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  Volume 4 - Issue 07 JULY 2006
 
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SIMPLE VILLAGERS OF KANPUR ….DRAWN BY HIS LOVE


The Subtle Influence of Swami’s Love

The villages of Kasigawan and Banapurwa lie about 15-20 kms away from the city of Kanpur, in Uttar Pradesh, North India. In 1999, some Seva Dal members from the Sai Organization visited the villages to carry out seva.

They had read about Swami‘s wish to make India prosperous and that the first step was to make the villages self-reliant. Unless the villages are provided with resources and proper civic facilities the nation will not prosper.

Swami emphasized that villagers should be provided with proper sanitation and they had entered the villages to carry out Swami’s instructions. The villagers were very suspicious as they imagined them to be politically motivated or government employees and hence their reaction to the sevadals was not encouraging to say the least. In fact, their attitude was hostile.

The Seva dals were not disheartened but with abundant faith in Swami and fervent prayers on their lips, entered the villages again after a small gap of few weeks. This time they started conducting bhajans with the help of a few spiritually minded villagers. A few respected people from the village came and told the Seva Dal, "These villagers are bad people and you are simply wasting your time."

 
 
The city of Kanpur in North India

This was partly true, because these villages were notorious as they used to harbour criminals. But the Seva Dal members ignored this advice, and praying to Swami they saw that the bhajan meetings increased in numbers. They then carried out sanitary work and helped those who were in abject poverty.

 
Medical Camp at Kasigawan, about 15-20 kms from the city of Kanpur in progress
 
Sanitation work for the villagers of Kasiwagan

The main motive behind all this was to love and serve. And also to make the villagers aware of Sai so that they can experience His love which would then transform them and make them trouble-free. And all this is something which is impossible without His grace. Initially the Sai bhajans were difficult for the villagers to follow, and so they sung more locally known songs. But after a while, they came to know, learn and love Sai bhajans. And over time Swami worked so wonderfully. Their hearts now hold His love, their minds understand His teachings and their hands do His work. Here are two stories just to give you a few instances of how this heartening transformation happened.

 
Distributing clothes to village children
Removing poisonous grass in the village
 
Seva at Ananthalaya, home of the orphans, in Kanpur
 
Giving clothes to the old and the needy

Transformation of Two Criminals

The first miracle took place when the village’s most famous criminal was seen silently enjoying bhajans. People were scared that he would create problems at the meeting. But he sat quietly by himself. And at the end of bhajans he even came to the front and shared his experience with the gathering, saying,

“I was fast asleep outside my house last night. Suddenly, the police came to arrest me and I heard them saying that they will not let me escape at any cost. I prayed with all my might to Swami for protection. And then, what I saw shocked me! The police force was going away. I immediately understood it was none else but Swami who had saved me. I felt very guilty for all the bad I had done in my life and I wanted to give up all my bad habits.”

Now a regular member of the Sai Samithi in the village, this criminal-turned-devotee adds,

“It took a very long time to rid myself of my bad traits - but I did not stop praying to God. Finally, I got a call from Swami in the form of a chance to serve in Prasanthi Nilayam in the month of June along with other Sevadal team members the next year. Today I take part in all seva activities of the Sai Samithi, as an offering of gratitude to Swami for all that He has done for me.”

 
Taking the message of Swami to the villages through media

Another similar incident happened with a notorious criminal called Brijendra Singh. He relates how he was the greatest drunk and all the villagers were scared of him - even his fellow criminals. He used to see his family taking part in Sai bhajans and seva activities, but he paid no attention to them.

He says, “In June 2002, I learnt that 40 young people of my village are leaving for Prashanti Seva. I also somehow wanted to go and gave my name for the trip. On arriving, I was very impressed with the activities of Prashanti Nilayam; there was complete silence all around. I had Darshan of Swami in Whitefield and carried out the seva in Puttaparthi. Although the Seva was a bit difficult, it all went on so well somehow. Slowly, I started to feel guilty for all the wrong I had done in his life. After returning from Puttaparthi, I found a strange transformation in my life.”

From then onwards Brijendra became interested in Seva activities, and left all his past bad habits. Now he takes part in all the Sai activities and is much loved by the other villagers. These are just two representative cases of how Swami, so beautifully has brought about a silent spiritual revolution in the village.

 
Temple restoration in the village
 
Tea distribution by Govind Nagar Balvikas children

Sai – Their God And Guardian

These villagers love Swami immensely and it is Swami who protects and sustains them. One particular season a certain group of villagers were working round the clock in their fields harvesting their crop. Their neighbours were a little puzzled as to why there were harvesting their crop so early and the answer that they received was – “We are rushing to finish all our work so that we can leave for Puttaparthi to do Seva in the month of June”.

