The festival of harvest is celebrated in myriad ways, in different parts of the country – Makara Sankranti in Andhra Pradesh and various parts of North India, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Lohri in Punjab and Bihu in Assam. It symbolizes prosperity, plenty, abundance and harmony. In South India, the first of the three-day festival is called Bhogi, where people gather to celebrate the day in honour of Lord Indra, the God of rains and clouds, thanking him for a good crop.
At Muddenahalli too, on the auspicious evening of Bhogi and eve of Makar Sankranti, devotees gathered to rejoice this festival of harvest with their beloved Lord. Bhagawan arrived at the magnificent Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham auditorium at about 6 pm, led by the ceremonial Poorna Kumbam and Veda chanting by students of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva High School. Students and alumni of the Sathya Sai educational institutions, offered soulful bhajans at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan.
The evening programme, was dedicated in loving memory of Late Smt Sarla Shah. A short video showcasing the devout lives of Sri Indulal Shah and Late Smt Sarla Shah – the two key protagonists and torch bearers of the Sathya Sai Mission was shown. It was a loving tribute to mark the day, when Smt Sarla Shah merged with the Almighty, on the same day, a year ago. She was an epitome of grace and virtues, and lived by the ideals set by Bhagawan. Her untiring efforts, unstinting dedication and inspiring personality touched many souls during her journey at the Divine Lotus Feet. Smt Sarla Shah’s monumental contribution to the various facets of Bal Vikas and Mahila Vibhag (ladies wing) will go down in history, and her immense sense of selfless service will be remembered by every household! The video vividly captured the life of Sri Indulal Shah, who at the age of 95, still continues to offer his service to Bhagawan! The grandsire of the Sri Sathya Seva Organisation, was responsible for the expansion of the spiritual and service wings globally.
As the video that demonstrated the lives of this devout couple drew to a close, Sri B N Narasimha Murthy, Chief Mentor, Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust, took to the dais to address the devotees. He began his speech by congratulating the team of Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutha Prakashana (the Books and Publications division at Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli) for creating such an inspiring video within a short span of just three days. Offering his respects to Late Smt Sarla Shah, he confessed of being in awe of this divine couple’s humility, and deep love for Bhagawan. Recalling Swami’s words, a year ago, when He had proclaimed that both Sri Indulal Shah and Smt Sarla Shah were His greatest devotees, he added that the new Sarla Memorial Hospital which will be constructed in Muddenahalli, would be a fitting homage to her selfless service and life spent at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan!
He then briefly recalled the visits of Bhagawan undertaken in December and January, and the various new projects and initiatives that have commenced.
Following this informative talk, a musical treat, by Mandolin Sri U Rajesh, brother of mandolin maestro, Late Padmasri Dr U Sreenivas was in the offing. He was accompanied by Sri Balaji Rajamani on the mandolin for support, Sri Bangalore V Praveen on the Mridangam, Sri Dimitris Lambrianos on bass guitar, piano and the bouzouki, along with Sri Hanumanth Rao Naidu on the tabla. He began with two classical pieces – Gajananayutham and the more popular Marugelara composed by none other than the Indian Saint Thyagaraja. He then played one of his brother’s own compositions ‘Love Within’ holding the audience in rapt attention. Sri Rajesh, in his customary style ended his concert with two Sai bhajans- Jai Jai Bhavani Ma and Om Namah Shivaya Shivaya Namah Om, which reached a crescendo!
Bhagawan then blessed all the artists with shawls and clothes. The programme came to a close after Mangala Arathi and prasadam.