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Published on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 1850 Hrs. IST

“The Burden of the Badge” sounds on the responsibilities of the badge that one wear. The badge under reference is the Sevadal Volunteer Badge of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations and the reference is in connection with the mammoth exercise of celebrating the “Festival of Divine Love” on the occasion of 85th year of Bhagawan’s earthly Advent.

The title “The Burden of The Badge” given by biographer writer Prof. N. Kasturi for an exclusive Divine Discourse delivered on the 24th February 1965, was an apt summation into a one-line caption of the role model responsibilities defined by Bhagawan for the ‘force’, both men and women belonging to Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations.

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Addressing the Sevadals Bhagawan exhorted: This is your home and all those who have gathered for these festivals are athithis (guests) or your kith and kin.

You must realise now that this badge which I gave you is not a passport for easy life; it means strenuous routine, the giving up of comfort, the acceptance of hard toil, sleeplessness and sacrifice. If you are used to a soft life, you are useless as a volunteer, or for anything else.

With the 85th Birthday round the corner, “Festival of Divine Love” already began, one wonders about the organizational aspect of the mammoth exercise headed by the chair of All India President of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations.

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What does the Organisation do to welcome the guests for the occasion? How do the office bearers and down the rung leaders fare to make it the occasion the grandest ever one as an offering of love back to Beloved Bhagawan?

Year-long planning, discussions, reviews, spotting the area of activities, setting up of committees, fixing up responsibilities, the chair of the All India President had the mighty responsibility of running the show before executing the task to perfection.

Efforts have been streamlined and there are committees galore in action, equal number of coordinators with tasks clear-cut on their shoulders. Committees included Food Committee, Stadium Preparation Committee, Decoration Committee, Sevadal Registration Committee, Cultural Programme Committee, Accommodation Committee etc. and the list goes on. Each and every state president and other senior officials of the Organisation have been given their task defined under whom many other junior rung leaders take their positions fielding to deliver.

…And what is the picture Prasanthi Nilayam and Puttaparthi presenting at the moment?

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The road leading up to the Nilayam has been spruced up and beautified. Welcoming the thousands thronging in as Divine guests, there are number of welcome arches rising up, beginning with a permanent concrete structure on the way, at the main junction from Sri Sathya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam Railway Station. A number of arches follows up in sequence en route and inside the ashram there are many more, all with artistic stamp on it.

The Hill View Stadium, the venue for the D-Day  is a scene of activities galore where skilled labour, artistes and artisans, all joining together to make it to wear the most beautiful costume on the day.

With tens and thousands expected to attend the festivity during the week, special temporary accommodation facilities are in position, a huge shamiana has been erected near the Western end of the Ashram that could cater tens and thousands at a time comfortably, with number of food counters serving the Divine prasadam over the period of ten days.

Watching over the work-in-progress, the smooth running of the campaign that is on, where in one could see ‘scarved’ men and women in action with utmost dedication and devotion, the biographer’s maxim comes to remind us with a sense of fulfillment.

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Remember once, the Organisation is unique as the Lord walking on the planet earth, walking His talk had lent His name to figure in the Organisational title.

…And thus they carry the ‘burden of the badge’ with His divine guidance and under the astute, able, dedicated and devoted leadership of the chair of All India President.

With the 'Festival of Divine Love' just commenced yesterday, we have a series of images captured by our lens men showcasing the work-in-progress, as to how Prasanthi is embracing the festivity, gearing up for the D-Day.

It appears that every inch of Prasanthi is thrilled, rejoicing…and is drinking the nectar of His Divine Love!