Sri Sathya Sai Celebrates Bheema Ratha Shanti: A Programme to Felicitate the Elders

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Sri Sathya Sai with the one of the blessed couples during the Bheema Ratha Shanti Programme in the Sai Kulwant Hall

As part of the 80th Birthday celebrations of Bhagavan, a spiritual marriage ‘Bheema Ratha Shanti’, for 275 couple above 70 years of age, was organised in Sai Kulwant Hall. Bhagavan went to each couple and handed over the Mangalsutra. At the end of the ceremonies, Bhagavan sprinkled sacred rice on few of them. Bhagavan gave a grand feast to all the couples and their relatives. The afternoon function in Sai Kulwant Hall commenced with Bhagavan’s Darshan. Bhagavan blessed the couples with His Discourse in which He explained the significance of this function. He said:
Sri Sathya Sai delivering the Divine Discourse on the occasion
“The elderly couples who participated in the “Bheema Ratha Shanti” celebrations held today have experienced inexplicable joy and bliss. In this context, you must understand the underlying meaning in naming this ceremony as Bheema Ratha Shanti. It does not mean that all these couples must be physically strong and courageous like Bheema, the Mahabharata hero. Bheema was the son of Vayu (air), which is all-pervasive. The wind by nature is a very strong and powerful element, which can uproot even a mighty tree. 

There are certain traditional rules for the performance of this Bheema Ratha Shanti. But there is no age restriction as such for this ceremony. By God’s grace, everyone has sat Sankalpa (good thoughts). Normally, married couples celebrate the Shashtyabda Poorthi ceremony when the husband attains the age of sixty years, hoping to lead a peaceful and happy married life. They also celebrate when the husband attains the age of 70 years. Generally, people believe 70 years of age as the deadline in the lifespan of an individual. But, there are other milestones like 80, 90 and 100 years also to be crossed in life. When an individual crosses these important milestones in his married life these blissful occasions are named and celebrated as Bheema Ratha Shanti. Unable to understand and appreciate the importance of these holy occasions, the children in this Kali Age are sending their parents away when they cross 60 years in life, under the mistaken notion that they should not lead a married life and they are fit only to be Sanyasis (renunciants). This is a serious mistake. On the other hand, children should take greater care of their parents when they attain sixty years of age and beyond. Generally, children are under the impression that people beyond the age of 70 years are useless and a burden to the family as well as to society. But, the truth is otherwise. In fact, the enthusiasm, encouragement and mental strength increase after a person crosses 70 years. It is only after 70 years that the mental faculties and Atmic strength express themselves in full measure. Prior to that, they also behave like other human beings. They will not specially strive to set an example to others. The mental faculties, divine force and the will power in a person will manifest fully after 70 years and prompt him to set a new goal in life. As a result, such elderly persons will be contemplating upon and exploring the secrets of life. The Divine force latent in these elderly persons is beyond the reach of the youth. It manifests in ever-so-many ways in their actions. Today, we find several youngsters talking ill of their parents and making fun of them. This is a grave mistake. Instead, if one can analyse carefully their actions, every action of theirs will prove to be purposeful and divine in nature. If the youth of today wish to receive proper training to face the challenges in life, they must live with their parents and constantly observe the noble qualities that manifest in their actions. In fact, no one can match their systematic life and strict discipline. The blossoming of their intellect and the divine qualities in them will herald a new and meaningful life for humanity. You just observe their life closely and you will be thrilled at the changes it can bring about in your own life.
Sri Sathya Sai with the blessed couples
Embodiments of Love!

These days, we are ignoring these elders, considering them to be not useful to society. This is not correct. In fact, the strength and energy latent in these elders are not to be found in the youth. When you wish to undertake any new activity, it will become fruitful only when you take the guidance of the elders and walk in their footsteps.

Nowadays, a human being is unable to recognise the qualities of a fellow human being. The term “Manava” (human being) means a person who can make the quality of humanness blossom. People generally tend to describe the physical strength of body, whenever a mention is made of Bhima, the younger brother of Dharmaraja, the Pandava King. But that is not the real strength.

Blessed couples in Sai Kulwant Hall
The real strength of elders lies in their wisdom and noble thoughts. The ideals set by these elders for the younger generation are most valuable. Unable to understand their value, people ignore them as useless folk. Today, a lot of value is attached to the retired scientists. None can match their intelligence and passion for new inventions. But, their services are not made use of properly for the benefit of society and they are being wasted. The world can benefit a lot from these elderly people. There is immense power in these elders that can be harnessed for the good of society. Today, we are making effort to reveal the strength and great spiritual power that were latent in the ancient rishis. These elderly people reflect those great ideals. Hence, we should not neglect them. Every thought that emanates from these elders is noble and most valuable. The youth cannot have even a minute fraction of thoughts and ideas in comparison. Hence, we must nourish and nurture these valuable assets and take good care of them.

Unfortunately, nowadays the younger generation grudges even to provide one square meal a day to their elders. They think it is an avoidable expenditure. Do not by any means let this happen. Even if you put them on a sustenance diet, they will maintain the dignity and reputation of your family as if they are well fed. The concern and enthusiasm displayed by these elders in bringing up the children in a proper way is not found in others. In the ancient times, kings and nobles made use of the great wisdom of the rishis by seeking their advice regularly. Even to this day, the great treatises on spiritual and temporal matters compiled by the great rishis of yore are an authority to the younger generation. Unfortunately, they are not able to understand the great truths expounded in those treatises. It is Swami’s advice that from now on we must popularise this great ancient tradition of Bhima Ratha Shanti. It has great significance and value for the coming generations. The ritual of Bhima Ratha Shanti signifies nourishing and nurturing the quality of humanness by undertaking spiritually powerful and noble activities.” 

Sri Sathya Sai blesses Smt. Sudha Raghunathan
Padma Shri Smt. Sudha Raghunathan rendered devotional music that evening. Bhagavan blessed the artiste and materialised a gold chain for her. The programme concluded at 6.05 pm with Mangala Arati.

Source: Sri Sathya Sai Digvijayam (1986 – 2005)

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