, and looking down the avenue
beside East Prashanti, I see flags strewn between East Prashanti and the Darshan
Hall. The darshan hall bears a festive look, all the poles supporting the ceiling
have a reflective decoration, it looks a gold colour but when the sunlight hits the
decorations, all colours flash from the decorations. The wrought iron railing atop
the darshan hall wall has bunting along with red and green decorations..." Read More >>>
Grey skies, puddles along the road, and sporadic rain
during the night. Devotees scurry to the ashram with brolly, raincoat, shawls.
Villagers wear jerseys, vests, balaclavas, and wrap scarves around their head (in
that unusual manner that I have only ever seen in India). Lady with a decorated
cow passes by. Waiting for the Lord. I think I sing more bhajans in my head than
what they sing inside in the mandir.
hear the bells go for Arathi. Gee-whiz, what does this mean? People look to one
another, and I see two army fellows in jungle greens duck off for a spot of chai
Close my eyes and concentrate, on the inner level. “Wait.”
Sure enough, about three minutes later, Seva Dals
spill out onto the road, and the Police Escort car comes out and parks directly in
front of the Gopuram. Very quickly, the Lord’s car emerges, and people push
everywhere. I give that the flick and run up the road a bit.
Car comes around the corner, people in white, Seva
Dals run towards me carrying ropes; I snap off a picture and I have no idea if it
is any good, so much movement and so many people running towards me. So take a
Watch that sun on the front bonnet of the car. Its
gonna be news, later on.
I have been feeling an impression to move to the
other end of Swami’s travels, so this day, I decided to follow Swami. The first
thing was that the School Bus was caught on Main Road as Swami was coming, you
know those huge red and silver APSTC buses? Well, there was one, it was chockers,
full of children in blue uniforms, and it moved to the side of the road. Well!
Swami decided all these children needed Darshan, and they got it; I saw a bit of a
lurch or lean-to on the bus as Swami’s car went past, and the children, well, I
could hear Jaikars and Sai Rams! coming from the bus. As I ran past the bus, the
children were all gleeful, smiles and singing the Sarva Dharma Prayer! What a way
to go to school!
Onwards, down main road, the eager crowd follows
Swami and I see what must have been the contents of a whole bucket of Red roses
fly through the air and land on Swami’s car and bounce off … people ran onto the
road immediately to get a Rose!
Some people stop and smile, you know, that unique
smile which portrays bliss? Love explodes out of people when they are like that,
the eyes and the smile tell it all! The eager crowd runs after Swami’s entourage,
and we follow with the camera in the air…
The Seva Dal opened the Ganesh Gate after Swami
passed by, and the road is nigh impassable. I thread my way through the crowd and
stand on tip-toe, Swami is up there past the Bus Station, nearly at the top of the
Hill. I ain’t gonna catch Him, I thought to myself. I take a few photos at the
There is a magnificent Billboard with Swami right
at the Bus Station. As you go under the arch and crest the hill and get your first
glance of Prashanti Nilayam Township, this is what you see:
I thought I’d take a photo of the Bus Station
frontage, whilst I was passing by:
I turned and took a few photos looking down Main
Road, Prashanti Nilayam:
As I walk up over the crest, the Vidya Giri Arch
Vidya Giri, I think, means the place where the
wealth of education lies, I emphasise the think. (My Sanskrit is not
that sharp these days… )
Under the Arch and take a photo of the other side:
That’s the Sarva Dharma Archway, the entrance to
Prashanti Nilayam Township. You’ll see a lot more of those angels in the Darshan
So walking down the slight grade towards the
entryway to Chaitanya Jyothi Museum, I encounter a suprise, walking very quickly…
Sathya Gita was out for a morning walk. I run
backwards a bit to get another photo; my, my, Sathya Gita is walking so quickly, I
have to turn and run forwards for quite a bit to get my photo:
Well, well, well, what a surprise. I had seen Sai
Gita many times, and had not expected to see Sathya Gita!
And, more! They turned at the archway, and came
Sweet little thing; some ladies walking in the
other direction reached out and Gita swung a trunk to touch their hands!
Now then, where is the Lord? Well, the crowd said
Somewhere behind that gate!!!
Wait, wait, wait, counsels the Lord.
