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Buddha Jayanthi Celebrations
May 21-22, 2007
Photos: 21st Morning -21st Evening -22nd Evening
Scroll down or click to read:Report of Buddha Jayanthi Celebrations

 May 25: New Photos:  Sai Geetha's burial & last rights images.

scroll down to see slide show of pictures from Prasanthi Nilayam
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Scroll down or click to read:Report of Buddha Jayanthi Celebrations


Read: Report of Buddha Jayanthi Celebrations

Photos: 21st May 2007 Morning   Click to enlage

Photos: 21st May 2007





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    Photos: 22nd May 2007 Morning



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Buddha Poornima is one of the main festivals celebrated by Buddhists all over the world. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Vaishaka (usually in the month of May). This day is triply significant for it is believed that Lord Buddha was born, attained enlightenment and also shed his mortal coil on this very day. This year Vaishaka Poornima, fell on 2nd May when Bhagawan was in Kodaikanal. Once Bhagawan returned to Prasanthi Nilayam, the devotees from the countries of Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei prayed to Bhagawan for the opportunity to celebrate Buddha Poornima in His Divine Presence, and Bhagawan graciously acceded to their prayers. Thus it was that more than a thousand devotees and eighty five Buddhist monks from these countries gathered at Prasanthi Nilayam for this happy occasion.

The morning programme on 21st May commenced with Swami’s Darshan at 9.10 a.m. amidst drum beats and sonorous chants of the hymn -
Buddham Saranam Gachchami (I take refuge in the blessings of Buddha)
Sangham Saranam Gachchami (I take refuge in the company of the virtuous)
Dhammam Saranam Gachchami (I take refuge in Dharma or righteousness)
Sathyam Saranam Gachchami (I take refuge in Truth)
Ekam Saranam Gachchami (I take refuge in the principle of Oneness)
Premam Saranam Gachchami (I take refuge in Love)

At 9.20 a.m., Bhagawan formally inaugurated the celebrations by lighting the lamp in front of the beautifully decorated altar of Buddha. The first programme was a dance by the Japanese youth to the accompaniment of Taiko drums. Taiko drums have been a part of the Japanese religious tradition for over 2000 years, and have been used during ceremonies in temples and shrines, inviting God to the place of ceremony. This was followed by the ritualistic bathing of Buddha’s statue with fragrant water. As a symbol of inner purification, this ritual highlights the important message that it is simple to wash away physical dirt but much more difficult to cleanse one’s inner dirt of ignorance, anger and greed.

A lady monk from Taiwan presented Bhagawan with a scripture that contained 84 different names and forms of Lord Buddha, and mantras of mercy and compassion. The morning programme concluded with Bhajans and Arati. Bhagawan returned to Yajur Mandir at 10.20 a.m. after cutting the cake specially prepared for the occasion. A Japanese jellied sweet by name ‘Yokan’ made from sugarcane was distributed as Prasadam to one and all.

In the evening, Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 4.05 p.m. He was welcomed with Vedam chanting by the youth of Japan. Following this, Mr. Nari Chugani, Chairman, Zone-5, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, offered his salutations to Bhagawan and delivered his introductory address. Mr. Chugani began by saying that Lord Buddha is synonymous with Ahimsa (non-violence), which is one of the five fundamental human values espoused by Bhagawan Baba. He recalled what Bhagawan said during His Ugadi discourse this year. He said that without Shanti (peace) within, one cannot follow Ahimsa and without cultivating Prema (love), one cannot achieve peace. Therefore, all the values hinge upon the fundamental principle of Prema that everyone ought to cultivate. He later introduced and invited the speakers for the evening.

The first speaker was Dr. Venerable Bellanvilla Wimalaratna from Sri Lanka. Dr. Wimalaratna is the chancellor of University of Sri Jayawardhapura, Sri Lanka. He is also serving as the Secretary General of the World Buddhist Sanga Council in Sri Lanka. He has authored a number of books on Buddhism both in English and Sinhalese. The learned speaker said that noble beings like Buddha come to Earth to save the entire mankind from misery and to shower joy on them. He said that Bhagawan treats all the religions equally and advises that one should follow one’s own religion better and be true to that. The speaker then narrated the life story of Buddha briefly and told that Buddha represented the apex of human development and perfection. This perfection is latent in each and every being and can be attained by removing the weaknesses of desire and selfishness, and by cultivating detachment, compassion and wisdom.

