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Divine Visit – Sri Sathya Sai Prashantiniketanam, Nallakadirenahalli – February 17, 2018

Bhagawan’s visits to the Educational Campuses add so much value to the very purpose of those living there as students and staff, in this magnificent setting of a cosmic drama, acting the roles of disciples and preceptors, all treading the path of transformation and spiritual realization.

One such visit to Sri Sathya Sai Prashantiniketanam Girls PU College was willed by the Divine on February 17, 2018. Bhagawan arrived at the Campus at around 10:30 a.m and He was welcomed by Vedic procession. He first went into His room, rested for a while and spoke to the guests.

Later, Bhagawan blessed the Brass band room, Computer lab, Library, Physics lab, Biology lab, Class rooms and Kitchen. Thereafter, Bhagawan went to the Prayer Hall where the programme was conducted. Programme started with Vedic invocation by students. They chanted Devi Suktam.

Soon after this, a welcome speech was delivered by Dr. Alamelu Ramasamy, the Director of Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence. This was followed by soulful rendition of devotional songs by the music group, at Bhagawan’s lotus feet. There were two student speakers on that day. The first speaker was Divyashree G M , II PU who shared with everyone about the way in which Bhagawan intervened in her life to change her parents’ mind and took her to His fold. This was followed by another speech by Javali Battu- I year B.A., who thanked Bhagawan heart fully for blessing her with a wonderful family in which everybody lives only for Him. Later, He commanded Mr. Kishan Singhal from Canada to address. He expressed his happiness about the Campus and children.

Soon after the speeches, Bhagawan blessed the students with His Divine Discourse. He spoke about His love for the students and their love for Him. He expressed that the Campus exudes love for God and in turn receives immeasurable love from God.  Bhagawan exhorted that if students face a situation where they have to choose between God and anything of the world, they should always choose only God, because when God is with them everything else comes on its own. He quoted the examples of Bharata, Vibhishana, Meera and Bali Chakravarthy who prioritised God leaving other things behind. Bhagawan also mentioned that He would be starting a PU College at Jayapura for girls, so that parents of children in that region need not send their children too far. He also said that, He would take all the Prashantiniketanam girls to Jayapura campus for the PU college inauguration in the month of June.  He concluded His discourse by telling that He was very happy to see all the students and staff developing love for each other and for God.

Bhagawan commanded to prepare the Prayer Hall for lunch. In the meantime, He visited the Chemistry lab as well. He had lunch along with the guests, students and staff and distributed ice creams to all.

Before departure to Muddenahalli, Mangala Arati was offered to Bhagawan. Thus, ended the Divine visit to Sri Sathya Sai Prashantiniketanam – An abode of supreme peace. 

          

How to get out of cycle of birth and death?

The love of the Gopis of the Vraja is the highest, is the ideal one: so said even Narada. Having attained such a devotion, one becomes completely satisfied, contented. Such a person has attained everything and there is nothing more to be attained. And, at last, he becomes immortal. Every desire that we entertain, every action that we undertake, they are definitely  going to have reactions, there is not doubt about it. This is law of the universe. How is it going to end, how is this cycle going to be disrupted and we can liberate ourselves? That is where Bhakti or love for God comes as a solution. Just the way the lotus flower grows in the water but does not allow the water to stick to it, likewise the person who is suffused, is immersed in Bhakti would not allow the world to settle on him.

Not only it will not allow the action reaction to stick to us today but even those of the past once offered to God with love, will vanish. When you keep doing things out of devotion for God then all the actions are offered to God, the reactions are also naturally offered to God. Therefore, devotion is the surest and the fastest way to get out of this cycle of birth and death which is caused by our actions and their reactions. The best thing to do is to have a Purvatapa when you realise that I have to offer this to God after doing it, so let me not do a thing which is not good to be offered.

True repentance after having undertaken an action and offering it to God or thinking of the consequences of such an action whether it will be worth offering to God, either ways you will be able to get rid of the consequences. Like Arjuna, your mind should consult Krishna who is the heart and this is the conversation that should happen between the mind and the heart. After receiving the answer from the heart that whether it is good for everyone, whether this is righteous, whether it is going to take us closer to God, we must undertake the action. All the time if you love God and you think of God and do everything for the love of God, then there is no question of you doing wrong things in the first place and by chance if you have done wrong also, you will be able to with repentance offer it to God and escape the consequences. Like the Gopis and Gopalas of the past, may you all develop such unsullied pure selfless devotion to the Lord and with that be of service to Lord and others and thus get out of this cycle of birth and death and become immortal.

What gives tremendous joy to Swami?

The whole world, in fact the whole universe, the entire cosmos is governed by these three qualities of Satvika, Rajasika and Tamasika. For a person who is suffused with pure and noble qualities of Satvika Guna, whether he rests or acts, both will be pure. As long as these qualities are under the control of Divinity, there is no harm. As long as these qualities are under the control, under the guidance of Shiva, they are very useful to everyone in pursuing this path of spiritual progress. However, losing focus on the Lord when we grow more in the Tamasik qualities or we develop a lot of doership and passion through Rajas, either ways it harms us.  

