Do you know God?

Do you know God?
Thomas Chillikulam, TOI Crest,
Apr 17, 2010, 01.07pm IST

Divine understanding …

Religious fundamentalism runs on the engine of arrogance. A religious fundamentalist claims to possess absolute knowledge and truth about God. The basic teachings of religions regarding God prove such claims to be false because all religions perceive God as an inexhaustible and indescribable mystery that cannot be grasped fully. The Bible affirms that the ineffable mystery of God eludes understanding – “Can you penetrate the designs of God? It is higher than the heavens; what can you know?” (Book of Job 11:78). St Augustine, an early Christian thinker, warned those who hold absolutist claims: “If you know God,it is not God”. For St Thomas Aquinas, Christian theologian of all times, the greatest of all knowledge about God is: “To know that one does not know God”.

Upanishadic sages were aware of the incomprehensibility of the divine mystery. The mystery of God is so ineffable that, “The eye does not reach it, or speech, or the mind. It is not understood by those who understand it; it is understood by those who do not understand it,” says the Kena Upanishad (1.3.4).The Absolute is anirvachaniyam or indescribable. Hence, after every description of God, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (3.9.26) adds “neti, neti”“not so, not so”. Sufi Muslim saint Sarafudddin Maneri acknowledges: “A hundred thousand intellects cannot comprehend Thee, O, You who lie hidden from the gaze of eye and soul”. Khwaja Abu Sa’id, another Sufi saint, declares: “No one knows the full story, hold your tongue, hold your tongue”.

Historical experiences and cultural expressions of being gripped by God give rise to particular religions. Religions are existentially manifold, yet at the inner level of spirituality there is an essential unity because the core experience of being gripped by God is the same. Nonetheless, diversity and plurality of religions have contributed positively to the spiritual evolution of humanity. Each religion is the expression of a unique interplay of the divine spirit and the creative human spirit in and through diverse cultures and symbols. Therefore, it is important to respect the diversity of religions and at the same time recognise the basic unity of religions.

God is beyond all religions and no religion can claim to possess absolute truth or make the claim of being the norm for all the others. Truly religious persons cannot be exclusive. They can discern the presence of God in every religion.

Ramakrishna and Sri Satya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi did not find any contradiction in practising different religions. They exemplify the ideal of finding God in all religions and respecting the faith, symbols and practices of other religions. It is untenable to hold on to a position that God’s revelation occurs only in a particular country or culture. God has no “chosen people” for all are God’s people. A person with a deep experience of God and rooted in his own faith will not be threatened by other religions, but rather would rejoice in the diversity of religious experiences.

Harmonious relationship between religions is possible when followers of all religions realise that the infinite mystery of God cannot be exhaustively grasped. The truth present in one’s own religion is part of the infinite horizon of divine truth in which people of various cultures and religions are equal participants. In this way, religions need not be competitive but are complementary. We are co-pilgrims on a journey towards fuller life and communion with God. In such a common journey every faith is part of a festive delight.

The writer is a professor at Gyanodya Regional Theology Centre, Patna.

Times Of India Reference

SSSO workshop on personality development

SSSO workshop on personality development
Express News Service
First Published : 11 Jan 2010 03:15:00 AM IST

HYDERABAD: With a mission to mould young minds to attain success in their career and make positive contributions to the society with nationalistic spirit, the Hyderabad chapter of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation (founded by Sri Sathya Sai Baba) conducted a personality development workshop at a packed Ravindra Bharati here today.

At the workshop, attended by nearly 1,300 people, the speakers suggested to youth to become aware of their responsibility and indulge in righteous action for a better tomorrow.

Noted personality development guru BV Pattabhiram said, “One must live with principles that exemplify high character and show kindness towards fellow beings.’’ He also pointed that the future of this country rested squarely on the shoulders of the youth. “Be proud to be Indian,’’ he exhorted them.

Former executive of Nokia (R&D) Sai Gollapudi, who is pursuing research at IIIT, spoke on success planning while K Siva Kumar on personal effectiveness.

Short films and inspirational videos were screened, and cultural programmes including skits, mimicry and music were presented on the occasion.

The workshop ended with a presentation of report on the activities taken up by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation members.

ExpressBuzz Reference

Bharathanjali: Senior personalities in the art field felicitated

Bharathanjali: Senior personalities in the art field felicitated

It was Sri Sathya Sai Baba‘s 84th birthday this Monday and it is a ritual by Acharya Choodamani Anitha Guha where she felicitates and honors exponents in the field of arts for their commendable contribution. The awards were conferred upon by Dr.Pappu Venugopala Rao, Secretary, Music Academy and Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy, Founder, Director, Bharathalaya. What started as honoring young artists 8 years ago has now turned to the older people. Says the ever-smiling Anitha Guha, “Being an ardent Sathya Sai Baba devotee, I try following his saying ‘Love all, Serve all’. This is something that I can do to my artistic family from my side and it is not an award function. It is just a thanksgiving function from Bharathanjali to the doyens of the art field.”

This year being the completion of 20 years of Bharathanjali and 10 years of Bharathanjali trust, around 8 personalities like Yagna Raman, Former Secretary, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Karthik Rajagopal, Founder-Secretary, Vice President, Karthik Fine Arts, D.S.Ramanujam, Former Secretary, Karthik Fine Arts, Leela Sekar, Chairperson, I.D.A, R.Srinivasan, Senior Executive IOC (Retd.), Member, LAC, TTD, Chennai, Nandini Ramani, Bharatanatyam Exponent, Managing Trustee- Dr.V.Raghavan Centre for Performing Arts, K.Hariprasad, Lecturer in Vocal Music, Kalakshetra, Dr.Gayatri Kannan, Principal of Nrithyodaya. The title given to each awardee was uniquely titled by Anitha Guha herself like Sathya Parama Kala Poshaka Sundaram, Sathya Gandharva Gana Sundaram and Sathya Gana Kokila Sundaram. “These people have been with us helping with our productions from time immemorial and that is why I thought of felicitating them.”

