Maha Shivaratri Celebrations (Morning)

On the sunny morning of March 12, 2021, at 10 a.m., devotees gathered at Premamrutham Hall, Satya Sai Ashram, Muddenahalli, after the night-long akhanda (non-stop) bhajan that was held on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri. The morning proceedings began with veda chanting followed by melodious bhajans being rendered by the staff and students.

Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai walked into the Hall accompanied by Sri B N Narasimha Murthy and the esteemed guests. Before taking His seat on the stage, Sadguru moved among the devotees blessing them all.

After showering everyone with love Sadguru, along with Sri B N Narasimha Murthy and the other dignitaries, occupied their seats on the stage.  A beautiful Shiva lingam prepared with fresh flowers formed the backdrop for Sadguru’s throne.  Sister Bhuvana Santanam delivered a warm welcome address and expressed gratitude to the dignitaries present on the dais.  Sister Bhuvana introduced Sri Suresh Joshi, popularly known as Bhayyaji, general secretary of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh).

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was founded in 1925 in an effort to end the British rule in India, as a reaction against the riots post-independence, to uphold Hindu culture and tradition and spread the ideology of Hindutva.

The welcome address was followed by a musical offering of devotional songs by the students and staff.

Soon after, there was a talk by Sri B N Narasimha Murthy. “The land of Bharat,” he said, “has been a mother to many divine incarnations, saints, sages, and great men. Though Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (Swami) was referred to as Bharata Bhagya Vidhata as He unveiled the great fortune and glory of India, Swami considered himself as the son of India. Swami’s fundamental mission was the revival of Sanathana Dharma.

“Bhagawan had declared, as a teenager, the mission with which He had incarnated in India. His life was divided into six phases of sixteen years each, Sri Narasimha Murthy explained. “The first sixteen years was for performing leelas (divine drama), the second sixteen- year phase was  spent in mahimas (glory), the third phase witnessed  upadeshas (spiritual guidance), the fourth phase involved vidya (education), the fifth phase was about vaidya (hospitals) and the sixth phase involved  the revival of Sanathana Dharma. Bhagawan had completed five of the six phases in the 85 years of his physical life.  The final 16 years, the sixth phase, was yet to be completed when Swami left His physical body at the age of eighty-five.   His devotees from around the world were left wondering as to how the last phase of His divine mission would be completed.”

Sri Narasimha Murthy continued, “Swami, however, is known as a ‘Man of miracles.’ The greatest miracle of Swami is that even after He shed the physical form, He is still present here and continues with His mission of establishing Sanathana Dharma which is now taking roots in India and in many countries abroad.  Through Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai, Swami has established at least two ashrams in every continent.

“The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has played a vital role in protecting and preserving Indian culture. This was possible because of sangha shakti (power of unity) along with the daivya shakti (power of the divine). If Swami is daivya shakti, RSS is the sangha shakti. Both are required for preserving and protecting culture and spreading the rich Indian cultural heritage to all parts of the world,” concluded Sri narasimha Murthy.

This was followed by a talk by Sri Suresh Bhayyaji Joshi.    “Indians are very fortunate to be born in this divine land of Bharat. This was made possible,” he added, “because of the good deeds of Indians in their earlier births. All those involved in the divine mission are chosen instruments to carry out the work and prepare India for glorious times ahead. From amongst the crores of Indians, only a fortunate few are part of the Satya Sai organisation that has such immense spiritual magnitude and prowess,” Bhayyaji said. He praised Swami and Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai for being influential and instrumental in leading India to a magnificent tomorrow. “Swami Vivekananda had addressed those born in Bharat as amritasya putra (children of immortality). India with its rich cultural heritage and traditions is contributing greatly towards the success of the world. Educational institutions and spiritual organisations like these are the beacons of light for other centres to emulate,” Bhayyaji said. “With inspiration from and blessings of Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai, may everyone be blessed to continue this Godly work.”

This was followed by Sadguru’s discourse. Sadguru expressed gratitude to the dignitaries who had travelled from afar to be present on the occasion and for speaking words of encouragement to the students present at Premamrutham Hall. “India is the source of spirituality and it is the responsibility of Indians to spread Indian culture and spiritualty to all corners of the world,” He said. “The University is built for this very purpose. Many revolutionary movements have come and gone but the spiritual revolution is here to stay. This change is manifesting in these young men and women who are developing love and devotion towards the Lord and their country. Hence, they are developing an attitude of service towards mankind. These students will go from village to village fulfiling their responsibility towards the nation and thereby bring about a spiritual revolution,” Sadguru assured.

In times to come, His wish is to build such a University in every nook and corner of the country. He mentioned that many organisations are providing free education with many facilities but Universities which lay emphasis on human values and value-based free education are few, the Sri Satya Sai University for Human Excellence being one of them. Sadguru said that his desire is that this good work continues and with the guidance, support and help of leaders this goal can be met.  “This work will spread and be prevalent in other countries as well. Being the auspicious day of Maha Shivaratri,” Sadguru said, “Shiva means shubh or auspicious and ratri means night. Shubharatri should mean that every night is auspicious. Every day should be filled in thoughts of Lord Shiva and so also the night. Let every day in every way be auspicious,” Sadguru concluded.

