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Experience by Devotees of Sri Sathya Sai Baba

  The month of Celebration at Prasanthi Nilayam
November 2000

We had Swami’s grace to be in the Prasanthi Nilayam in the month of November 2000. As we entered the place we saw a lot of activities going on in the premises and were wondering what they were. We arrived on 6th  of November, and there were many more days left for the birthday. But there was mass cooking in the premises and hundreds of buses and lorries were going out in the morning with Swami’s children (students) and volunteers. So, I inquired where they were going. I learned that they were going out daily  during this month to villages to deliver food and clothes for men. Swami wanted the volunteers to go to the villages and deliver the service at their place, rather than expecting them to come over to Prasanthi  Nilayam.

The activities can be grouped under the following topics:

  1. Narayana Seva
  2. Ahandanamam Bhajan
  3. Conference of world delegates
  4. Sri Sathya Sai Viratha Kalpam
  5. Rathotsavam
  6. Opening of the Chaitanya Jyoti  ( Museum of Swami’s life history)
  7. The Ladies day
  8. Opening of the Music College
  9. Convocation
  10. Swami’s Birthday
  11. New Super Speciality Hospital in Bangalore

1. Narayana Seva: The distribution of food and clothes was a massive project undertaken to commemorate  Swami’s 75th Birthday. Food and clothes were delivered to 10 million people  in different villages during this month. Furthermore, the devotees who arrived at Prasanthi Nilayam were provided with free food for seven days  from November 18th to 24th. It is humanly impossible to perform such a big task. It was done very smoothly and orderly without any hitch because of Bhagawan’s grace. Volunteers were working all night cooking food and carrying them to villages in the early morning. The whole night you hear the Bhajans and Chorus of chanting “Om Sairam”  by the volunteers who  prepare the food. Since this chanting was coming from the hearts of the volunteers, it was very melodious to the ears and made you listen to them rather than fall asleep. During this period, Swami was actively supervising the operations, and  blessed the students before they went out to do Narayana  Seva.

2. Ahandanamam Bhajan:  We were very fortunate to participate in the ahandanamam bhajan which was conducted in the presence of the Divine in the Saikulwant hall. The hall was overflowing with devotees. Towards the end of the bhajan, the number of devotees waiting outside the hall were more than those inside. Swami was present in the Bhajan hall most of the time and showered his grace on the devotees. Frequently Swami came out and blessed those waiting outside. The Bhajans were of a very high calibre and a strong vibration was felt. Lakhs of devotees came to participate in the occasion. The Hall was well decorated and made you feel that you were in Vaikundam or Kailasam or “Sorkam”. Different decorations were done every day from 17th to 23rd of November. 

3. 7th World Conference was inaugurated on the 20th of November by Divine Hands at the Saikulwant Hall. Swami was very kind to give a discourse on that occasion. The following day two sessions were conducted. The first covered the period from Swami’s birth to age 25. All were delighted to see some of  Swami's classmates and contemporaries who described their young days with Swami and specific Leelas of Swami they experienced. It was like a dream to hear from the real people, who were with Swami and experienced His Leelas, about what we knew only from books. The second session covered the period from age 26 to age 50. Many of the speakers were people who associated with Swami during this period. Third and Fourth sessions were conducted on 22nd of November. The third session covered the period from age 51 to age 75. More eminent speakers were there because more and more intellectuals joined the Divine Service during this period. They emphasized on the teachings of Baba and requested that we follow the Divine Teachings in our life and do service which is the greatest of all sadhanas to reach  God. 

The fourth session was about the future of  Sai activities. Jumsai the great scientist and the sponsor of  “HUMAN VALUE IN EDUCATION” gave an excellent speech and received a big ovation from the participants. He used graphs to show how the introduction of Human Values in education will spread in the near future and later. According to him , about 75% of the schools all over the world will teach human values in schools by the year 2015, and by the year 2020 most of the schools in the world will follow suit. That means the Sai message will reach almost everyone before Swami leaves this physical body. The President of the Conference requested every one to make sacrifice towards Sai Service. He also stated that a permanent place for each centre is essential to do the service effectively in this critical time when we have to accelerate our activities to reach the goal.

4. Sri Sathya Sai Viratha Kalpam: This is similar to Sathya Narayana Pooja. Limited number of families were allowed to participate in this event. As the registration was done on the day of our arrival, we missed the opportunity to participate. The families were allowed to sit together and perform the pooja on this occasion. Learned Brahmins were there to conduct this ceremony. The Saikulwant hall was overflowing with devotees watching the ceremony. Swami was there physically to bless the participants and other devotees.

5. Rathotsavam held on the morning of 18th November was very beautiful. Sai Geetha was well decorated for the occasion, and was leading the procession. The Deities were taken in a well decorated Chariot (Ratham ) from Prasanthi Nilayam to Swami’s Sivan Kovil in a procession accompanied by Nathaswaram and Thavil music. Rathotsavam is an annual festival which started with Swami’s blessings. This is one of the few events where the procession passes through the Main Gopuram.

