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Krishnashtami Celebrations 2003


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Krishnashtami, the festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, the Avatar of Lord Vishnu, is traditionally marked with gaiety and colour and is one of the most eagerly awaited events in the festival calendar of Prasanthi Nilayam. And the cool morning of the 19 August held the promise of a joyous celebration that day.

Glimpses of Swami during Krishnashtami Celebrations at
Sai Kulwanth Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam, 19 August 2003

After Bhagawan blessed the devotees gathered in the Sai Kulwant Hall with His darshan, the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning started the proceedings of the day with bhajans. Meanwhile, the procession with Sai Gita, the elephant, at the head and followed by the cows of the gokulam, was led into the Sai Kulwant Hall by the students to the accompaniment of bhajans and chanting of Vedic hymns. As Bhagawan walked amidst the gaily decorated cows and the boys dressed with colourful turbans tied around their heads, it was as if the joyous times when Krishna sported amongst cowherd boys of Brindavan were being relived. Bhagawan blessed the cows and fed them with His own Hands. But His special affection was reserved for Sai Gita, the elephant, whom He patted affectionately and fed with apples and bananas. The morning programme concluded with Arathi.

The afternoon programme featured talks by two speakers before Bhagawan delivered His Divine Discourse. The first talk was by Dr. M. Sainath of the Department of Physics, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. He spoke on one of the Bhagawan's oft-quoted maxims-the four F's, Follow the Master, Face the Devil, Fight to the End and Finish the Game. He stressed on the importance of recognizing who our true Master is, quoting an incident from the Mahabharata where the Pandavas were saved from grave misfortune only because of their implicit faith in Lord Krishna. At the same time, he said, it is important to face and vanquish the weaknesses in us that manifest as ego, anger, jealousy, etc. He concluded with a prayer to Bhagawan to grant everyone the strength and the faith required to reach the ultimate goal. The next speaker was Dr G. Venkatraman, the former Vice-Chancellor of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, who spoke on the project announced by Bhagawan on 19 January 2002 to augment the supply of drinking water to the residents of Chennai. He said that this project, on which work began in August 2002, was again an instance of Bhagawan responding to the need of His devotees even when they have not voiced their prayers directly to Him. He informed the audience about various aspects of the project and mentioned that it was indeed remarkable that such a mammoth project, with around 4000 people working day and night, was going on unnoticed and without any publicity.

Bhagawan, in His Discourse, related episodes from the life of Lord Krishna and said that although Krishna's life was one filled with difficulties, it was also one that removed the misery from other's lives and brought joy to one and all. Bhagawan concluded His Discourse with the song, "Bhaja Govindam", a composition by saint Adi Shankara. The programme concluded with Arathi offered to Bhagawan.