We waited. And waited. Auto rickshaws came and
went; coconut sellers did a roaring trade. Devotees roll up and join the crowd.
Fellow selling puri’s interests the crowd.
I see Sara Pavan depart via the other gate in his
car, and a light bulb goes off. Aha! Take cover off the camera and get ready. Sure
enough, the gate opens and I spy in my viewfinder,
The crowd spill out onto the road, my photo
opportunity is lost, and I have to run backwards to get a photo… running
backwards, so excuse the camera shake …
Run backwards a bit more and the scudding clouds
clear and the sun, the blessed sun comes out!!!
And that is the best I can do on the return
journey of the Lord, back to the Ashram! Waaaaaaahhhh!!!!!
And the crowd run, run, run, after the Lord Sai
Baba. I run, too. Run and hold the camera up…
Footslogging it, I notice the entourage has well
and truly put on a bit of speed as they approach the arch, and nearly stop, for
something, I did not see… and I put the camera up high in the air, only to take a
photo of the road!!! Waaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!! That’s the end of my
chasing, I decided.
Pass the entrance to the General Hospital, there
is a large crowd there, having taken the darshan of Sathya Sai:
And here, you can see the white roof of the lead
car, its about level with the Ganesh Gate, and all those people are getting the
darshan of the Lord, right there. Look at that crowd behind Swami’s
escort cars …
Thursday, January 8, 2009 Darshan
account by a Sai devotee... We were having a discussion in the Western Canteen
during lunch yesterday, and the subject of darshan came up, and people told their
favourite darshan stories. I suppose all of us have our favourite darshan stories
which we tell again and again. The human story is nothing but the story of God. But
now, God is actually here in a human form with superhuman powers, to lead us to the
paths of blessedness. Swami uses a metaphor, just as a bird flying over the ocean
sooner or later has to find a ships mast to rest, so too, sooner or later, we have
to find the path to peace.
We tell our darshan stories because they are precious moments for us, when we are
taken in the Lord’s glance, seen, blessed, and transformed, as HE tells us. We tell
our darshan stories for they are moments we recall when we were in the very presence
of God, and whenever we remember those moments, God is with us again. That is the
significance of what Swami told in His Divine Discourse on New Year’s Day, “If you
recall me, you will have me, you will ALWAYS have me, nothing can come between us,
he told, again and again.
The skies are grey, heavy with rain clouds. I predicted rain yesterday, and some
Prashanti Nilayam regulars pooh-poohed the idea. Well, light rain is falling now, as
I write. The breeze is cool, the climate is pleasant both day and night (although
the sun has a bit of a bite in it… I notice I can go out in the sun here in
Prashanti Nilayam, but not at home; there is a hole in the ozone layer over home,
and I can feel the sunlight eating into my skin). Not here, not at the abode of
highest peace, although.
What is it that makes us sit patiently and wait, wait, wait, for so long, just to
have the vision of Sai? Why do people line up, and wait patiently for hours? What is
it about darshan that makes it so longed for within us? These are the thoughts that
roamed through my mind as I waited for car darshan this morning.
Swami came about 9.30am, just as he told on the inner level; the car was garlanded,
and the roof bedecked with more garlands and rose buds. The skies were grey, there
was a cool breeze. Rows of seva dal ran beside the car, security before and behind.
Car came closer. Swami is looking out the window at the crowds, his eyes roaming
over the collected devotees, villagers, shopkeepers, beggars, schoolchildren, they
were all standing with hands joined in pranams. Swami’s eyes move back and forth, he
is looking at everybody, his hand slightly raised, giving blessing, blessing,
blessing, yes, our eyes made contact for one brief
moment, and for one moment, is it in time?, is it out of time?, there is only Sai
and I, the heart’s longing to be seen and known in the heart of God. Silence, just
for that brief, timeless moment, looking into infinity and beyond, beholding those
liquid eyes, yes, a moment of Love when the mind stops.
The crowds surge closer to the car, everyone has their hands joined in pranams,
Swami is glancing here and there, blessing, blessing. The car moves along Main Road
slowly. Villagers turn and smile, “Abhayahasta!” they exclaim with smiles.
