A mother is ready to sacrifice everything, even her life, for the sake of her child…It is for this reason, that a woman is described as Thyagamurthi, an embodiment of sacrifice…In this world, all things are transient. Only righteousness and good name endure. How is one to acquire a good name? By revering the mother. Never go against the wishes of the mother. The child who causes pain to the mother can never be happy. Hence, earn the blessing of the mother.
Subsequent to the Divine Marriage, ‘The Divine Couple’ along with Lord Venugopala Swami were escorted out in a royal procession as part of the annual Rathotsavam. ‘The Gods’ mounted on a chariot were taken out along the road in royal procession.
The Rathotsavam (Chariot Festival) at Prasanthi Nilayam is a tradition that goes back to the early 1950’s. This festival marks the beginning of the Birthday Celebrations of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. On this day, the students of Bhagawan, chanting Vedic hymns and singing Bhajans, lead a procession with the idol of Lord Krishna on a rath (chariot) and the idols of Lord Rama, Lakshmana and Mother Sita on a palanquin from Sai Kulwant Hall to the Old Mandir, or what is now the Kalyana Mantapam, in the village of Puttaparthi. After worship is offered to the deities, the idols of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita return to the Mandir. Later, in the evening, the idols are taken out in a procession in the village of Puttaparthi, amidst joyous celebration by the villagers.
Global Akhanda Bhajan, the timeless intonation promoting Universal Peace and Harmony is one of the most significant and far-reaching annual spiritual exercise initiated by Bhagawan way back in the mid forties.
Ever since, every second week-end of the month of November has been a fixed schedule for this 24 hour marathon non-stop bhajan saga.
The Akhanda Bhajan had its origin way back in 1945, started in Bangalore by a group of eight families. Upon the culmination of the year-long Thursday bhajans, they had been conducting quite regularly from 1944, during the World War II time, the group of eight families showed up to Bhagawan in Puttaparthi seeking blessings for conducting bhajans. The Divine Visionary that He is, Bhagawan blessed the group, praising the idea of bhajan singing and named it Akhanda Bhajan. Bhagawan even promised the group that He would bless the same with His physical presence. This grand Spiritual exercise has been going on uninterrupted ever since and the years that passed had been fortunate to have the spirited physical presence of Bhagawan during the occasion.
“Today we are having the Akhanda Bhajan. This is being done not for the sake of one individual, one nation or one community. It is for the welfare of humanity as a whole.
The bhajans that are sung permeate the ether in the form of sound waves and fill the entire atmosphere. Thereby, the whole environment is purified. Breathing in this purified atmosphere, our hearts get purified. Reciting the Lord’s name is a process of give and take. Singing the Lord’s name should become an exercise in mutual sharing of joy and holiness. It should be remembered that the sounds we produce reverberate in the atmosphere. They remain permanently in the ether as waves and outlast the individual uttering the sounds.
– Divine Discourse on Akhanda Bhajan day on November 8, 1986
– Sri Sathya Sai Baba in a Letter to V.R. Krishna Kumar, 1946
‘Sa’ means Divine; ‘ai’ or ‘ayi’ means Mother and ‘Baba’ means Father. The Name, Sai Baba means Divine Mother and Father. Sai’s descent is to achieve the supreme task of uniting the entire mankind as one family through the bond of brotherhood and to affirm and illumine the Divine (Aathmic) Reality within each and every being. The Divine takes the form as Avatar to reveal Himself as the basis for the entire Cosmos, and to instruct all to recognise the common divine heritage that binds everyone; so that human beings can work hard to rid themselves of animalistic qualities. I am the embodiment of Love; Love is My instrument. I reveal truth about Myself for, I desire that you should contemplate on this and derive joy. Also, may you be inspired to observe the disciplines laid down and progress towards the goal of Self-Realisation. Realise the Sai who shines in your hearts. (Divine Discourse, 19 June 1974)
Deepavali, the festival of Lights is celebrated on the new moon day in the month of ‘Ashwin’ of the Indian lunar Calendar.
It usually falls in late October or early November.
Deepavali or Diwali, , is a festival of lights symbolizing the victory of righteousness over evil and the lifting of spiritual darkness. The word ‘Deepavali’ literally means ‘rows of lamps’. The lamp is not merely the symbol of knowledge of Truth, but also of the one Atma (spirit) that shines in all.
