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Guru Poornima 2003

Report and Photos

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Glimpses of Swami during Gurupoornima Celebrations at
Sai Kulwanth Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam on 13 July 2003

On the morning of this very auspicious day when the Guru is remembered and worshiped, devotees from all over the world had gathered at Prashanti Nilayam to pay their obeisance to the Jagadguru, Bhagawan Baba.

Swami entered Sai Kulwant Hall at around 7a.m, welcomed by the melodious strains of the Panchavadyam (a traditional form of music played in the temples in the State of Kerala) by the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. As Swami gracefully walked up to the portico and seated Himself, the devotees gave a thunderous applause to express their joy of being in the Divine Presence on this sacred day.

The programme commenced with a function organised for the felicitation of Sri Indulal Shah and Smt. Sarla Shah on the completion of 40 years of service to the Lord. After Swami sat down, Dr. Michael Goldstein (Overseas Chairman of theSathya Sai Seva Organisations) invited Sri Indulal Shah (Chairman, World Council, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations) and Smt. Sarla Shah to take their place on the dais by the side of Swami's chair, on Swami's directions. Bhagawan blessed 5 speakers to address the huge gathering before His divine Discourse. All of them spoke on the work and life of Sri Indulal Shah and Smt. Sarla Shah, their devotion toward Bhagawan, and their commitment and sincerity toward Bhagavan's mission and the international organization.

The speakers included: Dr. Michael Goldstein, Dr.G.Venkatraman (former Vice Chancellor, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning), Mr. Robert Bozzani (President of the Sri Sathya Sai Baba Book Center USA and Office Bearer, Sri Sathya Sai Baba Organisation, USA), Sri Chakravarty (Secretary, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust), and Sri C. Srinivas (Member, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust). All of them exalted the contribution and visionary leadership of Sri Indulal Shah in steering the International Sathya Sai Seva Organisation during the last four decades. Thereafter Bhagawan released a book on the dedicated life of Sri Indulal Shah and Smt. Sarla Shah in Bhagavan's Organisation. Bhagawan presented the first copies to them. Bhagawan also presented Sri Indulal Shah with a silver platter in appreciation of their lifelong and dedicated service at the Lotus Feet.

Thereafter, Bhagawan gave His Guru Poornima Discourse, in which He reiterated His message of giving up body consciousness and paying greater attention to the Atmic Principle, which is essentially the spark of the Divine in every individual. Bhagawan also mentioned a few details of the incidents that took place at Brindavan during the previous month. He spoke about the surgery and the happenings before and after that. He also spoke with great appreciation of Sri Indulal Shah's work, which started way back in the year 1965, of the establishment of Dharmakshetra at Mumbai, and also of the First World Conference of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, both held at Mumbai in the year 1968, and of his untiring service at the lotus feet during the last 40 years. He acknowledged Smt. Sarla Shah's grand contribution to the Bal Vikas Movement and the Mahila Vibhag of the Organisation.

Then, Bhagawan exalted the great service of Sri Satyajit and Sri Dileep (former students of Swami's Institute and currently working in Swami's Institutions at Prashanti Nilayam), who served Him with great devotion and care during the last one month when He underwent the great physical discomfort. Swami ended the discourse with the bhajan Hari Bhajan Bina Sukh Shanti Nahi. The audience was thrilled to hear their Sadguru after a period of four months at Prashanti Nilayam. Many an eye were wet with joy and supreme happiness to see Swami back in their midst after such a long period of time. Bhagawan had given the entire credit for His speedy recovery to the devotees' prayers. The devotees were overwhelmed at Bhagavan's bountiful compassion and love for His devotees.

Prasadam was distributed to the thousands of devotees gathered for the celebrations. After the mangal aarati, Bhagawan retired for the morning session.

In the afternoon session, Bhagawan once again blessed the devotees with His nectarine darshan at Sai Kulwant Hall at 3.45 p.m. The first speaker of the afternoon session was Dr. Ram Setty from USA, who spoke about the twostudents whom Swami had sent to USA to pursue post graduate courses in hospital administration at the Loma Linda University in California. Thereafter, the Vice Chancellor of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Sri S.V.Giri, spoke about how Bhagawan blessed the two students to go for this course and how He miraculously took care of both of them during the entire procedure of admission and their stay in the USA.

Bhagavan, the Chancellor of the Institute, presented the two boys --Sri Sriram Parshuram and Sri Vemula Praveen-- with their post graduate degrees in Masters of Public Health awarded by the Loma Linda University. Subsequently, Swami blessed Sri Sriram Parshuram to share with the audience his experiences during the admission procedure as well as during their stay at the Loma Linda Institute.

Bhajans were sung in the praise of the Guru, and Bhagawan Baba graciously sat in the portico so that all could have the feast of His divine darshan during the bhajan session. After the managal arati, Bhagavn retired for the evening session.

There was a special music programme in the Poorna Chandra Auditorium:a choir presentation by a group of overseas devotees of the Organisation. Before the programme, Dr. Goldstein made the pleasant announcement that on the request of all the Zonal Chairmen of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation (Overseas) and by Bhagawan Baba's Divine grace and permission, Sri Indulal Shah was now given the responsibility of being the World International Advisor for the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation.

At the end of the music programme, which lasted for about 50 minutes, Bhagawan blessed the performers by giving them gifts and posing for photographs with them.

Thereafter, Bhagawan retired for the day at 7.15 p.m.

Thus ended an eventful day of the auspicious Guru Poornima festival in the Divine Presence of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The devotees returned home fully satisfied, contented, and overjoyed being with their Beloved Lord on this most important day and above all seeing Him back to normal physical health after the long and painful period of physical discomfort.