The auspicious devotional Aradhana Mahotsavam for NSW Region East was held at Marsden High School, West Ryde on Saturday 27 April 2019. Given this was the week following the National Conference you would expect for it to be a relatively low-key event. However, this was not the case, and it was most rewarding for an estimated 300 who were in attendance.
The program commenced with chanting by the young adults, followed by a talk from the guest speaker, Mr Sridhar Subramonian who warmly and enthusiastically set the scene with his discourse. Mr Sridhar is a former student of Sai Baba’s and he shared a lot of his own personal experience in the form of short stories. He had the audience captivated throughout while sharing his journey with Sai Baba.
This was followed by a really spirited devotional singing session, with some innovative singing switches by the accomplished Young Adults. Fittingly, this segment included a video from Sai Baba himself.
The main feature of the altar, which was expertly arranged to create an audience effect of being in Sai Kulwant Hall was the realistic nature of its design. Verily, it was easy to feel as though we were in Prasanthi; so delightful was the ambience that was created.
As a special touch, the meditation time had the accompaniment of a beautiful and relaxing Shiva solo sung by Sai Baba, without the musical instruments.
All in all, a highly worthwhile afternoon with lots of inspirational messages to take home.
Aradhana Mahotsavam Talk by Sridhar Subramonian
“Aradhana” refers to the act of worshipping the eternal and “Mahotsavam” means great celebration. As we celebrate another Aradhana Mahotsavam, let us take a minute to ponder over the importance of this day and how we should meditate on Him as the in-dweller of our heart.
We associate Sai Baba with omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence and omni-benevolence. The various miracles that we have seen Sai Baba perform only strengthens our faith in Sai Baba’s avatarhood. But if you look back at all those instances, not all was performed in Sai Baba’s physical presence. Even when Sai Baba was in his physical form at Prasanthi Nilayam, countless devotees including this writer experienced Sai Baba’s omnipresence. He listened to our innermost prayers and rushed to our rescue each time in his own inimitable way. His omnipresence has a simple explanation.
He has, in so many discourses, attested to the fact that he is the silent witness and chief resident of our heart. When we pray to him with complete faith he responds immediately. Hasn’t he said that he is ever present all around us and in us, waiting for that conversation with him?
Sai Baba spoke of how Draupadi, in the epic Mahabharata, when being disrobed in open court prayed to Lord Krishna and was eventually rescued by the merciful Lord. Later when Draupadi asked Krishna why he hadn’t responded immediately to her entreaties he replied saying that Draupadi had called out to him as “Mathura vasi” and “Dwaraka vasi” meaning the resident of the cities of Mathura and Dwaraka. He said that these cities are hundreds of kilometres away from Hastinapura where Draupadi was being insulted. But when she eventually called out to him as “Hridaya vasi”, the resident of her heart, he immediately came to her rescue since he was a few inches away.
Sai Baba immediately responds when we call to our Lord knowing him to be a resident of our heart. His omnipresence is just additional proof that he is close, and, like a true friend, works always in our best interest.
His avatarhood was a result of the prayers of pious people. His avatar was a lesson to mankind on the importance of service to reach Him. His life was a continuous message of Love and provided every individual with a roadmap to lead a life of truth, discipline, focus, piety and right conduct. But the fact is that He was present even prior to November 23rd 1926 and He is present even after April 24th 2011. His avatarhood was to demonstrate to us the ideal of human life. We relished every moment of his physical presence.
There is no change in devotees' experiences on Sai Baba’s omnipresence after April 24th 2011. Millions of people around the world continue to experience his benevolence. Sometimes, we think we need the crutch of a physical form to overcome our fears. But let us know that where there is true faith, there is complete fearlessness. The form is not important. Sai Baba has always insisted on unity of faiths; worship the divine in any way you want but that worship must lead us to question the nature of that divinity. Our devotion to the Lord must lead us to the knowledge that He has, is and always will be the ever-present resident of our heart. He is our Guru, constantly guiding us.
Let us live every moment of our lives constantly seeing Him in our heart, praying to Him with faith and without fear. Let us perform every act as an offering to him. Let us start and end each day with a conversation with Him and let us spend every minute acknowledging his presence. This is true meditation. Then every day becomes an Aradhana at his lotus feet and every day becomes a Mahotsavam.