Sri Sathya Sai at the Ati Rudra Maha Yajna in Chennai – Part 1 (A Photo Feature)

Friday, January 19, 2007 to 

Tuesday, January 31, 2007

Sri Sathya Sai gives Darshan from the Lotus Balcony at Sundaram

The second Ati Rudra Maha Yajna was performed in Chennai under the Divine guidance of Bhagavan. The Yajna was conducted from 20th to 30th January, 2007 in Thiruvanmiyur, a suburb of Chennai, in the Divine Presence of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Sai Youth of Tamil Nadu organized this Maha Yajna.

Bhagavan Baba arrived in Chennai from Prasanthi Nilayam on the evening of 19th January, 2007, the anniversary of ‘Sundaram’ (Bhagavan’s Abode in Chennai). Bhagavan was accorded the traditional welcome with Poornakumbham on His arrival at Sundaram. After entering the premises, Bhagavan gave Darshan to the multitude of devotees from the Lotus shaped balcony of the first floor. There were no words in any language that could actually express the joy, the love and the reverence of the devotees receiving the blissful Darshan of Bhagavan. 

Close to 5.00 pm, Bhagavan went into the Mandir Hall in order to bless all the 111 Ritwiks, personally selected by Him to conduct the Ati Rudra Maha Yajna. He distributed new Vastrams (special clothes to be worn for the Yajna) to all of them. 

Sri Sathya Sai Darshan at Sundaram

Bhagavan yet again came out into the balcony of the ground floor and blessed the devotees with His Divine Darshan for nearly 20 minutes amidst Bhajan singing. This glorious Darshan concluded with offering of Mangala Aarati to Bhagavan that evening.

This then marked the beginning of the golden period in the history of Chennai, no one realizing then that this very special and magical slice of life would continue for 12 days. 

Ati Rudra Mahayajna Begins

On 20th January, 2007, the venue at Thiruvanmiyur for the performance of Ati Rudra Maha Yajna was all set for the inauguration of the sacred event. Bhagavan arrived at the Yajnasala at 9.30 am amidst the loud cheering and applause of the thousands of devotees. At 9.45 am, Bhagavan initiated the proceedings of the Ati Rudra Maha Yajna amidst Vedic chanting and blowing of conch shells. He lit the Aarati that was to be performed for Sai Sundareshwar Lingam installed in the specially arranged altar for the sacred Yajna. All the priests gathered at Bhagavan’s Lotus Feet seeking His blessings. Bhagavan then walked up to the main Homa Kundam and a little later moved down all the aisles to grant His devotees a close Darshan of their beloved Lord. The Yajna ceremonially commenced after Bhagavan did Prana Pratishtha (surcharging with Divine energy) of the Linga, which was named Sai Sundareshwara Linga

Sri Sathya Sai performs Prana Pratishtha of the Sai Sundareshwara Lingam

Sri Nanjunda Dixit, the Chief Priest of the Yajnam gave a brief speech in the Divine Presence. He expressed this gratitude to Bhagavan in giving him this great opportunity for the second time to perform this mighty Yajna. He then explained the significance of the Ati Rudra Maha Yajna and its benefits that would accrue to each and every one. Thereafter, Bhagavan received Mangala Aarati and left for Sundaram. 

On 20th January, 2007, Bhagavan blessed the devotees with His Divine Darshan in the afternoon at Yajna Mandap. On this evening, the renowned Mandolin Maestro Sri U. Srinivas offered a music concert at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan. 

Mandolin Srinivas with Sri Sathya Sai

The day’s programme concluded, when Bhagavan accepted Mangala Aarati and returned to Sundaram. 

Government of India and Government of Tamil Nadu felicitate Sri Sathya Sai 

On 21st January, 2007, Bhagavan arrived in the Yajna Mandap at around 9.30 am, accompanied by Union Home Minister Sri Shivaraj Patil. Bhagavan sat through for almost an hour watching the proceedings of Yajnas. The morning session of the Yajna concluded at 10.40 am. Bhagavan left for Nehru Stadium where an official felicitation function was arranged in His honour to show the gratitude of Tamil Nadu Government and people for providing drinking water to the Tamil Nadu by Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust through Sai Ganga Canal. 

