Important Announcement in Sanatana Sarathi February 2005 issue
This is to inform all the devotees that Sivarathri will be celebrated at Prasanthi Nilayam on Tuesday, 8th March 2005. In this connection, here is an important announcement. Devotees often have given expression to their feeling that they are disturbed and pained and are unable to bear the sight of Bhagavan's physical body undergoing a lot of strain at the time of Lingodbhava. They always yearn to see the ever smiling and enchanting form of Swami. And, they were often praying to Swami not to perform Lingodbhava. Bhagavan, out of His infinite compassion and love for devotees, has acceded to their prayers and has said that Lingodbhava will not take place on this Sivarathri day.
February 13th 2005
Bhagawan came out at 7.25 a.m. for Darshan. He took a full round of the Sai Kulwant Hall and finally got down from the Golf Cart and started walking on the dais. He came close to the Sofa placed towards the Gents side. The Vedic chants were going on in full swing and we had wonderful Darshan of Bhagawan as He stood there for quite some time radiating His infinite Bliss and Grace on all of us present there.
There was a gentle smile and His face was beaming with immense joy as He scanned all the devotees seated in the Sai Kulwant Hall from end to end. Then He began moving slowly towards the Ladies side, where the Primary School children were seated. It was as though their innocent love and yearning for Swami was pulling Him towards them! He went close to that end of the dais, and as He moved closer their volume of chanting the Vedic Mantras rose higher. By the time Swami reached their end, they had literally taken over the core Vedam Group with their high-pitched energetic voices!
Swami indicated to the core Vedam Group to stop chanting. Now the opportunity was all theirs! As they chanted in magnificent harmony, the Kulwant Hall reverberated with the powerful vibrations. After a while, Swami again asked the core Vedam Group to take over. Meanwhile, Bhagawan kept moving forward and went into the interview room. The next we saw Him was after the Bhajans at 9.30 a.m. when He was proceeding towards the Poornachandra Auditorium.
In the evening, Swami came out at 3.10 p.m. for Darshan. He walked slowly along the dais just as He had done in the morning and by 3.35 p.m., He was inside the interview room, with some devotees. Bhajans commenced as usual at 5.00 p.m. and Swami retired at 5.30 p.m.
February 15th 2005
Last evening, Darshan was as usual. This evening, Bhagawan was out by 3.15 p.m. The X class students of the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School were ready with their 'Gratitude' programme. The 'Gratitude' programme is a presentation which is put up by the outgoing batches of the School and the Institute in the Divine Presence, at the end of every year. This is an occassion wherein they pour out their hearts to Bhagawan expressing their deep sense of gratitude for all the Love and Blessings showered by Him.
It is definitely not a farewell, for in this place, with Swami, there can be no farewell. But it is only an occassion to express their Love and Gratitude. Swami sat down on the sofa and at 3.30 p.m. He gave them the green signal to begin their programme.
The class X students started their presentation with the chanting of Gayatri Mantram. They had aptly titled their presentation as "Krutagnyata Ke Ye Kshan" - "These Moments of Gratitude". The presentation consisted of two anchors who would come forward and make some introductory remarks about each module. Then the actual module would follow.
There were three categories of modules. One was sharing of personal experiences by some students. The second was enacting some real-life situations where the students of Swami take decisions to solve the dilemna, after consulting their conscience. The skits illustrated how Swami's students are tuned to their conscience and are ever eager to act in a way that makes Bhagawan happy! The third category was, of course, group songs.
The presentation concluded at 4.20 p.m. Swami was very happy. The students received loud applause. The lucky boy for the day was one of the anchors. Swami called the boy closer and materialized a gold chain for him. As the boy stood across the railing, head bent down in reverence and thrill, Swami placed the chain around his neck.
