Krishnashtami Celebrations – Prashanti Nilayam

Birth Of Lord Krishna

Birth Of Lord Krishna

Krishnashtami Celebrations – Prashanti Nilayam
Procession of Gopalas, Flute Orchestra and Music programme
August 24, 2008

Enchanting Little Krishna has been the most endearing Divine form for millions and billions of hearts over past many millennia, cutting across borders and barriers set by religion, caste and nationality…And His song celestial Bhagavad Gita has been the right recipe for the human minds to reach their final destination. His legacy continuous even after five thousand years of His Divine Advent, as this Divine Being, fondled and nurtured by Mother Yasoda – epitome of Motherly love and compassion, continues to be the stealer of hearts, as is often sung in Prasanthi Nilayam, Chitha Chora Yasoda Ke Bal… Navaneeta Chora Gopal…

The land known for its rich cultural and mythical heritage, land that has given birth to umpteen number of saints and sages, the land that has spread the glory of Lord to the entire world was the only fortunate land that was blessed by Incarnations. Lord Rama in Treta Yuga, Bhagawan Sri Krishna in Dwapara Yuga and now Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Kali Yuga…Bharat is the chosen land of God.

Krishna Janmashtami marks the birth of Bhagawan Sri Krishna. Bhagawan Krishna was born in the Dwapara Yuga, over five thousand years ago, in Mathura, India on the eight day (Rohini star on Ashtami day) of the dark half (new moon fortnight) of Shravana.

“I am the conscience in the heart
of all creatures
I am their beginning, their being,
their end
I am the mind of the senses,
I am the radiant sun among lights
I am the song in sacred lore,
I am the king of deities
I am the priest of great seers…”

In India, traditionally Krishnashtami is celebrated with much pomp and splendour by devotees. Celebrations are held on a grand scale in all Krishna temples, especially the ones in Vrindavan, Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), Dwaraka (Gujarat), and other regionally famous temples.

Janmashtami is observed on the day when the ashtami tithi occurs at midnight. If the ashtami tithi and the Rohini nakshatra occur on the same day, then the observance is considered to be most auspicious; otherwise the observance is held on the day on which the ashtami prevails at midnight. The vrata mainly consists of fasting, spending the whole night in the worship of Krishna, reciting hymns of praise and Krishna’s pastimes, reciting prayers from the Bhagavata, offering arghya to Krishna, and the parana or the ceremonial breaking of the fast. The next day is celebrated as Krishna Jayanti.

On this auspicious Krishnashtami morning, Prasanthi Nilayam was filled to capacity, as over three thousand devotees from Vizag have been camping as part of their Parthi Yaatra followed by a huge contingent of over 4000 devotees from Tamil Nadu was slowly pouring in. It was a long wait, for the brimming devotees, who have been waiting from the early hours. The red rays of the early morning sun turned golden and began to filter and beam into the Kulwant hall as if to catch a glimpse of the Lord. But, He being the one beyond time knew when to make it and the thus the waiting continued…

Vishnu Stuthi, the compendium in praise of Lord Vishnu has a line describing the Lord thus:

I salute that God of all Gods
Who wears yellow coloured silk…

…and Bhagawan does recreate the scene invariably in Prasanthi Nilayam, reliving the nostalgic memoirs of Dwapara, by wearing an yellow robe…In Resplendent Yellow, came the Lord with His hallowed Divine Aura, at the stroke of 9:20 to the hall that had been waiting for the moment from the early hours…And there was a special contingent of ‘devotees’, a group of animals specially brought in a procession from Bhagawan’s Sathya Sai Gokulam waiting to receive the Lord. Heading the procession was the little princess, Sathya Geeta who received Bhagawan raising her trunk, reminding one of the elegant, gorgeous and devoted Sai Geeta, who would do the same most majestically during her heydays. Cows and little calves, peacock, doves all were there to receive His blessings and Bhagawan moved around them feeding, blessing them spending quality time near the block leading from the central entrance. Symbolising Peace and Unity, Bhagawan released two doves before returning to the main dais…As the doves soared skywards, the decibel levels in the hall also soared as people joyously clapped at the happy sight. A bouquet of songs specially composed rendered the air giving twists and turns to the spiritual dimension already prevailing, raising the spiritual ambience in the hall, that was already at its zenith with the Lord sitting right in the middle…after couple of songs, first one being “Pandurangaashtakam” followed by “Govardhana Giridhara” the stage was set for a group of flute boys to take over who have been getting trained in the art for past more than two years…a rare opportunity to perform in the Divine Presence…Melodious rendition of some of the famous bhajans was followed by yet another song before Bhagawan called for Managa Arathi…

Boys from all institutions were waiting on their knees for their turn with colour greeting cards to take their chance with the Lord…and they took the centre stage…Lord was completely covered with these boys who went in a disciplined turn…one after one…touching His feet, interacting with Him…reminding one of the days of yore, wherein Sri Krishna moved freely with His devotees…

