Prasanthi Bulletin

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 18th 2005

This evening, Swami came out for Darshan at 3.55 p.m. He took a full round and then came and sat down on the sofa. As He looked at all the students seated in front, His eyes fell on a boy holding a letter. Bhagawan signaled to him and the boy went forward with the letter. As Swami took his letter, another boy who was also eagerly waiting with a letter, got a green signal from Swami. He too went forward. Looking at this, one by one, all the students having a letter in their hand, started moving forward.

It was a sight to see! A letter receiving bonanza! Around 15 boys offered their letter to Swami. Bhagawan took each one of them and also had some word with most of them. Minutes ticked by. The Music College students were ready with their presentation for this evening. At 4.15 p.m. Swami stopped the Vedam chanting. The Principal of the Music College, Prof. Krishnamurthy came and sat down next to Swami's sofa.

A few Shruti matching exercises went on and then came the first song. A Carnatic recital by a team of singers - Rama Rama Rama Sita Rama Eni Ro.....This was followed by the famous Jagadodarana ... After this song, another student of Hindustani music, rendered the song Wo Kala Ek Bansuri Wala Suda Bisaragaya Mori Re.... Two more songs followed and then Bhagawan signaled to one of the boys seated behind. This boy was a Sitar player. He came forward and Swami asked him and another boy to play the Sitar.

It was 4.45 p.m. For the next 15 minutes, we had an enchanting Sitar recital by the boys. This was again followed by two more Carnatic songs - Innu Dayabarade Dasana Mele and Mokshamu Galada Bhuvilo...

At 5.15 p.m., Bhagawan stood up holding the brass railings. Aarti was performed. Some boys came forward and showed a card to Swami. Bhagawan Blessed the card and moved towards the Golf Cart.

February 19th 2005

This evening, Bhagawan was out by 3.05 p.m. Some of us had heard the news that an internationally renowned Mrudangam player had come to have Swami's Darshan. Therefore, we were expecting some music programme this evening. As soon as Swami reached the Portico, He spoke to the artiste who was seated over there along with the Music College Principal. The Mrudangam player was Sri Umayalpuram Sivaraman, a very reputed artiste who has played as accompanist for renowned singers like Smt. M.S. Subbulakshmi, Sri Balamuralikrishna, Sri Ramanuja Iyengar and others.

Bhagawan asked the Music College Principal to arrange for the concert. A violin was needed and off went one boy, rushing to the Hostel to fetch his violin. The Golf Cart which had already approached the dais reversed and went towards the interview room. Bhagawan went in, but came out again in ten minutes time. This was just enough for the student to get the violin. Meanwhile, the carpet was spread on the dais, mikes were arranged and the artistes came and took their positions.

It was 3.20 p.m. Sri Sivaraman offered a rose to Bhagawan. He was followed by Prof. Krishnamurthy - the Principal of the Music College and the other students who were to accompany them in the presentation. Prof. Krishnamurthy introduced the guest saying that the Music College was indeed blessed today on receiving an artist of such eminence. The students had benefited immensely by his interaction at the college in the morning and now they were fortunate to perform with him in the Divine Presence.

Sri Umayalpuram Sivaraman is a Padma Bhushan, winner of the Sangeeta Kala Academy Award from the Madras Sahitya Academy. This evening, he played the Mrudangam in the Divine Presence, with the Principal as the main singer supported by his student Sri Ajit Prasad of the final year Diploma course. Two other boys played on the Veena and the Violin.

For the next 50 minutes, we had a wonderful performance by the group. The Mrudangam was obviously at its best. The beats were so catchy and stirring that all music lovers were either tapping their hands or feet or swaying their heads. Bhagawan was keeping beat with His hands throughout the performance. At 4.10 p.m. Swami signaled Sri Sivaraman to come forward. Swami honoured him with a Dhoti and Angavastram. Swami materialized a gold bracelet and put it on his wrist. Meanwhile, Prof. Krishnamurthy also came forward and received the honour. Swami spoke to both of them for some time.

As it always happens, when Swami spoke to Sri Sivaraman, it looked as though they both knew each other for years. Whenever Bhagawan speaks to an individual, one gets the feeling that he has always belonged to Him. And that is exactly the case. Ye Rishta He Kai Janmon Ka.....

