PARTHI NEW YEAR UPDATE
This evening the practice slot in the Shanti Vedika Grounds for the Parthi Campus was already over in the morning. The afternoon was free for us and hence most of us were present in the Mandir to catch a glimpse of our Lord before returning for our in-hostel practice sessions.
Bhagawan came for Darshan at around 3.00 p.m. and as He reached the Gents side where the boys sit, He asked Sri Padmanabhan to take an abrupt turn there itself between the students and the Mandir Staff. The Golf Cart reached the dais, and Bhagawan got down and sat on the sofa. Vedam was going on and after a while Swami called brother Prusty and gave him some instructions. Brother Prusty took a few boys with him and disappeared somewhere! We were wondering what it could be. After some time, boys started getting bundles and bundles of cloth packets onto the dais. Bhagawan asked them to leave all the packets on the dais, spread out in front of Ganeshaji!
When the whole place was full of cloth packs, Bhagawan called Prof. Anil Kumar and asked him to make an announcement. Prof. Anil Kumar went over to the mike with a beaming smile and with all gusto announced that Bhagawan was going to Bless all the Post Graduate students with Safari Cloth! Swami was not satisfied with the announcement. He indicated something and then Prof. Anil Kumar mentioned all the classes of the I and II PG – M.Sc., M.A., MBA, MBA(F), M.Tech….
Still Bhagawan wanted something more. He called the Parthi Hostel Warden, Dr. Siva Sankar Sai and gave him some instructions. Accordingly, the Warden went over to the mike and addressed the gathering with a brief talk. He offered his Pranams to Bhagawan and spoke about how Swami was the inspiration behind all the activities of the Sports Meet. Bhagawan, inspite of all His discomfort was coming to the grounds to charge the students and pump them up with enthusiasm! The Warden expressed gratitude on behalf of all the students for all the Love and Grace being showered by the Lord. And then he added that above all this, today Bhagawan had decided to Bless all the students with Safari Cloth. He announced that all the I and II Year PG students may come one by one and receive the tokens of His Love.
What followed was an amazing event. Swami asked the Warden to call out the names. All the boys were seated in a random order. So there came the acid test for the Warden! Would he remember all the names in a random order and the class too? Well, he scored a fantastic O Grade!! He kept calling name after name and even mentioned the class of the boy! As the name was called out, the student would come over to the dais and receive the Safari cloth from brother Prusty who was sitting next to the sofa hidden from our view. We could just see a hand coming out near the sofa and our student coolecting the Safari! Bhagawan would look at the student and also Bless at times!! Well, this was a very unique way of distributing the Safari cloth pieces. Every student had the rarest opportunity of his name being called out in front of the Lord Himself and drawing the vision of Beloved Swami towards him!! A lifetime chance!!
Slowly, the speed increased as there were so many boys. Some senior students were smart enough to stand behind the Warden and assist him in calling out the names like the ‘Prompter’ in a drama. After the I and II PG students were through, Swami asked the Warden to continue. So then came the III UG students. They too were Blessed. Then came the II UG followed by the I UG boys. My!! It appeared as though there was an Akshay Patram hidden in the dais. They kept taking and the Safaris kept appearing!! How could we forget that we were seated right in the presence of the Infinite and the Cosmic Kalpavriksha!
As the distribution was in progress, word reached the Hostel and the grounds and all the boys came running and panting to receive their drops of Love. When our campus was about to come to a close, Mr. Narasimhamoorthy came in and took his seat next to Bhagawan. The Brindavan students too were assembling inside the Kulwant Hall. Swami then asked the Brindavan Hostel Warden to continue the innings! Sri Narasimhamoorthy Garu too scored very well in calling out the names of all students impromptu!
The entire proceedings were over by 4.30 p.m. Hearts full and mind overjoyed, the boys moved out towards the Hostel for their individual practice sessions. What an _expression of Love and what a timing for the distribution of these tokens of Grace! This brought in an additional surge of energy and power in all the students inspiring them to give in their last bit too, as an offering at the Lotus Feet. We discovered how Bhagawan, through all these events was teaching us the art of manifesting all our hidden potential gifted to us by the Lord and making an offering of the same back to Him. As Prof. G. Venkataraman puts it, it is the P-N cycle. All talents and skills that we possess are gifts of God bestowed on us. They are like the Prasadam given to us by the Lord. This Prasadam should in turn be offered as Naivedyam back unto Him. Only then will the cycle of Love be complete!
This morning, we were going to have a combined March Past practice with all the three Campuses participating. We had assembled by 7.00 a.m. on the grounds and were eagerly awaiting the arrival of Bhagawan. There were different thoughts in different minds. Some felt that Swami may not come because just the previous day, His body had experienced a lot of difficulty in walking. Some felt that He would come for He had always come the previous day to personally supervise all the events and make sure that everything was in place.
All these were just our fantasies. Bhagawan follows His own schedule at His Will. Around 8.00 a.m., He came to the grounds in the Silver Benz car driven by brother Satyajit. The car was parked and Bhagawan continued to remain seated inside. The command was given for the March Past to begin. Swami sat in the car and watched the entire proceedings right from Marching, Flag Hoisting, Oath taking to the lighting of the Torch and the Mascot – Garuda going up the hill! It took about half an hour. As this came to a close, The Anantapur sisters zoomed in with their bikes to present a few stunts in His Divine Presence. Swami watched the Bike stunts for a few minutes before He asked brother Satyajit to start the return journey to the Mandir.
The Great Day finally dawned! Early in the morning, soothing music and holy chants were being played on the stadium stacks (speakers) and were charging the entire place with their holy vibrations. We woke up to that wonderful music. Some got up at 4.30 a.m. while some boys like the Maintenance boys came in to catch some sleep at that early hour!
