The last day of the Navarathri festival saw the entire campus of Sathya Sai Grama charged with devotion and spiritual fervor. Devotees began to assemble at the venue from as early as six in the morning.
The proceedings of the last day of the Maha Rudra Yajna began with the Mahanyasa and Aruna Parayanam at 6.30 AM. This was followed by Kalasha Archana and Panchamrita Abhisheka to the Hiranyagarbha Lingam. Lord Shiva was thereafter propitiated with the Rudra Parayanam, Rudra Abhishekam, Rudra Homa and Jayadhi Homa.
As part of the Navarathri Homa, the Durga Homa began at 8 AM with the Rudra Pathana. Ghee along with yellow-coloured cooked rice were offered into the sacrificial fire. The day of Vijayadashami marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. It is also the day of Rama’s victory over Ravana. In fact, the word Dussehera is derived from the Sanskrit words “Dasha Hara”. It signifies the triumph of the good over evil, and when one overcomes the inner vices of Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, Matsarya along with one’s Chitta (mind), Buddhi (intellect and reasoning) and Ahamkara (the feeling of I). The Durga Homa was performed to enable everyone to overcome these tendencies and propel one on the spiritual path.
The Durga puja was performed as per the traditions of Bengal. A special ritual was performed by five married women followed by Sindhoor Khela or smearing of sindhoor or vermillon on the idol of Maa Durga.
Bhagawan arrived at the venue around 11 AM and was led by a procession of Dhakis and students playing on the drums to the Hridaya Mandiram, wherein Poornahuti of the Durga Homam was performed.
The Mahishaura Mardini Stotram was chanted by the women seated in the hall. It was accompanied by the beats of the Dhakis and other drums, even as the special Aarthi was offered to Mother Kali.
Bhagawan then proceeded to the Yaga Shala and the Poornahuthi of the Maha Rudra Yajna was performed. It was followed by Kalasha Visarjan and Kumbhabhisheka. It was verily a shower of Bhagawan’s love as He walked amidst all devotees and students, doing the Prokshana or sprinkling of the holy water. The Shivapanchakshari Stotram along with a rendition of few ragas were offered to the Lord. There was also a Bharatnatyam dance performance by Master Gaurav, a student at the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence.
The morning session ended with the offering of Aarthi to Bhagawan.
The evening session of the final day of the Maha Rudra Yajna, Navarathri Homa and Durga Pooja Celebrations was held at the Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham Hall.
Bhagawan arrived at the venue around 6.20 PM and was ushered into the hall by a procession of Nadaswaram, traditional Poornakumbam and Vedic chants, even as soulful bhajans by the students were in progress.
As He entered the hall, Swami blessed all the men and women volunteers who had rendered seva during the course of the 11-day festival.
Once Bhagawan ascended the dais, the proceedings began with a short summary of the morning’s events and a brief explanation of their significance. The invocation was rendered by the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Prashanthi Niketanam, Alike campus.
The speaker for the evening was Master Rajat, a second-year student of Arts at the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Pre-University College, Muddenahalli campus. Expanding the word ‘SAI’, he explained it as Social Responsibility, Academic Excellence and Individual character. He shared an experience wherein mere application of Swami’s vibhuthi to his brother, who was in a critical conditional, having been diagnosed with dengue regained his health and was back to normalcy within 48 hours. He concluded his talk with a prayer to Swami for an opportunity to serve in His Mission and thereby glorify his own life.
Thereafter, a book written by Sri C Radhakrishnan, a long-standing devotee of Bhagawan was released in the divine presence. The book titled “Journey with the Divine’’ chronicles many experiences and tales of divine grace that he enjoyed with the Lord. It has been published by Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutha Prakashana, the books and publications division at Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli.
Following this, Sri Badri Narayanan enthralled the audience with his final talk on the Geethopadesha. Quoting the last few shlokas of the Geetha, he explained how Lord Krishna beautifully convinces Arjuna that it was his bounded duty and a part of his own nature to fight the war. Narrating a story of a butcher by name Dharmavyadha, Sri Badri stated that it is useless to know what is happening elsewhere and instead knowing oneself and abiding by that is the greatest Siddhi. Pure love, he said is the only means to achieve God. He concluded that the only worthwhile thing in the world is to love God and everybody else just the way God loves as He is nothing but pure, unsullied love.
The next speaker was Sri BN Narasimha Murthy, Chief Mentor, Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Institutions. Communicating Bhagawan’s message that since His heart was full, no words would emanate now, he conveyed Bhagawan’s abundant blessing on all those who had gathered there.
After a short break, the evening’s cultural programme resumed. There was a Bharatnatyam performance by Dr Roshni Pillai Kesavan from Singapore. The theme was Nava Durga, portraying the nine forms of the Divine Mother worshipped during the festival of Dussehera. The nine forms- Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamatha, Katyayini, Kalarathri, Mahagauri and Siddhidathri were depicted in the most scintillating manner. The costumes, facial expressions, perfect postures presented a picture of grace and divinity, awing the audience into rapturous applause at the end of the dance recital. After the performance, Bhagawan blessed Dr Roshni with tokens of His love.
The evening session came to a close with the offering of Aarthi to Bhagawan.