Oct 1, 2007 – Special Darshan for Gujarat Devotees
The evening of 1 October turned out to be one of
those longer ones. In the morning Swami had not granted darshan. In the evening too,
the clock struck five and the singers struck the harmonious note of the Pranava
“Om”. There was no sign of Swami. A huge crowd of devotees from the western
state of Gujarat had arrived. The thirst for darshan could be felt even on the cool
floors of Kulwant hall.
Water seemed to sprinkle on the parched hearts and people in their excitement to receive the showers of grace, got up in their places. Bhajans went on as Swami came and occupied the centre stage. Swami sat there filling their hearts with His divine darshan as bhajans continued. Four, five, six, seven bhajans went on. Swami suddenly turned and said something. Everyone thought that He was going into the bhajan hall. But He moved in the opposite direction. Moving along the teachers' block, He descended the slope towards the old-students' region. He moved slowly amidst the crowds.
And then, the Ganges seemed to gush and flood the moistened hearts of all the devotees. There was such joy that discipline took a backseat as it allowed devotion to become the driver. Especially the devotees from Gujarat almost formed a wall so that all could see Swami and Swami could see all.
Swami went along the lines collecting letters, speaking and granting padanamaskar. He then moved amidst the students. He took a turn around the marble block where the students were seated and went around satisfying all as He passed by. He blessed a new CD that the vedam group had released. He blessed the birthday boys and many took the opportunity to touch His feet. Swami then went into the bhajan hall from the rear door. He granted close darshan to all assembled in the bhajan hall too. Aarthi was offered at 6:05 pm and Swami then retired.
2 October, 2007 – Cultural Programme by Gujarat Youth
2 October, 2007 marked the 138th birth anniversary of the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi. And so it was no surprise when Swami blessed the youth from the state of Gujarat (the state in which Mahatma Gandhi was born) to put up a programme in the evening in His Divine presence. The backdrop was put up and the stage was set from 2:30 pm itself.
Swami came out for darshan at about 4:20 pm. He went around the darshan rounds and then after a brief halt in the interview room, came straight to the stage and blessed the programme to begin. The programme was very simple but very nicely portrayed. It was actually adopted from a popular email forward. The story opens in a classroom in which the conversation between a professor and student runs as follows.
Prof : So you believe in God?
Prof: Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And God
did make everything. Correct?
Still not satisfied, He called all of them to pose with them for group photos. After immersing everyone in the bliss of His love, Swami asked the youth members to sing bhajans for Him. Needless to say the bhajans were full of vigour and vitality. After a few bhajans, Swami received Aarthi and left for His residence.
4 October, 2007 – The Vishwa Rupa Darshan Day
Swami came out for darshan at 5:05 pm in the evening
of October 4. The bhajans had begun and Swami went straight into the bhajan hall at
the end of His darshan rounds. Swami sat for the bhajans till about 5:35 pm. He
appeared to be very radiant, yet had an emotional air about Him. Every bhajan seemed
to touch Him and as He sat, He kept looking all around. It was as if He wanted His
gaze to fall on everyone present in the hall. As the bhajans were going on, Swami
called the secretary of the Central Trust, Sri Chakravarthi, and spoke to him. The
bhajan group dimmed the volume of singing and accompaniment as the conversation
turned out to be a long drawn one. The conversation lasted for one whole bhajan.
Then Swami smiled and continued looking at everyone. At 5:35 pm, Swami went into the
interview room. He came out at about 6:00 pm and immediately asked for Aarthi.
However, during the Aarthi, Swami came into the bhajan hall. He sat till the final
Loka Samastha was sung. Then, calling Prof. Anil Kumar, He had the
following announcement made.
