Typically, the annual travel itinerary every year concludes with South America as the final destination for Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and His entourage. But as the Lord says, ‘Love My uncertainty’. And so it was, when Swami decided to embark on a trip to Mauritius and Nigeria soon after a Divine Trip to Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Rishikesh in December.
Swami along with His entourage departed in the wee hours of 11 December. Upon landing in the beautiful island of Mauritius late afternoon, everyone were lovingly welcomed by Sister Nila and Padma Murday. Though they currently reside in the United Kingdom, their father and forefathers hailed from this blessed land, tucked away in the Indian Ocean. Their family have been worshippers of Devi Shakti, and have been blessed to see and talk to Her. Even today, the family tradition continues as Sister Padma is able to see and experience the Goddess in a way which is inexplicable, mystical and glorious! Earlier this year, when Swami visited the Sai Grace Ashram in the United Kingdom, Swami accepted the prayers of Sister Nila to visit Mauritius. He had commanded Sister Nila and Padma to arrange for a Durga Homa at the Singamma Kali Temple which was built by their father. The Goddess in the form of Singamma Kali is said to contain the aspect of the triple Kali, Durga and Mariamman.
One selfless prayer of one person, and the bountiful grace decides to shower itself upon everyone. And so it was, as Swami and His entourage landed, the overwhelming love was indeed palpable. As it was a long flight, with an added delay due to the fog at Bangalore, Swami advised His entourage to rest for the evening.
The next morning, 12 December, soon after breakfast, Swami and His entourage proceeded to the Singamma Kali Temple. Almost a 45 minutes drive from where they were all staying, the travel through the island was stunning! Close and extended family of Sister Nila and Padma, and other devotees had gathered at the temple to welcome their Goddess Durga. Right from the end of the street, Swami was received with Poorna Kumbham and devotees chanting the Rudram. As Swami entered the temple premises, it was magical, and the next hour and a half was mesmerising. Sri Nanjunda Dixit along with his wife were present to officiate the Durga Homa, which commenced early morning. Swami’s arrival in the midst of ‘Ayigiri Nandini’ energised the whole place multi folds. Swami blessed the Homa, performed the Poorna Ahuti, and walked around sprinkling everyone with the holy water.
Swami beckoned Sri Nanjunda Dixit to address the gathering. He said, “Today we have performed the Durga Homa. It is a very powerful temple and one of the greatest centres of religious activities. Durga is none other than Chandika Parameshwari, the same Divine Shakti aspect represented in a different name. The popular name for this temple is Singamma Kali Kovil, established about 38 years ago by the father of Padma and Nila. It is very significant that in addition to this, their fore fathers have established another important temple, and walking on the fire as a ritual – Thimithi – has also commenced.“
Emotions and infinite love for Bhagawan overpowered Sister Nila, as she expressed her tearful gratitude next. She submitted how through every moment of preparations for this Divine Visit, Swami’s unseen hands were clearly visible. The Priest’s wife came forward to say a few words thereafter, and she too offered her heartfelt gratitude.
Swami then delivered His divine message and said, “Though God is present everywhere – He is omnipresent – yet He is experienced only in certain places. Those are the places which are holy. Sun rays are everywhere, but when it passes through a lens it is concentrated, and is able to burn a piece of paper. Likewise, when all devotees gather at a place, it acquires the power of their collective devotion. That is the place where God’s presence is felt more strongly! His presence is felt where devotees come to adore and worship Him. Someone could have built a house and lived on this piece of land. The whole world as a family now comes here to worship, so an ordinary piece of land has become extraordinary. An insignificant piece of land has become significant!
Her father (referring to Sister Nila) had the vision of Durga, they would talk like mother and son. He would call, and She would come! As time passed, he got engrossed in talking to the Mother, and forgot his family, and ultimately merged in Her. The tradition is continuing now, the inheritance of devotion to God has passed on to the children. Teach your children devotion to God, and this protection will be there. Have faith that even a statue becomes divine – Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu – She resides in all beings as the Atman.”
