I would like to share a event which I heard personally from a very good family friend of ours, the Late Mrs Usha Pillai who used to stay at Mission Road in Bangalore many years ago .She was the head of the Sai Mahila Vibhag in Bangalore and she was active in the Sri Chinmaya Mission too.
She was a staunch devotee of Baba right from the early years and she used to tell us many interesting experiences she had. She was one of the devotees from the early years, when there was at that time, no proper transport to Puttaparthi . They would travel by Horse or Bullock carts to reach Puttaparthi and when they were going back in the evening to their native places, Swami would come to see them off with a lantern in His hand and bid farewell.
She once narrated a very odd incident to me which is still sharply etched in my memory till this day, though at the time she told us this story, we had just joined the Sai fold. At the time that this incident happened , Swami Chimayananda was in Switzerland. She said that she was working actively in the Sri Chinmaya Mission too and Swami Sai was aware of this. Swami once called her for an interview during which He waved His hand high in the air and caught an envelope.
He then told her that “Swami Chinmayananda ki heart attack vacchindi” – meaning in Telugu that Swami Chinmaya nanda had just got an heart attack. He then opened the letter and showed it to her.
It was a letter written by the Swiss Misson of the Swami Chinmayananda Organisation addressed to their Bangalore counterparts in which it was written that Swamiji had indeed had a heart attack at about 02.30 AM that day (early morning). She was a bit surprised as she was not
aware of it or anyone else at the local unit. Then after the interview, she went to the Chinmaya Trust and told them that Swami Chinmayananda had a heart attack in Switzerland. The incredulous members in the Mission did not believe her and asked her how it was possible for her to know as they themselves were not aware besides they were in touch with the overseas mission. A few days later the Mission Members in Bangalore received a letter that the Swiss Mission had sent via airmail, with the details of the heart attack of Swami Chinmayananda.
Amongst other things, that Swami told her was that He asked His devotees to take very good care of their health as He wanted them to live long and witness the earth-shaking Miracles He would perform in the later years of His Mission.
It was during one summer in the early 1990′s at Brindavan that I noticed Swami was blessing more than the usual number of silver sweet platters.
One particularly happy afternoon I watched with interest two ladies seated on the aisle holding their bright silver platters high while waiting for his attention. Swami came to darshan walking from side to side in his usual fashion but eventually stopped in front of the ladies then blessed their platters, which contained not only toffees but also photos, vibuthi and lockets. I sat thinking to myself, I wish I too, had a silver platter to hold high for such a blessing.
Before darshan the following morning, I plucked up enough courage to buy a silver platter, a huge bag of sweets (Mango Melodies), and three packets of little golden lockets, each one with a small picture of Swami with his hand held in the ’Abhaya Mudra – ( the ‘WHY FEAR, I AM HERE’ blessing ) and one yellow rose. I wasn’t quite sure how to prepare my platter nor did I know where to place the lockets. After some thought I placed them under the toffees and then placed the rose on top. Ah, it looked pretty, I felt sure that Swami would bless my offering.
But Swami did not bless the dish on my first attempt and by the second day I lost confidence and gave the dish to an Australian colleague to offer but Swami would not bless the sweets. On the third attempt I was happy to be seated on the carpet’s edge of block two where Swami always walked. He stopped, looked, and blessed the sweets forcefully. I’d felt him taking a large swipe of the contents into his hand then he threw them, showering what seemed like a good portion of devotees. I could hear loud whoops of joy as the sweets were thrown. Puzzled, I wondered why.
After Swami had passed by, I glanced at my platter for the 3 packets of lockets but only one remained. Apparently Swami had thrown two packets of lockets with the toffees! No wonder there had been such loud whoops of joy from devotees in block two.
A few days later I learned that the lockets had been thrown without their clear wrappers. In fact they had been dispersed individually with no trace of the wrapper anywhere. One of the lockets had fallen to a lady with cancer and two others had gone to another lady with a serious illness! What I do know is the lockets made a lot of people very happy.
A Long, Long Time Ago Letter
It was an afternoon in the summer of 1992, when I was sitting in the Mandir between darshan and bhajans, that the following letter was passed to me by a lady sitting nearby. The letter was so touching that I kept it for years. We have included the letter here on Sai Memories as a reminder of how devotees felt about the Ashram all those years ago.
“Use every little experience as a teaching tool. Put out of your mind any belief in chance or accident and know that everything that happens here, down to the smallest thing, is an outpouring of my limitless love and tailored especially for you. Notice the lines you get, the state of your health and body, the way you feel, wash, eat and look, whom you meet and how you are doing. See if you accept the whole experience with calm equanimity. Center your attention on me. See the whole atmosphere as a reflection of your inner-being. The Mandir is your heart. I dwell in it. The ashram is your identity and the village your worldly desires. In the village, you are strongly pulled outward and away from me. In the ashram you have more of a chance, but it is still very easy to get distracted. In the mandir (your heart) you can actually see me from time to time, but even there it is easy to be only half present and not realise that I love to give. By my grace this outer show gives you the means to strengthen the contact to me in your own heart. Make use of the time. Concentrate every iota of your attention on me. Open yourself totally whenver you catch a glimpse of my gown. Be ready to accept and I’ll give, but don’t expect. Think always of those more deserving than you and know that what you receive is an act of grace and love. Be open and free from fantasy and projection. Just be mine and I’ll be yours. This way you will find happiness and fulfilment. Remember that I am not only in the Sai Baba form here, though that is central, but hidden embodied in everyone who is here. Can you find me in them or are you distracted by their outer characteristics and habits? Look deeper – In eyes that love and yearn for me is my darshan also available. Honour and learn from the devoted; there are many examples here. Accept my grace from whatever source it comes. Be loved and blessed.”