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Chronicles of heaven on earth


29 October, 2007: Nizamabad Musical Dance - 'Deva Devuni Deenajana Seva'


Swami had permitted the devotees from the Nizamabad district of Andhra Pradesh to put up a cultural programme as part of their Parthi Yatra on November 29. Swami came out at about 4:40 pm and completed the darshan rounds. Then alighting near the interview room, He went in. At about 5:25 pm, there was a lot of hustle and bustle as it became evident that Swami was coming out to sit for the programme. The district president presented Swami with the programme schedule and Swami studied it with all interest. The customary lamps and flowers were brought to Him and patiently as ever Swami blessed the more than fifteen or so people who came to Him. A white marble Shivalingam was also brought to Him and very sweetly Swami placed the bunch of flowers on the lingam! It was then that another charming incident took place.

A little girl, barely 3 feet in height, came forward with a bunch of roses. She stretched herself to her full "fingertips to toes" height to offer Him the roses. Swami flashed a beautiful smile in appreciation of her efforts. Finally, identical twins came up to make offerings to Swami to mark the beginning of the programme. Swami treated them with "identical" love and showered holy grains on them. The programme that began was entitled, "Deva Devuni Deenajana Seva."

Swami lights up the lamp before lighting up the evening
Reaching out for the Lord!

There was an opening dance which was followed by a scene where the compere of the programme, a school teacher, was introduced. She narrates to the children of her class how the Lord came in different ages of time to serve people. In the Treta age, it was in the form of Rama as He redeemed Ahalya and Sabari.

The multi-coloured opening dance
Sabari's pure love for her dear Rama

Then it was Lord Krishna who demonstrated that ‘once His friend, always His friend’, as He washed the feet of His dear Sudama. Shirdi Baba too always insisted on service to the poor and needy. To save the child of a poor blacksmith, He plunged His hands into the blazing flames of the Dhuni in the Dwarka Mai. It concluded on a note of wonder and appreciation at what Swami has been doing. The whole programme was interspersed with dances and at the end there was a beautiful formation.

The Lord gives the world a lesson in Friendship
"Why fear when I am here"

Swami said that He would go down and pose for a photograph with the children. The innermost desire of every human being gets expressed in the act of a group photograph. To stand close to the Lord - near and dear to Him - and freeze that moment for eternity should be the goal of every being. Swami got up and slowly descended the steps to go to the group. He stood and smiled as group photos were taken. He then slowly came back on stage. He congratulated the actors. All of them kept falling at His feet. Then He permitted them to sing out a few songs. After that, He received Aarthi and left.

The children gather around their dear Swami
Aum Jai Jagadeesha Hare...

November 5, 2007 – Orissa Sai Youth Pilgrimage, Day One

The first week of November will always remain ingrained in the heart and memory lanes of 1400 youth from the length and breadth of the state of Orissa, in North East India, who had gathered in Prasanthi Nilayam. It was a feast of nectarine flow of Divine Love. Their pilgrimage, they said, “starts from our hearts and ends too in our hearts – a journey from I to We to He”. They celebrated it with glimpses of cultural excellences from different regions of Orissa, in the immediate Divine Presence. Accompanying the youth were many cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats from the state Government of Orissa.

A lot of preparation and hard work preceded this glorious event. The Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization, Orissa, had organized several youth programmes for the youth at various places in cities, towns and villages of the state.

On the morning of November 5, thousands of youth, with hope in their hearts and prayers on their lips, sat in the Sai Kulwant Hall awaiting the Lord. When the chants of the Vedic hymns rented the air and His car glided by, the Benevolent Lord looked at the youth from the window of the car and beckoned them. Among the youth were also a few former students of Bhagavan’s University and with excitement and joy, they showed a card to Swami seeking His blessings for commencing the programs. The card was a portrait of Bhagavan with the program under leaf.  As He was looking at His portrait, Swami asked, “How many of you have come?” They replied, ”Swami, we are 1400 youth on this pilgrimage to You.” The Lord replied, “Chala santhosham” (Very happy). Then the State President of Sathya Sai Organizations, Orissa, Prof. Harekrushna Das along with the State youth co-ordinator, Sri Ashok Hota showed the program details to Swami which He accepted and blessed. The youth also took the opportunity to present to Swami a souvenir “Sai Katha” made specially for the occasion. Swami gracefully blessed this too and saw through the pages with a smile on His beatific face.

"Chaala Santosham!"
The details are presented to the Lord

Orissa is famous for its famed Rath Yatra (Chariot Festival) that happens every year in the pilgrim town of Puri when the statues of Lord Jagannath along with those of His elder brother Balarama and younger sister Subhadra are taken out in a grand procession to enable thousands of devotees to see the Lord to their heart’s content at least once a year. “But in Prashanti,” the devotees from Orissa, say, “Every day is a Rath Yatra with the Lord of Lords, our Sai Jagannath, coming out in His ‘Car Chariot’ to grant His Divine Darshan to every soul.”

As the Orissa Youth basked on that beautiful Darshan, a few former students of Bhagavan’s Educational Institutions from the state of Orissa, also presented to Him the details of a small initiative they have undertaken called “Sai Anandam” (Sai’s Bliss). It’s a home for the destitute and orphans started four months ago having 8 little boys near the capital city of Bhubaneshwar. Swami enquired eagerly about this work and seemed very pleased. He, then, blessed them lovingly to go ahead with zeal in this endeavour.

In the evening of November 5, nearly 5000 devotees from Orissa had filled up a large part of the Kulwant Hall and the stage had been set for their cultural presentation. After completing His Darshan rounds, Swami took in some of the people involved in the Convocation drama (performed by His students on November 22 every year) for an interview. He came out at 5:10 pm and everyone was eagerly awaiting Him. Swami, ever gracious that He is, smilingly came out and took position at the centre of the stage and asked for the proceedings to begin. At first there was a theme song that expressed the spontaneous feelings of love and reverence oozing in the hearts of the Orissa youth towards Swami.  

After the initial song, the Drama that began was entitled – “The Secret of Happiness” depicting the eternal pursuit of happiness by mankind.  It brought to light the Truth that permanent joy as an end can never be achieved through means of pursuing happiness that are temporary and ephemeral.

The opening song of welcome
Swami gifts a ring to the chief co-ordinator

The story revolved around a family where the patriarch, who is the grandfather of the child hero, is an aspiring politician nursing the ambition of winning a seat in the next election. Both his sons are readying themselves for lucrative and limelight-capturing careers, one in athletics and the other in research, which, they feel, will make them the happiest persons on earth.

They seem all set to conquer the world...
...yet to learn the greatest Secret from the youngest in the family

Soon they all achieve their goals but sadly find that happiness and contentment are totally absent in their lives. But the grandson, in spite of any hardship or difficulty, seems to have a permanent smile plastered on his face – the smile of a contented soul. He enlightens the elders of the fact that bliss lies in God alone who is the indweller of all beings. Service is the sure shot way to tap this source of bliss that lies within. And the inspired family begins its journey along these lines. The scenes were interspersed with beautiful songs and dances. One of the striking songs had the line “Khusiyan! Khusiyan! - aye kaisi hoti hai?” meaning “Happiness? Or what is happiness and where does one find it?” It beautifully summarized the essence of the drama.

Swami, who was so pleased with the performance of the Youth, came down the stage, spoke to a few of them and then blessed all the participants with the coveted group photograph. But the programme for the evening was not over yet. After Swami returned to the stage, began another scintillating performance, with His divine permission.

"I realize that bliss lies in God alone"
Swami with the thrilled participants

It was an amazing dance performance called “Gotipua dance”. “Gotipua” is an Oriya etymon, meaning, “a single boy”. This dance form, which is a recast of Odissi Dance (the famous dance form of Orissa), is performed by boys who dress themselves as dancing girls.

Flexibility and finesse at their best
The Gopuram formation

Patronised by King Rama Chandra in the 17th century, since then this dance form has become an integral part of the temple culture of Lord Sri Jagannath at Puri, Orissa. Performed by 6-10 young boys, the themes of this dance generally revolve around the Divine love of Lord Krishna.

After the dancers took their positions in the centre of Sai Kulwant Hall, Swami gently nodded and then the sound of Mrudanga, cymbals, harmonium, flute and the voice of the accompanying singer reverberated to the anklet sounds from the feet of the dancers. The dancers demonstrated great feats of acrobatics constructing multi-shaped and multi-storied human pyramids which were so seamlessly and gracefully weaved into the dance.

The Dance Master - Nataraja
The regal spire
The audience was left spellbound and the applause never seemed to die down. Every next minute it was an ever louder approbation as the dancers so effortlessly created another remarkable formation or feat. It was truly a sight to behold, a feast for the soul, a festival of colours and sounds, drums and costumes, dances and choruses that was the reflection of the rich culture and tradition of Orissa. For the onlooker it looked so physically exhausting and seemed to push the children’s strength, flexibility, endurance and awareness to the limit, yet on the children’s faces were spontaenous smiles and they were performing as if it were as easy as breathing! You could see they were ecstatic! Untill now they had performed in front of the Lord’s idol but now He was sitting in flesh and blood in front of them.
The Kalasham formation (Sacred pot with coconut)
A feat of grace and strength

The dancers concluded their performance to a thunderous applause. There was no soul that did not join his/her hands to applaud the young artists. But for the children, the greatest moment arrived when Bhagavan called them near and with a bright smile on His face started gifting them saris! But the mysterious and unique ways He blesses His children is what makes His love so special. The all-knowing Lord, next asked for white safari suits and again blessed every boy with the second gift from His Hand. So, one gift was for their roles and the other was a token of love from the lord to his children. But Swami did not stop with this that evening. He was at His love-showering best and called all the performers to sit near Him for a group picture. The dancer’s performance was stirring enough to even win a group photograph for the drama actors too! The Lord was all the while speaking to the young actors lovingly, patting their cheeks.

