Love All Serve All    Help Ever Hurt Never   Visit official website of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust , Prasanthi Nilayam
Then & Now
A day in Ashram


7th March 2005 (Morning)

Since it was a day prior to Sivarathri, students from Brindavan Campus and Anantapur Campus had come to Prasanthi Nilayam for Bhagavan’s Darshan. Bhagawan came to Sai Kulwant Hall at 7.20 a.m. The golf cart turned near the Veda chanting students. Swami got down near the Veda chanting group and went up the dais taking letters from the Brindavan students.

He stood for around 10 minutes showering the gift of His Darshan on all the students. Then He moved towards the Primary School children. The Anantapur sisters were also seated for Darshan. Veda chanting was going on in full swing. In His typical way, Swami asked the College students to stop chanting. He wanted to hear the Primary School students chanting independently. Immediately, the volume level rose and all the children chanted at the top of their voices!

Swami stood there for nearly half an hour accepting their chanting as an offering. The Veda Purusha was directly receiving the offering of the Vedic Chants. Swami asked one of the Primary School boys to come forward. Bhagawan asked him to stand next to Him, face the audience and chant the Veda. The boy chanted boldly, loudly and with all joy! Immediately came the reward – a gold chain from Swami!

Bhagawan then came back towards the sofa and sat down. The sofa was placed in the middle of the dais. It was around 8.00 a.m. Mr. Ajit Popat from U.K. was beckoned by Bhagawan to share his views with the audience. The 20 minutes talk by Mr. Popat was followed by Dr. Goldstein – the Chairman of the Prasanthi Council that oversees the activities of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation around the world. Dr. Goldstein spoke for around 10 minutes. This was followed by Bhajans from 8.30 a.m. to 8.55 a.m. Then, Bhagawan was offered Arati, after which he retired to his abode.

7th March 2005 (Evening)

Swami came out for Darshan at 3 p.m. Bhagavan alighted from the golf cart and came and sat down on the sofa placed in the middle of the dais. The Hall was teeming with devotees with every inch of space occupied in Sai Kulwant Hall. The student block too was full with Prasanthi Nilayam and Brindavan students. After a while, Swami called a student to dance in his Presence. The student had been fortunate to present his talent in the Divine Presence for the last few days. Some dances were planned for this evening too. Swami signalled for the dance to commence.

The first dance was by a group of boys to the song Ananda Tandavam Aade… Incidentally, this was the dance that marked the opening of the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus presentation on 11th January 2005 during the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet. This was followed by another group dance to the song Ekadantaya Vakratundaya Gowritanayaya Dheemahi… There was a loud applause for each piece. The students danced very well, blending the classical dance steps with contemporary styles.

It was 3.30 p.m. and again Bhagawan called the student who had been giving solo performances in the Divine Presence, and gave him some instructions. The singers took their places and the microphone was arranged. It was another dance performance. This time the song was sung live by the Bhajan students. The student danced to the song Bho Shambho Siva Shambho Svayambho… very well and earned the plaudits of Bhagavan and the audience. At the end of the performance, the student knelt down paying his obeisance to Bhagawan. Swami waved His hand and materialised a gold chain. The student ran up to Swami and very lovingly Swami tied the chain round his neck amidst a loud applause!

It was 3.40 p.m. and the next event began. This was a Burra Katha (folk art performed through the medium of singing and narration), the traditional art performed by three of our students. The Burra Katha titled ‘Sai Mahima’ began with a short commentary and an invocation to Lord Ganesha. It went on till 4.30 p.m., singing the glory of beloved Swami, His Advent on earth, the earlier days, the greatness of Mother Easwaramma, the various projects undertaken by Bhagawan and so on.

The tunes were lively with frequent changes in Raga and laced with a touch of variety. The lyrics were very meaningful and rhymed perfectly well. Almost everyone were either tapping their hands or swaying their heads to the lilting tunes.