This time the backdrop for the entire programme was a huge Nataraja 2D – 22 feet tall and 16 feet wide, on a base that was 6 feet high. Since the last two or three days, work had been going on for this mega project which has now become an annual feature in every Sports Meet. The boys were working day and night to meet the tight schedules! Besides this, they were also charged with responsibility of fabricating the U-shaped ramp for the Roller Blades event – an equally challenging task. Then there was the 6 feet high platform (20’ x 16’) for the Shiva Tandava dance……
The Band team was of course putting in every possible effort every morning and evening, untiringly, to play novel tunes for the Marching. This time, they played popular Bhajans on their band to the beat of the March. The Costumes boys were at their best especially preparing to deck up the Shiva Tandava dance boys and above all Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati! The kitchen staff and in-charge were equally putting in their best to cater to the ever increasing demand for food at all times and with all possible variety!
Sports Meet is an experience by itself, in which all of us learn so many things. There were so many coaches literally staying and moving along with us becoming part of our family. They too were struck by the commitment and dedication shown by all the students in preparing this grand offering to the Lord!!
Well, coming back to the 11th morning celebrations, powerful Vedic Chants from the Anant CD (a CD brought out by the Parthi students containing Vedic Chants by students of different batches compiled together) were enveloping the entire stadium! The whole ground was pulsating with the intonations of the chants piercing the cool morning air! At 7.35 a.m. Bhagawan made a royal entry into the grounds in the Lamborghini, driven by brother Satyajit seated behind Swami. As you may know, the Lamborghini has Bhagawan’s sofa in front with the Chauffeur’s seat fixed behind. That enabled all the devotees to have a lovely Darshan of Swami and that too in His White Robe!! That was a bonus!!
Swami’s vehicle was of course led by the Escorts team comprising of students from all the campuses, the Anantapur and Prasanthinilayam bands, the Brindavan boys on horses, the Slow March boys and even Sai Gita who had taken a short cut and just come in from the side of the stage.
Swami ascended the dais standing on the lift. He sat on the sofa placed at the centre. A beautiful floral arch adorned the centre of the backdrop on the stage, with a beautifully carved Nataraja (in thermocol) on the top of the floral arch. Seated on the dais along with Bhagawan were, Sri S.V. Giri, Prof. G. Venkataraman, Sri V. Srinivasan. Sri Naganand, Dr. Geeta Reddy and others. But most importantly and what will interest all of us most, was Major Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore – the winner of the Silver Medal in Shooting in the recently held Olympics, seated in the first row. Wow! That really surprised all of us. How lucky he was to reach such great heights in sports and then come to the Lotus Feet of the Highest One who made all that possible for him!!
The March Past began and our tiny toddlers in their most colorful dresses, shining and bright, filled the ground with cheer and delight. Marching in perfect coordination and harmony, these colourful toddlers looked like hundreds of multi-coloured roses in the Divine Garden, blossoming with joy and happiness! This was followed by the Anantapur sisters, the School boys and then the Brindavan Campus finally concluding with the Parthi campus and the last squad being the Athletic squad. They marched with a lovely black hat on their heads.
This was followed by the Oath taking ceremony and then the Torch was lit. Well here’s a piece of great news for you. The torch that was used to mark the beginning of the Sports Meet this time was presented by the Olympic Champions of Greece and it is a copy of the same Torch that was used to commence the Olympic Games this year in Athens. They had offered this torch to Bhagawan to be used by the students on the Sports Meet Day! It’s a lovely sleek silver coloured torch that is fired with gas.
The Torch song was played. The Music Group as usual had been slogging out from more than a week, with continuous night-outs to give shape and birth to the Torch Song, Closing Ceremony song and this time even the song for the Shiva Tandavam Dance. The final outcome was needless to say - par excellence!
The Garuda Mascot took off, gliding up the hill and with scientific precision triggered off the spark at the end of the rope that in turn lights the huge Torch Cup on the top of the Hill. Subsequently the Marching squads dispersed and the Anantapur Sisters took up the grounds for their presentation.
Their presentation was titled “Dharma Margame Sai Margamu” – “The path of Dharama is the Path of Sai”. They had a mix of several items that included Martial Arts, Sword Fighting, Fencing, etc…and concluded with stunts on Bikes – both TVS Bikes and Bullets. In between, they had some cultural dances etc. The stunts on bikes had Criss-crosses, Ramp Jumps, Human Ramp Jump, Jumps through Fire and several formations on the bikes. The highlight was the bike jump over a human ramp of 16 girls lying next to each other!! It was very spectacular display of courage and adventure!
Coming in after the Anantapur Campus were the children from Deenajanodarana Pathakam, who were stationed on a moving vehicle platform. Their play was staged on this platform as it stood in front of the dais. The presentation was a series of usual stage magic tricks but portrayed to communicate the teachings of Bhagawan, through the lyrics of the accompanying song and pre-recorded commentary by our Institute boys.
Meanwhile, a Micro-light aircraft flew across the light blue sky with a long banner trailing behind it and written on it was “Happy 80th Birthday”. The Brindavan Campus as it normally does, had made its grand entry in the high skies. We are sure our Brindavan brothers would have several stories to share about the efforts that went in to make all these wonders happen. Their events included Celestial Rhythms, Creative Expressions, Plankrobatics and Reverse Bungee Jumping.
The Brindavan Presentation was titled “A Journey from i to we…. And we to He”. Human life is a journey which begins with i, the Vyashti; finds meaning and joy when it graduates to We, the Samashti and ultimately finds fulfillment in merger with He, the Parameshti. The fusion of individual talent with enthusiastic teamwork, found _expression in a display of beauty and symmetry taken to lofty heights by the spirit of adventure raised on the bedrock of faith and surrender!