Swami's car was naturally the focus of people's attention and the locus of the mammoth crowd. In a matter of 20 minutes, more than 10,000 people had assembled in the airport. It was completely dark and the only lights were from the tail lamps and head lights of Swami's Porte. Of course there were occasional flashes from cameras and the small screen lights of mobile phones. Chants of Sai Gayathri rented the air almost everywhere. Near the car, it gave way to frenzied shouts of "Bolo Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ki... Jai." Swami sat in the car just staring ahead. He seemed to be waiting for something. People were in a devotional fervour and if the runway could be replaced by a river, the scene would have reflected the Maha Kumbh Mela.
All of a sudden, Swami's car that was dark, lit up as the interior lights were switched on. There was a mighty applause and everyone’s faces too seem to be lit up by virtue of the light being put on in the car. The crowd was now on its feet and the security cordon around Swami's car was now almost non-existent. People were so charged and they wanted to catch just a glimpse of their beloved Lord. There were discussions of requesting Swami to return to the Mandir as the crowd was becoming uncontrollable. But then Swami did something that was so natural of Him. He asked for the door to be opened and He seemed to be too keen to get out of the car and be amidst His devotees. The door opened and the chair started to move.
But then there was a sudden onrush of devotees. In the darkness of the early night, the whole scene appeared like the " Kanyakumari-pearl necklace" episode - only that it was now waves of devotees trying to offer their garland of Love, Devotion and Gratitude. The crowds were literally surging and people near the car requested Swami to return into the car. There were repeated pleas to the devotees to be calm and seated but they seemed to hear none of it. A kind of mob mentality set in and indiscipline was in display too. Swami still wanted to get out of the car and be in the midst of devotees. But the raging waves of devotees seemed to make that move physically impossible. They were almost squeezed flat on the sides of the car and it was physically impossible for Swami even to come out. For once it seemed that God was proposing which man was disposing!
The car now started and waded its way amidst the crowd and parked in another spot. Somehow, Swami wanted to be on the tarmac in the airport and it was purely His will that the car was still there. Such a scene had never been seen and even today it was not being seen (!), for along with the devotees, darkness enveloped the whole airport runway. The chants grew louder and now people did not know what was happening.
Swami was the only calm figure in the entire assembly. He got the car parked at a little distance away from the runway and then the same story was enacted. Swami wanted to come out of the car but it was physically impossible with the crowds swarming around the car. Meanwhile, the whole of Prashanti Nilayam was literally empty. It was reminiscent of how the gopikas would rush to Krishna, leaving their houses unlocked, forgetting whatever they were doing. Swami for the third time got the car parked at another spot. Again the same story – He was not able to come out.
From a distance, even in the darkness, the scene was awe inspiring, to say the least. There were at least 12,000 people and the vast assembly brought to the mind images of the vedic chant "Sahasra Shirsha Purusha". In a way, though Swami was not being "allowed" to do what He wanted to by the crowds - the crowds themselves seemed to symbolise the cosmic form. Often Swami says that when it is said that the Lord has a thousand eyes and ears, He is not a funny looking being.
It is symbolic of Him pervading every being in the Universe. From a distance, this aspect became very clear. Moreover, the media picked up on some wild rumours which had no substantiation. The beauty of Swami's actions is that everyone benefits out of it. Whatever be anybody's motive, His motive is only the welfare and happiness around. He has not caused pain to one little thing in His whole life and led every moment of it for others. He does not care for the "taints" and "extolling" that the world may shower on Him. The Truth needs no verification nor does it change, whether a majority accepts it or rejects it.
At about 7:45 pm, Swami's car started to head out of
the airport. But the roads were all blocked. Even Swami needed half an hour to
travel the 8 kilometres to the Mandir. He reached Yajur mandir only at 8:30 pm and
retired only by 10:00 pm.
God replied, "I would love to do so. But tell me how
should I do that?"
The old mandir premises (bhajan hall mandir) had
been cleaned and all the things there had been neatly classified and sorted out over
the last three days by the students and some staff of the Ashram. There were so many
items and Swami had decided to give away many of these treasures. There were
beautiful marble statues of Lord Rama, Lakshmana, Mother Seeta and Hanuman. Swami
wanted these to be given to the senior boys’ hostel for installation in the shrine.
