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PRASHANTI DIARY
Chronicles of heaven on earth

 

Oct 1, 2007 – Special Darshan for Gujarat Devotees

The evening of 1 October turned out to be one of those longer ones. In the morning Swami had not granted darshan. In the evening too, the clock struck five and the singers struck the harmonious note of the Pranava “Om”. There was no sign of Swami. A huge crowd of devotees from the western state of Gujarat had arrived. The thirst for darshan could be felt even on the cool floors of Kulwant hall.

There was an audible gasp of joy and relief as Swami came out at about 5:05 pm. But Swami was in the car and the windows too were raised! They say that a drowning man grasps at even a straw floating on the water. Everyone craned their necks and stretched themselves to catch a glimpse of Swami. They say that familiarity breeds contempt. But with Swami this is absolutely false.  Each time we see Him, a mere awareness at what we are beholding raises goose bumps on the skin. As He has said, "My moving amidst you is a boon that the Gods of the highest heavens crave for."

However, Swami took a detour after the ladies side and headed towards the interview room. There was applause as Swami descended from the car. He chose to come out and there were smiles and even a kind of joyful laughter.

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The Gujrat "wall" of devotees delight at His darshan.

Water seemed to sprinkle on the parched hearts and people in their excitement to receive the showers of grace, got up in their places. Bhajans went on as Swami came and occupied the centre stage. Swami sat there filling their hearts with His divine darshan as bhajans continued. Four, five, six, seven bhajans went on. Swami suddenly turned and said something. Everyone thought that He was going into the bhajan hall. But He moved in the opposite direction. Moving along the teachers' block, He descended the slope towards the old-students' region. He moved slowly amidst the crowds.

And then, the Ganges seemed to gush and flood the moistened hearts of all the devotees. There was such joy that discipline took a backseat as it allowed devotion to become the driver. Especially the devotees from Gujarat almost formed a wall so that all could see Swami and Swami could see all.

Swami went along the lines collecting letters, speaking and granting  padanamaskar. He then moved amidst the students. He took a turn around the marble block where the students were seated and went around satisfying all as He passed by. He blessed a new CD that the vedam group had released. He blessed the birthday boys and many took the opportunity to touch His feet. Swami then went into the bhajan hall from the rear door. He granted close darshan to all assembled in the bhajan hall too. Aarthi was offered at 6:05 pm and Swami then retired.

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A bonus turn for the sake of His students!
Blessing the new CD of the Vedam group

2 October, 2007 – Cultural Programme by Gujarat Youth

2 October, 2007 marked the 138th birth anniversary of the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi. And so it was no surprise when Swami blessed the youth from the state of Gujarat (the state in which Mahatma Gandhi was born) to put up a programme in the evening in His Divine presence. The backdrop was put up and the stage was set from 2:30 pm itself.

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The attractive brochure is presented to Swami
 

Swami came out for darshan at about 4:20 pm. He went around the darshan rounds and then after a brief halt in the interview room, came straight to the stage and blessed the programme to begin. The programme was very simple but very nicely portrayed. It was actually adopted from a popular email forward. The story opens in a classroom in which the conversation between a professor and student runs as follows.

Prof : So you believe in God?
Student: Absolutely, Sir.

Prof: Is God good?
Student: Sure.

Prof: Is God all-powerful?
Student: Yes.

Prof: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn't. How is this God good then? Hmm?
Student is silent.

Prof:
You can't answer, can you? Let's start again, young fellow. Is God good?
Student: Yes.

Prof: Is Satan good?
Student: No.

Prof: Where does Satan come from?
Student: From...God...

Prof: That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?
Student: Yes.

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"So you all believe in God?"

Prof: Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything. Correct?
Student: Yes.

Prof: So who created evil?
Student does not answer.

Prof: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don't they?
Student: Yes, sir.

Prof: So, who created them?
Student has no answer.

Prof:
Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son, have you ever seen God?
Student:No, sir.

Prof: Tell us if you have ever heard your God?
Student: No, sir.

Prof: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?
Student: No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't.

Prof: Yet you still believe in Him?
Student: Yes.

Prof: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?
Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.

Prof: Yes, Faith. And that is the problem science has.

(Now the student said) Can I ask something to you Professor.

Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?
Prof: Yes.

Student: And is there such a thing as cold?
Prof: Yes.

Student: No sir. There isn't.

(The lecture theatre becomes very quiet with this turn of events.)

Student:
Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don't have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, Sir, just the absence of it.
(There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.)

Student:
What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?
Prof: Yes. What is night if there isn't darkness?

Student: You're wrong again, Sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light... But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and its called darkness, isn't it? In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?
Prof: So what is the point you are making, young man?

Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.
Prof: Flawed? Can you explain how?

Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?

Prof: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.

Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?

(The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument is going.)

Student:
Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?

(The class is in uproar.)

Student:
Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor's brain?

(The class breaks out into laughter.)

Student:
Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?

(The room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unfathomable.)

Prof:
I guess you'll have to take them on faith, son.
Student: That is it sir... The link between man and god is faith. That is all that keeps things moving and alive.

The student then reveals that his conviction is because of his acquaintance with Swami through Bal vikas and Seva Dal programmes. The Professor is impressed and he too expresses his desire to see Swami.

Swami was very pleased with the programme. He created a ring for the professor and a chain for the student! Then He gifted each and every participant with white cloth pieces. He called all the youth members and spoke with some of them.

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A ring for the transformed 'professor'
...and a chain for the transforming agent- the student

Still not satisfied, He called all of them to pose with them for group photos. After immersing everyone in the bliss of His love, Swami asked the youth members to sing bhajans for Him. Needless to say the bhajans were full of vigour and vitality. After a few bhajans, Swami received Aarthi and left for His residence.

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The youth memebers sing enthusiastically
The "Teacher" with His class!

4 October, 2007 – The Vishwa Rupa Darshan Day

Swami came out for darshan at 5:05 pm in the evening of October 4. The bhajans had begun and Swami went straight into the bhajan hall at the end of His darshan rounds. Swami sat for the bhajans till about 5:35 pm. He appeared to be very radiant, yet had an emotional air about Him. Every bhajan seemed to touch Him and as He sat, He kept looking all around. It was as if He wanted His gaze to fall on everyone present in the hall. As the bhajans were going on, Swami called the secretary of the Central Trust, Sri Chakravarthi, and spoke to him. The bhajan group dimmed the volume of singing and accompaniment as the conversation turned out to be a long drawn one. The conversation lasted for one whole bhajan. Then Swami smiled and continued looking at everyone. At 5:35 pm, Swami went into the interview room. He came out at about 6:00 pm and immediately asked for Aarthi. However, during the Aarthi, Swami came into the bhajan hall. He sat till the final Loka Samastha was sung. Then, calling Prof. Anil Kumar, He had the following announcement made.

"Today is a very auspicious day. From this moment on till 7:00pm, in the direction of the airport, one can have the Vishwa Viraata Swaroopa Darshan. It can be seen by people - irrespective of their nationality, colour, caste."

A wide array of emotions passed over people's faces as they heard the announcement. Swami seemed to be the only non-confused soul in the whole assembly. A rare wave of chatter and excited talk broke out in the bhajan hall and Swami left with a satisfied and loving look. The whole of Parthi and the neighbouring villages too seemed to get galvanised. All roads seemed to be leading towards the airport. The auto rickshaw stand emptied in no time and taxis were all full. All vehicles - motor and non-motor- headed towards the airport and well, only one who was at the scene knows the euphoric impact it had on all. Parthi must never have seen such a motorcade in its brief yet vibrant history.

To add to this, at about 6:30 pm, Swami's Porte too headed towards the airport. The ashram wore a deserted look as all its inhabitants moved towards the airport. The main road was clogged with vehicles and it resembled a one way. No vehicle seemed to be headed towards Parthi and all faced the South-Westerly direction towards the airport. Parking space was a problem, but the devotees went in the vehicles as far as they could. Then jettisoning the vehicles, they proceeded on foot to the precincts of the airport. Swami's car was parked in the centre of the runway just opposite the terminal building.

Swami's car was naturally the focus of people's attention and the locus of the mammoth crowd. In a matter of 20 minutes, more than 10,000 people had assembled in the airport. It was completely dark and the only lights were from the tail lamps and head lights of Swami's Porte. Of course there were occasional flashes from cameras and the small screen lights of mobile phones. Chants of Sai Gayathri rented the air almost everywhere. Near the car, it gave way to frenzied shouts of "Bolo Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ki... Jai." Swami sat in the car just staring ahead. He seemed to be waiting for something. People were in a devotional fervour and if the runway could be replaced by a river, the scene would have reflected the Maha Kumbh Mela.

All of a sudden, Swami's car that was dark, lit up as the interior lights were switched on. There was a mighty applause and everyone’s faces too seem to be lit up by virtue of the light being put on in the car. The crowd was now on its feet and the security cordon around Swami's car was now almost non-existent. People were so charged and they wanted to catch just a glimpse of their beloved Lord. There were discussions of requesting Swami to return to the Mandir as the crowd was becoming uncontrollable. But then Swami did something that was so natural of Him. He asked for the door to be opened and He seemed to be too keen to get out of the car and be amidst His devotees. The door opened and the chair started to move.

