NEWS FROM PRASANTHI NILAYAM
SHIVARATHRI CELEBRATION - DIVINE PHENOMENON OF LINGODBHAVA AT PRASANTHI NILAYAM
AN UNPRECEDENTED NUMBER of devotees were present in Prasanthi Nilayam who witnessed
the divine phenomenon of Lingodbhava (emergence of
the Linga) on the evening of
started on the morning of 1st March 2003 with Nadaswaram
music by the Anantapur College students when Bhagavan started from His abode in Poornachandra
for the morning Darshan at 7.10 a.m. Prasanthi Nilayam Campus students
also offered a grand welcome to Bhagavan by their Panchavadyam music when Bhagavan
entered Sai Kulwant Hall
which was fully decorated for the festive occasion. As soon as Bhagavan occupied His chair on the dais after the morning Darshan, the Institute students started the chanting of Stotras in praise of Lord Siva. These included Viswanath-ashtakam, Bilvashtakam
and Sivashtakam. After the Stotras,
the students sang beautiful devotional songs. After this presentation of divine
music, the students started Bhajans which were
followed in chorus by the devotees. A grand cake was brought by the overseas
devotees on this holy occasion. Bhagavan graciously
lighted candles on it and ceremoniously cut the cake. This was followed by
distribution of Prasadam. The morning programme of Sivarathri came to a
conclusion at with offer of Arati to Bhagavan.
afternoon, the programme started at after the arrival of Bhagavan Baba in Sai Kulwant Hall. In the beginning, Sri-A.
V. S. Raju, Chairman, Nagarjuna
Construction Company, regaled the devotees with his beautiful Telugu poems.
After this, there was Veda chanting by the Institute students. Three speakers
blessed by Bhagavan to share their views with
devotees were then introduced by Dr. M. Sainath, a
faculty member of the Institute. The first speaker of the afternoon was Sri
Sanjay Sahni, Principal, Brindavan Campus of the Institute. Quoting from the
immortal work "Viveka Chudamani"
of Adi Sankara, Sri Sahni observed that there were three things which were rare
on earth - human birth, aspiration for emancipation and the company of the
noble ones. But all these became more accessible to man by the grace of God
when He descended on earth as Avatar. This, he said, was the greatest good luck
of man today when the Lord of the universe had incarnated on earth in human
form of Bhagavan Sri Sathya
Sai Baba who was showering His unbounded grace on the
entire mankind and was leading man to his goal of life. Man on his part should
offer his mind to the Avatar to achieve this goal, and Sivarathri
was the most appropriate occasion to do so, the learned speaker observed.
The second speaker was Sri B. N. Narasimha Murthy, Warden, Brindavan
Campus, who in his scholarly exposition explained the nature of Divinity and
extolled the sacredness of Bharat as the birthplace
of sages, godmen, prophets and Avatars. Pointing
towards the sea of humanity witnessed at Prasanthi Nilayam on the occasion of Sivarathri,
Sri Narasimha Murthy observed that the Divinity of
the Avatar acted like a most powerful magnet and attracted the entire humanity
from all parts of the world without mundane distinction of caste, colour, creed or religion. Bhagavan
Baba, he said, was the Neelakantha of this Age who
had come to drink the poison of violence and rank materialism which were
threatening the very existence of man on this planet earth. Sri Narasimha Murthy remarked that Bhagavan
Baba had been taking upon Himself the pain and suffering of others. He
therefore prayed to Bhagavan not to undergo the pain
of materialising the Linga
from His mouth as He could create it just by the wave of His hand.
As soon as Sri Narasimha Murthy concluded his fold, Bhagavan
waved His hand and materialised an oval-shaped Hiranyagarbha Linga. Holding it
aloft in His right hand, Bhagavan showed it to the
ecstatic devotees amidst their prolonged loud applause. This unique event
occurred at to the delight
of thousands of devotees who witnessed this rarest of rare divine play on the
auspicious day of Sivarathri.
