Avatar Declaration Day
20th October every year is celebrated as the Avatar Declaration Day. It is on this historically significant day in the year 1940 that the young lad Sathyanarayana Raju revealed to the world His Divine identity and the glorious mission on which He has come. The following lines capture the events on that epochal day:
Sathyanarayana started for school as usual. However, within a few minutes, He returned to the house. Standing on the outer doorstep, He cast aside the books He was carrying and called out, “I am no longer your Sathya. I am Sai.” The sister-in-law came from the kitchen, only to be blinded by the splendour of the halo around Baba’s head! He addressed her, “I am going; I don’t belong to you; Maya (delusion) has gone; My Bhaktas (devotees) are calling Me; I have My Work; I can’t stay here any longer.” When the brother hurried home on hearing all this, Baba only told him, “Give up all your efforts to ‘cure’ Me. I am Sai; I do not consider Myself related to you”.
In spite of repeated pleas, Sathya would not step into that building again. He moved in into the garden of the Excise Inspector Sri Anjaneyulu’s bungalow, and sat on a rock in the midst of the trees. People came into the garden from all directions bringing flowers, fruits, incense and camphor to worship Him. The garden resonated with the voices of hundreds singing bhajans (devotional singing) and following the lines of the first prayer that Sri Sathya Sai taught them.
“Manasa Bhajare Gurucharanam Dusthara Bhava Sagara Tharanam “
(O Mind! Meditate on the Feet of the Guru, which will take you across the wearisome sea of Samsara or worldly existence.)
To celebrate this landmark event in Baba’s life, the Avatar Declaration Day is celebrated every year with devotion and gratitude.
Excerpts from Bhagawan’s Discourses:
In 2002, Avatar Declaration Day discourse Swami recalled His childhood days and shared with everyone His early years. A small excerpt is here:
“The Corporation Commissioner of Bellary and his wife played host to us for three days. They took us to the Virupaksha temple in the nearby Hampi Kshetra. Seshama Raju and his wife told Me to remain outside the temple and keep a watch over their belongings as they would go inside to have darshan of the deity. I readily agreed and remained outside. As soon as they entered the temple, to their utter astonishment, they found Me standing inside the sanctum sanctorum where the deity is supposed to be standing. Seshama Raju could not believe his eyes. He thought, “Why did he come here when I told him specifically to remain outside and take care of our belongings?” He at once came out of the temple only to find Me standing there! He again went inside and found Me there also! Still he was not convinced. He told his wife, “You go outside and keep a watch over Sathya. Do not allow him to go anywhere. Meanwhile, I will go inside and see whether he is still there.” She did accordingly. He again saw a smiling Sathya standing in the sanctum sanctorum. The Corporation Commissioner was also a witness to all this. He recognised My divinity. When they came out of the temple, he caught hold of Seshama Raju’s hands and said, “Raju, do not be under the impression that Sathya is your brother. He is not an ordinary person. You are deluded seeing His physical form. There is divine power in Him.
We came back to the Commissioner’s house, had our food there and started our return journey to Uravakonda. The Commissioner wanted to give Me a gift. He said that he would get four pairs of shorts and shirts stitched for Me. I firmly told him that I would not accept even one. He did not want to force Me either. Then his wife suggested that a gold collar pin would be an appropriate gift for Me. In those days, it was a matter of prestige for children to wear a collar pin. Immediately, he bought a gold collar pin and put it on the collar of My shirt. I protested. Under any circumstances, I never accepted anything from others. But, Seshama Raju insisted that I accept the gift. He said that my refusal to accept the gift would amount to showing disrespect to the Commissioner. So, I obeyed him.
After returning from Hampi, I was going to school wearing the collar pin. The pin dropped on the way and could not be traced. A major change took place in Me. Worldly attachment left Me in the guise of a collar pin. I decided to embark on My mission to alleviate the sufferings of My devotees.”