Ladies’ Day is the occasion when Prasanthi Nilayam gets the pristine touch of the Motherhood principle, as women from various parts of the globe gather to attend the festivity in the immediate Divine presence.
As women from all over the world assembled at Prasanthi Nilayam in colurful garbs to celebrate the 14th Ladies’ Day in the midst of their Mother Sai early on Thursday morning, Sai Kulwant Hall was already glittering in anticipation of the festivity and fervour to come. Women, who represent the virtues of faith, fortitude, and wisdom, gathered to offer their selves to Mother Sai, who is the epitome of all virtues.
Reflecting an aesthetic beauty matching the grandeur of the occasion, Sai Kulwant Hall was a scene of gracefulness on the morning of November 19.
What could have been a better backdrop than the rising sun to celebrate the glory of the Goddess who has the face of a million Suns? With flowers dressed around reflecting various hues and freshness, the dais for the Lord had the regal touch, a perfect setting to host the Divine Mother encased in human frame. Festoons, buntings and special Chinese lanterns added glitter to the packed Sai Kulwant Hall under which multitudes of women beyond the barriers of language, nationality and religions gathered.
Bhagawan glided into the hall at 9.15 am and was accorded a traditional welcome led by the Brass Band of the Anantapur Campus of the Sri Sathya Sai University, followed by another group of girls students chanting Vedic hymns.
The programme got off to a start with Bhagawan lighting a lamp on the dais officially commencing the function.
Ms. Chetana Raju, who takes care of the women's welfare activities under the Eeshwaramma Trust and had also co-ordinated the Thursday’s events, announced the days’ programme to the multitudes. She also spoke of the great fortune all of us had to be in the presence of the Lord in the physical form and that the human endeavour must be to reach the final goal, Sathya Sai.
Lost in the mundane and mediocre lives, how many of us are ready to undergo rigours of sleepless nights to attain the reality, for emancipation from the bondage of the trivial and temporary, asked Ms. Raju.
"Every seeker of Truth is called upon to make a monastic cell in his own heart and to retire in it every day… and Swami guides," she said, stressing on the importance of being with Bhagawan.
"Swami is a deeply valued experience that goes beyond the theological definitions of the world: He is one of the most fascinating human experiences," said the speaker calling Prasanthi Nilayam as the most contemporary place of worship with warmth and friendship extended to every participant, regardless of his or her credentials of any nature.
The speaker concluded her speech with a prayer to Bhagawan that may all the rigours of our sleepless nights be mingled with the understanding, love and care that He has been showering on us for decades and that someday we are be able to capture them all in our souls…
Following the address, Ms. Sharon Sandweiss of USA, a school teacher, advisor and coordinator for the Sri Sathya Sai Young Adult Programme in California and editor of Sai World, a newsletter for Sai Children and Youth, surrendered herself to Bhagawan's Lotus Feet before expressing her thoughts.
Offering her heartfelt gratitude to Bhagawan for His compassion and motherly love, Ms Sandweiss thanked the wonderful opportunity bestowed upon her. The speaker narrated beautiful anecdotes from her own life that had transformed her and snippets of her conversations with Bhagawan.
The speaker then went on to describe how Bhagawan’s presence had changed her family's life forever. She said that she was amazed at the sea change in her husband since he had first met Sai Baba in India. She said Sai Baba had spared her a life of despair by entering her life and called Bhagawan the Living Presence in their lives.
"We may stumble and fall, but remember problems are our teachers and Sai is with us…," said the speaker, narrating how meat was excluded from the family menu forever with the help of His unseen hand.
Bhagawan is the source and not the force, she said.
Recalling a revelation made by Bhagawan in the interview room in connection with an incident, the speaker quoted Bhagawan telling them that “…if it was not for Him, everything would be lost”.
Talking about the importance of Ladies’ Day, she said, "We are all members of same family; when we serve our family with love, we sanctify our lives; when we uphold justice, we justify our lives; when we support the suffering women in the world, we dignify our lives; when we preserve and protect mother earth, we will purify our lives and when we offer everything to our Lord, we will glorify our lives," said the speaker concluding her emotional rhetoric before offering her salutations to Bhagawan.
The third speaker was Mrs. Harriet Tay-Agbozo from Ghana, who has been teaching in Ghana from 1975 onwards and has been an active faculty member of Sai Education, Ghana.
Mrs. Harriet, in her short speech proudly declared that joining the Education in Human Values programme was a the best decision she had taken as it had given her a clear vision on life, and an understanding as to who she was and who she is. Seeing Swami as Sathya Sai and Sai Jesus, she recalled many miracles of transformation and healing.
She also narrated how Bhagawan saved her husband and brought him back from near death situation to life. "I would pray to Bhagawan and He has always responded," she said.
This was followed by a global ethnic dance presentation by Sri Sathya Sai Schools from various countries that included India, Mexico, South Africa, Indonesia, Fiji and Thailand.
The Indian troupe, which was the first to perform, presented a traditional Indian dance praising the all-pervading cosmic principle Lord Sai. This was followed by dances by children from Indonesia and Southern Mexico, a country where the sphere of education is completely taken care by women so that it remains spiritual and worldly.
Children from Fiji Islands offered a traditional dance, followed by the children of Sri Sathya Sai School, Thailand, who presented a classical dance based on ancient mythology. The last dance was by South African children, who performed a Zulu dance followed by three special bhajans by the same troupe.
The climax was a perfect example of unity in diversity as children from all countries performed together.
Bhagawan blessed the whole contingent with a coveted photo session that was followed by giving away of gift items. Bhagawan spent some time with the group of children, and interacted with many of them who hailed from around the world.
Before retiring to Yajur Mandiram, Bhagawan graciously cut the Ladies’ Day special cake prepared by a special group from Italy. Arathi was offered to the Lord at 11.30 am.