Thiruthani is a town, about 85kms from Chennai, dedicated to Lord Muruga or Subramanya. Thiruthani is one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga, known as ‘Arupadaiveedu’ in Tamil. The other five abodes (towns) all in the state of Tamil Nadu are Palani, Swamimalai, Thirupparangunram, Pazhamudircholai and Thiruchendur. It is said that Lord Rama, after vanquishing Ravana, visited Rameshwaram, and then Thiruthani. Lord Sai Rama decided to visit Thiruthani to bless Sri Siva Prasad, his devout wife Smt Lata and their family. It indeed reminded us of the story of the devout ‘Shabari’ from Ramayana!
Beloved Bhagawan’s visit to the rain ravaged Chennai, saw the day two events unfold in two blessed locations. Swami and a small group of guests visited the factory and house of Sri Siva Prasad in Thiruthani, while His volunteer army marched to Chidambaram and Cuddalore (one of the worst affected areas) for seva with 14 trucks laden with relief supplies!
More than 50 volunteers, along with 15 doctors left at 5am for Vazhaithoppu, Pastimuthan Vaikkal Karai, North Thillainayakkapuran, Pinnathur, Nanjamugathu Vazhkai, Panangadu, Veeranandhapuram, Velampoondi, Kuchoor, Thirmoolasthanam, Refugee Camp and Sivakkam. The ‘Sai Wheels’ bus which had arrived past midnighton Fridayfrom Muddenahalli, made its maiden journey of Seva to Chidambaram. Jointly conceptualised by a team in the US and India, ‘Sai Wheels’ was the outcome of the ‘Science for Society’ conference which was held in San Diego in June 2015, under the guidance and directions of Bhagawan. ‘Sai Wheels’ is the acronym for ‘Societal Advancement Initiative by Water, Healthcare, Education, Energy through Love and Service’! The objective is to provide free healthcare, education, energy and clean drinking water to poor rural and remote village communities in India, Africa and elsewhere, using a specially designed bus and qualified staff, to solve the basic lack of access to such services, in areas with limited or no power from the grid.
It was 9:15 am in the morning when Swami’s convoy left Chennai, on a two and a half hour drive to Thiruthani. On the way, one could see the devastation the rains had left in their wake. A few areas continued to be water logged.
The convoy passed the famed Thiruthani Murugan Temple, as they made their way to Siva Notebooks Ltd., which started in the year 1995 in a very small way, producing about 7,000 books per day. Today, by the grace of Bhagawan over a lakh books are printed in a day! From the year 2012, Sri Siva has also been supplying notebooks to all the Sathya Sai educational institutions, and considers it his great fortune.
Sri Siva had invited Bhagawan a couple of months ago for the Bhoomi Puja of the second manufacturing plant, and the compassionate Lord agreed and said He would visit in December. The floral welcome board outside the compound read, “Hearty Welcome to our Chairman Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.” The Lord was led by priests and traditional Poorna Khumbam, in a procession, to the site of the Bhoomi Puja. As Swami was escorted into the industrial building, little children, dotted on either side of the path, welcomed the Lord. Over 300 staff and devotees were waiting with bated breath to welcome their Swami. At the far end of the building, the new machinery was decorated, ready to be blessed and inaugurated by Swami. The loving Lord blessed the machines and also initiated the first batch of notebooks to be printed. As the finished notebooks came out at the other end, Swami asked all the children who were there to come and receive the books, and handed them over to the little ones. He said the books from the new machines were prasadam! And indeed they were, as they were being handed over by Mother Saraswathi (the goddess of knowledge) Herself!
Sri Siva welcomed His dear Lord and everyone gathered. He then spoke of how his blessed association with Swami had begun while the Lord was in His physical form, which has continued to this day, where He continues to guide and guard everyone in His subtle form. The speech laden with emotion was straight from the heart! He admitted that when He had requested Swami to visit his place, he certainly had no inkling that Swami would actually come! Sri Siva reverentially narrated a few experiences which were close to his heart and did not forget to mention that, He has seen Swami several times around in the factory for many years now! Indeed very blessed and fortunate!
Sri B N Narasimha Murthy was the next speaker. He started with a poem on Bhakti (devotion)and spoke about how God can be attained only through Bhakti. He added that this day was a triumph of devotion, as it was the devotion of the host family, and the people of the area that had drawn Swami to the town of Thiruthani. He evidenced this with his own observation as to how over the years he has seen many Presidents, Chief Ministers and Industrialists requesting Swami to grace their homes, but Swami had not always consented. He compared this act of compassion of Swami, with Lord Rama’s visit to devout Shabari’s hutment, and Krishna’s visit to noble Vidura’s humble dwelling!
Introducing the two blessed souls who were accompanying the Lord on this trip – Dr Ram Setty and his noble wife Smt Usha Setty, Sri Narasimha Murthy vividly narrated a miracle where Swami had given Dr Ram Setty a second life, after doctors at the hospital had declared him clinically dead! Drawing parallels to another such act of resurrection, Sri Narasimha Murthy spoke of the time when Swami in His physical form had resurrected a Phd student of the Prasanthi Nilayam campus after he had been declared dead. A testimony of how the Lord’s mission of compassion and omnipotence continues!
Bhagawan started His divine discourse with a poem on Bhakti. He said, anyone who offers a leaf, flower, fruit or water with devotion, He will accept it with love! Drawing a beautiful analogy and explaining the inner significance of the poem, he said Patram ( leaf) is like the body, Pushpam (flower) is the heart, Phalam (one’s Karma) and Toyam (water) is the tears of joy or ananda. When one offers these to Him with love, these will be accepted!
Swami said, He did not have plans to come to Thiruttani, but the unsullied love and prayers of the people, has simply drawn Him here!He proclaimed wherever God is, you find His devotees, and wherever there are devotees, God is there for sure!
Extolling the unique bond between the Lord and His devotee, Swami said, when a baby is born, the mother rejoices. In a similar way, when a devotee is born, the Lord rejoices!
Swami told all those assembled that He had not come to talk much, but to show how if a devotee calls with much earnestness and love, He will go anywhere!
Then addressing the staff of the blessed factory, He reminded them of the noble vocation they were engaged in, and said the books that were made by them help children study and develop their character, which in turn benefits society. He asked the workers to work with this feeling, which will then be elevated to karma yoga.
Explaining the true essence of spirituality, Swami reiterated that all work done that is offered to God, is true spirituality, and not as complicated as it is made out to be! God, He said does not need anything, except for the love of His devotees. He blessed the factory, saying it would grow four times its current size in the coming years. On a lighter note, referring to the fact that Swami is the Chairman of the company, He said – “I am neither a man, nor do I need a chair. I am the indweller in your heart. Keep me in your heart!”
After a wonderful session, Bhagawan and the entourage proceeded to the house of Sri Siva for lunch. A sumptuous spread was waiting for everyone, and after a hearty meal, the Lord, after blessing the family profusely, along with His entourage made His way back to Chennai.
After reaching Chennai, a little after 6pm, Bhagawan retired for the day after granting a couple of interviews.