Rejoice…Rejoice the occasion that He most graciously bestowed upon the humanity…the Divine Birthday…an occasion often He discounts as a celebration for the happiness of His devotees.
It was yet another occasion to rejoice, where a chunk of Sai Fraternity from all over the globe, congregated at Prasanthi Nilayam to be in His Divine Presence, to mark the occasion celebrating the 81st year of His Divine Advent. The congregation in Prasanthi Nilayam, in magnitude a miniscule, compared to the ever expanding Sai Family all over the globe, was but a replica of this Sai Fraternity that knows no boundaries of caste, creed or religion, but understands the underlying principle of human existence…Love. And of course, millions to billions, who could not make it to Prasanthi Nilayam, were sure to present at the Divine Abode with their hearts and soul attuned to Prasanthi Nilayam with fond memories of the Divine Abode and greater significance of the coveted occasion.
23rd November 2006 was a big day in Prasanthi Nilayam with the physical frame of Bhagawan, entering into the glorious eighty first year of His Avataric Mission. …and it was indeed majestic and just, as ‘Divinity deserves’, the sight of Bhagawan, draped in white robe coming out of His Abode, adorning a beaming smile on His beautiful face, with Abhaya Hastha to the delight of lakhs and lakhs gathered in the spiritual township.
Morning proceedings began with the arrival of Bhagawan in Sai Kulwant Hall at around 8:00 a.m. to the accompaniment of Veda Chanting boys, band groups from Primary School and Institute. After completing a full round in the Sai Kulwant Hall, Bhagawan was received on the Verandah by President of India, His Excellency Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and other dignitaries. Dr. Kalam who addressed the gathering described the day as a beautiful one for the simple reason that the Divine Light is shining there in the form of Bhagawan and the Divine Advent is celebrated on this day; This Divine Light is continuously upgrading the human beings, their value system and their way of life. Marvelling the beautiful indoor stadium that was inaugurated the previous day, Dr. Kalam attributed the successful completion of the same in record time of four months as His Divine Will. He later requested Prof. Anil Kumar to recite the telugu version of his poem that was instantly composed for the special occasion during his flight to Puttaparthi.
Bhagawan, beginning His Divine Discourse urged the gathering that “You are the spark of Divine, ……… the Reflection of God Himself”. The human life is rarest of all beings. It is impossible to estimate the fortune of human being. The whole world has originated out of human heart. But, we have not been able to realize the value of human and are carried away by the transient ephemeral world. Talking about society and service to society, Bhagawan said, society is our own reaction, reflection and resound. He urged the devotees not to run away from society, rather dedicate themselves to the service of the same. About the five human values, Bhagawan re-iterated on the greater need to develop human values which in turn help the country to establish peace. Touching the subject education Bhagawan said: the three principles of education are Spirituality, Morality and Righteousness. Concluding His Divine Benedictory Birthday Message, Bhagawan urged the gathering to dedicate in rendering all possible help to make society happy by way of selfless service which in turn make Bhagawan happy. Service to society confers True Peace.
It was indeed a special afternoon for Prasanthi Nilayam as this time the programme was held in the newly constructed Sri Sathya Sai International Centre for Sports – the Indoor Stadium. Bhagawan, who was draped in yellow robe arrived at the jam-packed stadium at around 4:10 p.m. was received by the huge gathering of devotees, students besides the basketball professionals from the world famous Harlem Globe Trotters of the U.S. and badminton stars and officials from India and Indonesia who were lined up at the entrance.
The proceedings for the evening session started with a doubles badminton exhinition match between India and Indonesia. The Indian team trained by Pullela Gopichand, former India International and All England Champion in the year 2001, won the match that was decided in best of three sets. India was represented by three time national champions Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar and Indonesia was represented Wimpy Mahardi and Santoso. Throughout the match Bhagawan was keenly following the events sitting quiet close to the court…indeed an act of Divine Inspiration. After the match, prizes were distributed to the players and officials. Earlier, before the commencement of the match, the members of the teams and Indian Coach Gopichand were formally introduced to Bhagawan and the gathering.
Next was turn of the item for the evening…. a basketball exhibition by the world famous Harlem Globe Trotters, an iconic basketball dynasty, well recognized the world over as ambassadors of peace whose origin dates back to 1927. The Globe Trotters enthrall the crowd with their regular comic routines mingled with basketball heroics giving a touch of sports suffused with entertainment. The Globe Trotters' acts often feature incredible coordination and skillful handling of one or more basketballs, such as passing or juggling balls between players, balancing or spinning balls on their fingertips, and making unusual, difficult shots and more than anything enacting to perfection involving even the public, stole the limelight for the evening.. They did everything to mesmerize the crowd leaving them often with an expression of ‘awe’. Bhagawan was sitting right outside the court surrounded by students and senior devotees giving real boost to the show.
The highlight of the show was Globie, their world famous mascot, who is supposedly representing millions of fans around the world whom the Globe Trotters have touched throughout their 75 years of existence, without discrimination of any sort like black or white, Christian or Muslim, capitalist or communist and he is neither young nor old, rich or poor, saint or sinner, but merely the quality that makes us feel young at heart and brings out the best in us, as the friendly mascot connects one with the rest of the world through his good will and fun-loving ways. Globie captivated the hearts with his aesthetic, acrobatic moves to the tune of beat music, the musical chair show involving tiny tots and lot more. After the interval it was the turn of Big G, Globie’s big brother, who was the one not to miss, walked his way to ovation with rare acrobatic touch to the accompaniment of beat music.
The Globe Trotters won the attention of tiny tots when a small
girl from the Primary School was caught unaware, brought into
the middle of the court, to make her spin the ball on her
tiny, little index finger to the amazement of one and all…followed
by an amusing entertainer involving a higher secondary boy
who was asked to basket the ball from a distance. These children
were presented by a small basket ball and a tea-shirt respectively,
with Globe Trotters’ emblem, as a token of goodwill
and appreciation. The show was enacted as a match between
New York Nationals and Globe Trotters displaying every aspect
of the game with a touch of comedy. After the show Bhagawan
was introduced to each of the players; He moved among the
players and officials spending quiet sometime in the middle.
Bhagawan materialized two rings, one for a player and another
for an official and even posed for group photographs. It was
indeed a rare evening where basketball gimmicks have come
to the fore in a most entertaining fashion winning applause
from one and all, in His immediate Divine Presence. ..An atypical
birthday evening at Prasanthi Nilayam.
After the show Bhagawan straight away drove back to Sai Kulwant Hall where stage was set for the twilight musical extravaganza, first by well known classical vocalist Begum Parveen Sultana who rendered the air with her captivating devotional touch that was followed by fusion music by Mandolin U Srinivas assisted by Mandolin U. Rajesh coupled with ace drummer Anandan Sivamani winning rapt attention and applause from the thousands gathered in Sai Kulwant Hall and not the last, from Bhagawan Himself. … A fitting finale to the day that was aptly glorified.