For the people of Ooty, it was a very significant day, as Bhagawan was going to bless the temple of the local deity Hethai Amman, revered Goddess of the Badaga tribe of the Nilgiris. One of the noteworthy aspects of the temple is the ‘Anna Dhanam’ or Narayana Seva which is conducted regularly.
Swami’s car stared a little after 9:30 a.m. from the residence. After driving through the busy roads of Ooty, Swami reached Coonor, and proceeded to the village where the temple is perched on a very beautiful locale, high up on the hills, from where one could see the valley of Coonor. Around 200 devotees had gathered to welcome Swami and bask in His love. As Swami’s car drove up the steep slopes of the hill and entered the temple premises, Bhajans by the students were in progress. About 100 elderly ladies of the Badaga community were seated separately, waiting to be blessed and honoured by Swami through the gift of Vastra Dhanam. A Maha Narayan Seva was also organised in the temple with delicacies of the local area, which was to be served to all who had gathered.
Swami ascended the temple steps, entered the shrine, looked around and appreciated the ritual of the free food being served to all the devotees. Thereafter, Swami took His seat in the Satsang area, while the devotees offered prayers to Him. The welcome talk was delivered by a long standing devotee from Ooty, who has also been responsible for the construction and maintenance of Swami’s Mandir in the Ooty-Coonor area. He said, “It is our greatest fortune that the Lord of the Universe has Himself come, taking all the effort, just to bless devotees like us. We truly do not deserve this grace, but it is His love that makes Him shower His blessings on us.”
Thereafter, Swami wanted to bless the elderly ladies with clothes and said, “They will find it difficult to come all the way up on to the stage. So, let me go to them and give the clothes.” Swami walked all the way up to the ladies, who were seated at the end and blessed them with clothes, fruits and other gifts. Though they may have never seen Swami in His physical form, they experienced and felt the love of Swami was showering on each one them, and they were all overwhelmed.
Swami ascended the dais again, and after a few Bhajans, commanded Sri Narasimha Murthy to speak, who praised the devotion of the simple-hearted devotees of Ooty, whose devotion is intense in their love for God. Looking around at the beautiful scenic setting, he said “This is a perfect place for God and His devotees to meet!” He once again reminded them that Swami considers them very dear to His heart, and has always had a special corner for them. Thereafter, Swami spoke briefly and mentioned, “The whole world is our family, and no is different from our own. The one who thinks this way, is a man of character and broad mindedness.” He urged the devotees to consider everyone as their own, and said that God resides in all of them, and whomever they serve, they serve God. Whomever they love, they love God. He commanded the devotees gathered to provide three kinds of services in Ooty. First – Anna Dhanam or gifting of food, second – Vastra Dhanam or gifting of clothes, and third – Aarogya Dhanam or gifting of health.
Swami also inaugurated the new service building, and lovingly named it Sri Sathya Sai Seva Kshetram. After Arati, and blessing the Narayana Seva Prasadam, Swami proceeded to Sri Sathya Sai Seva Kshetram, which was right beside the temple. This was a school that was run by a devotee Ms Prabhavati with a lot of effort for more than 20 years. She lived in that area, but later, due to her relocation to Bangalore, she found it difficult to maintain the same. The school was in ruins, when Swami accepted her prayers and this offering. Swami went all the way up the staircase to the area of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Kshetram, and inaugurated the renovated building. He walked into every room, blessing every inch of the building, and blessed the entire area with His loving glance. He selected and instructed the room to be set aside for the Kitchen, for Breakfast Seva, for Narayana Seva, Medical Stores (during medical camps), Bal Vikas classes, etc. The devotees were overwhelmed with His love and His keenness to provide them with the opportunity to serve humanity. As Swami was talking to Ms Prabhavati, He revealed to her how long ago she had come to Brindavan, and handed over a letter to Swami in which she had written about this particular school, which she wanted to offer at His Lotus Feet. Swami said no selfless prayers go unanswered, “Because you had prayed to Me, to accept and look after it, I have come all the way today to take it into My fold.” He then commanded that the school and premises to be taken over by Annapurna Trust, and the Trust should look after the upkeep, as well as the Seva activities that would be undertaken.
Swami blessed the family of Ms Prabhavati profusely and guided them on the path of service and Sadhana. Lunch was served to the Lord thereafter, prepared very lovingly by the devotees and after partaking His lunch, Swami proceeded from the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Kshetram back to His residence in Ooty.