December 28, 2009 – Music Programme by Devotees from Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Slovenia

The 28th of December 2009 was one of great significance spiritually for all the Hindus, especially those who worship Lord Vishnu. It was the day of Vaikunta Ekadasi and it is believed that the gates of heaven are thrown open on this day and entry is denied to none.


This year 2009, is privileged for hosting two Vaikunta Ekadasi days, the first one being completed on January 7th. In the history of the Sathya Sai Avatar, the Vaikunta Ekadasi day has held special significance. It is the day when Swami would take a party of devotees to the banks of the Chitravati and create a small jar filled with amrith or nectar which He would personally distribute to all present. Read ahead a small extract from part 2 of the Satyam Shivam Sundaram written by Prof. Kasturi to glimpse into the magnificence of this day.

"In the very first week of 1963, on the 6th January to be exact, the Vaikunta Ekadasi had to be celebrated, according to the Calendar. Baba's Calendar marks out that Day as Amrithodbhavam Day, when Divine Nectar emanates from His Hand. The Day is observed as the day when the Gates of Heaven are opened for all in the great Vaishnavite temple Srirangam, where the Lord as Ranganatha, the Director of the World-stage, presides over the Drama of Birth and Death with a few scenes of Living, in between. For those who are near this Sri Ranganatha in Human Form, the gates of heaven open when He gives them the Nectar He creates, that day.

On 6th January, Baba took many devotees to Mahabalipuram on the EasternSea, a place where the waves whisper to man the wonderful tales of long ago. It is a place allowed by centuries of history. Here, chisels held by left hands inspired by Karmayoga, directed by eyes sparkling with the light of Bhakthiyoga, trained by brains illumined by Jnanayoga have shaped rebellious rock into rapture-filled paths.

When the party settled around Baba on the seashore and began singing Bhajan songs, the waves must have recalled bygone days when the temple deities of Tamil Nadu were installed for worship on the seashore and the shore was filled, not with picnic-minded crowds, but with masses of devout hearts and humble seekers of God.

They surged, one behind the other, in serried ranks to catch a glimpse of Baba and to hear the lilt of the song divine. Even the elephants, deer and monkeys carved in stone strained to escape from the rock and sit around. Baba created that evening three charming idols of Vishnu, Narayana and Krishna, and when the group of devotees around Him were exulting over their luck, the mute image of Arjuna doing penance must have turned and folded hands in a sudden inspiration to pay homage.

The three idols, Baba explained, symbolized the Sathwic aspect of God, the aspect that confers Amritha or Immortality to man. Vaikunta is the place or stage of no 'kuntitha' or dullness or stupidity, mutilation or misery. On the Ekadasi Day, dedicated to the winning of that stage, the gates of Vaikunta are open for those who have achieved success in the struggle for overcoming the handicap of ignorance. "When the mind obeys the whims of the senses, you get bound; when the mind listens to the warnings of its master, the Budhi or Reason, you are saved.

So, train the mind to heed the intelligence and not the vagaries of the senses," Baba advised. After granting the devotees this Bodhamritham, Baba created the Amritham, which was generated by the Devas and suras on that auspicious Day by churning the Ocean of Milk (as described in the Bhagavatham). He gave it to all present, with the warning that the tongue that has tasted Amritham must not be contaminated by Anrtham (Falsehood) thereafter."

The devotees from the East European countries of Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Slovenia were blessed on this very special day to put up their musical programme in the Divine presence. By 4:20 p.m., Swami arrived for darshan. Even as He was passing by the assembled devotees, He was asking them as to where they had come from and what they were going to sing. Completing a full round, Swami moved into the interview room for a short while. By 4:40 p.m., He arrived outside and took His place on the stage. The Veda chanting was on. He called one of the student singers and enquired about his health. Then He materialized vibhuti for him and told him to keep it. He spoke to one of the Croatians and then told the student next to Him to go in and get vibhuti packets.

Swami now moved down the ramp towards the assembled singers. He materialized vibhuti twice for the ladies. They were simply thrilled and ecstatic at this expression of Grace. Swami called out to different ladies and gave them vibhuti. Now He moved over to the gents’ side and performed an encore! It was now their turn to get ecstatic as Swami smilingly poured the holy ash into their palms. Five materializations in a span of five minutes was something nobody ever expected! One of the members brought a statuette of a white stallion to Swami. Swami smiled and blessing it said, "Keep it in your house." Then looking around, Swami called another young lad and materialized vibhuti for him too. Swami was still not satisfied it seemed!

He now began to move along the lines of these devotees personally handing to them vibhuti packets! One could not help but think of those glorious days when Swami would move along the lines distributing the nectar to all devotees on Vaikunta Ekadasi day. There were audible gasps of joy as they realized the magnitude of the gift being showered on them by the Lord. Swami on His part, moved smilingly and never seemed to exhaust from giving. A few girls and women broke down, unable to contain the joy and gratitude welling up within. Swami then continued the same in the gents’ side too.

Some of the men too broke down and began to cry like children. Swami said, "Aye! Don’t cry. Swami is always with you." He patted many of them on their heads and clarified doubts of anyone who rose up and asked Him. After finishing with the gents' side, He noticed that a few lines had been left out from the ladies' side. He moved over to that side and continued the shower of Grace. It was almost 5:50 p.m. when Swami completed the distribution and moved to the stage to begin the programme.

The programme titled, Joy of Serving had a bouquet of ten songs, ranging from English to Croatian, Macedonian to Slovenian to Serbian, all praising the glory of God. They began their programme with Vedic chanting and this was done with great clarity and volume! Swami was visibly impressed. More than once, He indicated to the students as to how well these overseas devotees were chanting.

They chanted the Ganesha Mantra and then the Shivopasana mantra. After the chanting, the songs began. The songs were: Start the Day with Love…, Ja sam Sjaj (I am the Shine), Veruvam vo Tebe (I believe You), Kad procvatu behari (when the flowers bloom), Jaz sem Bog vsemogoc (I am God Almighty), Spasi Boze (Save us Lord), Sitting on the Star (EHV song for youth), Velik Si (Great Thou Art), Radost Sluzenja (Joy of Serving) and Silan Bog (Awesome God) singing the glory of the Lord. Swami once again was spot on in identifying the end of the programme. He asked, "Over?" The answer was, "One more" and Swami permitted it.

After the final song, Swami blessed all the women with white sarees and the men with white safari pieces. As they were being distributed, Swami asked for the prasadam to be brought. Swami opened one of the packets and lo! There was a colourful rosary! The prasadam that day was food for the soul rather than for the body! The rosaries were distributed to all and it was so significant on the day of Vaikunta Ekadasi! Swami was inspiring one and all to take up the sanctifying activity of namasmarana. Swami meanwhile asked the overseas devotees to sing bhajans.

Bhajans were on and all of them were in Sanskrit. He called one of the students and examined his rosary beads. He presented that to a Croatian devotee. After a few minutes, this devotee got another bag with the rosary beads and walking up to the student, presented it to him! Swami was so moved and He called the student again to ask what had happened. A smile lit up on His face and it was infectious. Soon everyone around was smiling.

Swami then called for Prof. Anil Kumar, and made him announce that the Veda chanting and singing by the devotees were of the highest standard, and that Swami was very happy and He blesses all of them profusely. There were many members of the group that were from the same region but were not seated in the front. Swami promised that His blessings were on them too and they too would be physically blessed by Him on another occasion. As these announcements were made, there was joy and clapping all around. The bhajans were concluded and Swami received aarthi, and then retired to Yajur Mandir.

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