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.

Snapshots of the Divine Valley

As I look back on those two weeks in the Divine Valley, some snapshots come to mind.

I wondered why that gust of wind hit Swami so hard on that particular day he came out. Nature is peaceful in its natural state, and we create the weather with our feelings and our thought forms. If we think it hot, the weather obliges and produces hot for us. If we are angry or violent, the weather reflects that for us also. If we are evil, the weather, and the planet, as Swami has so recently revealed, will reflect that also. Think of all the motion pictures where evil, horror, gruesomeness and dread are accompanied by attendant weather, winds, storms, tornadoes, tremor, earthquake, eruptions, and other natural phenomena that reflects the capacity for horror in the human form. Swami is Shiva-Shakti in nature and form. Shiva takes all poison of evil in the world and contains it in his neck. Perhaps, that day, Sai-Shiva was being assailed with the poison of all the ills of this modern day and age. That sudden squall of wind hit him really hard.


the sudden wind squall
the sudden wind squall

Doubtless you all wonder if I got an interview. I joined a group (we formed it before departure, actually) and never had a meeting until the convention was over. However, we roughly knew the numbers and had agreed to wear the scarf. Before, during and after, I have the following intuition: If my mind went to the idea of interview during darshan, I had lost the plot and had allowed my mind, and its attendant desires to dictate my presence and reason for being in darshan. Fairly quickly I began to put the brakes on the mind. Witness. Listen.

After Guru Purnima my mind again wandered to the exotic idea of interview. I was reflecting in my room one afternoon, and the thought came to me, “If Swami gave you an interview, would you hear anything new?” In reply to that thought, I reflected: It would all be the same. Swami disseminating his teaching, and attending to the personal sufferings, issues and wants of other devotees. The next day, the inner voice came after darshan and asked me, “What do you get from following Sathya Sai Baba?” I answered, ‘Peace, meaning and purpose in life, and love, love the world cannot give.’ The inner voice said, “That is your satisfaction, take that, not interview”. Thus, I obtained a completely new focus.

A very peaceful focus and a focus that has a lot of determination and ‘satisfaction’ in it. Swami wrote in his letter to his brother in 1947, that devotees should obtain self-reliance and do good works for society. In a sense, I left with a lot of self reliance and self-satisfaction in a higher sense. It is partly resourced from Sathyam vada, dharmam chara; (Speak truthfully, follow righteousness). The other resource is stillness.

Further reflection afterward revealed another satisfaction: I obtain a way to recollect myself. I know who I am and that is not something the world defines, that is something I have. However, the world and the mind do continually evaluate, measure against, interpret. My measure is Sathyam vada, dharmam chara; (Speak truthfully, follow righteousness).

There are VERY FEW foreigners at Prashanthi Nilayam. I noted closed buildings, second, third, fourth floors all closed up in some of the North buildings. Only 4 sheds were in use; the Seva Dal quarters are now closed, only North 1 – 4 high rise were being used. That time of 5 or 7 persons per room is gone; as Swami told some time ago, the times of ONE person to a room is NOW. Long term foreigners told me of fast darshan, no interviews, and no groups. If you came late for darshan, you would make line 7 or line 8 back from the front.

Yet, a strong sense of HIS presence prevails. A hospital to be built in every state in India. I was in Bombay when Swami arrived there. Over half a million people lined the streets of Bombay and Latur to see Swami. Take Padnamaskar on the inner level. Educare, the process to now move into the Government school systems worldwide to bring about the teaching of the five human values. World wide transformation is taking place. The mission of the Sai Avatar moves ever onward. Blessed are those who are called, blessed are those who serve, and blessed are those who hear the word of Sai and keep it.


Swami with lions