April 25-27, 2008 – Swami in Brindavan
‘Brindavan’, Bhagavan’s ashram in Bangalore , had longed for the touch of the Lotus Feet of the Lord for the last two years. Sai Krishna had visited His Brindavan only in 2006 summer. The next year (2007), even though it looked like Swami would return from Kodaikanal to Brindavan, the Lord decided to go to Puttaparthi in a last minute change of Divine Plan. Sai Geeta (Swami’s late pet elephant) must have prayed fervently for darshan and so, the Lord granted her the boon of His Presence when He landed in Prasanthi Nilayam on May 18, 2007 ... that was to be Sai Geeta’s last glimpse of the Lord; she shed her mortal coil on May 22. And then, there was the construction of the over bridge which did nothing to bridge the distance between the Lord and the devotees at Brindavan, what with the additional noise and dust with which it surrounded the ashram.
Finally, there were indications that Swami was going to Brindavan..... the mischievous Sai Krishna even asked a teacher from the Brindavan campus “inka polleda” ( You haven’t still gone?). This was April 21, 2008 ; that evening Swami arrived for darshan at 3.15 p.m. So there was a scramble to reach Brindavan. But April 22, 23, 24 and 25 passed with no sign of the Lord leaving Puttaparthi. Finally, on April 26 there were strong indications that Swami was indeed going... It was Trayee Brindavan Day, Swami’s abode in Brindavan, had been inaugurated by Him on this very day in 1984. The entire Mandir was beautifully decorated with festoons and coloured lights. There were floral arches inviting the Lord at many places in the Brindavan ashram; every thing was spick and span. From the morning, all the teachers, students and devotees waited with baited breath. Swami did not leave for Brindavan even after the morning darshan in Puttaparthi! Finally, at 2.30 p.m. Swami did leave for His Bangalore ashram.
The scene in Brindavan was one of joy. Bal Vikas children stood with flowers in their hands to offer as Swami arrived. Nadaswaram music filled the air with sweet notes, and the Sun reluctantly had to sign off for the day. When the Lord arrived, it was 6 p.m. And one teacher from Brindavan said, “It was as we stood awaiting His arrival that we understood why He had not arrived in the morning or afternoon. The beautifully lit up Trayee was a splendorous sight at night! Trayee had got its birthday gift and the Lord entered, lithe and lovely, like a fresh lily flower.”
On April 27, it being a Sunday, and the news having spread that Swami had arrived, there were long lines of devotees extending up to the Gokulam (where the canteen is located) on the ladies side, and the railway gate on the gents side as early as 7.30 a.m. The Sai Ramesh Krishnan Hall was tastefully decorated with fresh flowers. Swami came out at 9 a.m. and the members of the Brindavan bhajan group sangs their heat out. After giving darshan for about forty minutes, Swami returned to Trayee. The bhajans continued through the day till evening darshan. This has been the tradition on Sundays whenever Swami is in Brindavan for the last four decades!
In the afternoon, at 4.45 p.m. Swami was there in the Sai Ramesh Hall, seated serenely and listening to bhajans. He asked for arathi at 5.25 p.m. and then blessing the student and the sevadal member who offered Him roses, Swami retired to Trayee.
April 28, 2008 – Beautiful Darshan in Sai Ramesh Hall
On April 28, 2008 the boys in the bhajan group had received instructions that as Bhagavan arrived, darshan music would be played, and only when Swami signals, bhajans are to be started. Bhagavan arrived at 9.50 a.m. A soothing instrumental music on the newly installed sound system filled the air. As Bhagavan sat there listening to the beautiful music and keeping time, time truly stood still... there was pin-drop silence in the Hall, filled to capacity, as all eyes eagerly drunk in the Divine Form and were lost in that sublime experience. Swami looked around at everyone who was there and you could see that each one was in ecstasy. To some elderly devotees, it felt like it was ‘Dakshinamoorthy Darshan’ where no words were uttered and all communication by the Lord was through His Silence, His mere Presence. After aarthi, at 10.15 a.m. , Swami returned to Trayee.
