“Love and laughter”, defined this morning!
A bright sun greeted all and the clouds made way for the vision of the valley! Truly it was a heavenly feeling with God by our side.
Kodai hills, after having bathed in pure showers for two days had put on a golden glow in the morning sun and were ready for the show, the greatest of all times, ‘The Divine Drama’, starring God Himself!
The stage was set below in the hall. The protagonist, God himself, descended down the staircase, curtains were parted and He walked the aisle spreading cheer and sprinkling smiles all around. More devotees had joined in today from the Middle East and UK. Seemed like the sun had entered their hearts and shone on their faces too, just like the nature outside.
Swami took His seat and signalled the two students, Harikrishna from 1st year BA, and Pravan Kashyap from the 12th grade, to sing a few classical devotional songs. Must say that they exceeded expectations, so much that Swami lovingly called them, ” Malladi brothers”! They were accompanied by Alumni of the music college and youth on Veena, mridangam, harmonium and Violin. Swami also blessed another alumni Arjun to perform and instructed him to teach music at Muddenahalli. After blessing all with clothes and gifts, Swami called out, ” Aye! Subbalakshmi” and bro Vijay Sai rose from the crowd. Swami lovingly calls him ‘Subbalakshmi’ for his singing talent though he is not trained formally in classical singing.
Brother Vijay Sai shared some of his most hilarious experiences with Swami during his college days that made people laugh till their sides split. The incident when he swelled up with false pride and decided to sing a complicated Tyagaraja Kriti with many Sawaras, but found himself in deep trouble when the paper on which he had jotted down the notes flew away in the breeze, leaving him scamper for the notes from his memory and making a debris of the devotional song! To another incident when Swami silently slipped out the little note from his shirt’s pocket carrying the points for his speech which he was to refer to, while he bent to take Namaskar. However later Lord came to His rescue by prompting him and supplying him with ideas and poems to speak on the topic of “faith and surrender”, extempore, on the demand of Sri V K Narasimhan. Made him walk the talk!
The best part for me was the way Swami laughed during the whole speech till tears welled up in the corners of His eyes, something that I got to see after a long time! Delightful indeed.
Thereafter Swami asked Sri Rammohan Rao Sir, the English lecturer, to speak who shared his joy of finding Swami back again this way. He shared the experiences he and his family had over 35 years of association with Swami. He made a very poignant point that in the divine presence we experience transcendence! ” Man’s reach exceeds his grasp” in the presence of Swami, he substantiated it with incidents from Rama’s life when monkeys undertook impossible tasks, from Krishna’s life when a new milk maid Neerja, losing her body consciousness at the first Darshan of krishna, burnt her fingers while lighting the lamp, to the present times where he imagined that Meera herself must have come looking for the singer, when Smt Gayatri Ganjawala sang her bhajans the other day. Each person who spoke and sang in the divine presence transcended his or her human limits. He quoted how Swami, even on the day of His physical demise heard his prayers for his mother’s health and gave her Darshan on the 24th morning assuring her of a speedy recovery. Also how He told his sister that soon He will take another form and travel the world. All this helped him connect back to his Swami today who has always fulfilled his wishes including the long cherished desire of speaking in the Divine presence which happened today! Soon after he finished his talk, Swami blessed him with a ring which was yet another desire of his! He requested and took the mic again to Pray that Swami must be considerate to all here when He comes as Prema Sai! Recommending and praying thus he concluded. Swami said, “you have put an application for all to be admitted in the university of Prema Sai, but you must all put efforts and pass the entrance test. If you out your effort to be pure and selfless, I will help you by giving grace marks”!
Swami then called Sri Gopinath, another loyal servant of Swami for over 3 decades, who served as physical instructor to students at Brindavan and now after retirement, is serving Swami in Muddenehalli. Sri Gopinath was emotional as he recollected the first Darshan of Swami in his teens during Onam in Parthi, since then Swami has guided and guarded their family of five siblings and continues to do so even today! He narrated incidents from his work in Brindavan, right from his appointment by Swami after a long wait of two years to the several occasions of sports Meet programs where he learnt many valuable lessons from Swami. He said that he is happy that even though he may not be able see or hear Swami, yet someway through some one Swami is reaching out to him. When he finished Swami said, ” When his father passed away in his teens, I told them I am there for you. Later when his mother passed away, I assured them that I am there for you. Finally when even I passed away( physically) I still told them that I am there for you”. Such was the saga of the divine benevolence which filled every heart with gratitude!
