Ugadi brings the touch of freshness, denotes the advent of the New Year. People from Andhra and Karnataka are bading goodbye to “Virodhi” and embracing “Vikruthi “. Not alone these two states, for the Marati speaking, it is Gudi Padwa and Cheti Chand for those for those from Sindhi belt. So, Vikruthi Naama Samvatsara Ugadi has come and Prasanthi Nilayam bore the festive look with thousands upon thousands thronged to steal a glimpse of the Lord on the auspicious day.
On the auspicious morning, Sai Kulwant Hall bore a festive look with simple, yet elegant decorations, aptly signifying the advent of the New Year, bringing freshness New Year verily demands. Bhagawan, for the day, The Lord in maroon, was ushered into the festive Sai Kulwant at 9:36.
The morning proceedings began with Bhagawan coming on stage at 10:10. Mr. V.Srinivasan, President, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations - India, giving his introductory talk on the occasion, invited the first speaker for the session Mr. Bhagavathi, Formerly Chief Justice of India and an ardent long time devotee of Bhagawan to make some important announcements about Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.
Mr. Bhagavathi's speech was about the induction or the revamp of the Board of Trustees and Council Members in the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. Divulging further, the eminent jurist hailed Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust to be the biggest Charitable Trust, set up for the benefit of humanity. Brushing aside the misunderstanding and maligning propaganda against the Trust, Mr. Bhagavathi emphasised that Bhagawan's mission has been committed for the welfare of humanity. He also hinted at formation of various subcommittees wherein grateful students of Bhagawan would be inducted in responsible positions.
This was followed by a short speech by Mr. Indulal Shah, the doyen of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, who, by endorsing the proposals put forth by Justice Bhagavathi, said that he has no words to talk about the Trust and Organisation as he is feeling overwhelmed.
Mr. V. Srinivasan, who followed next spoke about the and the great good fortune of being in His Divine Presence on the auspicious occasion and the greater importance of being a part of His Mission. He also made a mention about some maligning campaign against the Trust, adding that Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust is not a family trust, but the biggest Charitable Trust in the world aimed at serving the humanity.
The awaiting moment came, The Ugadi Divine Discourse that lasted for forty minutes. Starting with the great Indian Women, namely, Savitri, Chandramathi, Mother Sita and Damayanthi, Bhagawan went on elaborating the Harischandra Story, emphasising that how Ishwara was pleased at Harischandra's commitment and adherence to Truth. One has to understand and experience the fact that God exists everywhere.
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 everyone 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.
Towards the end of His Divine Discourse, Bhagawan interacted with a college student, bringing forth greater lessons to the vast audience. Bhagawan, upon asking a question to the boy as to where from he has come, said that, his body would have come from so and so place, but he is not… Bhagawan went on describing about the nomenclature of “I” and “Mine” that come out of ego sense. Upon His conversation, Bhagawan materialized an emerald ring to be presented to the boy.
Concluding His Divine Discourse Bhagawan blessed the entire assemblage to lead a happy life. The Divine Discourse was concluded at 11:20, upon which Prof. Anil Kumar took over with Divine permission to deliver a chaste telugu rhetoric, mixed with poetic fervour, attempting to elucidate on Sai Mahatmyam mesmerizing the audience to immerse in the ocean of Sai Avatara Vaibhavam. Referring to the advent of the New Year, “Vikruthi” the name that brings unpleasant feeling, the professor asked, when one is with God, what is there to worry about the influences of the planets or lines on the hand?
Prasadam was distributed to the entire assemblage and a small booklet by name "Ooru Lethu - Peru Lethu" meanng "No Country - No Name" written by Dr. Sara Pavan was distributed to the student fraternity. Upon Anil Kumar's speech before moving off the podium, Bhagawan blessed various items brought by students symbolising the festivity. Arathi was offered at 11:45 and Bhagawan retired to Yajur Mandiram at 11:50.
In the evening, the stage was set for the Staff and Students from Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music to have an offering at Bhagawan. It may be reminded that upon their Gratitude Programme on Mar 11, Bhagawan had given a subtle hint at the teachers to have a full-fledged musical session by the troupe and ever since, they have made two attempts, without ‘success’. “God’s delays are not denials” and it seemed Bhagawan wanted the “super-show” to be on the auspicious evening. They had a collection of Vocal and Instrumental that included, Carnatic, Hindustani, Veena, Sitar etc.
Upon coming on stage, again clad in maroon, Bhagawan blessed the troupe and the programme commenced with a Ganesha prayer, "Maha Ganapatim Manasa Smarami…”, the original Carnatic composition of Muthu Swami Dikshitar in Raga Nattai set to Eka Talam. This was followed by a Sitar recital in Rag Bhagyashree set to Ek Taal followed by Teen Taal. Next item was a Hindustani composition, “Ab Mori Naiya Par Karo…” originally an offering to Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia, a Sufi Saint of India, set in Rag Thodi and Ek Tal. A Veena recital followed, “Shiva Shiva…” in Rag Panthuvarali .
No music show goes without Saint Thyagaraja’s touch whose greater devotion and love for God and Music has taken him to immortality. The next piece was the famous Thyagaraja composition on Lord Rama, "Bantureethi Kulu" in Rag Hamsanadham set to Adi Tal followed by Thaniyaavarthanam on the Mridangam, Tabla, Ghatam and Carnatic Khanjira. Starting with an Aalaap, Sri Raghavam….this musical piece sung at the transitional twilight lasted for more than half-an-hour, transporting the entire assemblage to a world of musical delight, demonstrating the power of devotion and love of the composer, illustrious ‘musical knight’ Saint Thyagaraja. The whole musical piece had the touch of Jugalbandhi with each instrument was taking its due share blending harmoniously producing notes transporting one and all to greater levels Musical Ecstasy. An enchanted Bhagawan called the singer onstage presenting him with a ring.
Bhagawan climbed down the dais to pose for a group photo session with the musical troupe. Safari pieces and sweets were distributed to the entire troupe before Arathi was offered at 7:15.
Earlier, on the previous evening, heralding the Advent of the Ugadi, a group of 70 from Andhra Pradesh made it an emotional evening suffused with love and devotion for Swami, singing in His presence. The songs, sung in chorus by the men and women, some of them in typical telugu folk style, were interwoven with commentary in Telugu, thematically arranged, describing the attributes of ‘attributeless’ Divinity. The commenced their programme with a melodious rendering describing Parthi to be their Vaikunta and Kailasa and ended the programme with an Uyyala song (cradle song).