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PRASHANTI DIARY
CHRONICLES OF HEAVEN ON EARTh


Swami returned from Kodaikanal on May 18th, 2007 and four days later Sai Geetha bid farewell to everybody. Swami was with her in her last moments. In the cover story of this issue, we have a very detailed and revealing narration of the whole episode; do not miss it. After this the first major event in June happened in the first Sunday of the month.

‘Namasmarana’ by His Students – June 3rd, 2007

It was to be the first effort by His dear students to please Him with a programme. In the previous few days, Swami had asked a few students as to what had been taking place in the hostel. When they had said that the new academic year would begin with Laksharchana (chanting the Lord’s name a lakh times together), He had asked, "Am I not invited for it?" But then He had said, "Carry on. I just asked." So the senior boys of the hostel decided that the first worship of the year should be done in the Mandir itself in Swami's presence. Thus, overnight was born the programme, "Namasmarana"!

Swami came at about 4:10 pm giving the boys precious minutes to fine tune the programme. It began with an introduction on the power of the Lord's Name. It is only the Name of the Lord that can equal the form of the Lord as demonstrated by Mother Rukmini when she equaled Krishna's weight by chanting His name and placing a Tulsi leaf on the balance.

 
   
"The name of the Lord equals the form."

Prahlada, Meerabai and Gajendra were all redeemed by the chanting of the Lord's Name. A short skit of Ajamila's story was enacted to drive home the lesson. Taken from the Bhagavatam, the story is about Ajamila who lead a very sinful life. As he is about to die and the messengers of the God of Death approach him, he calls out to his son Narayana. But, the messengers of Lord Narayana arrive on the spot and say that as per the command of the Supreme Lord, Ajamila is to be redeemed as he took the Lord's name in the last few moments of his life, whatever be his intentions.

Yamadootas arrive to take Ajamila
 
Saved by the name of Narayana!

A Telugu skit on another popular story was about a poor farmer. The venerable sage Narada refuses to believe that there could be someone greater than him in their devotion to Lord Narayana.  So he sets out to scrutinize the Lord's choice - a poor farmer. He finds out that the farmer chants the Lord's Name only thrice the whole day in between his work. When he doubts the Lord's choice, Narayana tells Narada to go around carrying a pot full of oil, ensuring that not a drop of it falls out. Narada carries out the command but once done, Lord Narayana asks, "Tell me, how many times did you chant My Name as you carried out that task?" Narada says, "Oh Lord! How was that possible? I was fully concentrating only on the pot of oil." The Lord smiles," Oh Narada, that farmer thinks of me in spite of being engrossed in his work. What matters is the feeling. It is quality and not quantity that matters.”

Enjoying the programme in progress
"How many times did you chant my name Narada?"

The programme was interspersed with songs on the glory of the Lord's Name. There was also chanting from the Lalita Sahasranaama and Vishnu Sahasranaama. The grand ending for the programme was triggered by the comperes describing the various glorious Names of Sai. Then the Ashtothara Namavali was chanted by the entire hall and it was truly a wonderful experience for all.

The programme concluded and very aptly, Swami asked for bhajans to be sung. As the bhajans were on, Swami graciously agreed to grant group photos to all the participants of the programme. After the photo session, the glorious evening came to an end as Swami accepted arathi and retired to Yajur Mandir.

 
   
Laksharchana in progress

Bhagavan Visits The Institute – June 7th 2007
 
As had been announced the previous day, at about 8:40 am Swami arrived at the Institute auditorium. The students and staff were absolutely thrilled and overjoyed at the prospects of Swami addressing the very first Moral class of the academic year. The morning was very fresh and the whole place seemed to have been washed clean by the morning rain. Swami arrived to the welcome of a group of students chanting Vedam.

Two peacocks too stood by as part of the welcome team. Swami got down from the car and called the caretaker of the peacocks and spoke to him for few words.

Traditional welcome on a fresh morning.

The rains washed the entire place....
Anxious about the worker's concerns too

He blessed the Poorna Kumbham and then was taken straight up the stage. The whole assembly stood up to receive Him and sat down only after Swami had indicated them to do so. The stage had been adorned with a huge banner stating, "Tamasoma Jyotir Gamaya." Meaning, ‘From darkness, lead me to light.”.

