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PRASHANTI DIARY
CHRONICLES OF HEAVEN ON EARTH


31 August, 2007: Bhagavan Distributes Robes to Office Bearers

Since 29 August, a banner heralding the Conference of all the office bearers of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations in India has been fluttering in the Mandir premises. Half a dozen plasma TVs had been set up to aid the presentations to be made. But somehow, the conference had not yet been held at the Mandir in Swami's presence though the office bearers have met after the morning and evening bhajans in the Conference Hall and have had many constructive sessions.

On 31 August, Swami came out on the wheel sofa, just like the previous day. But He was not accepting letters from anyone. To any person who stretched out a letter, Swami just signaled for them to hold on. He was a picture of contentment just looking at everyone. He completed the ladies side and as He was among the boys, there were many eager beavers trying to give letters. Swami continued with the gentle signals and gentler smiles.

For once, let us trade places with Swami and occupy the wheel sofa! As we come out every morning and every afternoon, there are thousands of people waiting to relate their psychological problems, medical ailments, financial difficulties, relationship mismatches and yes, some are present even to offer their gratitude for favours received, to express their Love for Him. We are in that position where, by just reading all the correspondence received daily, we would have read almost every word that exists in a dictionary and that too not of English alone, but many other languages too! And then, we are expected to smile as we receive yet another letter!

But wait a minute, God is not supposed to be affected by the fatigue and ennui that affect us mere mortals right? Correct, but then God does not need to be informed of everything like mere mortals right? He knows everything. Well the problem arises if we make someone God for some reasons and mortal for others! And as the famous episode goes, Swami told the genial Prof. Anil Kumar, "So many want to give letters to me." The professor replied, "Swami maybe they have some emergency and so they want to give letters to you." Swami quipped, "Once anyone comes to me, will they ever have an emergency?" When we write to Him, it is only for our satisfaction that He receives the correspondence and not out of His need to stay informed and there is no theorem or axiom that says that problems presented to Him on paper are faster resolved than those presented via prayer!

Swami completed the gents side too and then went into the Mandir portico. He took a round there also granting darshan. Then He came out and sat on the gents side of the stage. None had guessed that Swami had planned something grand. He called the co-ordinators of the Office Bearers' Meet and presented them with His precious robes. So many devotees the world over send robes to Swami as offerings of their Love and gratitude. Swami was now offering them back to His devotees as a sign of His Love and Grace. What happened next was truly special. Swami said that He would personally give robes to all the 500 plus devotees who had gathered for the conference! There was so much excitement and joy!

 
   
A Masterplan in the offing

Collecting letters from the State Presidents....
...and distributing His robes to them

All of them began coming to Swami in an orderly line. Up front, Swami continued to present them with robes. Many offered letters (!) to Swami which He now accepted. A few of them broke down in gratefulness and made no secret of their dedication and Love for Him. Swami sat thus distributing robes from 4:10pm when He sat outside, till about 5:00pm. Midway through, the organisers felt that they were tiring Swami and they even suggested that Swami could stop and just direct the distribution. But Swami continued. He appeared tiring, but the smile never faded. How does 50 minutes of continuously giving affect someone who has been doing it for the last 80 years!

They kept coming on and on.....
....and He continued giving on and on

After the distribution, Swami went into the interview room. Bhajans began as scheduled and at about 5:35 p.m., Swami received Aarthi and left.

2 September 2007: Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust’s 35th Anniversary

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2 September morning saw all of Swami’s past students who are presently serving in various capacities in His institutions assemble in the Prayer Hall. There was an atmosphere of joy and every face was shining. Swami came for darshan at 7.55 a.m. and came inside the bhajan hall. He asked why were all seated inside when the programme was outside. A teacher said, “Swami, the programme outside is in the evening when elders will be speaking. Swami should now please speak to us.” Swami then went to where the lamp was and gently lit it. He also cut the cake placed next to it. He then came and positioned Himself in the centre and asked, “What news?” looking at the coordinator and beckoning him. There were some songs that had been prepared and Swami listened to them. One could see that He was very relaxed and enjoying the songs. One person from those who had assembled would come at the beginning of each song and give Swami a flower and a sheet of paper on which the songs were written.

Candle lighting and cake cutting
   

Swami received these and went through the lyrics as they were sung or closed His eyes enjoying the song and the full hearted singing. Swami asked it to be announced that there would be a public meeting at 4 p.m. in the Sai Kulwant Hall in connection with the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust’s 35th anniversary in the Divine presence of Bhagavan. The announcement was repeated in Telugu also by a member of the Book Trust and Swami smiled when the announcement was completed. He asked, “Did you not eat any breakfast? Such a soft voice!”

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A view of the gathering of the "students-staff"
Pouring out their hearts in the form of songs

Swami then asked what was next.  Two speakers were ready. Mr. Ruchir Desai, a lecturer at Brindavan campus, came forward and gave a short talk. He expressed gratitude to Swami, on behalf of everybody, and said, “Why is one grateful to the Sun? Is it because it rises everyday bringing light and joy to the world? Or because of it the bees and birds sing or we get the warmth ... these and many more. Then, what to speak of the one who has put the sun in place - our Lord!” The speech was very apt and at the end Swami rewarded him with a smile and a touch on the head. It was next the turn of Mr. Satish Babu, a teacher from the Higher Secondary School to speak. He spoke his heart out in Telugu and narrated moving incidents.

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Sri.Ruchir Desai makes the opening speech
Gratitude welling up from the bottom of the heart......

One of these was about a student who was sick to whom he gave a set of instructions like - be careful about what you eat; do not go out and play, and such other directions. The student agreed to follow all these instructions except the one in which he was asked to pray to Swami.

“No, I will not do that,” he said. The teacher, bewildered, asked, “Why?” And then He said, “Because He will cure me instantly but He will Himself suffer the illness.” Such pure thoughts can come even to such small children only by the blessings of Swami, he said.

Another incident was about how one day he was told of a sick boy and being busy, he went off for darshan forgetting to attend to the boy. Waiting for the darshan, he suddenly remembered the student and was torn between his desire for darshan and the call of duty to attend to that boy, but convincing himself that it was the Lord who was actually looking after everyone, he sent a prayer to Swami to look after the small student. When he returned from darshan the small boy came up to him and thanked him as he had given him medicine on time and he was now fine, revealing that it was indeed the Lord who is the Doer. Swami was once again touched with his speech and blessed him with a Padanamaskar and the divine touch.
 
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...resulting in a tap on the top of the head!

After this Swami reminded the boys that there were two more songs and asked them to sing them. So they sang “O maa, O maa” and “Why fear when I am here.”

Swami then asked how many boys were there and when the reply came as 155 boys, He smiled and said “anthe na” (Is that all?).

Swami then asked Subramaniam a Phd Student what he was doing. Next He asked Praveen, “Nuve kada America Poyindi?” (Was it not you who went to America?)

“Yes Swami” was the reply.

Swami: What did you do?

Praveen: I did a course in hospital management, Swami.

