The Seven Day Ritual coinciding the Navarathri Festival, Veda Purusha Saptaaha Jnana Yajna commenced in Prasanthi Nilayam on the 22nd morning in the Poornachandra Auditorium in the immediate Divine Presence.
The festival of Dasara, atypical in Prasanthi Nilayam by its conduct and style, brings nostalgic memoirs of the grand festivity of olden days in the immediate Divine Presence. The festivity would get much deserved majesty and grandeur those days with an array of activities tagged to it, apart from the Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna that has been a traditional practice once the same was a revived after a short breakage. Dasara of olden days would be a grand spectacle with the spiritual fervour of tens and thousands of devotees thronged to Prasanthi Nilayam met with the benevolence of Greater Heaven resulting in shower of Supreme Benediction. Hoisting of Prasanthi Flag, a symbolic representation of Harmony and Regeneration and Reconstruction of Humanity, annual conferences of All India Prasanthi Vidhwaan Maha Sabha, where scholars would speak on various spiritual topics, grand feast to tens and thousands thronged to Prasanthi, and not the least, series of Divine Discourses suffused with Ultimate Wisdom allied with an array of other activities, all would render resplendence to the week-long affair.
The beginning of Vasanta Ritu (spring) and Sharath Ritu (autumn) are two very important events in the Bharatiya Calendar, for they not only signify the change of season but their consequent effect on the human body and mind. These two periods are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother in the form of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi in the Bharatabhoomi or India. That is why the festival of Dashara (ten days) or Navaratri (nine nights) is an important festival celebrated all over India with piety and grandeur.
At Prasanthi Nilayam, especially during the Sharath-Navaratri that falls every year in or around September - October, people gather in thousands to pay their homage to the Divine Mother incarnated as Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Over the past many years, the festival of Dasara in Prasanthi Nilayam has been closely associated with the ‘Veda Purusha Sapthaha Jnana Yagna’, the week-long sacrificial ritual conducted in the Divine Presence, for the welfare of the whole world.
Yajna Commences… Veda Purusha Saptaaha Jnana Yajna 2009 got underway on the 22nd September in Prasanthi Nilayam in the immediate Divine Presence of Bhagawan. On the auspicious morning the Ritwiks officiating the Yajna were exclusively blessed by Bhagawan in the Bhajan Hall, a usual routine every year. The group of priests, led by Kotla Lakshmi Narasimham, the Chief Priest designated took out a procession wherein the Kalasha blessed by Bhagawan on the previous day was taken to the venue Yajna at Poornachandra Auditorium.
The legend has it that Dasara signifies the victory of Devas over Asuras, i.e., Righteousness over the forces of evil. Vouching for this mythical belief, thousands have gathered at Prasanthi Nilayam to celebrate the festivity in the very Divine Presence of Bhagawan, Beloved Mother Sai. With Bhagawan presiding over the Yajna as Veda Purusha, ritwiks lighted the sacred homam creating fire by friction, by rubbing two sticks from churning of two wooden pieces. The homam was carried on by pundits chanting Vedic mantras and making offerings of ghee to the sacred fire. Besides the homam, there were pundits engaged in performing Suryanamaskar, reading holy epics, the Ramayana and the Bhagavata, worshipping thousand lingas of Lord Siva, worship to Lord Ganesha and the Hindu Trinity and other rituals related to the Yajna.
As the Yajna has been continuing every morning and with Bhagawan blessing the occasion with brief darshan rounds both at the Sai Kulwant Hall followed by at the venue, at the Poornachandra Auditorium, evening sessions witnessed Prasanthi Vidhwaan Mahasabha, an archetype assembly of the learned that got to share spiritual and practical wisdom in the immediate Divine Presence, a practice that has been there from the Dasara of olden days in Prasanthi Nilayam wherein senior devotees, faculty members and students from the the campuses of Sri Sathya Sai University would share their thoughts in the Divine Presence.
The first evening of Prasanthi Vidhwan Mahasabha had three speakers sharing their words of wisdom. The first speaker, Prof. Vishwanath Pandit, Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai University impressed the gathering on the greater importance of being happy in life by following Bhagawan’s teachings. Referring to the ongoing Grama Seva, Prof. Pandit explained how he could impress upon the special committee set up by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development at Delhi about the service activities being done at the University level following Divine Teachings of Bahgawan, which in turn helped the society to earn a feeling of sharing and caring. Talking on the present day’s business related mentality, highlighting the importance of “sharing and caring”, Prof. Pandit stressed on the greater importance of ceiling on desires. There should be a clear demarcation between need and greed. Happiness is not a byproduct of physical wealth, but is related to how much one can help the society, reminded Prof. Pandit calling upon the students of the University to rise to the expectations of Bhagawan to serve the society.
The second speaker Mr. S.V.Giri, formerly Vice Chancellor to Sri Sathya Sai University, calling the festivity a Pan Indian festival that happens all over the country, with the substratum, total love for the Universal Goddess, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi. The underlying significance of Navarathri festivity is one pointed concentration and steady effort to achieve success in our endeavour, said the speaker narrating the legend of Devi’s Tapas done at the point of a needle to overcome the demon Mashishasura. By doing austerities one should be able to develop the mind to a higher level, by not allowing it to be controlled by the senses to achieve success, said Mr. Giri quoting some of the praises from the Lalita Sahasranama. Elucidating on Love that is to be cultivated Mr. Giri observed that duty without love is demonic, duty with love is desirable and Love without Duty is Godly, concluded Mr. Giri.
The third speaker, Dr. T. Ravi Kumar, faculty member, Brindavan Campus in an emotionally charged speech spoke about the Divine Love that basked his life all through ever since he was admitted at His Lotus Feet when he lost his physical mother. It was a enthralling parade of wonderful mindboggling experiences telling about the thousand mother’s love Bhagawan has for his devotees.