Divine Visit – Athens, Greece – 26 April, 2016

As breakfast was brought to Swami, He was pleasantly surprised to see the Indian breakfast of Idly, Upama and Chutney. He never misses an opportunity to pick little mundane aspects, and turn them into profound truths! Swami remarked, “Whether Idly, or Upma or Dosa, or Uttapam all have the basis as the rice batter, which combines with other ingredients to make different dishes. Likewise, God alone is the basis of all that exists. When this pure Divine Self mingles and combines with the five elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth) and the three gunas (Tamasic, Rajasic and Satwic) it gives rise to all the variety in this creation!”

As per Swami’s command, the entourage were taken on a tour to visit the famed ancient temple complex of Parthenon, of the ancient Athens, in Acropolis. The Parthenon is a former temple in Acropolis, dedicated to Goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens, considered their patron. Construction began in 447 BC and was completed in 438 BC, although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC.

The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of ancient Greece, and one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments. It is the most important surviving building of classical Greece, and its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points Greek art.

When Swami returned later and lunch was served, Brother Jai, son of Mr and Mrs Dimitris, asked Swami, “Now that Swami has blessed the ancient temple of Greece, would her fortunes change?” Swami said, “A temple is where the devotees go, not tourists. Devotees are for the divine, tourists are for deep wine! When devotees start going there, it will gain back its Glory! People have fought over this place, and it has changed from a greek temple, to a mosque, a church, and now a ruin! All wanted to conquer the place, but no one wanted God. So when devotees return, not conquerers and tourists, God will return too!” Swami also assured him that eventually it will be declared a spiritual heritage site, and not just a cultural heritage, and things will change for good.

After a while, as sister Bhuvana Santhanam came to collect the plates and the Prasadam when Swami finished His lunch, Swami asked her, “What is truth?” She replied, “Truth is something that, on speaking, gives peace of mind, and untruth pricks the conscience.” Swami said, “Ok, let’s say, if I call this table a table, and not a chair is it amounting to speaking truth, and therefore does that give you peace of mind? Someone named it a table, it could have been called a chair or any other thing too.”

Then in His own inimitable way, Swami said, “Truth is what Swami says, and Dharma (Righteousness) is what Swami does, nothing more, nothing less! Have faith in this, and don’t bother yourself with what others say or think.”

In the evening, a satsang was organised in a public hall in the city of Athens, a 45 min drive along the beautiful stretch of sea, which Swami enjoyed, until the car entered the crowded market place of the city. Swami observing the city commented, “Oh! Looks like we have come from heaven to the hell. There were such pure vibrations at our home away from the city, and here, it’s polluted with selfishness. But a doctor has to go where the patients are!”

Satsang was preceded by an exhibition and the video ‘Love in Action…the mission continues”, as Swami was not known to many people who came, of course, no one was new to Swami! As Swami entered the hall, bhajans were in progress and Vedas were chanted by the Greek devotees. Swami gently walked around the hall, and spotted a young lad in his teens, but with a health condition due to which he was a special child. Swami went all the way up to him, blessed him with vibhuthi and told his father that he was a divine child, sent by Swami. Father could not agree more, for he replied with joy and gratitude, ” Swami! After losing eight children, my wife prayed to you and received this boy as your gift.”

Swami went to the Dias and took his seat while others took their seats too. Mrs Dimitris welcomed the gathering in Greek and introduced the program, as well as the speakers. The first to speak was Mr Issac Tigrett who spoke about the second chance we have all got now, to get to know Swami and ourselves. He said this seemed very identical to what happened in Puttaparthi, where millions flocked to see the ‘new Messiah’ or the miracles He performed. But very few believed in the divinity. Mr Tigrett said, “This was the phenomenon of the mind. The mind could not fathom who Sai Baba was, just like how it cannot fathom the fact that His light body is in the chair here. It is a matter of faith, and faith comes from the heart. So this is the second opportunity for faith to arise in your heart.”

The next speaker was Mr C Sreenivas who said, that Swami taught us that life primarily is between making choices. We are constantly confronted with making a choice, based on what is right or wrong. Serving a need, is the other end of life. This feel in between, is the journey we undertake in life. The teachings, message and life of Swami guides us, that irrespective of the country we belong, every single being needs to base this choice on the love and service. “It is only when you invest in the timeless virtue of love, of feeling empathy for each other, understanding suffering and needs of one another, it is then can we make a difference to ourselves, and to our country fellowmen. Now He brings us to the crux of His teaching, that irrespective of the choice we make, all actions have to be timely.” Sri Sreenivas urged the citizens of Greece to join hands with the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital in providing heart care to the needy, and the refugee children in Greece!

