Ashram Visit: 7 October 2001

hand of the masterSwami stood on the porch on the way toward the verandah, and spoke to one of the Institute staff. He used his hands as he spoke. It was magnificent to watch, Swami is THE master of communication, verbal and non verbal. Soft, swift movements of his hands, gesturing, a spoken word observable. He looked like Mother Sai up there on the porch. Actually looked like a woman in his robe, you know, his tummy came out, his chest changed. Mother Sai looking after all her students and devotees.

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Ashram Visit 2001: Guru Day, Thursday

a listening Sai Primary school students and girl boarders in white sarees came, filling the hall. Swami sent an elderly Western woman for interview. Daughter went also. When she arrived on the porch she wandered out to the edge and spent nearly ten minutes, she and daughter, waving and gesturing, try to attract husband/father to come to the verandah.

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Ashram Visit: 1 October 2001

laughterThe lotus reaches up from the mud to the surface of the water, and opens its petals to the sunlight. So also, the petals of our hearts are opened with love when Sai gives darshan: he, kaalatheeythaya, Lord of Time, takes us beyond time into the eternal cavern of His Love, to embrace us all.

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Ashram Visit: 28 September 2001

mata-ambeSome are able bodied; some are disabled. It is interesting that the daily darshan in Prashanthi Nilayam is a hall filled with the able-bodied. Yet, as the years roll by, more and more attend in wheelchairs, age having rendered them non-ambulatory. In these darshans, I encounter the intellectually disabled, called to Divine Darshan by the Lord of all the Worlds, the Divine Mother-Father, Sri Sathya Sai.

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Ashram Visit: 25 September 2001

Sai walking Darshan starts when you leave your room to go to the darshan hall. For many, darshan starts when the music starts in the darshan hall. (Never mind that Swami has been sending energy out to the people sitting in the hall, waiting…) Woe betide you if you are outside the darshan hall when the music starts! You may be taking darshan outside … there have been days when I have been caught outside, yes, and in the rain, as well … …

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Ashram Visit: 22 September 2001

Business with SaiIn Yesteryear, after darshan was completed, I would sit on the benches – right where I could see all the way down the verandah and the interview room door and take notes of what Swami did “after darshan”. A lot of mornings were what I called ‘business’ mornings where ashram staff, teachers, college lecturers, President of this state, that state’s seva convenor, would get called into the interview room for ‘business’. I’d write the times down. 2 – 3 minutes, they’d be out the door and walking off the verandah to do the task allocated. It is like this with Swami, he notices everything and takes care of it.

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Ashram visit: 19 September 2001

a group with Sai I was reflecting on what to do when Swami came out. I had just decided relax and let go and accept whatever, when Swami came out. I didn’t have a chance to think about it… you know, when Swami walks along the verandah, and someone else comes out from behind a pillar on the verandah. I have had this experience several times …

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Ashram Visit: 16 September 2001

a reflection(My friend replied) that my Christian idea of grace was partly correct. When Swami gives darshan, intense radiations and vibrations come off him, and those who are receptive, benefit most highly from this. He explained that control of the senses was necessary to completely utilise the grace Swami gives in darshan. He went on. Swami fills you with grace, then pushes you away and says “Go and use it, and when you need more, come back, I will fill you up again”.

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Ashram Visit: 14 September 2001

smiling

Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh. Morning Darshan. Five days after 9/11.

We are all victims of terrorism. Additional protection is around Swami due threats. He also is a victim of terrorism, for when he assumes human form, he also abides the law of karma. In this, he is ONE with all who suffer terrorism. He will not thrust his arm forth through the laws of the Universe and crush terrorism.

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Ashram Visit: 13 September 2001

twin towers

In Flight Entertainment
National Nine News comes on screen.
Replays of 757 flying into building.

Changi Airport, Singapore. People are glued to the flat plasma TV screens watching CNN. NYSE reopens. Senators and Emergency Service workers give speeches. Bell rings. I watch the market slide. Bottom line scrolls across under a new banner, ‘America’s New War’.

Whitefield, Karnataka. People are glued to CNN and listen to the latest reports. FBI has found something new. Men from Hyderabad involved. Assumed aliases. Many react with disbelief. Bottom line scrolls across under a new banner, ‘America’s New War’.

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Ashram Visit 2001: Snapshots of the Divine Valley

the ashram workshopWe conclude the 2001 visit to Prashanthi Nilayam for occasion of Guru Poornima and the Bal Vikas Guru’s Convention. Much has happened on the internal level and we have shared the fruits of devotion – and otherwise – that came on this visit. Now, we have some small reflections on the time spent in the Divine Valley, wrapped around the Chitravathi River.

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Ashram Visit: 6 July 2001

keep the focusA little order comes as Swami walks quickly. Takes very few letters. Makes vibuthi for one. Quiet clapping. Turns, faces down the hall, makes a patting movement with his hand. As if he acknowledges our presence, our devotion. Turns and walks toward the garage. Moves up the red carpet, no letters taken. Reaching the end of the carpet, he turns left and walks out to the East Prashanthi walkway beside the darshan hall. Police Inspector moves quickly to be at the gateway when Swami emerges.

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Ashram Visit: 5 July 2001

at the microphoneWhen the festivals occur in Prashanti Nilayam, devotees travel for days to reach the ashram. It is not uncommon to find devotees have arrived during the night after the accommodation office has closed, and sleeping on the grass as the dawn breaks. It is Guru Pournima, the festival of the Guru (and Sage Vyasa) and the ashram is crowded. So crowded, I cannot get into the darshan hall. Neither can many others, we have to make do … just as those who have arrived from overseas during the night have to make do …

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Ashram Visit: The Convention Closes

at the microphoneDarshan, sparshan and sambarshan: we want to be the recipients of Swami’s gaze, his speech, his loving touch. Amongst the crowds that gather for divine darshan, we can feel that we are far, far, away, and forget all that He has said about how close he is to us, closer than the eyelid is to the eye! Yes, grace is anugraha, the smallest of the small, that which seizes us, and lifts us up into that feeling of joy, bliss and Oneness with divinity.

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