Abhayahasta, blessing!!!, they exclaim, “very good car darshan” the locals are
saying. There is Love everywhere, there are smiles all over. Bliss billows down Main
Road, Prashanti Nilayam as Swami’s car proceeds towards Hillview Stadium, ever so
Alas, we waited again and again, for Swami to return. He returned to the ashram by
the back gate … he has done this on quite a few occasions.
This morning I met with Chandrasekhar Rao. Bear with me
as I explain.
In his early days, Swami had
two foster mothers and spent much of his time in their home, particularly after his
return from Uravakonda (where he declared his avatarhood). This was the Kannam’s
house, Lakshminarayana Rao, who was the village “chieftain”, so to speak, what we
would now call the village Mayor; he had two wives, Subbamma and Kamalamma. The
story of Subbamma is quite well known, where Swami called her back to life, gave her
a glass of tulsi water, and sent her on to the blessed loka. Kamalamma resided in
the ashram in her later years and passed away last year. Meanwhile, back to the
point, the Kannam had no issue, and adopted Gopal Rao, who was a playmate of
Swami’s, and had little time for Swami and his divine phenomena. Gopal Rao married
and had seven sons, one of whom is Chandrasekhar Rao, who now administers the
The Kannam’s house adjoined the Siva Temple, which
marks the spot of Swami’s birthplace. That house was the scene of many miracles and
Swami was so small, Subbamma or Kamalamma used to pick him up and put him on the
table so that people could have his darshan. People used to fill the foyer of the
house, and sit out on the road for bhajans. This was an unsatisfactory state of
affairs, so Subbamma reminded her husband of his promise to make a temple for God,
and built one small hut for Swami on their land, nearby where the Sathyabhamma
temple is, now. This hut, which preceeds Partha Mandir, is long gone.
Enough history, let us come to the present moment.
Chandrasekhar Rao took me down to the site of the old house, which has been pulled
down. All that remains is the front wall:
The house, which was a lime and brick mortar
construction, had two storeys. Now, there is just open space, a lot of hay and two
cows in a shed at the rear.
There is not much of a separation between this land
and the Siva Temple. Do you recall that Kamalamma used to feed Sathyanarayana
through a window?
A two storey structure will come, the ground floor
being a museum with photographs and artifacts of Swami’s early days in His
avatarhood. There will also be space for singing of bhajans in the Museum.
This will be directly adjacent to the Siva Temple.
Chandrasekhar Rao told me Swami has blessed the
project, and it is scheduled for completion during Dassera of 2010, which is a most
auspicious time, he advised me.
And lastly, here is an image of the old village of
Puttaparthi. You can see mosque on the top right which Swami had constructed for the
(Welcome from New Zealand,
Aotearoa, which Swami has called New Sailand!)
The madding crowd had lined up in the
streets expecting Car Darshan. However, the inner voice told “Come at 5pm”, so I
ignored those lined up for Car Darshan and made my way up to the Ganesh Gate. The
generator was going and I could hear chanting as I entered the Ashram.
When I got inside, I could see the
video cameras on the porch so I knew there was a program on tonight. Inside the
darshan hall, I observed the right hand side of the veranda-area (in front of the
interview room) was populated by ladies wearing a blue garment of some kind. On
the other side of the porch I saw that the space usually taken by Sai University
Professors was filled with the New Zealand Men, with their distinctive scarves.
182 strong New Zealand choir, which, on the mens side, has spilled over off the
porch and onto the steps in front of the veranda. The New Zealand Group has 254
members, many who have come for the first time.
Music Programme by Devotees
from New Zealand
Choir in English and other
Languages of New Zealand - January 07, 20
Very shortly after I sat down,
Swami came to the front of the porch and gave darshan. A forest of hands went up
in pranams, and Swami looked over the assembled devotees. Swami then reversed and
went down the path to the darshan hall and went across to a group of ladies in
aquamarine blue sarees, where he paused and spoke to some. Then, Swami went to the
ladies side of the darshan hall and spoke to some ladies in the front row; he was
there for quite some time. I saw two ladies get up and approach Swami.
Swami then went along the ladies
side for some distance, and turned in and went past all the chair ladies. At the
top, he turned and spoke to some ladies right at that top corner area and accepted
some letters. Swami then returned to the veranda, passing the New Zealand ladies,
and returned to his place at the front of the porch.
