1 January, 2008 – New Year Day Celebrations
The New Year 2008 began on a beautiful note in Prasanthi Nilayam. In the
last few years, the New Year Day programme has been given by Bhagavan to the
former students of His University. It is such a wonderful opportunity for
all the students that the Lord wishes to begin His New Year with them. What
more can be said of Swami's love for the students! As He Himself has said so
many times, "Students are my only property." It is not that the Sai students
are very special and therefore receive so much love from Swami. In fact, it
is because they receive His Love in such abundance that they are a class
apart. Like the thousands of zeroes that have no value if the "1" is
removed, Swami gives all the value in their lives and they know that. So
they take up the first day of the year to express their profound sense of
gratitude to Him who means everything to them.
All the students were seated in the marble blocks in front of the stage.
Swami came to Sai Kulwant Hall in His chair at 8.45 am in a procession led
by the Students chanting Vedam, with traditional fans and an umbrella as
paraphernalia to adorn and worship the Lord.
There was a surge of joy throughout the hall and seeing
Swami in His beautiful form on the first day of the year was such a
blessing. Swami went around the hall in the chair granting his Darshan to
the adoring thousands seated there. In the veranda were beautiful,
multi-coloured cakes. Swami went first up to them and after lighting the
candles on them, gently sliced each one to the delight of everyone around.
After Swami came onstage, the Vedam continued for a few minutes. Swami then
signaled the University Brass Band to play a few pieces. The brass band
began with a bang - a grand way to welcome the year. The synchronisation,
harmony and power were so scintillating. Notable among the pieces played
were “La Bamba” and the famous "Love Story" piece. After three pieces, Swami
asked whether it was complete. The band leader then requested Swami if they
could play one more and Swami consented with a smile.
After that Swami beckoned Prof. G. Venkataraman to speak. He welcomed the
alumni and described them as the hope for a troubled world. And then went on
emphatically state that Swami's message was the only solution for all the
worries that plague the modern world. Sri A. V. Gokak, the current
Vice-Chancellor was the next to speak. His talk centered on the
transformational work done by the Sai Students.
After this, Swami threw up a most wonderful surprise!
He called one of the students who had formerly been a band leader and
said, "Ay, band leader. Will you speak?"
The boy was delighted at the opportunity. He came up
straight and began extempore. He said whenever Swami calls anyone to speak,
one need not be nervous for two reasons:
1) It is like opening one's heart to Swami.
2) Though one has to face the entire world while doing so, Swami is always
on one's side.
He then went on
to recollect a few of his sweet experiences while he was a student and ended
on a note oozing with gratitude for Swami. The loving Lord then materialized
a gold chain for him. As Swami slowly put it around his neck, the boy got
the great blessing of almost resting his head on his divine mother's lap.
After the speeches concluded at 10.10, Bhagavan asked the students to
commence their music programme. As the songs began, Swami beckoned the
alumni holding up cakes right in front of Him.
The cakes were
all massive in size. Swami lovingly lit the candle atop each cake and then
cut them too. In the process, a little icing got on to His palms and hands.
The 'icing' must have been thrilled to stay on something that was sweeter
than itself! Swami, again with a smile, took His kerchief and wiped away the
After a few songs, the alumni presented a song taught to them by Swami for
Ugadi in 1985. At that time Swami was browsing through a book that the
alumni had released on the occasion. The song progressed and Swami looked up
at the students singing. His eyes made a quick scan of everyone seated. One
does not know whether the Lord too, like humans, feels nostalgic. But it
sure seemed like Swami was remembering the time when He had actually taught
the song to them. As that song concluded, it was already nearing eleven
o'clock. Bhagavan said that He would see the other part of the programme in
the evening and next blessed the prasadam to be distributed to all. He then
accepted Arati and returned to His residence.
In the afternoon, Bhagavan arrived in His car at 4.45 pm. On coming to the
stage after a round of the Hall, He noticed the bright coloured Bhangra
dance group of the Sai Students. He called them and permitted them to start
their programme. The dance group was actually not part of the original plan
of New Year Day celebrations. But the alumni had picked up a few very basic
steps in two days and put it up. This once again highlighted the motherly
Love that Swami feels for His students. Truly, just like a mother who sits
appreciating her child mumbling some nursery rhymes, Swami sat watching as
the dancers tried to get some semblance of coordination! To top it all, at
the end of their 'performance', Swami asked, "Is it over already?" There was
loud laughter everywhere and Swami lovingly blessed the 'dancers' and even
spoke to many of them.
prepared by the alumni was the next item, performing from the centre of the
Hall with loudspeakers facing Bhagavan who was seated onstage. The most
memorable piece they played was the one from the famous album, "Vishwa
Vinayaka". After the band, the alumni seated began to speak. Short speeches
followed, recollecting the golden years the students had spent with their
recollections of the special things that Swami had done for each student and
continues to do so daily in their lives. All of a sudden, Swami asked for
the programme to be stopped. Swami then asked for the microphone and
prepared to get up to speak. Immediately everyone realized the magnitude of
His magnanimity in deciding to speak to them spontaneously of His own
volition. Listening to the pleas of the students, He decided to remain
seated and spoke for an hour.
The sun appears serene and peaceful. The days
have become shorter, and the cool wind is blowing. The fields are ripe with
golden crops. Marigold flowers are blossoming like garlands of pearls on the
banks of rivers. The farmers are rejoicing and singing. The sweet festival
of Sankranti comes in the month of Pushya (a month in Indian calendar),
filling our homes with the newly harvested grain. (Telugu Poem)
Man needs several objects in this world; yet, none of them is permanent. All
are like passing clouds. What you think permanent in this world is, in fact,
impermanent. Hence, one has to strive to achieve that which is permanent,
real and eternal.
