DOUSING FIRES OF GRIEF
25th of February 2004.Disaster struck the city of Nandyal,
Andhra Pradesh, India. A colony of not so well to do section
of the society, with predominantly Muslims, was razed to the
ground by fires. 139 houses got gutted. 200 and odd families
became homeless overnight. Everything, except
the clothes they were wearing, was burnt to ashes. ‘What
will happen to us? Where do we go? Is there someone who cared
for us?, the victims wondered.
Yes, there was
someone: the Sai Student. Students of Swami who passed out
of the institute, ever ready to serve their Master, by serving
their fellowmen. This suffering in Nandyal could not escape
their discerning eyes. They had read about their plight in
the newspaper. They swung into action. The local Satya Sai
Samithi at Nandyal was contacted and a survey of the extent
of the disaster was done the next day. Immediate temporary
relief had to be provided.
They decided upon their course of action:
They would erect temporary huts for each of the 200 families.
They would provide them with clothes, utensils, eatables,
blankets and medicines…..which would last at least a
few days, till they settled back in their work and earned
All the necessary items were procured. A letter was sent
to Swami informing Him of their plan of action and seeking
His blessings. And the compassionate Lord responded by giving
them not only His blessings, but sacks of rice and hundreds
of blankets for the victims.
with the Lord’s blessings, six students and 32 sevadal
from Puttaparthi rushed to Nandyal. They were received and
housed by the local samithi people, who too wanted to participate
in this act of service. The next morning, they began this
massive work of erecting around 250 huts. Taking the name
of the Lord on their lips, they went about their work tirelessly
and by evening it was a different place. The temporary sheds
In the evening when the grateful families
occupied the huts, the group went to each hut and gave them
rice, clothes, utensils, blankets and Swami’s photograph
and vibhuthi. One Muslim woman saw the photo of Swami and
told them “This man had come here last night. He raised
his hands as if to bless and walked away”. The students
were not surprised. They knew their Swami was with them always,
everywhere….this was just a confirmation of their faith.
It was not they who doused the fires of grief of this unfortunate
group of people. It was the shower of His grace that did the
job through them.