On this night of Shivaratri, we attempt to overcome Tamasik Gunas by Rajas of doing Bhajans, Namasmarana and various other spiritual activities which are motivated ultimately by this feeling of Satva. Body which is Jada is motivated by the Tamasik Gunas, it is suffused with Tamasik guna. Left to itself, it will do nothing, it will lie like a stone. Rajas which is the quality of action, quality of passion is the quality of mind which is like the driver of this car of body. It always wants to act; it cannot stay quiet or silent even for a moment. The Atman which is the master of this body and also the mind. When Atman which is full of Satvik qualities guides the driver who is full of Rajas to move the vehicle which is full of Tamas then the progress or the journey happens. So on this night during these Tamasik hours, we put an effort to overcome our Tamasik qualities through Rajasik qualities of doing Bhajans but that is motivated by the pure noble feelings of divinity and not for the sake of any action.

If every month at least for one night we undertake this kind of spiritual activity, then it will help us keep our Gunas under our control all through the year. From the instincts of the animal qualities that are deep within our body consciousness, (Shiva) helps us rise to the divine qualities which are also present as the Atma Bhava in every one. When people follow what Swami says, they work towards realisation of their Divine self, they work selflessly for the sake of others just as Swami, that gives tremendous joy to Swami, otherwise He feels the sorrow. All I aspire is that My devotees should become fearless, selfless Divine beings who are living always in this God feeling wherever whatever they are doing, however they are, they are always immersed in this divine feeling.

When a child asks, “Koham? Who am I?”, what should our response be?

In the Vedas, we find four great declarations of the Vedic sages. The first one is Prajnanam Brahma – Supreme wisdom is God; Ayam atma Brahma – I am this Atma and also Brahma; Tat tvam asi – Thou art That; the ultimate one is Aham Brahmasmi  – I am Brahma. These great truths, not only do we find them in the Vedas, we also find them in the Nirvana Shataka which was composed by Adi Sankaracharya. This particular composition was not a figment of his imagination. He just described his own direct first-hand experience. I am neither the mind nor the intelligence nor the sub-conscious mind nor the ego. I am not really any of these five senses. I am not any of these five elements which constitute this universe. I am none other than the very embodiment of truth, bliss and awareness. He also experienced that he was nothing but that Shiva principle. 

Every child which asks the question, “Koham? Who am I?” it is necessary we give the answer, “Shivoham. I am Shiva. You are Shiva.” Shiva, we generally think is the form of the Shankara but actually Shiva is nothing but the truth which teaches us that you are divine. When we utter ‘Shivoham’ we are just identifying ourselves with the divinity, with the qualities of divinity of truth, being, awareness and bliss. If you want to experience God who is formless, you have to experience a god with a form and a name. Start with Sakar with a form, and end with Nirakar the formless. The name and form of God are only a stepping stone to reach the ultimate state of formlessness and we should not get deluded and trapped with the name and form of God. 

This particular complex today we are naming it as ‘Shivoham’. We need to put in effort to understand the inner significance of this name ‘Shivoham’ and also try to experience it to the extent possible for us. Anyone who steps into this area, a very divine holy sacred feeling will arise in him or her. When we join Satsang or good company, naturally good feelings will emerge in our hearts. It is a very meritorious deed that today we are starting such a very sacred task. Anybody who comes here should try to recognise the truth that ‘I am myself the very embodiment of divinity.’ We are establishing this complex in order to demonstrate the truth that everyone is divine. I aspire and bless that all of you will put in the effort required to know the truth of the statement that “I am divine” and fill your lives with great bliss and joy.

How should you chant the Lord’s name?

Any name that you take and you attach your mind to that name, it will redeem you from the bondage of worldliness. When you chant that name, there should be the feeling of devotion. That is supremely important. A worst of the sinner (Valmiki) who murdered, looted and troubled people was redeemed by merely chanting the name of Lord Rama with great devotion and sincerity. Even once you chant ‘Aum Shri Sai Ram’ with complete devotion, with a heart which is completely surrendered in love to God, that one chanting itself is capable of redeeming you of all your past. First and foremost, where our body is that is where our mind should be and our heart should be – all three should be always together. When you bring all these three things together – your hands that are doing Bhajans, your head that is thinking continuously of the Lord and your heart that is full of devotion – when all these three H come together, then there is effect. And if you develop this kind of a concentration, this concentration will help you do anything that you want to do – be it sports, be it your studies, be it your examination, be it your music – any field that you touch, you will be able to succeed with this kind of a concentration.

You do not have to undertake any rigorous penance or austerities or undertake any hardships in order to attain God. With love and surrender if you chant His name, even once, He will be yours. And He will ensure that His Nama becomes the Nava – the boat- that takes you across this ocean of worldliness. The best example of such devotion is undoubtedly Hanumantha whose heart is always full of the name of Rama, whose hands are always in the service of Rama, whose head is always thinking of Rama Seva, Rama Karya. All heart, head and hand at all times are immersed in Rama. The dacoit who chanted became a sage, the monkey who chanted became a god. Children! You are so good, you are so devoted; if you chant Lord’s name, you think of Lord, you serve Lord, imagine what you can become.