The artistes settled down in their seats. Bhagawan's sofa that was turned to face them during the performance was turned towards the students again. Swami received letters from some of the boys and He asked the Vedam chanting to start again. Swami also Blessed the Birthday boys. Ten minutes later, Bhagawan signaled to one of the Bhajan singers, Sri Guruprasad of the II M.Sc.(P) class to sing some Keertanas.

We had the second Kacheri (concert) for the evening. Sri Guruprasad rendered seven devotional songs. Some of them were Brochevaru Evarura Neenuvina, Shobhilu Saptaswara, Sarasa Samagana..... In the middle of his recital, Swami called him and asked him to sing a specific song. Some interaction went on and he came back to his seat and continued singing some more songs.

At 4.45 p.m. Swami asked for the Bhajans to commence. The Bhajan singers were already seated outside ready for the command. They hardly sang one or two Bhajans and Swami got up. It was 4.50 p.m. when Swami took Aarti and retired for the day.

February 20th 2005

Bhagawan came out at 7.25 a.m. However, after taking a full round, He went straight into the interview room, only to emerge at 9.00 a.m. for the Bhajans.

In the evening, He came out for Darshan at 3.05 p.m. This evening, the XII class students were ready with their 'Gratitude Programme'. A number of students were seated with their costumes in front of the dais. Some were inside the Bhajan Hall. Swami took a full round and as He came onto the dais, He enquired about the programme from all seated over there - the Warden, Prof. Anil Kumar... Then, Swami asked Prof. Anil Kumar to introduce the programme. At 3.25 p.m., Vedam chanting stopped. Prof. Anil Kumar went over to the mike and announced that this evening, there would be a presentation by the students titled, "Maa Jeevitame Mee Sandeshamu' - "Our Life is Your Message".

The boys first offered a card to Bhagawan. The programme was well presented. The idea was very good. The main scene was about three accomplished gentlemen, holding reputed positions in society, being interviewed for a T.V. show. One was a doctor known for his service activities, the second a CEO of a top company well known for his humanitarian work and the third a singer who was using all his talent for helping the needy as an offering to the Lord.

It so happens that all the three are the alumni of the Sathya Sai Institutions. Therefore, during the interview, they recall several incidents at the School and also several experiences of their classmates that went a long way in shaping their lives and making them what they were today. In this manner, all the items were presented as part of this interview. We had several good experiences being narrated, even in Telugu and Sanskrit. We had skits showing the loving manner in which these gentlemen were welcomed into the Sathya Sai Hostel when they had come there first as students.

There were scenes of sick students being taken care of in the Hostel, Grama Seva activities and its impact on them, and so on. Yet another scene where the student gets more marks because of a totaling mistake and he goes and confesses to the teacher, thus winning the praise and blessings of the teacher.

At the end of the interview, the anchors praise the three gentlemen for all their noble qualities and state that they have truly accomplished fulfillment in their life. To this, all the three respond saying that what they have done is hardly anything. Bhagawan expects much more from them. What Swami expects is that each one must seek the ultimate goal of life. To illustrate this, they enacted the scene of King Janaka, wherein he gets a dream. In the dream Janaka is an ordinary man running in the forest, looking for some water and food. Finally, unable to bear the thirst and hunger, he gets up with a scream, only to find his aide with a tray full of food and drink!

The king is stunned and confused. He starts asking himself, "Is this true or is that true? Idi Nijama Adi Nijama". No amount of attention paid by the Minister or the Royal Doctor helps the king to come back to his senses. He keeps on repeating the above statement. Finally, the sage Yajnavalkya comes into the scene. Having known the happenings through his Divine Vision, the sage explains to the king that neither is this true nor is that true. It is he (the king) who experienced both the states - the dream and the waking states. Therefore, he alone is true. The king finally realizes the Truth of the Self.

The students concluded their presentation praying to Swami to Bless them with this grand Truth! There were number of group songs in between. As the final song began, Swami asked all of them to arrange themselves for the group photographs. Bhagawan stood up and took a number of photographs with them.

At 4.25 p.m. Bhajans began and by 4.45 p.m. Swami took Aarti and retired for the day.

February 24th 2005

Today is a very special day for the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning as it witnesses the change of leadership from one able instrument of Bhagawan to another. Today, Sri Anil Vinayak Gokak, the son of the first Vice-Chancellor of the University, Sri Vinayak Krishna Gokak, takes over the reins of the Vice-Chancellorship of the University, from the hands of Sri S.V. Giri.