The third speaker Sri S. V. Giri, Vice Chancellor, Sri Sathya
Sai Institute of Higher Learning, congratulated the
devotees on their witnessing the divine spectacle of manifestation of Hiranyagarbha Linga by Bhagavan who in His unlimited compassion had responded to
the prayers of the devotees instantaneously.The grace
of Bhagavan Baba was ever flowing in full and it was
immediately attained when the devotees prayed with puNty
and sincerity, said Sri Giri. The erudite speaker
described the various ways in which Lord Siva was worshipped in many parts of
the country and explained the significance of witnessing the manifestation of Hiranyagarbha Linga. Sri Giri narrated two beautiful stories from the Puranas to illustrate the teachings of Bhagavan
Baba, the essence of which was "love all and serve all", as
exemplified by Bhagavan Baba in His life.
After these speeches, Bhagavan blessed the devotees with His Sivarathri
Message, exhorting them to experience permanent bliss by Satsanga.
He said, "You should strive to attain Atmic
bliss right from young age. That should be your only endeavour. Your thoughts, words and deeds should be aimed at
this. This can be termed as true Satsanga. Worldly
experiences, however long one may enjoy, cannot give eternal bliss. You can
experience eternal bliss only in the company of God. All the worldly activities
and experiences are bound to change. The Atma alone
is changeless. This is referred to as Ritam in
Sanskrit. In order to experience this eternal principle, you should give up
body attachment and understand the truth that the Atma
in you is the same as the one in others. Just as the same electric current
flows in different bulbs, the same Atma is present in
all beings. Ekatma Sarva
Bhutantaratma (the one Atma
is present in all beings). But today man does not have such broad-mindedness.
In order to experience divinity, which is the very form of love, you have to
become the very personification of love. Divinity and love are not
separate." Bhagavan brought His Discourse to a
close at with the Bhajan "Sathyam Jnanam Anantham Brahma .;." which the huge multitude of devotees
repeated with deep devotion. Sivarathri Bhajans started with this Bhajan of.Bhagavan. Boys and girls students of the Institute then
led the Bhajans alternately and the devotees followed
them in chorus.
Bhagavan occupied His chair on the dais at while the entire Sai Kulwant Hall reverberated with chanting of the Divine Name. Soon after this, Bhagavan started sipping water and wiping His face with His handkerchief, the two symptoms which indicated the emergence of the Linga from Bhagavan's body. As Bhagavan sipped water and wiped His face more frequently, the symptoms of Lingodbhava became more evident. All eyes were now focused on Bhagavan as the Bhajan singing went on with deep devotional fervour. The multitudes gathered to witness this Divine phenomenon were feeling anxious as the emergence of the Linga was getting delayed. The blessed moment arrived at 7, when an oval-shaped Hiranyagarbha Linga emerged from Bhagavan's mouth with great force, sending the devotees into raptures. Soon after the emergence of the Linga, Bhagavan got up from His chair and showed both the Lingas (the one created earlier and the one that came out of His mouth) to the devotees holding each one of them in His two raised hands.
A few minutes after this, Bhagavan
left for His abode in Poornachandra while the Sivarathri Bhajans continued
throughout the night. Besides the students of the three campuses of the
Institute, groups of devotees also led Bhajans at
certain intervals. The devotees were ecstatic with joy when their night-long Bhajan singing and vigil was rewarded by Bhagavan's morning Darshan at on
After the morning Divine Darshan, the devotees were blessed with the second Sivarathri Discourse by Bhagavan Baba. Giving the example of the family of Lord Siva, Bhagavan gave the message of unity in the family and the world. "The message of holy Sivarathri is to spread the ideal and sanctity of this most auspicious day to one and all", said Bhagavan. Bhagavan began His Discourse at and brought it to a close at with two Bhajans "Prema Mudita Manase Kaho..." and "Hey Siva Shankar Namami Shankar..." At the end of the Bhajan, Arati was offered to Bhagavan. Soon after the Arati, Bhagavan stood at the edge of the portico of the Hall and showered His profuse blessings on the assembled devotees by raising both His hands in benediction posture. In the end, Prasadam was distributed to all the devotees. To add to the bliss of some fortunate devotees, Bhagavan gave them Prasadam with His own Divine Hands. Thus, the holy festival of Sivarathri came to a close filling the hearts of the devotees with piety, purity and blessedness.
sourced from Sanathana Sarathi - March 2003 Issue - Pages 92 to 95