It was time to depart from London and proceed to the next destination on the ‘European Pilgrimage’, as fondly and devoutly referred to by the student interns. Swami granted a few interviews after breakfast, which also included the UK Trust meeting, where the Lord made a startling revelation to the surprise of all when He said, “Finally I will have only a core team of 100 people who will work for MY mission. ‘100’ number is significant as without the digit 1, the rest are just zeros. The qualification to be in this core team, just two things – you need to be obedient and convenient to ME!” A mighty deep statement to ponder upon! After Mangala Arati, Swami’s entourage proceeded to the airport to catch their flight to Paris. Brother Srirangan and his wife Smt Rajanee are the blessed hosts in France, and this was the second consecutive year that Swami was going to stay at their home. Along with few other devotees, they welcomed everyone with much joy and love. From Charles de Gaulle, the drive to their home in Plaisir through rush-hour traffic took close to two hours! Swami was traditionally received with Poorna Kumbham by the father and mother of Smt Rajanee. Sri Mahalingam had moved to France from Sri Lanka a few decades ago, and has been an active volunteer who spearheaded many Seva projects in Swami’s mission. Swami lovingly spoke about the family to His students, after which dinner was served to everyone.
The excited student interns were awake rather early, as they were all set to go around Paris and see all the famous monuments of the charming city. Whether it is the city’s stunning architecture, the Louvre museum, the iconic Eiffel Tower, a cruise in the Seine River or the simple pleasure of just sitting at a café terrace and watching the world go by, France is said to be the most visited country in the world! No wonder Swami wants these young soldiers in the mission of Sai to experience different cultures.
In the meanwhile, devotees from Paris and other countries were busy preparing for the Public Satsang which was being organised in the evening at Le Clos, a venue named after Michel Gérard Joseph Colucci, better known as Coluche, who was a French comedian and actor. In 1985, he created the “Restos du cœur” charity, where 40,000 volunteers work in almost 2,500 restaurants, which welcome 600,000 beneficiaries a day, as they continue to distribute food to the homeless. So the venue was a prefect fit to all the selfless Seva being done in the name of Sai around the world. Swami entered the beautiful auditorium amidst Bhajans by the student interns. He first granted an interview to a group of devotees who had come from Netherlands. Swami then proceeded to the Satsang Hall, and walked around the devotees touching every heart in the most magical way, which only He can do. After the introductory talks by two elderly devotees, both the sons of Brother Srirangan and wife Rajanee, Sai Surya and Saitheren extended their gratitude and shared their experiences about travelling with Swami. The family travelled with Swami and other devotees soon after the 92nd Birthday celebrations to Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Rishikesh. Sri Mahalingam, father of Smt Rajanee took to the podium next. His takeaway message was very deep, as he reminded everyone to ask five questions – “Who am I? What are my responsibilities? What is the relationship between God and me? Why has this body been given to me? Why human birth is the highest? The purpose of human life is living for God, with God and in God. We have to take steps not to be born again!”
A group of devotees from Germany offered soulful devotional songs at the Lotus Feet of Swami.
Mr Isaac Tigrett then narrated the story of Coluche and how Swami’s humanitarian work resonates well with each other. He spoke about the importance of service and said, “It is very important for a person to be compassionate which will ensure peace of mind, and connect the person to their higher nature.” Sri B N Narasimha Murthy spoke about liberty, and said that only when man realises he is divine. He said, “True equality in a society is possible only faith and devotion to God exists. Men and women must realise everyone came from the same God!”
Swami in His divine discourse spoke yet again reiterated about the truth, that all are divine beings. “Just develop this one thought, ‘I am divine’ and believe in it. You have to firmly believe, and the more you believe in your divinity, the more you believe that you are divine, your thoughts, words, actions will transform. Practise it; you will become that. Sometimes you may ask, ‘Is it practical to remember that we are divine all the time?’ Let Me tell you this is the most practical things to remember, because this is one truth, it won’t change; the other things keep changing. Untruth keeps changing, whereas truth remains the same all the time; therefore, it is easy to remember truth. Believe in this truth that ‘I am divine’, and thereby transform yourselves.”
Mangala Arati was offered to Swami, and He departed to the residence of Brother Srirangan for dinner.