Keeping Photographs Near To Our Hearts! – Rumi

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With the passing of Sathya Sai Baba, the pleasure of remembering those early days has been taken from me, because there is no longer anyone to remember with. Those ashram days are all but over for most of us that visited.  It feels like losing my  co-rememberer and like losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done, back then, were less real and important to what the day holds for us now. I began the blog with my memories of Sathya Sai Baba, taking notes from my memory and writings to post on to this blog. I eagerly waited for each visit to come around, so I could jot down more experiences and events as they unfolded in his ashram.  Mostly, I was lucky enough to have many stories to pass on to others with  like-minds and who had shared experiences. Now Sai has gone, I’ve turned  to creating YouTubes of  Rumi poems, to add to my list of hobbies. Through Rumi poems and my photography, I’m able to create Youtubes that will keep both photos and the poems I love, alive and at my reach.

This is my first You Tube this year. I hope some of you will visit and take a few minutes to watch.

Thank you. Eve

Happy 82nd Birthday Elvis!

Pure unadulterated Sexiness

Happy birthday Elvis Presley – your 82nd. You never stayed around to grow old but your light  and your music has never faded. I remember you from my childhood, when my brother mimicked your moves to the music of “Blue Suede Shoes.”  I used to giggle at his “wiggle” and  often we’d  both end  up on the floor laughing.  I loved your songs and I loved the way you moved and grooved to that old rock and roll music. I don’t have a favourite song from back then – all are magic.  There’s no one like you. Keep on  Dreaming Elvis, wherever you are tonight.

“Before Elvis there was nothing!” ~ John Lennon.

elvis

Then the famous singer began to speak, incorporating a favorite Roy Hamilton Rhythm and Blues tune, “Without a Song.”

“When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic book. I saw movies, and I was the hero in the movie. So every dream I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times. These gentlemen over there, these are the type who care, are dedicated. You realize if it’s not possible that they might be building the Kingdom, it’s not far-fetched from reality. I learned very early in life that: ‘Without a song, the day would never end; without a song, a man ain’t got a friend; without a song, the road would never bend, without a song.’”

About The Video posted.

“Way Down” is a song recorded by Elvis Presley in October 1976, it was the last single released before his death on August 16, 1977. The song was written by Layng Martine, Jr. and was later covered by Status Quo and Cliffhanger. Released as a single (with “Pledging My Love” on the B-side) on June 6, 1977, it was his current single when he died. It was racing up the top 40 when news of his death broke. Shortly after his death, it became the 33rd Number 1 of his career. It reached #1 on both the American Country and British Pop charts just days after his death, and almost six years after his previous Number 1 single. It was re-issued in April 2005 and reached #2 on the UK singles chart.

Love Is My Form – Memories of Sai Baba

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Himy, an old friend of mine on FaceBook and a great supporter of this blog, wrote the following account for this blog,  back when Swami was alive. I loved it so much, I am re-posting it today.

I understand exactly how Himy felt that far off day in 1999, when Swami gave him close Darshan. I often felt the same way too during darshan! 

In this small story, Himy tells how he had mentally told Baba earlier that day, “I don’t want anything” and Swami, as always, knew exactly what Himy had thought. Himy tells us in this story, “I didn’t even get a bit of the vibuthi  Swami made”.  Likewise, I, too, was always telling Sai Baba, “I do not want anything”, then while at Darshan, I would end up at the back of the hall, often where I could not see him!  Often in those early days, I would end up crying because of his lack of attention towards me. I never much thought that Swami was giving me exactly what I’d asked him for! Although, there’s never “nothing” with Swami – the Darshans were deep and  always filled with light and wonder. He was always, until the very end, radiant and sublime, and as a result, we came away from Darshan filled to the brim. – Eve

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I Only Wanted Swami To Talk To Me! – Himy’s Darshan Story

On one of my visits to Puttaparthi, I had a really great experience with Swami. (I think it was during 1999). I was feeling very down and out.
I was feeling very small and insignificant and unworthy, even when talking to people.  I was just keeping to myself. Then I prayed to Baba to talk to me because that would make me feel better and worthy of being talked to by others also. With that thought, I went inside Sai Kulwant hall after having drawn 4th token (or something near to that number.) And I was sitting in the second row in darshan on the men’s side.

