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PRASHANTI DIARY
CHRONICLES OF HEAVEN ON EARTh


 

July 2, 2007 – USA Programme: ‘Journey to Sai through SAI – Service, Adoration and Illumination.’

It was an evening to remember. At least for the American devotees it was an evening that made them go through the sweetness of all emotions - there were tears and smiles, fears and sighs! All the US devotees in blue scarves were seated from early in the afternoon. There was no sign of Swami coming till almost 4:15 pm. At 4:30pm when Bhagavan came out, fears converted to relief and there was a burst of joy on their faces. Swami completed His Darshan rounds and came straight out to the dais. As a member of the group recollects:

“The ‘Journey to Sai through SAI’ did not begin at the N3 or the N4 buildings. Rather, the train ride of July 2nd was a mere segment in the itinerary of this journey which commenced about a year ago in the Southeast region of USA (this region consists of the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and St. Thomas Virgin Islands). With an aim of bringing the entire region together as one big united Sai family, a few key individuals conceived the idea of organizing the first ever pilgrimage to Prashanti Nilayam. During the early stages of this journey, a conscious effort was made by the pilgrims to further identify the reasons for embarking on this pilgrimage. It was concluded that the real pilgrimage was towards the Sai consciousness, both at the individual and the group levels. Though a very important milestone, the outward journey to Prashanti Nilayam was only a complement to the real journey towards Sai consciousness which the pilgrims felt can only be achieved by means of Service, Adoration and Illumination. Thus, inspired by Bhagavan, an apt theme for this pilgrimage was adopted by the pilgrims as ‘Journey to Sai through SAI – Service, Adoration and Illumination’.

“Subsequently, as part of the journey towards the Sai consciousness at a group level, several activities involving Service, Adoration and Illumination, were designed. For service, the Sai brothers and sisters in this region, intensified their attendance and commitment to existing service activities and took up new projects at the local level. Medical camps, which were joint endeavors, were also organized and these service projects entailed participation from pilgrims all across the region.

Towards adoration, the Sai centers took up group chanting activities and special bhajan sessions in addition to encouraging an increased participation in the weekly Sai center devotional singing. Towards Illumination, the Sai centers across the region took up activities such as special satsanghs and increased the participation in the periodic study circles."

Swami leafs through all the activities done and the schedule

"In some sessions, devotees shared their knowledge and the wisdom gathered from their experiences with Bhagavan. Other groups delved into His teachings, while some groups took up collective book reading (such as Tapovanam). Bhagavan blessed all these efforts by fostering unity and camaraderie in the entire Southeast region both at the regional and local levels. Thus, after kindling the fire of sadhana for over a year, the pilgrims finally arrived at the auspicious abode of Lord Sai on June 24, 2007.”

This kind of preparation is something that only Swami can know. For all those who had assembled, it was another programme. But Swami had decided to make it very special. Bhagavan came to the front of the veranda, the program was announced, and children and members of the group approached Swami, one by one offering red roses and other tokens of Love. The announcer also cleverly invited Bhagavan to visit the USA, Swami chuckled out loud at this invitation.

Then the programme began with great devotion and fervour. The mammoth group sang out in one voice and the power of their unison was evident. The whole audience too joined in the programme by clapping in rhythm to the songs. The songs were comprised of an eclectic selection of English, Spanish, Hindi, and Native American melodies. Most of the songs sung were medleys and had a blend of western music and bhajans. Swami's countenance was radiant and many smiles sparkled over His face. The programme lasted approximately 40 minutes.

Swami decides to make the evening special  

 
The medley songs begin...........
........and continue in the Divine presence.

As the programme concluded, Swami went into the interview room and came out with sarees and white cloth pieces. There was glee everywhere at this unexpected gesture. Swami descended from the stage to the block where the US devotees were seated. He sat in front of the ladies and started the distribution.

Swami supervises the saree distribution personally.
ThrillS and smiles for all.............

As Swami sat watching, the devotees were thrilled. The ladies received sarees while the gents had white cloth pieces. He lavished His love on the group, calling two women to help distribute the beautiful red raw silk saris with blue border to the ladies and summoning a few other women also to help. He then went around these devotees and blessed everyone. After coming back on stage, He summoned a lady who had not been given a saree and presented one especially to her. He blessed all the gents with white cloth pieces. He ensured that there was a smile on every face. Thus blessing all, Swami received Aarthi and left.

Ensuring that everyone received the sarees
Special blessings for the group

July 5 – USA Group Interview

What more could the group have asked for? But the all-giving Swami wanted to give them more: a group Interview! From an initial 320 devotees, the group was merely a 70 or so during the last group darshan on the afternoon of July 5th. As usual, Swami waited until the last possible minute to grant their wish and called the group for an interview. Once the group was seated, Swami lovingly asked the ladies in the group “What do you want?” “We want You, Swami …only You,” some women called out. Swami smiled.

“Where is God?” He asked the group. Various responses came forth - “with us”, “in us”, etc. Swami smiled and nodded!

After a while, with the love and compassion of a thousand mothers, He looked around and said, “Many people have gone from the group….they will be disappointed….you must make them understand that God is in you, with you, in front of you, around you….tell them….My Blessings are with them always!”

Someone asked, “Swami what message can we take back with us to the USA ?” Swami repeated, “God is in you. He is not separate. I am with you, in you, around you!” The man added, “Swami, I know that I am God, but I do not feel it”. Swami replied, “That is your imagination. You are thinking with your head, not your heart. You are not the body, you are not the mind. You are the atma. The one you think you are is the body. The one that others think you are is the mind. The one you really are is the atma.”

After a couple of moments, Swami looked at one of the Spanish women, and asked “How is your leg?” He continued “Pain, in your leg?” In fact, this woman had severe pain in her hip and had recently undergone hip surgery. “OK, Swami,” she replied. Swami later gave her vibhuti and told her to rub it on her hip and her pain will be gone.

“What is your name?” He asked a lucky lady in the group. “Gabriella”, she answered. “Husband?” He asked. “Swami, David is my husband,” she said. Swami asked Gabriella and David to come up and sit beside Him. Swami looked at her and asked, “What do you want?” “I just want You, Swami”, she answered. He asked her again “What do you want?” She said, “Just You, Swami. I want Your love”. “You have My love”, Swami confirmed.

After asking them several personal questions, Swami raised His hand and started waving it around in the air. Through the fingers of His hands the group could see a chain materializing. Swami pulled out a beautiful chain, with a huge pendant encrusted with stones. At first, the chain was short, but Swami pulled it and it got longer, though the thickness remained the same. As the devotees peered at it, Swami saw them looking, smiled and held it up and said to all of them, “Can you see?” He looked at the woman and said softly, “Sai Geetha on both sides… It has everything there for you.” He told David to put it on her neck. Then He put His hand on each of their heads, and said a mantra. What appeared to be unfolding in the mandir was a divine marriage being performed by the Lord of the Universe, Himself! “Are you happy?” Swami asked them, smiling lovingly. “Yes, Swami. Padnamaskar?” They asked. “Yes,” He said. “Both together,” He indicated, and then both husband and wife took padnamaskar together. Swami then gave each of them vibhuti packets and said, “Keep it for yourself, don’t share it”. He then asked the couple to return to their seats.

Next Swami indicated for the men to come one by one to take padnamaskar. When each person approached Swami, He would sometimes ask them personal questions and enquire about their profession. He waited patiently for each person to offer pranams. To the young boys, Swami would sometimes smile and say, “Come on, boy!” He would also ask them their names, how old they were, and what standard they were in. After the men were done, Swami asked the women to come up one at a time, sometimes talking to them about personal matters, and giving them vibhuti packets. When all the women were done, Swami blessed a couple of large bowls full of prasadam (strawberry flavored wafers) which were then distributed by a couple of volunteers on the men and women’s side.

Swami then turned to the crowd and said “Are you happy?”, “Yes, Swami, Yes!”, “We love You”, “Thank You, Swami”, the devotees called out! Swami held up His hands, smiled and said “Very happy.”

For the pilgrims from the Southeast region of USA , it was perhaps the culmination of prayers of life times. The Lord had blessed them beyond their imagination and filled them with boundless bliss.

July 8 – SSSIHL Programme: ''Sa Vidya Ya Vimuktaye'' and Devotional Songs from Anantapur campus.

Where God is concerned, the unexpected always happens. The beauty and reality of this statement was portrayed on Sunday, July 8, as Swami made it a very special day for everyone present. Swami says, "Love my uncertainty." Well most of the time, we don't like uncertainty. But that is the Lord. He makes us evolve from avoiding uncertainty to accepting it and finally to loving it!

As per the latest trend, the boys from the Prashanti Nilayam campus of the Institute had prepared a programme, ''Sa Vidya Ya Vimuktaye''. Students from the Anantapur campus of the Institute also had arrived ready with a programme to be presented to their dear Lord. Swami came out for darshan at about 3:30pm but after completing the darshan rounds, went straight into the interview room to speak with devotees. The Bhajan hall had been occupied by the students so they could don their costumes for the programme, and after the interviews had concluded at 4:50pm, Swami went into the bhajan hall and in a few minutes, the bhajans began.

What nobody expected was that just as His students had prepared a drama for Him as a Sunday special, He too had prepared a ‘drama’ for them as His Sunday special! As the bhajans concluded, Swami called the vice chancellor and a small interaction took place. The next minute, there was a rush. Swami was going outside on stage! He had told the VC that the boy’s programme must be performed! There was a lot of energy in the air as instead of the customary "winding up", everyone hurried for the unscheduled "setting up".

So at 5:35 pm, the programme began. The boys offered a card with the proceedings and their heartfelt messages to Swami. The programme highlighted the role of Education in life. It began with a masterly lecture by a top scientist on how man had learnt to swim better than a fish, fly better than a bird and do everything better than any other animal. He is stumped when a rustic gets up and asks, "Has it taught him to live like a man?"
 
