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87th Birthday Celebrations - Sita Rama Kalyanam and Rathotsavam… Sunday, November 18th, 2012
Week-long 87th birthday celebrations commenced in Prasanthi Nilayam on a very auspicious note, staging a symbolic celestial marriage of the Divine couple Lord Rama and Mother Sita followed by Rathotsavam.
The programme held on a make-shift platform, in front of the Sanctum Sanctorum, commenced at 0830 hrs. lasting 80 minutes. Amidst Vedic chanting and to the backdrop music of Nadaswaram, even as the rituals continued with various offerings to the Divine couple, the chief priest went on elaborating the greater significance and purport of the Divine Marriage connecting the same with Sai saga.
Upanayanam, sacred thread ceremony of the bridegroom followed by Kanyadanam (giving away the bride) was performed amidst chanting before the final ceremony, The Divine Marriage, was conducted by tying of Mangala Sutra around the neck of the bride.
This is the second year in succession, ever since its inception, the Divine Marriage is conducted in Sai Kulwant Hall, witnessed by an assembly of devotees. Over the years the function used to be inside the bhajan hall, in the immediate Divine Presence of Bhagawan.
The celestial Marriage is aimed at establishing Universal Peace and Prosperity.
Mangala Arathi to the Divine couple was offered before the deities were taken out in procession along with that of Lord Venugopala Swami. Subsequently, the deities were mounted on the main chariot at the Gopuram gate amidst devotional exuberance. Upon mounting the deities, coconuts were broken and arathi was offered before they were taken out along the road in procession.
Ecstatic mood of the village folk dancing to the tune of drumbeats, breaking coconuts and offering arathi enroute, was evidential of the religious fervour attached to the festivity. Vedam and Bhajans group from Prasanthi led the procession. Adding to the fervour joined many various folk-art forms from Andhra Pradesh.
The Venugopala Swami idol was mounted at the Pedda Venkama Raju Kalyanamandapam before return journey commenced, carrying the Sita Rama idols, a custom that has been in place ever since the Chariot Festival was introduced in Parthi. Enthusiastic villagers would carry Lord Venugopala Swami in a procession covering the entire village before returning to Mandir in the night, a customary practice over the years, ever since the inception of Rathotsavam.
Back in the Mandir, bhajans continued till 10 hrs. when Mangala Arathi was offered to Bhagawan.
Earlier, outside the Prasanthi gates, enthusiastic Parthi folks were up quite early, sprucing up and decorating the entire road between Prasanthi Mandir and Pedda Venkamaraju Kalyana Mandapam. Women devotees were seen engaged in painting the road with ‘Rangoli’.
When pure devotion blends with sheer talent, when an artiste fares himself with humility and devotion singing with complete dedication, what results is an exclusive musical feast for the Divine.
In the first evening of the week-long cultural celebration ahead of the 87th birthday of Bhagawan, Marati Abhang singer Makarand Kalyani presented a soulful musical offering today here in Prasanthi Nilayam.
The gifted artiste, hailing from Indore, specialised in Marati Abhang and Natya Sangeet, sang for more than an hour presenting gems of musical pieces, Marati Abhang, Hindi devotionals and Sai bhajans sung in Abhang style.
Sai Bhajans sung in Abhang style turned out to be inciting, as the audience as well joined the singer lighting up the November twilight. Those numbers, especially the bhajan, Partheeshwari Jagat Janani was enough to evoke nostalgic memories of Bhagawan’s physical presence at the same venue, where He would sit on-stage listening to mellifluous singing of students.
Signing off, the blessed singer sang a penultimate Hindi number, “Sai Paada Pooja Karo Hey Manva…” sending out the message to worship Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet. Along with other accompanists, Sri Kalyani was ably assisted by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri Music College.
Even as bhajans continued, artistes along with accompanists were felicitated by Senior Trustees. Bhajans ended with Sunday Special in Bhagawan’s mellifluous voice, “Preme Muditha Manasey Kaho…” Prasadam was distributed to the session concluded with Mangala Arathi.
Tomorrow, beingg 19 November, Ladies Day would be celebrated with an array of cultural programmes, both in the morning and evening.
Morning session would begin at 0800 hrs. with Vedam chanting followed by introductory remark and cultural programmes. Children from Sathya Sai School, Thailand would offer a dance programme followed by Spanish bhajans by devotees from Dominican Republic. This would be followed by distribution of domestic implements for the deserved.
In the evening, there would be a Piano concert by Ms Maria Jory, who would be accompanied by vocalist Ms Radha Botofasina. This programme would be followed by a Carnatic concert by the famous duo, Hyderabad Sisters. A dance drama by Primary School students would be the last item for the evening of Ladies Day 2012.
Prasanthi had endearing memories of this day, 23rd November, and in the saga of His Story, evenings of this day would often reach zenith of excitement as her Beloved Lord would usher in granting coveted darshan, revealing rare facets of His Divine majesty.
On this day, 23rd November, when the evening arrived, the focus of attention was at the centre-spot of Sai Kulwant Hall where the Jhoola, Swing for the Lord was awaiting Him.
The schedule for the big evening was ‘Jhoola Mahotsavam’, where Lord would swing on the Jhoola to the accompaniment of music by renowned musicians.
