Index of earlier Bulletins
November 19th, 2005
Just four sunsets more and only three more sunrises before we arise to witness the glorious day of the 80th Birthday of our dear Lord. Today is the 11th Ladies Day that is being celebrated on 19th November in the Divine Presence. 10 years back, Bhagawan had declared this day as Ladies Day. Let's recall a few excerpts from the Divine Discourse given by Him then.
"There is nothing greater than mother's love. Mother's words are always sweet. At times she may use harsh words, but they are meant only to correct you, not to hurt you. There may be a wicked son, but there can never be a wicked mother in this world. Today is declared as mother's day only to make you understand the value of mother's love and her concern for you. Among mother, father, teacher and God, mother is given the topmost priority. The modern youth do not care for the mother. They think they are highly educated and that the mother does not know anything. It is a great mistake to think so. Never look down upon the mother."
Therefore, let us begin by offering our sincere Pranaams and respects to all the five mothers. The Deha Maata (physical Mother), the Go Maata (the holy cow), the Veda Maata (the Holy Scriptures), Bhu Maata (Mother Earth) and above all the Supreme Divine Mother of the world - our Sai Maata. Let us also pay our homage to Mother Eswaramma who gave humanity this most precious gift of Sai.
This morning, the Kulwant Hall is decorated very well. A new set of decorations, different from yesterday. On the wall above the car shed, near the Krishna statue are huge posters hailing the 80th Year of Love in Action. All along the front part of the Kulwant Hall, at regular intervals, long vertical banners are suspended with beautiful pictures of our Lord accompanied with valuable messages. The stage looks gorgeous. The ten Avataaras sculpted in some new form of artwork are fixed on all pillars in the Portico. They look like big brown oval dishes with the idol sculpted in it and lights illuminating the idol.
Long red tapestry hangs from the top balcony of the Mandir until the lower balcony. Shorter ones are suspended from the lower balcony. A huge red umbrella is erected in the centre. Right opposite, at the rear end of the Kulwant Hall, on top of the huge gateway, is Mother Eswaramma's portrait held by two heavenly angels on either side. On it is written, "Viswa Janani Eswaramma". The entrance to the Ashram at the Ganesha gate and even the entrance to the Kulwant Hall from the Poornachandra are all decked with big floral gateways that add a generous splash of festivity to the whole place. The multi layered steps that is normally placed on the Gents side of the Hall next to the gateway, for the press people on November 22nd during Convocation, is already set up there today itself. Close Circuit Television sets to telecast the celebrations are already in place in the Kulwant Hall right from the 17th. The passage leading from the read end gateway of the Hall to the extreme end where the Rama statue is located is having a beautiful colourful roof, strung with layers and layers of Zari garlands. Looks great!
At 8.30 a.m. Bhagawan comes out for Darshan amidst Veda chanting and Naadaswaram. He is led by a long procession of young girls and Ladies chanting Vedam and other Stotrams. Two rows of young girls on either side of the pathway offer flowers to Swami as the car passes by. As Swami's car enters the Kulwant Hall a beautiful classical welcome song fills the air that goes on until Swami reaches the dais. By 8.35 a.m. Swami alights from the car and lights the ceremonial lamp. The candle to light the lamp is offered to Swami by Smt. Sarla Shah and Smt. Chetana Raju. The programme for the morning is announced by Smt. Chetana Raju.
It begins with a band display by the young girls of the Primary School. Subsequently, Bhagawan releases the Bi-annual Journal - 'Mother Sri Sathya Sai' and a Souvenir brought out by the Eswaramma Women's Welfare Trust marking the 80th Birthday of Bhagawan.
This is followed by three speakers sharing their thoughts with all of us, on this holy occasion. The first speaker is Mrs. Mallika Srinivasan, an alumnus of the Wharton Business School. She talks about the Eswaramma Women's Welfare Trust and the recently started Mother & Child programme giving all its details and significance. She also mentions about the mobile medical camps that have been started recently providing help at the doorstep of the villagers, especially in cases of expecting mothers and delivery cases. All this has been possible only by His Grace.
