of Heaven on Earth
After the heavy slate of recent programs,
there was a lull in activities. The students were busy with
exams, it being the examination week. Swami, in His enormous
consideration for their well-being used to retire to the Interview
Room after giving darshan or
else would come and sit directly inside the Bhajan
Hall for the evening Bhajans,
thus providing the students valuable time to study for their
exams the next day.
This first week in August also signaled the
start of a 5-day program on COURSE IN
VALUE EDUCATION FOR IN-SERVICE TEACHERS, organized
and sponsored by the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.
27 teachers from all over the country were selected from a
large number of applicants to attend this free seminar. The
delegate- teachers would also come for morning and afternoon
On the afternoon of August 5, 2004, Swami
asked Prof. Ramamoorthy, to address all
the devotees gathered in Sai Kulwant Hall and talk to them
about how youngsters can imbibe human values. Prof. Ramamoorthy
chose to expand on the acronym WATCH about which Swami has
spoken on numerous occasions:
Watch Your Words
Watch your Actions
Watch your Thoughts
Watch your Character
Watch your Health
Expanding on each of these, Prof. Ramamoorthy forcefully
brought out Swami’s teachings on human values.
Swami then asked Prof. Anil Kumar to talk
to the audience (and also the delegate-teachers among them).
Anil Kumar pointed out that the 6 qualities that a good student
should possess (as enunciated by Bhagavan) are Virtue, good
Intellect, Adherence to the unchanging Truth, Bhakthi or Devotion,
Discipline and Duty. True education, said Sri Anil Kumar,
is one that inculcates these values in students. He said that
the aim of education should be to establish peace on earth.
Recalling great teachers like Jesus, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa,
Shirdi Baba and our own Bhagavan, he said that a true teacher
is one who inspires and effects transformation in people.
Such teachers are remembered by everybody. Addressing the
27 teachers directly, he said that it was Bhagavan’s
Grace that had brought them here. He exhorted them to enjoy
and drink deep from the fountain of knowledge that is Bhagavan.
On August 6,
2004, Swami blessed Sri Narasimhamurthy, Warden, Brindavan
Campus, to talk to the audience. Sri Narasimhamurthy started
by quoting the British historian, Arnold Toynbee, who said
that the Indian way is the only
way for the redemption of mankind. He said that Swami has
made an advent to re-establish the Indian way for the good
of humanity. He said that the beginning of spirituality is
when man takes shelter at His Divine Lotus Feet. He also recounted
in detail the story of Sri Robert Bozzani, a devotee from
USA and how he was brought to
His Lotus Feet by Swami and thus had his life transformed.
He also provided first hand details of Swami’s love
and sacrifice especially with the events connected with the
Easwaramma day celebrations this year in Brindavan. He mentioned
that though He had a mishap, Swami insisted on coming down
to be at the same level with His devotees and also gave a
discourse, standing up in spite of great pain and discomfort,
just for the benefit of the devotees.
Following this talk, Swami blessed a visiting
music teacher from The Netherlands, Sri Harry Geurts to speak.
Harry, though not well conversant with English, spoke movingly
from the heart and recounted the immense love that drew him
to His Lotus Feet. Swami manifested a chain for Harry with
a cross as a pendant and lovingly put it around his neck with
His Own Hand.
On August 8, 2004, Swami asked yet another
faculty member to address the audience
and all the teachers who had come for the conference. This
time He selected Sri Sanjay Sahni, Principal, Brindavan campus,
to speak. Sri Sanjay Sahni chose to talk about Bhagavan’s
advent and what it means to us. He enumerated that every Avatar
has 3 vows, namely - His hand is always stretched out only
to give; secondly He accepts everyone who surrenders to Him
and lastly that once He has taken a step forward for the welfare
of man, that step is never retracted. He stated that Bhagavan’s
mission is to repair the ancient highway back to God. Drawing
from recent incidents in his own life he illustrated that
Bhagavan’s will (sankalpa)
After the exams week was over the students
took over again. On August 8, in the evening, the 3rd year
students of the SSSIHL put up a Telugu play for the Lord.
The play brought out the more esoteric aspects of Bhakthi.
Based on a story related by Bhagavan in one of His discoursess,
the play depicted Arjuna who was a little puzzled when he
came across a Brahmin carrying a sword. On questioning him,
the Brahmin explained that the wanted to do away with 3 so-called
devotees of the Lord, who had in reality caused him trouble
by wresting some service from Him in the guise of devotion.
The Brahmin said that he was in search of Prahlada, who had
asked the Lord to manifest Himself when challenged by his
father Hiranyakasipu; Draupadi who asked the Lord to rescue
her when being disrobed in front of the assemble and finally
Arjuna himself who used the Lord as his charioteer, guiding
him by the heel of his shoes and causing bruises on the Lord’s
This was followed on August 9, 2004, with
a play in English by the Sai youth from Region 4 (UK), entitled
“Service is a Glorious
Opportunity for Mankind”. These devotees a few days
earlier, on August 3, 2004, had also sung Bhajans
and melodies in the Divine Presence.