   
Swami blesses the programme to begin

The next day, this incident pops up in the discussion between this scientist and his colleagues. Their discussion on how man has begun to use education as a whip for grabbing power and exploiting everything was beautifully depicted by a mime where men are moving around in circles turning the wheel of success and fortune with tireless effort. Man doesn't realise a great law of the universe is that we can not always receive. For example, viruses keep taking nourishment from the host till the host dies out. Finally the viruses too die out with the host. Is man any better than a virus? If you want more the only way to achieve it is by giving more. A small skit was performed to highlight this ethic.

"Has education taught man to be like a man?"
Ancient Gurukula system of education.

God tells His children, both in hell and heaven, "I have arranged a feast for you all. The only condition is that you must not bend your elbows while eating. If you do so the feast will vanish." While the people in hell struggle selfishly to feed themselves and remain hungry, the people in heaven feed one another and there is joy everywhere. Be selfish, keep grabbing and earth becomes hell. Give and it will come back to you. Give and there will be heaven on earth. This is the way life must be lead and this message is to be taught by the education system. But where is this message to be found in today's education system?

Then came the depiction of Eashwar Chandra Vidyasagar's life. Truly educated that he was, he humbly carries the handbag of a western gentleman who calls him a "coolie". When the gentleman realizes his folly, he begs pardon of Vidyasagar but the humble soul that he was he tells everyone that he is nobody special. All his life he just wanted to make his two mothers happy - mother and motherland. When he asked his mother what ornaments she wanted, she said, "I want three jewels only. A school for all the children here, wells to yield sweet water for the people and a medical care unit for safeguarding the health of everyone." Vidyasagar says he did just that and nothing else. At this juncture, Swami must have become very nostalgic, for He was totally immersed in the scene being depicted. Emotion welled up in His sweet face as if He was right there experiencing the initial pain and the subsequent relief of the people.

While people in hell wondered how to eat........
The people in heaven fed each other!!

The sight of the Lord in emotion is one of such profound beauty and significance. It goes deep into one’s heart as if questioning our indifferent attitude to the pain and suffering all around. When we see people suffering, begging or in agony, we feel that they must be acting to elicit sympathy. Here the Lord feels the pain of the suffering even if it is only acting in a dramatic depiction. Oh! If only a fraction of that tenderness of heart becomes ours, our life would have found meaning. 

 
Man uses education as a means to grab power.
 
Vidyasagar teaches a lesson in humility and help.

 

The presentation concluded with the analogy of the student being the seed and the education system being the soil where the seed would germinate. If protected by the fence of discipline and weeded of bad qualities, nourished with the fertilizer of secular knowledge and watered with love, the plant would become a tree providing shade to one and all. But for any garden, a gardener is a must.

The students expressed they were all very fortunate to have Swami as their divine gardener. They then did something that surprised everyone - something that only the students could have thought of. They took a sapling in a pot to Swami and said, "Swami here we are your saplings. Nourish us with your Love."

Then Swami did something that surprised them also - something that only Swami could have thought of. He put His hand into the soil. He mixed it as if pouring His love to nourish the sapling and said, "Yes, Yes." He then posed for a group photo with all His children. The time was almost 6:20pm.

Divine Blessings
 

 
Singing out their hearts to Him.
 
The most coveted family photograph.

But the evening was not over yet. Swami looked at the Anantapur sisters and told them to start their programme. There were audible gasps and excited whispers on the sisters' side. There was a sweet smile on His face. Oh! Everybody was enraptured by the day's uncertainties!

Swami blesses the Anantapur students also
Singing their hearts out........

The girls sang their hearts out. The songs were mostly in Telugu. "Chhoda Chakkani Chinnodanta", sung in the folk style brought smiles on the faces of all those who understood Telugu as the glories of the cute boy Sathya were depicted. Five songs were performed and then Swami directed that prasadam be distributed. It was 6:50 pm when Swami received Aarthi and left.

At the end of the day, all are happy.
Swami receives Aarthi.


July 11 – Drama from Medak region: “Amma”

 
 

 

More than 4000 devotees from Medak had arrived at Puttaparthi to have darshan of their dear Lord and also offer their gratitude for the sweet water He had given them on July 11. Prashanti Nilayam has been buzzing with these people and one could see them everywhere - in the mandir, canteens, accommodation blocks and roadways of the Nilayam.

The Kulwant hall was filled with people in orange scarves and their fervour could be felt from the fact that they were the first ones to flock to the hall when the gates opened for darshan.

The stage had been set for a musical drama - "AMMA" to be followed by a rally. Swami arrived at 3:30pm and as He passed by the set stage and banners, He viewed them. Necks craned to have a glimpse of Swami as He passed by. The expression on every face was one of anticipation - "Will Swami see me?"

The Mandir was teeming with devotees from Medak
 

Swami came on stage and sat on the sofa. After a few minutes, He requested the Veda chanting to be stopped and the programme to begin. Two tiny tots came walking up to the stage and just seeing them a lovely smiled blossomed on His face. He accepted the rose and programme schedule that they offered and rewarded them by pulling their cheeks, much to the joy of everyone around. Swami then formally declared the programme open by lighting the lamp which, in a very innovative and traditional manner, had been placed on a Poorna Kumbham.

Tiny tots offer salutations to Swami.
Lighting the lamp to mark the beginning of the programme.

The programme began with rich and colourful dances. These were performed by both the little girls and boys. The main story of the drama was that of a young disillusioned lad, Ramu, who thinks that he can repay the debt to his mother by paying her money for all that she had done for him. He is a typical modern youth who feels that earning money with his sweat and blood is the greatest contribution he can make. On the other hand, there is Venkanna - a simple rustic lad with a pure heart and love for his mother.

The Girls' dance had a lot of grace..........
The dance by boys had energy.

Venkanna struggles for his mother.....
...while Ramu seems to be struggling with his mother!

He spends his day singing glories of the Lord. Venkanna gets the shock of his life when his mother contracts a medical problem which requires huge hospital fees. The Lord's saving Grace descends on him in the form of the Sri Sathya Sai Hospital where his mother is treated. Meanwhile, Venkanna meets Ramu's mother and tells her that he would take care of her and that she should consider him as her son. Ramu's boss, a former student of SSSIHL, comes to know of what Ramu has done. He makes Ramu realise his mistake and also demonstrates to him how much his mother loves him. Ramu realises his mistake, Venkanna's mother is cured and it’s a happy conclusion. The conclusion dances were grand and synchronized too. Swami was very pleased with the theme and He walked down to pose with the group for pictures.

Venkanna brings joy to Ramu's mother.
"Nothing is greater than pleasing one's mother Ramu!"

Grace and grandeur in a single show.
The concluding dance piece

The final salute..........
The Grand Finale

Swami then went into the interview room and arranged white cloth pieces for distributing to the boys. He had a beautiful saree which he gave to the boy who acted as the mother in the drama. Then He gave cloth pieces to all the participants starting with this boy. It was a double blessing for this boy who played the lead role of the ‘mother’ in the drama. Once the distribution was over, the rally began. It was really a huge one in terms of numbers.

A saree for Ramu's "mother".
Cloth pieces for all other participants.

A girls' band followed by a large Veda chanting contingent of ladies holding Poorna Kumbham were the first to arrive. This was followed by a contingent of women carrying lamps on the Poorna Kumbhams. Lambadi dancers, children performing a Sarva Dharma dance and representations of the various services done in the villages were also presented.

The rally begins.............
The ladies Vedic contingent.

The lambadis arrive with their dance.
Sarva Dharma dances too were part of the rally.

Then began the gents contingents. Veda chanting, various dances, children costumed as Hanuman, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana were also part of the procession. The grand finale was brought up by a huge representation of the water supply project in Medak. As the vehicle was brought forward there was a loud applause and that brought a smile on Swami's face. Then there was a plethora of Padanamaskar taking as people came by the dozens and fell at His feet. Even the little kid who had come in the beginning to offer the flower, came up to Swami and offered His namaskar. Sri Ramana Rao, a respected elder in Prasanthi Nilayam, in his own inimitable style came up to Swami and said, "Swami everyone are so happy. It is all your Grace."

"Yopam Pushpam Veda"
Youthful dances all the way.

Swami's Hanuman army!!
The Medak project presented to Swami in gratitude.

Swami then blessed all the ladies in-charge with sarees and padanamaskar. As Swami was leaving, the photographer gave Him copies of the group photos that had just been taken. Swami had a look at them and handed them to Smt. Geeta Reddy who was co-ordinating the programme. It was almost close to 6:00pm when Swami received Aarthi and left.

 
"Swami, you have conferred so much joy on all."
 
"I shall confer more"- He seems to say!

July 12 – Musical Programme from Medak region

The second part of the Medak programme was a Musical one. Once again, everybody had assembled in the Kulwant hall by 2:00 pm itself. Swami came out for Darshan at 3:30 pm. There was excitement in Swami's face as He came out on to the stage. The first indication from Swami was asking about the whereabouts of the little boy who had offered the flower to Him on the previous day! Then He also sent word for the little girl.

They were soon located - blissfully asleep in their parents' arms! After combing, straightening of dresses, wiping the faces of sweat and application of vibhuti, the tiny tots were sent ahead - as prepared as possible. Swami's face beamed with joy on just seeing the innocent little ones. Fortunate indeed are those kids for they gave so much joy to the Lord. What greater thing can one aspire for in life than to make the Lord happy? And the mere sight of purity and innocence is enough to achieve that feat. That should be a reminder for all of us.

