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Sai Prashanti Diary
 
 
 

 

July 5, 2008 – Music Programme by Devotees from North-East USA

Swami had graciously agreed for a music programme by the devotees of the Zone1 (North-east) of USA. The men, women and children alike were seated in the marbled block in front of the stage with their characteristic blue scarves. Swami came for darshan at about 4:50 p.m. Like the three previous days, once again, Swami turned towards the interview room after giving darshan on the ladies side and went straight to the stage. He immediately indicated the Veda chanting to be stopped and enquired with the US devotees about their programme.

A few devotees came up to Him and showed the programme schedule. The women and children representatives too went to Him with roses and offerings. Swami blessed them all and spoke to them lovingly. The programme then began with an introduction which was a heart to heart talk with Swami. The speaker on the mike said, "Swami, to finish the required course to graduate from the attachment to the world to complete attachment with You, for nine months, our centers in USA have collectively studied the true flowers of non-violence, sense control, forbearance, penance, peace, meditation and Truth." As he spoke, Swami looked intently at him and kept nodding.

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The co-ordinator offers a rose
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The programme is offered unto Him
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The first song was entitled, "Who am I". It was followed by a song in Spanish. The songs were simple in their tunes and rich in their meaning. Each song had a small introductory talk which was very apt. Swami listened and appreciated each of them. Swami also seemed particularly impressed with the person playing the violin in the first line. In fact, His gaze went on him for quite a number of times during the programme.

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His message forms the heart of the songs
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A section of the group lost in the beauty of music
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There were more songs on the divine romance between Swami and His devotees. The only prayer embedded in every song was, "Swami, let our Love for you grow stronger with every passing moment." Swami often says, "The Lord knows what you need. You do not have to ask Him for anything." It is so true that any prayer we make may not be "appropriate" in a sense. When we pray for wealth, material comfort, good health, more time or anything else for that matter, either for ourselves or others, how do we know that it is for our good?

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He wants "Mukti Do" to be sung...
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God is the wisest and it is prudent to admit that His wisdom is absolute and complete compared to our tiny minds. It is better to be quiet and trust Him completely while we Love Him with all our hearts. In this context, the prayer, "Swami, let our Love for you grow stronger with every passing moment", becomes very perfect. For, there is absolutely no risk in loving God. Though not all things we pray for may be good for us in the long run, loving God more intensely is always beneficial, irrespective of time and circumstances!

The final song was the realization that, "I am God! I am no different from God." As the song concluded, so did the programme. Swami asked the group to sing bhajans and they began. One particular bhajan was, "Sai Mata Pita". A line in it goes, "Mujhe Bhakti do....Mujhe Shakti do" culminating in "Mujhe Mukti do". As the first two lines were being sung, Swami kept mouthing the word, "Mukti do." It was a nice sight to see Him smilingly do so. He then looked at the violinist and told him to accompany on the violin for the bhajans too. As if awakened from a divine stupor, the devotee began to play for the rest of the bhajans. After a few more bhajans, Swami asked His boys to continue the bhajans. They sang two and then with a quick sideward glance and a lovely smile, He said, "Shlokam". The next bhajan was "Sree Raghunandana…" and it was rendered beautifully with a prelude chant or "sloka" as it is called. After that, Swami asked for the Aarthi to be taken. He beckoned the violin player, spoke to Him and ended it with a loving pat on his cheeks. Then, He retired to Yajur Mandir. On the way, He spoke to the Principal and a few teachers of the Anantapur campus of Sri Sathya Sai University.

July 6, 2008 – Swami Blesses USA Exhibition and Listens to His Boys’ Programme

Panels for an exhibition on Swami's teachings had been moved into and arranged in the Poornachandra Auditorium by the devotees from the North-East region of USA after Swami had sent word that He would bless the exhibits. Everyone and everything had been kept in perfect readiness in the morning. At about 9:05 a.m., Swami came out of Yajur Mandir. He moved into Sai Kulwant Hall and that too in the chair. Being a Sunday, the hall was quite filled, almost upto its capacity. As He moved gently, He completed a full darshan round, collecting letters and speaking to many devotees. Later, Swami granted a few interviews, and then moved into the Bhajan Hall where bhajans were in progress. At about 9:55 a.m., He received aarthi and retired.

In the evening, Swami arrived for darshan after 4:45 p.m. He took a detour after the ladies side and after a few minutes in the portico, entered the Bhajan Hall. The hall had been filled up by the senior-most students of the Institute - the final year post graduates. They had come with the focused agenda of inviting Swami to visit the hostel as it had been long since He had done so. When Swami entered the Bhajan Hall, a few students went on their knees and prayed to Him for an opportunity to speak and sing for Him. Swami agreed and told them very sweetly, "There is still time for that. Be ready. I will come." Then in the chair, Swami began to move towards the Yajur Mandir. Then, as He moved for the second time through the ladies side, they exulted; they were on cloud nine! But this time around, it appeared as though the “cloud nine” had decided to come "down to earth". The skies darkened and huge drops began coursing down. Swami reached the ladies side end of the Sai Kulwant Hall, and immediately a huge colourful umbrella was brought for Him. For all the devotees who had gathered near the western gates of Yajur Mandir, it was a lovely sight.

On an evening when everything looked dull and grey, Swami's orange robe topped with His scented mop of hair lent a dash of vibrant colour to the scene. And to "top" it was the multi-coloured umbrella, open wide and full. The sweet fragrance of rain on earth wafted in the air as the breeze caressed and played with His abundant curls and locks. Swami looked so magnificent and grand - an emperor nonpareil in this world! He came out of the western gate and the devotees were thrilled, to say the least. Blessing all of them, He moved into the Poorna Chandra Auditorium. The meaning of the statement, "God's delays are not His denials" would have come to light for the US devotees who had been waiting patiently and lovingly since morning. Swami moved in and as token of their love, the devotees offered Him many roses. They then offered Swami a candle to light the traditional lamp that had been placed there, and Bhagavan very sweetly lit all the wicks of the lamp.

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Unexpected blessing as Swami comes to the exhibition
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Welcoming with flowers
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Then began a sort of "guided tour" for Swami! He went around all the panels that had been placed and looked intently at them. He was the perfect observer, asking questions about the message and the pictures on display. A few members of the visiting group got the great and wonderful opportunity to “explain” to the Lord! At different points were seated youth members with placards on the section to follow. Swami read each and every one of these and also spoke to some of the youth. He spent almost 15 minutes going around the exhibits. After all were done, Swami came to the devotees group that had assembled in a disciplined manner in the auditorium. He called out the little children and began asking their names. He asked one of them, "Which class?" The boy seemed bewildered till an adult said, "Which grade are you in?" He answered, "Swami, I have completed my 2nd."

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A chance to explain to the Lord
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"I came here to sing for you Swami!"
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"Why did you come here?" He asked another kid. "To sing for you, Swami" was the answer. He sent back the kid after rewarding him with a sort of handshake and a pat on his cheeks. He was smiling and was very happy with them. Blessing all with abhayahastha (hand raised in blessing) and many with Paadanamaskar (the permission to touch His feet), Swami sat in the car and started for a second time towards the Sai Kulwant Hall.

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Worth the "wait" in gold!!
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All's well that ends well...
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This time, He went for a complete round in the hall and those that had missed a close darshan few minutes ago were rewarded for their patience. He entered the Bhajan Hall and asked for the assembled 2nd year post graduate students to begin their programme. It consisted of songs and short speeches. The talks, in different languages, were nostalgic accounts of the wonderful times when Swami visited the hostel. And listening to them, at times, Swami too became overcome with emotion. He too seemed to be nostalgic. One of the students said, "Swami, we are your dunnapotas forever." Swami: What is meant by dunnapota?

Boy: Swami, male buffaloes.

Swami - Why only male? Not female?

Even amidst all the boys, Swami had His children at Anantapur too in mind! He, then, said, that all were good and none were dunnapotas. The songs were the popular ones and a few qawwalis too were embedded into the programme. It was like a game show at times. Swami was given a list of songs and the boys said, "Swami, tell us whichever song you like, we will sing it out for you." And so, Swami kept picking songs and they were rendered. The programme was interspersed with persistent pleading to Swami to visit the hostel! Swami asked where the hostel was, and He said that one must never refer to it as your hostel or my hostel; it is always "ours"! Letters and cards were given. Finally, the boys showed Him a video clipping on a laptop of His previous visit to the hostel! Then, one of the students came up to Swami and said, "Swami, it has been very long since you have come to hostel. We will do whatever you want.Tell us what to do and when you will come, please!" Swami said, "I will tell...wait. There is a programme tomorrow. After Tuesday, I will tell." Blessing all the students, Swami received aarthi and retired to Yajur Mandir. Thus ended a day when the Lord drowned so many, devotees and students alike, with His irresistible pure Love.

July 7, 2008 – Distribution of Livelihood-Generating Implements to the Poor

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Man and machines filled the central blocks of the Sai Kulwant Hall on the evening of July 7, 2008.

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A view of items to be distributed
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The devotees from the Anantapur district had arranged for the service activity of distributing to the poor rural folks various implements which could help provide them with a source of livelihood. Many devotees from the surrounding villages and other poor regions of Anantapur had gathered for the occasion. Swami had very graciously agreed to preside over the distribution. In front of the stage was an impressive array of tools, machines and implements. Sewing machines, carpentry kits, sowers, tillers, insecticide sprayers, wet grinders, cycles, pushcarts, embroidery machines, handlooms and steam irons constituted this grand array. Swami came much before 4 p.m. and after a short round, went into the interview room.

Later, at about 3:55 p.m., He came onstage to begin the proceedings. The District President of the Sai Organisation began with an introductory talk in Telugu. After that, Prof. Anil Kumar gave a short introduction in English and Telugu, and what a talk it was! The professor spoke of how Swami was an ideal to all the leaders, for He, like a magnificent tree, had stood rooted at His home village and brought the whole world to Him rather than travel around the world. "Anantapur," he said, "stands for the meaning 'every body'. ‘Pura’ is the body and ‘Ananta’ means infinite." As he was speaking of Swami's shower of Grace and Love, a steady drizzle began and soon it turned into a tremendous and wonderful shower. It began to beat down so much that the rain literally 'drowned' the professor's talk in volume. The thrill of joy surging in every soul assembled was such that very soon, the sound of the rain was drowned in the thunder of the applause. The professor then started to read out the names of the recipients and the implements they were being gifted.

Sewing machines, bicycles, push-carts, grinding machines, electrical kits and other such items were duly passed on to the beneficiaries from the rural areas of the district. In the beginning as the various heads came to Swami to take padanamaskar, Swami created Vibhuti for all of them and blessed them.

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A woman pays her grateful obeisances...
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The tilling-sowing implement is raised for all to see...
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Each recipient had been chosen and all of them were gifted items of work in which they were skilled. It was indeed a very noble endeavour. Silently an economic revolution was taking place! Swami, with His spontaneous and loving action, had created more than 500 jobs in an hour! Anyone with little common sense and basic awareness of the secondary and tertiary beneficiaries in an economy would understand and appreciate the magnificent entrepreneurial implications of this seemingly "simple" act of service that was being done that afternoon. And most importantly, there was no big fuss being made about it. On the contrary, the afternoon’s scene was much akin to the quote "Instead of giving bread, teach a man how to make bread". These oft quoted words of wisdom were seen in its full meaning as Swami lovingly blessed the recipients when they came forward and placed a flower of gratitude at His feet. In about half an hour, the whole distribution was complete. After that, Swami permitted the children of Anantapur Sai centres to stage a cultural programme in His presence.

