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Ratha Shanthi (Photo) picture collage
Bhagawan’s Discourse on
Bheema Ratha Shanthi : 10 th February 2005
Indian culture has at its heart the noble feelings of reverence and gratitude. The many festivals that dot the Indian calendar are all expressions of gratitude to the various elements of the world around us that make our lives pleasant and harmonious, and above all to God whose grace constantly surrounds His devotees protecting them and guiding them. The day of Ayudha Puja during the ten-day Dasara festival, for instance, is dedicated to the worship of the tools, machines and implements that are used in our daily lives. The Vedas too pay homage to Nature in its myriad forms. Reverence to one’s elders is given utmost importance in the scriptures, which declare that one’s parents are equal to God. The scriptures enjoin various ceremonies to be performed to honour one’s parents at various stages in their life. The Bheema Ratha Shanthi is one such ritual worship that is performed when the husband crosses his 70th year. The ritual involves formally reenacting their marriage ceremony and praying for good health and happiness in their lives.
On 10th February, Bhagawan conducted the Bheema Ratha Shanthi for 275 elderly couples from Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi and surrounding villages in a grand function held at the Sai Kulwant Hall. The procession of the couples started from the Pedda Venkama Raju Kalyana Mantapam in Puttaparthi at 7.00 a.m. led by the brass band and Nadasawaram troupe from the Anantapur campus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, and a group of Banjara dancers with traditional musical instruments.
In Sai Kulwant Hall, where the procession culminated, a small enclosure had been made for every couple with elegant brass railings, and chairs were placed within the enclosure for the couples to sit. This enclosure had been traditionally decorated with plantain and mango leaves. The entire hall seemed awash with brilliant colours, with banners and decorations wherever one turned.
After the couples were seated, the officiating priests began the proceedings by directing them to worship Lord Ganesha. The couples were helped in performing the various rituals by girl students from the Anantapur campus of the University who had been assigned with this duty. The previous evening, these students had received instructions from Bhagawan Himself regarding their duties during the function. The rituals were conducted in the traditional manner as prescribed in the scriptures. On the eve of the grand ceremony, on 9th February 2005, Bhagawan had blessed the couples with ornaments such as gold earrings studded with diamonds, gold bangles, silver anklets along with dhotis, silk saris and glittering garlands to be worn by the couple.
Bhagawan then went around the hall to each couple and with His own hands presented them with a gold Mangalasutra (necklace to be placed by the husband around the wife’s neck), gold rings and silver toe-rings. The couples were also presented watches and silver idols of Lord Narayana and Goddess Lakshmi. One could see tears in their eyes, overwhelmed by the bountiful blessings the Lord had bestowed on them that day. Bhagawan’s face too was radiant with joy reflecting the bliss His devotees were experiencing at witnessing the grand function. Even as Bhagawan was blessing each couple thus, the priests explained the significance of this function to the gathering and declared that is was the greatest fortune of these couples to have it conducted by none other than the Poornavatar Himself. The auspicious moment arrived for the Mangalasutra to be placed round the wife’s neck. To the rousing sounds of the Nadaswaram and the intoning of Vedic mantras, the couples reaffirmed their vows to each other and exchanged garlands. Bhagawan sprinkled sacred yellow rice grains on the couples thus sanctifying their marriage. After the ceremony, the couples were provided with a special banquet along with their family members, friends, relatives and all devotees who were fortunate to attend this grand function in the Divine Presence of Bhagawan, in the South Indian Canteen of the Ashram.
In the afternoon, Bhagawan blessed the gathering with His Divine Discourse in which He explained the significance of the Bheema Ratha Shanthi. He said that the word Bheema normally signified strength and valour. It does not refer to physical strength but to the enormous will power and the wealth of wisdom that elders possess. He said that the younger generation should pay heed to the words of their elders and pay them their due respect to achieve success in their endeavours.
