|Pandharpur: The Holiest of shrines in Maharashtra|
(On the banks of River Chandrabhaga)
Thursday, June 03, 1965 to Monday, June 14, 1965
On 3rd June, Swami reached Hyderabad. He gave Darshan to thousands of people on the 4th. Despite of His tight schedule, He gave an hour long interview to five women of The American Peace Corps.
Swami left for Bombay on the 5th and was welcomed at Sholapur by Sri P. K. Sawant. After a nights halt at Pune, He reached Bombay at 9.00 am on the 7th. Swami stayed at Sri Sawant’s residence and gave Darshan to the devotees at all times of the day. The Maharashtra Branch of the Akhila Bharata Prashanti Vidwan Maha Sabha was inaugurated at Shanmukhananda Auditorium on the 7th. Sri S. V. Page, the Chairman of the Legislative Council presided over the meeting. Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Sri Balasaheb Bharde, addressed the gathering. Thereafter, Swami delivered His Divine Discourse. Swami blessed the members of Prashanti Vidwan Maha Sabha with an exclusive Discourse at His residence. He addressed a mammoth gathering at Dadar under the auspices of Andhra Maha Sabha, Bombay, on the 8th evening. Swami addressed the staff of Aarey Milk colony on the 9th. The Cabinet Ministers, the various Religious Heads and other leading citizens of Bombay had the privilege of an exclusive meeting with Swami at His residence on the 10th and 11th. Swami Sai Saranananda, who had spent many years in Shirdi Sai’s presence, spent some time with Swami at His residence.
|Sri Sathya Sai with Sri P. K. Sawant, Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Sri Y.B. Chavan, Defence Minister, Govt. of India at the Prasanthi Vidwan Mahasabha in Mumbai - 1965|
|Sri Sathya Sai with Lord Vithoba and Mother Rakhumai |
(Photo not at Pandharpur)
"Pandharpur and the shrines of Panduranga and Rakhumai have woven themselves into the history of the Marathas and Kannadigas and, of millions of others by the inspiration they imparted for centuries to a long line of saints, mystics and poets, famous for the songs that emerged from their ecstatic experience. Purandaradas, the great itinerant singer of Panduranga's Glory was a Kannada Saint; Tukaram and a host of other stalwart servants of God were from the Maharashtra country. Even while a boy, Baba had gathered a band of comrades at Puttaparthy village, who danced and sang of the joy derived from a pilgrimage to Pandharpur to witness the shrine of Panduranga Vittal. He had composed many captivating Telugu songs for His comrades to sing; some of them glorified the Lord who blessed devotees at Pandharpur; some detailed the route to be followed; some described the travails of the long journey; some expressed the thrill of the exhausted pilgrims when they had the first glimpse of the temple from afar. A Divine Destiny, an indescribable kinship, was drawing Baba towards Pandharpur since His childhood.
At last, Baba visited the shrine with a number of devotees from Maharashtra on 13th June, 1965. He stood silent for a few minutes before Panduranga, the Vittal whose Vision - He Himself had often vouchsafed to those who yearned to see that Form in Him; then, He moved on to the shrine of the consort, Rukumayi, Rukmani, the Shakti of the Lord and, urged by a quick irrepressible memory, He created a Mangalsutra and placed it round the neck of the Goddess. A page from the Bhagavatha came alive during that moment."
The Trustees of the temple and the President of the Muncipality had a meeting with Swami. Swami left for Bangalore via Belgaum and reached Brindavan on the 14th evening.