Coming to Anitha Guha’s function and going back home without seeing a dance performance from Bharathanjali sounds ridiculous. Students with the perfect Nritha and Abhinaya gave a few performances which kept the audience in rapt attention. One fact what quite evident and true, Anitha Guha is definitely a boon to the artistic community as she has groomed her students very well.

Chennai Online Reference

My Jakarta: Paulus Panggabean, Hard Rock Cafe General Manager

My Jakarta: Paulus Panggabean, Hard Rock Cafe General Manager
by Zack Petersen

Hard Rock Cafe - Paulus Panggabean

Hard Rock Cafe - Paulus Panggabean

Paulus Panggabean lives the good life. He’s not exactly on vacation 24/7, but it’s close. As the general manager of Hard Rock, Paulus splits his time between Bali and Jakarta. He lives it up in two of the countries hottest spots, meeting the coolest people and listening to the best music—and he gets paid to do it.

The tattooed father of four sat down to quell our jealousy, talk about his favorite piece of Hard Rock nostalgia and let us in on the mystery surrounding the origin of the Hard Rock name.

Question: How many Hard Rock T-shirts do you have?
Paulus Panggabean: So many … I don’t even know. Hundreds.

Question: How did you land the job as general manager of Hard Rock?
Paulus Panggabean: I was working in Mulia Tower on Gatot Subroto and one day I read an advertisement that a Hard Rock was going to open here, and I love Hard Rock. Before that, I worked on a cruise ship and my roommate on the ship had worked at Hard Rock Singapore, so he told me the history of Hard Rock, everything about it. So when I went in for the interview, I impressed the GM from Singapore with how much I knew. I’d always dreamed of working at Hard Rock.

Question: Where and when did the first Hard Rock open?
Paulus Panggabean: In London, in Hyde Park, June 14, 1971. There are so many stories about Hard Rock and how it got the name. Two Americans living in London reckoned that the American food there at that time sucked, so they wanted to open a place that served good food and where the poor and the rich could hang out together, a place that treated everybody equally. Can you imagine that an ex-Rolls-Royce showroom serving greasy food across from Buckingham Palace became the most popular restaurant in London.

Questioner: And now they’re all over the world.
Paulus Panggabean: The Hard Rock logo is one of the 10 most recognized logos in the world. You know you have the Nike Swoosh, Coca-Cola and all that. The survey said that 85 percent of the people recognized the logo. Even if they weren’t sure exactly what it was, they recognized the logo.

Question: It must be rough flying from Jakarta to Bali all the time. People probably tell you every day how jealous they are of your job.
Paulus Panggabean: Yeah, it’s three weeks in Jakarta and one week in Bali. I’m blessed.

Question: What’s the difference between Hard Rock Bali and Hard Rock Jakarta?
Paulus Panggabean: The market is different in Bali; we get more tourists. Here it’s more regulars and repeat customers; we have more functions as well.

Question: How many tattoos do you have?
Paulus Panggabean: Actually I have 11 tattoos, but some of them are sleeves. I got my first tattoo when I was 22. There’s an Italian guy who comes to Bali every year. The next time he comes I’m going to get a Tibetan skull with flowers. I’ll have to do it in two sittings.

Question: What about the music that plays here at Hard Rock. Where does it come from? Do you guys make the playlist?
Paulus Panggabean: Every Hard Rock in the world is given the same playlist. We have this amazing machine called VDS, video data system, and it’s automatically downloading. It’s like a giant DVD player. Every night it automatically downloads or deletes videos. It just plays randomly. Some of the performances are really rare, they’re taken from Hard Rock live shows or other exclusive Hard Rock events.

Question: What is your favorite piece of nostalgia here?
Paulus Panggabean: I have a guitar from Steve Vai. I know him personally. He did a concert in Jakarta, he’s a cool guy. He used to play guitar for David Lee Roth, then he had a solo project and now he’s part of G3, he and Joe Satriani.

Question: You must get comments all the time on the rock memorabilia. What gets the most feedback?
Paulus Panggabean: They love the old stuff, you know, the legendary memorabilia. The young guys are amazed by the stuff from Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain.

Question: When you’re not hanging out in Hard Rock, where do you go?
Paulus Panggabean: I love to go to Dragonfly and I like Blowfish.

Question: How often do you guys have concerts?
Paulus Panggabean: We have at least two concerts a month, but we have live music every night. We have a house band here.

Question: Do you ever get behind the bar and help out?
Paulus Panggabean: Yeah, if the restaurant gets really busy, I help out where I can. I used to be a bartender so it’s no problem.

Question: Where did the name Hard Rock come from?
Paulus Panggabean: There are so many theories about where the name came from. Hard rock was a popular form of music at the time. Another one is that it came from “The Flintstones,” because the cafe is called Bed Rock Cafe. And the third one is a parable. One of the Hard Rock founders [Isaac Tigrett] is a Sathya Sai Baba follower, and Sathya Sai Baba told Isaac everyone in the world is carrying one big boulder, but you chip away your problems and you have one tiny hard rock.

But I think the real story is that in 1970, before Hard Rock opened, The Doors put out an album and on the back cover there is a picture of the Morrison Hotel and underneath there is a door that says Hard Rock Cafe. That was a year before the opening.