The function commenced at 1730 hrs. with the unveiling of the Jhoola and the Sanctum Sanctorum. The Jhoola that had been profusely blessed by Bhagawan on many earlier occasions was bedecked with flowers and buntings and was a rare beauty to watch.
As the packed Sai Kulwant Hall witnessed the unveiling, for the audience, it turned out to be a transition from ‘i’ to “we’ as the grandeur and the beauty and the pristine powerful vibrations emanating from the Sanctum Sanctorum, where Beloved Bhagawan’s physical frame was interned, touched every heart and soul, spreading into the blessed amphitheatre that looked resplendent with heavenly beauty.
The first programme for the eveing was by Mandolin Concert by maestro U. Srinivas and U. Rajesh. At the outset, offering Pranams and gratitude at Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet, reminscing the priceless opportunities they had with Bhagawan, the duo began with invoking Lord Ganesha with a piece in Hamsadhwani Raaga, in Tala Roopakam.
…And the Jhoola carrying Bhagawan was pushed into swinging…a rare sight to see!!!
The duo continued with a couple of Thyagaraja compositions before concluding with a bhajan “Shankara Shiva Shankara…”.
The second part of the programme was a vocal concert by renowned Ghazal and Bhajan singer Anup Jalota who carved a niche in devotional singing with his self adapted style.
In an introductory talk, he spoke about his first ever meeting with Bhagawan 48 years ago, when he was a ten year old boy, in Lucknow. Revealing that he had many blessings from Bhagawan over the years, the singer confided that Bhagawan had even taught him the art of singing. With the blessings of Bhagawan he earned an opportunity to do playback for the famous Manoj Kumar movie , Shirdi Ke Sai Baba, where he sung with the renowned Mohammed Rafi. This turned out to be the biggest blessing as it changed his life and thus made his life, recounted Anup Jalota gratefully remembering his association with Bhagawan.
Sending ecstatic waves in to the audience when he began with Aisi Lagi Lagan, the packed assembly went into raptures. The singer continued for the next 75 minutes regaling the audience, producing some of his famous numbers, that included, “Man Mein Ram…”, “Sai Baba Bolo” from the film ‘Shirdi Ke Sai Baba…’, “Payo Ji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo” and some bhajans, “Mera Jeevan Tere Hawale…”, Govind Jai Jai…Gopala Jai Jai, sang with a customised style coupling with Jhoola melody, Dum Dum Dum Dum Damaru Bhaje etc.
With his inimitable style of singing, singing from the depth of his heart to the heights of exalted heavens, completely immersed in his art, as he engaged in his inimitable ‘twists and turns’, highs and lows, harmoniously blending with accompanying tabla,the evening turned out to be a rare musical treat for the packed audience.
At the end, the artistes and accompanists for the evening were felicitated. Bhajans continued that ended with Subramaniam…Subramaniam in Bhagawan’s mellifluous voice, a perfect finale to the grand and glorious day, 23rd November.
23 November – The Day That Earned A Date With Divinity…
People wish Me Happy Birthday…why specially happy birthday today? I am ever happy…Happiness is union with God, echoed Beloved Bhagawan this morning in Sai Kulwant Hall, when an old video of Bhagawan’s Birthday Divine discourse was telecast in the concluding moments of a glittering Birthday function in Prasanthi Nilayam.
23rd November is known the world over for one main reason, that it earned a date with Divinity, welcoming the Almighty in human form. Today, when the most fascinating morning dawned in this South Indian hamlet turned International Spiritual Centre, the village that did penance turned nostalgic of her golden past, where she could vividly recall all those precious priceless moments of unceasing love of Beloved Bhagawan, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Today, 23rd November marks the Divine Advent and on this morning Prasanthi Nilayam wore a glittering, colourful costume warming up for the day.
Proceedings for the morning session commenced at 0900 hrs. with Veda chanting when the curtains went up grantng the beautific darshan of the Sanctum Sanctorum that was adorned with flowers and buntings along with a magnificent silver throne for The Presiding Lord.
Chief Guest for the day was an ardent devotee, currently Hon’ble Governor of Tamil Nadu, His Excellency, Konijeti Rosaiah, who was earlier the Finance Minister and later Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.
First programme for the morning was ‘Guru Vandana’ by the students of SSSIHL. Beginning with invocatory Sai Gayathri, these grateful students sang in a united voice a composition, ‘Easwarammba Sutam Venkavadhoota Sampreetam’ that was tuned to original ashtakam style. Couple of more compositions followed that included the one of the evergreen melodies of Prasanthi, “Madhura Mohana Ghana Shyama…”.
A music concert by the Malladi Bros. duo followed. Malladi concerts have been a regular feature during Guru Purnima and Birthday celebrations for the past 3-4 years, when Bhagawan would listen to them with earnest attention. This morning,the duo reproduced some of Bhagawan’s favourite numbers that included a Birthday Greeting Song.
A welcome speech by Sri V.Srinivasan, President, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations – India followed. Reiterating his firm faith that Sai is with us, here and everywhere, now and forever, the speaker lavishly praised the students who presented a thematic convocation drama on the eve on 30th Annual Convocation of SSSIHL. Hoping that Bhagawan would guide these shining stars who are future ambassadors, the speaker urged the devotees to rededicate themselves following Bhagawan’s ideals. “Why Fear When I Am Here”, the famous Sathya Sai axiom is a statement for eternity, said Sri Sinivasan.