On this Shivaratri, we are also going to begin the construction of a 153 feet tall Lord Shiva. This whole place Nandikshetra is Shivakshetra. That will be a place for meditation so that people can transcend their mind and absorb themselves into the Shiva Tatva or the Atma Tatva. That is how this place will grow and grow and grow and grow further in its spiritual glory and lead to the next Avatar who will further take this mission of spirituality, mission of installing gods in human hearts further and that is the future that is awaiting this entire place.

What is the golden standard to lead one’s life?

One can give up one’s individual self for the sake of the family; one can give up the family for the sake of the community; one can give up one’s own community for the sake of the greater good of all; and at the end, one can give up everything – even the earth- for the sake of God. These words of wisdom from the Bheeshma Parva of Mahabharata are the guide posts for one to lead one’s life in a proper way. This is the golden standard for one to lead one’s life by making the right decisions at every step. When you have to make a decision in life, however small or big it may be, apply this yardstick of greater good of more compared to greater good of you.

Even one’s own mother, father, brother – Mata Pita Bandhu Sakha Guru– whoever it might be, if they come in your way to God, then definitely you have to choose God over everything else. Yes, all these people who sacrificed things for God’s sake might have suffered a little bit of discomfort, a little bit of setback, a little bit of difficulties initially but ultimately, they are the ones who attained the everlasting glory.  When our own mother, father, friend or guru come in our way to God, then obviously the dictum says that one must choose God above everything else. And when you have attained God, when you have received the grace of God by choosing thus, definitely God will look after everything else – all your duties, responsibilities and all that is needed for you and your family. Not only He will give you happiness and fulfilment in your life, but He will also ensure that all your people – Parijana – that is all your family and the relations will also find the highest happiness and fulfilment in their lives too.

We know what is right, what is correct, what is true, yet we do not have the will power or ability to do that. We know what is not right, what is not correct, what is not to be done yet we do not have the will power to avoid doing that and thus we come to our own destruction. Therefore, first and foremost, you do self-analysis and understand what is coming in your way. I wish and bless that all of you will pay great attention to these words of truth, the words of wisdom which have stood the test of time for centuries and ages and practise it in your own daily lives, benefit from it, find fulfilment and happiness.

Divyaatmaswarupullara!

When the Premamrutham Hall was inaugurated, Swami got the painting of Dashavatars of Maha Vishnu done in the traditional Mysore style by an artist who hailed from the family of painters from the court of Mysore Maharaja. This collection which now adorns the Premamrutham Hall is the largest in the world by size. However, as per the scriptural injunctions of Vishnu Purana, the ten Avatars of Lord Vishnu depicted were, Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parashurama, Rama, Krishna, Balarama and Kalki. Lord Buddha who is generally shown as the ninth Avatar was replaced by Balarama as per the Mysore tradition. This confused a tiny tot who promptly stopped Swami in His tracks and asked, “Swami who is the ninth Avatar over there?”(pointing to the stage top). Swami looked up and said, “That is Balarama”. The worried boy asked, “Then what about Lord Buddha?” I was wondering as to what Swami would reply to this, when He playfully said, “Why worry about Buddha, why not your photo over there? You are an Avatar too.” The boys around burst in to laughter so did Swami. But Swami quickly regained His poise and said, “No, I am serious, you are also God just as they are.”

Isn’t it why He calls all of us, “Divyaatmaswarupullara”- Personifications of Divinity!

Maha Shivaratri Celebrations – Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli – February 13 & 14, 2018

FEBRUARY 13, 2018 – MORNING

The morning of 13th brought a fresh fervour of devotion in Muddenahalli as the preparations for the celebrations of  one of the holiest of nights were about to start. Shivaratri, the night dedicated to Lord Shiva; a night when the moon is visible in its last ‘Kalā’ symbolising the invitation to completely control the mind and offer it to the Lord; a night that is spent in observing a vigil, offering prayers and praises to the Lord, was here. The significance of this day, and night is very special and Swami has often mentioned that it is one of the best chances to put your mind under control. What better chance could  one get than to spend the very night in the presence of ‘Sai Shiva’ Himself!

Swami performed the Bhoomi Puja for the Shiva statue that will be constructed and completed in eighteen months. There would be a hall with a seating capacity of around 500 people as well. The area will be known as ‘Shivoham’. Speaking at the ceremony, Brother Bharat Kumar mentioned how Swami clarified the ‘Desh-Kāla-Paristhithi’ condition of the choice of installing Lord Shiva’s statue in this area. He mentioned that Swami pointed out that this is a ‘Shiva-Kshetra’, the area of Lord Shiva because Lord Rama installed a Shivalinga in the same place.

The next speaker was Sri B N Narasimha Murthy who spoke about Lord Rama’s journey from North to South India and how He integrated the whole of India through His sojourn. He told the story of how the sculptor, Shilpi Subramanya came to Puttaparthi and then now to Muddenahalli, who will be in charge of sculpting this massive Shiva statue which will be 153 feet tall. 

Minister for Law and Minor Irrigation of Karnataka, Sri T B Jayachandra addressed the gathering next, and spoke briefly about the good fortune of everyone present.