April 29, 2008 – Special Blessing for Students in Brindavan
On April 29, 2008 , the devotees assembled in Sai Ramesh Hall waited for darshan till 11 a.m. and then dispersed. About 15 minutes later, Swami came out for a drive and went towards the main gate towards Hoskote, a nearby town. The devotees were all taken by surprise and lined up along the drive way. About 20 minutes later, Swami returned through the new road which had been prepared for His use inside the Institute campus. Devotees and students lined on either side had a wonderful darshan – every act of the Divine has a meaning and is, in fact, meant to give us a boon, though we may not realise it at that moment. The weariness of waiting for long in the morning melted and morphed into Divine euphoria when the devotees had an up close darshan of the Lord inside the car that morning.
In the afternoon, when the students sat in the Sai Ramesh Hall at 4 p.m. , there was a special message for them from Swami’s residence. They were all to assemble inside the Trayee Mandir; Swami had called for them. As per His instruction, paper plates were handed out to all of them, and then, they were served snacks. As they ate, sitting in two concentric circles in the central hall, Swami arrived and spent time going amidst them - talking to them, enquiring with one about his parents, the other about his class, and so on. The students, obviously, were thrilled at this bounty from Bhagavan, who spent as much as 75 minutes with them. He then asked them to go over to the Sai Ramesh Hall and start bhajans. Swami too arrived and listened to bhajans for about 40 minutes. At 6 p.m. , Swami finally accepted aarthi and retired to Trayee.
May 1, 2008 - Divine Discourse in Sai Ramesh Hall
May 1, 2008 being holiday (Labour Day), there was a huge gathering of devotees. Swami came out at 9.15 a.m. and listened to the Brindavan bhajan group singing soulfully for nearly 45 minutes before He accepted aarthi and retired to Trayee.
In the evening, Swami arrived at 4.15 p.m. Even as the bhajans were going on, Swami called a research scholar, Mr. Sanjay Mahalingam and asked him to speak. For the next 20 minutes, Sanjay spoke on Vedanta. After this, Swami asked for the mike and then gave a surprise discourse! In the hour-long discourse, Swami said:
“The Vedas taught one to revere ones parents – Maatrudevobhava, Pitrudevobhava, Achaarya devobhava . But today all these are not to be seen or practiced . Every one seems to be running after money and desires have become limitless. Today , even as all the foreigners themselves are speaking of control of se nses and ceiling on desires, Indians are not doing this. There is nothing wrong in having desires , but the y must be in limit. Everything is getting polluted - the five elements themselves are being polluted. When the basic five elements responsible for man's sustenance are polluted , how can we expect man to be good?
Nowadays , people look good outwardly, while inwardly they have fully poisoned minds. This is not good. Who is man? He is nothing , but the embodiment of D ivinity. When a person is traversing in wickedness , how can you call him a man? Nowadays people are proud of their children getting high degrees. What is the use of degrees? They are only leading to money-mindedness , devoid of love and truth. Every one is learning to put a smile on the face , where as inside they are fully poisoned. When you practice truth and learn to love everyone, then alone peace will descend. If you want peace , develop love. People resort to untruth for even small things. They get angry over silly matters. All this leads to violence. True humanness is nothing , but desirelessness.