After having spent a few minutes gazing at the statues, Swami very unexpectedly posed for a group photo! The boys were all so excited and thrilled at this gesture. They also posed alongside Him. The pictures were taken. Then as Swami was going into the car, the photographer requested Swami to pose alone with the statues. And Swami agreed to do so! A picture was taken and then Swami went to the car to proceed for Darshan. As the car started, Swami blessed everyone with Abhayahasta (raised Hand in blessing). In the darshan hall, Swami gave joy to one and all by going around on the wheel-sofa for a round before going into the bhajan hall for bhajans and aarthi.
11 October, 2007 – Blessings for Kerala Youth
There was a build up in the numbers of youth at Prashanti Nilayam on October 11. This time the youth were from ‘God's own country’, the popular adage that goes with the state of Kerala. Everywhere the eyes traversed, only orange scarves were seen.
Though the gathering was so huge, the discipline and silence was commendable. There were also youth sitting in the front on the marble block - a huge gap separated the ladies from the gents. An artiste in Carnatic vocal was due to perform in the divine presence.
Swami arrived at about 4:30 pm. He went around slowly in the car and granted darshan to all. As He descended from the car near the interview room, he called the State President of Kerala and enquired about the details of the evening programme. Then He went into the interview room.
When it was 5:00 pm, the regular bhajan time, all were beginning to think that maybe Swami would attend bhajans in the bhajan hall, but Swami came out! As soon as He came to the centre stage, He said that He would like to go down. There were smiles and joyful claps everywhere as the wheel-sofa was brought down the ramp. With a mischievous smile playing tenderly on His lips, He came along the lines of the youth, down the marble block and He seemed to accept every letter that was presented to Him.
He gave that beautiful opportunity to all the assembled Kerala youth to give vent to their devotion and feelings. If one travels with the sun, one can see the earth brightening up in its wake and the darkness just disappearing. That must be exactly how the students behind Swami's wheel-sofa must have felt when smiles blossomed and remained on the faces of the youth as Swami kept smoothly gliding by. Swami's mere presence has such a calming effect.
Hot heads seem to experience coolness and cold hearts feel warmth! Everyone finds reason and ways to associate with His physical form. For some, it’s a touch, while for others it’s a smile, while for still others it may even be the Divine neglect that they feel. "Swami knows I am here and so He did not look at me." But everyone feels that whatever Swami did was only with a purpose - never by mistake!
Well there was this student who, it seems, came
third in the "lines" that come from hostel. And Swami apparently spoke to the boy
who had been fourth in the same "lines" and had not even looked at the third place
boy. This boy was in tears at the "grave injustice" that had been meted out to him.
He could not believe that God was capable of such "partiality"! But he too felt
that, Swami had purposely done it. So you see, every breath He takes,
means something to someone, somewhere! And everything is for our own good and
Ah! What was witnessed this day is indeed representative of what Swami has been doing all His life. And yet He carries on tirelessly doing the same, day after day. He went around speaking to some more students. He asked some as to what they planned to do during the winter vacation. He blessed the youth once again on His way back to the stage. By the time He was back on stage it was already 5:30 pm. Swami asked the youth to start bhajans. He sat enjoying the bhajans and in the meanwhile, blessed prasadam to be given to all. At 6:05 pm He received Aarthi and left.
15 October, 2007 – Dasara Yagnam Begins
The morning of October 15 was scheduled for the
beginning of the week-long Yajna to commemorate the Dasara celebrations. The bhajan
hall had been occupied with students in saffron dhotis and
anga-vastrams. There was the resonant sound of vedic chants as the priest
conducted special prayers and Poojas. The priests who were to perform the Yajna
arrived chanting mantras. Soon, at about 9:10 am, Swami came in the car. He came
into the bhajan hall to bless all the priests and the boys who had assembled there.
