During Swami’s first visit to Laos in 2018, He had visited a school which is being run based on the Sathya Sai system of integral education. At that time, He had commanded that a High School should be constructed in two years, which would help the students to continue their education. So, all the devotees in Laos took it upon themselves to ensure Swami’s words would not fail. The land adjacent to the existing school was purchased, so that Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba would be able to bless the land and the Bhoomi Puja during this year’s visit.
So, soon after breakfast Swami proceeded to the land for Bhoomi Puja along with His entourage. Traditional rituals were performed, and Swami then proceeded to the Primary School building to bless all the children and staff. It was one of the sweetest moments, and the children welcomed Him in their midst, fully mindful of the fact that ‘Baba’ was amidst them. Swami walked around the classrooms interacting with the children, and proceeded to inaugurate the newly set-up Computer Lab. This was yet another command from the Lord, which saw fruition that blessed morning. Thereafter, He walked across the playground and went to bless the Medical Centre, which not only serves the children and their parents, but also to hundreds of people who live in that area. Yet again, adhering to Swami’s guidance, the Mother and Child screening was set up and Swami visited the consultation room, before walking up to the first floor where all the children and staff members had gathered to offer a cultural presentation.
The programme commenced with the School Principal emotionally welcoming Swami in their midst. For the next 15 minutes or so, all the children chanted Vedam in unison. They had also learnt the Niravana Shatakam, and much to the delight of Swami and everyone gathered, they chanted the versus by heart, which they had learnt in three days! Buddhist prayers were also chanted, and this was followed by traditional dances.
Swami then addressed all the children and said, “Though air exists, we cannot see. Similarly, God is present, though we cannot see. When we are happy and joyful, we should know God is around. If we don’t breathe for a few seconds, we cannot live and be happy. In the same way, if God is not there even for a few seconds, we cannot be happy. It is the wish of Swami that a bigger school should come here and children don’t have to go far to continue their education.” He blessed all the children to get a good name for themselves, their school and country. Swami blessed that the school would grow into a University, and would embrace children not only from Laos, but from surrounding countries too. After handing out Prasadam to the children, Swami returned to His abode for lunch.
In the evening, close to hundred devotees had gathered to bask in the presence of their divine Master. Swami said, “As much are devotees happy to be with God, happier is God to be with His devotees. Children are happy to be with the mother, who is more than happy to be with the children. The relationship between a mother and child is inseparable, and this is the relation between God and His devotees too! Where there are pure-hearted devotees, one must be sure that God is also present there. Just like when a child cries out, “Mother,” wherever the mother may be, she comes running to the side of the child, likewise when the devotees’ pray with a pure heart, there is no choice for God but to be present by their side. This is the inseparable bond of love between God and His devotees.
Only in good company – ‘Sangham’- can good thoughts emerge leading to good deeds, and that is what is ‘Dharmam Sharanam Gacchami’. Finally, where there is goodness there is God there and one realises one’s own divinity through good deeds, which is the final achievement of ‘Buddham Sharanam Gacchami’, that is to say one becomes Buddha or aware. This is what Lord Buddha also taught. So start with Sangha, which will lead to Dharma and ultimately to Buddha.
So it starts with good company leading to good deeds, good desires, good ideas, good ways and that is what leads to God. Therefore, be always in good company, keep Satsang, keep good ideas around you, keep good associations around you. Then you will always be in the presence of God.
I always say, run away from bad company – not just walk away, just run away from bad company of worldly people who have too many worldly desires. Have pure desires. Purest desire is to always have the grace and love of God in your lives. A child gets the love of the mother, when he or she is well-behaved, loves the mother, listens to the mother and does what is good. Likewise, that devotee who follows the path of God, loves God, loves others, serves others, sacrifices for others’ sake and has a good name is the dearest to God. If you are dear to God, you wil be near to God! More than being dear, all of you will be near to Him. He will always be with you, He will not leave you.”
Mangala Aarti was offered, and Swami retired for the night after dinner.