An early breakfast was served to the ever compassionate and benevolent Lord, as He showered His abundant blessings on Brother Srirangan and the entire family at their residence in Plaisir, near Paris. Swami granted an interview to devotees from Spain, and also blessed the volunteers before departing to the Airport with His entourage which included Brother Shivaramakrishna and his wife Smt Aparna from Singapore who had joined the Divine Trip in Paris. The next destination on the itinerary was Rome and Assisi in Italy. A short flight, and everyone touched down at Rome Fiumicino Airport. More guests were to join Swami in Rome for the Divine Trip – Mr David and Mrs Jennie Cornsweet from the USA, Mr Anthony, Mrs Karen and their daughter Ms Maria Tan from Singapore, Mr Ryan and Mrs Nisha Kesavan Tan, and Ms Sai Gargi Nemani from Nigeria. It was indeed going to be an exciting remainder of the trip with the Lord! Everyone were lovingly received by Mr Ampelio Valeda, Mr Salvatore Iozza, and other devotees from Italy. A short drive from the Airport is Casa del Divino, Swami’s residence in Rome. The Lord manifested as Brother Madhusudan alighted from the car at the entrance of the residence. Mrs Maria Buffa along with Ms Giovanna and Ms Lily very lovingly welcomed their Master and offered their gratitude for His visit. Snacks and refreshments were served to all, as the students interns and guests proceeded to check in at their respective hotels. The youth were busy preparing for the Region 3 Annual Sai Youth Meet (UK and EU) which was being organised the next day.
A rather cloudy morning welcomed Swami’s retinue the next day, April 08th. Youth from close to 16 countries had gathered, and the morning session commenced as per instructions from Swami, and the theme yet again this year was ‘Youth for Youth’, how can one youth help another youth physically, mentally and spiritually. The student interns proceeded for a city tour to learn about the culture of Italy.
In the meanwhile, Swami proceeded to the Grace Kitchen, a 30 minutes drive from Casa del Divino. This project which serves the homeless has been initiated in many countries by the merciful Sai, and many volunteers come together to cook meals and distribute them to the needy in distressed areas. Student interns and guests had also gathered at the Grace Kitchen to be with Swami. Many volunteers were at the facility, where Swami stressed that food should help in purifying thoughts, as He spoke about Patra, Paka and Padhartha Shuddhi – Purity of vessels, cooking process and the ingredients. He blessed the facility and urged everyone to have their lunch at the Kitchen.
In the evening, Swami proceeded to address the youth at the Annual Region 3 Sai Youth Meet. An exhibition of sculptures was set up by a group of visually impaired men and women, who were profusely blessed by Swami. As Swami walked in to the Bhajan Hall, the tempo of the Bhajans reached crescendo, and the atmosphere reverberated with divine bliss. Brother Victory Craxi, a former student of Bhagawan from Prasanthi Nilayam welcomed Swami and delivered a summary of the morning proceedings. Youth chanted with perfect intonations the Sikshavalli from the Taitreya Upanishad, much to the joy of Bhagawan. A short musical offering by all the youths followed, which included a beautiful song on St Francis of Assisi.
A youth from Poland expressed her gratitude to Swami for her positive transformation in her daily life. Thereafter, a former student of Swami from Prasanthi Nilayam spoke and narrated instances of his experiences with his dear Lord. Ms Bhuvana Santhanam was the next speaker, and she spoke about what Swami has been stressing to everyone repeatedly, ‘This is the time, this is the place, this is the situation. If it cannot happen here, it cannot happen anywhere else. If it cannot happen now, it cannot happen any other time. If it cannot happen this way, it cannot happen in any other way. So don’t wait to start on this path!’ She said, “God has created so many people, so each can help the other. No one has been made perfect. Otherwise there is no scope of serving and helping another. We are all made in such a way that we have to help each other grow, as we cannot grow all by ourselves…I to We to He, and this is the journey.” She reminded all the youth about the eight-fold Mantra which Swami gave the youth during the 92nd Birthday Celebrations – To be, To do, To see and To tell. Hear all say nothing , Give all take nothing, Bear all do nothing, and Serve all be nothing!
Mr Isaac Tigrett spoke about his youth and the time he met Swami. He also narrated how Swami has given him five gold coins which he wears around his neck always. Mr Tigrett revealed that these were nothing but the five human values of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa, and urged all the youth to lead their lives in the path of God by allowing these coins to guide through the day, every day!
Sri B N Narasimha Murthy spoke about how St. Francis is a great inspiration for all youths around the world. He urged everyone to keep pace with Swami, work in His mission, and not to lose the opportunity that He has bestowed upon all, so that each person can become truly immortal.
Swami in His divine discourse said that it is not given for all to know God! “Having faith and trust in the word of God, take to the path of service and sacrifice. Go and reach the ultimate end that is happiness. No person who is afraid can attain God; God is for only the courageous. That is why our scriptures say, ‘Be fearless, Abhihi Abhihi Abhihi.’ In the history of Italy and India, only such fearless and selfless people have achieved God, no one else. Flies hover around a glass of juice, as they want to taste the juice and enjoy it. But they are afraid if they fall, they may die. So all life they keep hovering around the glass of juice, but they don’t get to taste even a drop of that. Don’t be like the flies! God has to be achieved at the cost of yourself. Only when you give you to Me, I give Me to you! And I give Myself to you only so much as much you give yourself to Me. So if you completely give yourself to Me, I completely give Myself to you! And only those who have given themselves completely to God, can achieve God, nobody else. I am only as much as you think of Me!
At the end I will have 100 people with Me, only 100 will be close to Me, and who will do everything that is needed in the world. 28 of them above 60 years. Then 22 would be between 40 and 60 years. 50 would be below 40 years. Half of those 100 will be people who are young, both in body and mind. This is the reason for Me to spend so much time with young people, as half the mission depends on all of you and not on the older ones. They will do their part, since they also have a part to play!”
Mangala Arati was offered and Swami returned to Casa del Divino along with His retinue for dinner, and everyone retired early with much excitement to depart to Assisi the next morning!