The Lord's 78th Birthday
of thousands of devotees from different parts of the world
gathered to be at the Lotus Feet for the auspicious and joyous
occasion of the 78th birthday of our Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai
Baba. Prasanthi Nilayam wore a festive vesture with the Mandir
being richly caparisoned with festoons and beautiful flower
commenced with the traditional Rathotsavam
on the morning of the 18th of November. This is an annual ritual
in which the idols of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana are taken in a
palanquin in a procession to the Old Mandir in the village of
Puttaparthi, followed by a chariot bearing the idol of Lord
Krishna, to the accompaniment of Vedam chanting and Bhajans by the
students. In the evening, the Bal Vikas students of Kerala
presented a programme titled "Bhakta Purandaradasa" based on the
life of Saint Purandaradasa, a holy man of South India. The
presentation depicted how a worldly man extremely attached to
wealth, undergoes a change in his outlook and is inspired to
renounce all his wealth and spend the rest of his life singing the
glories of the Lord.
November 2003 was celebrated as Ladies Day. Bhagawan lit the lamp
in front of a portrait of Mother Easwaramma to mark the
commencement of the morning's programme. The students of the Sri
Sathya Sai Primary school then presented a dance programme
depicting various episodes from Bhagawan's life. This was followed
by a drama entitled "Ek Shakti, Roop Anek", in which the different
aspects of the feminine principle like Love and Sacrifice were
shown as exemplified in the lives of great women like Rani Jhansi
Laxmi Bai and Florence Nightingale. The evening programme had
Poornachandra Auditorium as the venue and featured talks by five
lady speakers and a Carnatic Vocal rendition by the renowned
artist Sudha Raghunathan.
20th and 21st of
November saw plays staged in the evening at the Sai Kulwant Hall
by the Bal Vikas children of Singapore and Canada respectively.
The plays elaborated on the teachings of Bhagawan and how they are
to be practiced in our daily lives, be it at the individual level,
the family level or at the community level.
22nd Convocation of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher
Learning was conducted in the Sai Kulwant Hall on afternoon of
22nd November. On this day, Bhagawan as the Revered Chancellor of
the Institute blesses the students who have graduated that year
and gives His Benedictory Discourse. It is an occasion that
remains as a cherished memory in the mind of every student of the
The Chief Guest at
this year's proceedings was Shri Bhairon Singh Shekawat
the Honourable Vice-President of India. The students were
administered the oath to remain true to the values of the
Institute to the end of their lives. After the presentation of
medals to the students who had passed with distinction in their
respective disciplines, the Chief Guest, Shri Shekawat, addressed
the gathering. He spoke about the unique and holy atmosphere that
he pervaded the ashram and expressed
his gratitude to Bhagawan for the various social projects that He
has undertaken for the uplift of the needy in the country. He
exhorted the students to use the knowledge they had gained during
their stay in the Institute, in service of the Nation.
delivered His Divine Benedictory Discourse. He reminded the
students of their great good fortune of having taken birth in the
sacred land of Bharat and exalted the values that a true
Bharathiya (resident of Bharat)
stands for. He advised the students that the degrees that they
have earned are not as important as the values that they have
learned being students of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher
Learning. He declared that the most important thing that students
must always strive for, is the Love of God, which is the most
precious wealth that can be gained. The proceedings concluded with
the singing of the National Anthem by the entire gathering.
evening the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher
Learning presented a drama entitled "Tera Tujhko Arpan" based on
the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita, that the gifts that God has
given us like the talents or skills we possess, has to be offered
back to the Lord Himself by using the gifts in the service of the
Lord. They must not be frittered away in the pursuit of wealth.
The play told the story of two singers, one who decides to make a
career out of his musical talents and the other who instead uses
his gift to sing the glories of the Lord's Name. At the height of
his fame, the career-minded singer loses his voice. His friend
then advises him to use his voice to sing for God. Only then does
he regain his voice. The evening concluded with
arati offered to Bhagawan.
The dawn of 23rd
November arrived with Bhagawan in his limitless
Compassion granting His Divine Darshan to all assembled in the Sai
Kulwant Hall, and added to their joy by going twice around the
hall. The morning programme saw three distinguished speakers
addressing the vast gathering of eager devotees. The first speaker
was Justice Bhagawati, Former Chief Justice of India. He was
followed by Dr. Jumsai, Director of the Institute of Sathya Sai
Education of Thailand and also former Member of Parliament of
Thailand. The third speaker was Dr. Michael Goldstein, Chairman of
the Overseas Sathya Sai Organisation and of the Prashanti Council.
then gave His Nectarine Discourse. He spoke on the greatness of
mothers like Putlibai and Jijabai who gave birth to such
celebrated sons of this land as Gandhiji and Chattrapathi Shivaji.
He then related various incidents surrounding His Advent and from
His Life, which with their miraculous nature, convinced all who
witnessed these incidents about His Divinity.
In the afternoon,
Bhagawan, to the surprise and enormous delight of all
entered the Sai Kulwant Hall, dressed in a bright yellow robe. It
was a beautiful sight for all to watch as devotees feasted on the
radiant Form of the Lord. The evening programme featured two
musicians - Parveen Sultana and Dana Gillespie. Mrs. Parveen
Sultana began with a song composed on Bhagawan, by her Guru, Ustad
Dilshad Khan. She then went on to regale the audience with her
soulful rendition of Meera Bhajans. Ms. Dana Gillespie, with her
songs of inspiration that contain teachings of saints and sacred
books from all over the world, enthralled the gathering and made
it an evening for all to remember.
the 78th Birthday Celebrations of our Lord, leaving everyone with
valuable messages to carry home and beautiful memories to cherish.
Jai Sai Ram.
Radio Sai E-Magazine, December 15, 2003