But then there was a sudden onrush of devotees. In the darkness of the early night, the whole scene appeared like the " Kanyakumari-pearl necklace" episode - only that it was now waves of devotees trying to offer their garland of Love, Devotion and Gratitude. The crowds were literally surging and people near the car requested Swami to return into the car. There were repeated pleas to the devotees to be calm and seated but they seemed to hear none of it. A kind of mob mentality set in and indiscipline was in display too. Swami still wanted to get out of the car and be in the midst of devotees. But the raging waves of devotees seemed to make that move physically impossible. They were almost squeezed flat on the sides of the car and it was physically impossible for Swami even to come out. For once it seemed that God was proposing which man was disposing!

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Uncontrollable joy at a mere glimpse....
 

The car now started and waded its way amidst the crowd and parked in another spot. Somehow, Swami wanted to be on the tarmac in the airport and it was purely His will that the car was still there. Such a scene had never been seen and even today it was not being seen (!), for along with the devotees, darkness enveloped the whole airport runway. The chants grew louder and now people did not know what was happening.

Swami was the only calm figure in the entire assembly. He got the car parked at a little distance away from the runway and then the same story was enacted. Swami wanted to come out of the car but it was physically impossible with the crowds swarming around the car.  Meanwhile, the whole of Prashanti Nilayam was literally empty. It was reminiscent of how the gopikas would rush to Krishna, leaving their houses unlocked, forgetting whatever they were doing. Swami for the third time got the car parked at another spot. Again the same story – He was not able to come out.

From a distance, even in the darkness, the scene was awe inspiring, to say the least. There were at least 12,000 people and the vast assembly brought to the mind images of the vedic chant "Sahasra Shirsha Purusha". In a way, though Swami was not being "allowed" to do what He wanted to by the crowds - the crowds themselves seemed to symbolise the cosmic form. Often Swami says that when it is said that the Lord has a thousand eyes and ears, He is not a funny looking being.

It is symbolic of Him pervading every being in the Universe. From a distance, this aspect became very clear. Moreover, the media picked up on some wild rumours which had no substantiation. The beauty of Swami's actions is that everyone benefits out of it. Whatever be anybody's motive, His motive is only the welfare and happiness around. He has not caused pain to one little thing in His whole life and led every moment of it for others. He does not care for the "taints" and "extolling" that the world may shower on Him. The Truth needs no verification nor does it change, whether a majority accepts it or rejects it.

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The massive nightly congregation in the airport...
...seemed to resemble a Vishwaroopa in itself

At about 7:45 pm, Swami's car started to head out of the airport. But the roads were all blocked. Even Swami needed half an hour to travel the 8 kilometres to the Mandir. He reached Yajur mandir only at 8:30 pm and retired only by 10:00 pm.

Whoever may say anything, in matters of spirituality, it is only the experience of the heart that counts. And it is faith alone that leads to the experience.

Once man told God, "Why don't you reveal yourself to the world? Everyone can benefit."

God replied, "I would love to do so. But tell me how should I do that?"

Man: "Why don't you do a miracle? A miracle that will stun everyone?"

God: "What sort of miracle do you suggest that I do?"

Man: "Hmm....well let me see. Why don't you turn the whole ocean red?"

God: "My dear! That will not work."

Man: "Why do you say that?"

God: "Because sometime back, someone asked me to make it blue. But today, you have scientific explanations for its blue colour!"
God then went on to tell him, "If you don't have faith, every experience seems co- incidental. But with faith, every breath, every heartbeat, every moment becomes a divine experience."

The feelings in everyone who witnessed the divine drama were profound and sublime. The experience, well, can be put off as coincidental and "nothing much", or it can be considered the fruition of the wait of lifetimes. Swami is Truth and Love.

7 October, 2007 – Gifting Marble Statues to the Hostel

The old mandir premises (bhajan hall mandir) had been cleaned and all the things there had been neatly classified and sorted out over the last three days by the students and some staff of the Ashram. There were so many items and Swami had decided to give away many of these treasures. There were beautiful marble statues of Lord Rama, Lakshmana, Mother Seeta and Hanuman. Swami wanted these to be given to the senior boys’ hostel for installation in the shrine.

In the afternoon, eight research scholars had assembled in front of the Yajur Mandir with the statues which were comfortably more than a ton each! The statues had been decked with saree, dhoti and jewels. All waited for Swami to come down, bless and consecrate the statues before the installation in the hostel. Swami came out of Yajur Mandir after the evening bhajan started, about 5.05 pm.