Swami circled His palms and there was a chain for the one who had chained Him with his innocence and love. Pulling his cheeks, Swami lovingly put the chain around his neck. Then like an encore, Swami materialised another chain for the little girl too. The hall clapped like mad at this spontaneous outpouring of Divine Love.

Who has chained whom?
Of course the kids have chained Him - with their Love.

It was on this joyful note that the programme began. The programme consisted of songs in Hindi, Telugu and Kannada. They were rendered by both the men and women. Throughout the programme, the little boy sat right in the front and Swami showed His interest in him throughout the programme. Each and every move the boy made elicited a smile from Swami. In the middle of the programme, the boy adopted the lotus posture. Swami immediately noticed that and remarked, "Choodu, chinna pillavaadu padmaasanam pettakunnadu!" (‘Look, the little one has adopted the lotus posture!’)

 
 

The lady singers get ready.
The Music programme begins

Songs in Hindi, Telugu and Kannada decorated the evening.
Swami blesses Paadukaas for a devotee.

After about 45 minutes of songs, the programme concluded. Swami immediately asked, "Mana Pillalu?" (Our boys?) The students came streaming out of the bhajan hall. Then there were bhajans with Aalap and Meera songs by the boys. They sang wonderfully well and the whole hall clapped in unison and rhythm to the bhajans and songs. At about 5:40pm Swami received Aarthi. But before that, He blessed all the birthday boys and also sent prasadam for all that had gathered.

Birthday boys get their share of blessings too.
"Om Jai Jagadish Hare"

July 15 – Programme by Music College Students

Another Sunday had dawned and the students of the Institute - the Mirpuri College of Music this time - were ready with another programme to present before their Lord. Swami came out at about 3:35 pm. He alighted from the car and went straight out on stage. There was thunderous applause as Swami got up and walked slowly to the stage. He sat for a while listening to the Vedas being chanted. Then with a gentle wave of His hand He halted the Vedic chants and allowed the programme to begin.

 
The card is blessed and so is the programme!!
 
The programme in progress.

Three students came up to Swami with a card carrying the details of the Carnatic programme to follow and also their prayers for Swami to bless them with an opportunity to present the same. Swami smilingly blessed them and then the programme began. There were a lot of Tyagaraja krithis and songs of other maestros too. Then there was a Sitar recital in the lilting notes of Raag Hamsadhwani. It was in the Madhyalay Gat and it lead to a "three tablas" jugalbandi. In one of the songs, there was also a jugalbandi between the mridangam and the tabla which was appreciated a lot by the audience. In this manner the programme went on for about 45 minutes. Swami was so happy with the student who played the mridangam that He called Him forward and with a wave of His hand materialised a gold chain for him. After that He also graciously agreed to grant group photos to all the performers. After the photos, Swami went in and there were bhajans.

 
A gold chain for the boy who played the Mridangam.
 
The Master and the performers.

July 19 – Programme by Canadian Youth

On the evening of July 19, the devotees and youth from Canada were prepared with a programme entitled "The Sacred Bridge." Swami completed His darshan rounds and immediately came out on the dais. To the sweet surprise of everyone around, He went down in the wheel chair to bless all the devotees and participants specially. He took an entire round and there were youth dressed as Devas chanting the Vedas. As Swami came back to the dais after blessing all, an innovative welcome card was taken to Him.

 
The Lord first wanted to bless everyone...
and then allow the 'devas' to perform

The programme then began. God calls for a meeting of all in His creation - all except man - to discuss where to hide the greatest secret. After a lot of discussion it is agreed to plant the secret in man's heart. When the animals and birds tell God that it would be very difficult for man to discover it, God replies that with His name, the secret will stand revealed.

The episode from the Ramayana where the bridge to Lanka is built only by the power of Rama's name was then presented. Hanuman was exemplified as the ideal to be followed and the children stated that they too have started building bridges of the sacred name in their own lives. They exhorted everyone present to contribute in building this mighty bridge.

 
Lord Rama offers worship to 'Rameshwar'...
The 'devas' with the Divine

Though the programme was short, it was sweet. Swami liked it and He posed for group photos with different sections of the group. The ladies were very insistent for a group photo. Swami asked them what they wanted. "Group photos" was the unspoken answer. The mischief in Swami was aroused. Swami told them to sit in a group. Then He called the photographers and told them to take pictures of the group! After that, chuckling to Himself, Swami left. He also asked for prasadam to be distributed to the participants and then there were bhajans. After that, Swami received Aarthi and left.

July 20 – Inauguration of ‘Prema Jyothi’

Swami had agreed to inaugurate the “Prema Jyoti” exhibition on the morning of July 20. The whole exhibition had been set up in the Poornachandra Auditorium. The Light of Love is a grand spectacle celebrating the Pure Love of Bhagavan presenting through various stunning pictures, TV loops, audio and video clips as well as internet media.

Swami came into the PC auditorium at 8:10am on the wheelchair. As He came on the stage, He admired the huge wall that enclosed the exhibition, the wall that formed a formidable entrance to the exhibition. As Swami came down the stage, the boys from the studio offered jasmine flowers on His feet. He picked up a jasmine flower and putting it to His nose said, "There is no smell!" Then He put the flower into the hands of another boy and moved on. At the entrance, a jasmine garland had been tied across instead of the traditional ribbon. A pair of scissors was handed to Swami and He gently cut the garland to mark the formal inauguration of the exhibition. As soon as He entered, a huge panel with a painting of Swami during the Uravakonda days greeted Him. There He was given the switch and as He pressed it, the panel lit up and so did the electric lamps that adorned the panel. Then Swami lit the two brass lamps that had been placed right in the beginning.

 
An innovative opening to an eye-opening exhibition
Prema lighting the 'Prema Jyothi'

The whole exhibition had been divided into seven sections and at each section an old student from the Institute, now working in the organisation, was there to "guide" Swami around. The first section titled, "Prema Jyoti" captured the effulgence of Pure Love. It contained rare black and white pictures of Swami: Swami's visits to Venkatagiri, visits to many homes and places where He addressed gatherings. It also described many leelas of Swami. Swami spent time at each and every panel listening to the explanation being given. In this section there was also a video loop of Swami's wonderful materialisations at Kashi and the sands of Dwaraka. Swami watched that too.

The second section sought to delve into the radiance of Divine Compassion by bringing to the fore Swami's super specialty hospitals. Again, Swami was taken through a guided tour by another student as Swami listened with rapt attention. It was indeed a lesson in humility and concentration to see Swami lap up every word spoken with interest. At the end of that section was a video loop on patients' recollections at the hospital. Many of the patients were moved to tears at the Love that they received in the hospital. Swami too was touched seeing those pictures. Love is such a beautiful thing - it moves the hearts of both- those who give it and those who receive it.

 
Swami keenly seeing panels depicting His early years
Stories of patients treated in His hospitals moved the Lord

The third section displayed how Swami's pure love exhibited itself as selfless concern by providing drinking water. Another student took up the mantle here and Swami was 'absorbing' every 'droplet' of information that was being 'poured' on Him! This was really a wonderful thing because on a previous occasion Swami had seen all the panels in this section and yet He went through all of them again. The section covered Swami’s water projects in Anantapur, Medak, Mahaboobanagar, Chennai and in the Godavari districts. The video loop at the end was on the Godavari projects. It was an abridged version of the Godavari documentary that Swami had already seen earlier. So when a scene where ladies are singing a song in His praise came, He said, "Those ladies danced too."

The fourth section projected Swami as the Divine Potter, moulding students as a Sadguru. Swami spent the most time in this section. There were pictures of the opening of all the colleges and Swami's University, the interest He took in all the trivial details of it's functioning also and the various events like the Sports Meet, Convocation drama etc. where Swami becomes the Sadguru for His children. The section also powerfully drove home Swami's concept of Educare and showed how that is the only panacea for the many ills of today's world.

 
The sadguru sees how He has so beautifully
shaped every student
'His love is the ultimate protection' - the exhibition's last
and most important theme


Adorning the central position in the exhibition hall was an exquisitely carved statue of the Vishwa Viraata Swaroopa. This beautiful statue could be viewed from all 360 degrees and it was an exhibition in itself. It carried the Bhagavad Gita being delivered, the scene from the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata where the grandsire Bheeshma preached to the Pandavas and also the different Avatars of Lord Vishnu. This statue has been gifted by Swami to be placed in the exhibition to enhance its grandeur.

 
"Heart 2 Heart" with the Lord
The masterpiece He Himself sent for the exhibition

The next sections were on Swami's service activities, Swami's glory and Swami's Love manifesting as the ultimate protection to everyone respectively. Swami was all ears to the next three boys who guided Him through. There were video loops on the mobile hospital that Swami has started and also on the grandeur of the 80th birthday celebrations. It was almost 9:30 am when Swami completed seeing the entire exhibition. At the end, Swami said, "All the arrangements, both inside and outside are very good. The boys have done a very good job. Venkataraman has been a very inspiring leader to all of them." Swami also expressed His wish that the exhibition be viewed by all the students and also the youth who would be arriving shortly from the world over. He blessed all the people who had worked for the exhibition - the artists, the designing team and even the carpenters and electricians. Leaving everyone in that great bliss and joy of having spent such glorious moments with Him, Swami went to receive the Aarthi in the bhajan hall. It was 9:40 am when He left.

July 21 – Swami’s Visits His New Elephant

 
 

On the morning of July 21, at about 8:10am Swami came out for darshan. As He neared the mandir gate, He took a turn and drove out to the Gopuram gate. Swami headed towards the planetarium and surprise of surprises (!), there was a tiny female elephant waiting to welcome Him! The little one was about 4 feet high and had a trunk that was about 3 feet. She had arrived from the Bihar-Nepal border area.

