THE KODAIKANAL EXPERIENCE
(PART 2OF 3)
RENDEZVOUS WITH ANIL KUMAR
It is said that Prasanthi Nilayam
is Swami’s office, Brindavan is His home and Kodaikanal
is His playground. In a manner of speaking, this is so particularly
where Kodaikanal is concerned, for it is here, that one gets
a glimpse of the Sai of the Forties, especially where Divine
Leelas are concerned. It all
lasts only a few weeks, but what extraordinary weeks they
are, for those blessed to enjoy Divine intimacy then!
is a hill station in South India about four hundred and odd
kilometres south east of Bangalore and near the Temple Cities
of Madurai and Palani. In former years, every summer Swami
used to take a few selected students with Him to Kodai. To
help you to know more about Swami’s Kodai sojourn, we
reproduce below the transcript of a dialogue between Prof.Anil
Kumar and Prof. Venkataraman, broadcast earlier over Radio
Sai. Both are from the SRI SATHYA SAI INSTITUTE OF HIGHER
( continued from the previous issue)
AK: At times, Swami takes the boys out on
a picnic, where He almost plays with the boys. Sometimes,
He even sings with the boys. All sorts of funny things happen.
GV: Does it all remind you of Krishna and
His cowherd boys, the Gopalas?
AK: Yes, I think it is all action replay,
like a tape being replayed.
GV: Except for the age difference between
the physical body of the Lord and those who are with Him this
AK: May be, but Bhagavan
crosses all time barriers when He materialises certain things.
I know Sir, one year He materialised the ring worn by Lord
Rama that was presented to Him by His father Dasaratha.
GV: Oops! The ring that Dasaratha gave?!!
AK: That is right. It was a diamond ring,
and Swami was smiling as He looked around while materialising
another ring – this time it was a sapphire ring that
was presented to Lord Rama by His father-in-law, Emperor Janaka.
GV: I am told these rings are very big?
AK: Very big indeed. I said, “Swami,
it is almost the size of my wrist. How come this ring is so
big?” Swami replied, “Lord Rama was an Aajanubhau,
meaning one of very tall stature.
GV: Eight feet or so?
AK: Yes, Swami then materialised the Mangalsutra
or sacred wedding medallion, complete with the sacred thread
that holds the medallion. This was worn by Mother Sita at
the time of the wedding. I have also seen Swami materialising
the chain worn by Ravana.
AK: Yes, complete with 365 Shiva Lingas
and a pendant at the bottom made up of three large Shiva Lingas,
one yellow, one green and one blue. All the 365 were made
of gold while the three in the pendant at the centre were
made of crystal. This was the chain that Ravana wore.
GV: What happens to these jewels afterwards?
AK: They go back to SAI STORES (laughter).
Swami also materialised a golden replica of the deer that
captivated Sita, later landing her in trouble.
GV: Are you allowed to touch these objects?
AK: Yes, sir. On one occasion, Swami said,
“Tomorrow is the wedding function of Balarama [brother
of Krishna] and Revathi. All of you are invited for lunch!”
Sure enough, on the following day, there was a fabulous lunch
and in the afternoon Swami spoke about the marriage of Balarama
with Revathi. And at the end He materialised a magnificent
diamond-studded necklace with three or four rows of diamonds.
My GOD! How big was the necklace?
AK: About 15 cms. At the
centre of the arch-like necklace there was a Swan suspended
by a gold chain. The Swan was clear and you could look through
its eyes, beak, stomach, and so on. Every body started looking
at it. Swami came to me and said, “Look, look deep”.
I did so and there in the middle of the stomach of that bird
I could see Bhagavan Baba in a reclining posture, the classic
reclining posture of Lord Narayana, reclining on His Thousand-hooded
snake, Adisesha. That is what I saw. It was absolutely fantastic.
Swami also materialised the CHOODAMANI
or the ornament that Sita used to wear on her head. This was
the CHOODAMANI that Hanuman brought
back as proof of having met Sita, when he reported back to
the Lord Rama.
GV: How do the boys feel on such occasions?
They must be transported to a different world.
AK: That is right, into a totally different
world. They had come so close that they even took the liberty
of almost pestering, saying, “Swami, let us see, let
us see!” Swami gave ample opportunities for all to see
these manifested objects at close quarters. He would keep
them on the table so that everybody could later see at some
leisure. Photographs would be taken and some of them are here
in our MUSEUM also.
GV: Fantastic! Can you recall some really
moving, spectacular, or heart-warming incidences? I am sure
there must certainly have been a few of these.
AK: Well, there was an incident involving
a student from the State of Kerala.
GV: How long ago did this incident take
AK: About six to eight years ago. Swami
was showing special concern for this boy. We were wondering
why? In fact, I was even jealous! Swami materialised a ring
for him, a chain for him, a watch for him, and so on, and
it seemed as if the whole trip was meant just for this boy!
After a few days Swami materialised a pair of ear rings for
GV: Ear rings?
AK: Yes sir, ear rings that only girls wear.
How is it that He materialised ear rings for the boy? We just
couldn’t understand. The next day, Swami materialised
another set of ear rings for the same boy. I thought to myself,
“Swami I have three daughters, you can give me also
one (laughter), why only to that boy, an unmarried fellow?”