Four children came up to the front with roses, bouquets, cards and dry fruits. Swami was so happy seeing them that He spontaneously materialised a gold chain with a locket for one of the girls! Then, the programme began. It was in Telugu and based on the vows of Swami to protect the vedas, the wise people, the sufferers and all the devotees of God. A major portion of the programme was through various colourful and rhythmic dances.

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Colourful dances marked the joyous evening
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Swami - the sustainer of the Vedas
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The music and composition were very impressive and heart-warming. Swami saw the entire programme and as it concluded with a final formation, He blessed all of them with Abhayahastha. Next, Swami went into the interview room, and emerged after a few minutes onto the stage in His chair and started distributing saris to the children who had participated in the programme. The children sat in disciplined rows and Swami gifted each child with a beautiful violet saree. Once that was done, He asked whether all had received the saree. Then, with a smile of satisfaction, He looked at all the assembled children. He called them to come to Him and pose for group photographs! Again, in disciplined groups, the children came to Him and photos were taken. After blessing the participants with group photos, the Bal Vikas children began singing bhajans. As bhajans went on, prasadam was distributed, and Swami accepted arati at six o'clock.

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The descent of the Lord towards the children..
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The ascent of a child to her Lord
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July 12, 2008 – Inauguration of Gastro-Intestinal Department at SSSIHMS, Puttaparthi

With Swami's blessings, a new Gastro-intestinal (GI) endoscopy department had been furnished and kept ready for opening on July 12, 2008. Swami too had graciously consented to inaugurate the new department, blessing the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences with His divine presence! Everyone thought Swami would visit the hospital in the morning, but that did not happen. Instead, at about 2:45 p.m., message from Swami came that He would be blessing the SSSIHMS at 3:30 p.m. Everyone immediately swung into action and in a matter of minutes everything was readied for the divine visit.

Escorted by flag bearing bike riders, Swami arrived at the south entrance of the hospital at about 3:40 p.m. He had sent a delegation of six guests before Him and they were also waiting in readiness for Him at the hospital. As soon as He descended from the car, many roses exchanged hands and Swami blessed all the heads of the various offices. The Veda chanting began and led the procession of which Swami formed the "completion" at the end! The central corridor of the SSSIHMS was lined by nurses, ward boys and helpers in the hospital. Swami moved through the corridor and seemed so happy looking at all the people who were serving Him so lovingly and selflessly. What followed next were abhayahastas galore as Swami kept glancing to His right and blessed everyone seated reverentially to catch one divine glimpse. The GI exhibition was on the way and as Swami passed by it, He displayed a lot of interest in visiting it.

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According Him a traditional welcome
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All the lead doctors were there to welcome Him
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As soon as He entered the new GI endoscopy department, bhajans began there. Swami spoke to many doctors and devotees who were directly responsible in setting up the department. Then, moving inside to the area of the main altar, He lit the lamp. Each and every wick in the lamp received its share of attention as Swami lit up each one.

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His arrival springs smiles...
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The GI dept. is formally opened
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Then He was taken into the upper GI endoscopy room where the doctors had thoughtfully and creatively arranged a demonstration of the capabilities of the department. A small flower bud with its stem had been placed in a long roll of white cloth to simulate a cyst/tumour in the digestive system. As Swami sat seeing the demonstration, the doctors inserted the endoscopic camera tube and showed the proceedings on the TV screen. They then literally nipped the makeshift cyst "in the bud"! Swami saw that and as the flower bud was put in a jar and presented to Him, He asked whether the tumours would be that size. The doctor replied that these outgrowths vary in size from a minute dot to sometimes the size of a tennis ball! Swami blessed the doctors and seemed impressed! The same thing happened in the next lower GI endoscopy room too. The equipment had been connected not only to the TV screen but to a computer too so that the processor gave the doctors far greater ability in diagnosis and analysis. This was shown to Swami and there too He asked a few practical questions. The doctors found great joy in answering them and said, "Swami, this department is a fruition of your Grace on us."

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In the "upper GI endoscopy" room
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A demonstration of the endoscopy equipment
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Whenever Swami listens to either the doctors or the students, the scientists or the primary school children, it brings to mind the mother and child analogy.  The mother knows everything that the child knows, in fact, much more but in spite of that, whenever the child gurgles or recites its little rhymes, the mother listens with all appreciation and wonder. That is not an indication of the mother's ignorance, but a powerful reminder of Her great love for the child!

Swami was next taken to the GI-endoscopy ICU room. The various facilities and conveniences that were built for the future patients were shown to Swami.  He was very happy and said there was no need to show Him all the little details and that they should proceed and make the patients comfortable and happy. He trusts His doctors. His faith and trust in man is so much more than man's faith and trust in either Swami or himself! And that’s what makes Swami so special and divine. Blessing everyone who had gathered, Swami moved out of the department. On the way out, He passed by Veda chanting staff and pored over each and every face that was flexing with the twirls and turns of the Vedic hymns. Outside the department, a very warm and devoted assemblage of devotees formed a reception for Swami. He then went to the GI exhibition that He had noticed during His entry.

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Next visit was to the lower GI endoscopy room
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Looking at the information leaflets
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In the beginning, there was a small video presentation on how endoscopy actually worked. After that, Swami was given a "guided" tour of the various afflictions that tormented the human digestive tract and Swami listened with all interest. At one point when the lady who was explaining spoke of some problems, Swami said," That comes due to hurry and more importantly - worry. If worry is avoided, many problems will disappear!" A wonderful banquet had also been kept ready for Swami. When He was requested to have something, He said, "No! Not now. The devotees will be waiting there!" Though He was in the heart of the SSSIHMS, His heart was still with the devotees squatting in the Sai Kulwant Hall. He completed a full round of the exhibition. At the end of it, many of the doctors took padanamaskar. He was then requested to bless the ongoing orthopedic conference with His presence.

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A multimedia presentation on GI endoscopy methods
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At the GI exhibition that had been put up
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He agreed. The conference hall was on the way. Swami entered the conference hall in the middle of a presentation  But when the Lord arrives, everything comes to a standstill. He lit up the conference, literally and figuratively, when He went to the lamp placed in the corner and lit all the wicks. A few distinguished doctors were to receive citations and they were indeed fortunate to receive them from the divine hands. Swami was literally surrounded by the doctors and in midst of that too, He materialised a ring for one of the doctors. At this point, the whole assembly came down to its knees in humble prayer. All the delegates came to the aisle and knelt down on either side with a prayer that Swami should traverse that path. Swami obliged happily and very soon all the discipline seemed to vanish as devotion took precedence. Swami moved gently through the eager beavers and blessed them all. They were thrilled at this act of Grace. As Swami exited the hall, there was an orthopedic endoscopy device too. As Dr. Sundareshan demonstrated with a dummy bone in a cast how the instrument could be used, Swami looked on. By now, the people around Swami were swarming and the mass of devotees around Him was swelling to huge proportions. Swami started moving a little quicker now.

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Blessed to receive citations from His hands...
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...and a ring too as an expression of His Love...
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As Swami moved out to the main corridor and back towards the side door, people took all the vantage points available to have a glimpse of Him. By now, news of the Lord's presence in the hospital had spread all around and doctors, nurses, helpers, patients and relatives alike gathered in a hurry to see their sweet Lord. Swami was all smiles and blessings as He moved out. Some of the sisters from the dietary services had books and cards blessed. They tried to invite Swami to the dietary department too. Swami very sweetly told them that He had to rush back to the Mandir as devotees were waiting there. Aarthi was taken as Swami came out and entered the car. Before leaving, Swami waved out to all who had gathered around the car and it was such a wonderful and poignant moment for everyone. Swami was then escorted back to the Mandir.

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An "appetizing" invitation to the dietary department
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Waving the holy flame before departure
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July 13, 2008 – Performance by Mr. Kunal Ganjawalla

As a part of the Ashadi Ekadasi function, the introductory honours had been gifted to Mr. Kunal Ganjawalla and his wife Gayatri Ganjawalla. Swami had agreed to a concert by the artist couple and the whole stage had been set and kept ready for them. Swami came out at about 3:45 p.m. and took a round in the car in the Sai Kulwant Hall. Swami is also called as "Nitya Nootana", which means “the ever new”. True to this, no two days are ever similar in the things He does. On July 13, He took the route via the portico from the gents side and then moved to the ladies side again. From there He went back towards Yajur Mandir and via the passage between the Yajur Mandir and the Sai Kulwant Hall, He drove out! He went for a darshan granting ride in Puttaparthi and returned to the Mandir after a few minutes.

This time, He came straight to the portico and then soon onto the stage. He called the artists of the day and asked them to begin. The veda chanting came to a halt and then Mr. Kunal and his group of artists sought His blessings. The first song was on Lord Ganesha, and it was an auspicious beginning. Mr. Kunal and his wife kept alternating between themselves in the songs, and it was a treat not only for the ears, but also for the eyes as Swami's reactions and responses to the songs were so sweet and full of Love. When Mrs. Gayathri began the song "Thumak Chalat Ramachandra" after saying that it reminds her of the beautiful days when Swami would come glidingly walking down for darshan, Swami seemed to get overwhelmed. He began singing along with her! In fact, at one point, when the singer stopped singing to allow the flute to play a piece, Swami continued singing and was apparently surprised as to why the singing had stopped! He looked at the singer and gave vigorous rhythm on His lap indicating her to begin singing. Kunal then sang the song, "Sainath Tere Hazaro Haath" from the movie “Shirdi Ke Sai Baba”. Being a very popular song, the members of the audience too began to sing along with him. At the end of that performance, Swami looked at the artists and lipped, "Very very happy!" and that was exactly the feeling shown on the faces of the artists too, for, what can be a greater reward than being able to make the Lord happy.  A Meera bhajan followed next and the audience lapped it up as it went through the highs and lows of pitches! As the songs continued, Swami called Kunal and made some enquiries of him. Then taking leave for a few minutes, Swami went into the interview room. He returned soon and sat on the stage. There was another lady artist too who sang the Telugu song, "Oh Rama! Nee Nama Yenta Ruchira" and Swami sat swaying to it and enjoying it. Really, the only tunes the Lord dances to are the tunes of Love from the heart.

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Kunal and Gayatri Ganjawalla in concert
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"Very, very happy"
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Every action of Swami has so much of meaning to some people. It may appear that it means nothing for the world, but it definitely means the world to somebody! Knowing the story in the background sometimes helps one in appreciating the actions He does. And in that day's case, having met the artists and got a chance to interact with them, the writer is able to enjoy and share some of these stories now. Some time back, Swami had appeared in the dream of Kunal's sister and had told her that Gayatri must sing the bhajan "Sri Venkatesha Saishwara" and that evening, very soon she began that bhajan. It appeared as if Swami had been waiting for that bhajan. As soon as it concluded, Swami called Kunal and then starting waving His palm. At this juncture, it is necessary to reveal another part of the story in flashback. As Gayatri put it, "It was our dream that we get married in His presence. It did not happen that way, but He knows every desire in the heart!" Swami created a golden chain and instead of putting around Kunal's neck, gave it to him and told him to tie it around his wife's neck! Then immediately, He materialised a ring and gave it to the wife to put it on the finger of the husband! Both husband and wife broke down. Showers of Grace and showers of tears are often synonymous. And that’s what happened on stage as Swami fulfilled a deep desire in the devotees' hearts without them even telling Him their wish, physically. Seeing them in tears, Swami also momentarily was overcome with emotion. He then presented sarees to the ladies and shawls to the gents.

