Sri Krishna Ashtami Celebrations
6th September, 2004
celebrates the advent of Lord Sri Krishna, the Avatar of the
Dwapara Era. It is a festival that is marked by fun and gaiety
that relives the Leelas or Divine sport of Sri Krishna's
childhood days at Brindavan. For the devotees of Bhagawan,
Krishnashtami is furthermore an opportunity for them to see the
same Lord who has come again as Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and
listen to the most entrancing narration of Krishna's story in
the most vivid manner that only the Lord himself can narrate.
On the evening of
the 5th September, the students of the first year Under-Graduate
class from the Brindavan Campus of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute
of Higher Learning presented a programme entitled 'Sri Krishna -
the Heart-throb of Humanity'. The programme consisted of
speeches, songs, dances and a play, all woven around the aspects
of Supreme Love and enigma that Sri Krishna was. The play 'Sri
Krishna Kuchelam' depicted the love and the 'Sakhya Bhakthi'
(adoration of the Lord as one's friend) of Sudhama. Sudhama,
also referred to as Kuchela, was the childhood companion of Sri
Krishna at the ashram of their preceptor Sandhipani. Many years
later, Kuchela has settled to a householder's life, but it is
one of abject poverty. One day, his wife requests him to visit
Sri Krishna and pray to him for succour and grace for overcoming
their wretched situation.
agrees to do so and finding nothing else to offer by way of a
gift to Krishna, takes with him a few morsels of beaten rice.
When he arrives at Krishna's palace, Krishna welcomes his
childhood friend with great affection and embraces him. With
love and childlike expectation, He asks Kuchela what gift he had
got Him. When Kuchela embarrassedly offers the beaten rice,
Krishna with great relish and delight partakes of it. In the
bliss of their reunion, Kuchela forgets the purpose for which he
had come and does not tell Krishna about his miserable
condition. Soon, it is time for Kuchela to return home and the
friends part with a heavy heart.
reaches home, he is astonished to see a magnificent palace in
the very spot where his humble dwelling once stood. He is
greeted by his overjoyed wife who is dressed in expensive
clothes and bedecked in glittering jewellery. He is overwhelmed
with gratitude at the abundant grace of His Lord, who unasked
had granted him more than he had ever wished for.
At the end of the
programme, Bhagawan granted photographs to the students and
accepted arati before retiring to His residence.
The auspicious day
of Sri Krishnashtami dawned with the appearance of Bhagawan in
Sai Kulwant Hall clad in a beautiful yellow robe, the 'Peethambara'
which is characteristic of Lord Krishna. After granting darshan
to the waiting thousands, Bhagawan occupied the chair placed on
the dais and the programme commenced. Six students of the
University speaking in English and Telugu, dwelt upon the
similarities in the lives and characteristics of the two 'Poorna
Avatars' - Lord Sri Krishna and our beloved Swami.
delivered His Divine Discourse in which he narrated the story of
the birth of Lord Vamana and his encounter with King Mahabali
where he asks for a gift of three paces of land. Mahabali, who
performed 107 yagnas (sacrificial rituals) and was now
performing the 108th yagna, was pleased to grant Vamana's wish
and also offered him the merit accrued by the performance of all
the yagnas in the form of a necklace. Bhagawan then waved his
hand and materialized the exquisite necklace strung with 108
gold coins that Mahabali had offered to Vamana, and held it up
for the audience to see.
dwelt upon the intense love and devotion of the Gopis (cowherd
maids) of Brindavan who visualized the Lord's form in each and
every thing they saw. They sang and expressed their love and
yearning for Krishna, and the Lord in turn was ever attached to
them and loved them dearly. Citing the example of Gopis, Swami
exhorted everyone to engage themselves in singing the name of
the Lord and His glory. "Sing in any tune that pleases you, but
sing with intense love and feeling for the Lord; this will
definitely take you closer to God", He said.
programme concluded with Bhajans and Arati.
In the afternoon,
the students of the Anantapur Campus of the Sri Sathya Sai
Institute of Higher Learning presented a bouquet of devotional
songs in classical and light classical styles, and in different
languages expressing their love and devotion to their Lord Sai
Thereafter, all the students sang Sthothrams (prayers
in Sanskrit) and songs in praise of Sri Krishna.
blessed Sri Ranganath Raju, a final-year student of M.A
(Economics), to address the gathering in Telugu. He said that
just as a father is judged by the behaviour of his son, the
glory of God can be known by the exemplary life of his devotees.
He said that we must all hasten the process of inner
transformation and progress on the spiritual path, if not for
ourselves, at least for the sake of our beloved Swami who is
painstakingly teaching us the lessons of spirituality by His
Then Bhagawan rose
to deliver His discourse in which He stated that it is not
enough merely to know the scriptures by rote or recite them; one
must understand their purport and translate at least one of the
precepts into action. He cited the example of Ravana who
although being well-versed in all the Vedas and the Shastras
(scriptures) did not put them to practice. Therefore, he let his
evil propensities get the better of him and consequently met
with a miserable end.
about the greatness of Draupadi in the story of Mahabharata,
where she displayed a remarkable degree of patience, forbearance
and forgiveness when she pardoned Ashwathama who ruthlessly
killed all her infants while they were asleep. She also
restrained her husbands who wanted to kill Ashwathama in
revenge, by saying that she would not allow another mother to
suffer the inconsolable grief of losing her children.
then mentioned about the great inner strength that women possess
and praised the virtues of Sathya (Adherence to Truth), Dharma
(Righteousness) and Sahanam (forbearance) that they hold dearer
than life itself. He exhorted everyone to respect women and
treat them with the dignity due to them. He concluded the
discourse with the Bhajan "Rama Rama Rama Sita?"
Jai Sai Ram!