Among all the festivals in Prashanthi Nilayam, the most ecstatic is perhaps the festival of Shivarathri. It is an occasion which no devotee wants to miss; in fact, for some a trip to Prashanthi Nilayam during this festival is their ‘yearly Haj’.
Like every year, the experience this year was magical. Thousands seated in Sai Kulwant Hall went into blissful frenzy when Baba held out the nearly 4-inch resplendent oval shaped golden Lingam for all to see. What a breathtaking moment it was! You could see the great sense of fulfillment and joy coupled with awe and wonder on the devotees’ faces as they witnessed a glimpse of Divine Mystery and Power that is Sai. And the compassionate Lord went to the devotees holding that ‘inscrutable symbol of cosmos’, as it were, and needless to say, the cups of the devotees’ hearts were full. For those who could not witness it live, we have lots of pictures and a beautiful account in our Prashanti Diary. The whole event is going to come alive in front of you!
Sai is Shiva, the supreme consciousness. He is Truth, Goodness and Beauty - Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram, as is it called in Sanskrit. These three words so beautifully define Divinity and significantly these are so much a part of Baba’s life and mission. Not only do the volumes of Baba’s biography carry this name, but also His abodes at various important cities in India bear a part of this name. In Mumbai, Dharmakshetra, Baba’s abode - one of very first outside Puttaparthi and Bangalore - is called “Sathyadeep”. Going South, to Hyderabad, the lingam shaped residence-cum-mandir of Baba is named “Shivam” and in Tamil Nadu, the land of numerous world-famous temples known for their distinctive style and architecture which have a rare beauty and serenity of their own, Baba’s beautiful 55-feet tall abode is called “Sundaram.” Very recently Sundaram celebrated its Silver Jubilee and many people, especially non-Indians, know little about it. Even many people in India think of it only as Baba’s dwelling-place in Chennai – yes, it is surely that but it is much, much more.
When the Tsunami struck Tamil Nadu, Sundaram transformed itself into a beehive of continuous activity organizing relief-operations; if hundreds of auto-rickshaw drivers ferrying people in the busy streets of Chennai today are conscious about their health and drink only boiled water; and if Durga, an unlettered girl coming from one of the poorest economic backgrounds with no father to take care of her is today teaching Sanskrit to the young and old and receiving acclaims and awards; and if hundreds of Sai devotees in India and abroad fill their hearts and homes with the purifying vibrations of Sai Bhajans and even learn to sing them at their Sai Centres; and if thousands of people have experienced what ‘divine love and peace’ is and seen themselves transform from complete agnostics to ardent devotees and found a sense of purpose in their lives - it is all because of the Sai-suffused Sundaram.
Sundaram is all this and more. No wonder, the Governor of the state, Sri S S Barnala, moved by the dedicated spirit of the Sai Volunteers in Sundaram, recently said, “This army of peace can do anything with their commitment to serve.” You will know what it is that makes Sundaram so special that for the people of Tamil Nadu it is no less than another Prashanti Nilayam. All of the above will become apparent to you when you read our comprehensive cover story.
The Avathar comes down to give joy to thousands and millions. While everybody is benefited and blessed with His advent, there are some fortunate ones who are doubly blessed to witness Him at very close quarters and bask in His love and grace. One such devotee is Mr. Chidamabaram Krishnan, who has had remarkable experiences with Sai from the 1960s. In the H2H Special section, you will find the first part of a serial which will be a very extraordinary journey of Sai Leelas and Mahimas. This is going to thrill you!
Money rules the world, they say. Do you think it is true? Is morality a myth in the current society? Well, you can find this out when you read our interesting feature article – Man, Money, Myth and Morality. In the same section, there is also another revealing article, throwing more light on the most ancient of Indian scriptures - the Vedas. In the last issue, we had only a basic introduction to the Vedas; in this issue there is precious information on the significance and composition of these sacred divine revelations of God to Man. This is surely going to broaden your understanding of these immortal ‘words of God’.
How devotees all around the globe become inspired by Swami’s message and do things they have never imagined themselves to do is amazing! The story of a young doctor couple who, in the middle of their flourishing careers, gave up everything to serve at His Lotus Feet, which you will find in the Healing Touch Section, is really a great myth-buster proving that for money’s sake people will not just do anything. It is also a morale-booster for people who many a times succumb to situations and are not able to follow their heart. This couple’s dedication is exemplary.
This issue also has a lot of other interesting articles - inspiring Seva done in Malaysia, a beautiful Photo Album of Swami in glittering yellow and lots of other sweet articles in the “Swami and Me” section including a nice story of a valentine card presented to Swami by the boys! (You are going to get a whole new perspective of Valentine’s Day celebrations).
Before we leave you to explore this issue, may we inform you we are deeply grateful to all the readers for their continued support and positive feedback. To express our gratitude, we have published a sample of these letters in our new section “Your Say”, starting from this issue. Please do have a look at it and keep telling us about how you think we can serve you better.
May Sai rule every moment of your life,
In Sai Service