The Celestial Rhythms was a breathtaking display of grit and grandeur at an awesome height of 80 feet, on a metal grid suspended at that height by a crane. In the words of the Celestials, “Where the mind is without fear, the head is held high; Where the eyes are on the creator, all obstacles we defy; Where the hand of Sai is near, the sky is never too high.” The students, as they were raised into the sky by the huge crane, formed a beautiful pattern of 80, welcoming the 80th year of the advent of the Avataar! The formations on the aerial grid were interspersed with the other events. Several attractive patterns were created by the students dressed in bright contrast colors!
The Creative Expressions involved various formations on small hollow metal cubes that were independent entities but were arranged together in different permutations and combinations to deliver an enchanting display of beauty and symmetry.
Plankrobatics was a medley of exercises on wooden planks by the united effort of 120 gymnasts. Unity is Divinity; Purity is enlightenment – was their punch-line. These planks were used to create different effects and also served as a seesaw at one point throwing a boy from one side to the other – very nice to watch.
The Brindavan programme came to a close at around 9.30 a.m. They have yet one more programme – a cultural presentation – a drama on Saint Annamacharya’s life. They will be presenting this drama in the Sai Kulwant Hall on the 13th evening. Bhagawan retired for the morning. In the evening, Swami was back again in the silver Benz Car by around 3.00 p.m. The stadium was packed to its full.
The evening presentation began with the Primary School children who were at their best as usual! They started their presentation with a Shiva Tandava dance. A grand mix of bright colours, dances, gymnastics….. Suddenly different colours would spring up from nowhere and various objects would emerge from their hidden places, making the dances so thrilling and exciting - giving delight to one and all!!
The Primary School presentation was over by 4.00 p.m. Immediately, we took our positions and our sets made their entry into the grounds. The limelight was the 22 feet Nataraja 2-D idol, wheeled on a 16’ x 16’ trolley, into its position on the ground. As the trolley turned, bringing the brilliantly shining, golden coloured, Nataraja into the view of all those seated in the grounds, there was a thunderous applause! As the trolley was moved into its position, the stage for the Shiva Tandava dance that was to mark our opening ceremony, was brought in its place. By 4.05 p.m. all were ready to begin.
The Theme (as delivered in the commentary)
Nataraja, the Cosmic Dancer is the confluence of eternity in existence, infinity in sustenance and harmony in _expression! He dances as every rustle, He laughs as every wave, He roars as every thunder, He sways as every creeper. He is the Grace of Shiva Tandava, the command of Roller Skates, the agility of the Gymnasts, the courage of the Carabiners and the harmony of the Waves. Today as all our efforts, emotions and feelings converge into a stream of _expression, the mighty Nataraja stands on and Gracefully awaits us into His own existence. Each one has a Nataraja in him who is limited by time, subdued by desire, and bounded by duality. As the tunes of understanding and harmony pierce this sheath of ignorance and limitedness, the glorious Nataraja will arise and shall dance to the tune of perfection!!
The presentation began with the Opening Ceremony boys running in with their flags and a team of Vedic Pundits moving in, in a ceremonious way chanting Vedic hymns. This set the mood for the Shiva Tandava dance. The dancers sprung onto the ground from behind the Nataraja and took their positions. What followed was a beautiful dance, the highlight of which was Lord Shiva and Parvati dancing on a 6 feet high stage, in front of the massive golden Nataraja. It was a sight to see! The costumes boys had spared no effort in dressing them up so well that many people later were asking whether Parvati was a boy or a girl student!
Event after event followed in clockwork precision. We’ll give you a brief about each event in the order of their performance:
This was the Carabining event, which was performed from about 20 feet above the Zoroaster statue on the hill. Carabining is an event where ropes are suspended from a high point and held tight on the ground, forming an incline by which boys came down while performing various stunts at tremendous speeds. Some of these were – yoga postures, cycling while coming down, carton crash, tent pegging, etc. The total height from the ground was 80 feet and the carabiners would come gliding down from 80 feet to zero point through a span of 180 meters (600 feet) of ropeway!
To draw attention of the entire audience, they started with a colourful explosion up on the hill. As all eyes turned towards them, the carabiners began their descent! Swami was very appreciative of this program. There was a lot of excitement on the stage with the VIP’s sharing their thrill with Swami and Swami giving them an account of what all our boys are capable of performing!
Gymnastics on Trampoline
They called themselves Trampo-lions. These boys used the trampoline to perform various somersaults. The highlight of this program was a sequence where the boys tried to dunk basketballs into a loop after performing a complex trampoline jump / somersault. Simple but yet so catchy! All were gripped with attention and sat at the edge of their seats waiting for the gymnasts to score a basket!
The Moving Marvels
This event consisted of a set of German wheels (rechristened Prashanti wheels a few years back when it was performed for the first time) and boys from the Higher Secondary School performed synchronized movements on these. Six pairs of boys took turns to perform various stunts like the shoulder stand, split, etc on top of these wheels. Marvelously maneuvering themselves on the wheels they left the grounds leaving the audience with a sense of marvel!
An army drill performed for the first time in India by non-army personnel. This drill is performed in Singapore by the army men during their ‘Beating the Retreat’. We had a coach who had come from Singapore to train the boys in this drill. The drill focused on perfect synchronization as the boys performed various movements with their guns. As the boys made their movements one after the other in rapid succession, a lovely wave effect was produced which was very well appreciated.
Combining speed, dexterity, power and style, the terrestrial champions was a fusion of the Ancient oriental and Indian martial art forms of stick fighting. On display was a synchronized set of moves by over 70 boys of the Higher Secondary School, which was followed by a mock fight.
For the first time in India, U-ramp stunts on roller blades and skateboards were attempted. The U-ramp measuring 24 feet by 10 feet was designed and fabricated by our maintenance crew in record time! The highlights of this program were a 16 foot drop into the ramp, a front somersault on the quarter pipe and a stupendous leap over a Maruti Van off a ramp. The jump was fantastic and even drew applause from Bhagawan Himself!
