January 12th 2005
In the evening, Bhagawan came out for Darshan at 3.15 p.m. Taking a full round of the Kulwant Hall, the golf cart stopped at the centre of the dais. Swami got down, climbed up the few steps that lead unto the dais and sat down on the sofa that was placed in the centre of the stage.
Even as the new golf cart made its way during Darshan, we could see a huge backdrop across the rear end of the Kulwant Hall. Children were standing in front of it with flags welcoming Swami. These were Balvikas children from Andhra Pradesh who had been Blessed by Bhagawan to put up a dance ballet titled "Sai Sankranthi" in the Divine Presence this evening.
Sankranthi is the festival that thrills and charges the heart of every individual with a sense of elation and joy! It is a three-day festival celebrated as Bhogi, Sankranthi and Kanuma, with enthusiasm and reverence. 'Samyak' signifies Holiness and Divinity. 'Kranthi' denotes Change and Progress. Thus, Sankranthi heralds a holy, progressive journey towards Divinity.
The Dance Ballet explained how in India, Dhanurmasam ends on Bhogi in mid-January. The very next day, Sun, the visible symbol of God begins his Northward movement and this period is significantly designated as Uttarayana Punya Kaala and is celebrated as Makara Sankramanam.
The Dance Ballet went on to highlight the inner significance of all the rituals that are practiced as per the tradition during this festival. Muggulu (Rangoli) in a riot of colours, Gobbillu (Fresh cowdung spread on floors and decorated with flowers), Bhogi Mantalu (Holy Bonfire that signifies the end of the harvest season and winter), Bommala Kovulu (Display and worship of dolls), early morning call by the Hari Dasulu singing the glory of the Lord, Gangireddulu (Bulls led by their master and decorated in a grand way) etc.. were all illustrated through dance sequences and scintillating songs.
It was a treat to both the ears and the soul. The children danced very well. There were a large number of them and so many dance pieces, that it would have taken them lot of time and effort to choreograph and present such a beautiful programme.
The presentation ended at 4.20 p.m. They all assembled and sat down for His Blessings. Swami asked the boys to distribute apple Prasadam to all of them. He signaled to the photographers to take the photo of the entire group. It was a very odd sight to us, because Swami was sitting in the sofa and the cameras were taking the group photo of all the performers standing opposite to Him!! Was this possibly an indication of future trends? We just hope not! Some of our brothers wondered whether in future, we would have to be happy that we at least got a photograph clicked in the presence of Bhagawan!
Swami then retired into the interview room.
January 13th 2005
This morning, something very unique happened. Bhagawan's Leelas are very
enchanting and they will be remembered forever. All devotees, students
and even the coaches were seated in Sai Kulwant Hall for Darshan. The
coaches were expectantly waiting for Bhagawan's Darshan and possibly
some interaction. Time flew past. It was 7.30 a.m., then 8.00 a.m. and
finally 9.00 a.m. But no sign of Darshan! Bhajans began and we gave up
the hope of having any Darshan this morning. At 9.30 a.m. Aarti was
performed and many of us were leaving..... Suddenly, at 9.35 a.m., there was lot of commotion and what do we
see? Swami was emerging out of the Poornachandra Auditorium.
Luckily we were still there in the Kulwant Hall for some reason and that
came as a Blessing! Swami arrived in the Golf Cart just as He comes for
normal Darshan. He looked very bright and fresh, radiating Love all
over! He had a lovely smile on His face and as He crossed the boys, He
told some of them, "I am just five minutes late!!" We looked at the
clock; it was exactly 9.35 a.m. - five minutes past the Aarti time (9.30
Bhagawan took a full round of the Kulwant Hall, came onto the dais and
got down. Vedam was going on without the mikes as the PA system had
already been wound up. Swami walked across the dais, gave fantastic
Darshan to all seated and then moved back again towards the Golf Cart.
The Pujari came with the formal Aarti. So, once again we had Aarti and
Bhagawan officially retired for the morning.