Reverend Tulku Gyurme Sonam Rinpoche was the second speaker. Rev. Rinpoche is deeply involved in several humanitarian activities such as looking after orphans and the aged. He travels throughout the world teaching the Buddha Dharma and has established many Dharma centres in USA. The revered speaker said that 2500 years ago Buddha overcame all limitations, transcended the cycle of birth and death, and attained perfection that is the true nature of all beings. Lord Buddha demonstrated that each and everyone can thus attain perfection and eternal joy by removing the inner impurities. Thus, all are Buddhas. This is often repeated by Bhagawan also, he said drawing everyone’s attention to the similarities in the teachings of Lord Buddha and Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Rev. Rinpoche concluded by saying that Bhagawan Baba is verily the incarnation of Lord Buddha.

Next to follow was a drama by the youth of Japan based on the life of Buddha as narrated by Bhagawan Baba. The drama beautifully depicted various incidents relating to Lord Buddha’s birth, how he renounced his royal life, how he performed severe austerities which culminate in his enlightenment, his later years and his passing away. The drama was characterized by excellent acting and powerful dialogues, and conveyed the teachings of Bhagawan in the most effective manner. At the end of the drama, Bhagawan posed for photographs with all the participants.

On 22nd evening, Bhagawan was welcomed in to Sai Kulwant Hall at 4.30 p.m. to the accompaniment of Vedam chanting by the Japanese youth. After Bhagawan was seated on the dais, the evening programme commenced with traditional Japanese dances and performance on Taiko drums and cymbals. This was followed by choir music by the devotees from Hong Kong. They sang many melodious songs, some of which were in English, to the accompaniment of keyboard. The songs were in praise of Buddha and Bhagawan Baba and also contained Swami’s teachings. They concluded with the Bhajan “Sainatha Bhagawan”.

Following this, there was a closing Buddhist ceremony by name ‘Gomadaki’, which was quite similar to the Yagnas of the Hindu tradition. This ritual signifies the burning of bad karma and attainment of purity. Eight Buddhist monks from Japan headed by the high priest Nishi Mori performed the ritual for close to half an hour. The Buddha Poornima celebrations came to a conclusion at 6.05 p.m. when Bhagawan accepted Arati after Bhajans and retired to His residence.

Passing away of Sai Geetha

On the evening of 22nd May, even as the Buddha Poornima celebrations were going on in the Prasanthi Nilayam Mandir, Bhagawan’s pet elephant Sai Geetha breathed her last around 6 p.m. Bhagawan’s devotees would recall that no festival at Prasanthi Nilayam would be complete without Sai Geetha’s presence. She would lead the procession clad in regal red cloth embroidered with gold and a golden piece adorning her forehead. Her love for Swami and Swami’s love for her were unique and unmatched. She had the great fortune of growing up and spending more than half a decade under Bhagawan’s care.

On 23rd May, around 8 a.m., Bhagawan went to Sai Geetha’s stable located in the same compound as the Planetarium. Bhagawan applied Vibhuti on her trunk and eyes, and lovingly stroked her trunk for the last time. He also talked to Sri Peddi Reddy, Sai Geetha’s caretaker, about various arrangements to be made for her burial and returned to Mandir.

Later, at 10.30 a.m., Bhagawan again came to the site to inspect the arrangements. The carcass was shifted from the bathing area where she had collapsed to her palatial shed, which was constructed and inaugurated by Bhagawan just a few months back, using cranes. After Sai Geetha was laid to rest in the pit amidst Vedam chanting and Bhajans, Bhagawan blessed flowers and fruits to be placed in the pit where she was to be interred, and returned to Mandir around 12.30 p.m. There was not a single eye that was not moist seeing the emotional send off that Bhagawan gave to His beloved Sai Geetha.

 May 25: New Photos:  Sai Geetha's burial & last rights images.
Also: Eye witness account of SAI GEETHA'S "FUNERAL"- Entombment



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