Maha Shivarathri Celebrations Photos & Reports from Sai Baba's Ashram -Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttparthi-India




Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 -  Shivarathri Bhajans conclude

The Shivarathri bhajans continued through the night and the microphones were turned on at six o'clock, and Bhagavan came to Sai Kulwant hall five minutes later. He moved down the centre of the Hall beyond the lotus gate, inspecting and blessing the prasadam kept there before moving to the stage. Swami sat onstage for half an hour as the bhajans went on. He then moved to the bhajan hall and blessed the food kept there as prasadam. Moving to the gents' side of the hall, He went near the garage area where more prasadam was arrayed, and then made another full round of the hall. After some time onstage, Swami again moved to the bhajan hall and made another round of the front of Sai Kulwant hall. At 7.10, He asked for the Arati to conclude the night-long bhajan, and asked for the prasadam to be distributed. He watched as everyone was served sweet rice and tamarind rice on leaf plates. Moving to the bhajan hall once again, He went into the interview room, and returned to His residence after half an hour, blessing many devotees on the way.

In the evening, Bhagavan came for darshan as the bhajans went on at a quarter-past five. He sat onstage for nearly an hour after coming into the bhajan hall to see the clothes arranged there for the group from Orissa. Wall calendars were distributed as the bhajans went on. The penultimate batch of beneficiaries of the houses built by Bhagavan after the Orissa floods were here during the Shivarathri celebrations, and today Swami was gifting them with clothes. The ladies from the group were asked to assemble in the bhajan hall, and Swami moved there to bless them. He interacted with some of them and moved among them after sarees and vibhuti prasadam had been distributed. After this interaction, Swami returned to the stage, and the gents from Orissa had their clothes and vibhuti distributed in the Sai Kulwant hall itself. It was seven o'clock when Bhagavan accepted Arati and returned to His residence.


Shivarathri in Prasanthi Nilayam - 12 Feb 2010
Posted at 17:56:34 Hrs. IST on Feb 13, 2010

Shivarathri in Prasanthi assumes greater significance with the Lord in physical frame preside over the day’s proceedings leading up to whole night vigil with akhanda bhajans singing His glory. The auspiciousness tagged to the festivity permeates the air with Divinity becoming a silent witness, immense in nature, tranquil and silent, accepting the offering of singing through the night.

The day’s long wait came to an end when the Lord clad in maroon came out of His Abode heading towards the Poornachandra Auditorium wherein thousands upon thousands had been seated for darshan. Blessing the vast concourse, Bhagawan had a ‘trial inspection’ run of the special screen relaying proceedings from the Sai Kulwant Hall.



Ushering into the Sai Kulwant Hall, the Lord was welcomed by the auspicious sounds of Nadaswaram and Pachavadyam while Veda chanting by the students was on. Bhagawan, upon completing the round, cut the special cake done by a special Italian “cake-makers”.

Bhagawan moved through the verandah to come on the dais commencing the proceedings for the evening. When all were clueless as to what would be the programme before the commencement of the Akhanda Bhajan, the Lord signaled to His students.

At the transitional phase between day and night on the auspicious Shivarathri occasion, at the twilight, the Nataraja, the Greatest of the Dance Masters, chose to dance in the minds of the devotees listening to the musical excellence of His students. An hour long musical feast, started at 5:45 p.m. with the Lingashtakam, the talented bunch of students brought out rare repertoire of musical pieces, ranging from Carnatic to Hindustani, from Telugu to Hindi, all at ease enthralling the Lord and the capacity audience that filled the Sai Kulwant Hall to capacity.


As they continued with the song, "Mahaprana Deepam" raising the rhythmic energy levels, enticing and tickling thousands upon thousands of vocal cords to chorus, the subtlety of the auspiciousness tagged to the festivity was emerging out bringing in beauty in the hearts of thousands in the immediate Divine Presence of Sathyam, the Truth. Sai Kulwant was verily exhibiting Sathyam Sivam Sundaram in reality. While the number "Om Namah Shivaya" in Hindustani was a treat to the ears, the next piece that followed was a Carnatic one that left lasting impressions. Immensely pleased with the rendering, Bhagawan called the two singers onstage asking them to sing a “thillana".
Akhanda Bhajan started at 6:45 pm when the twilight was slowly giving way to the auspicious night. As the boys and girls, in alternate turns continued with the bhajans, Bhagawan sat through for quite long until He retired to Yajur Mandiram after 8 pm.

Arathi was offered in between as instructed by Bhagawan but without Shanti Mantra, continuing the bhajans with added vigour.

Upon the Arathi, an announcement was made about the Akhanda Bhajan to continue as a whole night vigil, with various groups participating in alternate turns, singing all through the night, until Mangala Arathi at 7 followed by prasadam distribution.



In the night, the Sai Kulwant Hall was emitting powerful spiritual vibrations with various groups in alternate turns singing His glory followed in chorus by capacity audience, powered to keep vigil throughout the night. The consecrated Sayeeshwara Lingam that was the centre of attraction during the Ati Rudra Maha Yajna conducted in the year 2006 was installed in front of the dais, surcharging the atmosphere infinitely.

The fresh and spiritually charged morning found the Lord coming out as early at 6:05 am. Gliding through, He moved past the devotees, blessing the special prasadam for the occasion in between before taking a detour, cutting short to the dais. Bhagawan made several round through the verandah and Bhajan Hall and a second round starting from the gents side towards the ladies side finally ending in the verandah.

Arathi was offered at 7:10 pm upon which Prasadam, Tamarind Rice and Sweet Pudding were offered to the vast assemblage of devotees. Bhagawan retired to the Yajur Mandiram after 8 bringing the curtain down for Shivarathri 2010!

Huge populace of devotees attended the weekend festivity with thousands upon thousands thronging to the spiritual capital invoking Divine Blessings. As many as ten sheds have been demolished owing to the construction of new dormitories with better fecilities, west and south block verandahs had been occupied by the huge influx of Shivarathri devotees, well in advance, from 10th Feb onwards.

Also read: The Great Night of Shiva -  Cover Story on Shivarathri

"I am Nataraja—the dance master, the first among dancers. You are all dance pupils. I alone know the agony of teaching you each step in the dance!"

hagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

On Shivarathri how fortunate and deserving one would be, to be in the precincts of Prasanthi Nilayam that is blessed by the presence of Shiva himself in His physical frame! Yet, are we ready to embrace this fact. Or, will it be conceived to be a pseudo world that lures one with a temporary, so called, heaven? Well, it is not an insignificant piece of information that is to be sidelined in favour for the petty, ephemeral and mundane choices of the world....Read on>> The Great Night of Shiva -  Cover Story on Shivarathri


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