Krishna Janmasthami

11 August 2001

The celebration of the birthday of Lord Krishna was held in Bhagawan’s presence at Prasanthi Nilayam on the morning of 11 August 2001. Devotees prayerfully waited for Bhagawan to emerge for Darshan. Bhagawan arrived at the Sai Kulwant Hall at 6.45 a.m. As He sat on the specially decorated platform, after His round of Darshan, students and devotees joined in chorus to chant and sing the glory of Lord Krishna and Bhagawan Baba. The chanting of Krishnashtakam, Madhurasthakam and Pandurangashtakam created an ambience of power and melody. Bhajans followed. The morning programme of devotional singing ended at 8.30 a.m. with arathi to the Lord. Devotees received prasadam.

The afternoon session commenced at 3.45 p.m. The Vice President of India, His Excellency, Sri Krishan Kanth shared the dais with Bhagawan. Students from the primary school, dressed in ochre robes chanted the Vedas at the beginning.

Sri Krishan Kanth, then spoke, focusing on the message of the Gita. He emphasised how the message of the Gita, especially its call for the search and adherance to Truth has been the guiding principle of Indian life, even for great leaders like Gandhiji and Vinobha Bhave. In conclusion, he said that Bhagawan’s message of love, affection and care were the most suitable for a world searching for peace.

Speaking after him, Sri A. V. S. Raju, Chairman, Nagarjuna Construction Company inspired the devotees with his poems in Telugu on Sri Krishna, Sri Rama and Bhagawan Baba. Speaking last, Professor Venkataraman, former Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning quoted Bhagawan’s declaration made to late Dr. Hislop that denizens of this planet had the rarest privilege to be contemporaries of Bhagawan. Professor Venkataraman also emphasised on the teachings of the Bhagawad Gita.

Bhagawan then blessed the devotees with His divine discourse. Bhagawan spoke on the divinity of the Krishna Avatar and the various projects that the Sai Avatar has taken up. Bhagawan then made a historic declaration wherein He promised that the unity of a number of countries was in the offing. He said that the goodness of Bharat would lead to this unity.

Vinayaka Chaturthi    22 August 2001

The birthday of Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles and the harbinger of all wisdom, was celebrated in Bhagawan’s presence on 22 August 2001. The programme began at 6.55 a.m. when school children chanted the Vedas after Bhagawan had given Darshan. A special programme awaited the gathered devotees that morning. Bhagawan had graciously decided to felicitate senior devotees who had been rendering selfless service in the Ashram and in Sai institutions in Prasanthi Nilayam for the last many years.
Professor Anil Kumar, translator of Bhagawan’s discourses, did the honours as the master of ceremonies. Bhagawan blessed all the recipients with mementoes, clothes and a cash award of Rs 10,000/- each. The recipients included eminent educationists, high-ranking government servants, renowned medical personnel, engineers, managers, administrators and others. Bhagawan felicitated forty-nine devotees.

The devotees Bhagawan honoured, among others, were: Mr K. Chakravarthy, Mr N. Chiranjeev Rao, Mr. Paramahamsa, Mr Ram Mohan Rao (Chairman, Prasanthi Nilayam Township), Ms Munni Kaul (Headmistress, Primary School), Dr A. N. Safaya (Director, Super Speciality Hospital), Mr. Maniklal (Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publication Trust), Mr B. N. Narasimha Murthy (Warden, Brindavan Hostel), Professor Radhaswamy, Dr Kailash Kumar (Teaching Faculty, University), Mr Shyam Nanda (Incharge, Prasanthi Nilayam Security), Dr. Keshav Prasad (Heart Specialist), Mr K. Srinivasan and Mr Jagadish Oberoi (Executives, of Sri Sathya Sai Airport) and Mr Parathasarthy (Incharge, Central Trust Accounts Dept.)

Bhagawan then blessed the devotees with His divine discourses. He praised the senior devotees immensely for their selfless service and exhorted youngsters to follow their example.

Inauguration of Sri Sathya Sai Bhaktha Sahayaka Sangha Shopping Centre

Bhagawan inaugurated a new Shopping Centre on Vinayaka Chaturthi called Sri Sathya Sai Bhakta Sahayaka Sangha shopping complex, this magnificent three-storeyed building is situated in the far south-west of the Ashram, a little away from the old shopping complex.

