July 19th, 2005
This morning, Swami came and gave Darshan in the car at 8 o'clock. After
a full round, He went into the interview room for a few minutes. Then,
He proceeded in the car to one of the sheds in the Northern part of the
Ashram, which has been converted into a small-scale industry centre for
indigent women under the auspices of the Eswaramma Womens' Welfare
Trust. There, Bhagawan inaugurated the premises and went around all the
booths where manufacture of various goods like paper-bags, snacks,
papads, pickles, and so on are to take place.
In the evening, Swami came to Sai Kulwant Hall at 3.15 p.m. At 3.30 p.m.
Swami came to the College campus. The Music boys were ready for the
session, but surprisingly, as soon as the car reached the College gate,
it took a turn towards the Primary School. We thought that Swami may
Bless the Primary School children this evening. But once again to our
surprise, the car took a 180 degree turn and returned to the Mandir and
again took a round inside the Mandir Premises! All the students who had
come running from the Mandir, once again made a dash to the Mandir! A
real good exercise for all students! Swami’s Leelas give so much joy and
happiness to all of us!
After Bhagawan returned, we had a Music Presentation in the Mandir this
evening. The vocalists were Vidushi Sumitra Guha - Hindustani Vocal and
Smt. Bombay Jayashri - Carnatic Vocal. They rendered a number of Meera
Bhajans, Sai Bhajans and some Carnatic pieces. They were followed at
5.10 p.m. by Begum Parveen Sultana on Swami’s command. She filled our
ears with her melodius "Nanda Nandana Giridhari" and "Sakhiri Mein Giridhara
Ke Ranga Lagi".
Swami Blessed all the participants with silk saris. At 5.40 p.m.
Bhagawan retired for the day after receiving Aarti.
July 18th, 2005
Today witnessed the Ashadi Ekadashi celebrations at Prasanthi Nilayam. A very auspicious
day especially for the Maharashtrians.
Three days earlier, a team of 300 devotees from Mumbai city had landed
at Dharmavaram. From there, they started a procession, ‘Dindi’ as they
call it. They started walking all the way from Dharmavaram to Parthi
amidst Bhajans, Abhangs, dances and chanting of the name of the Lord.
The highlight of the Dindi was the carrying of the Palaki (palanquin)
with the Padukas of our dear Sai Vitthala.
This practice has been going on for the past 5 years from 2000. This has
its roots in Alandi and Dehu, the native land of the great saints, Sant
Jnaneshwar and Sant Tukaram of Maharashtra. In their times, 15 days
prior to Ashadi Ekadashi, both these saints would set out on a Paada
Yatra (walking on foot) to Pandharpur. They would reach there exactly on
Ashadi Ekadashi to offer their obeisance to Lord Vitthala. Later, their
devotees followed suite. The current practice is that huge groups of
devotees from the native towns of all the famous saints of Maharashtra
commence their procession (Dindi), culminating the same on Ashadi
Ekadashi in Pandharpur.
The procession from Dharmavaram had another unique feature. There was a
second ‘special group’ of 150 members, who performed a different type of
procession. They visited all the villages en-route to Parthi from
Dharmavaram, doing Grama Seva. They conducted medical camps in the
villages, fixed tubelights and fans in the village schools and also gave
away Amruta Kalasham – 1008 of them. Amruta Kalasham is a service pack –
a bag containing 9 most essential food items required for a family,
adequate for a weeks time.
Both these groups reached Parthi yesterday evening. Swami had come to
the Institute Auditorium for the Music Programme Rehearsal. He came at
3.30 p.m. and was here until 5.00 p.m. As His car left the college
campus, the procession too crossed the College gate and proceeded to the
Mandir. What timing! It was as though Swami was leading their procession
to the Mandir Himself! Bhagawan has His own ways of Blessing His devotees!
For this Ashadi Ekadashi, the theme was ‘God – the only friend’. The Sai
Kulwant Hall was decorated elegantly for the function. The main pillars
were draped with flowing multi-coloured crepe cloth from the lotus
structure right until the bottom. The dais too was bedecked with floral
decorations. A grand flower curtain covered the Ganesha at the rear of
the dais. On this flower curtain was a huge cut out of Lord Vitthala
with His beloved Tukaram. The balcony was also covered with curtains of
flowers and looked very attractive.
Coming to the centre of the Hall, the performance area, the whole place
looked like a film city. There were cameras, light reflectors…… Along
the top, there were a number of banners advertising the latest film
releases. Some of them were ‘The Protector’, Kingdom of Heaven – from
the Director of Cosmos’, ‘The Moving Force – the Sai Avatar – Episode
II’, Satyam Shivam Sundaram – the Divine Page’, ‘The Eternal
Witness’…..and so on. At the bottom of the banners a print read
On the pillars there were cutouts that had ‘Dost – the only Friend’
written on them. All this made it clear to us that this morning’s
programme had something to do with a film actor and his life. That was
precisely what it was. But let’s start from the beginning. By the way,
there were wonderful floral decorations at the Gopuram side Entrance and
even at the Gate leading to the Poornachandra.
At sharp 9.00 a.m., as announced the previous day, the lights in Kulwant
Hall went on and our dear Lord arrived in the Porte car. As the car
passed by the centre of the Hall, Swami stopped and all the children
decked in dance costumes crowded around the car window. Swami spoke to
them for a while. The Vedam was being chanted this morning by a special
group of Pundits from Maharashtra.