Sarees too for the boys!
This time it is Swami who seems thrilled!

And then He gave the teachers and the instrumentalists another kind of prize and appreciation. He beckoned them forward and asked the young singer to sing bhajans. “Jaya Jaya Ganapathi Deva…” filled the air and as the bhajan reached a crescendo, Bhagavan’s eyes, radiating so much compassion and love, were fixed on this boy. It was a look suffused with a million mothers' love. Only the Divine knows the destiny of every soul. This young singer, a 14-year old boy, was actually a destitute orphan who used to survive by singing and begging inside Indian trains. It was during such routine begging round in one such train that the Gotipua dance teacher heard him and recognized his latent talent. Inspired from a voice within, the teacher not only brought him home but also adopted him as his son. From that day, the orphan had a family and a music teacher too. The Lord, for whom every life is an open-book, was perhaps too happy and showering His choicest blessings through those endearing looks to the talented youngster. And the singer, was of course, overjoyed singing in front of His Maker, Master and Redeemer.

This is just one tale and when you saw the eyes of every performer there, you knew each one had a moving tale and in front of Swami, their hearts were all laid bare. The compassionate Lord blessed them all again, asked for prasadam to be distributed, accepted arathi and finally retired for the day.

6 and 7 November, 2007 – Orissa Sai Youth Pilgrimage, Day Two and Three

"Aum Jai Jagannath"

On the evening of November 6,  the Sai Kulwant Hall looked like the Sanctum Sanctorum of Lord Jagannath of Puri. The very name “Jagannath” signifies ‘The Lord of the Universe’. A beautiful shrine with the idols of Lord Jagannath,  His elder brother Lord Balabhadra and sister Goddess Subhadra was created for the drama “Bhatkta Dasia” to be staged by the Bal Vikas children of Orissa.

The programme started after Swami came onto the stage after spending a few minutes in the interview room. The story of Bhakta Dasia has inspired the people of Orissa for generations to shape their lives on the twin bed rocks of Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man.

The children get the coveted contact with Swami
Bringing out their own spiritual heritage for the world to see

Dasia Bauri, a poor man born in a low caste with no knowledge of scriptures was one such devotee of Lord Jagannath, who could win His Grace by incessantly chanting the Divine Name. Scorned and ridiculed by society, he suffered untold misery and yet remained steadfast in his devotion to the Lord. His pure love and intense longing at last melted the Lord’s heart and He accepted his Naivedya (offering) of a coconut fruit directly from the hands of the village priest who disdainfully had offered the same to the Lord given to him by Dasia standing outside the Temple.

From the dualistic state of Lord and the devotee, Dasia reached the non-dualistic state of Oneness with the Lord though his devotion. He saw the Lord pervade the entire universe, even in the food served to him by his wife. When his devotion to Lord Jagannath reaches its sublime heights, the Lord out of His infinite compassion vouchsafes to him His much coveted Darshan, clears all his doubts and invites him to visit the pilgrim town Puri to witness His festival.

His devotion wins the vision of the Lord
Dasia seeing Oneness even in his food

The realistic portrayal of the story by the children moved Swami as well as the audience. And as the curtain drew over the drama, another drama unfolded. But now, it was no show. This was a love story happening then and there between Lord Sai and His children. As the actors of the drama sat in final formation after their performance, Swami called the little girl who played the role of little Krishna in the “Bhaktha Dasia” drama.

And then, with a wave of His hand, created a golden necklace with a locket which had “Om” inscribed on it. The child was so perplexed that she stepped back as Swami beckoned her. She couldn’t believe Swami was calling her! When she finally went near Swami, she innocently asked, “Swami, why are you giving this to me?". The loving Lord, the Indeweller of every heart, looked into her eyes, smiled and said, “My dear, I am giving you My life.”
“My dear, I am giving you My life.”

And then He walked down the steps to bless the children with group photographs. The Bal Vikas children could not believe their good fortune; their tiny hearts overflowed with emotion and you could see tears streaming down every cheek. The Lord was very touched. He lovingly spoke to each of them and cheered them up with His warm love. He blessed them saying, “Be Happy, Be Happy.” But, the innocents with their unsullied love couldn’t hold back their flood of tears. And now you could see moist eyes in the audience too. The love that suffused that evening was overpowering for everyone present.

The enormous amount of work and preparation that had gone into the drama was evident in the sets, music, customes, dialogue, recording, and every aspect of the presentation. It was a united effort and every one, which included a Muslim sound recordist, had worked feeling the cosmic rhythm of His love swelling in their hearts.

“Be Happy, Be Happy” - in response to their 'tears'
The group's unity and devotion to Swami was plain to see

After this drama was a tribal folk dance called ‘Ghumura’. The folklore of rural life occupies a vivacious and scintillating stand in the annals of India’s rich cultural tapestry. The simple inhabitants lead a rustic life of eternal communion with the nature and glorify their guardian God and Goddesses with dance. ‘Ghumura’ dance is a centuries old tradition of extolling the Mother Goddess in the form of dance and songs.

The youth in exotic costumes that reflected their association with nature had small drums tied onto their waists. They broke into a ritual that was a celebration of the Avatars from times immemorial. Through their songs, expressions, postures and formations they exhibited the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. And then when they depicted the Avatar of the Kali age, Bhagwan Sri Satya Sai Baba, the devotees ruptured into claps. 

Presenting the dance piece
Another offering with love

The rhythmic drum beats with the vigorous dance movements reverberated in the entire Sai Kulwant Hall. After the program Swami distributed safari suits to all the dancers like the ever bountiful Mother Goddess. After blessing all, Bhagavan took arathi and the curtain drew for that day.

The energetic and exciting ‘Ghumura’ folk dance...
They covered all the incarnations of the Lord

On the evening of November 7, the youth took His blessings for presenting the ‘Sai Symphony’ program. It was a musical offering to the Lord composed of songs which exalts the Lord and proves that there is no greater joy than singing His glory. Their theme song was a spontaneous feeling of Love and reverence oozing out from the hearts of Sai Youths of Orissa.

Apart from the programs being conducted in the divine presence of Swami in the Sai Kulwant Hall, the Youth also had morning and evening sessions conducted in the Human Values building at Prashanti Nilayam campus where distinguished elders like Sri G.V. Sathyanarayana (former All India President of Sai Organisations), Sri B. N. Narasimha Murthy, Sri Sanjay Sahni and Sri Rangarajan of the Sri Sathya Sai University shared their experiences and inspired the youth. Many of the youth also undertook seva activities inside the ashram, Super Speciality Hospital Campus and the International Centre for Sports for five days.

On the evening of November 8, as all the youth sat for His Darshan, they had a beautiful and huge ornate card which said, “Thank You, Sai Maa.” When Swami came, He looked at it and smiled. The youth said, “Swami, how can we thank you for showering on the youth of Orissa so much of love and grace. We all are very happy.” Then Swami too said, “I am also very happy.”

In the same night, an amazing incident occurred. As the programme for the youth that night ended a little late, some could not partake dinner as the canteen was closed by then. So they went to bed on empty stomach. But around 10 pm an unknown person reached the shed with steaming hot rice, dal, etc. Handing over the food to one co-coordinator, he said, “Some youths have not taken dinner and are hungry. Swami cannot sleep if they are hungry. Please, distribute this among them.”  About 12 to 15 youths shared the meal with all joy and thanked the Lord for taking care of their smallest of needs. Even astounding fact is this: One youth amongst this group, as a practice used to fast on Thursdays and eat only fruits in the night. As he was wondering if he should also be eating the rice-dal, to his utter surprise and delight the packet handed over to him also had two fruits! Indeed the ways of the Lord are absolutely unfathomable.

As the youth pilgrimage came to a close in Prasanthi, the Youth knew that a new pilgrimage has to begin now when they return - a pilgrimage of service and love to the homes and hearts of many who are deprived in their towns and villages.

9 November 2007: Diwali Celebrations

The Kulwant Hall was bursting at its seams on November 9. People seemed to have flocked from everywhere to celebrate the festival of Lights with their beloved Swami. November 10 also happened to be the Gujarati New Year day and so discernibly there was a Gujarati bias in the crowd. Bhajans began at 9:00 am and it appeared as though Swami may not come out to grant darshan at all. But at 9:15 am, there was a tremendous wave of excitement as Swami came out and slowly moved through the people in the Porte. There were smiles everywhere and they blossomed like sunflowers do with the rising of the sun. The beautiful property of these sunflowers is that, they start the day facing the sun and keep moving along with the sun throughout the day and at the end of the day, they are still looking at him. Watching the devotees look at their beloved Swami, one cannot but help thinking of the beautiful, bright and budding sunflowers!

The "sunflowers" always follow the "sun"

Swami completed the rounds and then descended near the interview room. He was about to go inside, but then He suddenly paused. Diwali morning must be lit up and what a better way to do that than grant more darshan! On the wheelchair sofa, Swami came slowly down the portico. He was beaming and smiling. Now the progression of the "sunflower blossoms" was very evident for one and all to see. From the portico, Swami went for another darshan round in the direction opposite to the standard one. He was collecting letters and looking at people on both the sides. The East Prashanti balconies began to swell with ladies, mostly those too old to sit long hours on the floor. They were having an aerial view of Swami’s divine darshan! The thrill was obvious on their faces. Swami moved through the gents side and then, cutting through the students, He moved on to the ladies side too. He granted darshan from close quarters and after going through the whole path, returned to the bhajan hall for the bhajans which concluded with Aarthi after a while.

The schedule for the evening was a programme by the youth and Bal Vikas students from the state of Gujarat. Swami came out at about 4:30 pm. He completed the darshan rounds and as soon as He got down near the interview room, He enquired from the Brindavan campus warden about the preparation for the Convocation Drama to be staged by His students on November 22. He then took him and a few other boys to the interview room to guide them on the drama. At 5:35 pm, Swami came out and asked for the programme to begin. The formalities (actually great chances in disguise) of the flowers and card offerings were completed. A cake was also brought up to Swami which He kindly cut and then the programme started, first with a song by the youth.