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A poignant moment as a "wedding" is conducted.
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A long cherished desire finds fruition...
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As this shower of Love came to a pause, Swami asked Kunal to sing a bhajan

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The overwhelmed couple with the
overwhelming Lord
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. He started, "Bolo Bolo Sab Mil Bolo" - a bhajan which urges everyone to sing out the name of the Lord. Having witnessed all that happened on the stage, nobody needed any urging, only an excuse was needed, to sing out the divine name! The bhajan had a whole hearted and vociferous following. At the end of that, Swami told the artists that He would come to the centre stage and pose with them for photographs. They were all thrilled and overjoyed. When Swami wants to make you feel special, He goes all out to do so. As the pictures were being taken, Swami looked at the boy shooting the video and told him, "Move your fingers! Don't block the video!" everyone smiled in merriment. Then, Swami spoke to almost every member of the performing troupe. He blessed the prasadam to be distributed to all. Then as aarthi began, He called Prof. Anil Kumar and told him to announce the next day's programme He also blessed a couple of books that the state president of Maharashtra presented to Him. After aarthi, blessing all with abhayahastha, Swami retired to Yajur Mandir.


July 15, 2008 – Ashaadi Ekadasi Celebrations in the Divine Presence

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A grand view of the decorated mandir on Aashaadi Ekadasi
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The morning of Ashaadi Ekadasi dawned with a dash of colour and a rush of energy in the abode of highest peace. It had been announced the previous evening that the morning programme would begin at 9:00 a.m. At 8:50 a.m., Swami arrived from the Yajur Mandir. The usual Vedic chanting started, but very soon it was replaced by songs that had been especially composed for the occasion of Ashaadi Ekadasi. The song was full of vigour and life, and the audience began to clap rhythmically with it. Specially dressed men stood in the centre blowing conches heralding Swami's entry into the Mandir premises. Swami moved on the chair and went through the Sai Kulwant Hall granting the joy of close darshan on the auspicious morning. Well, any morning when one can have the beautiful darshan of the Lord becomes holy and auspicious! Passing through the students’ area, He blessed all the boys holding trays and celebrating birthdays.

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Crowds swelled in the Kulwant hall
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The Birthday boys are blessed!
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From the portico as He came onto the stage, there were many VIPs and MLAs seeking His blessings. He was bestowing smiles on everyone and was radiating joy and peace as He came on the dais. The stage had been decorated very grandly with a beautiful idol of Vitthala adorning the centre. Swami looked at the whole stage and moved to the gents’ side corner to light the lamp. A blue gentle wax candle was given to Him and He slowly lit all the six wicks in the lamp and a round of applause rented the hall. The programme began with the arrival of the traditional Varakaris. Every year, thousands of pilgrims walk all the way to the banks of the mighty Chandrabhaga River, to the "mother's home"- Pandharpur and pray to Lord Vitthala. Now, Puttaparthi has become the "mother's home" and dear Sai - the Lord, as the pilgrims conclude their walking pilgrimage in His divine presence on the Ashaadi Ekadasi day. ("Co-incidentally" Pandharpur translates into English as 'white field'!) The dance was the folk type and was marked by the energy and quick movements demanding lot of stamina. Before the dance actually began, a garland of Tulsi leaves and dry fruits were brought to Swami for blessings.

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At the Vitthala shrine in the centre
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Varakaris' offerings
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The dance consisted of many human pyramid formations. Each pyramid that came up was more intricate and tougher to form than the previous one. There was a formation of steps and the lotus formation too. The dance received a lot of appreciation and it was after the dance that the main programme of the morning began.

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Ever rising on the path towards God
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Dancing on a 'lotus formed by the feet'!
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The programme was by the Bal Vikas children from the Pune district of Maharashtra. Entitled "Adhyatma Ramayanam", it was based on the inner significance of the Ramayana as Swami has explained it. The actors who were playing the part of Rama, Lakshmana, Sugriva and the squirrel who helps a 'tiny' bit in the bridge building, came up to the stage to offer the card and flowers to Swami. The Lord blessed them and then the enactment began. It began with all the great poets who had written the Ramayana - sage Valmiki, Kamban, Tulsidas, Thyagaraja - arriving to the present where a Bal Vikas teacher is discussing the Ramayana with the children.

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The Ramayana characters offer their salutations
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The students hear the Ramayana - enraptured
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The whole story of Ramayana was weaved by these great saints and the various landmark events were depicted on stage. The narration starts with a joyous dance at the prospect of Rama being made the king of Ayodhya. Then the queen Kaikeyi, under the influence of her maid Manthara, tells Dasharatha to banish Rama into exile for 14 years and asks for the coronation of Bharatha. Everyone is shocked and worried, except Rama, the epitome of calm and composure. Sita and Lakshmana follow Rama to the forest. In the forest, the episode of Sita being kidnapped by Ravana was depicted after she is enticed by her desire for a golden deer. It was brought out powerfully that in life too, once Kama (desire) overpowers, Rama (God) leaves! Sita pining for the golden deer ends up getting the golden city (lanka) itself, but in the process loses Rama. She is sad and despondent. Stated another way, as long as the Rama tattwa (spirit of Godliness) exists, Ravana tattwa (the negatives) cannot enter. The special smoke and lighting effects as Ravana tries to cross the famous "Lakshman Rekha" were good.

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The great "Ramayana Poets" ensemble!
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The court of emperor Dasharatha...
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The drama then went on to depict how the Eagle king Jatayu fights valiantly to help Sita and in the process loses his own life. That act of bravery and selfless love wins Jatayu the supreme merit of having his last rites performed by Rama himself - a merit that even the great Dasharatha was not fortunate enough to be blessed with, though he was Rama's father. Rama and Lakshmana then meet Hanuman and Sugriva. Vali, who stands for body attachment, is slain by Rama and then the search for Sita begins. Hanuman meets Mother Sita after crossing the Indian Ocean. Hanuman's flight across the ocean was also creatively depicted. There he gives courage to Sita and strikes terror in the hearts of all the demons at Lanka. He returns triumphantly and very soon the bridge to Lanka is built. The episode of the squirrel contributing a few grains of sand to the bridge was also shown. The special message was very clear. The world judges a person by the fruits or the results the person produces. God judges not and He sees only the efforts made. Efforts, not results, please Him! The drama concluded with the coronation of Rama and a grand dance to celebrate that. The inner significance as stated by Swami, and brought out by the drama, was this:

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The great Jatayu dies for the Lord....
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...while Hanuman lives for Him!
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Rama is the Indweller in every Body. He is the Atma-Rama, the Rama (Source of Bliss) in every individual. His blessings up surging from that inner Spring can confer peace and bliss. He is the very embodiment of Dharma, of all the codes of morality that hold mankind together in love and unity. The Ramayana, the Rama story, teaches two lessons: the value of detachment and the need to become aware of the Divine in every being. Faith in God and detachment from objective pursuits are the keys for human liberation. Give up sense-objects; you gain Rama. Sita gave up the luxuries of Ayodhya and so, she could be with Rama, in the period of 'exile'. When she cast longing eyes on the golden deer and craved for it, she lost the presence of Rama. Renunciation leads to joy; attachment brings about grief. Be in the world, but, not of it. The brothers, comrades, companions and collaborators of Rama are each of them examples of persons saturated with Dharma. Dasaratha is the representative of the merely physical, with the ten senses. The three Gunas - Sathwa, Rajas and Thamas - are the three Queens. The four goals of life - the Purusharthas - are the four Sons. Lakshmana is the Intellect; Sugriva is Viveka or Discrimination. Vali is Despair. Hanuman is the embodiment of Courage. The Bridge is built over the Ocean of Delusion. The three demon chiefs are personifications of the Rajasic (Ravana), Thamasic (Kumbhakarna) and the Sathwic qualities (Vibhishana). Sita is Brahmajnana or the Awareness of the Universal Absolute, which the Individual must acquire and regain, undergoing travails in the crucible of life. Make your heart pure and strong, contemplating the grandeur of the Ramayana. Be established in the faith that Rama is the reality of your existence.

 As the drama concluded, all the participants came into a final mass gathering. 143 girls and 81 boys formed a huge mass of children in all colours and forms! Swami was very happy and blessed all of them. The Ramayana is such a powerful story that one does not need a fantastic script or great acting skills. The story simply narrated, in itself inspires and brings feelings of devotion and love from within. It is small wonder then that Swami holds the Ramayana so dear to His heart. He told all the children that He would come down for group photos. The sight of so many children sitting around Him must be seen to be believed! He called the little squirrel and spoke to 'it' asking his name and place! Even in this age, the Lord seemed to be appreciating the efforts rather than the size of the role played! Swami created a chain for the boy who played the role of Rama in the forest.

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Hundreds gather for the group photo...
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A gold chain for "Lord Rama"
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He then told all the children to come and sit close so that good pictures could be taken. Then He moved to the front where He called for Rama, Lakshmana and Sita, and posed for pictures with them. Then He asked one of the photographers, "Call Pattabhi Rama also." So the crowned and decked Rama, Lakshmana and Sita too came and were blessed with photos with Him. After the photo session, Swami said that He would stand up and bless all. As Swami rose, there was an uproarious applause. Swami beamed and blessed all. Then slowly, He walked up the way on to the stage.

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The four bothers with Sita and Urmila with Sai
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"I will stand with you"
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As He sat on the stage, He called the main organiser and spoke to him about the children - how they had practiced, how they had put in the efforts and how many days it had taken. Swami was told that everything had come out so wonderfully because of His Grace alone. Swami spoke quite a lot and it was very evident that He was very happy. He called Sita onstage and asked, "Are you a boy?" The boy blushed and the redness on his face traveled very soon to His face too! He asked his name and patted him on the cheeks. He blessed the prasadam that was to be distributed and, in fact, He himself distributed it to some of the actors who were nearby. Then aarthi was taken and Swami raised both His hands in loving benediction to all the children. In between all this, He also granted interviews to some people and the artists of the previous day’s programme. It was about 11:10 a.m. when He finally retired for the morning.

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He distributes sweets to the actors
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Mahamangala Aarthi on Aashaadi morn
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In the afternoon, Swami arrived at about 4:30 p.m. He moved through the ladies side on the chair and then cut through the central stage area and went straight to the interview room. At 5:00 p.m., He came out and sat on the stage. After a short while of Veda chanting, He raised His hand to signal it to a stop. A musical dance ballet entitled, "Tripura Rahasyam" was to be presented in the divine presence by the Balvikas students and Gurus of the Mumbai organisation. The lead actors and dancers came on stage and presented Swami with the card and flowers, and sought His blessings for the success of the programme. Swami blessed them and the programme began.

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"May the program blossom well"
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He accepts a clove!
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The “Tripura Rahasyam” literally means, "beyond the trinity". It is the greatest among the works of Sri Ramana Maharshi expounding the traditional teachings where a steadily self-aware Sadguru imparts knowledge about inner perception, enabling the disciple to share the same state. For his part, however, the disciple must be eager, have full zeal to know and have unqualified faith in the Guru's guidance. The programme began with a dance for the veneration of Goddess Sri Tripura. The goddess, regarded as the pure unsullied intelligence, manifests in ten forms then. Each form was welcomed with the appropriate musical chants. Covering the entire aspects of the manifest and the unmanifest, the ten forms are very interesting, at least from an academic point of view. They are - Dhoomaavathi, Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshwari, Tripura Bhairavi, Maha Kali, Tara, Matangi, Chinnamastha, Bagala Mukhi and Kamalathmika.

