Recent Events At Prashanti Nilayam – Sathya Sai Baba Ashram

Recent Events At Prashanti Nilayam – Sathya Sai Baba Ashram

Curtesty Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust:

In The News:

Satyasai Sports Meet begins in Puttaparthi
Express News Service First Published : 12 Jan 2009 04:10:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 12 Jan 2009 11:36:49 AM ISTANANTAPUR: Satyasai Sports Meet began at Hill View Stadium in Puttaparthi on Sunday. Students of Satyasai educational institutions are participating in the sports meet, which will conclude on January 14. Sri Satyasaibaba released pigeons marking the inauguration of the sports event. Prizes will be distributed to the winners on January 15. Earlier, the students accorded a warm welcome to Sri Saibaba when he arrived at the stadium to inaugurate the event. (ExpressBuzz Reference)

It ends with character, not knowledge

IN RESPONSE to your editorial Dealing With Violence In Schools in your January 12 edition, I wish to share a concept worth considering, particularly as education is provided free from primary to tertiary level.

The following is a pledge required of each student at the Sai Institute in India, where education at all levels is provided free of charge, like in Barbados.

I hereby solemnly declare and promise that, if admitted to the degree for which I have been duly recommended, I will, in my daily life and conversation and in thought, word and deed, conduct myself as befits a member of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning; that I will, to the utmost of my capacity and opportunity, support the cause of sound learning, humanity, morality and spirituality; and that, as far as lies in me, I shall uphold and advance the social and, indeed all round welfare of my countrymen and fellow men.

The aim is to have students transformed both into academic, as well as community heroes, since, as Sai Baba says, “the end of education is not knowledge, but character”.

– LALU N. VASWANI, Chairman, Sai Institute of Education, WI (NationNews Reference)

Curtesty RadioSai:

Thursday, January 15, 2009
This evening was the last session for all the students of the Sai Educational Institutions to gather together in this Sankranti season. Bhagawan arrived at 5.30, and after a round of the hall as the Bhajans went on, sat onstage till He accepted Arati. The ‘Birthday boys’ were blessed for the last twenty minutes onstage before Swami accepted Arati after the 75 minute Bhajan session.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The prize distribution function marking the end of the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet of the Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions was held this Sankaranthi morning in the Sai Kulwant Hall. After Bhagawan arrived and completed a round of the Hall seated in His special raised golden chair, the proceedings onstage got underway at 9.35 am. The girl student from the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School who secured all India rank in the XII class examination conducted by the CBSE was called onstage and felicitated. The medals and trophies of each of the campuses were then blessed by Bhagawan and the captains and vice-captains of each of the campuses came up to receive them. The distribution was followed by Bhagawan’s Divine Discourse. A couple of Bhajans followed, and the University brass band played a piece before Bhagawan accepted Arati and returned to His residence at 11.30 am.

In the evening, the Prasanthi Nilayam campus of the University presented a drama entitled ‘Sri Krishna Tatwa Darsanam’ in the Sai Kulwant Hall. Swami arrived at 5.15 for darshan and went to the Bhajan Hall for ten minutes of interaction with the students in costumes gathered there, following which the drama commenced at 5.30 pm. The 75 minute presentation brought out the message of the Krishna avatar to humanity through a series of episodes where He protected the Pandavas. Bhagawan came down from the stage and blessed the participants with group photographs after the moving drama. He then accepted Arati onstage and returned to His residence at 7.10 pm.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
After a day’s rest, the presentations by the students continued with a drama by the Brindavan campus this evening. Bhagawan arrived at five o’clock and after a round of the Kulwant Hall in the car, came to the Bhajan hall where the actors were ready in costumes. He interacted with them for 10 minutes, asking after many of the characters. The drama ‘Bhaktha Pothana’ got underway at 5.20 once Swami came onstage. The 70 minute extravaganza was filled with songs, dances and famous stanzas of Pothana and was embellished with a magnificient temple backdrop. Bhagawan was very pleased with their efforts and called them up for group photographs. Bhajans commenced and prasadam was distribued, and after a couple of bhajans Swami called up the Brindavan Warden and asked him to tell the students that He would soon come to Brindavan and make all of them happy. After one more photo session, Bhagawan accepted Arati at 7 o’clock before retiring for the day.