Swami in His discourse said, “Shiva, we generally think is the form of the Shankara but actually Shiva is nothing but the truth which teaches us that you are divine. If you want to know what sweetness is, you have to put a sweet into your mouth and then you will experience the sweetness. The sweetness does not have a name and a form. But a sweet has a name and a form. Sweetness is only a quality. It does not have a name and form. When we utter ‘Shivoham’ we are just identifying ourselves with the divinity, with the qualities of divinity of truth, being, awareness and bliss. If you want to experience sweetness, you have to eat a sweet. Similarly, if you want to experience God who is formless, you have to experience a god with a form and a name. Start with Sakar with a form, and end with Nirakar, the formless. The name and form of God are only a stepping stone to reach the ultimate state of formlessness and we should not get deluded and trapped with the name and form of God.” Swami concluded His discourse by saying that the Shivoham complex was being established in order to demonstrate the truth that everyone is divine!

Thereafter, Swami proceeded to the Premamrutham Hall for the Maha Lingabhishekam and morning proceedings. The Abhishekam, was followed by Mangala Arati, after which Swami very graciously walked among the devotees to sprinkle the sacred Puja water. Indeed a wonderful blessing for all!

FEBRUARY 13, 2018 – EVENING

The much-awaited evening arrived—the dusk that would lead to the glorious ‘Ratri’ dedicated to the Lord, and a bigger-than-a-golden-chance to spend the same night in the very presence of the Lord Himself. No good action of the past, or Karma, could secure such a blessing, but only the grace of the Lord, who is always ready to shower His Love on the devotees and is hailed ‘Bholā—the one who is naive and is easily pleased’.

Swami entered the Premamrutham Hall from the stage-side and quickly proceeded to sit on the stage. He then lit the lamp to mark the beginning of the evening’s proceedings. The Bhajans started and everybody eagerly awaited the rarest of the event that was expectedly about to happen—yes, the emergence of the Lingam. An occasion of special blessedness, because Swami had declared that whoever sees the emergence of the Lingam would be liberated from the cycles of birth and death.

Everybody were waiting for the occurrence as they didn’t want to miss the chance. It was a rare occasion that lifted humanity to the level of the divinity and gave a singular opportunity to feel the unison.

After around half an hour, the Golden Lingam emerged and the devotees were delighted—they marveled at their good fortune that was granted to them by Swami.

However, it was not over, as after a little while, another Golden Lingam emerged. Thereafter, Swami, out of the unending bounty of mercy for His devotees, went around the Hall showing and giving the chance to the devotees to touch the Lingams. It was an occasion of overflowing flood of devotion as everybody seemed eager and almost falling over each other to touch the Lingams—Swami, enjoying the play of God and His devotees—delightfully carried the Lingams to every nook and corner of the Hall.

After satisfying every thirsting soul, Swami proceeded towards the stage and returned to Anandam after a few Bhajans.

FEBRUARY 14, 2018

The divine energy and spiritual gaiety at Muddenahalli was at its pinnacle after the auspicious Lingodbhavam on the Maha Shivaratri. The blessed devotees who were filled with bliss after witnessing the divine manifestation waited for the arrival of Bhagawan at the Premamrutham Hall in the morning. Bhagawan arrived at around 5:30 a.m. amidst mellifluous Bhajans which were being sung in full gusto. After lovingly giving Darshan and blessing the devotees gathered, He took His seat, enjoying the glory of His names being sung with full devotion. 

Once the Akhanda Bhajans concluded, the morning session began with two books and a DVD launch. 

First was the book launch of ‘Sri Sathya Sai Uvacha – Volume 2’, translated in Kannada by the Sri Anantha Murthy, former Chairman of Sri Sathya Sai Sharadaniketanam, Mandya Campus and his wife Smt Chaya Murthy. Both have been re-tyred by Bhagawan and are currently serving as Mentors to the High School, Higher Primary School and Hostel at Muddenhalli.

This was followed by the launch of ‘Sri Sathya Sai Uvacha – Volume 2’, translated in Tamil by the Dr Alagarswamy from Dindigul and was edited by Smt Suchitra Ravindran, an alumnus of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur Campus. Both of them offered the book to Swami for His blessings. Thereafter, a DVD of the 92nd Birthday Celebrations of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was lovingly launched by Bhagawan and Brother Rajkumar Ganayarapu and Brother Dileep Kotla who had worked tirelessly on the same were profusely blessed.

Shiva Prasad Bhat, who is currently pursuing his second year at the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence addressed the gathering next. He talked about how Swami is working for the transformation of all and how we should be ready for His directions. The next speaker was Sri B N Narasimha Murthy, after which Bhagawan delivered His Divine discourse. Bhagawan said that the whole world is a cosmic dance of Shiva which is nothing but the dance of these three Gunas. “This is a night to pay our gratitude to the Lord who is all the time vigilant of our spiritual progress, helping us destroy our body consciousness full of Tamas and helps us rise to the Divine consciousness of Atman. On this holy day, after having observed the Shivaratri night here and across the world, the only wish that I would like to express is I do not want to be venerated with all kinds of flowers and fruits and Abhishekas, but if you can offer the Patram the body, as the Patra or the leaf at My feet, if you can offer the heart as the flower – Hrudayapushpam at My feet, if you can offer all your actions – the Karmaphala at My feet and ultimately shed tears of compassion, tears of bliss then that is the Thoyam that would be befitting worship for Shiva!”

