May 9, 2009 – Buddha Poornima Celebrations in Prasanthi Nilayam

The Vesak celebrations are considered as thrice blessed by the Buddhists, for it is in this period that the Buddha was born, gained enlightenment and also attained Nirvana. In Puttaparthi, it became thrice blessed as these Buddhists who had gathered on May 9 were blessed with the opportunity to see their Sai Buddha thrice during their short two day stay! At 8:20 a.m. in the morning, Swami arrived for darshan amidst great rejoicing by devotees who were least expecting it. The day also happened to see the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Ashok Chavan, in the divine presence of Bhagavan Baba seeking His blessings. Swami completed the darshan rounds and then blessed him with an interview.

Bhajans began as usual at 9:00 a.m. After this interview, Swami came onto the stage and spent a few minutes listening to the bhajans. After this, he accepted arathi and moved to the Yajur Mandir. The celebrations for Vesak and Buddha Poornima continued in the evening of May 9. Over 820 devotees from over seven countries, namely, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Bruei, Thailand, Nepal, and Bhutan were present for the two day festivity. A group of 16 Lamas from Nepal was also present in Prasanthi Nilayam enjoying the bliss of the presence of the Avatar on the occasion. Swami arrived for darshan by 4 o'clock and moved to the interview room. From there, He asked for the Buddhist chants by the devotees to commence.


The first programme in the evening was the sacred chanting by the Youth from Jakarta, Indonesia. Starting with the propitiating Ganesha hymn, “GananamTva….”, the group of 22 comprising ladies, gents and children continued chanting Ratana Sutta followed by the great compassionate Heart Dharani mantra of Aryan Avalokitesvara (Tibetan), starting with Namo Ratna Trayaya… The devotees were too happy at the golden opportunity bestowed on them to chant these sacred hymns in His presence.


It was 4:30 p.m. when Swami arrived on stage from the interview room. He heard the chanting for a while and then asked for the drama to begin. "Siddhartha" and "Gautama Buddha" moved up to the stage and made the initial offerings. Then, the presentation entitled “Ahimsa Paramo Dharma”, by devotees from the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation began. It sought to bring out the relevance of the teachings of the Buddha and Sai on non-violence in modern life. It was threaded by a conversation between the modern youth and a wise uncle who shows them the relevance of Buddha's teachings in the present-day world by way of inspiring anecdotes from the life of the Buddha. The drama concluded with Swami's teachings, and how Swami always encourages a Buddhist to become a better Buddhist.


As the drama concluded, Swami moved down the aisle and lovingly granted group pictures. He asked the photographers to go to the right and then to the left, and ensure that everyone is in the frame! He materialized vibhuti and distributed it among all the participants who eagerly stretched out their hands for it. The devotees who had engaged in the chanting too arrived for pictures. Swami obliged them and also collected letters from many of them. And then bhajans by the devotees began. Clothes were distributed to the participants and prasadam too was given to everyone present. Twenty minutes later Swami accepted arati and returned to His residence at 5.35 p.m.


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