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REPORT ON MAHASHIVARATHRI CELEBRATIONS: 26th & 27th February, 2006

 

Lord Shiva is one of the chief gods in the Hindu pantheon. The day previous to the new moon is observed as Shivarathri and considered auspicious for worship of Lord Shiva. But the Shivarathri in the Magha month of the Hindu calendar is celebrated as Maha Shivarathri and people throng temples and observe night long vigil engaged in singing Bhajans, chanting hymns and performing worship to Lord Shiva. At Prasanthi Nilayam, this festival assumes more significance in the physical presence of the very embodiment of Shiva-Shakti Swaroopa, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

On the occasion of Mahashivarathri, Bhagawan felicitated five long-standing devotees for their invaluable contribution and dedicated service in Bhagawan’s institutions and service projects, and gifted them each with a new car. The fortunate ones were –

  1. Sri A.Ramakrishna, Former Vice-President of L&T, ECC Division. During his tenure, the reputed construction company executed a number of projects on behalf of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, most significantly, the water supply projects in the drought prone districts of Anantapur, Medak and Mahabubnagar in Andhra Pradesh and the metropolitan city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, as well as the two Super Speciality Hospitals.

  2. Sri R.Kondala Rao, Technical consultant to the Government of Andhra Pradesh, for the water supply projects undertaken by Bhagawan.

  3. Sri K.Chakravarthi, IAS (Retd.) who was the first Registrar of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, and is presently the Secretary of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.

  4. Prof. G.Venkataraman, a renowned scientist and former Vice-Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. Presently, he is the Vice-Chairman of the overseas wing of Sri Sathya Sai Organisation, and also the in-charge of Radio Sai Global Harmony, the ashram radio service.

  5. Sri K.R.Paramahamsa, IAS (Retd.), who has held various positions in Bhagawan’s institutions and who is presently in charge of the ‘Deena Janoddharana Pathakamu’, the home for destitute children established by Bhagawan.

On 26th morning, after the felicitation ceremony, the students of Bhagawan's educational institutions sang stotrams (hymns) and songs in praise of their Lord Sai Shiva. The morning programme concluded with Arati.

In the evening, after granting Darshan at 4 p.m., Bhagawan distributed white safari suiting material and calculators to all the students. Following this, Bhagawan went back to Poornachandra and returned at 5.15 p.m. Once Bhagawan was seated on the dais, He commanded the students to start Bhajans. However, after a few minutes, Bhagawan indicated the Bhajans to stop and permitted Sri A.V.S.Raju to read out a selection from his anthology of poems composed on Bhagawan. At 6.30 p.m., Bhagawan rose to give His Divine Discourse.

Bhagawan started His discourse with a poem that described the omnipresence of God and irony inherent in the various modes of worship offered to Him. Bhagawan said that while the whole Universe is in God, how can one build a temple for Him? What name can one give to Him who resides in all beings? What need is there to perform Abhishekam (ceremonial bath) to Him when all the oceans find refuge in Him? The entire universe is a manifestation of the five elements which in turn have originated from the Divine. While these elements are subject to change and destruction, God alone is immutable and eternal. One must realize that everyone is divine and should not be deluded by bodily attachment to one’s spouse, children and even one’s enemies. One should respect them as embodiments of the Divine. Bhagawan concluded His discourse with the Bhajan – “Prema Muditha Man Se Kaho…” and soon retired to His residence.

The Akhanda Bhajans continued through the night and the next morning, Bhagawan arrived in Sai Kulwant Hall at 6.20 a.m. After going around the hall granting Darshan to everyone, He took His seat on the dais. Around 6.45 a.m .or so, one could sense that something was in the offing as Bhagawan was showing signs of physical pain and restlessness – indications that there may be ‘Lingodbhavam’. The pace of the Bhajans kept increasing every minute in anticipation, but it was not until 8.25 a.m. that a beautiful golden lingam emerged from Bhagawan’s mouth. Then out of immense love and compassion, He moved amidst devotees holding the lingam so that everyone could have a close glimpse of it.

Afterwards, Bhagawan presented Sri K.R.Paramahamsa and his wife with the keys of a brand new car. Bhagawan sent word for the boys who are the beneficiaries of the Deena Janodharana Pathakamu; all 60 of them at once surrounded Bhagawan and what took place in the next 25 minutes was an outpouring of love that brought tears to everyone’s eyes. Bhagawan spoke to them and assured them that He would take care of all of them and they should study well and lead happy, spiritual and healthy lives. They in turn replied that they were no longer orphans or destitute children for Bhagawan was looking after them and showering so much love on them. Some of them spoke, chanted Vedic hymns and sang songs expressing their love and gratitude to Bhagawan. Bhagawan also praised Sri K.R.Paramahamsa and his wife Smt. Gita Paramahamsa for their dedication in looking after their every need and bringing them up so well.

The Shivarathri Celebrations concluded with Mangala Arati and everyone was served Prasadam.