Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Reports of events from the Sai Baba Ashrams


Prashanthi Bullettin - November 23rd, 2005

November 23rd, 2005

The Golden day has arrived - Bhagawan's 80th Birthday. Nature has joined all of us in offering our Pranaams to our Beloved Lord. Aakasha -– the sky is filled with different shades of grey clouds that look like clusters of flowers to be offered at His Lotus Feet. Vayu -– the Lord of air is blowing coolly providing natural air-conditioning for the township of Parthi. Agni -– Surya Bhagawan is a little slow in arriving at the venue -– thankfully! Aapaha -– Water is showering her love on all assembled in the stadium in the form of a light soft drizzle. It feels like pearls of love being showered on us. Mother Earth is looking majestic, with a broad red carpet waiting to receive the car with the Lord on her. Even the rest of the stadium where devotees and students are sitting is spread with a beautiful netted green cloth that is specially meant for such seating purposes. This makes the whole ground look green with a red carpet running all along the length in the centre.

A number of flags are tied on the Hanuman hilltop, to the railings. Beautiful garlands of white and pink balloons are tied across the gents and ladies galleries and all along the railings on the top of the stadium galleries. On the way to the Hanuman top, long vertical pillars of pink and white balloons are reaching up into the sky. The live projection of the proceedings is being seen on two giant LED screens, one on top of the cricket pavilion and the other on the ladies gallery side. Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma's Santoor is playing softly on the PA system. The soft music, the light drizzle, the cool air and the excitement in the atmosphere, the multitude of people waiting eagerly – all these create the perfect ambience for the entry of our beloved Lord.

Devotees however are trying to intensify their prayers pleading with Rain God to postpone his offering for a while. On the giant screen, right now, the video of Swami's earlier Birthday celebrations is being shown. It is lovely to watch Swami of the earlier years running around so fast that all around are struggling to keep pace with Him. The Helicopter Darshan of the 50th Birthday takes us down memory lane.

The Mahabubnagar Seva volunteers are busy serving water to all the devotees - the task which they have taken up as an offering to Swami. However, hardly anybody asks for it as everybody's thirst is only for His Divine Darshan now. Minutes are ticking by and the golden moment is coming closer and closer. Crowds are still pouring in. The stadium is already jam-packed, but still multitudes come in and somehow find their place - like sugar dissolving in milk.

It is 7.45 a.m. and the procession has begun from the Primary School end of the stadium. A big group of Vedam chanting students lead the procession. They are followed by a dance troupe. Behind them we see Swami in a new car. The top of the car is open, but Swami is hidden from our view. Only His face is seen. He is wearing a white robe. A student is holding an orange umbrella above Swami to prevent the drizzle from wetting His robe. As the procession begins, several Sevadals posted at different points in the ground, release huge flower rockets. These are not crackers but colourful paper strips sealed under pressure. When released, they burst forth into the air like a jet spray of flowers. These flower rockets fill the entire ground. Massive crackers are burst that release colourful sparkles into the sky. Of course the colours are not seen as it is day time. The fireworks are being blasted from the college grounds where an entire firework display team has been continuously working on it for the past three days. The experience is Blissful. A spring of joy bursts forth in our hearts as the rockets burst forth into the sky.

On reaching the stage, Swami gets out of the car and walks onto the lift. The lift goes up and Bhagawan goes walking onto the stage. All this while a melodious song is being played on the system…... 'Ananda Baraso Hey Managala Mayee...'…It reverberates in the entire stadium. Hundreds of balloons burst into the sky. The curtain on the stage is yet closed and after a while the screen rolls up. Suddenly the stage comes into our view. Exquisitely decorated with bunches and bunches of colourful flowers, it houses a huge Silver Throne at the centre. On the throne is seated the Lord of the Universe in all His Glory!

It is 8.00 a.m. All of a sudden, the sky clears and the Sun God makes a special appearance, literally touching the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan. Another song starts playing on the speakers. The whole place is flooded with the warmth of the sun. How beautiful it is to see Mother Nature participating in this celebration performing her unique dance. Hardly a few minutes pass and the sun vanishes as though it had never come out at all. A mild drizzle continues that stops and starts intermittently. As Nature performs her medley, another dance gets going on the stage on the Ladies Gallery. The Amala Shankar dance troupe bursts forth into artistic movements representing their Pranaams to Bhagawan.