Bhagawan retired for the day at 4.30 p.m.

8th March 2005 (Morning)

We wish you a very happy Sivarathri. May this holy night awaken us to the dawn of wisdom and love! Sai Kulwant Hall and the adjoining areas were filled with huge concourse of devotees. Devotional fervour rent the air. Several devotees were seated along the pathway adjacent to East Prasanthi Block and also near the Rama Statue.

Bhagawan came out at 7.15 a.m. The beats of Panchavadyam and the tunes of the Nadaswaram played by the students added to the spiritual vibrations in the Hall. Swami came seated on an open top vehicle blessing the devotees.

Bhagawan took a full round of the Hall and entered the inner portico from the interview room side. Swami then moved towards the centre of the dais and sat down on the sofa. At 7.35 a.m., Swami gestured to the Veda chanting boys to stop chanting. Then Swami asked Prof. Anil Kumar to address the audience.

Prof. Anil Kumar delivered a thought provoking and informative talk for 15 minutes. He was followed by Dr. Reddy for 20 minutes and then Mr. G.K. Raman for around 10 minutes. A brief text of the talks follows:

Talk by Prof. Anil Kumar – Highlights

Prof. Anil Kumar began his talk with a unique experience he had in Kodaikanal. Once while seated in front of Bhagawan, he saw a mark on the ankle of Swami’s left foot. It looked like the imprint formed by the continuous wearing of an anklet. After a while out of curiosity, Prof. Anil Kumar observed the right ankle of Bhagawan but did not find any such mark.

He questioned Bhagawan mischievously whether the right foot ankle had fallen off during Darshan time. To this Swami immediately replied, “Don’t you know, I am Ardhanareeshwara?” Prof. Anil Kumar continued his talk by giving the example of Sri Ramabrahmam (former Trayee Brindavan caretaker) who said that he always saw Swami as the form of Lingam.

He recapitulated Swami’s Sivarathri Discourse of 1972 at Brindavan, wherein Bhagawan mentioned that Siva is truly Cosmic Energy. Siva is not a form as we understand. That is why we do not refer to this energy as Sri Siva. Siva stands for Ardhanareeshwara which represents matter + energy.

Prof. Anil Kumar concluded his talk explaining the relation of the moon with the mind and its significance with respect to Sivarathri.

Talk by Dr. Narendranath Reddy – Highlights

Dr. Narendranath Reddy, a scholarly speaker, quoted extensively from the Vedas, the Gita and also from Bhagawan’s Discourses. He explained how incomprehensible the Avataric phenomenon is. He struck a personal note by sharing his experiences. He spoke about his father who had a spinal disc problem but was cured by Swami without any surgery. In fact, surgery could have proved fatal and Swami had stopped them just in time.

His mother too had many health problems. She was disabled and could not even walk. However, this 79th Birthday of Bhagawan, she was blessed by Swami and with just a tap of His Hand on the knee, she is now able to walk freely!

Dr. Narendranath Reddy then went on to describe how Bhagawan cures the ailments of others but does not use this power for Himself. There are two lessons, Dr. Reddy said, which must be learnt from this episode. One is the transcendence of body consciousness and the second is living life selflessly. Bhagawan was setting an example for both. True renunciation does not mean giving up wife, children, home and hearth, but it means giving up of evil qualities. What Bhagawan expects from His devotee is the purity of heart.

He narrated a very interesting episode wherein a physician friend of his, on one occasion felt very much hurt when Bhagawan called two of his friends for an interview, but left him out. He felt within as to why Swami was treating him like a step son. The next day, during Darshan, Dr. Reddy was sitting next to him. Swami came straight to this man and said, “Why do you look at Me as a stepmother?” Dr. Reddy could not understand this conversation but later when his friend shared this episode with him, he realised how Bhagawan reflects every thought of ours.