As Swami came and got down from the car, Sri. Adi Kesavalu and his family, who had helped in getting the elephant, offered their salutations. Swami went to the elephant and she too rushed to Swami. Swami, remembering his dear Sai Geetha, began patting her calling, "Geetha....Geetha". She put her trunk on Swami's feet and began to massage it. Pictures were taken by the dozen. As the flashes went firing, the elephant turned to a photographer nearby and began pushing at his feet! Once clear of everything, she went back to Swami's feet. Swami was so happy and someone nearby mentioned to Him, "Swami she is doing Paadaseva." Swami continued to feed her and she ate merrily. He enquired as to what her favourite foods were.

Audi Kesavalu's family offer their salutations.
She immediately takes refuge at His feet

"Raagi balls, cow grass and sugarcane," came the reply. Swami immediately asked for sugarcane and gave it to her. She began to merrily crunch and chomp at it! She ate quite excitedly and Swami seemed to be amused by it. The sugarcane sticks were broken into small pieces so that she could eat them easily. Swami was so content in just watching her eat. Swami asked what her name was. They said that it was Laksmi but Swami must give her a new name. Swami said that He would do so in due course. Meanwhile, the family members of Sri Adi Kesavalu came closer to Swami. There was a little girl who seemed to be mentally challenged. She came to Swami and said, "Swami Kaapadu" (meaning Swami save me). Swami also echoed her words, "Kaapadu.....Kaapadu" and held her lovingly by the chin. The look in His eyes was so full of compassion. This girl is definitely redeemed for she has been the recipient of His benign glance.

Feeding sugarcane to the sweet "little" one.
"Swami Kaapadu"- Why fear when I am here.

When some old devotees had asked Swami as to when He would give them liberation, Swami had said that on some days, and those days are really special ones for, He will be in a very granting mood. On those days, on whomsoever His eyes fall upon, will be liberated. So it is our duty to just wait patiently! Today the way Swami looked at that girl, so full of motherly Love, Compassion and Empathy, we can just rejoice for her.

As Swami was leaving, everyone present was bowing to Him. A little baby was brought to Him and suddenly there was a surge of Love from Swami. He fondly patted the baby on its cheeks and all of those who witnessed the scene were very touched. After filling everyone with joy, Swami left for the Mandir where bhajans were on.

 
   
Swami fondles the human baby too!

July 23 – Annapraasa Ceremony of the New Baby Elephant

July 23 morning Swami was to visit the new elephant to perform the Annapraasa ceremony (where the child is fed rice for the first time!). The calf had been tied because, young that she was, she was very energetic! Swami had sent ornaments so that she could be decked up for the ceremony. It was so tough for the mahout to keep her quiet. Once when he bent down to apply Kumkum to her feet, she began to take in his head as though it was a coconut!

At about 9:15am Swami arrived at the planetarium where the calf was waiting. Swami came out of the car and the little one went near Him. There was a beautiful smile playing on His face as He saw her. He sprinkled Akshata (sacred grains) on her in blessing and benediction. She was then garlanded with jasmine. There was special sweetened rice for her in silver vessels. As she was fed the first rice, like any baby, the first reaction was to reject it.

 
 
The energetic calf was a sight to see!!

The mahout suggested to Swami that maybe she didn't like sweet things. Swami immediately took a sugarcane stick and gave it to her and she crunched merrily on it! (That seemed to be a silent answer to the mahout's observation!)

Excitement at His arrival.
Swami showers Akshata grains on the little one.

Swami then fed her with more sugarcane, bananas and apples. The apples had been nicely sliced and were not whole as they would be when Swami fed Sai Geetha. The calf seemed to go bananas over bananas! In fact, after a little while, she began to explore the basins with her tiny 3 feet trunk and gulp down any bananas that she could 'lay her trunk' upon. Swami just sat watching her eat so hungrily. As He kept watching her from top to toe, he noticed a hole in the upper part of her right ear. He enquired about it and was told that it had been made to put an identification tag at birth. The calf had arrived from Bihar, almost near the Indo-Nepal border. Swami didn't seem to like that concept of tagging babies! He was told that it had been removed.

She seems to prefer sugarcane to sweetened rice
She ate with great gusto...

The elephant continued to blissfully gulp down sugarcane and bananas. After a while, she slowly moved her trunk and placed it on Swami's feet! (One was reminded of Swami Vivekananda's quote, "Feed a man and then teach him spirituality" and it seemed to apply for elephants as well!) Swami was then asked to name the calf.

"I will tell...I will tell", was the reply. A bowl of water was given for Swami to wash His hands after which Swami received Aarthi and left. Before leaving, He blessed all the caretakers and the other helpers taking care of the elephant.

Pranaams at His Divine Lotus Feet.
Swami leaves after blessing the caretakers also.

In the evening there was a programme scheduled by Sumeet Tappoo - a direct disciple of Shri Anup Jalota since the age of three. Swami arrived at 3:40 pm but after completing the darshan rounds, Swami went into the interview room. He came out again at 4:40pm and sat in the portico. The singer for the evening offered a rose to Swami after which he sat down to begin his recital. In a typical Anup Jalota manner, he began with Hari Om chant with shlokas. That was followed by excellent renderings of bhajans. The wonderful aspect of his singing was that it involved all the people and they too could identify with the songs. When he started singing “Maili Chaadar Oodhke Kaise” Swami began to keep beat and everyone seemed to be enjoying it. He sang for more than 40 minutes. One could easily see shades of his Guruji Sri.Anup Jalota in him. After the concert Swami blessed all of them profusely and even granted them group photos. Then He received Aarthi and the days programme concluded.

Sumeet Tapoo regales Swami and the audience.
The group photo.

July 24 – Talk by Sri Rituraj and Concert by Sri Hariharan

On the morning of July 24, the hall was filled by devotees from Maharashtra who had come for the Aashaadi Ekadasi celebrations. In the morning, was a talk by Sri Rituraj Maharaj. From the age of ten, Sri. Ritu Raj Ji Maharaj has been giving discourses on Upanishads, Ramayana, Bhagawad Katha and Bhagawad Geeta in his travels across North India. He was sponsored through UNICEF as "Bal Rajdoot" (Child Ambassador) to Holland and his lectures were lauded. He has been associated with the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation for the last four years. He sat on a carpet on the main stage next to Swami and discoursed in Hindi. The Hindi was flowing and so were his feelings for Bhagawan. He spoke on the great good fortune of having Swami in our lives. He displayed mastery over the Bhagawatam and the Bhagawat Gita too. Swami was very appreciative of his talk. Every time he said, "Swami...", Swami would look at him directly in the eye and nod to what he said. It was an enchanting talk after which Swami blessed him and gave him Padanamaskar.

 
Rituraj Maharaj enthralls the audience....
 
....and Swami enthralls him!!

This was followed by an enthralling dance drama presentation by the celebrated Bharatanatyam Dancer Shri Deepak Mazumdar and his most distinguished disciple Shri. Pavitra Bhat. Shri Deepak Mazumdar is an awardee of the Yuva Kala Vipanchee and the Kala Ratna (Mumbai) awards. He is also the recipient of a Gold Medal from our Bhagawan for the masterly display of his art at Puttaparthi in the year 1970. The theme of the dance today was the leelas of Lord Krishna as a child at Gokul. All the songs were Purandaradasa's compositions and they were in Kannada. When Purandaradasa composed his songs, he was so immersed in them that he visualised himself as mother Yasoda and Lord krishna appeared in his spiritual sight, and then, they relived those beautiful times in Brindavan. Through an aesthetic and expressive display, the dancers made Krishna 's leelas come alive before the audience. The whole presentation lasted for about 40 minutes. After the presentation, Swami called both the dancers and spoke to them for a while. He posed for photos with them. After that He called Rituraj Maharaj too and granted him the privilege of a photograph with Him. Then Swami received Aarthi and left.

 
Purandaradasa beckons to his dear Krishna.
 
Playing with Krishna at Gokul.
 
Sweet Sai Krishna remembers His mischief in Dwapara.
 
The dancers are suitably rewarded for their effort.

In the evening, there was a great sense of anticipation as there was a scheduled programme by the Padmashree awardee, Hariharan of the "Colonial Cousins" fame. Hariharan is well trained, both in Carnatic and Hindustani music and has had great success in his 'fusion' experiments. Though he started his career as a Ghazal singer, he found a grander following in fusion music with his albums in 1996. Since then he is much sought after in the light music world as well.

   
Padmashri awardee Hariharan fully immersed in singing the Lord's glories.
   

Swami arrived to the hall at about 4:25pm. He completed the darshan rounds and came to the dias. As Hariharan walked upto Swami, there was loud applause. He seems to be having devotees of his own! (and why not - after all as Swami says, talent is God.) He offered his salutations to Swami and began the concert sitting on the carpet that had been put. It was a nice experience to see the versatility that Hariharan embodies in his music. He sang ghazals, Carnatic songs, Hindustani songs and even light music. The music lovers were ecstatic and the non-lovers soon were converted into lovers! Hariharan then sang the famous "Krishna Nee Begane Baaro". When he started, Swami had a smile on His face and kept rhythm though the song has a slightly complicated beat. Then came the high pitched part in English (the one that Lezz has sung in the album 'Colonial Cousins'). Swami seemed startled at the change, but Hariharan did it so effortlessly. He kept shifting between the highs and lows with great ease. After the concert, Swami called him and blessed him. He also went in and got a saree for his mother who has been a long standing devotee. As Swami went into the interview room, the crowds became a little restless. Swami was inside for quite some time.

 
A saree for his mother.......
 