Mangala Arati was offered to Swami, and He blessed the family with clothes, and Prasadam, before departing from the temple.
In the evening, Swami blessed the home of Sri Ajith and his wife Smt Jaya. It was an intimate gathering where close to 75 devotees had gathered. Soulful Bhajans and a medley of songs were offered at Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet. Swami called upon Sister Jaya, alumnae from the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur Campus to welcome the gathering. She expressed her joy and love for Swami, and thanked Him for coming to Mauritius. She expressed that God can never be understood with the mind, as it is the work of the heart. She concluded with a prayer to Swami, asking Him to talk about God in His subtle form, as many who had gathered were experiencing Swami for the very first time this way. They had come brushing aside all inhibitions and hear-say about the phenomenon of the subtle form, simply to experience it first-hand themselves.
Swami immediately said, “Love is God, God is love. If anyone has experienced love, they will experience God. If you love God, you deserve God!” He then asked Mr Issac Tigrett to speak about his understanding of God. Mr Tigrett said, “What do I know of God? But, I can say the same thing, we can understand Him only through faith. This phenomenon (of the subtle form) is unique and far beyond comprehension. But, He is just a reflection of you!”
Sri C Sreenivas in his talk continued on the same lines and submitted that life is an experience. He said, “What we feel within our hearts is what we find and go through. When you experience love, when any moment elevates you to a moment of comfort, which is the answer! Experiencing the inexplicable is verily life. “
Sri B N Narasimha Murthy quoted a stanza from the Bhagavad Gita where God describes Himself – ‘I know every creature which is on this earth today, I know all the creatures which were born in this world and died, I know all who are going to be born, but yet, nobody knows Me!’ Sri Narasimha Murthy went to quote yet another stanza and humbly submitted, that it is difficult for humans to describe God. Lord Krishna has said, “Foolish people do not understand Me, when I take recourse to human form. I am the formless and nameless, and have no shape!” He prayed to Swami to enlighten all gathered about God.
Swami in His discourse said, “God has to be experienced ONLY, like a sweet which has to be experienced – Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavati. To know God, you have to become God. All the work that is done, should lead to God!”
Few children and devotees asked Swami some questions, and one question was, “Swami has taken the subtle form to complete this work. So, I would like to know why He did not extend His life and complete the works, instead of taking the subtle form and then complete the work?”
Swami replied in the most beautiful way, “God always comes with a plan. Man may not! But God knows where He wants to be born, who should be the parents, which should be the place, which home He should come to, what should He do with His life. From day one till the last day, God completely knows the plan of His life. So, Swami came with a plan. His plan was divided into six phases. And these six phases for every 16 years He kept on changing the plan. Leela– first sixteen. What did He do? Simply entertained devotees at Chitravati, give them experience of what Divinity is. Make them like God, love God. Then He changed the plan. He said, ‘I must go beyond Puttaparthi’. Mahimas. ‘I must show my glory to people outside.’ So, He went into people’s dreams, manifested Himself far and wide, even in other countries. And He brought people to Himself to teach them. And He gave Upadesha. He said it is not enough if they are just entertained and they know that I am God. They should know why I am here for. So, He taught them. He gave discourses, He gave messages, He gave them the wisdom of all the scriptures in simple ways so that people learn and grow to become God. God should not be just a time-pass, entertainment, they should learn from God and become God.
Then He said, ‘How to make it happen for more and more people?’ Give education. So, He brought education as the fourth phase which is to give education to young and old, youth, so that they can learn and they can also grow towards God, also become servants of God, also become servants of the society. Then He brought Vaidya – healthcare. Because that was the need of the hour at that point of time. Without good health, how can you get good education? Without good education, how can you have basic needs of life? If you don’t have basic needs of life, do you think you are going to listen to God? You cannot teach an empty stomach. And He brought healthcare and water to everybody, whatever is needed to keep them in good health. And finally, He said, now I have taken care of all the basic material things. Now I must teach them the highest truth and nothing else. So finally, the phase came of establishment of Sanathana Dharma. That phase is what is going on at this point in time. This last 16 years for establishment of Sanathana Dharma!
