In 1979, a community service initiative turned into a Nursing Home Project. After six years of regular visits to the aged and aged sick in the various Nursing Homes, a group of volunteers decided that it was time to consolidate their community work, with the objective of providing nursing care and shelter for the sick, aged sick and handicapped from the lower socio-economic sector. And in 1986, SWAMI HOME was born. The volunteers had been earnestly and ardently praying to their beloved Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai to bless Swami Home, His Home. Swami did promise them, and had said He would visit when the new building ‘Grace’ would be ready. With one building called ‘Sunshine’ and the other building ‘Grace’, this Home provides succour to a few hundred residents who need tender, loving care. The Home started with only 20 residents, 32 years ago, and today with 265 staff, they care for more than 300 elders. Home help, home medical and nursing services are also offered, and all together every single day SWAMI HOME touches the lives of over 1000 elders.
And the Lord had compassionately decided to bless SWAMI HOME, and soon after breakfast at the Pillay residence, He proceeded to this home of love and compassion. Mr Low Chang Yee, Chairman of SWAMI HOME, Mr Ramon Quek, Mr Yap Boon Phye along with other committee members of SWAMI HOME welcomed Swami amidst traditional lion dance and Vedam chanting. After alighting from the car, Swami proceeded first to inaugurate and consecrate the Shirdi Baba shrine. He also planted a Bodhi tree and then proceeded on a tour of the entire facility, and it was extremely emotional and heartening to see Swami interact with the elders. Swami inaugurated the new wing, and graciously named it ‘Grace’.
Along with Dr Lim Wee Kiak, Member of Parliament of the area who was present, Swami along with the others ascended the Dias for a short programme. Multi-faith prayers heralded the start of the event. Mr Low Chang Yee, Chairman of SWAMI HOME welcomed the gathering and narrated the story of the HOME and traced the 32-year-old journey. A visibly touched Dr Kiak was the next speaker. A beautiful circle completed, as Dr Kiak spoke about how 15 years ago he had visited SWAMI HOME as a volunteer doctor, and was impressed by the way care was given. Having seen this place grow, Dr Kiak applauded the need for such facilities, and the growing requirement for dementia care in Singapore and the alarming statistics.
Thereafter, Sri B N Narasimha Murthy took to the podium, and confessed that he has not seen a care home like this anywhere in the world, having travelled with Swami to 30 countries in the last few years. He said SWAMI HOME was a true testimony to the spirit and pride of Singapore, which is reverence for life and love for humanity! The Govt of Singapore is an active participant and patron of SWAMI HOME. “SWAMI HOME is a great synthesis of compassion on one side, and computer on the other side. This is one of the few places where Swami’s teachings are put in to practise.”
Swami in His divine discourse started by quoting the essence of the 18 Puranas, “To help others is merit, and to hurt others is sin. There is no greater good than helping someone. It is for the sake of others, rivers flow. It is for the sake of others, trees bear fruits. It is for the sake of others, cows yield milk. And this body has been given to serve others. Helping others purifies you, and makes you kind and compassionate. And this makes you closer to the Divine, who is the resident of your heart. Once you realise the divinity in you, you will see the same divinity in others. Love and compassion is only possible in a place like this where people are inspired by a thought – the thought of being of use and service to others! Sincerity is the cause of the success of this Home.” Swami also announced that a SWAMI HOME will soon be built in Malaysia. Blessing all profusely, Swami concluded His divine message. Mangala Arati was offered, and Swami proceeded to His room, where snacks and light refreshments were served to Him. After granting a few interviews, Swami returned to the Pillay residence.
There was excitement in the air yet again, as from SWAMI HOME, all the students and the ‘Singapore Gang’ proceeded to Marina South Pier to board a short cruise trip with the Lord. Swami reached around 5 p.m., and everyone set sail for an exclusive ‘Sai-ling in the Sea with Sai’.
Sitting on the upper deck, Swami beckoned His students, both girls and boys to sing songs and Bhajans. Swami then spoke to everyone in an intimate and casual way. He said, “All ask Me for a Mantra. The most important Mantra is – ‘God is’. When you believe in ‘God is’, everything else becomes divine. Anywhere you go, whatever you do, God knows. This belief is the most important belief. Just surrender to God. How do you experience God? You have to jump in and say, ‘If there is a being like this I surrender’. But many tell Me, ‘First You give me an experience, then I will surrender’. But it should be the other way around. First comes surrender, then comes experience.
How do we develop devotion, many children ask. It is only love. When you believe God is, you develop faith. When there is faith, there is love. Love for God is devotion. Teachers today don’t want to talk about God. How will they, if they have not experienced? Children will ask more questions, if you have not experienced it yourself. Teachers have to develop great faith and devotion. Those who know God, know peace. No God, No peace. Once you know that the nature of the world is dual, you will do your best and leave everything else to God, and you will also leave the result to God.”
Dinner was served to all, and Swami once again spoke to everyone soon after, about 120 people which included Swami’s students and entourage, in the lower deck of the cruise. A Bhajan Antakshari commenced, and with great enthusiasm everyone participated, with Swami singing the first Bhajan. A memorable evening, an eventful day, a beautiful trip to two countries this concluded with Mangala Arati and a group photograph. The Lord departed to the Pillay residence, and after blessing the grateful host, the Pillay family abundantly, Swami retired for the night. The next morning, August 8, after Mangal Arati to Swami, the entourage proceeded to Airport to board their flight back to Bangalore.