The villages of East and West Godavari districts have been witnessing a flurry of service activities by the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, Andhra Pradesh. The dedicated batches of Seva Dals have been fanning out to inaccessible villages in the agency areas of Godavari districts. They are rendering service in the fields of education, medicine, agriculture, infrastructure and spirituality. The Seva Dals are helping the educated unemployed in finding employment, creating awareness in them to have good health and hygiene, ill-effects of smoking and drinking alcohol. The villagers are mightily pleased with the help they are receiving from the Organisation under the Sri Sathya Sai Village Integrated Programme (SSSVIP).
Nine hundred and forty Girijans (tribals) from these agency areas have come on a three-day pilgrimage to Prasanthi Nilayam, under the auspices of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, Andhra Pradesh. This pilgrimage is an expression of their love for Bhagawan for providing pure drinking water in the upland areas of East and West Godavari districts and for the service they are receiving in the name of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
The programme commenced on the 27th evening, with Dr. Bhaskar Rao, a medical doctor by profession, a veteran long time devotee and an active functionary of the Organisation dilated at length on the SSSVIP programmes being implemented by the organisation in these districts. Making a mention of the services being rendered in the name of SSSVIP, Dr. Bhaskar Rao said, in the first phase of SSSVIP, out of 432 villages in the agency areas, Seva Dals are doing active Seva in 44 villages. Getting up as early at three in the morning, trekking long distances in the rough terrain to reach the villages at around 10 am, these sevadals do service activities in the villages throughout the day, in the form of Bal Vikas, imparting formal education, etc., finally ending up, getting back to their respective places at around 11 in the night. As a part of medicare, they arrange for specialist doctors to treat patients from the area; some of the incurable diseases of tribals are cured because of this specialised care. Lady Seva Dals are creating awareness in the tribals about personal hygiene and the importance of cleanliness both inside and outside the houses. The Seva Dals are also helping in the construction of temples and all major festivals are celebrated in the villages with grandeur. Quality vegetable seeds and pesticide sprayers are distributed to every household for developing kitchen gardens. They have constructed community halls, permanent houses; bus shelters and primary schools are revamped. Extension of Sri Sathya Sai Drinking Water pipelines to schools hostels and junior colleges is also done. Woollen blankets, saris, dhotis, shirts and trousers are distributed on different occasions. Sewing training centres are started in these villages and the tribal women are given training in these centres.
Briefing the eight point service activities done in the field of agriculture, education, employment care, spiritual needs, individual care, socio-care, infrastructural development and medicare, Dr. Bhaskar Rao, expressed gratitude to Bhagawan for the strength He has imparted on to the Seva Dals helping them to do relentless service. The tribals from the region have developed greater love and affection for Bhagawan and wanted to come to Prasanthi Nilayam to offer their gratitude in person; over 940 tribals have joined the Yatra and in gratitude and these tribals wanted Bhagawan to visit their ‘homeland’, the Godavari region, said Dr. Bhaskar Rao.
After Dr. Bhaskar Rao’s speech, the participating Seva Dals came in a rally offering their obeisance, paying Guard of Honour to Bhagawan carrying name plates of the villages they were rendering services. This was followed by an offering of forest products by the tribal group, at His Divine Lotus Feet.
What followed this was a vibrant performance by the tribals exhibiting the rich culture of the region. To start with drum beating youths gave a beautiful performance, Konda Reddla Dappu Vinyasam, an art featuring synchronization of their drum beats. The next was Koyadorala Kommu Nrithyam by the Koya tribals from the agency areas, dressing with bull horns, and locking horns with each other symbolically to the beat of drums. Garga dance was the next item, a dance usually performed by the villagers to appease the goddess of the village was performed in the presence of Bhagawan by balancing a small container on their heads. Deft performance of walking on two wooden poles; traditional Kolattam dance (dance done by striking one stick on another with other dancers) was performed with élan by these villagers.
Godavari, supposedly the second largest in India is a sacrosanct river wherein millions upon millions take refuge to shelve their sins by having a holy dip. To such a one which accumulates the sins of the world most selflessly, who will come to her rescue sanctifying her to flow as ebullient as ever? “Godavari Talli Goomugha Adigindi” was a beautiful dance song by girls, a prayer from River Godavari to Bhagawan to sanctify her by His Divine Touch!
Towards the end of the programme, as an interlude, the announcer described a wonderful experience of a group of Seva Dals, who while travelling in a bus were stopped by a constable. With trepidation, they followed the constable to the police station. The circle inspector in the station praised the Seva Dals for their noble service in inaccessible areas. He said, “Your Baba is really great.” The inspector further added that naxalism is eradicated from the Godavari districts because of “your Baba”. Their last item was Dhimsa dance by Bal Vikas children. This dance is performed continuously by the tribals from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. in their villages. As all the artistes converged in the performing arena, an announcement was made that they have no other thought than Swami and they were spending their lives chanting His name. Where there is yearning, there comes swift response from Bhagawan. Immensely pleased, Bhagawan went amidst them showering benediction and posing for a photo session, a life time opportunity for these hapless turned lucky souls.
An exhibition on the Sri Sathya Sai Village Integration Programme was held depicting over two hundred pictures of various activities coming under the scheme covering adopted 44 villages.
The organizers have aptly titled the Parthi Yaatra - Giridhari Sannidhiki Girijanula Parthi Yaatra. Yes, they have come on a pilgrimage to The Lord, and have been conquered by His Love!