Swami: What are you doing now?

P: Administration work in Bangalore Hospital. Swami, people are not able to believe that we are doing free surgeries in our hospital.

Swami:  We are not doing for them to believe...we are doing it for our happiness.

P:  Swami, in our hospital we are able to do operations which even big hospitals are not able to do, even hospitals like NIMHANS send patients to us.

Swami: They don’t send for that sake. They send because we are doing free operations.

P: We do all kinds of complicated surgeries, Swami.

Swami: How many doctors are there?

P: 60 doctors, Swami. Doctors who are less qualified than Dr. Hegde (the Director of Whitefield Hospital) himself are offered 5 crores outside; even Dr. Hegde has got so many offers, but he rejected all of them saying he wants to work only in Swami’s hospital.

Swami: Money has no value….

P: Yes Swami, money has no value.

Swami: Money has value but the people who take it lose their value.

P: Swami in our Hospital we perform 8 brain surgeries each day.

Swami: How many heart surgeries?

P: 6-8, Swami. Angioplasty, etc are 20 per day.

Swami: Those are small, who does them?

P: Dr.Das, Swami.

Swami: Oh, Orissa man.

P: He is also getting so many offers Swami. But he also tells people that he is born only to do Swami’s service. In one of the fields of brain surgeries called Aneurisms our hospital is world no 1. One of the boys doing Phd in our Hospital also got an All India Gold Medal, Swami.

Swami: Very good.

P: People who study here and go out are taking care of patients very well, Swami. From our Hospital one Mr. Keshava Murthy joined Apollo Hospital. They were ready to pay him a huge amount, but he said to give that to poor patients.

Swami: That is not Apollo hospital, it is appulu (debts) hospital...If you get admitted there, you have to incur debt.

P: Many foreign doctors are also interested to come and join here, Swami.

Swami: If they are good, give permission. If they are not good and spoil our name, then keep them away.

P: Seeing that the facilities in our hospital are good, they want us to start courses so that they can learn here and earn outside. Outside each MRI costs 10,000 Rs and X-Ray 500 Rs, and we do 20 MRIs per day, Swami.

Swami: Money earned like that won’t stay.

P: Both our hospitals in Parthi are doing so much work, Swami. Swami is doing what governments are not able to do.

Swami: Government does not do any work.

Student: Politicians just come for votes and promise that we will give gas stove, TV, etc.

Swami: They give only ‘gas’ (everybody bursts into laughter)

P: Because of Swami’s water project so many people could benefit.

Swami: Yes, in Chennai, small children were drinking dirty water and spoiling their health (Swami looked visibly moved). Now they are getting good drinking water.

In Redhills there is lot of wastage due to the mud there. We told Mr. Karunanidhi to tell us when it is dry and that we would do desilting. We have put polymer there in order to curb wastage. You may believe it or not every Monday I sign cheques for distribution towards various projects. Mr. Kondal Rao and Mr A Ramakrishna take good care and do these works without bothering about rain and sun. That’s why I gave each of them one car. I gave Mr. Chakravarthy also one car so that he can go round and see that everything is alright.

P: Swami all our students are getting a good name outside.

Swami: Yes, before it was not like this but now they are good. They all came with their wives and children in an aeroplane. They say that they get peace only here.

When the conversation turned to the music college and it was mentioned that  “Swami our music college boys sing well”, Swami interrupted and said  “They sing well but are always scared as to when they may fall!” provoking laughter. (It was a lovely pun reminding everyone that we need to not only ensure class in our talents, singing or whatever, it is but also our behaviour).

Aravind of Super Hospital Bangalore asked, “Swami, please give us all a message on this occasion.” Swami said, “Be happy with whatever work you are doing, and don’t think that you are doing for some one else, only then you can be happy. (Mamaivaamso jeeva loke jeeve boothasanathanaha.) Know that it is one God who is present in everyone and within each of us."

Next when boys expressed their gratitude to Swami for having blessed them with the opportunity to serve Him, Swami smiling said, “Meerandaru cheyyagalaru. daani valla ne meeku ee avakasam icchanu… andariki istunaana?” (I know that you are all capable of discharging your responsibilities. That is why I gave you this opportunity. Do I give it to everyone?)

It was already about to be 10 o’clock and Swami now asked for the Aarathi. He Himself lit the camphor, and blessed the basins of sweet prasadam which boys showed to Him. When boys asked for group photos and paada namaskar, Swami said, “I will bless you in the evening.”

In the afternoon, Swami came out at 4:00 pm. He had said in the morning that 4:30 onwards would be the Rahukaalam. All the students working in various places in the Central Trust (CT) had assembled by 2:30 pm itself. Swami went directly on stage and took His seat in the centre. Four respected seniors working for Swami were part of the panel to discuss on the ‘Role of Sai Institutions in Transforming Lives’.

They were: the All India President, Mr.V.Srinivasan; the Secretary of the Central Trust, Mr. Chakravarthi; and the former Vice Chancellors, Mr. S.V. Giri and Dr. G. Venkatraman. First, there was an introductory speech by Mr. Rameshwar Prusty. He gave a brief outline of the formation and functioning of the Central Trust.

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Glancing through the evening scheduled programme
Rameshwar Prusty delivers the introductory talk

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The All India President addresses the assembly
"Swami is the Centre of the Central Trust." - Mr. Chakravarthi

There were two speeches by Mr. Sudheendran and Dr. T. Ravikumar. Sudheendran, with the aid of Vedic lore, narrated experiences how Swami had come to be God for him and how he had slowly but surely shaped and moulded him. The second speaker said that though he had lost his mother at a very tender age, he never felt the lack of a mother's love in his life. He narrated his experiences where Swami had shown him that loving Him meant more to Him than anything else. Being deeply touched by His love, he spoke with that conviction and his emotions slowly percolated the fibre of every listener till all seemed to be in deep emotion of gratitude. Then the four eminent elders spoke on the various ways in which Swami was inspiring the Trust and every member with His Love and example. After that, though it was 5:35pm, Swami rose to speak. And this is what He said:

Embodiments of Love,

Our students have sacred hearts, pure minds, selflessness and innocence. A few of them may commit mistakes but they correct it on their own. Therefore, students are our Central Trust. They do all the work. The elders are there as elders alone and the students take care of everything. Sometimes however, elders commit mistakes due to the students. Students are not to be considered as small children. In fact, I stood up not to talk to you but to describe the glory of their selflessness. The work done by them is really wonderful and unique. These students are the future support of the Central Trust (CT) too. The CT fully depends on them. There are students working day in and day out. One cannot single out who those are and specifically name them. All work very hard. None can describe their abilities. So students, you should put the CT on the proper path and show the ideal to the world by being leaders. The CT will progress because of you; the future depends on you.

