Sri Lanka, is the land blessed by Sri Rama, and Bhagawan graciously decided to visit the land yet again for four days, and this time with His fifteen students and five staff from the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence, and some chosen devotees from Singapore, UK, Brazil and Greece. This was also going to be a special trip, as the entourage were going to drive to Batticaloa, while stopping at some of the historical places connected to the Ramayana, and graced by Sri Rama. The entourage landed at night on July 12, and were driven straight to their Hotel. Bhagawan proceeded to the residence of Brother Nishanta Dissanayake and his wife Mrs Gayani in Columbo. Few devotees had gathered to welcome the Lord, and after blessing everyone, Swami retired for the night.
The next morning after breakfast, Swami blessed everyone who had gathered to bid Him a fond farewell. There were a few youth as well, and Swami gave them precious advice on Seva, “Even if someone ridicules, you must continue doing Seva. It will lead you to transformation. In this path, you will get more blames, and difficulties than support! Today, doing good has become difficult. But even if one person is good, the world can be changed. When you are young you can do a lot more, and you must take to the path of service.” Substantiating this with a stir from the life of Lord Buddha, Swami handed out Prasadam to everyone, and proceeded to the first temple, the Kelaniya Temple.
After King Ravana’s death, Vibeeshana was coronated as King of Lanka by Lakshmana at Kelaniya. Vibeeshana’s Palace, is said to be on the banks of the Kelani River, which is mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana. It is also believed that Lord Buddha visited this place in his third trip to Lanka, albeit in his astral body. Now it’s the most sacred Buddhist temple, with a shrine dedicated to King Vibeeshana. The person at the temple explained that many devotees who visit King Vibeeshana’s shrine, pray to him asking his intervention to a fair recourse to their problems. King Vibeeshana’s sword is also enshrined here.
Swami revealed that Rama left for Ayodhya after the battle from a spot very close to the Kelaniya Temple. There are murals enshrined outside the temple depicting the crowning of Vibeeshana. As all the students, staff and devotees huddled around Swami, craning their heads to hear every bit of the divine revelation, the Lord said, “After the war, Vibheeshana took charge of things, but he always considered Rama as the King of this place, and he only ruled on behalf of Rama, as the Lord’s servant. The message here is that in the same family, you may have Ravana and Vibheeshana. But Vibheeshana had the courage to give up what is wrong, and came to join Rama. For Sri Lankan’s, Vibheeshana is God, as he taught them the path to God. All this happened more than 8500 years ago!” Pointing to the mural on the wall where Lakshmana is shown coronating Vibheeshana and offering a garland of lotus flowers, Swami commented excitedly, ” Look there, that’s the correct depiction, Lakshmana did offer a garland of lotus to Vibheeshana on his coronation”. It was simply amazing to hear all the stories from Sai Rama Himself!
From Kelaniya, Swami and His entourage proceeded to another temple of great importance, Munneshwaram Temple. The temple is considered as one of the most ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Lord Rama after his victorious battle left for Ayodhya in one of King Ravana’s Vimanas (flying chariot). He felt He was being followed by “Bramahathya Dosham” (sin of killing a Brahmin), as he had killed King Ravana, who was a Brahmin. He stopped the Vimana at this juncture, because He felt at this place the “Bramahathya Dosham” was not following him anymore. When He looked down, He saw the temple with a Shiva Lingam. He descended from the Vimana and asked Lord Shiva for a remedy for the Bramahathya Dosham. Lord Shiva blessed Lord Rama and advised him to install and pray to four Lingams in Manavari, Thirukoneshwaram, Thiruketheeswaram and Rameshwaram in India, as the only remedy to get rid of the Dosham. Prayers were offered to the Shiva Lingam in the presence of the Almighty Shiva Himself!
Thereafter, Swami and His entourage proceeded to a Resort for lunch on the way to Manavari, another temple of great importance, where Lord Rama and Sita had visited after the war. Manavari is the place where the first lingam made out of sand, was installed and prayed to by Lord Rama, and to this day, this Lingam is called as Ramalinga Shivan. Rameshwaram has the only other Lingam in the world named after Lord Rama. As soon as Swami reached, all the students and devotees started chanting the Rudram. After the first Anuvaka, a retired lady High Court Judge explained about the significance of the temple. Arati was offered to the Lingam, and soon after Swami and His entourage proceeded to Anuradhapura, which was three hours away, and rested for the night.