In today's generation , we do not love our parents , who gave us birth and toiled their lives to make us what we are. But we readily love some outsider , who comes in to our life , more than our parents. Is this true love? No… No ….people are searching for peace outside , whereas it is present within us. Rituals do not confer peace. First , we should see to it that there is no conflict or turbulence in our heart. All the conflicts that we see today are because of wickedness in the human heart. We do not find a true friend today. Even best friends fight with each other. People are behind money and amassing wealth. What ’ s all this finally for? You have come empty handed into this world , and you will go back the same way. Money comes and goes , where as morality comes and grows. Devoid of morality man is nothing but a demon. Everyone is seen in terms of money , while the Values like gratitude and respect are dying day by day. For all these problems , there is only one remedy. That is God ’s name. When you think of Him , all miseries will melt away. God is the One who punishes, H e is the O ne who praises, protects, loves …H e is every thing. Difficulties, pleasures, pain - everything is God's gift. If you think of God constantly , all the miseries will turn into happiness. Pleasure is nothing , but an interval between two pains. The cause of all is the mind. Mind is nothing , but a bund le of thoughts. Do not hurt anyone; try to love every one b ecause Vishvam Vishnu S waroopam (The world is but a form of God).
Results of hurting or helping some will come only later. As you eat , so is the belch. If you eat a cucumber , will you get a belch that of a mango? No! In the same way, b ecause of desires alone, all suffering comes. The results of your actions will depend on what you do. The whole creation works on cause and effect. As you sow , so you reap. When you ask any one ‘ who are you? ’ they say , ‘ I am so and so ’ . But if you ask God the same question, He will say ‘ I am I ’ - Aham brahmasmi . Whomever you ridicule , it reaches God. If we control our thoughts, every thing w ill be in place. Either good or bad - all depends on our thoughts. If you believe everything is God , then can love criticize love? No, it cannot. Even as animals love each other, can not men love one another.
Keep love and truth as the two main principles of your life. God is the only S aviour and t rue l ove can be obtained only from Him. That is why H e is called as apathbhandava (A friend in times of distress). Look at a young married couple: When they are newly married and walking on the road, if husband happens to see a thorn , he will quickly go and remove it. After a few years, the same husband will say, ‘ L ook and walk. There is a thorn.’ After some more time , he will say, ‘ Are you blind? Can ’t you see the thorn there?’
This is what worldly love is all about - temporary in nature. Love of the heart is what is important, not of body. Here so many people are assembled and were participating in bhajans . Will everybody's pray er reach God? No..no..only o ne or two prayers would reach him. And that one or two prayers is/ are enough to protect everyone. This is what G uru Nanak said when he was asked about the efficacy of bhajans . The arrival of politics are creating divisions everywhere. Every home has four parties. Participate in bhajans with whole heartedness. ”
Swami started to sing Hari Bhajana Bina Sukha Shanti Nahin . Then , after H e repeated Japa Dhyana Bina Samyoga Nahin , He asked, "What is true meditation? ” Answering it Himself, He said, “ Merging your heart with G od - that is true meditation. Bodies are many , but there is only one atma (spirit) . God is like the S un who provides light to everyone. Peace is nothing , but the union of love and truth. Don't run after passing thoughts. Hold onto the eternal God ; kill the ‘ I ’ , the ego , within you. This is what is symbolized by the cross."
Swami then sang Rama Rama Rama Sita and then signalled for the students to sing . A couple of bhajans later, before accepting aarthi , w hen Loka Samastha ... was being chanted , one could see Swami indicating the lokas (different worlds) by a circular motion wi th His hands and blessing them !
May 2, 2008 – Swami Returns to Puttaparthi
Inscrutable are the ways of the Lord. When Swami gave His Discourse on May 1, 2008 , nobody in Brindavan imagined that Swami would leave for Puttaparthi the next day! Yet on May 2, as early as 6.45 a.m. Swami left Brindavan for Prasanthi Nilayam. Who knows whose prayer pulled Him to Puttaparthi! Swami’s short and sweet trip to Brindavan ended, and Puttaparthi was alive again! The summer of 2008, for the devotees, in Puttaparthi was rare and most blessed. With Swami back in their midst and showering on them blessings in bounty, the heat of the summer did not seem to bother.
