Issue One Hundred and Eighty One - December 19, 2020
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Where there is unity, there is purity. Where there is purity, there is divinity. Only when we realise the unity of all creation, we experience this sacredness, holiness and purity. When you attain purity, you attain divinity also.
                                                             - Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai
With the Blessings of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, we are delighted to present our One Hundred and Eighty First issue of Ananda Vahini. 

In this issue, the Divine visits of Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai to Hassan, Jayapura and Sringeri between December 13 to December 17, 2020 are summarised.

The Upanishads constitute the fundamentals and the essence of Sanatana Dharma which is the Ultimate Knowledge of Brahman and Jivatman. They have constantly emphasised on the expansion of the consciousness through the expansion of  the mind. When one successfully transcends the bondage within one's own mind, the soul becomes pure and moves from the path of ignorance to the path of knowledge and ultimately attains self-realisation. The 'Kathopanishad' is one such exponent of this truth and delves deep into the mysteries and secrets of life. Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai reminds to rise above and remain fixed in this awareness of our own divinity, through His classes on this great text, 'Kathopanishad'.

In this issue, we present you the Introduction, Episodes 1, 2 and 3 of 'Kathopanishad' video series, as taught by Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai.

- Sathya Sai Grama Communications Team.

 DECEMBER 13, 2020 


Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai along with His entourage departed from Sathya Sai Grama around 9:15 a.m. with a royal send off, as ashramites and students lined the pavement all the way from Premdeep till the main gate.

After a quick refreshment break at a midway restaurant, Swami proceeded to the Hassan Campus, arriving close to 2:00 p.m. and was received with a garland of love from Shri Vasudevan, Chairman of Campus along with staff and interns. 

On arrival, Swami proceeded first to the guest house and hostel building which is currently under construction, and remarked “I told them! If it’s not ready, I won’t come! They got everything ready just in time...and till this morning they were laying the tiles!”

The Lord then personally took each guest to their respective rooms, showing them around and checking all facilities, including the toilets. Lunch was served thereafter, and then everyone rested for a while. 

In the evening, Swami proceeded to the hilltop for a cozy Satsang. Everyone had gathered under a small canopy against the backdrop of the beautiful sunset. After Bhajans, Sri B N Narasimha Murthy shared a few words, followed by Swami’s discourse, where He spoke about the unsung heroes behind the journey of the Campus, including Smt Shobhna and Sri Madan Gupta, the construction in-charge Sri Keshava Gowda and elderly devotees like Sri Kale Gowda, who had taken great pains for searching for land and then building the school buildings. 

Swami went on to say that “The first phase of the construction was completed, and today can be considered as the bhoomi pooja for the second phase.” Swami looked at the architectural plan and spoke at great length about His vision for the Campus, detailing every nook and corner that would come to be in a few years time. He emphasised that due to the beautiful hilly terrain, He did not want tall buildings but rather terrace type school buildings built along the slopes, and little cottages for guest accommodation. 

Swami stressed that He is only the Charioteer and with lots of Arjunas to do His work with unity and purity, they will be able to achieve divinity. He then asked the Vedic student boys to chant the Narayana Suktam, as a Narayana temple is all set to be built on the hilltop in the near future. Swami also beautifully explained the profound meaning of the Suktam, “Everything is Narayana, everything you see or hear; every form is Narayana. Narayana represents the Atman.”

Swami then returned to the Campus, where a bonfire dinner was arranged with all guests and students. He lovingly distributed ice creams and inquired if everyone had brought shawls as the weather was getting cooler. He concluded the night with a small private gathering in the garden with His guests before retiring.

Morning - Welcome by Sri Vasudevan, Chairman of Sri Sathya Sai Sathyaniketanam, Hassan
Bhagawan along with guests visiting the construction site of the guest house.
Evening - Satsang with guests and staff 
DECEMBER 14, 2020

After breakfast, Swami departed from Hassan towards the Belur Chennakeshava temple. As the entourage payed their obeisance to the presiding deity Vishnu, Swami told the chief priest that He would also be building a Narayana temple. Swami and the priest exchanged a few words about how one simply cannot build a temple for Narayana, even if one desires. The divine will of Narayana has to be there to entrust that work upon someone. Swami then shared that He was very keen to replicate some of the stunning sculpting and architecture of this temple, which has a very rich history replete with intricate inscriptions and designs. 