Next, Sai Kumar (a Telugu Movie star) and Sunil Gavaskar (the famous Indian cricketer) start compering the show from the stage. As this goes on, teams from all major nations of the world, march on the road in front of the stage and halt for a while performing some small feat in front of Bhagawan.

Sai Kumar and Sunil Gavaskar offer their obeisance on behalf of all assembled and describe the glory of the occasion and of our Lord. Sunil Gavaskar appeals to all to heed the message of Bhagawan and play the game of life with Unity, Purity and Divinity. He then presents the galaxy of cricketers who have come to offer their respects to Bhagawan. Before the cricketers march in, Sunil introduces Major Rathore, the Olympic medal winner, who makes the first offering to Bhagawan. It is an insignia that symbolizes global peace and harmony. Subsequently, all the cricketers including Sachin Tendulkar come onto the stage and offer bouquets to Swami. Sachin takes the mike and offers his Pranaams to Swami saying that it is a great privilege to be here for His 80th Birthday and he is greatly honoured. Swami calls him close and speaks to him.

V.V.S. Laxman, Murali Karthik, R.P. Singh, Jaiprakash Yadav, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and others join Sachin in offering flower bouquets to Swami. After doing so, they all sit on either side of Swami. Next Major Rathore comes down the stage and starts running along the path leading to the stage and then onto the hilltop. From the road leading to the hilltop, the Global peace insignia is hoisted by Rathore. The insignia goes up to the Hanuman top. It is 8.20 a.m. as the white disc with a golden border bearing the numbers 8 and 0 in red, in the centre goes up. Inside the zero is the picture of the globe.

As the insignia reaches the Hanuman hilltop, immediately a giant banner (screen) rolls down along the hill slope below the Hanuman, right until the foot of the hill. On it are inscribed the words: May there be peace and unity and love in the whole world. Parallely, volunteers sitting on the top of the slope, release long strips of silver and gold shining cloth that roll down the slope like a running river. It creates a very good effect. A number of them are released on the rock slope.

After this a few more top artistes including Manno and party come onto the stage and start singing songs in praise of Bhagawan and wishing Him a Happy Birthday. However, at 8.30 a.m. Swami asks for the mike to be arranged.

Sri Indulal Shah comes in first, offers his Pranaams to Swami and gives a talk. He glorifies Swami saying that He has changed the face of the whole world in 80 years. The era of peace has been ushered in by Bhagawan. Prasanthi Nilayam has now become the centre for the redemption of the entire world. He is followed by Dr. Goldstein. Dr. Goldstein adores Bhagawan as our dear Father and Mother. He is the Kali Yuga Avataar. However, he says that more important than all these celebrations, is the need to focus on Bhagawan’s Message and follow His Guidelines.

He compares Swami to the super magnet saying that we are like pieces of iron that get attracted to Him. While being crucified Jesus cries out to the Lord, “Why have You forsaken me?” But we must ask ourselves as to why have we forsaken Him. Once when Dr. Goldstein asked Swami to give him a glimpse of how the world looks like through Swami's eyes, Bhagawan told him that if He would do that, Dr. Goldstein would not want anything after that -– his wealth, status, family, wife and not even his body. Dr. Goldstein urged all the devotees to ask themselves, Who is Sai and who am I.

Swami has come to this earth to save us. He exactly gives us what we need. We have come from Him and we need to return to Him. The body and the mind are mere instruments that are made available to us to serve the Lord. Anything good should be attributed to the Lord. Anything bad is due to our mistake. He concluded stressing on the need to avoid negativity in life. Swami always says,–"Be Happy". May our selfless Love shine forever brilliantly. Dr. Goldstein prays to Bhagawan to deliver His Divine Message.

The highlights of Swami’s Discourse: 8.52 a.m.

Premaswarupulara, without Truth, Righteousness, Love and Peace, everything is useless. Be it charity, good actions, exalted position or any other thing. Man is born to be peaceful. There are so many people with high positions and great designations. But what is the use? Have they been able to improve the position of the poor people? Everybody does Show Work, not Social Work. Man will enjoy Truth, Peace and Love if he is compassionate.

We must help our fellowmen. All face difficulties in life. But we must consider joy and sorrow alike. In order to progress in life, we must develop a sense of equanimity. Without Samaanatva (a sense of equality), how can there be Samaaja (society)? There is pain embedded in pleasure. But today man gets very disturbed even with the slightest difficulty. If you ask any common man, he will say that he has got all the comforts, wealth and money, but he has no peace. How do you expect to get mental, peace? We always ask everybody – who are you, but we never put the question to ourselves - who am I? Once you know your reality, you will be free from all difficulties.

