September 18, 2008 – Drama by UP and Uttaranchal Youth
Another beautiful Thursday dawned in the international hamlet, Puttaparthi on September 18, 2008 . Thousands had arrived from the Northern states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. It has now become a kind of timetable schedule, with devotees from the different places arriving in a manner that the pilgrimage dates do not clash, and thus, all are assured of the precious proximity of Bhagavan. Swami had agreed for a programme by the youth from these states and a huge backdrop of the Ganges bathing ghat stood in the centre of the hall. As per the regular schedule, the Veda chanting class for Rudram began at 4:00 p.m. and was on when Swami arrived at about 4:20 p.m.
Moving in the chair through the ladies side, Swami reached the centre. He seemed to be intrigued by the back drop that had been erected. He studied it as He passed by. The previous day, Swami had not moved through the gents’ side. And so, as He entered that side of the hall, all of them were happy and excited. Like bees getting attracted to the rose, they seemed to be buzzing all around the orange robe. Swami bestowed abhayahasta and seemed to be making a sort of futile attempt to calm the devotees! Moving through the students, Swami collected letters and blessed the boys holding trays. As soon as He moved to the stage, Swami said that the coaching was enough for the day. The teaching students took padanamaskar and returned to their places, and then Swami sat in the silence that prevailed.
It is amazing how His mere presence has such a soothing and calming effect on everyone present. The 10,000 strong crowd sat in a serene silence, and all the 20,000 eyes were riveted on Swami. It was after a few moments of blissful silence Swami went into the interview room. As soon as He returned, He indicated for the programme to begin. The performance area was immediately cleared. The actors moved up front and opened a huge scroll which Swami read with a smile for about a minute or so. Then receiving His blessings and padanamskar, the youth returned to start the drama.
The drama was based on the secret behind the Sai Avatars. It was entitled "Sai Avataran Rahasya". It showed a modern youth very disturbed, coming up to his saintly uncle with doubts. The uncle offers him sage counsel along the lines of the teachings of Sathya Sai Baba. Very intrigued and interested in knowing more about Swami, the young boy asks his uncle about the same. Narrating the story of how Swami suffered a paralytic attack and cured it during the Guru Poornima of 1963, the uncle narrates the story of how Swami as Lord Shiva promised sage Bharadwaja of three advents into his clan.
When the sage visits Kailash to request an audience with the Lord, he sees Shiva and Parvati engaged in the cosmic dance. Mother Parvati smiles at him and he mistakes it as a mockery. As he begins to leave, he suffers a paralytic stroke on the left half of his body. Lord Shiva then revives him after 7 days and tells him that his suffering of the stroke was a blessing in disguise. He confers the boon of being born in his lineage, not once but thrice. In the second advent as Sathya Sai, the left side of His body signifying the Shakti or Parvati aspect would suffer a stroke for exactly the same time as sage Bharadwaja i.e. 7 days suffered. The drama then concludes with all the children coming in the front and forming the Sarva Dharma symbol that Swami has gifted the world with.
After this, Swami very sweetly asked, "Drama over?" He makes such a perfect audience. Always asks, "Is it over already?" as He is so engrossed. Many times, we humans do not enjoy things because we have expectations and keep judging the performance. As Mother Teresa beautifully put it, "If you judge, you just do not have time to Love." We can safely add the corollary that when you Love, there is not a moment free where you can judge. And Swami is always so engrossed for He sees only the sincerity and effort. And so, whether it’s a fantastic performance or an average one, they are the same for Him as long as the efforts have been put in. It is not so for humans. We judge everything by results forgetting the fact that many things that we ourselves have learnt in our lives is because of the encouragement and support that our efforts (and not our results) have received!
Swami called the actor "Bharadwaja" to come up to Him. He materialised a gold chain and gave it to him. His hair and beard were so copious that Swami could not put the chain around his neck! Swami then asked what “Parvati’s” name was! He said that the drama was fully based on Parvati! Calling 'her' Swami created another beautiful gold chain with a pendant for the boy who had donned that role!
