The Kodaikanal Experience - Part II of III
Rendezvous with Prof. Anil Kumar
It is said that
Prasanthi Nilayam is Swami’s office, Brindavan is His home and
Kodaikanal is His playground. In a manner of speaking, this is so
particularly where Kodaikanal is concerned, for it is here, that one
gets a glimpse of the Sai of the Forties, especially where Divine
Leelas are concerned. It all lasts only a
few weeks, but what extraordinary weeks they are, for those blessed to
enjoy Divine intimacy then!
is a hill station in South India about four hundred and odd kilometres
south east of Bangalore and near the Temple Cities of Madurai and
Palani. In former years, every summer Swami used to take a few
selected students with Him to Kodai. To help you to know more about
Swami’s Kodai sojourn, we reproduce below the transcript of a dialogue
between Prof.Anil Kumar and Prof. Venkataraman, broadcast earlier over
Radio Sai. Both are from the SRI SATHYA SAI INSTITUTE OF HIGHER
the previous issue)
times, Swami takes the boys out on a picnic, where He almost plays
with the boys. Sometimes, He even sings with the boys. All sorts of
funny things happen.
Does it all remind you of Krishna and His cowherd boys, the Gopalas?
I think it is all action replay, like a tape being replayed.
Except for the age difference between the physical body of the Lord
and those who are with Him this time?
be, but Bhagavan crosses all time barriers when He materialises
certain things. I know Sir, one year He materialised the ring worn by
Lord Rama that was presented to Him by His father Dasaratha.
Oops! The ring that Dasaratha gave?!!
That is right. It was a diamond ring, and Swami was smiling as He
looked around while materialising another ring – this time it was a
sapphire ring that was presented to Lord Rama by His father-in-law,
am told these rings are very big?
Very big indeed. I said, “Swami, it is almost the size of my wrist.
How come this ring is so big?” Swami replied, “Lord Rama was an
Aajanubhau, meaning one of very tall stature.
GV: Eight feet or so?
Swami then materialised the Mangalsutra or sacred wedding medallion,
complete with the sacred thread that holds the medallion. This was
worn by Mother Sita at the time of the wedding. I have also seen Swami
materialising the chain worn by Ravana.
complete with 365 Shiva Lingas and a pendant at the bottom made up of
three large Shiva Lingas, one yellow, one green and one blue. All the
365 were made of gold while the three in the pendant at the centre
were made of crystal. This was the chain that Ravana wore.
What happens to these jewels afterwards?
They go back to SAI STORES (laughter). Swami also materialised a
golden replica of the deer that captivated Sita, later landing her in
you allowed to touch these objects?
sir. On one occasion, Swami said, “Tomorrow is the wedding function of
Balarama [brother of Krishna] and Revathi. All of you are invited for
lunch!” Sure enough, on the following day, there was a fabulous lunch
and in the afternoon Swami spoke about the marriage of Balarama with
Revathi. And at the end He materialised a magnificent diamond-studded
necklace with three or four rows of diamonds.
My GOD! How big was the necklace?
About 15 cms. At the centre of the arch-like necklace there was a Swan
suspended by a gold chain. The Swan was clear and you could look
through its eyes, beak, stomach, and so on. Every body started looking
at it. Swami came to me and said, “Look, look deep”. I did so and
there in the middle of the stomach of that bird I could see Bhagavan
Baba in a reclining posture, the classic reclining posture of Lord
Narayana, reclining on His Thousand-hooded snake, Adisesha. That is
what I saw. It was absolutely fantastic. Swami also materialised the
CHOODAMANI or the ornament that Sita used
to wear on her head. This was the CHOODAMANI
that Hanuman brought back as proof of having met Sita, when he
reported back to the Lord Rama.
GV: How do the boys feel on such occasions? They must
be transported to a different world.
That is right, into a totally different world. They had come so close
that they even took the liberty of almost pestering, saying, “Swami,
let us see, let us see!” Swami gave ample opportunities for all to see
these manifested objects at close quarters. He would keep them on the
table so that everybody could later see at some leisure. Photographs
would be taken and some of them are here in our MUSEUM also.
