Conversations with a Devotee from Greece

October 26, 1998

Swami : “Ramakrishna” practice Chesara? (Did you practice “Ramakrishna"? Referring to the role of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa in the Convocation drama.) 

Warden : Swami, please come today.

Swami : You practice for 3-4 days then I will come. (After sometime, to the students) Your director is telling that I cannot come today.

Students : Please Swami, come today.

Swami : Practice for one more day. I will see all the five scenes tomorrow. (To a Primary School student) Where have you come from?

Student : Swami, Simla.

Swami : Simla! (To another student) You?

Student : Swami, Sikkim.

Swami : Why have you not gone home?

Student : Swami, I am in band. 

Swami : What do you play?

Student : Drum.

Swami : How many drums?

Student : Swami, 22

Swami : (To the Institute bandleader) How many drums in your band?

Student : Swami, 4.

Swami : Only 4! Dam Dam Karta Hai No Talam. (The boy was from Calcutta and Dam Dam is the name of the Calcutta Airport.)
(To the Primary School boy) How many clarinets?

Student : Swami, 8.

Swami : (To the Primary School band leader) In yours?

Student : 4, Swami. (Swami smiled)

Swami : How many flutes?

Student : Swami,6.

Swami : (To the Institute band leader) How many flutes in your band?

Student : Swami, two. (Swami again gave a smile)

Swami : (To the Primary School student) What is the size of the flute? Big or small?

Student : Medium size, Swami.

Swami : Good. For small boys, medium is correct. (To Warden) Good boys. The best boys are Primary School boys, and then the Secondary School boys and last Institute boys. (To the Primary School students) Are you learning marching?

Student : Yes, Swami. We have learnt slow march.

Swami : How many days did it take?

Student : Swami, two days.

Swami : Good. When did the teacher come?

Student : On 23rd.

Swami : Today is 26th. Within two days, they have learnt. (To Institute students) You boys…six months Ho Gayaa…Nahin Aaya! (Even after six months you did not get it.)

Student : Swami, we are practicing a new slow march.

Swami : Kya practice Kartaa Hai. No Swaram no Taalam. Kya Prayojan? (What practice you do? There is no Swaram or Taalam.) On birthday, let the Institute boys go in the front. Let Primary School band be near Me in the procession.

Warden : Swami, they are practising.

Swami : Bolo six months Hua Ki Nahin? Slow march Bhi Nahin Aaya (Six months have passed, they have not yet learnt even the slow march.) Primary School boys play bagpipers also. They have to hold it under the arm. It is more difficult to play. (Swami went inside the interview room and came back with a file containing a letter from a Bala Vikas student from America. Swami called an Institute student and asked him to read out the poem to others. It was a prayer to Sai in the form of a beautiful poem expressing their desire to see Swami physically. Swami then called a devotee) He had gone to America and Canada. He visited many Sai centres there. He also visited many schools. There the children kept asking him to tell more and more about Swami. (To the devotee) How long were you in America?

Devotee : Swami, one and half months.

Swami : In Canada?

Devotee : About one and half months, Swami.

Swami : The children there were very interested to know about the water project. Krishna Singh, who had also gone there, had taken a video cassette to America to show them about the water project. Seeing this, they too have taken a vow to undertake a water project in America. Tell them about the devotion of the children.

Devotee : Very nice children, very devoted, Swami.

Swami : All 3rd class students…small children. They were so interested to know about Swami. Very devoted. They sit and meditate for long periods of time. They kept asking more about Swami. This is real devotion. There is darkness under the very lamp. You go to Tirupati and see all the people are from outside Tirupati whereas the people from Tirupati itself never climb the hill to see Venkateshwara. Same is the case with Kashi. When I went there I observed that all those who come to Vishwanath temple are from outside of Kashi, from south. (Swami then called a Greek devotee…) He has come from Bangalore by walk. 

Swami : (To the devotee) Where do you come from?

Devotee : Greece, Bhagavan. From Bangalore, three others and me came walking and chanting “Jai Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaya Namah.”

Swami : How did you carry the luggage?

Devotee : On the back, Bhagavan.

Swami : Why do you come here spending so much money?

Devotee : Swami gives.

Swami : (To students) He has been coming here for many years. (To the devotee) How many years?

Devotee : Swami, 26 years.

Swami : He is not yesterday’s devotee. His sister also comes.

Devotee : Yes, Bhagavan. Bhagavan, she is in-charge of the books. She has been coming here since 1970.

Swami : What is your age?

Devotee : 51 years.

Swami : No marriage?

Devotee : No, Bhagavan. All are sisters. Sister is also not married.

Swami : Good devotion. When are you going back?

Devotee : Swami, I came yesterday. After Your birthday celebrations I will go back. Swami, some problem in the throat.

Swami : Do you sing?

Devotee : Yes, Bhagavan. Every Thursday. I also teach Bhajans.

Swami : Teaching Bhajans! Very happy. (Calling another Greek devotee) He acted as Sita in a drama. They have 100 acres of land in Greece. Lots of tractors and bulldozers are there. Their mother said, “You two brothers go and serve Swami. I will drive the tractors. (To the Greek devotee) Does your mother drive bulldozer?

Devotee : Yes, Swami.

Swami : When are you going back?

Devotee : Swami, after Your birthday. 

Swami : So many days. Mother is alone there.

Devotee : Swami is with her.

Swami : (To students) Mother tells them not to marry, serve Swami only. (To the devotee) Do you want to marry?

Devotee : No. I want only Swami.

Swami : What is your plan for birthday?

Devotee : Swami, Bhaja Govindam drama.

Sri Adi Shankaracharya (780-822 AD)
Swami : Who is Shankaracharya’s mother?

Devotee : Aryamba.

Swami : Father?

Devotee : Shivaguru.

Swami : Guru?

Devotee : Govinda Vallabhachari.

Swami : (To students) Even Indians do not know all these. He tells everything in detail. Who are brothers of Rama?

Devotee : Bharata, Shatrughna…

Swami : Lakshmana also. Who is Mrs. Rama?

Devotee : Sita.

Swami : Your Mrs.? (The devotee smiled)

Devotee : Swami, for the 75th Birthday we want to come from Greece by walk.

Swami : From Greece! No. Not good. Health is important.

Devotee : Jai Bhagavan.

Swami : What is the meaning of Jai? Jai means victory. Victory to the Lord. (The Greek devotee then took Padanamaskar and walked backwards. Swami instructed him to turn around and walk straight. Then to students…) Look at his devotion and look at yourself! (Smiling)


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