A western style beginning as Swami cuts a cake
The singers offer their salutations

The programme details are shown to Him....
....and the offering of the customary flower made

This was followed by a dance on the glory of Bharat which was a colourful and grand spectacle.

The opening dance sequence
"All ye men and women of Bharat - Unite"

The final presentation was a combo effort by the Bal Vikas and the youth. It was a drama depicting the right way to do service, and more importantly, brought out the true meaning of independence. India has become free in the political sense. But everybody is still a slave to the six vices of desire, anger, greed, attachment, pride and envy. True freedom can only be achieved when these are overcome. The drama portrayed how an NGO plans to shift its focus of activities from the village to the city in order to get more visibility. But when a flood destroys the village, the plight of the villagers moves the concerned officials. Further, the inspiration from the Sai workers to do service opens their eyes to the true meaning of Seva. Service needs no visibility and when done in the true sense, it escapes nobody's attention.

"India lives in her villages and it is there that we must serve."
The "live" building of the hospital with Unity and Love

The hospital is ready and standing...
United we can change the world we live in

The drama was filled with many popular songs and well-choreographed dances. The final song and dance drew appreciative applause from the audience and the grand appreciation came from Swami when He materialized a gold chain for the actor playing the role of "Man". Swami then very graciously walked down to pose for group photographs with the Gujarat youth and the Bal Vikas children. After the pictures were taken, Swami blessed prasadam to be given to all present and finally granted His benediction in the form of Abhayahasta (raised Hands in blessing). After that, He received Aarthi and retired.

"Man" is rewarded by "God"
Even the Aarthi seems to portray Unity!

10-11 November 2007: Global Akhanda Bhajans

There was a lot of devotional fervour in the air in anticipation of the 24 hour Akhanda Bhajan that was scheduled to begin on Saturday, November 10, evening. Prashanti Nilayam in a few minutes would be transformed into the nucleus of a global sadhana in namasmarana which would continue through all the parts of the day and night. When Swami came out, it was very evident that the event would be a very special one. He was looking so beautiful and each of His smiles was so radiant. Swami completed His darshan rounds and then for a short while went into the interview room.

He came into the bhajan hall well in advance. He went around the bhajan hall suffusing everyone gathered with enthusiasm to participate in the bhajans about to begin. As the clock struck six, Swami lit the beautiful and big lamp set in the centre of the altar to mark the beginning of the global Akhanda bhajan. The Ganesha bhajan began with great gusto. A few bhajans later, Swami wanted to go out for granting darshan to the singing masses!

Every path that existed in Kulwant Hall was traversed upon and every being that was present there was immersed in joy divine. Swami had said long ago, "This sugar mountain will not travel to feed the ants; the ants themselves can come here." Seeing Him that evening each one could feel that the compassion for the tiny ant had dissolved that resolution of the merciful Divine!

The Akhanda Jyoti is lit and the bhajans begin

After the round, He came back into the bhajan hall. He sat, not in the traditional corner on the gents side, but right in the middle, next to the Jyoti (lamp) He had lit minutes ago. Litres of oil had been poured into the lamp for its night long vigil and it shone brilliantly. And beside the lamp was Swami - the ocean of Love in His Heart reflected in His beaming and bright face. As the bhajans progressed, the fervour doubled. Swami struck a divine pose and hearts surged with joy. If He would keep rhythm with His hands for the bhajans, the beat would echo in the clapping of the enthusiastic devotees. The bhajans continued alternating between the men's side and the ladies' side. At about 7:10 pm, Swami returned to Yajur Mandir.

With Swami's departure, people to rose to leave. But many stayed on, digesting the joy of the multiple close darshans that had been so graciously conferred. Shraddha (Faith) and Saburi (Perseverance) are the only offerings that the Lord asks for. Those who offered these to Him tonight, He granted them a special blessing. At 8:15 pm, a time when everyone expects Swami to have retired, He showed that the Lord never rests. "Mad Bhakta yatra Gaayanthi, thatra tishtaami Naarada" (Oh Narada! I install Myself wherever my devotees sing my glory) the Lord had revealed to the great sage Narada. On His second visit in the evening, Swami suddenly came into the Kulwant Hall in the wheelchair sofa! Audible gasps and thrilled exclamations made their rounds as Swami went about granting all with the bounty of His darshan, slowly and calmly.


He, then, came into the bhajan hall and all the singers, especially, were ecstatic. As He sat for bhajans, He exchanged loving comments with some of the singers. After a very long time, one could see Swami out so late in the night. Swami sat till almost 9:00 pm before retiring. But as He went out, He promised, "I will be coming again."

Swami was there again in the next morning at 9:45 am. But those words inspired everyone to stay awake in anticipation of further blessings. The Lord's benediction is such that every endeavour with Him as the goal always finds fruition. However we seem to forget that and so He resorts to words of encouragement and allows everyone to experience the joy of making efforts. The night long vigil might have tired the bodies but the recharge the spirits got is something that must be felt and cannot be adequately captured in words. Swami came in the wheelchair sofa once again and suddenly the bhajan singing became louder! The devotees thirst for their Lord. But if we just pause and ponder, the reality of how the Lord too hungers for His devotees will strike us. As He says, "Your bliss is my food."

9:00 pm and the Lord is still there!!

It is so fascinating to see Swami seeing His devotees. He seems to look deep into them, sampling their thirst and purity. Once he tastes these qualities, He cannot resist. He moves towards them and both the Lord and the devotees drink deep the ambrosia of bliss. Swami came into the bhajan hall and sat; but only for a few bhajans. He began to move again amidst everyone seated in the bhajan hall and then went out too. He not only traversed all available paths but also exhausted the different possible directions of moving along them! It would hardly be an exaggeration to say that after a while, the students and devotees alike ran out of letters and prayers to offer Him! The gushing flood of Love and benediction was so immense that they just sat and saw Him. Swami must have completed at least three rounds on the wheel sofa on November 11 morning. He even went around the portico and bhajan hall a few times. He sat listening to the bhajans till almost 11:15 am and then He retired.

In the evening, the crowds had swelled and the hall was packed for the grand finale of the Akhand bhajan. Swami came out at about 4:40 pm. For the third time in a row, the car had been dispensed with. So dear are His devotees for Him and that dearness seemed to translate even into nearness. Years ago, fears had been expressed that Swami, in times to come would become physically inaccessible and very distant. Swami had replied, "For those who hold me close to their heart, I will never be far." Well, the veracity of that statement was there for all to see, as Swami satiated everyone to their hearts content. He came into the bhajan hall and as He started tapping His hands on the arms of the chair, the bhajans picked up speed moving towards a glorious climax. Swami then continued His traveling spree as He went out again. It is really not possible to describe each of His trips around the devotees for they were so many in number and so enriching in experience.

Nostalgic memories came flooding as Swami in His inimitable style stopped near a block of boys and told them to make a path between them so that He could move over to the other side. He then went all the way to behind the main gate where all the vessels containing prasadam were kept. He blessed them and spoke to the people in charge as to how the distribution must be done. Then He came back to the bhajan hall. The final part of the bhajan session was filled with deafening clapping, vociferous singing and ever increasing tempo.

To one lady singer who enthralled everyone, and more importantly, Swami with her bhajan, Swami immediately materialised a beautiful necklace in gold! He gifted it to her and continued smiling. As Swami concluded the bhajans with "Namah Parvati", the Aarthi was lit. What followed next was a rare scene as Swami sat for the complete Aarthi song. During its last stanza, the priest waved the camphor at the altar by the sheer force of habit and Swami seemed to look at Him and smile!

The concluding Aarthi

As the aarthi concluded, Swami took up the role of the host ensuring that the sweetened rice (chakra pongal) and tamarind rice were distributed to all. He personally supervised the manner in which leaves should be distributed and the food served. Once the serving had been fairly accomplished, the food prayer, Bhramaarpanam, began. Swami too joined in chanting the prayer! At the end of it, He said, "Now all eat nicely." He kept smiling and telling everyone to eat well. Finally at 6:35 pm Swami left bhajan hall and moved to the Yajur Mandir.

Swami inspects the prasadam to be distributed!
Prasadam is served in the bhajan hall in His presence

November 13, 2007 – Divine Discourse on Namasmarana

Something very unique happened on November 13, a day after the conclusion of Akhanda Bhajan. Swami came out to grant darshan at about 5:05 pm as the Bhajans were on. He went into the bhajan hall and after the fourth bhajan, He called Prof. Venkataraman and told him to speak on the significance of the Akhanda bhajans. After he had spoken for a while, Swami asked for the singers' mike and began delivering His divine discourse seated in the bhajan hall itself! He said:

Every name of God has power. But that power should be utilized properly. Each name has a power. Once upon a time, a king told his parrot to go and chant the name of Rama to the crow and make it too repeat the name. The parrot dutifully went to the crow and said, "You may be black, Oh crow! But listen and chant Rama's name. It will make you bright." Doing so, the crow fell down dead. The parrot felt very sad at this and reported to the king as to what happened. But the king told the parrot to do the same task to the peacock this time. "Oh peacock! You are beautiful and grand. Chant Rama's name and your glory will grow," said the parrot. The same thing repeated there too. The parrot was now worried.

Understand the significance of Akhanda bhajan. There is a difference between Akhanda and Khanda. The latter is to think of God momentarily alone. Akhanda bhajan is to think of Him always, every time and at all places - in all three levels of consciousness. There are three needles to tell the time. If one moves, all others also move.