Swami concedes to Hariharan's request for a group photograph

In the meanwhile, Hariharan began to sing some bhajans. Starting with "Janani Maa", he sang 3-4 bhajans. The whole hall was now singing bhajans and that was very thoughtful on Hariharan's part to do what he did. When Swami came out with the saree,  Hariharan hurriedly called his mother on to the stage and she came up to Swami and received the saree. Then Hariharan requested Swami for a photo alongside Him and Swami graciously agreed. Both smiled and a beautiful moment was captured in digital format! Then Hariharan gave Aarthi to Swami.

July 25 - Ashadi Ekadashi

The tastefully decorated Mandir.
Pandharpur brought to Puttaparthi.

 

Nostalgic memories of the golden days of the past were brought to life with elated emotion and spiritual fervour in a jam-packed Sai Kulwant Hall on the auspicious morning of Ashadi Ekadashi in the immediate Divine Presence of Bhagavan Baba in Prasanthi Nilayam on July 25 morning. An aesthetically decorated Sai Kulwant Hall bore a festive look with the backdrop on the dais adorning images of spiritual giants from the Maratha state and hoardings with Divine Teachings and buntings were seen hanging, while flowers were strewn all around the dais and at the main entrance.

Reminiscing the past, rallying behind the great traditions set by two of the greatest spiritual masters from the state, Sant Tukaram and Sant Jnaneshwar, Sai fraternity from the two states of Maharashtra and Goa thronged to Prasanthi Nilayam, rekindling those golden memoirs, to be in the Divine Presence of their Vittal Rukumai in physical frame, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

The Varakaris arrive at Puttaparthi.
   

Ashadi Ekadashi is the festival that marks the beginning of the Chaturmasa and that ends with Kaarthik Ekadashi. It is celebrated during the months of June - July (Ashad Shukla Paksha). People consider the two eleventh days, “Ekadashi”, of every month to be of special significance. The eleventh day (bright) of Ashad is known as the great Ekadashi or Maha Ekadashi. This is the day on which people go walking in huge processions to Pandharpur, the abode of Lord Vitthal singing the abhangas (chanting hymns) of Sant Tukaram and Sant Jnaneshwar to have the darshan of their Lord Vitthal. The Vaarkari sampada is a time honoured cult and an important landmark in the colourful history in the state of Maharashtra. Large numbers of devotees from the city of Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra and from the state of Goa come every year to celebrate this festival at the Divine Lotus Feet of Bhagavan at Prasanthi Nilayam.

The palanquin carrying the Paadukas of Bhagavan.
They all file their way towards Prashanti Nilayam.

The morning programme on the 25th commenced with Bhagavan lighting the lamp shortly after His arrival in Sai Kulwant Hall at around 8:10 a.m. Then, it was the turn of the Vaarkaris, symbolising the traditional procession to the Abode of Lord Vittala at Pandarpur, who set started their journey on foot from Dharmavaram on July 22, doing service to the poor and downtrodden all along their journey, while spreading His Divine Teachings, before arriving at Prasanthi Nilayam carrying a palanquin with Padukas of Bhagavan.

The programme got underway with Swami arriving and lighting the lamp to mark the beginning of the festivities. There was an emotional touch as two tiny-tots took the entire audience to a flashback into the morning programme, in the previous edition of the festivity in 2006. Referring to Sai Geetha, Bhagavan’s pet elephant, the pachyderm who lived a life par-excellence, the children described her as a true devotee without animal traits. Equating Sai Geetha with the elephant God Ganesha, the children broke into a beautiful dance sequence in adoration to Lord Ganesha to the tunes of the famous song Ekadantaya Vakratunda… Indeed a fitting tribute to Sai Geetha and a wonderful beginning with adoration to Remover of all Obstacles.

"Let the festivities begin"
A tribute to Sai Gita.

The programme then began. Designed along the lines of the very popular "Kaun Banega Crorepati" game show, it was called, "Master the mind, be a Mastermind." It was a quiz programme on the various aspects and facets of the mind. Very interestingly, the prizes to be won were not money but units of Love. They had been sponsored by a fictitious (yet very real for all practical purposes) Sathya Sai 'Mutual' Fund of Love - a fund to which anyone with heart full of love can register, a scheme with absolutely no risks! It was typical Mumbai creativity at work. The sets that had been created were massive and very well done.

"Welcome to the game show- Mastermind!"
1st question- Name the 1st step to success.

The questions asked were all based on how to control the mind and nuances in mastering it. Aptly titled ‘Master the Mind, Be a Master Mind’, this masterly presentation was intertwined with musical offerings projecting man’s eternal quest - “Who am I?” as the central theme. The lingering question allied with an array of relative questions from the Quiz Master to the participants obtained guidance from the rich experience of Bal Vikas students, who were cashing on all that they had learnt at the Divine Lotus Feet to help the contestants to find the right answer. The expert guest panel comprising four illustrious greats of the nation, namely, Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Muthuswami Iyer and Rabindranath Tagore delivered their words of wisdom on different topics related to the Mind, helping the contestants to understand the vagaries of the Mind to reach the ultimate goal. It was indeed an innovative style of posing the much debated question, “Who am I?” and the much sought after answer “I am I”. 

Wisdom of Vivekananda
A visual helpline to the rescue of the participant.

The Quiz Master was seen summarizing the progress with an assessment of the good lessons learnt on the day. And the Quiz Master won special Divine Acclaim when Bhagavan chose to specially speak to him at the end of the programme before materialising a chain for him. It was also nice that Swami gave the pictures of Himself with him immediately. The programme concluded with Swami granting group photos. Swami walked down all the way and stood with the group. As the pictures were being taken, Swami enquired as to whether the whole group had been covered by the photographers! It was such overflowing Love that Swami displayed, unmindful of His standing for so long. Then there was Aarthi to bring the morning programme to a close.

Chain for the quiz master.
Swami walks down to pose for the photograph with all the children.

The afternoon session too was to be a long and spiritual one. Bharat, the land that is acclaimed as the land of Avatars is equally rich with the presence of great masters of spiritual acclaim preaching words of Wisdom to the masses. Often Prasanthi gets introduced to these great lives in the form of dramas and presentations held in the Divine Presence as an offering during many of the festivities. The highlight of the afternoon session was a dance drama on Jhule lal who lived during the 10th century, the chosen God of the Sindhi community. It was performed by the Bal Vikas children from Thane District of Maharashtra.

Swami lights the traditional Sindhi lamp.
A section of the Sindhi devotees who had gathered

The waters of the rivers at Sind.....
....flow and make the land prosperous and happy.

Put to suffering at the hands of a tyrannical ruler, Mirkhshah, and his fanatical followers, the Hindus in the Sindh Province prayed to the Water God for protection, and yielding to their prayers came a prophesy stating that their saviour would come at the end of eight months in a town called Nassarpur. Born as Uderolal, under miraculous circumstances, Jhule Lal had to face the wrath of the tyrannical ruler who under pressure from fanatic Muslim leaders tried to persecute him. The altercation between the king and Jhule Lal and the subsequent sermon about Jhule Lal’s Divine nature and the wrath the ruler had to face at the hands of nature were portrayed in changing scenes of rapid pace. Lost and defeated, a humiliated Mirkhashah sought Divine Mercy upon himself. He was forgiven by the merciful Lord who instructed him to treat Hindus and Muslims alike. After Jhule Lal’s passing away, when there was an altercation between Muslims and Hindus about the construction of a proper monument, there came a voice from the heavens:

Baby Uderolal is born.
Uderolal's heart melted at suffering of any kind.

“Behold, make my shrine acceptable to both Hindus and Muslims; let its one part be like a temple and the other part be like a Dargah (shrine). I belong to all of you.”

At a time when communal harmony is at stake and the world is reeling under violence over fanatic passion, the message of Jhule Lal is of absolute significance for one and all to receive and embrace in practice and precept. The punch line was delivered with a bottom-line towards the end of the Programme: Muslims believe that everything is God's and the Hindus believe that everything is God; the difference is an apostrophe s ('s) and that ’s is nothing, but SAI. The day one realises this SAI principle, the world will be One with unity and religious harmony. A wonderful presentation on the inspiring life of the Lord of Sindh on the day of his 1000th birth anniversary at the very Lotus Feet of God walking on earth.

Prayers to Jhulelal for redemption from Mirkshah's condition.
Jhulelal makes Mirkshah realise his follies.

Immensely pleased with the presentation, Bhagavan gave away watches to all the participants before distributing Prasadam to the huge congregation of devotees. Bhagavan materialised a chain for a little boy who acted as a disciple of Uderolal and chose to speak to the boy specially calling him on the dais. Bhagavan retired to Yajur Mandiram after receiving Mangala Arathi at 5:30 p.m. after a short stint of Bhajans by the Maharashtra choir.

Jhulelal's favourite disciple is Swami's favourite too!
The temple with half Muslim and half Hindu architecture in the background of the final group formation.


July 26 – World Youth Conference Begins

The morning of July 26 saw the inauguration of the ‘Sri Sathya Sai World Youth Conference: Ideal Sai Youth - Messengers of Sai Love’. The event was an extremely grand affair, of such scale that only Bhagavan’s meticulous organisation could have achieved. The day’s proceedings began with the delegates taking out a grand procession from the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium to the Mandir where Bhagavan was eagerly awaiting them. The procession was a wonderful spectacle to witness - an endless army of young and bright men and women in white donning orange scarves, marching forth towards the Lord. It was led by the Vedam group and the Sri Sathya Sai University, Prashanti Nilayam Campus Brass Band.   

Swami's youth army gathers in the hill view stadium
The Institute brass band leading all the nations!

An aerial view of the procession.
The ladies brass band from Anantapur.

Following them were representatives of the various countries, each carrying their respective National Flag coming forth to pay their obeisance to Bhagavan. There were over six thousand participants from 86 countries across the world, including Sai Youth from the state of Karnataka, India and the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School and University. As the youth streamed into the hall, Swami was sitting in the veranda watching them. Many members of the youth were so overwhelmed that they began to prostrate on the ground as they neared Swami. Once the men came in, the women also streamed into the mandir. The hall seemed charged with the energy of Bhagavan and the youth whom Dr. Goldstein, in his keynote address, hailed as the ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’.