Swami then wanted Shiva, Parvati and sage Bharadwaja to pose for photos with Him. The co-ordinator for the state was kneeling beside Swami. Swami told him that he would come in the frame and so he must sit down! Then the pictures were taken! The three were overjoyed and after that, Shiva fell at Swami's feet. It was such a poignant and beautiful sight! Swami then called the videographer and told him, "I will come down and pose for photos." Swami then moved down the stage and with a beatific smile posed with the performers. As it always happens, after the session, all of them took the opportunity to fall at His feet and speak a few words with Him. After that, Swami moved up the stage and blessed prasadam to be distributed to all. He also asked them to sing bhajans which they did. After two bhajans, Swami received aarthi and left.
September 21, 2008 – Programme by Devotees from Medak District
Props had risen up in the marble blocks of the Sai Kulwant Hall. Little boys holding flags stood in front of them to welcome Swami. That is almost a penance these children do. Every time when there is a programme by the children from a district in Andhra Pradesh, the basic stage framework is almost the same and it inevitably has children holding banners and flags, standing and waiting for the Lord's arrival. At 4:00 p.m., the regular daily Vedam classes began. It was around 4:25 p.m. when Swami came out for the darshan rounds. Swami came in in His natural sweet and graceful manner. As He passed by the props, He seemed to carefully study every bit of it.
September 21, 2008 also happened to be the concluding day of the Cardiac Midterm – CT CME Conference being held in the Super Specialty Hospital. This conference, held in collaboration with the Indian Association of Cardio-Thoracic Surgeons had some of the best surgeons in India and abroad giving live demonstrations to post graduate medical students. Notable among them was Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam. A few words about him need to be mentioned. Dr. Jeevanandam has a special interest in treating patients traditionally considered inoperable. He has repaired damaged hearts in several patients awaiting transplant, enabling those patients to forgo transplantation. He also has successfully performed transplants involving patients who do not fit the standard criteria for transplant.
Dr. Jeevanandam is a pioneer in the field of mechanical circulatory assist devices. In October 2000, he was the first surgeon in the world to successfully implant the CardioVad, a revolutionary, permanent circulatory assist device that boosts heart function in patients with severe heart failure who are not candidates for transplant. And most importantly he feels that the future of health care is in the way Swami's Hospitals function. In his own words,
" After being given the privilege and honor of working at the SSSIHMS many times, my answer to all questions is unequivocal - not only is patient care absolutely superb, but this institution is unmatched by any other in the world. If my experiences are any indication, SSSIHMS is truly a Temple of Healing. Not only is there treatment for the patient, but there is also the 'Presence' of the Caregiver as well. Everyday now, I spiritually give Him my patients and He takes care of them - I am an extension of His Hands and just do the duty that Swami has put me on this earth for."
All the participants were seated in front and Swami blessed them by accepting letters and speaking a few words. One could see that those few precious words really meant the world to the recipients. It was a wonderful sight. Great surgeons and 'aspiring-to-be-great-surgeons' taking the blessings of Dhanvantari (God of Medicine) Himself! Swami moved on to the stage where the other surgeons too sought and received His blessings. Swami then sat on the stage and presided over the classes. After the completion, Swami asked for the drama to be staged. The coordinators came up to Swami and offered flowers and the details of the programme. Swami blessed the district president with a gold chain.
It all happened so simply that the president was just dumbstruck. With a sweet smile, Swami put the chain to his neck and blessed him by placing His hand over his head. Then Andhra Pradesh’s Industries Minister Mrs. Gita Reddy along with another lady moved to the stage and offered the program at His lotus feet. Swami also accepted groundnuts that they offered and sweetly popped one into His mouth too. That act was followed by a gentle smile which was actually a reflection of all the smiles that beamed at His act. Swami blessed a marble Shivalingam and silver padukas that were brought for His blessings. All the office bearers made most of the opportunity as they fell at His feet joyfully. Then after a brief introduction, the programme began.
The drama, based on real life incidents, centred on a young man, Bheeshma, who has been inspired by Swami's Love and teachings. He acts as the center of serenity, peace and harmony in his village. Being young in age, he still displays admirable maturity and conscientious thinking. He inspires the children of the village to go Godward. He wins the respect of the elders and inspires them to work together and build a much needed bridge without any external help. When some of the foreign-resident members of the village arrive there with ideas of constructing factories to exploit the natural resources, he transforms them to construct a school and hospital instead. Having done all this, he says that he has to move on and share the wonderful Love he has received from Swami with people in all other villages too.
