The sun was rising slowly filling the sky with a reddish hue, and its varying shades gently reflecting in the waters of the lake, while the clouds were still resting on the mountain peaks. It was a picture perfect beautiful morning! After breakfast, Swami came down, took some group photographs with everyone and then proceeded towards a four and a half hour drive to Batticaloa. Ever since Swami visited this part of war torn Sri Lanka for the very first time, where even today over 30,000 widows are leading a life of fear and uncertainty, He has made it a point to bless Batticaloa during every single visit. The Lord has also chosen this place for the Ashram, school and medical facility to be established as part of His continuing mission in Sri Lanka. Lunch was served to all upon arrival, and after a short rest, Swami proceeded to the Ashram land where the Sri Sathya Sai Karuna Nilayam Medical Centre stands as a beacon of free-of-cost healthcare needs for all the residents.
Swami was lovingly received with Vedam and Purna Kumbham by the children who attend the Educare classes conducted by the youth. Swami walked around the Medical Centre, which is now fully functional with a dedicated team of professionals to cater to the patients. Thereafter, Swami lit the ceremonial lamp, and there was a short programme. Dr Hyacinth, the medical doctor in charge of the Medical Centre spoke first, giving everyone an update about the day to day functioning and a brief about the kind of patients who come for medical recourse. Ms Sarojini, the Administrator also spoke and thanked Swami for the wonderful opportunity. Swami then beckoned Sri C Sreenivas to say a few words, and then Swami gave a very short discourse. All the speeches were translated into Tamil. Swami stressed on the three P’s – Purity, Patience and Perseverance. He concluded his speech by saying that many children had gathered and waiting to partake their dinner, so He wanted to proceed to the dining hall. Swami also announced the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Mother and Child 25- bed hospital which will be inaugurated in January 2019!
Mangala Arati was offered, and Swami proceeded to the dining hall, where over 150 children were seated. Swami first went to the kitchen which is now operational, and blessed by tasting the food. The food that was prepared for everyone that night was lovingly cooked in the kitchen. While the children and guests were served dinner in the dining hall, Swami went to the Doctors’ quarters adjacent to the Medical Centre for His dinner, after which He returned the Hotel where everyone were staying, to retire for the night.
The next morning, January 4, after breakfast Swami was invited to visit the Medical Centre again, as Mrs Penny Jayewardene had prayed to the Lord to bless the facility during the visiting hours of the patients. But before that, Swami visited the house of a devotee Sri Pratheepan, who along with his family had prayed to the Lord to bless their humble dwelling. The family were in an absolute daze as they couldn’t believe that God had indeed answered their prayers and was amidst them. It was a very emotional moment to see Swami bless them, and it definitely reminded all those who witnessed this love about the beautiful story of Lord Krishna and Vidhura. After profusely showering His Grace and blessings, Swami stopped enroute at the Educare Centre , where children are being taught human values on a daily basis. After Swami’s first visit in July 2015 to Sri Lanka, a group of youth started tuition classes to help children. What started off as a small selfless endeavour couple of times a week, has today grown to this educare centre embracing many children every single day. The team at the helm of the Centre had invited Swami the previous evening, and the merciful One accepted the same. The Lord was very lovingly received with Rudram chanting by the children, and He straight proceeded to His room. After blessing the team profusely, Swami proceeded to a Hall, where a couple of dances were performed in the divine presence. The energy was pure and enveloped everyone present with much love. The children who performed the dance, were emotional and tearfully offered it to their Swami. After Mangala Arati, Swami proceeded to the Ashram land. He first wanted to take the students and guests to the very end of the land towards the beach. Swami started walking on the beach, along with the entourage, and reached a spot where He took a photograph. He revealed that the Ashram which will be situated there, will be over looking the ocean with a huge 108 feet tall Stupa and a Lotus right on top of it! He explained that one third of the land will be Ashram, one third will be the school, and another third will be the medical facility. It was a wonderful experience walking with Swami, as He led the path on the sands, and then through a pine plantation, planted by the Government as a safety barrier to secure the beach front from a tsunami.
Swami and His entourage made a brief stopover at the Medical Centre next. He blessed the patients who were seated waiting for their turn to see the doctor. What a unique blessing from the Doctor of doctors! After some refreshments, Swami and His entourage proceeded to Katharagama, which was almost a four-hour drive from Batticaloa. Katharagama is a very sacred town, for both Buddhists and Hindus. Kiri Vehera was the first stop, a Buddhist shrine and the last place in Sri Lanka where Lord Buddha is said to have visited.
There was a monk who explained that it is believed that when Lord Buddha came here, it was a jungle, and 500 fully self-realised people also travelled with him. Lord Buddha preached the Dharma to the King who had come to visit him, and the King became extremely blissful after the discourse. Realisation dawned on the King and he asked for something so that all could remember the Buddha. The Buddha took a hair and gave it to him, and he built the chaithya in memory of this blessing. The gold chair which Lord Buddha had used is also enshrined here. The chaithya has been worshipped since then, and nectar emanates from the top during special occasions. Swami then explained to all that though Lord Buddha left His body, he has been seen and experienced by so many people, similar to Swami. The tradition is to walk from Kiri Vehera to the Lord Murugan or Subramanya temple, and Swami along with the entourage walked, while Swami asked one of the guests Dr Raghunanthan from the United States to narrate the story and significance of Kataragama. This is the place where Lord Subramanya met and married Valli, daughter of a tribal Chieftain. Swami said she was a Shakti Amsa, and hence was able to marry the Lord. It was a wonderful experience at the Sanctum of the temple, and after receiving Prasadam, Swami proceeded to the shrine of Devayani, the other wife of Lord Subramanya. A devotee had organised for special Prasadam of rice and curry in the temple kitchen for Narayana Seva and Swami lovingly gave a few packets to some of the people of His entourage. After a blissful evening, everyone proceeded to the Hotel close to the temple, to rest for the night.