Thursday, April 26, 2007 to Friday, May 18, 2007
The month of April, this year in Prasanthi Nilayam, was special. Departing from the usual practice of leaving for ‘Brindavan’ (the Ashram in Bangalore) or Kodaikanal by late March or early April, Swami this year stayed on for more than three weeks in Prasanthi Nilayam even though mercury had gone above 35 degree celsius.
|Sri Sathya Sai on board flight from Prasanthi Nilayam to Madurai - April 26, 2007|
On the 26th, Swami boarded an Airbus A320 along with a small group of students, research scholars, teachers from the University and few senior devotes for the Kodaikanal trip, enroute Madurai.
|Sri Sathya Sai Darshan at Kodaikanal|
Bhagavan graced those sylvan hills for 23 days – a welcome respite to all from the blazing sun at Puttaparthi. Twenty-six students and several elders had the good fortune of being invited as Bhagawan’s entourage, and all had a holy, joy-filled time there. Many devotees travelled from the surrounding areas to have their Darshan of Bhagavan in that unique setting.
|Sathya Sai with Students - Interactions inside Sai Sruthi|
There were numerous special concerts and talks. Among those blessed by Bhagavan to address the evening gathering of devotees in the Bhajan Hall of the Sai Sruthi Mandir were senior devotees like Prof. Anil Kumar, Sri B. Narasimhamurthy, Prof. G. Venkataraman and Sri Ajit Popat, and researcher scholars including Sri Sanjay Mahalingam and Sri Shashank Shah.
|Malladi Brothers perform for Sri Sathya Sai at the inauguration of the guest house at Kodaikanal|
The renowned Malladi Brothers gave two Carnatic Music concerts in the Divine presence – one in the Sai Sruthi Mandir Bhajan Hall, and another one at the newly constructed guest house which was a few kilomteres away from Sai Sruthi. There were also special musical offerings in Carnatic and Hindustani Music by Bhagavan’s students on certain evenings in the Bhajan Hall. Swami blessed the residence of a number of senior devotees including Sri G.K. Raman, Convenor, Sri Sathya Sai State Trust Tamil Nadu; and Sri V. Srinivasan, All India President, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organsiations.
He took the students to the Hill Top Bungalow, which is the highest point in Kodaikanal, and spent precious time with them, blessing a select few with photographs.
|Sri Sathya Sai with select devotees in the garden of the Hill Top Bungalow|
To His right is Sri Kondal Rao, Chief Engineer (Retd.), Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, and Dr. A. Ramakrishna, Former Deputy Managing Director, Larsen & Toubro Ltd.
He also sent the students for boating, horse-riding and shopping so that they can experience the joy of visiting a tourist destination like Kodaikanal.
On almost all the days, Bhagavan blessed the devotees gathered in large numbers with Darshan, both in the morning and the evenings. Bhagavan organised Narayana Seva on a grand scale on two occasions – Easwaramma Day and the penultimate day before the departure, and the students and elders alike participated in the distribution of gifts of food and clothes. Swami also visited some devotees’ homes.
|Sri Sathya Sai supervising the Narayana Seva arrangements|
Easwaramma Day was celebrated at Sai Sruthi, the Abode of Bhagavan Baba at Kodaikanal, on 6th May, 2007, in the Divine presence of Bhagavan. On the 6th morning, Bhagavan blessed the devotees granting His Divine Darshan at 8.00 am. Bhagavan moved amidst Bal Vikas children and devotees to bless them. Narayana Seva was organised in the Divine Presence for the entire gathering. Saris and Dhotis, woolen clothes and gifts to children were also distributed to the needy people. The morning programme concluded at 10.30 am with offering Mangala Aarati to Bhagavan. In the afternoon, Bhagavan granted Darshan in the Bhajan Hall at 4.10 pm. After Bhajan singing and Veda chanting, two Bala Vikas children spoke about the importance of love and service to parents. Thereafter, Dr. G. Venkataraman and Prof. Anil Kumar addressed the gathering. After these speeches, Bhagavan blessed the devotees with His Discourse. He mentioned in His Discourse:
|Divine Discourse on Easwaramma Day - May 6, 2007|
“Easwaramma day is held to commemorate the day when Easwaramma left her physical body. The body is made up of five elements and is bound to perish sooner or later, but the indweller has neither birth nor death. The indweller has no attachment whatsoever and is the eternal witness. People are deluded by body attachment. Body is ephemeral, evanescent and impermanent. Whatever is born is transient only. Whatever is there in this world is bound to perish. Only one thing remains forever and that is the mind. But many people call it monkey mind. No, no. You belong to mankind and have nothing to do with monkey mind. The mind, in fact, is of the nature of the Self. You should make befitting efforts to understand its true nature. Only those who have control over their mind can be called human beings. There are many in this world who are highly educated. There are also many who have mastered various forms of knowledge and are engaged in mighty tasks. But they cannot be called human beings in the true sense of the term if they have no control over their mind. All kinds of good and bad thoughts occur in the mind. Keeping the mind away from all that is bad, you should accept only that which is good. Never allow your mind to associate itself with anything that is bad…
Easwaramma was happy that I ate only simple food. She would say, “Swami, you should let the world know about your food habits”. I said I would certainly do so. When I am in Puttaparthi, I always eat Ragi Sankati (gruel made of coarse grain) with groundnut chutney. But when I visit other places, I eat whatever the devotees prepare for Me. I conduct Myself in accordance with the time, situation and circumstances. However, I never deviate from My practices; I strictly adhere to them. Let people think what they want. I never imitate the practices of others. In this manner, this body is entering its 82nd year. But none can say that I look like an 82-year-old person. May you sanctify your time in the service of Swami! May you put into practice the principles of service that I have taught you!”
|Performance by vocalists from Hyderabad|
After Bhagavan’s Discourse, the famous duo Sri Raghavachari and Sri Seshachari from Hyderabad presented vocal Carnatic music. The celebrations concluded with offering Mangala Aarati to Bhagavan.
|Special Meal with the entourage at the Sai Sruthi|
On 18th May, 2007, Bhagavan left Kodaikanal for Puttaparthi about 7.30 am. Enroute, He visited Palani and Coimbatore to bless the devotees with His Divine Darshan. Bhagavan along with His entourage boarded the chartered plane at 2.30 pm from Coimbatore and reached Prasanthi Nilayam airport at 3.30 pm. Bhagavan was received with Poornakumbham, Vedic chanting and a welcome song when He arrived in Sai Kulwant Hall at 4.00 pm. He blessed the devotees with His Divine Darshan and Mangala Aarati was offered to Bhagavan.
|Sathya Sai with Students on the terrace of Sai Sruthi (with the Kodai Lake in the background) - May 16, 2007|