Then the music started and Baba  came out from the Poornachandra Auditorium. He used to walk then. He shuffled forward taking letters, blessing sweet trays. Finally he was opposite my row. He spoke to someone there.  Then He suddenly turned towards our side. There was a Russian sitting  in front of me.  Baba said something to him. Then suddenly He was looking at me and  saying something  in Telugu (I think – because I heard something like “neevu” which is a Telugu word). My head was spinning. I couldn’t believe Baba was talking to me !! At the same time the thought passed though my head “could Baba be mistaking me for some other guy, some Telugu guy”? I dismissed that thought as soon as it came because I knew that  Baba knows everything. He doesn’t make mistakes. Then Baba repeated what he must have said earlier, in English.  He said “Where have you come from ?” I was still too stunned to reply. Baba spoke a third time.  This time in Hindi. He said “Keedhar se aayaa?” meaning again  “where  had I come from.” I managed to say:  “SAI, Mumbai”. Then Baba threw up His hands in the air as if I had given the wrong answer and He said “Oh!! Bombay!”

Then He proceeded to make vibhuti right in front of me and gave some to a Telugu farmer sitting next to me. Others nearby  stretched out their hands and Baba kept giving vibhuti to all. Finally, I also picked up the courage to stretch my hands out for vibhuti. But Baba just turned away. When i was praying to Baba earlier in the day, I had told him that “I dont want vibhuti or anything else,  Baba,  please just talk to me.”

By turning away Baba displayed His omniscience. He proved to me that He knew my thoughts.  What a proof !! I sat there with tears flowing down my cheeks and couldn’t stop crying long after darshan. People would just look at me and I was not able to say anything. They just nodded, knowingly, and said “Ananda” meaning bliss! Baba does hear and answer our prayers. He knows everything.

From Himy

Unshakeable Love – Love And Friendship

I just happened upon this beautiful ‘writing’  from the late Bob Marley.  How true are his words and, yes with love, everything is brighter and more joyful. We are filled up with that one person who makes our heart flutter. We want to give them our all -in-all. Yet, so few of us will take the chance to love. Oftentimes, we do  the opposite and shy away from love. Perhaps to avoid the pain if our love goes wrong. But love is always a chance……Although Divine love is never a chance. It is the goal.


….

Friendship is the expression

of unshakeable love ~ Baba

….

awindowbox999“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again.

Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”

― Bob Marley

photograph from  window box looking on to my garden.

East Meets West – Tales From All Traditions

Maha Kumbh Mela, 2013

The city of Allahabad ( City of God in Persian ) in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state prepares for the Hindu festival of Maha Kumbh Mela, 2013. The ancient name of this city is Prayag and is believed to be the spot where Brahma offered his first sacrifice after creating the world. It is one of four sites of the mass Hindu pilgrimage Kumbh Mela. The Prayag (Allahabad) Kumbh Mela is the largest and holiest of all melas and is believed to be the most auspicious, though the exact origin of the Kumbh Mela is very hard to pinpoint.

kumbh melaThe Purna (complete) Kumbh or Maha Kumbh, the biggest and the most auspicious fair, falls once every 12 years, and is always held in Allahabad. The most recent Kumbh Mela was in 2001 in Allahabad and millions of pilgrims took a holy dip in Sangam on the auspicious Mauni Amavasya on the 24th January 2001.

Kumbh Mela derives its name from the immortal – Pot of Nectar – described in ancient Vedic scriptures known as the Puranas. Kumbha in Sanskrit language means ‘pot or pitcher’. Mela means ‘festival’. So ‘Kumbh Mela’ literally means ‘festival of the pot’. Though the festival is a primitive one, it’s origins can be traced back to the ancient event of ‘Sagar Manthan’.

Tens of millions of pilgrims are expected to visit Allahabad to bathe at the Sangam – the merger point of the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers. The main bathing date for the 2013 Allahabad Kumbhmela is 10th Feb.2013.

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The Cathedral du Notre Dame, du Paris

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Notre Dame du Paris – click to see BBC report

Overview

For centuries it has witnessed the greatest events in French history: 80 kings, two emperors, five republics – and two world wars.

With her original 13th-Century rose window, the cathedral was pillaged and nearly demolished in revolutionary France. Now her famous gargoyles stand guard against evil spirits.

This great Paris cathedral has seen crusaders and kings praying before battle and She survived. This month sees the start of a year of special events celebrating the landmark 850th anniversary of “Our Lady of Paris”.

Foundation

The first stone was laid in 1163, though it took a further 180 years to complete. The principles of sacred geometry used in the Cathedral of Chartres took root here too. Yet, as the magnificent structure took form, history was already playing out in her shadow. Crusaders prayed beneath the world’s first flying buttresses as they set off on holy wars.

Our Lady of Paris

Within these walls, in 1431, a sickly boy of ten, King Henry VI of England, was crowned King of France.

And in 1804, to the sound of the 8,000 pipes of the cathedral’s Grand Organ, Napoleon was crowned emperor.

Music

Music is integral to the life of this cathedral – in the archives, medieval manuscripts reveal it always has been. Recently discovered manuscripts of centuries-old music and chants have been made ready.

Fittingly, then, the great sounds of Notre Dame will be at the heart of the anniversary celebrations.

