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christmas_yuletide_noel_sai_baba. 40 new photos Christmas Eve Celebrations from Prasanthi Nilayam

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 32 New Photos & Update  Including: Question & Answer session with Sai Baba


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New Year's Divine Discourse


55 New Photos - New Year with Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Photos: Skits by the students of the Sri Sathya Sai University
"Bhaktha Pothana", a skit by students of Brindavan Campus
January 13, 2009


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18 SAI BABA PHOTOS  - Youth from Maharashtra and Goa"...the drama on Netaji Subash Chandra Bose... "

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Saturday, January 31,2009  Celebration of the Chinese New Year at Prasanthi Nilayam

Friday, January 30, 2009

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. Accordingly,


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.

Images: 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 pm.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

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 5.50 pm.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

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



Cultural 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, 2009  This 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

January 27, 2009

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 (Sankranthi)  from Prasanthi Nilayam


Monday, January 26,2009 Cultural Programme by Youth from Krishna District, Photos below



Monday, January 26,2009 Cultural Programme by Youth from Krishna District, A.P.Speech and 'Krishnaatharangalu', a Skit, photo slide show form 26th Jan. above

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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.

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Sai Baba theme Chinese Happy New Year greeting cards


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

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.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

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 Bhajan session.

Shirdi Sai wallpaper & story of Moolay Shastri of Nasik from the book Shri Sai Satcharitra : "Take some Geru (i.e. a red miry substance, to dye clothes in saffron-colour), we shall today don saffron-coloured cloth...

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 2009..."   Read More...>> including Excerpts from today's divine discourse


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Jan 2009_sai_baba_daily_darshan_updates_ photos

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

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 characters.

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.

- Latest Q & A withProfessor Anil Kumar

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_2009_hill_view_stadium Prasanthi Bulletin - Darshan News

Sunday, January 11,2009  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 >>>

Friday, January 9, 2009

Footloose in Prashanti Nilayam Township

[Also Read Drawn by Love]

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.

We 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 (TEA). 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 look:

Sathya Sai Baba in Car, Prashanti Nilayam Township

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!

Following Sathya Sai Baba in Car, Prashanti Nilayam Township

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…

Crowd looking after Sathya Sai Baba passes in Car, Prashanti Nilayam Township

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 Ganesh Gate:

Crowd leaving Ashram at the Ganesh Gate,  Prashanti Nilayam

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:

Billboard with Sathya Sai Baba at Bus Station, Prashanti Nilayam Township

I thought I’d take a photo of the Bus Station frontage, whilst I was passing by:

Bus Station Frontage,  Prashanti Nilayam Township

I turned and took a few photos looking down Main Road, Prashanti Nilayam:

View of Main Road, Prashanti Nilayam Township

As I walk up over the crest, the Vidya Giri Arch is seen:

Vidya Giri Arch, Prashanti Nilayam Township

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:

Sarva Dharma Archway, Entrance to Prashanti Nilayam Township

That’s the Sarva Dharma Archway, the entrance to Prashanti Nilayam Township. You’ll see a lot more of those angels in the Darshan Hall.

So walking down the slight grade towards the entryway to Chaitanya Jyothi Museum, I encounter a suprise, walking very quickly…

Sathya Gita, on a morning walk

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:

Sathya Gita, on a morning walk

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 back!

Sathya Geeta, on a morning walk

Sweet little thing; some ladies walking in the other direction reached out and Gita swung a trunk to touch their hands!

Sathya Geeta, on a morning walk

Now then, where is the Lord? Well, the crowd said it all:

Entrance to Chaitanya Jyothi Museum, Prashanti Nilayam Township

Somewhere behind that gate!!!

Crowd at entrance to Chaitanya Jyothi Museum, Prashanti Nilayam Township

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,

Escort for Sathya Sai Baba, departing Hillview Stadium

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 …

Escorting Sathya Sai Baba, Main Road, Prashanti Nilayam Township

Run backwards a bit more and the scudding clouds clear and the sun, the blessed sun comes out!!!