May 6, 2008 – Easwaramma Day Celebrations
It was a very special occasion in Puttaparthi for more than one reason. Foremost of all was the fact that Swami was physically present in Puttaparthi for Easwaramma Day after a gap of more than 20 years. Swami had been to Brindavan for about a week and had returned to Puttaparthi on May 2. The question doing rounds was, "Why did Swami go suddenly to Brindavan for such a short break?" As the sun rose to usher in a beautiful morning on May 6, it became evident that the question should have been, "Why did Swami leave Brindavan so suddenly?" for which the answer seemed to be, "To be at Puttaparthi for the day commemorating His beloved Divine Mother."
The past few days saw a lot of activity gearing up for Easwaramma Day which is also celebrated as Mother's Day in Sai families the world over. Swami had expressed His wish to Grace the Samadhi (holy mausoleum) of Mother Easwaramma on the occasion. The narrow alley leading up to the Samadhi had been cleaned and paved on either sides with decorations by Sevadal volunteers. All the shops were closed as the owners all lined up along the lane to glimpse their beloved Lord who would be Gracing their lane after such a long gap. The Samadhi too wore a festive look with festoons and buntings suspended everywhere. A huge portrait of the blessed Mother adorned the wall in the Samadhi and there were multicoloured flowers everywhere.
At about 9am Swami set out to the Samadhi. Swami was received at the beginning of the Samadhi road by a procession consisting of students chanting the Vedas and ladies carrying holy items of worship. Swami drove gently into the Samadhi premises and then came out of the car.
The path leading into the Samadhi had been filled with flowers on a red carpet. The students' bhajan group had assembled and they continuously sang bhajans which highlighted the grandeur of mothering the Avatar of the age. Swami alighted from the car and went inside the Samadhi in the chair. Once inside, He first told the priest to light the lamps that had been placed there. As they were lit, Swami, moved to the gents side of the Samadhi, as all the ladies moved on to the side where Mother Easwaramma's Samadhi lay. Swami, then, handed over a silk dhoti and a silk saree to be placed on the Samadhi. All the elders and seniors then paid their respects to the Divine Parents. Swami sat watching as one by one, the elders, came forward and placed garlands and silk clothes.
As per tradition, the priest also placed a leaf with sweetened rice and tamarind rice and ladoos (a sweet) on the Samadhi. Swami kept watching all the proceedings with a glisten in His eyes and once in a while, He seemed to be overwhelmed with the sweet emotion of maternal love and affection. There were kids who were four to five generations down the line from the Divine Mother prancing about the Samadhi. In their childlike innocence, they were blissfully unaware of the gravity of the proceedings going on. A smile flowered on His face as He saw them. Their parents tried to restrain them and that made Him smile even more. As time passed, Swami sat there, the diamond of the Ratnakara clan, non-chalantly watching everything that was going on. He was like the calm in the centre of a storm. Some members of the family came up to Him and sought blessings which He liberally showered. The proceedings inside went on for about 15-20 minutes. The priest then brought sweet pongal, tamarind rice and laddoos for Swami to bless as prasadam to be distributed to all.
He looked at the photographer who had been shooting pictures and told Him to cover photos of the ladies assembled too! He guided the priest on what had to be done to the last detail. Swami was personally so involved in everything that went on. Finally, He told the priest to take Aarthi. After that, He came out and the procession began once again from the Samadhi to the Mandir.
Swami entered the Sai Kulwant Hall to the joyful salutes of everyone present. The visit to the Samadhi had been made into a private affair for obvious reasons as it would be unable to hold the crowds surging in it. And so everyone was assembled in the Mandir thirsting for His darshan.
Swami did not disappoint anyone. On arrival, He took a complete round and granted darshan to all. He then came to the stage which had been aptly decorated for the occasion. There was a huge portrait of Mother Easwaramma and Swami sat on the ladies side of the stage. There was a distribution scheduled. Swami went into the Bhajan Hall briefly to oversee the sarees and other clothes coming in. He gave instructions as to how the distribution should go on. Then going on to the stage once again, He asked for the prasadam to be brought.