 
 
     

The flag bearers enter into the Presence.
A tribute to Swami from the youth of many nations.

Dr. Goldstein compared Humanity to a procession where the older guard must move on and the young must move in. For this, he repeatedly stressed, the youth must be ready (spiritually and not merely physically) and the older generation must be willing.

Dr. Goldstein was followed by Sri. Shitu Chudasama of U.K., the International Co-ordinator of Sai Youth and Sathya Sai Education. He said that our epics are full of stories of exemplary youth, worth emulation. But the most ideal model for all is Bhagavan, who as young Sathya, showed mankind how an ideal young person must act. According to him the term ‘youth’ did not refer to a particular age group of individuals, but to the qualities of Purity, Sacredness and Courage. The youngsters of today must cultivate these virtues in order to be effective leaders in tomorrow’s world. At the end of his inspiring talk Bhagavan showed His Love and appreciation by materialising for him a beautiful gold chain.

Address by Dr.Michael Goldstein
Swami gifts Shitu Chudasama with a gold chain.

But the best was yet to come. Applause filled the hall when Bhagavan arose to give to all present His Divine message. Given below in bullet form is the discourse that He delivered:


- Man is the pinnacle of Creation. That is why the scriptures declare: Jantunaam Narajanaman Durlabham, which essentially means that human birth is a rare blessing.

- Man being a part of Creation, is composed of the very same five elements that make up the Universe. However, man is special, because he has something beyond the five elements namely, the power of Spiritual Discrimination.



 
- Today, the slogan is Knowledge is wealth. But how far can worldly wealth take a person? Not very far, because even as worldly knowledge is rapidly advancing, Spiritual Discrimination is diminishing rapidly at the same time.

- Is this good? Not at all, since man, having lost his power of Spiritual Discrimination, is not able to see clearly the difference between good and bad. And when discrimination is lost, the practice of human values also declines sharply.

- Discrimination is therefore very important for man because worldly knowledge without Spiritual Discrimination amounts to nothing! When man loses the capacity to appreciate the vital need for human values, he becomes a zero.

- Man today is busy multiplying his wealth. But what about Spiritual Discrimination? Is he doing anything at all to improve it? None at all!

- Man is not spending even one minute to ask: “Why should I seek more wealth? Is more wealth good for me?” Instead, he is busy accumulating more and more wealth, all to no purpose.

- The mind is the root cause of all these aberrations. The mind mirrors human personality and behaviour.

- The mind is very powerful and capable of enormous self-deception. When the mind drags man deep into the trap of illusion, man loses the capacity to go the basics.

- (Holding the handkerchief): What is this? This is a piece of cloth. Where does cloth come from? From yarn. Where does yarn come from? From cotton. In this way, if we enquire deeply, we can go the root, to the basics.

- These days, man is no longer bothered about enquiring about his true roots and his true nature. As a result, man becomes deluded and develops false notions about his identity. The degradation of the environment is one result of wrong thinking and the absence of real discrimination.

- Who are you? You are not one person but three: The one you think you are, the one others think you are, and the one you really are!

- In the Gita, the Lord says: Mamaivamso jeevalokhe sarvabutha sanathanaha, meaning essentially, “I pervade the entire Universe being immanent in every entity, animate and inanimate.”

 

- Divinity is your real root! Divinity is latent in man but what is the use? Man is doing nothing to make it patent or evident through his actions!

- Many seekers today say they are searching for God. But do you realise that you yourself are God?! Why then search for God?

- Man is unable to understand that he is verily the Spark of the Divine because his Spiritual Discrimination has become blunted.

- Spiritual Discrimination becomes blunted when man develops strong body consciousness, that is to say when man identifies himself with the body.

 

- Is it correct to identify yourself with your body? No, because the body lasts only till death; thereafter, it is returned to the elements. You are not just the body but something much more than the body! You are verily the embodiment of God and therefore eternal, immortal!

- People often say: “This kerchief is mine; this is my leg” and so on. What is the identity of this entity referred to via the words ‘my’ or ‘mine’?

- The ‘my’ and ‘mine’ are not to be associated with ego or the lower self but your Real Self or the Higher Self. Ego is represented by ‘i’ while the Real Self is represented by ‘I’.

- Man is not the small ‘i’ but the big ‘I’! However, he wrongly identifies himself with the small ‘i’ because his Discrimination has become blunted.

- When Discrimination diminishes, ego asserts itself. But when Discrimination grows, ego diminishes. Thus, development of Buddhi goes hand in hand with the elimination of ego.

- Everything in the Universe is God. In fact, there is only God and nothing except God. This table is God, this object is God, this stand is God.

- When we lose the power of Discrimination, we forget the immanence of God in everything in the Universe and become overwhelmed by the apparent diversity.

- There is no doubt an empirical diversity in the physical Universe. However, man must see beyond the apparent diversity and go to the roots. If he does so, he will see nothing but Unity, Purity and Divinity. If, however, his discrimination becomes blunted, he would see only the diversity that is superficial, and from this illusory perception, many problems follow.

- People say the world is full of problems. All problems arise from the process of Reflection, Reaction, Resound.

- Reflection, Reaction and Resound originate from man making the wrong identification. Man is not ‘i’ but ‘I’.

- When man makes the wrong identification of his nature, he becomes a prey to the senses, which then rapidly cause his downfall.

- Man must therefore not allow his senses to dominate his personality. Instead, he must ensure that the senses and the Mind follow his Heart, the seat of God within.

- There is a simple way of setting things right. First, have firm faith in God.

- Strong faith in God promotes Selfless Love.

- Where there is Selfless Love, there is Peace.

- Where there is Peace, there is Truth.

- And where there is Truth, there is God!

- You do not have to go here and there in search of God. You are yourself God! All you have to do is recognise that.

- Modern education encourages you to explore the outside world, in the process totally ignoring the infinite world within. Educare, on the other hand, takes you deep inside and helps you to bring forth what is latent within.

- People have all kinds of notions about Sadhana. In simple words, Sadhana makes patent what is already latent within.

- Many would tell you they are engaged in Sadhana. What is it that they do? They meditate, do Japam, and so on. All this is symbolism, not of much use except as a starting point. When overstressed, such drills become very artificial. Real Sadhana is that which helps to uncover your true nature as a Spark of the Divine.

- The artificiality of modern life has a lot to do with the excessive stress on Science. Science is below the senses whereas Spirituality is beyond the senses. When life is governed wholly by the sense-Mind combination, Buddhi becomes blunted. And when Buddhi is blunted, problems inevitably follow.

- To develop Buddhi, start with unshakeable Faith. If you do that, the road to God would automatically open up.

- Man today is busy wasting Time! Don’t do that! Do not waste Time for Time waste is life waste!

- Use every moment of your life to realise and recognise your true nature.

 

- If you make Truth the goal of your life, all problems would melt away!

- Man falls when he becomes weak. Man becomes weak when he forgets human values. Man forgets basic values when he wrongly identifies himself with the lower self or ‘i’, which is wrong!

- Love is all important in life but with wrong identification, Love becomes fragmented. Such fragmented love ceases to be pure, and is tainted by desire, attachment and so on.

- Love is One and not many! The fragmentation of love, so very common, is due solely to man being bound by body consciousness; it is due to wrong identification. All this happens because of the absence of Spiritual Discrimination.

- Making the wrong identification, man allows ego to dominate and Love to be fragmented. That is the root cause of all troubles the world is facing today.

- Avoid wrong identification and identify yourself with your true nature ‘I’. This would then help you to discover Peace, Love and Truth.

- Live always in Love. With the help of Pure Love, it is easy to experience God. No problem at all!

- There is nothing beyond Pure and Divine Love.

- Do not become a slave to ego and deny yourself the bliss offered by Pure Love. Do not fall for the false allure of fragmented love, desire and attachment.

- Divine Love is vast, like an infinite ocean. It is something that must be experienced rather than just talked about.

Towards the end of the discourse, Swami said that He was very eager to speak to all present on the easiest way to attain the Lord and Love. He said that He would be with all the devotees and youth in the Kulwant Hall at 4:00pm to speak to them. People around Swami told Him about the basketball match between India and Sri Lanka that had been scheduled for the evening. Swami had it announced that He had nothing to do whatsoever with the match and that He would like to speak to all. Everyone were thrilled at the prospects of receiving the nectarine words of Swami and that too He had promised 'the easiest way to attain pure love'. After that, Swami received Aarthi and left. However, during the youth session that followed, it was announced that all must assemble at the indoor stadium by 2:30pm.

In the evening of July 26, all the Sai youth had gathered in the indoor stadium by 2:30pm. There was a lot of music and excitement. A friendship match in basketball was to be held between India and Sri Lanka. The teams arrived at about 3:30pm and there were cheers from an appreciative audience. Swami came to the stadium at 4:15pm. As He entered the stadium, there was loud applause and the master of ceremonies welcomed Swami. Swami slowly went around the students and youth in the wheelchair sofa and then sat to watch the match. Seeing the players standing on the court, Swami went around the players too. Many of them fell at His feet seeking His blessing.

Swami blesses the players.
Receiving flowers and blessing a basketball.

In the beginning there was a dance by a professional team from Bangalore. The dance was a combination of graceful steps, aerobics and acrobatics. After that, the players came on court in their match dresses and the game got underway. For the first few minutes, there was no scoring at all. Swami was watching with rapt attention. After about two minutes, the Lankans made the first basket. Swami was overwhelmed. He clapped and seemed so happy. Watching Him exult so much for a small thing like putting a basket was really surprising. But that was not just an initial reaction. Throughout the game, whenever a basket was made, Swami celebrated - irrespective of the team that made it.