Referring to the glittering musical show of Dana Gillespie that rocked the house in Prasanthi a couple of days ago, quoting her famous number, I Sigh For You…Love For Love…he said, when we follow His ideals and make our lives His message, Sai will be pleased. Our work has to continue till of our last moment; we have to be workers first, then leaders.
He thanked Governor Roasaih for rescheduling his day’s programme at Coimbatore to make himself available for the function in Puttaparthi.
Reiterating the Central Trust’s resolve to continue the legacy and mission set in motion by Bhagawan, the speaker requested the Governor to release the annual statement of the Trust’s activities.
Some of the new initiatives by the Truts were also announced during the occasion. Additional mobile hospital, Assistance to various Sathya Sai Schools, Additional advance medical equipments for hospitals, Additional staff infrastructure and facilities for research in the Insitute, Digital archiving facility, Revamping and modernisation of the South Indian Canteen, Assisting the ongoing Teachers Training Programme, Expansion of Vidya Vahini Project etc. are some of the initiatives.
Subsequently the report on the Central Trust activities and that of SSSIHL was released by the Governor.
Chief Guest for the morning, K. Rosaiah who addressed next, with atmost humility and devotion, affirmed that, though world over people discuss whether Sathya Sai is God nor not, the very fact that the organisation He has founded is spread over 160 countries having millions of members is a testimony to the unparalleled influence of Sathya Sai Baba. Expressing great satisfaction for being in Prasanthi Nilayam in holy company on the holy occasion the Governor said, for him, it is not the positions that he had held and is holding currently that make him proud, but the fact that he is a devotee of Sathya Sai. Prasanthi Nilayam is a Holy Abode on part with Dwaraka of Bhagawan Sri Krishna and Ayodhya of Lort Sri Rama, said the Governor.
Bhagawan’s Divine discourse followed. Illuminiating on the theme ‘Happy Birthday’, Bhagawan said, during ancient times, people practised sacrifice, love and truth and thus could attain Divinity. He urged the current generation to follow the same path. One should exercise equanimity in pleasure and pain. For the Pandavas, God was their first choice, the world next and themselves last and thus, practising this ideal, they were fortunate to have Lord Krishna always with them.
Bhagawan does not criticise anyone, and when Bhagawan follows something, devotees also should follow suit, said Bhagawan urging the students to develop Love For God, Fear Of Sin and Morality In Society. Control of mind is to be achieved, said Bhagawan discouring about the worried minds of present time.
Develop Love…Love Bhagawan more and more…that is the only solution…Prayer is the only solution…concluded Bhagawan singing the bhajan, “Hari Bhajana Binaa Sukha Shanti Nahi…”
As Birthday Cake by the Italian group followed by various Prasanthi Institutions made a beeline to the Sanctum Sanctorum, various Band Troupes, from the Primary School, both boys and girls, Anantapur Girls’ Band and Prasanthi NIlayam Band played thematic tunes befitting the occasion. While the Anantapur Band played the ‘Love Story’song of 1970s “Where do I begin To tell the story of how great a love can be…”Prasanthi boys played the famous birthday tune, Happy Birthday to You…”
Mangala Arathi was offered at 1100 hrs. and Laddu Prasadam and Italian chocolates were distributed to the entire assembly.
Food Prasadam was arranged for morning and afternoon for all devotees attending the 86th Birthday Celebrations.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthi Gram, the role model Super Speciality Hospital, more aptly known as ‘Temple Of Healing’ that was instituted by Bhagawan on this day in 1991.
Commemorating the occasion, Team SSSIHMS presented a Video Presentation depicting the genesis and growth of the Institution, this evening in Prasanthi Nilayam. The presentation was entitled ‘Praying Hearts Serving Hands’.
Lamenting on the commercialization of Medicare, that had its origin as an art to transition into science, the presentation spoke about the epoch making Divine announcement during the Birthday occasion in the year, 1990, promising of the inauguration of a Super Speciality Hospital, completely free of cost, in one year time.
Taking the audience to a guided tour, the presentation spoke about the rough road it had to tread before realizing the dream. As promised the hospital was inaugurated on the 22nd November 1991, exactly in an year. The impossible was made possible by His Divine Sankalpa.
The site at Prasanthi Gram that was a barren land six months before the scheduled date of opening turned to become a marvel of magnificent edifice, giving succour to millions upon millions without any discrimination.
Testimonies from eminent personalities, including Professor Keith Critchlow from Prince of Wales Institute of Architecture in London, who was the designated architect for the mammoth project.
The presentation recommended de-commercialization of Medicare and act of healing that is the need of the hour to serve humanity.
The second programme for the evening was a ‘Taala Vaadya Kacheri’ by noted Mridangam maestro Karaikkudi Mani and Co. Guru Karaikudi Mani is a world renowned Mridangam maestro who has revolutionised the field of percussion with his power packed intricate mridangam beats. Coupled with Jazz musicians from Europe and the far east, the maestro has founded a world music band known as Shanmukhaa. Shanmukhaa is a musical presentation of compositions based on Carnatic, Hindustani, Classical based Folk melodies, Compositions with influence of the Western, thus classified as World Music with the underlying theme of Universal Peace.
With rhythm and melody joining together, bringing a harmonious blend, weaving music of ecstasy, the packed Sai Kulwant Hall enjoined a twin treat, through their ears and eyes, as rhythmic body language of the artistes were equally enchanting, and entire Sai Kulwant turned glued to the gigantic LED screens, enjoying ‘twin feast’.