We have no right to call ourselves humans without practicing human values. God does not expect you to keep worshipping Him all the while. He wants you to work and set an ideal for the community. Man is actually Divine. Jiva is negative and Divinity is positive. Both together form man. One must do Atma Chintana to understand this. Once you do Self enquiry, I will manifest in you. The Cosmic Principle is present in all. You do not need to exclusively search for God. He is in all.

You all are forms of Atma, not merely the body. The indweller is permanent. It has no bondage or liberation. Can anyone say, ‘My Atma is dead? No, this is not possible. Even after this body made up of five senses perishes, the Self continues to exist. Without an object, there can be no reflection. There is no separate sun for India and America. It is the same sun that is seen in both places but the time varies. So too, existence is the same everywhere.

Remember, if you are in conflict with somebody else, you are actually in conflict with yourself. You may think that the other person has lost against you but in reality you yourself have lost. Never differentiate between each other. Who are you? Some may say - I am the body. How long will it last? Body is like a water bubble, it can burst any minute. Others may say - I am the mind. What is the mind? It is merely a bundle of desires. It can give way any time. It is monkey mind. You must not be a monkey mind, you must have a man mind.

Think that I am God in human form. Leave aside the body and consider yourself as God. You are ready to worship a statue that has been built by you but you are not ready to worship your own Self within. Have Atma Vishvasam - Self confidence. You go to Tirupati and say that Lord Venkateswara is my family deity. Somebody else goes to Ayodhya and says that Lord Rama is my family deity. All are one. Consider God as one, and then only you will get peace. Desires may be many, but the reality behind them is one. Good and Bad are also two different words, but in essence they are one. Today, you may call somebody as good, tomorrow as bad. All these are relative terms.

Human life is very precious. Do not consider yourself as simple human beings. You may have different names and forms but the Self is the same. Do not go merely by the form. Understand the spirit behind the form.

Unless the husk is removed from the rice it will keep growing again. This is the reason for birth and death. Remove the husk and make it into rice grains, then it will not sprout again. Idli, Dosa, Puliyora, Sakar Pongal are all rice preparations. Rice is the same but it is the mode of cooking that makes the difference. This cooking or refinement is called Sanskara. It is the transformation process.

Man is getting spoilt because of his materialistic vision. He has to transform this vision on his own. God has bestowed everything on man in a very pure form. You are spoiling them using your mind. Therefore annihilate or withdraw the mind. Then all will be fine. You all are sacred, but the clouds of desires appear and spoil you. However, these clouds will pass away. Once it is cleared, you can see the sun.

In childhood, we while away our time playing. In youth, we get deluded on account of our age and ego. In old age we keep repenting for all that we could not achieve. At the end we may have experienced everything but there is no peace. The stages of your life may change, but you are one and the same. Change your vision (Drushti). Do not try to change Srushti (creation). That is God's domain. He can do anything if He wishes.

Just as Muslims chant "Allah Ho Akbar" which means "You are our only refuge", so too Hindus must say, "I want only God". But today no one wants Divine, all go for Deep Wine.

At this point Swami narrates the story of the devotee who kept changing the object of his worship. He starts with Shiva, Rama, then Krishna and finally Devi. He gets some satisfaction with each one but then slowly starts losing interest. Finally, when the devotee tries to stop the fragrance of the incense sticks lighted for Devi from going towards the other photos locked inside the cupboard, Devi manifests Herself and chides him for being so fickle minded. She asks the devotee as to what is the guarantee that he will continue to worship Her? Never change your mind like this.

To be good, merely undertaking acts of charity is not enough. Surrender to God. Then only you will be happy. Desires make the mind go astray. You may ask whether there is any witness for all this. Is there anyone who embodies all this? I alone am the witness to this. I have absolutely no desires. I can go anytime I want. I can materialize anything that I want.

Never desire for fleeting things. Ask for that which is eternal. Today we may hold high positions. But this will hold good only till our retirement. The innate Divinity has no retirement at all. Love is the undercurrent, Truth is the spoken word. Preserve both. Remain in Love always. Do not limit your Love only to your family and relatives. All are Divine. I always Discourse on only this Message. That is the very purpose of My addressing such large gatherings. I am very happy that you all have listened to My Message. I have received the Love of so many of you who have come here. I know you all have come for Me. Practice the teachings given by Me, then I will be even more Happy!