Dignitaries on the dias during the Sri Sathya Sai Felicitation Function 
at the Nehru Stadium, Chennai

The 21st January, 2007 will be remembered in the annals of the history of Tamil Nadu and embedded in the hearts of the devotees for all time. On this day the felicitation programme – ‘Water-the Elixir of Life’ – was organised by the citizens’ conclave of Chennai to thank Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for His humanitarian project. This grand function was attended by His Excellency the Governor of Tamil Nadu, Sri Surjit Singh Barnala; His Excellency the Governor of Maharashrtra, Sri S. M. Krishna; the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri H. D. Kumaraswamy; the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Dr. M. Karunanidhi; The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Sri Vilas Rao Deshmukh; Sri Shivraj Patil, Union Home Minister; Sri Lalu Prasad Yadav, Union Railway Minister; Sri Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister for Communications and IT and some other Cabinet Ministers from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh Governments.

A packed capacity of audience for the programme to felicitate Sri Sathya Sai
at the Nehru Stadium, Chennai

The proceedings commenced with honouring the guests on the stage. Bhagavan was first offered a rose flower. Thereafter, all the guests were presented shawls. The renowned singer, Dr. Sirkhazhi Chidambaram rendered an invocation song in Tamil which conveyed the teachings of Bhagavan Baba which are often stressed by Bhagavan such as ‘Love All, Serve All’, ‘Service to Man is service to God’. 

The dignitaries on stage and the 8,000 strong audience gathered in the auditorium were welcomed by the leading industrialist Sri Venu Srinivasan, Chairman and Managing Director, TVS Motor Company Ltd. In his speech, he highlighted the humanitarian work of Bhagavan for the welfare of the people of this land. The programme was coordinated by Sri P. C. Ramakrishna, who presented the facts in detail of the massive work that was carried out by Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust on Sai Ganga Canal Project under the direct guidance and supervision of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. A short film was also screened to enable the audience to have some vision of the magnitude of the work that had been executed. 

Dr. M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (right) and Sri Shivraj Patil, Home Minister of India (left) with Sri Sathya Sai

Bhagavan was thanked by all the leaders present on this function for doing the concrete lining of a 150 km canal to bring the Krishna River waters from the Kandaleru reservoir in Andhra Pradesh to north Tamil Nadu. Sri Lalu Prasad Yadav, in his speech said that he did not know whether Sathya Sai Baba was God or not. But when persons like Dr. M. Karunanidhi himself were saying that He was God, then surely, Baba was God. 

Sri Lalu Prasad Yadav, Union Railway Minister addressing the gathering in thanking Sri Sathya Sai

Thereafter, the Chief Minister Dr. M. Karunanidhi addressed the gathering. He said that the mission of Spiritual Guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba in serving humanity gave him hope and courage to carry on with welfare measures. He then made a specific reference to Bhagavan’s effort to help Chennai with drinking water by promoting mutual understanding and co-operation. During his speech Dr. M. Karunanidhi, a sworn atheist, said that the question was not whether he accepts God or not, but whether Arul Mugu Sai Baba had accepted him or not.  

Dr. M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, expressing his gratitude to
Sri Sathya Sai for providing drinking water to the city of Chennai

In His benedictory address, Bhagavan emphasised the need for human values in society and gave the message of ‘Love All, Serve All’, ‘Help Ever, Hurt Never’, for one and all to practice in their life. Stressing the need for utility among people belonging to all faiths and countries, Bhagavan said that there was no scope for duality and differences as the same Atma was imminent in all. Bhagavan also exhorted the people of India to shed all the differences and work for the unity and progress of the country.

Sri Sathya Sai Speaks

The function came to a close with a vote of thanks delivered by Sri S. Balachander and singing of National Anthem by the students from Swami’s University who had accompanied Him to Chennai. 

Students of the Sri Sathya Sai University getting ready to lead the National Anthem at the conclusion of the programme

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