Remembering The Day In Puttaparthi – More Sathya Sai Memories

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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.”

 

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Remembrance Day-By Terry Reis Kennedy

April 24, 2016

 

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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.

Truth Is My Name, Youtube Part 3 – Early Devotees

Wonderful you tube from the “Truth Is My Name” series. This one has a short and meaningful discourse translated by Richard Boch, who was with Swami  during the early years. The young Sai speaks well and his words carry a wonderful message of hope. In later years the discourses, perhaps due to Swami’s age,  did not  carried as much richness and clarity as the early ones. I like this youtube and hope you too will enjoy it too.  Looking again at the you tube, I believe it was filmed in Whitefield. The easiness and casualness of Sai among the students and devotees is refreshing and one has to feel somewhat sad that the latter years were filled with separated seating, stiff rules, curfews and a tough and harsh security that did little to enhance unity and peace of mind or love.  I remember Sai saying in the latter years, “No one listens to me.” In, fact one year during the late 1990’s,  Sai stopped giving daily discourses, due to people’s indifference to his words.  Yet here, on film, one feels that his words are appreciated and taken to heart.

   

“God is pure and attributeless. Such an attributeless and unsullied divinity is present in every human being. All human beings are, in fact, the reflections of such an omnipresent divinity. Hence, every human being has to be considered as the embodiment of Divinity and respected. Though God is omnipresent, He assumes a particular form and serves human beings in many ways. Right from now, realise this truth that all names and forms are His. Anybody you come across, consider them as the embodiment of Divinity. When you develop such an attitude, you can see God anywhere and everywhere.

Develop the firm conviction that you and God are only one. When you attain such a firm conviction, you become one with God. For example, you keep a number of photos of Sai Baba in your puja room. But, in all the photos, you will find that the same God is photographed in different poses. When you realise the underlying unity of Divinity, there can be no room for any confusion. You will be able to realise the truth.”

-Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Sai Feeds Sai Gita – Early Devotees – Birgitte Rodriguez


Birgitte Rodriguez tells many little titillating tales in her book ‘Glimpses of the Divine’. One of those tales is as follows: (This is a shortened version of her story told in my words.)


“Nearing the place where Sai Gita is kept, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Swami was en- route to feed her.

I was breathless as I approached the spot where the keeper had saved for me. How had the keeper known Swami would stop there that day? Apparently he had good intuition about Swami’s comings and goings. He nudged me, to draw my attention to my camera that now hung unforgotten around my neck. This was a really good chance to see both Sai Baba and Sai Gita together, also a good chance for a wonderful photograph to keep of the memory. Soon Swami’s  red car approached. The car door opened and Swami stepped out. Walking several steps toward Gita, he reached out and put his arms around her trunk and gave her a huge hug. Gita closed her eyes in ecstasy. Swami then took the bananas and fed them one by one to Gita, stroking her trunk as she ate.  He did not stay long but the event was so special, that I will never forget it and I have a photograph to keep forever.

I often wondered what silent conversation went on between Swami and Sai Gita. Whatever interchange there was, it certainly had to be a glorious one. The love that passed between them at that feeding was obvious.


-retold from ‘Glimpses of the Divine’

Lila’s Prayer – Early Devotees

 

a special photo taken when in his 40's.


 

Lila was a friend of the author of the book in which her story appears. She had gone to the hospital for a breast biopsy. She was fearful and apprehensive as she waited for the surgery. Seeing her emotional state, her hospital room mate gave her a prayer and she read it just before the surgery was to begin. Immediately she felt a great sense of peace and an easing of the pressure she had felt previously. The biopsy came back showing no serious problems.

** L O V E * *

About one year after this incident, Samuel Sandweiss was talking to her about Sai Baba and she became intrigued. She read a book about Sai Baba and began to think about going to see him. But she and her husband were deep in debt at the time and there seemed no feasible way to make the trip that was planned with Samuel and his group. Lila’s husband was in inventor but he had no luck in the last five years so they barely had enough money to scrape by. Still, she wanted so badly to join the party going to India that she went ahead and got a passport and all the required vaccinations. But still no money turned up so she began to get into a depressed state.

One night she went to bed in a particularly depressed state and she had an unusual dream. In her dream she saw Sai Baba dancing on a rooftop like the fiddler in the movie Fiddler on the Roof. He was full of fun and his eyes twinkled and she found that the dream lifted her out of her depression.

Soon afterwards things began falling into place. Her husband was successful with one of his new inventions and he was able to interest some people in it and before they knew it, they found themselves financially solvent for the first time in years. Just one week before the day of departure she had enough money for the plane fare and so she unexpectedly but happily found herself bound for India and Sai Baba.

The group of forty people they were in, had an interview with Sai Baba and so they sat in the interview room on the floor surrounding Baba who was sitting in his chair. Baba made sure everyone was comfortable and then put them all at ease by speaking lightly and jokingly.

Suddenly he turned to Lila and recited the prayer that had been given to her in the hospital by her room mate. He repeated it matter of factly, word for word, then he moved his hands in the air and a large japamala necklace made of 108 crystal beads appeared out of the air, which he then threw to Lila. Before the trip began, Lila had confided to Samuel that if Baba materialized anything for her, she would want a japamala and then she went on to describe it in some detail. The one Baba had created for her matched exactly the one she had described.

Lila was stunned, then she broke into tears.

“No, no; you must be strong!” Baba exclaimed to her.

“I try, I try” she said.

“Don’t try”, he replied “Do!”


Sai Baba the Holy Man and the Psychiatrist by Dr. Samuel Sandweiss. – Cosmic Harmony

Equality Is The Word

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From The Unforgettable Years –

devotee stories from Arunachala.


Bhagavan would never tolerate any kind of preferential treatment. In fact he would repeatedly say he would be happy if the ‘others’ were shown greater consideration. Once Bhagavan stopped drinking buttermilk. Devaraja Mudaliar who used to sit near Bhagavan noticed this. “Bhagavan, we eat all the items sumptuously. But you keep giving up one item or the other. How can we bear this?” Bhagavan replied,  “They are only too ready to give me extra helpings. But when it comes to the devotees their hands are paralysed.” On enquiry I learnt that Bhagavan was provoked into making this remark because a young girl from Bangalore had been refused extra quantity of ‘sambar’ which she had asked for. All said and done there was the human weakness of the kitchen helpers.

Those who were sitting near Bhagavan and the old devotees would be looked after properly. Those who sat far away and the newcomers would be neglected.

Repeated statements from  Ramana that service to his devotees was the best form of service to him, would be of no avail. Hence he would stop eating or drinking some item to draw the pointed attention of the kitchen-staff to impartiality.


·**•.♥LOVE♥.•**·life·**•.♥LIFE♥.•**

Courtesy – RamanaMaharshi’s Ashram.