Throughout 2013, three choirs will bring to life some of the earliest sounds of Christianity.

Choir director Sylvain Dieudonne has said that, “in 1163, when they started building the cathedral, Paris became a centre of great intellectual, spiritual and musical development.

“The musical school was hugely influential,” he said. “We know from the manuscripts we have recovered that it influenced music across Europe – in Spain, Italy, Germany and in England.”

The Festival

The year-long festival would not be complete without a celebration of the architecture. And to mark 850 years, they will be improving the lighting.

The building was not originally designed to include the flying buttresses around the choir and nave, but after the construction began, the thinner walls grew ever higher and stress fractures began to appear as the walls pushed outward. In response, the cathedral’s architects built supports around the outside walls, and later additions continued the pattern.

Today the cathedral stands as a gothic masterpiece.

As this Christmas marks the 850th anniversary of this venerable church, it heralds the start of a year-long celebration of her influence and history in France. For western visitors, this home of Christian traditions will come alive with their performances.

 

 

PLEASE IGNORE THE ADVERTISING VIDEO…

“The Long Wait” – Early Devotees

Conversation with Dana Gillespie, British singer, actress and song writer

The Journey to the Sai Baba and the Long Wait Thereafter

RS: Dana, as an artist, you’ve lived a full and exciting life. Now, where does the chapter on Sai Baba fit into the life story of Dana Gillespie?

DG: When I first read a book on Sai Baba, which was ‘Man of Miracles’, it was about 31 years ago, then I did something I never do. I instantly went to get a ticket. Actually, my father bought it for me. He said, “I have a feeling you’re meant to do this.” So three weeks later, I leap on a plane and head to India.

I had this feeling that Sai Baba was going to say when I got here, “Hello! I’ve been waiting for you. You are the chosen one.” But of course, not a bit of it. He ignored me for 12 years. I slept in the sheds, got eaten alive by mosquitoes, had extraordinary experiences, coincidences, things that a non-believer will go, “Well, that’s just a coincidence!” But you know, when you have Baba in your heart and you have faith, then you realize that nothing is a coincidence. I had quite a few unusual experiences.

And they were enough to keep me coming back sometimes twice a year to sit and be crushed at the back. My leg was bad. So, the first time I came here, I actually walked into the place and left in a wheelchair instead of being the other way around, because I was determined to sit cross-legged.

It was agony. And I often have walked using a walking stick when I’ve been here. I don’t mind. It’s just the body. I’m not bothered about it at all. Pain is a nuisance because it drains your energy and it can distract you from getting on with loftier, godlier thoughts.

But I have to thank this leg pain because every step I take, which is painful, I have to say ‘Sairam’. Every step going upstairs, I have to hold the railing or find somebody who might be on the step below me and I’ll put my hand on his shoulder and say ‘Sairam! Thank you’. So for that, I’m extremely grateful and I know that Sai Baba has said for every trouble we have, we should thank Him, because that makes us turn to Him more.

If I’d have had a ‘bed of roses’ life – a happy husband, and children, and the rest, which doesn’t go actually with the music business, I wouldn’t have wanted to find anything higher. I would’ve been content with the samsaric (worldly) view of life and that has never been my goal. I’ve wanted to fly free.
At the end of the forty minute programme, as a token of Divine appreciation, Bhagawan presented a beautiful memento, a replica of a Phoenix bird, to Ms. Gillespie. (The Phoenix is a mythical sacred firebird that can be found in the mythologies of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese etc.)

RS: Through these 12 years of anonymity in the ashram, as this westerner with red hair sitting at the back of the Sai Kulwant Hall, with no particular physical attention from Baba, what kept you coming back? Isn’t that a fairly long period of waiting?

He Fosters the Tender Faith with Subtle Experiences

DG: Well, He did little things, small things. One time, I left Bangalore for Puttaparthi and I had lost my passport. So, I thought, well, I’ve read this story about Swami who’s found somebody his traveller’s check or passport in Paris. I thought, “Well, I’ve got a choice – either I go back and they’ll think I’m stupid because I know I haven’t left it there or I go on and He will find it for me and something will happen.” So, I get to Puttaparthi and try and register for a shed accommodation but of course, I get an earful from the men at the accommodation office “How dare you …? Go to the police station!” And to make matters worse, my ticket was also in my passport.

I was desperate, thinking, “What am I going to do?” And then, a group of Austrians from Vienna said, “Oh, come in with us. We’ll smuggle you into the shed. Nobody’s gonna notice.”

So, I thought, “Right, okay.” And because I was really frazzled and shaking over this experience, I plonked down. I didn’t have a mosquito net. I couldn’t find a bed roll. I mean, I was completely unprepared for this occurrence. And I couldn’t find a torch and in the days, when you could do Omkaram, go round the mandir, I thought, “I’m gonna have to get up, I’m gonna have to ask Swami for help.”

