Index of earlier Bulletins
August 12th, 2005
This Friday witnessed the Varalakshmi Vratam - a ritual performed by married women on the Friday immediately following the full moon day in the Indian month of Shraavan. The Sai Kulwant Hall was beautifully bedecked with floral decorations. Floral arches adorned the gate leading to Bhagawan's residence, and even the ganesh gate was decorated. In the middle of the stage area of the Hall was a dark stone idol of Goddess Lakshmi. The innermost four pillars of the Hall were draped with twenty foot high images of Bhagawan and Mahalakshmi. The nearly thousand ladies doing the puja had assembled there by 5 o'clock in the morning. They were seated in orderly rows 60 abreast in the front part of the Hall, occupying the part of the Hall where the students of the School and College usually sit. Nadaswaram music played by the village band induced a festive air.
Bhagwan arrived at 7.30 am to Vedic chants and the Nadaswaram music. Taking a round of the Hall, Swami's car came onstage and Swami came to the centre of the stage in the retractable chair. At 7.45, He gave the signal for the proceedings to begin and the priests seated onstage started with a brief introductory talk in Telugu conveying gratitude at the chance for doing this puja. The ritual worship continued till 8.30 am, concluding with the priest narrating the Puranic story of the origin of this Varalakshmi Vratam, the story of Charumati the Pativrata to whom the Goddess granted the boon of this ritual. Thereafter, Vedam chanting continued with Bhagawan sitting onstage till just after nine. A special announcement was made, that prasadam had been arranged for all the participants. Bhagawan then decided to give a closer darshan to the participants, and asked for His chair to be pushed around. For nearly ten minutes, Bhagawan went all around the Hall, going up to the very end of the group of participants, giving an unexpected Darshan to all. A few minutes afterwards, blessing the priests and their wives with clothes, Bhagawan left for His abode as Arati was sung.
In the afternoon, we were regaled with devotionals by Smt. Nithyashree Mahadevan, the eminent vocalist. Bhagawan sat onstage in His car from 3.15 to 4.00 pm while the Vedam chanting went on. At one point, He asked for the chant related to Lakshmi Devi to be chanted. At 4 o'clock, He moved to the centre of the stage, and the musicians took their places to His left. Bhagawan was very pleased with the hour long performance, and blessed the artiste with a medallion, asking her to sing another song on the Mother Goddess after that. Then Bhagawan went to the interview room. From there, He instructed that bhajans be sung in the Bhajan Hall, so the students started the Bhajans there at 5.15 pm. Bhagawan sat in the Bhajan Hall till 5.45, when He returned to the Poornachandra. Arati was offered ten minutes later.
August 8th to 11th, 2005
From the 8th to the 11th, there were no programmes in Sai Kulwant Hall. Swami came to the Hall every day, both in the morning and in the evening. On the 8th, He came to the Sai Kulwant at 7.30 am, and directly went out for a drive - upto the college and back. On His return, He called in one of the delegates to the Economics conference (mentioned in our previous update) for an interview. In the evening, the priests from Mookambika temple in Karnataka state came for Swami's darshan. These were the priests who had officiated at the Homam at Brindavan in May. Bhagawan came to the Hall at 3.10 and called the priests for an audience. 'Bobbattu' sweets were distributed to all as prasadam. Bhagawan returned to His abode at 5.10 while bhajans were going on.
On Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, that is, on the 10th and 11th, Bhagawan spent quite a long while inside His car parked on the Mandir verandah near the interview room, without alighting. On Thursday evening, He asked for the car to be manoevered onstage, entering from the gents' side of the stage area and exiting from the ladies' side.