Important Announcement in Sanatana Sarathi February 2005 issue
This is to inform all the devotees that Sivarathri will be celebrated at Prasanthi Nilayam on Tuesday, 8th March 2005. In this connection, here is an important announcement. Devotees often have given expression to their feeling that they are disturbed and pained and are unable to bear the sight of Bhagavan's physical body undergoing a lot of strain at the time of Lingodbhava. They always yearn to see the ever smiling and enchanting form of Swami. And, they were often praying to Swami not to perform Lingodbhava. Bhagavan, out of His infinite compassion and love for devotees, has acceded to their prayers and has said that Lingodbhava will not take place on this Sivarathri day.
February 6th to 9th 2005
For the past few days, we were hardly able to have Darshan of Bhagawan, for He was so busy with the preparations for the February 10th function. After all, He was getting His children married - a spiritual marriage, to usher them into a new phase of their life!
Sunday morning, the 6th of February did not witness Bhagawan's arrival in the Sai Kulwant Hall. What could be the reason? We were all getting worried. But later we came to know that Swami was out in the Poornachandra Hall, guiding and overseeing the preparations, packing of gifts etc. for the fortunate couples who would be Blessed with all these mementoes on the 10th.
Our students who are currently working in the Central Trust and Book Trust offices, lovingly called the CTBT boys were bestowed by Swami with the chance of helping in this grand programme. The staff and students of Anantapur were also very lucky to be Blessed with the opportunity of helping in organizing the function.
On the evening of 6th too, Swami just came out only for the Bhajans. He came at 5.10 p.m. and took Aarti and returned at 5.35 p.m. So you can imagine how involved and busy Swami has been with regard to this programme.
On Monday, the 7th, Swami came out for morning Darshan at around 8.45 a.m. In the evening, He was out by 3.15 p.m. but He went into the interview room as soon as He came and was inside until the Bhajans began.
Tuesday, the 8th of February, turned out to be similar to the previous day. However, Mr. Shivraj Patil - the Home Minister of India - had come for Swami's Darshan and Swami spent a long time with him in the interview room.
Yesterday, on the 9th, Swami came out at 7.45 a.m. for Darshan. To the delight of the devotees seated in the Hall, Swami sat down on the sofa. The Bio-Science department has organized a National Workshop on "Recent Trends in Bio-Technology" at the Institute. This is a three day workshop that began yesterday. The total participants run to almost 60. Most of them being gents, they were seated in the upper Portico, in the faculty block.
At around 8.00 a.m., Dr. Krupanidhi, the Head of the Bio-Sciences Department, prayed to Swami for departing to the College to commence the Workshop. Bhagawan gave His consent and all the participants got up and started moving out. However, one of them made bold and came closer to Swami from the side and sought His Blessings. Looking at this, the others too were wise enough to not lose their life time chance! One by one, all of them queued up to seek Bhagawan's Blessings. Some bowed down while some others offered their letters. Swami had a smile for each one of them!
In the evening, as we all entered the Kulwant Hall, we could see rows of red coloured plastic basket chairs arranged in neat rows right at the front, both on the Ladies and on the Gents side. All the lucky couples were seated on these chairs. Gents on the Gents side, and Ladies on the other side. Most of the faces were familiar to us, as all these were revered elders who had left all their worldly possessions and positions aside and had settled down in Prasanthinilayam for years , offering their Loving services to Bhagawan! And here was Swami showering all His Love and appreciation for them!
Swami came out for Darshan very soon. He was out by 3.00 p.m. and taking a short turn between the chairs, the Golf Cart proceeded towards the interview room. The next few hours, the Mandir was like a busy factory workshop with our CTBT boys running from here to there, carrying items inside the interview room and shifting some items outside.
At 3.25 p.m. Swami came out of the interview room and went into the Bhajan Hall. The Anantapur staff was inside, arranging all the gifts to be distributed. Swami spent some time inside the Bhajan Hall giving instructions. Then began an endless distribution of gifts to the lucky couples! On the Ladies side, Anantapur sisters went around not just distributing but even making the women wear bangles, earrings, etc. Grand silk saris were then distributed to all the brides. On the Gents side, the CTBT boys were busy distributing Dhotis with Angavastram (upper garment).