The New Zealand Choirmaster
approached Swami and offered him the evening’s program of devotional singing. He
then took his place just below the walkway off the centre of the porch, as half
the choir was on Swami’s left; the other half were on Swami’s right.
Before I go any further, I think I
would like to describe the dress of the New Zealand ladies; at first it looked
like a blue and white saree, but closer examination revealed it was a traditional
New Zealand garment, principally blue, with a white border and traditional
markings in the white border; something a cross between an academic robe and a low
backed traditional dress. It was a very attractive garment.
For the first song, the lady choir
leader approached Swami and asked for permission to sing Karanga Mai. For
this, the lady stood alone on the porch, and sang without a microphone, and made
some traditional gesture with her hands as she sang.
Karanga Mai Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba,
Karanga Mai ra
This song summonsed all the
ancestors from Aotearoa (New Zealand) to the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai
Baba. The karanga draws the wairua (spirit) in all of us to join with Swami and
Taranga Whenua (the people of India) in divine bliss. That the lady did
this without a microphone, yet was heard throughout the darshan hall is testimony
to the power of the Karanga Mai. Well done, I thought.
The next two songs involved the
choir singing with hand actions. Most of you may have seen the Haka, where New
Zealand sportsmen and women perform a chant with actions. These songs were
somewhat similar to that, except every member in the choir was seated and
performing hand actions as they sang. Swami was full attention to the ladies as
they sang with their hand actions.
The first hand action song was
E Nga Iwi, Listen to the people. The actions in the song
depicted the calling of the people to return to God.
E nga iwiw
E nga iwiw e karanga e te iwi
It is difficult to describe, but to
observe the hand actions along with the singing gave it a profound sense of
calling, a sensus plenior of being called; I find it hard to describe. But
The next song was Pai Ma,
a hand action song offering greetings and love from Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Pai Ma to reo aroha
I te pa o Puttaparthi
No nga iwi a Aotearoa
Tena Koutou kia ora ra
The next two items from New Zealand
were a traditional Poi Dance, and a Stick Dance. A Poi dance was originally a
cultural action dance to teach young men and boys dexterity, but now Poi is
primarily performed by women.
For the Poi dance, about a dozen
ladies moved down to the main darshan hall floor; some knelt, some stood. They
appeared to have a rope with pom-poms at each end which were waved and twirled at
various points in the song. Quite interesting to watch. The ladies remained where
they were for the stick dance, facing each other and making gestures with these
blue-green coloured pairs of sticks. Ene Nga Kupu is a traditional stick dance
performed by young teens to learn dexterity and concentration as they matured;
this version was written for them to especially concentrate on God (Sai) as they
Enei nga kupo o Sathya Sai,
Sathya Sai, Sathya Sai,
Mahi tika, te aroha, te rangimarie
Enei nga kupo o Sathya Sai
Enei nga kupo o Sathya Sai
Hari Hari te pono
Te Ariki nui
Several English songs followed, and
thereafter, Swami moved over to the front of the seated ladies, and red sarees
were distributed. The lead lady singer approached Swami, and there was applause,
Swami materialised a necklace and placed it around the neck of that lady singer.
It took quite some time to
distribute sarees to the New Zealand ladies; Swami remained there in front of the
New Zealand lady until the very last lady had received her gift from Bhagavan.
Thereafter, Swami went across to
the mens side, where there was conversation with the leader of the mens singers,
and white shawls were distributed to these choir members. There was a lot of
conversation for quite some time, and four men were called forward to speak with
Swami returned to the front of the
porch, and one of the New Zealanders led Ganesha Sharanum, after which Swami
called for Arathi.
So a lovely evening from the New
Zealand devotees, and as they were singing I noted quite a few Indians and other
devotees clapping along with these presentations; a joyful noise unto the Lord.
It was the turn of the Ladies of
Maharasthra-Goa this evening. When I arrived at the darshan hall there were many
banners hanging in the centre of the darshan hall, and there were groups of men
and ladies seated in the centre area where students normally sit. Chanting was
going on in the mandiram, and the darshan hall was filled with waiting devotees;
Year’s Decorations have been removed.
