With Sri Sathya Sai to East Africa...

The Divine Tourist: Sri Sathya Sai at the Murchison Falls, Uganda 

Sunday, June 30, 1968 to Monday, July 15, 1968

Sri Sathya Sai on Board Air India Flight to Nairobi
(To His right is Sri Raja Reddy)
On the 30th June, 1968 Swami embarked on His first ever physical visit beyond the confines of Indian soil. The African continent was the only other continent besides India, blessed to host Swami for a short while. The entourage reached Nairobi at 2.24 pm local time. Swami was welcomed by a huge gathering of fervent devotees singing the glories of His Divine Name. They showered flowers and waved lights as they sang melodiously. “I was reminded of the days when Jayadeva and Gouranga sang the glories (of the Divine),” commented a mightily pleased Swami.

Swami drove through Nakura and Malaba on the Uganda border to reach Kampala at 1.30 am. The late hour would have ensured no attendance in other cases. This was not to be so in this case. The roads milled with people eagerly awaiting Swami into the wee hours of the morning. Swami too walked amongst them and showerd His Grace upon the simple folk that had gathered there unmindful of the hardship. Swami’s presence at Kampala was a blessing to a number of diginitaries who grabbed the opportunity to have His coveted Darshan. The Indian High commissioner, Sri K. P. R. Singh; the Chief of the Ugandan Army, General Idi Amin; the Minister of Defence, Mr. Onama; the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Mr. Ogira were some of the diginitaries blessed with Darshan.

Sri Sathya Sai giving Darshan at East Africa

During His address at Nairobi, Swami said:

I have come to light the lamp of love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added lustre. I have not come to speak on behalf of any particular Dharma (righteousness), like the Hindu Dharma. I have not come on any mission of publicity for any sect or creed or cause; nor have I come to collect followers for any doctrine. I have no plan to attract disciples or devotees into My fold or any fold. I have come to tell you of this Universal unitary faith, this Atmic principle, this path of love, this Dharma of Prema, this duty of love, this obligation to love.

Swami’s first public address was at Kampala on the 7th of July. On that occasion He said:
God is the source of all Love; Love God, Love the world as the vesture of God, no more, no less. Through Love, you can merge in the Ocean of Love. Love cures pettiness, hate and grief. Love loosens bonds; it saves man from the torment of birth and death. Love binds all hearts in a soft silken symphony. Seen through the eyes of Love, all beings are beautiful, all deeds are dedicated, all thoughts are innocent. The world is one vast kin…
The Divine Tourist: Sri Sathya Sai on a boat ride over the Nile river
…If you pay attention to the individual, differences thrust themselves on you. Fix your attention on the Samashti (the Collective); then points of identity will be more apparent, concentrate on the outer labels---Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Parsi, Buddhist---then, you will develop pride or contempt or hatred! But if you concentrate on the struggle that man undergoes to raise himself from the flesh to reach the level of Divinity, then, you find all labels insignificant. Then, it is all love, co-operation, mutual encouragement and appreciation. Go into the inner meanings, the deeper significances of religious symbols, rites and ceremonies. The outer forms and formalities are in accordance with the needs of place, time and person. Some among you relish one sweet dish more than another, others do not agree that your favourite is the tastiest. But, whatever the dish, they are all sweetened by the same substance, sugar; similarly, all things and beings are sweetened by the same principle, God.

These Discourses bound Swami closer to the hearts of the Africans. They began to see in Swami a friend, a guide, a leader and a light. News began to spread that Swami was scheduled to leave for India on the 10th. The devotees prayed in all earnestness, “Father, do not leave us this soon”. Their prayer was answered. Swami decided to stay longer even though He had promised Bombay that He would spend Guru Pournima (the 10th of July, 1968) with them.

Swami showerd His Grace upon not just the human kind, but also the wild beast that roamed about the African terrain. Swami pointed out to His entourage, “Man is highlighting the advantages of competition and struggle, but the beasts are teaching him cooperation and service as the ideal means for survival.” He told a gathering of Africans and Indians that man alone among the animals had strayed from his allotted task. The rest stuck to their Dharma, whatever the obstacles. The tiger will never stoop to eating grass; the elephant can never be tempted to have a meal of fish or flesh; but man, the crown of creation, is groveling in the mire of bestiality, and is proud of it. The people of Africa bid farewell to Swami with hearts laden with sorrow. There was not a dry cheek amongst those who bid Him farewell. Even the cops who were in charge of road disciplining couldn’t hold back tears. Swami patted their backs, but their pain was only deepened by His touch. 

Shri K. M. Munshi
Freedom fighter, Author & Educationist
Swami arrived at Bombay to the crescendo of ‘Jais’ sounded by jubilant devotees on the 14th. Swami addressed a mammoth gathering at Dharmakshetra that evening. Sri K. M. Munshi, Founder of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan group of Institutions, who presided over the meeting said with tears of joy streaming down his eyes, “I was pained to see around me the quick decline of faith in God. However, as I look upon Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and witness the transformation He is effecting in the hearts of millions, I am heartened and happy”.

On that occasion, Swami said:
The young volunteers who regulated and served the gathering at Kampaala and Nairobi were students of colleges and schools; they had no experience of such vast numbers; each one was eager to approach Me and do obeisance to Me. Yet, they served remarkably well. They had scant knowledge of Indian ceremonial as regards reception and welcome; but they attended to every detail with remarkable anticipation. You in Bombay have heard Me often and you are aware of the rules of discipline I like to be observed. But, I found Africans were much better. However far I moved among the huge gatherings, people never ventured to rise and fall at My Feet; they did not as much as lean forward to touch them, unless I indicated that they could. They paid homage in their hearts only. Devotion, when it knows no bounds, easily falls into hysteria.

Sri Sathya Sai in East Africa

The nations of the West are yearning now for the opportunity to listen to the Message from Me and learn the lesson of Love, for they have lost the secret of peace within. Everyone from the Ministers, the Commander-in-chief and the Mayor to the ordinary peasant and labourer declared that they had never experienced such Ananda before as the visit gave them. The Mayor of Kampaala said when I was leaving, “We cannot give you a send-off, for you are always welcome.”

Henceforth, you will see Dharma, illumining With its splendour country after country. In every country, what is most essential is the practice of the principles they profess, the bringing into the details of daily life the attitudes of brotherliness that devotion to God instills. In India too, children of Bharat have to be inspiring examples of what spiritual Sadhana can achieve, how much of Prema and Shanti it can bestow. Be good Hindus, that is to say, act according to the meaning of the word, Hindu. Hindu means, he who is 'Duura' (far from) 'Hin' (Himsa - cruelty, violence). Be immersed in Prema; you will ever be away from violence. You can then be in Shanti and others will derive Shanti through you.


  1. Beautiful!!

    Jai Sai Bhagavan!!



  3. jai sai ram
    jai sai baba...

  4. Jai Sai Ram,
    Today 22nd Nov 2015. no one I could find here in Djibouti, but tomorrow My self alone will do Suprabatham,Nagara sangeetham & Birthday bajans in my place of work to keep my tradition of 15th year consecutive celebration.
    Jai Sai Ram



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