Beautiful Reflections Sathya Sai – More Sathya Sai Memories

Folks, I plan on being away for a couple of months in India. I am going back to visit Sai Baba’s Ashram. I  need a break and some release from the bitter cold, lack lustre days of winter. Also some time away from a computer and blogging. I hope to return with some new travel stories and, of course, photos. Here is one of my favourite memories from many years ago while on a visit to Whitefield, in Bangalore. I don’t visit Whitefield anymore because the Bangalore traffic is too congested nowadays to make the trip. I miss the enchantment of Whitefield, and of course the  darshans in Sai Ramesh Hall. Luckily, people have created beautiful you tubes, like the one above to savor our memories forever.

Sorry for mistakes in this post, I have had quite a few computer glitches this morning.


“Blessed Sweets” – I remember the day well, like yesterday!

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.

·**•.♥LOVE♥.•**·life·**•.♥LIFE♥.•*

Here’s a link to an interesting talk given in July last year in Puttaparthi Ashram.

http://media.radiosai.org/journals/vol_12/01JUL14/TO-FOLLOW-SWAMIS-WISH-OR-NOT-part-01.htm


Sathya Sai baba as I remember him

 Sathya Sai Baba – photo and  a few of my favourite quotes.

“Do not be misled by what you see around you, or be influenced by what you see. You live in a world which is a playground of illusion, full of false paths, false values and false ideals. But you are not part of that world.”

  ~ Sathya Sai Baba

When a person asserts that he is low and mean and that he knows but little, he becomes low and mean and his knowledge shrinks.We become what we believe we are. We are children of Almighty God, endowed with Supreme, Power, Glory and Wisdom.We are children of Immortality.When we dwell in this thought, how can we ever be low and ignorant?

– Sathya Sai Baba

Blessed Prasad – Sathya Sai Memories

“There is an appointed time for everything.
And there is a time for every event under heaven –
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.”

– Ecclesiastes, 3:1-2

Swami giving His blessed Prasad

aaswamiletter


Swami…

aagiving


A very long time ago while living in UK I wrote “Prasad the Guru’s Grace“. I remember at the time I wrote it, there were still blessed sweets in my filing cabinet. I kept the extra sweets there in a hidden place.  From time to time, I’d look at them  remembing the  previous visit to Sai and the moments of joy, when the  sweets were thrown. I’d always done well with blessed sweets, often coming away with handfuls… Those years were some of the best in my life. I doubt  if ever I will forget them.  Although prasad is a gift from the guru, life itself is  prasad if we look around us and count our blessings.


….

platter199

Blessed Prasad

Many times during Swami’s Darshan, I’ve received blessed Prasad. Excited devotees would buy an assortment of delicious sweets, place them on a shiny silver platter and carefully decorate the offering with an abundance of colourful flowers. Often, by the side of the sweets, lay packets of tiny golden lockets, letters and deity statuettes all lovingly arranged for Sai’s attention.

Usually, the determined devotees would wait for days for a suitable seating position where Swami could bless the platters. This would mean re-arranging the sweets, and improving on their floral skills, until finally, each platter resembled a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

Often, the devotee’s efforts received Swami’s blessings. He would walk along until he reached a superbly decorated platter, stop, look and bless the sweet offering. While doing so, he would take large handfuls of the delicious selection and throw them over the seated devotees. With loud aahs! and whoops of joy, and small gestures of gratitude, the sweets would be accepted and passed around to others, or sometimes kept for loved-ones and friends.

I remember many wonderful moments with Swami as he blessed sweets. Frequently, he would throw them high into the air and one would land on my head, chin, or nose. His favourite target seemed to be my headband. Once, a sweet lodged itself between the folds of my shawl, and not until I stood to leave, did it fall on to the floor where I could retrieve it. But mostly, sweets would simply land in my lap or even beneath my cushion; how they found their way there, I’ll never know. But always, I felt elated when a blessed sweet came my way. I would keep my precious catch until a quiet moment, then eat it, slowly savouring the delicate flavour.