The Bhagavad Gita declares, "Mamaivamso Jivaloke Jivabhuta Sanathana"
(the eternal Atma in all beings is a part of My Being). I am
in you, with you, around you, above you, below you. There is no place in
this Universe where God is not present. Similarly, there is no name or
object that does not belong to Him. The Upanishads proclaim the same truth
in the declarations, "Easwara Sarva Bhutanam"(God is the Indweller of all
beings) and "Isavasyam Idam Sarvam" (the entire universe is permeated by
God). Unable to realise this truth, a human being laments, "Wherever I see,
I find only human beings; I am not able to find God". "Yad Bhavam Tad
Bhavathi" (as the feelings, so are the results). Suppose you wear a
particular dress and stand before a mirror, you will find the same
reflection in the mirror. Similarly, your own thoughts and feelings reflect
in the outside world. Everything is reaction, reflection, and resound. Your
own life style is reflected in the outside world. Whatever you speak comes
back to you as a reply. But people think that it is someone else who is
speaking these words. This is the truth. However, different people explain
this truth in different ways in keeping with the aphorism, "Ekam Sath Viprah
Bahudha Vadanti" (truth is one, but the wise refer to it by various names).
Every form you see in the outside world is in fact your own reflection.
Several thousand people are gathered in this hall. But there is only one
heart in all of them — that is, the spiritual heart. I am not referring to
the physical heart. Unfortunately, people are unable to repose their faith
in this spiritual heart, in spite of their best education. You are all
educated, well educated.
In spite of education and intelligence, a foolish person will not know
their true Self and a mean-minded person will not give up their evil
qualities. (Telugu Poem)
(Addressing the old students) when do you propose to
leave for your places? Wherever you go, Swami's grace is with you in
abundance. I will distribute prasadam to you all tomorrow. May you all
return to your places with joyous memories of this divine congregation.
Swami then received Aarthi and retired for the day.
4 January 2008 – Maharashtra and Goa Youth
Present Music and Dance Programmes
The schedule of youth arrival in the new year began with youth from Mumbai -
the "stomach" of India as Swami had once alluded to it and youth from Goa.
The whole of Kulwant Hall seemed to wear orange scarves. Swami had consented
for a three day programme schedule that they had come prepared with. These
days, the way Swami smilingly consents to every devotee's requests for
programmes, one is reminded of Swami's statement, "Saiki sarvam yes,
yes, yes.(For Swami everything is yes, yes, yes.)" No Avatar in the
history of this universe would have seen more programmes than the current
Sathya Sai. He seems to find new joy every moment, every programme. He knows
only involvement and inclusion. Living every moment to its fullest or as
some people call it, "realizing the power of Now" - one gets a feeling of
what it is by just seeing Swami.
At about 4:30pm, Swami came out for darshan. He went all around and one
could see the enthusiasm and joy that a mere glimpse of Him was conferring
on all assembled. He alighted in the portico and went into the interview
room. After a short while, He came and sat outside and asked for the
programme to begin. Right in the beginning, as is the Puttaparthi
"tradition'', many members of the youth came up to Swami and offered Him
roses and cards and booklets.
There was first a procession that symbolically offered prostrations from the
different districts of Maharashtra and Goa at His feet. Youth members
holding up boards marched before Swami and bowed down to Him.
After the procession, the choir struck up the right chords. It was an
offering of songs in choir style! The background tunes and music had been
pre-recorded but the singing was live and lively too. They sang about 5-6
songs and Swami kept beat for most of them. The songs were in varied tunes
and had different beats and tempos. The songs concluded and the next part of
the programme was a small dance by tribals from one of the remotest corners
of the state, where "even sunlight found it hard to reach" as the organisers
claimed! With three drums providing both the rhythm and tune, the dancers
began. They danced in circles and it was an energy filled 10 minute session.
Swami blessed them as they lay prostrate at the end of their dance. The next
was a special kind of "Aarthi" typical to temples in Goa. It began with a
song in which all the participants got very energetically involved. Some
played customary drums while others played custom-made drums. There were
also cymbals and drums played with sticks.
Then as that concluded, the "choir" continued. That concluded and then Swami
was requested whether "chain" bhajans could be sung. "Chain bhajans" is a
style of singing wherein there is no gap between bhajans. The bhajans of
similar tunes and beats are stiched almost seamlessly so that it appears
like one long bhajan sung in glory of all the Gods. The transitions are so
smooth and nice that it almost appears like the shades of the sky in a
painting or in real life itself! The whole audience joined in this novel
singing style and all were very happy and clapping. Swami too sat enjoying
the session. After that concluded, Swami asked for Aarthi. Then He retired
for the day.
5 January , 2008 – USA and Mumbai Youth
Swami had permitted multiple programs on January 5. One was a group from
USA, another was by the Ladies Wing of the youth group from Maharashtra and
Goa and the third was by singers from Mumbai. He arrived at about 4:30 pm,
completed a full darshan round and then sat on stage. The devotees from USA
were the first to get the chance to perform. Their musical presentation on
Unity of Faiths got underway in five minutes. They went through the songs
representing all the major religions of the world.