It was indeed a most memorable occasion when the Lord graciously bestowed upon the devotees a great boon to celebrate the advent of Lord in Dwapara in His immediate presence, whose advent was attributed to the fmed Bhagavad Gita verse:

“Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya Glanirbhavathi Bharatha
Abhyukthanam adharmasya Thadathmanam Srujamyaham.”
“Parithranaya Sadhunam Vinashaya cha Dhushkrutham
Dharma samsthapanarthaya Sambhavami Yuge Yuge”

(Whenever there is a decline in Righteousness and rise of evil, the Lord incarnates from time to time to uphold Righteousness, to protect the Virtuous and to uproot the evil).

Reference (With Pictures)

Cultural Program By Sri Sathya Sai Seva Institution Alike

Cultural Program By Sri Sathya Sai Seva Institution Alike
“Choodamani Pradanam”, a YakshaGana (Folk Art form) Presentation
August 23, 2008

The students of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Institutions, Alike put up a grand and vibrant presentation of Yakshagana and enthralled one and all by the sheer power of their performance.

The Yakshagana is a combination of musical narration, dance and drama and it is a unique folk art form of coastal Karnataka. Here the characters give expression to their thoughts and feelings through their dance and actions. The actors enact the song sung by Bhagavatha (Singer).

Bhagawan encouraged the students before the programme by interacting with them on the backstage charging them up for the presentation.

The story chosen by the students for this presentation was “Choodamani Pradanam” (literally translated as ‘the gift of the crest jewel’). It was predominantly drawn from the Sundara Kanda of the Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam though some scenes where from Kishkinda Kandam and Yudha Kandam as well.

The most significant factor about this presentation was the wonderful characterisation of Lord Hanuman, whom Bhagawan repeatedly advises His students to consider as their role model. Hanuman was shown alternatively as a devout servant, humble soldier, powerful adversary, confident warrior and witty messenger. The student performed all the roles with utmost dexterity and captured the imagination of the audience.

The other students also effectively complimented the protagonist which resulted in a power packed performance. Here a special mention has to be given to the music group which was the voice behind the whole presentation. The singer with his sonorous voice gave a fitting gravity to the presentation.

As extremely pleased mother that He was, He immediately proceeded towards the boys and gifted them with group photographs. He interacted with most of them and blessed two of the participants with chains. Not yet contended, He then instructed that T-shirts be given to all the boys and safari clothes and silk dhotis for the musicians and organisers.

Bhagawan once again expressed happiness and complemented the actors after accepting Aarathi.

Reference (With Pictures)

Experiencing The Divinity Of Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Experiencing The Divinity Of Sathya Sai Baba
Recounting a near death experience
Last year some time, I ate some food that I became allergic to. I had a reaction that came in the form of Anaphylactic Shock.

After ingesting the food in question, I started breaking out in a mild rash. The rash is experienced inside the skin. It feels like an itching/ burning sensation. The burning started in the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet. I was scratching this burning sensation but it kept getting worse. Then the skin on my stomach broke out and I was in an itching frenzy. The burning sensation started getting so bad…one hour later that I tried taking a cold shower.

About this time, I started getting shortness of breath and a stabbing pain in my heart. Finally, the pain got so bad that I called a neighbour, and asked him to come over and take me to the hospital. Before my neighbour could come over, I was lying on the floor rolling around in great pain.

The whole time I was talking to Sathya Sai Baba aloud asking him to help me help myself. I was alone at home. I tried drinking some baking soda to alleviate the reaction my system was having to the severe allergic reaction. Then I finally remembered the Vibhuti that I kept in my room. So I stole into my room and sat in front of my picture of Baba hanging on the wall. By this time, I was crying. The chest pain combined with the severe burning under my skin was too much for me to handle. My skin was almost bleeding from the constant scratching. I took the Vibhuti and said a small prayer to Baba as I looked into the eyes of Baba’s picture. Immediately the burning under my skin went away. Then the pain in my chest started to diminish. I realised at that time that I had never truly surrendered my will to Baba and did so at that time.

In 30 seconds, the attack was completely gone except for my scratched skin. I cried a bit after the experience as I realised that Sai is always with me and is protecting me. It is just a matter of faith. It was a real awakening of Swami’s omnipresent spirit and love.

I died a small death that late afternoon as I realised Sai is the totality of who I want to become.

I will one day be born again into His love. His love is available to all, if we are open to it. And his love can heal all, if we are open to receive it. I know who Swami is and I know He truly lives in my heart! God is with us on earth. He resides in every inch of the universe. He is most perfectly expressed at this time in the physical body of Sri Sathya Sai Baba!

We are so blessed to share this truth!

Mike Gebhardt