Question: What is the next event you guys are hosting?
Paulus Panggabean: Here in Jakarta we have Dance Company on October 2, and on October 9 it’s Andra and The Backbone.

Jakarta Globe Reference

Also see:
Hard Rock To Storm The City

Hard Rock To Storm The City

Hard Rock To Storm The City
Swati Sharma
First Published : 09 Sep 2009 04:02:07 AM IST
Last Updated : 09 Sep 2009 09:23:07 AM IST

HYDERABAD: It’s not just a restaurant, it is a museum of rock culture, with authentic memorabilia from Rock ‘n’ Roll legends covering its walls.

After spreading the spirit of Rock ‘n’ Roll around the world since 1971, Hard Rock Cafe, a premium brand with Rock ‘n’ Roll sensibility at its core, is almost ready to rock the city this September. With guitars, racks of clothes, shelves of gold records — it was an incredible sight. ‘Love All, Serve All,’ the motto displayed at the entrance was adopted from Sathya Sai Baba.

David Holle, who started as a waiter in Hard Rock Cafe in New York, 25 years ago, is the person choosing the memorabilia for the location.

“Hard Rock Cafe has an acquisitions person, who goes to auctions in search of memorabilia. But often artists actually call the café and ask if they can sell or donate some of their collectibles”, says Holle. “We don’t sell memorabilia, but we do have Hard Rock signature retail store – the Rock Shop, which offers a line of authentic Hard Rock Cafe items, including Hard Rock’s famous Classic and City T-shirts, as well as highly collectible accessories and pins.”

“Hyderabad is an exciting and strategic city for us. The city has its culture and music and I am hopeful that Hard Rock will become the ultimate destination here. It is better known for its atmosphere than its food,” says Anibal Fernandez Lorden, director, Middle East, India, Africa franchise operations and development.

The walls are adorned with neat glass showcasing Madonna’s brown bret, Tina Turner’s black ankle boot, Keith Richards’ guitar, Elton John’s sunglasses and nearly 70 other such objects that are treat to a music lover’s eye. Michael Jackson’s black fedora hat is among the memorabilia.

The memorabilia being featured in Hard Rock includes some of the most valued and treasured pieces of Rock ‘n’ Roll history.

Hard Rock’s Memorabilia Collection has grown over the years through donations, auctions, and acquisitions from some of the world’s greatest musicians and artists.

Hard Rock strives to showcase this collection for music fans everywhere while preserving some of the most memorable moments of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

It is a brand that believes God is in the details and maintains high quality service at all times. It is not about coffee, it’s about music, finedining and entertainment.

The round bar and the inviting restaurant is a major entertainment place, with the popular retail shop on the first level, a must for all visitors.

Hard Rock International manages about 115 cafes – 65 of which are they own — across 41 countries.

Started by two Americans, Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton, it opened the first café in London in the early 70s, celebrating the Rock ‘n’ Roll spirit. The Hard Rock Cafe is going to open at GVK One Mall.

Rock and Relics

  • Its memorabilia collection, which consists of more than 60,000 pieces that are rotated to different cafes, is considered as the world’s most comprehensive “visual history” of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and has prompted observers to describe the brand as a “cultural force.”
  • The birth of Hard Rock International’s memorabilia collection is itself a part of music history. The collection began when Eric Clapton, a regular customer at the original Hard Rock Cafe London, asked the staff if he could hang his guitar on the wall to mark his favourite bar stool as his spot.
  • Hard Rock also derives significant revenue as an accessory retailer.
  • Its merchandise, like T-shirts, lighters, shot glasses and music related products, is city-specific and has reached many markets across the world years before the brand actually set foot there.
  • With more than 130 outlets in 40 countries around the world, Hard Rock Cafe has become a global phenomenon. These treasures include a collection of classic guitars and other instruments, posters, costumes, music and lyric sheets, album art, platinum and gold LPs and photos.

Express Buzz Reference

Himachal Governor Stressed Upon Value Based Education

Himachal Governor Stressed Upon Value Based Education
May 10th, 2009 at 7:50 pm | By NVO Bureau

Shimla: Smt. Prabha Rau, Governor Himachal Pradesh stressed upon the need for value based education in schools for overall development of the students. She was presiding over the ‘Eswaramma Day’ celebration at Sri Sathya Sai Educational Center, Anand Vilas, Pujarli near Shimla today.

Smt. Rau said that education without value of sanskaras has no meaning and added that parents and teachers should educate children in right perspective so that they could become quality citizens of India.

Governor lauded the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization for providing education with emphasis on moral and ethical values, development of mental and physical faculties, nurturing character building and all around development of children.

The Governor said that the children are needed to give environmental education so as to prepare them for facing changing environmental scenario. She stressed upon incorporating environment studies in school curricula’s and said that she is happy to learn that Sri Sathya Sai Sewa organization are providing acquacare facilities to people in different parts of the country and has actively participated and aided people during natural calamities.

Smt. Rau facilitated the parents who selected this school for education of their children and congratulated the students for performing fascinating cultural programme depicting aims and objectives of the school. The knowledge empowerment played a great role in nation building and students could contribute significantly in nation building activities, she added.

On the occasion the Governor also gave away prizes to the students of the school.

Earlier, Governor inaugurated the function by lighting a lamp.

Krishan Singh, Principal, Sri Satya Sai Seva School, Pujarli presented the report.

Dr. Neeta Khanna, National Deputy Education Coordinator, Sri Sathya Sai Sewa Organization welcomed the Governor.

A Sarva Dharam Bhajan and colourful cultural programme was also organized on the occasion by the school children.