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Not only the money here but all the Pani (work) too is yours. Outside everywhere it is only money, money and money. Money comes and goes, morality comes and grows. Your morality makes your status high. So uphold the morality. Being human, we have our imaginations and expectations. But these are all to be considered as illusions. They are not permanent, but like passing clouds. Do not submit to them and be victims of your imagination. For the purpose of keeping up the character, all other forces must be resisted and all other things be cast aside. Dear students, your effulgence, your future and your work must all be ideal and then alone will the world emulate you. Science has advanced into "Trick Knowledge" instead of Technology these days. Only the feelings that arise from your heart are True and Permanent. Discriminate between Truth and Untruth. All the unnecessary things must be cast aside.

Spend all time in sacred duties. How many students are there working in CT? (The answer came that it is 155.) All come and sit in the front. (Swami tells the boys behind Him to go in and get watches for all.) Sanctify the time, utilize it properly and achieve a good name. Not only the CT, other Trusts too depend on you. But do not depend on any Trust. Have Self-Dependence. Atmashakti must be the basis for that. Have self-confidence and that will confer everything on you.

     

Faith gives you power. It is responsible for the flow of Love. No Faith - No Love. Only out of Love can anything be achieved, big or small. Faith and Love are the two eyes without which one is blinded. Truth is God. Love is God. Live in Love. Truth and Love are the two feet on which I walk on. I achieve everything with this confidence.

The British promised drinking water to Madras but faltered on it. I sanctioned it immediately. You may not believe it, but every Monday, I sign cheques. Mr. Chakravarthi knows about this. It is his job to distribute it. Swami can do everything but some help is needed. I have kept some as Trust members and through them I send the cheques. For Madras, the Godavari water was not enough.

So water from the Krishna was diverted via Bhadrachalam and through taps has reached every hut. Every child says there, "Sai Baba has given us nectar!" But for that I never extended my hand even for a naya (single) paisa. You all know that if Swami asks, so many are ready to give. But I never desire for anything from anyone. My Will is the Power.

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"I never desire anything from anybody"

Never worry about money. It is virtues that are more important. Have Love and with that anything can be attained. Never expect anything from anyone. Love will supply everything like a current. Don’t worry for anything. That Love will give everything. Never tread the wrong path. Do not utter untruth. Don't resort to injustice. Don't be intolerant. Sahana (Tolerance) is of utmost importance. Bharatiyas have everything but only lack in Unity. Unity leads to Purity and then to Divinity. When that Unity and Love exists, all desires are automatically satiated.

Never feel bad that Swami is not talking to you or spending time with you. My mind is always on you children. Without you I cannot exist. When you exist, I exist, and when I exist, you exist. I and you are one. With that feeling, do your work happily.

Then, out of supreme Love, Swami personally gave each of the 155 students a beautiful wrist watch. It was a wonderful sight to see the Mother blessing Her children in spite of the time being so late and till about 6:15 Swami carried on distributing watches. He also personally gave prasadam to many of the students. And to the four eminent speakers who lit up the evening proceedings, Swami honoured them with shawls. After that, Mr. Harishankar delivered the note of thanks. Swami then received Aarthi and left.

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Swami blesses Prof.Venkatraman with a shawl
 
One of the students receives a wristwatch from Swami

4 September 2007: Krishnajanmastami Celebrations

 
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An overall view of the main stage on Krishnashtami awaiting the Lord's presence
 

This morning was the celebration of the birth of the charming and sweet Lord - Sri Krishna. The music boys of the University were ready with a programme. There was also the scheduled cow procession.

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Little Krishna Geeta leading the procession
The "gopaalas" arrive with the cows from Gokulam

Swami, coincidentally, arrived exactly as the cow procession reached the Gopuram gate. Swami came in the car and as He neared the marble block area, He stopped to look at His devotees from the animal kingdom, so to say! He was dressed in bright yellow and looked as sweet as ever. Leading the procession was Krishna Geeta, the new baby elephant. She had been decorated and looked like a miniature of Sai Gita. Swami said that He would get down near the animals. There was an anticipatory smile as He got down. He first fed bananas to Krishna Geeta who wolfed down everything very hungrily. First, she came straight to Swami and making a customary salute, began to eat out of His hands. But soon the little elephant was attracted to the trays laden with fruits! And her trunk went towards them more.  Swami just smiled lovingly seeing her eat joyfully.

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Love at first sight
It's happiness all around!

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God is such a fulfilling and elevating goal in life - in fact the only goal worth having. When we see God in all majesty, we are so overcome and rush straight to Him. Still however, the veil seems to lie so thick over us, that giving up the nourishment at His Divine Hands, we hanker and clamour after the loads of "fruits" the world has to offer for us! And the Lord just smiles. Animals have no discrimination, but what about us?

Swami then went ahead and started to feed the cows that had gathered. He didn't seem to mind the copious saliva from the cows that fell on His Robe and Hands. He went on feeding bananas to all. He also blessed the deer at the end. All the staff members at the Sri Sathya Sai Gokulam came to Him and offered roses and sought blessings. Swami blessed all and gave padanamaskar to some.
Going bananas for the Lord!

Then as He went towards the stage, He once again blessed the elephant. Swami gently dipped His delicate hands into a bowl of water and wiped His Hands dry. Aarthi was taken and Swami went to the stage. There two boys brought white doves to Swami. Like He always does to anybody who comes in contact with Him, He "released" the doves to their "freedom". And just like anybody who has been "touched" by Him does, the doves returned and sat in front of Him on the railings facing Him. There were smiles everywhere and a burst of applause too.

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He claps for the animals!
"Who wants to be free and fly away?"- the doves seem to say

Swami called Mr. S.V. Giri and told him to announce that the morning session was now over and that the programme in the evening would begin at 4:00 p.m. That being done, Swami received Aarthi and retired for the morning.

In the afternoon Swami came in the car. The Institute Brass band had come dressed up as Gopalas. They had a programme unscheduled originally but scheduled by His Grace! Swami completed darshan rounds and sat on stage.

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The "band" of Gopalas begin their performance
Crossing the Yamuna in spate with Krishna on the head

The band programme began. It was innovative in the sense that it aimed at depicting the birth and childhood of Lord Krishna through small skits in the foreground as the band played in the background. They played the piece, "The Tempest" to depict Krishna's journey to Nanda Gokulam. Then it was two bhajans to show the rejoicing at His birth and the subsequent ‘butter leelas’.

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The little babe is received with lot of Joy and celebration
The boyhood pranks of the little Lord

Our dear Sai Krishna too had some plans of His own. He told the boys to stop the programme. Then He asked the drama scheduled to begin.

 
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The drama was in Telugu and was performed by Bal Vikas children from Andhra Pradesh. The story revolved around a lad, Sri Hari, who is called Anna (big brother) by all in the locality where he polishes the shoes of school children. The father of one of the students condemns Hari and tells him that he better not associate with his son. What follows next are scenes where Sri Hari teaches profound lessons in humility and 'in'dependence as he reveals how Sathya Sai Baba with the gift of a tricycle and the spiritual gifts of faith and self confidence, has made him whatever he is today.

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The proud father is disgusted with "lowly" people
Humility always makes one bend low!