After listening to them for twenty minutes, Bhagavan asked for the next
programme to commence. The Ladies wing of the youth began a presentation on
the life of Meerabai. The great saint’s story was narrated in dialogue form
with no acting involved. But all throughout, there was a screen that was put
up next to Swami to depict the various stages and incidents in the life of
Meerabai. Swami sat for about half an hour and then told them to just sing
the songs without the commentary in between as there were some more people
wanting to put up a programme.
Swami never disappoints anyone. He is the most practical and yet whenever He
tells someone to stop or cut short a part of their programme, the sweet
manner in which He says itself brings a smile on the faces of everyone. And
then, the lovable and sensitive Sai did something that thrilled all the
girls. He first blessed Sri Raviraj Nasery who was to perform next. As He
went back and taking position on the stage, He told the girls to quickly
sing another song! How overjoyed were they! They sang one more and the
volume now had gone up a few decibels. Sri Raviraj Nasery and party then
presented a couple of devotional songs, which were very lively. Everyone was
clapping in rhythm as Bhagavan accepted Arati at ten minutes past six and
retired for the day.
11 January, 2008 – Annual Sports Meet of the
Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions
Even the sun seemed to rise early with all vigour on January 11! Before 7
am, a beautiful golden hue enveloped Puttaparthi. The Vidyagiri stadium wore
a festive look. People began filing into the venue for the 2008 Sports and
Cultural Meet in thousands. The Sports Meet is a wonderful conglomeration of
feelings, actions and thoughts. For the students, it is an opportunity to
please their dear Swami and dedicate the day specially for Him. For the
parents, it’s a time when their chests swell with pride watching their
children's capabilities on display. For thousands of devotees, it’s an
opportunity to witness another facet of the unique love-story between the
Lord and students. For the thousands of villagers, living in and around
Puttaparthi, it is the same as the Olympics are for the so-called
"developed" world - a venue to make them gape in awe and wonder.
The stadium seemed painted in millions of colours as the galleries filled up
much before Swami's arrival at 8:10 am. Swami too resembled the golden sun
in His Golden Yellow Robe! A thrill of joy seemed to pulsate through the
entire audience even with the mere sight of their "Bangaru" in the
covertable car. The welcome song went on the air and the brass bands from
the Anantapur and Prashanti Nilayam campuses struck the right chords. The
zoom bikes thundered down the road powerfully heralding Bhagavan's arrival.
The motorcycle escorts going wheel to wheel in front of the majestic horse
escorts was a sight to see. An arch of flags was formed through which
Swami's car passed and reached the dais.
Swami alighted and went onto the lift; and now, any little difference that
existed between the rising golden sun and Swami was gone, as Swami slowly
rose up much to the gleeful delight of all the assembled devotees. As Swami
came on stage, He lit the lamp and thereby opening the Sports and Cultural
Meet. Then He went and took His position in the centre of the stage (similar
to always being in the centre of our hearts!).
The introductory offerings were made to Swami as the band struck up a lively
marching beat and the parade began.
First it was the tiny tots from the Primary school right in the front.
They were followed by the marching squads from the Higher Secondary School
and the three campuses of the Institute at Anantapur.
Then, Brindavan and Prashanti Nilayam. The closing was by a special Athletic
The Sports Meet gains significance for one very special reason. A few days
after the Sports Meet, on the 14th or 15th (depending on the calendar) is
Sankranthi when the sun begins the Uttarayanam (the northward movement).
This is a very auspicious day and the sun moving northwards is symbolic of
the mind and heart of man moving towards God. The legendary Bheeshma, the
grandsire from the epic Mahabharata, who had the boon to live as long as he
wanted and could give up his body at will, too waited for the northward
movement of the sun on a bed of arrows before giving up his body. He was
assured mergence with the Lord. That is the powerful significance of the
day. In ancient India, the period of a month or so before that day would be
spent entirely in the contemplation of the Lord. However, in the current
times, when it is so tough to keep the mind from wandering, Swami has, in
all His Love and Wisdom, designed the Sports Meet. Every student of His
participates in the Meet and for a month or so preceding the Sankranthi day
thinks of only one thing - to make Him happy. Swami occupies the time,
energies and thoughts of the students and everyone naturally benefits at the
occurrence of the auspicious moment. It is little wonder that once one is at
His lotus Feet, his/her spiritual welfare is completely taken care of.
After the march past was complete, if one allowed one's eyes to sweep across
the ground, one would get swept off one's feet! It was such an awe inspiring
and lovely sight to see all the squads arrayed in the ground. It literally
brought to mind the simile of His armies set to conquer the world.
The oath was rendered where each child promised to his/her Beloved Lord that
they would forever live with the spirit that He has taught. The flag was
brought in the ceremonial march and Swami pressed the button that raised the
University flag high on the flagpole. He, then, lit the torch with the flame
which would adorn the stadium throughout the day. Releasing pigeons and
balloons to mark the occasion, Swami participated in and added colour and
festivity to the day. The flame was taken around the stadium and midway up
the hill by the students who had distinguished themselves as sportsmen in
their respective campuses. From there on, the torch vehicle, a flying
unicorn this time, carried the flame to the top of the hill. There was
applause as the flame burst forth on top of the hill. As a conclusion to the
opening ceremonies, the brass bands from Anantapur and Prashanthi Nilayam
played brisk marches as they moved in front of the dais saluting the
Then the campus presentations began. The first was by the Anantapur campus
and representatives from that campus came up on stage to offer their
salutations and gratitude to Swami. The Anantapur display began at 8.45 am
with graceful group dancing followed by a Far-Eastern group item with
parasols and hand-fans. A sports medley followed, presenting hockey, tennis
and volleyball movements in formation. Motorbike stunts were the next item,
including criss-crosses, various poses on bikes, a breath-taking ramp-jump
over 20 girls and a human pyramid of 38 girls on 9 bikes.