He concluded his talk narrating the story of Sri Kutumba Rao. In his final days, Sri Kutumba Rao had cancer. He was admitted in a hospital. His wife, being very disturbed prayed to Swami to cancel his cancer. Bhagawan said that He would surely do so provided Kutumba Rao himself asked for it. The wife went to her husband and narrated all that had happened.

Sri Kutumba Rao said that he would never ask for such a boon. If at all he would ask, he would seek only for liberation. This body had to anyhow meet its end one day. The disappointed wife returned for Darshan. Swami came to her and asked her about her husband’s response. Then Bhagawan said that through this event, He wanted to show to the world an example of a true devotee!

By the time the talks came to a close, it was 8.20 a.m. Prof. Anil Kumar prayed on behalf of everyone present in the Hall to bless them with a Divine Discourse. Swami very lovingly consented. (Full text of the Discourse will be given separately.) At the end of the Discourse, Bhagawan asked the Bhajan group to start their presentation. They sang a number of Siva Stotrams and devotional songs. Sri Rudrashtakam was a new addition this time. Prasadam distribution began simultaneously. At 9.45 a.m. Swami got up and moved towards the vehicle. Meanwhile, Prof. Anil Kumar made an announcement that the Mahasivarathri Global Akhanda Bhajans would commence in the evening in the Divine Presence.

At 9.50 a.m. Swami retired to His abode.

8th March 2005 (Evening)

In the evening Bhagawan came out for Darshan into a fully packed Hall at 3.30. The students were seated in Sai Kulwant Hall from 1.30 p.m. and some had come even at 1.00 p.m. itself!! Swami came in the golf cart and took a full round of the Hall and as the cart approached the interview room, He asked for the cart to be stopped. He got down and then walked up slowly towards the sofa placed in the centre of the dais.

By 3.40 p.m. Swami was seated on the sofa. The Panchavadyam was being played by the students and as it reached a crescendo, Swami blessed them with Abhayahasta and signalled to them to sit down. Bhagawan then spoke to the Vice-Chancellor Sri Anil Gokak and the former Vice-Chancellor Sri S.V. Giri. Both of them spoke this evening in the Divine Presence.

Sri S.V. Giri spoke first, for around half an hour followed by Sri Anil Gokak for 15 minutes. A brief text of the talks follows:

Talk by Sri S.V. Giri - Highlights

Sri S.V. Giri said that the festival of Sivarathri signifies control of the mind. The moon reflects the aspect of the mind. On this day when the moon wanes away to a great extent, the mind too must disappear. This is the key to liberation. Mana Eva Manushyanam Karanam Bandha Mokshayo (the mind alone is the cause for both bondage and liberation.)

He explained some of the titles given to Lord Siva. For example, Lord Siva as Ardhanareeshwara, is symbolic of gender equality. More than equality it reflects on the complementary nature of man and woman in this world. This assumes more importance in the context of the role of women in society.

Lord Siva as Neelakanta, signifies that the Lord is willing to take upon Himself any amount of hardship for the welfare of the world. Hunger and sleep are two animal instincts which must be overcome by man. This is the qualification that he must gain to move towards the Lord. Jagran (keeping vigil at night), he opined, is to remain awake with a purpose, with an awareness. Bhagawan has said that all those who participate in this Sivarathri celebration here will attain Moksha. However, He has also defined what Moksha is. Moksha = Moha + Kshaya. Destruction of attachment is Moksha. Incidentally in Ujjain, the first worship offered to the Lord Siva, which is the Rudrabhisheka, is performed with the hot ash obtained from a recently cremated body. This symbolises the detachment aspect of the Lord. Siva is at ease both on the lofty mountain top and also in the burial ground!

Sri S.V. Giri concluded his talk elaborating on the various projects initiated by Bhagawan, stressing especially on the Deenajanoddharana Pathakam (orphanage) and the Bheema Ratha Santhi - that targets the geriatric population and sets an example regarding the respectful attitude that one must foster towards the aged in society.