This went on for quite a long time. The total number of couples chosen for this occasion were around 280. After the clothes, the special silk threads to be tied around the head was given to all. This was followed by beautiful colorful garlands - not flowers but the plastic zari ones, usually used on such occasions...
All around the Kulwant Hall, we could see banners with "Bheema Ratha Santhi" written on them. This was the title given to the celebration to be held tomorrow. When we asked some of the elders, there were different interpretations of the title. Some said that Bheema stood for Shiva and therefore it is an offering to Lord Shiva. Yet others said that Bheema stood for strength and Ratha meant the human body; hence, the prayer is for giving strength to the body. The general idea was that it was a celebration meant for the overall welfare of the old couples. (More of this in the ensuing Discourse given by Bhagawan)
Bhajans started at 5.00 p.m. and by 5.30 p.m. Swami took Aarti. We could see Prof. Anil Kumar running towards the Bhajan Hall to make an announcement. Swami had called him a little while ago into the interview room and had given him instructions about the announcement to be made.
Prof. Anil Kumar announced that the 'Bheema Ratha Santhi' will commence tomorrow at 8.00 a.m. with all the couples coming in a procession from the Pedda Venkama Raju Kalyana Mantapam in Puttaparthi village. They will be preceded by Veda chanting and cultural dances of a traditional type and all of them will enter the Sai Kulwant Hall through the main Gopuram Entrance.
After they all settle down in Sai Kulwant Hall, the marriage ceremony will begin. All relatives of the couples are also welcome. The special wedding feast will begin from this evening itself and will continue till tomorrow evening. For the couples coming from outside Parthi, special accommodation has been arranged. After the wedding tomorrow, there will be a wedding banquet for the couples, their relatives and all the devotees present here! This is Bhagawan's Blessings of Love!!
Believe it or not, Swami was so particular to hear the announcement and make sure that everything was conveyed that He came outside after the Aarti and stood near the Golf Cart until the announcements were made both in Telugu and in English. Only after the long announcements were given, Swami got inside the Golf Cart and retired to the Poornachandra Auditorium. That is perfection. No detail is too small for Him!!
The distribution of gifts was just completed by then. As we walked out of the Kulwant Hall, the bridegrooms jubilantly got up from their chairs and walked past us with Swami's 'Gift Bag' full of loving mementoes! We could see the joy and cheer on their faces!! What a unique Blessing. Where else in the world would we find a ritual, conducted to honour old people and pay our gratitude to them?
February 10th 2005 (Morning)
The special day had finally dawned. By 7.00 a.m. we all arrived at the Kulwant Hall. The entire space was blocked for the ceremony. Therefore, all students packed themselves tightly near the car garage, where the old students sit.
As we sat down on our mats, we gazed around the Hall and looked at the wonderful decorations everywhere. Beautiful brass vertical flower vases adorned the dais, with colourful and fresh flowers shooting forth from them. The centre of the dais had a very beautiful getup with a white backdrop and colourful flower decorations on it. The Kulwant Hall area, almost 50% of it on both the Gents and Ladies side was set apart for the marriage function.
The arrangement was fantastic! Elegant enclosures were made for each couple, with low level (maybe just 1 or 1 ½ feet high) brass railings serving as a curtain stand. Silk curtains were fixed on these brass stands. The top opening of these stands also served as a flower vase and had bright red coloured Dahlias and Zinnias inserted into them. At every corner of these stands, a plantain trunk was tied to the stand - giving the entire Hall the typical auspicious and sacred look of any marriage hall!
In these small elegant enclosures, were placed two bright red coloured plastic bucket chairs for the bride and the bridegroom and a low teapoy in front of the chair to serve as the working table for the marriage. We gazed around to see the other decorations. The inner portico was decked up just like it is done during Bhagawan's Birthday celebrations. Full of pearl garlands and other colourful hangings! Rich floral garlands were covering the chandelier lights at the base of the portico in the usual decorative patterns!
