With Sri Sathya Sai in Kodaikanal – By Prof. Anil Kumar

Professor Anil Kumar with Sri Sathya Sai in Kodaikanal
Swami observes even things that appear trivial to others. Swami teaches through His actions, that everything, even a small thing, done with love and care and selflessness pleases Him. It was in Kodai one day, during breakfast time, the boys were seated in the hall with their plates piled with various South Indian delicacies like idly, vada, etc. Students were waiting for Swami to come. There appeared Swami, apparently coming straight from the kitchen. He was holding a glass and a spoon. He then said, “One boy is sick and is lying down in the room. I Myself prepared porridge for him and I am going to serve him first in his room itself. I will join you later.”

Sri Sathya Sai Serving Food To Students
When we were in Kodaikanal, Baba gave Rs.500 to each of the students and told them to buy something for their parents. He even told them where to go and what to look for and gave them significant advice: He asked them not to go to big shopping malls. He told them to go to the market place near the bus stand. He said “There are many Tibetans selling sweaters and shawls. They always feel that when Baba is here, a lot of devotees would come and they will have good sales. If you buy their items, they will be pleased.” Such is the concern of Bhagavan for the society.

To reinforce this observation, let me narrate two more very interesting incidents that took place in Kodai. Once, when Swami was going out in Kodai, He suddenly stopped the car near a wayside hawker, selling sugar candy. To the surprise of those accompanying, Swami bought many candies and paid Rs.500. He gave them to all those who accompanied and to the boys. Looking at Swami purchasing candy, even the onlookers purchased candy from that vendor. He sold out his stock in no time. As Swami moved away from there, He started explaining, “That vendor’s parents are sick at home. It’s only when he sells his stock that he can go home early and attend to his parents. Not only that, he can also buy medicine for them. That is the reason why I purchased so many candies.” Such is His love for everyone and He had made everyone understand His omniscience even in such simple acts.

On another occasion, Swami purchased a bamboo hat from a road-side vendor. He then bought another and put it on my head. He himself wore one of the caps. With the hats on He took a photograph with me. This photograph is one of the rarest in my collection. Swami bought hats for all the students and took photographs with each and every one of them. He himself explained why He bought those caps. He said, “These hats are made by tribesmen who live on the meagre income they get, by making such small handicraft items from forest produce. When we purchase these items, not only do they get some money, but they also get encouragement”.

Sri Sathya Sai Selecting Sarees for Devotees
Once Swami was giving away saris to all those who had worked in the Kodai Hill resort. To one of the servant maids, who was engaged in cleaning the vessels in the kitchen, Swami presented a silk sari worth ten thousand rupees. I was wonderstruck. I jocularly remarked to Him, “Swami! A silk sari! That too such an expensive one to a servant maid! When and where she will wear such a sari?” Swami then interrupted me and told me, “They too have family functions and social gatherings. On such special occasions when she wears this sari, she can happily say that Bhagavan has gifted that to her and she will derive utmost joy. She is also My devotee. To give happiness to everyone is My job.”
Sri Sathya Sai Darshan from Car
Once, when I was given the rare opportunity of accompanying Bhagavan from Puttaparthi to Brindavan, I witnessed an extraordinary drama; the manifestation of pure love by an ordinary man to his Lord Sai. On the journey, a little ahead of Chikballapur, I saw a man with a lungie and a long moustache, with a sickle in his hand. He was standing straight in the middle of the road, as if to stop Swami’s car. I was wondering to myself, what the man was up to. As the thoughts ran through my mind, Swami instructed the driver to stop the car. As the car stopped by, the man came near Swami’s car window and with a beaming smile, cut open a tender coconut and offered it to Swami. His face expressed his inner joy at getting an opportunity to offer something to Bhagavan. Swami accepted the tender coconut and gave him a 500-rupee note and the man happily moved aside, with hands joined in Pranams. As the car moved past the scene, Swami offered the coconut to me. I immediately said, “Swami! Do I deserve to drink this tender coconut, so expensive; moreover, it was offered to you.” Swami then said, “Don’t you know that I never take tender coconut. Do you think it was a sale and a purchase? No, no. Whenever I travel on this route, if this person knows about my going, he will stand waiting unmindful of the time, to make his humble offering. I gave him the money as a gift of My love to him and not a price for the coconut.” Like the offering of Sabari to Lord Rama.

Once, at Bangalore, Swami entrusted a big sum of money to one of the staff and asked him to handover the money to the authorities in Puttaparthi. As the person was about to board the bus at Bangalore, his pocket was picked and he did not know what to do. The sum was so large that even if he had wanted to pay from his salary, he could not have managed the same. Not knowing what to do, he went back to Brindavan and stood in front of the gates, shedding tears at his misfortune and his carelessness. He was afraid that Swami would admonish him for his carelessness. Swami appeared at the gates, He came to him and said comfortingly, “I know everything. You should be careful in such matters.” Swami then gave money to him and entrusted him with the same responsibility again.
Narayana Seva in Sai Sruthi Mandir - Kodaikanal
Once in Kodaikanal, a Narayana Seva was arranged by Swami. ‘Sai Sruthi’, the abode of Bhagavan in Kodai, was well away from the busy area and normally beggars do not come that side. Not many people were expected to come. The food was arranged to cater to around two hundred people. Unexpectedly, more than six hundred people turned up to take Prasad and even some of the devotees had lined up to take Prasad. Food was almost exhausted. Mrs. Ratan Lal, a senior devotee, was in-charge of the kitchen. I was assigned the task of conveying to Bhagavan the message that food was exhausted. I went up to Swami and hesitantly told Him in Telugu, “Swami! ‘Aipoindi’ (meaning, food got exhausted). Bhagavan looked at me and said in stern voice, “Never say, ‘Aipoindi’, say ‘Sari poindi’ (meaning just enough). Now, you go and serve.” What a wonder! We saw that vessels were full with food again and it was enough and more for all those who turned up that day. This reminds me of the miracle that Jesus demonstrated when He went to a disciple’s dinner.

Yet another important lesson that Swami teaches everyone around is the secret of His calm and serene nature. It’s known to everyone, innumerable dignitaries come to Prasanthi Nilayam; from Governors to district officials. While making all arrangements for receiving them, their accommodation and other requirements, Swami is always very calm and serene. The protocol requirements do not put any pressure on His routine nor does He alter His programs for the high-profile visitor. He is seen still spending the same time with His devotees and students. When on one of the days, I asked Swami, “How are you so calm and cool, in spite of all this hectic activity?” He replied, “What has happened has happened; what is destined to happen also will happen; whereas, I live in the present and live that moment. Present is the Omni-present.” 
Professor Anil Kumar with Sri Sathya Sai
During the celebrations of Bhagavan’s 80th birthday year, Swami one day chose to bless those who were serving His various institutions, like the canteen, the Gokulam, the hospital, the stores, schools and colleges. The way Bhagavan spent that evening was a great lesson to be learned even by the great leaders of the world. Bhagavan normally sits on the dais of the Kulwant hall when programs are held. On that evening, when these staff made presentations before Swami, some speeches, songs and bhajans, Swami went down and sat with them, below the dais, took photographs with them and distributed dresses and watches to every one of them, directly from His divine hands. Lord Krishna is here again in our midst as Sai Krishna, to teach the great lesson of non-duality. This day and this lesson, I will not be able to forget in my entire life.

Source: Vidyagiri: Divine Vision (2006)

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