The minute Swami came down, He glanced at the statues and immediately asked, "What is happening here?" The warden of the senior boys’ hostel went up to Swami and prayed to Him to bless the statues. Swami immediately came towards the statues. He sat before them and kept looking at their faces. He was so pleased and happy. Now the boys came one by one to Swami and sought His blessings. Swami blessed the silk sarees and robes that then went on to decorate the statues. He sprinkled holy water on the statues, thus consecrating them. The statues were also garlanded as Swami looked on. He blessed the coconuts and had the vermilion spot placed on the foreheads of the statues. He asked them, "How do they look?" Pat came the reply, "As beautiful as you, Swami."

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Sprinkling water onto the statues
"How does Rama look?"

After having spent a few minutes gazing at the statues, Swami very unexpectedly posed for a group photo! The boys were all so excited and thrilled at this gesture. They also posed alongside Him. The pictures were taken. Then as Swami was going into the car, the photographer requested Swami to pose alone with the statues. And Swami agreed to do so! A picture was taken and then Swami went to the car to proceed for Darshan. As the car started, Swami blessed everyone with Abhayahasta (raised Hand in blessing). In the darshan hall, Swami gave joy to one and all by going around on the wheel-sofa for a round before going into the bhajan hall for bhajans and aarthi.

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Swami with the students and staff from senior boys hostel
Sai Rama with Shri Rama!!

11 October, 2007 – Blessings for Kerala Youth

There was a build up in the numbers of youth at Prashanti Nilayam on October 11. This time the youth were from ‘God's own country’, the popular adage that goes with the state of Kerala. Everywhere the eyes traversed, only orange scarves were seen.

Though the gathering was so huge, the discipline and silence was commendable. There were also youth sitting in the front on the marble block - a huge gap separated the ladies from the gents. An artiste in Carnatic vocal was due to perform in the divine presence.

Swami arrived at about 4:30 pm. He went around slowly in the car and granted darshan to all. As He descended from the car near the interview room, he called the State President of Kerala and enquired about the details of the evening programme. Then He went into the interview room.

When it was 5:00 pm, the regular bhajan time, all were beginning to think that maybe Swami would attend bhajans in the bhajan hall, but Swami came out! As soon as He came to the centre stage, He said that He would like to go down. There were smiles and joyful claps everywhere as the wheel-sofa was brought down the ramp. With a mischievous smile playing tenderly on His lips, He came along the lines of the youth, down the marble block and He seemed to accept every letter that was presented to Him.

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There were multiple blessings for all this day
 

He gave that beautiful opportunity to all the assembled Kerala youth to give vent to their devotion and feelings. If one travels with the sun, one can see the earth brightening up in its wake and the darkness just disappearing. That must be exactly how the students behind Swami's wheel-sofa must have felt when smiles blossomed and remained on the faces of the youth as Swami kept smoothly gliding by. Swami's mere presence has such a calming effect.

Hot heads seem to experience coolness and cold hearts feel warmth! Everyone finds reason and ways to associate with His physical form. For some, it’s a touch, while for others it’s a smile, while for still others it may even be the Divine neglect that they feel. "Swami knows I am here and so He did not look at me." But everyone feels that whatever Swami did was only with a purpose - never by mistake!

Well there was this student who, it seems, came third in the "lines" that come from hostel. And Swami apparently spoke to the boy who had been fourth in the same "lines" and had not even looked at the third place boy. This boy was in tears at the "grave injustice" that had been meted out to him. He could not believe that God was capable of such "partiality"! But he too felt that, Swami had purposely done it. So you see, every breath He takes, means something to someone, somewhere! And everything is for our own good and growth.

Swami went around the entire gents side and then came back to the centre of the marble block where the youth were seated. He called a lad and began speaking with him. After interacting with him for a while, He waved His palm and brought out a chain. He put it around the lad's neck as everyone applauded in joy. Swami looked up slowly and then if one had a telescope, one could have seen another mischievous smile at the corner of His lips. There was something else in His "mind". He began to come down the marble block once again. And He moved a little towards the ladies side of the youth. Moving along their lines, He suddenly took a turn and came along the students. He accepted the letter from our "third place" student and immediately, tears of sorrow were replaced with tears of joy. Again the boy was crying!

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"Boy what is your name?"
A chain of Love for the youth member

Ah! What was witnessed this day is indeed representative of what Swami has been doing all His life. And yet He carries on tirelessly doing the same, day after day. He went around speaking to some more students. He asked some as to what they planned to do during the winter vacation. He blessed the youth once again on His way back to the stage. By the time He was back on stage it was already 5:30 pm. Swami asked the youth to start bhajans. He sat enjoying the bhajans and in the meanwhile, blessed prasadam to be given to all. At 6:05 pm He received Aarthi and left.