Sri Sathya Sai Bhakta Sahayaka Sangha strikes one by its spacious elegance and systematic, circular array of products. The ground floor stocks miscellaneous items like dry fruit, health drinks, snacks, utensils, electrical home appliances, cosmetics, toiletries and incense. The first floor is an exclusive section for ladies - housed with colourful Punjabis, saris, dress-material and children’s wear, among other items. The men’s section is on the second floor, and sells suitcases and shopping bags, besides many varieties of suit fabrics. There are two payment counters functioning at present - on exit sides of the ground and top floors - where there are prompt computer billing services.

The Shopping centre opens after bhajans - for women after the morning session, for men after the evening session. On Sundays, the timings are switched.

Sri Sathya Sai Bhakta Sahayaka Sangha is really an expanded version of the Prasanthi General Stores (on the top floor) in the old Shopping Complex, which is now, restricted to groceries (Amravati Stores), ice cream, bakery, and Stationery.

Sri Sathya Sai Books And Publications Trust

Bhagawan condescended to inaugurate on the Vinayaka festival, another massive building - the new premises of the Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust majestically rising from the rocky hillocks which half skirt it.

A splendid flight of stairs leads one into a neatly and attractively displayed treasure - house of Sai books published and distributed by the Ashram.

There are several new titles in many languages. Both men and women are allowed in, together.

Bhoomi Pooja For Destitute’s Housing Project

Bhagawan’s divine magnanimity was further expressed when, on the Vinayaka festival, the Bhoomi Pooja (Ceremonial Worship of land to render it auspicious for construction) for building a one thousand houses for the destitute, near the Super speciality Hospital, was performed. Bhagawan commanded Sri A. V. S. Raju, Chairman of the Nagarjuna Construction Company to ensure that the construction is executed speedily.

Lord Ganesha Takes a Dip

25th  August

The immersion ceremony of Lord Ganesha took place on the 25th of August. Coordinated by students, the idols of hostels (of Bhagawan’s University and schools), the hospitals and the Ashram were brought in procession and taken around Bhagawan and the Mandir. Bhagawan blessed the children and even posed for photographs with all the groups. The programme began around three in the afternoon, and finished at 3.30 p.m.

Onam Ganesha Celebrations    29-31 August 2001

Sri Sathya Seva Organisations of Kerala enlivened Prasanthi Nilayam by the display of the colourful spiritual culture and heritage of the state. The Ashram was a veritable Kerala with traditional decoration, Panchavadyam and Nadaswaram.
The cultural programme began on the evening of 29th August 2001. Nadaswaram recital, at once sonorous and austerely penetrating, by Sri Kodandaraman of Bangalore was the first item. Bal Vikas children of Wynad district of Kerala then sang a splendid invocation song.

In the following evening, Sri Ganesan regaled the devotees with Jalatarang music. Violin maestro T. N. Krishnan performed on the evening of the 30th August. Thereafter Sri M. G. Sreekumar and his group presented a delightful programme of devotional songs. The programme that evening also included a dance drama ‘Mahabali’ by children of Quilon district of Kerala.

The Onam function was held on the morning of 31st August. Bhagawan arrived in Sai Kulwant Hall in a procession and was received with Poornakumbham amidst Veda chanting Nadaswaram and Thalappoli. Bhagawan lit the sacred lamp and officially inaugurated the function. There was a prayer song followed by rendering of kriti (devotional verses) by Sri Trichur V. Ramachandran and his group. Bal Vikas children presented a harvest dance. There were also chanting of Chandrasekhara Ashtakam and a dance drama on the unity of faiths.

Before Bhagawan’s divine discourse, Sri K. Jaya Kumar, Secretary for Irrigation and Water Works of Kerala State spoke, exhorting all devotees to practise Bhagawan’s teachings. Bhagawan explained the significance of the great sacrifice of Emperor Bali in His divine discourse.

In the evening, Sri V. Ramachandran made a rendering of Carnatic music. There was also a playlet presentation by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Vidyapeeth, Srisailam, entitled ‘Sinner Turns Saint.’ Bhagawan blessed all the participants.

Security Tightened Further In Prasanthi Nilayam

With mixed indications in the press of spiritual centres becoming likely targets of terrorist organisations, the Government of India has tightened security in Prasanthi Nilayam. During Darshan, seven security personnel accompany Bhagawan in the menís side - moving on their haunches all the way. Frisking at the gates has also become more thorough. However there is no reason for devotees to be alarmed.