Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Reports of events from the Sai Baba Ashrams


Sri Krishna Ashtami Celebrations
6th September, 2004

Krishnashtami 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.

Reluctantly he 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.

When Kuchela 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.

Bhagawan then 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.

Then Bhagawan 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.

The morning 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 Krishna.

Thereafter, all the students sang Sthothrams (prayers in Sanskrit) and songs in praise of Sri Krishna.

Then, Swami 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 example.

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.

Bhagawan spoke 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.

Bhagawan 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!

Source: http://www.srisathyasai.org.in/pages/janmashtami_04_report.htm

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