One round of first makes the second move one unit and so on. The hour hand is given most importance. So also, the longer variant of the bhajan – in the morning, afternoon, evening and night is more important.Both birds had died. But now the king told the parrot to tell the same to a new born calf. "Oh King! Let me not get an additional sin now. I will not kill a baby," pleaded the parrot but to no avail. With trepidation, the parrot requested the calf to chant Rama's name. Doing so, the calf too breathed its last. Finally, it came to be known that the prince was born. What was the reason for the human form that the prince had. The Lord's name liberated the soul from different bodies, of the crow, the peacock and the calf to finally gift it a human birth. This news spread all over the kingdom. Rama's name made the crow a beautiful peacock. The peacock evolved into the calf and the calf in turn got a human birth.

Everything is divine. God is in every creature. But God specially takes a human form and so the human body is very special. It is God's grace that results in human form. But inspite of repeating the Lord's name, there is no transformation in man. This is because there is no understanding, faith and Love. Faith is love. That love is needed. Man is not uttering the name with Love. He is on the lookout if the tune, beat, etc. are all fine. The mind is wavering. Thus we see no transformation. The mind should be kept steady on the name. When a song is being sung, the others (especially the singers) are planning for next song. Thus, man remains man and does not evolve. Change can come about within with thinking of God alone. The sacredness that one attains by chanting and thinking of the name is not noticed by others but the individual knows it.

It is not possible to attain totality by uttering the name once. Do your job but keep in mind that it is God's work. Thus think of Him always. When women cook, they add pulses, salt, spice, etc. While doing so, if they say, “This is for God”, then it gets sanctified. Don't degrade it by offering it to members of family, cook, guests, etc. At every step, think of God. God is in every cell and atom. But man does not realize this and feels that he is moving forward. All progress is worldly if one is unaware of the inherent divinity. Consider all your actions, words and thoughts as that of God. The feeling behind the chanting is most important. If you say whole heartedly once, that's enough. It is equal to hours of chanting. The feeling makes it like the hour hand of the clock. It has value. Otherwise you can keep chanting like the seconds hand of the clock, which goes on moving but with little value. The feeling is like the hour hand which is most important. Don't bother about what people say. Nowadays none say His name from the bottom of the heart. People say that they cannot sing His name because of cold, cough and voice not being fine, etc. Atleast sing within yourself. That will give strength. God's name is matchless. It can bring back the dead to life.

Savitri was sad when the husband was gone. But Satyavan came back to life. It is only in Bharat that resurrections have occurred by Lord's name. Bharat is very special. No place is like this. A pure mind is important. Meerabai also finally said, "Oh Lord! From the depths of the ocean, I have collected the pearl. Let me not drop this back into the ocean." If you need liberation, God's name is needed. You are all sparks of Divine. And so you must all be like how I am. The same purity of Love of God must be in you too.

The whole creation is reaction, reflection and resound. So realize that you are Divine. Never forget this. If this is remembered, it amounts to reading Bhagavat Gita fully. Be Godly. "Mamaivamsho Jeeva Loke, Jeeva Bhoota Sanatanaha." I am you and you are me in qualities and righteousness. Dharma arose from feeling which came of Faith. Faith is Truth. Truth, Dharma, Faith and Love are all God. Live in Love. You may have many difficulties. Don't waver and change mind due to them. All these will pass easily. Waves keep coming but water is still. Have the steady waters of Faith. Thoughts are waves like the passing clouds. They are not permanent.

Develop Love and nothing will remain that you cannot attain. Earth and sky can be transformed into one another. That Divine power is in you. Never neglect God's name. The power in it is known to all those who have experienced. All that glitters is not diamond. Die - mind is diamond. Do not chase temporary pleasures. You will be cheated if you chase them. Once you have decided to hold on to the Lord, hold on to His feet firmly. They will be with you always, everywhere. Install the Lord's name in your heart permanently.  Your life, then, will be sanctified. That is your shakti, bhakti and mukti. Never catch passing clouds and pass out.
To teach this we have the Akhanda bhajan - to sing for 24 hours. In between if you keep going and coming, that is Khanda bhajan. It is tough to connect the pieces. Even if you go home or for food, keep singing His glory. God never said to give up everything.

Just think of God as you do your activity. krishna said, "Oh Arjuna! Fight thinking of me. Then that is true war." War is not shooting, killing and bombing. There is nothing great in it. Doing your work and think of Lord, you will survive and live smilingly. A smiling face is needed.  Do not have a castor oil face. True happiness lies in union with God. When you get some worrying thoughts, do not kill yourself. Especially those that think of marriage, this thought disturbs. Even if it comes, tell yourself, "It is not marriage but 'my-rise'!"

Singing the name is liberating. You needn't worry about tune and beat. The beat and tune of the heart is one - So Ham - "I am that". Keep that tune, its enough. It is a great fortune to do namasmarana. We have bhajans here everyday. That is a great fortune. Do not miss and spoil that fortune granted to you. It will lead to fulfillment of your lives.

After that, Swami asked the boys to sing. It was nearly 7 o clock when He called for the Aarthi and retired.

November 14, 2007

All over India, everyone observes November 14 as Children's day. It appeared as though Swami had also decided to spend the evening, if not the whole day, with His children! The students who were part of the Convocation drama were practising in the Institute auditorium. At about 4:05 pm, Swami started moving towards the Institute. Much to the glee of the students in the auditorium, they realized that Swami was coming to see their practise. The Vice Chancellor, Principal, Controller of Exams and other senior members of the Institute were also present.

Swami arrives at the Auditorium
"I have been waiting till 4 o clock!"

Swami came into the auditorium to the warm welcome of the students. He sat in the centre and asked for the practise to begin. The drama which began with a dance was a beautiful blend of emotion, suspense and devotion. Look for the story of the Drama in the November 22 update. Swami sat for the entire practise session and was correcting a few scenes here and there. He became quite emotional in some of the places especially when He heard the devotee cry out to the Lord for help. As the drama progressed one could see tears even in the eyes of many of the elders too who had come along with Swami. At one point when a song started and gained momentum, Swami identified the singer and exclaimed, "That is Ravi!" He kept enquiring about the different boys in various roles. He said that a few more lines of a song could be added and also advised on the placing of a few sets and the costumes. He even made few rearrangements in the final formation after the drama.

All actors only in whites!
Some watch Swami while others watch with Swami

At the end of the drama, Swami told all the actors that it was good. He spoke to the costume boys too, especially about a turban that was to be used. Then He made enquiries about the music boys and the set boys. He expressed immense satisfaction and joy at the fact that everything had been done by the boys themselves. As He went out of the auditorium, He took letters from many boys and spoke to a few of them. The brass band of the Institute had assembled outside and they played a beautiful piece as Swami got into the car and left for the Mandir.

Letters galore - as many as He can take
The Brass band strikes up a lively tune as Swami leaves

November 18, 2007 – Rathotsavam Celebrations

From years, the Rathotsavam has been a very important event held during the Birthday week. The bhajan Mandir wore a very austere and holy look as it seemed to prepare for the impending procession. The beautiful idols of Lord Rama, Lakshmana, Mother Sita and Hanuman, and the idol of Lord Krishna were ready in decorated palanquins. The floral decorations adorning them were also so immaculate and pleasing to the eye. Swami came to the bhajan hall after completing His darshan rounds in Kulwant Hall.

The beautifully decked idols of Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Hanuman
Swami arrives and moves amidst the boys.

Swami had the camphor waved at the idols in His presence. He watched intently as the priest performed Aarthi in the ceremonious manner. After that He directed the Seva Dal volunteers privileged to have been selected for the task to carry the palanquins and begin the procession. It included students vociferously vocalising the Vedas and the bhajan group of students singing songs in synchronisation. It was led by the elephant calf, Krishna Geeta, who seemed to be strutting around like a little child that had been told to head the Republic Day parade!

The elephant calf heads the procession...
The seva dal volunteers are privileged to shoulder the Lord

The entire procession headed through the Kulwant Hall main gate out of the Gopuram gate. There stood the empty chariot, fully decked with flowers, waiting to receive the Lord. The previous year, the chariot had been unexpectedly blessed by the presence of a Lord it did not expect - Swami! But this year, along with the chariot stood throngs of devotees with the fervent hope that Swami would re-confer the blessing of the previous year. Every building in sight seemed to be painted with humans! Balconies were bursting at their seams and every possible vantage point had been over occupied by people in a devotional zeal.

Swami comes out of the Gopuram gate...
The chariot awaiting the Lord

Swami did not disappoint anyone. After a few minutes, one could see the sweet form clad in Orange, held dear by all hearts making way towards the Gopuram gate. Swami came out and blessed the coconuts to be broken in front of the chariot. He saw the statues being placed into position and blessed all the hundreds who had assembled very expectantly with His darshan. Then receiving Aarthi He slowly made His way back to the Mandir. He went into the bhajan hall and sat waiting for the procession to return. He spoke to a few boys there and took letters from many. Then He went into the bhajan hall to continue His wait. Later, receiving Aarthi, He retired to Yajur Mandir.

Blessing everyone on the way back
Speaking to boys in the Bhajan Hall

November 19, 2007 – Ladies Day Celebrations

An original mandir design, featuring 'glass windows' with candles

The Ladies Day in 2007 was different from the past few years. The morning programme was to be the "Godaan" ceremony where cows would be distributed to the needy and deserving. The cow has been considered as a sign of prestige and more importantly prosperity from times immemorial in India. The ancients would shower their grace on the needy by gifting them with a cow. The gift of a cow meant a gift of food, water and hence prosperity. The cow has also been accorded the place of a mother in Indian scriptures. Deserving ladies had been identified and everything was ready for the arrival of Swami.

Swami came out at about 9:15 am after the traditional Rahu Kalam. He was heralded into the Kulwant hall by a procession that was headed by the Vedic chants with the Poorna Kumbham. The bands from the Primary School and the Anantapur Campus followed. After which was the beautiful smiling Lord who had decided to come in the wheel sofa.