“Today is the day on which Naraka, the demon was killed. What does this event signify? It signifies killing the demon in man. ‘Nara’ means man and ‘Asura’ means demon. This demon is present in every human being. It is not necessary to acquire great weapons to kill this demon. Man is called ‘Nara’ because there is Atma (spirit) in him. That Atma is the embodiment of love. It is possible to kill the demons only through love. Therefore, realize the Atma Tathva and develop love. This is true Bhakti (devotion)”.
– Divine Discourse: November 4, 2002
“The flame of a lamp has two significant qualities. One is to banish darkness; the other is a continuous upward movement. Even if a lamp is kept in a pit, the flame is directed upwards. The ancients have taught that the upward movement of the flame denotes the path to wisdom and the path to divinity. However, the external light can dispel only the external darkness, but not the darkness of ignorance in man.
Asato mA Sadgamaya |
Tamaso mA Jyotirgamaya |
MRRityormA AmRRitaM Gamaya || Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthihi Lead us from the Unreal to the Real Lead us from Darkness to Light Lead us from Death to Immortality Om Peace, Peace, Peace
Deepavali ushers in the light of prosperity
From the very name of today’s festival–Deepavali–it can be seen that the Divine effulgence is manifest in it. Deepavali means “the array of lights.” “Thamasomaa jyotirgamaya” (Lead me from darkness to light) is an Upanishadic prayer: This means that where there is darkness light is needed. What is this darkness? Sorrow is one form of darkness. Peacelessness is another. Loss is another. Disappointment is one form of darkness. Misery is yet another. Lack of enthusiasm is another. All these are different forms of darkness. To get rid of the darkness of sorrow, you have to light the lamp of happiness. To dispel the darkness of disease, you have to install the light of health. To get over the darkness of losses and failures, you have to usher in the light of prosperity.
Dasara or Navaratri is a ten day festival, usually falling in the month of October, that is celebrated all over India in the worship of the Divine as the Mother principle. Bhagawan has explained that the festival of Dasara is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil signifying the vanquishing of the ‘six demons’ of lust, anger, attachment, greed, pride and jealously within us.
Durga Mata Mandir in Puttaparthi
Durga is worshipped the first 3 days, Laxmi the next 3 days then Saraswati the final 3 days.
Vijaya Dasami Day being the 10th Day.
The Dasara celebrations at Prasanthi Nilayam begins with the Kalasha Sthapana Puja in the Bhajan Mandir. After this, Kalasha puja is performed during all days of the Navarathri.
who is the auspiciousness of all that is auspicious,
who is the consort of Lord Shiva,
who is the bestower of every desire of one’s heart.
Adorations to You!
O Devi, I have taken refuge in you.
Is the mother of the universe and believed to be the power behind the work of creation, preservation, and destruction of the world. Since time immemorial she has been worshipped as the supreme power of the Supreme Being and has been mentioned in many scriptures
– Yajur Veda, Vajasaneyi Samhita and Taittareya Brahman.
Devi Durga stands on a lion in a fearless pose of “Abhay Mudra”, signifying assurance of freedom from fear. The universal mother seems to be saying to all her devotees: “Surrender all actions and duties onto me and I shall release thee from all fears”.
“WHY FEAR WHEN I AM HERE” …Baba
“The life of a man who cannot respect and love one’s mother is utterly useless. Recognizing one’s mother as the very embodiment of all divine forces, one must show reverence to her and treat her with love. This is the true message that this nine-night festival (the Navaratri) gives us. The supreme Shakti manifests herself in the form of Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Durga grants us energy – physical, mental, and spiritual. Lakshmi bestows on us all forms of wealth – not just money but intellectual wealth, the wealth of character, and others. Even health is a kind of wealth. She grants untold riches to us. And Saraswati bestows intelligence, the capacity for intellectual inquiry, and the power of discrimination on us. The Navaratri festival is celebrated in order to proclaim the power of the goddesses to the world. One’s own mother is the combination of all these divine beings. She provides us with energy, wealth, and intelligence. She constantly desires our advancement in life. So she represents all the three goddesses that we worship during the Navaratri festival.”