 This knowledge had been first imparted by Lord Dattatreya, considered as the ultimate Guru, an embodiment of the holy trinity, to the great sage Parashurama. The great knowledge was imparted through parables. The story of princess Hemalekha's sound advice to the prince Hemachuda was depicted very creatively. The fickle mind, thoughts, the senses and the vices were all "humanized" and built up as a single family with the relationships between them subtly hinting towards the actual relationships existing as they arise in humans. There are heavy conflicts within the family and this ruins the intellect, and ultimately makes one ignorant. And ignorance is the root cause of all the problems. Another story of the brothers Rukmangada and Hemangada was also depicted. They use wisdom to save themselves from being devoured by the demon of doubt.

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The ten aspects of the Mother Goddess
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Lord Dattatreya - the greatest among Gurus
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By way of these parables, in dreams and visions, Lord Dattatreya resolves the doubts of Manav - the representative of humanity. Everything begins with Virakti (disgust of material possessions) leading to Vairagya (detachment) which finally leads to Viveka (discrimination). But for all this, the Grace of the Lord is paramount. The programme concluded with the manifestation of the Devi in all her glory and grandeur on the chariot when all the sages viz. Sanaka, Vasishta, Pulasthya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhrigu, Athri, Angiras, Prachetasa, Narada, Cyavana, Vamadeva, Vishwamitra, Goutama, Sukra, Parashara, Vyasa, Kanva, Kashyapa, Daksha, Sumanthu, Shanka, Likhita and Devala, and the Gods of the trinity pray for her!  As the final song began, Swami called the protagonist and created a golden chain for him. In the meantime, everyone came into the final formation and Swami said that He would move down and bless the children with group photos.

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The joy of proximity to Him
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"Manav" receives a chain besides the enlightenment
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Swami went down and like bees swarming around sources of nectar, the children came all over Swami. Swami was so happy! He went through the children and posed for pictures twice or thrice. He also spoke to many of them and took letters from many more. He even asked the names of some of the children. He saw 'Hemalekha' and asked 'her', "Where is your husband?” much to the merriment of everyone around. Once again, for the second time that day, He rose from the chair and holding on to the children, posed for group photos. He moved back onto the stage and as He sat there, He kept selecting boys to come up and pose with Him. He picked similarly costumed people to come up and it was such a beautiful photo shootout! A "demon" told Swami that He wanted to go on stage to pose with Him. Swami told him to put on his crown and then come on the stage! After a very joy filled and eventful session, Swami asked for bhajans to begin. After a while He went into the interview room. Soon, He came out, received Aarthi and retired to Yajur Mandir at about 6:40 p.m.

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Symmetry as chosen by the Lord
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The "demon" in his moment of crowning glory
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July 15, 2008 – Concert by Mr. Kailash Kher

On the evening of July 15, Swami had agreed for a concert by Mr. Kailash Kher, a singer famous for his quick and exciting numbers especially on Sufi mysticism. A "blue carpet" welcome had been arranged for him on the stage. Swami arrived to Sai Kulwant Hall at about 4:25 p.m. on the chair. He took the detour to the stage after the ladies side. All the accompanying artists were already on stage. Most of them were in white kurta and pyjamas. A few, however, were in jeans and t-shirts. Obviously, it was their first trip to Puttaparthi, and the first time ever they would be seeing Swami. Swami came on the stage and sat by the artists. Though a little of a fantasy, it would be interesting to make this narrative as one of the artists on stage would probably have seen it! Here it goes anyway!

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A private moment with the Lord
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"Swami comes on stage and all eyes rivet to Him. He sits simply and yet with an unseen kind of elegance. All the people in front are dressed in white and they are all (or at least most of them) holding folded papers and seem to be pleading with their eyes for him to take! He calls a few of them and takes their notes. Oh! Those are letters that have been written to Him and He opens a few of them and reads through.

The others He simply stores on His lap or gives them to the aides by His side. Chants are going on and everyone seems to know them. Amazing! All of a sudden, Swami, as everyone seems to call Him, calls a Caucasian boy and speaks a while with him. Anyone coming even within metres of His ambience suddenly seems to have joy and peace blossoming on the face. Swami speaks very little and whatever little He speaks, everyone around eagerly laps it up. He then turns back and leaves the stage."

Swami sat for a while and then moved into the interview room. He went around for darshan rounds in the Bhajan Hall and the portico. The artists too went to the portico. Swami, then, came on stage. It was then about 5:20 p.m. He was smiling gently and watched on as the artists came and took their positions on stage. Mr. Kailash Kher was the last to arrive and he went ahead and offered a rose to Swami. Swami blessed him and told him to begin. Now, let our fantasized onstage 'artist-reporter' take over.

"Kailash began with his usual panache and style with his uniquely soulful, raw, high-pitched voice. The song was Allah Ke Bande. Normally people go gaga and start swaying and dancing the minute he begins. Here it was different. There was that excitement on the faces, but none would give expression to it through their bodily movements. And all that calm as Kailash was storming seemed to arise from the other presence on stage - Baba! He was clapping His hand on His lap rhythmically, and that beat seemed to control the clapping and rhythm of the entire hall. Kailash was in his usual elements and he moved over to faster songs and kept urging the people to join him. But these people instinctively are so loyal to Baba that nothing seemed to excite them out of the decent squatting posture they had all adopted."

Swami was amused at times seeing the raw enthusiasm that Mr. Kher embodied. Mr. Kher suddenly narrated what had happened in the morning. "Today I am fortunate to be in Guruji's presence. I arrived late last evening and was sleeping in the morning. Guruji asked here in Mandir to the organisers, 'Where is Kailash?' Later when I confirmed this, I realized that He had asked exactly the question at the same time when I had opened my eyes in my room. That was a miracle for me and I realize that I was sleeping in Guruji's lap and He woke me up!" There was a loud cheer from the crowd.

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Kailash lets his heart take over.....
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...and He lets His heart get taken over!
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"As Kailash spoke that, I was touched and what would have surprised me anywhere else, but not here, was that people now seemed aroused and excited! He then continued with other songs and providing the music for him today was turning out to be a unique sort of experience."

It was an interesting evolution that was going on at the stage. Mr. Kher who had begun with addressing Him as Guruji was now calling Him Swamiji. The second song he sang was " Om se kar lo preet pyaar se". Inspired by his father and by the earthy, energetic strains of legendary Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Kailash Kher has also been completely influenced by Sufism. He dedicated a few Sufi songs to Swami and was all energy as he sang out. In fact, during one of the songs, he even got up and lifted the mike with the stand to his face and sang out aloud! That energy was infectious and everyone was clapping hard for the songs and some even started gently swaying to the tunes. "Teri bin nahi lagta", followed suit soon. In between the songs, he did something very sweet and good.

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Energy and excitement abounds on stage
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He introduced all the members of his band - 'Kailasa' and spoke highly of their skills and talents. He had everyone applauding for the members of his team, a very noble leadership trait indeed.

"The people received us very warmly as Kailash introduced us to them. Kailash did everything and built a rapport with the crowd. But still I could not help noticing the fact that in spite of him suddenly rising in middle of the concert and clapping vigorously, the crowd maintained a reserved excitement. Loud clapping was the only way they vented their enthusiasm. On the left, Swamiji was smiling always. He kept tapping His lap all the while and encouraging Kailash to sing more! There is something very magical about Baba! Before another Sufi song Kailash said boldly that it was a great fortune to be in the presence of almighty God and he would sing a song of the Atma to the Paramatma!"

After a very touching Sufi song calling out to the Lord, Swami called out for Kailash Kher to come to Him. Waving His right palm, He brought a gold ring and put it on the singer's finger. Then as he kissed His knee in supplication, He created a gold chain and put it around his neck. A few loving words and many sweet smiles were exchanged between the Lord and His Sufi devotee. Mr. Kher went back and started another song. He said, "Swami is Lord Shiva. I now sing a song on Lord Shiva."  At the end of it, Swami called all the artists and presented them with shawls of honour. By now, most of them fell at His feet and sought blessings. Swami was all smiles and He spoke to almost all of them. As Swami was looking around apparently for bhajans/songs by boys, Kailash Kher made a request, "One last song Swamiji! This is for those people who are mad like me. So now at least, please do not hold yourself. Go on let loose!"

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A ring from the Lord...
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...to be soon followed by a chain!
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"As Kailash sang with all energy, I was sure that a part of the crowd at least will be on its feet. But no! Swami's presence is The Presence. He has a magical effect on everyone and I can myself feel it and it is so thrilling. The song concludes and the crowd jumps up with joy finally. But wait a minute! They are shouting, "Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki - Jai" Simply amazing! And Swamiji sits calm and composed on the stage. A faint flicker of a smile lights up His lips as He tells everyone to remain calm!"

Swami blessed the prasadam to be distributed and aarthi was taken. Kailash Kher went up to Swami and bending down, kissed His feet. He also performed the Aarthi to Swami. At the end of the aarthi, people began shouting Jaijaikars to Swami. Swami told them to calm down and blessing everyone, retired to Yajur Mandir at about 7:05 p.m.

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Kailash Kher waves the Aarthi to Swami
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The artiste kisses those tender Lotus Feet
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July 16, 2008 – Mobile Van Inauguration and Concert by Pandit Phalguni Mitra

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A small surprise awaits...
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There was a mobile medicare van parked in front of the Yajur Mandir at about 8:30 a.m. It was part of the ongoing efforts by the Mumbai Sai Organisation to provide better medical facilities in inaccessible areas. They had over ten such vans to serve as a mobile dispensary and a preliminary diagnostic 'vehicle'! A novel idea, first initiated by the Sathya Sai Seva Organisations (SSSO), Tamil Nadu, had been implemented by Maharashtra too. About 4-5 hospitals had agreed to give treatment free of cost to the tune of 1 hospital bed to the SSSO, Mumbai, as a philanthropic measure and the medical vans would find the suffering and needy and be instrumental in providing them help, health and hope. The Sai Organisation would pay for the post operative care! It is a very good example, indeed, of society serving society.

At about 9:10 a.m., Swami came out of Yajur Mandir. He seemed to be a little surprised when He saw the vehicle standing on the left! He went close to it and the people there explained to Him about the concept and utility of the vehicle. These vans had been given away by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra in a special ceremony held a few weeks ago in Mumbai. The vehicle had all the items and utilities required for the doctor to engage in primary health care.

Swami saw the vehicle through the front door and then again went to the rear and peered through that door. He inquired about the procedure in which it would be operated. Blessing everyone who had assembled there in connection with the van, Swami proceeded to the Sai Kulwant Hall to grant darshan.  The bhajans, which start daily at 9 a.m., were already on.  At 9:30 a.m., He received aarthi and then returned to Yajur Mandir.

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Swami listens with rapt attention
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Giving the van a thorough look through
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In the evening there was a concert scheduled to be performed by Mr. Falguni Mitra. A foremost exponent of Dhrupad, the authentic and respected form of Hindusthani Classical music, Pandit Falguni Mitra was initiated into music by his father, Sangeetacharya Pandit Shib Mitra at the tender age of four and a half. Swami arrived for darshan and after taking a detour on the ladies side, moved to the portico. He then took a round in the Bhajan Hall and after a visit to the interview room, came on stage for the programme.

All the artists bowed down to Swami and sought His blessings. The programme on this day was entirely a different flavour compared to the one the previous day. While the performance on July 15 thrilled with its pace and pitch, on July 16 it was a unique blend of power and profundity! The concert began with Ganesha Vandana and was followed by a wonderful piece in raag Bhimpalas. Gifted with a deep, melodious voice, Mr. Falguni Mitra has inspired a reformation to the unique art-form of Dhrupad singing through successful innovations in its melodic structure and rhythmic variations. True to his reputation, he sang a song on the "colour-play", as he put it, of the gopikas and gopalas of Brindavan with Krishna, in that famed style. He slowly weaved his melodies and one really needed a highly refined and cultured mind to appreciate this higher form of music. He sang a song on the victorious return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya and capped up the performance with an excellent rendering of the song, "Chalo Man Ganga Jamuna Teer." Swami too sang along with him for parts of the song.

