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
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.