Volume 5 - Issue 09
A CELEBRATION OF PURE LOVE
The story of ‘Prema Jyothi’ has to be shared with all, for, it is no ordinary parable. It is, in fact, an unparalleled tale in the history of Prasanthi Nilayam. It is the story of the Glory of the contemporary Prema Avathar, the Incarnation of Pristine Love. It is a tale that touched the hearts of thousands engulfing it with a new joy, a novel peace and a bliss that surpassed everything they had experienced before. “It moved me to tears all the way…what a magnificent exhibition of Love!” said Regina from Belgium. Lutchia Rao from Australia was overwhelmed. “The photos were vibrating…I could experience love. I nearly cried. Thanks for this loving memory which will stay with me forever.”
Svetalia from Russia was ecstatic; unable to contain her joy, she said, “This exhibition is excellent! It just opens our heart and pours love.” There was not a single soul that did not feel elevated witnessing the myriad facets of Divine Love that were so delightfully depicted in the exhibition. As Sugan, a devotee from South Africa said, “It was an awe inspiring exhibition; an insight into the great mystery of ‘Pure Love’."
Yes, truly, it was nothing but love. It was Pure Love that was framed into beautiful panels, wrapped into enlightening messages, constructed into digital videos, shared over the radio, embedded into the internet, and displayed masterfully not only to confer joy but also to cajole every visitor’s conscience and connect them to their own source of perennial peace. As Sriram R, a student of 1st year MBA at Sri Sathya Sai University said, “In one word, it was just ‘bliss’.” And why would it not be, when it is in its every part and particle only telling the story of the “moving, motivating and magnificent manifestation of our Beloved Swami’s Love,” as Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand from the USA put it.
Thousands left the holy precincts of the Poornachandra Auditorium, where the exhibition was staged, enthralled, during the twelve days it was open. All devotees and youth from many countries who had gathered in Prasanthi Nilayam for the International Sai World Youth Conference were touched and transformed, but they were still only a microscopic minority of the world wide Sai family. Two out of every three devotees suggested sentiments like R Sathyavonidh from Tamil Nadu who said, “Please keep this exhibition forever, so that it will always help devotees to know Swami.” Maja Maria Matekjan from Croatia excitedly expressed, “This is very inspiring. It should go around the globe to make people aware of the problems of today’s world.” A devotee from Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Derek Devanand Ramdatt had a different idea. He suggested, “This is simply excellent. Why do not we make a digital format to spread it to all countries?” One of the principal reasons we are having this cover story is to respect the overwhelming number of such requests, and of course, to share with every single individual on this planet, through this incredible medium of the internet the unsurpassable power of Pure Love.
You will now be on a journey of love, nay, an unforgettable spiritual odyssey because we are going to make it even more special for you. We are going to take you through every inch of this exhibition hand in hand… not with us, but with the One who was vibrating in every visible and invisible speck of this glorious presentation. Yes, it is a journey of Sai, with Sai! And here, we begin…
THE UNFORGETTABLE ODYSSEY WITH SAI BEGINS…
And ten minutes later, the whole place is as if come to life! The ‘news’ – most prayed for but least expected – comes! Swami can be expected any moment now! Soon, the hall is filled with everybody who has to be there, all in their right positions, and in a matter of five minutes, on the western side of the stage of the Poornachandra Auditorium, the curtain parts. As the ‘The Striking Orange’ emerges out of the red and blue frontal draping of the stage, all the former students and other volunteers working in Prashanti Digital Studio, are striving hard to conceal their excitement and joy. They have worked tirelessly for the last four weeks for this moment, and now as they see their ‘dream’ becoming a reality, their every cell is filled with a new-found bliss.
As Swami comes onto the stage, He casually drops a glance at the entrance of the exhibition and the next moment He is absorbed with what He sees. Now, His face resting on His arm as He keenly gazes at the grandeur of the 150 by 16 ft work of art that covers the whole width of the Poornachandra Auditorium. The huge entrance inspired by 12th-century ornate temples that decorate the ancient town of Belur and Halebidu (built by King Vishnu Vardhana of the Hoysala dynasty) in the State of Karnataka, embodies within itself the sublime and surreal imagery of ancient South Indian architecture. The auditorium literally looks like a grand temple.
Swami, then slowly, descends the stage and as He is proceeding towards the entrance which is richly bedecked with flowers of various hues from yellow to deep pink to green, He stops on the way as He sees five former students, who are now His staff, waiting with white jasmine blossoms in their cupped palms. The Lord looks at them, touches their offerings and as they bow down to place their fragrant feelings of love and gratitude at His Lotus Feet, He blesses them. What a beautiful sight it is to see the Lord’s Feet surrounded by soft and supple white flowers!
Swami moves on now towards the grand entrance of the exhibition and for a change, there is no conventional ribbon here, it is simply a string of soft flowers. He slowly takes the scissors, gently cuts the flowery thread, and the till now silent hall, instantly reverberates with “Om”. As Vedic chants fill the air, Bhagavan moves into the precincts of the display area and first graciously accepts the candle and lights the golden lamp. As the lamp glows brightly, each one’s heart is set aflame with joy.
And then Swami presses on a switch and wow (!) - a big 10 by 7 ft panel lights up. It is a marvelous painting of Swami as young Sathya when He was barely fifteen years old sitting on a rock in Urvakonda. One is reminded of the amazing incident connected with this picture. When a photographer came to click young Sathya’s image way back in 1940, a small boulder that was lying in front of Him had then transformed into the idol of Shirdi Sai Baba, His previous Incarnation. It was the time when Swami had decided to declare to the world that “I am Sai Baba.” And from then on for all the devotees, His life has been only a Prema Dhara…a life of Pure Love, and this is exactly what is inscribed in big bold letters below this beautiful art work: “Prema Jyothi – A Celebration of Pure Love in Human Form.”
I. THE EFFULGENCE OF PURE LOVE
Swami keenly sees this striking welcome panel of the whole presentation and then turns right and there awaits Him another stunning back-lit panel. It is the picture of a resplendent sun rising majestically and filling the whole firmament with glowing colours of yellow, orange and white. On this is written “The Effulgence of Pure Love.” Now, a former student of Bhagavan's University currently working in the Book Trust comes forward and explains, “Swami, this is how Your love has spread to every inch of this Universe.” And the Lord sweetly exclaims, “Oh!” This is the introductory panel for the first section of the exhibition, and Swami now moves inside.
The first panel He sees has images of His childhood and His parents. “Swami, You chose Your parents,” the student explains, and then pointing to the picture of Swami as a small boy giving away His clothes to the poor, says, “Right from childhood, Swami’s heart always melted for the poor and the needy… and then in a short while, Swami declared His Avatharhood and commenced His Mission with the bhajan ‘Manasa Bhajare Guru Charanam...’” At this point, Swami is visibly moved and before the nostalgic emotions overtake Him completely, He wants to move on to the next panel.