The Puttaparthi group harvested the crop but could not thrash them and left the crop in the fields. They feared that rainfall could anytime spoil the entire crop. And their fear came true. One evening they saw dark clouds in the sky and rain seemed imminent. They had no time or energy to do anything. All they could do was pray. And they opened their hearts to Swami and prayed as fervently as they could. Surrendering everything at His feet, they retired for the night.

Then, at midnight, there were knocks at their doors. They were scared of opening their doors for the area was renowned for criminals and they feared the worst. But there was someone chanting “Sairam” outside and somewhat reassured they opened their doors and found that some people, well in time, had carefully placed all their crops under shelter. It was unbelievable. Who did it and how it happened? It was their prayers and the Lord’s grace.

Saved By Faith In God

Bhagavan saves their lives, not just their livelihoods. as we can read from the following miracle. A Sai devotee, Sri Shivaram, had a baby with a serious health problem. He took him to the three best hospitals in Kanpur. The doctors told him that the infant cannot be treated there, and to take him to the P.G.I. Hospital in Lucknow. When they took the baby to Lucknow, the doctors there asked him to deposit Rs 50,000/- in cash immediately for the operation. His father somehow managed to find the money, but just before the operation the infant’s condition became very serious. The doctors were now reluctant to go ahead with the operation and advised him not to waste money and take the infant home. The chance of survival was nil, they told Shivaram.

Hearing this, the parents broke down and with no option left brought their child back to the village. At the village everyone sang bhajans and prayed to Swami, their last resort, to save the child. One villager advised Vibhuti and the regime of bhajans and application of Vibhuti continued for 15 days! On the 15th day the unbelievable happened! The sick infant was playing happily on its own. With this miracle Swami and Vibhuti has now become the most potent medicine for all health problems in this village.

An Amazing Tale Of A Life Saved

Another fascinating account is that of a young girl called Swati Chouhan from Chakeri Samithi. She tells Heart2Heart,

“This happened on 13th July 2004 when I was returning home after submitting my N.C.C form. I was standing on Harjinder Nagar Crossing waiting to cross the road, when I was hit by a fast moving truck. The next moment I was under the truck and I saw the truck tire running over my legs.

I felt I was dying and my body became numb. I was not able to speak and I prayed to Swami that I am going to die here and how will my parents know where I am lying. Immediately after this prayer, a big ball of light just like the sun appeared. My eyes were burning the same way when one stares at the sun for a long time. Then I saw Swami in a white dress and He told me “Don't be afraid. You shall not die, for you have a long life.” After this He disappeared.

 

These words echoed in my ears and I felt that my life was coming back. I raised my head and saw that there was no flesh left on my legs and the bone was clearly seen. I didn't feel scared at all seeing such a thing. I didn't feel any pain as my legs were lifeless. Then one uncle came and held my hand and also called people for help. Somehow he took me out from under the wheels of the truck and helped me to lie down on steps of a temple close by.

Many people came up and asked me about my parents; but no one came forward to take me to hospital or to inform my parents about this. The same uncle who had lifted me out from under the truck carried me to the nearest hospital. There, they gave me first aid and directed me to be taken immediately to Madhuraj Hospital, which is the biggest hospital in Kanpur.

While I was being given first aid, this uncle went all the way to my house and called my parents. Then I was taken to the bigger hospital where I related what had happened to the doctor and my mother. They kept me in I.C.U. and told my mother and other relatives that I will only survive for 7-14 days and not to spend much money on my treatment.

On the fifth day after the accident my condition worsened, and nobody thought that I would survive. That day my respiration also stopped and the doctors kept me on a ventilator. It is said that out of hundred only one or two survive on ventilators. They kept cotton on my eyes and put tape on it. I was on ventilator for about 15 days. All my relatives were praying either for me to survive, or die - but not to suffer.

My coma situation made my relatives believe that I was no more, but I could feel everything although my body was practically lifeless. Again Swami appeared, and placing my head on His lap, I fell asleep. After some time, I got up and found that my breathing was back to normal. Swami gave me a new life and today I am alive all because of His grace.”

Sai Touching The Tender Hearts…

Yes, the hand of Sai is working hard to help the young take to healthy moral paths. In the area of Govind Nagar, Bal Vikas Programmes have been continuing for the last fifteen years. The poor children have taken immense interest in the programme and as a result there are a great many shining examples of Swami’s teachings. Their transformation has been possible all because of His grace and blessings.

 
Cultural programmes by the Bal Vikas children of Chakeri during Eswaramma Day Celebrations
 

The children are taught bhajans, mantras, and are told Chinna Kathas (stories narrated by Swami) which are the main source of change in their lives. Earlier they used to go begging for food but now they are ready to serve other poor people. Studies were an impossible dream, but today every year 20-30 children are given admission to schools, all expenses being taken care of by the Govind Nagar Sai Samithi. Inspired by Sai devotees one school in the area has even started to provide free education for all.