In His Presence, everyone was served tasty pongal, tamarind rice and laddoos. Swami specially instructed that two leaves must be given to all as the food would slip through if only one leaf was given. As soon as the food was served, Swami kept gazing intently at the leaves of the Primary school students. When an Institute student in the front row tried adjusting his leaf, Swami signaled to him saying, "Food is coming- be patient", much to the mirth and merriment of all there!
He told the children to begin eating and the primary school children, obedient as ever, immediately put His command into action. As they ate mouthfuls, Swami seemed overcome with motherly Love. When a lady from the security group came up to the children to ask them for a second helping, it looked just like a mother feeding her children. Seeing this, Swami was overcome with emotion. It was such a beautiful scene, made more poignant with Swami adding His 'emotion' if we may be allowed that usage.
The distribution went on smoothly and there was joy and satisfaction everywhere. All the while, as Swami sat outside, bhajans related to the Divine Mother were on. Whenever the word, 'Easwaramma' came up in the bhajans, Swami would be touched - an ideal for children the world over. How many are there that feel so much even at the mere mention of one's mother's name? The Lord is an ideal in every aspect of life and it was so touching and inspiring to see the demonstration of His Love and Reverence for the Mother. Swami then received Aarthi and left for Yajur Mandir. It was then announced that there would be a public meeting at 4 pm.
In the afternoon, Swami arrived shortly after 4 pm. He came onstage as the Vedam chanting went on. He sat for a few minutes listening to the chanting. Then, He began to call students who had letters with them, one by one to the stage. He accepted their letters and spoke to a few of them.
He called one primary school student who hailed from Iran and asked him if he knew the Vedic hymn being chanted. With utmost confidence, the boy chanted and Swami was very pleased. He told out loud, "That boy is from Iran and he chants so well." After a few minutes, Swami called Prof. G. Venkataraman and asked him to speak. The ways of the Lord are indeed mysterious and inscrutable. No one knew that Swami had instructed the dynamic professor, currently the director of Radio Sai Global Harmony, to speak in Telugu. In his inimitable frankness and direct style, Prof. Venkataraman started his speech in Telugu. After a short while and six sweet sentences later, he requested Swami for permission to speak in English as he was better equipped with it. Swami smiled sweetly and allowed him to do so. He dilated on length on how Swami was educating the modern youth with the eternal message of Mathru Devo Bhava, meaning, ‘to revere the mother as God’. After a 20 minute speech, he took leave.
Swami then looked around and seemed to ask, "Who will speak next?" The students in the front said, "Swami, you must speak." A sweet smile almost like a blush came on His Face and He then asked for the mike.
As the mike was placed before Him, He sat silent for about half a minute. That was such a beautiful period of complete silence. It was followed by a even more beautiful period where there was a honey-like flow of His Words. He began by asking "What can I speak of the mother? Where can I begin?" Then He said, “Venkataraman spoke nicely on Eswaramma. He is a very accomplished person and an intellectual.” After this, He spoke a bit on the last days of mother Easwaramma and emphasised that though the bodies may come and go, love is eternal. The mother is always with the child, for love is immortal and permanent. He exhorted the students to serve their parents as they would serve God. He told all as to how one can serve and please the parents. He also spoke at length on how it is the same God resides in all. One must always speak softly and sweetly. He talked about the universality and greatness of the Vedas. Everyone, irrespective of caste, religion, nationality or gender can learn and chant it. He called out the primary school boy from Iran, Sathya, a muslim by birth, and asked him to chant different mantras. The boy did so with elan and correctness of elucidation. Swami was very pleased with his chanting and created a gold chain with a Ganesha pendant for him. Swami continued saying that it was God and God alone who can give peace and happiness, and that one must always sing His Name and Glory.
Swami has said many times, "My boys are my voice!" That evening, it was literally given shape as Swami started to sing the bhajan, Bhajan bina sukh shanti nahi and told the boys to lead the entire bhajan. Swami joined in the lead once in a while! At the end of the wonderful evening, Swami blessed the prasadam to be distributed, received aarthi and retired for the day.