Waves in the Valley
This was a School mass event. It was set to wonderful music and the boys made various wave formations. The best one was where we had students standing on the shoulders of others and creating a first floor wave – like a Tsunami! The costumes were beautiful and this event with all its grace and finesse drew the curtains on the Prasanthi Nilayam presentation!
Well, here was a surprise for the audience. The Brindavan students were back again with their mighty crane to perform what is called a reverse Bungee jumping! They were not able to perform this feat in the morning because of the set up time required. In this event, a student is tied to the end of the rope at ground level and is released into the air. The boy is thrown up – up in the sky and from there he starts swinging like a pendulum thrown from one end to the other. Up and then down and then up and then down!! You need to have guts and nerves of steel to do that!
Bhagawan was sharing the thrill that all the VIP’s had on the stage! He was telling them about the event and how it works. The performers went over to Bhagawan to offer their gratitude in the form of a bouquet. Swami Blessed all of them.
Finally, the flowers of the Garden of Sai from the Prasanthinilayam Campus, gathered on the grounds in the shape of a huge semicircle, as a wondrous bouquet to be offered with love to their beloved Bhagawan!
The Closing Ceremony song was played. Swami sat throughout the song. As it was coming to a close, the dancers who played the role of Shiva, Parvati and Karthikeya ascended the steps right at the front of the dais and came over to Bhagawan to offer the Card of Gratitude on behalf of the Prasanthinilayam Campus! Swami lovingly welcomed them, received the Card and gave them a beautiful photograph! Bhagawan got up and proceeded to the lift. At this point, the Closing Ceremony song came to a close. Immediately, Swami asked for the song to be played again! Wow! What a Blessing for the composers and singers of this song – to be sought to be heard by Bhagawan Himself again!
Swami got into the Benz Car and proceeded to the Mandir. At the Mandir, several boys had gathered to witness the car glide away into the Poornachandra premises.
The Annual Sports and Cultural Meet – 2005 thus came to a close, leaving all of us with a sense of fulfillment and joy! As the thousands of devotees, like huge waves, moved out of the Shanti Vedika Grounds, the Golden Nataraja stood there blazing in the evening sun, as proof of the unchanging, eternal reality! All may come and go, but He remains!!
The 80th year of “Love in Action” had finally begun in a grand way! May the rest of the year witness several such spectacular and soul stirring events that hail the advent of the Lord and spread His Glory far and wide!!
Puttaparthi, Jan 10: Olympic medal winner Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had the darshan of Satya Sai Baba at the Sai Kulwanth hall here on Monday. Nepal queen Helen Shah, Tourism Minister J Geeta Reddy were amongst those who had the darshan along with him.
Rathore would be the chief guest at the Sri Satya Sai sports meet that would be conducted on Tuesday. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was invited to the meet as he was an expert archer, as the archery was an ancient sport of India.
from the expert archer, noted scientist U R Rao, Tourism Minister J
Geeta Reddy, district Collector Y V Anuradha and several prominent
personalities would take part in the programme.
Sairam. The first major function for this sacred year of the 80th Anniversary of the Avataar is coming closer – The Annual Sports and Cultural Meet of the SSSIHL. The practice sessions are on in full swing. We all were praying that Bhagawan should come to the Stadium and watch our rehearsal sessions. This evening, our prayers were answered. Our most compassionate Lord came in the car to the stadium much to our delight! It was an expected but yet a surprise visit with very short notice. An announcement was made in the Hostel and all boys ran to the stadium leaving all activities at the Hostel.
A chair was kept ready for Swami to the right of the Shanti Vedika stage on the grounds at a point where He could view the programmes if He wished to. After spending some time at the Primary School grounds, Bhagawan’s car rolled into the stadium. As He approached closer, some event members got prepared to make their presentations. The car approached the stage area. The Gun Drill boys were ready to show their event to Bhagawan.
The Gun Drill is a novel item being presented for the first time in any of our Sports Meet. It is a drill performed by the Military Personnel in Singapore as part of ‘Beating the Retreat’. It involves quick and rapid movements of the limbs and the body holding a rifle in the hand, in a highly coordinated fashion, projecting a display of grace through harmony.
Swami sat in the car itself that was halted in an inclined position between the stage and the Gents Gallery on the main road. The Gun Drill boys performed very well. The coordination and harmony was fantastic! The Warden, Dr. Siva Sankar Sai and the overall coordinator – Prof. Sudhir Bhaskar stood near the car praying to Swami to see some more events.
However, the car took off and all boys ran as usual and stood on either side of the main road to have a glimpse of our Lord. Bhagawan’s visit to the grounds charged all the students and staff alike and we got into our practice rounds once again with additional Vigour and Josh!
Yesterday, Swami had indicated that He would come to the grounds the next day again. But, in the afternoon, we got the message that there would be a programme in the Mandir which we all were supposed to attend. So, all of us proceeded to the Mandir and were seated there by 3.00 p.m. Bhagawan arrived in the next few minutes. He has been coming of late in the new Golf Cart. There was a backdrop arranged in the centre of the Kulwant Hall. It was a beautiful painting – a scenery of Krishna’s House in Gokul, a very serene and soothing piece of art!
Bhagawan came and sat on the sofa. The Vedam stopped after a while. Then began the most beautiful Dance Drama entitled “Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum”, by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, Visakhapatnam. It was a professionally directed and produced dance ballet. The Lyrics and Direction was by M.S. Prakasa Rao and Choreography by Jagan.
The dance ballet depicted how Loving Krishna reveals the secret of His incarnation to Divine Mother Yasoda and the Gopikas, while enchanting them with his mischievous acts.
The ballet began with Yasoda searching for Krishna with her aides. Hearing her call of love, Krishna appears before her. Meanwhile, the Gopikas complain to Yasoda that Nadakumara has become a Navaneetachora! How to question Krishna’s misdeeds is a dilemma for Yasoda. Yasoda does not, even from the depth of her heart, want to punish or hurt Krishna. So, she carefully plans her dialogue with Krishna.