What a lovely event. Everything around God is so mysterious and full of
uncertainty. But this is what gives joy and delight to one and all!! We
have to be ever ready and always on our toes when we are with Him!!
In the evening, Bhagawan came out for Darshan at 3.35 p.m. As we entered
the Kulwant Hall for Darshan, what do we see? Was it a dream or reality?
An exquisitely carved Tirupati Temple Dome - big size - was placed in the
rear end of the Hall. (Incidentally, the size of the dome made by the
boys is equivalent to the actual size of the dome at Tirupati. Whereas
that is in metres, this is in feet. And this was not intended to be so,
it just happened to be so! That is Divine Grace!) A huge Shanka and
Chakra (Conch and Discus) shining brilliantly with the Chamkis -
in the sun, was placed on the top on either side of the dome. No wonder,
there was so much of talk going on about the drama 'Annamacharya' to be
presented by the Brindavan Students.
At 3.40 p.m. Swami was seated on the sofa in the center of the dais. He
stopped the Vedam chanting and for the next 75 minutes we were all
transported literally to the times of Saint Annamayya. It was as though
the actual scenes from his life came alive in front of our eyes! What
costumes and what sets!! It is just impossible to describe its beauty!
All we can say is "Yato Vacho Nivartante Aprapya Manasa Saha". Words are
inadequate and mind cannot comprehend its grandeur and beauty!
The drama was in English. The play was packed with all the popular
Annamacharya Kirtanas that we hear and see in the film 'Annamayya'. In
the short time available, they were able to portray a fairly good sweep
of his life story. The songs were rendered by the best singers of the
Brindavan Campus and were soul stirring. The sets were highly complex.
There were three tier stages. Whereas the main drama was performed at
the ground level, the temple and the idol were at the first level and
right on the top was 'Vaikunta' where Lord Vishnu and Narada have their
conversations explaining the advent of Annamayya and the reason for his
birth. Some dances were performed on all the three stages, making it
look very professional and beautiful!
The play was packed with almost 13 songs and an equal number of dances.
The dances were choreographed very well. The highlight was the last
scene where Annamayya decides to leave his mortal coil. However, Lord
Venkateswara is not happy with this decision, for whom would He listen to
after Annamaya passes away! Therefore, Lord Venkateswara Himself
comes down to Annamayya and tries to convince him to live on and sing to
Him for some more time.
The student who played the role of Lord Venkateswara looked so fantastic
in that costume that it almost looked like the actual Venkateswara had
descended down into Kulwant Hall! The conversation between Annamayya and
Lord Venkateswara were very meaningful and pregnant with wisdom. Finally
Annamayya, cutting across all ties of Maya, leaves his body and merges in
The play ended with a final dance where all the performers progressively
assemble in front of Swami, singing together in His praise. No doubt,
the drama concluded with thunderous applause from all present. Swami
immediately got up from the sofa and came literally running to Bless
them with a group photograph! He spoke to them and gave them a chance to
have a photograph along with Him!
Hats off to the entire team - the singers, dancers, actors,
commentators, and of course the teachers and other coordinators
associated with the fantastic presentation. They had indeed set a new
benchmark for Sai Kulwant Hall presentations!
January 14th 2005
Wish you all a very Happy and Auspicious Sankranthi! This morning the
Sai Kulwant Hall was showing off with great pride and jubilance the
various medals and shields that were to be awarded to the children of
her Master. Yes, apart from being Makara Sankrati, today also happens to
be the Valedictory Function of the Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions' Annual Sports and
The sets used for the Annamacharya drama yesterday, served as decorative
props this morning, in the Hall. The Shanka and the Chakra were placed
on either side of Ganeshaji on the dais, supported against the two huge
The two backdrops that were used yesterday, one of a Nature scene and
the other of a Temple Gopuram, were placed on either side, further away.
In front of these backdrops were placed tables covered with spotless
white table cloth. On these were placed the variety of Medals, Cups and
Shields! Shining with all their brilliance, they spoke volumes about the
great achievements of all the students under His Benign Guidance!