Students have been working since yesterday, decorating the Institute Auditorium stage and tying the buntings at the entrance of the building. Four thrones were placed on the stage. One at the centre for Bhagawan, two on one side for Mr. and Mrs. S.V. Giri and one on the other side for Mr. Anil Gokak. Two huge peacocks, cut from thermocol adorned the back curtain of the stage. The side flanks were beautifully decorated with purple cloth twisted into elegant designs. Huge flower vases adorned the stage as well as the pathway at the entrance of the Auditorium.

At 7.55 a.m., Bhagawan arrived in the Prius car driven by Brother Satyajit. The Vedam group started chanting Vedam and moved into the auditorium through the side entrance. Bhagawan got down from the car and walked up a newly made ramp into the Green Room at the North-East end of the Auditorium. As Swami entered the Green Room and moved on to the stage, the Vedam group was ready for receiving Bhagawan with the Poorna Kumbham and a rose.

Just as Bhagawan entered the stage, the Bhajans stopped and the welcome song took over. By 8.00 a.m. Swami was seated on His chair with the others seated next to Him. It was three years since Bhagawan had come last to the Institute for an official function.

At 8.05 a.m. the Vice-Chancellor went to the podium and welcomed Bhagawan and all the guests. He spoke for ten minutes followed by Brother Sanjay Mahalingam, a research scholar in the School of Business Management and then by Sri Anil Gokak who delivered a brief 10 minute address.

The Vice Chancellor commenced his talk with the chanting of some verses from the Vishnu Sahasranamam. He stated his inability to express his gratitude to Bhagawan for having given him an opportunity to work for such a hallowed Institute under Bhagawan's direct Guidance. The emphasis in this Institute is on Character Building, with Vinayam (Humility), Bhakti (Devotion) and Shraddha (Steadfastness) shaping the personality of the students. Here Swami gives them the confidence to face life and inspires them to develop compassion for all.

He said that the five major efforts which the Institute has been privileged to embark upon are

1) Seva - Service in all its forms. Free education, free medicare, free water and service to society in all ways.
2) Veda Poshana - Recitation of the eternal verities
3) Deenodarana - Lifting the forlorn and downtrodden
4) Women's Empowerment - Supporting women's freedom and empowerment
5) Caring of elders and aged - Bheema Ratha Shanti being an example.

These are the social manifestations of Bhagawan's Mission in which students are used as instruments. He has given them the opportunity to translate what He has in mind into reality and interpret its significance to the rest of the world.

He concluded his talk by once again expressing his feeling of inadequacy to show his gratitude to Bhagawan. He quoted a Tamil poem which says that - "You thought that I was of some worth, You chose me and you gave me the eyes of wisdom to understand an iota of what you are; O Mother what Grace of yours! How could this limited intellect of mine ever comprehend your Grace!"

He said that With Swami there is no discharging the debt of Gratitude. Subsequently, the Vice Chancellor introduced his successor Sri Anil Vinayak Gokak.

Sri Anil Vinayak Gokak held several responsible positions both at the State and at the Centre. He belongs to the IAS cadre of Maharashtra. He graduated from the Osmania University. At the Central Government he held the post of the Cement Controller of India, MD of Food Corporation of India and the position of secretary in three important Ministries including Telecommunications and Fertilizers.

He is the son of the father - Sri Vinayak Krishna Gokak who described Bhagawan - our Chancellor - as the Divine Chancellor of the Universe. It was Sri Vinayak Krishna Gokak, the first Vice Chancellor who enjoyed Bhagawan's confidence and was instrumental in drafting the rules and regulations which hold till now as the best in the University system. Sri Anil Vinayak Gokak is a great speaker and is blessed to be the 7th Vice Chancellor of this sacred University.

Sri S.V. Giri then invited the Ph.D. Scholar from the School of Business Management, Sri Sanjay Mahalingam to share his thoughts with the audience.

Brother Sanjay began his talk by quoting the episode of the inauguration of the Bukkapatnam High School, when Sri Kasturi was sent an invitation to be the Chief Guest by Bhagawan. In that invitation his name was mentioned as Dr. Kasturi. Sri Kasturi Garu approached Swami and said that this was a mistake as he did not have a PhD. To this Bhagawan said that he indeed was a doctorate holder. Sri Kasturi humorously asked Bhagawan, "From which University, Swami?" Bhagawan replied, "From the Puttaparthi University". Sri Kasturi Garu had a great laugh!