To sum it up, the entire Hall looked like a beautiful Wedding Hall awaiting the arrival of the brides and the bridegrooms.
At 7.10 a.m., Sevadal people began their task of arranging circular steel plates on the teapoy kept in every enclosure. At 7.15 a.m., the core Vedam group began their chanting of the Vedam. Bhagawan had started from Poornachandra for Darshan. The learned Pundits who had come from Andhra Pradesh for conducting the marriage were inside the Bhajan Hall and they too started chanting Vedam. As the Golf Cart went amidst the various enclosures, the Sevadal and some of our students were arranging two small steel cups inside every plate. This was possibly for the Turmeric and Kum-kum. A red coloured velvet bag with several Pooja items inside, was then placed on each table.
Bhagawan went by the teapoys watching keenly all the items being placed on them. He took a full round of the Hall and came to the middle of the Inner Portico. The sofa was placed outside at the centre of the dais and on either side of the sofa, were a dozen enclosures for the most lucky couples who would be seated just next to Bhagawan for their marriage! Swami did not get down from the Golf Cart but kept sitting inside, listening to the Vedic Chants. After a while, the Vedic pundits who were inside the Bhajan Hall came out and went towards Swami to seek His instructions and Blessings.
As this was going on in the inner portico, outside, a beautiful framed photograph of Swami was placed on each teapoy for worship. Next came the Akshatalu (sacred yellow rice) that was generously poured into each plate for a lot would be needed during the marriage ceremony! At 7.30 a.m. the Golf Cart went into reverse gear and went towards the interview room. Swami got down and went inside the interview room. Still half an hour more for the procession of the couples to begin from the Pedda Venkama Raju Kalyana Mantapam...
Betel leaves were placed in each plate - a part of any auspicious ritual in South India. The whole Hall was bustling with activity as a number of Sevadal and students kept running around arranging the items, some of them checking and the others shifting the materials. Swami came out of the interview room at 8.10 a.m. or so. He stood just outside the interview room with brother Nitin Acharya and Mr. C. Sreenivas on either side, waiting for the arrival of the couples.
At 8.20 a.m., we saw the devotees running to the back of the Kulwant Hall and peeping over the wall. Simultaneously, the sound of the Nada Swaram reached our ears and it rose to a crescendo as the procession came closer and entered the Kulwant Hall. What a grand procession! What do we see? The special Pundits coming in a group, with the chief Pundit and his wife leading them, along with the Poorna Kumbham. They were followed by a group of Vedam students from our College. Then came the core Nadaswaram team, followed by the Anantapur students' Band and then the Anantapur students' Nadaswaram.
And there we find the Lambadis dancing away to glory!! The main dancer had a huge pot on her head. The Women folk were dressed in bright red, with white bangle like rings, covering their full hand. An assortment of ornaments covered their face and head. The Gents wore orange and pink turbans and one of them was rotating a green cloth in the air, possibly indicating a change of steps in the dance. These Lambadi folk took the centre of the Hall for their performance. As the dance went on in full vigour, the couples made their grand entry into the Hall! What a sight to see all our grandmas coming in with bright red silk saris and grandpas with Dhotis and an Angavastram on their shoulders, All of them had silk thread headbands and a garland around their neck.
The proceedings were very well organized. Every couple was assisted by an Anantapur sister who would be like a facilitator for that couple during the entire ceremony. All the Anantapur sisters were wearing light pink saris to match the grandeur of the occasion! Each couple waded through the maze of enclosures, finding their way to their final destination. As they sat down on their chairs, a mineral water bottle was placed on each teapoy. How thoughtful of the organizers! Being aged they would feel thirsty and the same water could also be used for the rituals.
By 8.45 a.m. all the couples were seated on their chairs - 275 in all. All the while, Swami was standing and watching with Love, His children taking their seats! Normally, the parents of the daughter would be ecstatic at getting their daughter wedded and the parents of the son would be joyous to receive their daughter-in-law. Here was a special case, where Bhagawan was the Divine Father and Mother to both the Bride and the Bridegroom!! How happy and Blissful He would Be!!