NVO Bureau Reference

Annual Sports and Cultural Meet of Sri Sathya Sai University

Sathya Sai Baba Sports And Cultural Meet 2009

Sathya Sai Baba Sports And Cultural Meet 2009

Annual Sports and Cultural Meet of Sri Sathya Sai University

January 11, 2009

Victory and defeat are the two sides of the same coin. Victory comes out of defeat and defeat can be turned into victory. These two sides of the same coin are moments that become synonymous with the game called life. Perfected under the tutelage of Bhagawan with value oriented education, the students from Sri Sathya Sai University had in display the greater spirit of sports with a blend of cultural and ethical presentations on the 11th January at the Sri Sathya Sai Vidyagiri Stadium on the occasion of Annual Sports and Cultural Meet – 2009 of the University attended by a vast concourse of devotees.

Sports has earned a permanent place in the Prasanthi Calendar that every year 11th January is celebrated as Sports and Cultural Meet in the Divine presence of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the Divine Chancellor. Over the years, thousands of parents and numerous devotees from all over the world have witnessed this January’s spectacle grandeur in Prasanthi Nilayam. Though the competitive events within each campus completes before the fixture of this day, this day stands specially marked as a day of great celebration of sportsmanship, harmony, patience and perseverance, the finest of qualities that have been heard echoing from the guardian hills of this spiritual township, reverberating through times to the Sai Fraternity all over the world. A striking feature of this annual event is the variations in the programmes from year to year and the enthusiasm with which the students vie with one another in offering them at His Lotus Feet to make Him proud and happy.

Braving chill weather thousands of devotees started streaming into the stadium from the early hours, well in advance of the scheduled hour of inauguration. Riot of colours, of course with huge white patches in between depicting the characteristic prasanthi brand, filled the galleries, with men and women from various parts of the country and the world over filling the seats awaiting His Divine arrival.

As the scheduled hour fast approached, the stadium was abuzz with enthusiasm as final preparations for the kick-off was gaining momentum. The vast amphitheatre, well guarded by guardian deities on the hillock on one side, joined by the hundreds and thousands of spectators on the other end, was a perfect combine of hues of orderly attraction, as students from the three campuses took positions, aligned in order to formally welcome the Divine Chancellor.

Dressed in shining white, showering His benedictory smile on the vast concourse of devotees and students, Bhagawan arrived at the Vidyagiri Stadium just after 8:20 a.m. in a regal procession lead by the University Band. Preceded by four pairs of motorcyclists, both boys and girls from the University, Bhagawan was accorded a grand welcome, lead by the Brass Band from the Anantapur Campus, followed by the Band from Prasanthi Nilayam Campus for Men. Upon crossing the newly built gigantic arch on the way to Shanti Vedika, the Anantapur Band offered guard of honour to the Lord that was followed by the special flag squad with a canopy of flags representing different houses.

Upon alighting at the dais, Bhagawan was received by the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Vishwanath Pandit, followed by the Registrar of the University, Principals and Wardens from the three campuses and other officials. Joining scores of dignitaries on the dais, Bhagawan lit the lamp formally inaugurating the Meet. Dressed in a disciplined, distinguished fashion, marching past Shantivedika, the dais, saluting the Divine Chancellor is one of the highest privileges bestowed upon the students of Sathya Sai University. This march past used to be an orderly attraction of this sporting extravaganza wherein hundreds and thousands of students representing the three campuses, Prasanthi Nilayam and Brindavan for men and Anantapur for women and the higher secondary and primary wings of the school dressed in special uniforms marching past the dais saluting the Divine Chancellor. As different houses from the campus moved in distinctive squads, the squad leader dips the flag saluting the Chancellor, followed by the entire squad turning their heads to the right as a mark of respect to the Chancellor, resuming their march once they pass the dais.

As the leader dipped the flag saluting Bhagawan, the Chancellor of the Institute, the students turned their heads to the right as a mark of respect to Bhagawan, and resumed their march straight after passing the stage. Every group did likewise, all marching in fine order. The first to approach the dais was the tiny tots, boys and girls separate, from the Primary School, followed by the Higher Secondary Wing, both girls and boys, joined by the Anantapur Campus, Girls from the Sathya Sai Junior College, Anantapur, while students of the Brindavan and Prasanthi Nilayam campuses brought up the rear.

The University Flag was hoisted by Bhagawan followed by lighting the “Olympic” torch. Symbolically signifying the greater harmony, love and peace, Bhagawan released two white pigeons and let loose a bunch of colourful balloons which floated up into the air. The “Olympic” torch was carried by relays of pairs of runners to the top of Vidyagiri Hill where the “Olympic” flame was lit. The urn on the hill was guarded by two students in shining red and white uniforms, who received the torch from the games mascot Lion that moved through a connecting string covering the hillock.

Then began a programme of exhibition items by students of the participating campuses, which revealed not only their proficiency in sporting events but their capacity to innovate and produce remarkable ensembles calling for superb team work and high aesthetic imagination.

First to perform was the Prasanthi Nilayam campus along with the higher secondary school, Prasanthi Nilayam. Paying obeisance to the Divine Chancellor, motivation imparted by Bhagawan, they rode a huge golden eagle to the dais, symbolically signifying invisible force that lifts man into souring heights in life, the power of vision. …and they had set eagle heights for their allotted session in the Divine Presence.