Bhagawan got up and signaled to the boys to arrange themselves for the photograph session. All of them assembled in groups in front of Swami. Cameras clicked for a while. Subsequently, something very wonderful happened! The boy who got the chain, commanded by Bhagawan, came onto the dais and stood beside Swami for a photograph. After the photograph was taken, the boy, very unexpectedly, prayed to Swami for giving all the teachers a group photograph!
Bhagawan was ecstatic at this prayer of the boy. What a sense of love for his teachers! Would Swami not answer such a selfless prayer? He immediately gave His consent and all the School Teachers gathered around Bhagawan for a group photograph. In fact, the young boy frantically called out to all the teachers to come forward and take their positions. That is the hallmark of a Sai Student! We all were overjoyed!
Bhajans began and by 5.00 p.m. Swami retired for the day.
February 16th 2005
This evening, Swami came out for Darshan at 3.45 p.m. At 4.00 p.m. Bhagawan instructed the core group to stop the Vedam chanting. The mike was placed next to Swami's sofa. Well, this evening it was going to be a talking session. The first speaker was Sri Harish Krishnan of the II MBA class. He gave a 10 minute talk - crisp and interesting - interwoven with Kabir's Dohas and the poetry of the Alwars.
The second speaker was Sri Deepak Venkateswaran, a I M.Sc.(Physics) student, who delivered a very thought provoking 20 minute talk, centering around the oneness between man and God. He profusely elaborated on the analogy of the tree trunk and the leaves, to drive home the point that God and Man are indeed one and the same, just as all the leaves and the trunk have arisen from the same seed!
The Warden, Dr. Siva Sankar Sai, was seated as usual just next to Bhagawan's Sofa and was busy lining up the boys for speaking. He would scan the rows of boys to identify the potential speakers and then signal to some of them to get ready. Least did he realize that he was in for a great surprise!
As Swami looked at him, the Warden looked at one of the boys and indicated him to come forward. However, our Lord took over and said, "You come". The Warden hesitated and hoped that it was just in a lighter vein! But it was not to be so! Bhagawan commanded the Warden to come over and share his thoughts.
Dr. Siva Sankar Sai came over to the Podium and shared with all of us Bhagawan's explanations about Chamatkar - Sanskar - Paropakar - Sakshatkar. Miracles leading to Refinement, then Service to all, and finally Realisation. He commenced his talk by chanting some verses from the Vedas and then elaborated on the above theme. He struck a note of humour saying that he was under the impression that as the Warden he only had to make arrangements for the speakers, but today he realized that Swami wanted all of us to be ever ready to speak in His Presence.
He remarked that Bhagawan always says - My Boys are My voice. My Devotees are My voice. The fourth and the final speaker for the evening was Sri Govind Pratap Singh, a II M.Sc.(Chemistry) student, who gave a talk in Hindi. He spoke for around 15 minutes, non-stop in chaste Hindi, leaving all of us stunned with his thoughts and striking examples. He received loud applause. Bhagawan Blessed each one of the speakers after their talks and even spoke a few words with them.
The Bhajan boys started singing. After a few Bhajans, Swami got up. It was 5.05 p.m. when Swami got into the Golf Cart and moved towards His Abode.
February 17th 2005
A group of Chinese devotees from Singapore and the Far Eastern countries had assembled at Prasanthi Nilayam to celebrate their New Year in the Divine Presence. By the time the students came to the Mandir at 3.00 p.m., Swami was already out. He was sitting on the sofa and the Chinese brothers and sisters were singing out their hearts in English and Chinese.
They sang devotional songs and then Bhajans. The communication between them and Bhagawan was heart to heart! They struck the chords of devotion in their hearts and Bhagawan reciprocated by receiving their offering for a full hour. They sang until 4.05 p.m. Of course, we could understand nothing of their Chinese Bhajans though the tunes were familiar as they were the same as our Mandir Bhajans.