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Falguni Mitra - ecstatic in concert
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The sign of Grace and blessings
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At the end of it, Swami materialised a ring for the Pandit and gifted him a shawl. His wife, who was on the harmonium, received a saree from Swami. The other members of the team too were similarly blessed with shawls.  Finally, Swami posed with them for group photos and after that was over, He lovingly blessed the esteemed artist and his wife by placing His hand on their heads. Aarthi was then performed after which Swami retired.

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A ring for the Dhrupad exponent...
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...and a special blessing for his wife
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July 17, 2008 – Violin Concert by Students from Thailand

On the evening of July 17, Bhagavan arrived after the bhajans had begun and went straight to the Bhajan Hall at 5.30 p.m. He entered the hall in His chair from the rear door after moving around in the verandah, and moving up the aisle, went out of the front door. On the verandah, He interacted with Dr. Jum Sai of Thailand, and consented to have a violin recital by the boys from Sathya Sai School, Thailand. There was an immediate response from the students of the school. From all the different places in the hall, they began to stream in towards the center. By that time, even the chairs were placed for them. In Prasanthi Nilayam, there is no stopping once God gives consent, just like any other part of the world! The boys moved to the centre of the Sai Kulwant Hall where place had been left for them, and with the bhajans coming to a halt, their programme commenced at six o'clock. However, the lady conductor was conspicuous by her absence!

Dr. Jum Sai himself began to conduct the little orchestra, swinging his arms rhythmically and gently. The pieces played were mostly popular bhajans and the children did a very good job of it. After fifteen minutes of playing, their conductor arrived! A loud round of applause filled the hall as everyone realised that the present conductor was only the stand by and yet had done such a good job. However, the difference became evident as the violinists bonded and blended wonderfully well with their conductor, and the same pieces sounded more harmonious than before. The orchestrator is as important, if not more, than the orchestra. So, they began playing the pieces once again. At 6.40 p.m., once the violins concluded, Swami blessed all of the children and asked for bhajans to commence in the Sai Kulwant Hall.

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Dr. Jum Sai plays a cameo role
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The orchestrator finally arrives
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Swami had the programme sheet in His hand which contained all the bhajans that the students had played. He called the lead singers from the bhajan group and handing over the sheet to them, told them to sing the same bhajans! It took a while, but soon everyone in the hall realized what was going on and felt very touched at this little act of Grace from the Lord. Swami told the singers that they needn't sing the bhajans in both speeds; what was important was that all bhajans be sung! And so, from Ganesha Sharanam to Manasa Bhajore to Bhajana Bina, the bhajans were sung; the Thailand students were simply delighted. Then, as the bhajans were done, Swami suddenly asked for a Meera bhajan. That song began and was halfway through when Swami told them to stop. Then, He asked the violinists whether they could play any Meera bhajan. They smiled sheepishly and said ‘no’. Swami too smiled and told them to sing any bhajan. They sang in chorus, Shambho Shankara Deva and everyone in the hall followed them.

After this, Swami called them up for a group photo beside Him onstage, and interacted with them for nearly twenty minutes. As the flashes fired, Swami spoke lovingly to the children. Some of them began to show small card photos to Swami. He blessed them and said, "I will give photos. I will give." At 7:25 p.m., Swami received aarthi and left for Yajur Mandir as prasadam was distributed.

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The ultimate dream of any performer - to be with Him
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"I will give you all photos"
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July 18, 2008 – Guru Poornima in the Divine Presence

Thousands thronged to the holy hamlet of Puttaparthi to be with their dear Guru on the occasion of Guru Poornima. Sai Kulwant Hall was brimming with people everywhere. The students from all the campuses too had arrived and what greater good fortune for a student than being with their Guru on this occasion. The Sun had risen quite early in the morning and was shining bright already. Maybe the sun too wished to have a glimpse of the Sadguru from the heavens! Resplendent in a golden yellow robe, the Sun in every heart rose at 8:50 a.m. Unlike the heavenly star, the sweet Lord seemed to bring in waves of calmness and coolness with His arrival. A special Golden coloured chair was His chariot and He was led in the procession by His baby elephant which was bedecked in festival finery.

Swami moved slowly through the throngs of devotees and a "Mexican wave" of joy moved through the crowd, the crests of the wave coinciding with His position in the hall, as everyone craned to gift their eyes with the heavenly sight. There was exuberance and joy everywhere. Swami, in sharp contrast to the reactions of the devotees, was the epitome of calm and had a stoic smile as He gently moved through the surging and swelling crowds. He was the centre of calm in the devotional storm.

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The sun rose with Sai on Guru Purnima
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Extra energy in the Panchavadyam team
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Completing a full round, He moved to the portico. A huge cake adorned the veranda. The cake was thickly covered with icing. But the 'icing' on the icing was a lovely model of Lord Rama embracing his dear most Hanuman. Swami lit the candle on the cake and also cut it gently. There was another cake too which Swami cut and blessed. Then He moved onto the stage.

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The special "Rama-Hanuman" cake
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Lighting the candle for a second cake
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The moment He was on stage, the magic and joy of spontaneity was experienced by all in the hall - seeing Him so majestic and powerful, yet so dainty and sweet, the crowd burst in rapturous clapping so spontaneously, and seeing His devotees oozing with joy and enthusiasm, Swami raised both His hands in the ultimate act of Grace and benediction, as spontaneously.

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Blessings galore!
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That divine smile now danced on His lips. He sat for a while listening to the Vedam chanting along with the Nadaswaram and Panchavadyam performed by the students. He also kept beat with the music as the boys continued playing.

After a while, Mr. Shivraj Patil, the Union Home Minister of India, presented a book to Bhagavan for release. This tome on the Bhagavad Gita was written by the distinguished statesman and was being made available in English, Hindi, Marathi and other languages. Swami was very eager in blessing the book. Bhagavan then asked Prof. Anil Kumar to announce the details of the book and after that Mr. Shivraj Patil was asked by Bhagavan to address the gathering. In his short speech, Mr. Patil thanked Bhagavan profusely for inspiring the book. As he completed his speech, Swami asked for a pen. Then He took the book and signed on its first page. It seemed so fantastic and appropriate. The Bhagavad Gita is an immortal treasure trove of wisdom that has inspired countless aspirants on the path to ultimate realization. And the teacher there is the Lord Himself in the form of Krishna. To be released on Guru Poornima by that same Krishna is a blessing that could not have got better for Mr. Shivraj Patil.

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The Bhagawad Gita by Shivraj Patil is released
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"With Love and Blessings - Sathya Sai"
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After releasing the book, Swami asked for His mikes to be brought. Wow! It was indeed a supremely blessed day for the best possible event was about to take place. The Guru addressing all! Swami began with a long Telugu poem which the translator did not get the opportunity to translate. Then the discourse proceeded:

 "It is the power of Love that makes everything possible. All the names are God's names. But the Truth is ‘Aham Brahmasmi’. The universe derives from and dissolves into the Truth. There is no place without Truth, and God is the cause for everything in the universe.

Shivraj Patil has written this Gita after poring over various texts and grasping this essence. There are many who write books but this one is very special for it has been written from the heart. Whenever, I visited him, he used to get it corrected and verified by me. And since it has arisen from his heart, the essence of the Gita is present in it.

Guru Poornima is not just a day when you pay respects to the elders by giving them some money. "Gurur Brahma, gurur Vishnu, gurur devo maheshwara; Guru sakshath parabrahma tasmai sri gurave namaha". In that sense, God is the only Guru. Poornima is the moon that is full without any defects or black spots. With a pure heart, whatever is said, comes true. And whatever comes from the heart is the true word of the Guru.

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"The heart is one's True Guru"
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Once in their childhood, when the Pandavas and Kauravas were engaged in a ball game, the ball fell into a well and the children began to weep. Drona, his wife and son Ashwattama were passing by that way. Drona, the master, shot an arrow to the ball. Then successively, he shot arrows one behind the other and made a rope out of the arrows and pulled out the ball for them. Such was his greatness. Ekalavya wanted to become his disciple too but Drona refused to take him as one stating that he would not teach hunters. So the lad made a clay idol of Drona and mastered the art of archery. Once when Drona and all the princes were in the forest, a dog started barking and disturbing. Very soon, its mouth was rendered shut by hundreds of arrows shot with great precision! All wondered who had done so and it was discovered that Ekalavya was the one responsible. At this time, Arjuna grew very jealous. How can there be anyone else who is so skilled? On inquiry, when Ekalavya said that his guru was Drona, Arjuna was angry too! The art of shooting by mere hearing the sound was something his Guru had promised to teach him alone. He wanted his guru Drona to ask as a Gurudakshina ( gift of gratitude to the Guru), the shooting thumb of Ekalavya! This stemmed from his ego that he was the best archer in the world. Drona did so to please Arjuna and Ekalavya lost his thumb and thus his career too.

The guru may ask anything, but the true Guru is one who resides in the heart and gives instructions from there. The Bhagavad Gita is the teaching of the heart. Though Shivraj Patil read a lot, he had a lot of doubts. Finally he wrote what his heart felt. He did not follow any other text or teaching. It was Swadhyaya (the delving into the soul or Atma) that gave joy and clarity. Just remove the feelings of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, ego and possessiveness, and the Atma Tatwa stands revealed. Many make attempts to know the Self. To do that first drop the ‘I’. That is also symbolised by the Christian Cross. The Cross stands for the fact that when 'I' is crossed, Jesus is liberated. Also, one must give up possessiveness.

Shivraj Patil has been coming to me for 30 years now. Chavan and Patil came together to Swami. Patil was first made a minister in Mumbai and then He moved to Delhi. He became the Speaker of the Parliament. But he never asked Swami for anything. He has achieved a good name in the government too.  They have full confidence in him. One must always have three things - Self confidence, Self-sacrifice and Self-satisfaction. And for all these 3, faith is absolutely essential. And Love of course! Demons have faith in God, but they hate God! Just reading and speaking is not enough. What you do practically counts. First see, then develop faith and follow. That will finally lead to Self-realization and that is Poornima - being spotless in thought, word and deed.

Share with all whatever you know. This applies to the teachers and students alike, who are like the positive and negative respectively. Whatever you experience, tell your parents. Have a close relationship with your mother and father. One who pleases parents will have progress on all fronts. God will be with them always. The last shloka of Gita states that where there is Arjuna (devotee) with Krishna (God), there will be ultimate victory and fulfillment.

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Mr. Gowri Shankar wins His heart with his work
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Today Shivraj Patil has given you a book with beautiful ideas and sentiments. That is why he has satisfaction and the book is respected. But you see boys reading all sorts of novels these days. They will hold a big spiritual book and concealed in it will be a novel! Such bad books must not be kept in our libraries. Even if they are kept, our boys will not even glance at them. Have sacred hearts and that will lead you to The secret place. Boys are all very good, but due to the age some disturbing thoughts do come. Be resistant at such times. All of you too must write books. We have one student.....what’s his name? (after conferring a while with some people around), Ah yes! Hungary government has called him....He is Gowri Shankar. He is going to Hungary for the paper that he has published. Every Tom, Dick and Harry doesn't get called like that.

{Swami blessed the lecturer Mr. Gowri Shankar on stage and told him to earn a good name for his parents and the Institute.}

Whatever you learn, you must spread it to some people. You should go everywhere and tell everyone about what you have learnt here in our Institute. There are two girls in the Anantapur campus too. Having excelled in English and Physics, they are being financed for a trip to USA. All of you should earn such a good name."

