Dasara Celebrations 2016
The celebrations of the Dasara festival culminated in Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi with the completion of the Sri Sathya Sai Grama Seva – a unique, one-of-its-kind village outreach program conducted by the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. As part of 2016 Grama Seva, more than 2000 students and 300 faculty members from the four campuses of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL) and associated educational establishments at Prasanthi Nilayam participated in this program. Now in its 16th consecutive year, the Grama Seva covered around 150 villages in the three mandals of Anantapur district: Puttaparthi, Kothacheruvu and Bukkapatnam. A total of around 50000 households were given clothes and more than 300000 villagers were served with food and Laddu Prasadam over a period of 9 days.
Two other important events that were conducted in Prasanthi Nilayam along with Grama Seva were the Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna and the Prasanthi Vidwan Mahasabha. The Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna is a seven-day Sacrificial worship (Yajna) conducted in Prasanthi Nilayam since more than five decades. The Jnana Yajna was initiated by Sri Sathya Sai Baba, with the aim of promoting world peace, harmony, love, and spiritual upliftment for mankind. This Yajna - conducted by Vedic scholars from Andhra Pradesh with a strict adherence to scriptural injunctions – concluded on the Vijayadashami day.
The Prasanthi Vidwan Mahasabha was held during the evenings in Sai Kulwant Hall after the students and staff returned from the Grama Seva. During these evening sessions, faculty members from SSSIHL and scholars versed in Indian scriptures expounded on spiritual topics and the life and message of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. These talks were followed by short audio discourses of Bhagawan on the theme of Dasara celebrations and important spiritual instructions for devotees. The evening sessions in Sai Kulwanth hall ended with devotional music and dance program offerings by His students and some exponents of music. The proceedings of the Prasanthi Vidwan Mahasabha were streamed live by Radio Sai on their website and Youtube channel.
The three events - Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna, Prasanthi Vidwan Mahasabha and Sri Sathya Sai Gramaseva – represent, in spirit, the triad of spiritual paths of Upasana, Jnana, and Karam Yoga. The Yajna pertains to the act of Upasana or worship; the Vidwan Mahasabha aims at enlightening one’s intellect to pursue Truth through right knowledge or Jnana; the Grama Seva provides an opportunity to dedicate one’s physical energies to the act of service towards the needy, done in a spirit of selflessness and renunciation as explained in the doctrine of Karma yoga. Most importantly though, all these three events are performed with a spirit of pure love and devotion for the all-pervading consciousness embodied as Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Bhakti or devotion, thus forms the foundation on which these multifarious activities relating to Upasana, Jnana, and Karam Yoga are undertaken. The Dasara celebrations at Prasanthi Nilayam are thus suffused with this unique amalgamation of Love, Worship, Knowledge and Service which eventually help us in realizing the Divine within.