Friday, 16 May 2014

Hadshi Mumbai diaries - Part 6 - Sathya Sai's message at Hadshi

Swami is all smiles as He enters the hall where all the members of the Jadhav family have gathered.
Padapooja or Padasevanam or the worship of the Lord’s feet has been considered as the fourth among the nine forms of devotion. Though Swami has given the unique interpretation of worshipping the Lord’s feet as following in the footsteps of the Master, He also allows the devotees to actually perform worship to His feet when they pine for and pray for it. The Jadhav family had been blessed thus.

(Dear reader,
If you have come directly to this post, I would like to egg you on to enjoy the full story with its history. Link to part 1 is given below and the link to the next part will be at the end of each previous part. Thank you.

As expected, it was the parents that got the opportunity to worship His feet.
The worship of His feet began once they had been prayerfully washed with scented water and dabbed dry with a soft cloth. The parents of the Jadhavs began the ceremony by offering rose petals and golden flowers at His feet. Mr. Shivajirao Jadhav recalled later,
"We thought that our parents should get this chance to worship His feet. But Swami was so merciful; one by one, He allowed this coveted opportunity to all the members of our family. The last time He was at Latur, many of our family members were unhappy as they did not have close darshan to their heart’s content. But now all are so happy."

A pair of wooden sandals and a pair of silver sandals were offered at the Lotus Feet.
Swami permitted the padapooja to go on for about half an hour. His feet decorated with red and gold was resplendent. Swami then moved around granting namaskar and blessings even to the workers, staff and servants of the household! At about 5:20 p.m., He emerged out of this hall and once again was by the poolside. I got a few wonderful photos from across the pool and Swami looked at me from there too. Once in the car, Bhagavan started His return journey to the Residence.

What joy to behold the beautiful, divine feet adorned thus!
We started to follow Him but He said, "All the boys go down and start bhajans." Implicit obedience was the nature of everyone among the team for Swami always has His wisdom behind everything He says. We went to the porch of the Vitthala temple on the first floor and started bhajans. Ten minutes later, as the door of the lift opened, Swami arrived onto the makeshift dais. Bhagawan then asked Mr. Shivajirao Jadhav to address the gathering. As this speech progressed, Swami gently dropped the rose that the Jadhav had given Him onto the floor by Him. I called the security guard seated nearby and told him to take and treasure that special flower. Any rosebud offered to the Lord is definitely special for it has received the divine touch.
Mr.Shivajirao Jadhav addresses the huge gathering.

Mr. Jadhav, who spoke in Marathi, thanked Bhagawan profusely in all humility for His visit. He was also grateful to the masses who had stepped into that pristine surrounding sanctified by Bhagawan’s Divine Presence. To the delight of all gathered he declared that Pandurangakshetra was in the shape of the Divine ‘Om’ – the source of all knowledge, the seat of all dharma. Mr. Jadhav then reverentially reminisced the day’s events when Bhagawan had graciously performed the Prana Pratishtha ritual for enlivening the divine energy in the Ganesha, Vitthal Rakhumai and Shirdi Sai Baba idols. He had no words to express His gratitude to Bhagawan for His grace and earnestly prayed that each one involves themselves in spiritual and service activities. He concluded by urging Swami to visit Hadshi as often as He can even as the crowd clapped in joy.

After this, Swami asked Mr. Srinivasan to speak. The rose offered by this distinguished elder was also again slipped by Swami onto the ground. As I was going to make another signal to the security person, Bhagawan looked at me and with a smile told me to let it be. I was lost in thoughts again.

“This Swami never gives importance to such ‘memorabilia collecting’ though it is a source of great joy to the devotee. If that security guard is not blessed enough to pick up that rose, I will definitely pocket it at the end of the day’s function”, I thought. The guard was blessed enough indeed for within a few minutes he noticed the rose and pocketed it!

A sweeping view of the gathered thousands.
In the meanwhile, the All India President of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation spoke on in Hindi and declared that for 37 years Sai devotees from Lonavala and Pune had been eagerly waiting for His arrival. They had severe faced problems as even rains had become scarce. With Bhagawan visiting Pune, even dry and arid lands would now become fertile, the speaker felt. He stressed that bhakti is the only way to reach Swami and reiterated Swami’s teachings on Love. Later he went on to mention about various institutions established by Swami namely, the free University, Hospitals, and so on. Exhorting the devotees to follow His path and making their lives His message, he emphasized that the Sai Avatar has come for our transformation and to help us realize our innate divinity. In the end He appealed to all to engage in service activities in the rural areas saying only through Grama Seva can one be blessed with the fulfillment of doing Rama Seva.

Even as Mr. Srinivasan was winding-up, Swami looked at Nishikant as if confirming with him if he was fully ready to speak. He had fixed him as the speaker in the afternoon and seemed to feel personally responsible for his success. I was touched at His concern and receiving a ‘Yes’ from Nishikant, Swami asked him to begin. He too, spoke in Marathi and started by narrating experiences of his life.