With a steady mind and a healthy body no task is daunting, seems to be the message the higher secondary students had in store beginning their display. Dressed in colourful combination, set in a three-tier stage, these little children had a set of yoga postures exhibiting complete control and coordination of body and mind. Next two come was a set of trampolinists vying to conquer greater heights, in a rare skill of artistry in action leaping over two giant automobiles, all with successful attempts. Twenty colourful riders on electric scootys, crossing each other with four simultaneous scissor crossing, each linked with one another to form a interleaving pattern of colour combine was the item next aptly termed “auto traumatics”. Displaying different patterns with magnificent balance, riding skills with unity in diversity adding a flavour for aesthetic sense, these riders became painters using their vehicles as brushes to paint beautiful colour combination of greater unity in the vast canvas of Vidyagiri amphitheatre. Synchronised ballet in the air with moon walkers daring dare devilry at 40 ft height on two giant rotating wheels was a breathtaking spectacle that came next. With the wheels gaining momentum, these moon walkers crossed hurdles one after one, displaying agility, bending to their knees, stretching their muscles, and finally almost being swept off their feet, exhibiting remarkable control of body and mind. “Rhythm of Life”, a fusion music display by an ensemble of innovated musicians using innocuously mundane items from daily lives to produce rhythmic beats with amazing synchronisation was the next attraction to follow. Progress in life could be a slow process, but perseverance places one on the pedestal of glory and this was the message in practical demonstration when a group of students attempted to ascend on multiple foot ladders, fully unsupported, with amazing balance, greater concentration and agility. What followed was an array of gymnastic display with stunning feats on mobile platforms, with circular motion on rolling wheels. Placing God at the centre of our lives all the ups and downs turn into a jolly play, the wheelers were seemingly reminding the spectators. Motor Bikes and devilry was not new to the meet as every year one or other campus comes up with innovative display on the moving wheels. The bikers from Prasanthi ignited their sparks paying obeisance to the Lord subsequently presenting a stunning display of amazing control and co-ordination. Synchronised ramp jump, gearing up with speed from opposing direction, amazing combinations symbolising co-operation and co-ordination in life all were on display before the curtain was down for the wonderful 50 minute offering by the Prasanthi Nilayam campus.

The Eternal in elements was the central theme of the dazzling colourful display by the Anantarpur Campus organised on the backdrop of a gigantic Shivalinga and the holy mountain Kailasa. Through dance sequences starting with Lord Shiva’s exquisite celestial one, The Thandava, intertwining with commentary in between, the girls had in display the story of emergence of creation, the boundless cosmic universe. From the Thandava emerged the primal energy which in turn created the primordial sound, the Omkara. The Panchamahabhutas, the five elements had its origin from this primal energy and the emergence and their greater significance were displayed through colourful dancing combinations in the backdrop of the eternal, celestial Thandava. How man has leapt from the olden age to the modern day civilisation and how he could survive harmoniously with proper utilisation of elements gifted to him by mother nature were aptly displayed with colourful aesthetic combination on moving vehicles coupled with yogic postures, thematically relevant to each item, driving home the greater message of save earth, save life.

Beauty and grace, strength and valour, dexterity and sense of balance, discipline and devotion – the hallmark of students of Sathya Sai, were on display when the Brindavan campus took the centre stage with s veritable display showcasing synchronization of body and mind titled Sareera Maadhyam Kalu Dharma Saadhakam, meaning body is gifted to follow the path of righteousness.

Starting off with a dragon dance – a traditional dance in Chinese culture, the show moved on to lion dance, a rhythmic rhapsody that symbolises driving away inner evils in man. Displaying grit and determination coupled with daredevilry and aesthetic flavour ably assisted by a balanced mind, these colourful Lions from Brindavan danced to the tunes of lively beats offering obeisance to Bhagawan followed by breathtaking feats of pillar crossover on the jongs (special platforms) with amazing dexterity and perfection. Where the dragon’s pursuit of the pearl was symbolizing humanity’s untiring pursuit for perfection in life, wisdom, the Lions had unity and co-operation that brings success in societal entity. The last item to come was an array of martial arts, popular in the south Indian state of Kerala, especially Kalarippayattu, which is regarded as mother of all martial art forms. These gritty boys with valour, dedication and determination made this formidable task appeared a much easy one. Ankathari, an advanced Kalarippayattu form, normally meant for war training, involving metal weapons, sword and shield, and requires greater concentration was exhibited by these students with much limited training for a short time. This martial art that is aimed at developing strength, flexibility, balance and stamina includes jumps, low stances on the floor, brick breaking, circular sequences and kicks with the art of defence was exhibited with élan to the delight of Bhagawan and the audience. It is not physical prowess alone, it is physical prowess coupled with presence of mind that makes a warrior who can win the tough battles in life, said these martial artistes with their exhibition on this wondrous morning.

In the evening the stage was set for the grand finale and it was a scene of pageantry of colours with tiny tots from the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School ready with their stock of presentations. A beautiful backdrop with a galaxy of stars and planets and Bhagawan at its centre on the globe with the lettering Samasta Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu formed the setting for the dazzling display, eagerly awaited, in the evening session.

Bhagawan arrived at the stadium at 4.20 p.m. preceded by a convoy of escort motorbikes. As Bhagawan neared the dais, the students of Primary School offered a unique welcome to Bhagawan, parading somersault and acrobatic feats. Upon ascending the dais Bhagawan was offered a bouquet of love and devotion by the tiny tots from the Primary School. Chanting the name of Sai exonerates one from all sins and frees one from the cycle of rebirths was the message these tiny tots seemingly conveying through their beginning dance presentation. What followed was a riot of colours in the form of dances, balancing acts, floor exercises and gymnastics by the boys and girls students of the school to the tune of lilting music and songs. Little skaters from the school deserves a special mention as they crossed hurdles with ease and even jumped over a motorbike on their skates, before ending up with a basketball game, something which is not ordinary for their age group, but is achieved with faith, love and dedication to Bhagawan. There was also a delectable show of gymnastics on a semicircular structure. With their costumes sparkling against the setting sun, a group of girl students had in display undulating dance movements, and to add to the glitter they had rose-hued semicircular hand fans, a delectable feast to the aesthetically sentimental human eyes. The programme concluded with a grand formation of all the students holding aloft the lettering “Sai Maa we are Your loving children ever and ever forever”. At 5.25 p.m. Arati was offered to Bhagawan that marked the culmination of the Sports and Cultural Meet 2009.

