Sai Gems – Sathya Sai Memories Cont.

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True teaching is
always an epiphany:
sometimes a clap of thunder
…but often only a whisper,
easily missed.


Once Swami went to the hostel to give the joy of dining with the students. Faculty members were also invited. Swami after having just a spoonful of food as usual started supervising the serving. After all the students and staff had their food, Swami went to one plate and observed that a particular person left some food in the plate and left for washing his hands. Swami enquired as to who sat there and a particular individual was identified that he left the food (wasted). The gentleman apologised to Swami for wasting the food. But Swami did not accept it but said smilingly “If you left some food on your plate at  home, your wife would have had to clear it away but who you think will do it here?”.

Source: As narrated by a faculty member.

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Sai Baba giving darshan during the 1980s under the old tree in Whitefield

Prof. Anil Kumar: Bhagavan! In our namavali, series of names of God,
we address God by so many names. We have more than a hundred names
‘ashtottara’ and a thousand names ‘sahasranama.’ Of these various
names, which is the best and the exact name of God?
Bhagavan: All names and forms are The Divine. There is nothing in the
universe, which is not Divine. You should consider God as the indweller
of your heart – hrudayavasi.
Draupadi, when she was being disrobed and humiliated, prayed to
Krishna for help, calling him ‘brindavana sancari’ and ‘mathura
natha’, which caused some delay in Krishna manifesting to save her. To
prove the truth of her prayerful words, Krishna had to go to Brindavan
and Mathura and then reach the open court to save her. Had she called
Krishna ‘Hrdayavasi’, the indweller of her heart He would have
appeared immediately before her and saved her straightaway from
disgrace. You sing ‘Brindavana sancari’ in your bhajans. Presently I
am in Kodaikanal. Are you not wrong? You sing, prasanthivasa,
parthivihara, ‘one who is in Prasanti Nilayam, moves about in
Puttaparti’, in your bhajans. Is it  right? No. I am in Kodaikanal, not
in Puttaparti or Prasanthi. But, if you say ‘Hrudayavasi’ the
indweller of your heart, though I may be physically anywhere, you will
get immediate response from Me.  ~ (COURTESY :RADIO SAI)

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The Shirdi Sai Photo – Sathya Sai Memories Cont.

ღஜレo√乇♥ & GrATItUde ღ

Love in thought is truth.
Love in action is right conduct.
Love is understanding, is peace.
Love in feeling is non-violence.
Love is a bridge over the sea of change.
Do not build a house on it.

-Sathya Sai Baba


ღஜレo√乇♥ & GrATItUde ღ

Where there is Faith, there is Love;
Where there is Love, there is Peace;
Where there is Peace, there is Truth;
Where there is Truth, there is God;
Where there is God, there is Bliss.

-Sathya Sai Baba

A Silent Lesson from long ago.

Teachings are given in many different ways by Sai Baba. He often  ‘disguises’ his teaching lessons by changing his personal form,  from beloved Sai in an orange robe. to a  physical form we do not know! I have had this happen to me on 4-5 occassions. The ‘other’ ‘forms’ of Sai, are often strange or outlandish characters that one would not normally know or speak to. These characters appear to know everything about us. I find these experiences to be the most delightful of all the teachings that Sai gives to his devotees.

– Sathya Sai Memories


My Dutch friend and I were sitting together one morning in the old darshan area,   the time –  between darshan and bhajans. We both had our purses. They were allowed back then.

I  remember the experience clearly because it was a few days before my flight home. I had been clearing out my room in the ashram, given away my entire collection of Swami photos and posters. I had one more photo in my purse and a packet of vibuthi that I decided should go to my friend. Although I loved being with Swami, I did not see him as my guru, nor did I want to keep photos or vibuthi or any form of attachment to him.

My friend was reluctant to take the vibuthi and the photograph but as I insisted, she took them and put them away into her purse.

Bhajans began and the old mandir- darhsan area, filled with an enormous crowd of ladies.  At the end of the bhajans, Swami came out and blessed everyone, then if I remember correctly, he returned to his upstairs room in the temple. As soon as the signal was given for us to rise and leave the darshan area, the ladies rose altogether and scrambled to leave by the main entrance. The  horrendous rush caused chaos  up to and outside on the pathway. I had difficulty passing through without bumping into everyone…..

Once outside of the main gate, a little old lady dressed in white approached. She tugged at my arm, and when I tried to loosen myself, she grabbed my hand, placing a small photograph of Shirdi Sai Baba into my palm.