This was followed by Mangala Arati and Breakfast Prasadam  distribution, thus concluding the most glorious Shivaratri Celebrations.

Divine Visit – Singapore – February 08, 2018

Last day of the trip, and Swami’s entourage packed to depart in the evening back to Bangalore. But there was one last Satsang in the morning at the residence of Smt Rekha and Sri Kishore Parikh. Their son Saumil, daughter-in-law Mona and their two little girls also live in the same house, which they call Swami’s house, and they are mere care takers. Close to 75 people had gathered, and Swami reached their residence around 10:45 a.m amidst Purna Kumbham and Bhajans. After a couple of Bhajans, Swami beckoned Sri Kishore Parikh to welcome everyone that morning. He fell short of words, was choked with emotions and barely said a few words before handing the mike over to Swami, who spoke about the sacrifices of this family.

Swami then called upon Mr Isaac Tigrett to speak about the ‘gift of love’. From the first hospital in Puttaparthi, to the schools and multitudes of projects around the world which are being established in an unprecedented way, he humble submitted that all these are His ‘Gifts of Love’ to humanity. He also added that the greatest gift of love is to realise that all are divine beings and to see that divinity in everyone around. “Can you imagine the energy that you are really tuning into when you see divinity in other people or see it in yourself? This is the gift.  And it is available to all of you. Not just this lifetime, it has always been available in all of your lifetimes. This energy, this truth, this one truth is your opportunity to get it right. To at least walk the path, to begin to walk the path of the gift of love. That is what it is. Love!”

Sri C Sreenivas spoke about the greatest lesson life can teach, an experience which results in gratitude. He said that gratitude comes as a direct communion with Swami. Sri Sreenivas reminisced the time when Swami came to his home for the very first when he was barely eight years, and the journey with Him thereafter, where he learnt the lesson that Swami did not belong to this world. “What stood out in Swami’s life was always gratitude. He was so grateful to anybody and everybody that came into His life. It did not matter to Him how much He loved them but that tiny little bit of love they showed to Him, and He was grateful!” A big lesson for each person to imbibe.

Sri B N Narasimha Murthy in his speech spoke about the Bhagavad Gita and reminded everyone about the final and the most important lesson which is surrender to His lotus feet. “Whatever happens in our life, Swami knows it. It does not happen without His knowledge. Even another way of looking at it is that it happens because He wants that to happen. The ultimate message from the Bhagavad Gita is ‘With all your soul and heart, surrender to Him. By His grace, you will attain stable eternal peace and also find your real home.’” He concludes by saying that it is a great fortune to be sitting at His Lotus Feet!

Bhagawan then blessed all with His divine message. Thereafter, the Lord granted a few interviews, and lunch was served to Him and all the gathered devotees.  was offered and Swami departed back to the Pillay residence. In the evening, the entourage proceeded to the Changi Airport to board their flight back to Bangalore.

            

Divine Visit – Singapore – February 07, 2018

Yet another wonderful day with God was to unfold. After breakfast Swami and His entourage proceeded to the residence of a young couple, Chubby Jayaram and his wife Kamini, daughter of Dr Ravi Pillay. Swami had graciously performed their wedding in Muddenahalli few months ago. He blessed their residence upon reaching which He had lovingly named as ‘Sai Hrudayam’. Swami elaborated on the significance of the name as, “It’s not a home, but the heart of Sai in which you would live. God lives in every heart by default, but only a true devotee lives in God’s heart.”

After an overwhelmed Chubby welcomed all with a throat choked with emotions and said, “Kamini and I will never be able to fully understand Swami’s love for us”, Swami replied, “You cannot fathom Swami’s love. You will dissolve in the love, and become that love. It is easy for people to keep God in their hearts, of course God is in every heart. But the question you should ask yourself is, whether you are in God’s heart or not. A true devotee is one who finds himself or herself in God’s heart.” Swami then beckoned Dr Ravi Pillay to say a few words, and he said everyone should implicitly follow Swami’s command, whatever may be the situation. Sri C Sreenivas gave his blessings to the young couple, and said that it is important for all to sync dynamism with equilibrium, and it is indeed a blessing of an attitude that everything is God! Sri B N Narasimha Murthy quoted the last verse of Bhagawad Gita which says that “with all your heart and soul surrender to God”. He urged everyone to be grateful and said that this gratitude lifts life to a higher level.