Reference (With Pictures)

Bhramari Devi – Hindu Bee Goddess

Bhramari Devi Bee Goddess

Bhramari Devi Bee Goddess

Bhramari Devi – Hindu Bee Goddess
Srimad Devi Bagavatam: Book 10, Chapter 13

33-41: Narada questioned: “O Wise One! Who is that Bhramari Devi? What is Her Nature? What for She takes birth? Kindly describe all this beautiful and pain destroying anecdotes to me. I am not satiated with the drinking of the nectar of the Glories of the Devi; my desire to hear further more is as strong as ever. As the drink of the nectar takes away death, so the drink of this anecdote of the Devi takes away the fear of death.”

Narayana said: O Narada! I will now narrate the wonderful glories of that unthinkable, unmanifested World Mother, leading to Mukti. Hear, as a Mother behaves towards Her child kindly and without any hypocrisy, so the World Mother in all Her lives manifests Her merciful sincere dealings for the welfare of the humanity. In days gone by, in the nether regions, in the city of the Daityas, there lived a powerful Daitya named Aruna. He was a furious Deva Hater and a pakka hyprocrite. With a view to conquer the Devas, he went to the banks of the Ganges in the Himalayas, practised a very bard Tapasya, to Brahma, taking Him to be the Protector of the Daityas. First influenced by Tamo Guna, he withheld in his body the five Vayus and partook only the dry leaves and repeated, the Gayatri Mantra and practised austerities. Thus he practised for full ten thousand years. Then for another ten thousand years the Daitya lived drinking some drops of water only; then for another ten thousand years he remained by inhaling air only; and then for another ten thousand years he did not take any thing and thus practised he his wonderful Tapasya.

42-49: Thus practising his Tapasya a sort of wonderful halo of light emitted from his body and began to burn the whole world. This thing then appeared a great wonder. All the Devas then exclaimed. “Oh! What is this! Oh! What is this!” And they trembled. All were very much terrified and took refuge of Brahma. Hearing all the news from the Devas, the four-faced Bhagavan rode on His vehicle, the Swan, and with the Gayatri went very gladly to where the Daitya was practising his austerities and saw that the Daitya was immersed in meditation with his eyes closed; and he looked, as it were, blazing with fire, as if a second Fire himself. His belly had become dried up, body withered and the nerves of the bodies, too, became almost visible; only the life breath was lingering there. Brahma then spoke to him: “O Child! Auspices to you! Now ask the boon that you desire.” Hearing these gladdening nectar-like words from the mouth of Brahma, Aruna, the chief of the Daityas opened his eyes and saw Brahma in his front. Seeing Brahma before him with a rosary of beads and Kamandalu in his hand and attended by Gayatri and the four Vedas, muttering the name of the Eternal Brahma, the Daitya rose up and bowed down to Him and sang to Him various Stotras.

50-59: Then the intelligent Daitya asked from Brahma the following boon that “I shall not die. Grant this.” Brahma then gently explained to him: “O Best of the Danavas! See that Brahma, Visnu, Mahesvara and others are not free from this limitation of death! What to speak then for others! I cannot grant you a boon that is an impossibility. Ask what is possible and just. The intelligent persons never show an eagerness to an impossibility.” Hearing the above words of Brahma, Aruna again said with devotion: “O Deva! If Thou art unwilling to grant me the above boon, then, O Lord! Grant me such a boon, as is practicable, that my death shall not be caused by any war, nor by any arms or weapons, nor by any man or any woman, by any biped or quadruped or any combination of two and grant me such a boon, such a large army as I can conquer the Devas.” Hearing the words of the Daitya, Brahma said “Let that be so” and went back instantly to His own abode. Then, puffed up with that boon, the Daitya Aruna called on all the other Daityas that lived in the nether regions. The Daityas, that were under his shelter, came and saluted him, as their king and, by his command, they sent messengers to the Heavens to fight with the Devas. Hearing from the messenger that the Daityas were willing to fight with the Devas, Indra trembled with fear and went instantly with the Devas to the abode of Brahma. Taking Brahma, too, along with them from there, they went to the Visnu Loka and took Visnu with them and all went to the Siva Loka.

60-70: There they all held a conference how to kill the Daitya, the enemy of the Gods. While, on the other hand, Aruna, the king of the Daityas surrounded by his army, went ere long to the Heavens. O Muni! The Daitya, then, through the power of his Tapas, assumed various forms and seized the rights and possessions of the Moon, the Sun, Yama, Agni and all the others. All the Devas, then, dislodged from their stations went to the region of Kailasa and complained to Sankara about their own troubles and dangers respectively. Then, what was to be done on this subject, on this, great discussions cropped up. When Brahma said, that the death of the Daitya would not ensue from any fight, with any arms or weapons, from any man or woman, biped, quadruped or from any combination of the above two. Then the Devas became all anxious and could not find out any solution at that instant, when the Incorporeal Voice was clearly heard in the Heavens: “Let you all worship the Queen of the Universe. She will carry out your work to success. If the king of the Daityas, always engaged in muttering the Gayatri, forsakes the Gayatri any how, then his death will occur.” Hearing this gladdening Celestial Voice, the Devas held the council with great caution. When it was settled what ought to be done, Indra asked Brihaspati and said: “O Guru Deva! You would better go to the Daitya for the carrying out of the Devas’ ends and do so that he forsakes the Devi Gayatri Paramesvari. We will all now go and meditate on Her. When She will be pleased, She will help us.”

