On the third day of the auspicious Navaratri, two special Homams were performed by the Ritwiks propitiating Lord Shiva through the Shiva Panchakshari Homa, and Sapta Dravya Samarpanam Homa, where seven different objects were offered to the Havan Kunda. The devotees were drenched in the powerful and moving chants propitiating Lord Shiva in the very presence of Sai Shiva. A beautiful Rudra Mandala designed in vibrant and attracting colors adorned the Havan area.
After Poornahuti, Swami moved inside the Hrudaya Mandir, and blessed the devotees. He walked towards the traditional ‘Kollu’ display where Kumkum and Turmeric Archana was offered, and a beautiful Rangoli was prepared on the surface of water.
A special dance performance was offered with a Bengali song ‘Tumi Jaago Durge’, which signified the calling of devotees to Goddess Durga, to awake fully from Her Samadhi, and take care of Her devotees.
After Durga Arati was performed by Dhunuchi dance and the Dhaki drummers, Mangala Arati was offered to Swami.
It was a blessed day indeed for the devotees. After blessing everyone, accepting letters, and also encouraging them to continue on their spiritual journey, Swami blessed girls students from Baagepalli and their teachers with chocolates, before retiring and thus the morning programme of the third day concluded.
The evening celebrations commenced amidst chantings of Sri Rudram and ‘Samasta Loka Sukhino Bhavantu’. Day three is dedicated to Chandragantha. The Mother in this form carries a Trishul, a mace, a sword, a Kamandalu, a bell, a bow and an arrow, a lotus flower and her one arm in blessing posture. She sports a half-crescent white moon and signifies benevolence as well as violence.
Students chanted the Devi Suktam with utmost fervour invoking Her benign grace upon everyone. The much sought after speaker for the evening, Dr Prema Pandurang yet again took stage to continue her exposition of the Bhagawatam. Her flair for Sanskrit combined with her unique unsullied love for Lord Krishna expressed in her mellifluous voice captivated the attention of the audience for more than an hour. Her exposition comprised of Princess Rukmini’s marriage to Lord Krishna, and childhood friend Sudhama’s friendship with the Lord. The devotees were enthralled by her renditions of couplets from Narayaneeyam – an abridged version of Bhagawatam composed by a late 16th century poet Narayana Bhattadri. The devotees were transported to the time and events of the Dwapara Yuga by the power of her words and sweet hindi compositions penned by Dr Prema Pandurang herself.
Sri Narasimha Murthy yet again spoke about Bhagawan’s love for His devotees. A fistful of pounded rice offered with utmost love was all that was enough for Sudhama to capture his friend and Lord Sri Krishna’s heart. He also shared yet another sweet incident from the 90’s, where Lord Sai showered his love for His devotees.
This was followed by Bhagawan’s divine discourse. He spoke about the importance of devotion in any offering to the Lord. He had accepted Vidhura’s banana peel and Shabari’s half-tasted berries then, and that evening He had lovingly accepted Dr Prema Pandurang’s Bhakti-filled rendition of the Lord’s Glory. Thus ended another glorious evening – the day three of Navaratri Celebrations. Mangala Arati was offered to Swami, and Prasadam was distributed to everyone gathered.