Swami’s Visit to Hadshi-Mumbai – Day Two, October 29, 2009
This is the first person account of the trip from one of the students who had the blessed opportunity to be a member of Swami’s party.
The sunrise at Hadshi is something very beautiful and the early morning light formed a beautiful silhouette of the Residence. It was that sublime orange that is so dear to anyone who has known Swami.
We were all ready soon in the morning and were told that breakfast would be by the poolside. The elder guests, Prof. G. Venkataraman, Mr. S. V. Giri and the others had been accommodated at a guest house, 50 metres from the Mandir on the eastern side. There was a lovely swimming pool there. We all headed to the poolside.
The classic blue of the water was cool and refreshing to look at. There were other interesting objects on display too, like a statue of a boy drawing water from a hot spring where the steam effect for the spring was lent by dry ice, an antique lantern and so on. But soon we were all flummoxed by an array of breakfast items. The dining tables had been neatly arranged in a 3m x 50m balcony that afforded a breathtaking view of the hills and lake nearby.
By 8:30 a.m., we were all back at the Residence. All of us, the boys, decided to move up directly and bravely to the first floor to be seated in front of His room as that would give us the opportunity to have an only-boys interaction with Swami! At about 9:15 p.m., Swami came. He saw us and His eyes opened up wide, "Ikkada unnara (You are all here)?" He came towards us and said, "Poondi, poondi (move now)."
He wanted us to leave soon. At this time, the family of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma had come to pay respects to Swami. The Lord blessed them by granting them padanamaskar. Below the porch there were many temples awaiting inauguration at the Divine hands
The temple complex looked beautiful - like a bride awaiting her groom. Fountains squirted lending a feeling of cool to the entire atmosphere which was lit up brightly by the sprightly Sun. The Ganesha Temple was at the entrance of the main temple complex and was a separate temple by itself. There were fountains behind the Ganesha temple that had been laced with detergent and so they were foaming and looked icy. The complex was packed and there were plenty of photographers and video cameramen too.
Swami's car was like a dam that held back surging floods behind it and once the vehicle came into the complex, the temple was almost washed away by the people flooding in. There was the Sarvadharma Stoopa standing opposite to the sanctum sanctorum - it was a variant of the one at Prashanthi Nilayam with the pillar being a lot thicker. Swami alighted from the car near the Stoopa and He was flanked by a security perimeter that was formed by the security guards and the boys. Through the ramp He entered the small sanctorum.
The Pranaprathishta (holy consecration) in these parts of India is done in a different way. A bundle of red and yellow coloured strings were tied at the base of the idol. Swami was handed the other end and He tugged at them. With that, the idols were now alive, charged into divine potency by the Divine hands. Swami also lit the lamps in the temple. The Ganesha idol placed inside was made of marble. Swami was then given a document and He quickly went through it. He also blessed a pair of padukas (sandals) with His sanctifying touch. Then He materialized a beautiful golden necklace laced and studded with stones. He gifted this to the younger Jadhav and asked him to place it around his wife's neck. That was done and Swami moved out.
Soon all moved out of the temple. In the meanwhile, fireworks went off in the skies to signal to the gathered thousands that the Pranaprathistha at the Ganesha Temple was complete. The action now shifted to the Shirdi Baba Temple on the ground floor.
After Swami reached there, the two Jadhav brothers sat by His side and bhajans were on.
The Lord sat serenely, glancing up and down at the temple as many members of the Jadhav family fell at His feet for namaskar.
This moving tableau went on for about five minutes when Swami began to move down the aisle of the temple to the back end.
There was the picture of His famous bhajan pose seated in Brindavan from the olden times. Swami pressed a button and the photo lit up along with the faces of all those gathered there.
Having inaugurated it thus, Swami moved out of the temple and around it towards the lift which took Him to the Vitthala temple above.
All along the way, devotees craved for a divine touch.
We rushed back to the Vitthala Temple via the stairs in front. Swami did the "life-instilling ceremony" for the Vitthala and Rukumai idols too. He lit a lamp. This temple also housed the senior father and the mother of the respectable Jadhav family. This was Swami's first close encounter with them and then and there itself they seemed to have won His heart completely. Swami agreed for a family photograph in the temple and soon the family gathered at His feet.
Ah! What a heavenly blessing for the family! In the centre were the idols of Panduranga and Rukmini and right in front of them was dear Sai! All around was the family.
After this, as everyone started moving out, Swami wanted to confer a special blessing on the senior Jadhav parents by granting them an exclusive photograph with Him.
Once this was done, more people fell at His feet and the Lord blessed all. Swami then moved down the path that had been strewn with rose petals.
He was now outside the temple at the top of the huge stairway that the devotees would use to enter the temple. He sat there so that the gathered thousands could see Him and rejoice.