Sunday, January 11, 2009
Bhagawan had come to the stadium in the mornings and in the evenings over the last few days, and had seen all the items to be presented by the students on the Sports Festival today. The morning programme commenced in the Vidyagiri stadium with Bhagawan arriving in a white robe just before 8.30 am. As He was escorted to the stage by the slow-march contingent, brass bands from Anantapur and Prasanthi Nilayam played marching music. This morning, the march-past of the Sai educational institutions with the torch-lighting ceremony was completed by 9.15 am. The torch was carried up the Hanuman hill by this year’s torch vehicle in the shape of a majestic Lion. The Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur and Brindavan campuses then completed their presentations in rapid succession by 11 o’clock, when Bhagawan accepted Arati and returned to His residence.

The evening presentation was by the Sri Sathya Sai Primary school, and Bhagawan arrived at the stadium by 4.15 pm. Swami was escorted into the Shanti Vedika stage by young cartwheeling gymnasts and their hour-long performance commenced with gusto. The younger children and the girls presented colourful mass items, and the boys presented gymnastics and roller-blading events. Bhagawan was very pleased with their presentation and blessed everyone profusely while returning to His residence after Arati at 5.20 pm.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Bhagawan went to the stadium both in the morning and in the evening yesterday, witnessing the students’ rehearsals there. As per His instructions, the Bhajans were held in the Sai Kulwant Hall instead of inside the Bhajan hall in the evenings. This evening, devotees from New Zealand presented a musical programme. The group of around a hundred performers were seated on either side of the stage. Bhagawan came for darshan at 4.50 pm and went into the interview room. He emerged at 5.10, and moving to the stage, moved down from the centre ramp to take a round of the ladies’ side in His chair interacting with many devotees. At 5.20, He came onstage to begin the musical programme. The first half of the programme consisted of Maori action songs. Most of the other songs were in English, with the last song being in Hindi and English. Bhagawan interacted with the lady who lead the Maori chants and blessed her with a chain at the end of the programme. Clothes were distributed to all the performers, and Bhagawan interacted with them for nearly twenty minutes before Bhajans commenced. Prasadam was distributed, and Swami accepted Arati at 6.20 pm before returning to His residence.

Monday, January 5, 2009
This evening, Bhagawan went to the stadium and watched the rehearsals of the students for the annual Sports and Cultural Meet events to be held on January 11. Seated on a raised platform near the front of Shanthi Vedika, Swami saw one hour of the practice session, seeing all except a couple of events and giving feedback on them. After He returned to the Mandir at 5.50, He sat in the Bhajan Hall for a couple of Bhajans before accepting Arati and returning to His residence.

Sunday, January 4, 2009
The Maharashtra youth were ready with a programme of songs this evening. Bhagawan came for darshan in the chair at 4.15 pm, and after a full round of Sai Kulwant Hall, sat onstage for a while before He went into the interview room to emerge at five o’clock for the programme. The ladies and gents sang half an hour respectively, with more than fifty singers in each group. The ladies’ songs were themed on the ideal ladies mentioned by Bhagawan in His Discourses, and during each song, children came up to present brief tableaux right in front of Swami. The gents sang Abhangs and also songs composed and sung by Bhagawan in the early days. After the programme, Swami came down from the stage and distributed clothes to some of the performers. He also sat among them for group photographs. After He came onstage, clothes were distributed to all, and the lady singers led bhajans as prasadam was distributed. Swami accepted Arati and returned to His residence after 6.30 pm.

Saturday, January 3, 2009
Today, the Maharashtra youth presented the second day of their programmes, with a sitar concert by Sri Neeladri Kumar and party. Bhagawan arrived for evening darshan and went into the interview room, emerging at 5.15 to commence the programme onstage. After a couple of pieces of fusion sitar music, Bhagawan blessed the artistes with clothes and the main performer with a ring. They performed one more piece including individual performances by the drumkit, tabla and mridangam artistes before Bhagawan accepted Arati at 6.10 pm.

Friday, January 2, 2009
The Sai Youth from Maharashtra are here in large numbers, seated as a group in Sai Kulwant Hall with their orange scarves. This evening, they were to present a programme of songs and a drama. Bhagawan arrived at around 5.30 pm and went into the interview room, emerging after twenty minutes to come onstage and begin the programme. The Maharashtra youth first brought up a series of lamps lit from various districts and offered them to Swami to the accompaniment of a song. Next was a 45 minute play on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Bhagawan blessed the participants with group photographs after the programme with the backdrop of the Red Fort and a huge tri-colour. Twenty minutes of Bhajans followed, led first by the Maharashtra youth and later by the students, while prasadam was distributed. It was 7.30 when Bhagawan accepted Arati and returned to His residence.