With all the sweetness of a Mother’s love, she asks Krishna if the Gopikas were right in their complaint against Him. Krishna prefers to keep silent and pretends to be asleep. At this, Yasoda with a little anger, chides Him that because of His misdeeds, she has to bow her head before others. At this, Krishna reacts and teases Yasoda that she is blaming Him believing in some false complaints. He requests her to show at least a little love as a foster mother. This accusation brings tears into Yasoda’s eyes and she declares that Krishna is everything for her in her life. The role of Krishna was played by a very young child and he/she danced so well that all of us were enraptured with the rhythm and grace. The songs were very melodious and meaningful and the music recording too was very professional.
Krishna declares that He had every right to be a Navaneetachora because, He had protected the entire Gokulam by punishing Kaleeya, by killing the demons and by lifting the Govardana Giri. At this point in the ballet, there were two sets on either side of the backdrop. On one side was a duplicate Krishna mounted on the Kaleeya and on the other side another Krishna lifting the mountain. The boards covering these sets were dropped all of a sudden, and the sets came into full view coinciding with the lyrics of the song. There was a thunderous applause.
Finally, the young little Krishna declares that He incarnates in every age to punish the guilty and the evil, to revive Dharma and to shower Divine Love and Grace on humanity. He proclaims that in Kaliyuga, the Jamuna would become Chitravati, the Gokulam would be Puttaparthi, the Gopalas and Gopikas would form the devotees, and He Himself would advent as Sri Sathya Sai!! Instantly, there was a loud applause from the devotees!
The ballet concluded with Yasoda and the Gopikas realizing Krishna as the Lord of the Universe and with singing and dancing His Glory!! The dance was performed very well. All dancers were dancing so spontaneously with a sense of ease and naturality. Especially, the little lad who danced as Krishna was par excellence! Swami called him in front. The Chinni Krishna went to Swami. Bhagawan created a gold chain and put it around the neck of the child!! After that, all the participants got group photographs with Swami. Swami even stood up from His chair to pose for the photographs! The children were delighted!!
The programme concluded with Aarti and Prasadam distribution to all. It was 3.50 p.m. Bhagawan went towards the interview room and all of us dispersed to the Hostel for our event practice, Even as we were reaching the Hostel premises, we got the information that Bhagawan had started for the Hill View Stadium. We all ran and took our position at the stadium.
Bhagawan’s car parked again at the same place like the previous day. This evening, even as He was coming along the vertical stretch of the road towards the stage, Swami was watching the Roller Blades boys performing on their massive U-structure. Roller Blades forms one major event of our programme and a massive U-shaped metal structure has been installed in the corner of the ground facing the Ladies Gallery.
After the car was halted, the Carabining students, who call themselves as the Hawks started their presentation. One Hawk glided down at full speed right from half the hill – above Zoroaster’s statue, right until the centre of the ground. Carabining as you may know is the technique of sliding down a rope – held in tension – from a great height, with the help of a pulley.
This time, the Carabining is of a very novel type. Whereas, one end is anchored tightly at the top of the hill (halfway up), the other end is mobile and is tied to a tractor that can be parked anywhere in the stadium. There are few boys who can brake the speed of the carabiner and slow down his landing, by mere pulling of the ropes. We had special coaches from Singapore training our boys for Carabining as well as for Roller Blades.
After the Carabining event, the Wheels Display commenced. This is similar to the Prasanthi Wheels that our campus had performed a few years back. Bhagawan was keenly observing the performance from the car – but with the window glass closed!! After the Wheels, the Shiva Tandava dance boys got into their position. The Parthi Campus is going to open its presentation this year with a Shiva Tandava dance. The participants (including Shiva and Parvati) were lucky to perform the whole piece in the Divine Presence! The next item to be presented was a Stick Dance by the School boys. However, as they started, Bhagawan’s car also started and He was off on His way to the Mandir!!
Once again, Swami had pumped in enthusiasm and inspiration in all our hearts. Was it not that one glance and one smile for which all these efforts were being put in!! What else could one have asked for?
This evening again, Bhagawan came very unexpectedly to the grounds. Brother Satyajit was driving the car and Swami was expectantly looking for the Carabining boys. However, they had just retired for the day as the Anantapur Sisters were getting ready to take up their slot for practice. The Brindavan brothers are arriving tomorrow and then the whole of Parthi will be bustling with hectic activity marking the eve of the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet.
Thus everything goes on as usual at Prsanthinilayam. Nothing changes. The same Bhagawan, the same involvement, the same interest, the same Love!! As it is said, the Lord is the Still Point in the Turning World!!
This morning, both the Parthi and Anantapur Campuses had assembled in the grounds for March Past practice. At 8.30 a.m., as the sun was just getting hotter, Bhagawan came in the Prius Car to the grounds. Brother Satyajit was driving the car with Sri Balaram seated behind. After a few words with the Vice Chancellor, Swami instructed brother Satyajit to park the car. Bhagawan got down from the car. All boys and girls were standing in their positions for the March Past. As Swami got down from the car, His orange robe glittered in the shining sun and His hairs swayed in synch with the soft breeze!! The whole place was charged with His powerful vibrations!! The command was given for the March Past to begin. Bhagawan stood for a while watching the squads march forward. Then He sat down on the sofa placed just in front of the Gents Gallery towards the stage corner.