Synchronisation at its best.
The aerobic dance at the basketball court

There is such a beautiful significance to Swami's celebration of the baskets. It looks like God celebrates whenever anybody reaches their aim, their goal. It does not matter who does it. For God, the game of basketball, like life, is not about a wining side and a losing side, but about individuals reaching their Goal. And so each time a player succeeded in putting the ball through the loop, He celebrated. He also was very appreciative of anyone who helped and participated in helping a player reach the goal too.

Though it does not matter as to who puts the basket, how he does it is of paramount importance. Whenever a foul was committed, Swami didn't like it. In fact, while He appreciated the efforts of the ''offence'' to put baskets, He didn't like the concept of defending and preventing others from reaching their 'goal'. From a worldly point though it might appear as Swami was being innocent, a small change in our perspective and great wisdom lies hidden in His reactions.

At the end of the first half India was leading by 2 points. In the break, the dancers came on again. All the youth who were seated in the audience started making Mexican waves. and Swami seemed surprised by it. As the match resumed, the second half became more closely contested. Swami sat watching it very patiently.


Action packed moments.
India wins a free throw and it's a basket!

It was indeed very compassionate and loving of Swami to do what He did by attending the match in the stadium. After having announced that He would like to speak to everyone and that He had nothing to do with the match, He changed all His plans only for the sake of His children.

He, not only cancelled His 4 pm discourse, He also arrived at that time to the stadium. It was such a beautiful lesson in humility and compassion. God knows everything - yet He acts as though He knows nothing. Man, on the other hand, knows nothing and yet acts as though he knows everything.

The match concluded with India winning by 6 points. Once the match finished, Swami rose to leave. He asked for the wheelchair to be taken amidst the boys. As He moved amongst them, He blessed all with Abhayahasta and His smiles. At the car, Aarthi was performed and at about 5:45pm Swami left.

 
   

July 27 – Second Day of the Youth Conference

On the morning of July 27, there were three speakers scheduled to speak in Swami's presence as part of the proceedings of the youth conference. Swami arrived and went around granting darshan. Then He sat on the ladies side of the dais and blessed the proceedings to begin. There was first a talk by Mr. Shashank Shah, a research scholar of the Sri Sathya Sai University. He made a beautiful speech, narrating experiences and filling everyone’s hearts with Swami's Love. The second speaker was Ms. Alma Berra from Argentina. She recapitulated her experiences with Swami at Prashanti Nilayam and at her place too.

Sri Shashank Shah, student, Sri Satya Sai University
Ms. Alma Berra, Argentina

The third speaker was Mr. Jeremy Hoffer. He spoke very inspiringly to the youth to get up, dust away their mats and dive into action. He concluded with the Telugu song, "Sai Maata Biddalam". It was with amazing diction and clarity that he sang that song. One could notice tears in the eyes of some of the students sitting in the first rows and they said, "Oh! He sang so well." Swami too was very touched. In fact, Swami was speaking with Michael Goldstein, when suddenly the song attracted His attention. From then on He remained riveted on the speaker. He rewarded Mr. Jeremy with a beautiful gold chain at the end of his speech.

Mr. Jeremy Hoffer, USA
Swami materialises a chain for the speaker

The speeches were followed by an international music programme. After that, Swami had Prasadam distributed, received Aarthi and left for Yajur Mandiram.

The afternoon session was again the story of three speakers. The first was Mr. Ivan Bavcevic from Croatia. He spoke powerfully on the concept of surrender. He said that each day we must feel that we haven't surrendered enough the previous day. Swami blessed him with a ring after his speech. The next speaker was the well-qualified Dr. Shaun Shetty who said, “My greatest qualification is that I have come to Swami”. The final speaker for the session was Ms. Chetana Raju, who in her spirited speech quoted extensively from the Upanishads, Swami and other religious texts and contributed to spiritual uplift and understanding of all who had assembled. The session came to an end after that when Swami received Aarthi and left.

July 28 – Valedictory Function of Youth Conference

The last day of the youth conference had three youthful speakers - two from the gents and one lady, in the morning session. The first talk was by a Russian youth, Mr. Dimitry Udovikin. He had a translator by his side and he spoke on how Swami's teachings were so practical. The second speaker was Ms. Rita Chudasama. The highlight of her speech was the trials and tribulations that she had to undergo before delivering her baby boy - Achintya (named by Swami) - and the magnificent manner in which everything turned out to be fine only because Swami had said in an interview, "That child is my responsibility. Don't have any fear." Everyone present was touched by her speech.

 
Mr.Dimitry Udovikin with the translator.
 
Ms. Rita Chudasama narrates her experience.

The third speaker was Sri. Sanjay Mahalingam, a research scholar in the Sathya Sai University. He spoke very powerfully on how the only aim of human life was to attain God. All other pursuits are at best mere distractions. He said that the mind and senses, when under control, lead to liberation, while if one gets enslaved to them, then that becomes a sure shot path to ultimate ruin. The final talk of the session was delivered by Mrs. Phyllis Krystal. She was wheeled up to the dais and she spoke softly yet with conviction. She made all the youth go through the motions of a simple meditation technique that she had been inspired by Swami to learn and practise. After her talk, the clock read 10:45 am. Swami received Aarthi and the left.

 
Sri Sanjay Mahalingam delivering his fiery address
 
Mrs. Phyllis Krystal soothes everyone with practical meditation

 

 

The evening of July 28 saw the concluding session of the Youth Conference. Swami completed the darshan rounds and took His seat on the dais. The proceedings began and the first to speak was Mr. Shitu Chudasama.

The Ideal Sai Youth has the head of Shankara, the heart of Buddha and the hands of Janaka, said Mr. Shitu Chudasama expressing grateful thanks to Bhagavan for the wonderful opportunity the Youth have been blessed to have during the three day conference in Prasanthi Nilayam.

Commencing the proceedings of the valedictory function for the three day conference Mr. Shitu Chudasama summarised the collective wisdom shared by eminent speakers during the three day conference.

 


Dr. Narendranath Reddy, a practising endocrinologist from the United States, Director of Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation and President of Sri Sathya Sai Society of America, while profusely thanking Bhagavan for all the guidance and in-depth detail involvement right from the conception of the idea six months before the scheduled conference through to the successful completion of the same urged the Youth quoting the famous aphorism delivered by Jesus, “Many are called, Few are chosen.

You are the blessed and fortunate one’s who have been chosen”. Calling the entire event a unique exposure of Unity in Diversity, he thanked all who associated and helped during the run-up to the conference and during the conference to make the same a grand success. Dr. Michael Goldstein, Chairman, Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation in his short but inspiring rhetoric exclaimed to the Youth:

 
   
Dr. Narendranath Reddy, Director, Sathya Sai World Foundation

 

"It is essential that we enquire, what is the purpose of being here in His Divine Presence? What is the purpose of being? Is human life nature’s accident or is it God’s plan? From time to time, from age to age mankind is bent upon self-destruction… The Lord comes…He comes as Avatar…He is here now as Kaliyuga Avatar Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba….He is the embodiment of Divine Love and Divine Truth…the Same Divine Love and Truth that is ever present and always accessible, deep in sacred spiritual heart of every man and every woman…every single individual…ever there…waiting for the realisation of our true being…"

Nothing can be a coincidence in the divine presence. Dr.Goldstein concluded his talk with the statement, “Swami, these youth have gathered here. Fill them with joy just as you please." A smile came on to Swami's face and He seemed so radiant. It was as if He had decided to make all happy on this day.

It was then that the moment all had been waiting for arrived. Amidst the silence, there was a sweet smile dancing on Swami's face. He very gently beckoned for the mike and table. It appeared as though even Swami had been waiting for this opportunity to speak. He rose to a grand applause. At the very outset, He materialised a beautiful silver Lingam about 5 inches in size. He declared, "It is only with this Sathya that there is Sathya. If you hold on to Sathya, even you can do what I have done." Given below in bullet form are salient points in the discourse:

Swami with the silver Lingam
 


*) You think that you are human. As you think so you become. You are all God. Keep that in mind always.

*) Love all equally. All are Divine. Do not concentrate your love on a few individuals. Nowadays we see boys loving boys and girls loving girls. This is not pure Love. Pure Love can be got from God and God alone.

*) Always be conscious. If you forget yourself, it amounts to forgetting God. That’s why the ABC of life is Always Be Careful.

*) Keep pondering "Am I forgetting who I am?" I am not these hands, not the body, not the mind, not the intellect. I am I. Bhagavan is Bhagavan. Have this realization. All those present in this gathering are God. This is the cosmic form of God.

*) I am present in each one of you. Your hearts are fruits of Love that must be shared with everybody. Never hate or harm anyone.

*) You may think that mind is the cause for all sorrows. But it is the mind that is the cause for all joys too. If you are able to consider the mind as Divine, then alone can you attain permanent bliss.

*) The mind changes based on two factors - food and friends. Keep both of them pure. How do you know if it is pure and good? Good company and good food must lead to detachment.

*) This body has been gifted to you only for the purpose of realising your true nature. So whenever any bad thoughts arise, keep telling yourself, "They are not mine. They are not my property. Only Love is my sole property. Only good thoughts belong to me."

*) All of you have pure thoughts. It is only once in a while that pollution enters. It must be your Sadhana to ensure that no pollution takes place.

*) "Swami is in me. I am Swami." This thought must be enshrined in you. It must not be done mechanically. You must feel it.

