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Then & Now
A day in Ashram


26th September - 2nd October 2006

The Veda Purusha Saptaaha Jnana Yajna performed as part of Dasara celebrations got underway in Prasanthi Nilayam in the Divine Presence of Veda Purusha Himself, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on 26th September 2006. Bhagawan arrived at the packed Sai Kulwant Hall at around 8:00 a.m., to the accompaniment of Nadaswaram, Vedic Chants and prayers from thousands of devoted hearts present in Sai Kulwant Hall. The Ritwiks officiating the Yajna were specially blessed by Bhagawan in the Bhajan Hall. The Kalasha that was blessed by Bhagawan on the 23rd were taken by the Rithwiks in a ceremonial procession to the Yajna Mandapam at Poornachandra Auditorium marking the commencement of the weeklong Yajna.

The Sri Sathya Sai Grama Seva, serving as a clarion call to spread the message of “Love All Serve All” and “Manava Seva is Madhava Seva” by the Students and Staff of Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions that goes in tandem with the Dasara Festivity for the last 4 years also commenced with the Divine Blessings on the same day. On the previous day, on the 25th afternoon Bhagawan had already blessed the Post Graduate students with safari cloth pieces and girl students with sarees.  T-shirts and caps with the 'Grama Seva 2006' theme, emblazoned with the motto "Manav Seva is Madhav Seva" - Service to Man is Service to God - were sent to the respective Hostels and distributed to the students there.

In preparation to this Grama Seva Project round the clock activities were on, with hundreds of sevadal volunteers also participating in preparing huge quantities of pulihora,(tamarind rice)  making laddus, and students from all the three campuses, namely, Prasanthi Nilayam, Brindavan and Anantapur aided by the little ones from Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School at Prasanthi Nilayam, ably guided by the seniors, faculty members from the institutions all with one purpose…to implicitly obey His Divine Command and make the Project a huge success…sending across the message of Selfless Service with Love.

With the Divine Blessings from Bhagawan students and staff participating in the Grama Seva circumambulated the Mandir before proceeding to Poornachandra Auditorium, the venue of Veda Purusha Jnaana Saptaaha Yajna. Bhagawan arrived on to the stage at 9:10 a.m. graciously blessing the Rithwiks The sacred Yajna commenced with the lighting of sacred sacrificial fire that emerges out of rapid rubbing of two sacred wooden sticks by the priests. The sacrificial fire starts burning by the natural emergence of fire in the latent sticks, symbolic of the latent presence of the Divinity in every object in creation. Bhagawan benignly sat on the stage till 9:45 a.m. before retiring to Yajur Mandiram.

With the Yajna commenced at the scheduled hour at  7:00 a.m. in the Poornachandra Auditorium, on 27th, the second day of the Yajna, Bhagawan came into the Sai Kulwant Hall at 8:45 a.m. Students were asked to proceed for Grama Seva activities. Later Bhagawan came into the Poornachandra Audiotorium at 10:45 a.m. to receive Aarathi offered to Him.

The evening session was blessed by His Divine Discourse. Preceding His Discourse was an inspiring talk by Sri S.V.Giri, I.A.S. (Retd.), formerly Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam, which is a Deemed University. Thanking Bhagawan profusely for the opportunity granted to share his thoughts in His Divine Presence, Sri. Giri highlighted that the purport and observance of austerities for nine days is unique and typical from the point of view of controlling the senses. Referring to the various events and festivities that are happening in His Divine Presence Mr. Giri mentioned that Bhagawan has no obligation to do all these things….still he does with so much of effort, dedication and detailed planning…with one aim World Peace and Universal Welfare…with a profound message of Selfless Service with Love. Sri. Giri narrated a thrilling experience driving home the point that Bhagawan is with us each and every moment and with His Blessings anything is possible. He was then the State Relief Commissioner for the state of Andhra Pradesh and was monitoring the rescue and relief operations for the North Telengana Districts that was badly affected by heavy down pour that had caused heavy floods. After slogging out for almost 4-5 days, ensuring that situation was safe and under control Sri. Giri came over to Prasanthi Nilayam for Divine Blessings when Bhagawan asked whether the task was completely over, He was commanded by Bhagawan to return to Hyderabad and was blessed with Vibhuti Prasadam. Braving heavy downpour and slushy road travel Sri. Giri reached the control room of the Relief Commissioner’s office to get to know that worst situation was expected as the Godavari level was above the danger level. …One day passed and next day there was no sign of water level coming down. Adding to the embarrassment he got a message from Delhi that the then Prime Minister of India, Sri. Rajiv Gandhi was visiting the flood affected areas of Rajahmundry, East and West Godavari. It was just a two hours notice and the protocol demanded that the Chief Minister and the Relief Commissioner both need to be there when the Prime Minister visited the region. Feeling literally helpless, Sri Giri resorted to prayer as there was no way they could reach Vizag in two hours time…but the impossible happened, and he got a surprising call out of the blue from the Indian Airlines Office, intimating him that they had arranged a special flight to Vizag to transport the stranded passengers over there and in case the Chief Minister and the Relief Commissioner and two others wished to travel they could be accommodated. So they were there well in advance of Prime Minister’s landing saving and he was saved from the embarrassment of a breach of protocoal.