The play was interspersed with dances to highlight the theme and these were very tastefully choreographed. Swami blessed all the participants with Abhayahasta at the end of the play and said that He was very happy.

Then came a bolt from the Saffron shall we say! Swami asked for the discourse table to be brought. He then rose to speak and there was excited applause at this unexpected shower of Love! He said:

“Sathya (Truth) alone is responsible for the creation, sustenance and mergence of the whole universe. It is all pervasive. It is the Shuddha Satwa (Pure Principle). It is like the pure golden linga that Swami often takes out during Sivarathri. (At this point, Swami waved His hand and showed a golden linga for all to see and there is applause.) All the forms here also are manifestations of that pure principle itself. That came as Vishnu in the Krita Yuga, as Rama in the Treta and as Krishna in the Dwapara. Seeta always had one pointed attention on Rama. She kept seeing the one in all beings and had Rama in her thoughts always. For her, except Rama there was nothing else in the world. That oneness is the Suvarna (gold).

Gold has 24 carats and then alone is it Poornam (complete). It was during the times of Morarji Desai that 14 carat gold too came into existence and thus the gold value diluted. God has 16 aspects and then alone it is the Poorna Tatwam. Others do not have these 16 aspects. In Dwapara, none recognised Krishna's divinity. He was barely 7 when he did the leelas with the gopikas. It was like playing with one's mother but people criticize him telling that he went after women. He is the ideal. Krishna was the ideal man in Dwapara while Seeta was the ideal woman in Treta.

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The lingam reflects the Lord in it

God incarnates for the sake of devotees and to set man's mind right. In Dwapara, Kuchela was a poor brahmin but was always immersed in the thoughts of the Lord. His children kept asking him for food as they were hungry. But he always kept his faith and sang out, “You are beyond all word and description. You protected Pandavas, satisfied Kuchela and even Kubera.” Krishna and Rama are the only two avatars accompanied by women. No other avatar has been so. But God is always One and has no second.

Dasharatha is one who has ten senses. He had three wives, Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. The children were Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna with Rama's sister, Shanta. Dasharatha did not get a child from Kausalya and so he married Sumitra. In those days one had to take the permission of the other wife before remarrying. So when he asked Kausalya, she said, ‘Go ahead by all means. It is necessary to have an heir to the throne.’ And so he wedded Sumitra. Sumitra means a good friend and she was a good friend to all. When there were no children, with the permission of both the wives, he married Kaikeyi. She was from Kashmir. She put a condition, ‘Since you are marrying me to get an heir to the throne, promise me that my child alone will be the heir to the throne.’ He promised her. There were no children again. And so the Putrakaameshti yagna (Sacrifice to beget children) was done. The pudding that emerged from that was distributed to the three wives.

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Sumitra was heart broken. ‘Kausalya's child will have right over the throne by the virtue of she being the senior most queen and Kaikeyi's child too will have a right as she has elicited a promise. What about mine?’ Lamenting thus, she went to the terrace to dry her hair. Those days there were no electric fans or hair dryers! As she was doing that, an eagle came and picked up her share of the pudding. It carried it to the hills where Anjana Devi was praying. She partook it and gave birth to Hanuman! Sumitra then went to her co-sisters. They both then gave her a part of their pudding. Thus the children were born. Lakshmana, born out of Kausalya's part was always attracted to Rama and Shatrughna, similarly, was attracted to Bharata.

Even when it was so, while passing through the forest once, Lakshmana began to scold Rama as to why they alone had to suffer for no fault of theirs? That was because of that place being the home of many demons. Once they moved out of that place, Rama lovingly explained that to him. That is why one must always keep good company. The three of them settled in the beautiful forest. The Sarayu River too was nearby. At that time Sita saw the golden deer. After having renounced all the pleasures of Ayodhya, was she the one to run after the deer? No. It was all part of a plan. It also shows that if you go after Kama (desire), you will move away from Rama (God). That is why, less luggage, more comfort makes travel a pleasure.

     

Lakshmana faithfully guarded her till she taunted him and flung insults at him at not going to Rama's aid. He drew a line and advising her not to cross it, and then left. But Ravana in the guise of a begging mendicant, kidnapped her.

In the war on Lanka, Lakshmana fainted. Hanuman went and instead of a single plant, got the whole mountain! As he was flying over Ayodhya, Bharata saw him and wondered, "Who is this flying monkey?" When Hanuman came down and related all details, even Sumitra and Lakshmana’s wife, Urmila, were also present. The noble Sumitra said, "If Lakshmana has fallen, then take my other son there. Rama will take care of everything I know. I am so happy that my son is of service to Rama." That was their nobility!  

Finally with the killing of Indrajit, the war almost came to a close. Vibheeshana told Rama that the secret to kill Ravana was to shoot at his thumb. The fatal arrow brought a lot of joy to the monkeys. They all began to jump up to have a glimpse of Mother Sita. Rama told them that they must all fetch firewood. Sita had to undergo the trial by fire. The Lord of the Fire himself came and testified to Rama that Sita was pure. He said, "Oh Rama! You are all knowing. Do you not know about the purity of Mother Sita?" Rama replied, "I never doubted her chastity but I wanted to prove to the world what an ideal woman she is." At this all the monkeys applauded. (The whole Kulwant hall also applauded!) When Rama returned to Ayodhya, all the people sang joyously - Rama Kodanda Rama. (At this point Swami sang the whole song and there was a very energetic following of the bhajan. )

Rama, Krishna, Sai Rama, Sai Krishna - all are one and the same. Take any name. The Ramayana is a very sacred story. What I narrated now is true - all other versions have a lot of imagination too. Sing bhajans.”

After the discourse, bhajans continued. Swami blessed prasadam for all. Then after a while, as He sat, He took the lingam in His left hand. Then, He slowly put it into His mouth and sipped water. After a short while, He turned to those seated near and said, "It has gone back in." Then He went to the car and retired for the day.

6 September 2007: Pandari Bhajan Group from Nellore

Thousands of devotees from the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh had thronged the holy hamlet of Puttaparthi to have darshan in the first week of September.  After the Nalgonda  district, it was the turn of Nellore district devotees to arrive in strength at Prashanthi Nilayam! First, the Pandari Bhajan group of the Nellore district got a chance to perform in the Divine Presence after Swami decided to sit out and watch them. After His evening darshan round in the car, Swami asked for the group's performance, and the central part of Sai Kulwant Hall was quickly cleared for the programme to commence at 4 p.m. Immediately, men dressed in white and orange took centre stage. The songs were all so simple and in rustic tongue. The dance steps too were very simple. But Swami sat watching it, engrossed in their feelings. In between, He went into the interview room for a short while, but returned soon to watch the Pandari bhajans again.

Bhagavan watching the dance
An amazing array of colour

After 45 minutes of vigorous and enthusiastic dancing around the accompanists at the centre of a circle, Swami blessed the group with clothes. He personally handed over white cloth pieces to each member who performed. All were dripping in sweat after their spirited effort but Swami's response ensured that every drop of sweat was "worth its salt"!  Swami then called out to the leader of the bhajan group. Well, being a former leader of His own Pandari bhajan group, Swami knows the effort involved in leading such a group! He materialised a chain for him.

