The ancient Istanbul in Turkey was the next divine destination! It was more than just a divine visit for it was the fulfilment of prayers of a very long standing devotee, Mr Kaya Gunata, an octagenerian who is the pillar of Sai activities in and around Istanbul.
A few months before this trip, around October 2016, Mr Kaya along with another devotee Ms Taya Kahraman came to Muddenahalli for Swami’s darshan. Swami was quick to recognise the good old devotee Mr Kaya in the crowd and called him for an interview. It hardly took a few seconds for Mr Kaya’s heart to connect with His Master, and the high point of the interview was when Swami talked about the Ashram at Turkey, which was waiting to be established for the last two decades! Mr Kaya had prayed to Swami to come to Istanbul and bless the devotees there. Also he harboured a secret prayer to build an Ashram just like Prashanti Nilayam so that all those devotees who could not come to Prashanti Nilayam due to various reasons could benefit from Satsangs, Seva and Sai Teachings, right where they were. So finally the time came after decades of wait for his prayers to be fulfilled when Swami decided to bless the land of Turks with a Spiritual and Human Development Centre this time.
The flight took off from Dubai airport at 11.00 a.m. in the morning and after a three and half hours, Bhagawan’s entourage landed at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, to be received with warm smiles and greetings by a committed group of devotees. Mr Kaya, despite his ripe age was there to receive and welcome everyone.
Soon, everyone boarded the car and a van, and proceeded to the hotel which was by the river Bospherous, where the accommodation and Satsangs were organised by the Turkish devotees. After a brief rest, all gathered in the small drawing room of Swami’s suite for a private Satsang.
Though many of them had not experienced Swami in the subtle earlier, yet it took no time for them to connect to Swami as He spoke to all of them in His own inimitable heart-to-heart style! Mrs Genevieve Kanu, wife of late Mr Victor Kanu, who was instrumental in building the first ever Sai school in Africa was there to receive Swami’s guidance too. When Swami spoke to her about her sacrifices of for running the school including selling the big house and moving to a small cottage, which Swami described in detail though He had not visited it physically, she was reduced to tears. A few devotees from Italy, Dubai and U.K. too had arrived in Turkey. Swami spoke to each of them, even as He remembered the sacrifices made by the likes of Mr Kaya and Mr Kanu for Swami’s mission. He advised the younger ones to learn from the lives of such elderly devotees, and follow in their footsteps.
After a brief talk by Sri B N Narasimha Murthy who sought Swami’s guidance about how to develop harmony while working in groups, Swami guided one and all with His unmatched wisdom. Swami said, “We are all limbs of the same body. Just as what one limb can do and the other cannot, all have to work together to make the body comfortable. Similarly, everyone is a part of Swami’s mission and are His instruments of different kinds. Unless the mission is kept above oneself, one cannot live in harmony.”
Explaining it with an example He said, “When the stomach feels hungry, the legs have to walk to the food, eyes have to see, hands have to take and put the food in a plate, and then in to the mouth. Mouth has to chew and swallow, and then the stomach has to digest and assimilate it to give energy to the entire body. Through the collective and coordinated efforts of all the limbs, the body benefits and in turn all the limbs benefit too. In an Organisation all have to learn to respect the role of each other and adjust with each other, knowing that only together they can achieve the goal. My mission is not for a single individual to accomplish, but it is for many to come together keeping their individualities aside. ‘I TO WE TO HE’ is My way. Sometime when hands hurt the eyes, or the tongue is bitten by the teeth, we don’t punish the hands or the teeth, as we know that both are ours. Those who take the first step towards the other will get closer to Me faster, while others will remain where they are or will be left out!” Needless to say the lesson was driven straight home.
After the conversation, Swami enquiried about the programme for the Bhoomi Puja, the next morning. Swami had His dinner of Indian and Turkish dishes before retiring for the day. From pots and pans to papads and pickles, everything was flown in by the devotees to cook for Swami the authentic Indian food of His palate, while others feasted on some specially cooked Turkish delicacies too!