Least did he realize that when the Cosmic Consciousness - Bhagawan - speaks, it can never go in vain! Sri Kasturi Garu did live to see this become a reality. Brother Sanjay went on to highlight the achievements of the Institute during the tenure of Sri S.V. Giri as the Vice Chancellor - a position which he held from the 7th of August 1998 - serving illustriously in this capacity for the last six years.

The University scaled great heights under his leadership. New courses such as the 'Diploma in Indian Culture and Philosophy', the 'Masters in Economics', the 'Master of Philosophy' programme were started. The Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music also came into existence during his tenure in office. The Institute acquired total connectivity with state-of-the-art infrastructure and Video-conferencing between the Campuses, the Bio-Sciences department got the 'Special Assistance Project' from the UGC. The National Conference for the Vice Chancellors for Education in Human Values was held at Prasanthinilayam. The University under the leadership of Sri S.V. Giri won nation wide acclaim. Brother Sanjay corroborated his statements quoting from reports of two committees that visited the Institute.

In January 2000, a committee headed by Sri M.K. Kaw visited the University and stated, "The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning is Bhagawan Baba's outstanding contribution to the world of learning. It is unique for it has integrated value education with shining success since its inception. All the gamut of activities that are carried out in this University have one single underlying message and that is - education is for life and not for a mere living."

The Peer team of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council that visited the University in December 2002 had this to say, "The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning is a crest jewel among the Universities of India and their model is worthy of emulation by Universities in India and elsewhere so that the benefits can be reaped fast and on as wide a scale as possible."

Brother Sanjay went on to say that great people are remembered not just for what they do but what they are. Sri S.V. Giri is known for his accessibility and the undivided attention he gives for those whom he grants an audience. He personifies humility and dignity. His very presence carries an aura of dignity. He is a man of stupendous accomplishments but one without the air of attainments. None have seen him lose his temper or allow his emotions to get the better of him. He is a man who always is in full control of himself.

Brother Sanjay praised the leadership of Sri S.V. Giri quoting General Eisenhower who said that if you push a string it will go nowhere but if you pull it from the front it will go anywhere. Leading from the front is the key! He narrated an episode during the Grama Seva wherein the Vice Chancellor had made it a point to visit a very far off village, the road to which was almost impassable. But he somehow made it to that remote hamlet, went around every house asking them whether they had received Prasadam and then also had a few words of encouragement for the students who were assembled there. Students were left with great admiration for him.

Another incident was during the Sports Meet of 2000 when Bhagawan had allowed even staff members to participate. Early morning, on the very first day, when few staff members assembled in the ground fighting the chilly weather, at 5.30 a.m., Sri S.V. Giri was already there in his full sports gear ready to encourage them.

He would be remembered as someone who could not possibly always oblige for certain valid reasons, but always made the listener very comfortable by obliging words. His keen interest in the Awareness programme, to which he accorded utmost importance, can never be forgotten.

As Sri S.V. Giri moved on to assume higher responsibilities, Brother Sanjay recalled the statement made by Bhagawan on the 4th of March 1993 when Sri Hanumanthappa was taking over the Vice-Chancellorship of the University. Bhagawan said, "With Swami, there is no send off. It is always welcome, welcome and welcome!"

Brother Sanjay concluded his talk recalling the contribution made by Sri Vinayak Gokak in building the foundation for this University. Talking about the great person that Sri Gokak was, he shared an incident that occurred long back. Once Sri Vinayak Gokak was sitting on the benches of Trayee Brindavan and he had just completed a book in Kannada. A friend of him asked him as to when he would publish the book. To this Sri Gokak asked him to look into the sky and tell him what he saw. The friend replied that there were stars appearing in the night sky. Sri Gokak said that these were not just stars appearing but it was God composing His epic. The next morning, there would be nothing. God composes His epic every evening and erases it every morning. Does He care to publish it? He acts out of the sheer joy of existence without any concern for any appreciation or acknowledgement. Then why should we worry about our accomplishments?

Today as Bhagawan's Divine Mission enters its 80th year and the Institute enters its 25th year, it is a great fortune that the illustrious son of Sri Vinayak Gokak is taking over the stewardship of the University. Under his guidance and the Blessings of Bhagawan this Institute is hoped to scale far grater heights of glory! Yesterday evening Swami made a great statement. He said - Boys you all are Blessed, because one great Vice Chancellor is going and another great Vice Chancellor is coming!