The leader with the coveted chain from the Lord...
...and now doubly blessed with a photo of the incident

The beautiful moment came when a few moments later, Swami called him again and gifted him with the photo of him receiving the chain also. He was doubly delighted. Then Prof. Anil Kumar was asked to speak briefly, and he announced the staging of a drama by the Nellore devotees the next day. Bhajans began in the Bhajan Hall, with Bhagavan seated there till Arati at 5:40 pm.

7 September 2007: Dance Drama "Archana" performed by Nellore Devotees

As announced the previous day, the Balvikas children from Nellore staged a classical dance drama "Archana" on the evening of 7 September. The forty minute programme got underway at 4.10 pm when Bhagavan came on stage. The protagonist, who had the same name as the drama, offers her dance to Bhagavan, interacts with inspirational devotees of the Lord like Thyagaraja and Pundarika and ultimately ends up free of a debilitating disease. She learns many lessons from each of these exalted devotees of the Lord. Thyagaraja teaches her that to chant His wonderful name and see Him alone in all things animate and inanimate is the only way out of this world of misery. Pundalika teaches her reverence of one's parents can lead one to God. In the process, she is not only spiritually uplifted but also physically cured.

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Rama alone pervaded everything for Thyagaraja
"Service to parents is service to God."- Pundalika

The drama brought out a subtle point that spiritual health is of paramount importance. When that is all fine, physical and mental health follows like a shadow. The Lord and Lord alone is the greatest panacea for all troubles. Swami blessed the little girl who played the main role with a chain at the end of the programme which uplifted her spiritually and otherwise also! Swami also came down to pose for group photos with the children. He was so sweet as He directed the photographers to three different angles to ensure that all the children were covered. Prasadam was distributed, and Bhajans were in the Sai Kulwant Hall itself. Swami asked for the singers to come out and seat themselves in the hall. The bhajans went on for about twenty minutes and after that Swami received Aarthi and left.

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"Richly" rewarded for her performance
Swami insists on standing for the group photo

11 September 2007: Indoor Stadium Badminton Match

In the afternoon, the indoor stadium was lit up with several stars from the galaxy of Indian sportsmen. The top players of the badminton fraternity had arrived in Puttaparthi to play a series of friendly matches. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd ranked Indian players had come along with the top Junior players and the top doubles pair in India. (Anoop Shreedhar, Chetan Anand, Guru Sai Dutt, Sanave Thomas, Kashyap and P.Gopichand.)

All the students had assembled in the indoor stadium by 1:00pm. The matches started soon. It was a nice experience for Puttaparthi to witness the power and speed of shuttle badminton. An international referee was also present. The games were thrown open for all to see and the stadium was slowly filling up with ladies and gents. There were two singles matches which were won by Anoop Shreedhar and Chetan Anand respectively. Then there was a short break. Swami was expected to the stadium at 4:00 pm and He was there promptly on time.

New energy seemed to be breathed in into the stadium as He came. He moved along the lines of students who were seated on the floor and then came to the lined up players. Pullela Gopichand was the first to bow down to him and he was followed by all of the others. Everyone seemed eager to touch His feet and He was smiling beautifully to all. Then He went to the place that had been specially "cordoned" off for Him and the play began.

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Pullela Gopichand bows to Swami
The stars in the galaxy of Indian badminton

Gopichand teamed up with the Sanave Thomas, India's no.1 doubles player against the No.2 and No.3. The match began in right earnest and Swami was absorbed seeing the play. It was such a cute sight to behold. Swami’s Head going to and fro depending on the speed of the shuttlers just like a small innocent child would watch! He keenly watched every move as the first set was taken by Gopichand's team. The second set was taken by the other pair and so the final set became more thrilling. The beauty of the doubles match was that it was much faster and reflexive compared to the singles. The match was heavily encouraged. Somehow the applause gets harder and the cheering louder when Swami is around! After the third set was won again by Gopichand and Sanave in a closely fought encounter, Swami called all the players.

They all went and knelt before Him. Swami created vibhuti for all of them and gave it in their palms. Seeing that it was a little less, He materialised vibhuti again and applied it too on one of the player's forehead. He saw the gold chain around Gopichand's neck and reminisced as to how He had given it to him. Gopichand smiled and touched His feet. Swami then posed for group photos with all the players. He blessed both Anoop and Chetan for their finals. Then He went to the car and returned to Mandir. Bhajans went on in Mandir till about 6:05 pm. Swami then received Aarthi and left.

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A hard-fought match
A grateful Indian badminton contingent

15 September 2007: Ganesh Chaturthi

 
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15 September dawned as the holy day of Ganesh Chaturthi, a very important day all over India. The Lord in His elephantine form is worshipped as the remover of all obstacles. And so a festive atmosphere pervaded Prashanti Nilayam. It had been charged the previous day evening by a series of significant events. Swami had come at 5:15 p.m. during the bhajans and had gone straight to the bhajan hall. After the bhajans, He sat through the whole Aarthi and then waved His hand in benediction as Loka Samasta… was going on.

Then He had enquired as to what songs would be sung the next day and seemed to be lost in a kind of serene bliss. He left but before that had said, "Vinayaka is here" as if Lord Ganesha was present in the hall witnessing all that was going on. Then He had retired.

In the morning, Swami came out at about 9:15 a.m. Instead of the ritual Veda chanting, the notes of the Ganesh Gayatri followed by the Ganashtakam rent the air. Swami completed the darshan rounds and then went into the interview room. After a short while, He came out and then sat in the wheel sofa on stage. Songs continued. There were three group songs and more than five individual songs. Swami sat through listening to all of them. After about 45 minutes, He directed that prasadam could be brought and distributed.

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Blessing the primary school children

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There were two kinds - a sweet and another, a packet containing oval toffees. He opened the toffee packet and checked them! Then He beckoned to the primary students sitting nearby and told them to start distributing. He also called all the children holding cards and began to view them.

In the meanwhile, the songs concluded and Ganesh bhajans began. The bhajans had a very enthusiastic following. Swami kept seeing all the cards and He also gave every child who went near Him a sweet in His own ‘sweet’ manner. More than thirty children must have walked up the steps to Him expectantly and then walk down those very steps with satisfaction and a smile. After blessing all of them, Swami sat enjoying the bhajans. Then He received Aarthi and left. The time was about 10:50 am.

Near the Yajur Mandir, Swami blessed huge Ganesha statues that had been specially procured and then each statue was sent to its destination (the different schools, colleges and other institutions) - one being kept near the Ganesh temple at the entrance of Prashanti Nilayam.

In the evening, Swami came out at about 4:45 pm. He went around in the car for the darshan rounds and then at 5:00 pm, went into bhajan hall for bhajans, retiring after Aarthi.

