Prashanthi Bulletin - June
8th to 12th, 2005
June 12th, 2005
"Samoohika Upanayana Mahotsava" declared the banners adorning
the Sai Ramesh Hall and the Gokulam entrance. Brindavan was
hosting a thread-ceremony for more than 500 young boys. The
vatus and their parents lined up at the Gokulam and started from
there in a procession by 6.30 am. The young initiates were
dressed in bright yellow, flanked by their parents, all in
clothes provided by Bhagawan the previous day.
The entire hall was filled with the vatus with their parents on
either side; other devotees could sit only in the extension of
the hall. The places for the vatus had been marked with
beautiful pink lotuses - real flowers, not paintings! They had
all the necessary puja implements also laid out in front of each
The program commenced at 7.15 am in the Sai Ramesh Hall. The
main priest stood on a raised platform just below the stage of
the Hall, and addressed the gathering. He welcomed all the
participants and announced the commencement of the proceedings,
first in Kannada and then in English. The priests then began
their sonorous chants, starting with prayer to Lord Ganesha.
By 7.30, just as the initial prayers were being completed, the
traditional band instruments and nadaswaram players started
playing, and started entering the hall - Bhagawan was arriving.
Bhagawan came to the centre of the stage from backstage in the
wheeled sofa, and the auspicious music rose to a crescendo. Then
the music stopped, and the puja got underway again.
Bhagawan remained onstage till 9.15 am. The priest was
explaining the rituals in Kannada and English and giving
instructions to be followed by the parents and the vatus.
Interestingly, special gayatri mantras relating to Sita,
Hanuman, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna were also chanted.
Along with the pujas, a homa was also being performed, with
oblations being offered into the sacred fire at the altar just
below the stage. The Gayatri Mantra and the Sai Gayatri were
chanted by the entire congregation led by the priests, filling
the hall with divine vibrations. During the Gayatri chanting,
the sacred fire rose up, reaching more than 6 feet high.
At the end, just before the Brahmopadesa, or the initiation of
the vatu into the Gayatri Mantra, Bhagawan left the stage. For a
while, the organisers waited to see if Bhagawan was returning
for the Brahmopadesa, and finally at 9.30, was the wearing of
the sacred thread along with the Maha Sankalpa, or "Statement of
Purpose" as explained by the main priest.
The Arati brought the Upanayanam ceremony to a close, with the
nadaswaram players also playing the Arati tune! An announcement
was made for all to collect prasadam from the counters set up
all around Sai Ramesh Hall. A leaf-container of tamarind rice
and kesari bhat was distributed to all, while the vatus and
their parents went in procession around Bhagawan's Trayee
Brindavan residence chanting the Sai Gayatri. There, they were
all blessed when Bhagawan came out on the balcony and gave them
darshan. After that treat to their hearts, they proceeded to the
Kalyanamantapam for a treat for their stomachs too! A sumptuous
lunch had been arranged for them by Bhagawan. There were 22
items, starting with mango rice and ending with sago payasam.
In the evening, bhajans by the Sevadals began at 4.20 pm when
Swami came out of Trayee, and Swami soon came onstage. Bhagawan
appeared fresh and glowing as ever. The energetic bhajans
continued till 5.10, and then Swami gave the indication for
Arati. But a concert had been arranged, and Sri C. Srinivas and
Sri Gangadhar Shetty requested Bhagawan for permission to have
the concert. So, Swami sat onstage, and after the Arati, blessed
the artistes who came onstage. The Hindustani vocal concert was
by Uma Shankar - she had accompanists on the tabla and the
harmonium. After 20 minutes of the concert, Swami again blessed
the vocalist who came onstage, this time deciding to stand up...
And then He sat again in the sofa and retired for the day.
June 8th to 11th, 2005
This was quite an eventful week at Brindavan, with the students
putting up four programs in the evenings. On the 8th, after the
evening bhajans, they presented a program highlighting the
significance of the Vedas, and their chanting. On the 9th was a
musical program, interspersed with speeches. On the 10th was a
Kavi Sammelan, or meeting of poets, with students reading out
poems in eleven languages. And on the 11th, there was a program
on the significance of the Upanayanam ceremony which was to be
held the next day.