Navarathri Celebrations – Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli – October 2, 2016 (Day 2)

Morning Session :

The second day of the Navarathri celebrations at Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli continued with much devotion and gaiety. As part of the Navarathri Homa, the Pavamana Homam and the Vishnu Sahasranama Homam were performed at the Sri Sathya Sai Hridaya Mandiram. Both the rituals were performed in honour of Sri Maha Vishnu. According to Vedic lore, the Rig Veda comprising of 600 sacred verses emanated during the churning of the milky ocean by the Devas and the Asuras. Chanting these mantras is said to purify the surrounding air and cleanse the environment. It is believed that mere listening to these sacred chants is enough to remove all obstacles in one’s life.

In addition to the two homas, a special Ashlesha Bali puja was performed. This ritual is performed as an antidote for sins accrued from past lives and to placate the effect of snake curses. In this regard, a colourful mandala (rangoli) in the form of a serpent was drawn. 84 Asanas representing 84 members of the snake family were prepared in the centre of the mandala. A ball of rice, a sweet dosa and darbha were offered in each asana along with a lamp being lit.

Bhagawan arrived at the venue at around 11 AM and was welcomed with Mangala Vadyam. Walking down the aisle, He inspected the perfectly-drawn Mandalam. Once Bhagawan was seated, the officiating priest, Sri Muralidhar Bhat explained the significance of rituals performed in the morning. Bhagawan then blessed the Poornahuti, which was offered into the sacred fire.

Durga puja was performed simultaneously to the specially-installed Devi idols. Chandi Paat was read, following Aarthi was offered to Bhagawan and the Divine mother, bringing the morning session to an end.

Evening session :

The venue for the evening session was the Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham Hall. Bhagawan arrived at the venue at about 5 PM and was welcomed by the ceremonial Poornakumbam and Vedic chants, amidst soulful rendering of bhajans.

The evening’s proceedings began with Invocation by the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Prashanthi Niketanam, Chikkaballapur campus, chanting the Narayana Upanishad.

Three speakers were blessed by Bhagawan to address the gathering in the evening. The first speaker was Sri Shivaprasad Bhat, a first-year student at the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence. Explaining the significance of Dussehra, he said that even as the learned priests were performing various rites and rituals, it was our duty as spectators to intensely pray to the Divine Mother. “One needs to pray to Goddess Durga to vanquish the six inner enemies of man, namely desire, anger, greed, attachment, ego and jealousy; to Goddess Mahalakshmi to remove all mental weakness and illness and grant mental strength; and lastly to Goddess Saraswathi to lead us from ignorance to wisdom”, he said. And since it was Gandhi Jayanthi (birth anniversary of the India’s freedom fighter and Father of Nation), he spoke briefly on the lofty ideals of faith and devotion to God that were followed by Mahatma Gandhi, which eventually made him a Mahatma.

The next speaker was Dr AR Manjunath, Director, Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence. He began his talk by sharing with the gathering the impact Late Sri Madiyal Narayan Bhat, who was inspired by the teachings of Bhagawan, had on his life. He then went on to narrate an incident during his career at the Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore when Bhagawan rescued him from an otherwise difficult situation. He urged the gathering to realise their good fortune and make the best use of being in the proximity of God Himself.

The last speaker for the evening was Sri BN Narasimha Murthy, Chief Mentor, Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Institutions. He began his speech by quoting vedic shlokas that expound on the immense benefits one derives by participating in sacred activities like the ongoing Yajna. He then spoke about how by offering every act to God, we can transform it into Yajna, freeing ourselves from the bondage of the act.

Bhagawan then delivered His divine discourse. The evening session came to an end with the offering of Aarthi to Bhagawan.