We were wondering how difficult it would be if we were to sing these Bhajans in Chinese. Who would take the trouble of learning those tongue twisting words and notes, and then sing them with all our love and heart. Would we do that even for a thousand dollars? Doubtful! But would it not be the same case with these devotees from overseas when they hear our Sanskrit Bhajans? What is it that inspires them to learn our language, take so much trouble, and sing so fluently in Sanskrit and Hindi? We have heard several devotees from different countries doing that!
Just as these thoughts passed our minds, the lead singer started a song in Telugu. The entire group followed every line and there we were - witnessing the miracle we had just thought about! This is what Bhagawan's Love can do! It draws the devotees close to Him and they are ready to go through any amount of efforts to please Him and express their Love for Him!
At 4.10 p.m. Bhagawan commanded the coordinator of the group, Bro. Wee Lin, to share his thoughts with the audience. Wee Lin went over to the Bhajan group seated in front of the dais, and took one of the mikes and started speaking from there itself. He said that they all had assembled at Prasanthi Nilayam to celebrate the Chinese New Year, marking the Birthday of their heavenly Father. Here they were so lucky to be in the very presence of their Divine Parent - Sai Baba.
Bro. Wee Lin, to our delight, shared some of his personal experiences. 24 years ago, Swami had given him his first interview. Bhagawan had then asked him, "Who are you?" Brother replied that he was an engineer. Subsequently, Swami kept calling him 'Engelin'. This is how he heard the name that Swami would call him by. It was something like ..Anjalin... Anajnee..or so. But he could never understand why Swami called him so. He felt that maybe Swami was punning on the word 'Engineer'.
Later, he went back to his hometown and involved himself in various service activities, especially visiting old age homes, orphanages etc. He followed Bhagawan's dictum that the best way to serve is to set an example to others. During those years, he felt that as he was doing these activities which belong to the realm of the angels, maybe that is why Swami had referred to him as 'Engelin'. But still it was not very clear.
This time when he came here, Swami called him for an interview on the 14th, Monday. Again, inside the interview room, Bhagawan asked him, "What is your name?" He replied, "Swami my name is Wee Lin." Swami again asked him, "What is your other name?" To this, brother very spontaneously replied, "Swami Hanuman-Das. I am the servant of Hanuman. I want to go to Lanka and help in providing food to Tsunami victims in Trincomalee". To this Bhagawan smiled and said, "Sri Lanka...".
The next evening, as brother Wee Lin sat in the Mandir for the Bhajans, the students - being a Tuesday - started singing the Hanuman Bhajan - "Anjaneya Veera Hanumanta Shoora...". As brother Wee Lin listened to this Bhajan, suddenly the word Anjaneya struck to him like a thunderbolt!! He realized that this was the very word by which Swami had called him 24 years back. But then he had not understood that Swami was calling him Anjaneeya - not Engelin and not a pun on the word Engineer. Brother Wee Lin was dumbfounded at this realization! He was filled with joy and thrill.
He went on to describe how Swami taught him the skills related to Disaster Management, by giving him the opportunity to serve the needy people in North Korea. In 1997, when North Korea was hit by tidal waves, he went along with his team to serve them. They had to find special strains of paddy that could be grown in the brackish water that had soaked into all their fields. Finally they could get this variety from Bangladesh. They helped them by providing them with food stock - rice as well as corn - tonnes of them were transported by railway carriages. They also donated cows and bulls to help the needy Koreans earn a living. Fruit trees, especially apple saplings were also distributed to enable them to nurture orchards for their living.
At 4.20 p.m. Brother Wee Lin was through. As he came onto the dais, Swami waved His hands in big circles and created a beautiful gold chain with a locket for him. He stood bowing down and Bhagawan placed the chain around his neck. Brother Wee Lin was all smiles! Meanwhile, Swami had already indicated to Prof. Anil Kumar to get going....for his session. Prof. Anil Kumar was all set - geared up to charge and inspire us with his talk.
Prof. Anil Kumar began his talk by stating the most amazing fact in this world. He said that thousands of devotees come here to have Darshan of Swami. Devotees come from hundreds of countries all over the world but all this happens without Swami even stepping outside Puttaparthi. This is the greatest miracle!!