Next, He sees pictures which portray the evolution of the Prasanthi Mandir and the now splendorous Sai Kulwant Hall. When Prof. Venkataraman points to a picture of the old Mandir and adds, “Swami, it was such a small place then, way back in 1947,” Swami, lost in the picture, says, “Yes, it was just a shed.” Then Swami looks at beautiful snapshots of Darshan in the early fifties and sixties. The student, in his eloquent Telugu, goes on, “Swami, though everywhere devotees visit the temple to see the deity and offer their prayers, in Prasanthi Nilayam it has been always the opposite. Right from the beginning, the Lord Himself went to the people, moved among men, stretched His hand to collect letters, craned His neck to listen to their prayers…” “Bas, bas (enough)” Swami says and stops the commentary. He is too pleased. Prof. Venkataraman points out the old video stills which show how people in the early days of the ashram used to live under the trees and did not mind any physical hardship because the bliss they derived would more than make up for it.
After the brief history of the evolution of Prasanthi Nilayam, next Swami sees the early days of the Brindavan ashram – the old Sai Ram shed under the huge banyan tree which was the focal point of Brindavan till the new Sai Ramesh Hall was constructed in the early nineties. Swami nods interestedly when Prof. Venkataraman points out how Swami used to appear on the balcony of the ‘old bungalow’ (which gave way to the current ‘Trayee Brindavan’ in 1986) to delight His devotees in those days. Next are pictures of Swami’s travels to many places in the early years of His Avatharhood. “Swami could have pulled all the devotees by His mere Will, but He took the trouble to visit as many places as He can to confer the bliss of His Darshan,” the student-guide explains, and Swami is keenly looking at the black and white snaps of His agile and energetic Self. “We cannot even identify all these places,” Prof. Venkataraman submits. “One or two are from Your visit to Trichy, but the rest, we do not know. Swami, from then till now, has always been on the move eager to confer bliss to His devotees.”
Swami, now, moves on and sees scenes of festivals celebrated in His presence right from the early days, be it Dasara, Krishna Janmastami or His Divine Birthdays. After that colourful collage, there is another panel in black and white, and this time it is of Swami delivering His discourses with fiery zeal in different places across the country. Swami points to the central picture of the panel and identifying a person in the picture, says, “That is Mr. Savant, a minister then. It was in Mumbai, and yes, that is Kasturi.” The Lord is too pleased to see the pictures of His dear devotees. He never forgets those who have truly loved Him.
Swami has now seen the first row of panels and now turns to His right, and there awaits Him another huge panel. It is back-lit, bright, full of colour, and says, “Sai Leelas”. “Swami, these are scenes from Your early life as narrated by Mrs. Vijayamma,” the student explains and continues, “This is how You had blessed the devotees then with the Divine vision of the Third Eye. And this other scene is that wonderful incident where water from the River Chitravati had reached the Mandir, and Swami, the all-knowing and powerful Lord, told everyone to offer coconuts, flowers, etc. and worship Her revealing that it is the River Ganga come to pay Her obeisance. And soon after Swami blessed the River, the water receded, instantly obeying the Lord’s command.” Prof. Venkataraman adds, “Just like in the Krishna Avatar, in this Avatar too the childhood leelas of the Lord are most magnificent.” Swami listens with great interest and gazes at the paintings done with professional finesse. It is thrilling to see the Lord ‘captivated’ by His own miracles, all for the joy of His students.
As Swami turns, now there is not another panel, but a television. A scintillating video footage of Swami sitting on the sands of Chitravati in the days of yore and materializing out of the sand one object after another - idols of deities, lingams, etc. - is being played continuously in a loop and Swami watches this for more than a minute, without batting his eyelid even once.
The next panel is another mix of ten timeless pictures again in grayscale depicting how distinguished individuals flocked to His Lotus Feet when He was in His twenties and thirties. Pointing one of the pictures out, Swami excitedly says, “That is Venkatagiri Raja.” The pure personality of the Lord is so child-like! It fascinates us and at the same time befuddles us. The noble king of Venkatagiri who was an epitome of devotion and surrender is etched in His mind forever. There are old images of Swami sitting down and lovingly speaking to Vedic priests. One close devotee standing nearby exclaims, “Swami, here You are sitting on the ground just like the other devotees.” The Lord says, “Yes” and He is touched. He turns His palm submissively and innocently says, “There were no chairs then.”
The next panel has scenes of large numbers of Vedic scholars gathered at His feet in the early days of His Avatharhood. “Once Vedic pundits realized that the very source of all the Vedas has incarnated on earth, they flocked to Your Lotus Feet.” Swami hears this explanation and gently nods. “This Vedic tradition has continued even to this day. We have now even the small children of the Primary school chanting vedic hymns so proficiently,” Prof. Venkataraman adds, and the Lord is very pleased.
As Swami moves onto the next three panels, there are images of Swami’s travels to the historic shrine of Badrinath in the North to the scenes of His visit to the State of Kerala in the South. Swami sees a series of interesting pictures which show how He climbs onto the top of a car (!) during a procession in South India to grant much coveted Darshan to the teeming crowds. There are also pictures of His visits to various cities in Tamil Nadu. Sri V Srinivasan points out, “Swami, this is the elephant procession they accorded You in Udumalpet in 1958.” He observes that picture and remarks, “These are very old pictures.” Swami then shifts His focus to His more recent trips to Delhi, the Capital of India, in 1999. “Here Swami is performing bhoomi puja for the Sai International Centre in Delhi,” Prof. Venkataraman explains showing a picture, and continues, “Swami, this is the helipad they had made for You specially during Your visit to Latur in 2001.” Swami glances at all the thirty-odd pictures spread over three colorful light boards with great attention before proceeding further
Having finished one enclosure of the exhibition, Swami now turns and moves to the next set of panels on the same continuing theme of “The Effulgence of Pure Love.” A set of captivating pictures await Swami. These are enchanting images which show how when God dons a human form He behaves just like one of us in every way. Mr. V Srinivasan points out a picture of Swami Himself taking a picture with a Polaroid camera, and slowly a sweet and cute smile blossoms on His lips. There are pictures of Swami casually glancing at an almanac, blissfully reading a letter, excitedly talking to small kids inside a classroom, bending His body and lovingly, like a mother, pouring water from a tiny container for a small boy to wash his hands, and what is more exciting is a picture of Swami stopping His ambassador car in the middle of a lonely road on a highway and giving Vibhuti out of the blue to two surprised motor-cyclists. There are images of spontaneous compassion too. Swami in prisons, spastic homes, vocational training centres and medical camps – everywhere the Lord visits, the joy is immeasurable. Then there are pictures of sweet intimacy. He is reciting the Gayatri Mantra in a boy’s ear, performing the marriage of a young man and presiding over the house-warming ceremony of a dear devotee – all so precious and profound.
And then there are a series of pictures in sequence which show Swami showing His empty hand as if saying “See! There is nothing” and then the next moment there is a beautiful chain in His hand and Swami raises His hand and flashes a benedictory smile as if conveying “Everything is in this Hand!” As Swami watches all these pictures, the student comments, “Swami, You are the basis for the creation of the cosmos. You come down to the level of man so that we may feel kinship with You and aspire to become Divine.” Prof. Venkataraman adds, “Swami, we know God is not in some high heaven up above; He is here and now and behaves as one among us only to teach us, guide and protect us.” The Lord listens to these short commentaries but His eyes are still fixed on the pictures.