Concluding his inspiring speech Sri. Giri urged the devotees to be grateful to Bhagawan for his practical message of Love All Serve All – Help Ever Hurt Never by practising the dicta in day to day life. These are the cryptic four liners that contain all the Vedas and the Teachings that have been imparted by Bhagawan over a period of time. We should be able to translate these teachings and commandments in our daily lives…said Sri. Giri.

Bhagawan in His first Divine Discourse spoke about the significance of the festivity. “The festival that is being celebrated today is meant only to encourage you. The ten-day Dasara festival is meant to control your ten senses. The legend says that Goddess Chamundi killed the demon Mahisha during this Dasara festival. What is the inner meaning of this story? We should not under any circumstances associate ourselves with demons. You are a human being and not a demon.  How can there be friendship between a human being and a demon? A human being shall have relationship with another human being only”. Talkng about the Love Principle, Bhagawan said: “I always address you as embodiments of love. The reason being, I am suffused with love. Love is My property. You all are heirs to that property. I will distribute that love to one and all. I do not hate anyone. I have no selfishness at all! My love is selfless love”.

      On the second afternoon, referring to the Grama Seva by the students of     Bhagawan, Sri. Ajith Popat, the first speaker for the session mentioned that while the Jnana Yajna is being performed in the immediate Divine  Presence, the Prema Yajna is being done by the Ambassadors of Sai, his privileged students. If our Master is happy with our action and intention   then the whole world is happy, said Sri. Poppat.  

      Mr. V. Srinivasan, a long time devotee and President of All   India Sai Organisation in his speech mentioned that Navarathri is a period of       auspiciousness; it is a time for worship; it is a time to rejoice; it is a time    to express our gratitude to our Divine Mother. Just as Mother Durga destroyed the demon Mahisha with a Trishula (Trident) Bhagawan has given to us His own Trishula, a wonderful mantra, Paapa Bheeti, Sangha Neeti,   Daiva Preeti…fear of sin, morality in society, pleasing the Lord. Every action of ours, if we weigh against this mantra will take us closer and closer to Bhagawan, said Mr. Srinivasan.

      Bhagawan in His Divine Discourse Bhagawan said: “I expect that you should face difficulties boldly, reposing faith and devotion in God. If you constantly contemplate on God, no other thoughts will trouble you. Sorrows and difficulties will not affect you. I am always happy. You should also be happy always. Happiness is union with God.”

      On the 29th September 2006, the 4th Day of the Yajna there were two speakers, the first being Dr. Anil Gokak, I.A.S. (Retd.), and currently serving as the Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. Recalling the clarion call given by Bhagawan during the “Ati Rudra Maha Yajna” for the welfare of humanity and for the restoration of the primacy of the Vedas, he said, Bhagawan exhorted the youths to leave no stones unturned for the welfare of the society.  Above all, India   has a unique role to play, as a leader to the rest of the nations, because the Vedas, treasure house of Wisdom is our heritage and is the     very embodiment of the secret of the meaning of human existence.    Referring to the much talked about World Peace, quoting Bhagawan, if Yajna is performed sincerely and with greater frequency then the people   of the world will get united, he posed a question whether it is just a grandose idea or is it likely to materialize? Citing instances of the move by the Sai International Organisation to bring awareness of World Peace over the past several years, Sri Gokak gave an emphatic ‘yes’ to the question posed by him saying that we should never doubt the authenticity of the statement of the living light, Bhagawan who is the Embodiment of Eternal Bliss.

            The second speaker for the afternoon, Prof. G.Venkataraman, an eminent scientist and formerly Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute      of Higher Learning started his inspiring speech with a reference to the previous day’s Divine Discourse wherein Bhagawan made a mention about “Outer Text” and “Inner Text”….Outer Text refers to the text book   that one mugs up and delivers and Inner Text is Atma Vidya which comes     from within. Outer Text confers Medha Shakthi, enable one to do great things…still can be dangerous unless and until it is balanced with  intellect…intelligence, and this balancing is possible only to the one who has studied the Inner Text, the text written by God Himself. Further elaborating the subject, the speaker mentioned that knowledge and skill     come from Medha Shakthi, Outer Text and when these two are balanced        well with the help of intelligence one gets the insight…the Ultimate  Truth.  Medha Sakthi helps one to see diversity in Unity and Intellect helps to see Unity in diversity.  Drawing parallel from a recent radio interview wherein a American soldier, a participant in the      destructive Vietnam War mentioned that he can defeat his enemy with weaponry but can win them over only with kindness…and another instance wherein a hundred year old Jewish lady from erstwhile Czechoslovakia, who had lost all her relatives, including husband, but she alone was spared (just because she had a new born baby), from the concentration camps during Hitler’s regime, still says she cannot hate because hatred breeds only hatred and she knows only to love…Prof. Venkataraman said these are the people with whom Bhagawan communicates; these are the people who have read the Inner Text.

