Divine Visit – Bandipur, Ooty and Mandya – Day Two – 01 March, 2016
Day Two in Bandipur started early with vehicles waiting for the group for the second round of jungle safari, that had been organized. The crisp morning air and the sounds of nature welcoming the dawn, was an enchanting experience for all. One could really savour the beauty and enchantment, that Swami had talked about the previous day.
Upon return, and after a piping hot breakfast, everyone assembled in the satsang hall. On Swami’s command, Sri Venkatesh Kamath, Warden at the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence addressed the group, and spoke of the wonderful opportunity that each one of the students have been presented with, and the expectations everyone had from them. The next speaker was Sri BN Narasimha Murthy, who spoke of the essential qualities of faith, courage and compassion for all beings. Bhagawan’s much awaited discourse was based on the theme of Love. It was surreal to hear the embodiment of Love, speak on love! The Q&A session that followed was scintillating. with the young spiritual aspirants asking the questions borne out of sincere practice, and the loving Lord patiently answered the questions with beautiful examples and anecdotes. One could sense the deep bond between the Lord and the students He had handpicked to join the Centre of Excellence.
At the end of the session, aarthi was offered and prasadam was distributed. During arathi, swami did not forget the services of the forest officer and his wife, as well as other officials of Bandipur, who served Him and His special guests and students. Swami called them and blessed them with Namaskar and gifts. Mr Rajasekhar prayed that he be given this opportunity every year, to which Swami replied, “Sure, but with another set of people”. Swami had a word or two with other staff as well, and blessed them. Gratitude to be learnt from the giver of all, who never forgets to express His gratefulness for those who serve Him, even in a small way!
After lunch, the group got into their vehicles and proceeded to Ooty, bidding farewell of the hosts at Bandipur. The motorcade reached Ooty, capital of the Nilgiris district, and a popular hill station, around 6:00 in the evening. As Swami’s car entered the hill station, He was welcomed by a group of devotees, and they escorted the entourage to Hubathalai, a village 15 kms from Ooty, to the mandir of Yashodamma. Yashodamma is a kindled soul with whom Swami has been communicating and guiding, via the telephone! Yashodamma is quite a phenomena in that part of the state, and enjoys much respect and goodwill. A traditional welcome had been organised at Yashodamma’s ashram with songs in the local ‘ Badaga’ language, sung to welcome their Ishta Devata, their beloved Swami! The traditional dresses of the welcoming group with their trademark head scarf, was a treat to watch.
Swami insisted that the guests and students be served snacks as they had been hungry for long, and also enquired details about their accommodation and stay. A perfect host that Swami is, others are first for Him, as always.
Swami inaugurated the new house which is now His residence, by lighting a lamp and gifting His grace-filled-presence to Yashodamma. Dinner was prepared for Swami by many devotees. During dinner, Swami recollected many memories of Ooty, recognised the people and spoke a word or two to many gathered, which restored their past connections with Swami and strengthened the special bond of love that the “Nilgiri People” always have for their Lord!