The programme was to begin at 8.00 a.m. according to the announcement
made yesterday. At exactly 7.57 a.m., the drum beat from the Anantapur
Band was heard. The Lord drove out in the Golf Cart welcomed by the
Anantapur Band, the Institute Captains with the Flags and the Parthi
Brass Band in that order. The Golf Cart took a full round of the Sai
Kulwant Hall quenching the thirst of thousands of devotees with a
glimpse of His Darshan and finally parked itself at the center of the
dais. Swami got down, climbed up the steps and stood on the dais.
Immediately, Sri Ravi Kiran, the Physical Director of the
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus came forward with a lighted candle. Bhagawan
received the candle and went over to light the ceremonial lamp. Loud
applause filled the Hall!
Sri Sanjay Sahni, the Principal of the Brindavan Campus, Sri Ravi Kiran - the
Physical Director of the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus, Sri Gopinath - the Physical Director of the Brindavan Campus,
offered a bouquet and card
to Bhagawan. Bhagawan gave an indication to the Vedam students who were
seated with white dhoties and full sleeved white shirts, to chant the
official Vedam before commencing the programme. They took their position
and chanted the Surya Mantram and the Narayana Suktam. Bhagawan Blessed
each pair of boys as they bowed down and returned.
Sri Sanjay Sahni made a few introductory remarks. He greeted all by
wishing them a Happy Sankranthi. He introduced the speaker for the day - Sri S.V. Giri -
the Vice Chancellor of the Institute. Sri S.V. Giri
offered his Pranaams to Bhagawan. His talk centred on the achievements
of the students in the Sports Meet and how these achievements were
purely inspired by the Love and Grace of the Revered Chancellor. He
recalled a few items of dare-devilry like Carabining, Bike Stunts and
the Celestial Rhythms to illustrate how a blend of courage and faith in
God can help accomplish marvelous feats!!
He also drew upon the significance of Sankranthi saying that this was
the period when the sun moves Northwards. In the Indian context,
Northwards means towards the Himachalas. 'Hima' means ice - as cool and
white as snow and 'Achala' means firm as a rock. Therefore, moving
Northwards actually meant directing the firm mind towards the pure-white
spiritual heart - the seat of the Lord!
It is this firmness of the mind that is developed by participating in
all these events during the Sports Meet. He also went on to speak of the
concern that the Revered Chancellor has for His students. Many a time,
Swami used to instruct the Vice-Chancellor to take care of the students
and see to it that they had no obstacles in their way. For instance,
Swami enquired about the Carabining boys and said that gliding down the
rope would cause a lot of friction and therefore they need to have some
sort of protection for that.
The Vice-Chancellor's talk was followed by talks by two students. One from
the Anantapur campus and another a student from the II M.Sc.(C) class at Prasanthi Nilayam,
Sri Aravind Balasubramanyam. The theme of both these talks was that all
these events during the Sports and Cultural meet had only one focus and
that was to make Swami happy; to see a smile on His face. As the
Anantapur sister very beautifully put it - What happens TO you is not so
important but what happens IN you is what matters! Participation in
these activities must enable each one to make a whole hearted offering
of his/her talent to Swami with Love!
The second speaker concluded his talk at 8.55 a.m, and as he went
towards Swami to seek His Blessings, Swami very lovingly materialized a
gold chain for him. The boy was ecstatic as Swami tied the chain around
his neck. Those few seconds seemed like an eternal moment of Bliss and Joy!!
After this the Vice-Chancellor made the announcement for awarding the
cups. Five shining cups were brought outside from the interview room and
were placed next to Swami. The first ones to receive the cup were the
Prasanthi Nilayam Captain and Vice-captain, followed by Brindavan,
Anantapur, Higher Secondary School, Deenajanoddharana Pathakam and finally
the Mirpuri College of Music. All of them received the beautiful cups
amidst loud applause!!
