Buddha Purnima Celebrations

The mind precedes all (actions); the mind is the chief; all (actions) are mind-made. If a person speaks or acts with an impure mind, sorrow follows him… But if a person speaks or acts with a pure mind, happiness follows him even as a shadow that never leaves him.“, says Buddha in the opening verses of the Dhammapada. Love and Compassion is the theme of this year’s Buddha Purnima Celebrations in Prasanthi Nilayam attended by devotees from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka,  China, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Indonesia. The programme commenced with Veda Chanting by youth of the participating countries.

Sri Ashok Sakhrani, national coordinator of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations, Hong Kong welcomed the gathering for the Buddha Purnima celebrations. He spoke on the four sublime qualities of the mind that have taught by the Buddha, namely Maitri (Loving Kindness), Karuna (Compassion), Mudita (Sympathetic Joy) and Upeksha (Equanimity). The Chairman of Zone 5 of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisations, Worldwide, Sri Nari Chugani spoke on the similarity between the connection that millions felt towards Lord Buddha and Sri Sathya Sai Baba and their teachings of Peace, Love and Purity.

Dr Sunanda, a Professor from Sri Lanka and a consultant of various United Nations and World Bank Projects, spoke next on his initial confusions on following Bhagawan’s path, since he felt he would be deserting Buddhism. However Bhagawan’s Love helped him to see the similarity between the teachings of the Great Masters. He mentioned now his spiritual progress accelerated once his Sadhana was suffused with his love for Bhagawan. He also quoted an alumni of Bhagawan’s university in Sri Lanka who on questioning what is the Sadhana one has to do, pointed to Bhagawan’s photo and said, sing His name and Love Him. That will suffice.

Bhagawan has given us a challenge, he said and that is to continue to Love Him when His physical form is not available to our senses. ‘Let us Love Bhagawan until our love also becomes perfect with His Divine Grace. This day is the Buddha Purnima of Prince Siddartha. One day when we perfect our Love to the level of Love of Buddha or Sri Sathya Sai, that is our day of Buddha Purnima!’, he concluded. The talks were followed by international Bhajans by the devotees.

The evening session of Buddha Purnima Celebrations commenced with Vedas by devotees from Zone 5 led by the Japanese delegation who have impressed Bhagawan on various occasions with their diligent learning of the Vedas.

Sri Ashok Sakhrani then provided the highlights of the various activities undertaken by Zones 4 and 5 of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisations, Worldwide in the last one year. It included Sri Sathya Sai Education in Human Values training to 50 schools in China and Hong Kong along with the translation and new materials published in the said topic, regular Narayana Seva to the homeless and the needy, building of 3 mosques, 323 water tanks and 86 homes in Indonesia, health care centre, old age home, orphanage drinking water projects in Nepal, medical camps and schooling in Sri Lanka for the children affected by the civil war, HOPE (Honour our Parents everyday) programmes in Malaysia, SSSEHV training in Thailand apart from what the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation has developed a reputation for worldwide, Crisis Management. The help rendered by the devotees in Thailand, Indonesia and Japan instilled confidence in mankind among the beneficiaries.

Sri Sakhrani then introduced the Dance programme by Children from Thailand. The beautiful presentation was on the theme ‘Know Thyself: Life is Bliss when Truth is Realised.’ The children where dressed in traditional costumes of China and India and danced in Chinese style to an Indian song, bringing out the harmony in diversity.

This presentation was followed by a choir by Zone 5 devotees on the theme ‘Bhajans and its use in daily life’. The choir consisted of various Bhajan medleys in English and Japanese. The conductor speaking in Japanese conveyed her gratitude to Bhagawan. Gifts were distributed to the participants and prasadam was shared with the assembly even as the international Bhajans were in progress. Arati was offered at 1840hrs.

After the conclusion of Darshan, the devotees arranged an Abhishekam to Lord Buddha which is believed to ward away bad karma. All the members of the pilgrimage participated in the same.

The next evening, Sri Ashok Sakhrani welcoming everyone for the concluding session of the two day programme thanked the organisers and office bearers for their support in the successful completion of the programme especially for the Naryana Seva held yesterday. He then introduced the speaker for the evening, Dr. Periera.

Dr. Periera focused on the similarities of the teachings of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and Sri Sakyamuni Buddha. He stressed on the immense compassion shown by the Avatars with many examples. The talk was followed by a drama on the great eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami titled ‘Adrishtam’. Visuals from Japan were played in the backdrop (See top of page) even as actors performed in front of the screen. The skit contained various incidents of Love of mutual help, Compassionate Love, Love through Vedas, Love melting closed minds and Water God’s Love. It was indeed a moving presentation.

Sri V. Srinivasan, the all India president of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisations congratulated the participants on even converting a disaster into an opportunity for Seva. He said how he was humbled by the great work of the Japanese Volunteers. Speaking with conviction, he reminded everyone of Bhagawan’s assurance that He is with us during our joy and sorrow but above all He is with us when we are doing selfless service.

With Bhagawan’s blessings all the pilgrims were given special tokens of Love. Prasadam was distributed to the assembly. Arati was offered at 1830hrs.