Puttaparthi, God’s chosen village, had the history of standing the test to taste the oddities right from her days of reckoning. Western author Arnold Schulman’s perception of Puttaparthi, who described it after visiting the hamlet in late sixties as "ten minutes past the Stone Age" stands a testimony to her oddities in the initial years and her gradual evolution, progressing further to become the spiritual capital to a world that seemed to be going wayward. For those who are committed to Him, every morning wakes up afresh, wearing a new hope, awaiting to see Him making fresh strides in His Avataric Journey! …And as He keeps moving along, one who watches Him intently with focused attention understands the vital cog of His Mission that, every subtle move that Sathya Sai makes is not without any significance.
At a time when the world is running in pursuit of material happiness, often tearing up the moral fabric and cultural ethics, Puttaparthi constantly speaks about the art of living adhered to high moral and spiritual values. Puttaparthi has had umpteen number of such Divine Discourses and adding to this list of “speaks” came yet another one, an exclusive one talking on the celebrated Indian women, and the Power of Chastity.
Exactly one month since His return from North India, on 18th May 2010, in an ‘impromptu’ Divine Discourse that lasted for fifty-five minutes, Bhagawan spoke about this often heard topic yet again, giving out anecdotes from the lives of great Indian Women of Character, namely, Mother Sita, Savitri, Chandramathi, Damayanthi and Panchali.
The one month since His return has been the time of summer travails as the warmest of the four temperate seasons came with full intensity, as it has shown up in other part of the nation without much discrimination. When this chosen land had this intense summer to bear with, The Lord of the land has been magnanimous to stay back in Parthi, alleviating the onslaught effect with His cooling presence. For the devotees, it would cause bit of inconvenience, but they got to accept it the natural way, accepting nature’s gift wholeheartedly enjoying every bit of His presence in Prasanthi Nilayam. To help reducing the intensity of summer, 10-15 colourful mini summer tents have been pitched, especially in the ladies side.
The twin new years that had missed His presence owing to Bhagawan’s North India visit, made up for the loss by celebrating belated new year in His Divine presence. Upon His return, the first programme during the one month period was the belated Tamil New Year celebration followed by Vishu, the Kerala New Year. Both the festivities were celebrated with limited “pomp’, but definitely with great great devotional fervour.
Marking the occasion, Tamil Nadu came up with a musical delight, as a group of “child artistes” from Chrompet Samithi of SSSSO performing carnatic vocals with great dexterity and devotion. Pleased with their dedication and devotion, Bhagawan, who sat onstage through the fifty minute programme, blessed the wards profusely calling them twice onto the stage, once in between the programme and later at the end of the session.
Vishu, the Kerala New Year is signified popularly with the auspicious sight, and for the mini group of over 750 from the “God’s Own Country”,Kerala, it was His Divine Darshan that was the most auspicious sight that they relished on the auspicious day. Marking the occasion, a drama on the life of Sant Surdas, whose life was a melody of Divine Love for Lord Krishna, was presented by Balvikas children on the 25th May evening. Blessing the children profusely, Bhagawan went down the aisle to pose for a photo session. Airing His “satisfaction”, post the photo session before leaving the dais, Bhagawan had a few commendations on the dedicational and devotional display by the children from the state. As Bhagawan whispered the same into the ear of the State President in Tamil, the state president in turn conveyed the same to the little ones in their vernacular, Malayalam.
Easwaramma Day, the big day, commemorating Pristine Motherhood of Mother Easwaramma was celebrated in style with due “pomp” as the occasion deserves. This festivity used to be a celebration either in Brindavan or in Kodaikanal in His immediate Divine Presence until a year before last, in 2008, when Bhagawan decided to stay back in Parthi to celebrate the event in His birthplace after a gap of many years. Again, after a gap of one year when the festivity returned to Prasanthi, it was merriment and joy everywhere as the reveredMother was remembered with great devotional fervour.
The main focus of attention during the celebration, the Divine Parents’ Samadhi Mandir outside the gates of Prasanthi Nilayam had the good fortune of having Bhagawan’s pristine presence three times during the celebrating week. Following His visit to the Samadhi on the 3rd May to oversee the preparations, Bhagawan yet again visited the Mandir a day before the celebration, on 5th May, to unveil and install the newly carved statues of the chosen parents, Pedda Venkama Raju and Mother Easwaramma. Inside the Samadhi Mandir, Bhagawan went round the raised platform bearing the tombs of "Divine Parents", while other rituals went on simultaneously. One more round of visit on the marked day, 6th May, made it a “hattrick”, three in a row. On the final day, Bhagawan spent sometime in the Mandir, officiating rituals and offerings to “Divine Parents” paying obeisance, making it explicit to the world, the importance of “Matru Devo Bhava, Pitru Devo Bhava”. Marking the occasion, the illustrious story of Bhadrachala Ramdas was presented through a dance drama by the Balvikas children from Bangalore.
