Divine Visit – Singapore & Malaysia – Day Four & Five – 07 January 2016 & 08 January 2016
Day four and five of Swami’s visit to Singapore and Malaysia were set in Kuching, the capital of the state of Sarawak in Malaysia. Situated on the Sarawak River, on the island of Borneo, Kuching is deeply entrenched with history.
Day 4 : Thursday, 07 January, 2016
As the entourage touched down at Kuching on the morning of Thursday, January 07, they were welcomed to a pleasant surprise at the airport. A special booth in the Airport lobby displayed beautiful bi-lingual posters of Swami and Sai quotations in Chinese and English! It was a great welcome to a new city!
The entourage was driven through the scenic and serene landscape from the airport to ‘Sai Love’, Swami’s residence in Kuching, A harmonious blend of nature and civilisation without the urban squalor, it was like what one would expect with a population like that of Sarawak!
‘Sai Love’, Swami’s residence in Kuching, is a testimony of the love the people of this city have for their sweet Lord. When Swami announced His visit to Malaysia, Sri Anthony Bong, an ardent devotee in Kuching wanted Swami to have His own mandir, where He could stay while in the city. What started as a humble desire in his heart materialized into ‘Sai Love’, a beautiful bungalow that Brother Anthony bought opposite his current residence, and furnished it as a mandir for Swami. The Lord after inaugurating ‘Sai Love’ that afternoon, spoke of the love and devotion of the family which had dedicated the house for Swami’s current and future visits to this part of Malaysia. Swami said, the heart of a devotee is where He always resides, He blessed the house saying He will continue to shower His grace on ‘Sai Love’ with future visits as the Kuching ashram work will beckon Him to this place in the coming months and years. Swami said the next couple of days would be spent in contemplation and bliss. He urged everyone to make what they gain permanent, instead of it being superficial. He asked everyone to absorb the rain of Love. He also said the next day was a sacred day, an auspicious day, and anything started on that day was bound to succeed. While the work on the ashram would begin the next day, Swami said, “We need to pay our debt to the Devi, the Goddess who has been helping with all our work here. We must go and see Her today, as a mark of respect.”
After lunch and momentary rest, the convoy of vehicles started from ‘Sai Love’ to the Matang Hill, on top of which was perched the Mariamma Devi temple. Two buses brimming with eager devotees followed the Lord’s car to the sacred Matang Hill. As everyone reached the foot of the hill, a fleet of high-powered vehicles awaited to take all on their uphill sojourn. The steep gradient of the hill and the narrow passageway made the journey quite an exhilarating and anxious one. The beautiful temple came into view on reaching the hilltop and the excitement was evidently palpable among all the devotees. The radiance of the idol was as if the Devi had specially adorned herself to receive the Lord. It was inexplicable.
Swami asked the devotees to chant Rudram as the priest commenced the puja. As the puja came to a close, He asked the priest “Where is Shiva?” (alluding to the fact that the temple had only the idols of the Goddess and Ganesha). Even as the priest was thinking of a response, Swami showed a lingam that had miraculously appeared, and gave it to the priest saying it was Ardhalingeshwara (a form of Shiva – that is half Shiva, and half Parvathi). The lingam reflected this in the dual white-black colours. He asked the priest to perform puja to the lingam everyday thereon.
As Swami walked out of the temple, one could very well recall reading about the Lord’s visit to the shrines in North India, where He recharged the idols at Rishikesh, Badrinath and Kedarnath. It probably would have been very similar to what everyone witnessed that day in Kuching.
Later that evening, Swami’s discourse during the satsang at ‘Sai Love’ was powerful and He dwelled deep into the karma principle. Starting His discourse, Swami spoke about the importance of action and the inevitability of it in this world. Further, action is always associated with a reaction and through a series of examples He described the interplay between action and reaction, which could sometimes be immediate or delayed. Even good actions constitute karma, and one would have to continue to take birth until the balance of karma is achieved!
Giving all a glimpse into the way to escape the cycle of birth and death, Swami lovingly explained that one should engage in any action for the love of God, with the aim to please Him. Further, He said when one offers even the good deeds and its fruits to God, he is not taking on any new karma due to his good deeds.
He cautioned everyone to start early and not wait until one is old! Ending the discourse, Swami said one cannot understand Sai Baba by reading books or listening to discourses. One can only know Sai Baba by being Him. He said “I am the voice of truth within you. Have the courage to follow that, and you will meet Me, only to realize that there is only One. Thus, making this a journey from you to Yourself.”