     

16 September 2007: Swami Blesses Physically Challenged People from West Godavri

The morning of 16 September, was one that touched the hearts and made one and all feel the impact of His Pure Love. Swami came out for darshan as bhajans began at about 9:15 a.m. There was an assembly of devotees from West Godavari. Special mention must be made that the devotees and doctors there had carried out a very noble venture of fitting people who had lost their legs with artificial limbs that had literally, and figuratively, made them stand on their own feet! They had been seated in the marble blocks on chairs and Swami directly went amidst them. The wheeled sofa was taken along the lines they were seated and Swami was continuously smiling and blessing them. He first went from front to back, interacting with them and enquiring of their welfare. These people truly were doubly "gifted" with a new lease of life!

He then came to the front, where the first row of these “gifted” people was seated and began speaking to them. He enquired as to where they had come from. One of them took out a photo from his pocket. It was a picture of how he was before. The legs were not present even up to the knees. And he now stood before Swami, eyes filled with gratitude and hands folded in surrender. Swami took the photo into His hands and saw what was and is. Then encircling His palm, He created a green diamond ring for the person.

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The picture speaks about the transformation in the patient
A ring for him....

He asked for cloth pieces to be brought and personally gave it to them. He lovingly interacted with all of them and it was such a touching experience for all concerned - the onlookers, the recipients and for Swami too. He then went over to the ladies side half of the marble block. He created another ring for a person there and put it on his ring finger.

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A conference call with them!!
Another ring gifted to another of the "gifted" patients

As He sat watching all of them getting prasadam and clothes, some of them got so overwhelmed, that they came up to the front and fell at His feet. As He blessed them, He very compassionately said, "I will come to you. You need not make that effort." (Isn’t this a statement of profound implications!)

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"Puttaparthi is your home. I am always there for you"
Not able to contain the surge of Love and Gratitude

Swami kept watching them all so silently. He was sitting facing them in the front. It was a beautiful scene and one wished that time would just freeze and preserve that feeling-filled scene for eternity. A serene smile now danced on His face. He seemed to gaze not only at them but somewhere deep within them too. After a while, He went on stage. As He got there, He said that He would speak to all of them and so the mikes were brought out. Given below is the full transcript of His discourse (which did not have real time translation.) He said,

“Embodiments of love,

Today, it is a very joyous day. The body is made up of many parts. Only when all the parts function properly we can perform our duties. In any country, in any situation, to carry out any work, our body is very important. So we should take care of our body. We are being very careless with our body because of which we face many difficulties and we become dependent on others. If we want to be independent we have to take care of each and every part of our body so that they function properly.

The doctors who have given you these artificial limbs are very noble people. Without those doctors, you would not have received these limbs. So, each one of you has to take care of your limbs. Every human being is able to live because of these body parts. The eye sees, the mind comprehends and it is expressed through speech and the ear hears. But in all this there is only one principle and that is divinity. Mamaivaamso jeeva loke jeeva bhutah sanaatanaha (The One has become many). With so much of hope you came here and you are so happy now. This is your home and I am yours. Please do not have any hesitation as to how to come here, how to see Swami? Don't have such hesitation. Come whenever you want. Speak to Swami and go back happily. There is no difficulty.

You be brave. Shraddavan labhate gnaanam. (One who is steadfast attains knowledge). That wisdom is not the one which we have. It is the spiritual wisdom which comes from divinity. With this divine wisdom we come to know that God is there in every one. You go on saying this is my leg, my hand etc….when you are saying it is yours, then who are you? You are THAT and that THAT is nothing but divinity. Don't forget divinity and always remember God.

When you remember God and think of Him let there be any difficulty you will win over them. When you have God’s power with you, you will win over every thing. Even if you have all other things like wealth, education, etc., if you don't have Gods grace, then all else is a waste. So pray for God’s grace and do namasmarana and I bless that you and all your family members may have a happy and peaceful life.

The doctors who have helped you for giving you these limbs are very noble ones. They have taken many troubles to do this help for you. Now also they are planning many other things. Implement all those plans. For all those things I will also help you. I extend my full support to you. Loka samastha sukhino bhavantu (May everybody in all the worlds be happy). Only when all are fine will you also be fine. Do not think that you are some where and they are some elsewhere. Everyone is interconnected. For everyone there is only one leader. And He is God. And He is the Atma swaroopa. So have self-confidence and carry out all your functions and He will take care of all the things. If you have confidence on God, you will develop love and with that love you will gain truth and the combination of love and truth leads you to righteousness. Love is within us and in the same way God is also with in us. If you think of that God you can come over all the difficulties.

I hope that these kinds of difficulties never trouble you again in any birth. Many difficulties come and go. They are like passing clouds. Don't brood over them. When you don't brood over them, they will go away by themselves. See me now. Once I fell down and 4 bones were broken. They said they want to bandage it. I did not allow them to do it. I have been like that only and it will surely go. Again in Kodaikanal I slipped. They told me to take the help of some people. There is no need to take any help from any one.  With courage and patience you have to lead your life, God is there to help us.

India has helped so many countries. Our country, our land, our language - Keep that honour for your country. Even if there are some difficulties in your family don't get troubled mentally. When you think of God and leave everything to him all will go well.

Seeing you all here I am very happy. When you all are happy, only then can I also be happy. When you are not happy, how can I be happy? It is not possible. I bless that you all be happy and blissful throughout your lives.

After the discourse, Swami continued to speak but the mikes had been removed! Swami said that the mikes were not good and He called Anil Kumar Sir to tell in brief all that He had said. But with a torrential flow, the professor not only summarised the discourse, but also captured the gratitude and feelings of all the assembled devotees. Prof Anil kumar spoke about the grandeur of Swami’s trip to West Godavari in 1984. He also appreciated the service activities done by these districts and offered heartfelt gratitude on behalf of all the West Godavari devotees. He also went on to recollect how Swami gave bliss to so many people in this district by even addressing them late in the night. He also shared in English to all assembled what Swami spoke in His discourse a few minutes ago, especially regarding the importance of this human body and how it should be used for divine purpose and not to waste in mundane activities. After that, Swami asked for bhajans to be sung. After the students had sung three bhajans, the devotees from West Godavari took over and their group sang a few more bhajans with vigour and zeal. Swami then had prasadam distributed and left, after receiving Aarthi, at about 11:00 am!

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West Godavari gratitude flows torrentially
The recipient and the source of all the Love

17 September, 2007 – Ganesha Idols Immersion Day

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Monday, 17 September, was the day when Swami had said that all the Ganesha statues must be immersed. Much work of preparations were undertaken by the students and staff of all the institutions at Parthi. The Vidyagiri stadium had become home to the students who had become artisans designing vehicles for Lord Ganesha's journey. One could see the Harry Potter influence on school children as the main chariot was shaped like that of the Tri-Wizard tournament cup! There was also the Hogwarts shield as one of the palanquins. Apart from these, there was a chariot that was aptly named "Ekadanta Express" and was shaped like a train engine. A huge urn (sacred pot) was the theme of the Institute chariot. There were flowery chariots and the Ganesha temple at Prashanti Nilayam entrance had been beautifully replicated as the Central Trust chariot. (The descriptions here are only a few of the numerous chariots and palanquins that wended their way to the mandir.)

