Devotional Songs and a skit entitled "Ganesha Mahatmyam"
September 15 & 16, 2007
Ganesh Chaturthi is an important festival in the Hindu calendar that is celebrated with piety and gaiety throughout India. Thousands gathered at Prasanthi Nilayam on 15th September this year to celebrate this sacred festival in the Divine Presence of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
At 9.40 am, Bhagawan arrived in Sai Kulwant Hall to grant His Divine Darshan. Then the students of Bhagawan’s educational institutions sang devotional songs and Stotrams in praise of Lord Ganesha. Devotees too joined them heartily when they sang popular Stotrams like Maha Ganesha Pancharatnam – “Mudakarata Modakam…” and Ganaashtakam. Thereafter there were Bhajans and Arati.
In the evening session of the 16th, the under-graduate students of Prasanthi Nilayam Campus of Sri Sathya Sai University presented a programme entitled ‘Ganesha Mahatmyam’. The first item was a dance based on the Maha Ganesha Pancharatna Stotram. Following this, there was a drama that dwelt on the glories and significance of the name, form and worship of Lord Ganesha. It cautioned everyone not to get carried away in fanfare and festivities, and forget the inner significance and sacredness of the festival. The drama also depicted the story where Lord Shiva and Parvathi hold a competition between their two sons, Ganesha and Subramanya, to see who could circumambulate the entire world fastest. While Subramanya set out on his vehicle – the peacock, Ganesha states that the whole world is pervaded by Lord Shiva and Parvathi and therefore circumambulating his parents amounts to circumambulating the whole world. And thus Ganesha is declared the winner. This brought out the love and reverence Lord Ganesha had towards his parents.
The drama also depicted the famous story of the Shyamantaka gem where Lord Krishna is falsely accused of stealing the gem from King Satrajith, and how he undergoes a lot of difficulties before He clears His name. At the end of the drama, Bhagawan graciously granted photographs to all the participants.
West Godavari Program and Immersion Ceremony
September 16 & 17, 2007
Earlier, on 16th morning, after granting Darshan at 9.05 am, Bhagawan blessed around fifty five physically challenged men and women from the West Godavari District of the South-Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. These people were chosen by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation of West Godavari District to be fitted with prosthetic legs. Bhagawan lovingly moved amidst them conversing with them and distributing clothes and Prasadam. After having showered so much love and compassion on them, Bhagawan was still not satisfied. He asked for the mike to be brought and granted His Divine Discourse, which was an uninterrupted flow of sweet Telugu words, without any translation in to English. Bhagawan exhorted them not to lose their courage and confidence, and to march forward with faith in God and achieve success in material and spiritual spheres of life. Bhagawan also advised them to take proper care of their physical health and not depend on anybody for their needs. Following Bhagawan’s Discourse, Prof. K. Anil Kumar addressed the audience in Telugu. He recalled and described Bhagawan’s visit to the West Godavari District in the 1980s and the laudable service activities being carried out there.
It is a custom that after worshipping clay idols of Lord Ganesha for a particular number of days during this season, they are immersed in a well, lake or sea, thus signifying that what has come from clay goes back to its source. Bhagawan had earlier instructed that the immersion ceremony will be on the third day, i.e. 17th. So, all the students and staff of Bhagawan’s educational institutions and even other institutions brought their Ganesha idols to Mandir enthroned on chariots that they had built very artistically, based on different themes. There was a Ganesha mounted on a flower pot, while another was sailing on a yacht. But the one that stole the show was Ganesha riding on a train named ‘Ekadanta Express’.
Bhagawan arrived in Sai Kulwant Hall around 4.30 pm and lovingly looked at each and every chariot lined up along the path. Bhagawan then came to dais, blessed the staff and students and permitted them to proceed to the place of idol immersion. After listening to Vedam chanting for a while, Bhagawan briefly retired to His residence and returned at 6 pm for Bhajans. The day’s programme concluded with Arati to Bhagawan at 6.25 pm.