The next panel is a collection of stills of spectacular miracles – the grand Vibhuti Abhishekam and Lingodbhavam. Marking out a series of four pictures, Srinivasulu explains, “Swami, this is how the incessant flow of Vibhuti from the upturned vessel in those good olden days stunned everybody. The copious stream of Vibhuti used to change into turmeric and then again into vermillion - the flow never stopping even for a split second - to everybody’s wonder.” Swami’s eyes shine as if lit up seeing those priceless pictures. He gently nods as the commentary goes on and Prof. Venkataraman takes the opportunity to draw His attention to a photo of Lingodbhavam taken in the seventies.
Then there are stunning pictures of the Athi Rudra Maha Yagnam that was held first in Prasanthi Nilayam and later in Chennai in January 2007, and Swami lingers looking at these pictures for quite some time. The next collage is one of its kind. It is full of glimpses of Swami’s historic visit to Africa. As the Lord keenly scans these images, the student explains, “Swami, many devotees wonder why does Swami not go abroad often, but Swami has given the answer - it is the ants that come to the sugar candy and not the other way round.” Swami immediately responds to this explanation and nods affirmatively as if saying “Yes, that is right”. Then Prof. Venkataraman takes Swami through every picture – His welcome at Nairobi, the Wildlife safari in the National Park, the Guru Poornima celebrations in Kampala, the blissful Darshans, His boat ride over the Nile and a rare picture of Swami with Idi Amin too. The student commentator summarises the whole episode saying, “Swami, You lit the lamp of love in the dark continent.” Swami, even for a second, does not take His eyes away from the carefully chosen pictures. Isn’t it beautiful to travel to all these places again with Swami!
Next Swami scans a panel on the Bal Vikas movement in India, and moves on to another collage which depicts His Love for all religions. There are scenes of the construction of the Sarva Dharma Stupa which today stands majestically just beside His residence. The student points out a picture of the mosque that Swami Himself had built in Puttaparthi for the Muslims many decades ago. When he shows Him the pictures of the Inter-Faith Conference that was held in Prasanthi Nilayam a couple of years ago, and narrates how religious leaders of all faiths had gathered at His Lotus Feet then, Swami looks at the pictures with interest and nods affirmatively. Unity-Purity-Divinity is so central to His life and message, and the Lord makes it evident once again.
As Swami moves on to the next displays, which are professional paintings of profound and historic events of Swami’s life, the Lord is absorbed in the art work that recreates those moments. One is the landmark 1963 incident when Swami took upon Himself the paralysis of a dear devotee and at the conclusion of the ‘drama’ declared to the world that He is Shiva-Shakthi Incarnate, and the other is the famous ‘Goa incident’ wherein Swami’s body suffers from appendicitis and after a battery of eminent doctors give up all ‘hope’ whatsoever, Swami then stuns the world by standing up and giving His promised discourse to the thousands of devotees for over forty minutes gathered in Goa with His usual elegance and elan. The student states to Swami the significant declaration He made to the world on that occasion – “No illness can ever affect this body. If it suffers, it is only someone else’s problem that is taken over.” And Swami nods immediately in acknowledgement of this profound revelation. “This body is not Mine, it is yours,” Swami has mentioned on many occasions and one is awakened into how great an honour and a responsibility it is when Swami acknowledges the student’s comment.
“To reveal to the world His authority over all matter and elements, Swami revived the life of Walter Cowan way back in 1971 and here are a few glimpses of that momentous occasion,” elucidates the student-guide to introduce the next panel to Swami which is also another story portrayed in paint skillfully. Swami keenly watches all the scenes depicted – the passing away of Walter Cowan in Connemara Hotel in Madras, the declaration by the doctor ‘dead upon arrival’ in the hospital, the early morning surprise visit of Swami and the subsequent resurrection of Walter Cowan, and the doctors’ utter disbelief the next morning. “Swami, these are pictures of the spiritual remarriage you performed for that blessed couple,” Prof. Venkataraman mentions and points to the array of images below the painting.
At this point, there is a small interlude as Prof. Venkataraman introduces to Bhagavan the eminent artists, Sri Kamalesh and Sri Chandranath Acharya, the men behind the delightful artworks that Swami just saw, and the kind Lord blesses the twosome with a loving smile and a Hand raised in blessing. After granting Pada Namaskaram to the artists, Swami moves on to the next two panels and sees moving pictures of how devotees crave for His Darshan.
“These are scenes from Your recent visit to Chennai,” Prof. Venkataraman explains, and pointing to an old beggar-woman standing amidst the multitude and craning her neck for one glimpse of the Lord, says, “Swami, Your love binds everyone like no other.” There is also another picture of a lady ecstatic after having seen the Lord and the bliss she reflects in her smile is heart-filling. Swami also watches with interest another series of pictures concerning the same Chennai visit wherein He goes onto the road and out of the crowd picks up a small boy and blesses him with a golden chain. All these scenes of eternal bond that exist between God and His devotee delight the Lord. For, without this exchange of love, what else is worth living for in this world!
The next panel has only three images – a big picture of Lord Krishna delivering the immortal Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna; a photo of a poor old woman, wrinkled and weak, holding a packet of food and a new saree with gratitude; and above this, a nice image of Swami delivering a message. As Swami sees these images, the student explains, “Swami, in Your previous incarnation as Krishna, You commanded Arjuna to lift his bow and do his duty. And now, day in and day out You instruct us to do our duty which is to serve the poor and reach out to as many grief-stricken as possible.” Again, Swami nods as if accepting the explanation in its entirety and gently moves His hand in air in His own characteristic way. In these moments, you can see the curtain of illusion part and the Divinity encased in the human form being apparent to every onlooker. As He moves further, Swami is now on to the final panel of the first theme of the Exhibition.
There is again a picture of Krishna and Arjuna, but now a cosmic form of Lord Krishna, and beside it images of Swami speaking and also diligently writing. “Lord Krishna declared to the world that Avatars come to protect the devout and establish dharma, but Swami has added another dimension, and that is giving all a taste of that Supreme Divine Love,” explains the student. Swami’s attention now moves to an exquisite piece of art carved in wood placed right next to this panel depicting the Vishwa Rupa (cosmic form) of the Lord. Swami innocently asks, “Where did this come from?” And a close devotee thanks the Lord for His kindness, for it was Swami who had sent this masterpiece to adorn the Exhibition hall just the day before.
At this point, Prof. Venkataraman draws Swami’s attention again to the last panel and says, “Swami, in a historic letter to Your brother in 1947, You declared three main objectives of Your Avatarhood - ‘To foster all mankind and fill them with bliss; to lead all who go astray back to the path of goodness; and finally, to remove the sufferings of the poor and grant them what they lack.’ Swami, all the rest of the display in this Exhibition only shows how You have been incessantly at work keeping up all these grand promises.” The Lord listens to every word very keenly.
As He turns and moves on, Swami again stops and looks at the marvelous statue which is carved on both the sides. On one side is the Cosmic Form of Lord Vishnu and on the other side are the Lord’s ten incarnations according to Hindu mythology. After spending a few seconds transfixed at the beauty of the masterpiece, Swami proceeds to the next lap of the Exhibition.