The drama by
the UK youth, glorifying service done with the right attitude,
revolves around 3 persons: Ahmed Sheik, a stock-broker by
profession and a money minded man; Sir William Travis, who
though a renowned philanthropist is however proud of his giving;
and finally Parminder Singh, a Sai devotee and a family man,
who is absorbed in serving the community but
fails in some of his duties towards his own family. The drama
in 5 scenes outlines how their lives are transformed after
meeting Sai devotees and being introduced to Swami’s
teachings. The play concludes with a musical response to the
questions: “Who is Sai Baba?”; “What does
Sai Baba teach?” The finale song Sainath
Tere Hazaro Hath (Sai You have a thousand hands) glorifies
Bhagavan, after all the characters have realized that Swami
is God Incarnate. Following this, Swami stood for a group
picture with all the participants in the play and also permitted
them to sing bhajans thereafter.
On August 11, the boys of the Sai Mirpuri
College of Music were ready to regale the Lord with a Carnatic
concert. After Swami had sat down on the chair, He asked the
violin boys (about
whom we wrote in the last issue) to play first. A signal lesson
that with the Lord, one has to be ever prepared for one never
knows when the call will come! After the violin boys had played
a number of songs to thunderous applause from the audience,
the Carnatic music boys from the Music College kept the audience
further spell-bound with their soul stirring devotional songs.
On August 13th, the first year MBA students
of the SSSIHL put up a drama entitled
Mana Eva Manushyanam
Karanam Bandha Mokshayoh. The drama starts by showing
how contemporary man is tortured by the desires of his mind.
A renunciant then explains to contemporary man that the mind
gets trapped in worldly activities and desires akin to a monkey’s
hand that gets trapped by a narrow mouthed jar when it holds
on to a full fist of groundnuts. The Mind (played well by
a boy who brings out its restlessness dramatically), in turn
tries to wean
Man away from the renunciant and trap him again in the world.
Man then seeks help from the renunciant, who explains that
even great men have fallen to the vagaries of the mind. This
was illustrated by a scene showing how Parikshit in anger
(prompted by ego and the mind) puts a dead snake around the
neck of Sage Sameeka who, being in deep meditation, does not
serve water to the thirsty king. The renunciant then explains
to man that the mind is like a key in a lock. Turn it outwards
you get locked in maya, turn
it inwards and you realize the atma.
The renunciant then explains how King Parikshit (who gets
cursed by the
sage’s son to die in 7 days of snakebite) spent his
remaining days leading his mind Godward by
listening to Krishna’s pastimes from Sage Suka and thus
found liberation. The renunciant further alludes to the Bhagavad
Gita where Krishna answers Arjuna’s doubts regarding
the weakness of the mind. Contemporary man, thus inspired,
makes the mind to offer itself at the feet of the Kaliyuga
Avatara which was depicted using the final song of this well
August 14, 2004 saw a rendering of the traditional
rural art of story telling in verse and song called
Two young boys sang in sweet Telugu verse the story and devotion
of Sakubhai (where Lord Panduranga manifested as Sakubai and
took care of her household chores so Sakubai could go to have
darshan of her beloved Lord
Vitthala) and the divine leelas
of Krishna. Harikatha
is normally rendered by men with a garland around their necks.
Since the boys did not have garlands, Swami had a couple of
garlands brought and had them put around their necks of the
two boys. He was pleased with the rendition and later posed
for photographs with them.
August 15th is celebrated as Independence
Day in India. The traditional flag-hoisting ceremony in the
this year was supplemented this year by a superb drama in
Sai Kulwant Hall presented by the postgraduate students of
the Institute, entitled ‘From Independence to Swarajya’.
Independence refers to the struggle for freedom to be a free
country from the yoke of British rule and Swa-rajya refers
to the rule of the Self. The story begins with a young man
expressing a desire to go abroad to his anguished grandfather.
His grandfather expressing deep dismay at this development,
refers to the sacrifices made by the freedom fighters at the
cost of their lives to gain freedom for the country. The sacrifice
of a number of freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh (who was
hanged by the British for his role in the freedom struggle)
depicted to the silent and spell-bound
audience. This brings about a transformation in the young
man who decides against going abroad. The drama further brings
out that true freedom lies in conquering the self as enshrined
in Bharatiya culture. The drama was brought to a close on
a patriotic note with all singing the National Anthem. The
boys had also worked hard to provide a fitting backdrop of
Bharat mata morphed into a map
of India. Swami when He entered the hall, stopped
His golf cart for a minute to admire this decoration. Before
the start of the play, He met with all the actors inside the
mandir and also cut a cake that they had prepared specially
for Him. At the end of the play He was very happy and walked
down and talked with all the boys who milled around Him. He
manifested rings for 4 different actors as a token of His
appreciation. Truly one Independence Day celebration that
will be remembered for a long time!
August 17 and August 18, 2004 saw speeches by students as
well as by a couple of faculty members. For the most part
the speakers shared their experiences with Swami and his love
and protection for them and their family. Rather than summarize
these speeches here, Radio Sai will broadcast some of these
speeches in the future.
All in all another blissful fortnight at the Lord’s