Concluding His discourse, Swami called two students from the bhajan group and told them to sing Shiva bhajans. And then, again He told them "Sing shankar bhajans". Mysterious and indeed unfathomable are the ways of God. Maybe a mere coincidence but still worth noting is the fact that while on His left sat Shivaraj Patil, on His left was Gowri Shankar! The boys told Swami that they had prepared some songs for the occasion. Swami agreed and told them to sing two songs. After the two were sung, Swami asked for the aarthi to be performed and retired to Yajur Mandir.

In the afternoon, there was no scheduled programme. But with Swami, it’s always about loving His uncertainty! Swami arrived at about 5:10 p.m. in the same chair as the morning! This time, like the evening sun, He was in the orange robe. He took a full darshan round and moved to the stage. The Malladi brothers were seated one side of the stage and Swami played His first stroke of loving uncertainty. He called them and told them to sing! They did not have their accompanying artists. So students were called to accompany them on the harmonium, tabla and mridangam. They began with a song on the glory and grandeur of the guru. Then, in their usual panache and wonderful style, they sang other songs.

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The Malladi brothers with their Lord...
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The concert enthralled everyone present
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The highlight of the evening was the song, "Nagumomu". If all the feelings that coursed through all the people including Swami during that 15 minute period that the song lasted is to be captured, either 1 trillion words are needed or just one suffices - Bliss! The skill of the throat when it combines with the magical composition of a literary genius and most importantly with the streams of devotion in the heart - sheer bliss is the inevitable result.

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The Lord is moved with the rendition
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Swami was very frequently singing along with the singers. As the song moved through its ups and downs of scale and moods, Swami seemed to reflect every thing. At one point, when the singers were at the heights of both, devotion and pitch, like a glistening dew drop on the lotus petal, a tear seemed to form in His eye! Simultaneously, there were wet eyes all over in the hall. The Malladi brothers went about their vocal gymnastics and thrilled everyone. There was not a single moment when Swami sat 'still'. He was all the while moving His hands or swaying - and it is the highest of achievements to "move" the Lord! In this case, Swami was literally and figuratively moved. Very few manage to replicate the technical genius of the uneducated Thyagaraja, but it is only a magical few who bring alive the devotion to Rama that he embodied. Any amount of description cannot do justice to those mesmerising moments in His presence.

Swami asked for shawls to be brought and very lovingly honoured the singers who had brought so much of Love for God in the hearts of thousands. To intensely Love God is indeed a blessing from Him, but it is a greater boon to bring out the Love for God in the hearts of others too and the brothers were doing just that. After receiving shawls and Love, the concert continued for some more time. 3 songs later, Swami asked for aarthi and then as prasadam was being distributed, Swami retired.

July 19, 2008 – Choir Programme by Austrian Devotees

On the evening of July 19, 2008, the devotees from Austria had been permitted to present a choral programme. Swami came for darshan at 5 p.m., and took a round of the Sai Kulwant Hall in His chair before coming to the verandah. Before the programme commenced, He once again took a round of the ladies' side in His chair and granted a ‘bonus’ darshan. Then, slowly He moved up to the centre of the Sai Kulwant Hall. After He came onstage, the proceedings began. It was 5.25 p.m. The Austrian devotees must have felt very special at these acts of love and grace. They had a conductor who would sit down and speak into the mike after each song and explain the significance of the upcoming song.

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Blessed by Him with Vibhuti...
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...all the letters are accepted!
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The feeling of joy of sitting and singing in the immediate presence of Lord was apparent on the beaming faces of the choir members, both men and women, and it was a torrential outpour of devotion in the form of music during the twilight session.  Starting the programme with the song Dass Du mich einstimmen lasst, expressing gratitude to Bhagavan for the opportunity granted to them, the troupe sang the second song Wenn wir erklimme, expressing the feeling - ‘together we are climbing the mountain of life with full desire to reach the goal of merging with God, facing all challenges, enjoying the wonderful beauty of nature, which is the ornament of our Supreme Lord’. The next to come was from the composition of Austria's illustrious composer W. A. Mozart, and the song was "Hallelujah", the song in praise of The Lord which was followed by a song on Sathya Sai, Gurudev Gurudev composed by a devotee from Austria.  The sixth song was an exclusive song, Werte de Lebens, on five Human Values followed by Atme in uns, a song which was a speedy prayer to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment, love and transformation. Andachtsjodler was the next to come, a devotional yodeler for praising the Lord at midnight mass. An old famous Austrian folk song about the splendour of nature, In die Berg bin I gern was the eight piece and that was followed by Lob and Preis, which was yet again another invitation to one and all to come and sing in praise of the Lord, and the last piece was Vater unser. Acknowledging that with the Lord's Prayer, which is the most common prayer in the Christian tradition, the troupe got the unique opportunity and immense grace to praise the Lord in His physical Presence in their mother tongue.

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The "melody" team of the choir is all smiles...
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An energy sapping and water-draining effort indeed
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Sitting through the entire session and watching the graceful artistes singing their hearts out, Swami asked them to continue with two more songs. They repeated the songs. Swami was also very concerned that the speaker be given a standing mike so that he would not have to exert sitting and standing alternatively. Expressing happiness, "Very Happy" in so many words, simultaneously gesticulating with His typical hand movement, and with His face beaming in complete satisfaction, He showed His greater concern and love asking the conductor, who appeared to be tired after his physically demanding conductor show, whether he wanted water…and lo! He replied through the mike, "Yes, Swami, a lot of water has come out and its time some water went in!" The students got glasses of water for the members of the choir.

Bhagavan asked them to sing some more after their half-hour of songs, and so an encore followed. Swami then asked the devotee who introduced the songs whether he wanted water, and referring to their tears of joy, he said, "Yes, Swami, so much water has come out, now some water must go in also!" The students supplied them with water. It was followed by prasadam distribution even as  bhajans were being sung for the next half hour. The day ended with arati at seven o'clock.

20th July 2008 – Inauguration of Sri Sathya Sai World Education Conference

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A special exhibition is organised as part of the Education conference
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At about 11 a.m. there was a sudden hustle outside the Yajur Mandir on July 20. Swami was going to the Poorna Chandra auditorium to inaugurate the Sai Vidya Jyoti exhibition that had been erected there. A dash of rangolis (symmetric drawings with colour powder on the floor) adorned a large portion of the auditorium floor, and children from various nationalities held flowers to welcome the Lord. Swami entered the grand entrance and lit the lamp to mark the opening. Then, He went around the various sections of the exhibition. There was an elaborate and well-made documentary on the various facets of Educare and Swami sat through the entire video of about 20 minutes. Next Swami moved to see the different sections of the Exhibition which were based on Sathya Sai System of Education being practiced in different regions of the world. Swami spent about 40 minutes in the exhibition. After blessing all the participants and watching brief clips at different points, He returned to the Yajur Mandir at about 11:50 a.m.

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Moving through the entire exhibition
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He watches a video on Africa in all interest
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"Anything offered with Love and sincerity, I accept"
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In the evening, the opening ceremony of the Sri Sathya Sai World Education Conference was scheduled. Swami arrived in the chair and took a detour to the stage between the seated ladies and gents delegates. And next, a very interesting episode occurred. All the delegate letters had been bundled into a huge package and the devotee sitting right in the front offered it to Bhagavan. Swami looked at it and it appeared as if He wanted to take it.

But at the last minute, He blessed it and the package remained in the devotee’s hands. However as Swami came on the stage, He told the student beside Him, "Go down, take that package and keep it." There was an applause of joy and thrill at this act of Grace. After that Swami lit the lamp to mark the inauguration of the conference. This was followed by opening addresses by Dr. Michael Goldstein and Mr. V. Srinivasan. After their speeches, Swami asked for His mikes and began His divine discourse.

"Today education has become physical. There are millions who have studied but of what use are they to the society? They are all achieving their own selfish needs and none are there who think of others or realize the condition of the society. In public, they declare that they help the poor but do nothing. You know the plight of the world today. There is misery everywhere and there is no trace of bliss. Every region or country speaks highly in self-praise but the suffering continues. Who are rich? 'Manas ekam, Vachas ekam, karmanyekam Mahaatmanam.' They are great who have unity in thought, word and deed. Big countries are doing a lot of harm to other countries. They are unmindful of the poverty and do not even feel repentant at what they are doing. Every country helps only the rich. You must all stand by the poor and for this Prema (Love) and Daya (Compassion) are essential. Only those with Thyaga (sacrifice) get bliss, never those with feelings of ‘I’ and ‘mine’.

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"Have unity in thought, word and deed"
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Today Paapa Bheeti (fear of sin) and Daiva Preeti (Love for God) are both missing. These two can get you everything. The selfishness is on the rise and the largeness of the world is reducing. The rich sit in palatial houses while the poor toil. Everything is God's gift. How can it be denied to anyone? Serve and be served by the poor. Today 100% of the educated are selfish. They are responsible for cheap behaviours. People fight on selfish grounds. A human is one who has human values. You cannot be happy when your fellowman is suffering. If you give pain to any child of God, that pain will come back to you. Today, the spirit of unity and equality is needed. Unity leads to purity of heart and finally to divinity in experience. Do not be indifferent to suffering. God resides in every heart - even in ants and mosquitoes. So, do not kill them by using Flit (an insecticide). If you want to protect yourself, use a mosquito net.

Show a little humanity. Today there is no compassion, only "come- fashion". Anger, lust, greed, hatred and jealousy are all demonic qualities. What is the use of a human form if you have these qualities? For everything, there is reaction, reflection and resound. If you make a country suffer, it will make you suffer later. Go to any of our schools and ask any kid what is meant by human values and they will tell you. A time will come when we have to learn from the children.

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"Educare relates to you alone"
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Truth comes from the heart. Go deep within and enquire. The Truth will be revealed. Truth with right action gives Love and peace, and this will lead to non-violence. All these human values are within us. Man is indeed God. Ask God, "Who are you?" and He will respond, ‘Aham Branhmasmi’.  Names are different and given by the parents. ‘Ek Atma Sarva Bhootantaratma’ - the same soul resides in all beings. You see ants moving in a row. Whenever they meet another ant, they kiss, consult and then move on. A calf keeps crying out to its mother when born. When a hunter shot the male of a pair of birds, the female cried and died. That episode lead to the composition of the Ramayana itself. Animals exhibit such sentiments, man has to learn from them. No amount of speaking and listening will help. Only when you follow, you will understand. You feel bad when others shout at you, but what happens when you shout at others? Consider everything as God's will as it is good for you.

Today people have lost Self-confidence. When you say ‘this is my kerchief’, the kerchief is different from you. So too, when you say ‘this is my body’, ‘my mind’, ‘my intellect’, you are different from them. You are not making an effort to understand your true nature. Know your true nature and identity. God is with you, in you, around you and above you. In fact, you are God. Education is not merely learning. You learn the meaning of words and not their significance. Ask who you are and get the answer for that question. It is not enough if you keep reading books. One student came to me saying that he had read the entire Shirdi Sai Satcharitra. I asked him as to what he had practised from it. He said that he hadn't practised anything!

When you open your eyes, you see thousands around. But close your eyes and you see only yourself. I am I. That is the answer. Names are only for practical purposes. Examine and recognise your heart. Goldstein and Srinivasan spoke so much about education but educare is not related to the world. It relates to you. Only then will you be able to proclaim ‘I am I’. Once you clearly understand this, you will realize divinity. Remember, literacy is not knowledge. Truth is God, Love is God.

You cannot be the sole possessor of Love. God is the only owner of Love. Educare is to bring that Love out from within. In just 25-30 years, there will be harmony and peace in the world.  Tomorrow, I will clear all the doubts you have. Now it’s late. We will have the music."

