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Welcome dear Sai brothers and sisters to the first newsletter of the year. This eventful quarter commenced with a three day celebration of the Tamil harvest festival, Pongal!

January 14th marked day 2 of the three-day Pongal celebration! All we can say is, Holy cow! Quite literally actually, this holiday showed many Holy cows being worshipped by the devotees, who thronged to the Ashram, in accordance to the scriptures. The prayers and the Puja were led by Sripadha and Krishnapadha.  The main event of course was the outdoor cookout. Our own Gurumaa sat under a tree, just outside the Goshala, and with an old fashioned pot placed atop bricks and logs for fuel, Maa cooked an irresistible, mouth-watering “Chakkarai Pongal “ in a true country style. In the past, the other two days of Pongal were traditionally celebrated primarily by the farming community. But nowadays everyone celebrates all three days and offer prayers for the abundance of grains, food and overall prosperity. In plain words: no work, no school, eat pongal and sweets for three days, and have fun!

February 26th marked a special day at the Ashram - it was Sri Sai Darshan Trust’s anniversary!  Congratulations to all as S.S.D.T. now completes eighteen years!  We performed a Havan in our Yaga Shala with a unique group of priests. The diligent group of volunteers who continually work the weekly Thursday Noon Arathi and Annadhanam continued their amazing work and helped the event pass smoothly. Maa, seeing the enthusiasm and zeal that everyone works with, thought of a beautiful idea to have them perform the havan on this auspicious day.  An emotionally packed event with a few tears and a lot of gratitude, the event was a grand success and of course Annadhanam was performed at the ashram as well as at a nearby special care institution for more than 200 people.

“Om Namashivaya!” February 27th- the evening following our Ashram’s anniversary, marked Shivaratri. We all joined together to worship the destroyer of time, Lord Shiva at our “Atma Lingam,” the shrine dedicated to Him just in front of the main prayer hall.  Vedas, in particular the Rudram was recited and an elaborate abishekam was performed for the Lord. Melodious bhajans were also sung by devotees, the first of which was sung by Maa herself.  Inside the ashram is an auspicious Bel (Bilva) tree which in order to reach, we climb onto the roof of the Balalayam temple to pluck. This whole process is an adventure in of itself, but definitely all worth the effort as all the leaves that were plucked from the tree were then offered in archana to the Lord that night.

From March 1st through 5th, Maa and Krishnapadha made a trip to Dehradun’s University of Petroleum Science where Krishnapadha talked to the students, faculty, and staff on “How to deal with Negative Emotions”.  The Chancellor of the University, who incidentally is Maa’s dear devotee, Dr. S.J. Chopra, hosted Maa and Krishnapadha during their stay and organized the three day lecture at the University. Krishnapadha, in his talk explained in detail many issues related to stress, fear, trauma, anger and depression etc., and with personal interaction from the audience made for a highly interactive session. This highly charged session ended with a guided meditation of gratitude lead by Krishnapadha himself.

After the session at the University was over, Maa and a few devotees made a small trip to Rishikesh and Hardiwar where they recharged themselves with a visit to the Holy Ganga River.  They also visited an impressive Gurudwara (Sikh Temple), situated on the banks of the holy river, Yamuna. Hundreds of years ago, the tenth and last Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji was addressing a large gathering at this Gurudwara, when the audience pleaded that they could not hear his words due to the roar of the river.  In reply to this plea, the great Guru requested the Yamuna river to be calm/silent by saying “Shanth, Shanth, Shanth” (peace/silence). In response to his words, the river immediately ceased to make any noise at all!

On March 24th and 25th, Poorvashada Nakshatra, the holy star on which our Gurumaa was born, we celebrated by worshipping the supreme Goddess Chandi Devi by performing a Nava Chandi Homam. This Homam is far from simple and it was performed with all its innate intricacies that and due formalities. It demands many talents ranging from specialized priests for the Homam to specialized cooks for preparing the prasadam.  The group of priests were led by Sri Yegnaratnam Deekshitar in performing the Homam. The priests’ immense dedication and attention detail in performing these intricate rituals highlights their close relation and commitment to Sri Sai Darshan.

Finally, the most recent event, March 31st, marks Maa’s Calendar Birthday and was celebrated in Delhi with several events, from an elaborate Padha puja, to a singing and drama program performed by children, and finally a talk on the importance of “Having a Guru.” Maa’s energy and compassion grows day by day and year after year. On her birthday, we feel uplifted to be able to be with her on such an auspicious day. The greatest gift Baba has given us is Maa and her birthday is a celebration of that gift. 

     Sri Satchidananda Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!

The Annadhanams each Thursday, Monthly Medical Camps, Purnima Pujas, Bi-monthly Pradosha Pujas are all flowing well into the regular event schedule and we thank you all for your continuous support.

 

May Baba’s grace and Maa’s blessings be showered on us all.

Jai Sai Ram Jai Maruthi Jai Maruthi!