“You keep this,” she said.

I turned to her and motioned that I did not want a photograph. She looked at me in a pained way but  she  insisted I keep it. I remember her closing my fingers around the little photograph with much love. She gave me a beatific smile and disappeared back into the crowd.

I stood for a moment or two examining the photograph. When I turned it over, there was an interesting message on the other side.

“Look at me whole-heartedly and I, in turn, look at you similarly. Sitting in this Masjid, I speak the truth nothing but the truth. No Sadhanas, nor proficiency in the six Shastras are necessary. Have faith and confidence in your Guru. Believe fully, that Guru is the sole Actor and Doer. Blessed is he who knows the greatness of his Guru and thinks him to Be Hari. (God).”

What a surprise to read such a  message and what shocked me more was the photo of Shirdi Sai now in my hand. The lady seemed to know how I felt and by giving me the photo, she’d indicated my lack of faith in Swami. This had to be clearly the case, for the message on the backside of the photo also seemed to be telling me as much. It  most likely was an  indirect message from Swami himself.

Some years later I found the very same message in the Shri Sai Satcharita on page 98. The message is incorporated in the story of one, Mrs. Radhabai Deshamukh, who visited Shirdi to be with  that earlier Sai Baba. She wanted Shirdi Sai to give her a mantra but he would not – and Shirdi Sai tells her during a long discussion how he himself, was not given a mantra only the unabated love of his guru.

Light Hearted Story Of Swami In Kodaikanal, 1996 – Sathya Sai Memories Cont.

The Journey


Despite the twelve hours, hot and bumpy taxi trip, the death-defying 24 hairpin bends along the overhanging cliff road,  winding our way through the Palani Mountains at speed , visiting seedy hotels with cold, brown water, the ill-flavoured food;  the Kodaikanal travel experience was rather exciting.


The mountains and the hairpin bends –

After hours of sitting in the back of a taxi in 100 degrees plus temperatures, we began the steady mountain climb at precisely 6.30 p.m. The enormous trees threw long shadows across the road, hinting at the impending dusk.

On each turn, a variety of hand painted slogans appeared on adjacent boulders, “Jesus Loves You” or “Jesus Saves” – a loud declaration that Kodaikanal was pretty much a place of Christian worship. Now and again, we would see ‘Sai Ram’ or ‘Om Sai Ram’ –  a welcoming gesture to Baba who would take this route later, on his way to his Kodaikanal Ashram home.

Each hairpin turn became more terrifying than the one before. I held tightly on to my seat as my heart flipped over and over. We drove on slowly. Gradually, as I watched, the sun dropped below the horizon, leaving behind a night sky of soft golden hues tinged with pale iridescent pinks that soon faded into a velvety darkness, obscuring the valleys far below.

Our drive became more relaxed, the trees closed in around us, and a red glow could be seen in the distance. A forest fire was threatening to burn out of control; luckily, it started to rain and the menacing red glow became a ghostly shimmer – soon left behind.

The mountain road narrowed and was no longer just a road, but a dark tunnel of huge trees now bathed in soft moonlight. How different the mountains looked, compared with a few hours earlier, when brilliant sunshine had provided us with clear and often petrifying views of the mountain terrain. We drove on, up and up, until at last, houses began to appear.

Swami during a stay in Kodai

Out of the darkness, a barrier appeared. Our taxi driver got out of the car and wearily walked over to the guards to ask questions. I opened the car window to sniff the air; it was cool, earthly and the wet leaves from the trees made it sweet.

A young man boarded the taxi. “I will direct you to your hotel,” he muttered in broken English. We had finally made it to ‘rustic’ Kodaikanal.

Our chief concern now was to find our hotel. The young guide directed our driver to the location, but expressed disappointment at our choice, and we soon knew why.

We simply took one look at the pre-booked hotel, which happened to be situated in the centre of town, surrounded by small taverns and other eating establishments, and decided to cancel the room.

Instead, we chose the Paradise Inn which, at the time, had a choice of rooms. The manager took us to room 501 – a room slightly apart from the others. “This is a very quiet,” he said cheerfully, as he walked over to switch on the T.V. Suddenly from the ceiling came a thunderous sound. “People rushing?” I asked. “No rats!” replied the manager. “They won’t hurt you” he said with a tongue in cheek attitude. We took the room for the night, I stayed awake all night long just in case ‘our friends’ returned. They did. We left at dawn for a room on a lower floor.

