The day had arrived! Devotees of Kerala were excited to welcome their Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to Kerala after a long wait of over 40 years. Swami and His entourage which included guests and all the students of the Sri Sathya Sathya Centre for Human Excellence, set off to the city popularly known as the Queen of Arabian Sea, by taking an early morning flight from Bangalore. Having landed at Kochi Airport at 9:30 a.m, Bhagawan was driven to the residence of Sri K S Radhakrishna Panickkar and Smt Kanakambika.
Their daughter, Smt Santhy, and son-in-law Sri Sunil, ardent devotees of Bhagawan, have been active in Annapoorna breakfast programme. Swami stopped at the residence for refreshments, and then proceeded to the Rudra Homam venue at the Adi Shankara Janmabhoomi Kshethram, which is being managed by the Sringeri Sharada Peetham.
The venue for the Rudra Homam was all set to receive Lord Rudra Himself, and Bhagawan arrived amidst a grand reception at the entrance of the road leading to the Yagashala. With Poorna Kumbham, Pookkavadi, Nadaswaram, Panchavadyam, Thalapoli and elephants leading Bhagawan to the venue, the rich cultural heritage of God’s Own Country was displayed at its best. Tears of joy erupted when Bhagawan entered the Yagashala, and sat through the entire Poornahuti function which lasted for almost two hours. With the divine vibrations soaring high, Swami initiated the Poornahuti, and blessed all the sacrificial items. It was a sight for God’s and Goddesses to witness with Lord Rudra Himself overseeing the Rudra Homam. Having energised the effulgent Adi Shankara Lingam, Swami called upon the hosting family, Sri K S Radhakrishna Panickkar, blessed him profusely and instructed him to perform the Rudra Homam every year. Swami then walked amongst devotees, students and guests to sprinkle holy water. Much to the surprise of everyone assembled, Bhagawan then materialised from the bowl of holy water, a Jala Lingam and gifted the Lingam to the devotee who was coordinating the Homam preparations.
As a part of the tradition, the Poornahuti is complete only with an offering of dance and music at the feet of Sri Rudra. A young girl was blessed by Bhagawan to dance to a powerful song hailing the glory of Lord Shiva – Bho Shambho Shiva Shambho Swayambho, followed by a song which propounds the oneness of mankind. Swami then proceeded to the residence of the host for lunch. Meanwhile, a grand and sumptuous Kerala feast was arranged for all the devotees as Maha Prasadam of the auspicious Homam. Bhagawan retired for the afternoon after partaking His lunch.
The evening was a historic occasion, for a unique spiritual gathering was organised at the banks of River Poorna at a spot called Muthalakadavu (which literally translates to bank of the crocodile). It was here that the famous incident from Sri Adi Shankara’s life occurred wherein he was caught by a crocodile while performing the morning ablutions. On hearing her son screaming for help, mother Aryamba rushed to the spot and then allowed Sri Adi Shankara to take up Sanyasa, as a result of which the crocodile let go off Sri Adi Shankara’s feet. It was to pay respects to that great master that Bhagawan had chosen this venue for the public Satsang. Swami arrived at Muthalakadavu which was all decked to host the Lord of the Universe. After the welcome address by Sai Youth of Kerala, the proceedings for the evening was initiated through the ceremonial lighting of the lamp and Vedic invocation.
Two young speakers were blessed by Bhagawan to address the gathering. The first speaker for the day was Ms Nithya Ramakrishnan, an alumna of Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions, who narrated how Swami answered her prayers every time she was on cross roads of life. She described how her inner connect with Swami helped her develop a unique intimacy with Bhagawan. The second speaker for the evening was Dr Deekshith Shashidharan, a resident doctor at Waynad Institute of Medical Sciences, who has been an ardent devotee of Bhagawan since childhood. He narrated how Bhagawan saved his life twice, and he thanked Swami profusely. Dr Deekshith ended his speech with a special prayer to Bhagawan to launch an audio CD of a series of talks delivered on Bhaja Govindam by (late) Prof Narayanankutty, an ardent devotee of Bhagawan and a great exponent of spiritual literature. Swami graciously accepted his prayers by launching the CD on the dias. A video presentation was then made on Swami’s ongoing mission with respect to education, healthcare, and Annapoorna breakfast seva which has now expanded to over 10 districts of Kerala.
Sri B N Narasimha Murthy addressed the gathering next, on Bhagawan’s love for His devotees in Kerala. He spoke about Bhagawan’s Mahima in the current subtle form and remarked “If people think it is Narasimha Murthy who is travelling around and building institutions, they will be fools. Even if I think I am doing all these, I will be the greatest fool. It is Bhagawan and Bhagawan alone who is doing all these.”
The much-awaited Divine discourse followed where Bhagawan revealed how Adi Shankara had to travel from Poorna to Narmada to Ganga in pursuit of self-realisation. But here was ‘Anadhi Shankara’ who travelled all the way from Ganges to river Poorna just to grant His devotees what they have come to seek! Swami then praised the love of His devotees in Kerala. Bhagawan declared that this visit is just the beginning and that Kerala will witness much more such visits in the future. Even as Bhagawan was bringing His divine message to a close, the night sky sent down a shower of cool rain as if to celebrate the home-coming of their Lord. After Mangala Arati, Bhagawan blessed the Prasadam to be distributed, and thereafter proceeded to the residence of the host for dinner and retired for the day!