In an historic discourse in Brindavan, Bangalore on the 19th of June 1974, Swami had said, “This Sai has come in order to achieve the supreme task of uniting the entire mankind, as one family through the bond of brotherhood, of affirming and illumining the Aathmic Reality (Reality of the Spirit) of each being in order to reveal the Divine which is the basis on which the entire Cosmos rests….”.
The recently concluded 80th Birthday conveyed this emphatically. It gave a glorious glimpse to the world of how this profound declaration is silently taking shape in every region and every corner of the world. The sense of oneness, the feeling of solidarity among the tens and thousands that had gathered from nearly 150 countries really made you feel – yes, the world is surely getting better. Each of them had a wonderful tale of how Swami had touched their lives with His love and how they are eager to share this love to as many as they can. It was really a practical demonstration of how Unity and can lead to Divinity. Incidentally this was the theme of the 8th World Conference too – ‘Unity-Purity-Divinity’ - which was held two days prior to the Birthday. The message went straight home to everyone’s heart.
Yes, the World Conference and more importantly, the Birthday celebrations passed off gloriously. That it was an event of extraordinary significance in the mission of the Sai Avathar and left an indelible mark in the hearts of everyone who was present here in Prashanthi Nilayam need hardly be mentioned. But not many people know how the Birthday celebrations actually happened.
To think of it, how lakhs of people from India and abroad were housed in the small town of Puttaparthi is amazing! And again how these hundreds and thousands were served with free food for the seven days of the Birthday week is equally incredible! More than 170 tons of food material were cooked. Nearly seven lakh devotees were served with meals. Breakfast and snacks were served to more than four lakh devotees. The Hill View Stadium was transformed into a palace. All this happened in the seven day period - 18th to 24th Nov. But how did this happen? Who did the planning? Was every activity sub-contracted to professionals? What were the devotees saying about the arrangements and the celebrations? How did it feel being in Puttaparthi, being with Swami those few days? And finally what experiences did the devotees take back home? To bring out all this for you, this time we have our cover story on the 80th Birthday – not on what happened in front of your eyes, but what happened behind the scenes. You are surely going to be inspired when you read moving anecdotes of sacrifice and wonderful stories of divine love that this cover story is composed of.
Sathya Sai is Love, Energy and Sacrifice personified. In a very revealing discourse during the Guru Poornima celebrations in 1963, after Swami cured Himself of a week long paralytic stroke in a trice by sprinkling a few drops of water on His body, He declared for the first time in His Avatharhood, “I am Shiva - Shakthi Swarupa” meaning, the embodiment of all consciousness and all energy pervading the whole universe. Shivarathri – the auspicious night dedicated to Lord Shiva which falls in the 26th of this month, we know, is a festival of immense significance in Prashanthi Nilayam. It is often on this occasion when our Lord Sai chooses to give us a glimpse of His Power and Glory. The Lingodbhavam – emergence of the Linga from His mouth – is a divine spectacle and liberating experience for every devotee privileged to witness it during this festival. To relive those blissful moments, our Photo Gallery is on this theme. You will also find two beautiful feature articles elaborating on the principle of Shiva-Sai.
How Sai enters each devotee’s life is fascinating. Just as no two leaves in a tree, or two faces in the world are totally identical, no two stories of how Swami came into devotees’ lives are the same, be they distinguished personalities or disregarded destitutes. You are going to be fascinated reading the story of Prof. Anil Kumar, a long standing devotee of Swami, best known as the translator of Bhagavan’s discourses, in the H2H Special section.
The month of January saw a lot of activities, the highlight being the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet of Swami’s Institute. As every year, the event was a thrilling sport and drama extravaganza. Do not miss reading the full account of this in our Prashanthi Diary. We have decorated it with lots of pictures to bring the whole event alive in front of your eyes.
We also have a beautiful article on the Vedas. If you are new to the Vedas or want to know what are their significance in one’s life, read the feature article by Prof. Venkataraman. In fact, we will be having a series of articles by him on the Vedas in the coming issues. Vedic chants and their significance are so much emphasized by Bhagavan time and again and it is time we know the great treasure that is hidden in them and benefit from it.
The Vedas are chanted every day during Bhagavan’s Darshan. The sacred hymns purify our senses – both within and without when we chant them, just like a lamp placed at the door lights up the inside of the house as well as the outside. Let’s fill ourselves with the sacred vibrations of these holy hymns. Let’s make our own hearts a Prashanti – abode of Peace where our Lord Sai Shiva can reside.
Lots of Love,
In Sai Service