Swami said there are four kinds of devotees who come to God or worship Him. They are the Arthis (they approach God with some kind of a problem and seek relief), Artharthis (they approach God for wealth and fame), Jignasu (Out of curiosity to know the greater truth of existence they come to God), and Jnani (they come to God for God’s sake, to enjoy His grace and proximity). Out of these four, the dearest are the Jnanis who are there for God’s sake. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna explains this well in Chapter 12 – Bhakti Yoga. Swami said, “Take a deep spiritual study of Bhakti Yoga, as it sets the goal and standard of devotion. It talks about the devotee who is dear to God, and explains the quality of such a devotee. Anapeksha Suchirdaksha Udhasino Gathavyata – one should desire only for God, and desiring God for God’s sake is important. ‘Anapeksha’ – bereft of all other desires one should desire only for God, be pure, be capable and be detached from whatever happens. If you desire, love and wish for God, everything will fall in place. The only goal and purpose of life is to be God! Life is to pursue God.” Lunch Prasadam was served to all, and soon after Swami departed back to the Pillay residence for the afternoon.

It was in fact a very short afternoon break, as all were busy preparing for an exciting trip with Bhagawan on a boat – ‘Sai-ling in the seas with the Lord of the Universe!’ Everyone gathered at Sentosa Island by 4:30, and the Lord arrived in a buggy to the boat. There was excitement all around, and the next four hours was complete bliss for the 14 blessed families and Swami’s entourage. Everyone were truly amazed at how Swami was comfortably speaking to this intimate group, various matters from spirituality to politics! Dinner was served to Swami in His bedroom at the lower deck of the boat, and thereafter the devotees asked a few questions to the Lord, before the boat docked back at Sentosa Island at 9 p.m. after a memorable trip which will be etched in the memory of every single person, who was overwhelmed with gratitude for this once in a lifetime opportunity with God!

Divine Visit – Singapore – February 06, 2018

As the entourage reached Singapore after mid night, the next morning was quiet and relaxed. Of course the ‘Singapore gang’ and the youth were busy preparing for the Public Satsang in the evening at Sai Anandam.

Over 400 people had gathered, and Swami entered amidst Bhajans. The Satsang was streamed LIVE across the world. Mr Isaac Tigrett, the first speaker as always announced that Swami had commanded him to speak of the Lord Himself, about Sai Baba. He quipped to say that Swami might have to keep the time and perhaps might throw a flower at him to indicate the time was up, the Lord had given him only ten minutes to speak. Mr Tigrett said, “God created man in His own image. This is not the physical image, it is the spiritual image. That same essence that is sitting in this chair right now! It is the immortal image of yourselves because you are all immortal although not many people especially these days can understand that possibility. And who is Sai Baba? Sai Baba is the cosmic master. Only through faith can you accept that a cosmic master is sitting in that chair and even more so, that He actually sits within each heart. And that faith goes on and grows, and as the faith grows, it eventually becomes something known as blind faith where you accept these things 24/7, you know them to be true because you were told. I know that I am a divine being, I know that I am immortal. You know why? Because He told me and I have faith in Him. That is all I need. To know the truth all I need to have faith in the Master. And if that faith grows to this blind stage, then something really extraordinary occurs which is called surrender. Then you surrender your five senses, you surrender everything – time, everything is surrendered to your higher nature and you become the cosmic Master. You surrender to who you are, you become it. And that is what Sai Baba is!” It was a little above ten minutes, and Brother Madhusudan pulled out a flower from the vase next to Swami on His command, which got everyone laughing, and gave it to Mr Tigrett as he finished the speech. It is very endearing to see the relationship between God and this devotee!
 
Sri C Sreenivas spoke next about the journey of the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani which is truly a manifestation of the Divine will. He said that patient care, clinical care, education, training and research opportunities will mean so much to young doctors or doctors to be when they come to this Institution, as they would get to learn and imbibe the values that come out of this Institution.

Sri B N Narasimha Murthy spoke about Swami’s compassion which touches everybody, manifested as free healthcare with compassion. He reminisced Swami’s 65th Birthday when He announced about the Super Specialty Hospital in Puttaparthi. Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence is coming up. Swami’s another gift to humanity is free education with wisdom. In just a short span of five years, a Sri Sathya Sai University of Human Excellence will be established and inaugurated by Swami in June 2018. The University will create dedicated men and women who would sacrifice themselves at the altar of Swami’s educational institutions. As teachers, as principals, as wardens, as administrators, as educationists, they will take Swami’s message all over the world!

Bhagawan in His divine message reminded everyone that if a person does not have purity of heart, how can the principle of God or Divinity be taught, as this principle of Atman is only for those who have purity of heart. Despite being Divine, few understand this great nature of divinity that they truly are. The divinity that exists within and without is perceptible to those who are not afflicted with the disease of worldliness, that does not allow them to experience this divinity that exists around. A tongue stricken with fever cannot taste the food correctly for everything tastes bitter to it. Likewise, a person afflicted with worldliness cannot experience divinity, though divinity exists at all times. So what is this whole spirituality about? It is truly an inward path where the effort is to gradually and slowly, get rid of this worldliness which obstructs our experience of our own divinity and allow ourselves to be what we truly are!”

Swami answered a few questions, including an interesting one about Prema Sai, where the devotee asked in which year and month will all be able to see the physical form of Prema Sai.

Swami in His inimitable style answered this, “Sun rises in different countries at different times, likewise different people will come to Prema Sai at different times, based on their own evolution. As the Earth turns, the Sun rises and then we have the light and the warmth of Sun for us. Likewise, when people turn towards God that is when God will become available to them more easily, more regularly.