15 October, 2007 – Dasara Yagnam Begins

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The priests begin the proceedings in His presence

The morning of October 15 was scheduled for the beginning of the week-long Yajna to commemorate the Dasara celebrations. The bhajan hall had been occupied with students in saffron dhotis and anga-vastrams. There was the resonant sound of vedic chants as the priest conducted special prayers and Poojas. The priests who were to perform the Yajna arrived chanting mantras. Soon, at about 9:10 am, Swami came in the car. He came into the bhajan hall to bless all the priests and the boys who had assembled there.

The head priest went to Swami and after a short conversation, Swami asked for the ceremonial clothes to be presented to the priests. The priests came forward one by one as Swami personally handed to them the silk clothes - dhoti and Angavastram. As soon as they received them, the priests went and changed into the new clothes. They were back in 5 minutes as Swami sat waiting patiently for them. They sat around Swami and began chanting. It was such a beautiful scene and was reminiscent of the Vedic times when disciples sat around the feet of the Sadguru and learnt the ancient lore.  Swami at the center of the circle of chants looked so wonderfully Divine and glorious. After the chanting was complete, Swami told all the priests to head to the auditorium and begin the Yajna. He then went into the interview room. The priests left and there was a message for all the boys chanting vedam also to leave.

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Bowing to the YajnaPurusha before the Yajnam
Gifting the ceremonial clothes

All the students too left for the auditorium as Swami sat just outside the interview room and watched the procession of the boys. It was only after all the boys left that Swami too left for the auditorium. Inside Poornachandra, everything had been kept meticulously ready and clean for the Yajnam. The flame was kindled in the traditional manner with vigorous stirring of a wooden rod on another wooden base. As the first wisps of smoke emerged, one priest cupped his palms and blew gently to fan it into a flame. The little kindled spark was treated like a tiny baby with all the care and concern. Soon the wisp grew into clouds of smoke and the sacrificial pit burst forth into flames. The orange flames rose higher with each addition of ghee. The two "oranges" on stage were brilliant - symbolic of sacrifice. Seeking Swami's blessings, the Yajnam began. The air was filled with chants and as always the scene filled one with a sense of wonder and awe.

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The embers are carefully fanned to begin the yajnam
The priest tries to garland Swami!! Swami refuses...

At Swami's corner, the priest was involved in Surya-namaskar (Worship of sun through postures). He started with lighting up the lamp near him and then after a few chants, went up to Swami. He prostrated fully and then as the beginning of his prayers, placed a rose on His feet. Going around Swami, he started his day.

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A magnificent view of the stage
 

The Rudram and Chamakam were continuously chanted as the offerings continued at the yajna flames. Swami sat watching the proceedings till about 11:00 am. At that time, He permitted the boys to leave for Grama Seva. Bowing to Him, the students left for service in Puttaparthi. Swami sat for another 15 minutes and then He too retired.

In the evening, there were two speakers scheduled to deliver talks. Swami came out at 5:15 pm. He was on the wheel-sofa. He went around the ladies and gents side granting darshan. The gents side was filled up by the sevadal who had just completed their service. As soon as Swami came to the main stage, He asked for the Vedam to stop and then told the Vice Chancellor to introduce the speakers of the evening. The first speaker was Prof G Venkataraman.

He spoke very powerfully on how Swami's message alone is the hope for the new world. There seem to be problems everywhere and they are so strongly interconnected that no solution seems comprehensive enough. Swami's message of Love alone is the solution. The second speaker was Prof. Veerabhadraiah. He began with Swami as being close to him as his father. He narrated in flowing Telugu, incidents from the lives of Sai devotees and had the audience paying rapt attention to him.

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Prof.Veerabhadraiah offers his prostrations
Prof.G.Venkatraman enlightens the audience

After the speeches, Swami asked for bhajans to begin. Swami sat for the bhajans keeping beat with His hands. That brought so much enthusiasm among all present. The bhajans were sung with full gusto and swing. After a few bhajans, Swami received Aarthi. As He was leaving, He said, "The bhajans were very good." Smiles blossomed on all the faces!

17 October, 2007 – Third day of Dasara Yagnam

Swami came out at 10:45 am on the morning of October 17 and went straight to the Auditorium where the yajnam was in progress. He then proceeded to the ladies side corner of the stage where the Poojas were on. He sat there witnessing the proceedings. Like bees around a honey laden flower, the priests all began to move to that corner of the stage one by one. Soon, the only people left on the main stage were the veda chanting students! The priests all gathered around Swami's chair and began chanting the concluding hymns of the day. Swami sat listening to that and then received Aarthi and to everyone’s surprise, instead of retiring to His residence, left for Sai Kulwant Hall!