Do not make your Love physical. Let it always be Divine. I have spoken a lot and given you strain. All is God's work. Do all your actions with this feeling. That is enough. It will make Me happy. On this auspicious occasion, I am Blessing you all with My Love. May you all have a long, healthy, peaceful and happy life!

It is 9.50 a.m. Swami sits down on the throne. He sips some water. A huge cake is brought onto the stage in a trolley. Bhagawan cuts the cake and there is loud applause. He also lights the candle on the cake. After this, the cricketers stand up next to Swami. But Swami keeps sitting. He sits silently waving His Hand, with Bliss pouring out from His Being and reaching out to the multitudes. Twenty minutes pass by. It is 10.10 a.m. Some sweets are brought and Swami personally distributes the sweets to all the cricketers. Finally, Aarti is offered. Immediately huge blasts, showers of crackers and melodious songs fill the air. Swami gets down from the throne and sits on His chair. Slowly, He comes onto the lift, descends and gets into the car.

He is now in the Toyota Porte which glides along the central red pathway and we manage to catch a glimpse of Him again. Prof. Anil Kumar makes two announcements. Evening programme begins in the Hill View Stadium at 5.00 p.m. and Prasadam will be distributed along with lunch at the free food counters.

In the evening we assemble in the Shanti Vedika grounds on the green mats by 3.45 p.m. The programme is scheduled to begin at 5.00 p.m. The clouds are still hanging heavily in the sky and the possibility of a heavy downpour cannot be ruled out. However, devotees throng in oblivious of these possibilities. A light drizzle continues as we await Swami's arrival to the stadium. An elegant tent like shelter has been set up on the stage to protect the artistes from the drizzle. It is 4.25 p.m. Crowds are still pouring in. Videos of earlier celebrations are being projected on the giant screens to keep the public engaged.

It is 4.50 p.m. and the procession begins. Colourful dances with vibrant music lead the presentation. Dance troupes hailing from different states of India exhibit their cultural items as they proceed along the central red pathway. The band teams from the Primary School and the Institute come behind these dances. The last contingent of the convoy is a Bhangra dance troupe from the Higher Secondary School. A wonderful song in Telugu is being played on the system. 'Puttina Roju Sai Puttina Roju; Satyam Dharmam Shanti Premalaku Panduga Roju, Happy Birthday to You Bhagawan Sri Sai Ram'. Swami is wearing a yellow coloured robe. At sharp 5.00 p.m., He reaches the dais. The chair rolls out of the Toyota Porte and moves onto the lift in front of the dais. Up goes the lift and Swami enters the stage. When the curtain parts, we see Bhagawan sitting on an exquisite silver throne that has an umbrella extending from it - also in silver, like a chariot. The throne has a green velvet cushion contrasting with Swami's yellow robe.

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and other artistes seek His Blessings. It is 5.10 p.m. Actor Sai Kumar starts the compering. He glorifies the Sai Avataar highlighting the yeoman service rendered by Bhagawan to humanity. He then welcomes the first artiste to take over the stage. It is none other than Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and his son Rahul Sharma. Panditji offers his Koti Pranaams to Swami.

The stage has been brightly lit. The lotus petals in the background are beautifully illuminated with a rose coloured light. Above the stage on a metal structure, a number of lights are arranged to add colour to the show. Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma has performed even on Swami's 60th and 70th Birthday. He considers this as his greatest fortune. Melodious Santoor charges the air in the stadium. After a scintillating performance, he concludes his fascinating piece with "Baba We Love You"’ chorus. The whole stadium breaks into applause.

The next artiste is Ustad Amjad Ali Khan on the Sarod with his sons Amaan and Ayaan. The clock strikes 5.30 as they take over the stage. His first piece is titled 'Truth' and is specially composed for Bhagawan's Birthday. The second piece is 'Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram'. The audience receives the performance very well.

The backdrop on the dais where Swami is seated is visible clearly to us. There are pillars dividing the backdrop into arches with floral decorations on the top of the arches. The opening leading to the backstage has been made up very professionally with silk and flowers.