The Vedam Pundits started the ceremony. As they knew only Telugu, Prof. Anil Kumar was very kind enough to become their translator in providing instructions to the couples about the rituals to be performed. However, having got the mike into his hands, he took over the Telugu part too! The ceremony began with the Ganapati Prarthana (Worship). The couples were asked to worship the small Ganesha placed on their teapoys with Akshatam. As the Sankalpam (Vow) was chanted, the couples repeated their Gotra (Lineage) and Nakshatra (Birth Star) in their minds and performed Aachamanam (a ritual) with water.
At this point, Prof. Anil Kumar translated the 'statement of purpose' of this function as stated by the Rithwik (Vedic Pundit). This function was being performed to bestow upon the couples a long, healthy, spiritual life. It was directed towards establishing the unity of all religions through collective prayers at His Lotus Feet, for the ultimate goal of peace in the entire world!
By this time, Swami had gone inside the interview room and the Worship continued outside. The next event was the worship of the Raksha Bandhan (sacred protective thread). It was 8.55 a.m. The couples worshipped the Raksha Bandhan with Dhoopam (Incense Stick) and Deepam (Lamp). Jaggery was offered as Naivedyam (offering). As per the instructions, the Gents were to tie this on the left wrist of the brides and the women had to tie this on the right wrists of the bridegrooms! It was real joy watching them do this. Humour too was part of the game! Some had already tied it on the wrong wrists (confusion between right and left wrist) and they immediately untied it and placed it on the correct wrist!
The Mantras were chanted, describing the location of planet earth in the galaxy of various Lokaas (worlds). The Mantras went on to state that this ceremony at Bhagawan's Lotus feet would draw upon the couples Divine Blessings for the previous ten generations and the subsequent ten generations. It would be even more powerful than the Aswamedha Yajna!!
Then came the very interesting part of the marriage; the oath taking ceremony! Normally in any marriage the bridegroom and the bride vow to stand by each other in the three Purusharthas (goals) of life, namely - Dharma (Righteousness), Artha (Wealth) and Kama (Desire). However, in this spiritual marriage, as per Bhagawan's instructions, the Vedic Pundits made the couples take the fourth vow too - that of Moksha. Bhagawan said that Moksha (Liberation) too should be uniformly available to all. Hence, the bridegroom and the bride chanted as follows:
Dharmecha, Arthecha, Kamecha, Mokshecha Aham Evam Eesham/Eenam Naati Charami. Naati Charami is chanted thrice which means "I will stand by, I will stand by, I will stand by!!"
When we heard all these significances and inner meanings, we were so thrilled to realize that our culture has probed so deeply into all possible aspects of human life on earth. Marriage is such a great and sacred Institution that serves as the fabric of society and is in fact the Royal path to liberation as stated by Bhagawan Himself. Marriage is such a sacred bond between a man and a woman, who are supposed to stand by each other in all ups and downs of their lives, assisting each other and prodding each other to move forward on their spiritual journey, to ultimately reach His Lotus Feet. Unfortunately, marriage is understood by youth today in such a narrow and perverted sense. Bhagawan is truly re-educating the world about all these great and noble ancient Truths!!
Prof. Anil Kumar again took over and explained to the couples that by taking this vow, they would be now moving into a new phase of their life with rejuvenated enthusiasm, and were expected to put in all their best in fulfilling Swami's expectations. By now it was 9.10 a.m. The Pundits declared that the auspicious moment was coming closer and closer! The couples were asked to hold the cumin seeds and jaggery in their hands for the next ritual. As the Mantras were chanted, the couples were supposed to place these cumin seeds and jaggery on each others' heads. Again it was a sight to see this being performed! For most of them, the cumin seeds and jaggery would fall down and they would repeatedly make attempts to place them on each others' heads!
By now Swami had come out of the interview room. He came to the dais and then what do we see? The ocean of Love and Compassion! He started walking to each couple on the dais and handed over the Mangala Sutra to each bridegroom with all His Blessings. Prof. Anil Kumar announced that Bhagawan would distribute Mangala Sutra personally, to each couple. He said that these were the most fortunate couples in the entire Universe to have God Himself Blessing them with the Wedding Chain! We thought that Swami would distribute the Mangala Sutras to the couples on the dais and then the rest would be given by some other senior members.