The second speaker is Mrs. Gita Ram, the daughter of Dr. Padmanabhan whom we know very well as the person who walks behind Swami during Darshan in Brindavan. She shares two wonderful experiences with the audience.
She comes from a family that has great proximity to Swami. Bhagawan had Blessed her twin children saying that He would always take care of them. 23 years later she recalls a wonderful incident that had occurred when her twin children were just 3 months old. During this period, suddenly, due to some reason, the Glaxo Company (popular as manufacturers of Baby's food products) went on a strike and therefore she was unable to procure Glaxo milk food for her babies, which was very essential for them. Not knowing what to do, she prayed fervently to Bhagawan. Once her husband had gone out to other areas of Bangalore, to try and see whether the items were available in some other stores, but he could get just two cans. As he was returning home, at a signal point, a car stopped next to his scooter.
When the green signal went on, he wished to move forward but the car could not. It needed some pushing and therefore at the request of the driver he got down to push the car aside. At that time the gentleman in the car asked him whether he could deliver an urgent parcel to a particular address as he would be unable to do the same on account of the car breakdown. Mrs. Gita's husband agreed to help and the gentleman gave him a parcel and a slip with the address. Unable to interact any further as the police came onto the scene to clear the way, the husband returned home. He then opened the slip of paper to see the address where he was supposed to deliver this parcel. To his amazement he found his wife's name written on it with their own house address. He immediately called for his wife and checked about this. She too was perplexed. When they finally opened the parcel, they found 24 cans of Glaxo Baby Food in it. Later when they came to Parthi, Swami enquired whether the milk food had reached her children. That is Divine Protection.
In another incident, Swami had given Mrs. Gita Ram a packet of Vibhuti in the interview room. She tucked it away in her purse and somehow forgot about it. A few months later, when she and her husband visited New York to celebrate their Marriage Anniversary, they went to a temple over there. After this, they attended a Music Concert in a theater. During the intermission, she went to the Ladies Room. There, a Hispanic Woman who was cleaning the bathroom, came forward and asked Mrs. Gita whether she was an Indian. Then she asked her whether she knew about Sai Baba. On getting a 'Yes' for both these questions, she asked her whether she had any white powder with her.
Upon enquiring her about the details and the reason for these questions, the Hispanic woman said that she had an eight year old daughter who was seriously sick. Both her kidneys had failed and chances of survival were slim. Transplant of the kidneys would mean a lot of money which she could never afford. All she did was pray to her Lord Jesus. After a few hopeless days, suddenly three days before, in her dream she saw this man with an orange robe and afro type hair style who called himself Sai Baba and told her - I am Sai Baba. You will meet an Indian in your work place, ask her for Vibhuti - white powder. Give it to your daughter. She will become better.
Hearing this, Mrs. Gita Ram opened her purse and the silently tucked away Vibhuti packet suddenly revealed itself. She handed over the same to the woman, thrilled with the mysterious ways of Bhagawan. Months later when the couple arrived at Parthi and Swami gave them an interview, He told them, "The girl is fine. Both her kidneys are OK. No surgery!" These narrations struck a special cord in all our hearts.
This talk is followed by the talk by Mrs. Chetana Raju. She speaks of Swami as beyond time and space and highlights the quantum jump in Universal Consciousness that is being brought about by the Avataar. After her erudite and insightful talk, she fervently prays to Swami to deliver His Divine Message. Swami smiles and concedes. Swami stands up amidst loud applause and begins His Discourse. The highlights:
The same Love exists in all. It is only the vesture that differentiates Man and Woman. Sarvam Kalvidam Brahma. All people aspire to attain Divinity. Where is God? Daivam Manusha Rupena. God takes upon a human form to protect humanity. God has no specific attribute or form. He has infinite Forms. God is not merely Divine. He is Human too.
If one turns inwards, then one can experience the Divinity within. Iswara Sarva Bhutaanaam. If you call upon Him as the Master, He will appear as a Master. If you consider Him as your son, He will appear as the son. God has no one single form or name. Name and Form are limited only to human beings. These small sparrows sitting here are also Divine. God takes upon the Form according to our prayers. There is no place or form without God.