With these divine words, the morning’s programme drew to a close.

Mangala arati was offered to Sadguru and He then left the Hall with the guests.


Maha Shivaratri Celebrations (Evening)

The evening programme at Premamrutham Hall began with veda chanting followed by soulful bhajans. Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai arrived at the Hall accompanied   by Sri B N Narasimha Murthy and the dignitaries. Sadguru moved around the hall showering love on all the devotees gathered. He then went up the stage to occupy his seat along with Sri B N Narasimha Murthy and the esteemed guests.

Sri B N Narasimha Murthy offered his salutations at the divine Lotus Feet of the Lord and then welcomed the guests for the evening.  He began his talk with a quote in praise of India by the French philosopher, Romain Rolland. Sri Narasimha Murthy then went on to highlight passages from the Isavasya Upanishad that describe the attributes of a man established in equanimity. He explained that one should feel empathy with every living being and quoted examples from the life of Mahatma Gandhi that emphasise the vedic dictum that one should sacrifice first and enjoy later. He concluded with reference to what Sri Sathya Sai Baba stood for and with which He had started as His mission, which is being continued by none other than Baba Himself in the form of Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai.

The next speaker, Sri Krishna Gopalji of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) mentioned that India is a unique nation because of its depth of spirituality and the philosophy of universality and oneness of all creation.  He explained that the offerings made in yagnas were symbolic expressions of humble gratitude for everything that each individual has received from the Gods, nature, the elements, parents, teachers and others. He spoke about the importance of sacrifice and touched on the life of Acharya Vinoba Bhave who, guided by his mother’s teaching that ’one who gives is a God and the one who keeps is a demon’, embarked on a life of service, persuading rich land owners around the nation to distribute in charity over three crore acres of land to the poor and landless.  Sri Gopalji said that he found joy and hope in the fact that such ancient traditions, long suppressed and forgotten under the yoke of foreign rule, were again being enlivened at Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli.

Following this inspiring talk, Prof. Rakesh Upadhyay from the Benaras Hindu University addressed the gathering. Prof. Upadhyayji stated that Muddenahalli is a land of devotion and spiritual transformation, and that he always had the experience here of “bathing in a Ganga of wisdom,” comparable to taking a dip in the Ganges on the  holy festival of Shivarthri and soaking in spiritual blessings at the feet of a Guru. He said that he would implement the teachings received here at various places in India and around the world, putting into practice his firm belief that ‘the whole world is one family’. It was his wish to make his next trip to Muddenahalli with larger groups which represent all branches of Indian tradition so that these could be discussed under the guidance of Sadguru.

Thereafter, Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai delivered His divine discourse.

Sadguru commended Sri Krishna Gopal Sharmaji on his talk and repeated his words, ‘One who gives is God and one who keeps/hoards is a demon’. Sadguru mentioned that this is a good way to test whether our behaviour is Godly or demonic in nature.

“India is a land of sacrifice and spirituality,” said Sadguru. As an example, Sadguru narrated the story of King Rantideva from the Mahabharata, Bheeshma Parva.  “The King led a life of penance and sacrifice and thereby received a boon from Lord Narayana. King Rantideva asked for the boon of strength and power to remove the sufferings, difficulties and tears of his people. This is the culture of India – kings, sages and people who believed in giving, not in keeping.”

Sadguru said that the examples of such people in the scriptures and other ideal people in society who have devoted their lives for the affluence, prosperity and culture of the country and its people, should be understood and followed by everyone. He asserted that it is the duty and responsibility of every person in society to ensure that no child is bereft of the three basic rights – the right to nutrition, the right to education and the right to health. He stated that only the one who gives with love and without any expectations or desires is truly an embodiment of the Supreme Self.

Sadguru referred to Prof. Rakesh Upadhyayji as a “family member.”. He expressed the wish that through the association of  Benares Hindu University with  Sri Sathya Sai University of Human Excellence and the India Study Centre, the glory of Indian wisdom, tradition, culture and Sanatana Dharma should reach people in all parts of the world—irrespective of caste, status or country – so that they may adopt and practice these principles in their lives.

Sadguru also made a special mention of Sri Goyalji, from RSS, who was also present, and remarked that the Sangh should strive to bring everyone together and work for the welfare of all in need, thereby spreading the message of love.

“It is due to the good deeds of past births, boons from Gods, blessings of parents and the grace of Gurus that one has taken birth in this land of Bharat. However, to become true Bharatiyas, it is necessary to have faith and pride in Indian culture and spirituality and devote one’s life completely to service,” said Sadguru. “This path of service, to remove the difficulties and unhappiness of those in need is a debt that every true Bharatiya needs to pay in return for the good fortune of having taken birth in this holy and sanctified country.”

Sadguru asserted that Bharat is devabhoomi (land of gods) and all who live here should aspire to become devas who sacrifice for others. “This is the solemn duty of the young generation, guided by the examples set by teachers and respected people of society.”

The evening programme ended with mangala arati being offered to Sadguru.