The band played a tribute to Him and songs were on. Swami blessed a few books in Marathi and was "introduced" to many VIPs by Mr. Shivaji Rao Jadhav. He asked for Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and his son Rahul to be seated by Him and they were thrilled at this privilege.
Ten minutes or so later, at about 10:40 a.m., Swami moved to the lift and descended. The boys had made a human chain to provide "protection" to the Ultimate Protector and everyone eagerly awaited the 'Descent'. Swami moved down and instead of going into the car, went to a nearby area on the northern side of the temple complex where the final formalities of a Yagnam were to be completed. Swami attended the poornahuthi and blessed the Yagna shala. The final offerings were now made.
At about 10:50 a.m., Swami started back in the car towards the Residence and by 11:00 a.m., He was inside the Mandir.
By 3:15 p.m., we were all back at the Residence, seated and waiting for His arrival. We had been told that the evening's tiffin would be at the poolside along with Swami. At 3:30 p.m., Swami came out of His room and was “informed” that that it had been arranged at the poolside. So Swami said, "Pillalu poondi (boys, move)".
Since it was very near, the boys quickly made a path. Swami then moved towards the other side of the room where the door to the balcony was located. On the balcony, a gentle breeze was on and the Sun shone down splendidly. As Swami looked at the Southern side, the first thing He noticed was the large number of cars that had been parked.
He said that so many people have come from so far to visit and have His darshan. He also saw the temporary shelters that had been erected to feed the thousands gathered. (About 20,000 people were fed daily and one sitting could accommodate about 6000 visitors and all this was offered entirely free!).
Swami reached the end of the balcony and began to look at the small statue of a golden Ganesha holding the umbrella. The swimming pool was also visible from there and Swami had a look at it. Beyond the gates one could see the devotees who were enjoying this unexpected darshan.
Now He moved ahead and saw the northern views which consisted of hills. This spot was very scenic and so the boys requested Swami if they could have a picture with Him. The Kind Lord said, "All of you come together" and a group photo was taken. Two photos later, everyone on the terrace and even those not yet on it were pining for photos with Swami.
Swami did not disappoint anyone. Starting with the brothers of the Jadhav family and other members of their family, Swami granted photos to everyone present, including the two tiny-tots of His physical family (the grandsons of His physical brother, Mr. Janaki Ramaiah). Swami posed happily with these little children. Soon the State President of Maharasthra too had the privilege of being photographed with Swami.
Having completed the session, Swami moved out of the balcony. All of us then proceeded down where all the ladies of the group too prayed for a picture with Him and He graciously agreed. After this, Swami moved out of the Residence and sat in the car to proceed to the poolside.
As Swami alighted at the poolside, it was a beautiful sight to see His reflection in the waters. An umbrella was brought for Him and I remembered Prof. Kasturi’s quote – “Holding sunshade over the Sun!” As Swami moved beside the pool, He looked at its waters. Nearing the tables where all the snacks had been arranged, Swami said, “These are the same serving boys. They made all the arrangement here.” Through a sliding door and over a ramp, Swami arrived into the balcony.
His table had been arranged and He sat down and gazed at the beautiful greenery around. He told the elders to sit on the chairs that had been arranged and then asked about the whereabouts of the students too. Swami always had an eye out for the students. All the boys came into the balcony and took their seats opposite to Swami, a few metres away. As everyone partook the tiffin, the Lord was pleased.
After this session, Swami moved out. There was a hall by the poolside that was now full with the members of the Jadhav family. They had prepared themselves to perform padapooja (worship His feet) for Swami. When requested, Swami gladly consented. He moved into the hall where more than 200 people were seated.
The worship of His feet began once they had been prayerfully washed with scented water and massaged with soft cloth. The respected parents of the Jadhavs began the worship by offering rose petals and priceless flowers at His feet. As Mr. Shivajirao Jadhav recalled later, "Swami was so merciful that He allowed everyone of us the coveted opportunity. We are all so happy."
Swami permitted the padapooja to go on for about half an hour. The sight of His feet laden with red and gold was a sight to behold. Swami then moved around the hall granting namaskar and blessings to the workers, staff and servants of the household too. At about 5:20 p.m., He moved out of the hall and once again came near the poolside and then got into His car to return to His Residence.
We followed Him there but Swami said, "Boys, all of you go down and start bhajans." We went to the porch of the Vitthala temple on the first floor and started bhajans. Ten minutes later, Swami arrived in the car via the lift to the makeshift dais.
Swami asked Mr. Shivajirao Jadhav to address the gathering. The speech began and Mr. Jadhav in all humility (and in the language Marathi) thanked Bhagavan for coming over to Hadshi. He was filled with gratitude at the immense grace conferred by Bhagavan on the thousands who had gathered in the pristine surroundings of Hadshi which was sanctified by His Divine Presence.