Now, whatever helps Me establish it faster, stronger, in a better way, that is what I will do. If the body helps Me to establish this, I will use the body and do it. If without body I can establish it better and faster, I will use it without body. If somebody else’s body helps Me establish it better and faster, I will use somebody else’s body. So, My plan did not change of what I had come to do. How I plan it to do, that may undergo certain changes based on times and situations. So, this last 16 years will continue to be working for establishment of Sanathana Dharma.
What is Sanathana Dharma? It is not a religion like Hindu, Christianity, Zoroastrism, Buddhism. It is the ultimate wisdom that all are Divine. I am Divine, you are Divine, everything and everyone is Divine. This is the present work which is going on. So, the plan has not changed for what I have come for. But small changes have been made on how it will be done.
If a flight gets delayed, what do you do? Take another flight. But you don’t stop going to your destination. If a train gets cancelled, you would take a car or a taxi. But you would not stop going towards the destination. So that body was being used to go towards the destination, like a car. But the car was giving some problems. You see, I had to reach, I had to have a car.
But like a mother, if something happens to your child what do you do? You would tell Swami, ‘give me the fever, give me the trouble, give me the problem, don’t let my child suffer’. All mothers and fathers do that. Like that, mothers came, fathers came, people came, and would say, ‘Swami help me, this is my disease, this is my problem, this is my issue.’ So, Swami said, ‘Okay, you don’t suffer. Let Me take care of you, and then the body – the car, was used so much, that it underwent some difficulties. So, I said – ‘I don’t want this car because this is too slow, I cannot reach My destination. I must do this in the next 16 years. I must go around the world, every corner and teach about Sanathana Dharma.’ And so, I used another car. And I continue to do this work. As long as this car serves well, I will use! If it doesn’t, I will leave this and take another car. I am not attached to any place, anybody, any form or name. I am attached to My work. My work is to establish Divinity in the hearts of all men and women. And that is the work that I do. I will continue to do forever with some car, or in some form or the other. So, I will come in another form as I said.
Water is there in one vessel, and water is there in another vessel. Both are water, though the vessels are different. Whether you drink from this vessel or the other, thirst has to be quenched. This is one vessel. You think of it like that. Now another vessel will come in due course, and water will be transferred from this vessel so that you can drink from that.
Poornamadah Poornamidam Poornat Poornamudachyate
If I come here, it does not mean I cannot come there. I come in this form, it does not mean I cannot come in another form. If I’m here, it does not mean I am not there. If I’m going from here to there, it does not mean that I leave this place to reach another place. That is the principle of Poornam, that is the principle of Divinity. So, while Swami is there, those who will call me as Sathya Sai, I will continue to come as Sathya Sai to them 10 years, 100 years, 1000 years later also. Like somebody who calls Narayana, He comes as Narayana. The same Narayana comes as Rama to a Rama devotee, as Krishna to a Krishna devotee. Likewise, as Sathya Sai, whenever somebody remembers me as Sathya Sai, I will always be there as Sathya Sai for them because that is what helps them realise Me, and understand Me. If tomorrow they call Me as Prema Sai, I will go as Prema Sai also and see them. Or Shirdi Sai, I will go as Shirdi Sai also and see them. So, for Me these are all vessels. Water is the most important. Drink from that water.
So, with time, situations and circumstances, some changes do happen. But they are temporary. The major reason, the major mission is intact. That continues in the same direction. Car has changed, road has not changed, destination has not changed. That’s all the difference is!”
Mangala Arati was offered, and Swami blessed everyone with Prasadam. After dinner, Swami and His entourage departed back to the Hotel for the night.