The auspicious day also found the birth of a new service project, Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini, an initiative by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, India. Sri Sathya Sai e-Educare Program that was dedicated at Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet during the Alumni Meet - 2010 was blessed by Bhagawan christening the project, “Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini” on April 27th 2010. The programme is aimed at helping the 8th, 9th & 10th standards with e-Curriculum via Animations, Videos, Pictures & other teaching aids to make village school education simplistic, easy, interesting, motivating with addition of Vedic learning, EHV & Balvikas e-modules etc. To begin with, Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini program with His Divine grace and blessings stands committed to provide Sri Sathya Sai Integrated value based education system to the rural schools & semi-urban schools.
Bhagawan most graciously blessed the programme on Easwaramma Day, 6th May 2010, in an exclusive session held in the bhajan hall to the delight of around 75 participants. This value based content covering All India Board & State boards across India will be generated by Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar Schools. Six schools have been identified & included into Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini Programme to generate Education in Human Values chapters embedded into the existing school curriculum. These schools are: Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School, Prasanthi Nilayam, Sri Sathya Sai School, Muddenahalli, Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, Alike, Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, Vishakhapatnam, Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, Indore and Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, New Delhi.
Close on the heels of the Easwaramma Day celebrations, continuing with the spirit of celebrations, on the evening of 9th May, Bhagawan had blessed two speakers to share their “world of Sai”. The first one was a Shradhdhanjali on Mother Easwaramma by senior devotee from the United Kingdom, Ajit Poppat followed by an inspiring rhetoric dwelling on some of the hallmarks of His Divinity, by Sri BN Narasimhamurthy, Warden, Brindavan Campus.
In an exposition that was verily dedicated to Mother Easwaramma, the first speaker dwelled upon the three sterling qualities of the Mother, the three Os, according to him, “Open, Organised and Obedient”.
Dwelling on the greatness of the Mother of Easwara, Easwaramma, the speaker opined that Bhagawan is the real Easwaramma, as He is verily our Mother Divine! Our dedication to Bhagawan reaches out to Easwaramma and any offering to Mother Easwaramma reaches out to Bhagawan in turn, said the speaker calling Mother Easwaramma as the embodiment of Nishkama Prema (Love without expectation), Nishkama Bhakti (Devotion without expecting anything in return) and Nishkama Karma (Action without any expectation). Talking on the three sterling qualities of Amma, Open, Organised and Obedient to the Divine Will, the speaker had narrated a beautiful experience he had at Sai Shruti in Kodaikanal.
It was on an Easwaramma Day morning at Sai Shruti, Kodaikanal, after the suprabhatam, the speaker had gone off the convent road for a morning walk. While gliding past the road, he found a beautiful temple dedicated to Mother Divine atop the hill. As he started moving towards the temple, he felt strong pristine presence of the Mother all along as if she was walking with him. Returning at Sai Shruti, when this “incident” was narrated to Bhagawan, Bhagawan could not control His ‘joy’ and His eyes went moist, said the speaker quoting Bhagawan that, He too had felt Mother’s presence on the morning. Bhagawan added with an emotional touch that Mother is always with us.
Referring to the Narayana Seva organized on the auspicious morning, Bhagawan revealed to him that the same was organized for Mother’s sake as such acts of helping the needy would bring great joy unto the Mother. Bhagawan dwelt upon “His Mother” for almost thirty minutes, mentioning among many other things as to how the Mother was concerned about Bhagawan when He set out on His trip to South Africa way back in the late sixties.
Yet another incident that had happened at Sai Kutir in London, wherein the speaker had a Swapna Darshan in the early hours, was narrated with His Divine permission to the delight of August assembly. The speaker was sitting with Swami and Bhagawan was busy giving ‘puppet’ some instructions while holding his hand all along. Mother who out of the blue emerged from the kitchen asked pointing at the speaker as to who he is. “Amma, he is London Puppet” answered Bhagawan. Amma asked further as to who is London Puppet?...the answer was, “Amma, He is our family member”. Narrating this incident the speaker highlighted that it was an answer not alone for him, but for the entire fraternity as each and every devotee is a member of Sai Family.
