Saturday, 7 November 2015

Delhi-Simla Memories- Part 11 - From Sathya Sai School to Shimla finally

The darshan on the morning of the day when Swami would leave for Shimla. It
appears as though Swami is also happy in anticipation of Shimla. The experience
at Shimla would show the reason for the same. 
An impossible luncheon with Swami becomes a reality

At the end of the drama, all the children came together for the final formation after which Swami moved from His perch on the mini platform. Blessing all the children, He moved down and headed for the car. The principal invited Him to bless the school building. She was quite insistent and Swami seemed to yield to her entreaties. There were rows of girls holding glasses of water and sherbet for the guests. Swami entered the school building, moving towards an outdoor hydraulic lift which had been temporarily erected to take Him from the ground to the first floor. It was an open lift and the distance to be covered vertically was quite a bit.  

{This is the 11th part of an ongoing series. You can read the previous part at this link:
Or you can read from the beginning of the serial where each part is linked to the next. The link to Part 1 is here:


Blessing all the children Swami enters the school building. This was not expected.
Grating and grunting, the lift began its slow ascent to the first floor. Meanwhile, all the boys were instructed to get into the cars, ready to return to the International Centre where lunch had been arranged. Swami would not be having lunch with us because He was scheduled to visit the homes of some senior devotees in the afternoon. CG and I however, using the license of cameramen, tailed Swami. Swami moved through the corridors and looked into one or two classrooms whose walls were filled with posters and charts made by the children. Swami then entered a hall where tables had been laid out and a banquet had been arranged! Swami went straight to the table that had was laid out for Him. Even as food was served to Him, He asked for the boys. Ah! What a feeling it was to see God seek us. I had thought that this would be a day when we wouldn’t be dining with God because of fate but Swami had slightly twisted destiny to accommodate us!


The backdrop to Swami's luncheon table had been artfully made by the children and teachers.
I rushed out to the cars and called all the boys to come in. Even as I was calling, I was being told that the ‘instructions’ were to return to the International Centre. I said that when Swami says anything, all instructions get overruled. Some boys were still hesitant and continued to sit in the car. I decided that whoever was ready to run up, should leave. At this point, Satyajit also came out and called everyone inside. In an instant all car doors opened and the boys streamed out in a hurry. I realized what power and influence Satyajit had because everyone felt that his instructions were Swami’s instructions. Mine too had been Swami’s instructions - the SAME instructions - but didn’t have the same effect.



Today, in retrospect, I feel that Swami, through His proximity, gives this power and influence to many. However, not everyone is able to prove himself/herself worthy of that power. In fact, some even go the mean levels of exploiting that power and influence to meet their own personal agendas and selfish needs. We hear of such things happening around the globe especially today, in the physical absence of Swami. Not even God can save such unfortunate wretches who misuse the noble power and influence that the Lord has bestowed on them. With that, I shall end my little detour and get back to rushing for lunch.


Even fate could not prevent us from being with our Swami. That is probably the only thing that fate cant beat - our
desire to be with our Master/Lord. So, why do we entertain other 'uncertain' desires?
All of us took our chairs and sat at the tables that had been lined up perpendicular to Swami’s table. Sitting opposite to Swami, I glanced at the wall behind Him. It had been decorated by the children and the words, “We Love You Swami” were prominent. All around were paper flowers and decorations adorning the wall. On them were the different sayings of Swami.


We ate with Swami who was served by the principal and some of the staff of the school. By about 12:50 pm, lunch was completed and Swami began to move out. A large shamiana had been erected in the quadrangle area of the school building. So, when Swami stepped into the lift, all I could see down was the multicoloured roof of the shamiana. It was as if the Lord was descending into the rainbow clouds in the skies!


Amidst the 'clouds' of cloth while going on to the lift.
When Swami came down, there was another little surprise!


The children had all gathered under the shamiana and were singing their hearts out to Swami. Swami paused and sat there for a minute or two as the children basked in His darshan. He enjoyed the song and blessed them. It was past 1:00 as Swami moved out of the building and sat in the car. Along the way, He blessed many more members of the staff. Then He drove away even as huge crowds gathered at the gates to have a final glimpse. Their hunger and thirst for the Lord was so worthy of emulation.


