Divine Visit – Bandipur, Ooty and Mandya – Day Five – 04 March, 2016

It was time for Swami and the entourage to leave Ooty and head to Mandya on Friday morning, where the last part of this divine trip was to unfold. After breakfast, the group got into their vehicles and started their descent from the hills, where they had spent the most wonderful three days in the Lord’s company, and witnessed the deep love that bound the devotees of Ooty to their Sai! There was much to reminisce – the sweet hospitality, the ride in the ‘toy train’ with the Lord, the visit to the Annamalai temple, and Ofcourse, all the wonderful revelations and instances of Bhagawan’s omnipresence!

En-route to Mandya, lunch had been organized at the Aranya Bhavan – the sprawling campus and guesthouse of the forestry department. Again, it was Sri Rajshekhar who had the good fortune of hosting Bhagawan, and His students that afternoon. Later, Bhagawan and His entourage stopped at the residence of Prof Shashidhara Prasad, former Vice Chancellor of the Sri Sathya SaiInstitute of Higher Learning, and Mysore University, who has now settled in Mysore after his retirement, for afternoon tea. The host family had organized a satsang area on the lawns of their beautiful house. After a few bhajans, on Bhagawan’s command, Sri Narasimha Murthy addressed all gathered. He recounted the contributions of Prof Shashidhara  Prasad had made to the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning m, while serving as its Vice Chancellor.

Bhagawan then blessed the gathering with His nectarine words, which was on the theme – qualities of a true devotee!  “The one who has no hatred for anyone; One who is friends with everyone; One who is compassionate to all; One who does not have any attachment or ego; One who treats pleasure and pain equally; One who is satisfied and content; One who has tremendous determination; One who has surrendered one’s mind and intellect to God.”

Towards the end, Swami said, Mysore would get an educational institution in due time. After the brief yet intimate satsang, everyone had tea and took leave of the hosts. Prof Shashidhara Prasad’s father, a renowned scholar and a long time devotee of the Lord, Padma Shri D Javare Gowda, popularly known in the literary circles as ‘De Ja Gow’, had been unwell and was under hospital care. Bhagawan in His infinite mercy, decided to pay him a visit at the hospital before joining the rest of the entourage, as they all made their way to Mandya.

As one entered the sprawling campus, one could see it abuzz with activity in preparation for the inauguration of the new Dhyana Mantapa and the Gavi Siddheshwara Temple, by none other than the Lord of the Universe, who arrived at this extraordinary scene in the evening.

Swami had sent Sri Narasimha Murthy to scout for land in Mandya to build a new educational institution; when they came upon Maradevanahalli, the scouting party had the vision of Bhagawan next to the Shiva Linga in the old temple on top of the hill. That is how the location was picked! Bhagawan had said then that this place would one day be a big pilgrimage center, with people from all around the world coming here.

Swami had given specific instructions for the plans for the temple on top of the hill and the Dhyana Mantapam. The temple would have a 25 feet tall linga (36 feet including the base of the Linga) and the temple would be in the shape of a linga. With the help of the architect Srivatsan, a detailed plan was shown to Swami. In a few days, Sri Venu Srinivasan, Chairman of TVS Motor Company came to Muddenahalli. He enquired about the new institute campus that was coming up in Mandya. When he was told about the temple and shown the plans, he was surprised and the first words he uttered were, “This is mine! I will build it.” He went on to explain that 10 years back he had taken a similar plan to Bhagawan in Puttaparti, and shown it to Swami. Bhagawan had said, “You will build the temple, but not now. I will tell you later!” Hence when he saw the plans, he saw it as a sign and that is how the TVS Motors undertook the construction of the two temples in Mandya!

Swami’s car headed directly towards the new temple complex. The setting sun made the new edifice look ethereal. There was something surreal about the place, which left everyone spellbound. A yaaga shaala had been erected in front of the temple. The yagna which was underway when Swami arrived in the evening, was into its second day. The next day was to see the culmination of the yagna with the purna ahuthi.

In the yaaga shaala,  Bhagawan oversaw the final rituals of the day’s yagna before visiting the newly constructed temple – Gavi Siddheshwara temple and the Dhyana Mandira, giving instructions to the team which was charged with the project. A few devotees from UK also accompanied Him on this tour. After reviewing the new buildings, as Bhagawan was going back to His residence, He took time to patiently explain the significance of temples. He said as ponds have reflection of the sun, similarly temples hold the reflection of God! He said, witnessing the commissioning of a new temple is in itself a great fortune!

Bhagawan partook His dinner and urged everyone to take rest, as the next day was going to be a long, yet a very auspicious and sacred day!