After the Marching was over and all the students took their place for the pledge, the Gun Drill boys again came in today to present their item for the second time in the Divine Presence. Subsequently, the Torch Vehicle boys brought their mascot – the Divine Garuda – for His Divine feedback. The Garuda was still white and needed some final touches. Swami appreciated the bird and asked them to paint it green. The boys were a little hesitant and prayed to Swami to have it golden coloured as it would shine while gliding up the hill. Bhagawan agreed for the golden colour. As the Gun Drill came to a close, the Higher Secondary School students were ready in position to delight us with their wave formations. It was a fantastic presentation manifesting coordination and graceful movements of the highest order that can result only after disciplined practice of several days!
Meanwhile, our Warden showed Bhagawan an album containing the photographs of the newly constructed Dining Hall in our Hostel and prayed to Bhagawan to Bless it with His Presence. Swami saw the photos, smiled and said that He would see! It was 9.00 a.m. and Swami got up to leave for the Mandir. After some interaction with the Vice Chancellor, Swami got into the car. The Escorts Jeep and the Escorts Bikes had all taken their position on the main road towards the Eswaramma School side. Beloved Bhagawan played one of His Divine Leelas!! He instructed brother Satyajit to take the other route, along the Chaitanya Jyoti side. Immediately, there was wonderful confusion! The Escorts Jeep reversed and struggled to make way between the enthusiastic students to get in front of the car. The bikes zoomed back and crashed through the ground to make it in front of Bhagawan’s car. Finally, all was fine as usual, and Bhagawan left the grounds leaving all of us with a sense of deep satisfaction and joy!!
These two news sections from The Hindu
may be of interest to you
in case you have not yet read about it.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba Sanctions Two Water Projects
The Hindu Business Line: 4.1.05
HYDERABAD, JAN 03.
At a press conference, Mr Mohammad Shabbir Ali, Minister for Information and Public Relations, said ...
Among other major decisions, the Government has agreed to provide water for three major drinking water projects to be started under the aegis of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
These projects costing Rs.820 crore would come up in Anantapur, East and West Godavari districts.
Of these, one project sought to revive the Rs.270-crore project envisaged by Saibaba during the erstwhile regime.
"The earlier Government failed to provide the promised 3 tmc water that made the project defunct," the Minister said.
These approvals came in the wake of the interaction between the Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and Sri Sathya Sai Baba on Sunday.
The Hindu: 4.1.05
HYDERABAD, JAN 03.
A. P. Cabinet Ministers Thanks Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Briefing presspersons after the Cabinet meeting, the Information Minister, Mohd. Ali Shabbir, said….
" All Cabinet Ministers thanked Sri Sathya Saibaba of Puttaparthi for proposing to take up two drinking water supply schemes, Rs. 300-crore one in East and West Godavari districts and Rs. 250-crore one in Madikasera, Penugonda and Hindupur Assembly segments of Anantapur district. It was also decided to allot three tmcft of water from the Tungabhadra High Level Canal modernisation programme for the Rs.270-crore scheme in Anantapur, for which the pipelines were in place.
We’ll get back to you with further details on our Annual Sports and Cultural Meet.
Evening Session :
Swamy came in to the hall around 3:15 p.m. He sat
down in the Chair and looked at the front row (where all the old boys' /
singers sat ) and motioned to the Vice Chancellor to make the
announcement ( Old students' music program ). After him, V. Kumar went
up to Swamy praying Swamy to Inaugurate the "Bridge Across Time - Vol 5
and 6 ". A couple of others went up offering a prayer card ( specially
made for the occasion ), another boy went up offering cloves to swamy.
When they returned, Swamy motioned us to start and we started singing
the songs...one after the other..and went on presenting 15 songs, with
some commentary, both in Telugu and English in between. They were all,
kind of, slow songs and it seemed as if Swamy was tired. After 15th song
Swamy asked V. Kumar if we were done, at this point we still had 3 more
songs to present and we immediately cut 2 of them and presented the last
one which was a group song. We thought, it was a little dragging and too
many songs too.
2nd Jan. 2005
Posted on 07.01.2005
A GREEK DEVOTEE
On the 25th of November 2004 we had a very interesting experience. We met Dimosthenis Tambakos (28 years) from Greece. Tambakos is a world-class gymnast. He has won several medals at the international level. Winner of the bronze medal in World championships in 1999, Gold medal in the same championship in 2002 and 2004, silver medalist in the same in the year 2003 and finally, winner of the Olympic Gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympic games. In fact, one of the routines on the Roman rings is named after him; it is called the Tambakos routine.
Tambakos said that he first came to know of Swami in the year 1998, through a friend who had a book containing sayings of Swami. The simplicity and powerful teachings touched his heart and he had a desire to have Swami’s Darshan. In the year 1999, he was on the reserves list for the Olympics squad to Sydney when he was told that he would not be going. Taking this opportunity, he wanted to come to Parthi. However, he had only 20,000 drachmas in his account, while he needed another 2000 drachmas to make the trip. Astonishingly, old dues owed to him by the government etc. suddenly got paid up and he discovered that strangely enough, he had the funds to make a trip to Parthi!
His first trip, he said, was something of an anticlimax! Swami would not even look or talk to him, though He would find time to look at and take letters from the people in all the directions around Tambakos. Nevertheless, he felt a difference in him when he went back to Greece.
It was also in the year 1999, that he started having a severe shoulder pain. His doctors and physiotherapists advised him to get it attended to with a surgery. But Tambakos would not have it. He insisted that he would first have Darshan and then take a decision, though the doctors warned him that it would be at his own risk. Tambakos went to India just for one Darshan and had an interview with Swami. Swami kept rubbing his shoulder and arms repeatedly. Tambakos was convinced and told his doctors that he would not have the surgery. He never needed it! On the contrary, he went on to win medals after medals!!
He also revealed to us that during the trip in the year 2003, he had been given a kerchief, which Swami had used. During the events in the Athens Olympics, he tied this kerchief out of sight, around the waist. He says that he felt the presence of Swami then with him.
