Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Reports of events from the Sai Baba Ashrams


Celebration of Independence Day at Parthi,
15 August 2004

Sairam. For the first time, Independence Day at Prasanthinilayam was celebrated at the Mandir in the Divine Presence. The II PG boys were preparing for this mega event since a week. The programme was slotted for the evening on the 15th of August. Divinely sensing the mega preparations going on, our dear Lord enquired about the programme from the Warden. Not satisfied with his details, Bhagawan called the two main student coordinators from the II PG class into the interview room on the 15th morning, when we went to the Mandir after the flag hoisting ceremony at the Institute.

The two students very excitedly went into the Interview room. Swami asked them about the programme. Being unprepared for such a query, they were thinking about how to put forth the entire details. Before they could say anything, our dear Lord revealed His Omniscience by giving detailed descriptions about the entire programme. He mentioned the various modules of the programme, the number of characters and the roles being played by them. The two students sat dumbfounded!! They kept nodding their heads in awe and wonder!!

Swami told them that He would like to talk to these main actors before the programme. The students had some doubts regarding certain events to be portrayed. For e.g. they were not very sure whether Swami would like them showing the hanging of Bhagat Singh. Another concern they had was whether we should have the National Anthem being sung at the end of the programme for they did not want to inconvenience Swami in any way. Taking this wonderful opportunity, they directly prayed to Swami about these two points. Bhagawan said, "Yes, you must show Bhagat Singh's life. People should know. You must also have the National Anthem. Why only students must stand? Even the devotees must stand and participate in singing the National Anthem".

Subsequently, Swami talked to them about various freedom fighters and the sacrifices they had made for the country. Bhagawan asked them not to forget mentioning the names of Lal (Lala Lajpat Rai), Bal (Bal Gangadar Tilak) and Pal (Bipin Chandra Pal). When the students prayed to Swami for putting up the programme in the morning, as by evening, people's spirit of patriotism would come down; Bhagawan told them to put up such a wonderful show that our Independence Day must begin in the afternoon and must inspire all the people.

Bhagawan was so involved with the show, that at around 1.30 p.m. in the noon, He came out in the golf cart to see the boys practicing in the Mandir. Unfortunately, the boys had just wound up the practice and very few were in the Mandir. Bhagawan took a round and returned. In the evening, He came out at around 3.10 p.m. and went straight to the Bhajan Hall where a large number of students were dressing up with their different costumes. There were a number of policemen, a number of English soldiers, Freedom fighters, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. Swami was especially interested in Netaji. He called him close and inspected his dress which was specially prepared for the occasion. He gave His approval but made a few remarks about the way the cap was worn. He described how exactly Netaji wore the cap. Bhagawan appreciated Netaji Subash Chandra Bose a lot. Bhagwan said he was a great man and had true love for the country.

Swami spent almost close to twenty minutes or more inside the Bhajan Hall. The middle portion of the Kulwant Hall was left open for the show. The backdrop was a huge velvet covered board that almost reached one third towards the ceiling, and had a big map of India. The map was coloured with the tricolours of the flag in such a way that it depicted our Mother India wrapped in the tricolours. When I send you the photos you will be able to appreciate this wonderful piece of art!! There was a white cloth that covered this map, which was unfolded manually just as Swami's golf cart passed in front of it!

Bhagawan came and sat outside. The programme began with a solo dance by a wonderful dancer student ? to the musical verse sung by Bhagawan about Mother India ? "Khand Khandantara Khyati?.". After the dance, began the story. In brief, the story was about a father and a son. The son having finished his studies wishes to go to the West for settling down. This shocks the father who was a great patriotic and was himself the son of a very great freedom fighter who had given his life for the country. The father and his colleague are shocked to see this young lad drowned in the dreams of the foreign lands. The rest of the story is their dialogue with the son, wherein they make him realize the greatness of this sacred land and also the countless sacrifices made by thousands of Indians for the sake of freedom. Scenes from the life of Bhagat Singh, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose and other freedom fighters were shown. The impact was great. There were sets of a Jail, the Hanging Noose. The boys very tactfully depicted the hanging of Bhagat Singh. He is taken to the noose and then as he stands over there a curtain rolls down in front of the entire set depicting the hanging of this great son of India. It was like a movie going on in front of our eyes. It was very rich in costumes, very powerful in dialogues and saturated with feelings!! From where I was sitting, I could see many a people wiping the tears from their eyes. By the time the programme ended at 4.30 p.m. and the National Anthem was sung, many of us were choked with an inexplicable love for our Motherland. As all of us got up to sing the National Anthem one could see Bhagawan's face full of Love for the Bharatmaata!!

