The rain drenched terrain of Top Slip was covered with a thick blanket of mist, which greeted everyone in the morning. The place was abuzz with activity, as Bhagawan’s students and guests were getting ready to leave Top Slip for Ooty, soon after breakfast. The students left in buses to the Masani Amman Temple first, which was on the way to Ooty. Masani Amman, is a highly revered shrine situated at Anaimalai, in Coimbatore District of Tamil Nadu. She is the presiding diety of the hills and worshipped by the people who live around the area. The deity is seen in a lying posture measuring 15 feet from head to foot, and is depicted with four hands; two placed on the ground and two raised above.
Swami compassionately agreed to visit the temple, and sanctify the premises with His divine presence. All the arrangements were made for the guests and students to enter the temple through a separate way, to avoid crowds and also get the opportunity to go closer to the shrine of the Mother Goddess. Amidst the chants of Vedic Hymns on Mother Goddess and the singing of Bhajans, Swami proceeded in to the temple and as a token of His love and benediction, offered silk sarees, flowers, bangles, turmeric, kumkum and other necessary items of worship, which are traditionally offered to the Mother. The priest performed a special Puja on behalf of all the students and staff, and thereafter Prasadam was distributed to everyone. Soon after, everyone proceeded from the temple and headed towards Ooty. Bypassing Coimbatore, and driving through Metupalayam, Bhagawan and His entourage reached Coonor, where lunch was organised.
The house where Bhagawan and His guests partook their lunch belonged to Brother Satish, a very active Sai volunteer and brother of Dr M G Anand, alumnus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, where he completed his research programme in Botany, and currently serving as a Professor of Botany at the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence. Swami blessed the family and had His lunch, which was lovingly served by the family and few other devotees, and close associates. Over lunch, as Swami was conversing with those who were serving Him, Brother Satish introduced an elderly gentleman as his father in law to Swami. Brother M G Anand added that the gentleman was a brilliant Professor of Mathematics. Swami said, “I know him quite well. Earlier he was afraid of Mathematics, but because of one of his very good teachers, he developed love for the subject, and today is a great teacher.” To the utter astonishment of the father in law, Swami revealed that he has a Fixed Deposit tucked away exclusively for the benefit of the students, and through the interest from it, he is providing scholarships to 10 students. Thereafter came the unforgettable statement from Swami, “All the good is known to God. No one needs to tell God what good you do. In His own time, He will reward you. If you want to help a child for a day, you may feed. If you want to help him for a few days, you may provide clothes. But if you want to help a child forever, you must provide education.” This was the lesson Swami gave the Professor.
After lunch, and brief interaction with the family members, Swami proceeded towards Ooty where His residence was organised in an old Palace which belonged to the Maharaja of Mysore. In the lap of the ever green valleys of Ooty, the residence of Swami was located in one of the most beautiful areas called Fern Hills. As Swami’s car entered the premises, He was greeted in the traditional Badaga style of music and dance. The joy of the devotees knew no bounds, when they greeted and welcomed their dear Lord. The women danced in a typical Badaga style. Swami’s path was washed with pots of sacred water in the customary way, as He proceeded towards His room. Everyone rested in the afternoon, and assembled at 7 p.m. for a Satsang.