A trip to Latin America in October is usually considered as the final visit for the year for Swami and His entourage, and this also heralds the onset of the Birthday Celebrations. ‘Love My Uncertainty’ is what Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba reminds everyone all the time. And this time it was no different, as Swami wanted to visit the JOY Ashram of Father Charles in Enugu, Nigeria. The entourage set off on Thursday, November 2, in the early hours of the morning to board their flight to Dubai. With direct connections to Enugu only twice a week, the schedule demanded a night at Dubai, and the Lord out of His infinite mercy and compassion decided to bless the yearning hearts in Dubai for the fifth time. As the flight landed at Dubai International Airport in the afternoon, Sri Madan Gupta along with other devotees from ‘Sai Hridayam’ welcomed the entourage. Swami had lovingly named the group in Dubai ‘Sai Hridayam’ during His very first visit saying that, while He resides in the hearts of these devotees, more importantly they reside in His heart! What a unique blessing!
As Swami entered the Gupta residence, Bhajans were in progress, and Swami sat for a couple of Bhajans before Mangala Arati. A late lunch was served, and everyone relaxed for the rest of the day. During dinner as Sri Madan Gupta, his devout wife Smt Shobhna and son Vijay walked into Swami’s room to serve Him, Swami asked them a very pertinent question “How does God serve?” Many answers were attempted by the couple, but Swami was not satisfied. When Swami asked Vijay, pat came his reply, ‘God serves through His instruments.’ Swami was extremely pleased with the reply and said that He indeed serves through the hands, legs and bodies of His instruments. Swami went to on advise the young boy that three things are important to be able to travel on the spiritual path – concentration, contemplation and meditation. To do this Swami said spiritual alertness is required, which is nothing but constant integrated awareness! Every time one walks into Swami’s room especially to serve food, it turns out to be a short dose in advanced spirituality, served in the most simplest way.
The next morning, soon after breakfast Swami emerged from His room to proceed to the Satsang area in the lawns of the Gupta residence. Close to 50 people had gathered, and Bhajans were in progress. The Satsang commenced with a welcome speech by Sri Madan Gupta who placed his gratitude at Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet for this bonus visit in the year. Four soul stirring speeches followed thereafter, which commenced with Smt Shobhna Gupta, who spoke about how the family came to Swami in July 2011, after Swami’s Mahasamadhi. Yes, they have not seen Swami in His physical form, but their love and devotion is indeed quite palpable. She went on to speak about their inner journey, and how they came to Swami in the subtle, which has lead to them finding fulfillment in their lives.
Swami then commanded their son Vijay to share his thoughts, and he reminisced the dinner serving the previous night, and confessed that if there were three words that He took away from that spiritual session it was – concentrate, contemplate and meditate. Vijay went to talk about a couple of instances through which he urged everyone to put into practise these three tenets.
Brother Hani Raman, an alumnus from the Prasanthi Nilayam spoke about his days as a student, and the great responsibility Sai students have in Swami’s mission. Brother Hani also narrated about his introduction to Swami in the subtle, and his first trip to Muddenahalli. He reminisced an instance from his student says where he always had an urge to sing in Mandir in the divine presence, but it never materialised. Despite several prayers, all he received from Swami was “wait”, even while all other co-singers got an opportunity to sing in the Prasanthi Mandir. He was broken hearted when Swami left His physical form, as he felt that his dream would never be fulfilled. But of course like it is said, Swami’s delays are never His denials, Brother Hani has had various opportunities to offer his soulful songs at Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet now. He ended his talk with the ever popular song ‘Tu Pyar Ka Sagar Hai’ which transported everyone to another realm.
A young girl, barely twenty-years-old, Samyukta was the next speaker. Her speech left everyone in tears, including Swami, as later revealed by Brother Madhusudan. She spoke about her journey of transformation, and how in spite of all her fears, trials and trepidations, she has overcome them by surrendering herself. In fact when she came to Muddenahalli for the very first time a year ago, Swami had blessed her with His Darshan! She saw Him majestically seated on the chair, swaying to a Bhajan! Samyukta confessed that the revelation that Swami is indeed her ultimate refuge dawned upon her when she visited the Hassan Campus, along with all the devotees from Dubai, as commanded by Swami. As she was speaking to the tiny tots, she asked a twelve-year-old whether he missed his parents. The child had promptly replied, ‘No, why should I, when I have Swami!’ This was probably Samyukta’s turning point in her life, for she realised that the answer that she did not have despite twenty years of search was known to a tiny tot all of twelve in Swami’s school! With much gratitude and love, she offered herself to Swami. The Lord was very pleased and happy with her straight-from-the-heart talk, and blessed her profusely with a token of His infinite love!
Soulful songs were presented after that, which reduced many to tears of bliss. Swami then beckoned Mr Isaac Tigrett to address the intimate gathering. He said, “We are all in a place of preparation for evolution. Swami has been travelling in preparation for Prema Sai. This is our journey, where we are all here for self realisation, and must remember that we are immortal divine beings.” Sri C Sreenivas in his talk spoke about life which is divine, and a collection of moments. He spoke about the impact assessment programme which has commenced at the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital, and how it’s a daily surprise to them when they hear from the patients about the most mysterious ways in which Swami has drawn them to the Hospital. He marvelled at how Swami’s investment of love into an unknown family can become instruments of love! Sri Narasimha Murthy spoke next, and in his short speech he praised the devotion of the Sai Hridayam group.
Swami gave a very short discourse and said that everyone’s prayer should be, “The heart that You have given me Lord, I offer it back to You. Other than this I don’t have anything. Please accept this as I offer it in to Your hands.”
“It is a miracle for sure where in a country like this, there are a few who sit down at the feet of God offering everything back to Him. This group deserves the name, we are in the heart of each other. Keep your heart steady. Heart is the seat of God, permanently given to God. That heart must always be kept pure, bereft of anger, and selfishness. Speak from your heart to mine. Listen, talk and experience Me from within. That is the journey, as friendship with God is the best!”
Mangala Arati was offered and Swami proceeded to the residence of Sri Vishal and Smt Pooja Chhabria for lunch. After lunch, Swami returned to the Gupta Residence for the afternoon.
Late evening, Swami met the Gupta family along with the entourage in the living room. For the trip to Nigeria, Swami had invited Mr Gary Seaton from Australia, Mr Sivaramakrishna and wife Mrs Aparna from Singapore, Mr Kasturi Rangan from Singapore, and Mr Gowrishankar from India. Brother Jai Mexis from Greece, also an alumnus from Prasanthi Nilayam was to join the entourage from Ethiopia the next day. It was a very informal session with Swami, as He spoke about the various activities being undertaken in Nigeria, including the new community farming programme which will give succor to many families, and will be a one-of-its-kind initiative in the world! Mangala Arati was offered and dinner was served. The entourage departed for the Airport past midnight, to board their flight to Enugu.