In Kulwant Hall, Swami came out and sat in full public view granting darshan to everyone. The Veda chanting students had also reached Kulwant hall in their orange dhotis. Swami told all of them to go into the bhajan hall after a while. Swami too went into the bhajan hall and told the boys to sing Aarthi. He also told the Veda teacher to do Aarthi! By the time He left for the morning, it was 11:20am!

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The Yajnam venue seems to have shifted temporarily
Swami stays for the entire proceedings...

In the evening, He came out at around 4:45 pm. Much to everybody's delight, He came on the wheel sofa and went around both the ladies and gents sides. He came straight on stage and after a few minutes, commanded the Veda chanting to stop. There were two scheduled speakers for the day.

The first speaker was Sri G S Srirangarajan, from the School of Business Management, Accounting and Finance. He spoke on how a grand "Karma Yajna" was also accompanying the "Jnana Yajna" going on in the Poornachandra auditorium. He outlined the essential features for every act to become a Karma Yajna, viz. it should be done as an offering to God, be complete, be without expectation, and so on. The talk was well appreciated.

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Sri.Rangarajan speaks on the Karma Yajna
The birthday boy's greatest gift

The next speaker was a student from 2nd year M Sc class, Sri Natesh Shankar Shetty. He spoke on the Motherly Love of Swami. Basing it on the bhajan "Janani Maa", he brought out each of the aspects of Swami portrayed in that bhajan. He concluded by expressing his deepest sense of gratitude to Swami and said it was the best gift Swami could give him as that day was his birthday also. As he concluded and went to Swami, the Lord looked at him and asked (as if He didn't know), "Your birthday?" Then waving His hands He materialised a beautiful ring. Putting it on his finger, He blessed him. Then Swami asked for bhajans to begin. After three bhajans, He received Aarthi and retired for the day at about 6:20 pm.

21 October, 2007 – Vijayadasami Day

The morning of October 21 was the glorious dawn of the Vijayadashami - the grand conclusion of the festival of Dusshera. In the morning, the shutters of the Poornachandra Auditorium were thrown open and people started filling the hall. The priests, after conducting the initial poojas on stage, moved to the bhajan hall in Kulwant Hall. Swami arrived to the bhajan hall directly. He distributed new saffron dhotis to all the priests for the special occasion. He also gifted silver ladles and spoons with which to make the offerings in the sacrificial fire. Then, He gave a bundle in which were packed many materials befitting the yajna and told them to offer it in the fire. All the priests made good of the opportunity to fall at His feet and seek His blessings.

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Swami sits to receive the final offerings...
The Divine bundle is lowered into the Yajnam

Ah! How blessed indeed are we that God has come to teach us how to Love Him. It does not matter what path we take. It doesn't matter if we are liberal or orthodox. God's love is so pristine and pure. The mother never checks for the language or grammar of the child's cries. The response is immediate and spontaneous. Seeing Swami toiling day in and day out talking and acting out the same lessons again and again only for benefit of mankind is such a touching and humbling experience. God is not bound to anything and yet He takes up on Himself the task of Loving and guiding all. He teaches us the perfect way to make the perfect offering and then as the Yajna Purusha, He Himself accepts the offerings. What a perfect example of "Bhramaarpanam" and then "Aham Vaishvanaro Bhutva." Seeing Swami in action is seeing the scriptures come alive.

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Swami watches intently
 

The priests then headed to the auditorium. All the people in Kulwant Hall too rushed there. Swami slowly came on stage. He sat for a while in the gents side corner. Then He came right in front of the flames. Ah! What a beautiful sight! One for the Gods to see! The orange of His robe became one with the orange of the flame, symbolic of the Truth that the one offering and the one accepting the offerings are one and the same! The flames rose higher and higher and a gentle smile played on His lips. Ghee was poured in and the bundle that Swami had given was put into the sacred pit. Swami sprinkled holy grains on all the priests and then even blessed them with holy water. The Poornahuti (ceremonial close) then was performed. The head priest and his wife went around the Yajna fire and Swami, the Yajnapurusha.

After that, Swami went to the ladies corner of the stage where the "Sahasra linga" (thousand lingas) had been worshipped throughout the week long Yajna. He blessed it and then showered His benediction on all priests. The aarthi was offered to Him. As the priests then lined up and descended the stage, Swami sat next to His dear students who were chanting the Vedas. He sat on stage for ten more minutes. He spoke to a few students and then retired for the morning.