All the children had gathered in the shamiana below by the time Swami completed lunch and came down. 
Swami visited the home of Sri Lalit Seth for the “scheduled” lunch. The elders went along with Him and we were told to return to the International Centre. At one point, we were supposed to break off from Swami’s convoy and head towards our destination. I forced our driver to to continue following the Divine vehicle and I thought that CG and I could somehow manage to go there and take some pictures. But the problem was, other than me, none in the car seemed convinced of the idea when it had already failed once before. That also resulted in CG and me having a big  argument. Things got finalised when AIP looked behind, saw our car and told us off!

Blessing all the staff members at the school before departing for the International Center.
Shimla visit - the mood changer


We had to retrace a long route back to the international centre. I later managed to get hold of pictures taken during these home visits from Vibhu who went everywhere along with Swami. To get over that mood, I began to pack for the trip to Simla. We would all be leaving later that evening. Everyone else also began to pack and, soon, the mood once again became jovial. When one is truly immersed in the Lord, it is hard to be anything other than jovial. I realized that all the times I am not happy and jovial, I am actually not immersed in my Swami.


Having finished the packing, we returned to the auditorium in the main building, waiting for Swami to return. The combination of the heavy food, the cool clime and the soft carpeted floor made all of us move down and soon we were lying flat. In a matter of minutes, contented snores filled the air.


It was at about 3:00 pm that we received news that Swami was starting back towards the International centre and we quickly freshened our sleep-refreshed selves and moved up to sit in the lift-landing area. At about 4:00 pm, Swami arrived. As He came out of the lift, He asked whether all of us had our lunch.  We nodded and Swami said,
“Good that you all did not accompany me! The traffic here is so tiring and too much!”
Before retiring, Swami confirmed to the elders that we could indeed leave by bus for Shimla.


By 5:15 pm, we had boarded the specially arranged, luxury, multi-axle Volvo bus to head off towards Shimla. The state president, Jatinder Cheema, came to see us off and wished us a safe and pleasant journey. The journey began soon and it turned out to be a very memorable one. Being summer, the sunset was delayed as a result of which we saw the entire city of Delhi behind the comfort of the huge glass panes in an air conditioned environment. The bus had a stack of eats and drinks. It also had a small toilet on board. It was real luxury on wheels.


The journey was smooth and beautiful - especially through the Chandigarh roads which are exceptionally neat and well-planned. 


We began to sing and since all were singers on board, it was a jolly good time. Naturally, Ravi bhaiya, Ashwath and Lu sir were in great demand. The microphone in the bus which was otherwise used only for announcements would have really felt blessed to have such melody flow through it. The inspiration rubbed off on to everyone and soon, even the non-singers were holding the mike and singing their favourite tunes. I sang the bhajan Jaya Jaya Rama in my own anglicised version and everyone laughed and enjoyed it. Aravind Sai was in his elements describing the reactions of various devotees during the Hans Raj Hans concert. It was hilarious to say the least. Even before we could realize it, it was 8:00 pm and we stopped for dinner.


The place where we halted was called Karnal Haveli and it was a big, traditional place. There were a few restaurants there and lots of stuff were happening all around. There were performers and entertainers. We headed straight into the restaurant and the ambience was so beautiful. Heavy dinners were ordered for all of us but we were all suffering from reduced appetites, thanks to the constant and rich feeding-frenzy of the past few days. A lot of pictures were taken and at the end of the dinner, we witnessed a magic show too! The rustic magician seemed adept I was fascinated when he brought alive two pigeons from nowhere!


We boarded back the bus after having a special paan (traditional digestive in India). We resumed our journey towards Chandigarh. After the heavy meal, the mood was a bit more silent and soon many of us dozed away. It was midnight when we reached the Park View restaurant where rooms had been booked for our stay. Two of us were to stay in a room and I shared my room with Prabhakar. It was a lovely experience because 15th of April, was his birthday also. I wished him a holy birthday before wishing him goodnight.