Thursday, January 1, 2009
The Sai Students – alumni of Prasanthi Nilayam and Brindavan – were ready to escort Bhagawan from His residence to Sai Kulwant Hall in a procession with flag marchers and Poornakumbham with Vedam. Swami arrived just before 10 am in a dazzling white robe seated on a golden chair, granting New Year darshan to the devotees who filled and surrounded Sai Kulwant Hall. When He reached the verandah, Bhagawan blessed the cakes there and came onstage to begin the programme arranged by the Sai Students. A band programme with symphonic and vocal accompaniment was followed by songs composed for the occasion by the Sai Students. The whole programme was interspersed with short speeches by the alumni, reliving their days with Sai. A bhajan medley formed the score for a short dance programme too. Swami blessed the participants who came up to Him one by one, and after prasadam was distributed, accepted Arati at 11.35 am.

Bhagawan arrived in the evening for darshan clad in a deep red robe. When He came onstage just before 5.30 pm, He blessed the brass band of the University to perform, and they played a couple of pieces with brief introductions. Songs by the students followed. Swami called up some of the alumni singers and asked them to sing, and they sang some of the group songs which used to be sung by the students in the mid-90s. After 45 minutes of music, Bhagawan delivered His Divine Message. Bhagawan’s emphasised the message of Advaita, stressing the point that there is nothing in this world which is not divine, and that we should conduct ourselves bearing this in mind. After speaking for more than 70 minutes, Bhagawan asked for Bhajans to begin at 7.25 pm. Prasadam was distributed, and Swami accepted Arati at 7.45 before returning to His residence.

Christmas 2008 At Prashanti Nilayam

Christmas 2008 At Prashanti Nilayam

Curtesy Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust
Christmas Celebrations, 24-25 Dec 2008, Images

Curtesty Radiosai

Friday, December 26, 2008
This evening, children from overseas presented songs and a musical play on the works of Jesus. After His darshan round at 4.30 pm, Swami came to the stage from the interview room at 5.10. and began the programme. Half an hour of songs were followed by the half-hour musical play. As they concluded, Bhagawan came down from the stage and blessed the participants with clothes and a group photograph. He then gifted photo-frames to the children who sang. The conductor and accompanists were also blessed with clothes. Swami interacted with the group for nearly half an hour before He went back onstage to accept Arati. Before He returned to His residence at 6.50, He blessed Mr. John Behner, the Christmas co-ordinator, also with clothes and raised both His hands in blessing all the devotees.

Thursday, December 25, 2008
This Christmas morning, the devotees from overseas gathered in the Sai Kulwant Hall and carolled after Nagarsankirtan as scenes from early morning darshans from Christmases past were projected on two screens atop the Mandir. Later, Bhagawan arrived in Sai Kulwant Hall at 8.35 in a white robe seated on His golden chair led by a procession of children from overseas dressed as the characters in the Nativity. When He reached the verandah, He blessed the cakes arrayed there and came onstage to begin the programme. The University brass band was the first to perform. After 10 minutes of Christmas-themed music from them, the violins of the Primary School took over. As the young boys finished their performance with ‘Jingle Bells’, young ‘Santa’s came up to Swami to get their gift bags blessed. Swami threw a few toffees to the boys nearby, and the Santas completed the job, running around the hall. Christmas songs by the students began next. The 40 minute song bouquet was interspersed with a commentary in the form of a dialogue between two of Christ’s apostles and a young boy. Two more ‘Santa’s arrived to throw toffees, and more traditional prasadam was distributed too. After Arati at 10 o’clock, Swami blessed students who came up with pictures of the Senior Students Hostel, Christmas day being the Hostel anniversary day too. More students with cards and birthday trays were blessed too before Swami left for His residence 10 minutes later.