 

*) Do you want liberation? Hold your mind steady for 11 seconds. That is enough. The problem is that you are not able to keep the mind steady even for 11 seconds. You are wasting a lot of time, money and energy on Sadhana of many kinds. There is no need to do that. All that will give you only rheumatic and arthritic pains! 11 seconds of steady mindedness is more than enough for liberation. You will get pains only if the 11 seconds limit is transgressed.

*) Any free time you get, think of Swami. I promise you that I will come and give you darshan. Not only that, I will talk to you too. Keep that faith firm and proceed. You will definitely be blessed with that experience. All of you want to see and talk to Swami right? Just do as I say. 11 seconds are enough. Keep the mind one pointed for 11 seconds - You will get that Darshan.

*) Have meals at regular intervals. Non-veg food must be strictly avoided. That leads to cancers. Many people assembled here have their mouths watering at the thoughts of cheese. Cheese makes you weak. Don't take thick milk also. Dilute it 50% with water.

*) Bliss cannot be obtained from hotels or shops. It is attained only by reducing worldly attachments. Less luggage, more comfort. The body also will remain healthy that way.

 

*) Worry is very bad for your health. Do not entertain worry. If at all worry comes, have the confidence, "This too will pass."

*) Love for God should be constant and permanent.

*) People think that Swami is in pain. I am as I was. I am healthy. My weight has always been the same. The doctors tell me that I should give them just 5 minutes and they will treat me. I told them, "If it is for spiritual uplift, I shall give them 5 hours also. But for the body, I will not yield even 5 minutes."

*) Keep smiling always and there will be no problems. Doctors cannot cure me. It is only the devotees who can cure me with their Love. Your Love makes me feel painless.

Swami displays the Lingam for all to see.
 

*) So many have assembled here and Swami feels so happy looking at all of you. I love you and you love me. That makes me most happy. Your Love is the medicine for me and My love is the medicine for you. It is indeed your fortune that Swami feels so happy looking at you.

*) Listen to what I say. You will definitely see God and experience Him.

Any eye that was not moist after that discourse must have been dried up due to all the tears flowing out already! Everyone was so happy and the whole atmosphere seemed to be surcharged with Bliss.

The Grand finale was an enthralling music concert by musicians from 6 nations - Germany, Russia, Poland, Latvia, Italy and Czech Republic. Swami sat enjoying the music and the youth sang in all fervour and devotion, charged up by the discourse.

The six nation Music concert......
....as the Grand Finale

July 29 - Guru Poornima Celebrations 

 
 

July 29 was the sacred day of Guru Poornima - a silent reminder to man of his foremost duties towards his Guru. There was a huge crowd that had gathered at Parthi. In fact the ladies darshan lines extended till the shopping complex! Slowly people were squeezing themselves into the mandir. People sat so closely to one another that one could practically realize the Oneness of creation! The hall, the lanes and by lanes in Prashanti Nilayam were all jam packed. Any sheltered area, such as the corridors of the residential blocks, had been populated by people who had spent the whole night there. There was an air of devotion and a thrill of anticipation among all.

Section of the gents crowd
A section of the ladies crowd.

To add to all this, was the presence of the new baby elephant. There was also a procession of students chanting Vedas and singing bhajans to escort Swami. Swami came out of the Yajur Mandir and oh! how beautiful He looked! Dressed in yellow with a smile dancing on His face - truly our dear Guru always seems to be in Poornima (full moon phase). Swami blessed the little elephant calf and also named her Sathya Geetha. Swami climbed into the Lamborghini car (where the driver takes a back seat - literally and figuratively!) and then blessed the procession to proceed.

The elephant calf to lead the procession.
The Veda group also was part of the procession

He noticed that there were some people holding ceremonial umbrellas and walking right in front of the car. The next statement was so lovely, "No need for the umbrellas. The devotees will not be able to see me." Glorious indeed is Swami's Love. He never seems to get angry or hurt. He lives for us and loves us. Everyday of His life, He has been consuming His time, energy, love and even His tiny 5 feet frame for our sake. He never seems to tire of loving us. Why should He love us anyway? What have we given Him? We only receive. That’s why He says that His Love is without reason or season.

 

But how do we love Him back? All of us depend on Him. Nothing special in depending on Him for everything, and mistaking that as a sign of our Love for Him, because whether we accept it or not, all of us depend on Him for everything. The question is whether He can depend on us. When our going gets tough, we look up to Him and see Him saying, "No matter what happens. I am with you. I love you." Can we confidently say that if the roles were reversed too, it would be the same case? Let us start loving God this Guru Poornima.

But on the devotee’s request, finally, He let the umbrellas continue in the procession. His heart melts so fast. He lets everybody to get their chance and be happy. The procession moved on with little Sathya Geeta, brightly caparisoned for the occasion, at the lead. The people were thrilled at the beautiful darshan. The huge crowds were on their feet to look at Swami on this special day. Swami too didn't disappoint them. He moved so slowly and ensured that all received His blessings.

Swami alighted near the interview room and took His seat on the dais. The first thing He did was to beckon to Sathya Geeta. She was led to Swami and He fed her bananas. After eating more than a dozen, she was blessed by Bhagavan again and then taken back to her place.

Glorious darshan on Guru Poornima
 

Swami feeds her sumptuously
"Call her as Sathya Gita."

For the morning programme, Swami had blessed the Malladi brothers - Sri Rama Prasad and Ravi Kumar - to perform. Bhagavan sat through the entire forty minute session during which they sang some compositions on Bhagavan’s Avatarhood and Mission followed by the famous Pancharatna Kriti of Saint Thyagaraja, Endaro Mahanubhavulu Andariki Vandanamul, a gem of a rare composition, describing the greatness of the devotees through the ages, paying tribute and salutations to the great men living in all ages. The rendering was done impeccably and everyone voiced their appreciation by applause. After their performance, Swami told them that He wanted them to perform in the evening too. Then, He called a few students from the Institute who were holding cards and blessed them. What followed next was an entire convoy of Primary School kids with various cards to show Him. Swami blessed them all - about 25 students must have been there! Then He received Aarthi, and blessed the prasadam to be given and left. Before getting back onto the car, He cut a massive cake that had been made specially for the occasion. A soul-filling morning programme came to a close.

"Guru- Happy Poornima"- reads a card by these little ones
 
All the Primary school boys with cards were specially blessed.

 
 
 
The massive cake that was made specially for the occasion which Swami later blessed.
 


For the afternoon session, the youth from Mexico and other Latin American countries were ready with a music and dance programme. Swami came and sat on the dais. Another sweet surprise that He sprung on all of us was that He was once again dressed in yellow! Bright yellow to clear away the blues! Two girls and two boys dressed in richly coloured costumes, came on stage and offered flowers to Swami. The programme then began. It started with a musical in the Mexican language. The next was a kind of tap dance performed on a board and as the song went on, the gentleman did a lively dance keeping rhythm with his feet. In the meanwhile, Sri Deve Gowda, former Prime Minister of India, also came.

The tap dance.
Sri. Deve Gowda, former prime minister of India also watches.

Then began a display of the creation of the universe with the 5 elements according to their tradition. The dresses were really so colourful and bright, and the ‘elements’ were really in their elements! Different dances ensued. A huge cloth was used as a canopy or the source from which all the creation emerged. Even the girls did some smooth flowing dances in smooth flowing dresses.

The huge cloth canopy.
Free flowing dances from Mexico.

The final one was a pineapple dance which is generally performed during the Mexican equivalent of Sankaranthi. Again it was a very colourful spectacle. After they had finished with their performance, Swami, much to their delight, told them to come near for group photos. Every member had a smile on their face as Swami posed happily with them. When our feathered friends went up to Him, He must have been reminded of His days on Garuda - so many feathers all around!

From the 5 elements arises creation....
....that gives rise to everything else.

But not only was He immersed in feathers, He was also immersed in joy and His smiles said it all. Then the international choir sang a few songs, in beautiful harmonies between the gents and ladies and in various languages which really enthralled the packed hall. Swami then made a request to the conductor of the choir and said that He wanted to listen to the Malladi brothers and so requested them to stop. Again, His humility was so touching. If everything we are arranging is for His happiness alone, why should He request. But that is where we have to be alert and learn from Him.

The pineapple dance begins....
.....celebrating the wonderful harvest obtained.

Swami with all the feathered friends!!
A very colourful spectacle indeed.

The Malladi brothers took over from where they had left off in the morning. They delighted the audience and Swami with more Tyagaraja kirtanas. Swami almost turned towards them and sat listening. The wonderful part came when Swami joined them in singing the swaras of a particular song. That was a sight to be seen - Swami going through the vocal gymnastics that the trained artistes were performing. Swami behaves so human that when He reveals His Divinity once in a while, we are all so surprised. This feature of Swami singing along with them continued even for some of the other songs too. All our hearts prayed that He clears the veil of illusion that hides our Sadguru behind the frame of our Swami. May we always see His divinity - not only on Guru Poornima, but always.

 
Swami with the Malladi brothers.
 
Swami blesses the family of the artistes too.

The programme concluded and Swami was so happy. He materialised two rings simultaneously and gifted them to the Malladi brothers. Then He also posed with them for group photos. After that, He draped gifted shawls around them and group photos for all the performers together followed. Then as Swami received Aarthi and left, the pictures of the Malladi brothers were given to Him. He smiled and presented them to the brothers who were delighted and they bowed down again to Him. Thus concluded a glorious Guru Poornima.

This month has been like a river literally - beginning as a small stream and growing with activities as the days passed by. The last week was a real spiritual feast. There were programmes both in the mornings and in the evenings on every single day and Swami was fully engrossed in the proceedings. May our lives too be this way where like rivers we grow in our magnitude and intensity in our Love for Him and like this month, let us culminate as the Poornima.(Fullness of Pure Love - the Prema Jyoti).

- Heart2Heart Team


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Vol 5 Issue 08 - AUGUST 2007
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