Grand 86th Birthday Celebrations

People wish Me Happy Birthday…why specially happy birthday today? I am ever happy…Happiness is union with God, echoed Beloved Bhagawan in Sai Kulwant Hall, when an old video of Bhagawan’s Birthday Divine discourse was telecast in the concluding moments of a glittering Birthday function in Prasanthi Nilayam, on 23rd November morning in Prasanthi Nilayam.

23rd November is known the world over for one main reason, that it earned a date with Divinity, welcoming the Almighty in human form. Today, when the most fascinating morning dawned in this South Indian hamlet turned International Spiritual Centre, the village that did penance turned nostalgic of her golden past, where she could vividly recall all those precious priceless moments of unceasing love of Beloved Bhagawan, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Proceedings for the morning session commenced at 0900 hrs. with Veda chanting when the curtains went up grantng the beautific darshan of the Sanctum Sanctorum that was adorned with flowers and buntings along with a magnificent silver throne for The Presiding Lord.

Chief Guest for the day was an ardent devotee, currently Hon’ble Governor of Tamil Nadu, His Excellency, Konijeti Rosaiah, who was earlier the Finance Minister and later Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

First programme for the morning was ‘Guru Vandana’ by the students of SSSIHL. Beginning with invocatory Sai Gayathri, these grateful students sang in a united voice a composition, ‘Easwarammba Sutam Venkavadhoota Sampreetam’ that was tuned to original ashtakam style. Couple of more compositions followed that included the one of the evergreen melodies of Prasanthi, “Madhura Mohana Ghana Shyama…”.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

A music concert by the Malladi Bros. duo followed. Malladi concerts have been a regular feature during Guru Purnima and Birthday celebrations for the past 3-4 years, when Bhagawan would listen to them with earnest attention. This morning,the duo reproduced some of Bhagawan’s favourite numbers that included a Birthday Greeting Song.

A welcome speech by Sri V.Srinivasan, President, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations – India followed. Reiterating his firm faith that Sai is with us, here and everywhere, now and forever, the speaker lavishly praised the students who presented a thematic convocation drama on the eve on 30th Annual Convocation of SSSIHL. Hoping that Bhagawan would guide these shining stars who are future ambassadors, the speaker urged the devotees to rededicate themselves following Bhagawan’s ideals. “Why Fear When I Am Here”, the famous Sathya Sai axiom is a statement for eternity, said Sri Sinivasan.

Referring to the glittering musical show of Dana Gillespie that rocked the house in Prasanthi a couple of days ago, quoting her famous number, I Sigh For You…Love For Love…he said, when we follow His ideals and make our lives His message, Sai will be pleased. Our work has to continue till of our last moment; we have to be workers first, then leaders.

He thanked Governor Roasaiah for rescheduling his day’s programme at Coimbatore to make himself available for the function in Puttaparthi.

Reiterating the Central Trust’s resolve to continue the legacy and mission set in motion by Bhagawan, the speaker requested the Governor to release the annual statement of the Trust’s activities.

Some of the new initiatives by the Trust were also announced during the occasion. Additional mobile hospital, Assistance to various Sathya Sai Schools, Additional advance medical equipments for hospitals, Additional staff infrastructure and facilities for research in the Insitute, Digital archiving facility, Revamping and modernisation of the South Indian Canteen, Assisting the ongoing Teachers Training Programme, Expansion of Vidya Vahini Project etc. are some of the initiatives.

Subsequently the report on the Central Trust activities and that of SSSIHL was released by the Governor.

Chief Guest for the morning, K. Rosaiah who addressed next, with utmost humility and devotion, affirmed that, though world over people discuss whether Sathya Sai is God nor not, the very fact that the organisation He has founded is spread over 160 countries having millions of members is a testimony to the unparalleled influence of Sathya Sai Baba. Expressing great satisfaction for being in Prasanthi Nilayam in holy company on the holy occasion the Governor said, for him, it is not the positions that he had held and is holding currently that make him proud, but the fact that he is a devotee of Sathya Sai. Prasanthi Nilayam is a Holy Abode on part with Dwaraka of Bhagawan Sri Krishna and Ayodhya of Lord Sri Rama, said the Governor.

Bhagawan’s Divine discourse followed. Illuminating on the theme ‘Happy Birthday’, Bhagawan said, during ancient times, people practised sacrifice, love and truth and thus could attain Divinity. He urged the current generation to follow the same path. One should exercise equanimity in pleasure and pain. For the Pandavas, God was their first choice, the world next and themselves last and thus, practising this ideal, they were fortunate to have Lord Krishna always with them.

Bhagawan does not criticise anyone, and when Bhagawan follows something, devotees also should follow suit, said Bhagawan urging the students to develop Love For God, Fear Of Sin and Morality In Society. Control of mind is to be achieved, said Bhagawan discoursing about the worried minds of present time.