II. THE RADIANCE OF DIVINE COMPASSION
As Swami moves over the few inches of elevation and turns to His right, a 6 by 4 feet beautiful back-lit panel welcomes Him. There is a picture of Vibhuti pouring out of Swami’s Divine Hands into many eager palms and it reads “The Radiance of Divine Compassion.” Now, another former student who is currently working in the Sri Sathya Sai Medical Trust, has the honour of giving a commentary and he explains, ”Swami, Your deep compassion for humanity, Your untiring efforts to alleviate their suffering, has so many moving facets. Here we have the story of one such aspect – Your Super Specialty Hospitals.” Swami watches the well-designed and lighted panel for a while and then moves on.
The first panel in this section is a picture which reflects the flip side of the Indian Healthcare system. The student explains, “Swami, for the rich who can afford to pay lakhs for an operation, there are many hospitals in India, but for the poor spread in millions of villages and small towns in this country, who live in poor living conditions, there is no hope.” Swami nods in agreement as He sees pictures of the poor living in the slums and eating on the streets but cannot step into the multi-storied hospital which stands beside them.
The next three panels show how Swami shocked the world when He announced that He will set up a free Super Specialty Hospital in Puttaparthi during the 65th Birthday celebrations. The student refers to the photo of Mr. P V Narasimha Rao, the then Prime Minister of India, who had come to inaugurate the Hospital and says, “Swami, on the first day itself, four operations were performed.” Swami keenly watches the pictures as if reminiscing the whole episode. And there is a second trip down memory lane as Swami sees images of the inauguration of the second Super Speciality Hospital in Bangalore, this time the ribbon cut by another Prime Minister, Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. This is followed by beautiful pictures of the interior and exterior of both the Hospitals and beside it is an image of a majestic cathedral in Ireland. As Swami moves His eyes over these scenes, the student-guide explains how every one who steps into these Hospitals always feels as if they have entered a “Temple of Healing’. It is no different an experience than entering a place of worship. “Swami, it is Your design and Grace”, he submits and the Lord pleasantly nods.
Next is a moving picture of a poor couple holding their small baby and standing in the Hospital corridor. “Swami, more than 90% of the people who come to our Hospitals are people who do not even earn Rs. 50 a day,” he again explains. The Lord’s heart is touched seeing this picture and Mr. V Srinivasan adds, “Swami, ours is the only Hospital with every department except the billing department.” It is so amazing to see the Lord, who is the architect of all these true wonders of the modern world, pretend as if He is pleasantly happy to hear all this heartening news. The Lord enacts any role to give joy to His students and devotees. Is there anything that we know that He does not know!
Swami then moves on to a few panels which depict various processes of the Hospitals – registration, consultation, diagnostics, etc – and finally comes to an image of a cardiac operation in action. The student says, “Swami, such well-equipped and sophisticated operation theatres in India are rare, and it is because of such facilities that our Hospitals are able to perform many complicated cases.” Swami gestures as if saying, “Yes, right.” There are more images of the heart-lung machine and complex brain surgeries being performed in the Bangalore Hospital. And then comes an image of Hospital staff tenderly caring for an infant and Swami stays at this picture for a few seconds before moving on to see more pictures of the spacious ICU, the squeaky clean wards, and any number of patients smiling their heart out having found so much peace in the environs of the Hospital. The Lord scans through all these images and stops at a panel which has the statistics of both the Hospitals. “Swami, in Cardiology alone, more than ten lakh people have been attended to in both the Hospitals till now,” he explains taking only one figure, and Swami listens with great interest.
Next, Swami sees several pictures of Sevadals serving at the Hospital with great love, and comes to a panel where there are pictures of dignitaries visiting the Hospital. Sri V Srinivasan points out, “Swami, this is the delegation from the British Parliament in the Bangalore Hospital”. “This is former President Abdul Kalam inside the ICU in a surgeon’s attire,” shows Prof. Venkataraman and Swami looks keenly at all these images.
Then there are precious pictures of Swami inside the ICU, with the Hospital Staff, blessing the patients and comforting a small child. The student now submits, “Swami, You are the sole inspiration for every activity in these Hospitals” as the Lord’s eyes rests on these pictures. Swami, next, stops at an important picture which has a newspaper scan which reads, “World’s Defense Budget crosses trillion dollar mark,” and here the guide says, “Swami, people world over say it is not feasible to run free hospitals as it will cost a lot of money, but in reality, year after year millions of dollars are spent in making weapons which only harm mankind.” There is a small half-smile on Swami’s face and when he continues saying, “Swami, in reality, it is only the Poverty of Love”, Swami agrees and nods as if saying, “Yes, that is right.” For how many decades the Lord has been emphasising on this point!
In the last item of this section, Swami stops in front of a TV monitor. He sees a video which features patients expressing their new-found joy and bliss having discovered and been treated in these Hospitals. The Lord is palpably much moved. When a poor man from Karnataka breaks down sharing his joy saying, ‘These tears are not out of sorrow… they are of supreme happiness’, Swami is too overwhelmed. You can see, His eyes are full and quite spontaneously come out of Him only one word - “papam” meaning, “So sorry.” The Lord’s Heart is too tender to be able to cope with the suffering of the poor.
III. PURE LOVE AS SELFLESS CONCERN
Soon Swami moves to the next section which welcomes Him with a back-lit panel which is an exquisite picture of a drop of water and says, “Pure Love as Selfless Concern.” Here, the commentary is taken over by another former student currently working in the Central Trust.
He explains the first two panels which show how 70% of the human body is made of water and the earth is three-fourth’s water, but at the same time, only 3% of this is fresh water. But again more than 75% of this 3% is locked up in icebergs leaving only a fraction for actual practical use. The third panel highlights the acute water scarcity in the country in spite of two monsoons through heart-touching images of dried wells, thirsty throats and parched earth. Next starts the story of Swami’s Drinking Water project for the Anantapur District.
The student explains, “Swami, this is the infiltration well on the River Chitravathi for the Anantapur Project.” Prof. Venkataraman adds pointing to another picture, “Swami, this is the huge summer storage tank in Anantapur.” And Swami keenly watches as more images of the construction work are shown. “The piping alone extended to over 2500 km,” he says. “Swami, that is the equal to the distance between Kanyakumari and Kashmir (head to toe of India),” Prof. Venkataraman adds. And the Lord scans the images carefully and nods gently. The Lord, you can see, is only responding and reflecting the joy that people around Him are expressing. Otherwise, what is there for Him to know!
Next are pictures of the poor in the villages of Anantapur district partaking Sai water gleefully, and the student states, “Swami, over 900 villages and more than a million people now have access to safe drinking water, thanks to Your Grace.” Swami sees more images of 40-acre area summer storage tanks in Anantapur, and how in 1997, He gifted away the whole project to the Government of Andhra Pradesh in the presence of the Chief Minister. The student-guide next shows Swami pictures of the collection well located 100 kms from Puttaparthi which supplies water to this holy town.
As Swami moves on, starts the story of the Drinking Water Project to the city of Chennai. There are newspaper clips which say “Reservoirs Go Dry” in Chennai and depict the suffering of the bustling metro population. The student points to the previous Canal which was totally defunct, and narrates how Swami announced, out of the blue, in Bangalore in the year 2001 – “I have made a resolve. I have decided to bring drinking water to the people of Madras, no matter how difficult or costly the task is. My wish will succeed without fail.” Next there are a few panels with absorbing pictures of the Canal lining work and when Swami reaches the photo depicting the first release of water into the new Canal, Sri V Srinivasan points out and says, “Swami, here they are doing bhajans welcoming the Sai Ganga water.” The Lord sees all these pictures with great interest.
