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SRI RAMA NAVAMI CELEBRATIONS: 7th APRIL, 2006

 

The festival of Sri Rama Navami is the day when we celebrate the advent of Lord Sri Rama, the Avatar (divine incarnation) of the Tretha Yuga. The glories of Lord Rama are described in the immortal epic ‘Ramayana’ that is revered by millions as a source of inspiration and devotion. Lord Rama and His consort Sita are venerated as the embodiments of Dharma (righteousness) worthy of emulation by all mankind. The eternal values enshrined in the Ramayana have not lost their relevance even to this day, and will remain so for all time to come, for, they have been laid down by God Himself. The same ideals have now manifested again in our midst as our dear Lord Sai Rama.

The Rama Navami celebrations at Prasanthi Nilayam on the morning of 7th April began with a Veena recital by the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music, Prasanthi Nilayam. The students delighted the audience with their rendition of krithis (devotional songs) composed by Saint Thyagaraja, who was a great devotee of Lord Rama. Following this, students of the Hindustani classical music stream from this college sang excerpts from the Tulsi Ramayana, the version of Ramayana composed by Saint Tulsidas, which is very popular in northern parts of India. Later, students from Bhagawan’s university sang devotional songs in praise of Lord Rama.

In the afternoon, Bhagawan blessed Sri Anil V. Gokak, Vice-Chancellor, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning to address the gathering of devotees in Sai Kulwant Hall. He observed that the story of Lord Rama is not only venerated in India but also in many other countries such as Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, as also the Caribbean islands where Indians had emigrated to more than two centuries ago, and preserve the tradition of worship of Lord Rama even to this day. He said that at the spiritual level, Ramayana conveys many profound lessons. Lord Rama represents the Atma, the Self in all, while Mother Sita represents Jnana (Spiritual wisdom). Sita is enchanted by the sight of the golden deer and it is her desire to possess that deer that leads to her being abducted by the demon Ravana and thus being separated from Lord Rama. This symbolizes the mind being led astray by the lures of the world, and thus losing the joy of divine communion. He concluded his talk with a prayer to Bhagawan to strengthen our minds so that it can transcend the mundane and aspire for the spiritual.

The talk by Sri Gokak was followed by a talk by Sri Ajit Popat, an ardent devotee from London, United Kingdom. He began by saying that his numerous experiences with Bhagawan have convinced him that the same divinity that had descended as Lord Rama in the Tretha Era has now come amidst us as Lord Sai Rama in this Kali Era. The miraculous stories of Bhagawan are so numerous that it would require millions of Sage Valmikis to record them and millions of Lavas and Kushas to narrate it (Lava and Kusha were the twin sons of Lord Rama, who learnt the Ramayana from Sage Valmiki and even as young children undertook the sacred task of propagating the Ramayana so that all mankind may derive the bliss of listening to the glories of Lord Rama). He stressed the need to bring back Rama Rajya (the golden reign of Lord Rama) by installing Him in the Heart. It is not enough to merely perform worship of the Lord, it is equally important to do His work. When work is performed as worship, wisdom will dawn in our hearts, he said.

Bhagawan then graciously granted His Divine Discourse. He said that although the Ramayana took place thousands of years ago, it is still revered by one and all. The Ramayana demonstrates the importance of maintaining unity of thought, word and deed and said this is the highest Dharma. One should base one’s life on Sathya (Truth) and practice Dharma (Righteousness). If not, one is not deserving of the title of ‘man’. The root cause of misery in the present day is giving in to falsehood, He said. He concluded the Discourse with the songs, “Rama Nama ani mithai idigo randi Bhakthulaara …”, and “Rama Rama Rama Sita …”.

Bhagawan departed for Kodaikanal with an entourage consisting of a few students of His educational institutions, and some fortunate devotees on the morning of 9th April by chartered flight. He arrived at Sai Shruti, Bhagawan’s residence at Kodaikanal, at 4 p.m. the same day.

Jai Sai Ram!