We asked him about how he handled the enormous tensions and pressures that he felt during the events and how he handled the expectations of his own self, friends and nation. His answer was very revealing. He said, “I feel that I must give it my best try and not hanker after the results. The result is for God to decide – He may choose to give me or deny it to me. It does not matter. To me, I am successful if at the end of it all, I feel that I have done my best and put in my most sincere effort. Failure to me is to realize that I had not done my best or not put in my best effort. This process of leaving the result in God’s hands has always helped me stay calm and cool in any tight situation.”
Another question asked to him was about what he did to reach these great heights of success. “You must be passionate about what you are doing. If you do not like what you are doing and do not feel one with it, you are bound to stumble somewhere. You need to love what you are doing. That is the only way to reach success.”
Tambakos also revealed that there were other members of the Greek Olympic and athletic squad, who were staunch devotees of Swami. He told us about Niki Bakoyanni, the high jumper in the Olympic squad. She is just 1.69 m tall. However, the day before she was to participate, she went up to one of her co-devotees and wanted to obtain Swami’s Blessings. This person advised her to touch the necklace given by Swami, to her forehead, pray and then jump. She did that and cleared 2.03 m!
Maria Polyzos is a marathon runner. Unfortunately, she did not qualify for the Athens Olympics. One day, when Tambakos was in the Olympic village, after training, he decided to attend bhajans along with Maria. After the bhajans, since there were no buses to the village, Tambakos went to Maria’s place. There, from the altar and from above Swami’s photo, Maria removed the Greek flag she had kept there. She had placed it there for the occasion that she would wrap it around herself when she won the Olympics marathon. Now, she selflessly gave it to Tambakos since she herself would not be competing. That, Tambakos said, was a sign of selflessness and love Swami often teaches – to feel happy when somebody else is achieving something and help wholeheartedly. Anyway, Tambakos used that very flag to wrap around himself once he won the Gold medal.
This very flag was signed by about 16 of the athletes from the Greek Olympic squad who had won medals and Tambakos presented this flag to the students of Swami. He also brought two torches that were used to light the Olympic flame and also one, which was brand new – to be presented to Swami!
It was a very illuminating experience for all of us to meet Mr. Tambakos. All through the course of our interaction with him, his humility and simplicity stood out for all to see. It is quite humbling to know that one who has achieved so much in life finds with all his heart that it is only God who has credited him with all the success!!
WISH YOU A VERY VERY HAPPY, PROSPEROUS, AND DIVINE NEW YEAR!!
It was the dawn of the New Year marking the beginning of the celebrations of the 80th year of the advent of the Sathya Sai Avatar. The Sai Kulwant Hall was beautifully decorated with floral buntings and banners on the pillars, windows and the Mandir walls, marked with the slogan "80 Years of LOVE IN ACTION – BHAGAWAN SRI SATYA SAI BABA". The banner had a lemon yellow background with bright red and deep blue coloured letters on it. It looked very attractive and elegant. And there came the Lord at 7.15 am in the new Golf Cart. He came and took his seat on the center of the dais.
The programme began with a talk by Sri Indulal Shah, Former Chairman, World Council, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations and currently International Advisor of the Organisation and Member of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. He began his talk saying that the devotees should be what Hanuman was to Lord Rama and the Gopikas to Lord Krishna. The life of the devotees should be an ideal to carry the message of Sai. He also said that the devotees should not lose any opportunity to share their Love with fellow men. They need to understand, practice and propagate Sri Sathya Sai Educare. They must undertake the Grama Seva activities with added fervour and above all incessantly indulge in Namasmarana of the Lord. He said that over the next 365 days, hundreds of districts from India and over 2000 Centres across the globe, will be a part of the festive celebrations at Prasanthinilayam.
He then prayed to Bhagawan to permit the presentation of two programmes at the Divine Feet.
The first programme which started at 7.30 am – National Music Presentation, was a set of group songs by Indians from all over the country who had specially gathered at Prasanthinilayam for the occasion. They sang 6 songs – 3 in Hindi and 3 in Telugu on the theme – "Sai Our Divine Destiny". This was followed at 8.00 am by an International Choir presented by the overseas devotees. Devotees from many countries had gathered and sang 8 songs in English and other foreign languages. All the while, Swami was giving a Blissful smile and waving His hands in the air, seemingly looking into eternity, often closing His eyes and then reopening them!! All of us gathered there were literally transported to another world on the auspicious New Year day….
Thereafter, Swami blessed a group of youth from USA to sing some songs. They sang a few songs and Bhajans. The morning programme came to a close at 9.30 am with Prasadam Distribution and Aarti to Bhagawan.
In the morning, at 10.00 a.m. there was a General Meeting of all the Alumni in the Institute Auditorium. Many of the old students spoke about various aspects. Brother Krishna Mohan and Sarath spoke about the Institute Alumni, the Love showered by Bhagawan on all of us, the various activities of the Satya Sai Organisations all over, the manner in which out Institute has inspired many other Institutions in other places, etc. Dr. Siva Sankar Sai, the current Warden of the Hostel at Prasanthinilayam gave his usual inspiring talk embedded with all his smiles! Brother D. Anil Kumar and Raghavendra Prasad spoke about the efforts needed to be put in to coordinate the activities of the Sai Students. They gave some idea about the proposed structure to be followed for easy administration and coordination. A few more talks and then brother Vijay (Chenchu) spoke about the service activities he and his team are undertaking in Puttaparthi and villages around.
The evening programme commenced at 3.10 p.m. with the arrival of Bhagawan once again in the new Golf Cart. Swami came and sat on the sofa at the centre of the dais. The old students of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthinilayam and Brindavan Campus, were blessed by Swami to put up their programme in the Divine Presence. A group of the senior old students presented Bhagawan with flowers and the programme card. Swami also released some audio cassettes of the Bhajans recorded by the old students.
