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By Ms. Vaishnavi Nair

This article was sent to us by a young reader, Ms. Vaishnavi Nair, a class XI student at Chennai who has completed her courses in Sathya Sai Bal Vikas. She, along with her parents, was able to participate in the recently held Athi Rudra Maha Yajna in Chennai, in January 2007, and here is a first hand report of her experience.

‘A Trail Of Inexplicable Happiness’ in Chennai


Sai Chennai

The ritwiks performing the Athi Rudra Maha Yagna in Chennai

A tsunami is unnoticeable in the open ocean – a long, low wave whose power becomes clear only when it reaches shore and breaks. Spotting the wave while it is still crossing the ocean is tricky, which explains why so few are aware of the one that is approaching.

On 19 Jan 2007, the city of Chennai was hit by another tsunami. But this time around, with a huge difference! It left a trail of inexplicable happiness and indescribable joy. Such was the impact of the torrent of love.

When Swami declared that the second Athi Rudra Maha Yagnam (ARMY) will be performed in Chennai, the hundreds of thousands of devotees in Tamil Nadu were elated. The last time Swami graced the city was nearly ten years ago. All of sudden, ARMY became the buzzword everywhere - be it at the ex-Balavikas conference or the Sevadal meeting.

It goes without saying the Lord’s mission moves on with clockwise precision as per His sankalpa. But to be a small instrument in the divine scheme of things, one needs to be really blessed. For all us in Chennai, especially the Sai youth, this was a tremendous opportunity to participate in His work and partake divine grace. And participate we did. With divine guidance behind us this is no great surprise.

Being the last quarter of the academic year my school was not ready to grant a week of leave of absence at a stretch. But the Lord took care. My duties were arranged on week-ends. As an ex-balavikas student, I was fortunate to be asked to serve in the balavikas stall set-up near the ARMY site. Many parents along with their kids visited our stall. When they realized that even these teachings are imparted absolutely free, they were blown off their feet. Several of them wanted to enroll their children immediately.

Meanwhile, news of the Yagna spread like wildfire. The gathering crowd swelled in numbers. People from far off towns, cities and villages began thronging the Yagna site as well as Sundaram (where Swami was residing). They realized that this Yagna is not a common occurrence. Conducted after a few millenniums for the prosperity and peace of humanity, only an Avatar can manifest such abundant blessings.

But apart from participating in the Yagna, the milling crowd prayed for a glimpse of the Lord. And Swami in His infinite love knows the yearnings of His devotees. To the great delight of all the devotees He went around the entire stretch of the hall. Thousands who witnessed this experienced a unique happiness. Even long-time devotees of Swami confessed to have experienced a higher intensity of His presence.

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Sai Chennai

So many await the Lord at Sundaram
He comes to fill the devotees' hearts

Thousands continued to pour in. The unique feast of bhajans, rudram chanting, devotional and instrumental music, all in the presence of the Lord Himself is a once in a life time opportunity. And nobody wanted to miss it.

Such Close Darshan of the Lord

The ever merciful Lord too, started giving even more. I have never seen Swami giving so much Darshan at such close quarters before. And the crowd behaved in a very orderly way which is unusual when it comes to such large gatherings.

As the numbers starting swelling outside Sundaram, more sevadals were drafted into service. I was again fortunate. I too was called in. As the proverbial squirrels, two of us were given the role of distributing drinking water and assisting elderly ladies on to their chairs.

Going around the crowd was a great revelation. It opened up another facet of Swami to me. The experiences gained were truly memorable.

Noticing the polite and calm countenance of Sevadals, the police officials on duty changed their tack. They also took to the Sai way. It looked like one big family – vasudeva kuthumbhakam! People, who could not get inside Sundaram, waited patiently outside singing bhajans and chanting Sai Gayathri. Total strangers were greeting each other with ‘Sairam!’

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Sai Chennai

Swami even gives Darshan outside on the road!
Devotees longingly look upon their Lord

The ‘Sun’ Provides Shady Shelter

Though the numbers increased everyday, the crowd behaved the same - calm, cheerful and patient eagerly awaiting the Lord’s darshan. Swami fulfilled their wishes by going around every little path way, even into the street far outside Sundaram. Observing that his devotees are waiting in the hot sun, the merciful Lord’s kind heart melted. He asked his attendants not to hold the umbrella over Him. Instead, He directed the organizers to erect shamianas inside Sundaram compound.

Swami Acknowledges the Seva


Sai Chennai

The Embodiment of Peace

The hot sun kept us, the water-girls, busy. Most people sought for more than just one glass of water. As the crowd kept increasing this was not an easy task; it was turning to be an arduous job. Tried and clueless, I thought I should at least attempt what Draupadi did to Krishna when faced with the situation of having to feed thousands. Praying to Swami, I too imagined offering Him a cup (somehow the color of the cup happened to be red) of water hoping that it will quench the thirst of everyone present. Though I felt stupid trying to be like Draupadi, it made me feel good. Thereafter, I got along with my work. After the crowd disbursed, we all returned home.

The next day, an akka (elder sister) of mine, came rushing to me after Darshan. It seems she had a dream. She saw Swami accepting water from me in a red cup! The eyes of everyone around welled with tears of happiness and wonderment when I told them about my quiet little offering. Look at the mercy of the Lord. Even in such trivial things, He has taken care to indicate to us that He has seen and heard the prayer. Truly, we were all blessed to have this wonderful opportunity.

The profound impact of Swami on ordinary Chennaites was overwhelming and beyond words. Devotees like me were able to know a little more the “ways of Sai”. Inscrutable are HIS ways. Quietly without any fanfare, He brought in Sai Ganga to quench the thirst of Chennai. Then He set about transforming and energizing barren hearts with love and spirituality and guiding all of us to cross the samsara sagara (ocean of life) the righteous way! As He left on 31 January, the assembled sea of humanity realized what swept them off their feet and warmly wrapped them up. It was the infinite tsunami of love !

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Vol 5 Issue 03 - MARCH 2007
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