An hour long presentation produced 6-7 compositions, some of them originally composed with western music. With Mani on Mridangam and V Suresh on Ghatam engaged in prolonged Jugalbandhi, audience turned ecstatic and every composition was received with rapturous applause from the audience. The concert came to an end with one of Prasanthi’s favourite bhajans, “Raghupathi Raghava Rajaram…”
Over the years various musical forms have visited and revisited this Abode Of The Highest Lord seeking the highest benediction of singing in the ultimate Divine Presence Of Avatar in physical form, Who is verily Naadaswarupa Himself…Karaikkudi Mani joined the band of these blessed musicians today with his troupe bringing Prasanthi Nilayam alive with a enthralling musical concert.
The Mridangam maestro was accompanied by V Suresh on Ghatam, VB Madusudan on Tabla, BV Balasai on Bamboo and Key Flutes, UP Raju on Electric Mandolin and BV Raghavendra Rao on Electrified Violin.
At the end of the one hour concert the artiste and accompanists were
Secular education is for happiness in the mundane world and spiritual education is for happiness in the other world, echoed Bhagawan, The Founder Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning this morning in Sai Kulwant Hall on the occasion of 30th annual Convocation of SSSIHL, a deemed university.
Unique, imparting free education promoting human values with spiritual orientation, Sri Sathya Sai Institute has been the beacon of hope for a new world order, engendering thousands upon thousands of students for the past three decades, ever since its inception.
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning was instituted in the year 1981 to provide value based education, absolutely free of cost, and has the unique distinction of being one of the very few institutions that impart emphasis on total value based education.
Besides education, the students are taught human values, morality and spirituality with the five cardinal human values of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa being the backbone of all teachings. The Institution has three campuses, a Women’s Campus in Anantapur set up in the year 1968, Men’s Campus at Brindavan in Whitefield, Bangalore set up in 1969 and the Men’s Campus at Prasanthi Nilayam set up in 1981. This institution has the unique distinction of being accorded Double Plus Level Higher Rating (Highest Grade) certification by the National Accreditation and Assessment Council.
This morning’s function commenced at 1030 hrs. with the Institute Brass Band leading the procession from Yajur Mandir. Following prevalent pattern a student carried the Scepter on one side while the Registrar carrying the Ceremonial Mace.
The dais, the Seat Of The Divine Chancellor, was arranged in front of the Sanctum Sanctorum with the chief guest to the convocation, former vice chancellors, academicians, members of the academic council and other officials taking their respective seats on either side.
Ceremonial Veda chanting followed. Submitting himself at His Lotus Feet, Vice Chancellor, Prof. J. Sashidhara Prasad prayed to the Founder ‘Divine’ Chancellor to declare the convocation open. To the delight of a capacity audience, Divine Chancellor’s beatific voice rung in the air…”I Declare The Convocation Open…” and the assembly went into rapturous applause.
Exuding confidence that Bhagawan is watching the entire proceedings, the Vice Chancellor reiterated the Institute’s resolve to work towards fulfilling Bhagawan’s mission following His set ideals. Making a mention about the unavailability of the current Chancellor, Justice (Retd.) PN Bhagavati, owing to ill-health, he extended a cordial welcome to the entire assembly into the morning’s function.
Giving a brief account of the Institute’s rare achievements in the academic front, Prof. Prasad introduced the Chief Guest to the Convocation, Prof. P. Balaram, Director, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore reading out his colourful profile.
Graduates for the year were presented to the Founder Chancellor followed by the Institute Oath, that was administered to the students by the Vice Chancellor. The Oath reads: “I hereby solemnly declare and promise that if admitted to the degree duly recommended I will in my thought, word and deed, support the cause of sound learning, morality and spirituality, all round welfare of my countrymen and fellowmen.”
Gold medals to various degrees were presented to the students by the Vice Chancellor. Twenty two students were presented with various gold medals for academic excellence, instituted in honour of distinguished personalities.
Chief Guest’s Convocation address followed: Referring to the invitation and the ongoing function, the reputed scientist conceded that it is for the first time that he was facing a crowd of this magnitude as otherwise, being a scientist, he would often spent his time in laboratories. Quoting Bhagawan at the outset, he hailed the Institute as a unique one that evolved over three decades under Bhagawan’s guidance, with discipline as its hallmark. Being a scientist the chief guest’s address was with more of a rational touch, speaking mainly about science and engineering.
Elucidating on the subject, how to become successful, the learned speaker stressed on the need to work hard, irrespective of failures. Failure is a common phenomenon, but one should treat the same with equanimity, said the speaker dwelling upon the rags to riches story of world-famous author of Harry Potter fame JK Rowling.
Illuminating students on the success story of Rowling, quoting from her commencement address at Harward, titled ‘The Fringe Benefits Of Failure, And The Importance Of Imagination”, the chief guest stressed on hard work and imagination as vital chords leading to success. What she feared most was not poverty, but failure.
Failure is a common phenomenon and one has to treat it with equanimity, said the speaker inspiring the young students with the success story of JK Rowling to become one the world’s richest and celebrated personality. Bringing his convocation address to a close, Prof. Balaram wished the students from SSSIHL to reach the pinnacle of success by adhering to discipline, commitment and hard work.
