Just a little before 8:30am, after sumptuous Sri Lankan breakfast the entourage of 10 cars, led by a police pilot made its way to Kirankulam, the site of the new ashram in Batticaloa. It was a 20 minutes drive from the place where Bhagawan was residing.
As part of the 17 ashrams Swami will establish around the world, Sri Sathya Sai Karuna Nilayam in Batticaloa, lovingly named by Bhagawan, will commence by His Divine will in a year’s time. The ashram will serve as a beacon of spiritual light, imparting free education and free healthcare to everyone.
When the Lord visited Columbo a few months ago, in July 2015, a Sri Lankan devotee, now residing with his family in Singapore, Sri Sutharshanom, loving placed 200 acres of land at His Divine Lotus Feet! But the Lord accepted 50 acres, the area needed for the construction of the ashram. Swami declared a hospital and school will be established, offering all services completely free-of-charge.
Close to 150 people had gathered at the site, and lovingly welcomed the Lord in a traditional way. Little children from the village, dressed in their best clothes, offered flowers as Swami’s car entered the premises. The function began with the ceremonial lighting of the lamp by Bhagawan and other dignitaries, followed by the puja, which lasted for almost 30 minutes.
Swami thereafter commanded four speakers to share their thoughts and experiences. Sri Sutharshanom addressed everyone in his native Tamil and spoke about how his father had got this land many decades ago. He expressed His gratefulness to Swami, as this land was finally being put to the right use. This was followed by a brief talk in Tamil by Sri Chenthuran, the youth leader for Sri Lanka and one of the key pillars in executing the project at Batticaloa. He expressed his happiness that the time had finally come for the Lord to shower His blessings on the land.
Smt Penny Jayewardene addressed the gathering thereafter in English, which was translated into Tamil by the boy Swami had enquired about the previous night, the son of the priest. Smt Penny spoke about how badly this civil war inflicted area needed the Divine grace of the Lord, and assured the villagers gathered that good times were upon them.
Sri B N Narasimha Murthy delivered an inspiring talk next. He asked a very pertinent question, “Why did God give us this human body?” He replied by saying that the human body is given, wherever we are born, for only one purpose – to serve, adore, worship and contemplate on God, which will finally lead us to realise that we are God ourselves. He vividly described about the life of Bhagawan and said, “He belongs to the world and to the whole of mankind. That is why He said there is only one religion, the religion of love. Bhagawan called it Prema Dharma.”
The much sought after Divine message followed the speakers. Bhagawan said, “It is not enough if we just pray and keep quiet. By mere thinking or speaking not much can be achieved. When thought and deeds match, things will happen. By merely thinking about food or by talking about it, the stomach will not get filled. From morning to evening, if you chant the words ‘rice’ or ‘chapathi’, your hunger will not be satiated. Your hunger will only increase, not decrease. Only when you make the effort to cook the chapathi, and then eat it, will you be satisfied. Similarly, just by praying that everyone should be happy and healthy, not everyone will be happy and healthy. Good thought should be accompanied by good words, which should be converted to good actions. Therefore, sow a good thought, and it will reap a good action.
This place has seen many misfortunes. However, now better times are here. Many many years ago on the shores of Lanka, Sri Rama gave a promise to the people. When Vibhishna, wanted to take refuge at Sri Rama’s feet, by leaving Ravana, everyone objected. ‘He may be a spy, he is from our enemy’s side, so we shud not give him shelter’, said all the associates of Sri Rama. By that moment, Sri Rama said, “Anyone, be it an animal, bird, beast or a human being, once they say they belong to me, I will give them refuge. Only once you have to offer yourself to me, I will then protect you! God belongs to everyone. There is nothing new or unique about this. But if you can offer your thoughts, words and deeds to God, in short, if you offer yourself to God, then that is special!
This kingdom belongs to God and it is His duty to protect you. As a first step towards that, we are going to start a small ashram in this place. When I am here to offer services and protection to the people of this place, I have no wish to cause any harm or trouble to anyone. work to all, will not harm anyone. My wish is, we will start the ashram with whatever is here, without disturbing anything.
All the five elements belongs to God end of the day. Unfortunately, man has drawn lines on this earth, sold and bought land, as though he created it! Man by himself cannot create a drop of water, but he sells to quench the thirst of people! There are taxes when he uses the earth, and there is tax when you drink water. If it goes like this, the day is not far, when he will have to pay tax to breathe! It is because of man’s selfishness, which makes Him see like this. For the one with the broad heart, the whole world is His family.
You should all join together and become a mighty river of love and service. All services offered will be free-of-cost. What has started here, will be supported by people from around the world! After all, a few months ago, those who are seated here didn’t know each other. But Swami brought them together to serve you all and similarly, more people will join. Without any distinction of gender, caste and religion, this will be a service center. I will come back within one year, to start the service. I have given a clear mandate, there will be a day clinic, day school and an ashram. This is all beginning now like a small stream, but will become a big river in the years to come! A training center and a speciality hospital will also be constructed. It will train young boys and girls, so they can earn a respectable livelihood. Youth have all the energy. If they are taught well, they can use their energy in a good way. Therefore beginning with a schools education, it will become a technical institute.
Many women have lost their husbands. Not only will Swami look after their children, but will provide them livelihood. All this will happen in front of your eyes! When all of you join together and work, all this will happen. Let us change the way our children will see the world. Let them not feel the world is full of worry and suffering. It is our responsibility to leave the world which is full of love. Let them not suffer, what we have undergone. I will hold your hands and lead you! All I expect you to do is to follow obediently, and I will lead you into a world of peace, joy and unity.
There are enough armies which have come and left their footprints on this place. They wanted to bring peace, but how can they with a weapon in one hand? This army should have love in one hand as the weapon. Let this be the true army, the army of Sai! That will bring peace which was lost for a long time!”
This electrifying discourse by Bhagawan ended with Arathi and prasadam distribution. Narayana Seva was done to the nearby village, and Swami blessed the food packets abundantly. Before heading back, Bhagawan toured the land around the site and drove all the way upto the beach! His way of sending love and light around!
After a quick lunch, the entourage made their way back to Piliyandala to the Jayewardene residence.