Dating back to the times of Shirdi Sai Baba the stories of Nishikant Barodekar went thus:
In 1912 on one occasion when his great grand uncle and aunt were travelling by train, the condition of their 3 year old daughter who was suffering from typhoid deteriorated greatly. So they alighted at Kopergaon and someone there guided them to go to Shirdi. Once they did this pilgrimage, their daughter was completely cured. Years later, in 1965 the same girl who had by then, become a famous singer, Mrs. Heerabai, was going to be felicitated by renowned artists and other dignitaries at a function to be held in her honour on her 60th birthday. On the very same day Swami called for her to perform before in His divine presence. Without a second thought, Mrs. Heerabai decided to skip the function and landed in Puttaparthi. Once she was in His presence, Swami told her that she had seen Him before, clearly referring to her first encounter with Him during Bhagawan’s Shirdi sojourn.

Nishikant Barodekar is blessed by Bhagawan with an emerald ring after his speech.
At another time Mrs. Heerabai had been invited by the Government of India to perform before a group of foreign delegates. Once again, Swami asked for her exactly on the same day and like before she declined the invitation and rushed to His presence. A few days after she returned from Puttaparthi, came a cheque for her from the State congratulating her for her splendid performance at the all important event! Clearly, Bhagawan had Himself assumed her form and delighted the audience at the prestigious event.

Finally, Mr. Nishikant recalled his own experience. Once his guru, from whom he was learning Tabla, asked him to perform in his place owing to his ill-health. Extremely nervous, Nishikant thought of Bhagawan and His advice to contemplate on Him. No sooner he did this, Swami graced him with His divine darshan and needless to say, his performance was a great success!

The moment he closed his talk, a beaming Swami blessed him with a ring even as everyone applauded. Next, Swami Himself rose to speak much to everyone’s joy. Here is a note about the translation that day which was unique.

There were actually two translators, Prof. Anil Kumar for Telugu to English and Mr. Bhagawat for English to Marathi. The styles of both these people were so distinct and different. While the inimitable Prof. Anil Kumar was at his vociferous and enthusiastic best, Mr. Bhagawat seemed cool and collected! There were times when Swami who is generally accompanied by a single translator would often start speaking just as the Professor would end making the task of the Marathi translator even more challenging. But then, who can stop the flow of the Divine Ganges? However, after about 5-6 sentences Swami seemingly would 'remember' that there has to be Marathi translation and it must be said to the credit of Mr. Bhagavat that he did an excellent job of summing up what the Lord had said in the past few sentences. The whole experience was novel and interesting. This is what Bhagavan said in His discourse:

In the land of Bharat, real beauty lies in tolerance and forbearance.
Is there a feeling more nectarous than what one has towards one’s own mother?
How much ever you may know, there is always much more to learn
As knowledge which is infinite
Bharat is most sacred – it is a land of Divinity. Everyone born here has done a lot of meritorious deeds in their past lives.

What is the purpose of this human life? It is gifted to earn God’s grace. The person who receives His grace in abundance can bring transformation in society. Modern society is full of anxiety and restlessness. Wherever you go, whatever you encounter, you only find misery. We have witnessed several natural calamities recently. These have nothing to do with God; it is because of man’s own mistakes and makings. God teaches only Dharma (righteousness). He never wants you to walk the path of adharma (unrighteousness).

Satyam Vada, Dharmam Chara – always speak the truth and follow righteousness.
We cannot escape from reflection, reaction and resound. Therefore we should know that God is one. We give many names to the One and the same God. All are indeed one. Therefore, in the whole world, there is only One in existence.

There is the same consciousness in all beings - Ekam Sath, Vipraha Bahuda Vadanti.
We feel we are miserable. If you ask yourself, you will know that the grief is of your own making and not related to God in the least. Therefore, never think that everything is given by God. In fact everything comes back to us because of our own thought process. God only confers bliss on all of us which is not dual, ethereal, and one without a second. If we make deep enquiries into our Vedanta, we realize that God gives us nothing. Pain or pleasure is what we gift ourselves with. We are mistaken if we think that someone else is responsible for our joys and sorrows.
Help Ever, Hurt Never; Love All; Have faith in everyone.

The hovering para-motorist was a feature throughout the evening.
There is no human being without love. Even beasts, birds, animals, insects including the smallest of creatures experience love. We should have deep conviction that God is present in everyone in the form of the Atma or Consciousness. When you dislike others, you are in fact hating yourself. Every human being is like a mirror where you find a reflection of yourself. In many mirrors, you see many reflections of yourself. There is always Reflection, Reaction, and Resound.

Therefore, whoever you may come across, have deep faith that they are all God’s forms. Man fails to understand this truth. It is not proper on our part to ridicule or hate anyone. Love is the only royal path that takes you closer to God.