The Vice Chancellor welcomes Swami to the dais
The thrilled assembly

The Vice Chancellor first laid out the schedule for the morning. Swami then blessed two documents presented by Dr. Krupanidhi of the Biosciences Dept. and Prof. Venkatramaniah of the Physics Dept. The documents were part of the ongoing effort of the Institute to blend education with Swami's teachings and were entitled “Educare through Biosciences” and “Educare through Physics”, respectively. Shri G S Rangarajan from the School of Business Management, Accounting and Finance addressed the assembly next on what it meant to be students of the Avatar and exhorted that all must recognise this unique opportunity to realize the ultimate knowledge. The Vice Chancellor then prayed to Swami to bless all with His divine message

Opening address by the Vice Chancellor
"Educare through Sciences" - blessed by Bhagawan

Much to everyone's delight, Bhagavan rose to address the assembly. Here is a brief summary of the discourse -

Education and money are of no use whatsoever if you forget the lotus-eyed Lord. And that Lord is the One in the Many, as Krishna said, "Mamaivamsho Jeeva Loke, Jeeva Bhoota Sanatanaha."

 
The six vices are a result of the food habits. Food and water must be pure and taken in a regulated manner.

Secular knowledge is fairly good but spiritual knowledge is the one that needs to be improved today. Education is needed but it is not to be mistaken with mere learning. Educare is beyond the world. All the worldly traits that you see today are only because of the education people receive. Though you have all the knowledge, you are fools because you do not understand your own selves. What then is the use of being so egoistic about this kind of second hand knowledge? Whatever your teacher tells you is not educare. Only the Atma (spirit) is the true teacher. However it is sad that none are even thinking of the knowledge of the Self. If you do not do this you are wasting a lot of time. Remember however scholarly you may be with respect to books, they all contain only 26 letters in their alphabet! The entire world you see is a drama. "Daivam Maanusha Roopena", that is, “God is in human form’. There is nothing to be achieved through worldly knowledge, so do not place undue importance on it.
Bhagawan rises to speak
   

Truth (Satya) is the fundamental changeless one. Where there is Satya, there alone peace exists. It is foolish to think that Truth is mere factual correctness. Bodies and names may be different, but the principle within is the same. You talk about Swami also in various ways. That too is just your imagination. The Truth is that you all are also God. Even the Buddha set out searching for Truth but concluded finally that "The Truth is within me" and was thus enlightened.

People often think that sages prayed and did intense penance and God went to them. God never travels or goes anywhere. When you pray, you come closer to God. It is not important whether God comes to you; what is needed is that you go to God.

Sai Geetha came to me as a tiny tot. She was a baby who escaped falling into the pits during the Kheddah operations to catch elephants in Mysore. I took her into my car and brought her all the way to Bangalore. I had honey on my finger which she kept lapping all the way to Bangalore. She was a born Brahmacharini. She did not allow any male elephant to even touch her when she was taken to Bandipur for bearing calves. She came running back to me at Whitefield. Ramabrahmam who was the caretaker then, thought that some ruffians had come in. It was actually Gita at my door. When I cry for her, it is not because I am sad. It is due to the Vatsalyam (Deep Motherly Affection) I have for her. She will be back soon. So no one need to feel sad.

 
   
"I have vatsalyam for Sai Gita"

Swami concluded His discourse and the vote of thanks was offered by the Principal, Prof. U.S. Rao after which prasadam was distributed. It was 11 am by the time Swami left the dais and all the Institute staff surrounded Him to offer their gratitude before His car finally moved on.

Deenajanodhaarana Foundation Day Programme – June 20th, 2007

 
 
 
Another example of Swami's immeasurable Karuna (Compassion).
 

The Sathya Sai Deenajanoddharana project was taken up by the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust in the year 2001. The project had its genesis in 2001, when Bhagavan, made a declaration that He would take up the cause of as many destitutes as possible and rehabilitate them. He recounted how he was moved by the news of a mother who committed suicide by consuming poison after she had administered the same to her three children as she could not combat the abject poverty they found themselves in. He declared that he would provide food, shelter and clothing to many destitute children, besides educating them to be self-reliant.

Swami Himself laid the foundation stone for the project. Sixty boys from such families were selected from Bukkapatnam, Kothacheruvu and Puttaparthi mandals. Some among them had no mother. Some had no father. Some had no parent at all. But as soon as they came to Prasanthi Nilayam, they found a loving mother in Swami.

 
   
Divine opening of the project.

Swami would give them clothes, suitcases, blankets and would bless them with His kind words very often. During the period of construction of Sai Nagar, the home for these children, the boys and their widowed mothers were housed in specially allocated sheds and given some orientation.Volunteers started taking informal classes according to the age of the boys, until they were formally accepted in the upcoming school at Sai Nagar. There were in total 58 boys, the age ranging from 4 to 14 years. The mothers were ten in number.

