Kodai Summer Retreat – May 15, 2017

All the students were excited at the break of dawn, as boating and sight seeing was part of the morning agenda. It has been three blissful days at Kodai, with every day bringing a new meaning and dimension to our sweet relationship with our Lord.

After a few interviews, Swami proceeded to the Public Satsang hall, and after a few Bhajans, Mangala Arati was offered. As the students and guests proceeded to board the buses for sight seeing, Swami went back inside the bungalow to speak to the first batch of Sevadals who were leaving. Swami showered them with His advise and said, “The supreme Dharma of every being is Love. Do everything that you do with love. Without love, there is no Dharma. Some people have the doubt, ‘How can we serve all the time?’, especially those who have a full-time job. Work is worship, and salary is God’s gift to you, a compensation for your service. It is only His grace and gift to you. Your thought should be, ‘How is God serving? Am I serving like that? How is God loving? Am I loving like that?’ Whatever you deserve will come to you sooner or later. You have embarked on a noble path.” After blessing them with gifts and Prasadam, Swami proceeded to His room, and granted a few interviews before lunch.

The evening was special and yet again emotional. Devotees from Singapore, ‘The Gang’, as Swami calls them with much love, offered soul stirring songs at His Lotus Feet, which did not leave a dry eye in the room. These accomplished men and women who are lawyers, entrepreneurs, doctors, CFOs, etc turn into little children in front of their Master. It is truly an overwhelming sight to witness the love between them and Swami.

Swami went on to personally introduce and talk about each family with great love. He said, “There was no one who knew in the early days about all that was happening, but they knew in their hearts. They simply believed. When Swami willed that the first campus should start in Gulbarga, even Narasimha Murthy did not have enough faith whether it would be a reality, these are the men and women who said that ‘All good is God, and if Swami has taught us to love and serve all, we must embark on the project.’ Within a year they all came together. Sankalpa and sacrifice has to come together. They are true ideal examples to all devotees. Only those who lead a life of selflessness, become a part of His story! Rest all are forgotten. Millions of beings are born, but those who live a selfless life are remembered.

It was truly overwhelming, not only for each of the families, but also for every single person present that evening. ‘Living with God is true devotion’, and Swami was showing to everyone these selfless devotees!

Thereafter, Swami invited Mr Isaac Tigrett to address everyone, who stressed on the fact that all are immortal divine beings. He yet again reminded all about the message of the various incarnations being the same, that man’s true purpose to attain self realisation, which is realising one’s true identity. “Everything is connected in the cosmos”, he concluded.

Swami then went to talk about Mr Tigrett, and those initial days when he came to Swami. He spoke about the sacrifice of Mr Tigrett when he offered all that he had at the Lotus Feet for the construction of the Super Speciality Hospital in Puttaparthi. Swami said, “With sacrifice comes prosperity. Through sacrifice alone one can become immortal, and only such will be remembered. Hanuman, Jatayu, the small squirrel, a bear, Ahalya, the Kewat, have all become immortal as they were associated with Rama or His Nama.”

The 100-year-old bungalow, now christened Ananda Ashrama by Swami is His playground perched atop the highest point in Kodai hills, where the Lord plays the playful game of hide and seek. The evening before everyone started their journey to Kodaikanal, Swami had called all the students, staff and guests accompanying Him on this trip, and revealed something very significant. He said, “I play the game of hide and seek. It is a game of devotee finding God, and God finding His devotee.” He went on to ask which was easier. And everyone said God finding His devotee is easier, but Swami had something else to say. He said, “It is easier for you to seek Me, rather than I seeking you, as I am only one for all, who does not change, whereas you keep changing, and so it’s difficult for Me to find a true devotee!” It was indeed a poignant message for all to ponder.

Swami explained the significance of the name Ananda Ashrama, as the place where bliss is attained effortlessly or naturally. And truly everyone here, including devotees from over 19 countries are experiencing the divine bliss without any effort!

Mangala Arati was offered to Bhagawan, and He had His dinner with the devotees, before retiring for the night.