He declared to the delight of all assembled that Pandurang Kshetra is in the shape of the Divine AUM – the source of all knowledge, the seat of all dharma. After this, the esteemed devotee then gratefully reminisced the day’s events when Bhagavan had graciously performed the Prana Pratishtha ritual for enlivening the Divine Energy in the Ganesha, Vitthal Rukumai and Shirdi Sai Baba idols.
He had no words to thank Bhagavan for this grace and he earnestly prayed that we all indulge in spiritual and service activities. Mr. Jadhav concluded his talk by urging Bhagavan to come again and again to Hadshi, to the immense joy of the thousands gathered there. As he concluded, Swami asked the All India President of the Sai Organisations to speak.
Mr. V. Srinivasan spoke in Hindi. He declared that for 37 years devotees of Bhagavan from Lonavala and Pune had been eagerly waiting for His arrival. The land had faced problems as even rains had become scarce. Mr. Srinivasan was convinced in complete faith that with Bhagavan visiting Pune, even dry, arid lands would become fertile.
He further urged that Bhakti (devotion) is the only way to reach Swami. He reiterated Swami’s teachings that nothing is greater than Love. He spoke of Swami’s various institutions namely, the University , Hospitals, etc.
Exhorting the devotees to follow His path making their lives His message, he reiterated that the Sai Avatar has come for transformation and to help us realise innate divinity. Stressing the greater importance of Grama Seva activities, the speaker urged everyone to engage in Grama Seva to fulfill their desire to perform Rama Seva.
Even as the AIP was concluding, Swami looked at Mr. Nishikant, a faculty member of the Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music who was a member of Swami’s party, as if wanting to confirm if was ready to speak. Mr. Nishikant nodded a ‘yes’ and then Swami asked him to take the dais. The talented percussionist spoke in Marathi.
Mr. Nishikant Barodekar related experiences of his own family to the delight of all the devotees. His narration dated back to the times of Shirdi Sai Baba. The story goes thus: In 1912 they had been traveling by train. Their 3-year old daughter was suffering from typhoid and her condition had deteriorated. They alighted from the train at Kopergaon where they were guided to go to Shirdi.
Once there, their daughter was cured. Years later, in 1965 the same girl who had by then, become a famous singer, Mrs. Heerabai (Nishikant’s grandmother) was going to be felicitated by renowned artists and other dignitaries at a function to be held in her honour on her 60th birthday. Swami called for her to perform before Him on the very same day. Without a second thought, Mrs. Heerabai decided to skip the function and left for Puttaparthi.
There, Swami told her that she had seen Him before, clearly referring to her first encounter with Him during Bhagavan’s Shirdi sojourn. At another time, Mrs. Heerabai had been invited to perform by the Government of India before a group of foreign delegates. Once again, Swami wanted her to perform before Him on the very same day.
She therefore declined the Government's invitation and rushed to Puttaparthi instead. A few days after she returned from the Divine Presence, she received a cheque from the State congratulating her for her performance at the all important event! Clearly, Bhagavan had Himself taken her form and had performed instead of her at the prestigious event. Finally, Mr. Nishikant narrated his own experience.
While he had been learning Tabla, his Guru had asked him to perform in his place owing to his ill-health. Nishikant, who had been extremely nervous, recalled Bhagavan’s advice to contemplate on Him and take His name; he immediately thought of Swami and sought His grace for the performance. No sooner did he begin contemplating on Bhagavan, did the Lord grace him with His Darshan and needless to say, his performance was a great success! Swami blessed him with a ring and everyone applauded.
Swami then rose to speak. The gist of the discourse is as follows –
[A mention must be made here about the translation. There were two translators - Prof. Anil Kumar for Telugu to English and another senior person for English to Marathi. The styles of both these people were distinct and different. While the inimitable Prof. Anil Kumar was at his enthusiastic best, the other translator seemed calm and collected in contrast.]
In the land of Bharat, tolerance and forbearance constitute the real beauty.
What is more nectarine than the feeling towards one own mother?
However much you may learn, still there remains knowledge which is infinite and there is always more to learn.
Bharat is the most sacred land – a land of Divinity. Everyone born in this holy land, Bharat, has done a lot of meritorious deeds in their past lives.
What is the purpose of this human life? Human life is gifted to earn God’s grace. The person who receives God’s grace in abundance can bring transformation in society.
Modern society is full of anxiety and restlessness. Wherever you go, whatever you encounter, you only find misery. We have witnessed several natural calamities recently. The calamities we are passing through have nothing to do with God. It is because of man’s own mistakes and his own makings. God teaches only Dharma (righteousness). He never wants you to walk the path of Adharma (unrighteousness).