So when one will see Prema Sai, I have to ask this question to you, when will you be ready to see Him? I mentioned before that earlier it was like Primary school, now it has become High school and it has to go to the University. Only those who have passed Primary school can be admitted to High School and only those who passed High school can join the University. Likewise, who will see Him when, where, how will totally depend on where the person has reached in his spiritual growth! Even otherwise if you render to see Him it would be of no use because you would not understand anything, since you have not done your homework, you have not studied, not done the High school well, so even if you get admitted to the University you will not understand anything. So to each person He will come in His own way in different points of time. But just to put your curiosity to rest and the curiosity of all the others which you arose by this question, it is to say, Swami has a plan and He works according to a plan, which is the Master plan! As for this Master plan after Swami has spent 96 years in this Jiva Prajna as Sai Baba, the next plan will unfold. And as the next plan unfolds it will take a little while for people to understand who and what it is. As Shirdi Baba stayed away from people during His indicial years, and revealed Himself as Avatar to the society and public on a later day. The same was with Sathya Sai Baba, who was away from the public and not available to everyone a certain number of years and then he made Himself known, seen and available for everyone else, in the same way after Jiva Prajna of Sathya Sai there will be a gap in which Prema Sai will wait and not make Himself available for everyone. But as I said, again it is not the question when He becomes available to you, but when you will become available to Him and that will make the difference. Else even though we see, we will not see. The scriptures say, ‘He sees but does not see. Such a person is a foolish person.’ Likewise even though we are there, we will not benefit from it so you have to wait for the right time.

All I can say is that the good part is that you still have time in which you can prepare yourself and be available to Him and enjoy the Divinity and proximity in the presence of God in that form.

So, it’s not too far, and at the same time my Master plan doesn’t allow Me to reveal dates and time like that. It is almost like asking the examiner what are the questions coming in the exam. All I can say is that the questions are coming, you prepare well for it, you pass the exam and get admitted! That’s most important!”

Mangala Arati was offered, and Swami blessed many families with interviews, before His dinner.

Divine Visit – Vientiane – February 05, 2018

The various social initiatives of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, be it health, education or water, have always been a huge blessing to humanity. Swami has always said ‘My Life is My Message’, and it is indeed very endearing to see how so many devotees around the world have taken cue from these projects and have tried to implement them in their own countries. One such inspiring example which Swami’s entourage were to witness was right in the heart of Vientiane! A Sathya Sai School and a medical Centre, offering values-based integral education as per the principals of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The school serves the underprivileged children of about 16 villages, comprising of about 9,000 people. The school has about 163 children and eight staff members, from kindergarten to Grade 5. The Medical Centre provides basic out patient services, and day-to-day medical requirements of children and elders. Swami and His entourage reached the school at around 10:45 a.m. and were received by all the little children who were lined up outside holding roses, and sweetly greeting all with a ‘Sairam’. The devotees including the Jeswani and Kolay Brothers who are managing the running of the school lovingly welcomed Swami. The Indian Ambassador to Laos H E Mr Ravi Shankar Aisola along with his wife were also present at the school. Swami visited every classroom and blessed all the children. He said this primary school will have a High School by next year, and will eventually grow into a University! Swami then walked up to the Medical Centre which is within the same premises, and blessed the doctors and nurses. He commanded the devotees to set aside one room exclusively for the Divine Mother and Child Health Program, and instructed Sri C Sreenivas to send some doctors from India who can train the team in Laos.

Swami then walked up to the Hall where a short cultural programme was presented by all the children. The first 10 minutes was Veda Chanting by all the children in unison. It was a sheer delight to see these children chant these Mantras including Sai Gayathri. Thereafter, two short cultural Laotian dances were presented. Swami then blessed all the students and staff with His divine discourse. He said that the most important lesson that education must teach is the existence of God, love for God and how one can love God. “If one learns all the knowledge of the world, and not the knowledge of God, then education is incomplete. The question ‘Who is God?’ should be asked before one learns to love Him. God is the one who is closer to us, than our own mother and father. For He loves without any expectations and desires whatsoever, completely and selflessly. ‘Does such a God even exist?’ one may ask. How do I know He loves me so purely and selflessly without any expectations? The very proof that God loves is in nature. This whole creation has come into existence by God. To have a shirt, one needs to have a tailor to have the shirt stitched. To make a chair, a carpenter is required. To have food, there has to be a cook. None of these can exist without their creator. The sun, mon and earth, fire, wind cannot come into existence without someone having created them. You may not know the tailor or carpenter, but they exist. Similarly, all of God’s creation is there to show God exists. So you can simply say all this has been created by God for all of us. He gave the sun who gives his light, earth to walk….why? God gave all this totally free without expecting anything in return. Therefore, He has given all these without any expectations, so His love is very pure and selfless. Beyond all subjects that are taught, the knowledge of the presence of God in our lives is important, and we should be able to love Him!” Swami then blessed all the children with Prasadam, and proceeded back to His residence for lunch. After lunch, Mangala Arati was offered to Bhagawan, and His entourage proceeded to the Airport to board their flight to Singapore.