May 18, 2008 – Drama by Bangalore Bal Vikas Children
A drama by the Bal Vikas children of Bangalore had been scheduled for the evening session on May 18, 2008 . Swami came out for darshan around 4.20 pm . The marble block was all set for the enactment with attractive sets. After spending a brief time in the interview room, Swami had come on to the stage for watching the drama.
The drama was titled “Devarishi Narada” and most of the episodes were taken from Swami’s “Chinna Kathas”. Completing the initial formalities of blessing the leading actors Swami had indicated for the play to begin. The first scene was in Vaikunta with Lord Narayana advising Narada to spread Janna around the three worlds, and thus converting his curse to be an eternal wanderer into a boon of eternal messenger of wisdom. The play then went on to depict the key role played by Narada in helping Ganesha to win the well known competition, initiating sage Valmiki to compose Ramayana, and advising sage Vyasa to compile Bhagavatha. It also showed as to how Lord uses Narada as an instrument to teach the world the meaning of true devotion through various episodes. The whole play enacted in the language Kannada was a blend of thoughtful creativity and admirable enactment. In the end, Swami posed for a photograph with all the actors and blessed the Bal Vikas student who played the role of Narada with a beautiful gold chain.
All that an apparent eye could see was only a mere play but the Lord alone knew how those children toiled for months together to stand in theirs beloved Sai’s Presence. He alone knew the depth of their innocent patience which held them for two long years to put up this play. He alone seemed to understand as to how disappointed they went away six months ago when in His Omniscient Grace, He declined them a chance to put up the show. If one peeped underneath the canvas of those visible sets, dialogues and actions, one would definitely notice an inexpressible beauty of a sweet relationship and sincere yearning of a devotee to meet the lord.
May 19, 2008 – Buddha Poornima Celebrations
Hundreds of devotees from Sri Lanka, Singapore and many other East Asian countries had gathered in Prasanthi Nilayam to celebrate the day that marks the birth, enlightenment and nirvana of their Master, The Buddha. Dressed in white and red, the large number of devotees, ladies and gents in separate groups, were seated in the centre of Sai Kulwant Hall as the Darshan music and Vedam started in the evening of May 19, 2008. It was 5 pm and Swami went around the devotees in His Chair, blessing everyone. Looking at the blissful Lord in His ochre robe, on the day of Buddha Poornima, was a great blessing, and one could see the deep sense of gratitude that clearly showed in the faces of every devotee, especially the Buddhists, who were seated right in front of the dais.
After the Darshan round, Swami took to the dais and signaled for the programme to commence. The Buddhist Sai devotees then started their soulful rendering. Though the language was not familiar to most of the people in the audience, they could easily relate to every song they sang, as the tune was based on popular Sai Bhajans. The Lord intently listened to their every bhajan, which went on for about 25 minutes. Later, the audience got more involved with the programme as the East Asian devotees now sang the regular Sai Bhajans in their original form. Swami too enjoyed watching the overseas devotees sing Sai bhajans with so much enthusiasm and joy.
After about 15 minutes, Swami now called for the ‘veterans’ of Prasanthi Mandir Bhajans – His boys who comprise the Prashanthi Nilayam bhajan group and asked them to continue the bhajans. The boys sang the Bhajans with alap and as the Buddhist devotees sat glued to His Lovely Form, Swami suddenly called for the conductor of that evening’s programme. A sweet glance, a beautiful smile, a few words and then He waved His Hand and out came a golden chain for the conductor. The lucky devotee was overwhelmed, and bowed down in gratitude and love. Swami tied the chain round his neck and blessed him profusely. All the Buddhist devotees too were touched with the outpouring of Lord’s Love on a member of their group. After having blessed all, Swami moved into the interview room. He came out after half an hour, around half past six, and accepted arathi before retiring for the day. Thus, it was a simple, short and sweet Buddha Poornima celebrations in Prasanthi Nilayam.
- Heart2Heart Team
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