The human mind likes to attach a lot of value to the concept of ‘new.’ Right from apparel, entertainment, travel, and even mobile phones – ‘new’ is something that excites the mind about these things. Even a child loves to have new toys. The best thing about the newness of an object is that it brings freshness. A newly blossomed flower spreads its fragrance while a newly created song brings delight to both the composer and listener. This freshness is something that every human being is in search for, though the essence of the objective of human life remains fundamentally same—to realize the omnipresence of divinity and living in that realization.
For this, every day is a new day; every moment is a new opportunity. We are blessed to have the chance to start on attaining this realization every second. Going through such a introspection and personal resolve, a moment like the Tamil Puthundu (Tamil New Year) and Vishu (Malayali New Year) is something that can give a person the right kind of nudge to start afresh. And what would be more blessed than to get a chance to spend these moments in the very presence of the Divine Entity who came down from the heavens to remind us of our divine inheritance!
Well, Muddenahalli was up to the occasion. After missing its dearest Swami for a couple of weeks, who was visiting various European countries to bless the devotees there and start various new projects, the place was geared to celebrate the New Year with devotees coming from various parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The morning program started with the Vedam group, traditional dance and band escorting and welcoming Swami to the Sai Premamrutham Hall. Devotees were eagerly waiting inside to begin and celebrate the New Year with their beloved Lord. Swami entered the Hall and blessed the devotees, signing the books, accepting letters and counselling them on various personal matters before proceeding towards the stage.
The morning session was opened by chanting of the Durga Suktam by the devotees of Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Swami blessed all the members of the group.
Sister Bhuvana talked about Swami’s trip to various countries with the first batch of students passing out from the Centre of Human Excellence, Muddenahalli Campus. She gave a glimpse of what happened, giving devotees a feeling of armchair traveling with Swami.
Two books were launched by Swami on the occasion. The first was Sri Sathya Sai Uvacha—Volume 3 translated in Tamil by Smt Suchitra Ravindran, who is an alumna of the Anantapur Campus of Swami’s institutions along with Sister Shalini from the United Kingdom. The second book was another translation of Inner View in Tamil by Sri Ravi Chander, who is an ex-banker and is a 3rd generation Sai devotee.
A small video on the Annapoorna project in Tamil Nadu was offered at Swami’s Feet showcasing the activities done in all the 32 districts of Tamil Nadu and also the Union Territory of Pondicherry.
The first speaker of the morning was Sri Jaya Prabhakar, who has dedicated his life to the service of society. Annapoorna Project in all the 32 districts of Tamil Nadu. He spoke at length in Tamil about the importance of service and how with Swami’s love he will continue doing it. Swami, visibly happy with his dedication and devotion towards service, blessed him. Swami had particularly gone to meet him during the Seva after the Cuddalore floods in Tamil Nadu saying, “Devotee going to see God is common but God going to see devotee is rare”.
The next speaker was Sri B N Narasimha Murthy who very briefly touched on the topic of celebration of the New Year and congratulating everybody for being able to spend the auspicious moment with God Himself, because it is believed that if you spend the first day of the year with God, God will spend the rest of the days of the year with you. He also spoke about an example, that a five-year-old Greek boy, set us. He gave all the money in his piggy bank to Swami for the hungry children of India.
After that, Swami blessed the devotees with His Message on the New Year’s Day. Swami’s discourse was translated into Tamil by one of the devotees. He emphasized the importance of Seva and how one should engage in service activities apart from doing regular duties of one’s life. He also enunciated the relationship of a husband and a wife, and how both could engage in service while respective each other’s wishes. At the end of His discourse, Swami showered a lot of praise on Sri Prabhakar and his wife who also supported his work throughout their married life. Swami said that his wife is his ‘Dharma-Patni’ in the true sense for she has supported her in his Dharma—his duty.
After Swami’s discourse, a Kathakali presentation depicting the incident of Lord Krishna welcoming His childhood friend Kuchela was made by the devotees of Kerala. Swami blessed every participant of the group.
Mangala Aarti was offered to Swami and Prasadam was distributed among the devotees as the morning program came to an end.
The evening program saw Swami clad in White as He entered the Hall from stage-side accepting prayers and letters and blessing everybody, taking a full round among the devotees and satiating their thirst of Darshan to the fullest.
The cultural offering of the evening was a Veena recital by Dr Jayanti Kumaresh—a sixth generation musician from Tamil Nadu. She was accompanied on the Mridangam by Sr Tumkur B Ravishankar and Sri Pramath Kiran on the Moreseng and Tabla. The artist rendered a beautiful presentation of the instrument showing the range and her virtuosity. She rendered a composition for Lord Ganesha, a Kriti by Saint Tyagaraja—asked by Swami during last year’s concert and a Raga offering in the traditional Indian style including Jugalbandi with the accompanists. It was a treat to listen to the recital of the National Instrument of India. At the end of the program, Swami blessed the group profusely.
Mangala Aarti was offered to Bhagawan and Prasadam was distributed to the devotees as the day-long celebrations of the Tamil and Malayali New Year came to a conclusion.