When God utters something, it must happen. So, when the God incarnate, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who is still compassionately continuing His mission from the subtle realm to transform humans, so that one day eventually all will realise their true divine selves, gives His word that He will arrive in Sri Lanka every New Year, it must happen. Swami’s entourage departed from the Bangalore International Airport on the evening of January 1, 2018 after a beautiful and glorious New Year morning Satsang. The entourage this time also included the final year students from the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence, staff members, along with a few others guests.
Upon arrival at the Bandarnaike International Airport in Columbo, the entourage were lovingly received by Mrs Penny Jayewardene, Brother Nishanta Dissanayake, and others. It was a late arrival and everyone proceeded directly to their places of accommodation for the night at Piliyandala, which is an hour away from Columbo. The students and staff were lovingly accommodated at Dr A T Ariyaratne’s Sarvodaya, as always. Swami was driven straight to the Jayewardene residence, and He was lovingly received with Poorna Kumbham by devotees who had gathered with much love and devotion. Swami blessed everyone and urged all to retire immediately as it was a little past mid night already. The next morning was to be an early start, yet again to Batticaloa, but via Nuwara Eliya to visit a few temples of importance from the Ramayana. Brother Nishanta who always drives Swami during the divine visits to this emerald island was about to take His leave when Swami remarked, “Take good rest, as you have to drive Me tomorrow. You know the route well here, and I know the route well in the other world. The Kevat or the boat man refused to take any money for taking Rama across the river. He prayed to Rama and said, ‘Since we are in the same profession it is not fair for me to charge you but when it is time for me, You have to take me across the ocean of Samsara to the other side!”. Swami then told Brother Nishantha, “So, let’s make a deal, since you are My driver in this world, I will be your driver in the other world!” It was absolutely wonderful to hear this simple conversation between the Lord and His devotee, laden with deep inner meaning.
The next morning, soon after breakfast Swami and His entourage proceeded to Nuwara Eliya, with a stop over at a Rest House in Talawakele, a place before Nuwara Eliya known for its sprawling tea estates, for lunch. But first, Swami along a few guests proceeded to a kindergarten school which is being run by Sri Dr Karunairasan and supported by Mr Ranjan, ardent devotees for many decades. The school is run mainly for the children of all the tea estate workers at Talawakele. The school follows the teachings of Bhagawan and imparts values-based integral education free of cost. Swami’s arrival to that place was a promise fulfilled for Dr Karunairasan, whom Swami had assured a visit, two years ago.
After blessing all the children and filling the staff with renewed enthusiasm to serve more, while guiding them to find a larger place to build a primary school which would eventually grow in to a reputed residential school, Swami reached the Rest House for lunch, and was welcomed by many devotees from Talawakele who had gathered to receive His blessings. After lunch, Swami and His entourage proceeded to the Sita Amman Temple, the Ashoka Vana where Mother Sita was kept captive by Ravana.
The drive to the Temple from Talawakele is about 45 minutes and is stunning. Terraces of tea plantations on one side, magnificent mountains covered with many types of trees including the towering pines at a distance, while the clouds gently caressed the thick foliage, it all seemed like a fairy land!
The temple, painted in gold and a unique shade of pink is situated on the road to Nuwara Eliya, and looks absolutely stunning against the lush green trees in the backdrop. A stream runs almost under the temple, and there is a rock where Mother Sita is known to have sat and meditated. The stream also catered to the needs of Mother Sita during her stay and she is said to have bathed in this stream.
Pointing to a tall hill opposite the Temple, Swami revealed that after receiving the directions from Vibhishana, Hanuman came to this area and climbed up that hill to look for Mother Sita, and that is when he noticed Her by the side of this stream and came down to meet Her. Swami then revealed various aspects from Mother Sita’s stay and told everyone that she was all the time chanting the name of Rama, and her purity had such power that Ravana could not even come close to Her.
The temple has been built on the spot where Hanuman met Mother Sita, when he came looking for Her with Rama’s ring. Looking at Her plight, pain and suffering, Swami revealed that Hanuman cried profusely and couldn’t open his mouth to speak anything. He offered the ring, and Mother Sita understood everything. There was nothing to be spoken. Hanuman was perplexed and asked Mother Sita in what way should he go and convey this meeting to his Lord Rama, as here She was shedding tears, and back there, the Lord was in a similar state. He couldn’t bear it any longer and told Mother Sita that he would carry Her on his shoulders and take Her back to Lord Rama. But She refused and said, “No, this is not Dharma, and Lord Rama will not like it. He has come to establish Dharma, and must come here to conquer Ravana, and rightfully take me back . If you take me away like this, how different are you from Ravana? He abducted me from there, and you want to do the same from here? No one can touch me, Rama is in my heart!” While narrating all of this, Swami manifested a ring with a large blue stone set In beautiful ornate gold base, saying it was the exact replica of Rama’s ring which He had now created from the five elements for His entourage to see! There was so much excitement in the air, and Swami gave it to everyone to see, touch and revel in that moment of absolute bliss! After the ring went around and everyone touched it to their heart’s content, Swami gave it to Sri B N Narasimha Murthy for safe keeping!
Swami then proceeded to the spot where Hanuman gave the ring to Mother Sita by the stream, and also performed Arati. After spending some precious moments at the temple, group photographs were taken with Sai Rama, a memorabilia for a life-time, before the Lord and His entourage proceeded to the next temple at Divurumpola, where Mother Sita underwent the Agni Pariksha, the fire ordeal in order to prove her chastity. Agni, the fire God is said to have lifted Mother Sita from the flames and presented Her to Lord Rama, who had explained that this test was only necessary to prove the truth of Her purity and innocence to everybody else. Swami revealed various stunning aspects of this episode of Agni Pariksha including how the exchange of the real Mother Sita was made with the fire God for a Maya Sita (shadow Sita) before the abduction by Ravana! Swami along with His entourage then walked around the temple, where there was a huge statue of Mother Sita, almost nine feet tall, and probably the only statue in the world. Thereafter, Swami along with everyone reached their Hotels at Nuwara Eliya by a beautiful lake to rest for the evening, after dinner.