The ramp jump seemed to touch Swami a lot and He made some observations
about it to the people sitting beside Him. The bikes kept zooming across the
ground with the riders and others in various poses and each of these stunts
received applause from the audience - both onstage and off it. The
Anantapur students concluded their half-hour presentation forming the words
"We Love U" in a group formation as their theme song was played. They joined
in the singing and signed off in devotion with Swami blessing them with the
The Brindavan students then began with an equestrian show-jumping
demonstration. A marching band presentation brought up a display of rolling
in steel hoops and an aerobics exhibition. A sort of timber-drill was the
next item, with planks of wood being used in imaginative ways to aid
acrobatic feats. The Celestial Rhythms then began with the spelling out of
“We Love You" in a grid of students suspended by a crane 82 feet above the
ground. The students made a number of formations and looked scintillating
with the blue sky as the background. As the Brindavan presentation
concluded, Bhagavan accepted Arati onstage and returned to the Mandir at 10
o'clock, while an announcement was made about the afternoon presentations.
Swami graciously granted group photographs to the Band groups of Anantapur
and Prasanthi Nilayam and also the motorcycle escorts before He went into
Yajur Mandir. He was full of sweet smiles and seemed eager to grant all the
In the afternoon, Bhagavan arrived at 3.25 pm in a maroon robe riding in His
Mercedes sports convertible. On the Sports day, seeing the "sporty" Swami,
one was reminded of Swami's saying, "Among men, I am a man, among women a
woman, a child among children - alone I am God." In the sportsfield, He is
the most sportive and a sportsman! As He reached the stage, tiny tots from
the Primary School brought up bouquets to Him and began the afternoon's
The hour-long Primary School presentation was a joyful riot of colour as
usual, beginning with a group dance by the young girls from the primary
school, in colourful costumes. Followed by this came the boys dressed as
‘Bal Ganeshas’ which were interspersed with bears and tiny birds too. A
classical mass-dance, hand-fans and flowers formations, gymnastics, mass
flower-dance, dance by small girls with white wings, and Mexican poncho
dance followed in quick succession. Children dressed as deer, tigers,
bunnies and monkeys performed various gymnastic feats on mats, ropes and
Their elder brothers and sisters may do motorbike stunts, but the bicycle
stunts by the Primary School boys were just as eye-catching. Unicycle stunts
were creative and even a basketball match was played on unicycles. It was
really a fantastic feat as the children kept their balance and did not miss
pouching even a single basket! Then a rainbow dance brought a grander splash
of colours on field and led to their final dance which had balancing items
on their heads and paying tribute to Bhagavan, the Light of Lights.
The students of the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School and the Prasanthi
Nilayam campus of Sri Sathya Sai University began their hour-long
performance at 4.30 pm with a striking mass item with classical dancers in
the foreground and patterns made from colourful foldable discs forming a
context for Krishna's beautiful Leelas - "Adharam Madhuram...". The item was
aptly named, "The conscious dots" and resembled a giant screen where each
pixel performed its role to perfection to present a beautiful picture on the
whole. This concluded with a formation of a throbbing heart beating for
Gymnasts on moving trucks then presented balancing feats with giant flags on
equally gigantic poles - fifty feet high. Some of them balanced the poles on
their elbows while others did it in their mouths! Gymnastic feats including
jumps over vehicles and acrobatics on moving trucks led to a breathtaking
display on ropes. The rope-acrobats, depicted a creative "free-fall" of
sorts with the rope wound around them and the highlight of that item was a
spectacular spin by a student on a rope suspended more than 20 feet above
the ground with absolutely no safety link around him. He later came up on
stage and presented a rose to Swami.
The rope structure was also used as a trapeze stage, as roller-bladers
scintillated on the ground below, ending their dramatic show with a series
of jumps over a van. A precision gun drill with amazing synchronization was
followed by a karate display which featured breaking tiles and pots, and
also mass nanchak and stick displays.
As the Prasanthi Nilayam campus came together for their final song, Bhagavan
expressed how pleased He was at His students' performance and profusely
blessed them before leaving for His residence. He also got it announced that
the next day, the students of Parthi campus would be putting up a drama on
the devotion of Hanuman at 5 pm in the Sai Kulwant Hall.
12 January, 2008 – The Drama “Veer Anjaneeyam”
by Students of the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus
January 12 was a day of frantic and intense activity for all in the
Prasanthi Nilayam campus of the Institute as Swami had advanced the drama by
three days and everything had to be readied for the drama in the evening.
From 12:00 pm itself the Mandir had become a hub of activity and the stage
was being set. This time, as Swami had asked for the previous year, the
stage was set facing the audience so that all would be able to view the
drama. Swami's position was towards the end of the first marble block.
