An early morning, early breakfast, and an early Mangala Arati to Bhagawan at the Malhotra residence, as the entourage were all set to fly to the next destination, Paris. After blessing the Malhotra and Tandon family, and other gathered devotees profusely, Swami bid His entourage farewell, and said He would meet them in Paris! Swami’s ‘first’ Visit to Paris is a result of a loving and prayerful invitation by a Sri Lankan couple, Smt Rajanee and her husband Srirangan. Ardent devotees for many decades, they had invited Swami to their humble abode last year during Swami’s visit to Biarritz. At that time, they were living in a modest apartment, and when Swami promised to come to their home this year, they bought a villa, to welcome the Lord! This is just one small example of what devotees do around the world to welcome their Master, who currently has transcended His physical existence. It is unbelievable to see what devotees do for the ‘unseen’ Sai! Truly, this continuing mission of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is for those who think from the heart!
The first batch pass outs from the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence, who are part of Swami’s entourage had reached two days earlier, and were hosted with love by the devotees, as they got to experience and understand the French culture. The entourage upon arrival, were lovingly welcomed by Brother Srirangan, his wife and other devotees at the Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris. The young graduates were mighty excited to be in Paris, for where in the world from pin to plane, everything is lovingly given by someone, and in their case, The Creator Himself! Wading through traffic, everyone reached the home of Srirangan and Rajanee at around 8 p.m. Bhagawan manifested as soon as Brother Madhusudan Naidu got off the car at the entrance of the new home, Swami’s home which He lovingly named Sathya Sai Nilayam! Bhajans were in progress by the students, and Swami spoke about the loving sacrifice of the couple, and the service activities which the family has undertaken. Blessing all, Swami proceeded to His room, where dinner was served to Him.
The next morning after breakfast, Swami urged His entourage to go around the city. The students proceeded to the Public Satsang venue for the evening to assist with all the arrangements.
Swami along with His entourage proceeded to the venue Salons Antoine, about 15 minutes from the residence of Srirangan, where over 350 people had gathered from all parts of France and even neighbouring countries like Spain, Portugal, Germany, Netherlands. Swami entered amidst Bhajans, and walked around the entire hall twice, blessing everyone. After Swami sat on His throne, and a couple of Bhajans were sung, the emcee welcomed Bhagawan and His entourage, and invited the children of France and neighbouring countries to offer their love and gratitude to the Lord. Few boys and girls walked up to Swami, and offered many paintings done specially for Him. Swami very lovingly accepted them, and told everyone that these would be framed to adorn the walls of the Institutions in the various Campuses. They also chanted a few Sholkas and Swami blessed them all with Namaskar and Vibuthi. Thereafter, both of sons of Srirangan and Rajanee, Sai Sooriya and Sai Kiran spoke in French and English. The children in their straight from the heart speech, questioned the gathering as to why Swami had chosen Paris in France for His divine visit, and answered it themselves that only Swami knew the reason, nevertheless it is the good fortune of all to be seated in His divine presence. Crisp, confident and clear was their delivery, which left everyone in awe! Thereafter, Sri Shivalingam, father of Smt Rajanee welcomed Swami and expressed his gratitude. He had come as a refugee to Paris, and stayed back in this beautiful city which he and his family call as home today. As true devotees of Sai’s teachings the family has been engaged in many Seva activities since those early days four decades ago!
Mr Isaac Tigrett was invited to speak thereafter, and Ms Edith Vuillon translated all the speeches of the evening to French. Mr Tigrett said, “No one can tell you what to believe or what not to believe. No one even remembers you, when you are gone. So why are you here? You are here to evolute, and get closer to the true identity. Can you believe that you are a divine and immortal being? You will come back over and over again, until you find your true identity. This is called self realisation. All Masters have spoken about this, and this is the reason they come! Each one is connected to each other in one collective. The power of faith is beyond your imagination.”
Sri C Sreenivas in his short, but poignant speech reminded everyone that love and devotion is truly an inspiration, and another word for love is devotion. “One objective of wanting Swami to come, and the preparation to do anything and everything, any act which we may call an act of supreme sacrifice is truly an inspiration. Inspiration results in transformation! This should be our path!”
Sri B N Narasimha Murthy recalled the pertinent question which the child Sai Kiran asked everyone as the Satsang began, and he said the answer would be that Sai has come on business, and reminisced what Swami had said in Dubai! Swami while speaking to group of businessmen had said, “I am also a businessman, but I deal in the currency of love. I give love and get love. The more I give love, the more I get love. And in my business I always make profits unlike yours, which deals with money and makes losses too!”
Sri Narasimha Murthy went on to say that among the four testaments, only one was written by a disciple of Christ – Mark, Mathew and Luke did not live in the proximity of Christ. They wrote based on what the other Apostles said. “Only John wrote what He saw. The most important line is – the last word of John, and also the last word of Sai and Jesus, the essence of all religions – The one who knows love, knows God. The one who does not know love, does not know God. Only love gives dignity to all life!”
Swami began His discourse by saying that love never tires, when there is no love, there is tiredness! He said this to Ms Edith who had been standing for over an hour translating all the speeches, and was filled with happiness and joy to be in His presence.
“All the world is God, say the Upanishads. God pervades all, so whether you add or remove, it is God. Divinity that exists in everything is complete. This is the supreme truth. When you know everything is God, how is it that you cannot love everyone? I am here to give and take love. I don’t see any differences. Ignorance is causing discord in the world, and therefore there is so much of selfishness. Masters come down to show that it is possible to love everyone. Invest in the business of love, that is the most profitable! All the love is hidden as a treasure in your heart, and everyone becomes yours!”
Yet again, Swami urged the children to ask questions, and yet again it was simply an experience just witnessing these children! After a few Questions and Answers, Mangala Arati was offered, and after blessing the Prasadam, Swami departed to the residence of Srirangan for His dinner. Arati was also offered to Swami that night before He retired, as the next morning was a very early start to the Charles De Gaulle Airport, to catch the flight to the next destination, Bern in Switzerland!