This was followed by the Benedictory Address by the Founder Chancellor, the video of which was played on LED screens, echoing entire Prasanthi Nilayam.
Speaking about the importance of secular education, Bhagawan stressed on the need on the part of students to introspect, to know the true self. Science has limitations, and the real knowledge lies beyond science, that illumines us about creation, existence and dissolution. Science has no effect without spirituality and there lies the importance of self-enquiry, exhorted Bhagawan.
Mother and Motherland are forgotten today. Highlighting on the increasing trend of seeking ‘paradise’ abroad, Bhagawan questioned the young mind’s trend to go abroad without serving Motherland. One should serve Motherland with all his energy. Being educated one must face the battle of life with courage and valour and emerge victorious. Students should realise the sacredness of this great country, Bharat.
Advising the students to discharge their duties sincerely, Bhagawan promised to take care of their requirements. The degree I confer on you is related to Atmananda, that is Educare. Laziness is rust and dust; realisation is best and rest. Be prepared to proceed along the path of self-realisation, exhorted Bhagawan ending His Benedictory Address.
National Anthem was sung followed by Mangala Arathi at 1140 hrs. before the University Band retreated leading the procession back to Yajur Mandir.
Ahead of the 30th Annual Convocation of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam scheduled for tomorrow, students from SSSIHL presented a drama entitled “Guru Mahima” this evening in Prasanthi Nilayam.
The presentation was highlighted the lofty relationship between Guru and disciple and how a true Guru stand by the disciples who are dedicated and devoted. Revolved around three youngsters staying in an ashram, guided by the Guru the presentation, with the help of flashback scenes from the epics and stories of great souls, underlines the essential truth that faith wins oddities.
At a crucial juncture when the disciples were at the end of their wits Guru who had already disappeared returns saying “Where did I go. I am in them who seek me from the depths of their hearts. He is ever present in the hearts of devotees. His joy is theirs and their sorrow is His.”
With music and drama, the students brought home the significance of the spiritual relationship that exists between a Master and his disciples. They portrayed the loving bond that persists between them even in the absence of the Master’s physical presence, and his influence that always works through them.
Towards the end the students lit lamps and presented a beautiful panorama, a befitting finale saluting the Supreme Divine Spirit, Who is the Source and Sustenance of entire cosmos.
Earlier, the programme for the evening commenced with a felicitation ceremony of some of the distinguished faculties of the Institue. Sai Krishna award, instituted honouring excellence in research was given away to three senior faculties, Prof. K. Venkataramanaiah, senior professor in the Department of Physics. Dr. N. Sivakumar, Assistant Professor in the Department of Commerce and Dr. N. Venkatesh Rao, Assistant Professor in Sanskrit received the honour from Sri Indulal Shah, doyen of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations.
At the end participants of the drama were presented with safari clothes. Bhajans continued for sometime before Mangala Arathi offering at 1900 hrs.
Thirtieth Convocation of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning would be held tomorrow, 22nd November, in the Sai Kulwant Hall. The proceedings would begin at 10:30 hrs. Prof. P. Balram, Director, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore would be the Chief Guest for the function.
With a string of selected songs, a compilation of her songs in The Divine Presence over the years, Dana Gillespie of London Blues Band fame took the audience through her memory lane, presenting an electrifying music concert at Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet this evening in Prasanthi Nilayam.
The singer, the most popular western voice in Prasanthi Nilayam and undoubtedly one of Bhagawan’s favourite singers took the audience down memory lane, singing mainly hit songs from her earlier concerts in Prasanthi Nilayam.
The underlying theme of her performance was Love and Unity. Recapitulating her glorious times in Bhagawan’s physical presence, the cherubic singer began with the song “we are all one…under the sun”.
Singing with the aid of recorded tracks of music, Gillespie continued for an hour, often inciting the audience to join with rhythmic beats. She presented twelve songs that included two bhajans. Some of her favourite numbers sung during landmark occasions, 70th and 80th birthday, were reproduced explaining the significance in short.
The soul of music is touched only when it is sung with love…Recaping her experience with Bhagawan, the singer stated that to sing in His presence one need to have a ‘large heart’…and the accomplished singer exhibited what she is in possession, a heart full of Love for The Lord, craving for Unity of world.
Interestingly, during the interludes, the singer presented a guided tour, explaining the songs and significance and snippets of her wonderful moments with Beloved Bhagawan.
Presenting a bhajan, “Prem Easwar Hey…Easwar Prem Hey…” she explained how she would often sing her all time favourite bhajan, went missing over the years, and the bhajan was “Allaho Akbar…Allaho Akbar…La ilaha illa allah…” Grabbing the mike when she sung it with her booming voice echoing the spacious hall, the audience accompanied the singer in chorus and the message was clear, Unity Of All Religions, Oneness of Godhood.
Every song was well received and the hall reverberated with rapturous applause at every short-break. She ended the concert chanting the Vibhuti Mantra, “Paramam Pavitram Baba Vibhootim…”
Today is November 19, International Ladies’ Day in Prasanthi Nilayam and for Sai Fraternity all over the world. Ever since its inception in the year 1995, calling for greater women participation in social and spiritual revolution in their role as feminine energy, November 19 has been the dotted day in Prasanthi Calendar when womenfolk comes active celebrating the day in His Divine presence.