Day 5 : Friday, 08 January, 2016
It was the D-Day! The reason for Swami’s visit to Malaysia in early January – the much anticipated ‘Bhoomi Puja’ for the new ashram in Kuching! As the convoy of vehicles made their way towards the ashram site, a slight drizzle made everyone realise that blessings were in abundance and one of the many signs of an auspicious day ahead. On reaching the site, one could see the newly erected pandal. As Swami took His seat, the puja began with Sri Nanjunda Dixit, the head priest who officiated all the Athi Rudra Maha Yagnas done by Swami to date. The ceremonial handing over of the land by Brother Leong Meng (a long time devotee of Swami, who has had the good fortune of donating his land for the ashram project) was followed by the turning over of the soil, by the strike of the first pickaxe by Brother Meng, and a few others. It was a sight to witness. The location was so picturesque, in the very bosom of Mother Nature. Indeed a beautiful setting for the ashram!
Everyone travelled to the residence of Brother Meng thereafter at a nearby village, from where he belonged. Swami spoke to the family and their friends in private before partaking His lunch, which was lovingly served by Brother Meng and his family.
After lunch, a small function was arranged in the village community hall. All the members of the village welcomed their Divine visitor and His entourage to their humble hamlet with a traditional dance. This was followed by speeches by the village elders, where they gave an overview of the village, its demographics and history. Brother Leong Meng was the key speaker of the day, and shared some very interesting and moving experiences from his own life and that of his family. He spoke of how in a period of crisis, his brother had chanced upon a copy of ‘Sai Baba – Man of Miracles’ following which the family had travelled to Prasanthi Nilayam to find solace in Swami, which manifested in the cure of their father who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He quoted another experience involving his sister whose deformity after a horrific accident was cured by partaking flowers of a garland given by the loving Lord at darshan. His own life was at risk when an argument in a foreign land quickly snowballed into a knife attack. But the Lord was there to slow the knife that was menacingly aimed at Brother Meng’s throat, giving him enough time to duck to safety. The eloquence of Brother Meng’s speech clearly had its source in the heart and for 45 minutes he held the audience in rapt attention. Swami was so pleased with the talk that he later instructed the organisers to transcribe the speech and make it available to a larger audience!
Swami blessed all the village folk who had gathered and also announced they would soon have a new and much larger church, where they and their families could pray, which would also double-up as a community hall.
It was the final evening with the Lord in Kuching and everyone wanted to bask in the Divine Love not wanting to miss His nectarine words. Swami spoke about truth and started by explaining the nature of truth, which is permanent, and pervades everything in this world. He beautifully explained how while the outer appearance of people is different, the truth within each of us is the same. Hence, Swami always addresses us as – ‘Embodiments of Divinity’, while others tend to address people as gentlemen, ladies, brothers, sisters etc. Underlining the significance of this paradigm, He said that only when we realise that everyone has the same truth within, will we be able to love everyone, as we love ourselves. Swami gave His own example through an anecdote, where a student had once asked Swami, how He was able love everyone. Swami responded by saying, He too loved Himself like everyone else, but He also saw everyone as Himself, and hence was able to love everyone as He loved Himself! “When one does not realise the truth is the same in all, it leads to narrow boundaries of mine and thine. This leads to worrying about ourselves, about our future, about other people.” Explaining this with the example of the human body, Swami said, the body, a complex system, is able to function as it does in a selfless way. He reminded everyone of the consequences one would face, if the mouth refused to send food to the stomach, or the stomach refused to digest the food and decided to keep the food for itself. This would certainly be disastrous! Swami ended the speech by saying, “By giving up the ‘I’ (ego) and ‘mine’ (attachment) can one understand the truth? This knowledge of truth makes one fearless, and only when one is fearless can one engage in service!”
The next morning, as Swami’s entourage prepared to head back to Singapore, a sizeable number of devotees had gathered at ‘Sai Love’ to bid goodbye to the Lord. The compassionate Lord continued to guide and spread His love with His devotees and spoke to all for a few minutes before His departure. He urged all gathered to meet in ‘Sai Love’ every Sunday for satsang. He prophesied that in the near future many people would be attracted to the place, just as iron filings get attracted to a magnet. The Lord who was very pleased with the devotion and the bliss of the devotees had experienced, pointed out that while most of the world was in sorrow that their Master had left them and gone and they had nowhere to go, the devotees here were celebrating the bliss of being with Bhagawan. He asked all the devotees to be united and said that as long as they were united Swami would follow them wherever they went.
As the entourage proceeded to the airport after a surreal and very eventful two days in this blessed part of the world, they were reminded of Bhagawan’s revelation a few days ago. Many monkeys who had helped Lord Rama during Treta Yuga, and were part of the Vanara Sena (army of monkeys) had traveled from Borneo! Hence, it was now His duty to shower blessings on this land! There was no doubting that this place has an important role in the Grand Mission of Bhagawan, and will certainly be part of history in the years to come!