But how mistaken we were! The Compassionate Lord got down the dais and went forward to the first row of couples. My! Was He going to walk all along? The senior members prayed to Swami and He sat down on a wheel chair placed over there. From that point, the wheelchair was taken along every aisle and Swami distributed the Mangala Sutras to each and every couple. It was a sight for the Gods to see! No eye could remain dry! We were all moved by His Love and Grace! Who can stop the Divine Mother from showering Her Love on Her son and daughter!
Believe it or not, this distribution went on and on as Swami moved from couple to couple Blessing them with the sacred chain. Meanwhile, some more boxes arrived outside. The Professors and the senior authorities of the Institute were marching forward with trays containing honey colored boxes. They started handing over a box to each couple. Prof. Anil Kumar announced that the Merciful Lord was now Blessing the couples with watches. We saw the couples opening the boxes in all delight. Wow! A beautiful watch for the bridegroom and one for the bride! Prof. Anil Kumar announced that Swami had given them these watches with so much of Love and they should immediately wear these, and that is what all of them did!
The Anantapur sisters started playing the Nadaswaram. The Mangala Sutram distribution was still going on. Prof. Anil Kumar standing in the centre of the Hall in front of the dais and opposite to the Vedic Pundit team, was using this time very well, by translating some wonderful explanations given by the Vedic Pundits. He said that elsewhere, marriages are performed bearing the welfare of the couple in mind, but here the marriages were being performed with the objective of Loka Kalyanam. (Universal Welfare)! Here every couple was being worshipped as Laxmi-Narayana Swaroopa (embodiment of Divinity).
The Vedic Pundits were praising these couples saying that these couples had showered their Blessings on so many other people in the past and now they were receiving the Blessings from Bhagawan Himself for all their good actions. The couples were asked to worship the Mangala Sutras as Goddess Gowri Herself. Here in our case the Goddess Gowri was none other than Eswaramma Gowri - the Divine Mother of our Bhagawan who had gifted the Lord to the Universe!
It was 9.50 a.m., almost 40 minutes since the time Swami started distributing the Mangala Sutrams. It was almost coming to a close and the Worship of the sacred chain began. Oh! there was more to come! Every couple was now gifted with a silver idol of Lakshmi-Narayana to be worshipped by them. This was given to them in a small red coloured box wrapped in colour paper! The couples were overjoyed as gift after gifts were poured into their arms by our dear Lord!
Bhagawan instructed the core Vedam group of students and staff to start chanting - starting with Sri Suktam. At 10.00 a.m. the final chanting of Mantras for the worship of the Mangala Sutra was in progress. Finally at 10.05 a.m. the most auspicious moment arrived! Amidst Nadaswaram, Band, Vedam chanting and loud claps, the bridegrooms tied the Mangala Sutras around the necks of their wives! Cameras clicked, smiles burst forth, and the entire atmosphere was charged with a sense of thrill and joy! The spiritual marriage was through!
The next ritual was Talambralu. This is a ritual where the bride and the bridegroom are supposed to hold Akshatalu - yellow rice in their hands and pour them over each others heads. All couples were asked to do this. Swami was personally supervising this event. He wanted the couples to perform this over and over again and He was deriving so much joy watching them!
He started walking on the dais again, Blessing each couple by showering them with the sacred rice. But that Blessing was not free! Swami would ask each couple to repeat the ritual in front of Him. With slight embarrassment and smiles, they would pour yellow rice on each others' heads and then Swami would shower the yellow rice on them! We could see Love emanating from Swami's face and He was thoroughly enjoying the event of His children's' marriage!
It was 10.15 a.m. Swami finally sat down on the sofa placed in the centre of the dais. Mind you, this was the first time He sat on the sofa, since He came out at 7.15 a.m. That is our Swami! How He involves Himself and conducts the entire event! The Lambadis took their turn to please Bhagawan. They started dancing with full vigour and ecstasy. For your information, the Lambadis are tribal people who originally belong to Rajasthan. Around 300 years back they migrated to Southern India and settled down in the outskirts of the villages. Therefore, their dance and their attire predominantly reflects the Rajasthani style.