Next is a very colorful panel showing glimpses of Swami’s visit to Chennai in January 2007 and scenes from the Chennai Citizens Conclave. The student submits, “Swami, the people of Chennai are so happy and express their gratitude to You as they get regular drinking water now.” Swami listens and nods in assent. What remarkable change has come now to this historic city! When He Wills, there is nothing that is impossible.
Swami, next, sees very recent pictures of the work that has started on His directions in Ugadi 2007 in the part of the Canal that is in the State of Tamil Nadu. And Swami, again, is pleased to see the progress of the work.
The Lord now turns and moves on to another enclosure and sees in pictures the unfolding of another flow of His Pure Love, the Sri Sathya Sai Water Project for the districts of East and West Godavari. The whole story is captured, in brief, in four panels but is supplemented amply with a moving video clip. The Lord watches the short video with the interest that a child would take when watching the TV screen for the first time in his life. And when Swami spots the lady who has donated an acre of land to built the water treatment plant in the tribal district, He immediately identifies her with a pleasant smile on His face and looks at Prof. Venkataraman and another student standing near by, both of whom had gone to these areas a couple of months ago to capture the mood of the people on video and digital stills. And as the presentation ends with the tribals gleefully shouting “Bolo Sathya Sai Baba Ki Jai!” , the Lord sports a beautiful smile. All He has strived for all in His years on earth is to fill others with bliss, the same bliss that He is a personification of.
V. LOVE SHINING AS THE SADGURU
Swami now moves on to the fourth theme of this Exhibition. As Swami looks at the introductory panel which is a striking picture of the hands of a potter shaping the raw earth into a shining and useful shape, kneeling next to the panel is another former student of His University serving currently in the Central Trust. He says, “Swami, we now have panels which show how You have shaped young minds in Your model educational institutions.” The first panel shows pictures of Swami’s University along with other Universities and he explains, “Swami, ours is the only University where the Chancellor of the Universe is the Chancellor of the University too.” Swami is too pleased and lovingly says, “Very happy.”
Next Swami sees a panel which has pictures of a preceptor with disciples and beside it the photo of Albert Einstein writing an equation on the board, to convey how secular and spiritual educations need to be blended. And as soon as Swami sees this poster He says, “There, that is Einstein.” Truly, there is nothing sweeter than seeing the child-like nature of the Lord! He captivates you instantly.
The next four panels show how man is a composite of body, mind and soul, and how one turns into an animal if body-feeling dominates his personality and into a demon if mind rules his actions. “Our University provides integral education catering to the body, mind and the spirit,” the student explains.
In the next panel, Swami sees the inauguration ceremony of the first edifice in Swami’s Educational Mission – the college for women in Anantapur. Prof. Venkataraman points out Sri V V Giri, the then President of India, who had presided over the function and then the student-guide draws His attention to the significant message He had given on that occasion. He says, “Swami, You had said that Indians should not imitate other cultures blindly and must preserve their own roots and strengthen their own values. You had also declared that this college is only a seed which will, with time, sprout and spread providing shade and security to all.” Prof. Venkataraman adds, “Swami, Your boys have done this. They are sharing Your Love with the world.” Swami seems very pleased and says, “This is done very nicely.” Though, till now, Swami has seen only half of the Exhibition, the hearts of the students who are behind this Exhibition are brimming with joy. Their effort has already found fulfillment.
As Swami moves on, He sees images of the inauguration of the college in Puttaparthi, the establishment of the University in 1981 and then the opening of the Administrative block. Identifying the dignitary on that occasion, Swami says, “That is Mr. Gundu Rao, the then Chief Minister of Karnataka.” How many millions Swami has blessed in the last eight decades of His life! And what an honour for those who have been fortunate to be directly part of His Mission!
Next is a beautiful collage of the Chancellor’s room in the Administrative block and now the student says, “Swami, though it is the Chancellor’s room, You never go there because You always like to spend all Your time with us, guiding us and blessing us with Your proximity.” Swami looks into the eyes of the boy and listens keenly. Next He sees the early days of the forming of the University when He used to chair Academic Council meetings, talk to visiting professors, attend seminars, etc. “Swami, Your involvement has always been comprehensive and complete,” mentions the student again and the Lord nods gently in agreement. How many precious hours of His time Swami has given to this University and His students! And how beautiful it is to see them grow, straight and strong, as role models and responsible members of the modern society!
As Swami moves further, He sees snapshots of boys engaged in literally every activity in the hostel. ”The hostel in its every aspect is run by the boys,” the former student explains showing photos of boys doing carpentry, electrical maintenance, gardening, plumbing, dining hall serving, etc. The next three panels are collages of the sweet intimacy that exists between Swami and His boys. ”Swami, it is this proximity with the Divine which is the most salient aspect of our University,” he stresses as Swami sees pictures of His sessions with boys in Trayee Brindavan, Kodai Kanal, and the Hostel dining hall.
In the next two panels, Swami sees colorful and exciting scenes of Sportsmeet performances of the students. Pointing out the spectacular feats that boys do on these occasions from bungee jumping to motorbike stunts to aerial acrobatics, the student says, “Swami, it is the strong faith and confidence that the boys have at Your Lotus Feet that inspires them to do such dare-devil acts.” Swami again looks at him and nods as if saying, “Yes, I know.” How the Lord protects every student like the eye-lid that protect the eye is a story that the Lord knows; many a times even the boys are unaware unless He reveals it Himself.
Swami, next, sees scenes of two other important aspects of the University – the Summer Course held at the beginning of the academic year and the Grama Seva programme held during Dasara celebrations in the middle of the year. He keenly watches as Prof. Venkataraman shows how boys go to remote areas, where even roads do not exist, to serve food and clothes. Swami keenly watches these pictures with pleasure.
The next panel awaits with grand pictures concerning the Annual Convocation of the Institute. First are the scenes from the dramas that the boys do every year in front of Him. There are pictures of Swami guiding the boys behind the stage, sitting through their rehearsals, deciding their costumes and finally granting them group photographs after their performances on the D-day. “Swami, You are the director, actor and the chief spectator,” Prof. Venkataraman adds. And then there are impressive pictures of the Institute Convocation and Swami pleasingly nods in acknowledgement when the student says, “Swami, it is only in our University that, come what may, the academic year starts every year on June 1st, convocation is held on Nov 22 and the session closes on March 31.” Swami is very happy.
The next two panels are about the service being done by the alumni of the Institute along with scenes of their annual ‘reconnect’ with the Lord in Prasanthi Nilayam. Swami watches with interest how the former students of His institution are serving selflessly and reaching out to the world.
The focus in the next panel shifts to the actual message for mankind concerning education. It shows the globe at the centre and depicts how recent times have lead to mind-boggling advances in Science and Technology, concurrent with a widening gap between the rich and the poor as the world is enveloped with problems like poverty, conflict and global warming. Referring to the subsequent panel, the former student explains, “Swami, the principle of Educare as taught by You is the only way man can free himself from the clutches of desires, greed and hatred.” As Swami moves on to the next panel which depicts a cycle with two wheels, he continues, “Swami, You always emphasize the balance between knowledge and compassion - the head and the heart - and that is what can make us useful and responsible members of the society and the world.” The Lord lends His ear keenly to every word.