Divine Visit – Vientiane – February 03 and 04, 2018

After breakfast on February 03, Swami’s entourage proceeded to the Changi Airport to board their flight to Vientiane in Laos, Southeast Asian country traversed by the Mekong River. With a rich history stretching back 10,000 years, Laos is a landlocked country known for mountainous terrain, French colonial architecture, hill tribe settlements and Buddhist monasteries. Upon reaching Vientiane, the entourage were lovingly received by the Kolay brothers, Debojit and Avijit, the Jeswani brothers, Rajesh and Kamal, along with other devotees. This group of devotees in Laos, with simplicity as their first name, are engaged in a lot of selfless Seva and Swami’s entourage were waiting for the next day and a half to unfold itself in the most beautiful way. Upon reaching the residence of one of the devotees late afternoon, snacks were served to all. Apart from many devotees from Laos, many had gathered from Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Everyone rested in the evening, and after dinner all retired for the night.

The next morning February 04, after a wonderful breakfast of traditional Laotian and Indian dishes, all gathered to bask in Swami’s love. The prayer hall was newly constructed for Swami’s arrival, and looked absolutely majestic. Swami blessed a few families with interviews before He came to the prayer Hall for Satsang.

As always, Mr Isaac Tigrett was the first speaker, who started by saying, “No one can tell you what to believe, and no one can tell you what not to believe. We are all on individual journeys, and no two journeys are alike. But we are all headed for the same destination!” He spoke of the three unprecedented divine Sai Avatars and how they are all ushering in the new golden age.

Sri C Sreenivas spoke next and reminded everyone about some moments in life which are beyond description, which are beautiful experiences, and results of prayers and blessings. He said at the end of it all, there are two things which define life, “our love and God’s presence”. Sri B N Narasimha Murthy in his short speech said that purity, innocence and love can be seen in those who have immense love for God, and added that people in Laos exhibit this well.

Swami in His divine discourse started by saying, “In the whole of creation in this world, God is shining forth. And this relationship which exists between God and His creation is inseparable. Just as the object exists, the reflection also exists. You are the reflection, I am the object. You exist because I exist. The devotion is the relation between God and devotees which is inseparable. God cannot be there without devotees, and vice versa. God manifests for the sake of devotees. Though God is the owner and supreme, God has a name ‘Bhakthaparadeena’ – who is in the control of devotees. Wherever there is pure devotion, God manifests. He does not need any formal invitation, and comes running to the devotees.” Speaking to the Laotian devotees He said, “I could not stay away from your devotion, which was pulling Me! That’s why I am here! Though God is all powerful, He is helpless and cannot stop Himself and comes rushing. Everything that you acquire, posses and gain has to be left behind when you leave this earth. Whether you are a king or pauper, you will ultimately become dust! It is only a matter of time, when you will loose everything that you gain. Keeping that truth in mind, one must lead a selfless life, with love and service to fellow beings. Only the good that you will do to others will remain permanent, all else will vanish. Only those who live a life of sacrifice will remain in the history of immortality!”

Mangala Arati was offered and lunch Prasadam was served to all the devotees.

In the evening, all the devotees yet again gathered to soak themselves in every bit of divine love, as Swami would leave the next day back to Singapore. Mr Isaac Tigrett spoke about how he came to Swami. He spoke at length about how Swami taught him the formless nature of everything and everyone when He did not speak or look at Mr Tigrett for 17 long years!

Acknowledging the presence of the Indian Ambassador, H E Ravi Shankar Aisola along with his wife at the Satsang, Sri C Sreenivas started by saying that from Swami’s life then and now, many people would come to Him, and among them were Indian and foreign diplomats. He narrated an incident from the life of a diplomat, and drove home the point that there is only one – there is no Swami and His devotee. “God and man are not two but one, this should be the final realisation of man!”

Sri B N Narasimha Murthy in his talk reiterated and reminded all that divine masters and Avatars do not belong to one country, as they belong to the whole of mankind. They transcend the boundaries of space and belong to the whole universe. He spoke about how Swami in all His compassion decided to visit Laos and blessed the devotees.

Bhagawan in His divine discourse said that the whole world is governed by the law of love, which is changeless and timeless. From the sun that burns itself out to give light, to the rivers that flow selflessly to serve others. From the trees that bear flowers and fruits, to the cow that gives milk, wherever you see, you see this aspect of selflessness. It will remain as long as the law of love is abided by. It is the same love that has brought God to the universe. When this love starts to recede in the hearts, God descends to teach how to love, give and serve others as He does. God descends to teach humans how to love!”

A devotee disillusioned by the negativity came to Swami and said “When God is here, there is so much violence and restlessness. What has the Avatar done?” Swami had replied “Imagine if I hadn’t come, what would have happened? At least you are not part of the restlessness, and know how to lead your life, to that extent the world is saved!” Swami went on to say, “Definitely the world needs more people like God to save the world. God is doing His duty by teaching, humans need to do their duty too. To clap, you need two hands. It is now upon yourselves to take this message of love to all parts of your country. Just by shouting from the mike, it won’t help. It is only by bending your back and serving with love. Teach values, love and service to children, and this will ensure a better world tomorrow!”

Mangala Arati was offered, and after dinner Swami retired for the night.