It was 9.05 a.m. Bhagawan had decided to Bless us with His Divine
Discourse. The table was arranged and our Lord stood up in all His
Majesty. Following are the highlights of the Sankranthi Discourse:
Of all festivals, Sankranthi is the most important one. In fact, in
Bharath, everyday is a festival! Sankranthi is the festival when the
bridegrooms visit the homes of their in-laws. This festival is generally
viewed as a festival of the bulls. During Sankranthi, people worship the
cows. The bulls are decked with good dresses and jewels and taken in a
procession. People even perform marriages of the bulls with the cows.
The person who accompanies the bull also has a specific costume.
The bull is named Rama and the cow is named Sita. The animals are
trained to respond to the movement of the stick. First the cow is
questioned, "Do you like Sri Rama?" The cow is made to nod her head
indicating "No". Then the bull is questioned in the same way and he
too is made to answer in the negative. In fact, this is the same
practice even in the world today among men and women. However, finally
marriage is performed between the cow and the bull. Thus, Sankranthi is
a holy festival even for the animals.
This festival is also very important for the farmers. By this time, the
harvest is over and the house is full of grains. The fields are empty.
This is a festival for all people right from the farmer to the king.
It is celebrated in all countries, though the names may differ. The main
purpose of Sankranthi is to make everybody Blissful. As the grains are
brought home, even the birds partake of it and experience happiness and joy!
Every man struggles to be blissful in this world. We must understand
that Bliss comes from within and not from outside. It is all a question
of Reaction, Reflection and Resound. Ananda has to come only from one's
own heart! Today man is experiencing artificial happiness. Bliss from
the heart is permanent.
Students, bear all this in mind and conduct yourself accordingly in the
future. One can never be happy by hurting others. Such a festival cannot
be called a festival at all, where all are not happy.
During this Pushya Masa (month) so many changes occur. "Kranti" means
change. There must be a change from Misery to Bliss - from Ashanti to
Prasanthi. Students, you must understand the inner significance of every
festival. We must be ready to sacrifice anything. Body is not important
nor is the mind. Mind is a mere collection of thoughts. Body is made up
of five elements. These are present everywhere. We must brush aside the
six vices and nurture happiness, health, peace and prosperity.
Today, man is restless even in accomplishing a tiny task. All say - "I
want peace." Where is Peace? Outside we have only pieces! True peace is
inside. In spite of prolonged heating, milk does not change its colour.
Though water is mixed with milk, milk remains white in colour. So too, the
heart is always pure. It is ever radiant and effulgent!
Resist and control the evil qualities and experience true Bliss! How
does anger arise? When desires are not fulfilled, it leads to anger. We
must experience pleasure even in pain. Bliss is in you, with you, around
you. Where then do we need to search for it? True Bliss does not come
from wealth or material comfort. Good company leads to Bliss. Bhagawan
is always Blissful! He has no worries, no troubles, and no problems!!
Some people ask, "Swami, don't you have any worries?" What is worry - I
have no idea at all!! Bliss is sweeter than sugar and tastier than
honey. Many things come and go. Swami does not mind about these things.
Love always remains with you. But you are using it in the worldly way.
In times of sorrow, think of the happy moments. Then you will remain joyful!
Body is like a water bubble, mind is like a mad monkey. Do not follow
the body, do not follow the mind, follow the conscience!! Lead your life
with Love. Differences are related only to the body. True Bliss is in
the heart. Happiness is union with God!
Sankranthi means a series of changes. But do not go by that which
changes. It is only Divine Love that remains changeless! God is the very
embodiment of Bliss! If you are sad, it is of your own making. Here is a
white kerchief. To colour it, it has to be dyed.
Bliss is your true nature. You are full of Love. It just overflows from
within you. But you are closing the doors. Because of excessive desires,
we lose this Bliss. Whiteness is the very nature of the cloth. Because
of frequent use, it becomes dirty. Its true nature is whiteness. So too
the heart of Bhagawan! It is always white and bright!!
If somebody asks, "Are you happy?" you must say, "Yes, I am happy".
Small unpleasant things do happen in life. But never mind all
that. It is your weakness to get affected by these tiny problems.
