Guru Poornima, 1997 – Sathya Sai Memories Cont.


The Prayer

Loka Samasta Sukino Bhavantu

Loka Samasta Sukino Bhavantu

Loka Samasta Sukino Bhavantu

OM

Shan’ti Shan’ti Shan’ti

The Story

Guru Poornima – 20th July 1997

DivineLord2993eve

This is an incident which took place in a Sai centre in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. Sai Sadan celebrated the Guru Pournami festival in a grand manner in the evening of 20th July ‘97. In order to imbue the occasion with greater spiritual vibrations, the Sri Sathya Sai Sathyanarayana Vrata katha parayana, i.e., the reading of our beloved Lord Sai’s life story, was conducted, in addition to the normal bhajans. The “parayana” and bhajan went on, with more than the usual fervour by the devotees.

When nearing the conclusion of the bhajan (at about 8.50 p.m.) the Centre Chairman, Mr. Rai, looked around casually behind him at the congregation, in order to decide on who should have the privilege of taking the Mangala Aarathi on this auspicious occasion. He was gladdened to see Mr. Gul Gandhi sitting right at the back, in line with the aisle, leaning on the rear wall. Mr. Gandhi is easily recognizable, not only by his big frame, but also for his big heart and great humility, being an inspiration to many a Sai devotee in Muscat. Rai felt that he should take the Aarathi that day. However, within a few seconds he received a hand written note from his wife, requesting that she would like to have the honour. Mr. Rai then remembered that the next day was her birthday and he did not have the heart to refuse her this request. He mentally apologised to Swami and to Mr. Gandhi for having to change his mind and let the lady perform the Aarathi. Subsequently, before conclusion of the prayers he went to the kitchen to check on the Prasad, and again passed Mr. Gandhi sitting at the rear.

The prayers were concluded, devotees (who numbered about 80 when only about 35 – 40 were expected to attend) had their prasad (lovingly prepared and served by the Shakti Wing ladies) and dispersed by around 10.00 p.m.

Rai was about to retire for the night, when around 10.30 the doorbell rang and whom does he find but Mr. Gandhi at the doorstep, who wanted to know where the Guru Pournami festivities had taken place that evening! Rai swallowed his surprise and named the other center (about 15 k.m. away in Ruwi) where also the prayers were held, assuming Mr. Gandhi was asking for this information. Mr. Gandhi again asked him, “Where was it held in this area, was it in the Ghala center?”. Rai replied that it was very much here and invited him in. To further confound Rai, Mr. Gandhi then asked him if he could have vibhuti prasad. This, of course, puzzled Rai, since he had seen Mr. Gandhi at the prayer. He asked him to go ahead and take it from the altar whilst asking him whether he had not taken it earlier during the prayer. Rai was absolutely stunned when Mr. Gandhi apologized to him saying that he was on the evening shift at the airport and was unable to leave till around 9.45 pm, though he had made prior arrangements with a colleague in order to be able to leave early enough to attend the bhajan. He said he had reached home a few minutes earlier, but he felt (heard) Swami urging him to go to the bhajan centre (even though it was quite late) and partake the prasad there.

Meanwhile, Rai’s elderly mother, who does not follow English, had very kindly placed whatever prasad that was left in a plate and offered it to Mr. Gandhi who was reluctant to impose on them at that late hour. However, Rai convinced him that this prasad seemed to have been meant for him as nobody else would have it earlier. When Rai explained the details to Mr. Gandhi and even showed him the spot where he saw him sitting during the prayers, all that Mr. Gandhi could do after partaking the food, was to go straight to the altar and prostrate in front of Swami’s portrait. Meanwhile, Rai noticed that Mr. Gandhi was in his official clothes (Aviation Staff uniform) whereas he had seen him in white clothes earlier.



The next day in office, Rai was finding it hard to keep his mind on the job. He was convinced that he had seen Mr. Gandhi during the bhajans, but nobody else, including his wife, mother and other devotees he spoke to had seen him there. (This was also reconfirmed with at least 10 persons who had been present) While he was wracking his brains on this, his close friend and colleague Sanil, who had also been at the bhajan, dropped in. Rai asked him whether he had seen Mr. Gandhi at the prayer. To his astonishment and great relief, Sanil confirmed it, including the same spot where Rai had seen Mr. Gandhi sitting. He also added that he not only saw Mr. Gandhi but also spoke to him and shook his hands, before they left the prayer hall together. He did not remember seeing him after that instance.

Was it Mr. Gandhi or was it Lord Sai in his form who attended the prayers?

No one, who knows him, can ever doubt the integrity of Mr. Gandhi, or of Mr. Rai and Mr. Sanil. Furthermore, it was confirmed with the Duty Officer of Oman Aviation, Mr. Purushottam Rao, that Mr. Gandhi had indeed left his workplace that evening around 9.45 p.m.

It was none other than our Beloved Lord Sai, who blessed and graced the Sai center’s devotees with his Divine Presence, though invisible to all except the two blessed gentlemen and also in the form of another “blessed” devotee.

Why did he choose that form?

Nobody except Swami Himself can answer that question. We can only say, ‘it was one more of His leelas’.

-sent to us from Muscat. 1997