The National Aradhana Mahotsavam celebrations were held online this year from 8:00 pm to 9:45 pm AEST on 24 April 2020. Members were provided a link to the Sai Australia YouTube channel through which everyone was able to view the online proceedings to mark the auspicious occasion in the Sai Calendar.
Approximately 370 members from all across Australia logged in to view what was a diverse and engaging program. The program commenced with 3 Aum’s and Sai Gayatri Chanting, followed by an address by the National President Mr. Indrapalan. Mr. Indrapalan spoke about the significance of the Aradhana Mahotsavam celebrations and noted the tireless efforts of the Devotional Wing and the IT team in organising the online program. He further noted the fantastic opportunity of listening to the two guest speakers in the evening’s program.
Following Mr Indrapalan’s address, there was a melodious musical offering from the Tasmanian Region with a song simply titled “Sathya Sai Baba”, which expressed presence of Sathya Sai Baba in our heart of hearts.
The next item on the program was talk by Mr. Srikanth Vaidyanathan an ‘alumni of the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning’ and the current National Devotion Coordinator of USA. Mr. Vaidyanathan. Mr. Vaidyanathan spoke about the various roles Swami played in the lives of the students in Prasanthi Nilayam depending on what was required to the students. Swami would play the role of a father, a friend or a teacher depending on the requirement of the students. He elaborated that Swami’s Mahasamadhi was way of Swami making His devotees is to focus on His cosmic form and break free from the shackles of the physical form.
Mr Vaidyanathan also observed the pursuit for perfection Swami possessed in all activities that he undertook. From the diet and meals of His students, the payments to be made for the water project or the neatness of his physical appearance when providing darshan Swami demonstrated the utmost attention to detail in all parts of His lives. To illustrate this point Mr Vaidyanathan narrated an incident where a sculptor had completed a statue of Goddess Saraswathi at the institute and had gone to report to Swami that he had completed his work. Having viewed the statue from a considerable distance Swami remarked to the sculptor that the nose of Saraswathi did not quite seem centred and asked the sculptor to check whether this was the case. The sculptor was stunned to see what Swami had said was indeed true and that the nose of Goddess Saraswathi was not quite centred.
Mr Vaidyanathan also remarked on the degree of detachment that he observed in Swami once the work that he was working on was complete. He noted that once a project was finished Swami would not dwell on either the positive or negative outcomes of the project and would swiftly move to the next project that needed to be done. This provided an important lesson for everyone to not dwell on what has been accomplished and to leave aside any attachment to the results of the work one undertakes.
Mr Vaidyanathan spoke about the personal guidance Swami had given him when he was playing a key role in a drama that Swami Himself had written the script for. Along with directions on appropriate acting and facial expressions Swami would impart some highly valuable life lessons to the students which in hindsight was the true takeaway message for the students. Mr Vaidyanathan closed his talk by reading a letter that was written by Swami many years ago where Swami says that “It is not through their words or their songs that persons are judged as Sai Devotees. Deeds must be good and correct. That makes a Sai Devotee. That gives joy to Sai”.
The next item in the program was a vibrant 15 minutes of devotional singing where members were able to focus their minds and hearts towards the contemplation of the lord through music.
The devotional signing was followed by a talk by the second guest speaker for the evening Mrs. Padma Ayyagari from Albury in Victoria. Mrs. Ayyagari talked about the her introduction to Sathya Sai Baba as a Bal Vikas student, the physical appearance of the form of Sathya Sai Baba in front of her in Albury in 1983 to deliver to her a deep spiritual message which she was not able to grasp at the time, her involvement in the Sai Centre in Albury through identifying an ad in the local newspaper and the many subsequent dreams of Sai Baba where He gave personal guidance on the pertinent matters in her life. She spoke about her involvement with the Institute for Sathya Sai Education in Canberra which culminated in her receiving her diploma directly from the hands of Swami in Prasanthi Nilayam, an event which she recollected as the happiest day of her life. Mrs. Ayyagari went on to conclude the talk noting the spiritual development she underwent through undertaking the roles of National Education Coordinator and President for Albury Centre, and her continuous discovery of the profoundness of Swami’s teachings to explain to us our own divine nature.
Another beautiful musical offering from the Tasmanian Region followed where they beautifully rendered the song “O Lord May We Live in Peace” and “Swami Lives within my Heart”.
The SSE Children from the ACT Region delivered a program reflecting on how they are able to apply the teachings of Swami to deal with the challenges posed by the lockdown’s as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic holding onto Swami’s message of ‘Why Fear When I am Here’. The SSE students explored the topics of how to use values in times of crisis, leadership in times of crisis, lessons learnt, virtual life and values and how to deal with isolation. The SSE students noted the importance of gratitude in these times of crisis, and observed that we are fortunate in Australia to have access to technology that enables us to work from home and stay connected to our friends and family virtually. The SSE children further noted that with the current lockdown resulting in many cities around the world having the cleanest air in many years it brought to the forefront the negative impact that humans have been having on the environment. The SSE students concluded their program remarking that the lockdown provides everyone with an opportunity for self-exploration and provides humanity with an opportunity to shape a better future.
This was followed by another 15 minutes session of energising devotional singing. This was followed by a discourse of Swami where Swami talked about the law of Karma and that even if people act according to their will it wasn’t possible for people to escape the consequences of their actions without the grace of the lord. Swami stated that in order to escape the results of one’s actions one must pray to the lord so that they are deserving of God’s grace.
The program wrapped up with Aarathi at approximately 9:50 pm.