Nepal celebrated Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s 91st birthday with usual grandeur. All 209 centers of Sri Sathya Sai International Organization Nepal (SSSION) plunged into deep sadhana and seva for five days with utmost festivity and joy. Aumkaram, Suprabhatam, Nagarsankirtan, Veda Chanting, Lakshya Archana, Chanting of Bhagawan’s 108 names, Special Bhajans and Deepavali were conducted regularly across all Sai centers.
An important event of the birthday celebrations in Nepal is the grand procession taken out on November 23rd. The main showpiece of the procession is a beautiful large-sized photo of Bhagawan decked with flowers and decorations placed on an equally ornate chariot. At the very start of the rally is a large banner announcing Swami’s birthday, which is followed by Sai volunteers chanting Veda. Following the Veda group are talented musicians playing the Panche Baja (traditional Nepali musical instruments played on auspicious occasion). After this group comes the bhajan singing party, Bhagawan’s chariot, SSE children, youths, and large number of devotees in succession. Different groups of devotees each are dressed in colorful folk costumes of various ethnicities. The large number of devotees clad in white dress holding placards with Bhagawan’s message is indeed an awesome sight to behold. Huge crows of spectators witness the grand procession with great reverence. At several places residents pour Chandan, Akshatas (sanctified colored rice), and flowers on the altar of Bhagawan with great devotion. This year the procession was observed in 80 Sai centers attended by more than 4000 devotees.
In the evening of November 23rd, approximately 4770 devotees took part in bhajans across all Sai centers. On same day, 42 cardiac, 34 ECG and 42 diabetic check-up were done by doctors at a medical camp in Kathmandu. Sai Prasadam was served to 800 children of two schools at Samakhusi, Kathmandu.
The birthday activities commenced from the Ladies Day. The day began with Omkar, Supravatam, Nagarsankirtan and Lakshya Archana (chanting names of Baba and offering beads of rice and flowers to him). During the course of the day, various activities were performed across the country. Community temples in kathmandu were cleaned at various places by a total of 100 Sai volunteers. Sewing machines and certificates of tailoring were distributed to six ladies. In Kavre, a special package was handed to 91 elderly ladies above 65 years of age with weak financial background. The package consisted of rice, lentils, oil, salt, plate, pan, spoon, bowl, glass, mug, bucket, saree, face towel, blanket, a pair of socks, a pair of sandals, woolen cap and bed-sheet accompanied by a packet of Vibhuti and photo of Bhagavan Baba. Lunch was also provided to each of the recipients. At the end of this event, an elderly lady of 93 years of age performed Mangal Aarati to Bhagavan Baba. In Kathmandu, 73 elderly ladies from Gamcha village were served with warm shawls and snacks at Chabahil center. In Biratnagar, 91 ladies were served with sarees and 5 street dwellers were served with warm clothes. In Pokhara, 10 ladies were trained to make cotton garland as part of skill development program.
The Youth Day was celebrated by youths taking lead and organizing blood donation drive, community cleanup campaigns and conducting public as well as special bhajans to mark the day. In various places across Nepal, about 500 people attended public bhajans. A total of 554 pints of blood were collected. In Hetauda, 31 youths thoroughly cleaned hospital premises. In Pokhara, youths served 40 patients with fruits and confectionaries at a local hospital. In Pokhara, a bhajan competition amongst youth girls was also organized. Youths also served 20 cows with food. In Kathmandu, Sai youths provided warm clothes to 12 and sports wear to 31 children. On the eve of Bhagawan’s birthday, starting at 9 PM, Sai youths combed streets, temple premises, bus-parks and other public places frequently used by street dwellers to retire for the night. To each they wrapped warm blankets around their back, handed a photograph of Bhagawan Baba along with a small packet of vibhuti. This year 300 blankets were distributed in serving the needy.
School uniforms were distributed to 129 children. Stationaries along with confectionaries were distributed to 1040 children. Raw food package was distributed to 31 elders, and clothes to 8 elders. In Kathmandu and Biratnagar, raw food items along with confectionaries were provided to centers housing a combined total of 70 disabled children. A quiz contest was organized based on Bhagawan’s life and message, wherein 60 children from different schools participated. Furthermore 282 SSE children and 35 SSE children participated in a cultural show and talent show respectively based on Swami’s teachings and human values. The chairman of SSSTN laid the foundation stone of Sri Sathya Sai Vidhyashram at Baghmara, Kaski amidst Veda chanting. This event was attended by 250 Sai devotees.
Narayanseva was organized whereby 19,500 people partook prasadam. Fruits and milk were handed to 315 patients in different hospitals on this day. One cooking gas stove and gas cylinder was distributed to a disabled person. At a leprosy rehabilitation center, food was distributed to 13 resident patients. Thirty-six sets of traditional Nepali baby-dress were distributed to 36 new-born babies. Rice bags and cooking oil was handed to 9 new mothers. Fruits and confectionaries were distributed to 16 elderly people in different hospitals. A health checkup was done by 1 physician and 3 nurses to 74 patients. Sri Sathya Sai Bal Ashram was inaugurated by the chairman of SSSTN at Nadipur in Pokhara. This boys-only orphanage is the second shelter home being run by SSSTN.