The boys students were taken on a guided tour of the temple, where the architecture and sustainability of the temple was explained, while Swami and His entourage proceeded to the Jayapura Campus for boys, where He was lovingly welcomed by Sri Ananta Murthy and Smt Chayya Murthy, Chairpersons of the boys and girls Campus respectively.

The chief priest who performed the Ati Rudra Maha Yagna, Sri Yagna Bhat was also there to receive Swami and offered his gratitude in the form of a large a d intricate Rudrakasha mala. He prayerfully submitted to offer an even bigger mala for the 153 feet Shivoham statue that is to be installed at Sathya Sai Grama, next year. Lunch was served to everyone, and thereafter all rested for a while. 

In the evening, Swami visited the girls campus, and headed first to the Annapoorna Devi temple standing tall at the front of the campus. Swami explained that Mother Annapoorna is the giver of “Annam” which is both food in the the material world, as well as spiritual food. He went on to describe that the land of Jayapura is guarded on each side by Annapoorna Devi and Sharada Devi, and both their sculptures also guard the walls of the campus. 

Swami also took a stroll through the forest and the shrubbery behind the temple, advising the campus team to clear some of the landscape to make play areas for the children. He then proceeded to the Satsang venue which was arranged at the open area on the ground floor of the building. 

After bhajans, Sister Annapoorna, pursuing MSc maths and teacher in the campus welcomed all. Seven girls who have recently graduated from the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence have been appointed at the Jayapura campus for their internship, and they opened the evening Satsang by chanting the Durga Suktam. Swami explained that these girls would come under the mentorship of Smt Chaya Murthy and it was their responsibility to take care of her, the other elders and juniors of the campus. 

After introductions of Swami’s esteemed guests by Mrs Chaya Murthy, a bouquet of devotional songs were offered by the interns and Vedic girl students. Swami commanded Sri Madan and Smt Shobhna Gupta to speak a few words. Sri Madan Gupta narrated how he came to Swami and became a part of the educational mission. Smt Shobhna shared her journey of growing up as a girl in rural Africa to becoming the managing director of a multi national company, all of which was possible because she received free education. She expressed that girl child education is a cause very close to her heart, and that she relates very deeply to the girls studying in Swami’s institution.

Swami also asked Sister Sonalini to speak; a young entrepreneur coming from a family of a coffee estate businessmen, who had a flourishing career in America and Europe before returning to India, she is currently keen on empowering rural women in India through the weaving industry, thereby also reviving India’s rich cultural roots. This was followed by emotional and heartfelt speeches by two interns, Sister Keerthana and Sister Jaishree, who shared how the education they received under Swami has transformed their lives, especially coming from very humble backgrounds where their parents could not have afforded private education for them. 

Swami began His discourse by saying that He was sitting directly opposite Mother Annapoorneshwari, and recited the Annapoorna shloka, exclaiming that although she is the Mother of Food, we do not ask her for poori, dosa and sambar, but rather Jnana and Vairagya! Swami went on to explain that Jnana refers to the highest wisdom of Prajnanam Brahma, and not the worldly education. He also said, “and if you want worldly education, there is one more behind me - vidyārambhaṃ kariṣyāmi siddhirbhavatu me sadā...” referring to the exquisite white marble statue of Saraswati Devi, who grants Apara Vidya. Swami explained that with Annapoorneshwari for para and Saraswati for apara, both of these mothers stand opposite each other and look after everyone in the campus. 

Swami also added, “Ya Devi Sarvabuteshu - she is the Mother who resides in all and the ancient Indian scriptures extol women, stating that wherever women are worshipped, that place will prosper.” The goal is to ensure that this ancient culture should be revived, which has eroded and turned women into “lesser than” by society. And His Mission is to educate women up to the post graduate level, providing them with all opportunities to study whatever they enjoy, so that they can stand on their own two feet, and always be independent and take care of their families. This would especially relieve many rural girls from being married off at a young age and being dependent on their husbands.