The roads had not only been washed by the heavy rains, they had clogged too! Everything everywhere was wet but nothing seemed to dampen the spirits of the students and staff as they walked in the procession singing bhajans and chanting vedas in full gusto. Within an hour, the Mandir had a transformed look. It looked like the divine forces had gathered on some ethereal battlefield - battling to win the Lord's Grace and Love. Swami came out at 4:40pm. He preferred to come on the wheel sofa rather than the car. He went around slowly looking at all the assembled chariots. The labour of Love seemed to be paid back in full with the look of Love. The head priests of each chariot went up to Swami with an idol of Ganesha and Swami blessed them. Swami also blessed the prasadam at many chariots.

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Whatever be the festival, the "Hero" is always Swami!
 
A 'birds eye view' of the chariot procession

The whole exercise of making these chariots is so spiritual. The central theme of the Bhagavad Gita is Karma Phala Tyaaga (renouncing the fruit of action - action without expectation.) This chariot making seems to embody that philosophy. Everybody sweats and toils - days and nights - to get beautiful chariots ready for Ganesha.

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Adding the final touches in the final moments.
 
Temple of the Lord in the temple of the Lord!

The glory and grandeur of the chariots lasts only a few hours during the procession. Once the immersion ceremony is over, the chariots are just forgotten. Nobody seems to cringe or cry that such a mammoth effort is not being preserved. It is often missed but a real powerful example of detachment and renunciation. And all the effort is just to make Swami happy. It would indeed be an uplifting experience if we make our lives into one big chariot making ceremony.

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The first chariot arrives...
....with many following it close by

Swami completed a full round and then took His place on the stage. He said that it was getting late and the idols should be taken for immersion. One by one in a disciplined manner, each chariot was brought front and displayed before Swami. Swami would bless the chariot and then they would be taken away.

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The impressive array of the chariots
The Central Trust chariot

Each group seemed to adopt its own unique way of offering obeisances to Swami. Some of them fell fully prostrate on the floor. There was a lion dance by one group, loud bhajans by another and a U shaped formation by some others. But the love, devotion and enthusiasm were all the common factors. By about 5:15 pm, all the chariots were on their way to the immersion pond. Boys rushed in to fill the place that had been kept vacant to accommodate the chariots.

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The Hogwarts Cup chariot!!
The palanquin of the school children.

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The chariot by the hospital staff
The undergraduates offer their salutations

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A "Himalayan" effort to get this chariot ready!!
The Balloon chariot of the old students

The Veda chanting went on. It now seemed to be resounding as all the boys chanted with renewed vigour that comes when God sits in your midst. Swami was very insistent that the boys who had gone for the immersion should be back in the Mandir soon.

What could be seen on His face was motherly concern and care. It had been raining very heavily the last few days in the evening and Swami wanted to be done with the immersion as soon as possible. He blessed prasadam to be distributed. Seeing the sweet packets in the hands of the students in the first row, He signaled them to eat them and have fun! Then, saying that He would be back soon, Swami left for Yajur Mandir. Bhajans began. Messages were sent that Swami wanted all the boys back in Mandir soon.

A steady stream of boys began trickling into the Kulwant Hall. As per His word, Swami came out at about 6:00pm again and went into the bhajan hall. He once again came out on the wheel sofa as if to confirm whether all the boys had returned. He went around wearing a beautiful and fulfilling smile. All present were indeed fortunate to have God coming out to have their darshan literally, for He wanted to ensure that all were safe and happy.

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    Prasadam for all at the conclusion of the immersion ceremony

There are so many things that God need never do at all. He has no duties or responsibilities. He has complete freedom. And yet, when out of sheer Love for all of us, He goes out of His way to do things, one cannot help feeling touched. That same sensation welled up in anyone who sat seeing Swami going around at 6:15pm. Swami never tires of doing the same things over and over again - year after year. Ever-fresh - that must be one of the foremost qualities of Love.

Then at about 6:20 pm, Swami received Aarthi and then retired.

September 23, 2007: Divine Distribution for the Needy and Cultural programme, "Neti Yashoda Karnam Subamma", from devotees of Mahboobnagar District.

 
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The whole of Andhra Pradesh seems to be arriving district-wise to see Swami. The devotees from Mahaboobnagar had arrived in huge numbers and Swami had permitted them to put up a cultural programme entitled, "Neti Yashoda Karnam Subamma."

Swami came out for Darshan at 4:15pm on the wheel sofa. The stage had already been set for the drama. He seemed totally uninterested in taking letters as He allowed His gaze to move over the thousands who had gathered. A gentle divine detachment spread over His face. At one corner of the gents block were tricycles, sewing machines, mechanic kits and computers which were to be given away to some identified needy people. He passed by them and then went through the gents side. Then, as He was passing by the birthday students, He went towards them. He blessed all the birthday boys by accepting their letters, cloves and showering the holy grains (Akshata) on them. After a very brief peep into the interview room, He came on to the stage. He sat for a while and then suddenly He did something that made all of us feel that the detachment He had displayed earlier was a Masterplan to shower greater Love on all assembled.

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Birthday blessings!
Off for a second round too!

He seemed dissatisfied with the darshan He had granted! He said that He wanted to go down again. As He descended from the centre path, He began another round in the reverse direction this time. Everyone delighted at this special bonanza.

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The birthday boys got their second round of blessings and all those who had felt only "partially" blessed must have felt fulfilled. Swami then took a turn into the portico from the region where old students sit and there were slight looks of disappointment on some of the devotees' faces. Swami went through the portico towards the interview room. And from there, He went to the ladies side! It appeared that Swami was stalling the proceedings and also granting precious closeness to all the devotees. What was He waiting for?

Swami went around the ladies side and came to the gents side again. Now He seemed very deeply interested in the service offerings of the devotees. He looked at the tricycles etc. and also spoke to the devotees there. He found out all the details of how the distribution was being done. There was a monk in orange with whom Swami spoke for quite some time.

Blessing the impending distribution

After that, Swami moved into the gents side and there was a burst of applause. Disappointment that a few had felt earlier seemed to give way to His-appointment. This time, Swami went through collecting letters and blessing everyone. He once again came to the region where the birthday boys were seated. They seemed to be at their wits end! Swami was near them again and they had nothing else on their person to get blessed! Really when it rains, it showers.

They sat with folded hands as Swami passed by them. Swami was all smiles as He neared the Vedam group again. There was a sudden onrush. The Primary school students had arrived. Swami's face lit up even more and it looked as though He was waiting for them to arrive. He went through them and spoke to some of the kids before settling on the stage once again.

