Morning Session :
The fourth day of Navarathri dedicated to the Goddess Kushmanda, who governs the Sun providing it with direction and energy, began with great exuberance at Muddenahalli. The Hridaya Mandiram, which is housing the homas and the shrine of the Goddess, was charged with Vedic chants.
The Chandika Homa was performed elaborately in the morning, invoking the Goddess to remove pain and suffering and bestow peace and prosperity upon all. The Durga Saptashati, composed of 700 shlokas and a part of the wonderful literature, Markandeya Purana, was chanted. It talks about the glories of the Divine Mother in her manifestations as Devi or Chandika. Through this homa, prayers are offered to Mother Parameshwari, who had vanquished demons such as Mahishasur, Madhu-Kaitabha, Shumbh and Nishumbh, to cleanse everyone from all evils and confer happiness in its stead.
Bhagawan arrived at the venue around 11.30 AM, appeasing eager hearts awaiting to be in His presence. The priests conducted the Poornahuti in the divine presence. The wonderful morning session ended with the offering of Aarthi to Bhagawan, after which the Dhakis played soulfully on their Dhaks along with the ritual Dhunuchi dance.
Evening session :
Bhagawan was greeted with melodious bhajans on Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati on the evening of the fourth day of the ongoing Navarathri celebrations. Once Bhgawan was seated on the dais, the formal proceedings for the evening session commenced.
The session began with the chanting of ‘Neela Suktam’ by the first year Pre-University students of Bhagawan’s college. The chants were followed by a short talk by Sri Ankit Kumar, a second year student from the PU College. Hailing from the state of Bihar, Ankit addressed the gathering in Hindi, enthralling the audience by recalling the tender love of Mother Sai. He stressed that Swami was not just one’s best friend, but the only true friend. He expressed his gratitude to Bhagawan for guiding him in every step of his life and protecting him like a loving mother. He concluded by praying to the Lord to always keep him close, and vowed to serve the Lord wholeheartedly with every breath.
The next speaker was Sri V Venkateswarlu, Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics in Bhagawan’s school in Muddenahalli. Reminding everyone that Muddenahalli was heaven only because of Swami’s presence there, Sri Venkateswarlu shared his keen observations on the nature of the interactions between Swami and His students. He then went on to elaborate how the Lord never forgets or breaks His promise and works continuously towards fulfilling His words. He ended his talk urging the audience to keep up the promises made to the Lord!
The next speaker was Sri Badri Narayanan, an alumnus of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam. Giving up his professional career in order to follow his inner calling, he now spreads the message of the Lord through his talks on Ramayana, Bhagawad Geetha, Bhagawatam and other spiritual texts. Sri Badri began the Geetha Saptaha by explaining that the message of ‘Bhagawad Geetha’ as the eternal truth of the Atmic principle, which was narrated by Lord Krishna to His disciple Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra for the benefit of mankind. His intricate descriptions of the narration of the Geetha transported the entire audience to the midst of the battlefield in Kurukshetra. He beautifully illustrated that if we make God the charioteer of our lives, he will reveal the eternal truth to us as well. He then went on to explain how even Arjuna’s despondency and depression led to his salvation, simply because he chose the Lord over the world and all its pleasures.
This wondrous narration of the Bhagawad Geetha was followed by Bhagwan’s divine discourse.
The evening ended with a musical offering by the Malladi brothers, Malladi Sreeramprasad and Malladi Ravikumar. The duo, who are accomplished vocalists in the Carnatic form of Indian music, have a large repertoire of Carnatic compositions to their credit. The brothers enthralled the audience with their soulful musical presentation, which began by invoking Goddess Saraswathi, the bestower of all musical knowledge. Their offering also included popular Thyagaraja Kritis along with other compositions on Swami. The session came to a close after Arathi was offered to Bhagawan.