Whoever speaks to us, we must consider that it is God speaking to us. Man only utters the word, the word comes from God. Be it praise or blame, it all comes from God. Never consider any person as a mere person. All are God only. If you consider a person as a mere human being, then all ill feelings will come forth, such as hatred, jealousy, anger. Only when we consider others as different, these bad qualities manifest in us. We will be redeemed only when we understand Unity in Diversity.
Know Thyself, that is enough. We ask others, who are you. But we never ask ourselves - Who am I? This is the real message of God. Body is the gift of God. He the true doer, the real speaker. All happens as per His command.
Then Swami spoke about Mother Eswaramma and about the three prayers that she had made. Prayers that were so selfless - one for a school, the second for a hospital and the third for a well to be dug in the village. These three prayers have taken such gigantic shape now as the University, the Super Specialty Hospital and the Water Project.
Whatever desires she had, Swami has amplified it and made it so gigantic. I do not do what I like, but I do everything to fulfill the likes and noble wishes of others. This Hall where you all are sitting is not for Me. It is for all of you. Help ever, Hurt never. Never be selfish. Fish is better than Selfish.
Politics have perverted the thinking in he whole world. Without these politics all will prosper. Without understanding anything about it, everybody just gets into politics. Even a simple man selling cigarettes gets into politics. Never get into politics.
Always depend on God. You cannot manage this life on your own. Therefore, depend on God. Bhagawan wishes that all people must develop and progress. Make every effort to broaden your heart, not the physical heart but the spiritual heart. Sing the name of the Lord with Vishaala Bhaavam.
It is very wrong to think merely of our family. Whatever desires we have, others too have similar desires. Therefore Love them. Love can never be narrow minded. Hence never give rise to thoughts like my son, my wife and so on. All should be one. Swami is present in all. You must understand that just as I feel sad when I am hurt, so too, will others feel sad when they are hurt. Hence, develop Love, not selfish but broad Love. Everyone should be happy. Once you foster such Love you will never tend to be narrow minded.
Bhagawan concludes His Divine Discourse with 'Prema Mudita Mana Se Kaho Ram Ram Ram'. He receives Aarti at 10.10 a.m. and Prasadam distribution takes place. To the greatest delight of all assembled in the Hall, Bhagawan stands up from the chair again and with the help of the students who attend to Him, He walks all the way from the dais to the car parked near the interview room. There is loud applause. After a while He retires and Prof. Anil Kumar announces that the world famous singer Smt. Kavita Krishnamurthy will present a bouquet of songs in the Divine Presence in the evening at 4.30 p.m.
In the evening, Swami makes His entry at 4.15 p.m. As He passes through the Hall making His usual round, He sees the Mobile Clinic Bus, decorated with flowers, parked in front of the backside gateway of the Hall adjacent to the pathway. He proceeds towards the stage, moves out from the car and sits on the dais. Vedam and band goes on. Band is played by the Primary School children and the women students of the
Anantapur campus of the Sai University. At 4.30 p.m. Swami gives the green signal for the Music Programme to commence. Smt. Kavita Krishnamurthy along with her husband Dr. L. Subramanian, the violin exponent and other members of the family and accompanying artistes are seated on the right side of the dais while Swami is seated as usual on the left side (gents side).
The next one hour and twenty minutes takes us away to the world of soul stirring music and melody. The scintillating voice of Smt. Kavita Krishnamurthy accompanied with the violin of Dr. L. Subramanian fills the Sai Kulwant Hall. All are spellbound and listen with rapt attention. She delivers one hit after another and the devotees respond with loud applause. She begins with the well known and relevant for this occasion - 'Janam Diya Tune Sai Ko'. This is followed by 'Om Namah Shiyaya', 'Mein Ayi Thi Darashana Pane', 'Mene Prema Se Jyoti Jalai' (all from her album Sai Darshan), 'Sri Rama Chandra Krupalu Bhajamana', 'Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram', 'Dhanya Bhaaga Seva Ka Avasara Paaya', and 'Mere Ranaji Meine Govinda Ke Guna Gaana'.