The next artiste is Begum Parveen Sultana - the queen of Hindustani Classical Music. She has had the privilege of performing on most of Swami's Birthdays. She sings her common hit songs, 'Sai Tero Maya Aparampaar', 'Payoji Mene Nama Ratan Dhan Payo' and 'Sai Ram Sai Ram Sumiran Karo'. As she concludes, the evening light gets dimmer. All the decorative lights in the stadium come on. Above the hill we find cute coconut trees made of just lights. The Ad Block and Museum on the hill are illuminated with colours that keep changing from time to time. Looks majestic!

At 6.10 p.m. the Laser Show commences. The green Laser beams emanate from the top of the stage on the Ladies Gallery side and stretch out across the stadium creating all sorts of patterns and shapes. The show goes on accompanied by the music from ‘Mission Impossible’. All the people are thrilled and start clapping. As this show goes on, the other lights are put off.

At 6.15 p.m. Sai Kumar welcomes Smt. Kavita Krishnamurthy and her husband Dr. L. Subramanian onto the stage. The first item is 'Vataapi Ganapatim Bhaje' on the violin by Dr. L. Subramanian. Swami keeps beat with His hand as the tune is played. This is followed by a Birthday song specially composed for the occasion. The uniqueness here is that 80 students from the Sri Sathya Sai University join the artistes in chorus. The song goes something like this - "Baba we seek Your Blessings, Bhagawan Satya Sai Baba ... You are the Guiding Light ... Happy Birthday to You".

At 6.40 p.m. Swami goes backstage for a while. Meanwhile, the singer Dana Gillespie, very well known to all Sai devotees, takes over the stage. Sai Kumar requests all the people to be seated saying that Swami will come onto the stage in a while. He asks the people not to be worried about the drizzle as by Swami's Grace nothing would happen to anybody. Dana Gillespie begins her presentation at 6.50 p.m. She sings two pieces - 'The Rose of my Heart' and 'The Promise'.

The final performance is by Richa Sharma who sings a Bhajan in her unique style. The moment she completes her performance, the lights in the stadium go dim and the Laser show begins once again. This time there are many more laser beams spreading across the stadium from even the Hanuman hill top. Thousands of beams spread crazily across the grounds but with flawless precision. Some beams stop abruptly in mid air with a dot while others form patterns on whatever they strike. Loud music with heart throbbing beats fill the air. Suddenly from nowhere, rockets spring into the skies and burst forth with colourful stars. The rockets were blasted off from the college campus and also from the Ad Block Hills. For the next 15 minutes or so we all are gripped with awe and wonder.

The display of fireworks is too spectacular. The frequency with which they are shot into the sky and their bursting forth into clusters of colourful sparks - red, green, gold, silver…all this leave us wonderstruck. Soon the sky is full of smoke but then piercing this smoke the rockets go through and emerge with bright sparks. We literally feel that we are watching the Big Bang. It looks as though galaxies after galaxies are exploding and imploding, thus giving birth to the Universe.

All the while, Bhagawan keeps watching the display in the sky, possibly laughing at our wonder and surprise at this seemingly great display. After all for Him, this would be something like lighting a small match stick. For He is the One who is the source of the Big Bang. He is the power in all these crackers and also the splendour inherent in their manifestation.

After this brilliant presentation of fireworks, all the artistes came down from the stage, walk upto the Shanti Vedika dais and go on to meet Bhagawan. The screen comes down. But we can see Swami interacting with them for a long time. At 7.30 p.m. Bhagawan's chair rolls onto the lift. As Swami descends in the lift, He Blesses all with His Abhaya Hasta. He then gets into the car. As the car starts its journey towards the Mandir, once again there is a short display of crackers in the night sky.

All this while, another song specially chosen for the occasion is being played on the system. Aashayen.... As the Toyota Porte glides along the pathway, we catch our last glimpse of His beautiful face on this holy day.

Surprisingly, the drizzle that is on all this while suddenly stops. It seems as though Mother Nature has put on her A/c so long as the programme is on – for the audience. The moment the programme is over and the audience starts leaving, she promptly switches off the A/c. Another important point is that even though there is a drizzle all along, it is so beautiful. It is neither too light nor too heavy. The drops fall on us like dew drops and settle down like pearls on our faces and body. It is Bhagawan's way of Prasadam distribution!! We feel as though Swami has cleansed all our bodies and minds and given us a fresh lease of life.