At 10.20 a.m. the garland exchanging ceremony began. This was truly a great sight! We are sure that all couples would have been reminded of their marriage years back when they would have exchanged garlands in a similar manner in front of their family deity idol. Least would they have expected to do the same years later, right in the physical presence of their almighty Lord!! What a piece of luck and good fortune!
The final ritual was the wearing of toe rings, which is again a very important part of the marriage ceremony in India. The husbands put these toe rings onto the toes of their wives, assisted by the Anantapur sisters. The final icing on the cake was a photograph of the couple taken earlier for the occassion, merged along with Swami's photo and laminated as a memory for all of them. The couples received this photograph with reverence and gratitude.
At 10.25 a.m. the Vedic Pundits started chanting the concluding Mantras for the ceremony. By 10.30 a.m. the wedding came to a close. Prof. Anil Kumar made the happy announcement that the Wedding Banquet was ready. All the brides and bridegrooms would first proceed to the canteen followed by their relatives and then all the devotes too would be served the special Lunch!!
Thus the grand ceremony came to a grand end leaving all of us overjoyed! The couples were saturated with Bhagawan's Love and Bliss! They were in the seventh heaven of delight! All of them proceeded towards the canteen to partake of the sacred Prasadam.
February 10th 2005 (Evening)
In the evening, Bhagawan came out for Darshan at 4.00 p.m. He took a full round in the Golf Cart and got down on the dais and moved towards the sofa. It was 4.05 p.m. and Swami called Prof. Sudhir Bhaskar and Prof. Anil Kumar and told them something. They ran immediately and arranged the mike. Somebody would possibly give a talk - we thought. But Swami again called them and told them something more. This time the communication was clear. Bhagawan was going to Bless us with His Divine Discourse. What a surprise! The table was immediately arranged and the mike was placed on the table for Swami.
In the Kulwant Hall, the chairs were arranged as it was done yesterday, with all the Gents and Ladies seated on them, just like the Reception programme in any Wedding. At 4.11 p.m., the Vedam chanting stopped. Bhagawan began the Discourse.
Bhagawan concluded His Discourse at 5.11 p.m. He then called the three birthday boys seated in the first row and Blessed each one of them with Akshatas. After they returned to their seats, Swami playfully waved His Hands and out came a gold chain with a locket! Swami held it in His hand and asked them, "Where did it come from?" One of the boys dared to go in front and replied something. Swami called him in front and to his amazement, Bhagawan slipped the chain around his neck. As usual, a perfect fit. It just went over his head and onto his ears, after which the boy took over and wore it around his neck. He was thrilled!
Prof. Anil Kumar, then, as per the instructions of Bhagawan, invited the singer for the evening, Smt. Sudha Raghunathan to offer her songs in the Divine Presence. He announced that Smt. Sudha Raghunathan was a 'Padma Shri' and her family were devotees of Bhagawan from the last 60 years. In fact, Swami had saved this singer in her childhood and that is how, Bhagawan got the name "Jodi Adipalli Somappaya Namah", which appears in the Ashtotra Shata Naamavali of Bhagawan.
In case you are not familiar with the above story - here it is.... Long ago in 1958, the parents of Smt. Sudha Ragunathan had come to participate in Bhagawan's Birthday celebrations at Prasanthinilayam. As they were returning after the Birthday celebrations, on the way, the child took seriously ill. The parents were very worried and were praying to Swami to provide some solution. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a villager appeared over there with two more men. The villager asked the mother to hand over the child to him and said that he would cure her. The mother was perplexed, but finding no other way out, she acceded to his request.
The villager took the child into his arms and then after a while, returned the child to the mother. Lo and Behold! The child was perfectly fine. The parents wept with gratitude and asked the villager who he was. To this the village man replied, "I am Jodi Adipalli Somappa". Months later, when the parents returned to Parthi, they narrated this story to Bhagawan. Swami smiled and confirmed that it was none other than He, who had appeared as Jodi Adipalli Somappa.
