The ashram was gaily decorated overnight; upon entering the ashram, the Ganesh Temple is festooned with flags, and looking down the avenue beside East Prashanti, I see flags strewn between East Prashanti and the Darshan Hall. The darshan hall bears a festive look, all the poles supporting the ceiling have a reflective decoration, it looks a gold colour but when the sunlight hits the decorations, all colours flash from the decorations. The wrought iron railing atop the darshan hall wall has bunting along with red and green decorations.
Inside the darshan hall, small red and gold flags cover the glass which hangs around the porch. Many of the poles have an additional decoration of red roses which wrap around the pole in a descending wrap; the two pillars each side of the Ganesh idol have a rich deep red decoration. Above the porch where the three gold spires are, there are large green balls decorating that part of the mandir. So a gaily festive look and feel to the darshan hall this morning.
The bhajans were sung at a brisk pace. No students at all in the darshan hall, that space normally occupied by students is bare. Heads turn to Yajur Mandir, yearning for the divine darshan. Bhajans boom out over the loudspeakers as the crowd in the East Prashanti Avenue line up, watching for any sort of action around Swami’s car. Alack, the bell for Arathi rang, and the Lord was not seen. Doubtless, the students were all busy with practice and rehearsal.
I took a rickshaw down to Gokulum to get some photographs while walking back to Prashanti Nilayam. First was the Gokulum itself, I stood in the driveway and zoomed in on the idol up there. When the idol was first delivered, Swami ordered that it was not to be painted. HE painted it himself, over a number of weeks.
There was a crowd around a gate nearby the home of Sathya Gita; Sathya Gita was in the bath! People were laughing and watching as Sathya Geeta turned a full circle while the hose was going, full burst!
Next was the entrance to Hillview Stadium,
which I thoughtfully observed, was closed. (No, I was not about to try and be 007
and get in there with the camera!) I take one photo and move on to the next place
of action, the entrance to Chaitanya Jyothi Museum.
Many Seva Dals were moving around, going in
and out, buses arriving and discharging passengers, along with many auto
rickshaws, doing a brisk trade running people up to the gate for the new Museum.
Coconut stalls over the other side of the road were doing a brisk trade.
One enterprising auto-rickshaw driver offered me a tour of Puttaparthi for 200 rupees; Super Specialty Hospital, Baba Birthplace, Museum, all these places. He came back to me repeatedly, trying to entice me to take the grand tour. Definitely a born businessman, I thought.
And that was the morning.