On one occasion in 1992, when seated in the front line at Prasanthi Nilayam, Swami came along and playfully tossed sweets to those seated all around, but missed me altogether. It had been one of those days when I had felt less than happy with myself and therefore, undeserving of a blessed sweet. Mentally, I expressed to Swami that I didn’t deserve one.

Immediately, he turned and tossed, with determined accuracy, a large toffee. The missile landed with a loud thud on my head, shattering the silent moment. This of course, left me startled, because he had read my thoughts!


filmbabaelephant99

Summer, 1995

During my summer visit last year, Swami blessed my sweet platter for the last time. I remember the occasion well, for he had playfully thrown the sweets back at me! I had not been successful on my first attempt, for a very bewildered Swami had been offered three platters, all at the same time. He had chosen just one.

On another afternoon, I’d taken my sweets to darshan and again had been unlucky. Fortunately, on my third attempt, I was lucky enough to be seated near the verandah passage. I patiently waited through the hot afternoon until after Bhajans when he would walk back to the Poornachandra Hall.

When bhajans were over, Swami came from the temple and began his stroll along the aisle, where I anxiously sat hoping for his attention. He spotted my platter and indicated for me to hold it up high. I immediately did so, and he, playfully picked up just a few of the assortment and threw them back at me! I looked up to express my thanks, and caught him smiling from ear to ear. I noticed the luminescence of his dark eyes, and felt the immense heat radiating from him by his nearness (a characteristic not often discussed by Sai writers or devotees).

As he continued his walk down the aisle, I felt such deep gratitude, I wanted to share the blessed sweets with everyone.

As I began to joyously distribute the sweets, a lady sitting behind quietly refused the offering. I couldn’t believe it! She had been sitting there for hours, but now didn’t want a blessed sweet. I began to recalled a similar situation a week earlier, when I too, had refused one.

On that particular occasion Swami had not thrown sweets, only blessed them. The lucky recipient had offered sweets to those sitting nearby. Somehow, one had been offered to me, but I refused. I don’t know why, perhaps because he had not thrown it directly to me.

Now sitting there with my blessed platter, and painfully feeling the rejection of my offering I instantly regretted not accepting the blessed sweet from the previous week: for it is in the giving and receiving, we truly show our appreciation of one another.

Blessed sweets are PRASAD a gift from the Guru; a gift that has the power to change our lives. When a master gives food to his devotees, he is in fact, giving of his energy. If we take Prasad with this understanding, it can gladden our lives and bring us closer to him.

Blessed Prasad takes away all sorrows, all miseries, and it calms down the heart completely


DivineLord1girsls5eve

Here is a small story about the power of Prasad:

Once a young man came to the ashram of a master, because he was suffering from despair. It really didn’t matter what he did, the despair continued to plague his life. Eventually he prayed for it to be taken away, but nothing happened and the despair and suffering it brought now intensified.

A woman devotee tried to comfort the lad, and having received some blessed food, she broke it into pieces and gave some to him.

He ate a small piece of the food slowly and deliberately, when he had finished, he found to his amazement the despair had disappeared. He felt completely well.

No matter how we receive Prasad, or what form it takes, be it sweets directly given to us by the Guru, or blessed food shared with us by others, it is always full of Divine Energy. Having accepted such blessings, we accept the Guru’s grace. The secret is to appreciate it.

A week after Swami blessed my sweet platter in 1995, he stopped blessing sweets altogether – a delightful sharing of joy, now truly missed.

I am writing this piece to thank Sri Sai Baba for the many beautiful occasions, when he threw playfully, lovingly and sometimes tenderly, his beloved Prasad. I will miss those shiny silver platters full of sweets – dreadfully.


aaswamiinthrees99

On my way to Heathrow airport in Novemeber 2012, to catch the plane to Bangalore. I stopped to take photos in an English garden centre.. I love to to take photos of the small animal sanctuary there, particularly in winter time. I took about twenty photos.  I had no idea until much later when  I showed this photo to a friend in Puttaparthi, of  the remarkable  “Sai image”  in this photo.. My friend said, “Do you see Swami there?” I answered, I had not noticed. She pointed to the trees, “there,” she said.. Do you see Swami in the trees?