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Then & Now
A day in Ashram


In this issue of Prasanthi News, we give you details of the happenings at Prasanthi Nilayam on the 3rd and 4th of July 2005. Bhagawan created a sparkling gold necklace and explained its significance on the 3rd morning and a magnificent play titled “The Only Element” was presented by the children of Region X, USA on the 4th evening. Please read on for details …

3rd July 2005 (Morning)

Being Sunday, the students of Sri Sathya Sai Primary School, Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School and Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning were seated in Sai Kulwant Hall by 7.30 a.m. Bhagawan came out at 8.00 a.m. and sat on the dais facing the students and devotees. After a while, at 8.45 a.m., Swami called one of the Veda teachers and gave some instructions. A former student, presently working in Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust was called by Bhagawan to translate the Vedic chant into English for the benefit of other students and devotees. The Mantra chosen was Narayanopanishad. The student gave an apt translation of each line of this Vedic Mantra. Bhagawan was very keenly listening to the translation.

When the word Vaikuntha was used while translating the line ‘Vaikuntha Bhuvana Lokam Gamishyati’, Swami asked him the meaning of Vaikuntha. The student then spelt out the meaning of Vaikuntha as that which is all pervasive. After the entire Mantra was recited with explanation, Bhagawan called the student. Even as everyone was watching him come forward, Swami’s right Hand moved in circles and out sprang a beautiful gold necklace! This was an ornamental thick necklace with so many intricate designs on it.

Bhagawan explained the significance of the necklace to the student and a teacher. Out of His love for devotees and other students, Swami asked the student to reveal the message to the audience.

This gold necklace contains the power of the sacred mantra - “Om Namo Narayanaya.” He went on to explain that all the Vedas, Upanishads and the other scriptures illumine the path that man has to take to attain his final destination – Divinity. The Mantra “Om Namo Narayanaya” contains the essence and power of all the scriptures. The fatherly and motherly aspect of divinity is contained in this Mantra. Without either of them, there can be no creation. But, if one were to contemplate deeply, one would realise that there is no difference between the two aspects - Purusha (God) and Prakruti (Nature), they are indeed one and the same. The power of this Mantra is contained in the necklace. The student continued, “All the Beejaksharas (root letters) of this Mantra are potentially present in this necklace.

Thus, it was verily a Mantropadesa by the Lord. No one, except Bhagawan can give the essence of this Mantra in a nutshell, yet so profoundly.

Bhajans started at 9.10 a.m. and by 9.20 a.m. Swami retired for the morning session to His abode.

3rd July 2005 (Evening)

This evening, Bhagawan came out at 3.30 p.m. The car moved forward, crossed the portico and came on to the stage. Swami sat on the dais for a long while. Around 4.00 p.m. Bhagawan started calling boys with letters. He spent considerable time with each one of them answering their questions and giving them some loving advice and message. After a while He signalled to the boys who had their birthday on this day. They too went in an orderly manner and sought His blessings. At 4.35 p.m. Prasadam was distributed to all devotees, students and staff. Bhajans began at 4.45 p.m. and at 5.15 p.m. Swami was offered Ararti and then He retired to His abode.

4th July 2005 (Evening)

A large contingent of devotees from USA had come to Prasanthi Nilayam to have Bhagawan’s Darshan. On this evening, the children of Region X USA presented a magnificent play titled “The Only Element”.

Many years ago the land now known as North America was the home of the Native Americans. They respected nature and worshipped the five elements – Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether as life sustaining forces and as the Great Spirits.

The play revolved around the theme of “Thanksgiving” which has its roots down memory lane when the Native Americans helped a group of weary pilgrims to cultivate crops. When they had a bountiful harvest the next autumn, a function was arranged to thank the Lord. The Natives were also invited for this function, the first American Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is celebrated in America even today. However, people in the cities and towns have lost touch with Nature and the Elements. Thanksgiving is now an occasion for families and friends to meet and celebrate.

A beautiful backdrop, wherein each element was depicted pictorially formed the setting of the play. The entire play was presented in the form of dances. The storyline is as follows: Shawn and Sid are the two principal characters in the play. Shawn’s family is quite affluent. He and his family are good people with family values, but have fallen out of touch with the harsh realities that the poor people face everyday. Sid’s family is too quite affluent. They derive joy in serving the poor and needy and in doing so, they feel that they serve the Lord. One thanksgiving day Shawn joins Sid’s family for the Thanksgiving feast. After the feast, Shawn joins Sid’s family in serving the poor and downtrodden. Shawn was intrigued by the experience. It was wonderful to share the gift that Mother Earth has bestowed upon us in abundance. He realises the significance of the element Earth. Shawn goes on to serve a thirsty person with Water; serves a person shivering in the cold with a blanket (Fire); a person wilting in heat with a fan (Air). When he experiences the affection and love of the very people he serves, his joy knows no bounds. All this takes place in the space (Ether) created by God.

Shawn travels in his journey of giving and sharing through the various seasons, a journey that reveals to him the connection between service and the five elements that make up this entire universe.

All these service activities help Shawn in ultimately experiencing the all-encompassing Love – “The Only Element”. At the end of the play, all the participants and organisers converged at the performing area with Bhagawan’s beautiful picture in the background, joining their palms in thanksgiving and reverence for the wonderful opportunity bestowed upon them.