With Ugadi comes a new telugu year and as the name suggests, Vikruthi, the advent of the New Year raises apprehensions anticipating oddity. However, these general perceptions, observations and reservations do not bear any affect on Sai fraternity to whom, the greater faith that “All is well with Sai’s Grace” stands good for all times. The Bhagavatha Saptaaham that came close on the heels of the advent of the New Year was a reassurance to this greater faith of anticipating the best in the mighty presence of Sai. The young “narrator” of the epic, Sri Rituraj Ji Maharaj was heard sounding positive several times on the subject, though his reference was not connected to Ugadi. He said: “With Sai’s anugraha no grahas can affect us” meaning with with Sai’s Blessings no planet could ever affect you. Prof. Anil Kumar who with his eloquence mesmerized the telugu audience on the Ugadi morning also sounded the same…He said: when one is with God, what is there to worry about the influences of the planets or the lines on the hand.
Ugadi for Telugu and Kannada, Gudi Padwa for Maharashtra, Cheti Chand for the Sindhis, though the names vary, the occasion marks greater importance and thus the urge to celebrate the same in the Divine Presence. It is goodbye for "Virodhi" while welcoming "Vikruthi". The metamorphosis that is slowly affecting the festive patterns in Prasanthi was evident with Ugadi celebrations this year. Ugadi, which used to be a gala festivity in the earlier days, with people expecting Bhagawan to discourse on the New Year and students making presentations signifying the occasion, was celebrated without much ‘fanfare’.
Prasanthi celebrated Ugadi with a united team from Andhra Pradesh singing His glory in His Divine Presence on the 15th Mar 2010. A group of seventy from entire Andhra Pradesh had a musical offering at His Feet celebrating the Advent of the New Year. This was followed by Music College presentation with a collection of vocal and instrumentals on the 16th evening. In a scintillating session that lasted for more than an hour, the music boys sung setting greater benchmarks for themselves enchanting the Divine and mesmerizing the the capacity audience in an evening-turned-twilight-turned-night.
The most captivating thing in Prasanthi is His Divine Darshan and every festivity, every occasion and every single day seem to be heralding this message to each and every devotee in Prasanthi Nilayam. The Ugadi morning, 16th March, witnessed Bhagawan arriving in the morning, clad in maroon. And the morning proceedings were centered around some announcements on the revamping of the mighty parent body, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. Two of the senior most members in the Trust and Organisations, namely, Mr. Indulal Shah and Justice Bhagwati were made to speak on the occasion, highlighting the developments. Brushing aside some maligning propaganda against the Trust, Mr. Bhagwati emphasised that Bhagawan's mission was committed to the welfare of humanity. Mr. Srinivasan, the All India President of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, in his address, called the Central Trust as the biggest Charitable Trust in the world aimed at serving the humanity.
The “icing on the cake”, if one is allowed to ascribe it so considering Bhagawan’s Divine Darshan as the highest boon, was Ugadi Divine Discourse. Ugadi marks the beginning of a New Year. On this New Year day one has to make an attempt to see God in every being whomsoever he or she comes across, exhorted Bhagawan. Avatar is not external - The Avatar is present in each and every one of us. When it is said that He has thousand hands, eyes and feet, it only means that every being in the world is a manifestation of God, said Bhagawan in His Divine Discourse that lasted for forty minutes. Every individual is originally Atma and the name that is given is only temporal for the worldly life, was an important message aired through a conversation with a student during the Divine Discourse, an episode similar to that happened with the Hyderabad Youth Team.
Close on the heels of the Ugadi celebrations came a weeklong spiritual bonanza, a Bhagavatha Saptaaham by Sri Rituraj Ji Maharaj from Madhya Pradesh. The Saptaaham in Hindi was a veritable feast for the seekers of Lord as the ‘commentator’ with his unique style of exposition transformed Prasanthi into a Dwapara bringing in the magical Krishna touch in the immediate Divine Presence of Bhagawan. …And for the narrator, most uniquely, Krishna of Dwapara and Sai of the current times were one and the same as He with ease replaced the Krishna factor with Sai factor in many of the stories to the greater delight of the audience.
The Maharaj, who, with his inimitable style of narration, with melody in his voice coupled with profundity of knowledge and greater devotion, was a treat to the audience who immersed in the epical exposition for a week that came as a big treat in the New Year from the Divine.
Howmuchever, one extols on the greater significance of the epical rendition, Prasanthi Nilayam holds the unique, ‘one of its kind’ significance, with the Avatar Himself in physical frame sitting and listening to the same, the exposition, on all the seven days.