Years later, when Prof. Kasturi once asked Swami as to why He had given Himself that name, Bhagawan replied, "Jodi means 'Couple' - the 'Divine Couple'; Adi Palli means the 'The Eternal Village' and Soma means 'Sa + Uma' the One with Uma as His Consort". Thus He came to be known as Jodi Adipalli Somappa.
Smt. Sudha Raghunathan came forward and took Swami's Blessings! Again Swami waved His Hand and here was another gold chain for the singer. She was dazed. She had not even begun and there she was already Blessed! She settled down on the dais with her accompanying artistes. For the next 50 minutes, we had such beautiful rendering of classical songs that lightened our hearts and lifted our souls! If the marriage in the morning, transported the couples into a spiritual world, these songs in the evening ushered all of us into a world full of spiritual Bliss and joy!
Song after song flew from her mouth as the Ganges, and flooded the Kulwant Hall with its potent meaning and vibrating tunes. She started with a song on Narayana:
1)Sriman Narayana Sriman Narayana ...
2) Brochevaarevarura Ninuvina Raghuvaraa...
As she kept us busy listening to these songs, the couples were kept busy with hot coffee served sugarless (very thoughtful of the organizers to consider the age of the couples and ailments like diabetes etc.). Sugar was offered separately to those who wanted it. 'Marie' Biscuits went along with the coffee. Meanwhile the melodious music from the singer continued:
3)Sita Kalyana, Rama Kalyana, Vaibhogame....
4)Adisidala Yashoda Jagadodarana....
5)Korai Onrum Illai Malai Murti Kanna...
6)Pyare Darsana Deejo Tuma Bina Rahyo Na Jaye....
When she sang songs 4 and 6, it was wonderful to see Swami also singing along with her. In fact, song 6 which is a Meera Bhajan was very lucky to have the Lord singing it fully line after line!
7)Bho Shambho Shiva Shambho Svayam Bho....
8)More To Giridhara Gopala Dusaro Na Koi...
9)Man Ki Ankhein Kholo Sairam...
The song on Swami, praying Him to open the eyes of our minds was a befitting close to the day's programme. For was this not the true purpose of all our endeavours in life? The song ended with fast beats that found all the devotees clapping along with the song. Swami stood up and was swaying to the beat. Our hearts too were swaying to the melodious rhythm and beat.
Smt. Sudha Raghunathan got up and went to Swami to take His Blessings. The other accompanying artistes too went forward and sought Bhagawan's Blessings. Aarti commenced and Swami turned and moved towards the inner Portico to the Golf Cart stationed over there. Slowly the Golf Cart made its way towards the Poornachandra Auditorium. A new milestone in the saga of the Avataar. A new meaning was communicated to all of humanity and a new initiative was set into force to revive our ancient practices and highlight the importance of the role played by senior citizens in our lives and the need for expressing gratitude to them.
February 11th 2005
Today is a very auspicious day. Bhagawan had given permission to go ahead with the Bhoomi Puja for the construction of the new Building at the Prasanthi Nilayam campus premises of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. You may recall that on the 2nd of this month, Bhagawan had driven down to the College at 5.30 p.m. in the evening after the Bhajans, to survey the land on which the new Building would come up.
This morning, the students and staff proceeded to the plot in front and to the left of the Library Building, for the prayer session. A makeshift altar was already arranged over there. A photograph of Swami accompanied by photographs of Goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati and Ganesha were placed on the table. A Pujari was performing the relevant rituals. The students and staff started Bhajans and Vedam chanting. Between 8.15 a.m. and 8.30 a.m., the Puja was completed. The Vice-Chancellor Sri S.V. Giri placed the cement in the pit made ready for the purpose. Subsequently, Prof. G. Venkataraman - the former Vice-Chancellor of the University, Sri Lakshminarasimham Garu - the Registrar, Sri Nanjundaiah Garu - the Controller of Examinations, Prof. U.S. Rao - the Principal and other professors broke coconuts and offered flowers to the Bhoomi Puja site.
The ceremony concluded with Aarti. Maybe, the Building will be ready by Bhagawan's 80th Birthday! Let's wait and see....