She also intersperses these songs with wonderful Bhajans rendered with such finesse. She leads with 'Nandaa Nandana Hari Govinda Gopaala' and 'Antaranga Sai Anaatha Naatha Sai', with all the devotees following her. In the course of her rendering the pieces, Swami goes in for a short while and spends some time interacting with devotees in the inner portico and the bhajan hall.
He again comes out at 5.45 p.m. and finds the Primary School young girls standing all dressed with dance costumes. A dance is slotted after the music programme. Swami interacts with the coordinators and after a while gives His consent. The children immediately spring forth into their dance accompanied by a very catchy song of a folk music type giving a beautiful narration of Swami's life.
There are several groups of girls marked by different costumes and performing different parts of the dance. It appeals to everybody and is received with very loud applause. It is already 6.05 p.m. but our Lord wishes to shower all His Love on them. He agrees for a photograph and all the girls come in groups according to their costumes and pose for the photographs. The band girls too take this opportunity and come forward. Finally, Smt. Kavita Krishnamurthy, Dr. L. Subramanian and the others also hurry forward not wanting to miss this lifetime opportunity.
Swami gives them group photographs and interacts with them for a long time. He Blesses Dr. L. Subramanian with a ring. Having saturated all hearts with immense joy and Bliss, He turns to move towards the car. Meanwhile Prof. Anil Kumar jubilantly moves towards the mike ready to commence his announcement.
The first announcement is about the Sri Sathya Sai Mobile Clinic inaugurated by Bhagawan today. This is an air-conditioned mobile clinic equipped with the latest gadgets like the Ultrasound Scanner, Auto Film Processor, Chemical Analyzer, Retinoscope, Ophthalmoscope, X-Ray machine, Public Address System, a Screen and even a Video Projector. This mobile clinic is offered for the service of the villages by Bhagawan on this day marking the beginning of yet another noble initiative for Loka Kalyanam (global welfare).
The second announcement is about the 8th World Conference of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations which will commence tomorrow in the Divine Presence at 8.00 a.m. It is 6.20 p.m. as the Porte car glides towards PC amidst the chanting of the Aarti.
November 18th, 2005
Five sunsets to go. The official celebration of the 80th Birthday of Bhagawan Baba continues today with the Rathotsavam festival. As we all know this is the day when the idols of Lord Krishna and those of Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman are brought out in a procession. Decked with wonderful silk clothes and with flowers all around, these idols are taken in open palanquins from the Mandir Bhajan Hall to the Old Mandir (which is now the Kalyana Mantapam).
This morning, Swami was again out by 7.30 a.m. As He was taking a round of the Kulwant Hall, dear Sai Gita irresistibly came forward to seek Swami's Blessings. The merciful Lord fed her with some apples and moved on. He came right onto the stage, came out of the car and sat on the dais for quite some time. The core Vedam group along with many other Vedam students in red Dhotis and Angavastrams were seated inside the Bhajan Hall facing the idols of Rama and Krishna that were kept ready for the procession.
Swami sat outside until 8.00 a.m. and then went into the Bhajan Hall. After a few minutes, we guess that Swami would have given the signal, for the palanquins were brought out. Out came the long line of Vedam chanters and Bhajan singers. Led by Sai Gita the entire troupe went along towards the Gopuram gate of the Mandir to proceed to the Kalyana Mantapam.
As this was going on, Swami was sitting near the Primary School end of the dais and hearing very joyously the loud chanting of His young children. The children were chanting with all gusto. Accompanying the procession were the Naadaswaram group and also the Panchavadyam team from the senior boys' Hostel. A few minutes after their exit, Bhagawan most surprisingly asked His chair to be moved towards the devotees. To everyone's amazement, He went right towards the Gopuram gate Blessing all devotees on the way. Around 8.30 a.m., He returned into the Kulwant Hall again. Passing along the centre of the Hall, He came right till the front and then turned towards the Gents side. All the students seated along the path had a fantastic chance of His close Darshan. Swami even spoke to a few boys.