All the students too left for the auditorium as Swami sat just outside the interview room and watched the procession of the boys. It was only after all the boys left that Swami too left for the auditorium. Inside Poornachandra, everything had been kept meticulously ready and clean for the Yajnam. The flame was kindled in the traditional manner with vigorous stirring of a wooden rod on another wooden base. As the first wisps of smoke emerged, one priest cupped his palms and blew gently to fan it into a flame. The little kindled spark was treated like a tiny baby with all the care and concern. Soon the wisp grew into clouds of smoke and the sacrificial pit burst forth into flames. The orange flames rose higher with each addition of ghee. The two "oranges" on stage were brilliant - symbolic of sacrifice. Seeking Swami's blessings, the Yajnam began. The air was filled with chants and as always the scene filled one with a sense of wonder and awe.
At Swami's corner, the priest was involved in Surya-namaskar (Worship of sun through postures). He started with lighting up the lamp near him and then after a few chants, went up to Swami. He prostrated fully and then as the beginning of his prayers, placed a rose on His feet. Going around Swami, he started his day.
The Rudram and Chamakam were continuously chanted as
the offerings continued at the yajna flames. Swami sat watching the proceedings till
about 11:00 am. At that time, He permitted the boys to leave for Grama Seva. Bowing
to Him, the students left for service in Puttaparthi. Swami sat for another 15
minutes and then He too retired.
He spoke very powerfully on how Swami's message alone is the hope for the new world. There seem to be problems everywhere and they are so strongly interconnected that no solution seems comprehensive enough. Swami's message of Love alone is the solution. The second speaker was Prof. Veerabhadraiah. He began with Swami as being close to him as his father. He narrated in flowing Telugu, incidents from the lives of Sai devotees and had the audience paying rapt attention to him.
After the speeches, Swami asked for bhajans to
begin. Swami sat for the bhajans keeping beat with His hands. That brought so much
enthusiasm among all present. The bhajans were sung with full gusto and swing. After
a few bhajans, Swami received Aarthi. As He was leaving, He said, "The bhajans were
very good." Smiles blossomed on all the faces!
Swami came out at 10:45 am on the morning of October
17 and went straight to the Auditorium where the yajnam was in progress. He then
proceeded to the ladies side corner of the stage where the Poojas were on. He sat
there witnessing the proceedings. Like bees around a honey laden flower, the priests
all began to move to that corner of the stage one by one. Soon, the only people left
on the main stage were the veda chanting students! The priests all gathered around
Swami's chair and began chanting the concluding hymns of the day. Swami sat
listening to that and then received Aarthi and to everyone’s surprise, instead of
retiring to His residence, left for Sai Kulwant Hall!
In the evening, He came out at around 4:45 pm. Much to everybody's delight, He came on the wheel sofa and went around both the ladies and gents sides. He came straight on stage and after a few minutes, commanded the Veda chanting to stop. There were two scheduled speakers for the day.
The first speaker was Sri G S Srirangarajan, from the School of Business Management, Accounting and Finance. He spoke on how a grand "Karma Yajna" was also accompanying the "Jnana Yajna" going on in the Poornachandra auditorium. He outlined the essential features for every act to become a Karma Yajna, viz. it should be done as an offering to God, be complete, be without expectation, and so on. The talk was well appreciated.
The next speaker was a student from 2nd year M Sc class, Sri Natesh Shankar Shetty. He spoke on the Motherly Love of Swami. Basing it on the bhajan "Janani Maa", he brought out each of the aspects of Swami portrayed in that bhajan. He concluded by expressing his deepest sense of gratitude to Swami and said it was the best gift Swami could give him as that day was his birthday also. As he concluded and went to Swami, the Lord looked at him and asked (as if He didn't know), "Your birthday?" Then waving His hands He materialised a beautiful ring. Putting it on his finger, He blessed him. Then Swami asked for bhajans to begin. After three bhajans, He received Aarthi and retired for the day at about 6:20 pm.