Room 401, directly below, and graded ’super-deluxe’ was ample, comfortable and clean. The down side – brown water coming from elaborate plumbing, and one broken window covered with cardboard, the outside of which displayed the fearsome face of a devil. I was not amused.

Swami’s Arrival

*`•.¸(¯`•.•´¯)¸.•´* ♥

Swami came by car the very next day. The ashram staff, newly assembled, told us he would arrive by four p.m. at the latest. We decided to wait at the Ashram. My husband went inside and sat in the men’s section, under the green canopy. I stayed outside – standing.

Swami finally arrived at six o’clock but I wasn’t disappointed by the long wait for, as his car turned to enter the ashram drive, a very happy Swami leaned forward and gave a spontaneous wave. I waved back with both hands.

The next morning, we arrived early and anxious for darshan. The waiting area turned out to be in the main road! Traffic grudgingly gave way to pedestrians, while tooting horns offended our ears, and petrol fumes choked us. Newly arrived vendors, soon to be entrepreneurs, offered us solace in Masala tea. But as we sipped, other vendors bombarded us with incense sticks, Swami photos, cassettes, bread, biscuits, cakes, jewellery etc. And to top it all, ‘our line’ drew `unlucky’ token number 13.

Meanwhile, the seva dal had problems positioning the ladies and by the time we reached the seating area, Swami had already given darshan. Wearily, I concluded Kodaikanal was `full of surprises’ – not all pleasant.

As the days went by, things rapidly improved. We received close morning darshans under fair and cloudless skies. The sun shone warmly on us, and Swami, much like the sun himself, was radiant, smiling and relaxed, (and definitely in a holiday mood). He took time to bless our photos, pendants, take letters, give padnamaskar – even luckier devotees managed to hold his hand.

Both the Tamil Nadu and subsequent Kerala New Year celebrations were held under a canopy of brilliant blue sky. A smiling Swami sat serenely on his jasmine bedecked balcony, while cords of delightful music entertained us. On one occasion, Swami rewarded the singer with a beautiful gold bracelet that he materialised with a wave of his hand. The singer returned to finish her programme. Sincere feelings of gratitude overwhelmed me, as I sat listening to the moving performance. I felt a sincere gratefulness for days such as these: a `heavenly break’ from the mundane chores of life.

Unfortunately, the afternoons held less promise for most devotees. The clouds gathered daily around 1:00 p.m. and torrential rain followed. The discourses, as usual, were held in the small hall but, with the introduction of V.I.P. lines, few `general lines’ could attend. We sat outside under the canopy, hoping for just a glimpse of Swami.

One morning, this family received a blessing for our magazine, INNERVIEWS,  followed by an unexpected “Very happy” from Swami. We were overjoyed. Swami also blessed my golden cross and chain. (I had waited for years for the blessing.) After Swami blessed my cross, I immediately placed it around my neck again; the cross surged with vibrating energy. A friend, who has a ring from Swami, remarked that she had not felt such energy when she had the ring  materialized. “Maybe darshan blessings are more potent”, I thought, with a chuckle.

swam in slippers at Kodaikanal

Swami in slippers -cute!

An Unexpected Morning

My fondest memory of the trip has to be darshan, April 27th. My husband had left for home.

It was a dream day, clear, balmy, and from the roadside the Kodaikanal lake looked more enchanting than usual. Our line drew token number one and the seva dal promptly moved us to the entrance.

Mentally, I thanked Swami for the line. “At last,” I thought,“I can be truly near him this morning.” The seva dal took us straight in and gave us really good seats. We waited calmly for Swami to appear.

He entered the lady’s side facing the V.I.P.’s then suddenly swapped his position and stood in front of us – for a moment there was complete silence. I asked to touch his foot (padnamaskar), but the ladies seated beside me, reached for his feet first. I felt disappointed as he withdrew from us. ‘Obviously no feet touching today,’ I thought to myself as he strolled further down the line of ladies. But there is a twist to the story, and `the ending’ appears at the bottom of the page. *

After darshan, a surprise announcement from the staff, requested us to remain seated for Swami’s blessed prasad. Within minutes the college students appeared with large silver containers full of sweet rice and curd. A little later the seva dal distributed the delicious food on silver paper plates. We ate slowly, enjoying the unexpected meal.