Brother Sanjay's talk was followed by Sri Anil Gokak. He sought the guidance and inspiration of Sri S.V. Giri and Sri Chakravarthi who were his senior colleagues in the IAS - Indian Administrative Service. He described the Institute as an island of hope amidst chaos and a spiritual lighthouse for the whole world. What distinguishes this great Institution is the emphasis on Educare as separate from education. Education as defined by Swami Vivekananda is truly Educare. Educare is enabling the students to realize the Divine potential within him. Man is not only Divine, he is also the acme of creation for he alone has the ability to transform himself from a beast into an angel or God. We need to find out whether we are enabling this process. We are lucky to have the Divine incarnation Himself as our Guru.

However, this adds on a special responsibility on the teachers. The teachers have to play a multifarious role over here. They have to act as the snake charmer to wean away the minds of the students from evil tendencies and be a shepherd to the hungry sheep. Teachers are like the wire that connect the Generator i.e. God with the students who are like the lamps. The teacher has to carry the current within him so that it reaches the other end and has the transforming effect.

He has to be the experiencer and not merely the transmitter of the Divine Message. He has to identify the talents in the students and accelerate them on the path that suits them best. He has to communicate like a poet choosing an appropriate medium, and then recreate the experience he has had, in the minds of the students. All this must be done selflessly, without any expectations and with pure motives. Teachers in this Institute must be distinguished from their counterparts in other Institutes, by the great quality of possessing nothing and seeking nothing.

We need to conduct a spiritual audit of ourselves to find out whether we are transforming ourselves. This is the only way to transform the students and restore our country to its ancient glory and pride. He concluded his talk by seeking Bhagawan's Guidance and encouragement and gave a word that he would do his best to translate the objectives of the Institute into reality.

At 8.50 a.m. the Vice-Chancellor prayed to Swami to deliver His Divine Discourse. Bhagawan got up from His Chair and commenced His Discourse translated by Prof. Anil Kumar.

It was 9.35 a.m. by the time Swami concluded His Discourse. Bhagawan Blessed the Vice-Chancellor by adorning his wrist with a bracelet. Putting it around his wrist, Swami said, "Idi Prema Kankanam'. He also Blessed the wife of Sri S.V. Giri with a similar bracelet and a necklace, which Swami asked the Vice-Chancellor to place around her wrist and neck. It was a moment of great joy for all.

Prasadam was distributed to all the students, staff and guests. As the Aarti concluded, Bhagawan got up from the sofa and said that we must never forget chanting Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu. How can there be individual welfare without Universal welfare? World peace alone will lead to individual peace. If you always chant Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu and if this feeling is there for the welfare of the Loka, then the Lokeswara will always think of your welfare too.

  Bhagawan retired to His abode at 9.45 a.m. In the evening, the Ist year Post Graduate students were ready with a special presentation titled, "Tyage Naike Amrutatva Manashuhu'. Coincidentally, or as we know by His Will, this play which they were planning for many days turned out to be on the same theme on which Swami spoke in the morning. Therefore, it proved to be a most fitting programme for the evening.

Bhagawan, after giving Darshan at 3.00 p.m., directly went into the interview room. All the I PG boys were ready in the Bhajan Hall. However, they suddenly discovered that the costume for Lord Krishna had been left in the Hostel. What would happen if Swami were to ask for the presentation to begin? Hearts pounding faster, one boy rushed to the Hostel to fetch the costumes for Lord Krishna. As soon as it arrived and the make-up was ready, Swami came out of the interview room and asked the boys to start the programme.

That is Divine Omnipresence and Omniscience! Swam reveals His omniscience through such small apparently insignificant acts. It may go just unnoticed, unless we take the time off to reflect on them. All the boys marched out of the Bhajan Hall. Almost 60 of them were acting some role or the other while the rest were working back stage.

The presentation began at 4.10 p.m. with a dance choreographed to the song 'Ekadantaya Vakratundaya Gowritanayaya Dheemahi...' as part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Indian Arts Association. The backdrop was simple but elegant. A screen of silk draping and a stage in front of it with another silk curtain that could be drawn apart when the performance would go on the stage.

As the dance draws to a close, the Director of the association Sri Srivastava, announced a Nation Wide Competition - Art from Heart. This was open for all painters who could express their talent on canvas. The best painting would fetch an award of Rs.10 lakhs and a tour around India to exhibit the paintings and also an opportunity to work on the international stage of art.