21 October, 2007 – Vijayadasami Day
The morning of October 21 was the glorious dawn of the Vijayadashami - the grand conclusion of the festival of Dusshera. In the morning, the shutters of the Poornachandra Auditorium were thrown open and people started filling the hall. The priests, after conducting the initial poojas on stage, moved to the bhajan hall in Kulwant Hall. Swami arrived to the bhajan hall directly. He distributed new saffron dhotis to all the priests for the special occasion. He also gifted silver ladles and spoons with which to make the offerings in the sacrificial fire. Then, He gave a bundle in which were packed many materials befitting the yajna and told them to offer it in the fire. All the priests made good of the opportunity to fall at His feet and seek His blessings.
Ah! How blessed indeed are we that God has come to teach us how to Love Him. It does not matter what path we take. It doesn't matter if we are liberal or orthodox. God's love is so pristine and pure. The mother never checks for the language or grammar of the child's cries. The response is immediate and spontaneous. Seeing Swami toiling day in and day out talking and acting out the same lessons again and again only for benefit of mankind is such a touching and humbling experience. God is not bound to anything and yet He takes up on Himself the task of Loving and guiding all. He teaches us the perfect way to make the perfect offering and then as the Yajna Purusha, He Himself accepts the offerings. What a perfect example of "Bhramaarpanam" and then "Aham Vaishvanaro Bhutva." Seeing Swami in action is seeing the scriptures come alive.
The priests then headed to the auditorium. All the people in Kulwant Hall too rushed there. Swami slowly came on stage. He sat for a while in the gents side corner. Then He came right in front of the flames. Ah! What a beautiful sight! One for the Gods to see! The orange of His robe became one with the orange of the flame, symbolic of the Truth that the one offering and the one accepting the offerings are one and the same! The flames rose higher and higher and a gentle smile played on His lips. Ghee was poured in and the bundle that Swami had given was put into the sacred pit. Swami sprinkled holy grains on all the priests and then even blessed them with holy water. The Poornahuti (ceremonial close) then was performed. The head priest and his wife went around the Yajna fire and Swami, the Yajnapurusha.
After that, Swami went to the ladies corner of the stage where the "Sahasra linga" (thousand lingas) had been worshipped throughout the week long Yajna. He blessed it and then showered His benediction on all priests. The aarthi was offered to Him. As the priests then lined up and descended the stage, Swami sat next to His dear students who were chanting the Vedas. He sat on stage for ten more minutes. He spoke to a few students and then retired for the morning.
In the evening, Swami came out on stage after the darshan rounds. There were two speakers scheduled to speak. The first was Sri Ajit Popat and the second was Sri S. V. Giri. After the two elders had spoken, there was a burst of joy as Swami got up and agreed to speak to all. He did not want the discourse table and was very eager to get started. He began to speak even before the mikes were brought! A standing mike was placed before Him and He began. (Given below is a comprehensive summary of what He spoke)
Swami concluded His discourse with the song "Bhaja Govindam". He then settled in the chair and asked for bhajans to be sung. Two bhajans were sung after which Swami received Aarthi and left the Kulwant Hall.
24 October, 2007 – “Samatha” Drama by Children from Prakasam District
Thousands of devotees from the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh had assembled in Prashanti Nilayam to have Swami's blessings and also had come prepared with a programme to put up in His presence if and when He permitted. Swami very graciously agreed to their programme and so the stage had been set by about 2:30 pm itself. Swami came out at about 3:20 pm. He completed the darshan rounds and then went into the interview room. It was about 5:00 pm when the interviews were over. Swami was looking a little tired, but He just looked at the clock in the bhajan hall and said, "It is time for the drama."