After Arati, Swami had a private interaction with His guests before dining with everyone and returning to the boys’ campus to retire for the night.
Morning - Priests at the Chennakeshava temple,Belur interacting with Bhagawan
Evening - At Annapoorna Devi temple, Sri Sathya Sai Sriniketanam, Jayapura
Walk through the forest behind the temple
Satsang with the guests and staff
Interns chanting the 'Durga Suktam'
Talks by Sri Madan Gupta and Smt Shobhna Gupta
Sister Sonalini addressing the gathering
Talks by Interns - Sister Keerthana and Sister Jaishree
Divine Discourse
 DECEMBER 15, 2020

In the morning, Swami visited 'Ram Bhajan Mandira', which serves as the Primary School Section of Sri Sathya Sai Divyaniketanam, Jayapura. He was welcomed by the Staff, followed by satsang with songs and bhajans offered at Bhagawan's Lotus Feet. After blessing the staff, Swami visited a nearby tea estate and spent some time there. Upon His return to the Campus, lunch was served, and in the afternoon, Swami headed from Jayapura to Sringeri, arriving at Sringeri Sharada Peetham a little after 4:00 p.m.

Students of Vedic studies, both girls and boys were seated along with guests in the main prayer hall ‘Guru Nivas’, as they awaited Swami’s arrival.  Swami was welcomed lovingly and was taken around the Hall, the walls of which were lined with portraits and information about the previous Peetadhipathis of the Sharada Mutt. Historically, it is the only Peetham that has had no pause in its parampara and has remained active for 1200 years with continued successors. 

Swami then proceeded to the sanctum of the area, where He interacted with Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharti Tirtha Mahasannidhanam and his disciple successor. Swami then called upon all the guests and students and introduced them to both the gurus. Everyone reverentially offered their obeisance to both the gurus and received books and prasadam.

Thereafter, Swami along with His entourage and students went around the entire ashram visiting all the the various Temples, as He narrated the significance and uniqueness of each of the deities, including Mother Sharada. Swami remarked that the upcoming gurukulam patashala at Sathya Sai Grama would look like the patashala at Sringeri. He also revealed that a Shiva temple, set to be built behind Prema Sadhana where the current Shiva temple stands, meant exclusively for the Gurukulam students, will have the Shankara idol similar in size and design to that of what is at Sringeri. 

Swami then walked down to the banks of River Tunga, where He took prokshanam and offered special biscuits to the fish.  For most who visit, this would be a simple act of entertainment or at best, a small offering.

However Swami took the moment and turned it into a lesson, explaining that there are five types of yagnas one should perform. Like Deva Yagna (worship of Devas), Pitr Yagna (worship of ones forefathers), Bhuta Yagna (worship of other beings), Manushya Yagna (worship of fellow humans) and Bramha Yagna (worship of knowledge).

Swami said that this was “bhuta yagna” where sacrifices are made for creatures like birds, animals etc. He also quoted the shloka “Sarva bhuta daya pushpam” referring to the eight flowers one should offer to Lord Vishnu, and one of them, ‘love and compassion to all beings’.

Then everyone took a short break for dinner, and reconvened at the main hall for the Channamouleeswara Lingam pooja at 9:00 p.m., which has been performed every day for hundreds of years of the ashram history, and has stood the test of time despite invasions and various other external forces. Rudram and other Vedic mantras were chanted as the Jagadguru worshipped the lingam

After the pooja, Swami retired back to the Jayapura campus for boys, thus concluding an absolutely holy and divine day at Sringeri.
Morning - Satsang with the staff and guests at 'Ram Bhajan Mandir', Jayapura
Afternoon - At Sringeri, Bhagawan entering the main prayer hall 'Guru Nivas', where students and guests await Him
With His Holiness Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharti Tirtha Mahaswamiji
Offering of MoU between Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence and Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham
DECEMBER 16, 2020
In the morning soon after breakfast, Swami along with His entourage and the boys students set off to the Prabodhini Gurukulam at Hariharapura. The Gurukulam imparts education in five aspects which are Veda (Vedic hymns), Vijnana(Science), Yoga,  Krishi(Agriculture) and Kala(Fine arts).

After a short tour of the area, there was a Satsang with staff and students. This was held under a beautiful tent, overlooking the sunlit glistening waters of River Tunga, as the cool breeze enveloped everyone in its embrace. Sri B N Narasimha Murthy shared a few words about the University and its vedic studies programme, and also explained the importance of Sanatana Dharma. Thereafter, Prof Ramachandra Bhat, Principal of the Gurukulam spoke about Swami transformative education system. 