Develop Love…Love Bhagawan more and more…that is the only solution…Prayer is the only solution…concluded Bhagawan singing the bhajan, “Hari Bhajana Binaa Sukha Shanti Nahi…”

As Birthday Cake by the Italian group followed by various Prasanthi Institutions made a beeline to the Sanctum Sanctorum, various Band Troupes, from the Primary School, both boys and girls, Anantapur Girls’ Band and Prasanthi Nilayam Band played thematic tunes befitting the occasion. While the Anantapur Band played the ‘Love Story’song of 1970s “Where do I begin To tell the story of how great a love can be…”Prasanthi boys played the famous birthday tune, Happy Birthday to You…”

Dignitaries present during the occasion included former Maharashtra Chief Minister, Ashok Chavan, Andhra ministers, Raghuveera Reddy and Mrs. J. Geeta Reddy.

Mangala Arathi was offered at 1100 hrs. and Laddu Prasadam and Italian chocolates were distrubuted to the entire assembly.

Food Prasadam was arranged in the morning and afternoon for all devotees attending the 86th Birthday Celebrations.

Evening Function:

Prasanthi has endearing memories of this day, 23rd November, and in the saga of His Story, evenings of this day would often reach zenith of excitement as, invariably on every Birthday evenings, her Beloved Lord ushered in granting coveted darshan, revealing rare facets of His Divine majesty.

On 23rd November the schedule for the big evening was ‘Jhoola Mahotsavam’, where The Lord was to swing to the accompaniment of music by renowned artistes.

The function commenced at 1730 hrs. with the unveiling of the Jhoola and the Sanctum Sanctorum. The Jhoola that had been profusely blessed by Bhagawan on many earlier occasions was bedecked with flowers and buntings and was a rare beauty to watch.

As the packed Sai Kulwant Hall witnessed the unveiling, for the audience, it turned out to be a transition from ‘i’ to “we’, a feeling of Oneness, as the grandeur and the beauty and the pristine powerful vibrations emanating from the Sanctum Sanctorum, where Beloved Bhagawan’s physical frame was interned, touched every heart and soul, spreading into the blessed amphitheatre that looked resplendent with heavenly beauty.

The first programme for the evening was a Mandolin Concert by maestro U. Srinivas and U. Rajesh. At the outset, offering Pranams and gratitude at Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet, reminiscing the priceless opportunities they had with Bhagawan, the duo began invoking Lord Ganesha with a piece in Hamsadhwani Raaga, in Tala Roopakam.

…And the Jhoola carrying Bhagawan was pushed into swinging…a rare sight to see!!!

With the music on, and the Jhoola kept swinging, LED screens in the spacious hall telecast clips of Jhoola Mahotsavam from earlier days.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

The duo continued with a couple of Thyagaraja compositions before concluding with a bhajan “Shankara Shiva Shankara…”.

The second part of the programme was a vocal concert by  renowned Ghazal and Bhajan singer Anup Jalota who carved a niche in devotional singing with his self adapted style.

In an introductory talk, he spoke about his first ever meeting with Bhagawan 48 years ago, at the age of 10, in Lucknow. Revealing that he has had many blessings from Bhagawan over the years, the singer confided that Bhagawan had even taught him nuances in the art of singing. With the blessings of Bhagawan he earned an opportunity to do playback for the famous Manoj Kumar movie, Shirdi Ke Sai Baba, where he sung with the renowned Mohammed Rafi. This turned out to be the biggest blessing as it changed his life and thus made his life, recounted Jalota, gratefully remembering his association with Bhagawan.

Sending ecstatic waves in to the audience when he began with Aisi Lagi Lagan, the packed assembly went into raptures. The singer continued for the next 75 minutes regaling the audience, producing some of his famous numbers, that included, “Man Mein Ram…”, “Sai Baba Bolo” from the film ‘Shirdi Ke Sai Baba…’, “Payo Ji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo” and some bhajans, “Mera Jeevan Tere Hawale…”, Govind Jai Jai…Gopala Jai Jai, sang with a customised style coupling with Jhoola melody, Dum Dum Dum Dum Damaru Bhaje etc.

It turned out to be virtual reality for the audience as the video screens splashed Bhagawan swinging on the Jhoola, in synchronisation with Jalota’s singing. With his inimitable style of singing, singing from the depth of his heart to the heights of exalted heavens, completely immersed in his art, as he engaged in his inimitable ‘twists and turns’, highs and lows, harmoniously blending with tabla, the evening turned out to be a rare musical treat for the packed audience.

At the end, the artistes and accompanists for the evening were felicitated. Bhajans continued that ended with Subramaniam…Subramaniam in Bhagawan’s mellifluous voice, a perfect finale to the grand and glorious day, 23rd November.