NEWSLETTER - 1st Quarter 2018

Sai Ram Jai Maruthi Jai Maruthi! Welcome dear Sai brothers and sisters to the first quarter newsletter. Filled with exciting and fun events starting with Pongal, all the way to the splendor of Maa’s birthday celebrations, this quarter was busy and full of celebration and pure happiness!

The first day of Pongal fell on January 14th this year and is the day on which people all over Tamil Nadu prepare pongal in celebration of the new year’s harvest that God has provided us with. Day 2 of the Pongal celebration fell on January 15th and is known as "Mattu Pongal." The main event of course, was the outdoor cookout. Our beloved Gurumaa sat under a tree, just outside the Goshala, and with an old fashioned pot placed atop bricks and logs for fuel, Maa cooked a mouth­watering "Chakkarai Pongal (sweet pongal)." It was a treat to taste Maa’s irresistible Chakkarai Pongal!

Also in mid-January, one of the notable events that happened in Sri Sai Darshan, was the painting of all the Gods. As mentioned, all the Gods in the temple were painted with organic paint, but what is special about the painting is not just that it has enhanced the appearance of all the Gods, but that the paintings actually represent and function as a "kavacham" (shield). Since the overall energy and inner power of our ashram and temple has increased so much, the painted Gods act as a kavacham in this manner to protect that positive aura and power!

February 26, 2016 marked Sri Sai Darshan Trust’s anniversary and the trust’s 22nd year in service to Baba. This year, as Gurumaa was in Mangalore on the special day, annadhanam was performed at all the temples that Maa visited! A special pooja and archana were also performed at all temples such as the Mookambikai Temple, Dharmasthala Temple, Kukke Subramaniam Temple, Sringeri Temple , and the Udupi Krishna Temple. What was noteworthy was that Maa met the acharyas both at the Sringeri Temple and at the Udupi Krishna Temple, which made the darshan all the more memorable on the Trust anniversary day! Congratulations to all the devotees on completing 22 years!

 "Om Namashivaya!" Shivaratri fell on February 13th this year. We all joined together to worship the destroyer of time, Lord Shiva at our "Atma Lingam," the shrine dedicated to Him, located in front of the main prayer hall. All those who attended, kept vigil and a fast and participated in performing a "naalu kal" pooja (pooja done four times throughout the night), at 6 PM, 9 PM, 12 AM, and 3 AM. Rudrabishekam and Puja were performed 4 times throughout the night as well. The puja was done with milk curd, honey ghee panchamritham, pancha gavyam, lemon juice, chandan, tender coconut, vibhuti, and sugarcane juice. This year, we had our biggest gathering for Shivaratri, thus far!

Ram Navami fell on March 25th. This is the day that Lord Sri Ram was born, and we celebrated this day at the Ram Darbar in our ashram temple.  The festivities included paal (milk) abishekam, followed by neermor (buttermilk) and paanagam (jaggery water spiced with cardamom, ginger, and lemon). Many devotees came to celebrate the auspicious day and bhajans filled the air with joy and devotion! The puja was elaborate as we celebrated Lord Sri Ram’s birthday, and the happiness and positivity in the air was contagious! 

The main highlight of this quarter and this newsletter was Maa’s Jayanthi celebration this year that fell on March 31. The whole day was marked with joy, laughter, song, dance, and devotion! In the morning, we started off with a Padha Puja for Gurumaa while Maa’s ashtotram was simultaneously chanted. As Maa’s calendar birthday had fallen on Poornima day, it was all the more special as rudra abhishekam and pooja was done, also! Sundarakandamparayanam was performed for Lord Hanuman with offerings of vadamala, tulsimala, and all the usual offerings of a pooja.  To celebrate this special day, Shankaran Bhagvataar and his group were present and just raised the joyful spirit to another level! They recited Vishnu Sahasranamam, Veda Parayanam, and sang Vithala bhajans and brought so much fervor and zeal to the atmosphere in the prayer hall! One of the memorable highlights of  the day was when they performed the saga of Dashavatara, and while performing the story of Narasimha avatar, our very own Sripadha was pulled in without any notice to play the part of the demon Hiranyakashapu; the whole prayer hall including Sripadha himself was roaring in laughter seeing him bent on his back, on the knee of one of the members of the Bhagvataar group, who was playing Lord Narasimha! The whole performance was quite the sight to see! After the function was finished, annadhanam was performed to approximately 400 people, marking a fulfilling day of love, laughter, and utter devotion to our beloved Gurumaa on her birthday!

On the charity front, Sri Sai Darshan Trust was especially active during this quarter.

Beginning with Shankara Nethralaya, Sri Sai Darshan Trust donated 4 lakh rupees to the organization on February 26th, for the purpose of education and awareness about visual health, and to raise money to build learning centers for underprivileged children.

Next, Sri Sai Darshan donated 5 lakh rupees to the Cancer Institute of Chennai. Maa has always had a deep empathy for cancer patients and an inner desire to work towards helping the patients in whatever way possible. This donation will go towards research in the field of cancer and for funding treatments for patients, as well as meals for the pediatric patients in the institute.

SCARF (Schizophrenia Research Foundation) is an organization based on the aim to research into the different aspects of the Schizophrenia, and work towards more effective treatment and rehabilitation and move towards the idea of prevention and reduction of the disability. Sri Sai Darshan donated 1 lakh rupees towards this notable organization. SCARF also works towards education and awareness of the public regarding Schizophrenia, and also reduce the social stigma regarding the disorder. Lastly one of their biggest aims is community outreach, in which they work with those who cannot afford treatment, and provide education and treatment to those who are underprivileged.

Lastly, 1 lakh rupees was donated to Arunodayam, which is one of the charities which Sri Sai Darshan regularly donates to. Arunodayam is a non-profit organization, which works with and rehabilitates those who are destitute and mentally disabled.

         And as always, it goes without saying that the Poornima pooja, Pradosham pooja, the monthly medical camps on every second Saturday, and the weekly Annadhanam are taking place without fail. We thank you, all devotees and well-wishers, for your continuous support. Here’s to another wonderful quarter filled with love and happiness!


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

Jai Sai Ram Jai Maruthi Jai Maruthi!