In the next scene, a young budding painter by name Anand discusses the competition with his financier and friend Mr. Khanna. Mr. Khanna pumps up Anand and enthuses him to participate in the competition to win the attractive award. Subsequently, Anand goes to meet his Guru. He recalls how he had learnt his first lesson of painting from his Guru 10 years back.

The Guru advises Anand to open his heart to the sights and sounds around so that he may learn several lessons. The Guru says that his paintings were all impressions that had touched his heart. Anand shares the news about the competition with his Guru. Hearing about his plans to win the award and settle abroad, the Guru gets furious. He reminds Anand that the land on which he stood had nourished him all these years; he was like a seed that had now grown into a full tree. Was it not his duty to give shelter to this land now?

The Guru bursts forth into a patriotic song - Sujalaam Sufalaam Malayaja Sheetalaam Sasya Shyaamalaam Maataram Vande Maataram..... Anand grows restless. He rebounds and asks his Guru as to what this country had given him. Just an award from the government? Had it given him a decent standard of life? Had it given him any opportunities to develop his talent?

Listening to his outburst, the Guru laments silently saying that after all he belonged to the older generation and therefore could not appreciate Anand's views. He asks Anand to go to the temple and deliver a packet to one Mr. Keshav Prasad. As Anand leaves, the Guru prays to the Lord saying that Anand had a heart of gold. God was, after all, the Goldsmith and should therefore purify the heart of Anand and make him into a beautiful ornament.

Anand goes to the temple and delivers the packet to Keshav Prasad. Keshav Prasad opens the packet and distributes the Prasadam to some poor people gathered outside the temple. Anand watches all this. Meanwhile a very poor and starved young man comes towards the temple seeking for some food. He comes and prays to Anand to give him some money. Anand shoos him away mercilessly.

This starved man goes to the other poor man who is about to eat the Prasadam given by Keshav. Looking at this starving man, the poor man hands over the food to him with a smile on his face. This comes as a shock to Anand. He is unable to believe what he sees.

The next scene finds Anand talking to his grandpa. He narrates all that he had witnessed to his grand father. The grandpa then explains to Anand the noble quality of sacrifice. He says, giving away what you like and need most, with a smile on your face, is true sacrifice. Our culture is replete with such instances. Take for example the character of Karna in Mahabharatha.

The next scene depicts the story of how Lord Krishna, in order to display the greatness of Karna to Arjuna, plays a small drama. As Karna lies on the battlefield wounded, Krishna goes in the form a Brahmin seeking alms. He approaches Karna but looking at his state decides to return. But, Karna prays to the Brahmin to ask for anything and he would grant it. So long as there would be life in his body, he would never send back any Brahmin empty handed.

Hearing this promise, the Brahmin says that as he had to perform his son's marriage, he needed some gold. Hearing this, Karna feels miserable as he had no gold with him to offer to the Brahmin. Therefore, he prays to the Brahmin to go to Hastinapura and request his wife to offer him some gold. The Brahmin expresses dissatisfaction saying that it was not worth going all the way to Hastinapura, merely for some small quantity of gold. The Brahmin is about to return when Karna stops him. He decides to remove his gold tooth and give it to the Brahmin. As he plucks out his gold tooth and offers it, the Brahmin expresses anger that an offering soaked in blood can never be accepted. Immediately, Karna shoots an arrow into the sky bringing down rain that washes the tooth of all the blood.

At this instant, Lord Krishna manifests Himself, pleased with the selfless sacrifice of Karna and asks him to pray for any boon. Karna says that there could be no greater boon than dying in the Lord's Physical Presence. Karna offers his heart to the Lord.

The scene ends and back comes Anand. He is not convinced still. Anand tells his grand father that Karna had already won so many laurels in life and therefore there was nothing great in sacrificing at the end. But what about individuals who are yet to bloom? What about their ambitions?

To this, the grand father tells Anand the story of Khudiram Bose who fought for the freedom of Mother India. When Mother India was in chains so many young buds offered their lives for Her cause. Their only ambition was to adorn their Mother with the crown of freedom! The next scene took us to the pre-independence years.

The patriotic fervour in the youth of those days was very well depicted. Kudiram Bose rebels against the British, throws a bomb at their office and runs 25 miles after that. However, he is caught and handed over by a traitor to the British. He is finally hanged to death. But his spirit lives on. He prays to Mother India that he would be born again so as to die once again for her sake. He asks her to remember him whenever she saw any youth with a tri-colour flag in his hands and a noose around his neck! The scene was very touching and there was a loud applause from the audience.