The special ladies Veda chanting contingent
The magnificent Anantapur campus brass band

Swami came till the marble blocks and halted. He said that the cow distribution should start and that He would supervise it from there itself. Carpets had been laid out for the dual purpose - to give respect to the cows, the queens of prosperity, and also to ensure that the floor affords grip to their hooves. As Swami sat, the cows came in from His right while the ladies recipients came in from His left. It was not a cow alone but a mother cow, with her newly delivered calf that was being gifted. Swami blessed all the ladies and many of the recipients took Padanamaaskar.

Swami comes straight for the Godaan ceremony
Dedicated at His Lotus feet

A cow with a suckling calf for every woman
An overwhelming shower of Motherly love for the calves

After the ‘Godaan’ ceremony, Swami moved to the stage. He first lit the lamp that had been placed in front of a tastefully decorated portrait of Mother Eashwaramma. After that there were bhajans which continued for about half an hour. Later there was prasadam distribution and Swami received Aarthi and retired.

The lovely, luminous, lighting spectacle the mandir presented

The decorations for the evening programme were very grand. The lighting especially was a notch above the regular standards. Swami arrived and went around for the darshan rounds. He then came and took His position on the stage. The first part of the evening programme was speeches by two distinguished ladies – Dr (Mrs) Hyma Reddy and Mrs. Sowcar Janaki, a renowned thespian. Swami appreciated both these short talks with claps at the end of their presentations.

Dr.Hyma Redddy offers a rose to the Lord
Mrs.Sowcar Janaki offers her salutations

The second programme of the day was a concert by Ms. Nityashree Mahadevan. She bowed to Swami and then taking her place on stage next to the Lord, began the show. It was more of an outpouring of a devotee's feelings for God than a concert. She thrilled Swami and the audience who enjoyed journeying up and down the scale along the highways of many a grand Raaga with her voice. It was a touching performance which went on for 25 small minutes.

After the concert came the highlight of the evening, literally and otherwise too - the dance by the girls of the Primary school. It was an effort of bewitching beauty, gliding grace, sublime synchronization and co-coordinated control. The special focus lights and soft lights created an ambience like that of the heavens. The costumes caught everyone's eyes and were a class apart by themselves. The theme of the dance was on the leelas and mahimas of Swami in His childhood.

The tiny tot on behalf of the Primary School
Colourful and beautiful!

They were depicted with such elan that the dances themselves seem to sing out. The songs going on however lifted the overall atmosphere of grandeur and grace. There were girls of all ages and sizes - from the second to twelfth class, from the one and a half footers to the six feet ones! The Vishwa Roopa Darshanam was very symbolically yet powerfully demonstrated. The myriad colours moving around to the beautiful rhythms of the soulful strains was really something that has to be seen live to be experienced.

Devaki and Yasoda for Sathya - Eashwaramma and Subamma
The "Vishwa-Roopa" darshan

They say that while humans respond to the results, God responds to the efforts that have gone in. The performance was such that, humans and God alike would have been very pleased and that was evident in the way the Lord and the audience reacted when the dance concluded. The applause seemed never ending and so were Swami's smiles. He rose from the chair and slowly walked down. Seeing this, the little "Sathya" of the dance drama rushed up the stage and in keeping with the nature of her role requested Swami, "Be where you are. We will come to you." Swami was pleased with this noble intention but how can anyone have the capacity to be nobler than the sweet Lord. That statement made is His from eternity till eternity. He replied patting the little one's cheeks, "Be where you are. When you have called, I will come." (This carries a lot of profundity, isn’t it?)

Sathya, Sathya and Sathya!
The Lord with Gods and Goddesses

He walked down and posed for photos groupwise! Each and every child had the lovely opportunity to get a close photograph with Him and also take the coveted Paadanamaskar. After showering all the children profusely with all His love, Swami came up the stage and blessed the prasadam to be distributed. Then receiving Aarthi, He retired for the day.

November 20, 2007 – Parenting Workshop and Concert by Mr. Pankaj Udhas

On the morning of November 20, Sai Kulwant Hall witnessed the inauguration of the two-day Workshop on Parenting organised by the Education wing of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation. Two huge banners adorned the roof of the Sai Kulwant Hall announcing the Parenting Conference. Swami came out for darshan after 9:00 am and after completing His rounds, lit the ceremonial lamp at 9.30 am. A vedic invocation and three short speeches followed. The speeches were by ladies who spearhead the Balvikas and Parenting initiatives of the Sai Organisation. The content was mainly based on inputs that Swami had given at various times on the Bal Vikas programme and the role parents have to play in bringing up their children.

Inauguration of the seminar on Parenting... the presence of the Divine parent.

At 10 am, the speeches concluded. Bhagawan asked for Bhajans to begin in the Sai Kulwant Hall itself, and He accepted Arati after twenty minutes. During the Arati, Bhagavan blessed the speakers of the day and also the other dedicated members of the Bal Vikas programme with sarees.

Swami got sarees and...
...personally distributed to the Bal Vikas Gurus

The scheduled evening programme was a music concert by renowned vocalist Sri Pankaj Udhas and his team. Swami came out for darshan to Sai Kulwant Hall at 5.30 pm. He went around the devotees in the wheel sofa itself. The devotees were very happy at this shower of Grace. He then came on stage and asked for the concert to begin. What followed were devotionals and gentle ghazals in typical Udhas fashion. The famous, "Chitti Aayi Hai" also featured in his selection of songs.

The maestro at the concert
Pankaj Udhas is very happy and so is Swami

At the end of his concert, Swami called all the accompanying artistes along with Mr. Pankaj and blessed them. The ninety minute concert concluded with a spirited instrumental piece, a jugalbandi, after Bhagavan blessed the artistes with shawls. Everyone was mightily impressed at the speed and finesse of the artistes. Swami accepted Arati at 7.10 pm but instead of directly going to His residence, He had another element of uncertainty up His sleeve - that variety of uncertainty which all of us love!

He came down the stage and made a second slow round of the students accepting many letters. He neared the area where the birthday boys sit and asked for a path to be made amidst the boys! Like the Red Sea giving way to the white robed Moses, the "white sea" of students paved a way for the red robed Lord! Swami slowly and smilingly went through them and then via the ladies side, returned and retired to Yajur Mandir.

Swami takes a very long detour to Yajur Mandir.

November 21, 2007 – Convocation Drama Rehearsal

On November 21, the day before the Convocation, Swami arrived for darshan at 9:00 am as the bhajans began. The students involved in the Convocation drama, to be staged the next day, had all assembled in the Poornachandra Auditorium and Swami had agreed to see the final dress rehearsal. The bhajans concluded at about 10:10 am and Swami went into the Yajur Mandir directly. However at about 12:00 pm, Swami came in the wheel sofa to Poornachandra auditorium to see the drama as He had promised.

All the sets boys were present in black, they were the ‘men in black’ so to say! Everyone associated with the drama were present - the actors, sets boys, music group, the recording team, costume boys and the maintenance crew. As Swami came, a path, flanked by boys on both sides, was created from the stage till the place in the ‘D’ from where He would see the drama. Swami sat and then told that the drama could begin. The drama looked so much more colourful in the costumes. It was also now being viewed in 'new light'! As the characters came alive on stage, Swami was fully immersed in the drama. He too went through the ups and downs of the emotions and feelings of the actors on stage.

The whole world is a stage and all men mere actors!
Backstage all the actors show their true colours - of being His students

When Swami watches a drama, especially the Convocation drama, there is more drama and message in watching Him than the drama on stage. Well, one may say that is the case anytime, but it becomes physically more evident in case of the Convocation drama.

As He sees the pains of Ramadas, He seems to feel for His devotees. When the hero is in a crisis, Swami too seems apprehensive as to what will happen and when He reassures himself and his father that God will be there for them, Swami too relaxes. It is a beautiful example of how the Lord is a pure mirror, reflecting to each one whatever faith and feeling they possess. The practise session is something that goes on daily and so sometimes it cannot be helped if the actors just go through the motions, but Swami seems to go through the emotions each and every time He sees the drama. He knows the plot, the story and every other aspect of the drama. And yet, He is involved - a glimpse of the way the Divine Director conducts the human drama too! And one other important observation here is this.

There is a poem in Sanskrit that compares Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati to be united like the word and its meaning. It also refers to the fact that for the Lord, either the word or its feeling and meaning is the same. That was very evident from seeing Swami's reactions during the rehearsal on November 14 as well as on Nov 21.

The drama in progress...

There is a poem in Sanskrit that compares Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati to be united like the word and its meaning. It also refers to the fact that for the Lord, either the word or its feeling and meaning is the same. That was very evident from seeing Swami's reactions during the rehearsal on November 14 as well as on Nov 21. The drama now had a lot of background music. So emotions were more powerfully evoked in all. But for Swami, His reactions were almost like the way He had reacted on the 14th. He needs no special effects, lights, costumes and background music to "evoke" emotions. He seems to spontaneously identify with the words and feelings of the actors - even if they are in whites and are just speaking out their dialogues. One was reminded of how Swami had almost shed tears a few years ago when the actors selected to play the role of Pandavas had just read out their dialogues in front of Him. It was the day the scripts had been just handed over to them and yet Swami's reactions were like that of a person who would react to that piteous condition of the Pandavas when viewed only on the final day with all the add ons and effects!

A video presentation that would be a part of the drama was also played and Swami expressed His appreciation at the way it had been made. On the whole, Swami was very happy with the drama. He expressed His happiness in absolute silence. It is said that when the heart is full, words are few. Then what to say when there are no words at all! It was almost 1:15 pm as Swami returned to Yajur Mandir.

