August 24, 2010 – Sai Children from Canada Perform in His Presence

A beautiful landscape of the mountains in Canada formed the backdrop in the centre of the Sai Kulwant Hall as more than a thousand Canadian devotees assembled in disciplined rows as part of their Prasanthi pilgrimage. Swami arrived for darshan at 5:30 p.m. and He threw vibhuti packets to some of the women and girls from Canada as He passed by them.

Each time He gave a packet, a short gasp of delight filled the air. He came to the centre and gazed at each and every child seated there. He asked something of a little girl and she could not make out what He was saying. He simply then told her to take padanamaskar and she promptly did that. Moving over to the gents’ side, Swami accepted letters from a representative who had collected many of them from his compatriots. Some of the decorations from the Onam celebrations still hung in the hall and many of the devotees from Kerala were still there! Granting darshan on the gents’ side, Swami passed by the students and came to the front.

As He spoke to a student there, He gazed at the “SAI RAM” that had been lettered on the marble with roses. Swami completed the darshan round and went into the Bhajan Hall. Two devotees had got made the kalashams to be installed as per Divine directions. Swami seemed satisfied with the work and when they requested, He posed for a photograph with them. Obviously, they were delighted!

Swami came out of the Bhajan Hall and moved through the upper portico. Finally, He came on stage and sat listening to the Veda chanting that was going on. He began to leaf through the mail He had collected. Many of them contained rakhis (sacred threads)! It was the day of Raksha Bandhan, a day when sisters tie a sacred thread around their brothers’ wrists and the brothers swear to be by their sisters forever. The devotees share all sorts of relationships with the Lord and it was not surprising that many had found a brother in Him!

As someone rightly put it, “We are all prakruthi (the female aspect) and He is the only Purusha (the male aspect). It is so perfect that we seek His refuge and protection!” Swami opened many envelopes that contained these rakhis and read through the letters.

After some time, He asked for the chanting to cease and signaled the programme to begin. It was 6:20 p.m. and two elders and two children moved up to the stage. They offered the cards and roses. The girl who came up prayed to Swami to bless the children from the various regions of Canada to perform in His presence. Swami nodded and soon the programme began.

At the outset, a Canada map was brought forward and it was announced that the programme was the efforts of children from Ontario, Montreal, British Coloumbia and Alberta. It would be a collage of six inspirational stories and depictions from Canada. It was entitled, “A Life of Sai Ideals. “ It started with Veda chanting by the children.

The drama started with a physically challenged lad wondering whether he could ever make it to the paralympics. His parents inspire him with six narratives. First, there was a dance that dealt with the lessons that could be learnt from the seven different animals that made up the totem pole - the tortoise, the wolf, the beaver, Bigfoot, the buffalo, the bear and the eagle.

Then came stories of the escape of the slaves into free Canada and the inspirational story of Terry Fox, who lost a leg to Cancer but embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research! The “Walk for Values” programme being undertaken was also shown. The 45 minutes programme concluded with a group song.

Swami moved down the ramp and posed with the children for a group photograph. It was a huge group of more than 200 members and it formed a pretty scene. The children sat silently with remarkable discipline. On returning to the stage, Swami asked for sarees and safari cloth pieces to be distributed to all the children. That was done after which Swami received aarthi.

Just before this, Swami presented an A3 size photograph of the group picture He had taken moments before to one small girl in the group. He then blessed everyone with Abhayahastha. He told the children, ”Go back and eat well. You must all be very hungry!” This elicited laughter all around. The car had been brought as it was raining but Swami took a detour and moved on the chair itself. This again elicited loud cheer from the ladies’ side. It was 7:45 p.m. when He retired.

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