Prelude to the Festivity:
Deepavali, popularly known as ‘The Festival Of Lights’, is celebrated on the new moon day in the month of ‘Ashwin’ of the Indian lunar calendar. The festivity usually falls in late October or early November.
Deepavali or Diwali, the most pan-Indian of all festivals, is a festival of lights symbolizing the Victory of Righteousness over evil and the lifting of the veil 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.
Sathya Sai Speaks:
"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.”
Legend has it that it was on this day the demon ‘Narakasura’ was vanquished and 16000 Gopikas (cowherd maidens devoted to Lord Krishna) who were held in captivity were freed from the clutches of the demon by Lord Krishna. To mark the end of gloom and sadness, the Gopikas celebrated the occasion by lighting lamps and bursting crackers and fireworks.
At Prasanthi Nilayam, the festive occasion brings fond, joyful memoirs of Bhagawan, Who would ‘in person’ preside over the ‘fire-work and cracker’ show on the auspicious twilight. The sandy ‘Darshan ground’ facing the Mandir, and later the ‘Poornachandra lawns’ used to be the venues for this grand spectacle of light and sound show in His immediate Divine Presence. In 2010, the 85th year of Sathya Sai Advent, Bhagawan had shifted the venue to the Hill View Stadium where a grand spectacle of “fire-work” was organised. At His behest, with The Master in the driver’s seat, students and faculties from Bhagawan’s Institute would actively participate in this spectacle with passionate zeal, often taking abnormal risk.
However, the icing on the cake used to be Bhagawan’s Divine discourse on the auspicious evening, when Bhagawan would divulge in great detail, explaining the purport behind the festivity coupled with teachings galore.
II SAMASTHA LOKAH SUKHINO BHAVANTU II
DEEPAVALI IN PRASANTHI NILAYAM IN GUJARATH STYLE
A large contingent of devotees from the State of Gujarat joined the devotees in Prasanthi Nilayam celebrating Deepavali today, with great devotional fervour.
Celebrating the twin occasion of Deepavali and Gujarati New Year, hundreds of devotees from the State are camping in Prasanthi on a 3-day Parthi Yatra. Commencing the 2-day celebrations, devotees from Saurashtra Zone presented a drama entitled “Service with Spirituality” this evening in the immediate Divine omnipresence.
Earlier, the proceedings began with an introductory address by Sri Manohar Trikarnad, State President of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations – Gujarat. Sending out greetings on the auspicious occasion, welcoming one and all, the State President briefly touched upon, by way of submission before the Lord, some of the salient features of the ‘Seva’ activities taken up by the organisation in the State.
Setting the tone for further proceedings in this overcast evening, Youth Girls from the State then offered a soul-stirring devotional song, singing “Sai Maa Dayamayi Sai Janani Maa”. Singing in Bhagawan’s chosen language, Telugu, the song was a collective expression of love of blossoming hearts of Mother Sai’s children.
Next to come was a “Raas” dance by the ‘little hearts’ of Sri Sathya Sai School, Surat. Raas, popularly known as Dandiya Raas is the traditional folk dance form of Gujarat, originated in Vrindavan. The dance is a depiction of “Raas Lila” of Bhagawan Sri Krishna with His devoted folks, Gopis. Dancing rhythmically to the tune of popular Dandiya music, with sticks or dandiya in each hand, the dance presentation brought the flavour of nostalgic Vrindavan of yore, with Krishna as the centre of action and attraction.
The drama presentation followed next. Centred around the theme “Seva”, the 30-minute presentation was aimed at sending out the pivotal message that, spiritual values sanctifies service or Seva. When spirituality is instilled in the heart, the feeling of “Oneness” follows and Service or Seva turns to become a Godly act, wherein the servant feels and sees God in everyone and everything.
Set up against the backdrop of a discussion on India’s recent successful and enviable Mars Mission, Mangalyaan, the discussion moves on to Mother Earth and man’s callous exploitation of the Planet, resulting in natural disasters.
Projecting a natural disaster scene, the presentation then shows the insensitive, greedy and irresponsible nature of modern man, only to be transformed soon into men of goodness and godliness, serving all with feeling of “Oneness”.
The heart-touching, message-oriented drama essentially portrayed the need of the hour, Love for all, Love All Serve All-- Bhagawan’s oft-repeated dictum to humanity.
Even as bhajans by the State devotees commenced, all the participants were felicitated with Bhagawan’s special token of love. Bhajans ended with Bhagawan’s ‘Thursday Special’, “Prema Muditha Manasey Kaho Rama Rama Ram…” Mangala Arathi was offered at 1810 hrs. marking the end of the evening session.
At the dusk, the Yajur Mandiram premises turned colourful, shining with brilliant spectacle of lights. Adding to the charm, there was a fire-work display by the students of the educational institutions, an annual feature on Diwali twilight.