Swami stood on the balcony watching over us as we ate, I remember how young He looked that morning. He seemed to shimmer in the sunlight, every once in a while, he smiled and waved to us. We waved back with our sticky fingers. He later jokingly asked some of the ladies if they would like second helpings. What an enchanting morning and most unexpected. That’s how it is in Kodaikanal.

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Me outside entrance to Calton hotel -I was very happy on that visit.

The Dream

On my arrival home in May, my husband revealed a dream he had had of Swami near the end of April at the time I had asked Swami for padnamaskar. The ‘dream experience’ here below, is in his own words :

“In the dream, I was working in an office complex. The corridor outside my office leads to a `T’ junction. If you turn left at the `T’ junction, Swami’s office is the first office on the right.

I had just left my office and reached the `T’ junction when Swami came out of his office bearing a number of letters and correspondence in his right hand. His left hand was empty. He asked me something in a language I didn’t understand, but to which I replied, `Yes, Swamiji’. Swami then repeated the question in English when he concluded I had not understood. Again, I responded, `Yes, Swamiji’ and with this response, Swami turned to go.

By this time I had assumed a yoga-like kneeling posture and could feel the cold partition wall against my left shoulder. In that split second, it seemed like a golden opportunity to offer a request of my own: `Swamiji, padnamaskar?’ I asked.

At this request, Swami took his left hand to raise the hem of his orange gown and uttered the word `Take!’. Now I was on the horns of a dilemma – two feet – which to choose? I made my choice and …”

* and my husband kissed Swami’s left foot… (Note that my husband had no idea I had asked Swami for padnamaskar on the morning of the 27th April. )

Transmission Through dreams –

Doing some research, we found this explanation in one of our books. ‘When the guru appears in dreams, it is real. When he talks or gives a message, it is real. If the guru or ishta keeps his hand on the head in the dream, then it’s a blessing. This is real and not symbolic.’

‘If, in dreams, one feels the touch of the guru or the ishta on the body, it is the transmission of spiritual power. It is real.’

‘Physical communication is often limited because the guru is governed by time and space, but in dreams the guru is free to give personal help and guidance and it is real.’

‘The guru gives spiritual transmission through dreams, through heart-to-heart communication, through inner guidance and intuition. The secret is to develop your ability to understand your own intuitive nature.

*`•.¸(¯`•.•´¯)¸.•´* ♥

p.s.

We were there in 2003, but sadly I was ill so did not stay. Swami had not been well either at the time, and darshans were not the same. Kodaikanal had been my favourite retreat and where my fondest memories remain.

Ramana Maharshi, ‘At First Glance’ – Sri Ramana

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At first glance was taken from my story  that I wrote in 1994 while travelling in India.

♫♥♫♪♥

At first  Glance

” I entered the shrine with the intention of purchasing a book on the Maharshi, more to please the taxi driver than myself. But my heart leapt, when my eyes caught sight of a life size photograph of the Maharshi, placed on a raised platform at the far end of the hall.

Never before had I seen such a beautiful countenance. Moving closer to the platform, I began to study his eyes; great dark pools of compassion and understanding, unlike any I’d seen before. Their compelling gaze seemed to invite me to linger. Spellbound, I sat crossed-legged, staring at him, soon I began to feel the Maharshi’s presence, as if he was imparting something from his eyes to my heart. On that first encounter, I’d not only bought the book WHO AM I, but proceeded to buy every available book on the late great sage.

The books had kept me entranced throughout that long Summer in India. His message was simple and modest. It made no claims to occult powers and esoteric knowledge to amaze the mystery loving nature of his fellow countrymen or curious minded traveller. Yet, it gave inspiration and encouragement to a hard-headed Westerner like myself. He pointed out plainly and simply, the path inward, the journey from ignorance to self-recognition; something I had not seriously considered before, or at best given only scant lip service to.

What became clear to me during my reading, is that men like the Maharshi, and there are few, ensure the continuity down through history of a divine message from regions not easily accessible to us all. Man such as the Maharshi are rare indeed.

Also, the Sage did not come to argue anything with us, but to reveal our own divine nature. His rational teachings of Who am I, point to self-inquiry and the need to seek the pure essence of the Self. God is rarely mentioned in his teachings of Jnana Yoga. He simply puts forward a self-analysis which can be practised irrespective of any ancient theories or modern beliefs, and by so doing, he provides a way to true self-understanding. Thus, he fulfils the ancient Hindu scriptures, not by preaching but by practice.

The Maharshi had not become my guru, but his teachings had proved invaluable in my search for truth.”