Anand too was touched. His heart gets transformed. He decides to dedicate his life for the poor and the needy. He visits the temple and serves food to the poor people assembled there. Surprisingly, the Guru also comes over there and is surprised to see Anand serving the poor. He enquires Anand about his Visa and Passport arrangements!!

Anand repents and confesses to his Guru that he was truly lost in the materialism of life. The Guru knew that Anand would turn a new leaf in his life. Anand however was worried about the funds that he would need for serving others. The Guru reminds him of the painting competition. He explains to Anand that God had blessed him with the talent of painting. This was like Prasadam. Now this Prasadam of God must be offered as Naivedyam to Him again. Therefore, the Guru enthuses Anand to participate in the competition.

When Anand asks his Guru as to what he must paint, the Guru asks Anand to consult his heart. Anand says that his heart now chants just one mantra - Tyage Naike Amrutatva Manashuhu...However, his heart still feels empty.

Meanwhile, a Rama Leela play is about to be staged. The Mandir Pujari calls all of them and they proceed to witness the play. This scene shows the great sacrifice of Bharatha who prays to Rama to return to Ayodhya. Each one beats the other in their adherence to sacrifice. Lord Rama holds on to his Dharma and refuses to return to Ayodhya. Finally, Bharatha takes the Padukas of his brother Rama and places them on the throne as the symbol of Lord Rama.

Fourteen years later, when there is a slight delay in the return of Lord Rama, Bharatha is ready to end his life. However, at the right time Hanuman comes in and gives the message of Lord Rama's arrival. Bharatha, who by now looked just like Rama, on account of his constant contemplation on Him, hands over the kingdom back to Lord Rama.

The Guru explains to Anand the meaning of the word Bharatha. Bha means 'Bhagawan' and Ratha means 'to please'. To please God, we must not only give up the worldly comforts but we must give up our mind and our identity too. Bharatha had totally surrendered his mind to Lord Rama. Finally, he lost even his identity and merged with the identity of Lord Rama.

True sacrifice is giving up the evil qualities of life and finally offering even the mind to God. Anand participates in the competition. On the day of the award giving ceremony, all paintings are arranged in the Gallery. The scene is the closing ceremony of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Indian Arts Association. Needless to say, the winner is none other than Sri Anand. In the final scene, Mr. Anand comes over to the mike and makes his award acceptance speech.

Anand makes a very wonderful presentation. He asks, as to what is it that makes a mother give up all her comforts for the sake of her child with a smile on her face? What is it that inspires a father to present his son with a new pair of shoes when he himself wears an old one with a sense of joy and cheer? What is it that drives one poor man to share his food with another hungry man, unmindful of his own burning hunger?

That spirit, he declares, is the spirit of sacrifice. Sacrifice is the language of Love. He accepts the award but dedicates it for the welfare of the needy and the poor.

In the final scene, the boys pray to Bhagawan - the very embodiment of sacrifice. They pray that all the sacrifices He has made for His children must not go in vain and they seek His Blessings that their lives become His Message!

The punch line.....

Let us live for You the way You have lived for us!!!

The presentation ended with the chanting of 'Svasti Prajabhya Paripalayantam..... Lokassamasta Sukhino Bhavantu'

It was 5.30 p.m. The 90-minute drama came to a close. There was loud applause from the devotees. Throughout the programme, Bhagawan was watching with gripped attention. The students too played their roles very well. Each scene was so involved that it literally took us away into a different world. Anything offered to the Lord must be perfect and therefore, these students were living the roles that they played, so as to make the offering fit for Him!

Anand (acted by a I M.Sc.(P) student, Sri Divij Desai) went forward and prayed to Swami. Bhagawan got up and catching Anand's hands, He came walking down the dais towards the I PG group assembled in front. As He stood amidst them, cameras clicked. Swami showered a lot of Love and attention on all of them. He spoke to most of the characters. The students prayed to Swami to Bless the Hostel with His visit.

Meanwhile, Prasadam distribution began. Special packets containing three chocolates studded with dry fruits were distributed to all devotes and students. Swami moved towards the Golf Cart and retired for the day.

You can see an illustrated version of happenings at Prasanthi Nilayam in the Prasanthi Diary of our monthly e-Journal Heart to Heart.

The previous issue of Prasanthi Bulletin is available here.