6. Opening of CHAITANYA JYOTHI also took place on the same morning. If you attend Rathotsavam you may not be able to get a proper place in the new museum named as “Chaitanya Jyothi”. So we decided to go for the opening ceremony. As delegates for the 7th world Conference, we were invitees for the ceremony and had the Divine Grace to receive a very good spot to sit. Swami came very close to us and blessed us. To be close to Swami within few feet and receive his graceful look was exciting and blissful. The ceremony was very colourful. The next day special passes were issued by Swami’s grace to the delegates so that they could visit the Museum. As we were delegates from Canada, we got the pass. The Building was designed by a famous architect from Malaysia (Chinese by birth), and is a donation from Malaysians. It is a marvellous piece of work, and has a distinct design. The museum is dedicated to the life story of Swami. Paintings, photographs, specimens, models, video and other things depicting different incidents, miracles, and  Swami’s life were exhibited very nicely.

7. Ladies day was celebrated on the 19th of November. Almost all the activities were performed by ladies. Even the discourse by Swami was translated by a lady. Normally men go round the Mandir  chanting the mantras after the Suppirapatham. But on this day only the ladies were chanting the mantras and went round the Mandir. They  presented a nice cultural program. Sarees were distributed by Swami to ladies.

8. Inauguration of the Music College took place on the 20th of November. The project was done with a donation from an Indonesian devotee. The front of the building was decorated with giant size models of different musical instruments so that there is no need to display it’s name as Music College. Recruitment of staff and other activities have already started , and classes may start in the next academic year. Classic music from different cultures all over the world may be taught there. This includes vocal and instrumental music.

9. The Convocation of  Institute of Higher Learning took place in the afternoon of the 22nd of November. Various dignitaries and Scholars attended the occasion. One Federal Minister was the Chief Guest. Swami’s discourse on this occasion was an exemplary piece of advice to the graduates and other students to cherish it in their hearts and practice it in their life. Nowhere in the world the graduates were given such a worthy piece of advice when they go out to the society. These graduates are extremely lucky people. 

10. 75th Birthday celebrations of Swami was the climax of all events. Devotees started moving towards the Hill View Stadium as early as 1 a.m. on this day for the function to be held at 7 a.m. so that they get a suitable place to watch the ceremony. The stadium was almost full at 7 a.m. when Swami arrived in the chariot. SaiGeetha was leading the procession. She was well decorated. The crowd was spread all over such that those staying far away were not be able to see Swami clearly. To help these people,  giant size television screens were erected at different places. A very powerful audio system was installed so that everyone can  hear the bhajans and announcements clearly. Swami in white attire looked brighter than the sun and was catching the glimpses of everyone. Crackers were thundering for a long time deafening the ears. Flowers were showered from a helicopter flying in the sky. 

As the delegates for the world conference were assigned an area in the front, we were able to watch Swami at a close range, and received his blessings. Swami gave a discourse in the evening at tharsan time. The hall was looking like “ Indralokam” because of the excellent decoration. Prasadam was served to everyone. Swami was blessing everyone  with good health and success. One important incident to be mentioned is that dark clouds were fast approaching on the morning of Swami’s Birthday threatening the devotees who gathered at the stadium. They were scared that it was going to rain heavily. By Swami’s grace, the clouds disappeared in a short time. Swami will never allow his devotees to suffer. Swami was graceful to accept the popular request and gave a discourse lasting about one and a half hours. At the end  Swami blessed all and showered his grace.

11. New Super Speciality Hospital at Bangalore was scheduled to be opened on the 28th of November, but Swami had a sangalpa to postpone it. This is built in the centre of the "Silicon Valley" of Bangalore, and is about four times bigger than the one at Puttaparthi. It has the most modern communication facility installed so that the treatment and testing facilities could be more modern and efficient. It may be opened very soon (probably in January 2001). It will happen according to Swami’s sangalpa

There were cultural programs in the evenings at Poornachandra Auditorium on many occasions. These were presented by Sri Sathya Sai Centres from different states of India. As the hall could not accommodate the massive crowd, many television screens were erected in different locations to enable the devotees to watch the events. The programs were well prepared and performed by SSE students. The high standard of these performances bears ample evidence to show how much sacrifice is made by the devotees to produce them, and the artistic talent of those involved. At the end of each performance, Swami blessed the participants and posed for photograph with them. They were even permitted to do Padanamaskaram.

There were hundreds of Brahmins Chanting Veda continuously during this season, with some interruption at Bhajan time and Tharsan time.  Priests were working on shifts to maintain continuity of the chanting. You may recall that Swami declared that part of his mission is to re-energize the Vedas. That is why Swami is called Veda Matha. As a result of the chanting of the vedas, the place was full of vibration.

- A Seva Dal

From: http://www.saicentre.net/sai10.htm

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