And next there are pictures of boys in the classrooms as well as with Swami in the garden, and Prof. Venkataraman says, “Swami, this University is most blessed to have the sadguru (Supreme Preceptor) as its founder, master, and mentor.” As Swami moves on, He comes to the final picture on this theme of Education, and this panel has one big picture of Swami, His hand raised in benediction and beside it are three important messages for mankind. The student explains, “Swami, You always stress on character development as the most worthwhile product of education. Secondly, You always emphasise on good teachers because without good teachers there can be no good society.” Swami nods His head affirmatively at this point, and then the boy continues, “Another important aspect which Swami has demonstrated is that education should always be offered free to everyone without any discrimination whatsoever.” Swami listens with interest to all these explanations and looks very pleased. These have been the main thrust of His education system right from the time He established the first college in 1968 and the Lord is happy that the panels portrays all these aspects clearly and powerfully.
Swami now turns and moves on to the fifth section of this Exhibition. It has been more than an hour since Swami arrived into the Exhibition hall, but the compassionate Lord does not seem tired or ask for rest. For everybody else, it is like Swami arrived just a few minutes ago. When one is with Swami, time, truly, becomes still.
V . LOVE SETTING EXAMPLES THROUGH SELFLESS SERVICE
The Lord is now in front of a very touching, back-lit and bright, panel. It is the image of a mother bird dropping a little particle of food into the mouth of her baby, her eyes gazing into the eyes of her little one. Swami’s vision is fixed on this photo as another former student working now in the Prasanthi Digital Studio, explains, “Swami, just like this mother-bird, You have filled us with Your Pure and deep selfless Love and taken care of us with the Love of a million mothers by taking upon Yourself the role of a Universal Mother.” The glowing text on this panel reads, “Love Setting Examples Through Selfless Service.”
And next are pictures of Swami Himself serving during the large Narayana Sevas that He used to organise in the Hill View Stadium and also during Service camps in Brindavan. “Swami, You have always demonstrated and then directed others to do. And now inspired by Your example, Sai workers, all over the world, serve with enthusiasm and love.” The student expresses his feelings.
Next are scenes from the devastating earthquake that rocked the state of Gujarat in 2001. As Swami sees the next panel which has trucks – small and large - packed with relief material and lined up, and the Lord giving directions, he adds, “Swami, it was You who sent lorries full of items – blankets, food, provisions, etc. – catering to their every need.” “These tents too were given by Swami,” continues the student. “The sevadals in Gujarat served all the items that Swami sent personally to every individual. While other NGOs visited only towns and cities, Sai inspired sevadals went to every remote village and offered the items with love.” The Lord carefully scans every picture as He keenly listens to the commentary. The all-knowing Lord, so kindly gives the precious chance to show Him what He has done! He has been always giving right from the very beginning and now He is giving His invaluable time – just to fill the student with bliss.
Next are scenes from the terrible tsunami when three hundred thousand people were washed away, and pointing to the panel of Sevadals doing work, the student elucidates, “Swami, nobody came forward to render the kind of service that the sevadals did. They cleared dead bodies which were scattered all around.” Swami’s attention now moves on the panel which has images of sevadals making neat boxes of all items sent by Him in the temple complex of Sundaram in Chennai. “Swami provided every item from clothes and food to buckets and stoves,” the student adds, and next are scenes of actual distribution to the poor in the tsunami-affected areas which Swami scans through and stops at another panel which has scenes from Indian villages.
“Swami always says villages are like my eyes,” the student explains and shows how Swami has visited many villages to encourage and inspire them. Prof. Venkataraman points out, “Swami, these are pictures of Amagondapalem that You had visited years ago with many students,” and Swami watches them with keen interest. How much Swami loves the poor in the villages and admires their unsophisticated life and culture! In fact, all His mammoth service projects are principally for this section of the society. The world may have forgotten them, but not God.
Swami now moves on to a panel which has pictures of classes for small children being conducted on the side of a road. The former student tells Swami that these are pictures taken on the Chitravathi road in Puttaparthi and shows in the next panel how Swami has built spacious schools for them out of His immense compassion. The Lord’s eyes are fixed on the pictures of small children studying with interest and enthusiasm. Nothing captures His attention more.
As Swami moves on, He sees pictures of the red water tanker that Swami sent all through the summer this year (2007) to supply water to the villagers in distress. “Swami, this tanker has become a Temple for them,” says the student and shows how the villagers first worship the vehicle with flowers and incense before accepting water. There are more pictures of the happy villagers walking away with pots full of water on their heads and in their arms, and when the student says, “Swami, these villagers say ‘Swami alone is our refuge, this water for us is truly nectar’,” the Lord is overwhelmed with emotion. Swami, is the perfect man walking on earth. His Pure Will and determination is indomitable, at the same time His Heart is most supple.
Swami next sees images of another moving miracle, the Mobile Hospital, and the student, again, explains passionately, “Swami, when the bus arrives, for the villagers it is as if Swami has come to the village! They perform bhajans and offer worship, and only then consultations begin.” As Swami looks at the various facilities that are available inside the bus, he points out how every kind of complex diagnostic procedures are possible inside the bus. ”This is an ultrasound machine,” points out Prof. Venkataraman. And later as He keenly watches the doctors and volunteers at work, the student mentions, “Swami, all the physicians and Sai workers in this project repeatedly emphasise on preventive healthcare and guide the villagers.” Swami listens with keen interest and then there are a series of pictures which show how sevadals go into the homes of the old and sick and carry them to the bus for consultation and examination. The Lord is absorbed and moved seeing these images.
The last image in this section is a huge picture of Lord Hanuman that Swami has erected in the Hill View stadium. When the former student says, “Swami, You always advise us that Hanuman is our true ideal, whether it is devotion or service” a small smile blossoms on His lips. The Lord is pleased and at this point, when another boy comes forward and offers Swami a tumbler of water, He beautifully smiles and puts a drop in His mouth with His one finger in a loving gesture and moves on. The Lord is not tired; for the sake of His students, or His devotees, He can go to any length.
Swami, next sees a small video loop on the Mobile Hospital in which Dr. Narasimhan, the director of the programme, says, “Many distinguished and very eminent doctors visit all these villages and serve in this service project; they say it is their way of expressing their love and gratitude to Swami.” As Swami listens to his words and sees the poor villagers being treated and comforted, He is overcome with emotion. Compassion comes as naturally to the Lord as fragrance comes to the rose and warmth to the rays of the sun.
VI . THE MATCHLESS GLORY OF PURE LOVE
Swami now turns and moves on to another section of the Exhibition and stops in front of a large back-lit panel which has the mystifying picture of the Cosmos with flashes of bright light dazzling through the glittering night sky. An alumnus now working in the Prashanti Digital Studio, standing next to this, explains, “Swami, we have now instances of the “Matchless Glory of Pure Love” which was shining out brightly And the Lord says, “Good, good.”
The first panel that Swami sees in this section has a picture of the Sun and Earth rotating around it, but inside the earth is the shining face of Swami; and next to this image is the picture of former President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam speaking in the Divine Presence in Prasanthi Nilayam. The student explains, “Swami, when the President was here, he said the Earth is shining brighter than a thousand Suns because of Swami’s Love. Unlike the earlier Avatars, where only a few could recognize their Divinity when they were in human form, in this Avatar millions have experienced Your Pure Love.” The Lord is visibly touched listening to these words.