The entourage before leaving Chandigarh. {left to right - Ravi Teja, Aravind Balasubramanya, Devasenapati, Sai Krishna, Ashwath Narayan, P Sreenivasan, Sai Dath, Sai Prakash (CG), Prabhakar, Aravind Sai, Jagadish Chandra, Bhabhani
Shankar, Phaneendra, Nishikant Barodekar, Harish Mani, Manoj, Jagadish Kanadia, Srinivasulu (Lu sir), Ravi bhaiya. }
15th April 2010 - Chandigarh to Shimla


We were all up and ready by 6:00 am. We had to hurry and reach Shimla soon for Swami would be flying there in the morning. At the Chandigarh hotel, we were accosted by many volunteers from the Organization and they gave us bags with gifts. And that was a “token of gratitude” they said for when Swami’s boys are here, can Swami be far away? I was so touched and at the same time I realized what a huge responsibility it was to be Swami’s boy! People gave Swami’s boys the same respect and love that they gave Swami! I prayed that I would always be worthy of that Love. We took some pictures in front of our bus and then waving goodbye to the friendly team that had come, we left Chandigarh.


Driving through the roads of Chandigarh, we could see what a well planned city it was. We were stunned because every 5 minutes it seemed like deja vu - we felt we had passed by the same intersection in the road before! Such was the city-planning. The working and residential areas had been clearly separated and we felt that this would have been the ideal city to host the Commonwealth games. They were scheduled to be held in Delhi and the infrastructure in the capital was being spruced up and stadiums being built for the occasion. Instead, this city already had the infrastructure in place and only the stadiums needed to be constructed here we felt.



On the way, we saw a few hoardings welcoming Swami to the “Devbhoomi” Himachal Pradesh. Within an hour of travelling, the hills rose before us and after driving for another hour or so we were at a nice little restaurant where all arrangements had been made for a hearty breakfast. The hotel was part of the Himani resorts and wholesome breakfast was served. We started off again at about 9:45 am and the sights the panned out before us were really so beautiful. I had never seen such natural majesty before.




There were so many little houses (they looked little!) on the hills and the whole valley and hillside were dotted with residences. At about 10:00 am, we knew that Swami would be soon starting in a 16-seater plane to Shimla. Our driver was over cautious and even after having a power-driven Volvo bus at his disposal, he rarely went above 35-40 kmh. We were now sure that there was no chance of reaching Shimla before Swami. Even as I was feeling a little bad about this, Sri.Arun Jain, brother of the physics professor at the Brindavan campus of the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, accosted us along the road in his car. 

The sight of a train on the hills was spell-binding.
He told us that there were several cars arranged by the devotees at Shimla about 20kms ahead and they would take all of us quickly to the mandir. Sensing an opportunity here, CG and I expressed our desire to go to the Shimla airport to receive and record Swami. He said that he would take us in his own car. We quickly got out of the bus into his car and started off.


It was driving at its best as Arun sped through the winding roads on these high hills. The sights were all beautiful and we did quite some shooting along the way. Even at a distance, we could see the air strip. It appeared as if it had been made by chopping off the conical tops of two hills and laying a road across. We also saw the convoy of cars waiting for our bus to arrive. We advised told them to proceed towards the bus and meet it else the boys would not be able to make it in time to Shimla. By about 10:50 am, aided by skillful and speedy driving, we reached the airport.

Swami leaves for the Delhi airport. (photo courtesy Vibhu Mahajan)

The final glimpse before Swami's car headed straight towards the aircraft. 
 What happened next took our breaths away. I don’t think that I might see a greater display of affection and devotion ever again in my life. So, am grateful to Swami for sending on our way, Arun Jain, who ensured that I would not miss one of the most glorious displays of my life.


Even at a distance of a kilometer from the Shimla airport, there were cars parked. It gave an idea of how many people
had gathered to welcome Swami. 
Dear reader, you will enjoy that in the next part. I have left it for the next part so that proper justice can be done for the same.


continued in Part 12 at the link below:

For all readers:
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1 comment:

  1. Sai Ram. Dear Arvind, Don’t miss to mention about the letter written by Swami to the devotees of Shimla on 22nd April, 2007. If needed, I may provide you. Last year in 2014, on Guru Poornima I have mentioned about that letter in Prashanthi Nilyam.
    Munish Sharma,
    09418008809(M)

    ReplyDelete

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