There was excitement in the morning air as it was the day of fun and games with the Lord. Bhagawan walked down to the Prayer Hall where students and devotees had gathered, awaiting His arrival while Bhajans were in progress.
For the first time in many many years, a group of Tibetan shopkeepers had also gathered to have Swami’s Darshan. As a mark of gratitude, they offered to Bhagawan flowers and Khatags- traditional white scarves that are presented to holy persons as a gesture of respect and reverance. Bhagawan too blessed them all profusely with tokens of His love.
Bhagawan then commanded one of His students to address the gathering. Ankit Kumar is a student of the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence pursuing Chartered Accountancy and like several others has dedicated his life to serve in Bhagawan’s mission. He had earlier spoken a few days ago as well, and began by extending a warm welcome to all the Tibetan brothers and sisters, and urged them to come back every year so that they too may experience Swami’s love. He spoke in hindi – a language familiar to them, and recounted Bhagawan’s assurance of taking care of his entire family and even narrated an experience of his mother being saved by Divine intervention.
This was followed by Sri B N Narasimha Murthy’s speech who also reminisced Bhagawan’s compassion for the downtrodden and especially for the Tibetans, and how despite all these years, nothing had changed at all. It was the same Swami, who with the same love was sending students year after year, to shop at the Tibetan market just for their sake.
Thereafter, Arati was offered to Bhagawan who then proceeded towards the Hill Top Bungalow.
Devotees and students quickly re-assembled under a marquee that had been erected the previous night for the fun time with Swami. Students – boys and girls, and devotees – gents and ladies had divided themselves into four teams. The teams – Prashanthi, Sai Shruti, Brindavan and Anandam were all set to score points for their respective teams. Once Bhagawan was seated on a special jhoola, the quiz masters- Brother Vijay Sai and Sister Deepika began the session. A couple of rounds of a quiz on Swami’s childhood and a theme based Bhajan Anthakshari were played. Swami too seemed to enjoy the show, and even aided some teams to give the right answer. Sure enough, there was plenty of love, laughter and giggles galore! Just as the session was gaining momentum, a sudden downpour of rain caused it to be force-stopped.
Nevertheless Swami, not to disappoint anybody posed for group photographs with the various teams saying that it wasn’t just rain, but ‘Premavarsham‘ – downpour of love and yes young or old, child or an elder – every person was soaked, drenched and drowned in His Love!
Thereafter, Swami partook His lunch with the elders and guest, and retired for the afternoon.
May 18 – Evening
As the day grew and the chill began to set in, everybody had once again gathered at the Hill Top Bungalow for a cosy, intimate evening session of learning the most profound lessons of life at the Lord’s Feet. Bhagawan had blessed all the boys students with an interview as Bhajans were in progress.
Once He was seated, He began explaining to the devotees the purity and devotion of those students. Some of them wanted to continue studying in Bhagawan’s Institution, but were in a dilemma as their parents had other plans for their future. So they had prayed to Swami seeking advice on how to convince their parents.
Quoting a Shloka from the Bhagavad Gita – Abhayam Sarvabhoothebhyo Dhdhaami Ethath Vachanam Mama, Swami reassured that “Whichever being- man, animal, bird, insect or worm takes refuge in Me, wholeheartedly seeks My help even once, I promise to look after them now and forever. I will ensure that the highest good is bestowed on them, and that they need not fear of lacking anything in life”.
Although God never expects anything in return, the one quality that He does look for is complete surrender and a pure heart full of love only and only for Him alone! That pure love made Krishna go after the Gopis and Gopikas, and readily oblige them with whatever they asked – song, dance or anything for that matter in exchange for their butter, even though his own home being the village chieftan’s, had plenty of butter. It was such love that made Krishna kidnap Rukmini although He could have easily fought the war and defeated her father. Rukmini had given Him an ultimatum of ending her life if Krishna did not save her, and hence was under tremendous pressure, Swami jokingly remarked! It was the same love that Meera sang about – the only currency with which she had made Krishna her own.
Swami then beckoned for Sri Venkatesh Kamath to speak. He recollected how he joined the Muddenahalli Institution purely by Bhagawan’s grace that has made him what he is today. He also began to narrate the story of one student – Vinod Kumar, who graduated from the first batch of the Centre for Human Excellence and is currently serving Bhagawan. He narrated how Swami had asked Sri B N Narasimha Murthy to personally call Vinod’s parents, requesting for their consent to allow him to join Bhagawan’s Institution.
At this juncture, Swami called Vinod himself to narrate the journey of his parents’ transformation. Vinod’s father wanted him to become the first doctor in their family, but today is extremely grateful that his son is serving God and advises him to do whatever Swami asks him to.
Swami then went to state that just like Bharatha chose Rama over his mother, Prahalada defied his father for Narayana, Vibhishana forsaked his brother and sought refuge at Rama’s feet, King Bali Chakravarthy recognised Lord Vamana disobeying his own Guru, one can give up any relationship in the world for the sake of God. And when one chooses God above everything else, one is sure to achieve God too. While these were examples of yesteryears, Bhagawan announced that stories of students such as Vinod’s are like the modern day Bhagavatham, as these children are the present day Prahaladas and Dhruvas! These stories, He said would become scriptures of modern age a hundred years later!
Swami urged the students to explain their heart’s desire to their parents in a humble and polite manner, and that He said was sure to convince them. God, waits for the devotee to take the first step towards Him, and assured that God Himself would come running for the remaining 99 steps. The first step in faith is the most crucial though, He said.
Pointing out to Sri PDN Sreenivasu, who has been blessed to serve as the first Vice- Chancellor of the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence, Swami asked him to explain how he too hailed from a small town, overcame many challenges and today has offered himself back to serve Bhagawan. Sri Sreenivasu confessed that when he joined Swami’s school at Prasanthi Nilayam for his Grade 11, and the transition from Telugu medium to English medium seemed like a herculean challenge. However, solely by Bhagawan’s grace, not only did he go on to complete his graduation, post-graduation and even PhD, he also secured the gold medal in his batch. After a successful career at the Andhra University, where he held a highly respectable position, one word from Swami and he jumped at the opportunity, saying that he has bagged the best job so far. Bhagawan also chipped in saying it was the best job only because he is serving not just in any institution, but in Swami’s Institution.
Swami then profusely blessed Sri Sreenivasu and his wife, whom He designated as Guru Matha of the Campus saying that she would need to look after all the students as her own children, and ensure their good health. The couple offered Mangala Arati to Swami. After dinner with the guests and elders, Bhagawan retired for the night.