Swami came out at about 4:50 pm after making enquiries as to whether
everything was in readiness for the drama to be enacted. He came on the
chair and all were happy at this close darshan. The crowds were swelling and
since the stage orientation had changed, the people on the gents side were
so seated that Swami had little place to navigate for the darshan rounds
too. Swami came straight to the place designated for Him. He did not seem to
like the idea of Him sitting in the centre, away from everyone. He got His
chair moved to where the other chairs had been placed towards the gents side
of Sai Kulwant Hall. The stage and sets were in their barest state of
readiness. But when Swami wants a programme, everything seems to come in
There is such a beautiful message in this for all. However the programme may
be, Swami decides to be happy and He is happy. That is the secret He says
quite often in His discourses. Choose to be happy and that’s what you will
be. Instead we seem to be choosing to be unhappy and we blame everyone and
everything around as the cause for it. It is no coincidence that we feel
that once Swami decides to be happy with a programme, everything always goes
on well. Swami says that this holds good with everyone of us too. If we
sincerely decide that something is good and feel it that way, it turns out
to be good.
Returning to the drama, the programme began formally as Hanuman, Rama,
Lakshmana and Vibheeshana came forward and offered their salutations via
roses to Swami.
The opening scene was a meeting between the celestial sage Narada and the
celebrated saint, Tulsidas. Tulsidas is wondering as to whom he should
choose to depict as the ideal devotee of the Lord as an example for the
youth. Narada hints at Hanuman and Tulsi is excited and pleased at the idea.
The narrative begins at the court of the monkey king Sugriva. He is holding
a meeting to discuss the entry of two strangers. Hanuman volunteers to go to
do the "espionage" work. In the guise of a brahmin, he approaches
the strangers and then begins the beautiful conversation full of subtle
hints and puns.
When he comes to know he is face to face with Rama, he falls at His feet in
tears. This is the beginning of the immortal love and devotion of Hanuman to
Rama entrusts the ring to be handed over to Sita to Hanuman. Hanuman lives
up to the Lord's trust and also succeeds in sending a powerful warning to
the demon Ravana of the impending doom. The verbal volleys between Ravana
and Hanuman were beautifully captured in Telugu poems and they won Swami's
and the crowd's appreciation. The drama moved into the most moving portion
where Rama and Hanuman meet after the successful return of Hanuman from
Lanka. It concluded with the coronation of Rama where Hanuman is gifted a
pearl necklace by Sita. He breaks it and bites each pearl to see if it has
the Rama Naama in it. When people in the court ask him as to how he could
accept a body that does not have Rama's name, he just closes his eyes and
every fibre of his body resounds with Rama's name.
Swami was absorbed seeing the drama. Especially whenever there was a loving
exchange between Hanuman and Rama, Swami appeared very touched. Whenever we
see the Lord showering His love and giving Himself completely to His
devotee, tears well up. The same happens to the Lord to when He sees the
devotee showering his love and giving himself completely to God. It was
really an uplifting experience to watch the beautiful drama in Swami's
As the drama concluded with a beautiful final song and all the boys came
into the final formation, Swami said that He would walk up to them and gift
them with photos. Before that, He asked as to who had scripted the drama.
The script writer came out of the background. Swami materialized a gold
chain for Him and put it around his neck. He blessed him and then got up to
go for the photo session. There were the "pearls" that Hanuman had scattered
all over the place. They were cleared as Swami walked up to the waiting
group. Knowing His boys' expectations very well, Swami began to call out the
boys in small groups of 5-6 and gifted them photos. He spoke to many of them
and all were in smiles. He gifted the boy who had acted as Lakshmana in the
royal court with a beautiful ring. The entire photo session itself lasted
almost 15 minutes where Swami thrilled every mind with His presence and
filled every heart with His love.
As prasadam was being distributed, Swami received Aarthi and blessing
everyone, left in the chair itself.
13 January, 2008 – “Kabirdas” Drama by
After the grand drama by the Prasanthi Nilayam students the previous day, it
was the turn of the Brindavan students to fulfill their role in the
"Cultural" part of the Sports and Cultural Meet. Swami had agreed for the
drama, "Kabirdas" to be presented in the Kulwant Hall. The stage settings
had again been reversed from the previous day as the Brindavan campus had
come prepared with very elaborate sets. Swami completed His darshan rounds
and immediately came out and sat on the stage to witness the drama. The
introductory roses and cards were offered and then the drama began as Swami
halted the Veda chanting.
A mention must be made here of the sets and back drops that the Brindavan
boys had made. This fine art seems to be evolving at a very rapid pace each
year. The entire story of Kabirdas was portrayed almost through the grandeur
and glory of the sets. The narrative of the Brindavan Kabirdas drama will
not even be 50% complete without the story of the sets. There were three
magnificent settings. The first was the Hindu temple setting. Two
Gopurams adorned the stage and they had been intricately and
beautifully carved. One housed the lingam. There were pictures of Ganesha
and Krishna also that had been cut out from thermocole. The second major
setting was a mosque setting. The same steps and buildings got transformed
as a few lads came up and turned around a few sheets. The sets were not only
aesthetic but had also been elegantly engineered. The third and the grandest
one was a darbar setting of the badshah (king). The backdrop of the throne
especially was fabulously painted in peacock blues and greens.
The saint Kabirdas, in his own lifetime during the 15th century AD, combined
the best of Hindu, Islamic and Sufi wisdom and created for humanity a
charming tapestry of spiritual gems in the form of the dohas
(couplets). The drama began with the young Kabirdas desperately in search of
a guru. He sings out that with time fleeting and death being the only
certainty, who else but the Guru, could show the right path. Guru Ramaanand
accepts him as a disciple in spite of protests from the other disciples that
Kabir is a Muslim. Very soon, Kabir receives enlightenment and dedicates his
life to the uplift of humanity. The dohas were all beautifully
incorporated to bring out his message. "Chalti Chakki" in which he
says, "Only the one who is centred on God will be saved from the twin stones
of joy and sorrow which relentlessly crush all the grains except those that
are in the centre". This was one powerful message.