Towards the end of the play, the students touched upon Bhagawan's definition of independence. They explained that true independence is Svaarajya and Svaatantrataa ? which means rule of the heart, freedom of the spirit. Therefore, they urged all Indians to rise beyond the body and the mind and fly into the world of the spirit, for if India had to win true freedom, it would be not through the power of the physical might or mental strength but through the power of the spirit!! Ultimately true freedom meant that each one must act according to the dictates of one's conscience for conscience is the voice of the Lord within! They also gave the correct definition of Bhaarat. Bhaarat according to Bhagawan is not a land defined by geographical boundaries but it is defined by her people and the way of their life. Anybody who lives the Indian Way of life (a life with Human Values, a life of sacrifice and love for God) is a Bharatiya and such a land is Bhaarat!

They explained that it is towards this end that the National Anthem had been truly composed. The Anthem does not talk about the nation but it is a humble prayer to the Bhaarata Bhaagya Vidhaata ? the Lord in whose hands lies the destiny of this great Nation. It is to this Lord that the states of Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat and Maratha etc. bow down. The Vindyachala and the Himalayas, the Yamuna and the Ganga pay their obeisance to this almighty Lord of our Nation. With these feelings they finally offered their efforts to Bhagawan ? the Bhaagya Vidhaata of not only India but the entire world!!

As the National Anthem concluded, there was a loud applause. Bhagawan got up from His chair and came forward; got down the steps and moved towards the actors. He blessed them all and gave them several photographs. He again sat down on the sofa and permitted them to sit around him for group photographs. He spoke to many of them and materialized not one, but four rings for four of them!! The next few minutes were moments of joy for all of us as we saw Him showering boundless Love on them. He started telling them the story of Subash Chandra Bose. He called the boy who acted as Subash Chandra Bose and told him all about Bose's life.

Bhagawan retired by 5.00 p.m. Before the National Anthem, there was a song, "Saare Jahaan Se Achaa. When this song was sung, all students started waving the tricolour flag which was distributed to all of us. Mr. Padmanabhan, (Bhagawan's Chauffer) very thoughtfully placed four of these flags on the side of Bhagawan's golf cart. As Swami glided back in the cart towards Poornachandra, the flags waved a loving goodbye in synch with the cool breeze, to all of us!!

Well, that was not the end of the celebrations for we students. There was a gala dinner and another grand programme awaiting us at the Hostel. These programmes were to be put up by the I PG and UG students. After a sumptuous dinner we all settled down for the show. The concept was totally novel and very creative and fantastic!! Never attempted before. There was no stage where the performance would go on. The entire Hostel was to be the stage. As the focus lights would go on, we would turn ourselves in that direction to witness the new item coming up. We had some music pieces and a beautiful orchestra of the National Anthem played on the B-Floor terrace. It looked great, as though a programme is going on up in heaven!!

There were few skits that were enacted all over the quadrangle!! The Gymnastics team put up a beautiful gymnastics show. There was a very meaningful discussion where few students discuss among themselves the true meaning of patriotism. One boy asks the question as to why one should actually love one's country and even if he loves why should he make any contribution to his motherland. The other boys though irritated at this question keep their calm and decide to analyze the point deeply. Through the discussion they communicated the need for having patriotic feelings. It is this motherland that has given birth to us, that has fed us, given us water and clothes to wear, it is this motherland that has educated us and given us a respectable position in society. What then do we give back to her? Bloodshed, poverty, illiteracy, terrorism, violence, leave her and settle down in foreign lands???? We must give back to her our heart felt Love. There is no reason to love our Motherland. Is there any reason required to love our Mother? Concluding the thought provoking discussion the students said that the relationship between the motherland and her citizens is like that between a flower and its fragrance!! They can never be separated.

The programme ended with a wonderful video show made by our multimedia department. It could beat any Hollywood documentary!! Then behind us was a light spectacle!! An array of paper lamps tied together like the Indian flag as wide as our Hostel was slowly being raised from the ground floor to the roof of the Hostel. It was pitch dark with just these lamps illuminating the hearts of each one of us. It is difficult to express the feelings that we all had at the end of the day. Had Bhagawan given us a glimpse into the true meaning of patriotism and patriotic feeling? Possibly!! We concluded with an oath that was administered by the President of India Abdul Kalaam. We went to bed soaked with Love for our Mother Land. Our only prayer was ? let this Love not diminish. Give us the strength Swami, to lay down our life for the cause of this sacred land!!


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