This mornings presentation began at 0830 hrs. with Vedam by the women students of Anantapur Campus chanting Rudram, Mantrapushpam and Durga Suktam for half- an-hour. Anantapur Band followed playing soulful tunes as students from the campus followed by senior ladies’ paid tributes at Beloved Bhagawan at the Sanctum Sanctorum.
Introducing the speakers for the session, Ms. Chetana Raju spoke of the persona of Sri Sathya Sai, reminding the audience that nothing could ever fill the vacuum created by Bhagawan’s physical passing on…Swami always Was…Swami always Is…Swami always Will Be…Bhagawan is past, present and future stressed the speaker recapitulating the most wonderous time Bhagawan had given to mankind, walking talking and living among humanity.
There were three speakers for the morning session. The first speaker, Dr. Malathi Srinivasan, a former student of Anantapur Campus and currently Principle Scientist, CSIR, Bangalore shared some interesting incidents during her tenure as a student at Anantapur Campus. Staying away, for the first time in life, the speaker was infested with nostalgia and thus had a tough time. Praying hard, she asked Bhagawan to show His omniscience, a conditional prayer, asking for a particular prasadam. Ominipresent Mother Sai responded to her sincere prayer, giving in to the devotee’s demand, sending His student her ‘chosen prasadam’ while the rest of the lot got regular laddu prasadam. This was a ‘visiting card’ from Mother Sai instilling greater faith in His omniscience, came at the appropriate time. Women, in Bhagawan’s words, are supposedly blessed with seven qualities, Sathya, Dharma, Shanthi, Prema, Ahimsa, Tolerance and Spirituality, said Dr. Malathi mentioning on the inception of Anantapur Campus in 1969, crediting the same to Mother Easwaramma’s wishful desire.
The second speaker, Mrs. Madhuri Naganand, spoke of her first darshan of Bhagawan in Bangalore. A Shirdi Sai devotee originally, she had a prayer to Baba to grant her ‘Pratyaksha Darshan’ and as an answer to her prayer she was guided to Bhagawan in Bangalore, resulting in her first ever darshan of Sri Sathya Sai. Referring to the Taitireeya Upanishadic dictum, “Mathru Devo Bhava”, Mrs. Naganand called upon the attention to Bhagawan’ s own life, treating His physical mother with great reverence, reminding the audience of the role and importance of women in society.
The final speaker was Mrs. Phyllis Krystal, a nonegenarian, veteran devotee from the US, author of many popular books of Sai literature. Narrating her first ever meeting with Bhagawan, a soft spoken Mrs. Krystal shared with the audience highlights of many a councelling she has been fortunate to receive over the years. Omnipresent Sai is ‘everywhere’ and it is our duty to take His mission onward; what we need to do is to love Him by all means, said the spirited speaker, reminiscing her precious moments with Beloved Bhagawan.
Sai Kulwant Hall bore colourful decorations and the Seat of Bhagawan, the Sacntum Sanctorum, was a riot of colours, bedecked with flowers and buntings of varied hues.
Bhajans by Anatapur students continued and special Italian Prasadam was distributed before Mangala Arathi offering at 1015 hrs.
Evening session on this Ladies’ Day commenced at 1630 hrs. with Vedic chanting by higher secondary girls from Sri Sathya Sai “Primary School”, followed by love offerings at the Sanctum Sanctorum.
First programme in the evening was an address by Ms. Mallika Srinivasan, CEO, Tractors and Farm Equipment Ltd. , TAFE, and a senior official of Easwaramma Women’s Welfare Trust.
Beginning with a recollection of the days with Beloved Bhagawan, Mrs. Srinivasan highlighted on the role of women in society, quoting Bhagawan from His Divine discourses. Living a life following the path of Righteousness, practising human values is what women should follow, said Mrs. Srinivasasn.
Speaking on women welfare, the speaker stressed on the need to initiate service activities aimed at women upliftment. With Bhagawan physically absent, we must ensure that we are worthy of His love by strictly adhering to His teachings, said the speaker before ending her speech with a pledge that “we” would be ever with Sai.
The second programme for the session was “Prayer of Gratitude”, a colourful dance skit by the tiny tots from Primary School.
The programme was a collective offering of gratitude for all that Bhagawan has been for them, for the humanity. Attributeless Divine He Was…He Is…incarnated in human form that, these tiny tots offered tears of gratitude, calling various attributes of their attributeless Divine. The prayer was to listen to their heartfelt prayer.
An interesting scene at Kailasha, with Bhagawan conversing to Sage Narada evinced greater enthusiasm in the assembly. Answering to Narada’s prayer, to accede to the prayer of humanity granting them darshan, Bhagawan enlightened the sage, in poetic telugu, that His body belonged to humanity and He would ever respond to heartfelt prayer of love. An audio clip of Bhagawan’s discourse airing this message was also relayed.
A Carnatic vocal concert by Ms. Bhagyalakshmi Suresh followed. Beginning with an invocatory piece, “Mahaganapathim…” Ms. Bhagyalakshmi burst into four more compositions treating the audience with a perfect Ladies’ Day feast.
She sang like enjoying a direct audience with The Lord, with the soul of her music bursting directly at Bhagawan at the Sanctum Sanctorum and dispersing into each and every heart present in the hall enveloping the entire audience. As she burst into singing solos one after one, without any interludes of commentary, it turned out to be a rare Carnatic treat for the twilight’s assembly.