Kabirdas underwent many trials and tribulations. Both the Hindus and Muslims
wanted him alone to make a shawl for their respective Lords and attend the
worship which happened to fall on the same day. Working overnight, Kabir
falls asleep without his knowledge and then Lord Rama comes and completes
the work for him! In this way the Lord ensured all were happy. Kabir goes
and attends the Muslim festival. There was next a scene of the Islamic Zikr
which had a vibrant song accompanied by vigorous and elevating dance. It
conveyed the message that Allah is the only refuge for all as all problems
are due to the improper identification of oneself as the ego and not the
soul. The whole scene was so powerful that one could feel the spiritual
vibes wherever one was seated. Next, Kabir also attends the Hindu festival
in the Shiva temple. Once again, the scene matched the previous in the power
and grandeur of the Lord. "Om Maha Praana Deepam" was sung as many
Shivas sprang forth and did the Tandava dance.
Finally Kabir is tested when the Sultan summons him for spreading discord
and gets him whipped. All the while Kabir prays to the Lord to forgive his
oppressors. The lashes suddenly seem to fall on the Sultan and all his
courtiers till they all fall at Kabirdas' feet and seek pardon, which they
receive in no time. The drama ends with Kabir being seated on the royal
throne and singing messages which were similar to the ones that Swami has
always been emphasizing on. The drama had a final qawwali in which the theme
was, "Who can comprehend the mystery, grandeur and greatness of His work."
As the forceful and thrilling qawwali concluded, Swami called 'Kabirdas'
onto the stage and created a gold chain and a ring for him. The boy who
acted as Kabir, concerned about others just like the real Kabir, requested
Swami to bless all the other actors too. Swami gave group photos in small
groups of 5-6 and all were happy. Swami too was beaming and appeared so
happy - and naturally so as He is happy when His children are happy.
All the boys vociferously prayed to Swami to visit Brindavan. Swami said, "I
will come. I will come." He blessed prasadam to be distributed to all and
then left after receiving Aarthi.
14 January, 2008 – Music Program by Students from
The students of the Sri Sathya Sai University, Anantapur Campus, presented a
music concert on 14th January, 2008, in the immediate Divine Physical
Presence of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The programme commenced with a
popular Marathi Abhang, invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesha. The festive
mood of Makara Sankranthi was generated with a Telugu folk song, “Raavamma.”
The audience was impressed on hearing three popular Karnatic pieces and a
Tarana. However, there were also two melodious light songs, involving the
participation of the whole Campus. The programme concluded with Bhagawan
Baba graciously blessing all the students.
15 January, 2008 – Sankranthi Day
moving sun dawned on the glorious day of Sankranthi, January 15. The day is
considered as the day when the sweet fruits of one's patience and
perseverance are rewarded. The great Bheeshmacharya was rewarded with the
highest heavens when he decided to give up his body on this day. For the
students of the Sathya Sai Institutions too, Sankranthi is the day when they
are rewarded by their dear Lord for all the efforts put in during the Sports
and Cultural Meet.
Swami decided to
grant Darshan on the chair itself and He was welcomed by the flag bearers
from the Institute and the brass band. Towards the centre of the hall, the
boys made a canopy of flag salutes and Swami slowly moved through that.
the Darshan rounds, Swami came and took His place in the centre of the
stage. He lit the ceremonial lamp and went over to each of the sides where
all the shields and trophies had been arranged. He let His gaze scan across
the prizes and seemed to charge them with His love before they could be
handed over to the winners.
instructors from all the different campuses came forward and offered roses
and their salutations to Swami. After that, the Vice Chancellor spoke
briefly on the importance of sports in the upkeep of the body to reach its
ultimate goal. After him, Swami blessed Mr. Dileep, a gold medalist and the
script writer of the recently displayed Hanuman drama, to address the august
assembly. The student began on a very confident note. He narrated as to how
it is Swami who does everything including applauding and rewarding the
students - His children - for the efforts He put in. His short and sweet
speech was topped with a loving pat from Swami. Then a thrill of
anticipation ran through the entire hall as Swami sat with a playful smile
on His lips. He rose to speak and all applauded. Given below is an
exhaustive summary of the discourse:
The great king Harishchandra - where is he today?
He had to depart inspite of his vows of truth. Similar was the fate of Nala,
Maandhaatha and Rama. All the great kings had to depart from the earth - no
matter what their greatness. So many others have also come and gone. But you
foolishly think that property and bank balances are permanent. Man was born
silent without shedding tears. (He was made to cry on birth) He should leave
the earth also very joyfully. Do not struggle for the ephemeral objects.
This is not the duty for which man was born. It is the Vyashti (individual)
who determines the Samashti (society). This in turn decides the Srishti
(creation) and all are part of Parameshti (God). But without the individual,
creation loses meaning.
Do you ever cry for God? It is not good to keep
crying for mere clouds. The dark and thick clouds may come but they will
disappear. Sometimes they hide the sun and moon also. At such times, just be
patient. In this land of Bharat, Kshama is our true wealth, the feeling of
Love towards the mother is the sweetest feeling and the character is more
important than life itself. Bharatiyas today are just aping other cultures
and have become like elephants that do not know their own strength. Man is
very powerful. That is why even God takes a Human form when He descends.
