A chronicle of Heaven on Earth
On Sunday, July 25, 2004, the High School
boys celebrated their Hostel Anniversary Day by putting up
a play entitled,
“Sai Prem”. The boys had a couple of days earlier
shown Swami a handcrafted model of their Hostel Building and
had obtained His permission to stage a play in His Divine
presence on Sunday.
“Sai Prem”, a drama in 4 parts,
drew upon real life stories of how Swami had made a
difference in the lives of the students. He had either helped
them at critical moments in their lives or had transformed
them irrevocably and put them on the God-ward path putting
their wayward ways behind them. They also dramatized one of
Swami’s “Chinna Katha”. The story, ‘The
Winning Smile’, depicts the story of how Krishna won
over a demon easily by His smile and played with the it(who
had actually come to attack
the camp) when it was His turn to guard his companions in
a dense forest. The other companions who had guarded the camp
in turn earlier, however, had to fight hard to fend the demon
off; thus demonstrating that love conquers all, under all
circumstances. The drama had soul touching songs and also
a lively “bhangra dance” that kept the audience
engrossed and engaged.
On 27th July Swami stood in the front of
the verandah and talked to many students and accepted their
letters. He then blessed 2 student speakers. The students
spoke movingly and feelingly about their love for Swami and
their gratitude for all that He has done for them.
Following this, Swami asked Sri T. Ravikumar, a lecturer from
the Brindavan campus to
speak to the audience. Sri Ravikumar, just a few moments earlier,
had his new pair of glasses blessed by Bhagavan. Speaking
before the crowd, he explained how twice his eyes had been
burned by acid falling in them during the course of his Ph.D.
work. Not only his eyesight but both his eyes had been destroyed
on both occasions. Swami, out of His love, had restored his
eyes both times!
On July 28th, Swami’s benevolence was
manifest, once again, when He had two brand new violins brought
and handed them over to the Music College and Institute boys.
With child-like enthusiasm He had the violins taken out of
their cases and personally inspected both before handing them
over to the surprised but elated students. It did not stop
there. He had the students immediately play a song for Him
with their brand new violins; waiting while the brand-new
violins were being tuned and waxed and then listening with
rapt attention while the students serenaded Him with a couple
of songs. He then blessed three student speakers; two from
college (one of whom spoke in Telugu) and the other from the
High School. All of them recounted absorbing stories either
from Swami’s life or from their personal experiences
with Him to enthrall the crowd. This was followed by Sri Anil
Kumar, always a great crowd favorite, who reiterated and reemphasized
the points the students had made and also added a few experiences
of his own.
July 29th saw a violin concert by the students.
With the addition of two more violins, a violin quartet now
performed for Him. Swami’s love really knows no bounds.
Even without their asking, His love had responded by giving
them the additional violins they required. The enthused students
performed like professional artistes or even better, as they
played with their hearts to express their deep love and gratitude
to Bhagavan for His touching and thoughtful
July 30th, Bhagavan came to Sai Kulwant Hall amidst the Veda
Chants. After blessing the “birthday boys”, He
gave permission for three student to speak. Again the boys
spoke about their Sai Maa, and
Her incomparable love and care for them. These are all ordinary
boys, who become extraordinary public speakers when talking
about the one and true love of their young lives – their
A two-day festival on Indian Culture and
Spirituality was celebrated in Prashanti Nilayam, organized
by the Women’s Wing of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization.
The festival was inaugurated by Bhagavan on the morning of
July 31st, by lighting a ceremonial lamp. The whole of Sai
Kulwant Hall was tastefully decorated with a rural motif.
After inaugurating the festival, Swami blessed
four lady speakers to address the gathering. The first speaker,
Dr. Rajeshwari Patel, Reader in English, in the Ananthapur
Campus, spoke of the universality of Indian Culture. She
said that the Vedas are the earliest
body of spiritual literature and the most spiritual; as they
deal with the superiority of the Spirit. Sanathana
Dharma does not promote dogma but is primarily experiential
in nature, where “success’ is defined by the stage
when he is able to say, “I have seen God”. The
second speaker, Ms. Nandini, a Sri Lankan diplomat and Human
Rights lawyer, spoke of her Buddhist back-ground and said
she was able to understand the true meaning of all of the
Buddha’s teachings only from Bhagavan and that His teachings
show the universality of all religions. She asserted that
she had found nirvana at His
Divine lotus feet. The third speaker, Mrs. Sylvia, Vice-President,
Region 6, USA, referring to her Christian back-ground said
she had found it difficult to fear God and love Him at the
same time! She spoke of a great emptiness and yearning till
she came to Swami. Describing Bhagavan as total, complete
and unconditional love, she said that millions were
attracted to Him because of the universality of His teachings
and not for His religion. The last speaker of the morning
was Dr. Zeba Bashiruddin, Professor of English, Ananthapur
Campus, who spoke about the one God and His many aspects.
evening of July 31st, saw a scintillating performance of Carnatic
Music by the Priya Sisters. Swami was deeply engrossed in
their music and simultaneously created two chains for both
the sisters to show His appreciation. He also gave clothes
to all the artistes. The concert was a nice way to bring this
memorable month of July to a close.
The morning of the second day of the Festival
of Indian Culture and Spirituality on August 1, 2004, started
with a violin concert by Mrs. Padma Krishnamurthy, lecturer
in Music at the Music College. She was accompanied by Sri
Anant Rao on the Mridangam and Sri Sai Dutt on the Gangira.
violin concert was followed by a panel discussion on: “Mother
Sita - the ideals and values she stood for”. The panel
consisted of four faculty members from the Anantapur campus
of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. The panel
was moderated by Mrs. Chetana, an alumnus of the Ananthapur
College. The panel examined questions like:
Can Sita still be a role model for the modern, educated woman?
What makes Mother Sita dear to everyone? How is Her life related
to the values Bhagavan exhorts us to follow? The panel also
examined issues like – While Sri Rama is considered
the embodiment of Dharma, what
is the role of Sita and Her place in all this?
The speakers had researched the topic thoroughly
and the discussion was of a very high order. Bhagavan manifested
a ring for one of the faculty members and talked with all
of the panel members at the conclusion of the discussion.
( Watch out for the broadcast of the panel discussion on Radio
Sai, very soon)
The festival came to a close in the afternoon
of August 1, 2004, with a drama by the Bala
Vikas children of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization
of Habsiguda, Hyderabad District, Andhra Pradesh. The theme
of the drama entitled “Saadhvimani Sita”, presented
very vividly the virtues embodied in Mother Sita. When Sri
Rama sends her to the forest, she does not say even one word
against Sri Rama. She brings up her sons Lava and Kusa, with
the sole intention of eventually handing them over to their
father. As a dutiful mother she brings up her sons under the
direct tutelage of Valmiki, thus providing moral exhortation
and spiritual illumination to the young ones. Mother Sita’s
love, devotion and self-esteem is the confluence that keeps
us in constant awareness that pain and gain are the two sides
of the life-coin and we should fix all our thoughts on the
Lord and make our lives pious and purposeful.
What pleasant and unforgettable days! Each
day was a veritable feast for the eyes, ears and the soul.
Everyone was blessed- the organizers, the participants and
the audience- not only to be a part of all this, but also
to bask in His Divine Presence. After all it is only in His
happiness that we find our own!