Satyam Vada, Dharmam Chara.
We cannot escape from reflection, reaction and resound. Therefore we should know that God is One. We give many names to the one and the same God. All are one. Therefore, in the whole world, only One is in existence.
There is same consciousness in all beings. Ekam Sath, Bahuda Vipraha Vadanti.
In fact, we feel we are miserable. If you ask yourself, you will know that the misery is of your own making. It has nothing to do with God. Therefore, never think that everything is given by God. Everything comes back to us because of our own thought process. It is only God which confers bliss to all of us, that is not dual, that is ethereal, and one without a second. If we make deep enquiries into our Vedanta, God gives us nothing. Pain or pleasure is of our own making. We are mistaken if we think that someone else is responsible for our pain or pleasure.
Help Ever, Hurt Never; Love All; Have faith in Everyone.
There is no human being without love. Even beasts, birds, animals and insects have love. This love is experienced even in the smallest of creatures. We should have deep conviction that God is present in everyone in the form of the Atma – consciousness. You are not hating yourself; you are hating God when you hate others. Every human being is like a mirror. In the mirror, you find a reflection of yourself. In many mirrors, you see many reflections of yourself. Reflection. Reaction. Resound.
You are accusing yourself, blaming yourself. Therefore, whoever you come across, have deep faith that they are all God’s forms. Man fails to understand this truth. It is not proper on our path to make fun of anyone or hate anyone. Love is the only royal path that takes you closer to God.
Therefore all noble souls merged in God because of their incessant love for God. Sakkubai went on repeating “Ranga, Ranga, Ranga”. Everybody made fun of her and her husband persecuted her. Ultimately, she merged in God. She always said “I am not different from Ranga”. In all three states of awareness, she thought of only Ranga. It is only God who speaks, walks, listens to every activity.
People made fun of those involved in the rescue of flood victims. In the same way, the whole community made fun of Sakkubai who kept chanting the name of Krishna. They were finally taught a lesson by Krishna. God is an ocean of love. Out of gross injustice and utter ignorance, we don’t understand ourselves and we blame God. The good or bad that we face is the consequence of our own doing. So we have to correct ourselves within.
The Christians believe in ‘I’. Cut the ‘I’ and it becomes a cross. The ego has to be killed. Once we get rid of this ego, then we can realise the real self. Man today is knowledgeable in all aspects of life. He is conquering space, prepared to count stars. But he fails in simple things. Love is the undercurrent of everything. There are different kinds of sweets, but the sugar is one. The Upanishads say that whomsoever you salute, it reaches God. God is the one who gives you everything. Understand your own mind. Realise your own mistake.
Help Ever. Hurt Never. He is a true man who knows this fundamental truth, who has morality and character. If you understand this, you will not put anyone to suffering. Recognise unity in diversity. God is only one – Atma – consciousness, has no name or form. It is the spirit or consciousness which permeates all beings. Several lights exist, but current is one. We may undertake several spiritual activities but it all comes back to oneness.
If you understand the Oneness, you will have peace and bliss. You are Atma – the only one – the eternal One. God is only One – never think that He is many. When we face difficulties, we chant many names. But when we don’t have any problems in life, we don’t think of God. We should cling on to ‘Soham’. The name given to everyone at the time of birth is ‘Soham’. We will redeem our lives, working for liberation, if we know the Divine principle and Divine nature.
Many people speak of Swami differently. It is their imagination. Bhagavan has no imagination at all. All imagination should be dispensed with.
Politicians know nothing. If they know the truth, the nation will be a better place. Do not follow politics. There is no relation between what the politician says and what he does. If anybody does good, follow it. This is the message of Baba to all of us today. The whole world should be happy. Let all the beings be happy. You will acquire this bliss through love. We say ‘Peace, peace, peace’. Where is this peace ? Only pieces.
Swami completed the discourse and wanted the mike to be removed. And then He asked the boys to start bhajans. A Vitthala bhajan began and as it progressed to the second speed. The next bhajan was another one on Vitthala. Midway through this bhajan, Swami asked for Aarthi. Swami now blessed all the thousands of devotees and they were positively thrilled at this shower of nectarine words and Grace.
The time was 7:50 p.m. and Swami moved down the lift towards the waiting car. There were many devotees who had sat by the side of the temple to have a glimpse of Him from close quarters when He left for the Residence. All the students made a security belt around the car to ensure that there was no untoward incident.
Swami arrived at the Residence and dinner was ready for all. Soon the Lord retired for the day. The second day at Hadshi had thus ended gifting us with moments that would remain forever in our hearts, inspiring and filling us with joy.
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