Thereafter Swami spoke briefly about how these people have served Him all their lives and continue to do so, which is something the current students must learn and imbibe. Swami also guided that He is there for everyone equally. “Just as the waters of the lake have to be pure and still to see the reflection, same way a pure selfless and equanimous mind alone can help us see and experience Swami”.
Swami blessed all with key chains saying ” love is the key of every heart” and gave Prasadam as He took arathi and proceeded to His room upstairs.
Afternoon Session :
The morning was a sweet one, the afternoon was sweeter!
Swami called a couple from Malaysia for a private audience before coming down around 4.45 pm. Three little children held out a basket full of homemade chocolates which Swami went around distributing to the other children. He walked up to His chair in the middle and as He sat He indicated for the musical offering by the Alumni to begin. Soulful songs sung by the students to Swami made everyone nostalgic. As it ended in the Qawwali ” Shirdi Wale Sai Baba” Swami blessed the singer with a chain and pendant carrying the picture of His, saying ” Not Shirdi but Parthi Sai Baba”.
Swami joked that the bungalow is 100 years old and all this loud singing may bring down the edifice, so its enough for today!
Swami then asked bro Shantanu Dixit to speak. Shantanu, who joined Swami’s school in Ooty in 6th Standard and later came to Primary school in Parthi, narrated beautiful incidents of Swami’s loving care that cemented the relation between him and Swami as that of a caring mother and a craving child. He was blessed to sing for Swami right from his 6th Standard on several occasions and he recollected how Swami would take personal care about every little detail during his performances, including the one during dasara when he and his fellow brother were blessed to sing Ramakatha. “Swami was seemingly amused to hear a telugu song from a hindi speaking child that too so young”, Shantanu recollected.
Swami then asked Shantanu to sing a bit of Ramakatha which he did to everyone’s joy. Swami said, He has brought up His students like a gardner growing flowers fragrant with divine love. Just as a flower sans the fragrance would cease to attract the bees, the students bereft of Swami’s love in their hearts would cease to be His true students.
Swami then Invited Sri Narasimhamurthy Sir, their erstwhile warden of more than 4 decades to speak. Warden Sir as he is lovingly called, talked about the unique relation between Swami and His students which he was fortunate to witness for more than 4 decades and continues to do so. He said that during all these years he has learnt more from the students than teaching them. He shared the guidance given by Swami to him regarding training of the students. Swami told him to be strict, correct the students but with Love for if he loses love for students then he ceases to have the right to correct them. Drawing from his experiences he declared that no where else he has witnessed a love so pure as between a young student and Swami. Their selfless relation of love is matchless in the world. He also shared with all that though he has never drawn a salary yet he has been looked after by Swami like a prince. “Those who depend on Him are completely taken care of by Him alone”, he confided.
Swami consented to Warden Sir’s prayers for a divine message and spoke vividly about the relation between Swami and the students. He said that their relationship is of many births, right from the times of Rama. The monkeys who selflessly fought the battle for Rama were blessed to be born a Gopika and Gopalas when Lord Krishna incarnated. They were yet again blessed to be with Swami as His students. Swami said that their love is pure. Narrating an incident that happened last year Swami told about how a student on learning about some financial difficulties, during building the new campuses, offered to sell himself to help Swami. Swami said though all this is a part of a divine play yet such pure love is possible only for pure hearted students. Swami urged the students to transform this love for Swami as service for Love cant exist without service and vice versa, as Love and Service are the two sides of the same coin. He declared yet again that His students are His property.
Swami also briefly mentioned about the upcoming youth meet in Bali in which the youth from Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and even Australia are going to participate.
Swami blessed all the alumni singers with white clothes and also gave the stitching charges! Took arathi and went upstairs, granted a group interview, had His meals and retired for the day.