As the car moves out of the stadium, the crowds start dispersing to their destinations. Expressing gratitude to Bhagawan for having given us an opportunity to witness such a grand event we also pay our silent gratitude to the coordinators of this mega event who have planned every bit of it so meticulously. There were hundreds of things to be planned and executed. All of it went on with clockwork precision and with no lapses whatsoever. It is all due to His Love and Grace.

Let us all surrender ourselves at the Lotus Feet of this compassionate Lord and as a mark of our Love for Him, let us all make every possible attempt to follow His Message and Teachings to redeem our lives and to bring that lovely smile on His face.

November 22nd, 2005

We enter the Mandir this morning and find a totally new set of decorations, each one more breathtaking than the other. Today there are floral Toranams in grand designs hanging from the balcony of the Portico and also from the roof of the first floor. Inside the balcony on the first floor, huge floral arches having a mix of red and yellow flowers have been placed on either side of the dais.

Lord Ganesha is surrounded with a grand floral arch filled with pure white roses and a thick bunch of red roses at the centre. The background is provided with green leaves. The two pillars on the stage on either side of Swami's Chair and also the two pillars facing the stage are decorated exquisitely with broad green leaves and light rose-coloured huge petal-like flowers. These are wound spirally on the pillars like a creeper and give a very grand appearance. Balls of roses of different colors hang from the top roof of the Portico. All along the railings of the Kulwant Hall colourful umbrellas have been fixed in the typical Kerala style.

Outside the Mandir, the Parthi township has been transformed into a dream world. The entire road from the Mandir leading to the Hostel and beyond is decorated with series lighting on the stadium side of the road. Yesterday, we also saw the Laser Beams reaching out into the sky from the Hanuman hilltop. There is going to be a laser show on the 23rd night. There is series lighting all along the path leading to the Hanuman top. Series lighting is also spread across the hillock itself and right on the top there are some coconut trees created with lights, some sparklers (effect created by lights). The stadium looks just out of the world. Huge speakers are placed for the Music Programme. High wattage stage lights illuminate the entire ground at night. The pathway that has been made for Swami in the middle of the stadium ground is now covered with a red carpet. Looks royal and befits the occasion.

Swami comes out for Darshan at 9.15 a.m. after the commencement of the Bhajans. He takes a full round and goes inside the Bhajan Hall. Hardly a few minutes pass by and He comes out again and gets into the car. The car proceeds not towards PC but towards the Shanti Vedika grounds. Possibly the final supervision round? Bhajans go on. After a long wait, Swami returns only at 10.00 a.m. But He goes straight to PC. There He gets down from the car and moves into the new building to supervise the Hall where the Governing Body members for the Convocation procession, will be assembling in the afternoon. After a few minutes of supervision, He comes out and goes inside PC.

We assume that He has retired but that is not the case. The car again parks itself outside the PC door. At 10.30 a.m. Swami again comes out, gets into the car and drives to the Kulwant Hall. He goes inside the Bhajan Hall. But again a few minutes later He comes out and sits outside the interview room talking to some VIP's seated over there. Bhajans go on uninterrupted. At 10.50 a.m. He asks Aarti to be given and retires for the morning.

It is afternoon. The Convocation of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning is scheduled to start at 2.45 p.m. as per the announcement made in the morning. The Hall is jam packed and there are people all over the Ashram and even on the road outside, yet waiting to come in and maybe at least have a glimpse of the Lord from some corner. The Alike students have just transformed the dais into an Indra Loka (the world of the Gods). The floral arch in the centre has been enhanced with a Simha Dwaram (typical temple type entrance gate) in the centre. The openings on either side of the dais are covered with a floral curtain, literally looks like a floral wall, again with a Simha Dwaram in the middle for enabling movement from the inner Portico. Silver Coated Podiums are placed on either side and 3 Thrones have been placed for the Revered Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and the Chief Guest.

At sharp 2.35 p.m. the Band begins at the PC gate. This time a very unique feature of the Convocation is that all the College students of the three campuses are not wearing just sashes but they are wearing a full fledged gown and a cap - the normal Convocation costume. The Post Graduate students have a maroon gown with yellow border while the Undergraduates have a light blue gown. The front part of the Kulwant Hall is filled with all these students and it gives a majestic appearance.