Then after a week, while delivering a Discourse, Swami said,
“Many are wondering why Swami showed special concern
to one particular boy. Some are specially curious to know
why I gave ear rings to that boy. That boy lost his mother
long back. I have been watching the boy crying and sitting
in a corner. I called him close to Me and asked him about
the reason. He then told Me about the death of his mother
and how his mother wanted to present ear rings to her two
daughters, that is the two sisters of this boy. Before his
mother could do that, she died. Now, I am his Mother and also
of those girls. Who else is there to care for them? That is
why I materialised many things for that boy. You will seldom
understand what I do. Whatever I do and say has got a deeper
significance and inner meaning. Out of frustration, the boy’s
father wanted to commit suicide. I made the boy’s father
to come here, took a promise form him that he would not make
any attempt to take his life. I am now taking care of the
family. From that day onwards, the boy has started smiling.”
That story really touched my heart. I said, “Swami you
are the MOTHER of MOTHERS, dearer and nearer than the physical
mother. You truly care for them”. I am sure none of
us can really experience the depth, and the full intensity
of Swami’s Love.
GV: Yes, that’s true. Swami has always
that feeling towards us; only, we are not able to see that.
Instead we go around making all sorts of silly statements
like, “Swami is angry, so He will not talk,” and
so on. We do not realise that Swami cannot be anything other
than loving. In this context Swami says that God does not
change and that it is only man who changes. One day he says
God is good another day, he says God is not so great! The
problem is always with man and never with God.
AK: Yes sir and He gives an example also.
When we go by train to Bangalore, we say, as the city is approaching,
“Bangalore is coming, Bangalore is coming”. And
while departing from Bangalore, “We say Bangalore is
gone”. Bangalore neither comes, nor goes. It is only
we who go there and leave from there.
GV: Any memorable incidents that you can
recall from your Kodaikanal trips?
AK: Yes. In Kodai, Swami often distributes
all sorts of things, including peppermints, chocolate bars,
and so on. Suddenly one day He said, “I am here distributing
all these sweets and chocolates for you to eat, but there
is one fellow who is not eating; instead he is dumping them
all into his bag. Come on boys! Search everybody’s bags.”
It was something like an income tax raid (laughter)! Then
I said, “Swami, Bhagavan, why all this trouble? I am
the one who is not eating. I am keeping them all in my bag.”
Bhagavan then asked, “Why do you do that?” I replied,
“Swami I have four children. They expect something from
me. When I take back these most precious things like peppermints
- whatever You give is most valuable for all of us –
when I hand over these things, the children will jump in joy”.
Swami said, “Oh, is that so?” He then told the
boys, “Hereafter, you give Anil Kumar five pieces of
sweets, four for his children to be kept in the bag, one for
him to eat along with you and feel happy”. How can I
ever forget that incident? I don’t recall anybody loving
me more than Bhagavan Baba. In fact, this is the feeling of
every devotee. This is the chance you have given me, sir,
to describe my experience which is also the experience of
millions of devotees the world over.
GV: What does Swami expect in return for
all these? This is a sort of typical human question, because
I do know that God does not expect any returns. In any case,
let us hear what you have to say.
AK: Swami only wants us to learn from Him
that just as He loves us, we must love our family, fellow
human beings and God. And that is because God is Love and
Love is God. Always Live in LOVE - that is His message.
GV: I am told that one year on Eswaramma’s
day, Swami distributed blankets to the poor and then went
out distributing to people who could not come to Sai Sruthi
or the Mandir in Kodai. Were you present at that time? That
seems to be a very unusual and moving incident. Why don’t
you tell us about it?
AK: Yes, blankets were first distributed
to all the poor people who assembled in Sai Sruthi that day,
the 6th of May celebrated as Easwaramma day. Suddenly Swami
said, “Let’s go!” He got into His car and
the convoy started moving. On the way, whenever He saw poor
people He stopped the car, got down and started personally
distributing these blankets.
GV: Did He explain why?
AK: Bhagavan said you should do everything
to care for the poor, the needy and the forlorn. This is a
lesson that everyone should learn from Bhagavan. You should
not expect them to come to you for service; instead, you must
go to them, the Daridra Narayana or God disguised as the poor.
GV: Was it also because
some of them could not come because they were disabled?
AK: Absolutely. Not only that sir, on our
way to Kodaikanal, His car would sometimes suddenly stop whenever
He saw a beggar or a village woman carrying a head-load of
firewood. He would call them and give money; these are people
who have never seen Swami before nor know anything about Him,
much less that He was SAI BABA. He does things like that all
the time. When I give Him a strange look, Bhagavan says, “I
just cannot bear to see these poor people suffering like that”.
Sir, I think you will be more thrilled and excited if I say,
that in Kodai, Bhagavan purchases fluffy candy or candy puffs.
Once He purchased about twenty five of them and took them
in His car – His car was full of that stuff. Later He
distributed them to VIPs. They were just amazed. Bhagavan
then said, “Do you know why I bought them? Here, in
Kodaikanal there are some aged people, they cannot move about
and their children carry on their livelihood by selling these
candy puffs. So when I purchase them, they go back home with
money and give to their parents and that day is taken care
of”. From that day, every body started purchasing candy
puffs. For twenty five candy puffs you may have to pay about
ten rupees, but Swami gave them five hundred rupees. I asked,
“Swami, why so much?” He replied that it was not
the price of candy that He was giving, but His Love! It is
not the price of the candy, it is the love of Bhagavan towards
them. I was really so happy when one day He called the boys
and told them, “Boys, look here, you have seen Tibetans
girls selling woollen garments. Everybody go and buy so that
they will be happy!” When Sai Baba is in Kodai, they
all have very good business. And then you must have heard
about the straw hats.
GV: Straw hats? In fact I thing I have a
photo of Swami and Narasimhamoorthy with straw hats.
( to be continued in the next issue)