He narrated the incident of a boy who fell down from the roof of a multi-storied building. However, Swami saved him in time and he escaped. Later, the father expressed his gratitude to Swami and asked Bhagawan, "Swami thank you so much for saving my child. But when did you come there to save him?" To this Bhagawan replied, "My dear child, I need not come there, I am already there!" Bhagawan is omnipresent!
He said that, "We think God is a goal, but that is wrong. God is existence! God is not a concept - He is life itself!" He drew our attention to the fact that the word 'Sairam' has become the most commonly used word today. All of us are united by this one word. It is a most powerful antibiotic and is very essential these days when people are miles and miles away from smiles!
He wished the Chinese brethren a Happy New Year saying that though the songs sung by then were in Chinese, the songs were not new, the rhythm was not new, and the beat was familiar! With Bhagawan, the language is 'language of the heart'. Therefore, it thrills everybody!
Once when Swami was giving a Discourse, Prof. Kasturi translated a statement saying that Bhagawan is present all over the world. To this, Bhagawan objected and said, "Not world - say Universe (Viswamu)". Bhagawan is present in the entire Universe! He is the support to all His devotees. He is ever ready to extend a helping hand. He is the only One whom we can depend upon.
Prof. Anil Kumar said that Bhagawan Baba is like an intercontinental bank wherein we can draw any number of cheques! He will always come to our support. Once when Prof. Anil Kumar made this statement in front of Bhagawan, Swami asked him to repeat the line. So Prof. Anil Kumar said, 'Swami will always support us". To this Bhagawan replied, "Not just support you, He will come and literally lift you up!" That is our sweet and merciful Lord!
He extolled Bhagawan saying that 'Sai Drushti' is like 'Parijata Vrushti'. His look is like a shower of Parijata Flowers! He quoted the incident of a Malaysian guitarist who was struck by a nervous disease that disabled the movement of his hand. However, after sitting for Darshan for three days and receiving the benedictory look of Bhagawan, the man was back to normalcy and was able to play on his guitar!
Whenever, Swami says 'Yes' that is bound to happen. Sai Maata Sakala Soubhagyamula Moota - Swami's words are a bundle of all good fortune. Bhagawan's touch, Prof. Anil Kumar stated, was like that of a thousand mothers' touch!!
He concluded his talk, quoting another interesting episode that took place in Brindavan. It was about a Buddhist devotee who had a very peculiar operation in his young age about which only his mother and the concerned doctor were aware. Years later, when he came to Bhagawan, Swami spoke to him and told him that he had only three chambers in his heart when he was born! The devotee laughed hearing this. But later, when he rang up to his mother, she was stunned, for nobody other than her and the doctor was aware about this ailment.
Prof. Anil Kumar concluded his scintillating talk saying that Bhagawan Baba was the Buddha for the Buddhist, Vishnu for the Vaishnavites and Siva for the Shaivites. However, when we take His name all the 3000 crores of Gods are worshipped at one stroke!!
As Prof. Anil Kumar wound up and came towards the dais, Swami again waved His hand and created a large green diamond ring. He looked at Prof. Anil Kumar and smilingly said, "Not for you!' Brother Wee Lin who had just received a gold chain a few minutes ago was again Blessed with the ring too. Swami lovingly slipped the ring onto his finger!
The next event was Prasadam distribution. Oranges were distributed to all of us. Another Prasadam was the bright red colour, shining packets from our Chinese devotees, with their New Year Prasadam. It was a bright red packet with the photograph of fruits on it and inside were a couple of chocolates and toffees. Around 4.45 p.m. Bhajans began. At 5.00 p.m. Swami caught hold of the railings and stood up. He slowly walked to the Golf Cart and moved towards the Poornachandra Auditorium. The Chinese devotees were saturated with His Love and Grace, which shone on their smiling cheerful faces!