At 9.10 a.m. Swami was seated on the dais. The office bearers and the
coordinators offered their Pranaams and flower bouquets. The Swagatam
song followed. The Vedic Pundits took Blessings from Swami. At 9.20 a.m.
a set of four men blew the conch and the bugle heralding the arrival of
the Dindi Palaki. The Palaki with Bhagawan’s Padukas was brought amidst
vibrant songs and dance. A Tulasi garland was offered to Swami marking
the culmination of the Dindi. This was followed by a folk dance by the
At 9.30 a.m., the Balvikas children of Mumbai and Goa, the Youth Wing
and the students of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Mandir – Dharmakshetra,
commenced the long awaited programme for the morning, titled – ‘God –
the only Friend’.
The play went on till 10.25 a.m. To give you a brief overview of the
play…..It talks about a very famous film actor Amit Kumar who is at the
peak of his career. He has won several laurels, the latest being the
best actor award for his film ‘Maya Bazaar’. To add feathers on his cap,
he also bags the best costumes designer, best dialogue writer and a
number of other awards for the same movie.
In his award acceptance speech, he acknowledges all his fans, his wife
and many others and then only as an after thought, he mentions God in
his list. The story goes on with Amit Kumar acting in another movie
called – ‘Dost-the only Friend’. The mahurat of the shooting begins with
prayers to the Lord and all that, but once again, God is left behind and
As one may expect, the movie ‘Dost-the only Friend’ turns out to be a
super flop in India. This brings Amit Kumar down with a crash. The
producers are at his neck for recovering their money. All his so called
fans turn their back. As usual these adversities bring Amit to God. The
rest of the play is a dialogue between God, played by a young boy and Amit.
The highlight of their conversations is that though we think that we are
doing everything all the while, it is truly God who is the doer. In
fact, we are just a witness to what He does. God explains to Amit, how
it was He who enabled Amit to deliver the right dialogues, design the
best costumes…… Amit too agrees that whenever he got into the acting
mode, he always felt that there was somebody within him who was running
the show. When he sat to design the costumes, there was a clear flow of
thoughts and ideas that came from within spontaneously. God even goes to
the extent of re-enacting a scene from his film, exactly the way Amit
did, to prove to him that He was always with him and within him.
Amit gets convinced of the reality in no time! (If only such things
could happen so quickly in the real world!) Well, when God is pleased
with you, problems vanish into thin air. Guess what! His film, ‘Dost-the
only Friend’, becomes a box office hit in other countries. In fact, the
film gets nominated for the International Film Awards in France.
Needless to say, Amit again wins the award, but this time the
celebration has a different touch. Just before accepting the award, Amit
makes a powerful speech, acknowledging the true doer within him. He
gives all the credit to the Lord, resident within him and humbly accepts
himself as God’s instrument.
An attractive part of the play, apart from the wonderful sets and the
catchy songs, was a huge cut out of Swami with His hand on the shoulder
of a young boy indicating the theme – ‘God – the only Friend’.
The play was followed by Vitthala Bhajans and Prasadam distribution.
Swami retired to the Poornachandra at 10.40 a.m.
In the evening, Swami came out at 3.30 p.m. At 4.10 p.m. the Vedam
chanting stopped. The Sri Sathya Sai Seva organization from Nagpur was
ready with a Ballet ‘Krishna Uddhava’.
This was in continuation of the theme of God being the only true friend
of man. The scene started with describing the Nava Vidha Bhakti, and
Lord Krishna pining to meet His childhood friend Uddhava. The rest of
the play is a flashback, as Lord Krishna tells Uddhava all about his
childhood and their friendship.
Uddhava is portrayed as a role model of a true friend of God. Even as a
baby, he receives the Blessings of Lord Narada who foresees the role to
be played by Uddhava as the best friend of Lord Krishna. Friendship with
the Lord is extolled as the best path for reaching God in Kaliyuga.
Some of the very good scenes were the Govardana Giri episode. The sets
were very good and they had made a cut-out of the hills which actually
go up, pulled by a rope, and child Krishna along with the cowherds take
shelter under the mountain. In due course, Uddhava is made the Prime
Minister of Mathura. The scene following this is the visit of Uddhava to
the Gopikas. Lord Krishna deliberately sends Uddhava to the Gopikas to
make him realize the essence of true Bhakti and Love.
Lord Krishna describes their meeting as the confluence of two rivers.
The Jnana of Uddhava merges with the Bhakti and Love of the Gopikas,
each one enriching the other.
The final scene depicts the Uddhava Gita, the knowledge received by
Uddhava from Lord Krishna about the Truths of life. Lord Krishna
explains to Uddhava that man can truly give nothing in charity for
nothing actually belongs to him. There is no separate hell in any place.
Excess of Tamo Guna itself is hell……….
Uddhava, sensing that the final moments of the Avatar’s sojourn had
come, cries out to the Lord not to leave him. But Lord Krishna convinces
Uddhava that he still had a role to play in this world. He exhorts
Uddhava to chant His name, hear His story, visit Him not in temples but
in the hearts of His devotees and spread His Love.
The fantastic, heart-moving play concluded at 5.20 p.m. Prasadam was
distributed to all. Bhajans were sung by the devotees from Maharashtra.
Later, Swami went into the Bhajan Hall. All the students rushed into the
Hall for the Bhajans. At 5.50 p.m., our students took over the Bhajan
singing. Aarti was offered at 6.00 p.m. Bhagawan slowly proceeded in the
car to the Poornachandra. All the devotees were extremely happy with His wonderful
Darshan and Blessings.