Satyam Shivam Sundaram-6 shown to Swami
Two heroes of the drama with THE Hero of THE Drama

For the evening, there was a concert scheduled by Sri T. M. Krishna. Swami came out after 4:30 pm. He came onstage after His darshan rounds in the chair, sat there for ten minutes listening to the Vedam chanting and then moved to the interview room. He emerged a few minutes later and came onstage once again, and the programme commenced at five minutes to five. The singer began his exploration of the ragas and the scales of Classical Carnatic music. As the concert went on, Swami briefly moved into the interview room. The singer noticed Bhagawan's absence and started singing Carnatic songs with lyrics like "When will we have the darshan of the Lord of Chidambaram", "Mother, will you not listen to my call and talk to me?" and so on. There was a loud applause as Swami returned onstage, called for the singer and his accompanists and showered a lot of Love on them. He gave rings to three of them, placed shawls in their hands, gave them prasadam and took photographs with them, talking to them for more than ten minutes. It was a wonderful sight to see the Divine romance between the Lord and His devotee.

T.M.Krishna lost in devotional fervour during his concert.
Rewarded with a green diamond ring by Swami

It was then that Swami called a few of His singer-students on stage and asked them to sing. Being a bit taken aback, the student asked Swami whether he could sit down along with the bhajan group and sing instead of sitting onstage! Swami smiled and agreed. The students began their renderings one by each. Each one seemed to better the other. The final one was a real classical masterpiece. As they sang, the artistes on stage were whole heartedly nodding their approval and Swami seemed so very pleased. Swami, the proud mother always, did not let go of the opportunity to ‘sing the praises’ of His dear boys to the artistes. After the songs there was a bhajan as Swami instructed. Prasadam was served to all and Prof. Anil Kumar announced that the 26th Convocation of the Sathya Sai University would be held the next day. Swami then received Aarti and retired at about 7:15 pm.

22 November, 2007 – XVI Convocation of SSSU

On the morning of November 22, Bhagavan came to the Sai Kulwant Hall as the Bhajans went on after 9.30 am. After sitting in the Bhajan Hall for nearly half an hour, He accepted Arati and returned to His residence. At 1.45 pm, Bhagavan once again came to the Sai Kulwant Hall in His chair to check the preparations made for the Sri Sathya Sai University's 26th Convocation. After fine-tuning the arrangements, He returned to His residence and emerged later for the convocation.

A grand view of the stage set for the 26th Convocation of the Sathya Sai University

The Convocation procession was led by the University Brass band into the Sai Kulwant Hall at 3.30 pm. Bhagavan was resplendent in a white robe for the occasion. Sharing the stage with Bhagavan and the University governing body members and deans was Justice Bhagawati, former Chief Justice of India. The Vice-Chancellor delivered his welcome address, Bhagavan stood to say, softly and sweetly, "I declare the Convocation open", and the graduates of the year were administered the Convocation Oath. The gold medal winners and Ph D recipients came up to Bhagavan to receive His benediction and their medals.

The ceremonial procession with members of academic council
"I declare Convocation open"

The all rounder gold medallist with Bhagawan
A gold medallist from the Anantapur campus

Bhagavan stood up to deliver His Convocation Address at 4.15 pm. Here are the highlights of the discourse:

”From the time one gets up from the bed till he goes to bed again, why should one waste all his time in earning money?


Embodiments of Love!

It is not good to waste one's time and energy in vain pursuits without attending to one's ordained duties. Time is sacred and valuable. Time waste is life waste. You are all students who have to lead others in future. Every individual has some desires. But, students especially have to control their desires.  This is their duty… The word 'Vidya' (education) has its root in the word 'Vid', meaning light. It means that education illumines our path to progress.

Dear students!

You must stand as an ideal to everyone. It is only with this hope that we are bringing you up with great love. You all know that the educational institutions in the outside world charge money for everything. But, we are not collecting any money from our students towards fees. On the other hand, we ourselves are incurring huge expenditure on students' education. Also, we are helping a number of destitute children in so many ways by providing them material support, free education, financial help, etc. You must realise this truth. Education is your property. Education is not merely to help make a living in the world.

Bhagavan's Convocation Address

There is a higher purpose to education - providing an inner life based upon the five human values, viz., Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love and Non-violence. These human values provide a secure, real and meaningful life to us. Sathya (truth) is the basis for everything in the Universe.

The creation emerges from truth and merges into truth,
Is there a place in the cosmos where truth does not exist?
Visualise this pure and unsullied truth.       (Telugu poem)

God is the creator of all living beings right from a tiny ant to a mighty elephant. Nothing in this universe will move without His Divine Will. Even tiny ants that you see are born out of God's will. The same truth has been explained in Saint Thyagaraja's famous Kirtan “Cheemalo Brahmalo Siva Kesavaadulalo Prema Meera Velasi Unde Birudhu Vahinchina Rama Nannu Brovara” (Oh Rama! In Your pure and unsullied form of love, You indwell all beings from an ant to Brahma as also in Siva and Kesava. Please be my protector too).

No doubt we are aware of it, but once an ant bites us, we immediately kill it. On the other hand, when Lord Brahma appears before us we offer our pranams to Him with folded hands.  Though the names and forms are different, the same Atma permeates all living beings. One who develops faith in this Truth will not hasten to cause any harm to any living being.

Every individual develops desires to satisfy himself. He always chants 'self, self, self'. Every individual repeats 'this is my body; this is my mind; this is my head', etc. But who is 'my'? When you say 'this is my body', perhaps it may be true for today or tomorrow. But, where is your body day after tomorrow? What happens to it then? You are nourishing this body with great love and care. But, this body is not yours. It is a gift of God. In fact, everything in this universe is God's gift. For instance, this is a handkerchief. From where did it come? Has it fallen from the sky? No! It has come from cotton.

From cotton came the thread and the thread is woven into a cloth. Hence, there can be no thread without cotton and no cloth without thread. Thus, everything in this universe has a basis and a source. Unfortunately today we are forgetting this fundamental principle. That is the reason why we are experiencing several difficulties. When you hear the word 'God' repeatedly, you are tempted to enquire 'where is God?' "God is with you, in you, around you, behind you." In fact, "you are God!" Develop that firm faith. The same God as Atma Thatwa permeates all the millions of human beings in this world; nay every living being in the world. We are witnessing millions of living beings with different names and different forms in this Universe. Though the names and forms are different, the Atma Thathwa (indwelling spirit) in them is only one. Ekam Sath Viprah Bahudha Vadanthi (Truth is one; the wise say it in different ways). Gold is one, the jewels are many. When the different ornaments are melted, what remains ultimately is only gold!
'The whole world loves Me and I love all'

Hence, oh embodiments of Love! You try to realise the source and sustenance for all objects in this universe. You consider you are different from your father and mother. Again, you treat your mother as different from your father. No; this is not correct. Both father and mother are one. You are part of them. Hence, the question of difference does not arise. A man with dual mind is half blind. You should not have a dual mind. All the education you pursue is not for you only. It is for helping your fellow human being; fellow living beings like birds, animals and insects. Then only the education you have acquired becomes meaningful. Whenever you encounter a person whom you consider as your enemy, say "hello". You love everyone. Never hate anybody. You might have noticed that no one hates Swami and all people love Him. You may ask Me whether there are people who really do not deserve Swami's love. I wish to emphasise that all people deserve Swami's love. I love everyone. I do not hate anybody. I do not cause trouble to anyone. I do not offend anyone. Since the feeling of Ekatma bhava (one Atma permeating all living beings) is so strong in Me, so many people love Me. The whole world loves Me and I love all. My word, My song and My divine leelas are all dedicated to your welfare. You must therefore try to understand My real nature. You develop faith in the Atma Thathwa. From faith comes love. When faith and love go together thus, your desires will be fulfilled. Both faith and love are most important for a human being. All others are like passing clouds which just come and go in between. You should not attach much importance to them.

In fact, faith is the reflection of love. And love is the very form of God. Hence, Love is God, Live in Love. Truth is truth for all times - past, present and future. It will never change. That is why it is said "Truth is God". We should not think that God is present somewhere in a distant place. God is not separate from us. The entire universe is an embodiment of Divinity. You should therefore constantly contemplate on that Divinity who is none other than Unity.


Dear Students!

You read several books. However, all those books have been written with the help of only 26 letters. There are a number of lawyers. They carry books which are very bulky in size. But, all those books contain only letters ultimately. Health, wealth, happiness and bliss - the source and sustenance for all these things is only God. Good or bad, everything is God. You cannot find bad anywhere separately. Wherever you see, it is only good. But, you are not able to realise that good. You are confused. The bad, if any is only a manifestation due to the difference of time. Today we partake a variety of tasty dishes. But, the next day they are transformed into excreta. Today's phala (fruit) is transformed into mala (excreta) tomorrow. Divinity is present in all things - both good and bad. There is no place or object in this world where God is not present. No one can say with any authority that God is "nowhere or only here". Several names and forms are ascribed to that Divinity and a lot of confusion is created thereby. The reason for this confusion is based on how one relates himself to God at the individual level. We should therefore try to set aside this individual relationship at least to a certain extent. It is only for this purpose that we are pursuing many types of education. The moment the individual relationship merges into a feeling of oneness with God, what remains is only Divinity everywhere.

'There is no place or object in this world where God is not present'

Religions are many but goal is one.
Clothes are many but yarn is one.
Beings are many but breath is one.
(Telugu poem)

You must preserve this truth that “Truth is One” in your heart safely and securely. You consider someone as your enemy. No, no; this is not true. It is only a change in your attitude and love towards him that made him your enemy. There is no change in him at all. Everything in this world is reaction, reflection and resound. However, reality is only one. If you develop such an attitude, you can experience any amount of happiness. You think: "Swami is always cheerful and smiling. How is it possible?" Yes, I am always smiling! The reason being I treat all people as one. The happiness of all of you is My food. Hence, you also develop that attitude.

The other day, the children put up a play. I felt very happy on witnessing that play. The children put up the show unitedly. We use the words 'I' and 'We'. From where did the word 'we' come? It has come from 'I'. Without 'I', there can be no 'we'. Thus, 'I' is the one and only one entity. It is like a vertical wooden pillar. When another piece of wood is nailed across in the middle horizontally, it becomes a cross. It means that when 'I' (ego) is broken, it becomes a cross. We must always endeavour to keep 'I' as only one. You consider all people as your brothers and sisters. All are one. If you thus make an enquiry, everything in this universe represents only the principle of oneness. If you establish this truth firmly in your heart, the same feeling will reflect everywhere.

