FEBRUARY 13, 2018 – MORNING
The morning of 13th brought a fresh fervour of devotion in Muddenahalli as the preparations for the celebrations of one of the holiest of nights were about to start. Shivaratri, the night dedicated to Lord Shiva; a night when the moon is visible in its last ‘Kalā’ symbolising the invitation to completely control the mind and offer it to the Lord; a night that is spent in observing a vigil, offering prayers and praises to the Lord, was here. The significance of this day, and night is very special and Swami has often mentioned that it is one of the best chances to put your mind under control. What better chance could one get than to spend the very night in the presence of ‘Sai Shiva’ Himself!
Swami performed the Bhoomi Puja for the Shiva statue that will be constructed and completed in eighteen months. There would be a hall with a seating capacity of around 500 people as well. The area will be known as ‘Shivoham’. Speaking at the ceremony, Brother Bharat Kumar mentioned how Swami clarified the ‘Desh-Kāla-Paristhithi’ condition of the choice of installing Lord Shiva’s statue in this area. He mentioned that Swami pointed out that this is a ‘Shiva-Kshetra’, the area of Lord Shiva because Lord Rama installed a Shivalinga in the same place.
The next speaker was Sri B N Narasimha Murthy who spoke about Lord Rama’s journey from North to South India and how He integrated the whole of India through His sojourn. He told the story of how the sculptor, Shilpi Subramanya came to Puttaparthi and then now to Muddenahalli, who will be in charge of sculpting this massive Shiva statue which will be 153 feet tall.
Minister for Law and Minor Irrigation of Karnataka, Sri T B Jayachandra addressed the gathering next, and spoke briefly about the good fortune of everyone present.
Swami in His discourse said, “Shiva, we generally think is the form of the Shankara but actually Shiva is nothing but the truth which teaches us that you are divine. If you want to know what sweetness is, you have to put a sweet into your mouth and then you will experience the sweetness. The sweetness does not have a name and a form. But a sweet has a name and a form. Sweetness is only a quality. It does not have a name and form. When we utter ‘Shivoham’ we are just identifying ourselves with the divinity, with the qualities of divinity of truth, being, awareness and bliss. If you want to experience sweetness, you have to eat a sweet. Similarly, if you want to experience God who is formless, you have to experience a god with a form and a name. Start with Sakar with a form, and end with Nirakar, the formless. The name and form of God are only a stepping stone to reach the ultimate state of formlessness and we should not get deluded and trapped with the name and form of God.” Swami concluded His discourse by saying that the Shivoham complex was being established in order to demonstrate the truth that everyone is divine!
Thereafter, Swami proceeded to the Premamrutham Hall for the Maha Lingabhishekam and morning proceedings. The Abhishekam, was followed by Mangala Arati, after which Swami very graciously walked among the devotees to sprinkle the sacred Puja water. Indeed a wonderful blessing for all!
FEBRUARY 13, 2018 – EVENING
The much-awaited evening arrived—the dusk that would lead to the glorious ‘Ratri’ dedicated to the Lord, and a bigger-than-a-golden-chance to spend the same night in the very presence of the Lord Himself. No good action of the past, or Karma, could secure such a blessing, but only the grace of the Lord, who is always ready to shower His Love on the devotees and is hailed ‘Bholā—the one who is naive and is easily pleased’.
Swami entered the Premamrutham Hall from the stage-side and quickly proceeded to sit on the stage. He then lit the lamp to mark the beginning of the evening’s proceedings. The Bhajans started and everybody eagerly awaited the rarest of the event that was expectedly about to happen—yes, the emergence of the Lingam. An occasion of special blessedness, because Swami had declared that whoever sees the emergence of the Lingam would be liberated from the cycles of birth and death.
Everybody were waiting for the occurrence as they didn’t want to miss the chance. It was a rare occasion that lifted humanity to the level of the divinity and gave a singular opportunity to feel the unison.
After around half an hour, the Golden Lingam emerged and the devotees were delighted—they marveled at their good fortune that was granted to them by Swami.
However, it was not over, as after a little while, another Golden Lingam emerged. Thereafter, Swami, out of the unending bounty of mercy for His devotees, went around the Hall showing and giving the chance to the devotees to touch the Lingams. It was an occasion of overflowing flood of devotion as everybody seemed eager and almost falling over each other to touch the Lingams—Swami, enjoying the play of God and His devotees—delightfully carried the Lingams to every nook and corner of the Hall.
After satisfying every thirsting soul, Swami proceeded towards the stage and returned to Anandam after a few Bhajans.
FEBRUARY 14, 2018
The divine energy and spiritual gaiety at Muddenahalli was at its pinnacle after the auspicious Lingodbhavam on the Maha Shivaratri. The blessed devotees who were filled with bliss after witnessing the divine manifestation waited for the arrival of Bhagawan at the Premamrutham Hall in the morning. Bhagawan arrived at around 5:30 a.m. amidst mellifluous Bhajans which were being sung in full gusto. After lovingly giving Darshan and blessing the devotees gathered, He took His seat, enjoying the glory of His names being sung with full devotion.
Once the Akhanda Bhajans concluded, the morning session began with two books and a DVD launch.
First was the book launch of ‘Sri Sathya Sai Uvacha – Volume 2’, translated in Kannada by the Sri Anantha Murthy, former Chairman of Sri Sathya Sai Sharadaniketanam, Mandya Campus and his wife Smt Chaya Murthy. Both have been re-tyred by Bhagawan and are currently serving as Mentors to the High School, Higher Primary School and Hostel at Muddenhalli.
This was followed by the launch of ‘Sri Sathya Sai Uvacha – Volume 2’, translated in Tamil by the Dr Alagarswamy from Dindigul and was edited by Smt Suchitra Ravindran, an alumnus of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur Campus. Both of them offered the book to Swami for His blessings. Thereafter, a DVD of the 92nd Birthday Celebrations of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was lovingly launched by Bhagawan and Brother Rajkumar Ganayarapu and Brother Dileep Kotla who had worked tirelessly on the same were profusely blessed.
Shiva Prasad Bhat, who is currently pursuing his second year at the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence addressed the gathering next. He talked about how Swami is working for the transformation of all and how we should be ready for His directions. The next speaker was Sri B N Narasimha Murthy, after which Bhagawan delivered His Divine discourse. Bhagawan said that the whole world is a cosmic dance of Shiva which is nothing but the dance of these three Gunas. “This is a night to pay our gratitude to the Lord who is all the time vigilant of our spiritual progress, helping us destroy our body consciousness full of Tamas and helps us rise to the Divine consciousness of Atman. On this holy day, after having observed the Shivaratri night here and across the world, the only wish that I would like to express is I do not want to be venerated with all kinds of flowers and fruits and Abhishekas, but if you can offer the Patram the body, as the Patra or the leaf at My feet, if you can offer the heart as the flower – Hrudayapushpam at My feet, if you can offer all your actions – the Karmaphala at My feet and ultimately shed tears of compassion, tears of bliss then that is the Thoyam that would be befitting worship for Shiva!”
This was followed by Mangala Arati and Breakfast Prasadam distribution, thus concluding the most glorious Shivaratri Celebrations.