In the evening, Bhagawan arrived at 4.40 pm. The programme got underway once He came onstage with an introduction and thanksgiving by Mr. John Behner from Latin America. Two overseas speakers were blessed to present talks – Ms. Gisele Sebastian from Germany and Mr. Ted Henry from the USA. Following their moving talks, Bhagawan delivered His Divine Discourse at 5.45 pm. After His Discourse, Swami asked the students to sing a couple of Bhajans, following which He accepted Arati and returned to His residence at 7 pm.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
This evening, the Christmas eve celebrations began with Bhagawan arriving at 4.30 pm in His chair. After a full round of the Sai Kulwant Hall, Swami came onstage after a brief visit to the interview room. The conductor of the Western choir came up to Bhagawan for blessings, and their hour-long programme began. When they finished all the songs in their printed schedule, Swami asked them to sing more songs, so they sang some traditional carols like ‘Silent Night’ and then began an encore of selected songs from their programme. Prasadam was distributed and Swami called up the conductor to bless her with a chain before accepting Arati. He then asked the students to sing bhajans. After the first couple of bhajans, He asked them to sing ‘Sarva Dharma Priya Deva’. A couple of multi-religious bhajans followed before Swami accepted Arati once again and returned to His residence in the car after spending more than 2 hours in Sai Kulwant Hall.

Curtesty Spirit Reflections

Christmas afternoon in Prashanti Nilayam;

Hmm, I decided to enter the darshan hall by the top gate, and I was going to wander down to the back of the hall; an old Seva Dal pointed to me to go and sit somewhere at the front; I said, “No, I am going down the back” , and he said “No, you go and sit there only”.  

Well, I went and found the foreigners sitting and went and sat in an open space, about three rows from front line. Some people told me it was the space for the canteen volunteers and a seva dal told me to move. And another seva dal told me to go back and sit down. So I did, three rows from the front, closest I have been to the front on the men’s side. 

The atmosphere and energy in the darshan hall was gay, in the original sense of the word; it was joyful, it was happy, there was a humdrum of conversation, and we were waiting for Sai Baba to come. Happy devotees from every country, I had people from Scotland and South America around me, and children everywhere. Apparently I was sitting nearby the Children’s Choir. 

Swami arrived around 4.30pm; there were about five people walking behind Swami, and he stopped and spoke to members of the Ladies Choir; also stopped and spoke to some men, immediately he arrived on the mens’s side, and took letters. Swami: I was close, how to describe? 

Well, that chair moves slowly, and Swami looks left and right; his hair is just so; his robe shows the ironing creases, he sits and looks right across the men as he passes; hands go up in pranams; did our eyes meet? I think so, but I was three rows back. A sere smile on his face, hands raised in blessing as he passes by. Yes, Swami looked very happy as he passed us by. At the top of the walkway before he turns right to go across the front of the Mandir, he paused and spoke to some of the old students, who were seated there; Swami was talking for quite some time before he moved across and around to the other side of the Mandir, where he pauses for a long time in front of the primary school children; quite some conversation there. Then Swami came to the front of the porch and there was silence. John Behner kneels beside Swami and gives him details of the afternoon program. 

John Behner, Coordinator from Latin America, introduced the afternoon’s proceedings.  He spoke of the teams who had prepared the Darshan Hall, the devotees from South California, Nevada, and so on. The group of 200 Indonesians, who prepared the prasadum, the 160 ladies involved in sewing and decorations, the containers from China, the planning for the Christmas decorations. All planning had been submitted to Swami, and Swami had personally seen and approved all the decorations. The canteen and their work, decorations and the Christmas meal; the choir and their 9 days of preparation.   Last, but not least, the men who did the dirty work were acknowledged.  Big round of applause. 

FIrst speaker is Mrs Geesje Sebastian of Germany, a Human Values teacher, Regional Coordinator, SSE Teacher. Mrs Sebastian spoke in slow, careful English and told the story of her coming to Swami, how she did not know who or where this Sai Baba was, and how he entered her life and saved her eyesight. Mrs Sebastian finished with a beautiful song. 

Second speaker was Ted Henry, a retired TV Broadcaster from Cleveland OHIO, and Ted has been interviewing people for many years, and making videos. Ted told that the fruit of all this was not the change in the people he was interviewing, nor the change he had hoped for in those who might view his interviews on Radio Sai Global Harmony; no, the real changes came in Ted himself, it was his heart that was pierced with Love. Ted is a great speaker. 

Then silence. John Behner went to Swami, knelt and spoke and then got up and went back to his place. We all looked at Swami. Swami turned his head, and looked around, then an imperceptible nod; there was going to be a divine discourse, and a great round of applause burst out. 