I leapt out, ran outside and sat behind the mandir; it was all dark, and I was sitting there, there was nobody around. And then I managed to see, you know, under a bit of a light. It’s 3 o’clock in the morning! I had come out far too early. So I sink down on my knees and I go “Swami, You have to help me.” And I had my hand sitting there. And suddenly, a jasmine flower plopped out of nowhere. There was no wind, there was no jasmine flowers around. It just landed there and I heard this noise, really like a ‘plop’ as it appeared in existence and landed there. I thought, “My goodness! I know He’s gonna help me.” I had the faith, because I’ve always known everyone else is gonna let me down in life. Only God cannot. He has to be your best friend!

So I thought, “Well, I do not know how He’s going to do it but I know He’s going to do it.” And then, at the next darshan, I’m ignored, of course. Well then, I’m a bit disheartened.

And in those days, when you could walk up at the back, I always used to walk up there alone. They always said, “Don’t go. There’s snakes and scorpions.” But I used to think “Oh, if I sing bhajans, nothing’s going to bite me.”

I’m up there in this cool breeze and I’m watching the eagles flying around. And when I’m up there, I suddenly hear this – like a voice saying, “Go straight down now to the main street. Go now, NOW!” So, I rush down and as I’m going past the accommodation office, a man is coming out with my ticket and passport in his hand. And he’d found it. He tried to return it but because I wasn’t registered, they didn’t know who to give it to. So, we met, and in those days, that street was always very crowded.

RS: Did you find out where the man found out your passport and ticket?

DG: No, because I looked down to check if it was my name and when I looked up, he was gone. It was one of those great stories! And I’ve got another little one like that.

You know, when I first came here, the first thing that hit me about seeing Sai Baba was I must never eat an animal again. Meat is off the menu for me.

RS: It was instinctive?
Narrating the background story of another piece, “Play The Game, Be Happy”, the graceful singer explained that the piece was based on an Interview Room conversation with Bhagawan. Utilising an opportunity granted by The Lord, the singer had posed a “million dollar question” unto Bhagawan concerning life as to ‘what is the purpose? what is the meaning? … of life?’ and pat came His reply: “Play The Game; Be Happy!”, and thus a beautiful, meaningful song.

DG: Yeah. He was quite far away, He was always a bit of an orange dot in the distance, although there were less people. But it just hit me and I was looking to be a vegetarian, although I’ve never been that keen on meat. But it just hit me. So I came back full of beans from my first trip to Baba, saying to everyone, “I’m going to be… this is Mother Teresa, step aside… the spiritual life for me, I’m going to be fantastic, I’m helping little old ladies across the road, whether they want it or not.”

And I enrolled as a helper at the main cancer hospital, pushing trolleys and I was all trying to do good. And then, my father said, “I think you should go back again.” He had married again. He wanted me to take his wife, my stepmother.

We go back and in these 3 days, I’m trying to show her Puttaparthi. Somehow, all the wonderful things that I had wanted to be fell by the wayside. My promises were broken left, right, and center and I felt so miserable that my word was not my bond, to quote Shakespeare. I sat one day in the bhajan hall in Whitefield, actually, in floods of tears.

I was about 20 rows back and Swami’s up on the chair and everyone’s happy and He’s beating time with His right hand the whole time. He’s happy and I got my glasses on. So, I can see Him really clearly and I want to sink down low behind the woman in front of me. And my clothes were soaked with tears. I have never cried like that, it was like a tap had been turned on. And I now know when they break a coconut, you know, you’ve got to break the person so that the milk comes out from within.

This was my breaking point. I was a broken person totally dripping wet (from crying). And every now and then, Swami would look at me and He’d go like this as if to say, “Calm down!” and I kept thinking it was for the person behind me or in front. And He’s still beating time like that and then He’d come back and do this gesture to suggest “Calm down!” After this went on for 15 minutes, and by this time I was wringing wet with my clothes. I really couldn’t stop the tears…

And then I made the inner connection with Him and said, “Look, if You are everything I’ve read about and if You can know exactly what I’m feeling at this moment, I demand a sign.” And all I could see was that He’d never moved His left hand, He’d just been beating time with His right hand. So, I said, “Just beat with the left hand once for me.”

And He looked me straight in the eyes and went once with His left hand and then carried on with His right hand and never moved His left hand again. So, this was very good for me, because it made me realize His omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence!

I’ve had to learn stage by stage and if He’d have welcomed me that first trip, going, “Yes, here you are! You’re the chosen one!”, I hate to think what my ego would’ve grown to, because I come from a profession where they judge you on your looks, which I’ve always thought was pathetic. I don’t judge anyone on how they look. I look at their heart.

source – copyrights: radiosai.org