Dwelling upon Mother’s sterling qualities, the speaker said, Mother was always open, that, anybody and everybody could ever approach her, bow down to her and narrate any problems, even to the extent of recommending to Bhagawan; She was ever open to the flow of Divine energy; She was ever living in the aura of Bhagawan.
Celebration of Mother Easwaramma is exemplary for the world to understand that how mother should be revered, said the speaker talking about the installation of Divine Parents’ statues on the occasion of Easwaramma Day.
Talking about the third quality, Obedience, the speaker, describing Mother Easwaramma as the embodiment of all scriptures, narrated another incident that happened inside the interview room. Quoting a Gita verse, referring to Bhagawan Sri Krishna, the speaker had raised a question to Bhagawan during one of the interviews. “Baba, in Srimad Bhagavad Gita, as Sai Krishna You said, “Tasmad sastra-pramanamte karyakarya-vyavasthitau…”the word shastra or scripture, which scripture are You referring to?” In reply, Bhagawan posed a question to the speaker as to, “what is the first sloka of Bhagavad Gita?” and in reply “puppet” replied, “Dharmakshetre Kurukshetre….” ”…what is the last sloka of Bhagavad Gita?” asked Bhagawan and “puppet” replied, Yathra YogeshwaraKrishno Yathra Partho Dhanurdharah Tathra Srirvijayo Bhutir Dhruva Neetirmathir Mama…” Pat came His reaction: take the first word Dharma and then the last word, Mama…Mama Dharma is the essence of all the scriptures…. Narrating this beautiful incident happened inside the interview room, the speaker declared: there cannot be a better example of Mama Dharma than Mother Easwaramma, as she was the embodiment of all the scriptures and was instrumental in laying the foundation of Sai Mission with her Three Little Desires…
Mr. Narasimhamurthy’s speech began with a description of his maiden darshan five decades ago. Giving a detailed picture of the Mandir and surrounding of those days, he narrated an incident wherein he got convinced beyond doubt of the greater importance of His Divine Darshan. Narrating his first experience wherein Bhagawan mentioned about his ‘indigestion’ in mind, followed by a blanket promise to take care of him in his journey ahead, the speaker declared that whoever enters the precincts of Prasanthi Nilayam, his or her life is safe, only if he or she believes it.
Narrating Bhagawan’s visit to Muddenahalli in the year 1978 wherein He marvelled at the beautiful painting work done over there, of course at His own instance, Sri Narasimhamurthy narrated a beautiful conversation happened there wherein Bhagawan asked the speaker, pointing at him, as to who painted this doll, referring to his body. Perplexed he was, he remained silent and there came the revelation from Bhagawan…I have painted all the (human) dolls!!!
Yet another interesting incident that happened in 1979 that he had collected for the ensuing volume of Sathyam Sivam Sundaram followed. Mr. TVK Shastry, the Founder Convener of Bharat Cultural Integration Committee, BCIC, a forum striving for national integration, had a strange visitor in Pakala Suryanarayana, a famous astrologer from Andhra Pradesh, at his house in September 1979 who prophesied that on 28th October, 1979, mid-noon at 12, Mr. Shastry would be having the darshan and interaction of Vishwa Purusha, Kaliyuga Avatar Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba! Shastry, though could not believe it to the fullest extent, happened to arrive at Brindavan with a member from Venkatagiri royal family a day before the ‘appointed day’. The same evening he had the first darshan of Bhagawan at Brindavan. Returning the next morning, a Sunday, anticipating Darshan, they had the morning darshan at 8 after which Bhagawan had retired. Though his friend dissuaded him asking to go back to Bangalore to return for evening Arathi Darshan, growing in confidence believing in the prophetic words of the astrologer of eminence, both of them decided to stay back, waiting for the ‘appointed hour’, though apparently they found no reason for Bhagawan to come out at the odd hour. As mid-noon approached, they became tensed and….. Lo and Behold! Exactly at 11:55 am, the gates were thrown open and there emerged the beauteous form, Bhagawan. Coming straight to Shastry, at 12 noon Bhagawan spoke to him, asking “Bobbily Shastry, how are you?” Lifting up His robe, Bhagawan granted Him Padanamaskar and yet another miracle!…He had the Darshan of Lord Venkateswara of Tirupathi. Later Bhagawan had spoken to him of the need of the hour for national integration urging him to dedicate his life for the same. Subsequently, BCIC was formed and the maiden programme was held in Delhi in 1982, Sita Rama Sangeetotsavam, that was attended by Bhagawan where Bhagawan materialized a Mangalasutra to tie it on Mother Sita idol. The 1995 version of the festivity was organized in the Poornachandra Auditorium, in Prasanthi Nilayam in the immediate Divine Presence of Bhagawan.