Sathya Geeta, on a morning walk

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…

Sathya Geeta, on a morning walk

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:

Darshan Crowd at the entrance to General Hospital, Prashanti Nilayam

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 …

Crowd follows Sathya Sai Baba into Prashanti Nilayam Township

Sai Ram from a sunny Prashanti Nilayam.

[Also Read Drawn by Love]

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 ma
Join group saibabaofindia - "SBOI" Be a part of a growing Sai online communityde 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 slowly.

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 estate.

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:

Front Wall of Kannam Lakshminarayana Rao's home

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.

Site View of Kannam Lakshminarayana Rao's home

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?

View of Siva temple adjacent to Kannam Lakshminarayana Rao's home

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.

Site View of the remains of Kannam Lakshminarayana Rao's home

This will be directly adjacent to the Siva Temple. top

Site View of Siva Temple adjacent Kannam Lakshminarayana Rao's home

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 villagers.

View of old Puttaparthi Village.







Wednesday, January 7,2009    


 Kia Ora from New Sailand!
(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. top

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. top

Karanga Mai,
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 powerful.

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 learn.

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
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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.

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.

So it was Kia Ora from New Sailand!top


Car Darshan

Preparations and rehearsals are in train for the Sports and Cultural Meet on Sunday. It would seem Swami is visiting daily, so I took the option of waiting for Car Darshan this morning.

Main Road is cleared as the Police prepare for Swami to come in the car

Main Road is cleared as the Police prepare for Swami to come in the car

Swami’s car emerges from the Gopuram Gate

Swami's car emerges from the Gopuram Gate

The driver appears to be pointing something out  top

The driver appears to be pointing something out

The Police escorts lead the way

The Police escorts lead the way

Swami in the front seat, looking forward

click on photo to enlarge "Car Darshan-6th Jan"

Crowd follows Swami along Main Road  top

Crowds follow Swami along Main Road

The Lord Sai Returns!

The Lord Sai returns!

Police lead the way down Main Road, Puttaparthi  top

Police lead the way down Main Road, Puttaparthi

Seva Dals accompanying the Lord, doing their seva

Seva Dals accompanying the Lord, doing their seva

Procession returns to Prashanti Nilayam…

Procession returns to Prashanti Nilayam...

For a full size photo of Bhagavan Baba in the front seat of the car, click here (opens in new window).


God bless the security detail…   top



They do their job so well … 



Devi and the Feminine

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; silence prevailed.

The New 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
Shaktirupena Samsthita
Namastasyei Namastasyei
Namastasyei Namo Namaha
Salutations to the Goddess who manifests as power in all beings 

The next banner on that side had an illustration of Rani Lakshmibai on a horse, and  

Yaa Devi Sarva Bhuteshu
Shaktirupena Samsthita
Namastasyei Namastasyei
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
Bhaktirupena Samsthita
Namastasyei Namastasyei
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
tyaggarupena Samsthita
Namastasyei Namastasyei
Namastasyei Namo Namaha
Salutations to the Goddess who manifests as sacrifice and penance in all beings

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
Bhaktirupena Samsthita
Namastasyei Namastasyei
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:


Monday, January 5, 2009

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.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

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.
Click here to read 4th Jan. Darshan account by Sai devotee "The Olympic Sprint" Photos Below

Orchestra by Sri Neeladri Kumar and accompanists, Music Programme by Youth

January 03 & 04, 2008

Saturday, January 3, 2009

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.

Friday, January 2, 2009

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.

Cultural Programme by Youth from Maharashtra & Goa
Torch Procession and 'Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose', a Skit

January 02, 2008

New_year_with_sai_baba_2009Thursday, January 1, 2009

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 which 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.

Photos: New year Celebrations - January 01 , 2009: Morning

Procession, Alumni Band, Music & Dance Programme

Prasadam was distributed, and Swami accepted Arati at 7.45 before returning to His residence.


Photos: Student Band, Music Programme, Divine Discourse

January 01 , 2009: Evening

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