 
 
 
Sathya Sai Nagar - Home of the Deenajanoddharana Pathakam
 

Today, the Sathya Sai Nagar is an ideal of community living. It is more or less an example of a self-sustained, self-sufficient village. The children there have been excelling in all spheres of activity. They have been performing excellently well in the SSLC examinations and have also started putting up programmes for the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet of the Sri Sathya Sai Institutions. With enthusiastic participation in all the activities started by Swami, the children occupy a special place in Swami's heart. Every Thursday and Sunday, when they come for Darshan, Swami would pay special attention to them.

A Happy and Love-knit family
An ideal for community living

June 20 is the Foundation Day of this Deenajaodharana Pathakam. An elaborate programme had been organised and all the children had come early to the Mandir in all readiness. Swami came out about 3:30pm but He went into the interview room to speak to few people He had picked up from the portico. At about 4:35pm, the tempo and pitch of the Vedic chants went up indicating Swami's arrival after the completion of interviews. Swami had a peep into the bhajan hall where all the children were in costumes and told them all to go out and begin the programme. Swami too immediately came and occupied the stage. The programme began with Veda Chanting. Swami asked for the mike to be placed in the centre of the performing area and not in its traditional place next to His chair. After the chants, a little boy delivered a speech in English. And then, the invocation dance began. The dancers wore rich and bright costumes and the dance was paced to a melodious and fast rhythm.

The Poorna Kumbham is blessed
The Poets' Meet 'declared' open

Thereafter, started the main event of the evening's programme - the ‘Kavi Sammelan’. The children had come dressed up as various ancient and modern poets. The flow was designed in such a manner that each poet would praise some aspect of Swami's Love and Grace. The Vikatakavi, (humorist-poet) Tenali RamaKrishna was the person introducing the poets. First to take centrestage was Sage Valmiki. He envisioned Rama Rajya in the whole world beginning at Puttaparthi. He was followed by the great Kalidasa whose recital praised Swami as the Divine Mother who gifted him with His prodigious talent.  The Telugu poet Nannayya praised Swami's cosmic form and His nature of transforming demonic qualities into the human and then into the Divine. Then the Telugu poet Pothana articulated the need for using the human birth in service of God. Interspersed between these poets were humorists specially nominated to add comic relief to the proceedings.

 
Smiles Galore....
The Vikatakavi - Tenali Rama Krishna

Humorous poems punning on words, playing with phrases and making powerful yet funny similes and comparisons, elicited hearty laughter from both Swami and the audience. The English poets, Tennyson and A. M. Modi were also brought to life. Though the English rendering was accented, it brought forth the tremendous enthusiasm and effort that the children had put in for the presentation and that touched Swami. When Kamavadhani Garu's (a vedic scholar who enjoyed Swami’s proximity for many years) name was announced, Swami became nostalgic and there was a small burst of emotion on His face. Along with Ganapathy Shastry Garu, he offered salutations in the form of Veda chanting.  The Hindi poet Tulsidas and Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar brought the programme to a close with recitals from the Ramcharit Manas and Thirukkural.

As the programme concluded, Swami said that He was very happy. The children continued to sit in their places in a disciplined manner. Swami called the children to come onstage so that group pictures could be taken. The overjoyed children went to Swami, still in a disciplined manner, and group photos were taken.

The dance lights up the evening
The children with their Divine parent!

After that, Swami asked for white cloth pieces and He distributed the dress material to each and every boy personally. The children were full of excitement and joy and expressed their deep sense of gratitude to Swami. The curtain fell on the beautiful evening when prasadam was distributed and Swami accepted Aarthi before getting into His car.

Distributing cloth pieces...............
..................to each and every participant child.

  Bhangra Dance by His Students – June 24, 2007

Come Sunday, the students of Sri Sathya Sai University this month were ready with a programme to put up in front of their beloved Swami. On the last Sunday of the month, it was a Bhangra dance programme. The whole marble block was left empty for the performers. Swami came for His darshan rounds and as He reached the area where the students sit, a few boys in the traditional costumes went up to Him and informed Him of the programme. Swami alighted near the interview room and seeing costumed boys in the Bhajan hall, went straight into the hall and asked the lead boy there for the details of the programme.

"Swami in the beginning there will be Nagar Sankirtan and the installation of the Guru Granth Sahib. Then there will be the traditional dances Swami", was the reply. Swami spoke to both the trainers and some of the other boys too. He enquired for the duration of the programme.
Enquiring into the details of the programme.
   