2 wooden vases almost 5 feet high, are placed on either side of the dais and are filled with colorful flowers. The band is coming marching in. It takes a turn in the centre of the Hall and proceeding towards the dais moves on to the gents side of the Hall near the Krishna statue. The band is followed by the Registrar and two student representatives of the Institute holding the silver mace, conch and the discus mast. They are followed by all the Governing Body members and the other administrators who join the Convocation Procession. Behind all of them comes the Toyota Porte, the lucky car to join the procession. In it are seated our beloved Bhagawan and His Excellency, T.N. Chaturvedi, the Governor of Karnataka.

All the members stand next to their chairs and then Swami emerges from the door at the centre of the floral curtain. To our greatest delight, we see Swami walking and coming to His Chair. Of course He is being assisted by the students. Swami is all smiles. He asks the Governor to take his seat and then sits down on the centre throne. The garlanding ceremony takes place and is followed by the chanting of the Convocation Vedam. They chant the full Mantra and sit down.

At the prayer of the Vice Chancellor, Swami stands up and speaks into the mike, "I declare the Convocation open".

Next is the turn of the Vice Chancellor to speak. He introduces the Chief Guest, Sri T.N. Chaturvedi and then furnishes the audience with the highlights of the Institute, the achievements in the past one year and also the future plans. He stresses on the necessity of Value Based education especially in the current scenario. He talks about the ancient Gurukula system and its immense benefits. He also talks about the primacy of the role of the teacher in any education system. He states that education must be balanced and should be based on spirituality. He quotes from Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi while elaborating on this aspect.

He then substantiates on the topic of Educare saying that education and educare are like the two wings of a bird. He explains the role of Grama Seva in our curriculum. He also gives the significance of the compulsory residential system that is followed here. He calls the Mandir as the temple of worship, the Institute as the temple of learning and the Hostel as the temple of Living. He says that the students of Bhagawan are very lucky to witness a spiritual revolution along with technological revolutions. He concludes saying that Swami is like a Divine Magnet and the graduating students are doubly lucky to receive their degrees on the auspicious occasion of the 80th year of the Avataar. He appeals to the students to be the torch bearers of the ongoing spiritual revolution.

It is 3.05 p.m. All students rise to take the Convocation pledge. This is followed by the Gold Medals awarding ceremony. This time, Swami gives the medals sitting on the throne. Swami talks to a number of the medal winners and Blesses them profusely. It is 3.30 p.m. by the time all the medals are awarded. It is now time for the Governor's Convocation address. The Governor delivers a very scholarly and insightful talk, quoting extensively from Swami's literature.

As he concludes his talk, Swami also claps and tells him, 'Very nice'. It is 3.55 p.m. Swami gets up to deliver His Divine Message. The highlights of Swami's Discourse:

The end of education is Truth. Education without Truth is no education at all, it is merely secular. There are so many educated people today. What are they all doing? There is no iota of selflessness in them. But education is going on as usual. True education is spiritual education. That alone points us to God. Secular education is only for a living. The end of education is character. Without character, everything else is useless. Today, we have distanced ourselves from this goal.

The heart will become pure only when we give up selfishness. We must focus on the 'Self'. This must lead to 'Help' and finally to 'Sacrifice'. The true Self is Atma - Chaitanya Shakti. Every human has this power. Eswara Sarva Bhutaanaam.

Mere education cannot make a person a human being. Study for character, not merely for money. However, today's world appreciates only people with status and position and does not give any weightage to character. Such people are not human beings at all. Even animals are better. They have a reason and a season. But human brings do not seem to have any. Satya and Dharma are the foundation for a good character. Satyam Naasti Paro Dharmaha. Here both get united. There is no higher Dharma then Truth itself. Satya is the foundation and Dharma is the building. These two are very important. Put together, they give rise to Prema.

Ask anybody at random and they will say that they have everything in life but no peace of mind. One you have peace, you will not face any difficulties. The human birth is so valuable. It is only because of great merits in the past that one is born as a human being. Without Satya and Dharma, man is not a man; he is a demon or an animal. In the word 'Manava', Ma means 'attached', 'Na' means 'not' and 'Va' means 'to live'. To live a life without attachment is Manava. To gain peace, we must discard the pieces of materialism collected in the world. We must strive to acquire the freedom of oneness.

Swami then goes on to narrate the story of Ubhaya Bharati and Mandala Mishra. How Sankaracharya has an argument with Mandala Mishra and Ubhaya Bharati, the wife of Mandala Mishra becomes the judge. Finally, she declares Sankara as the winner and accepts Sanyasa herself as per her pledge. Sanyasa = Shun all Aashas (desires).