Having showered His Love and joy thus, Swami moved into the interview room. Boys in the Vedam block were chanting Vedam though the mikes were now switched off. All were awaiting the return of the procession. They came back at around 9.30 a.m. Immediately, Bhajans began and even before the first Bhajan could get over, Aarti was given.
Many students rushed to the Portico entrance to see Swami getting into the car. But we were in for another surprise. Swami asked the Vedam students inside the Bhajan Hall to chant Vedam. As they chanted the Rudram, Swami moved in His chair along the central path of the Bhajan Hall, Blessing all along the path. Then He came out from the rear door and went along the upper VIP Portico talking to all the gentlemen seated over there. By 9.50 a.m. He got into the car and retired for the morning.
Just before entering the car, He had given some instructions to Prof. Anil Kumar. Prof. Anil Kumar came over to the mike and as Swami's car glided towards PC, he made the announcement that from today onwards free food (Prasadam) will be distributed to all devotees - Breakfast, Lunch, Tea and Dinner - till the 24th of November.
There is so much of effort being put in, back-stage, to make all this happen. And the uniqueness of it is that all this goes on so silently - no noise, no chaos. Silent service for the Lord! Let us take you through a virtual tour of the Ashram premises. So here we go!
As soon as you enter the Ganesha gate, you come face to face with a giant size poster of Swami in His white robe in a Abhaya Hasta pose. It's just too good. What a welcome! You are literally overpowered with those Blessing Hands. You know you have come Home - to your Mother!
On the lawns near the Shanmukha temple, there is a Shamiyana for the press. At the beginning of the road leading to the South Blocks we have a Registration Counter for the World Conference delegates. Keep moving on - of course that is also tough as there are so many devotees filling up the road. You just have to go at a snails pace. Well, as you move along, you find Sevadals moving in a hectic fashion attending to so many tasks.
You reach the Bakery and the Super Market and the place is crowded with devotees. Next to the Books and Publications we find an overseas group practicing some songs - maybe for some programme. There is another practice session of a choir going on in the first floor of the North Indian Canteen. Assuming we have reached the end of the Ashram we turn to go away, but we find a board that reads - Way to accommodation for Indian Delegates - Gents.
As we move forward, a whole new world emerges. A world of love, sharing and caring! A world so full of harmony and peace! There are so many tents that have been set up and it goes on until the hills. There are fifteen such tents, and delegates are divided statewise in them. The tent is so beautifully set up. Outside, we find colorful cloth with so many frills covering the sides and the front. On the top are tin sheets. Inside, the floor is completely covered with plastic sheets and on the poles that support the tent are fixed tube lights to light up the place. The cool weather makes fans unnecessary.
Most of the tents are already full and the others are getting full even as we walk by. Many tents have registration counters opened right in front for enabling the delegates' easy entry. They have been numbered as G1, G2 and so on. At the rear of the tents are temporary bathrooms and toilets which look very elegant. They are made up of just poles, plastic sheets and straw mats that serve as doors. A number of them are set up side by side. Water is sourced from two huge tanks that have been built at the central point of the complex which are kept filled always. The bathroom has a Cuddapah slab that serves as the floor, fixed with a drain that carries out the water while the toilets have water closets fixed onto the floor.
As we walk along and take a turn at the end of the road, we come across another huge array of tents numbered L1, L2 etc for the Lady delegates that are set up in a similar fashion. There are so many people but there is not much noise. Everyone one seem to be busy in their own way doing their little bit for the Lord. It seems as though everyone one is lost in making their offering that they are oblivious to any inconveniences. That is Divine inspiration!
Now we come across the sheds that form part of the regular Ashram premises. These are full of devotees. So many of them in non-stop queues. Some have just settled down along the pathway for every bit of the land feels like a home in the Divine Presence. The Sevadals are continuously guiding the devotees to the sheds. The Orissa team has its own setup to carry out the task which they always consider a great privilege to undertake. The sanitation and the maintenance tasks. A number of members are seated, ready with all implements and tools.