A short video presentation titled “a snapshot of progress…” on the evolution of Easwaramma Women’a Welfare Trust followed.
Bhajans by Higher Secondary girls continued for the next fifteen minutes. Bringing curtains close they sang their hearts out, ”Aao Pyaare Nayan Hamaare…”, an invocatory bhajan calling out Beloved Swami.
Artistes, accompanists and the Primary School children were felicitated before Mangala Arathi offering at 1900 hrs. Prasadam was distributed to the entire assembly.
Kabir Das’s composition ‘Moko Kahan Doondey Re Bande…Main to tere paas mein’… meaning, “Where do you search Me? I’m right here with you” echoed in Prasanthi Nilayam serving the right message for the assemblage of devotees reassuring Beloved Bhagawan’s unceasing presence amidst us, this evenining here in Prasanthi Nilayam.
On the third day of the ongoing Birthday Celebrations, this evening there was a Hindustani Vocal Concert by well-known vocalist and exponent of Indian Classical Music, Padma Shri Ms. Sumitra Guha.
A rare breed and champion proponent of Indian Classical Music around the world, Ms. Guha had an ealier stint in Prasanthi Nilayam, singing in Bhagawan’s physical presence in 2005. Her concerts are counted as ‘experiences’ that bear the stamp of exclusive musical devotion.
This evening, Ms. Guha began her concert with her own composition on Lord Krishna “Kaise jaaun tumhare paas O Giridhari” in Raag Hamsadhwani, in Teen Taal, a prelude to a scnitillating hour of Hindustani devotional. Hailing from Andhra Pradesh the seasoned artiste chose to sing a Telugu Poem, a composition of Bhakta Kavi Pothana, “Mandara Makaranda Maadhuryamunadelu” that was followed by a Meera Bhajan, a favourite piece of Bhagawan, “ Kahan Kahan Jao Therey Saath…”.
The Kabir Vani ‘Moko Kahan Doondey Re Bande…Main to tere paas mein’ followed, sung with elan and great devotional feeling. As her honeyed voice rendered the air, singing the most meaningful lines, audience sat in silence, many immersed in their own mislaid world of nostalgic days with Beloved Mother Sai.
The next piece was one of Annamacharya, ‘Narayana Jaya Namo Namaha’, before the concluding song, a bhajan styled in Hindustani, “Govinda Bolo Gopala Bolo…”.
Ms. Guha, siging with her soothing, piercing voice with facile tonal variations excelled with her devotional approach over professional mode, transmuting the general mood of the evening into devotional ecstasy.
For the audience, it was a totally different experience, with the versatile singer exhibiting precision and clarity, singing with devotional fervour.
Ms. Guha was accomapnied by Sri Nishikant Barodekar on Tabla, Harish on Keyboard and Sridhar on Violin. At the end of the concert, artistes were feliciated by Senior Trust officials. Bhajans by Prasanthi and Anantapur Campuses followed for the next fifteen minutes and Mangala Arathi was offered at 1815 hrs. Prasadam was distributed to the entire assemblage of devotees.
19th November is Annual Ladies’ Day. An announcement to this effect was made; the programme would commence at 0830 hrs. in the morning.
November 18 is a marked day in Puttaparthi, for religious fanfare and piety coupled with devotional pomp among village folks, as this is the day when Lord Rama and Mother Sita would go in a procession along with Venugopala Swami from the Mandir in Prasanthi Nilayam to the Peddavenkama Raju Kalyana Mandapam, near Hanuman Temple. This symbolic procession has been in practice eversince its inception dates back 1980s. Over the years Bhagawan would personally bless the occasion in the bhajan hall as the deities were taken out in procession.
Highlight of this morning function was the Celestial Marriage of Divine Couple, Lord Sri Ramachandra and Mother Sita performed with religious rites, in Sai Kulwant Hall. The function began at 0820 hrs. after 20 mts. of Veda chanting.
After invocatory chanting, the officiating priest explained the greater significance of the function, especially that of conducting the marriage in the Divine Presence of Beloved Bhagawan.
The chanting went on and various offerings pertaining to the rituals followed. Upanayanam, sacred thread ceremony of the bridegroom followed by Kanyadanam (giving away the bride) was performed amidst chanting before the final ceremony, The Divine Marriage, was conducted by tying of Mangala Sutra around the neck of the bride.
The entire function was linked to the Sathya Sai Saga as the priest went on repeating the connection and greater significance at frequent intervals.
It is for the first time after its inception the Divine Marriage is conducted in Sai Kulwant Hall, witnessed by an assembly of devotees. Over the years the function used to be inside the bhajan hall, in the immediate Divine Presence of Bhagawan.
Mangala Arathi to the Divine couple was offered before the the deities were taken out in procession along with that of Lord Venugopala Swami. Subsequently, the deities were mounted on the main chariot at the gopuram gate amidst devotional exuberance. Upon mounting the deities, coconuts were broken and arathi was offered before they were taken out along the road in procession.
Ecstatic mood of the village folk dancing to the tune of drumbeats, breaking coconuts and offering arathi enroute, was evidential of the religious fervour attached to the festivity. Vedam and Bhajans group from Prasanthi led the procession.
