August 14, 2009 – Krishnastami Celebrations in the Divine Presence

Lord Sri Krishna is the favourite deity of millions all around the globe and it is no surprise that His day of birth, Janmashtami, is celebrated with great vigour, joy and mirth everywhere. At Puttaparthi, thousands thronged the Sai Kulwant Hall to have a darshan of their beloved Sai Krishna – a sight that would redeem them and fill them with joy. When the Lord took birth as Sri Krishna, the "chains" that held His father in jail, fell away. The prison doors opened and Vasudeva was "freed". Adding significance to Janmashtami being on the 14th was the fact that "Independence" day was the next to come! This metaphoric significance was not lost on the thousands that gathered and they waited for an unlikely morning darshan!

"Unlikely"? Why? Swami had not arrived for morning darshan for almost the past two weeks and it was no secret that Swami was not exactly in the pink of health. Every action of the Avatar is with a purpose. "God" alone knows what are the different ways in which Swami is protecting humanity and taking upon Himself the pains and burdens of this earth. Christ bore the Cross once and Swami seems to have made a habit of it. And yet, He comes unfailingly everyday, consoling and comforting people as if we are the ones suffering! But He does not suffer as He said once to Prof. Anil Kumar, "There may be pain, but there is no suffering!" Day in and day out His thoughts, words and deeds are based on His devotees and He has no time for Himself.

He has no time to think about His pains and difficulties! He goes on like a candle, burning Himself to give light to everyone! It is such a powerful message and reminder on how one should face life. He is such a living example. It reminds one of the ABCDEFG of life - Always Be Cheerful & Don't Ever Forget God!

The usual cow procession and Krishnashtami celebrations had been postponed for the evening. And so, when at 9:20 a.m., Swami arrived in the resplendent pitambara (yellow robe), there were gasps of joy and delight. By sheer force of habit, the sweet Lord had sacrificed yet again, and it was only to fill the devotees with the thrill of the morning darshan that He had come.

Students from all three campuses of the University were present along with a contingent from the institutions at Muddenahalli and Alike and a group of devotees from Maharashtra. Sai Krishna moved through the lines and rows of waiting devotees to complete a full darshan round. Blessing all the various cards made by the students of the University students as well as by the children of the Higher Secondary School and Primary School, Swami moved into the interview room. He granted interviews to some lucky souls and it was quarter past ten when He arrived onstage and received aarthi before retiring for the morning.

In the evening, the procession of cows from the Gokulam led by Swami's baby elephant arrived in Sai Kulwant hall at five o'clock as the bhajans began. Fifteen minutes later, Swami arrived! And again He was in the yellow robe and for those who had missed out in the morning, it was a special thrill! It was a special moment for even those who were present in the morning for how much ever one sees the sweet Lord, one is not satisfied! And there is no need for a ceiling on this desire for this desire is such a lofty one that no ceiling could ever contain it! In the centre of the hall were the cows, calves and other animals.

The "not-so-little" Krishna Gita got so excited when Swami arrived that she rushed ahead in the hall. It turned out to be a "moving" experience for all the students seated in the marbled blocks as they got up and retreated to avoid the excited pachyderm! Soon, she was brought under control and Swami arrived near her. Swami fed milk to the calves and blessed the fawn, pigeons and rabbits that had arrived.

Bhajans gave way to songs on Lord Krishna as Swami moved to the front. There was a huge "Get well soon" card made by the students. Swami read through the card and was full of smiles. The card said, "Swami, you frown when we are ill. You are full of concern when we are in pain. The same is true for us." A beautiful smile flashed across His face as He straightened and sat more erect. He seemed fully fine in an instant!

He gave all assembled the rare opportunity to see how He actually was acting out the "drama"! As He moved across the rows of Primary School tots, He had a detailed look at the various cards they had made. He blessed each and every card and slowly moved to the stage. The songs were on and Swami got involved in them. After a couple of stotrams, two songs detailing His glory in the Dwapara age were sung. Swami sat placing beats with His hands and feet too! Wow! A beautiful sight indeed!

As per the tradition in Puttaparthi, a "Bala Krishna" and "Bala Balarama" moved to the stage with an earthen pot that was filled modern goodies - chocolates. Swami blessed them and put His hand into the pot shuffling through the chocolates. Swami enquired as to which class those students were in and both of them happened to be from 8th standard. Swami blessed them and told them to return to their seats. After the songs, a plea was made for a programme by budding flautists from the School and University who had been learning the musical reed for months now. Swami said that it could be staged some other time. Then bhajans began and a couple of bhajans later, Swami asked for the aarthi.

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