Later Bhagawan gave a discourse where, talking about developing greater faith, He said: “You should not become blind. It is only when you develop firm faith in God, humanity will be transformed into Divinity. Many people can deliver    ‘speeches’. But, we do not derive satisfaction merely by listening to such speeches. We just listen to them and forget them later. It should not be so. What has been listened to must be contemplated upon and then put into action. The most important aspect is one should develop firm and unwavering faith. When the rope of faith is strong and secure, the bucket can draw out the water of five human values from the well of one’s heart. This process is called ‘Educare’. Educare is to bring out that which is in the depth of one’s heart. It is not something external. It cannot be purchased from the market…nor can it be taught by a teacher. You yourself have to strive for it. Then only can you attain self-realisation. For this, the pre-requisite is self-confidence, you must develop noble qualities”.

Sanjay Mahalingam, a research scholar who was blessed by Bhagawan to speak began with supplication to the Divine Mother in the form of Annapoorna (the bounteous give or sustenance), One who flings open the gate of liberation…Referring to the Guru Purnima Divine Discourse three years back, quoting Bhagawan, he said: I am willing to grant anything to anybody; but nobody asks, and even those who asks, ask for grass but do not ask for Grace…Quoting Bhagawan again, he said: You all breathe impure air; but I breathe the pure air which consists of the prayers of My devotees; I inhale the air of the aspirations of My dear and near ones…and I exhale blessings…what you ask…I grant”…Referring to these two inspiring revelations of Bhagawan, Sri Mahalingam urged the devoted crowd to ask for the greatest of the boons, Renunciation and Wisdom…

Mr. Ravi Kumar, a faculty member from the Brindavan Campus in an inspiring speech narrated various miraculous incidents in his life that show the love and greater compassion of Bhagawan. Concluding his speech narrating the incident of his father’s leaving the mortal coil peacefully, he said that not only does Bhagawan take care of our ‘welfare’ but He takes care of our ‘farewell’ also.

Bhagawan in His Divine Discourse narrated the essence of holy epic Ramayana in a nutshell highlighting various incidents…going in detail the concept of Rama Rajya, the rule of Lord Rama wherein subjects lived in absolute peace, prosperity and with a feeling of security. Highlighting incidents from the lives of Great Women of Bharat, Mother Sita, Ahalya etc..Bhagawan said,  during Lord Rama’s period men used to treat women with great respect…and transition to the Kali Age happened with eroding of eternal values wherein men have gradually lost all those great eternal values of  Rama Rajya.

Vijayadasami marked the concluding day of the Veda Purusha Sapthaha Jnana Yagna as well as the Grama Seva programme this year. Bhagawan came to the Sai Kulwant Hall at 8.50 am. After finishing His round of darshan Bhagwan went strait to Sai Gita, the elephant of the ashram wearing all her caparison with a regal look. Bhagawan with so much of love fed her with various fruits. The priests officiating the Yajna came in procession to the Mandir and were blessed by Bhagawan in the Bhajan Hall. 

The women students of the Anantapur Campus, who were to do Grama Seva within the ashram  circumambulated the Mandir chanting Vedam and singing Bhajans to go in procession to the Poornachandra Audiotorium. Later they distributed the prasadam to the resident of the ashram.

Bhagawan arrived at the Poornachandra shortly before 9.30 am, and came on to the stage after a few minutes. The pundits had made all the preparations for the final oblations to the Yagna Kunda or sacrificial pit - the Poornahuti. Bhagwan made the sacred offerings to the Yajna fire, while the auditorium was reverberating with the sacred chantings of the Vedas by the students vedam group and by the Pundits. Subsequently Aarathi was offered to Bhagawan and the priests had the great privilege of sitting around Bhagawan onstage to chant the sacred Rudram. Before retiring Bhagawan most graciously sprinkled the Sacred Yajna Water on the pundits participated in the Yajna. The holy water blessed by Bhagawan was later sprinkled by the pundits over the congregation.

Later in the afternoon, Dr. Hanumanthappa, formerly Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning spoke of various incidents during his forty five year association with Bhagawan, highlighting the point that one should be extremely cautious in dealing with Divinity and at no point of time should we take Him for granted. Concluding his speech he said God gives us His pure Love…every look of Swami, every word of Swami, every gesture of Swami has some message for us…and he appealed to everyone especially to the student community that there is infinity here in His Divine Presence and one should enjoy it…and express our deep sense of gratitude to Him and for His Love…we should give Love in return.