In the evening, Swami came out on stage after the darshan rounds. There were two speakers scheduled to speak. The first was Sri Ajit Popat and the second was Sri S. V. Giri. After the two elders had spoken, there was a burst of joy as Swami got up and agreed to speak to all. He did not want the discourse table and was very eager to get started. He began to speak even before the mikes were brought! A standing mike was placed before Him and He began. (Given below is a comprehensive summary of what He spoke)

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The coins of Sathya and Dharma

Vijayadashami is a festive day for all but for a few it is also a very sad day. (Swami at this point was overwhelmed with emotion) That is because, on this day, the old body is given up. But, the body is only physical and is impermanent. Laxmibai came to the previous body (Shirdi Sai) and He materialised two gold coins for her and giving it to her said, "Keep these with you always."  (At this point, Swami materialised two gold coins and gave them to the translator.) These coins are made of gold and have that date embossed on them.

These are the coins of Sathya and Dharma and they will support and guide everyone. Truth is God. If one follows Dharma with Sathya, all problems will be solved. With Truth in heart and Dharma in hands, march ahead. No other sadhana is needed. If Dharma follows the principle of Sathya, all sins will be gone.

Mamaivamsho Jeeva Loke Jeeva Bhootha Sanatanaha.
God is one and everything and everyone are reflections of God. Rama, Krishna, Allah, Jesus - all these are only names of the same God. To know this Truth is more important than doing all sadhana, charity, etc. Follow this Truth and victory is certain. "Ekam Sath Viprah Bahuda Vadanti." The Truth is one alone. All the rest will pass away like clouds. And anything done with the changeless Truth in heart, becomes Dharma.

Nowadays, the times are such that we notice a new trend. Boys falling in love with boys and girls falling in love with girls. They live and behave like husband and wives. But how long is this? Maybe one or two years. Later all change. It is only for temporary satisfaction of the senses. When you love anyone, know that you are loving God. But that love is not permanent. It will change. True Love is changeless. The moment body is gone, who is related to whom? The body has senses and it is bound to fall. It is never permanent. But the Dehi, indweller, is permanent. The indweller has no birth or end; no bondage or liberation.

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Today is the day to begin a new life...

This Dehi is Sathya Swaroopa. While leaving the body at Shirdi, Baba said, "Do not take this body as the basis. It will be gone. And then, none should cry. It is but natural that it will perish. Experience it as long as it lasts and then remember, it was only a dream." After Baba left His mortal coil, the body was kept for three days with the hope that He may come back. It was Abdul Khan who reminded, "Let us all remember what Baba told us." It was then that the body was taken from Chaavadi to the Samadhi. Remember, the body has its limitations. Each day, we are moving closer to the end of the body. So keep love as the most important and fill your hearts with the Truth. Follow Dharma. These are the coins given by Baba.  Sathya and Dharma are the most important. Keep them with you day and night - in all the three worlds and the three periods of time.

It is no use to just verbalise all this. It is most important to work. No use speaking with the mouth, speak with your heart. Then alone will all this get imprinted. Lakshmibai's daughter asked her for the coins but she said, “It has to go back to the giver." All the activities that are done are only to sanctify time. But if you want to sanctify your life, you have to follow these two - Sathya and Dharma. Remember that you are all sparks of God. No other sadhana is as important as following these. Turning beads without transforming the mind is of no use. Whatever you say or do, base it on Truth. Discourses and the study of scriptures are only for Kaala Sarthakam (sanctifying time). For Janma Saarthakam (Life's fulfillment) develop a relationship with God. God's Love will never change. It is permanent. Develop that. Do not have any differences. Do not differentiate based on religion. All the different names and forms belong to the same God.

The Matham (religion) is never bad. It is the Mathi (mind) that makes all the confusion and negative. Matham is that which purifies the Mathi. Very soon the whole country is going to be united. All will live as brothers and sisters for that is the Truth. Swami often tells, "Lead your life with Sathya and Dharma" (Swami then sang the song Sathya Dharmamu Santhi Premalatho). That’s all that needs to be done. The Vijayadashami day is one to begin a new life.

Swami concluded His discourse with the song "Bhaja Govindam". He then settled in the chair and asked for bhajans to be sung. Two bhajans were sung after which Swami received Aarthi and left the Kulwant Hall.

24 October, 2007 – “Samatha” Drama by Children from Prakasam District

Thousands of devotees from the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh had assembled in Prashanti Nilayam to have Swami's blessings and also had come prepared with a programme to put up in His presence if and when He permitted. Swami very graciously agreed to their programme and so the stage had been set by about 2:30 pm itself. Swami came out at about 3:20 pm. He completed the darshan rounds and then went into the interview room. It was about 5:00 pm when the interviews were over. Swami was looking a little tired, but He just looked at the clock in the bhajan hall and said, "It is time for the drama."

