Valedictory Ceremony for the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet
January 14, 2009
Names are many, Sankranthi, Pongal, Lohri any more, but the country celebrates this festivity with great spiritual and religious fervour, generating great festive mood all along the country. The country in general gets into this festive mood, when the sun advances in its northward journey, a transition through the winter from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn and this entry has physical, ethical, social and moral significances attached to. As a prelude to this impending festivity and fortune, weeks in advance to this transition, Bhagawan, in His New Year discourse, had given a beautiful account of the festivity with it relevance to the present time.
Makara Sankranthi has been a major festivity in Prasanthi Nilayam, the Divine Abode of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Sankranthi, the day when the Sun enters Makara Rasi (Tropic of Capricorn), signifies the onset of Uttarayana. Bhagawan in His Divine Discourses describes Sankranthi as Samyak Kranthi Ithi Sanktranthi, meaning change for the good is Sankranthi. He urges us to transform completely, a transformation, embracing the goodness, the innate Divinity. As the Sun enters the Makara rasi (Tropic of Capricorn), signifying the onset of Uttarayana, the period of auspiciousness, it is significantly serving a silent reminder to one and all to move higher and higher, from darkness to light.
It is a festival that brings freshness and joy into the hearts of one and all. It illumines the minds of people and induces the unfolding of inner feelings. It influences not only the mind, but also the powers of nature. Nature is the projection of the mind. The world is rooted in the mind. When the mind is turned towards the heart, and the heart is filled with the Divine, the mind will cease to be the source of trouble, says Bhagawan on the festivity.
…And Prasanthi Nilayam, the epicenter of spirituality does enjoy her share of the arrival of this great festivity as she makes merry of the occasion, with her Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba often gives new perspective into the greater significance of this age old and traditional festivity of ancient India that survived the test of time and modernization.
Led by the brass band from the Prasanthi Nilayam campus for men, accompanied by a group of flag bearers representing various houses, Bhagawan, clad in special reddish maroon robe arrived at the fully packed Sai Kulwant Hall at 9:10 am. Feasting thousands with the auspicious Sankranthi darshan, the packed Sai Kulwant Hall was immersed in bliss when Bhagawan moved around for a complete round before alighting on the dais that was decked out with trophies and shields meant for the winners of just concluded Annual Sports and Cultural Meet for the year 2009.
The session began with a special announcement to the delight of the congregation that Kum. Chaparla Sohini, a pass out student of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School (girls’ wing), has secured the highest rank in the 12th standard exam conducted last year by the Central Board of Secondary Education. Talking exclusively on the achievement, Prof. Anil Kumar profusely thanked Bhagawan while calling out the girl to be facilitated and blessed by Bhagawan. Kumari Sohini had been a student of Sri Sathya Sai Primary School and later Higher Secondary School, Girls’ wing, from the 1st standard till she passed out in the 12th standard last year. She would be privileged with sharing the Prime Minister’s gallery on the Republic Day parade, a rare distinction conferred upon to the top achievers in the national level exams. The student was blessed by Bhagawan with a special trophy, a rare distinction and reward for excellence.
The Vice Chancellor, Mr. Vishwanath Pandit in his brief speech spoke about the greater benediction by Bhagawan enabling all who congregated to witness the festivity in His Divine Presence. He prayed on behalf of millions upon millions of devotees around the world for His Divine benediction on the auspicious occasion. Captains and Vice captains of all the three campuses, Prasanthi Nilayam, Brindavan and Anantapur, representatives from Sri Sathya Sai Music College, Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School and Sri Sathya Sai Primary School were called on to the dais to receive the trophy from the Divine Hands. This was followed by the nectarous Divine Discourse that lasted for almost fifty minutes.
Excerpts from the Divine Discourse:
Hailing Bharat and her greater importance, He exhorted to keep the flag flying high to keep the glory and name of the country by strict adherence and practice of cultural values. Spiritual objective used to get greater importance in olden days, but unfortunately it is on the decline these days. Physical comforts would confer only momentary happiness, said Bhagawan discoursing on the importance of spiritual effort one should strive to achieve. Talking about the ordeals faced by the great women of Bharat, namely, Savitri, Sita and Chandramathi with a reference to the pristine qualities characterized and upheld by them, Bhagawan credited them with their effort in bringing greater glory to mother land Bharat. Bharat has demonstrated the path of righteousness to the world and thus she is the leader and teacher for the entire world. Referring to the modern trend of mingling of students in public with an apathetic attitude lacking discipline with a reference to the deteriorating sense of fear in students of modern age, Bhagawan exhorted them to introspect their own nature to understand whether they are humans or animals.
Good and bad are not God’s creation, nor they belong to anyone. Consequences of our lives are not bestowed upon by God. They are merely reaction, reflection and resound of our own life. Good thoughts are followed by good actions.
Talking about the modern day education, Bhagawan said, education today is not true education; it is merely textual education. What we need is Educare that which brings out against education that which takes in. True education is listening to the inner voice. Once we follow this inner voice, we would be able to advance in our lives and would be happy. No need to observe big spiritual practices like meditation, repetition of God’s name, penance, yoga etc. These are meant only for our own satisfaction. What is required is to listen to the inner voice, the conscience that confers bliss. You are bound to be happy if you listen to your inner voice; never act against your conscience. That is true spirituality, urged Bhagawan discoursing on the greater importance of the call of conscience.
There is nothing great in helping a person as a reciprocating gesture; one should be able to help even those who does harm to him. It is only Sai who can help even those who ‘hurts’ or abuses Him, declared Bhagawan amidst thundering applause. One should make his parents happy; parents are of prime importance; any good deed neglecting parents are of no use; one has to face the consequences for neglecting one’s own parents.
We think money is of prime importance. It is not money, mind is important. If you pacify your mind everything will become peaceful. Offer everything unto God. Everything happens as He wills. One should follow the dictum Help Ever Hurt Never. If you find anyone in dire need of service, you may give up your work for the time being to help the needy one. This is the good fortune and the main duty of a human being; Help Ever Hurt Never is the message of Bhagawan. This is the true education that we receive today.
We exist here because of the society. Identity with others in the society is very much needed today with the prosperity of the society in mind. The norms of the society should be upheld.
Praising lavishly the students for the wonderful effort in earning all-round excellence, with a reference to the drama presentation by Brindavan campus on the previous evening, He drifted into the story as to how Lord Rama Himself manifested to help Pothana to help executing the work. A true devotee will follow the principle of Truth, existence of God. Referring to the character Srinadha and his self-pride arose out of his execution of duty as a farmer, fully depending on Mother Earth, Bhagawan calling Srinadha’s claim to be true, exhorted and blessed the students to occupy high position in life and lead a happy, blissful and prosperous life. There is nothing great in claiming that we have gone abroad and earned money. Money comes and goes; Morality comes and grows. One with morality will not be put to any kind of difficulties, concluded Bhagawan.
After a most enthralling drama presentation by the students from the Brindavan Campus on the life of Saint Pothana, that came in for lavish appreciation from the Divine, there was another drama presentation by the students of the Prasanthi Nilayam campus, entitled, Sri Krishna Thathwa Darshanamu.
After a brief bout of bhajans Arathi was offered to Bhagawan before He retired to Yajur Mandiram.