Sankranthi is the day on which the sun moves into the region of
the zodiac sign Capricorn, and marks the migration of the sun towards
the northern horizon. This movement of the sun is held to be of
great spiritual significance in the scriptures. It is also the time
when farmers rejoice after the toils of the year result in a bountiful
harvest in the fields, and is celebrated all over the country. Indeed,
the harvest festival is common to many cultures all over the world
and is an occasion of joyful celebration and warm conviviality.
In Prasanthi Nilayam, the festival coincides with the valedictory
function of the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet of Bhagawan’s
educational institutions, when the prizewinners of the various events
and competitions held during the year are felicitated.
the morning of 14th January, Bhagawan entered the Sai Kulwant Hall
in a procession led by captains of the various sports teams of Sri
Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning and by the brass bands of
the Anantapur and Prasanthi Nilayam campuses of the Institute. After
Bhagawan ascended the dais, the programme commenced with a talk
by Sri S.V. Giri, the Vice-Chancellor of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute
of Higher Learning, who congratulated the students for their splendid
performance during the Inaugural ceremony of the Sports and Cultural
Meet – 2005, that was held on January 11th at the Sri Sathya
Sai Hill View stadium. The speaker commented that the broad spectrum
of events that were witnessed that day, ranging from the artistic
to the adventurous, were a testimony to the wonders that can be
achieved under Divine guidance. He said that the sports meet, that
may appear as a mere physical activity to many, is imbued with a
deep spiritual significance. The weeks of practice that precede
the programme bring about concentration of the mind, which can then
be chanelled towards spiritual pursuits during the auspicious period
of Uttarayana that follows the Makara Sankranthi festival. He also
revealed to the students how much concern Bhagawan had been evincing
regarding the safety and welfare of the students during the practice
talk by Sri S.V. Giri was followed by speeches by two students of
the Institute, Kum. E. Thomas of the Anantapur Campus and Sri Arvind
Balasubramaniam of the Prasanthi Nilayam campus. The first speaker
viewed the annual sports meet as a time when one absorbs everlasting
lessons of endurance and fortitude. She said that the eagerness
to please Bhagawan transforms even the most timid of individuals
into brave lions on the grounds of the Hill View stadium on January
11th. The next speaker, Sri Arvind, said that there is only one
objective to the sports meet, indeed of every activity the students
undertake, and that is to bring a smile on Bhagawan’s face.
He related an incident that took place a few months ago during one
of the presentations put up by students in Bhagawan’s presence
at the Sai Kulwant Hall. After the presentation, as Bhagawan was
blessing the participants, he materialized a chain for one of the
students who played the role of King Parikshit. In the scene, King
Parikshit gets separated from his party while hunting in the forest
and after hours of roaming in the forest is tortured by thirst.
This role was only a minor one in the presentation, and the speaker
wondered what was it about the performance that had pleased Bhagawan.
It was only later that he came to know that the student had kept
off water for one full day so that he could give a convincing performance
of a thirsty man in front of Bhagawan. This instance, the speaker
observed, was an example of the love and the spirit of sacrifice
that Bhagawan inspires in His students.
the talks by the students, Bhagawan presented trophies to the captains
of the various campuses of His educational institutions and to the
children of the “Deena Janoddharana Pathakamu”, the
scheme set up by Bhagawan for destitute children belonging to the
weaker sections of society.
then granted His Divine Discourse, which He began by describing
the beauty of the festivities associated with Makara Sankranthi.
He said that the festival of Sankranthi brings joy to man and Nature
alike. But man today has forgotten that the fount of all happiness
and peace lies within him and so seeks it in the outside world and
thus brings sorrow upon himself. The term “Kranthi”
signifies change, and so the festival reminds man that he must change
his outlook and turn his vision inwards. Referring to the recent
Tsunami disaster that caused devastation in many countries in South
Asia, Bhagawan said that such disasters are wrought about by man
upon himself and are a direct result of his impure thoughts and
actions. Man must develop the forbearance to ford over the difficulties
and disappointments that life presents us with, and realise his
true nature as being one of unceasing bliss.
Bhagawan concluded His Discourse with the Bhajan, “Hari Bhajan
Bina …” and after accepting arati retired to His residence.
the evening at 5.00 p.m., at the Poornachandra Auditorium, the students
of Sri Sathya Sai Primary School presented a drama entitled “Sai
Bhagavatam” which depicted many episodes from Bhagawan’s
childhood and how three small wishes of Mother Easwaramma for improving
the living conditions of the residents of Puttaparthi have taken
the form of the Drinking Water Supply Projects, the educational
institutions, and the super-speciality hospitals that today benefit
millions of people. The presentation was quite innovative with the
use of a projector to project appropriate backdrops for the scenes.
At the end of the programme Bhagawan blessed all the participants
and accepted arati, and with this the Sankranthi celebrations drew
to a close.
– Drama presented by Brindavan Campus: 13th January:
evening of 13th January, the students of the Brindavan campus of
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning presented a play titled
“Annamacharya” based on the life of Annamayya, the musician
saint of Andhra Pradesh. Annamayya was born in 1424 A.D. in Tallapaaka
village in Cuddapah district of
Pradesh. He was rescued from the snares of worldly life by Lord
Venkateswara (one of the forms of Lord Vishnu), who appeared to
Annamayya in the form of a sanyasi (a renunciant) and weaned him
away from a life of sensual pleasure to the worship of the beautiful
form of the Lord enshrined in the Sri Venkateswara temple at Tirupati.
He was initiated into Nadopasana (worship of the Lord through devotional
music) by none other than Sage Narada himself. During his lifetime,
Annamayya composed around 32,000 kirtanas (devotional songs) that
are popular even to this day. He merged in the Lotus Feet of the
Lord in 1503 A.D.
magnificent backdrops, elaborate costumes and scintillating music
and dances, the drama surcharged the atmosphere with feelings of
towards the Lord who was then worshipped by Sri Annamacharya as
Lord Venkateswara and today is worshipped by millions all over the
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. At the conclusion of the programme,
Bhagawan profusely blessed the students and stood for photographs
with them and after arati retired to the Poornachandra residence.
Jai Sai Ram!