I took a seat, maybe halfway down
the hall and cast my attention to the banners hanging from the ceiling. There was
one in the middle, crosswise, and three longwise on each side.
In the centre was a tasteful white
banner with an impression of Easwaramma, and the script, Easwaramma, divya
mata. The other six banners all had illustrations of women and citations from
the Devi Stutram, I think it is, or is it the Devi Mahatmya?
The first banner had an
illustration of Savitri, and the following from the Devi Prayer:
Yaa Devi Sarva Bhuteshu
Namastasyei Namo Namaha Salutations to the Goddess who manifests as power in all beings top
The next banner on that side had an
illustration of Rani Lakshmibai on a horse, and
Yaa Devi Sarva Bhuteshu
Namastasyei Namo Namaha Salutations to the Goddess who manifests as power in all beings
The next banner had illustrations
of Putalibai and Mahatama Gandhi, and the following prayer:
Yaa Devi Sarva Bhuteshu
Namastasyei Namo Namaha Salutations to the Goddess who manifests as devotion in all beings
On the other side, the first banner
had an illustration of Urmilla-Lakshman and the following prayer
Yaa Devi Sarva Bhuteshu
Namastasyei Namo Namaha Salutations to the Goddess who manifests as sacrifice and penance in
The next, for the life of me, I
cannot remember; the last banner was of Ratnavalli and Tulsidas,
with the prayer,
Yaa Devi Sarva Bhuteshu
Namastasyei Namo Namaha Salutations to the Goddess who manifests as devotion in all beings
So there was a very strong Devi
focus for the evening. When Swami came out to the front of the porch, the Ladies
led the singing, and introduced the evening’s program. I recall a Gayathri Mantra
sung in four part harmony.
The Devi Stutram formed the focus
of what was to follow; very young girls dressed as the characters in the banners
performed skits very close to the front of the veranda; Swami was facing these
girls, cent per cent attention and focus. The conclusion of each skit was the
singing of the relevant strotra from the Devi Stutram (I don’t know if I have this
title right, so bear with me) which was a really neat way to conclude each skit.
The girls were all nicely costumed and delivered their skits quite well.
When the skits were over, there was
a very catchy song sung about Mother Easwaramma, and then some songs sung about
Swami. There was then a presentation to Swami, a memorial plaque and prayer to
Swami that these 2400 Sai Youth of Maharasthra and Goa would be worthy instruments
in his mission. top
The men then did a medley of songs
with some very good musical accompaniments, and the most unusual backing I have
ever heard for Kondama Rama, it was excellent. There was then a short medley of
bhajans as Swami went inside the interview room. He returned shortly, and went
down to the centre area of the darshan hall, and gave photo sessions to the young
girl actresses, and gave them all padnamaskar. Much applause. Swami called for
Shawls and Sarees to be distributed to all in the choir and in the acting
complement. Swami then gave photo sessions to the Lady Singers, very good, and
then moved over to the Men Singers, where there were many photo sessions.
Swami then stayed in the centre of
the darshan hall and spent time answering questions from the Devotees of
Maharashtra and Goa, and also spent some time accepting prayers and requests.
After some time, Swami returned to the front of the porch and called for prasadum
to be distributed to all. The lady singers then led bhajans during the
distribution of prasad, and I quite enjoyed the ladies leading the singing. When
the distribution of prasad was complete, Swami gestured to the students returning;
there was quite some prasad left over, and Swami sent the students right down that
centre walkway, out of the darshan all, to distribute all the prasad to the
devotees down by the Gopuram Gate!
Then Swami called for arathi; the
ladies led Om Jai Jagadeesha Hare; there were 8 waving the arathi flames, three
men and three ladies from the Sai Youth, along with one student, and the Mandir
Pujari. When it got to Mata Pita Guru Daivum, Swami gestured for the lamps to be
placed on the ground, and the Ladies continued leading the singing. It was quite
dark, the darshan hall lights were bright, and the Narayana, Narayana Om Sathya
verses flew through the air as Swami sat there, right at the front of the porch,
brilliant in his orange robe, and smoke rising all over the place from the many
arathi lamps. A great conclusion to the evening of Devi and the Feminine, by
favour of the Ladies of Maharashtra and Goa. Source:
This evening, Bhagawan went to the stadium and watched the rehearsals of the
students for the annual Sports and Cultural Meet events to be held on January 11.