The next poster is a collage of many precious pictures of Swami on the sands of Chitravathi in the olden days, and as Swami keenly watches these black and white pictures, the student continues, “Swami, right from early days, You gave all Your time to devotees and they understood and experienced what true Love is.” There are more pictures of early days in Brindavan and also huge crowds now in the spacious Sai Kulwant Hall. “Swami, even if it is a small festival, now devotees come only in thousands and lakhs. None have been sent invitation but by the magnetic power of Your Love, multitudes gather at Your Lotus Feet with enthusiasm and joy,” he explains ardently.
As Swami moves on, He sees an ethereal picture of Himself giving Darshan through the silver door on the first floor of the Prasanthi Mandir. “Swami, we can never forget those very special Darshans You used to give on Christmas days,” the former student says with excitement and joy. As Swami moves, He sees more scenes of Christmas celebrations in Prasanthi Nilayam and again he explains how devotees gather from the world over at His Lotus Feet as they long for that perfect peace and love which only Swami confers. Next are glimpses of a Youth Conference held in Prasanthi Nilayam a decade ago. ”Swami, just like the current Youth Conference, in the earlier International Youth Conference too, You shared so much Love with the youth and inspired them,” the student says as the Lord keenly watches those stills.
As Swami moves, He sees a panel full of fascinating pictures of very eminent musicians performing in the Divine Presence. Swami keenly scans these images and looks at a picture of U Srinivas as a small boy with Swami, and says, “Yes, that is Mandolin Srinivas.” The Lord is so pleased and then points out Smt. Subbalakshmi too and looks at all the pictures with interest. Whenever Swami identifies somebody in the pictures and remembers him or her fondly, it is truly a joy for the people around. For, in these moments the sweet human side of the Divine is so enticing.
In the next two panels, He sees glimpses of Buddha Poornima and Chinese celebrations and the student-guide narrates how people of different faiths and cultures gather at His Lotus Feet to bask in His Love. This is followed by another poster which has images of sportstars from different countries who had assembled in 1996 to play the International Unity Cup in Swami’s own stadium. As Prof. Venkataraman points out the various players, some of whom had come from Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the Lord watches the pictures with interest. The next one too has eminent personalities, but now political leaders and administrators from India and abroad. The student explains how these highly-placed personalities have returned to His presence time and again for comfort, guidance and love. “Swami gives attention to everybody, irrespective of their financial and social status,” he adds, as Prof. Venkataraman points out a picture of Jayprakash Narayan (a widely known freedom fighter and political leader of India) with Swami.
Swami, now, comes to a panel which has glimpses of the inauguration of the Prasanthi Digital Studio which is also the office of the Radio Sai Global Harmony, the powerhouse behind this unique exhibition. As Swami keenly watches these images, the former student submits, “Swami, in Your infinite benevolence, You opened and blessed the Radio Sai Studio on August 22, 2002.” The kind Lord listens and gently nods. As He moves on to the next panel which has images of radio and video interviews and other recordings being done in the Studio, Swami watches the activities with interest. “Prof. Venkataraman points out video stills of interviews with Mr. James Sinclair and Swami sees the images with great attention. The day Swami had inaugurated the Studio, He had spent more than an hour talking to the boys and now the boys from the same Sai-suffused office had come out with this wonderful Exhibition. The Lord, obviously, was very satisfied.
The next panel is a photo of Swami on the screen of a laptop and in the background is the flow of 1s and 0s surrounding the globe. “Swami, by Your Grace, through the internet we have been sharing Your message and Love,” the student explains. And there are more examples of this in the coming panels as Swami sees how ‘Sai Inspires’ (Radio Sai’s daily inspirational service) is touching the lives of thousands. Prof. Venkataraman adds, “Swami, there are twenty thousand people receiving these enlightening messages every day, which includes people even in Antarctica.” And then the student excitedly tells Swami about Heart2Heart, our own e-journal. At this point, another student comes forward with two copies of the journal and Swami sees keenly the ‘Sai Geetha’ issue (Jan 2007) as he turns the pages of the cover story. The very mention of Sai Geetha fills the Lord with deep emotion. Swami, next, looks through the first few pages of the May issue of H2H which had the cover story on the Mobile Hospital. This magazine which is touching the hearts of thousands across the world with the Lord’s Touch now became only more reinvigorated to spread His matchless Message and Love.
As Swami moves on, He comes to a ‘Radio Sai Booth’ and there listens to the live Radio Sai channel on a digital radio. There is a talk going on by Mr. B N Narasimha Murthy, the Warden of the Boy’s hostel in Bangalore, and for half a minute the Lord hears the speech intently. Then Prof. Venkataraman tells Swami that it can be heard on the internet too. The volume on the Radio set is reduced now as Swami listens to the same programme, now on the internet. The Lord is pleased and the staff of Radio Sai, palpably, are thrilled. He is the inner inspiration and has motivated and guided at every step of the blossoming of this Institution; now, to offer everything back to Him is the greatest opportunity for them. You can see this feeling so amply reflected on everyone’s face.
Swami, now, moves on to a picture which covers the whole 6 by 4 feet panel. It is the crowd of devotees that convened in Prasanthi for His 75th Birthday celebration. The following image is even grander; it’s the 80th Birthday celebration. As the student says, “Swami, way back in 1940, nobody ever imagined Puttaparthi would be like this today; but You knew it and had even mentioned it to close devotees. You had said that in times to come, devotees can see Me only as a red dot in a teeming multitude and that is what is happening today.” The Lord is touched seeing the large congregation and listening to the commentary. Prof. Venkataraman adds, “Swami, we do not know what more wonders the future holds for us!” Swami is now in front of another television set and for a few minutes sees video clips of these grand birthday celebrations on a TV screen, before moving on to the next theme of the Exhibition.
As Swami turns, there is a blue back-lit panel showing the globe held by a Hand in the orange robe and beside it the message reads, “Pure Love is the Ultimate Protection.” Now another former student, he too serving in the Prasanthi Digital Studio, kneeling next to this panel, explains, “Swami, the following panels are on this theme of ‘Protection’; it explains how Swami’s Love is the only secure safeguard for mankind.” The Lord listens, pleasantly nods and asks him to go ahead.
The first panel is an award-winning picture where a teenager stands against a dark wall on which is neatly scribbled in bold ‘We Want Peace’. The student says, “Swami, everybody in this world cries for peace, but few do anything to alleviate the suffering.” The following panels show how man is surrounding himself with as many gadgets and conveniences as possible without sparing a thought about the strain on the planet’s resources as the population rises exponentially. There are pictures of acute poverty in Africa, blatant abuse of the environment, pollution and mindless violence leading to inner depression, restlessness and lack of peace. But the answer lies in the Heart.
The fourth panel in the series states: “The Heart alone can solve the massive problems of today for the Heart is the source of Pure Love and Pure Love shines as Prema Jyothi.” And this message is demonstrated in this panel through pictures of selfless service being done by Sevadals and Sai students. Though it is more than 80 minutes since Swami lit the lamp of Prema Jyothi, the kind Lord scans through all these images and browses through the significant messages that they convey.
