For the second year in succession, the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, East Godavari District has taken initiative to bring hundreds of tribal folks granting greatest of the boons in their lives, giving them an opportunity to have Darshan and Blessings of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba!
Over 600 tribals along with thousands devotees have come on a Parthi Yathra for three days with an ensemble of cultural programmes, showcasing cultural heritage of the folks from the region. The Parthi Yathra that was christened as Giridhari Sannidhiki Girijanula Parthi Yaatra was indeed an offering of Gratitude and Greater Love towards Bhagawan by the people from the region.
On the first day of the scheduled three day Parthi Yaatra, the programme commenced with offering of Poornakumbham to Bhagawan that was followed by various other offerings that included an album containing rare photographs of Bhagawan’s 18 visits to the region. This was followed by invocatory Vedam chanting by tribal girls.
The programme for the evening, entitled Nava Vidha Bhakti Sumanjali, a musical dance ballet by Balvikas and Youth of tribal origin from the district, was a depiction of various forms of devotion as discoursed and taught by Bhagawan. The presentation was interwoven with various incidents and teachings of Bhagawan along with glimpses from the lives of illustrious devotees. This absorbing presentation had all the elements of the East Godavari culture, explicitly showing up their gratitude and devotion to Bhagawan. The programme was interspersed with colourful dance sequences and soulful rendering and the entire presentation was reminiscent of the golden olden days of Bhagawan.
The Supreme Lord has been in different places at different times, but it is the rarest grace of the Bharatiyas that the Supreme Lord has most of the time manifested in this holy land. Hailing Bhagawan as the promoter of human values, they declared that all ‘Gods and Goddesses’ do visit Prasanthi Nilayam regularly for His Divine Darshan!
The programme involved dialogues between three men, Sivayya, Surayya and Ram Babu, wherein Ram Babu explained the greater significance of Nava Vidha Bhakti as taught by Bhagawan that would lead to salvation.
The first step, Sravanam, hearing or application of mind to listen was explained narrating the story of Venaka Avadootha who would come and explain Bhagawan’s grandfather about the imminent advent of Lord Narayana in human frame, as Mother Earth badly wanted Lord’s presence. In due course of time Kondama Raju would hear a Divine Prophecy, heard as ethereal prophecy, about the Advent of Bhagawan as the 8th born child of Mother Easwaramma.
Keerthanam, the Singing of Glory of The Lord, followed with melodious rendering depicting a few incidents at the time of Bhagawan’s Advent, highlighting the path towards salvation.
A couple of incidents, one involving Karnam Subbamma - Bhagawan’s foster mother who would request Bhagawan to grant her a name for chanting, was narrated in an attempt to explain the third step, Smaranam, Dwelling on the Lord in the Mind. Another incident was explained from an incident involving Bhagawan and Dr.Samuel Sandweiss, wherein Bhagawan advised Sandweiss that to cherish the Divine Memories forever is Meditation.
The fourth step, Paada Sevanam, engaging in serving His Lotus Feet, was explained illustrating an ‘altercation’ between Kamavadhani and Raja Reddy, where in both of them disputed at the ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ nature of His Divine Lotus Feet. While Raja Reddy who came out of His interview room along with Kamavadhani claimed that Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet was ‘soft’, Kamavadhani was of other opinion who claimed that “Baba’s Feet was hard”! Explanation to this was given quoting Bhagawan’s own statement telling that He is Ardhanareeshwara, half Siva and another half Shakthi.
Archanam, worship, the fifth step had its narration through a song hailing Mother Easwaramma calling her most privileged by being the earthly mother of the highest being, who is verily Divine. Glory of Puttaparthi could be attributed to You, Oh! Mother, for You have not only given birth to The Lord, but also took a word from Him that He would continue to stay in Parthi.
Vandanam, the sixth step had an interesting narration about Paada Namaskaaram. Bhagawan had explained once that one should take His permission before touching His Feet as many angels would be offering Vandanam at His Lotus Feet. Once He granted permission these angels would give way for a devotee to have Paada Namaskar.
Daasyam, servitude, the seventh step had the interesting revelation that “it is not we, who think privileged, who are doing service to Bhagawan, instead, it is Bhagawan, who is doing yeomen service to humanity through various projects.
Sakhyam, Frienship, eighth and penultimate step, was explained with the aid of a dialogue between two of Bhagawan’s childhood mates, GV Satyanarayana and Bucchireddypalli Narayana Reddy. These friends confided between themselves as to how happy they were, having received bounteous blessing from Bhagawan that made their lives prosperous and peaceful.