This was an onerous task bestowed upon to the grateful alumni working with various institutions under Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. From food to accommodation to decoration and finally to the task of entertaining the Divine, the group, “Sai Sannidhi” made every effort to make ‘it’ a grand success, seeking guidance and blessings from Bhagawan. While thematic decorations, colourful and elegant, matching the grandeur of the occasion won attention from The Lord, the Music Troupe had a veritable feast in presenting His own poems that adorned as a prelude to many a discourse over the years. Following the first day’s presentation on the 19th March, the next presentation entitled “Radha Bhakti” held on the 20th March turned out to be a Divine treat delighting devotees with His own music, poetry and literature, elevating the minds and souls to sublime heights, presenting the sanctifying relationship between devotee and The Lord, Radha and Krishna.
Bhagawan’s love for “vedam” and the initiative He has taken upon Himself to uplift and spread the culture is well known to all. On the second day of the Saptaaham, in a morning session that extended beyond the noon hours, Bhagawan showcased this interst by asking the little primary school boy from Iran to chant vedam in public. Calling the two ‘little hearts’ from the primary school onstage, Bhagawan interacted with them praising their enthusiasm and ability to chant Vedam.
On the concluding day, the final scene was climactic. Maharaj’s final session's exposition had the tale of Bhagawan Sri Krishna's emotional meeting with his childhood friend, Sudhama. The Maharaj gave a scintillating narration of the meeting of the two friends that, The Lord, the narrator and the entire assemblage were literally transported into the days of Dwapara, 'visualising' the nostalgic magic moments in the life of Bhagawan's ‘dearmost’ friend, Sudhama. Choked with emotion, Rituraj Ji’s eyes were moist with tears of love and so was the Lord in physical frame. …And the wavelength spread the entire Sai Kulwant airing emotion encompassing a unique feeling of greater peace and love and sanctity.
Narrating the safe ‘exit’ of Raja Parikshit, ending the story, touching ‘Uddhava Gita’ and the ‘sarpa yaga’ performed by King Janamejaya marking an apt finale, the Maharaj dedicated the entire week-long spiritual exercise to the “Divine Parents”, Mother Easwaramma and Pedda Venkamma Raju.
The “Maharaj” who was filled with gratitude had one word of acclaim for the greater benevolence, for the greater benediction of the Greater Heaven… He asserted that not alone this birth, but many many births have been redeemed by virtue of being an instrument in His hands in conducting the Saptaaham. Later on the following day after the Saptaaham Bhagawan granted Rituraj ji and his music accompanists with a private audience.
Saptaaham was followed by Sri Rama Navami and the celebrations was minimum except for a long stint of Sri Rama bhajans in the morning followed by a bouquet of musical presentation by Sri Rituraj ji’s music accompaniment, whose prayers was heard by Bhagawan.
A "Burra Katha" presentation entitled "Yugaavathar" on the Life and Mission of Bhagawan that had been in the offing during the Bhagavatha Saptaaham was finally staged on the final day of the fortnight, Sunday, 28th March. The previous evening Bhagawan had instructed one of the boys to have the presentation on the ensuing evening and overnight the boys got ready for the shown for the Divine!
Over 140 members from Sathya Sai Samithi in Super Speciality Hospital, Prasanthigram, came as a group, Sai Sameepyam, seeking Divine Darshan and blessing from Bhagawan. Bhagawan spent ten minutes with the group, in two instalments, before and after bhajans with the group on the evening of 28th March, moving, listening and granting padanamaskars.
Solar Revolution is slowly catching up Ashram also as the South Indian Canteen in the Ashram has gone for a 25 Kilo Watt Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant which was commissioned during Sivarathri, last month. This would take care of electrical needs consumed by the lights and fans in the canteen.
A new computerized subscription counter for Sanathana Sarathi has become operational near the South Indian Canteen, in the newly built coupon counter block. This counter would be working from morning 8 to evening 7:30, except for an hour lunch break in the afternoon.
Daring the scorching summer that “zaps life”, the construction of dormitories is marking steady progress at the rear western end of Prasanthi.
Summer is normally severe in Parthi and the signs of yet another ‘ruthless’ summer is already in the cards with raising temperature levels for the past couple of days. …And with this peaking summer, yet another academic year is coming to its closure with final lap of end-semester examinations are in progress at the Sri Sathya Sai University Campuses in Anantapur, Brindavan and Prasanthi Nilayam.