There are more as Swami turns and pointing to a panel which depicts a cell, an organ and the complete human body, Prof. Venkataraman explains, “Swami, this is what You always advise us – ‘The proper study of mankind is man.’” Swami interestedly watches the graphics and illustrations. The next one shows the “Triangle of Life’ with images of an individual, society, nature and then a beatific picture of Swami, as the student explains, “Swami, this is the depiction of Vyasthi (man), Samasthi (community), Srishti (creation) and Parameshthi (God), which You often emphasise.” As Swami moves on, there is a picture of Swami bending down and serving a poor man and the student, again, says, “Swami, the solution to all the problems of the world is, in fact, very simple, as you have so beautifully said, ‘Love all, Serve all’.”
Swami looks at the boy with interest and affection as He listens to his commentary. Next is a picture of Swami’s Hand raised in blessing, followed by another precious picture of Swami walking among the crowd and the panel reads, “Incarnations of God in human form are extremely rare. God is now here with us and clearly, this is an opportunity we simply cannot afford to miss.”
Swami now comes to the final panel of this theme which has the picture of a majestic peak, but it draws one’s attention more because of the message than the picture of the mountain. It says, “Faith can move mountains. With full faith in Swami, let us all march forward in unison, spreading His Love and bringing comfort to a troubled humanity.” At this point, the former student kneels and submits, “Swami, with faith at Your Lotus Feet, anything is possible,” and the Lord is very contented and pleased.
As Swami turns, there is the last back-lit panel of the whole presentation which has the serene Feet of Swami on a beautiful white lotus, and it says, “Swami, blessed are we to be in Your Divine presence. Expressing our deepest gratitude, we pray that You shower Your Grace on us so that our lives become Your message.” The student now folds his hands, moves closer to Swami and expresses these feelings to Him. The Lord listens kindly and intently, and then gestures to him as if saying, “There are people waiting here for My blessings.” The Compassionate Lord is never drained out when it comes to His devotees.
POURING PURE LOVE…
Swami now turns and with a gentle smile on His face blesses all the people who have worked for this exhibition – the electricians, carpenters, tailors, and other assistants. They touch His feet and their joy knows no bounds.
An English volunteer, shows a tray of key chains and the Lord lovingly blesses them all. Another enthusiastic volunteer from England, next offers a rose which the Lord accepts with a smile and gratefully he touches His feet and covers his face with his blessed hands.
More blessings follow as Swami accepts another rose from an elder working in the Studio; blesses the three employees of SN Informatics, Bangalore who have helped immensely for the Exhibition in the designing of the panels as well as the big welcome wall and the back-lit panels.
Now another elder prostrates at His feet and Prof. Venkataraman adds, “Swami, he is a retired air force officer serving in the studio.” The Lord blesses this dedicated volunteer who has toiled hard for this Exhibition.
The Lord is now pleased and is surrounded by His boys working in the Studio. Expressing immense happiness, Swami says, “From the beginning till the end, the whole arrangement is nicely done.” “Swami, it is all Your Grace,” the boys reply in unison. The Lord sports a satisfied smile on His face and Prof. Venkatarman adds, “Swami, it is the effort of Your boys to make You happy.” Swami, then, says, “Yes, but right leadership too is very important.” And immediately the boys say, “Yes, Swami it is because of the guidance of Prof. Venkataraman that all this was possible.” The Lord is happy and there is a gentle and loving smile on His face.
IMPRESSIONS FOR ETERNITY
It is more than 90 minutes now since Swami arrived, even now the Lord looks resplendent like a fresh rose, and finally asks for the arathi. As the camphor is lit and “Om Jai Jagadesh…” fills the air, Swami is still smiling and blessing everybody on the way as He moves out of the Exhibition area and ascends the stage of the Poornachandra auditorium to retire to His abode... And thus, ends, dear reader, this unique journey with Sai. How did it make you feel? What your feelings are now we do not know, but what we do know is what many devotees, who came to see this Exhibition after it opened for the public the next day (July 22, 2007), wrote and said, such as:
“Tears rolled down seeing the clippings... Till now I only had heard of Swami’s projects, but today I have witnessed them all. Thanks a lot for the awareness. I promise to help the poor in whatever way I can,” said Ms Iffath Sultana, a student from Anantapur.
Dr. Bhima Bhikajee from Mauritius expressed, “I have been reading about Educare, Medicare, the water projects and other Seva being done by Swami, but this exhibition has overwhelmed me. As a medical practitioner in Mauritius, I have been doing Seva in the form of free consultations for the needy, but today I realize how infinitely small my contribution has been. I shall make it a point to do much more.” Elisabeth Losch from Germany was just ecstatic. “Wonderful pictures, Wonderful teachings!” She said. “Blessed are we to have the chance of seeing what love can do to humanity. To be a little spark of this message I would be happy for all time to come.” Another lady from the same country, Tina Nowack, wrote, “The most inspiring thing for me was to see how great Divine Love is for all her children. I felt touched by that indescribable love. There is an important message for me: We cannot wait for people to ask us for help. We should just go out and see how we can serve.”
Reflecting similar feelings Indranee Cumareshan from the United Kingdom said, “This exhibition has shown that the Lord is very much within us. We are just His instruments to serve the society. With the Lord’s name on our lips, love in our hearts, we can change the world to be a better spiritual place to live in. This has given us ideas and motivation to help one another wherever we are.”
The impact the Exhibition had in the hearts and minds of people is to be seen to be believed. Suffused with Pure Love in its every inch, it opened the flood gates of compassion and selflessness in every heart. As Mr. Shyam Kanagala from the USA said, “The message depicted here by numerous examples from Swami’s life and works is very clear. With His Grace, I pray that each and everyone becomes a shining lamp of love in this world. For my part, I promise to be one hereafter at least by leading a life of pure unconditional love."
Undoubtedly the impact was lasting as it was a never-before experience for many who walked through the 22,500 square feet display area. There were many requests to keep this presentation permanent and move it to different cities like Nicky Beedanand, a Sai Youth from Mauritius, who said, “The exhibition is excellent, mind-blowing. I thank Swami and pray that this goes worldwide from country to country.” Another gentleman, Sri P Yellappan suggested, “Why don’t we send this marvelous and inspiring exhibition to all the cities of India through a special train?” Sri Keshava Rao from Orissa wrote, “I was filled with bliss seeing this exhibition. I request you to show this in every state of the country.”
It is because of hundreds of such requests and also direct directions from Swami that the Exhibition is planned to move to different cities in India. To begin with, it will be in the city of Chennai, in the same huge area where the Athi Rudra Maha Yagna was held in the January of this year.
If this Exhibition displayed the power of Pure Love, the commencement to conclusion of the whole endeavor was itself a potent demonstration of what love and purity of purpose can do. As with any noble task, there were many challenges too – some Herculean and some tiny – but in the end, what won was Love. When love is there in our hearts, we have all the strength of the Universe with us because God is in us, active, agile and encouraging. Let's keep this faith solid and firm in our hearts so that the ‘Prema Jyothi’ – the Light of Love that is there is our hearts, is always resplendent, reinvigorating and re-charging us with Divine Energy.
- Bishu Prusty
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Vol 5 Issue 09 - SEPTEMBER 2007
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