Suppose you love a girl. Who is that girl anyway? Yourself only. It means you loved yourself! The girl is not separate from you. When you treat her as separate, you refer to her as 'wife'. On the other hand, when you treat her as one with you, you become one. You realise this unity. What could be the reason for such great diversity in the living beings in the world? They are a manifestation of the same divine principle.

Embodiments of Love! Dear students!

You must all become ideal men and women. It is only when you lead an ideal life, the whole society will become ideal. Do not entertain any differences. "All are one; be alike to everyone". This, you must remember always. Then only can you become ideal students. Otherwise, you remain merely as educated people. Who is an educated person in the real sense? One who has realised that all are one. Education implies only learning. On the other hand, Vidya is one that symbolises oneness. Vidya spreads the light of oneness with God. If you lose this enlightenment, you have to live in darkness.

Embodiments of Love!

Let your love be diverted towards God and it will confer bliss upon you. If you direct it towards worldly objects and persons, it is likely to change every now and then. Whomsoever you come across, develop the feeling that they are all your brothers and sisters.

I am quite well. No one needs to worry about My health; not only My body, everything is alright. My mind does not waver. I have a steady and ever alert mind. The body may undergo some changes; but I am always My own Divine Self.  People enquire, "Swami! You are always smiling! Did you not ever encounter sorrow?" No. Not at all! Sorrow is nowhere near Me. Whatever has to happen will happen. If you go on worrying about it, will it be warded off? That will lead to much more worry. Hence, one should not give scope for worry at all. Once your mind starts worrying, it will never end. You worry, "Examinations are nearing; Oh! God! How do I prepare myself!"  What is all this worry about? Why do you fear to write answers for those questions which you already know? Surely you will fare well in the examinations. Do not develop any fear of examinations.

No one can measure the distance of the sky from the earth. That is the reason why it is said that the sky is blue. Similarly, none can describe the form of Divinity. In order to portray God, artists started using the colour of blue. In fact, God has no colour at all!

'Your Atma will never undergo
any change'

If God were to be born with a blue colour, He would have been put in an exhibition as an object of wonder! Divinity cannot be changed. You may change; but your Atma will never undergo any change.

You earn a name for yourselves as good boys. Bring honour to your parents. Also, let the society be proud of you. If the society is to be transferred into a good society, it can happen only through the students. Today wherever our students be, people say they are very good. I am getting the news. You try to live up to that name. I don't aspire for anything else. I will give you whatever you want. In fact, I gave Myself to you. May you all be happy! Do not quarrel with anybody. Do not abuse anyone. May you all live like brothers and sisters! That is the fruit of education. That is real education. First and foremost, make your parents happy. If you cannot make your parents who brought you up happy, how can you make Me happy? Hence, you all go to your homes and live happily with your parents. Then, I will also be happy. When people praise you that so and so is a student of Sri Sathya Sai University, it is a matter of pride to you as well as to the Institution.

The University Grants Commission in New Delhi did not recognise several educational institutions in the country for a long time, whereas the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning was conferred the status of a Deemed University within the second year of its inception. Dr. Madhuri Shah was the Chairman of the University Grants Commission then.


She visited Puttaparthi then and put forward a proposal to make our Institute into a Deemed University. Several objections were raised to her proposal on the ground that it was still a nascent Institute in its second year and it would not be proper to confer the status of a University on it in such a short time. Dr. Bhagavantham was with us at that time translating My speech. He confidently said, "This is impossible; impossible". I told him very emphatically that it is possible. The U.G.C. committee visited our Institution thereafter in the second year itself and unanimously recommended to confer the status of a Deemed University on Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. As per the committee's own admission, "This is the first college" to be conferred a Deemed University status within the second year of its starting. Later Dr. Madhuri Shah came here to formally open the Deemed University. She openly said in a meeting, "Dr. Bhagavantham! You said it is impossible to make it into a University in such a short time. How had it been possible now?"

Swami calls Justice Bhagawati unto Him

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, a Deemed University has since been made into a full-fledged University with the combined efforts of all people.

All our students are men of noble character. They are well behaved and well educated. You may not perhaps know how famous is our Sri Sathya Sai University all over the world, especially in the United States of America. There are about 180 past students now working in America in different fields. Recently, they all came here in a group. They prayed to Swami, "Swami! We do not wish to go to our homes here. We will go back direct to America from here, after this visit." Such was their love and dedication to Swami and Sri Sathya Sai University."

(Bhagavan then called Dr. Michael Goldstein, Chairman and Director, Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation and asked him to speak for a few minutes about the former students now working in America.)

After that, the Vice Chancellor announced that the Convocation had ended and that a drama would be held shortly in the auditorium. The academic council members all left the stage when Swami got up again and spoke! He praised Justice Bhagawati for his devotion and dedication.

”I told Bhagawati that he should be ready to leave to Delhi. Soon the orders came and he came to know that he had been appointed as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He is very dear to Swami and Swami is very dear to him.”

Commanding Dr.Goldstein to speak out his feelings

Then Justice Bhagawati expressed his deepest sense of gratitude to Swami. It was after that Swami blessed him and made His way to Yajur Mandir. Soon after that, Swami came into the auditorium. He took a complete round before taking His place in the centre of the ‘D’ to watch the drama. Here is the complete story of the drama:

Obeisances to the Sun God

Sudheer is a student of Vidya Mandir Junior College. For the past 12 years he has been traveling a distance one hour daily to this school from his village – Anandgram. The drama opens as the farewell programme instituted by the twelfth class boys is being presented which has a dance highlighting values such as patriotism, sense of responsibility, etc. After its over, the junior college principal Mr. Vishwanath Verma speaks to the students highlighting the need the dream big and noble. He has been the iconic figure of the school ever since he took the position of principal 7 years ago. The school has seen many feathers being added to its cap under his leadership. Sudheer has been adjudged the best student of the school and is being felicitated. During the felicitation ceremony, Sudheer is asked to speak. After paying gratitude to his teachers and the principal in particular, he unfolds his vision of becoming a doctor. His father, Mr. Purushottam is a proud man as he watches his son receive accolades. Mr. Purushottam, a post man, has toiled his entire life to see that his motherless child gets the best that he can give.
Sudheer with his father and the best student award

Back home, Sudheer is excited about his joining a good medical college to pursue his dream. But his father alone knows the truth about their predicament. He tries to persuade his son to choose another line. Purushottam could hardly afford to pay Sudheer's school fees for the past few years and today he is expected to fund Sudheer's medical degree. Moreover there is a secret which Purushottam has kept from Sudheer. Sudheer has been suffering from a hole in his heart since childhood. Even as Purushottam is dissuading his son, he blurts out this fact and tells him the whole truth. Sudheer is at first shocked but he is boy of character and passion. He consoles his father by assuring him that the Lord will take care, as he has been, for all these years.

" My heart yearns for a medical education!"
"But sadly, it also has a hole in it!"

He recounts the story of Bhadrachala Ramdas. The story brings out the episode of the unjust punishment meted out Ramdas and Shri Rama, Himself, paying the debts to Tanesha. Even as he narrates the story, the father is so proud of his son and prays intensely to the Lord to save them from this predicament.

Ramadas is wrongly accused
Redeemed by his Lord

The faint strains of the bhajan 'Rama Anarada Mari Okka Sari Rama Anarada...' are heard. Soon they see men clad in white, singing bhajans enthusiastically passing in front of their house. They wonder who they are. The Sai Students (old students) have come to serve the village. They hand over Swami's prasadam to Purushottam and Sudheer. Purushottam realises that God has sent help. The one packet of food is really a reminder that He Knows, He Cares, He Supports and will never forsake. This prasadam itself gives his great assurance.

They reveal their objective of serving the people. Even as they talk about the medical camp that they have organised, Purushottam reveals to them that his son needs medical attention. They immediately decide to bring Sudheer to the Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital.

"For whom else has Swami built those marvellous hospitals?"
The video presentation on the treatment in the hospital

Sudheer is admitted into the Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospital. A song here narrates the unending saga of love which has touched and healed the lives of thousands. Sudheer has successfully undergone surgery and is on the path to leading a normal life. The visual here is a wonderfully made video which depicts Sudheer's journey from illness to health through the SSSIHMS. As the song finishes, a team from Radio Sai walks in to interview Sudheer about his experience in Baba's hospital. He tells them that if given a chance to become a doctor, he would come to serve many more like him. That was his dream. But he understands that reality bites. Deep in his heart the desire to become a doctor persists. He prays in front of Swami's photo.

The scene shifts to America where the friend of a doctor Ashutosh tells him that he was leaving everything and going back to his hometown to stay and serve his parents. Ashutosh is shocked at the suddenness of the decision and becomes nostalgic about his own father and mother. His father had always advised him to stay back and serve his fellowmen. Contrary to his father's wishes he had deserted his parents for all for greener pastures. He had conveniently forgotten his life here until today when he hears The Voice – Bhagavan Baba's Voice over the radio via Radio Sai Global Harmony. His life then changes for ever.

The Radio Sai team interviews Sudheer
Ashutosh is shocked at his best friend's decision

 A gentleman walks into the home of Purushottam revealing his identity as Mr. Ashutosh from America. He had heard Sudheer's story on Radio Sai and had determined to help Sudheer become a doctor. He had come to sponsor his entire medical education. Sudheer and his father have seen miracles work but this is something unimaginable. Who can ever fathom the network of God? Where is Anandgram and where is America? One more miracle has been orchestrated to perfection by the lord.

