It was indeed an exciting evening as Swami’s entourage prepared to leave for the Bangalore Airport on the night of August 26th, 2017 to board their flight to a new country, Russia. Russia is the largest country in the world by surface area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area. After a brief stop over and a change of flight, everyone landed in Moscow on August 27th morning. It was 10 degrees, but the warmth of the devotees who had come to receive them was overwhelming. A traditional welcome of bread and salt at the Domodedovo Airport awaited the entourage. Bread and Salt is a welcome greeting ceremony in many European cultures. Ladies dressed in their national costumes from Kazakhstan, Belorussia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia presented Swami’s entourage with a loaf of bread, which had a salt holder on top of the loaf. Everyone had to take a bite of the bread dipped in salt.
Professor Ravichandran, a faculty from the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence at Muddenahalli had arrived two weeks prior, to make all the arrangements. An alumni who passed out from the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus in the mid eighties, Prof Ravichandran had studied and worked in Russia for 20 years on Bhagawan’s command. Having lived for two decades in Russia, he speaks, reads and writes the language fluently, and has also been the main coordinator for all the devotees who visited India for Swami’s Darshan.
After a 45-minutes drive, the entourage reached their hotel situated in the centre of Moscow. Swami was already waiting in His room, eager to speak to His beloved devotees, revealed Brother Madhusudan. Looking at a lady devotee Swami said that He had told them during an interview ten years ago, that He would visit Russia ‘after ten years’! Swami said, “See exactly after ten years I have come. Everything has a reason and a season. So many flowers exist, but they will bloom only at the right season. When the time comes, everything will happen. When flowers bloom, bees come to suck the nectar. It has taken a few years for your hearts to bloom and become full of nectar, for Swami to come and partake. You must all understand that there is only the One who is real, all others are reflections. Know that One real self.” He urged everyone to have their breakfast and lunch, and rest for the afternoon, before proceeding for the private Satsang.
In the evening, Swami departed to the venue of the Satsang, where about hundred people from many parts of Russia and the neighbouring countries had gathered. These were the coordinator and volunteers behind the entire event. Many were experiencing Swami in the subtle for the very first time, and one could see they were eager to understand this baffling phenomenon which can ONLY be fathomed with, and by the heart! As Swami entered the Hall, there was absolute silence and as He walked down the aisle blessing the devotees, every devotee gathered, instantly knew the presence of their Master! Tears of reunion with their Lord drenched them, and it was pure love which overflowed.
Mr Dmitry, one of the key organisers of Bhagawan’s visit to Russia took to the podium, and expressed his love for Swami and thanked Him for blessing everyone with the visit. Professor Ravichandran welcomed the gathering next, and profusely thanked Swami for blessing the country and all the devotees. He expressed how fortunate everyone is, as Swami was present in their midst at that very moment. He reminisced what Swami had revealed in Kodaikanal earlier in May, about the efforts He had taken to bring each person to Him, about how He had visited country to country, street to street and home after home, to bring His dear ones to Him.
Thereafter, Professor Ravichandran went on reminisce the moment when he was a student at Parthi, that day in 1984, when Swami came to the portico, and had casully remarked, “Someone is going to Russia.” He had turned, looked at young Ravichandran with so much love, unexpectedly asked the boys to make way, walked straight to him, and asked him to take Namaskar. This ritual happened for the next few days. And one day, Swami asked him whether he would go to Russia! The rest is history. Professor Ravichandran broke down emotionally and said, “If the fire of love for God is alive in me, it is only because of Swami.” There was not a dry eye in the room.
A short musical rendition of a few Russian devotional songs were offered at Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet. Music is said to be the universal language of man, and indeed it is. Though the songs were rendered in Russian, it elevated everyone to another realm.
Sri C Sreenivas addressed the gathering next, and reminded everyone that it doesn’t matter which name is called or what language is spoken, as there is only one call which arises from the bottom of everyone’s heart, and that is the call of love. He said, “When Madhusudan told me that the Russian devotees whom we were going to meet were very simple, I thought about the word ‘simple’. To be simple is to be devoted. Simplicity naturally knows love and devotion, and comes naturally from within. The greatest gift of life – being simple, being able to love Swami, and making that the meaning and mission of your lives. Simplicity is beautiful, and can enable one to do wonderful things. The love that Swami has for all, will usher in a new meaning and direction in all lives. I see all of you as seeds, as Swami will manifest and walk in your bodies, speak His message of love and kindness through you, do His acts of kindness and service through you, and become leading lights to yourself and to many as you walk along this path.”
After his short and inspiring talk, Sri B N Narasimha Murthy spoke, and said that Swami’s visit was indeed the fulfillment of the prayer of many thousands of souls, and a living promise made by the Lord to devotees in Russia. He said, “Everyone has seen rivers merge in the ocean. But how many see the ocean going to the rivers. When Swami was in the physical, all of us were the rivers. After He shed His physical, He is coming to all devotees.” Sri Narasimha Murthy spoke at length about Peter, and how he ran away after he betrayed Jesus, but alas, the Lord did not desert him. Infact Jesus had said, “I am the good shepherd, I know My flock and My flock knows Me. I will lay down My life for My flock.”
Swami in His divine discourse said, “It is described in the scriptures by the devotee Narada, that Bhakti or devotion is that, attaining which, the devotee becomes fulfilled, content and blissful. Having attained that, there is nothing more to attain, says the great sage. It’s the highest that any human can attain in life. In fact many devotees declined merger with God, as they wanted to love Him. There are instances when the Lord has not allowed merger so He could be loved, in another form. On one hand there were devotees who wanted to remain separate from the Lord, and enjoy the feeling of devotion. And on the other hand Lord did not want devotees to merge so that He could be loved. In the beginning God was one and alone, and so He separated Himself from Himself to love Himself. Today, what we are experiencing is only that. Do not think of yourselves as ordinary human beings living on this earth. Do not think of this day as another ordinary daily affair. You and I being here today, is not ordinary by any means! It is extraordinary beyond description, because it was decided many many ages ago. For Me to be here today and now, and for you to be here today and now, was planned much before! It is a moment of celebration and fulfillment, which is not ordinary. I manifest right then and there, where such love exists. This love gives Me the bliss which is My food. When there is no bliss how can there be God!”
Swami then asked all the gathered devotees what they wanted. They said “Love”, and Swami immediately replied that He was there only to give Love. Swami went to say, “The love that you have for Me, share with others. I give you Myself, hold me in your hearts, and let Me speak through your lips, let Me comfort others through your hands, let Me walk, talk, breathe and sleep, all through you. Let your life become My message. Let My love flow through each one of you! What is spirituality? Just letting God through you is spirituality. Let the ‘I’ in you melt away in this feeling of SAI!”
Swami was so overwhelmed with the love that He concluded His discourse saying His heart was full and no words were needed anymore. He urged everyone to reminisce that moment.
Mangala Arati was offered to Swami, and thereafter He returned to the Hotel for dinner and rest.