After joining Bal Vikas these poor children have transformed their hearts. They have left all their bad habits and look forward to seva activities which they perform as an offering to Swami for all that he has done for them. Every year, ten to fifteen children are taken to Puttaparthi so that they can see God in flesh and blood walking amongst them.

Today every single individual in these villages says "Sai Ram" to each other, instead of names or hello. There are many other such examples of transformation which have touched them all for they know that Swami is caring for them and they have each experienced His love in action in their lives. We can read a telling example below.

 
Bal Vikas class in progress in Kasigawan
 
Chanting by Bal Vikas children of Chakeri and Govind nagar
 
A competition in progress for Bal Vikas Children, Govindnagar
 
Exhibition on Swami's life at Chakeri

The Sai Children Shine

In 2001, there was a state level security seva training camp in Govind Nagar in which about 300 people took part. All arrangements for this programme were solely handled by the Bal Vikas children of ten years and above. There were only three elders to assist these young men of Sai. The programmes were a great success.

In 2005, when all the Sai devotees had gone to Puttaparthi for a conference, the Bal Vikas children arranged a day of distributing food to 400 Narayanas (poor and underprivileged) and other service activities, from 5 am to 10 pm.

In summer the children provide cool drinking water; in winter they provide hot tea and distribute blankets and other warm clothes, all as offerings to please Swami. Many of these children have passed the second level of the Bal Vikas programme. Today businessmen in Kanpur prefer to appoint Sai devotees, as they feel that they can trust them because of their integrity.
 
Christmas celebrations in Kanpur by Bal Vikas children
 
Id program by Bal Vikas children of Govindnagar
Bal Vikas class for Muslim children

Bal Vikas Education – A Heartening Success Story

The Bal Vikas education in the villages of Kasigawan, Emlipur, Bampurwa, Parsowli and Kweyar has been uplifting the people in many ways. Where earlier they used to speak harshly, today they devotedly chant Vedam just to please Swami. They chant the Name of Sai whenever they are free and the villages have such a cordial atmosphere.

Once the All India President of Sai Organizations came to visit one of these villages and said that he was told by Swami specifically to visit that particular village, and that he was just following His command. The village children welcomed him with Vedam chanting.

 
Visit of All India President, Sri V Srinivasan to Kasigawan Village

Today the Bal Vikas programme has reached even the village schools, where Omkar and Sai Gayatri have become a part of their daily prayers. The teachers say that the students have become more disciplined and respectful to their parents and teachers. Their language has changed as they sincerely try to observe ‘speak no evil, hear no evil and see no evil’. They have been totally transformed and about 35 children of them have even gone to Puttaparthi to see Swami.

In 2005, there was a Bal Vikas conference in Puttaparthi where books were distributed at the end of the programme as prasadam to the children. There was one boy among them who did not get a book and he felt very sad. Immediately another boy gave away his book to this boy, just to see his brother happy, showing how much he had learnt about love in action.

Another child relates “I had gone to a bookstall and saw one book that I liked very much. The name of the book was ‘Healing with Love’. When I saw the cost of the book it was around Rs 307 and I had only Rs 107, so I felt very disappointed. On the second day of the Festival of Joy, Swami distributed books to the children and when I saw it was the same book which I wanted to buy I felt very happy as Swami had heard my prayer and had given me the same book as prasadam.”

 
Essay and drawing competition for Bal Vikas children at Chakeri
A Bal Vikas class in progress at Govindnagar
 
Bal Vikas children of Kanpur

The children practise Omkar and Sai Gayatri in the morning and at bedtime and about 150 children of this area join in the Bal Vikas programme. The Govind Nagar Samithi provides free education for the poor children; free uniforms and books, and also distributes clothes for village people.

With the holding of free medical camps the villages have truly become holy Sai villages. The slum area and village people take an active part in all seva activities. Movingly, they say they want to be good and helpful instruments in Swami’s hands and will serve His mission in all possible ways. They say that they are very grateful to Swami for all that He has done for them. All the transformation seen in these people is patent evidence of the Grace of Bhagavan.

All these accounts tell but a small part of Swami’s gracious touch on the lives of just a few people. Imagine if we were to know the full story! Most of His work is unseen and unheralded - which reminds us to be ever thankful! Heart2Heart would like to thank the people who shared their miraculous experiences and we pray that our readers will give us the privilege of re-telling more such stories.

– Heart2Heart Team


 
     
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Vol 4 Issue 07 - JULY 2006
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