Ashutosh confesses the reason for his benevolence. Even as he continued to hear Radio Sai, he heard the story of Sudheer and felt the inner compulsion to take up this act. Ashutosh wishes that his father was there to know that he loved him and the wonderful childhood days at Shripuram haunted him nostalgically. At that moment, Purushottam recollects a very curious incident that had taken place in the Mandir when he had been for Darshan during his stay. Swami had thrust a letter into his hands, and said, "Aye Postman, yeh letter Shripuram doctor ko deliver karo"(ye postman, deliver this letter to the shripuram doctor). Purushottam did not know what to do with it since it had no address until this moment. When he brings the letter and hands it over, Ashutosh is now shell-shocked. He opens in utter amazement and finds that the letter was written by his father to Swami. The letter contains the pangs of a father's heart praying Swami to guide his son onto the right path. Father had written that he would continue to love his son despite the happenings.

 Even as Ashutosh's eyes are brimming with tears, Vishwanath Verma the principal walks in to enquire about Sudheer's health. Vishwanath Verma is none other than Ashutosh's father. There is joy all around and everyone cannot but help marvelling at the master play of the Divine scriptwriter.

The mysterious letter
The "joyous-tearful" reunion

After the drama, Swami went on stage. On the way there were many in the ‘D’ with tears in their eyes. Swami asked almost everyone whom He saw, "How was the drama?" He posed for pictures on stage and then blessing everybody, retired for the day.

Swami blesses the actors...
...and the dancers

November 23, 2007 –82nd Birth Anniversary of the Avathar

An overflow of colours, flowers and streamers, celebrating our most wonderful, beloved Bhagavan

The day finally dawned! It was the glorious occasion for which thousands had waited with anticipation and joy for days and weeks. From the previous night 11:00 pm itself, serpentine lines of devotees had begun to form outside the Nilayam amidst heavy security. The fact that there were not too many high profile guests did not make security any lesser from the previous birthdays. We came to know that the Anointing ceremony which used to be the highlight of birthday celebrations of the yore would be revived this year! It filled us with ecstasy and we could not wait for Swami to arrive!

Swami emerged at about 9:00 am. And it was a grand and gorgeous procession! The Primary school band led the way, and it was followed by the Anantapur band, the Institute brass band, Veda chanting 'tiny tots' pundits followed by the stalwarts of the Institute. And then it was of course the charismatic little beloved of the Lord, Krishna Geetha. And after that was the Charming Sai, that too in the wheel sofa filling every heart with delight! Like the sunflowers which celebrate the sunrise, the assembly of devotees celebrated His arrival with loud applause. To see God on the day He decided to take up a human frame to redeem all and confer joy is indeed a privilege which is most unique.

The bagpipe band from the Primary School
The grand procession of the various bands!

Swami's face lights up as He sees the devotees. He appears very touched. He makes everyone feel that the privilege is His to see all on this special day. But then that is the way the Lord always looks at His devotees. As He mentioned in the discourse the previous day, His entire life and being is only for the devotees.

Swami slowly moved through the ladies side. Towards the end of the ladies side were ladies from His family who had brought all the items considered auspicious to be placed near Swami during the anointment ceremony.

Six year old children and a three year old calf too are part of it.
All the members of His "family"

Swami went on to the gents side. A Mexican wave ran through the crowd as they rose to various heights so that they could fill their eyes with His Lovely Frame on this day. One could see the uplifting influence of the Lord as people rose wherever He went. A plethora of cards had been made by the students from KG to PG to wish Him on His birthday and the whole portico was filled with cakes of varied colours, shapes and sizes. Swami went into the portico and then began a massive exercise in cake cutting. With great patience, Swami went around to each of the cakes that had been so lovingly made and made His 'mark' on them after 'lighting' them up. Then He went into the interview room.

Swami starts cutting the first cake.....
...and smilingly finishes with the fifteenth cake!

Meanwhile the stage was being set for the ceremonies to follow. The celebrated Carnatic vocalists, Sri Rama Prasad and Sri Ravi Kumar, known as Malladi Brothers, took their positions on stage. The oil to be used for the anointment was brought in a special silver bowl and placed on a highly decorated pedestal.

Swami came out of the interview room and took position in the centre of the stage. The devotees burst into an applause seeing their Lord again after a brief pause. Swami asked the Malladi brothers to begin their concert and they brothers, who sat facing Him, began on a wonderful note with the joyous celebration of His birthday.

The songs were actually the poetic compositions of Karunasri Paapayya Shastri who was a great devotee of Swami. They comprehensively captured the beauty and divinity of Swami. Swami was deeply touched as He heard every song. After glorifying the Sai Avatar, they made scintillating comparisons between Swami, Lord Rama and Krishna. Another musical composition was filled with puns on the word "Putta" of Puttaparthi (as “Puttu”, in Telugu, means birth). It was so poetic to the musicians' ears and so musical to the poets' ears! The Lord was enjoying it and it was so wonderful to see Swami so happy on His 'special' day.

The Malladi brothers sing a Carnatic birthday song

In the middle of the concert, Swami called Prof. Anil Kumar and asked him to make the announcements. It was then that the entire Birthday assembly came to know of the Anointment Ceremony. The Professor introduced the ceremony in its true grandeur making allusions to the birthday of Lord Sri Rama when Kausalya and the sages with their wives would perform the anointment, applying sacred oil to the Divine Locks. The first couple to get the privilege was that of Sri Ratnakar and his wife. They came up the stage and after prostrating to Swami, applied turmeric and kumkum to His feet. Then, they took a marigold flower, dipped it gently in the bowl of oil, and placed the flower on His Hair. The most benevolent Lord sweetly bent His head. The next couple was justice Bhagawati and his wife. Swami was all smiles as He gently bowed to accept the oil that was being applied. Mr. Indulal Shah and his wife were on stage next and Prof. Anil Kumar introduced him as the “Bheeshmacharya” of the Sai Mission and Swami asked Prof. Anil Kumar to repeat for all to hear again. Three more couples followed, Mr and Mrs Shourie, Mr and Mrs Gangadhar Shetty and finally Mr and Mrs Margabandhu. All of them were well above 80 years of age.

The eldest of the Ratnakar family anoints Swami
Swami blessing Justice Bhagawati and his wife

The Shourie couple anointing Swami
A proud and privileged moment for the Yadalam family

Swami's feet were so wonderfully decorated with flowers and turmeric. When one looked at them, it reminded of the Sadguru's redeeming Feet. After the ceremony, Swami permitted the Malladi brothers to resume their concert. They sang beautiful songs apt for the occasion. The concert went on and Swami sat relishing every word and tune of their soulful music. After a while, Swami asked for the prasadam to be distributed to all and at about 11 am, Swami indicated them that it was lunch time and that the devotees would be hungry! He told the brothers that He would give them a chance to perform in the evening again. Receiving Aarthi, He retired at about 11:15 am. More than two hours in this blissful morning passed like two seconds!


23rd November 2007- 82nd Birthday Evening

A bird's eye view of the decorated mandir on the Birthday

In the evening there was an air of excitement about the concert by Mr. Hariharan, a popular vocalist, especially among the younger generation.  Swami came out at about 5:15 pm in the wheel sofa. He went around gently granting beautiful Darshan, and as soon as He came on stage, He beckoned the Malladi brothers to do an encore.

Swami decides to abandon the car and be amidst His devotees
Accepting all the cards made so lovingly for Him

Taking from where they had left off in the morning, the brothers’ duo, accompanied with their father, continued their soulful performance picking perfect tunes and tones matching the occasion. They sang the glory of Rama Avatar and then described how that same grandeur was being reflected in the Sathya Sai Avatar. Swami was truly ‘lost’ listening to their rendering so filled with love, and whenever He opened His eyes, conferred immeasurable blessings on the father and the sons with beatific smiles, encouraging nods and elevating blessings.

As the concert proceeded, Swami suddenly decided to go down the stage and blessed the six elderly ladies on whom he had conferred the privilege of anointing Him in the morning. He had with Him magnificent sarees, rich in colours and design. Like one honours eminent people by draping shawls on them, Swami lovingly placed on each of them beautiful sarees! As each one received and bent down to touch His feet, the Lord blessed them profusely. And after He returned to the stage, He posed with them for a group photograph and filled their hearts with joy. All the while the concert was in progress and after nearly an hour, Swami called the extremely talented singers and blessed their father, who is also their teacher, with a chain. The father was now smiling from ear to ear. After this they sang a song or two, and then concluded their performance.

A gift of Love for all those who anointed Him
Sarees woven in the finest of silks

The light had faded and it was nearly seven now. But Swami’s face was brilliant! He next asked for the famous Ghazal singer, Hariharan, to begin his presentation. He prostrated to Swami, offered a tiny bouquet and took his place on the stage. He sang such a wide repertoire of songs that the sheer variety itself thrilled the audience.

The veteran of variety begins his show
Sharing a lighter moment with the Malladi brothers

There was light music, Hindustani, Carnatic and ghazals. As He sang, Swami was conversing off and on with the Malladi brothers whom He had asked to be seated by His side. You could see Swami was cheerful, smiling and joking with them. As Hariharan went on regaling the audience, it was a joy to see Swami in such a lighter mood.  After he completed his concert, Swami told him that the boys seem to enjoy his songs a lot! Then He asked him to sing something that all could follow too. And Hariharan sang the bhajan "Janani Maa" which everyone present in the hall followed with a lot of gusto. The Lord sat encouraging the boys to sing louder and faster! At the end of the bhajan, with a wave of His hand, He gifted the singer with a ring and also blessed the entire troupe with a group photograph.

A ring for Hariharan
The Master and the maestro

It was 8 pm by the time the Lord received arathi and retired. It was an elaborate and extended blessing of Divine Darshan by the Lord on this very special day. No one present in the gathering could have asked for more.

With Sai's Love and protection,
the coming year is assured to be divine

- Heart2Heart Team






- Heart2Heart Team

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Vol 5 Issue 12 - DECEMBER 2007
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