Atma Nivedanam, Surrender to God, the final step was explained quoting Bhagawan that, “You cannot surrender to Me…So, just chant my name and I will surrender to you”.
It was a revealing experience for the capacity audience at the twilight wherein they heard many interesting tales involving Bhagawan while getting explained of the nine fold path to Divinity.
The programme concluded with a song of glory to Bhagawan, “Jai Ho…Sathya Sai Nathuniki Jayam...”. “Angels do not get this opportunity. This bliss we enjoy is by Thy Divine Grace…” declared them concluding the programme with an oath repeating: “We will not forget Thee…”
2nd Day's Programme
On the second day, the 'centre stage' was set for another cultural programme, A backdrop with Bhagawan in various postures, from His yester years, with a longboat in River Godavari, signifying the 'golden olden days' when Bhagawan had travelled from Rajahmundry to Bhadrachalam, boating for three long days, was set in the centre. Bhagawan, while gliding past, showed keen interest in the same and was seen explained by one of the seniors about the same.
The programme commenced with an initial introduction. Some of the selected old devotees, most of them octogenarians, who were the recipients of boundless Divine Grace in those olden days, still remain active in service activities were brought onstage to receive Bhagawan's direct blessings. Many of these devotees could not make a trip to Parthi in the recent past, due to advanced age, and thus this initiative by the Sri Sathya Sai Organisations served as a great boon satiating their hunger to have Divine Darshan of Bhagawan.
Launch of SSSVIP- East Godavari website was the next item that was followed by a gratitude speech in Telugu and an ensemble of cultural presentation tagged to many an activity taken up by the Organisation for the upliftment of the tribals in the region. SSSVIP East Godavari Project is a flagship project, directly under the ‘Super Vision’ of Bhagawan Himself. Top office bearers, including the All India President, had visited the district in the past overseeing the project activities.
Epochal Water Project Scheme in the district under the direct initiative of Bhagawan came in for reference in the gratitude speech delivered by a tribal from the region. At the completion of the Sri Sathya Sai Water Project, the district organization had spread the area of activities into 25 selected villages rendering medicare, educare, individual care, socio care, agro care, employment care, spiritual care and infrastructure care etc.
Sri Sathya Sai Navaratnamala was the first item that was chanted by the tribal children, who sang the customised composition to existing popular tunes, raining Gratitude to Master Beloved suffused with devotion in its purest essence. Colourful dance sessions bringing forth cultural essence of tribals from the district, explicitly showing up their gratitude and devotion to Bhagawan followed, that included chakka bhajan, peackock- snake dance to conclude with an innovative dance programme, “Railu Vache Railu Vache…” having implied significance. In the dance song, “Railu Vache Railu Vache…” Bhagawan becomes the engine with His name being the switch to move the train and rails signify human values to promote peace, love and non-violence, indirectly exhorting to practise human values.
Special mention is to be made on the Likhita Sai Rama Nama Sadhana, wherein these Girijans made a collective effort to pen 1.2 crores of “Sai Ram” that they finally offered at His Lotus Feet during the occasion. Interestingly, an old woman, still keen on doing the sadhana pursued with vigour by practising writing the name with a chalk on a stone, to finally participate in the ‘yagna’.
Above mentioned dance programmes were, apparently, with reference to many of the project activities taken up by the Organisation.
Next half-an-hour witnessed the tribal girls singing Sri Sathya Sai Geetamulu Bhajans, while Bhagawan moved off the dais into the interview room. As bhajans continued Bhagawan emerged yet again, at 1835 hrs., to come onstage in next five minutes, round of Ganesha. After the bhajan session got over, there was a pause of silence when Bhagawan sat through watching over, interacting with some of the seniors from the group, passing on some instructions. Clothe distribution to the children followed and in due course of time Bhagawan moved down the aisle to pose for a photo session with the children.
It was obvious that His compassion was filling and fulfilling. Bhagawan, upon coming onstage after the photo session, moved down yet again, this time to pose with the girls, moving among them in between the disciplined rows followed by the boys to come back onstage at 1910 hrs. Bhagawan asked for Mangala Arathi in next couple of minutes and upon accepting Arathi, off He moved from the dais, retiring to Yajur Mandiram. Prasadam was distributed to the entire assemblage before the Arathi offering.
An exhibition of many a forest product cultivated by the tribals from the region along with another exhibition of Sri Sathya Sai Village Integration Programme in the district were held next the canteen coupon counter during these three days that was attended by many devotees.
At the end, it was apparent that East Godavari tribals were touched by Bhagawan perennial flow of pure love. Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation in the district could definitely feel proud of its various ventures that made many a life beautiful in this otherwise backward region of Andhra Pradesh.