The drama had its share of dances. Little boys and girls performed with sweet synchronization and devoted dexterity to highlight the salient points the 'hero' of the drama was making. The grand finale song was the theme song and its first line was "Sai Rama Nauka". The dance featured a boat being rowed by the hero and the lilting melody was one that would transport the listeners to a traditional and serene village; the tune was so relaxing and refreshing.
The drama concluded and all the participants came forward into the final formation. Swami called out for a little boy and patting him asked, "What’s your name?" He replied, "Aravind." Swami smiled and blessing him, told him to return to his place in the formation. Swami then moved down and sat amidst all the children. He told them to come close and cluster. When that was done, a beautiful group picture was the result. As Swami moved up the stage, He granted permission for a music programme too. It was already 6:05 p.m. and it was indeed an act of Grace that Swami decided to shower love on the singers. Since it was a programme that Swami scheduled on the spot, the singers and artistes had a difficult time trying to move ahead and tune their instruments. Then, Swami so understandingly went into the interview room for 5 minutes! That gave them sufficient time to arrange everything and get ready. Immediately, Swami came out with a smile dancing on His beautiful lips.
The performers, ladies and gents, consisting of a vocalist, violinist, keyboard player, a percussionist and chorus singers comprised the team. After they sang two songs, Swami blessed them and promised another opportunity the next day. It had already got quite late and Swami received aarthi after blessing the prasadam to be distributed to one and all. There was a plethora of aarthis performed that day and that was also a wonderful sight. Camphor and the holy fire were being waved from all sides. The fact here is that anything done in the Lord's presence becomes so wonderful because He is the source of all that wonder and grandeur! Swami asked them, one by one, to place the aarthi plates down and then retired to Yajur mandir.
September 22, 2008 – Distribution to the Needy by Devotees from Medak District
The devotees from the Medak district on September 22, 2008 had planned a distribution of livelihood items to the poor and needy of their district. And Swami, being one who always encourages service, had graciously permitted the distribution to happen in His divine presence. And thus, it was that the materials for distribution like sewing machines, sprayers, bicycles, carpentry kits and so on were arrayed in Sai Kulwant Hall in the evening.
The Vedam tutorial that began at 4:00 p.m. was on when Swami arrived. He took a detour straight to the stage before moving on to the stage, where He blessed the completion of the Vedic chants. Swami then asked Prof. Anil Kumar to make the introductory remarks and also read out the names of the recipients of the distribution materials.
In his inimitable style, the professor spoke about the wonderful service activities that had been taken up in the district with Love and reverence for the Swami in all. During the course of his speech, he mentioned about a young bread-winner who had a second lease of life thanks to the Super Speciality Hospital here. He needed more than Rs. 80,000 for his operation and was at his wits end as to what had to be done. And Swami's hospital at Puttaparthi ensured a wonderful happy ending to what could have been another tragic story of dwindling health due to lack of finances. It is said that familiarity breeds neglect, if not contempt. The way the hospitals run by Swami have completed more than 30,000 operations completely free of cost is a wonder that makes us drop our jaws and gape in awe. It’s not about the quantity but the quality of the treatment and the way it has transformed the lives of these people that is truly so divine and magnificent. In Heart2Heart, every month we bring one such story in the Healing Touch section. In fact, in this issue, there are two. And you will find links to all the stories we have had till now in the below link. These are just tiny drops of His divine compassion:
The narrative was very touching and as it was completed, Swami asked, "Where is he now?" And so, on the PA system the announcement was made, "Mr.Sathyanaraya, please come to the stage!" And there, embedded in the crowd, a solitary figure rose and stood in a sort of confused manner till the security personnel escorted him to the stage. He stood near Swami barely able to speak, and as his blank face showed, he was barely able to even think! Swami waved His hand creating a beautiful gold chain and put it around Sathyanarayan's neck. The overwhelmed devotee bowed down to His feet and Swami lovingly raised him and patted his cheeks. There was a thunderous applause. The magic of Love is such that it thrills everyone - the Giver, the receiver and the audience alike.
The grateful and dazed patient slowly made his way back to his place. Midway, he was intercepted and the devotees gave him a place right in the front to sit! It’s always true that once you win the Love of the Lord, the whole world will seem to give preferential treatment to you! The speech went on for a few more minutes where the speaker described the spiritual sadhana taken up by the devotees before this pilgrimage and about the water project that Swami had set up at Medak. After that, he began to read out the names of the worthy recipients.