71-77: Thus commanding Brihaspati and thinking that the beautiful Protectress of Jambu Nada would protect them the Devas all started to worship Her and, going there, began the Devi Yajna and with great devotion muttered the Maya Vija and practised asceticism. On the other hand, Brihaspati went ere long in the garb of a Muni to the Daitya Aruna. The king of the Daityas then asked him: “O Best of Munis! Whence and why have you come here. Say, O Muni! Where have you come? I am not one of your party. Rather I am your enemy.” Hearing the above words, Brihaspati said: “When you are worshipping incessantly the Devi whom we too worship, then say how you are not a one on our side!” O Saint! The vicious Daitya, hearing the above words and deluded by the Maya of the Devas, forsook the Gayatri Mantra out of vanity and therefore he became weak, bereft of the Holy Fire.

78-85: Then Brihaspati, having succeeded in his work there, went to the Heavens and saw Indra and told him everything in detail. The Devas became satisfied and worshipped the Highest Deity. O Muni! Thus, a long interval passed, when one day the World Mother, the Auspicious Devi appeared before them. She was resplendent with the brilliance of ten million suns and looked beautiful like ten millions of Kandarpas (Gods of love). Her body was anointed with variegated colours, etc.; She wore a pair of clothings; a wonderful garland suspended from Her neck; Her body was decked with various ornaments and in the fists of Her hands there were wonderful rows of hornets (large black bees). Her one hand was ready to grant boons and Her other hand was ready to hold out “no fear”. On the neck of Bhagavati, the Ocean of Mercy, and peaceful, were seen the variegated garlands with large black bees all round. Those male and female bees singing incessantly all round Her the Hrimkara Mantra (the First Vibration of Force), kotis of black bees surrounded Her. The All-auspicious Bhagavati, praised by all the Vedas, Who is all in all, composed of all, Who is all good, the Mother of all, Omniscient, the Protectress of all, was adorned fully with dress.

86-96: Seeing suddenly the Devi, in their front Brahma and the other Devas became surprised and by and by they got relieved and gladly began to chant hymns of praise to Bhagavati, Whose Glories have been written in the Vedas. The Devas said: “O Devi! Obeisance to Thee! Thou art the Highest Knowledge and the Creatrix, Preservrix and the Destructrix of the Universe. O Thou, the Lotus-eyed! Thou art the Refuge of all! So we bow down to Thee. O Devi! Thou art collectively and individually Visva, Taijasa, Prajna, Virat and Sutratma. O Bhagavati. Thou art differentiated and undifferentiated; Thou art the Kutastha Chaitanya (the Unmoveable, Unchangeable Consciousness). So we bow down to Thee. O Durga! Thou art unconcerned with the creation, preservation and destruction; yet Thou punishest the wicked and art easily available by the sincere devotion of Thy Bhaktas. O Devi! Thou scorchest and destroyest the ignorance and sin of the embodied souls. Hence Thou art named Bharga. So we bow down to Thee. O Mother! Thou art Kalika, Nila Sarasvati, Ugra Tara, Mahogra; Thou assumest many other forms. So we always bow down to Thee. O Devi! Thou art Tripura Sundari, Bhairabi, Matangi, Dhumavati, Chhinnamasta, Sakambhari and Rakta Dantika. Obeisance to Thee! O Bhagavati! It is Thou that didst appear as Laksmi out of the milk ocean (Ksira Samudra). Thou hadst destroyed Vritrasura, Chanda, Munda, Dhumralochana, Rakta Bija, Sumbha, Nisumbha and the Exterminator of the Danavas and thus, Thou didst do great favours to the Devas. So, O Gracious Countenanced! Thou art Vijaya and Ganga; O Sarade! We bow down to Thee. O Devi! Thou art the earth, fire, Prana and other Vayus and other substances. O Merciful! Thou art of the form of this Universe; the Deva form, and the Moon, Sun and other Luminous forms and of the Knowledge Form.”

97-109: “O Devi! Thou art Savitri; Thou art Gayatri; Thou art Sarasvati; Thou art Svadha, Svaha, and Daksina. So we bow down to Thee. Thou art, in the Vedas, the agamas, ‘Not this, not this’. Thou art what is left after the negation of all this. This all the Vedas declare of Thy True Nature thus as the Absolute Consciousness in all. Thus Thou art the Highest Deity. So we worship Thee. As Thou art surrounded by large black bees, Thou art named Bhramari. We always make obeisance to Thee! Obeisance to Thee! Obeisance to Thy sides! Obeisance to Thy back! Obeisance to Thy front! O Mother! Obeisance to Thy above! Obeisance to Thy below! Obeisance to everywhere round of Thee! O Thou, the Dweller in Mani Dvipa! O Maha Devi! Thou art the Guide of the innumerable Brahmandas! O World Mother! Let Thou be merciful to us. O Devi! Thou art higher than the highest. O World Mother! Victory be to Thee! All Hail! O Goddess of the universe! Thou art the Best in the whole universe; Victory to Thee! O Lady of the world! Thou art the mine of all the gems of qualities. O Paramesvari! O World Mother! Let Thou be pleased unto us.” Narayana said: Hearing those sweet, ready and confident words of the Devas, the World Mother said in the sweet tone of a Mad Cuckoo: “O Devas! As far as granting boons to others is concerned, I am ever ready. I am always pleased with you. So, O Devas! Say what you want.” Hearing the words of the Devi, the Devas began to express the cause of their sorrows. They informed Her of the wicked nature of the vicious Daitya, the neglect of the Devas, the Brahmanas and the Vedas and the ruins thereof, and the dispossession of the Devas of their abodes and the receiving by the Daitya of the boon from Brahma; in fact, everything what they had to say, duly and vigorously. Then the Bhagavati Bhramari Devi sent out all sorts of black bees, hornets, etc., from Her sides, front and forepart.