Ending his inspiring speech the speaker identified three hallmarks of Bhagawan, that each of His actions and words are prompted by compassion and selfless love, complete involvement with total detachment followed by perfection in everything without desire for anything.
Be it with an intention to draw His attention or with an intention to engage Him - The Divine, during even in a sultry summer season, students from Sri Sathya Sai University relentlessly pursue to bring a cheer on His beauteous face, often picking up tales from the rich cultural heritage of Bharat. At a time recreation and relaxation gets preference for the student community all over India, having summer holidays, a group of students have been camping in Prasanthi throughout the summer, relishing His proximity while pursuing to continue at the hallowed portals of Sri Sathya Sai University with higher education. ...And bringing in a change from the regular summer schedule some of these students pitched in to perform a wonderful thematic Dance Presentation, entitled “Sai Bhakta Samrajyam”, a collective effort of singers, dancers and actors. The programme held on the 17th evening was a depiction of Bharat's glorious devotional tradition, showing incidents from the lives of past masters presented in a dance form with lucid narration that came in the form of evergreen, omnipresent sage of yore, Narada.
Earlier on 15th June, Bhagawan blessed research scholars from the University who assembled in the bhajan hall anticipating Divine Blessings. Moving amidst, interacting with many, Bhagawan spent time guiding many in personal, family and career related issues.
Entrance examination process for the University and Higher Secondary School that began in the first week of May have been completed with the announcement of the final results pertaining to professional courses, pending primary admissions. In the meantime, results for the 12th standard CBSE exams were announced and Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School, Prasanthi Nilayam scored another cent percent results with 110 out of 112 appeared securing distinction, toppers being two students, a boy and a girl from the boys and girls wing respectively with an aggregate of 96.4 percentage closely followed by 96.2 percentage at the second spot.
Easwaramma High School set up in memory of revered Mother Easwaramma is earning a feather in its cap when it goes with English Medium Primary admissions during this academic year. The admissions will be supervised and classes will be conducted under guidance of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School, Prasanthi Nilayam.
Bringing laurels to Prasanthi Nilayam, two of the doctors, Dr. Amit Chhabra and Dr. Veeresh, from the twin Super Speciality hospital at Prasanthigram and Whitefield were declared recipients of gold medals by the National Board of Examinations. Dr. Amit Chhabra was a Diplomate of National Board (DNB) resident in the dept. of Ophthalmology while Dr. Veeresh was a DNB resident in the dept. of CTVS at the white filed hospital. Bhagawan blessed both the gold medalists outside His Divine Abode on evening of 16th May, before emerging for Darshan.
Construction work of dormitories at the rear western end of Prasanthi that has been in progress for past several months is steadily progressing with the skeleton structure rising to the third floor level. Huge spread of area at the rear end of Prasanthi, beyond the Shopping Centre and Book Trust, has already been converted into a workshop where hundreds of skilled labourers are engaged in various tasks. One could see huge trucks carrying gigantic concrete moulds to the destination blocks for installing on top.
Painting the exterior of ashram complexes and various allied institutions under Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust is in progress in view of the ensuing 85th birthday celebrations. Completing the work at Bhagawan’s Divine Abode, Yajur Mandiram, the work is now spread to various residential blocks inside ashram, while, simultaneously, work is happening in various educational establishments as well.
Rose Beneficiaries, grateful servants serving in various institutions, have been offering their gratitude to Bhagawan for the past several months for the wonderful opportunity they have been bestowed upon by His Divine grace. The past month has witnessed Bhagawan materializing gold chains for two of such beneficiaries, first time ever, since the ‘scheme’ was launched some months ago.
With Bhagawan adorning the centre stage engaging the divine assembly with His immaculate Divine presence, these days, darshan sessions are converted into rare spiritual feast for those souls whose thirst for His presence brought them to the precincts of Prasanthi. While watching Him, one should not miss the subtlety of His varied moves. Our perceptions may not understand these actions to the fullest extent, be it an off-the-cuff Divine Discourse suffused with lots of “emotions”, or be it an encore of the Universal Mantra, Samastha Lokaaha… or an act of lifting His Blessing Divine Palm in the abhaya posture or an act of insisting for Veda chanting or an act of Himself repeating the Vedam, what we should understand is that He does it…He does what He has come to execute…in His own inimitable style that is verily Divine!