Amidst these tents we also have a huge Shamiyana that houses the Dining Halls for the delegates. The food counters for the devotees is set up adjacent to the North Indian Canteen in the area which is normally an open space. Behind the North Blocks towards the North West side, we have some more Shamiyanas - one reads as Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization Medical Camp - Gents and the other one is for Ladies.
And then we witness a very huge hall behind the North residential Blocks, almost three fourth of Porrnachandra Hall, set up as a tent, but with a difference. It is beautifully decorated both outside and inside with colourful frill cloth. There is a massive stage at one end and hundreds of chairs are placed inside. This we learn is planned as the venue for the 8th Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations - World Conference that commences on the 20th.
There is intense activity everywhere. So much of work going on... There is a big shed where all the groceries are stored and volunteers are singing Bhajans and cleaning the rice and other grains. From here we move on to the core of all activities - the hub; and that is the kitchen. The kitchens are set up behind the North Blocks towards the Northern side. This is the place where cooking is done even during the Grama Seva. But now we have many more temporary kitchens.
The food committee is a highly responsible and dedicated team that coordinates the activities of more than a dozen sub-committees - Cooking, Distribution, Inventory, Storing, and so on. The cooking of the free Prasadam is basically split into four locations with four solid teams managing each one. The first one is the Punjabi Kitchen that is located next to the Grama Seva Kitchen. This takes care of making Chapatis, Rotis and Vegetable curry everyday. There are around 100 cooks working here.
The Grama Seva Kitchen prepares breakfast and the rice items everyday, such as Coconut rice, Puliyora etc. Here we have around 1300 volunteers offering their labour of love. The curd rice is prepared in the South Indian Canteen by more than 150 cooks while all the sweets are prepared in the North Indian Canteen by around 150 cook volunteers.
Watching all this, we were just amazed at how Divine Love can set so many heads and hands into action without any clashes or disorder - manifesting a synergy of its own kind. The vibrations of Love just envelope you wherever you go. It's all like one big Home of the Lord and His family members have come together for a Home Coming!
In the evening, Swami was already out in the Shanti Vedika grounds at 3.15 p.m. He returned to the Mandir by 3.30 p.m. and arrived straight on the dais. The chair rolled out and Swami sat on the stage. He signaled the Vedam group to stop the chanting. In font of the dais, on seven chairs, artistes from China were seated - all adept at playing musical instruments of Chinese origin. Swami asked them to begin the programme.
Two young children, a small boy wearing a Chinese cap with a long pony tail and a young girl compered the show. They presented some of the popular Chinese rituals to Bhagawan. It started with the typical Tea ceremony followed by offering of prayers for welfare of parents, for longevity and culminating with offering baskets of gifts to the Lord. Swami was very kind and put His Hand into the basket and picked up an item. All of them were overjoyed.
The next item was a musical offering by the artistes. There were 7 in all, four of them playing string instruments and the other three playing wind instruments. The next one hour, was a treat to our ears. The Chinese instruments produce very melodious music that is so soothing. They played a number of Bhajans like 'Hara Shiva Shankara', 'Murali Krishna Mukunda Krishna' and many others. All pieces were received with loud applause. The Ladies also participated and sang a few Bhajans both in Chinese and Sanskrit / Hindi.
At 4.30 p.m. Swami Blessed them with photographs. After the gents and the ladies had their turn, Swami called the artistes again and asked them to pose with their musical instruments. How thoughtful of Swami! After all it was those instruments that brought them so close to Swami. Therefore, the instruments also deserved a snap with the Lord! Sweet Prasadam was distributed to all.
Swami went into the interview room. At around 5.00 p.m. Swami went out in the Chair towards the ladies side. From what we could see He was getting saris distributed to all the ladies for their Ladies Day celebrations tomorrow. This went on for quite some time and Bhajans began only at 5.25 p.m. At 5.45 p.m. Swami received Aarti and retired for the day. Prof. Anil Kumar announced that the Ladies Day celebrations would begin tomorrow in the Divine Presence at 8.00 a.m.