The very sight of the boys in pugarees (turbans) seemed to bring a broad smile on His face. Anybody in a different coloured pugaree and Swami would ask Him about it. The sight was one that was so filled with Love and Joy.

After about ten minutes, Swami told the boys to go out and get ready for the programme. Then He went into the interview room. Within the next five minutes, the stage was set for the performers and Swami came out to sit on stage. The programme began with a procession and Nagar Sankirtan. There was a lot of josh but the first song was more of a lilting type and the steps were gentle and swaying. The Guru Granth Sahib was brought to Swami and He blessed it. The Sikh trainers offered their salutations to Swami and with a pleased smile He blessed them.

The trainers are blessed
"How many boys are actually from Punjab?"

The Holy Book was installed and two fan bearers sat there fanning it.  This was followed by more vigorous dancing. The boys made formations and danced with superb co-ordination. The beats were provided by the trainers with huge drums. The dancers even kept chanting in unison rhythmically. The sight of these thirty odd dancers moving fast and furious was really thrilling. The audience too was mesmerized with the pulse of the songs and very often began clapping their hands in beat.

The tempo of the songs began to increase with each passing moment. As a grand climax, there were gymnasts who made small yet marvelous human pyramids. Turning on the ground like wheels, some gymnasts even began to swirl long decorated sticks as they did the stunts. Swami and the people assembled were fully appreciative of the efforts.

Leafing through the Guru Granth Sahib

The last few minutes were very energetic and enervating and the beats were at the fastest. As the programme came to an end, the audience seemed to ask for more. Swami immediately made His appreciation known with, "Bahut Achcha" meaning, “Very Good”. He agreed for group photos and the boys sat in neatly organized groups of five. After the group pictures, Swami called the trainers and asked them as to what their names were, where they came from, etc. And then, He materialized a gold chain for one of them who was absolutely thrilled. As Swami finished putting it around his neck, he took Swami's hand and put it on his head. There were smiles all around at this loving act of his! Then began a session that was to be a very memorable one for the participants. Swami asked for the break up of boys’ class wise.

Bhangra in full swing.
The crescendo builds.....

A Gold chain for the coach
"Swami I want your blessings only!"

"Swami, there are boys from all classes."

"Any MA boys?"

There was silence as there were none from the MA class.

"Swami, there is a BA boy, but none from MA."

Swami asked for the list of the boys participating in the programme. When that was given, Swami went through the names and began even calling out some of them. As He called each name, that boy stood up. Swami would confer on him a smile and a beautiful Abhayahasta and the boy would sit down, the smile on Swami's lips now transferred on to his. Swami now began to call individual boys and began to speak to them. The topic of Swami coming to their hostel propped up in the boys’ minds.

 
   
The Divine roll call !!

“When can I come to your hostel?"

"Swami is this anything to be asked? It is our home. You can come whenever you want."

"Even now?"

"Yes Swami, even now."

"But all of you are here!!"

"Swami, that will hardly take any time for all of us to be back in the hostel. We will come with you."

"I will come when even good food is ready for all of you. Is the food good in the hostel?"

"Swami it is very good. See all of us have become fat having it!"

Swami smiled at this. The loving exchange between Him and His boys is something that must be seen to be believed. It becomes so evident that He has given Himself entirely to them and the boys too just reciprocate whatever He gives.

Swami then called the trainers to get the Guru Granth book. It was brought to Him and He leafed through the pages. After that it was back to Swami calling boys one by one and speaking to them.

 

"Is there anybody by name NANAK?"

No answer.

"Anybody by name Guru Gobind?".........."Ok anybody by name Govind?"

None seemed to have these blessed names.

"Who are the boys from Punjab?"

Three hands went up and Swami spoke a few endearing words with them.

"How many new boys?"

Over half the participants raised their hands.

"Chaala Santosham" - Very Happy
   

"How many boys from Brindavan? (Boys who were in the Brindavan campus previous year)"

Again a dozen hands went up.

The interaction thus went on. Finally Swami said, " Very happy. Very nice dance." He raised both His hands in benediction. As he went back too, He stopped to speak to the VIPs seated there as to how nice the programme was.

Things seem to be warming up for a wonderful new academic year at Parthi. With Guru Poornima, Aashaadi Ekadasi and the Youth Conference being scheduled for the month of July, we can surely look forward to wonderful events in the next month. Till then, thank you for being with us. Hope you could relive the events as we enjoyed covering them. Sairam.

- Heart2Heart Team


Dear reader, do you like this section? What improvements do you suggest to make it more informative and inspiring for you? Please tells us at [email protected]osai.org.



 
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Vol 5 Issue 07 - JULY 2007
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