It is betrayal if you forget God. Every moment,
think of God. The jobs that you do may differ, but keep the true identity
and your true nature the same. That is divinity. We forget that today and
therefore have a lot of suffering. It is our imagination that is the cause
of all sorrow. God has nothing to do with that. God always confers happiness
See, today you are all wearing black coats over
white shirts. Seeing that, Anil Kumar here thinks that I will also do the
same as all are doing. So he came dressed the same way. The whole world is
engaged in the copying game today. It is not correct. This will give only
momentary happiness. None can carry back even a single coin that he has with
him here. All the emperors too went empty handed. So as long as an object
exists, experience and enjoy it. After that there is nothing. All the
intimacy that you experience is all of your making. Enjoy it as long as it
lasts. Life is full of Joy. And Joy is not just that ice cream! It is in the
heart. Keep it there and keep relishing it always. We celebrate birth and
mourn death. Never do that. Let any difficulty come, keep telling yourself,
"I am a spark of the divine. I will not shed a tear." By practise, you will
get that. Concentration and contemplation will give you the strength to
A person is single till marriage. Then he gets
four legs. After the first child it becomes six legs. As the legs increase,
the misery also increases. And all the sorrow is due to your own weaknesses
and mad thoughts. To avoid misery, keep telling yourself, "Whatever I get is
for my own good." Yesterday, today and tomorrow are all one. Today is the
yesterday for tomorrow. Past is past. Future is uncertain. The present is
the omnipresent and it includes all the three in it.
Students, all that you experience is untruth.
Don't worry. You have moved forward already and then why do you look back.
Some people feel very sad - not only in matters of the studies but in life
in general also. They worry that he / she was there before and is not there
now. They are there for all time. Only the fashions keep changing. From
today, think that the New Year has begun. The old becomes new every moment.
Don't worry or be afraid of anything. Do not anticipate worries. It is only
courage that can achieve anything. If you lose it, you lose everything else.
Courage is the Pushti (strength) that is responsible for Srishti (creation).
Do not search outside for that which is within.
Kama is desire and you run after it. Contain it. Do not feel sorry that you
are losing Kama. Every quality is installed in you. All is a reflection from
within. Treasure all that is within. It is a mistake to run after that which
you don't have, leaving all that you have. Students, you have studied a lot
but of what use? With all this you do not know your own nature. We all study
and finally die. Therefore all education must lead to immortality. The
education must benefit society. Teach all that you know to the less
fortunate ones. Share your knowledge and then alone will you have the
expansion of knowledge. Vyashti (individual) will then expand into Samashti
(society). Samashti needs Pushti (strength) and that can be obtained from
sense control alone. And today there is no trace of sense control. You lead
a wayward life - not only in studies but in conduct also. It is to help you
achieve the true purpose of life that Srishti (creation) has been made. Even
ants have progeny, they feed and nurture. You need not take care of family
etc. if it is only feeding. The creator will do that.
People go abroad for more money. Whether you get
$5000 there or Rs.500 here, it is the same. There are lot of expenses and
troubles there. What is there abroad? 'Aa' (meaning 'that' in Telugu) broad
is all within you. Remain here and serve your parents. Pass on the Bharatiya
(Indian) culture to your children. Education is not mere scribbling on
Without Sujnana (wisdom and discrimination) all
education is useless. What the teachers tell you is all in the books. The
reality is in the Mastaka (head) and not in the Pustaka (book). Do not waste
time studying. Some like bookworms read day and night. Read when you are
supposed to. You read all that is not necessary. Even the junk fallen on the
streets and the bazaar, you pick up and read. The heads are empty nowadays
due to cinema and novels. You just open the newspaper and it is full of ads
and cinema models. Your inner voice teaches you very well. Follow your
You do not become a human just because you have
hands and legs. Lead an ideal life. This is our true culture. That is our
caste. The culture is ingrained in the caste and the caste depends on
tradition and lineage. The caste is that you are human. None can change
that. Along with the caste and culture, discrimination is of paramount
importance. It is like the light in the darkness. You must foster it.
Never make your parents feel sad. Mother and
father are equivalent to God. Modern children do not want parents but their
toy dolls - wife. Parents take the first place. The Vedas too declare that.
Love your mother and follow her commands. If you make her happy, you will be
happy. Make her shed a tear and you will feel sad throughout. Your joy is
directly proportional to the mother's joy. Very few are able to understand
the love of the mother. They say, "Keep quiet mother! Having grown so old,
can I not decide this?" It is only from the parents that one can receive
Keep singing the glory of God. You will be
peaceful when you listen to a bhajan. Bhajan is a way to attain Samashti.
Sing within yourself. Today the bhajan singing is also on the decline. Never
forget God. Everything comes and goes. But the bhajans are permanent and
will stay and remain.
discourse, Swami announced that He would be gifting away the huge cups to
each and every campus. But this time, He announced, that the wardens and
principals of each campus would be receiving it for the excellent
performance during the Sports. Then, it was such a wonderful sight as the
wardens and principals of the Prashanti Nilayam, Brindavan, Anantapur,
Higher Secondary School, Mirpuri College of Music and Primary School came
forward and received the cups and blessings from Swami. While everyone were
whole heartedly applauding, one could not help but notice a tinge of
disappointment on the faces of the captains and vice-captains who usually
receive the cups. When it was evident to people, will not the Loving Lord
notice it? He immediately got more cups and gave them away to the captains
and vice captains as well!
