Special prayers including a service at a church, bhajans, rallies and cultural performances marked the 33rd anniversary celebrations of Sundaram, a temple dedicated to Sathya Sai Baba, over the weekend.
Sunday began with a rally by over 1,500 children of Bala Vikas, a value-based education programme for the development of children. The rally, which started from three different locations in R A Puram, Mandaveli and Chamiers Road, saw children aged between 5 and 14 holding placards with phrases on human values and singing bhajans. The three groups of children, accompanied by their parents, converged into one as they arrived at the Sundaram complex.
The children later shared their experiences of how Bal Vikas classes have transformed them to a better person. The celebrations also saw close to a hundred children walking to every house on Sundaram Salai and Sai Nagar, to distribute prasadam. “Our children have gone to every house to distribute a sweet and a packed lunch instead of people coming to the temple,” said N Ramani, national vice-president of Sri Sathya Sai Seva organisations. He added, “It is to inculcate the habit of giving in these children.” Sunday evening also saw a performance by violinist A Kanyakumari.
Earlier on Saturday, a multi-faith prayer was organised at the Santhome Cathedral, with over 750 Sai Baba devotees attending a special mass. “The principle of Sai Baba is ‘there is only one religion and that is the religion of love.’ We call it unity of faith,” said G Varadhan, State president, Sri Sathya Sai Organisation.
The special service saw people from other religions attending in large numbers. About 34 Muslim men and women from a village near Ulundurpet, who have been involved in the services of the Seva organisation, had a prayer session at the Sundaram complex.
Several other activities, including an exhibition of 750 photos, a cultural programme by Bal Vikas children and a video show on Sai Baba’s visit to Chennai, were also organised as part of the celebrations.
Over 3,000 devotees visited the temple complex in the two-day anniversary celebrations.