September 21, 2009 – Special Ramzan in the Divine Presence

Coming with the new moon, the festival of Ramzan Id marks the end of 'Ramadan' - a month when Muslims fast throughout the day and eat only at night. It is believed that it was during this month that the holy Koran was revealed. Id means recurring happiness or festivity. As the third "pillar" of religious obligation of Islam, fasting has many special benefits. Among these, the most important is that it is a means of learning self-control.

A very important aspect of Id is the charity, which all the Muslims are expected to extend to the needy. In fact, the secondary objective of fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing compassion for the less fortunate, and learning to be thankful and appreciative for all of God's bounties. Added to this, the fact that this year Ramzan Id occurred during the peak of Grama Seva activity [Photo Gallery on Grama Seva] made it more special for all the staff, students and villagers belonging to the Islamic faith.

In most of the places, people broke their fast after their namaz with the prasadam that was sent by Swami. They prayed to Allah and returned to their homes and in their own words, "Allah had sent us food blessings!" A mention need to be made about Ismail Khan, a member of the Indian Police Service, who accompanied the students and staff during the Grama Seva.

He is totally impressed and touched by Swami's bountiful Love and Grace. At a village, Talamarla, he introduced the students to the Muslim community who were just completing their prayers in the mosque. With Swami's name on their lips, His prasadam in their mouths and gratitude in their hearts, they broke their Ramadan fast. It was towards the end that Ismail revealed with a smile, "I too was a student of the University. I was in the 1980-83 batch!"

The evening of September 21 saw two special gatherings - one of all the Muslim students in the front rows of the marbled blocks and the second of the priests who had arrived to conduct the Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna, which was due to begin the next day, in the Bhajan Hall. Swami arrived for darshan and took a complete round before moving towards the Bhajan Hall.

There, He interacted with the priests and they chanted for a short while in His presence. Blessing them, Swami arrived to the stage and the Veda chanting was on. Bhagavan then asked Mr. Ajit Popat to speak on the occasion. Beginning in his characteristic manner, Mr. Popat spoke on how true sacrifice and fasting is at the level of the mind and not only at the level of the body.

He explained as to how we must give up our obsessions, not only at a physical level, with an interesting story. God tells a person that his obsession with his beard is preventing his spiritual progress. Months pass and he complains to God that he is still not progressing despite shaving his beard, twice daily. God replies that he is still obsessed with his beard! Only that, the obsession is towards shaving it rather than maintaining it!

As Mr. Popat spoke, Swami called two little Muslim boys from the primary school to the stage. He spoke with them and asked the elder among them, "Can you speak a little?" He agreed. The little one seemed fascinated seeing Swami from so close.

Swami lovingly patted him on his cheeks and also put a clove into his mouth! Then He told both of them to sit down at His feet. Both the boys are from Iran and though they are Muslims, the elder is named Sathya and the younger is named Rama! After Mr. Popat concluded, Swami asked for the level of the mikes to be brought down and then told Sathya to speak. Sathya spoke, very little in terms of words but a lot in terms of feelings.

He thanked Swami for the glorious opportunity to be with Him on Ramzan. He prayed for His blessings and also to "help mother get the Visa soon"! He concluded with a prayer that Swami allows a small programme that had been planned. On Swami's instructions, he introduced himself as Sathya from Iran. He has been in Puttaparthi for four years now! Swami seemed immensely pleased with his speech.

After this, all the Muslim boys went on stage and sought Swami's blessings. Swami blessed them, and their cards and the holy books. As they moved down the stage, they started the song, "Maula Maula". The song added to the flavour of the day. But Swami had His own plans of the programme. He briefly went into the interview room and returned. At that time, three boys were speaking. Swami told them to sit and continue singing.

As they were about to sing the next song, Swami told them to start the Aalaap, "Allah Hu Akbar". That was such a beautiful move by Swami and everyone in the audience could join in the Ramzan celebrations! It was on that note - Allah Hu Akbar - (God is great) that the session concluded. Aarthi was taken and Swami returned in the car.

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