The Swami who came out to see the programme was so different. He looked so lovely and radiant. He was very enthusiastic for the programme to begin and as seems to have become the custom nowadays, the devotees brought a beautiful silver lamp for Swami to light. Then a white marble lingam was also consecrated by Swami. The lamp was also very significantly shaped in the form of Swami's Sarva Dharma pillar. Then devotees from both the gents and ladies side came to Swami and offered roses. Finally two tiny tots offered the roses and then the programme began.

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Prakasam district devotees offer their salutations
Swami blesses a Shiva Lingam

The drama was a musical entitled, "Samatha". It portrayed how the bombs, guns and advancement of modern science have no real power. Power lies in Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love and Non-Violence. There were well choreographed dances to bring about the concept of religious harmony. The five values of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa teach humanity that they are the true rulers of the Universe.

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"End of war is not peace!!"
"Sabka Malik Ek"

There was also a wonderful dance based on Shirdi Baba who always propagated the unity of all religions. The scene depicting the glory of Haridas singing for God was also powerfully shown. Emperor Akbar asks his court singer, Tansen, how Haridas is able to sing better than him. The reply comes, "While I sing for the Lord of this kingdom, he sings the glory of the Lord of the Universe. Hence the difference between our singing is the difference between the Universe and the kingdom!"

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Akbar's doubt resolved....
The climactic patriotic dance

The climax was a patriotic dance in which the three colours of the Indian Tricolour were used to bring beauty and enthusiasm among everyone present. After that, the final formation was made. Swami said that He would like to go down for the group photo. The children were overjoyed as they surrounded Swami. Swami smiled and stood up for the photograph. As He wended His way back to the stage, almost every child took the golden opportunity to fall at His feet. Swami then received Aarthi and left for his residence.

25 October, 2007 – Programme by Youth from North East India

Swami had permitted cultural presentations by the youth from Assam, Manipur and the other North Eastern States of India on October 25. By about 2:30 pm the stage had been set and all waited in readiness for Swami's arrival. Swami came in the car at about 5:00 pm. He completed the darshan rounds and went into the interview room. But not for long, He came out immediately, sat on the stage and asked for the programme to begin.

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"The North East offers its oblations to you"
Swami views the programme schedule intently

Announcements were made in both English and, surprisingly, in chaste Telugu. The formal rose and card presentations followed after which the first item began. It was the popular Assamese Bhortal dance. Composed by late Narahari Burha Bhakat, an ardent devotee of Srimanta Sankardev, it was a dance with brisk footwork and clanging of huge cymbals. The rhythmic dance was a blend of feminine grace and masculine power. It was performed for about 20 minutes and it built up to a wonderful climax. There was a very appreciative applause after its completion.

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The clanging fills the air...
The Bhortal continues.....

The second item was the "Dhol Dholok Cholom" dance from the state of Manipur. The Divine Radha-Krishna stories find their expression in these dances. Yaosang is a huge religious festival of Manipur and is associated with the worship of Lord Krishna and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The youth from the Thoubal district of Manipur presented this item. Their acrobatic skills were brought to the fore as they leapt around banging the drums in feet-tapping rhythms. There was so much energy in the dances that one could feel the vibes everywhere. The pounding of the drums vibrated in the inner beings of all present. The dance reached its climax with rapid swirling of the dancers with their drums along with a fast rhythm. All watched with gaping mouths as the dancers made their final formation.

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The energetic "Dhol Dholok Cholom"
Wow! Acrobatic

Swami was very happy with the performances. In fact, as the dances concluded, all the dancers bowed and went back to their places. Swami Himself called all of them to come up to the front. One particular dancer in yellow dress impressed the most with his acrobatic steps. He was the lead dancer. Swami called Him and materialised a green diamond ring for him. All the dancers simply began falling at His feet and He sat patiently blessing all of them. There was so much joy on all their faces. Satiated with the Love they had received, they began to file out but Swami was not satisfied with the Love He had showered. He called them and told them to sit around Him in a neat semi-circle so that group photos could be taken.

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A ring for the most acrobatic acrobat!
A group photo for all the others!

After the group photo session, Swami told them to start bhajans. He seemed to enjoy the bhajans a lot. Though it had become quite late, Swami sat for more than 5 bhajans. He blessed the prasadam to be distributed to all.

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And to top it all.....
....Swami permits them to sing bhajans

Then He received Aarthi and as He was leaving, He blessed the copies of the group photos taken and said that they must be handed over to the group, which was done.

- Heart2Heart Team


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Vol 5 Issue 11 - NOVEMBER 2007
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