It is but a rare moment in the history of time when one gets the privilege and merit of celebrating the birthday of one Poorna Avatar in the presence of another Poorna Avatar. But we, in this Kali Yuga, born as contemporaries of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba have been blessed with this boon. September 4th this year was one such momentous occasion where thousands congregated in Sai Kulwant Hall to celebrate Sri Krishna Ashtami in the Divine Presence of Bhagawan Baba.
At 8.15 am, Bhagawan arrived in Sai Kulwant Hall clad in beautiful yellow robe – the Pithambara (yellow garment), characteristic of Lord Krishna. The Hall reverberated with the chant of Narayana Suktam and other Vedic hymns in propitiation of Lord Narayana. Bhagawan then alighted from His car and, as is the usual custom of Krishna Ashtami celebrations at Prasanthi Nilayam, fed His pet baby elephant Krishna Geetha and cows from the Gokulam Dairy. Bhagawan then came on to the dais and was seated there listening to Veda chanting. Two students from the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School dressed as Sri Krishna and His brother Sri Balarama went to Bhagawan and got the Prasadam blessed and few other students went with pigeons that were graciously released by Bhagawan. The morning programme concluded with Arati.
In the evening, Bhagawan granted Darshan at 3.40 pm. The first programme was a drama presentation by the Sri Sathya Sai University Men’s Brass Band on the story of Lord Krishna’s birth and childhood to the accompaniment of Bhajans with western fusion music. Thereafter, Bhagawan permitted the Balvikas children of Nalgonda District, Andhra Pradesh to stage a drama entitled ‘Prema Baata’ (The Path of Love). The story revolved around a virtuous but economically backward and handicapped youth Sri Hari who brings about a transformation in his community and leads many people – young and old, rich and poor on the path of righteousness as espoused by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The drama that lasted for around 30 minutes was packed with powerful dialogues and was interspersed with dances and melodious songs. Following this, heeding to the prayers of everyone seated in the hall, Bhagawan rose up to give His Divine Discourse.
Bhagawan began His discourse with a Telugu verse that stated that the whole creation is born out of Truth, is sustained by Truth and merges back in to Truth. There is no place in this entire cosmos where Truth is not found. This is the pure, unsullied Truth. Then, with the characteristic wave of His hand, Bhagawan materialized a golden lingam - ‘Hiranyagarbha’ and declared that the Hiranyagarbha is the very form of Shuddha Satvam (Pure and unsullied Truth). This Truth incarnates from age to age for a specific cause. In the Tretha Yuga, it took the form of Lord Sri Rama and in the Dwapara Yuga it took the form of Lord Sri Krishna. Bhagawan then narrated stories from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana in great detail and explained that the Rama Tatwa (Principle of Rama) and Krishna Tatwa (Principle of Krishna) are one and the same. In conclusion, Bhagawan said that the sacred name of Lord Sri Rama contains the essence of all the stories of the Lord, and He exhorted everyone to constantly chant the glorious name of Rama as this would take us across all difficulties and ensure our wellbeing.
After accepting Arati, Bhagawan retired to His residence at 6.20 pm.