Swami in His divine discourse shared that this was a very unique meeting because just like rivers join together to make the ocean, various institutions (the University and Gurukulam) should collaborate to do the good work of propagating the message of Sanathana Dharma. “No more should you see each other as students of the Sri Sathya Sai University and students of Prabodhini Gurukulam, but rather as one family - vasudeiva kutumbakam.” Swami also shared His vision of making these highest truths of Vedic scriptures accessible to all by first translating them to English, and then to other languages. He added that every human being is deserving of this knowledge, without exception, regardless of their country, creed, religion or language. He extended His love to the Gurukulam by announcing that he would provide scholarships from the University to the students at the Prabhodini Gurukulam, and also invited them all for the inauguration of Veda Patashala at Sathya Sai Grama, which He declared would be ready by Guru Purnima 2021. Swami then distributed dhotis to all the boy students of Prabodhini Gurukulam and sarees for the girl students of the Maithreyee Gurukulam, who had also joined for the Satsang.  

Swami then proceeded to the other side of the banks of the river to SREEMATH HARIHARAPURA, Sri Adishankaracharya Sharada Lakshminarasimha Peetam, Hariharapura. This is an ancient Dharmapeetam directly established by Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya, and is situated at the Puranic Kshetra of Hariharapura in Chikmagalur District, Karnataka. Located at the holy banks of River Tunga, Lord Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy and Goddess Sri Sharadambika are the chief deities of this Dharmapeetam. This ancient Dharmapeetam boasts an unbroken illustrious chain of Jagadgurus, right from the time of Sri Adi Shankaracharya.

The river Tunga flowing at Hariharapura is called Uttravahini. The Kshetras where rivers flow as Uttaravahini are regarded great Siddha Kshetras, where performing any kind of worship or spiritual Sadhana yields manifold benefits. Hariharapura is one such powerful Siddha Kshetra discussed in high praise by various religious texts and Puranas. The Puranic history of Hariharapura dates back to the episode of Daksha Maha Yajna. Skanda Purana (Sahyadri Kanda) addresses Hariharapura by the name “Dakshashrama” - the place where Daksha Maha Yajna took place. After visiting the Sanctum Santorum, Swami interacted with Srimajjagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Swayamprakasha Sachidananda Saraswathi Mahaswamiji, who blessed all the guests and students. 

Thereafter, everyone returned to the Divya Niketanam Campus where lunch was served.

In the evening, Swami visited the coffee estate of Miss Sonalini, where He was showed the entire process of how the fruits are picked, washed, dried, and the shells removed to reveal the coffee bean. 

After tea and snacks along with guests and family members of Miss Sonalini, Swami sat on a jhoola for an intimate sunset Satsang, nestled in the lap of Mother Nature, as the forest enveloped the area on all sides.

As all the guests and girl students revelled in the beauty and serenity of the place, Swami explained that man is made of nature, of the same five elements, which is the secret as to why one feels happy amidst nature. “It is like looking at one’s own reflection all around, and this feeling cannot be obtained in a concrete jungle where everything is modified and artificial”, He said. 

After a few bhajans, as the Sun disappeared into the horizon, Swami asked for the music boys to sing “antar jyoti” song and as soon the bhajan concluded, Swami In His inimitable style remarked, “It was good that we had snacks before the satsang because you need light to differentiate salty snacks from sweet. But for bhajans, you don’t need light; they can be sung in the dark also because there is the light inside - antar jyoti.

To sing God’s glory you need only that inside light. You think of Him and the light automatically appears.” It was such a magical moment for everyone who were present with God, right there.

Swami then returned to the girls campus where He had promised the girl interns and students that He would partake His dinner with them. After a cozy private session with a few guests overlooking the campus forests, Swami dined with everyone. A few items of the dinner was lovingly prepared by the girls interns who had just joined the campus, and Swami was pleased with their efforts. Swami then retired for the night at the Campus.
Morning - At Prabhodhini Gurukulam, Hariharapura - Prof Ramachandra G Bhat, Principal of the Gurukulam and other staff welcoming Bhagawan
Satsang at the Banks of River Tunga in Gurukulam - students of Gurukulam chanting Vedam
Talk by Professor Ramachandra G Bhat
Divine Discourse
Arrival at Sreemath Hariharapura, Sri Adishankaracharya Sharada Lakshminarasimha Peetam, Hariharapura
Walk around the Temples at Matt
Evening - Visit to the Coffee Estate of Sister Sonalini
DECEMBER 17, 2020
After breakfast, before departing from Sri Sathya Sai Sriniketanam campus to Hassan campus, Swami graciously took pictures with staff and students. On the way back to Muddenahalli, Swami along with His entourage halted at Sri Sathya Sai Sathyaniketanam, Hassan for lunch. 
At Jayapura Girls' campus
At Hassan campus









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