The Swami who came out to see the programme was so different. He looked so lovely and radiant. He was very enthusiastic for the programme to begin and as seems to have become the custom nowadays, the devotees brought a beautiful silver lamp for Swami to light. Then a white marble lingam was also consecrated by Swami. The lamp was also very significantly shaped in the form of Swami's Sarva Dharma pillar. Then devotees from both the gents and ladies side came to Swami and offered roses. Finally two tiny tots offered the roses and then the programme began.
The drama was a musical entitled, "Samatha". It portrayed how the bombs, guns and advancement of modern science have no real power. Power lies in Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love and Non-Violence. There were well choreographed dances to bring about the concept of religious harmony. The five values of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa teach humanity that they are the true rulers of the Universe.
There was also a wonderful dance based on Shirdi Baba who always propagated the unity of all religions. The scene depicting the glory of Haridas singing for God was also powerfully shown. Emperor Akbar asks his court singer, Tansen, how Haridas is able to sing better than him. The reply comes, "While I sing for the Lord of this kingdom, he sings the glory of the Lord of the Universe. Hence the difference between our singing is the difference between the Universe and the kingdom!"
The climax was a patriotic dance in which the three colours of the Indian Tricolour were used to bring beauty and enthusiasm among everyone present. After that, the final formation was made. Swami said that He would like to go down for the group photo. The children were overjoyed as they surrounded Swami. Swami smiled and stood up for the photograph. As He wended His way back to the stage, almost every child took the golden opportunity to fall at His feet. Swami then received Aarthi and left for his residence.
25 October, 2007 – Programme by Youth from North East India
Swami had permitted cultural presentations by the youth from Assam, Manipur and the other North Eastern States of India on October 25. By about 2:30 pm the stage had been set and all waited in readiness for Swami's arrival. Swami came in the car at about 5:00 pm. He completed the darshan rounds and went into the interview room. But not for long, He came out immediately, sat on the stage and asked for the programme to begin.
Announcements were made in both English and, surprisingly, in chaste Telugu. The formal rose and card presentations followed after which the first item began. It was the popular Assamese Bhortal dance. Composed by late Narahari Burha Bhakat, an ardent devotee of Srimanta Sankardev, it was a dance with brisk footwork and clanging of huge cymbals. The rhythmic dance was a blend of feminine grace and masculine power. It was performed for about 20 minutes and it built up to a wonderful climax. There was a very appreciative applause after its completion.
The second item was the "Dhol Dholok Cholom" dance from the state of Manipur. The Divine Radha-Krishna stories find their expression in these dances. Yaosang is a huge religious festival of Manipur and is associated with the worship of Lord Krishna and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The youth from the Thoubal district of Manipur presented this item. Their acrobatic skills were brought to the fore as they leapt around banging the drums in feet-tapping rhythms. There was so much energy in the dances that one could feel the vibes everywhere. The pounding of the drums vibrated in the inner beings of all present. The dance reached its climax with rapid swirling of the dancers with their drums along with a fast rhythm. All watched with gaping mouths as the dancers made their final formation.
Swami was very happy with the performances. In fact, as the dances concluded, all the dancers bowed and went back to their places. Swami Himself called all of them to come up to the front. One particular dancer in yellow dress impressed the most with his acrobatic steps. He was the lead dancer. Swami called Him and materialised a green diamond ring for him. All the dancers simply began falling at His feet and He sat patiently blessing all of them. There was so much joy on all their faces. Satiated with the Love they had received, they began to file out but Swami was not satisfied with the Love He had showered. He called them and told them to sit around Him in a neat semi-circle so that group photos could be taken.
After the group photo session, Swami told them to start bhajans. He seemed to enjoy the bhajans a lot. Though it had become quite late, Swami sat for more than 5 bhajans. He blessed the prasadam to be distributed to all.
Then He received Aarthi and as He was leaving, He blessed the copies of the group photos taken and said that they must be handed over to the group, which was done.
- Heart2Heart Team
source:sairadio:org/ - SBOI