Students, never worry about anything. Suppose you fail in an
examination, tell yourself - "O.K. I did not do well, therefore I have
failed". But do not keep brooding over it. You must understand that the
reason for failure is your own thoughts.
Last month, there was a lot of misery all over. Many lost their lives in
the Tsunami that struck so many countries. Remember, never indulge in
wrong action. They lead to all such problems. This year, there will be
more troubles. More than last year. But do not get worried. These are
all like passing clouds.
The Tsunami is the result of human behaviour. It has nothing to do with
God. All this is because of what man has made of man and not because of
what God has made of man. Man's thoughts are responsible for all this.
We must not consider it as God's Prasadam. God has no hatred at all. He
loves everyone. He showers Bliss on each and every one. Suppose a
student fails in the examination, he must consider that - this is good
for me. Whatever happens it is good for all.
Without difficulties, there can be no happiness. Both are intertwined.
Fruition of difficulties itself is happiness! God will never put anybody
to suffering. He confers Bliss and peace on one and all. How can He give
misery to anybody? If you know the true meaning of all this, you will
understand that it is good for all.
This Sankranthi is Premakranthi. Welcome it wholeheartedly. We must pray
"O God, You are the very embodiment of Bliss. Share that Bliss with me.
Gift that Bliss to me."
Even Jesus questioned God at the time of crucifixion. However,
crucifixion too is out of compassion! All difficulties will ultimately
confer Bliss. Share this Bliss with others. Today it is just the
reverse. We keep happiness with us and share our sorrows with others.
This is not correct.
Today being Sankranthi, there should be a transformation in your hearts
so as to become happy and Blissful. We must transcend humanity and
ascend to Divinity. Bliss must become your food. Be hungry for Bliss at
all times. Strengthen your faith, put in your best efforts - all the
rest will happen automatically.
Bhagawan concluded His Discourse at 10.10 a.m. with the Bhajan - Bhajana Bina Sukha Shanti Nahin....
There was Prasadam distribution at 10.15 a.m. and by 10.25 a.m. Bhagawan
retired to Poornachandra Auditorium. An announcement was made that this
evening there would be a cultural programme by our Primary School
children in Sai Kulwant Hall at 5.00 p.m. A little while later,
instructed by Bhagawan, Prof. Anil Kumar once again spoke over the mike.
He said that our compassionate Lord, hearing the prayers of the staff
and children of the Primary School had shifted the venue of the drama to
the Poornachandra Hall as they needed to use some sets and effects! Such
is the Love of our Lord!
(We understand that Swami had lunch in the new building this morning.
However, He has not yet shifted His residence there).
In the evening, Bhagawan cane out for Darshan at 4.00 p.m. The Golf Cart
stopped at the centre. Swami got down and sat on the sofa. Vedam
chanting went on continuously as Swami kept sitting silently on the sofa
until 4.25 p.m. Then he spoke to the Vice-chancellor. At 4.35 p.m. the
Vedam stopped and the VC announced that we all should move to the
Poornachandra Hall in an orderly fashion to view the cultural programme
by the Primary School children.
At 5.40 p.m. the drama commenced in the PC Hall. "Sai Bhagavatham" was
the title of the play. The play went on till 7.00 p.m. It was all about
the advent of the Avataar, His childhood days, His Leelas and His
Mission. More than a hundred students participated in this most colorful
and gripping play that enthralled all our hearts!
A video projector projected stills and videos on the huge screen in the
background that served as the backdrop for all the scenes. Therefore,
there was no set up time at all. Within a second, the backdrop
projection would change and the next scene would begin. The play was
rich in costumes, dialogues, colour and the novel idea of using video
projections as backdrop scenes was excellent.
The little boy who acted as Swami looked very cute and won the hearts of
all. There was loud applause at several points during the play. At
7.00 p.m. Swami got up and went up the lift, spoke to a few students and
retired for the day.
Thus Sankranthi came to a close and the valedictory function officially
concluded the Annual Culture and Sports Meet for the year.