Bhagawan Blessed the Vice Chancellor to introduce the programme. The VC said that the Bhakti Marga through Bhajans, the Karma Marga through Grama Seva and other allied service activities and the Jnana Marga through the chanting of the Vedam – all three found their fulfillment at the abode of the Lord at His Lotus Feet.
At around 3.20 pm the programme commenced. There were 18 songs in Hindi, Sanskrit and Telugu. Students from very senior batches had come and participated in the programme. To name a few stalwart singers – We had – Brothers - Sonam, V. Kumar, Kote, Ajnish, Vijay Sai and many others who sang their hearts out, filled with devotion to their dearest Mother Sai. When Bhagawan Blessed them before starting the programme, He remarked that with Him there are no old or current students. All are just students!! (forever!!)
Bhagawan once again was full of ethereal smiles!! Closing His eyes and waving His hands, sometimes giving the beat with His fingers, He reciprocated to the devotion pregnant in their songs!
Thereafter, our brothers from the Institute Band got an opportunity to play their tunes for Swami. They were praying since morning for this chance and finally Swami blessed them to go ahead. They had totally lost the hope that Swami would permit them. But when one leaves the expectation and learns to accept, the Lord rewards and so did He! They played 8 tunes – some Bhajan tunes and the other typical and popular band tunes. Swami called the band leader and materialized a gold bracelet for him. While the band boys played their tunes, Prasadam and New Year Diaries were distributed to the students and staff.
At 5.15 pm, Swami blessed Mr. Ajit Popat from London to address the gathering. Mr. Popat (puppet as he is popularly known as) spoke for half an hour. He spoke about the inner significance of the word "Happy" in the term "Happy New Year" that Bhagawan had explained to him.
H - Holy
A - Awareness
P - Patience
P - Purity
Y - Yogi.
He said that only when we put this meaning of the word Happy and Swami’s teachings into practice can we really call it a Happy New Year. He also mentioned that people feel that so many thousands of people have died in the Tsunami disaster, but what is Swami doing about it. However, we must understand that had it not been for Swami’s Grace, instead of mere thousands, lakhs would have perished. We always see what has happened but we never know what could have happened but was averted. The Lord works quietly; taking no credit for all that He has done and is doing since time immemorial! It is only man who is not discharging his duties appropriately and creating chaos, confusion and corruption. Consequently, Nature is getting imbalanced, thereby resulting in such catastrophes.
The programme came to a close with Aarti to Bhagawan at 5.50 pm. Thus ended the first day of this very eventful and epoch making year.
We wish you all a very Happy and a Holy New year. Come, be a part of the celebrations of the 80th year of the advent of the Avatar –in person or in spirit, for such an opportunity will not come again in aeons to come….
This morning, Bhagawan came out for Darshan at 7.40 a.m. in the new Golf Cart. Meanwhile, at 7.30 a.m., the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy arrived with his big team. They had arrived at Parthi last night itself for some inauguration associated with the Tourism Ministry of A.P. Their cars halted at the main gate of the Mandir near the Rama Statue. From there, Sri Y.S.R. Reddy and the other dignitaries came walking into the Mandir and proceeded straight towards the main Portico.
Ten minutes later, Bhagawan came into the Hall for Darshan. He took a full round and proceeded towards the interview room. The Chief Minister was taken in for an interview by the Lord. The interview went on for about half an hour. This was the first visit of Sri Y.S.R. Reddy to Swami.
In the evening, Bhagawan came out for Darshan at 3.40 p.m. He took a full round of the Kulwant Hall in the Golf Cart, and came and settled down on the Sofa. He spoke something to the Warden, to brother Prusty and finally to the Vice Chancellor. Most of our old students were seated next to the Vedam group as Swami had given an indication that He would possibly interact with them. Many others who were scheduled to leave by 4.00 p.m. were seated near the Krishna Statue.
Swami called the Vedam Incharge, Dr. Anil Kumar and told him that old students can put up their programme. We do not know whether they were prepared for this or not, but they all positioned themselves behind the mikes and for the next one hour we had soul stirring and mellifluous music soothing our ears. All the stalwarts who sang yesterday were present again and some who came late squeezed in ‘stealthily’ as Swami was closing His ‘eyes’ lost in Bliss!!
Andari Baduvvaiyya Bhadrachala Ramaiyya, Tana Ke Tambure Me Jo Sason Ke Tara Bole, O Ma Sai Ma Tu Kitni Achhi Hai, Om Namah Sivaya…Teen Shabdo Mein Shrushti Sare Samaye, Enta Hai Enta Hai Ee Naadu, Radhika Krishna Radhika Tava Hrudaye Keshava, Tera Ramji Karenge Beda Paar, Krishna Nee Begane Baro and many more scintillating Ragas and Taalas filled the air with elevating feelings. This was followed by a number of Bhajans. Throughout, Swami was lost in the songs! We drank in the ecstasy overflowing from His Blissful smile and swayed to the beats of His Divine Hands!!
At 5.10 p.m., Bhagawan instructed the Vice Chancellor about something. A little while later, watches were distributed by the Vice Chancellor to the group of singers! Prasadam was distributed to all in the Kulwant Hall. The Prasadam was a delicious Laddu packed inside a beautiful, attractive box with the same print of "80 Years of Love in Action’ on it. This was organized and arranged by the Sai Students.
Bhagawan took Aarti at 5.20 p.m. and retired for the day filling the hearts of the Sai Students to the brim and even spilling over! When He gives it is much much more than what one could possibly expect!! That is the compassion and Love of our Beloved Mother Sai. Can He withhold Himself when His children come back to Him? His Love was just pouring out!!
Practice for the Sports Meet is in full swing. This time, the Campus programmes are likely to be uniformly distributed, both in the morning and in the afternoon on the 11th of January. All are putting in their best to befit the occasion of the 80th year of the Avataar.
We’ll get back to you with reports on the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet Celebrations on the 11th of January.