Talk by Sri Anil Gokak – Highlights

Sri Gokak opened his talk with the statement – The inner core is more important than the outer shell. He explained that all the rituals are like a fence that protects the crop. The main purpose is related to the inner core. For example, the main purpose is control of the mind. For this, we need to remember God and therefore we sing Bhajans.

Sri Anil Gokak went on to elaborate the significance of the Lingam. ‘Li’ in Lingam stands for Leeyate which means ‘to merge’. All forms merge in the Lingam. It has by itself, no beginning, no end, no front or no back. It is a symbol of the formless Divine Essence.

Similarly, he said that Swami too says, “I belong to all forms, names and religions.” The need of the hour is faith in all the religions. Intensity of belief, he stated, is the essence of religion. But many people say, “My religion is true, the other religion is false.” This is called fundamentalism or fanaticism. Inclusiveness is where one says that one’s religion is complete and he does not need any other religion.

However, the golden mean, Sri Anil Gokak concluded, was to practice ones own faith and also respect others faith. He finally quoted Bhagawan’s saying, “There is only one Religion – the Religion of Love.

At 4.30 p.m. as Sri Anil Gokak concluded his talk, Swami asked for the Discourse table and the microphone to be arranged. Then Bhagawan stood up and began His Discourse. (Full text of the Discourse will be given separately.)

Bhajan boys started singing Bhajans at 5.15 p.m. Swami sat for half an hour. At 5.45 p.m. Bhagawan retired to His abode for the day. The Hall was filled throughout the night with Bhajan singing devotees and students. Half an hour Bhajan singing slots were arranged for groups of devotees, staff of various institutions, overseas devotees and Seva Dal Bhajan singers from Brindavan. The various groups followed the timings scrupulously. It was a sight to watch overseas devotees with different musical instruments singing Bhajans. Devotees and students kept beat to the Bhajans and followed in chorus. A group of Veda chanting students and teachers chanted the Vedas non stop in the Bhajan Hall of the Mandir from 10 to 12.30 p.m.

9th March 2005 (Morning)

Swami came for Darshan at 6.25 a.m. He sat down on the sofa and Bhajans went on with all the more vigour. It was 6.55 a.m. when Bhagawan was offered Aarti and then He proceeded towards the golf cart and retired to His abode.

Puliyohara (tamarind rice) and Laddus were distributed as Prasadam to all devotees. The distribution went on till 9.00 a.m. Thousands of devotees present in the Hall received the Prasadam.

9th March 2005 (Evening)

Swami came out for Darshan at 3.30 p.m. He got down from the golf cart and sat on the sofa placed at the centre of the dais. There were two speakers for the evening. The first one was Sri Ajit Popat who spoke for 45 minutes. The theme of his talk was the three great boons of Manushatvam, Mumkshatvam and Mahapurusha Samshrayaha (Birth as a human being, gift of liberation and company of holy men) which is very rarely available to any individual. Sri Ajit Popat also touched upon the aspect of Faith, and Stewardship.

The second speaker was Prof. G. Venkataraman who spoke for half an hour on the journey of man from Manushatvam to Daivatvam. After these two talks, Bhagawan blessed all devotees with His Divine Discourse. Bhagawan spoke for an hour and ten minutes taking us through the memories of His earlier days. His main focus was on the great devotion of Karanam Subbamma. He also described the final moments of Karanam Subbamma and explained how once a word given would definitely be kept up by Bhagawan.

He said - Sathya Sai is not the one who will break the given word. His name itself is Sathya!! Bhagawan also narrated a few incidents that happened in Kamalapuram, the various poems composed by Him in His younger days, etc. He concluded His Discourse at 6.25 p.m. (Full text of Bhagawan’s Discourse will be given separately.) Then Prasadam distribution began along with Bhajans.

This Sivarathri was surely different from the ones in the earlier years. Three Discourses, several talks by learned speakers and His beautiful Darshan for an extended period of time – all these made this year’s Sivarathri a very memorable one!