The past week brought many moments of joy and laughter as well as wonder and awe to all the students, staff and guests who were basking in the love of their divine Master, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. From teasing His children to describing His vision for water projects and medical centres, from embracing all with His motherly love to revealing His unfathomable Master plan, Swami truly gave everyone a glimpse into the heart of God, which is indeed most loving, compassionate and benevolent. In fact, just the previous Swami spoke about His wish to provide some medical facilities for the Tibetan refugees of Kodaikanal, since they do not receive the benefits of being citizens of India and are therefore unable to afford basic medical care. Swami in His infinite mercy also said that since it would be difficult for them to keep climbing up the hill to reach the medical centre, and He would build something for them at a location more accessible. Such Divine moments of infinite love for all His children were most blissful to witness and an eye opener to the constant shower of Bhagawan’s motherly concern towards His creation.
The final day of the Kodaikanal retreat is always filled with emotion and gratitude to the beloved Lord for allowing everyone to bask in His Divine love, and as everyone proceeded to the Prayer Hall after breakfast, Swami came at around 10.30 a.m. admist the melodious Bhajans. Swami sat for a few Bhajans before commanding Brother Vijay Sai to begin the morning’s proceedings.
As gratitude is always the theme for the last day of the Kodai retreat, Swami blessed each of the volunteers who had worked tirelessly over the past week, cooking, cleaning and taking care of all the guests and students. He spoke about the importance of gratitude and counted one’s blessings, thanking the Lord for all He gives, for it is always more than is deserved. Emphasising on adopting an attitude of gratitude, Swami brought the morning Satsang to a close and Mangala Arati was offered. Thereafter, Prasadam was distributed to everyone and Swami proceeded back to His residence for a short break, while all the students, staff and guests assembled under the canopy erected on the lawns of the Bungalow, which was set up overnight for a fun filled games session with the Lord!
Every year, the ‘picnic’, as Swami calls it, evokes much excitement and childlike joy amongst the youngsters and elders alike, and is a light-hearted session where everyone participates in a quiz with the Lord acting as the overall Master and judge.
After some time, Swami descended from His room and glided to the lawns and ascended the dais where a beautiful jhoola was set up for Him. Thereafter, the organisers, Brother Vijay Sai and his wife Smt Vidya commenced the session by welcoming Swami and introducing the rules of the quiz. Beginning with a round of Anthyakshari and moving on with questions on Swami’s life and mission, Bhajans, dumb charades and even musical chairs for the elders, the morning was filled with much fun and laughter. As always, Swami showered many of His grace marks on the students’ team, but in the end it was the staff who won the games and claimed tokens of love from Swami. Nevertheless, the compassionate Lord threw showers of chocolates on everyone and made sure that every person had received something from Him. After Mangala Arati was offered, Swami returned to His residence to partake lunch with the elders.
In the evening, Swami lovingly came down early to take photographs with all the elders, students, staff and devotees in the lawns of His residence. After taking some photographs, showers of rain began to pour and Swami assured that He would take pictures with those who had not had the opportunity, the next morning. As everyone made their way back into the bungalow, Swami too came inside and took His seat on a beautiful jhoola in the place of His throne. Since the final day of the Kodaikanal retreat is traditionally spent in expressing gratitude to Swami, this year too, a gratitude programme of speeches and songs had been prepared. Swami commanded little Saisha Tappoo, daughter of Brother Sumeet Tappoo to begin the programme with a speech she had prepared. Pouring her heart out to the Lord in gratitude and prayer, she then sang three heartfelt songs in English, making Swami very happy indeed.
This was followed by a selection of songs in Hindi, Telugu and English, many on the theme of gratitude to mother along with a few speeches in English.
Thereafter, Swami spoke about the importance of gratitude and to be grateful for whatever has been given, without comparison with others. Saying that it is important to retain one’s dignity and only attend an event only when one has been invitied, Swami narrated the story of Daksha Prajapati and his yajna. When Daksha Prajapati, father of Mother Parvati or Sati, organised a yajna, he invited all the gods and demi-gods, excluding only his daughter and son-in-law, Shiva. However, feeling that she wanted to attend the Yajna at her own father’s home, Sati went and was insulted by her own father who ignored her presence. Unable to bear this, she ran into the sacrificial fire and this caused Shiva to become very angry and create Virabhadra to wreak destruction. Shiva then cut off the head of Daksha Prajapati, but upon the pleas of his wife, did not kill him and instead gave him the head of a goat. Shiva then took the body of Sati and as the parts of her body fell, the sacred Shakti Peethas were created.
Swami thus emphasised that whether Swami gives what one wants or what one does not want, the person must understand that there must be a reason for everything, and accept what is given with dignity. He said that the quality of unquestioning devotion is what is expected of a devotee.
“If any act is done by ignorance or foolishness, it can be forgiven, but if any act is done with Ego, God will never forgive. If there is a big vessel of Payasam (sweet preorder), even a drop of poison is enough to spoil the whole container. Similarly if all your Sadhana is understated with it ego will get wasted. In days to come there will be lot of changes. If you have ego you cannot accept them. If you have ego you may say, ‘Why did this happen? How can this happen? If it is really Swami, can it happen this way?’ Well, let me tell you, Swami can do anything, anywhere and anyhow! But if you have ego then you will start questioning Me, and you will go away from Me! Only when you do not have ego, you can withstand what is going to happen in the future and I WILL NOT TELL YOU THIS AGAIN! These Leelas of Mine are now being played through the body of Madhusudan, and can only be understood by the ones who do not have ego!”
Swami then went on to explain about the three stages of being a devotee of the Lord, saying that these stages are: Dehaprajna or body awareness, Jivaprajna or awareness of the individual soul and Daivaprajna or awareness of one’s innate divinity. Whilst every person has awareness of the body, it is the job of a devotee to channel this awareness into a feeling of being a servant of the Lord. One must think and feel that the Lord knows best and do as commanded by the Lord as simply a servant with no individual thinking. However, when one has awareness of the jiva or self, one increasingly becomes aware of one’s own divinity and feels that one is a spark of the divine. Therefore, in this stage one becomes like a Yogi and is guided by the divine. The last stage however, is the highest and when a person becomes fully aware of their own Divinity, they act as Divine, think as Divine and are one with the Divine. Swami explained that even if one does not have Daivaprajna, a devotee must at least feel as though they are servants of the Lord and have unquestioning devotion and faith.
Thus, this progression through the three stages is exactly what one have been seeing with Brother Madhusudan as he moved from being a servant of the Lord to a spark of the Divine! Swami continued saying that the transition from Jivaprajna to Daivaprajna would become visible very soon. Therefore, Swami said, that in order to understand Swami, and continue to be in His proximity one must get rid of ego completely and surrender to Him.
Swami then commanded Sri B N Narasimha Murthy to speak as it was the last Satsang of the retreat. He spoke further about the three stages of consciousness and how all devotees must be aware that the transition into daivaprajna or divine consciousness is inevitable, for this is the journey to realising our own divinity. After offering gratitude to all those who had worked so hard to enable this retreat to take place, Sri Narasimha Murthy brought his talk to a close and Mangala Arati was offered to Swami. Thereafter, Prasadam was distributed and Swami proceeded to His room for interviews, before dinner.