Heavens thundered and poured rain droplets turning out to a heavy downpour as if rejoicing, propitiating imminent auspiciousness, the grand finale of the seven days Veda Purusha Saptaaha Jnana Yajna. While the heavy lash of rains on Saturday midnight was in greater anticipation, the real celebration happened in the next evening turned twilight when yet another heavy lash of downpour came right at the nick of time, when the Divine was discoursing on the secret of creation and the point of reference was about the perpetual downpour that had happened for hundreds of years paving way for the creation.
The week that passed by was atypical with the seven day long Veda Purusha Saptaaha Jnana Yajna and the Karmic Yajna, Sri Sathya Sai Grama Seva were on in full measure giving Prasanthi the rejoicing festive touch.
Ten days of Grama Seva covering over 150 villages witnessed almost round the clock activities with various teams having identified tasks taking responsibility of the mission. While a dedicated bunch of sevadals from Andhra Pradesh managed the entire kitchen related activity, it was the turn of the Anantapur students and staff to convert the same into Prasadam packets, a nightlong affair, often ended up in the wee hours. The men students and staff members from the University along with the higher secondary students and staff moved into different locations, in trucks and canters, scheduled well in advance based on a detailed survey, to distribute packets at door steps, taking home the message of Love All Serve All…Help Ever Hurt Never. Junior students from the Primary and Higher Secondary Division were given their share of service in packing Laddu Prasadam. Apart from food packets and laddu prasadam, sarees and dhotis, one per family were also distributed as a part of Grama Seva.
Special squad of over 450 sevadals, both men and women, from Andhra Pradesh along with 36 cooks from Bhadrachalam were in action in the cooking arena. For the students of the University, Grama Seva has almost become a part of their curriculum wherein they are getting a practical experience of serving the poor taking home the message of “Love All Serve All…” Vice Chancellor Vishwanath Pandit, in his speech on the first day of the Prasanthi Vidhwan Mahasabha mentioned how he could convince and impress upon the special committee set up by the Ministry of Human Resources on this atypical Grama Seva activities done by the University.
Every day during the week witnessed the Veda Purusha Saptaaha Jnaana Yajna in the Poornachandra Auditorium. Bhagawan was present on all days except for one day and would always return after spending half an hour onstage, accepting Mangala Arathi.
The evening sessions turned out to become the assembly of the learned wherein seniors, faculty members and students from the University shared their words of wisdom in His Divine Presence. The speakers who shared the rostrum included, Prof. Vishwanath Pandit, Prof. Venkataraman, Mr. S.V.Giri, Mr. K. Chakravarthi, Mr. V.Srinivasan, Mr. B.N.Narasimha Murthy, Mr. Srinivasan SriRangarajan, Prof. Anantaraman, Dr. T. Ravi Kumar, Dr. Subhash Subramaniam, Mr. Sashank Shah, Mr. Robin Sharma, Mr. Aman Jhaveri, Mr. Bhabhani Shankar and Mr. Akshay Kamath. All these speeches were preceded by rhetoric excellence by Anil Kumar Kamaraju in Telugu who dwelled upon various aspects of the “attributeless” Mother Divine, often peaking with excellent poetic narration. Anil Kumar was the master of the ceremonies for the archetype assembly of scholars.
Ayudha Pooja in Prasanthi Nilayam is atypical with a fleet of cars serving the Divinity getting blessed by Bhagawan, a custom that has been prevalent for years. …And alongwith the same comes the Golden Chariot. 26th Sept, 2009, the scheduled Ayudha Pooja day witnessed Bhagawan blessing various cars bedecked with garlands and neatly parked in Sai Kulwant Hall. Coconuts were broken and chocolates were distributed to everyone.
Dasara is one occasion when the devotees from the state make it to Prasanthi Nilayam despite all oddities. When the week was passing on to a fresh one, handing over the baton, the concluding function, the Poornahuthi to the fresh week, thousands upon thousands arrived at Prasanthi Nilayam braving lash of rains and cloudy sky cover on the previous evening making every available space a scarcity.
The icing on the cake was an exhilarating Divine Discourse lasted for ninety minutes…and on the sidelines came a heavy downpour. Starting off with a reference to the mystery behind Creation and the continuous rains over hundreds of years, He posed a question, as if the downpour was a “Divinely Intended” one, as to why it should rain at the particular time. Pausing for a moment, calling to comfort and accommodate those devotees who were getting drenched outside, in the process granting them greater, grandeur darshan, He continued to mention that the cool climate would make the minds cool that in turn could help devotees to listen and understand the Divine Discourse. Saying so, He drifted Himself to His Own Nectarous childhood story…
Earlier, Prasanthi’s unique label of Religious Harmony was on display on the festive 21st evening in Sai Kulwant Hall when the holy occasion of Id was celebrated in a simple yet elegant function in the immediate Divine Presence. Adding flavor to the occasion Bhagawan called the two little brothers onstage, brothers from the Primary School, Sathya and Rama, originally from Iran. Sathya, the seventh standard student gave a short speech in His Divine Presence expressing grateful thanks to Bhagawan for the wonderful opportunity to be in His presence. This was followed by an exhilarating speech by Ajit Popat of the United Kingdom.
The second volume of the book, My Dear Students, compilation of Divine Discourses, was blessed and released by Bhagawan on the 25th afternoon. Pulling the strings of the silver ribbon Bhagawan went through the contents of the book. This series contains 27 Discourses covered under four major themes – Advice to Students, Vidya - True Education, Sanatana Dharma – The Eternal Religion and Short Stories. Through these, Bhagawan has covered practically all aspects of students’ lives both within His University as well as of the students studying elsewhere. He highlights in no uncertain terms what He expects from students, what is good for them and what they should be doing in order to fulfill their role as ideal students and future citizens of the country and the world at large. He has very lucidly, through stories, anecdotes and examples from the scriptures and from the lives of various saints, sages of India and of heroes and heroines of various Indian epics communicated His message to the students. The Discourses are a rare mix of humour, wisdom, caution and appreciation which only Bhagawan is capable of. The first volume of the series was released in November, 2008.
The week’s Rose Beneficiaries were, Mr. Tandon, Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust, Sahayak Division, Mr. Shyamal Sur, In-charge, Prasanthi Security, Mr. Natarajan, Mr. Bhashyam, Mr. Rama Rao, Mr. Prabhakar and Mr. Garimella Krishna Murthy, all working with Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust, Publications Division.
While the week was passing, the baton for the final lap of the seven day long Yajna and the Karmic Yajna that has been happening for the past more than a week was being handed over to the fresh week. In a glittering ceremony marked with religious fervour, the seven day long Dasara Jnana Saptaha Yajnam concluded on 28th morning with Bhagawan receiving Poornahuthi as Yajna Purusha, witnessed by thousands in a jam-packed Poornachandra Auditorium. Bhagawan who presided over the Yajna blessed the occasion while the final offerings were being made into the pit amidst the holy Vedic Chantings.
This was followed by the final lap of Grama Seva 2009, wherein women students of Sathya Sai University along with staff members from the University and Primary School distributed Prasadam to all inmates at their door step inside the ashram, marking the end of ten days of Karma Yajna, started on the 19th of September. Yet another memorable occasion in the annals of Prasanthi Nilayam!!!