Bhagawan’s discourse was followed by a music concert by Ms. Sudha Raghunathan, a renowned singer in the Carnatic style of music. Ms. Raghunathan has been a long standing devotee of Bhagawan. In fact, she was saved from a life threatening epileptic fit by Bhagawan when she was a two year old child. Bhagawan appeared in the form of a villager to the sorrowful couple, who were stranded on their way to Bangalore after Bhagawan’s birthday celebrations at Prasanthi Nilayam, and revived their child whom they had given up as dead. When they asked the mysterious man his name, he replied that it was Jodi Adipalli Somappa. This name is now recited as one of the 108 names in praise of our Lord Sai. Before the commencement of the programme, Bhagawan materialised a gold chain for the artiste and blessed her. Ms. Sudha Raghunathan delighted the audience with her melodious rendition of kirtanas by Thyagaraja (Brochevarevaru ra…) and Purandaradasa (Jagaddodharana …) and then went on to sing devotional compositions in Hindi and Tamil and concluded with a Sai Bhajan. At the end of the programme, Bhagawan blessed all the artistes and accepted Arati before retiring to His residence. Thus the curtain came to a close for the grand ceremony.
At a time when society has all but ignored the older generation, Bhagawan is reminding youngsters of the duties and responsibilities they have towards their elders. This was clearly evident from the way the programme was organised under the Divine guidance of Bhagawan. Bhagawan out of His immense love for the welfare of these elderly couples from the villages had taken extra care to depute a team of doctors to conduct medical check up, well in advance of the function, and thus ensuring their participation. Arrangements were also made for their to and fro transportation to make it to the function. Those elderly couples who would find it difficult to walk were provided with wheelchairs for free movement and there were students and sevadals around throughout to take care of them. Indeed, the loving care and the meticulousness with which Bhagawan supervised the arrangements and the unparalleled grandeur of the ceremony are an indication of the reverence and honour that is due to the older generation. It is now for us, His devotees, to carry the mantle of disseminating His message to the world by living our lives by His Word.
Jai Sai Ram!
Bhagawan’s Discourse on
Sai Kulwant Hall
“Bheema Ratha Santhi”
Spiritual Re-marriage of 275 Fortunate Old Couples
You do not pray to God in times of pleasure. You want Him only in times of difficulties and when you do not get relief from the pain, you readily blame Him!
Today, these couples are ecstatic! You must recognize the significance of the name “Bheema Ratha Santhi”. Bheema does not mean merely a physically strong and hefty person. Bheema is Vayu Putra (son of Wind God). He can reach any point at any time and can accomplish any task. Age is no restriction at all.
God’s Will is always sacred and auspicious. We all know that the 60th Birthday of an individual is celebrated, praying for peace. The 70th Birthday of a person is celebrated as the Diamond Jubilee and is very important. Celebration of the 80th, 90th and the 100th Birth anniversary are called Bheema Ratha Santhi.
In this Kali Yuga, after the age of 60 years, people are neglected and sent out from the house, saying that these people must not live as householders but must live as renunciants. This is not correct. Children should understand the plight of parents who cross the age of 60 years and must conduct themselves in a responsible way.
Modern people consider that beyond the age of 70, one cannot accomplish anything in life. However, contrary to this, beyond the age of 70 years, the zeal and dynamism in a person actually increases. It is at this point of time that the Atma Shakti manifests itself. Prior to this, they just behave in an ordinary manner. Beyond 70 years of age, their Mental Power and Will Power takes a new direction.
It is in this advanced age that they ponder over the secrets of life. On account of the good actions done earlier, the potential they have is much more than the youth. Today, young people make fun of elders. If we understand correctly, we will realize that the Will Power possessed by them is of gigantic proportions. Therefore, youth should stay with these elderly people and imbibe their noble qualities and learn from their rich experience.
What these elderly people can achieve beyond 60 or 70 years of age is phenomenal! Their virtues will lay a new path for the youngsters. If you start acquiring their good qualities you will surely progress in life.
Many of us neglect the old people thinking that they are useless. Nothing can be farther away from the Truth. The Will Power they have is not noticed by anybody. While executing new plans, just consult them and see the results! You will surely be successful!
The government grants them pension at the age of 60 years. This is wrong. Why should they be given only pension at the age of 60 years? In fact, they should be paid more during that period.
