Volume 8 - Issue 06
JUNE 2010
Other Articles


Day Six

Puttaparthi is where the Lord was born and where He continues to stay for almost the entire year conferring love, support and solace to devotees day in and day out who throng in thousands to this sacred town. However, when summer arrives on most occasions, the Lord generally decides to move to His ashram in Bangalore or often to ‘Sai Shruti’ in Kodai Kanal so that the devotees are saved from the dry and zapping heat of Puttaparthi. For the devotees who now collect in Brindavan or in Kodai Kanal it is the coming of the special ‘Sai Season’ which brings with it so many beautiful blessings.

The Kodai sojourn especially is very unique and fascinating, and it is for this reason that Kodai Kanal is often described as the Lord’s playground. Though Swami has skipped visiting this holy hill station on a few summers, He did visit there in 2009.

So what was the story in 2009? How did it unfold? Now we bring you the account of the sixth day of this sublime divine odyssey.

Earlier Episodes of this Series

                  Day Five                                  Day Seven

Day Six of Kodai 2009, April 28, 2010, was relatively light with only one “engagement” for the students. In the last episode, we had made references to four special ‘highlights’ of every Kodai trip. One of them was the boat-ride which we described in the previous episode. Another is shopping which normally comes towards the very end, but in 2009 it came a bit earlier; in any case, this Kodai trip was relatively short, though definitely sweet as always.

The shopping trip of course is not how the day starts, it is never that way. Swami comes to Kodai to of course be close to some specially chosen students. At the same time, He is very conscious of the large number of devotees who come to Kodai just to have His darshan in the mountains.

Kodai darshan became special many years ago, but in recent times it has become even more special. In fact in 2009 a group of six ladies came all the way from London in a special chartered plane! They came by a small plane from London to Bangalore, and from there they chartered a local jet [a small one of course], to come to Madurai. And from Madurai, they travelled to Kodai by car as all do. This group was led by a Greek lady who is quite well to do. She also does a lot of Sai seva, often in war zones, and Swami has given her the opportunity to speak in His Divine Presence on many occasions.


Therefore, Kodai darshan is really a rare blessing; it is like going to Kailash to have the darshan of Lord Siva. And Swami never disappointed the huge gathering; He came out every morning to grant them beautiful darshans. That exactly is how formally Day Six began too.


Coming out when the Sun was shining brightly up in the sky, Swami sat on His chair near the porch for a while, and then went down into the crowd, took letters and blessed both the ladies and gents sections while going forward and also while returning. He then sat once more on the upper veranda smiling sweetly, while the boys sang with great gusto.

The shopping episode started after the morning darshan. To give you a background of this event, during every trip, Swami gives the boys without fail, a generous allowance to do a bit of shopping. Always invariably the boys protest saying, “Swami, You are already giving us so much! Why this again?”


And Swami would reply,Bangaru (golden one), there are two reasons. When you go back, your family members - your near and dear ones - would all ask: ‘What have you brought for me from Kodai?’ This is a natural and in fact a traditional expectation. Therefore, you must always carry something back! Besides, do you know how many people live here because of Swami’s visits? When Swami comes to Kodai people flock to their shops and buy things.

"I must take care of them too and not just you! And how do I do that? By giving you shopping allowance! So go forth and buy, but only useful things, and when you come back, show them to Me. By the way, give preference to the shops run by Tibetan refugees, and don’t bargain! Just pay the price they ask and pick up what you want!”

So that is how it goes on most occasions, and now let us see what happened in 2009 from some of the boys who went with Swami. This is what Pavan Kumar says,

 “In the morning, Swami Himself personally distributed Rs. 500 to each one of us and said: ‘Today, you are going out for shopping. Is this enough or do you want more?’ So much concern!


And so, in the afternoon, we went out shopping, and after returning we usually go and show Swami: ‘Swami! Please see! I brought this!’ Same thing happened in 2009 too.

Swami was very eager as each boy started showing his item. ‘Swami, this is for my mother’, ‘Swami, I bought this for my father’, etc. He was so happy and blessing every gift that we had bought for parents and others! Some boys bought gifts for Swami too – like handkerchiefs and shawls but He never took anything for Himself! He just blessed it and said: ‘You keep it!’”

Sai Shyam, a student who hails from Shimla, has been privileged to study in Swami’s school right from his primary school days. He recently completed his M. Tech in Computer Science and is in fact currently a faculty member in the Brindavan campus of Sri Sathya Sai University. He too was a member of the Kodai team and now takes off from where Pavan had left in narrating the shopping episode. 

“We had brought a shell from a place where they inscribe any text on it on the spot. So, we had placed the words, ‘We love You, Swami!’ And as we were showing our gifts to Swami, we thought we will pray to Him to accept this gift and keep it with Him. However, what actually happened was when we showed this to Swami and made our prayer, although He did not accept it, He taught us a very sweet lesson. He said: ‘You must not write “We love You, Swami!” outside. You must write it in your heart!’”