As if that was not enough, He asked for all the certificates and medals to
be brought to Him. He blessed each and every tray containing the
certificates and picked up all the gold medals and silver medals in His
hands, blessing them all. He also got the number of medals for each of the
campus announced. Then He blessed prasadam to be distributed to all as the
brass band struck up a lively and lovely tune -"Murali Krishna Mukunda
Krishna". The band played two more pieces after that and Swami blessed
them. He then retired for the morning.
23 January, 2008 – Swami Blesses XII Class
The evening of
January 23 was one of those special ones in which Swami used His
"uncertainty" card (if we may call it so) to everyone's delight. Swami had
come for the Darshan rounds in the evening after the bhajans began. He
completed His full round and went into the bhajan hall. At about 5:45pm, He
accepted Aarthi and everyone waited for the final glimpse as Swami would sit
in the car and leave. But well, it was to be a different story! Swami had
decided to gift every heart throbbing in the Sai Kulwant Hall with a memory
to be cherished in their inner most recesses.
of getting into the car, came out via the portico and through the teachers
block. It seemed like He was on the lookout for the slightest excuse to
bless anyone! (Well, that’s how God is always, though the human eyes may not
be able to see that it all the time. It is on days like this that with
supreme compassion, God decides to reveal that to mankind.) He called all
the XII standard computer science students who had come with their projects.
He sat patiently leafing through each and every project. And then enquired
into the finer details, pointed out a few errors, made comments on the
photographs that had been chosen for the dedication page and asked some of
the boys about the way they had gone about doing their project.
Well, people in
the Planning Commission of India who have charted the five year projects for
the nation would not have felt the sense of achievement that these boys felt
and that showed on all their faces. And Swami too viewed the project with an
intensity that He would have had say, while He was going through the plans
of the Water Supply Project or the Super Specialty Hospital. And that is not
because the projects are of great importance; it's because for Him, His
children are the dearest! How many times has He not declared that they are
His own property?
through all the projects, Swami then blessed all the birthday boys who had
been waiting for days for His blessings. He sprinkled the holy Akshata
grains on some and accepted letters from all. To one boy, He picked the
chocolates in his tray and put it into his pocket. As this was completed,
one of the boys went up to Swami and told Him that in all their computer
projects, Mr. Venkateshvar Prusty, their computer science teacher, had
assisted and guided them. Swami was so happy and He called out for Him. He
created a beautiful gold chain with a pendant and put it around his neck and
said, “Good in all respects.” Everyone clapped in joy and it was such a
thunderous ovation that one would have felt that even people receiving
Bharat Ratna would not have been applauded for so loudly. Well, being
Swami's Ratna (jewel) is a much greater blessing than being a Bharat Ratna!
looked at all the boys and asked, "Bhojanam Aayinda". (Did you
finish food?). This question often leads to many results. If boys say yes,
then Swami may ask, "Then what else are you waiting for? Leave!" If they
answer no, then Swami may say in an almost apologetic tone, "Oh! Go then and
have it now!" So when Swami asked that, the boys answered with a sheepish
smile. Then Swami played another uncertainty card. He said, "Do bhajans
then." This command brought about a forward surge as the boys sat up till
His feet almost, climbing up the marble steps. It was as if the very thought
of doing bhajans takes one closer to Swami! Then began the mass bhajans or
shall we say the bhajans by the masses? Swami sat smiling at everyone as the
bhajans went on. The second bhajan, "Sai Hamara" had vigorous clapping and
the bhajan "Vahe guru" scaled such speeds that it became tough even to keep
clapping! To cope with the speed, the clapping speed was halved to the lower
rhythm! Swami in the meantime began to take letters from many boys. He was
smiling so much and that was being reflected on all the faces around too.
bhajans, Swami asked for Aarthi and for the second time, Aarthi was done. At
the end of it, someone in the crowd shouted aloud, "Jai Bolo Bhagawan Sri
Sathya Sai Baba Ki." And it was welcomed with a very vociferous and love
filled "Jai" from everyone. After that, Swami started to speak something and
all the boys in the front went crowding on the railings to catch the melody
of those words. Many boys took padanamaskar and gave letters. Then,
with the huge smile still playing on His face, Swami retired for the day.
25 January, 2008 – Bhagavan Blesses the
EWWP’s New Project
The members of the Easwaramma Women's Welfare Trust had arrived at Yajur
Mandir to seek Swami's blessings for a new project that had been taken up on
the morning of January 25 for solar cookers. In Puttaparthi and the
neighbouring villages, the only thing that comes close to the abundance of
God's Grace is the Sun's rays! So it was a good idea to make available for
the farmers solar cookers so that they could cook in the fields itself.
Everything was arranged. Some items had been placed for cooking too as a
demonstration of the utility of the devices. A dish-antenna like device was
also placed to direct the Sun's rays onto a completely black pressure
cooker. Swami came out of Yajur Mandir at about 4:30 pm. He was all smiles
as He saw all the apparatus placed around. As He went near the cookers, many
dishes were presented to Him for His inspection.
Pulav and Upma were the foremost among the dishes showed
to Him. He seemed amazed at the fact that Upma (an Indian dish)
could be made so simply. When He was told that a farmer can go ahead with
ploughing his field as his food cooked in the sun, He seemed impressed.
And next when He was told to taste some of the dishes, He agreed to pop in a
few groundnuts that had been roasted by the Sun too! Then He blessed the
ladies involved in the project and inquired into how the cookers were being
made and designed. Before, going for Darshan, Swami also blessed a member of
the Central Trust staff with Vibhuti for his ailing aunt.
- Heart2Heart Team
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