As the names were read out, the devotees came forward and accepted the gift after reverentially offering a rose to Swami. And thus, cycles, grinders, sewing machines, iron boxes, carpentry kits were distributed. It is heartening to note that all the recipients had also received training for some weeks prior to their trip, and thus, were skilled at using the equipment being given to them. One of them wanted to desperately touch Swami's feet. He made a plea, and then went to Swami and had his heart's desire fulfilled.
After the distribution, Swami permitted a musical programme - the same group that had performed the previous day. In that way, Swami kept His promise. They sang popular Telugu songs which everyone enjoyed. There were two main singers among the gents and two among the ladies.
The programme went on for about 35 minutes and after that, Swami gifted them with sarees and Safari pieces. Then, receiving aarthi, Swami retired for the day.
September 25, 2008 – Visit of University Grants Commission
The Sri Sathya Sai University, on September 25 had important guests visiting. The Vice Chairman of the University Grants Commission, Mr. Mool Chand Sharma and his team of academics had arrived. In the afternoon, they were seated on chairs and they too joined the devotees in the wait for the Lord to arrive. It was about 4:40 p.m. when Swami arrived for darshan as the Veda chanting classes were on. And since even the children from the Primary school had arrived, the hall was not only full but was also complete! It being a Thursday - the holy day decided by Sai - also added to the wholesomeness of the occasion.
Swami came down the gentle slope through the ladies side and was welcomed by smiles and salutations. Letters exchanged hands and blessings were blown in all directions by the gentle breeze that had stirred up seemingly to rejoice His arrival! The Lord's entry into the lives of His devotees takes place in such diverse ways, but for the common factor that they have all been 'touched' by Him! He means so much for the world and means the world for so many! And that’s precisely why, come winter or spring, the hall is always packed with people eager to just catch even a glimpse of His crown of hair, in the minimum.
Swami moved from the ladies’ side to the gents’ side through the central students' block. An aura of tranquility seemed to spread among those devotees seated in the front lines seeing His lovely features from close quarters. And for those who were sitting a bit far physically, a wave of excitement seemed to surge through them as they strained to see Him. It’s so fantastic that the same Swami generates so much tranquility and excitement simultaneously! The narrow path between the Sai Kulwant Hall and East Prashanti too was filled with people as eyes filled up every gap between the railings, eager to glimpse Him. Sometimes people wait for more than 3 hours just to see Him. Thoughts like, "Oh God! Is it worth so much wait?" may arise in the minds of devotee newcomers and some impatient devotees too. But a mere sight of Him and everyone knows that every moment of their wait is worth its 'weight' in gold!
Swami blessed all the boys holding trays and then passing through the Veda chanting group, He moved towards the stage. He materialised Vibhuti for a devotee and then came near the Vice chairman of UGC. He rose from his chair and fell in prostrations to Swami. The loving lord patted and blessed him. After a heartfelt exchange of words, Swami came to the stage. All the other members of the UGC team too sought His blessings. After granting them padanamaskars, Swami sat on the stage listening to the Veda tutorials that were on. As that concluded, Swami asked for all the students to chant all that they had learnt in the past few days. And so the Rudram began in all fervour and enthusiasm. Everyone were at the top of their spirits and the top of their throats too as they strained to impress Swami with their "vedic knowledge"! Swami too, on His part, kept a vigil and was liberal with appreciative looks to all those who had picked up well! He called many students and accepted letters from them. He called all the birthday boys and blessed them too by sprinkling the holy Akshatha grains.
Then came what could be termed as some very special moments of the evening. Swami began spotting those students who were chanting very sincerely, beckoned them and accepted their letters. There were quite some rice grains that had collected on His lap as He had blessed the birthday boys. Swami picked them up and began sprinkling on all the boys He was calling! They were all so happy and thrilled at this act of special Grace. The rest of the 30-40 minutes, Swami sat with a smile, His hands swaying to some celestial rhythm! Blessed indeed was the day as everyone had the golden opportunity for an hour long darshan. A day like this is indeed a bounty out of His Love and Compassion.
Swami then moved towards the behind door of the Bhajan Hall. On the way, He received many letters and a privileged few had the opportunity to kiss His feet. Bhajans began soon after and aarthi was taken at 6:00 p.m.
- Heart2Heart Team
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