For students Brahmacharya (celibacy) is most important. When you come to Swami, you say that you do not want anything else, you want only devotion; but once you leave the boundaries of this place, desires overwhelm you in bounty.

Sthaana Balam is very important. The story of Rama and Lakshmana is very well known. At one point in the forest, Lakshamana starts behaving in a very strange way and starts talking against Rama. Later Lord Rama reveals to Sita that this is on account of the bad vibrations in that place as it was inhabited by a demoness. Therefore, we must be very selective of where we live.

Your qualities will depend on your friendship. As your friends, so will you be. Good company is very important. Be friendly to all but once you identify bad qualities in somebody, be away from them. There is no inherent fault within anybody. It is all the effect of company, which is more pronounced in this Yuga - the Kalaha Yuga.

Today, bad books and novels are also on the rise. This promotes more evil and bad qualities. It looks as though students read good books but they actually read dirty books. Even well educated people do this. The publishers and authors have no concern at all about the impact that this can have on the minds of the youth. So long as you do not engage in self-enquiry you will continue to cherish bad company. One's conduct must be very good. What is the use of mere high designation and high pay? How long will it last? Money earned by bad means will get wasted away by bad means. We must be cautioned in this regard. Many students talk sweetly but their action is poisonous.

Earlier the Guru used to mould the disciple and the disciple had great regard for the Guru. Today, the disciple betrays the one who has sheltered him and given him food. There are six qualities that a student must possess - good mind, steadfastness, adherence to duty, devotion?. Without these, he is not a student but a stupid. Leave such stupid people alone.

Love is the greatest education. Today we need good students and that is the purpose with which I have started this educational Institution. In our Institute Library, there are no bad books at all. Our students will never entertain bad thoughts. They set a good example even to their family members, advising even their mothers not to eat Rajasic food. When food and head in combination take us in the wrong direction, we forget God. We must eat a lot of vegetables as they are very good for a healthy body and mind.

Today, all people praise Sai students. Even if our students act in a wrong way, people themselves will correct them saying, "See, you are a student of Swami's Hostel. How can you eat such food?' Never give scope to anybody to correct you. Some students who are very devoted when here get transformed into bad students once they go outside. However, these are very few in number. Majority of them are very good. Especially, the students who have now joined the College and Hostel are very good. Sai students should adhere to the rules and be an ideal for all.

It is 4.45 p.m. and Swami brings His Divine Discourse to a close. All arise for the National Anthem. At 4.50 p.m. the procession begins its return to PC. Prof. Anil Kumar makes an announcement about the evening drama in PC and also announces that the Birthday Celebration will commence tomorrow in the Hill View Stadium at 8.00 a.m. Swami also moves to the car and proceeds towards PC.

All of us go into the Poornachandra Auditorium. After a long wait, the Music starts playing on the sound system. At 6.20 p.m. the dignitaries come out from inside the PC and take their seats in the D-Circle. We have the Finance Minister of A.P., Sri Rosaiah Garu, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Sri Vilas Rao Deshmukh and H.E. Sri T.N. Chaturvedi.

The drama to be presented by the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning is titled 'Prem Ki Jyoti' - 'The Light of Love'. The drama depicts the story of Viswakarma Constructions. This well known construction company has just been awarded the contract for building a Sarva Dharma temple. But now the dilemma is whether to build this massive temple in Jyotir Gram which will cause a number of people to be displaced or to build it on the Devagiri Hills which will incur a significant additional expenditure to the company. One of the employees, Praneet, asks his collegues to pray for a solution. He narrates the story of Vibheeshana surrendering to Lord Rama saying that they too must surrender to the Lord in a similar way. He says, 'Let us not look at God and say that we have a problem, but let us look into the problem and sat that we have God with us'. Many events then start occuring, miraculously facilitating their noble task.

The drama has a dance and some songs too. It ends with a group song when all the participants are to come to Parthi to be a part of the 80th Birthday celebrations. This gives a very happy end to the drama. There is loud applause from the devotees and the actors sing a nice Birthday song for Swami.

Swami goes up onto the stage and sits in their midst for a nice photograph. He interacts with all the actors and slowly moves backstage as Aarti goes on. The drama makes a strong impact on the audience. It is a short and sweet play with a powerful message. It is 7.35 p.m. and we all hurry back to our homes.

Source: http://radiosai.org/pages/PB.htm


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