So, as Swami went for a short break into the interview room, the stage was set for the Sai Symphony Orchestra. As all the members of the orchestra were ready, Swami arrived and asked them to start the performance. Conducted by Michael Koehler from Germany, the orchestra consisted of violins, violas, cellos, bass, clarinets, saxophones, oboes, bassoons, flutes, trumpets, trombones, French horns, percussions alongside, a tube, a timpani and a keyboard - a wide array indeed! Representing 21 countries, the musicians just let themselves to be ruled by their heartfelt feelings. The program consisted of Romantic music pieces of the great western classical masters. They played Shostakovich festive overture, Ottorino Respighi, Felix Mendelssohn and some more pieces. As they completed, Swami blessed them and asked for tetrapacks of mango juice to be served to all.

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The Sai Symphony in full Harmony
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Tetrapaks to rejuvenate the juices of the performers
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He also blessed prasadam to be distributed. He then received aarthi and left to Yajur Mandir.

July 21, 2008 – Second Day of World Education Conference

In the morning of July 21, all the delegates were seated in the Sai Kulwant Hall and were eager as Swami's discourse had been scheduled. Swami arrived for darshan at 10:45 a.m. Almost immediately, He came to the stage and wanted the proceedings to begin. There were four speeches scheduled before His discourse. The first speaker was Dr. Tom Scovill. After his 15 minute speech, there was a very interesting talk by Dr. B.G. Pitre. He spoke on the techniques and impact of Sathya Sai Education, with illustrative anecdotes. The next, was Dr. Dalton de Souza Amorim. Swami materialized a gold chain for him as he concluded his speech. Finally, Mr. Srirangarajan from the Sri Sathya Sai University delivered his talk which revolved around the four E's of educare - experience, example, empowerment and ennoblement.

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Dr. Tom Scovill makes an impressive opening
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Dr. Pitre provokes the delegates into deep thought
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After the talks, Swami said that He would deliver His discourse in the evening. Swami thus accepted aarthi and retired to Yajur Mandir at noon.

The delegates for the conference gathered at various venues in the ashram for their respective post-lunch sessions and returned to the Sai Kulwant Hall for the afternoon plenary session. Swami arrived in His chair and moved to the interview room after four o'clock. At 4.30 p.m., the speeches for the afternoon commenced. Mr. Victor Krishna Kanu from Zambia, who arrived on stage in a wheel chair, was the first to be invited to speak. He roared like an African lion, saying that it is time to move ahead into action. He powerfully impressed on all that being born at a time when the Avatar is on earth is no small ‘coincidence’. Swami was visibly moved with his "roars". He blessed him profusely at the end of his short speech. Then, Mr. Jeremy Hoffer, spoke on his experiences as a teacher in the SSE programme

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A golden adornment for Dr. Dalton
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Swami's lion roars for action on the educare front
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. Next, Mr. M. K. Kaw dwelled on the functioning procedures at the Sri Sathya Sai International Center at Delhi. And finally, Mr. Sanjay Mahalingam, a research scholar at Sri Sathya Sai University, elaborated on how the goal of educare is to gift one with absolute silence within.

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Mr. Sanjay Mahalingam delivers his talk
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The nectarine flow readies itself to flow...
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Bhagavan, then, graciously consented to speak to the delegates. A list of questions was handed over to Him. Next, He asked for the mikes and began His discourse.

"Study that which can confer on you immortality. Education without action is useless in spite of all the titles and degrees you may boast of; practise is important. The greatest ignorance is among those who have learnt much. Following them, the children too get spoilt. Here are is the list of questions that have been submitted to me.

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Going through the doubts of the delegates
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1) For students, what is the way to have a relationship with God?

 God is in you. Live in Love as one with God. It is only when God is considered as separate that you need a relationship. He is not separate. ‘God is in me and is me’ - have this identity firm in your minds.

2) How to evaluate one's spiritual worth?

 You have to examine yourself. Do I have strong faith or is my faith for the sake of worldly gains? Faith is that which never wavers.

3) What are the signs of spiritual transformation?

 There are nothing like special signs; it is an experience. It may be your dreams or may come as listening to your inner voice. Finally, it is you who have to feel for yourself whether you are growing in devotion or not. Rely on yourself and your own faith.

4) What should be the qualities of a Guru for Sathya Sai Education (SSE)?


 The teacher should be one of Love and must inculcate virtues in students by example. The students must not simply be left free to do anything they please. Apply some brakes on their freedom. Punishment also must be there if needed. But the punishment must be as a cautionary warning and not as a means to hurt or inflict pain on the student. The teachers and student should both move together on the same path and not on divergent ways.

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"Make the students happy in the true sense"
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5) How to ensure that students grow in discipline along the spiritual path?

 The students must remain students and teachers must remain teachers. All you have to do is just make the students happy in the true sense of the term, that’s all.

6) How do we mould students into ideals?

 This is very important. If the teacher has good conduct, the students will emulate him/her. Whatever you tell them not to do; you too must refrain from doing so. Eat with them, and live and eat the same type of food. Do not eat fish and meat, and advise on vegetarianism. Practise what you preach. Foster the children yourself as you would do to your own children. Do not behave egoistically just because you are a teacher. An ideal student will be humble and obedient.

7) How to behave when girls are there?

 When boys are around, it is usually fine. Very good behavior is needed when there are girls. Consider them as your sisters with respect. Lead an ideal life.

8) How should students and parents be taught?

 In front of children, parents should never discuss family problems, financial matters and their worldly woes. They should keep it to themselves. Children will themselves understand the problems of the parents. Do not speak to them directly. Parents should first cultivate the virtues and take care not to be cautioned by the children.


 As children, do not trouble your parents. They have many hopes on you and they have sacrificed a lot. Know that you have come up because of those sacrifices. Even if you cause a little pain to them, you will have lot of difficulties. Even if you go for a marriage and family, keep parents happy without troubling them. Never neglect your parents. Your main duty is to make your parents happy. It is your mad and bad company that makes you go wayward. Tell me your company and I will tell you what you are. Correct those who neglect their parents.

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"Is that all? No more questions?"
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The maximum disturbances are due to the differences in the aspirations of the child and parent. If you choose as you wish, what about your parents then? It is the worst sin to cause pain to your parents for your selfish happiness. This is not expected of any son or daughter. Today you marry and get your in laws, but who were there with you since birth? Desire good and discharge your duties. Do not simply get involved in others affairs. Do not show your temper in front of those who desire your good. Express gratitude and never make your aged parents shed tears.

Is that all? Are there any more questions?

Parents should recognise Human Values and teach the children. Practice whatever you say. Don't say, “I have no time. I have to go to office." If you think about your office, what about the children? After education, girls go for jobs. Who will look after the children and household duties then? You keep an aaya (maid) to take care of the children. Who will maintain the family honor and prestige? This will bring down the reputation of the family. Hence, you have to take up employment only after ensuring smooth running of the household. You can certainly take up a job, provided the children are taken care of in a proper manner. Even the males do not understand this situation. Some people spend their time in reading newspapers and watching TV after returning from their offices. Some others go to the club and play cards. They do not bother about their family and children.

There is none with copyrights on Human values. They are for all. The way police and government officials behave has a bearing on the children. Do not allow the children to sleep till 8 in the morning. Nowadays parents themselves sleep till late morning. Only retired people can sleep that way as they are free from responsibilities.

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"Cheap novels must be burnt!"
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Have a capital fund if needed. If parents come to help financially, you can accept. Mutual co- operation and help should grow. Discipline, Devotion and Duty are most important. Teach Human Values. Show the way to get closer to God. Do not give everything that the child asks for. Give only what is necessary. Sai System must be applicable for parents too. There should not be a mismatch between what the teacher tells in class and what the parents say at home. Parents must visit the schools and find out about their children. Check what sort of books they read. They will read novels hidden in their text books. Throw and burn all the cheap novels. In our libraries such books are absent.

In Bharat, especially in villages, children take care of their parents. It is only the officers in towns who neglect. The children keep roaming in the streets. The students should not be vagabonds.  What is most important is that you must not waste food, energy, money and time. Have a ceiling on desires. None have this today. In India, people engage in saving. Seeing this, people in USA and Japan feel jealous. They spend wasteful dollars on food. Serve the hungry with the left over food. If you waste money, difficulties are sure to come. We are ready to waste but do not serve. Do not talk too much.  Keep all the organs under check. Time waste is life waste. Misuse of money is evil. Do not splurge unnecessarily. If the rich people keep spending more, everybody demands a raise in their salaries! So when you spend, see if it is being properly used.

So these were all the questions in the minds. Be careful in society. Any small blunder is seen as huge. Never commit a mistake in society. Lead life with utmost care.....Hmmmm. Now do bhajans."

The students sang bhajans for 10 minutes after Swami's Discourse while the delegates moved out from the centre of the Sai Kulwant Hall to make way for the devotees from the CIS (former USSR) who were to make a musical presentation. Bhagavan returned to the stage after a brief visit to the interview room and the music program began with a brief introduction. Songs from Russia, Georgia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan kept the packed hall enthralled with their catchy tunes and lively beat. The joy and enthusiasm radiating from the faces of these devotees was very infectious. Everyone had a smile and some of them were even almost laughing aloud! It was truly a very divine atmosphere as the joy radiating from the Lord and devotees combined, spread a thrill everywhere.

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Blessing the conductors of the program
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A performance that won all hearts
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After their half-hour programme, Swami asked them to sing one more song. So they sang the popular "Kalinka" and had the audience clapping all through. Then, as all the organisers came around Swami, He spoke to them. All of a sudden, waving His hand, Swami materialised a huge golden Lingam. The lingam was awesome by its sheer size alone!  He handed it over to Dr. Goldstein with some instructions. He asked for a cover and wrapped the lingam in the cover.

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Swami's response to the concert!
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The unexpected spontaneous materialization...
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...gifted to Dr. Goldstein with due instructions
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He told him to perform the abhishekam or the holy bath for the deity. Promising further instructions later, Swami displayed the lingam for all the eager devotees to have a look at. There were gasps and shrieks. It is true that in the state of highest happiness, man does not know how to react. The mixture of spontaneous reactions was something that must be seen and heard to be truly experienced! Blessing all the devotees, Swami accepted aarati and returned to His residence at 7.30 p.m. while prasadam was distributed.

July 22, 2008 – Valedictory Day of Sri Sathya Sai Education Conference

The morning of July 22, 2008, found all the delegates of the Sri Sathya Sai Education Conference assembled in the Sai Kulwant Hall for the third and final day of the conference proceedings.  Bhajans began at 9 o'clock, and Swami arrived in His chair at 9.50 a.m. He took a small darshan round and then came onstage. He saw that the delegates had collected their letters and made two bundles, one was with a senior lady and the other  with a gentleman. Swami called two students and told them to take the huge bundles of letters and place them on the stage. Then, He called out for the Thailand school boys who had played the violin concert a few days ago. Dr. Jum Sai gathered and got some of them onstage. Swami distributed watches to them and they were thrilled. Since Swami had promised them earlier that He would give them their photographs, they asked Swami, "Swami, our photographs." At this time, one photographer immediately went up to Swami and handed over all the copies of the photos. They were all happy to receive them from the divine hands. Then, Swami sat onstage for a few minutes and interacted with the conference organisers. Then He moved to the interview room and called in a few lady delegates for an interview. Once He emerged from the interview, He came onstage and accepted arati before returning to His residence at 11 a.m.