Humans are the one in whom the human qualities manifest in full. The strength of Bheema will manifest in these couples. We limit Bheema to only physical strength. No, he is also very intelligent. The thoughts that senior people have are very noble. They set ideals for others. However, we do not understand them and we ignore and neglect them.
Even senior scientists, after retirement, have more intelligence. The scientific attitude in them is very great. However, they have not been properly fostered. We are neglecting their noble thoughts. We must not brush aside their advice. We must follow them.
The intelligence of the senior citizens must be transmitted to the whole world. Inestimable is their power! The true significance of this occasion is that, the power manifests in the old couples and they set an example for the youth. Never neglect old people. All Bliss in the future is on account of them. Their plans are marvelous. You are not making an effort to understand them.
Ancient seers and sages have probed into these matters so well. The thoughts of these senior citizens are so noble. The youth do not possess even 1/1000th of their Will Power. Youth of today – you must take care of the old people. You are not even able to feed them properly. Remember, if you feed them at least once a day, you will be fed for your whole life!!
The enthusiasm of these elderly people, in bringing up children is not noticed by anybody. However, ancients have recognized this fact. Even today, they examine writings of ancient people. Modern people cannot write even 1/1000th of what these ancients have written.
Therefore, ‘Bheema Ratha Santhi’ must be propagated hence forth. Winston Churchill was a great man, He recognized, though towards the end, the greatness of sages and seers. Modern people discuss his sayings even today.
In future years, this celebration will gain lot of importance. Bheema stands for physical, mental strength and also the ability to discuss and deliberate.
Divine Power is inexplicable. Safeguard your power. Youngsters waste so much energy. Because of this they age faster. I am 80 years now. Can anyone say so? Impossible! Such power is present in every head. No white hair – not even a single strand of white hair can be found on My head!
Every strand of hair is full of life. It was because of this that the ancient people never shaved their hair. We go to Tirupati and offer all our hair to God. There is nothing great in this. You offer your hair but do not understand its value. A single hair can even lift a mountain. When I sometimes try to pick out a hair from My head, you all smile. But you do not understand. Though this body is 80 years old, the hair does not come out. When I try to pick it out, a ‘click’ sound comes, but it does not snap!
Without understanding all this we offer this ‘Tuchha’ (mean) hair at Tirupati and expect ‘Ucchha’(greatness) in return. Every aspect of God is very powerful. Watch any noble soul while he is resting. What sound emerges from the navel? Once while returning from Kodaikanal, I halted at Bandipur forests. As I was resting in the front room of the residence of the then Governor Nakul Sen’s residence, his wife observed a bright radiance emerging from Swami’s navel. She immediately went and reported this to her husband. He could not believe this and they both had a heated argument!
Once Karnam Subbamma too came along with Me to the Harijanwada. Those days, there used to be a wide gulf between the lower castes and the higher castes. But I used to say, “What is wrong in going there? Are they not humans? Why should I not eat there?” Subbamma too followed Me. The householders spread an old cloth and Swami slept over that. At that time, they heard a loud sound coming from the navel of Bhagawan!
Some people who do not have hairs, transplant hairs from other people or even donkeys! Yesterday, I had a head bath. I asked Satyajit to provide some help. At the end, he found some strands of hair entangled near the drain mesh of the bathroom. He reveredly lifted these strands of hair and placed them in his pocket. His pocket got burnt! That is the transcendental power of Bhagawan’s hair! Nobody can understand all this.
In fact, there is no ideal comb to groom
My hair. When I went to
Bhagawan is ready to let you witness this power when you have an audience with Him. Many devotees tell Me that I am losing hair. No, not at all. It is all just there.
Divyatma Swarupulara, you all are strong and powerful. However, you lose lot of energy. Hence, you are becoming weaker and weaker. If I hold My fist strongly, even 10 people put together cannot unfold it! It is not possible for anyone to comprehend this power! Just follow and emulate Me!
Any talent, be it music or anything else, should not be wasted. Offer it all to God. Just see over there, one boy yawned. A lot of energy is wasted by yawning.
Swami is sharing all these secrets with you. Being your God, He is telling you all this so as to make you realize the Divinity within. But you are not making an attempt to know this power.