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Primary school arrives and He goes to speak with them

Before the cultural programme, representatives for each type of token of Love - tricycyle, computer, mechanic kit and sewing machine - were called out and it was announced that all of them would be later distributed with the blessings of Bhagawan. The representative chosen to receive the tricycle was so excited that he came straight to Swami on all fours. Swami tried to indicate to someone to help him but they were all a bit slow and he was very fast in his enthusiasm to get to Swami. He offered Him a rose and his salutations. Swami immediately materialised a gold chain for him. One person came forward to help him up as Swami put the chain around his neck. 

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Lighting the lamp to mark the beginning of the programme
Overflow of Love from both sides of the railings!

It was such a perfect display of spontaneity from both sides - the natural attraction that exists between the Lord and His devotees. The other representatives too came up one by one and received blessings from Swami. A lady who came to receive the sewing machine was so touched that she almost broke down in front of Swami. Offering a rose, she accepted the sewing machine and went back to her place.

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Then the programme began. Swami seemed very interested in it, for it was on Karnam Subamma. In the beginning was a small dance by the Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar. Then the Bal Vikas children took over. The drama began with a depiction in the Dwapara Yuga where Yashoda has come to know that her little Krishna has to go to Mathura and that his real mother is in fact Devaki. She is very sad and asks whether she is not blessed to be his mother. Krishna says that she is as much a mother for him as Devaki and also promises her that He needs a mother just like that in the Kali Yuga when He would come again.

The drama then depicted the sweet story of Divine love between little Sathya and Subamma. Subamma has no children of her own and so she takes Sathya as her child. Everyday she searches for him to feed him. But Swami always offers to His friends before eating Himself and so she is forced to cook on a large scale always.

"I will need a mother like you even in Kali Yuga"

She witnesses the glory and grandeur of the Pandhari Bhajan group and convinced of Swami's divinity, she even enters the Harijanwada (where the "untouchables" live) with Swami. When people tell her that being a brahmin she would lose her caste, she says that only Swami is valuable for her. If she has Him with her, she has nothing to lose in life and without Him everything is lost.

That scene was so poignant and pregnant with message. Swami let out His emotion as He saw that scene. Some said that Swami was being touched by her feelings. One senior devotee put it beautifully, "Swami is overwhelmed because inspite of Him exhorting the same message throughout His life, people do not seem to realise it and they give up God for the world. He feels very sad for them in His love."

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Little Sathya - big Impact on Pandhari bhajan group

The drama concluded with Swami raising Subbamma from the dead and granting her the greatest fortune of Darshan and pouring Tulsi (Basil leaf) water into her mouth to signal her merging in Him. As the final song was on, Swami called "Subbamma" and created a green diamond ring for her. He then went down to pose for group photos. He then began to distribute sarees for everyone. He saw the girl who acted as little Sathya and called 'him' near. He made 'him' sit by His side and told 'him' to pose to the cameras! After giving sarees to all, He asked 'him', "Will you wear shorts and shirt?" It was such a sweet question and surely Swami must have been a little nostalgic of His Sathya days!

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The Divine darshan in the final moments for Subamma
 
Divine sparshan and a ring at the final moments of the drama!

Swami then distributed white cloth pieces to all the boys. He blessed all and then went into the interview room for a short while. He came out and asked for Aarthi. He sat for the full Aarthi and at the end of it blessed the children again with both hands and then retired to Yajur Mandir.

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"Big" Sathya fondles "little" Sathya
Picture perfect - photo finish

26 September, 2007 – Programme by Sai Youth of UP and Uttaranchal

Early in the afternoon, it became known that Swami had blessed the Sathya Sai Youth of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to put up a programme in front of Him in the evening. The youth were galvanised and they quickly went about putting up the screen which was to be their only prop. Swami came out for darshan at about 4:00pm. He came in the car and there was a kind of traditional bugle and drums that began playing a rhythm. Swami took a detour after the ladies side and came near the interview room. From there, He came straight out.

When He came and sat in the marble portico, He noticed that the Primary school block was empty. He wanted them also to be present in the Mandir so that they would be able to witness the programme. He was actually about to halt the vedam so that the programme could begin, but He halted Himself instead and every now and then kept asking whether the children had come. Very often, we hear that Swami spends almost all His time thinking of His students. Here was an example for all to see. Swami, in fact, went into the interview room to wait for the Primary children.

The relationship between a student and Swami is so special for both of them and the intimacy and connection becomes so special for all those who are watching too. Swami does nothing without the students. Any project He takes up, any trip He goes on, any program that He witnesses - you name it - the students are an integral part of it. Is Swami attached? No way. But it is a beautiful lesson on how He expects His students to lead their lives. He too should be a part of anything that they take up. Swami should be the only constant in our changing lives. Whomsoever manages to do that are  alone truly His students, for hadn't He Himself said once, "I know that you are a student of Sathya Sai College, but you should also become a Sai Student."

Soon the students from the Primary School arrived and so did Swami. He came out and asked for the programme to begin immediately! The programme was entitled "Mahasu Ki Mahima." Mahasu is another form of Lord Shiva. The initial roses and cards were offered to Swami and then the programme began.

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The programme schedule presented in an innovative fashion

It was a play based on the culture of Jaunsar Bawar, a tribal area in the western part of Uttarakhand. With Bhagawan's clarion call of Grama Seva, the Sai youth go to the Jaunsar area with the VIP plan. VIP here stands for Village Integration Programme and consists of the package - child care, women and men care, critical care, youth care, educare, medicare, animal care, agricultural care,  spiritual care, social care and special care.  While engaged in this seva, the youth are impressed by the simplicity and value based traditions and customs of the villagers. 

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Sai youth setting out for VIP work
Lord Mahasu promises deliverance from Karmasur

The story of how the region was freed from the terror of the demon Karmasur by Lord Mahasu was depicted. Apart from this, the  Palki Nritya (the dance with  a  palanquin of Lord Shiva), the  Harul Nritya  (a traditional dance performed on festivals conveying many teachings like Love for God and fear of sin) and  the  Pandav Nritya (dance by the  five Pandava brothers and Draupadi as part of the simple depiction of the Mahabharata) were also  part of the evening programme. After the programme concluded, the performers made a kind of formation and were singing aloud a song.

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The Pandav Nritya performed
Harul Nritya in progress

Swami called the State President and materialised a green diamond ring for him. He then called the children in the front line and materialised Vibhuti for them. The participants were overjoyed at this sign of Grace
.

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A green diamond ring for the state president
Vibhooti for all the kids

Swami then told that He would distribute cloth pieces to all. He personally gave cloth pieces to each and every participant. It was a comic sight to see "Draupadi" receiving shirt and pant pieces! After 15 minutes of distribution, Swami topped the cake of Grace with His special icing. He told everyone to sit neatly around and that He would come down for a group photo! He went down and insisted that He would stand so that He would be clearly seen in the picture. After that He came on stage and asked them, "You know bhajans? Sing then!" There were three or four bhajans. As Swami signaled for Aarthi, the group photo taken was given to Him and He in turn gave it to "Draupadi" who was thrilled. He then received Aarthi and left.

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Gents clothing for "Draupadi"!
The final act of ultimate benediction

 


- Heart2Heart Team


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Vol 5 Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2007
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