– Divine Discourse: 14th October 1988
Veda Purusha Sapthaha Jnana Yagna
During Dasara Celebrations the Yagnam commences with the rubbing of wooden blocks to produce fire through friction. Thereafter, the sacred fire thus produced, is placed in the ‘Yagna Kunda’ (the sacrificial altar into which oblations are offered)
The most important component of the Yagnam is the ‘Rudra Homam’, an invocation to Lord Siva, in which the oblations of clarified butter are poured into the Yagna Kunda while chanting hymns from the ‘Sri Rudram’. Other rituals also take place simultaneously like the Surya Namaskar, or the worship of the Sun as the visible symbol of the Supreme. The Srimad Bhagavatham Parayana, and the Ramayana Parayana and the Devi Mahatmyam are simultaneously performed by noted scholars, and a few pundits and Bhagavan’s students simultaneously chant various hymns from the Vedas. Another priest worships the Sri Chakra, a mystic drawing representing the Supreme Mother. The first 6 days the Yagna follows this routine daily.
The Dasara Celebrations come to an auspicious close on, Vijaya Dasami Day, the 7th day of the Yagna. Poornahuthi or the Valedictory Offering is made.
After seeking the blessings of Bhagavan, the priests make the final offering of clarified butter into the fire while chanting hymns from the ‘Chamakam,’ praying for the physical and spiritual welfare of all the beings of the world. Bhagavan blesses all the priests by sprinkling sacred water and akshada (turmeric coated rice) on them.
Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated on the Chaturthi, i.e., the fourth day of Indian lunar month of Bhadrapada.
It usually falls in the month of September in the English calendar. Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God is usually worshipped before commencing any activity in order to remove obstacles and ensure success of the endeavour. He is also the bestower of worldly intelligence and spiritual wisdom.
Let us recall the benign countenance of the omni-present Lord,
with a moon-like complexion, having four arms
and clad in a white garment.
May He remove all impediments in our path.
Live from Prasanthi Nilayam 25th August 2017
The festival is usually celebrated for a period for three days in Prasanthi Nilayam. On the first day, the students sing devotional songs and Stotrams (hymns) and present cultural programmes in the Divine Presence and Bhagawan grants His discourse.During the next two days, students and staff of Bhagawans Institutions worship idols of Lord Ganesha in their respective premises. On the third day of the festival, the idols are brought to the Sai Kulwant Hall in a grand procession of colourful and exquisitely designed chariots amidst chanting of hymns and singing of Bhajans. After offering final worship and Arati, it is customary to immerse in the idol in a nearby lake or pond as it is the belief that Lord Ganesha takes with him the troubles and the bad tendencies that act as obstacles on the spiritual path.
Ganesha Chaturthi Pooja & Aarti performed in Puttaparthi
“Vinayaka (Ganesha) is one who drives away all sorrows, difficulties and miseries. He is the enemy of all obstacles. He will not allow any obstacles to come in the way. He is the destroyer of obstacles. He confers happiness and peace (on his devotees). He is the master of all these powers (Buddhi and Siddhi). What is Siddhi (fullfillment)? When there is purity of mind you achieve peace (which is Siddhi). Vinayaka is thus Lord of Buddhi (the intellect and Self-Realization). Hence every human being should aquire control over the mind…
Vinayaka is the Lord of learning (Vidya). Does learning mean bookish scholarship? No. Everything pertaining to the cosmos is included in the term learning (Vidya). Walking, talking, laughing, sitting, eating, strolling, thinking – every kind of activity is related to learning. Vinayaka is the master of every kind of learning…
“Whenever people want to commence any undertaking, they first offer worship to Vinayaka (Ganesha or Ganapathi)…Ganapathi is one who gives us spiritual potency and endows us with Supreme Intelligence…” – Sathya Sai Baba
He is one who instills purity in body, and fearlessness in the mind.” – Sathya Sai Baba
A Ganesha idol materialized by Swami for a student in 2004
“What is the inner significance of worshipping the elephant-faced deity? The elephant is a symbol of might and magnitude. The elephant’s foot is larger than that of any other animal. The elephant can make its way through the densest jungle. In this way, it signifies the quality of a leader who shows the way for others. The elephant is also known for its faithfulness and gratitude. These are the lessons man should learn from the elephant. Intelligence without gratitude is valueless. Every man should be grateful to those who have helped him”.