Preeti Ranjan Satyadeep from the state of Orissa who has also finished his M. Tech in Computer Science gives us more anecdotes of this beautiful episode.

“Before we left (for shopping), He had told us: ‘Those Tibetans will be waiting for you to come and do your shopping thinking “When Sai Baba comes, He will send His students to do shopping” so don’t bargain! Give them whatever price they ask!’ So, He very much had those Tibetans in His mind! Indeed He was giving us money to distribute it to them even as we were having our fun.

“While shopping, we had taken some photographs of small and cute babies present there. We showed these pictures to Swami on the digicam. When He saw the babies’ photographs, initially they looked like dolls to Swami! So He asked: ‘How much did you buy this for?’ We then said: ‘Swami! These are babies!’ Swami said: ‘Ah! Babies! When children are small, they all look nice! When they grow up, they are spoilt!’”


So that is how personal and informal are these sessions. Also, do you know that Swami Himself occasionally does some shopping? Are you wondering, “What? Swami, doing shopping!”

Well, not exactly shopping in the sense we understand that word. The Lord always works in multiple dimensions. Listen to this clip of Prof. Anil Kumar from a conversation recorded in 2003, and you would understand what we are talking about.

Prof. Anil Kumar (AK): “I think you will be more thrilled and excited if I say that in Kodai, Bhagavan purchases fluffy candy or candy puffs. Once He purchased about twenty five of them and took them in His car which was full of that stuff. Later, He distributed them to VIPs. They were just amazed.


Bhagavan then said, ‘Do you know why I bought them? Here in Kodai kanal there are some aged people who cannot move about and their children carry on their livelihood by selling these candy puffs. So when I purchase them, they go back home with money and give it to their parents and that day is taken care of’.

“From that day, everybody started purchasing candy puffs. For twenty five candy puffs you may have to pay about ten rupees, but Swami gave them five hundred rupees. I asked, ‘Swami, why so much?’ He replied it was not the price of candy that He was giving, but His Love! It is not the price of the candy, it is the love of Bhagavan towards them.

I was really so happy when one day He called the students and told them, ‘Boys, you have seen Tibetans girls selling woollen garments. Everybody go and buy so that they are happy!’ When Swami is in Kodai, they all have very good business. Also you must have heard about the straw hats?


Prof. G. Venkataraman (GV): Straw hats? In fact I think I have a photo of Swami and Mr. Narasimhamoorthy with straw hats.

AK: One day Swami got down from His car, purchased a straw hat and wore it! When He did that, whole Kodai kanal was soon full of these straw hats. Bhagavan said, ‘See they now have plenty of money and are very happy’.

They are all poor and they wait for Bhagavan to arrive in Kodai because with Swami, Lakshmi [the goddess of Wealth] follows and takes care of their life. And one day, Swami called two servant maids, very poor ladies, and gave them silk sarees. I was wondering why.

GV: How did He pick these two women?

AK: They were working there in the ashram, washing utensils. Swami gave them silk sarees. I asked, ‘Swami, silk sarees for servant maids?’ Swami looked at me and said, ‘It is I who give; why should you cry (laughter)? Are you jealous?’ I replied, ‘No Swami, they cannot afford these silk sarees, I don’t know why You give them such expensive clothes?’


He replied, ‘So that they may wear them and attend marriages and such functions. When they visit relatives wearing these sarees, they would say, ‘Sai Baba gave this’. That would give them a lot of joy. Sai loves everybody and His Love is uniform.”

So that is Swami directly making purchases not because He needs something but for spreading love in yet another way.

Truly speaking, one might say that Kodai is a unique Chapter of Sai Bhagavatham, full of beautiful incidents and amazing stories.

So much about shopping by boys and Swami Himself; but what about giving something to Swami? In fact, He once humorously said, “I give so much to so many; but nobody gives Me anything!” What does Swami expect from us, if at all anything? Prof. Venkataraman has answered that in one of his earlier articles. Here is that quote:

“Does Swami expect us to give anything back to Him personally? Not at all. All that He expects from us is that we do our bit in spreading Ananda in whatever way we can. In short, what we get from the Lord, we must distribute in our own way to the wide world; that is a duty and an obligation that we must NEVER forget. To put it differently, the Ananda we get from Swami is His Prasaadam to us, and we must share it with others to the maximum extent possible in every conceivable way.”

Unlike the three previous days when there were Burra kathas, the evening of day six was a normal affair with usual bhajan singing. Here is a sample of that recording and with this we come to the end of the story of Day Six of this memorable divine Kodai sojourn in April-May 2009.

In the next episode of this series, we offer you the account of Day seven of this divine stay in the blue mountains.

                  Day Five                                  Day Seven

(to be continued)

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