The glorious celebrations of Krishna Janmashtami on the 23rd of August began with a procession having several young children dressed as adorable Radhas and Krishnas. It was a treat to watch the colourfully decked up cattle and other animals eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Lord. Seeing our beloved Sai Krishna lovingly feed the animals, one could imagine the scene of Sri Krishna caring for all the animals in Brindavan in the Dwaparayuga. The day’s programme began with the chanting of the Shivopasana Mantra by the young boys of grade six of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva High School. Sri B N Narasimha Murthy addressed the importance of surrender in the path to liberation. Through a beautiful experience, he explained that though the Bhagavad Gita says that the Lord is Maya (or illusion), the only path to cross over the Maya and reach the Lord is by surrender. Only by surrendering oneself and shedding the ego, one can bask in the grace of the Lord.
Swami’s special Janmashtami discourse was a profoundly simple one which shed light on the ways of the Avatar. Krishna called himself a teacher of Truth and every act of this Poorna Avatar was to spread this message of truth and divine love. People revere Krishna for several reasons – for His Leelas and Mahimas (miracles), for His bravery in defeating demons, for being an excellent Statesman or for His profound wisdom. But the true message of Krishna’s life was the spirit of sacrifice. He sacrificed His parents’ right after birth, His friends, His comforts, the throne and finally His own life. Everyone worships him as God because He chose the well being of humanity over His personal comfort. Immortality cannot be attained by wealth, progeny or actions. It is only possible through sacrifice. On the day celebrating the birth of this Supreme Being, Swami urged everyone to follow the principle of love, Seva and sacrifice. As the Lord promises in the Gita, this alone is the way to become one with Krishna.
Much to the delight of the devotees, the celebration of Krishna Janmashtami at Muddenahalli continued in the evening in the divine presence of Bhagawan. Grade nine students of Prashanti Bala Mandir Girls’ High School rendered the Durva Suktam and Mrittika Suktam. This was followed by soulful singing of songs in praise of Lord Krishna by the music group. The first address was by Brother Bhargav Sai who graduated from the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence and is part of the first batch of interns serving in various campuses. He is currently serving at the Gulbarga campus. He spoke of the value of education that Swami’s students receive in His various institutions. Students all over are unsure of their course of study and choice of career. But Swami’s students are very clear – their only goal in life is to serve Swami. Sri B N Narasimha Murthy address was filled with pearls of wisdom yet again. He proudly spoke of Sai students who are very clear with their goal in life – They only want to serve Swami by serving the poor after their education. When asked who will take care of their families if they’re busy in service, the students are confident that Swami will take care of them and their families. He highlighted that the problem with the youth worldwide is that they lack direction. And in Swami’s institutions, students are on the correct path because of their clarity in wanting to serve.
In His discourse, Bhagawan declared that the world needs exemplary people or ideal people called Adarsha Purushas. And Swami’s institutions are aimed at creating such people. The greatest ideal for mankind is to realise their own divinity. As told in the Upanishads, this can be done by becoming smallest of the small, like Meera who wished to be a servant of the Lord; or by becoming greatest of the great, like Radha, who saw herself as Krishna through her Love. Swami said that education is complete only when we walk on the path of divine realisation – the highest ideal. Swami narrated the incident of when a student cried when Swami asked what he wants to do after education. He felt Swami had distanced him by thinking he may have an opinion of his own. Such is the love and surrender of youth who are inspired by the teachings of Sai. Swami spoke of His students in all spheres who are excelling not just their professions, but are relentlessly serving Swami. Swami urged every person to work in this manner for the welfare of mankind.