Mr Narasimha Murthy was the next speaker, narrated a story of Alexander, who conquered Persia, and then went to India. Before leaving for India, he sought the blessings of his master, Aristotle. Swami is omniscient and knows the past, present and future, and this story was revealed by Swami in many discourses. Aristotle told him, ‘If you happen to go to India, conquer the country, bring me three things.’ What he wanted is something which is relevant for the glory of Greece; something what Greece stands for, in the history of the world. He did not ask for diamonds, or pearls or gold, but asked for a book, Bhagawad Gita and a potful of water from the Ganges. He also wanted a person to be brought all the way from India, a person, who had attained the ultimate wisdom and conquered death. He did not want a prisoner of war, but one who had conquered all the prisons, which bind man and woman to this world and cause endless suffering. He wanted a yogi like Socrates. But, it is a part of history that Alexander did not return from India, nor did he bring the three things. Sri Narasimha Murthy quoted a verse from the Bhagawan Gita, which explains God’s assurance to all the men and women who engage in doing good, will never be in grief. In this world, or the other, a doer of good will never be ruined.

Sri Narasimha Murthy told everyone gathered that Swami had echoed the same sentiments the previous day, when He learnt from Jai Mexis, son of Mr Dimitris, about the selfless work being carried out for refugees from Syria, an act of generosity and magnanimity.

Swami started with His famous composition that He uses now more often than ever before, “I am not a Man, God or demigod; not a Brahmin (the priest), Kshatriya ( warrior clan), Vaisya (business man) or Shudra. Am not a householder or ascetic. I am the teacher of truth. My very form is truth, auspiciousness and beauty. There is only one truth, spoken by the learned in many ways. For truth, if it is two, cannot be called truth. In all places, time & circumstances, truth does not change.

If you look at the world around you, and also at yourself, there is a constant change that is happening. Places, people and even your own body changes with time, as it ages too. Feelings & emotions also change. All that is born out of the five elements, disappear into the five elements. Therefore, all that is constantly changing, cannot be called truth. That which remains changeless, is truth. It is difficult to perceive the changeless truth in this changing world.”

Swami used the imagery of the immovable screen, and moving projections of a film. The screen is not seen, but it’s the basis of all that is seen. It remains unaffected by a projection of fire, water, wind or war. It’s indestructible, and only when the projections are withdrawn or stopped that we see the screen behind. Likewise, when outward mind is turned inwards we see the truth.

Swami continued by saying, “The changeless Divine Self is the fundamental basis on which the changing world is projected. This changeless Atman is the truth behind all that exists. The one who understands that one’s fundamental truth is the Divine Atman, which is indestructible, is free from all sorrow and fear. Wherever you see in the world, people are living in great fear. The fear of death, the fear of poverty, the fear of losing dear ones…it’s only fear. Fear rules the world. What is the way to get rid of the fear? Only when you know the truth, you can get rid of the fear.”

Swami urged everyone to be fearless, courageous, by knowing the truth. He said that this was the truth which was propagated by masters, philosophers, sages of all lands, in all countries, through the ages. The land of Greece and India have been witness to many wars and battles. Though the understanding has been that those who won battles were more courageous, Swami said the truth was, they were more afraid, than the ones who lost.

Swami narrated a story of Alexander the Great. He came to India, and as he was passing by a forest, he saw a naked man sleeping peacefully under a tree. He was surprised by the peaceful sleep a person was having, in such harsh conditions. No comfortable bed or a roof above his head, but he was at peace. Alexander felt jealous by looking at him. ‘I have conquered the whole world, but I do not get such peaceful sleep. But, here is a man who has nothing, except a cloth around his waist, but he is sleeping peacefully. Even after these arduous battles, a little sound also wakes me up, fearing the entry of some enemy. Sometimes the sound of my own breath fears me. So to say I am the most powerful, but I do not have a peaceful sleep that this man has!’

He summoned the man to his presence. The man refused to come, and conveyed to the soldiers, “I have no King, God alone is my King. I will not oblige and come as per someone’s summons!” The soldiers were surprised, and conveyed the same to Alexander. The man was bereft of worldly possessions, so Alexander could not threaten him, and he had nothing to be afraid off. So, the King thought he would scare him by saying, he would cut off his head. The soldiers went and threatened the man with death. But, the man beamed with joy! The soldiers were surprised about his strange behaviour. The man said that since he had body attachment, he would be “grateful to the King to chop off the head”, so he could abide by the Divine Self, that he truly is!

Alexander understood the secret of his sleep! He came to see the man and offered his obeisance. He said, “The thought that this body is mine, has driven me to do unimaginable things. But now I know the truth.” He ordered his soldiers, that when he dies, his hands should be lifted up in the air. So when the people watch his funeral procession, they will learn that though he went around conquering the whole world, he is finally going empty handed. Swami said, “This fearlessness comes only when you know the truth of your existence! In these times of grief, which has been caused by greed, the only way to redeem ourselves is to serve the people who are in need.”

Thereafter, a short music programme was offered at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan by Mr Dimitris Lambrianos and his team. The grand finale was a drama on Socrates. The Lord blessed everyone profusely and returned to the residence of Mr Dimitris to retire for the night.