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Watches for the student violin artistes from Thailand
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The promised photos too
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The final session of the conference got underway in the evening when Swami came onstage just before 5 a.m. The three speakers for the session were Dr. Narendra Reddy, Mr. Nimish Pandya and Dr. Michael Goldstein. Once the speakers summed up the conference proceedings and outlined the course of future action, Bhagavan delivered His benedictory message.

Embodiments of love,

From the past two days you have been sitting and listening all the while. Having spent a lot of money, energy and time, you have come here and it is indeed your great good fortune to be here. Your heartfelt experience is the witness for it. Many have money but only a few get this opportunity. What is to be learnt?

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"Man is fearful of everything today"
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There are lakhs of schools and colleges. understand that the true college is in your heart. Understand the five values of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa. We have lawyers in the world who become liars and doctors who fight amidst themselves. There is no unity. First cultivate unity that we are all brothers and sisters. Father is one - he is God. Have conviction that we are all the children of the same God. Have adjustment and understanding. For the former to come, latter is most important. Today, the number of scientists is on the rise, but their actions are senseless. Science is not "dealing with the senses". They make errors and society is being hurt and harmed.

Today man is full of fear to do anything. He cannot even board or alight an aircraft without fear. (
At this point, a tiny mouse scuttled amidst the primary school children. Everyone started shrieking and even the ladies began to get up! Swami saw the commotion gently for a while.) If you are so scared of a small mouse, how can handle other events in life? Don’t fear. Fear leads to imagination. People are scared of everything, including fruits and vegetables as there are medicines in them. Everything is polluted today - the food, water and air. So it’s best, you make everything by yourselves. Do not go by taste.
Health is most important. Speak the Truth always. Whatever people say, be calm and peaceful. In the olden days, people kept mounam (silence). For all spiritual practices, silence helps. When you are peaceful and silent, pure love is generated. Who is your enemy? There is none. Make attempts to lead a life of love. People talk of peace, but it is often pieces. Countries are being broken in pieces. Always say, I am from India - not Puttaparthi, Anantapur, etc. Similarly, do not say that you are from California. Say you are from USA. Become broad minded. Once you become so, the children too will follow. If the children are not proper, the parents are to blame. At a certain age, children will not listen to the parents if the parents’ behaviour is not fine. 

Even the ants move in a straight line but not man! Parents are the ones that mould children. They must not stay separate. They must speak and remain united. Teach Truth as the first step. Truth is having unity and purity in thought, word and deed. Truth is the great grandfather of all virtues. Have a heartfelt life and not an artificial one. Today, reading, meditation and chanting have all become artificial. Keep the heart alive and the mind under check. The mind of man alone is responsible for either his bondage or liberation. Have good thoughts, automatically good actions will follow..Direct the mind properly and it will remain silent. When the sun of wisdom rises to its zenith, then the shadow of ignorance is below our feet. And while doing it, have patience and take time. Just like the hour hand of the clock in which everyone is interested, and not the second hand (which is "second-hand"!), God is more interested in steady progress. Divert the mind on to God always. You feel that is difficult, but it is the simplest. Grow in love for God and the mind is automatically controlled. Live in love, and that is not the worldly love but spiritual love.

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"It is only Love that has got you all here"
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Never think that it is your will. If it is yours then why are you not able to control things? It is all God's will. Both bad and good are His gifts. You run after the worldly law, but the divine law is the law of Love. Let anyone speak anything or criticize, the love within is safe, secure and divine. If anything happens, the heart comes to know of it. In the bag of the body, the mind, intellect, etc. are present. Also the six vices are present that trouble you always. Offer everything to the Lord and get bliss for yourselves.

Has anyone invited you all here? Love has brought you all here, it is your love for Swami that has brought you. Love unites. See when you add ‘+’ and ‘+’, you get ‘+’. But add up ‘+’ and ‘-‘, you get ‘-‘. Have love always. Love can achieve anything. When Hanuman went to Sri Lanka, he saw Sita telling Ravan about the sterling qualities of Rama. Lord Rama was a man of great character. The end of education is character. Without it, there is no use. Install goodness and character in your heart.

More than anything be prepared to sacrifice. What will you do with so much money? When Alexander was dying, he asked that he be taken in the funeral with outstretched arms. He wanted to show that the greatest emperor of all times leaves the earth with nothing as his possessions! Be prepared to help the needy and poor. That will give you great joy.

The children here will now put up their program.

At the end of His Discourse, He went to the interview room briefly, and returned with Dr. Goldstein in tow. Swami took the lingam that He had given to Dr. Goldstein last evening and displayed it to everyone. He then created vibhuti and sprinkled it on the lingam, and it was the perfect abhishekam. He again created some more of the holy Vibhuti and asked Dr. Goldstein to immediately put all of it into his mouth. He announced that He's giving the lingam to Dr. Goldstein for him to distribute the water from ritually bathing the lingam to those who are unwell. There were thunderous claps and joyous shouts of Jaijaikars as Swami said that. He then asked for the evening's cultural programme to begin.

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Swami shows the lingam for all to see again
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The vibhuti abhishekam is done in public
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Children from the Sri Sai Vidya Vihar, Alwaye, Kerala, presented an hour-long dance drama on Bhaktha Jayadeva.  The drama began with a wonderful ballet between Krishna and Radha. Then a teacher arrives on the scene and starts narrating to the children, the story of Jayadeva. The Lord literally composes the verses for Jayadeva who is lost in His glory alone. When the ruler of the land, Lakshmana Sena tries to harass the poet, the Lord is always present, rescuing and glorifying the devotee. There was also a scene of the great devotion of Padmavathi towards her husband Jayadeva.

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Jayadeva - the perfect instrument of the Lord
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A fake cloth to convince Padmavathi...
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When the queen fools her telling that Jayadeva is dead, she immediately drops down dead in sorrow. Jayadeva's sorrowful, yet devotional hymn rushes to the very gates of heaven and drags the Lord down to shower mercy and resurrect Padmavathi. The final scene was about how the Lord comes down as a scholar to subject Jayadeva to the final test. But the all humble saint submits completely and the Lord Krishna is lost in his love. The drama concluded with a final song.

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An anguished Jayadeva finds solace in the Lord
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The ultimate redemption for the saintly soul
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Swami's face was covered in smiles watching the small children make their presentation. During the scene when the wife dies, all the ladies in the front were in tears at the nobility of the woman. The pleadings to Lord Krishna, were all directed to Sai Krishna and Swami too reflected the same sentiments. As they concluded, He got up from the stage and walked down to take group photographs with them. He walked down the steps and all the children came towards Him to receive Him. After a while, He also sat on the chair and posed for photographs with them. He called the actor who played the role of Jayadeva and gifted her a clock embedded in a laminated photograph. He later gave one of that to each of the participants as they came up one by one, while prasadam was distributed to all the devotees. He also threw a couple of sweets to some of the drama participants. It was 8 p.m. when Swami accepted arati, blessed everyoneand returned to His residence.

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He moved down amidst them for group photos
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Framed clocks for every participant
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July 23, 2008 – Music Programme by Italian Devotees

Devotees from Italy had filled up the marble block as they had been granted permission to perform in the divine presence on the evening of July 23, 2008. The whole choir was seated on the floor. There were two violins, a flute and a clarinet player on the ladies side on chairs. Mirroring them in position on the gents side were a violin, an accordion, a guitar and tambourine players. Swami arrived for darshan at about 5:20 p.m. And when He came, there were gasps! He had come on the special golden chair that He had used for Guru Poornima. Since it is at a nice height, all the devotees benefit from a wonderful darshan. Swami moved to the stage and asked for the programme to begin. The programme was presented as an offering of devotional songs from Italy. As Swami sat, the offerings were made to Him. A little boy gave Him the Italian flag. Swami blessed the conductor of the programme and asked them to start.

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The blessed Italian flag in the Divine hands
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The Lord on the golden chair blesses the programme
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There was that little boy, maybe 8-9 years of age, who began the programme with Vedic chanting. As he completed it, Swami was all smiles. He called the boy and asked him as to from whom had he learnt the chanting. He blessed him and sent him back. The next item also was by this boy who played a solo guitar piece.

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Did these claps elicit that wonderful performance?
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..or did the performance elicit Divine appreciation?
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It was followed by a short piano recital and then the singing began. It started with a rapid "Om Sri Ganesha", followed by an emotional song addressing Swami as the mother. A soulful song entitled, "Oh My Sun" was next and it gave way to a high pitched and quickly changing song entitled, "Flying with God". The "Tarantella Divina" or the divine dance was ushered in next and "Longing for Sathya Sai" gave them an opportunity to pour out their feelings for Him. Swami noticed that the gentleman sitting right in front had no mike before him. He asked, "Won’t he sing?" There was merriment and that devotee was immensely touched. He needed no mike after that encouraging statement! Two more songs later, they concluded. But Swami wanted them to continue. He asked for one more song which they sang whole heartedly and in full throat. They seemed to be in a sort of pleasurable trouble when Swami asked them to sing another. They began to repeat a song and as they concluded, like a sweet child Swami asked, "One more?" They continued with the encore and then finally they told Swami that they were done!

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"Can you sing one more?"
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An encore followed by bhajans
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He then told them to sing bhajans. They began to sing and Swami blessed chocolates to be distributed among them. The conductor put aside her stand and took a harmonium and began playing. This day also happened to be the 13th anniversary of the Sri Sathya Sai Junior Boys Hostel. So the children had brought a model of the school hostel to be blessed by Swami. Swami, however, did not seem to notice them. He concluded the bhajans, received aarthi and went into the interview room. Whenever God "denies" something, it is only because He has something greater and grander to gift us. The children appeared a little downcast but a lot more determined. They sat with the model at the Lord's door awaiting His arrival. What happened next is something that will remain etched in the memories of all present for a long time to come.

Swami came out of the interview room and seeing the boys, called them. They went to Him with the model and trays of chocolates and goodies. Swami was impressed with the model. But the perfectionist that He is, He asked them," Turn the model around...". He examined all the sides and, His students that they are, they had made it very well. Swami seemed to be very happy with the model being perfect on all the six sides, yes, top and bottom included! Then He blessed the trays of chocolates and goodies. And in that instant, it seemed He was going to do something exciting. He took a few "gold coins" chocolates and began distributing them to the VIPs there. Then, He moved to the ladies side and began distributing coins one by one to the devotees. He saw the ladies sitting on wheelchairs. He moved towards them and began to give each of them "golden" coins with His own hand. He moved along the lines distributing coins. He moved back to the shutters area also where there were ladies on wheel chairs. He gave coins to all of them on priority basis. Their joy knew no bounds. They would not have imagined in their wildest dreams of this happening to them. But that is the way with God. He may not give you what you expect at times, but at other times, He gives that which we don't even dare to imagine! Some of the women raised up their babies for Swami to bless. Swami gently touched the babies on their foreheads.

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Swami blesses the "model" school!
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The Lord's Love knows no measure
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He went around in this manner distributing among the ladies till the gold coins ran out! He stretched out His hand and the tray was empty. A satisfied smile blossomed on His face and there were thrilled faces all around. He slowly came back to the center where the Italian group was seated. He called and had a set of photographs taken with the youngest member of their group who had recited Vedam and played a guitar solo, and asked the students to sing bhajans. The bhajans began and none need to say that they were in full gusto. Swami blessed all the birthday boys and the boys with trays too.

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"Sweet memories" for the choir members
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The birthday boys have a field day
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He threw some chocolates to the members of the Italian choir. He just sat there smiling so blissfully and there was just joy and joy everywhere. At about 7:15 p.m., Swami received aarthi for the second time and then retired to the Yajur Mandir.

- Heart2Heart Team


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Vol 6 Issue 08 - AUGUST 2008
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