The Venugopala Swami idol was mounted at the Pedda Venkama Raju Kalyanamandapam before return journey commenced, carrying the Sita Rama idols, a custom that has been in place ever since the Chariot Festival was introduced in Parthi. Venugopala Swami would go on a round of the entire village before returning to Prasanthi Mandir in the night.
Earlier, outside the Prasanthi gates, enthusiastic Parthi folks were up quite early, sprucing up and decorating the entire road between Prasanthi Mandir and Pedda Venkamaraju Kalyana Mandapam. Women devotees were seen engaged in painting the road with ‘Rangoli’.
A flashback to the golden days of yore, of Lord Sri Ramachandra, enacting the scenes of ‘Divine Twins’ Lava and Kusha singing glories of The Lord, filled Prasanthi with devotional fervour as Ramayana scenes were enacted by the students from Muddenahalli presenting a most innovative musical drama entitled ‘Sri Rama Nama Amrutham’ this evening in Prasanthi Nilayam.
The programme was based on the compositions of Poet Saints and devotees par excellence, Thyagaraja and Badrachala Ramadas. As the shriek voices of two tiny tots, from the higher secondary level, rendered the air, various Ramayana scenes were unraveled taking the audience to the nostalgic days of yore. The first two parts of the programme was based on Saint Thyagaraja compositions and the third and final part, of that of Badrachala Ramadas.
The programme commenced with a scene depicting Thyagaraja singing his famous composition “Endaro Mahanu Bhavulu…” bringing in realistic devotion melting the heart of Lord Sri Ramachandra. Subsequent scenes had many a song, most of them Bhagawan’s special numbers, rendered melodiously by the duo, and enacted with great touch of feeling by the duo of Lava and Kusha. The air was full or Rama Nama…
The final scene had a dance of ecstatic devotion to the tune of Bhadrachala Ramadas composed “Oh Rama Nee Nama…”
The forty minute presentation was an apt offering by the budding students from Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions, Sri Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli. Colourful costumes and beautiful backdrops deserve special mention.
The Lord Of Parthi, Who had recounted the sweet nectarine story of His Avatarhood during Treta Age, by writing Rama Katha Rasa Vahini Himself, had on many occasions encouraged His students to conduct programmes based on the epic, “Ramayana” and over the years Prasanthi witnessed many such illuminating presentations. This evening the beautiful children from Sri Sathya Sai Grama enacted His Own Story, singing His favourite carnatic pieces offering, as an act of gratitude to the Lord of all Lords!
At the end of the 40 minutes programme all the participating students were presented with safari pieces. Special Prasadam was distributed and bhajans continued til Mangala Arathi at 1815 hrs. Being Thursday, the final bhajan was one in Beloved Bhagawan’s golden voice, “Madhura Madhura Muraleeghana Shyama…”
An announcement about the next day’s programme followed. Tomorrow, 18th November, Sita Rama Kalyanam would be conducted in Sai Kulwant Hall that would be followed by Ratotsavam, palanquin procession, an annual feature for the past almost three decades, during Birthday celebrations. The programme would commence with usual Veda chanting at 0800 hrs. There would be a musical presentation by Ms. Sumitra Guha and Party in the evening at 1700 hrs.
86th Birthday celebrations of Beloved Bhagawan got underway with a vocal musical serenade by upcoming singer Sumeet Tappoo here this evening in Prasanthi Nilayam. The singer, who had the rare privilege of singing in Bhagawan’s physical presence on earlier occasions, began with a Telugu verse offering millions of salutations before drifiting into Hindi singing paeans to Beloved Bhagawan. A Ganesha vandana accompanied by a string of nine pieces followed. Renditions ranged from singing in praise of Mother of The Divine, Maa Easwaramma, to singing His glory listing out various attributes of the attributeless Divine. “Jaago Prasanthi…” and another piece calling Him out as the sweetest of all mothers, “Jisne Sajaaya Kushiyaan Hamaari, Sabse Achi Sabse Pyaari Sai Maa” stood out stirring nostalgic feelings in the audience.
Singing with a touch of feeling with moments of scintillating melody immersed in ‘bhava’, devotional feeling, often drifting into interludes of commentary recalling blessed moments with Bhagawan, the singer elicited rapturous applause from the audience in appreciation of his singing. The seventy minute concert ended with a bhajan, began with an aalap “Thum Ithna Karna Swami…”
Music concert by sumeet tappoo
Nov 16, 2011
Sumeet was accompanied by Nishikant Barodekar on Tabla, Piush Pawar on Santoor, Vinod Sehgal on Flute, Abhilash Ganjawala on Keyboard, Sanjay Jaipurwala on Guitar, Sreedhar on Violin, Sanket Modi on Harmonium and Jagdish Kanadia on Dholak.
At the end of the session the singer and accompanists were felicitated by Trust officials. Bhajans by students continued for the next fifteen minutes and Prasadam was distributed to the entire audience before Mangala Arathi offering at 1830 hrs.
Earlier, the programme commenced with a brief introduction by Prof. Anil Kumar. The artiste in his address before the commencement of the programme, prayed to Bhagawan to grant ‘Divya Drishti’ to see His physical form officiating the programme. Sumeet had performed over 450 concerts all over the world and also has released number of albums.
The week-long 86th Birthday celebrations of Bhagawan Baba begins on November 16 and culminates on the evening of November 23, the most auspicious day of His birthday. Here is the detailed programme schedule:
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