110-120: Innumerable lines of black bees then were generated and they joined themselves with those that got out of the Devi’s hands and thus they covered the whole earth. Thus countless bees began to emit from all sides like locusts. The sky was overcast with the bees; and the earth was covered with darkness. The sky, mountain peaks, trees, forests all became filled with bees and the spectacle presented a grand dismal sight. Then the black bees began to tear asunder the breasts of the Daityas as the bees bite those who destroy their beehives. Thus the Daityas could not use their weapons nor could they fight nor exchange any words. Nothing they could do; they had no help but to die. The Daityas remained in the same state where they were and in that state they wondered and died. No one could talk with another. Thus the principal Daityas died within an instant. Thus completing their destruction, the bees came back to the Devi. All the people then spoke to one another “Oh! What a wonder! Oh! What a wonder!” Or like this: “Whose Maya is this! What a wonder that She will do like this!” Thus Brahma, Visnu and Maheshwara became merged in the ocean of joy and worshipped the Devi Bhagavati with various offerings and shoutings of chants “Victory to the Devi” and showered flowers all around. The Munis began to recite the Vedas. The Gandharbas began to sing.

121-127: The various musical instruments, Mridangas, Murajas, the Indian lutes, Dhakkas, Damarus, Sankhas, bells, etc., all sounded and the three worlds were filled with their echoes. All with folded palms chanted various hymns of praise to the Devi and said “O Mother! isani! Victory to Thee!” The Maha Devi became glad and gave to each separate boons and when they asked “for unshakeable devotion to Thy lotus feet,” She granted them that also and disappeared before them. Thus I have described to you the glorious character of the Bhramari Devi. If anybody hears this very wonderful anecdote, he crosses at once this ocean of the world. Along with the glories and greatness of the Devi, if one hears the accounts of Manus, then all auspiciousness comes to him. He who hears or recites daily this Greatness of the Devi, becomes freed from all his sins and he gets himself absorbed in the thoughts of the Devi (Sajuya).

Here ends the Thirteenth Chapter of the Tenth Book of the account of Bhramari Devi in the Mahapuranam Srimad Devi Bhagavatam of 18,000 verses by Maharsi Veda Vyasa and here ends as well the Tenth Book.

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)

Cultural Program by USA Devotees Of Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Cultural Program by USA Devotees Of Sathya Sai Baba
Devotees from the US (Region 10 – Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas) presented a musical offering to Bhagawan on Monday, July 28th in Sai Kulwant Hall.

The program depicted Bhagawan’s love for mankind throughout the ages. It showed scenes of His various incarnations and messengers to uplift man to enable him to realise his divinity. The entire group of 276 performed a medley of songs in 7 languages, woven together with narration. 57 Bal Vikas (SSE) children provided a dramatic portrayal through skits and dances.

The six episodes focused on the majesty of Rama, the mischief of Krishna, the serenity of the Buddha, the compassion of Jesus, the glory of Allah, and the grandeur of Bhagawan Baba

The first scene was set to a backdrop of uplifting songs, which described the glory and might of the Lord, and illustrated the power of the vanaras’ devotion to Lord Rama as they built the bridge to Lanka. Our prayer is to be, likewise, humble instruments in Lord Sai Rama’s mission.

The second episode focused on the mischief of Krishna, who charmed Mother Yashoda and the Gopis as He stole yogurt and butter. His leelas, dramatized to a bhajan, inspire us to awaken the God within who will steal our butter-soft hearts. This scene was followed by a song that reminds us to remember Hari (Lord Krishna) in all that we think, say, and do.

Set to a traditional chant followed by a bhajan, the next scene depicted the Lord Buddha’s peaceful aura. His presence was enough to calm the restless minds of spiritual aspirants depicted by SSE students. By controlling the senses and purifying their intake, the heart shall become Prasanthi Nilayam and Sai will reside within.

The fourth episode showed Jesus showering His unconditional love and compassion on the blind, the hungry, the sick, and the needy. Seeing Jesus’ loving service, others, who previously were unwilling to serve, follow suit and therefore are transformed themselves.

The fifth episode showed a traditional Sufi dance set to an uplifting Qawwali praising Allah. The songs of Allah demonstrated that Bhagawan (in all His forms) is the ultimate embodiment of All that Is as He is the One behind everyone and everything.

For the grand finale, the boys and girls created two hearts at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan Baba while the entire group sang “Hum Ko Tumse Pyar Kitna.” This represented that the whole world – all faiths, religions, castes, and sects – is arriving at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan to participate in His Divine Mission.

Swami responded to this outpouring of love by coming down into the group of children for a photograph. He granted padanamaskar to several of them, materialized a gold chain for one boy, and distributed prasadam to everyone.

Swami’s pleasure was evident as He invited the group to sing several bhajans in His Divine Presence. After accepting Arathi, Swami raised both hands in blessing to all.

Reference (With Pictures)