Seated on a raised platform near the front of Shanthi Vedika, Swami saw one hour of
the practice session, seeing all except a couple of events and giving feedback on
them. After He returned to the Mandir at 5.50, He sat in the Bhajan Hall for a
couple of Bhajans before accepting Arati and returning to His residence.
The Maharashtra youth were ready with a programme of songs this evening. Bhagawan
came for darshan in the chair at 4.15 pm, and after a full round of Sai Kulwant
Hall, sat onstage for a while before He went into the interview room to emerge at
five o'clock for the programme. The ladies and gents sang half an hour respectively,
with more than fifty singers in each group. The ladies' songs were themed on the
ideal ladies mentioned by Bhagawan in His Discourses, and during each song, children
came up to present brief tableaux right in front of Swami. The gents sang Abhangs
and also songs composed and sung by Bhagawan in the early days. After the programme,
Swami came down from the stage and distributed clothes to some of the performers. He
also sat among them for group photographs. After He came onstage, clothes were
distributed to all, and the lady singers led bhajans as prasadam was distributed.
Swami accepted Arati and returned to His residence after 6.30 pm.
Today, the Maharashtra youth presented the second day of their programmes, with a sitar
concert by Sri Neeladri Kumar and party. Bhagawan arrived for evening darshan and went into
the interview room, emerging at 5.15 to commence the programme onstage. After a couple of
pieces of fusion sitar music, Bhagawan blessed the artistes with clothes and the main
performer with a ring. They performed one more piece including individual performances by the drumkit, tabla and mridangam artistes before Bhagawan accepted Arati at 6.10 pm.
The Sai Youth from Maharashtra are here in large numbers, seated as a group in Sai Kulwant
Hall with their orange scarves. This evening, they were to present a programme of songs and a
drama. Bhagawan arrived at around 5.30 pm and went into the interview room, emerging after
twenty minutes to come onstage and begin the programme. The Maharashtra youth first brought up
a series of lamps lit from various districts and offered them to Swami to the accompaniment of
a song. Next was a 45 minute play on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Bhagawan blessed the
participants with group photographs after the programme with the backdrop of the Red Fort and
a huge tri-colour. Twenty minutes of Bhajans followed, led first by the Maharashtra youth and
later by the students, while prasadam was distributed. It was 7.30 when Bhagawan accepted
Arati and returned to His residence. top
Cultural Programme by Youth
from Maharashtra & Goa
Torch Procession and 'Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose', a Skit
The Sai Students - alumni of Prasanthi Nilayam and Brindavan - were ready to escort Bhagawan
from His residence to Sai Kulwant Hall in a procession with flag marchers and Poornakumbham
with Vedam. Swami arrived just before 10 am in a dazzling white robe seated on a golden chair,
granting New Year darshan to the devotees who filled and surrounded Sai Kulwant Hall. When He
reached the verandah, Bhagawan blessed the cakes there and came onstage to begin the programme
arranged by the Sai Students. A band programme with symphonic and vocal accompaniment was
followed by songs composed for the occasion by the Sai Students. The whole programme was
interspersed with short speeches by the alumni, reliving their days with Sai. A bhajan medley
formed the score for a short dance programme too. Swami blessed the participants who came up
to Him one by one, and after prasadam was distributed, accepted Arati at 11.35 am. Bhagawan
arrived in the evening for darshan clad in a deep red robe. When He came onstage just before
5.30 pm, He blessed the brass band of the University to perform, and they played a couple of
pieces with brief introductions. Songs by the students followed. Swami called up some of the
alumni singers and asked them to sing, and they sang some of the group songs
used to be sung by the students in the mid-90s. After 45 minutes of music, Bhagawan delivered
His Divine Message. Bhagawan's emphasised the message of Advaita, stressing the point that
there is nothing in this world which is not divine, and that we should conduct
ourselves bearing this in mind. After speaking for more than 70 minutes, Bhagawan
asked for Bhajans to begin at 7.25 pm. top
Photos: New year Celebrations - January 01 , 2009:
Procession, Alumni Band, Music & Dance Programme
Prasadam was distributed, and Swami accepted Arati at 7.45 before returning to His