I remember on the day Sathya Sai Baba left us five years ago, someone wrote these few words about how radiant Baba had been. Time and time again we were to read similar accounts from those who visited Sai Baba over the decades he gave darshan. So for the last time, I shall report these simple but beautiful words again.
“Baba’s face was radiant and his smile so beautiful. He was walking towards me. I could hear my heart pounding loudly in my chest as he came closer. Baba now stood close to me. My attention was focused on his lotus feet. As soon as the border of his orange robe exposed his feet, I stretched out and rested my head on them in a state of total surrender. My head lay on his feet for a while. Baba then gently moved back and walked away.
Baba walked around the hall slowly, raising his hand in blessing now and then. After some time had passed, to my astonishment, I realized he was walking towards me again. He searched in the crowd, and when his eyes sought mine he stopped and stared. I noticed his large penetrating pupils, they seemed to be the color of amber, I was completely taken aback, stunned and dazed. I sat there dumbfounded, in a trance. When I regained my awareness, Baba had already left. All the devotees were getting up and leaving.
On the journey back home, I was silent, I felt strange and tranquil.”
Remembrance Day-By Terry Reis Kennedy
April 24, 2016
The sun burst upon me like a blast of heat from a furnace as I stepped outside of my house, Sai Prem, on Coconut Grove. It was only 9 a.m. and my clothes were already dripping with sweat. I made my way towards the ashram in a daze of grief, of bliss, of ineffable mixed emotions.
I walked through the tiny streets of Puttaparthi town remembering how I used to run to the main road when word rustled through the air that Sai Baba was out in His car, on the way to visit the students, or His pet elephant Sai Gita, or patients at the hospital. I was crazed with joy seeing Him in His car. I was not the only one.
We hurled flowers at the windows, we touched the doors; we were Gopis and Gopikas that not even the police could stop. Swami loved our madness as He smiled out at us, sometimes even having the driver stop the car so He could have a word with someone. The blasting heat, the monsoon downpours, nothing could keep us away from Him. Before we had a cover over the mandir He would often stop the rain when He came out for Darshan. He loves us that much.
And today it is the same. It was the 5th anniversary of my Sat Guru, the Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s leaving—the day He chose to exit His body, a day the Hindu’s say, “He took Mahasamadhi”, meaning the day He returned to the Supreme Consciousness He is, the Great Quietude. In plain America English, He died. Yes, He is immortal. We are all immortal. But for me it was a day I felt pressed into a mold of mortality. Everything I’d lived for, been living for, seemed to have vanished.
Until I got home to my writing desk where I could record my thoughts, I felt barely part of the world as I had known it. Luckily there was a message from my editor at Bangalore’s Deccan Herald asking me to write a recollection of Sai Baba’s life and to have it done in two hours. Most of my professional life I’ve spent meeting deadlines. I was so relieved to have another deadline to meet. As I typed the remembrance I realized what a gift My Baba had given me….a deadline. But in this case it was a lifeline. By having to go to work, to be of use, to focus on readers that would be wanting the news of Swami’s passing, I felt purposeful. There was no time for crying.
Within hours of completing that news story millions of people from around the world were on their way to little Puttaparthi to say good bye to Sai Baba, the “man” who had changed the face of India and the world. The God we loved, the One Who had loved us beyond our understanding.
Today, five years later, He remains the same for me. As I continued on my way to the ashram the crowds grew thicker. I heard that 40,000 people were in Hill View Stadium eating their free breakfast provided by the Central Trust, Baba’s Trust, ensuring Swami’s devotees that nothing has changed for them. Puttaparthi town continues as before. Swami will never leave His home. He had promised us and He had promised His mother Easwaramma. The breakfast plates were also carried home to those who could not walk to the stadium. Everyone got fed, the poorest of the poor, the richest of the rich.
As I neared the Ganesha Gate entrance, I saw that some people were going up Gopuram Road to the stadium and some were coming down carrying their gifts of saris and dhotis, heading towards the ashram. As I entered and passed through the security check I felt lighter, less hot. A slight breeze was turning the leaves and swaying the bougainvillea blossoms. Incense wafted towards me.
After hearing Swami’s discourse from years gone by I found myself smiling at the youngsters who smiled at me. “From which place did you come,” their perennial question made me happy. Though I have lived in Parthi for 25 years I told them the truth they wanted to hear. I replied, the United States of America. Oh, the USA one of them said, as if to let me know how informed she was.
In spite of the heat, in spite of the crowds I managed to get into the Ladies ‘side of the dining tent. And I was served a heaping plate of south Indian delicacies, foods of a region that I have come to love…slowly, very slowly. It was like an arranged marriage, Telugu country and me. First I found I could not adjust. But Mother Sai taught me how to accept the things I could not change, and to change the things I could—that meant transformation. I learned how to grow where I was planted.
Today, I heard a little voice inside me say, “Remember Who loves you, Baby.” And I remembered. Thank you, Bhagawan, for my life.