I have never seen Swami sit and give a discourse before, but, you know, it was really no different; Anil Kumar was beside Swami, always turning his head to Swami and waiting for him to finish before looking up and translating. AK took the microphone from the stand and held it in his hand (he gave up writing, as usual).

Swami spoke in English a lot. He never said Sathyam, Sathya, shanti, he spoke in English a lot. Swami told (in my inaccurate recall) (these are the English bits)

  • The body is a container, we have to look after it
  • Truth is God; Truth is Love, Truth is the basis of the Universe
  • God is above you, below you, around you, in you (all in English)
  • Hurt Never, Help Ever
  • Love is everything, give love, only love
  • You are three people, the one you think you are, the one others think you are, and the One God sees
  • I,I,I, don’t say I am this, I am that, say I am God
  • People ask “Who are you, don’t say I am the body, don’t give body-name, say I am God, and tell them YOU ARE GOD TOO, (all in English) (tremendous applause)
  • Swami spoke about Jesus on the Cross, and Mother Mary at the foot of the Cross, weeping, crying; Jesus told Mother Mary not to weep, all this was fore-ordained
  • Swami spoke about the mind, he never said manas or tapas, he kept on speaking in English, Mind is a bundle of thoughts, master the mind, do not think you are the mind, do not think you are the body. Swami really spoke a lot about the body and how it has to be taken care of so we can do service. 

And that is about all I can recall now. Then Swami sang Prema Muditha Manasa Kaho (Chant the name of the Lord with Love) … then he began Bhajana bina sukha shanti nahi .. it was really funny, we all sang the first line with Swami with both of those bhajans, just the first line, it was a teriffic feeling to be singing that so softly and sweetly with Swami …

After singing, Swami spoke again and lauded the singing of the Choir, and said something like their effort was blessed and pure and of wondrous quality.  He really praised the Choir and we all gave them a round of applause. 

It was dark, now, around 6.50pm, and a magnificent singer sang some strophes, and then into two bhajans, they were marvellous, Swami blessed the prasad and students ran out to collect and distribute; then the pujari stood and gave arathi, and I could see Dorothy of the UTurn school waving the arati flame along with one or two other ladies, on the ladies side. 

It was dark now, and Swami left in his car, a most blessed Christmas in Prashanti Nilayam.

Prashanti Nilayam – Christmas 2008 Childrens Christmas
Prashanti Nilayam Add commentsIt was the time for the Children’s presentations in the darshan hall; they had been waiting in there for many hours. First, it was the choir, and their first song was magnificent; the words are still going around in my head. so high was their energy. They also sang a very fast version of “Take me away oh won’t you carry me” with few verses I had not heard before. Also, their rendition of Why Fear When I am here was magnificent; their refrain was “So says Baba, Sai Baba and Jesus, Why fear when I am here”. Marvellous.

I still haven’t got the new Samasta Loka right in my head, and when it comes at the end of Bhajans, I am slightly non-plussed for a few moments, then I catch on; the children’s choir integrated this into “May the Love we’re sharing spread its wings” and came in with Samasta Loka sukhino Bhavantu, Bhavantu, and the second bhavantu is really high with emphasis and volume; it sounded really good.

I had to laugh at one stage. Something caught my attention during the Childrens Play, I saw snow falling onto the choir in the darshan hall. The adult choir members were sitting near the walkway and some heads were covered with snow, and I could see waves and waves of snow falling all over the choir… then I looked up to the roof and there were two “snow boxes” up there, and snow was just billowing out from them. People were reaching up and brushing the snow off their heads and shoulders; there really was a lot of it.

Lovely energy with the Children, the Lord Jesus had a thick mop of black hair and a fulsome black beard, there was a boat, and nets, and Peter went out and walked on the water with Jesus. The diction and delivery of the lines was excellent, it was rich and full of energy.

The darshan hall was chock full of children from everywhere, overseas and local children; it was a wonderful, graceful and joyful atmosphere in the hall this evening. Swami sitting up on the front of the porch, following the play very attentively, reading the program, and holding the HUGE RED ROSE presented to him by the Producer of the Childrens’s presentation. The Childrens Choir sang sacred songs during the scene changes in the play, and the whole presentation was very inspiring and edifying; it very nearly brought me to tears several times, so sweet was their energy.

Puttaparthi is dark, the wind is blowing, and buses are leaving. And more buses arriving.

Lovingly shared by a Sai Devotee