All noble souls merged in God because of their incessant love for Him. Sakkubai  repeatedly chanted “Ranga, Ranga, Ranga”. Everybody insulted her including her husband who persecuted her. Ultimately, she merged in God. She always said “I am not different from Ranga”. In all the three states of awareness, she thought of only Ranga. It is only God who speaks, walks, and listens to every activity.

We go by name and form and identify a particular thing as a snake or scorpion. God is indeed in every creature and has given skills to each of them to protect themselves. The scorpion stings in self-defence and not with an intention to hurt. In a dense forest, a lion hurts only if challenged. Everything therefore is reaction, reflection, and resound. Bad actions lead to unpleasant results. So do good. All that you face are consequences of our thought processes. Therefore be pure in your thinking. A human being should have human values. Today, men are treated like dogs. In fact all defects and mistakes lie within man. That is why it is absolutely necessary that we correct our own follies and not search for them in others.

People mocked at those who were involved in the rescue of flood victims. In the same way, the whole community castigated Sakkubai who constantly chanted the name of Krishna. They were finally taught a lesson by the Lord. God is an ocean of love. Out of gross injustice and utter ignorance, we don’t understand ourselves and blame divinity. The good or bad that we face is the consequence of our own doing. We therefore have to correct ourselves within.

The Christians believe in the Cross; cut the ‘I’ and it becomes a cross. The ego has to be killed. Once we get rid of this ego, we can then realise the real self. Man today is knowledgeable in all aspects of life. He is conquering space and is prepared to count the stars but fails in simple things. Love is the undercurrent of everything. There are different kinds of sweets, but the sugar is one. The Upanishads say that whomsoever you salute, it reaches God. Understand your own mind and realise your own mistakes.

Help Ever. Hurt Never. He is a true man who knows this fundamental truth and has morality and character. If you understand this, you will never put the other person to suffering. Recognise the unity in diversity. God is only One, He is Atma or Consciousness, and has no name or form. It is the Spirit or Cconsciousness which permeates all beings. Several lights exist, but current is one. We may undertake different spiritual activities but it all comes back to oneness. If you recognise this, you will have peace and bliss. You are Atma, the only One eternal. God is only one – never think that He is many. When we face difficulties, we chant many names. But when we don’t have any problems, we forget God. We should cling on to ‘Soham’. In fact this is the name given to everyone at the time of birth. We will redeem our lives, working for liberation, if we know the divine principle and divine nature.

It was late in the evening when the discourse concluded and Bhagawan received Aarthi.
Many people speak of Swami differently. It is their imagination; all of this should be dispensed with. If only the politicians know the Truth, the nation will be a better place. Do not follow politics. There is no relation between what the politician says and does. Follow only that person who does good! This is the message of Baba to all of us today. 

The whole world should be happy. Let all the beings live in joy. You will acquire this bliss through love. We say ‘Peace, peace, peace’. Where is this peace? There is only pieces outside.

As I sat on the steps to the grand temple, listening to Swami, the security guard called me and said, "There is an ant on Swami's lap! What should we do?"
As he spoke to me, Swami saw me. What was I to answer? Being an embodiment of sweetness, it was but natural that He attracted ants (whom does He not draw?). I just sat straight and told the guard to look ahead. Sitting in such a prominent position and being caught talking by Swami is not an experience that one usually pines for! Swami also seemed to have left the matter there once I sat motionless and quiet. The ant crawled on Him for a while and then on its own, left having fulfilled its desire maybe!

Swami completed the discourse and wanted the mike to be removed. As I moved ahead to do this He looked at me and said,
"Tell the boys to do bhajans."
So a Vitthala bhajan began and as it progressed to the second speed, Swami signaled to me again and mentioned,
"Let them sing fast - Vitthala, Vitthala....Panduranga, Panduranga." I conveyed this to the singers (It was only later when I thought about it I realized that Swami wanted the bhajan to proceed to the third speed too! Ah! I prayed then for forgiveness and better understanding). Midway in the next bhajan, Swami asked for aarthi.

As I clicked away I saw Swami blessing all the thousands gathered who were all positively charged at this shower of nectarous words and grace. It was now 7:50 p.m. and Swami moved down the lift towards His car. There were many devotees who had sat by the side of the temple to have a glimpse of Him from close quarters as He left for the Residence. All the students made a security belt around the car as always to ensure that sudden outbursts of devotion did not turn to disasters of indiscipline.

A quick discussion on the evening's proceedings before dinner.
As Swami arrived, dinner was ready at the Residence. Bhagawan called the elders to sit by Him and the conversation then centered on Swami's discourse, AIP's talk in Hindi and Nishikant's speech in Marathi. After taking a bite or two, Swami told all of us to occupy the tables. He then moved up the lift and retired for the day. Meanwhile, I collected a few pictures on a DVD to be sent to Pune for printing. It was another blissful sleep that night, the second one at Hadshi.

to be continued in Part 7.

For all readers:

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