Fantastic! Can you recall some really moving, spectacular, or
heart-warming incidences? I am sure there must certainly have been a
few of these.
Well, there was an incident involving a student from the State of
long ago did this incident take place?
About six to eight years ago. Swami was showing special concern for
this boy. We were wondering why? In fact, I was even jealous! Swami
materialised a ring for him, a chain for him, a watch for him, and so
on, and it seemed as if the whole trip was meant just for this boy!
After a few days Swami materialised a pair of ear rings for that boy.
sir, ear rings that only girls wear. How is it that He materialised
ear rings for the boy? We just couldn’t understand. The next day,
Swami materialised another set of ear rings for the same boy. I
thought to myself, “Swami I have three daughters, you can give me also
one (laughter), why only to that boy, an unmarried fellow?” Then after
a week, while delivering a Discourse, Swami said, “Many are wondering
why Swami showed special concern to one particular boy. Some are
specially curious to know why I gave ear rings to that boy. That boy
lost his mother long back. I have been watching the boy crying and
sitting in a corner. I called him close to Me and asked him about the
reason. He then told Me about the death of his mother and how his
mother wanted to present ear rings to her two daughters, that is the
two sisters of this boy. Before his mother could do that, she died.
Now, I am his Mother and also of those girls. Who else is there to
care for them? That is why I materialised many things for that boy.
You will seldom understand what I do. Whatever I do and say has got a
deeper significance and inner meaning. Out of frustration, the boy’s
father wanted to commit suicide. I made the boy’s father to come here,
took a promise form him that he would not make any attempt to take his
life. I am now taking care of the family. From that day onwards, the
boy has started smiling.” That story really touched my heart. I said,
“Swami you are the MOTHER of MOTHERS, dearer and nearer than the
physical mother. You truly care for them”. I am sure none of us can
really experience the depth, and the full intensity of Swami’s Love.
that’s true. Swami has always that feeling towards us; only, we are
not able to see that. Instead we go around making all sorts of silly
statements like, “Swami is angry, so He will not talk,” and so on. We
do not realise that Swami cannot be anything other than loving. In
this context Swami says that God does not change and that it is only
man who changes. One day he says God is good another day, he says God
is not so great! The problem is always with man and never with God.
sir and He gives an example also. When we go by train to Bangalore, we
say, as the city is approaching, “Bangalore is coming, Bangalore is
coming”. And while departing from Bangalore, “We say Bangalore is gone”.
Bangalore neither comes, nor goes. It is only we who go there and
leave from there.
memorable incidents that you can recall from your Kodaikanal trips?
In Kodai, Swami often distributes all sorts of things, including
peppermints, chocolate bars, and so on. Suddenly one day He said, “I
am here distributing all these sweets and chocolates for you to eat,
but there is one fellow who is not eating; instead he is dumping them
all into his bag. Come on boys! Search everybody’s bags.” It was
something like an income tax raid (laughter)! Then I said, “Swami,
Bhagavan, why all this trouble? I am the one who is not eating. I am
keeping them all in my bag.” Bhagavan then asked, “Why do you do that?”
I replied, “Swami I have four children. They expect something from me.
When I take back these most precious things like peppermints -
whatever You give is most valuable for all of us – when I hand over
these things, the children will jump in joy”. Swami said, “Oh, is that
so?” He then told the boys, “Hereafter, you give Anil Kumar five
pieces of sweets, four for his children to be kept in the bag, one for
him to eat along with you and feel happy”. How can I ever forget that
incident? I don’t recall anybody loving me more than Bhagavan Baba. In
fact, this is the feeling of every devotee. This is the chance you
have given me, sir, to describe my experience which is also the
experience of millions of devotees the world over.
What does Swami expect in return for all these? This is a sort of
typical human question, because I do know that God does not expect any
returns. In any case, let us hear what you have to say.
Swami only wants us to learn from Him that just as He loves us, we
must love our family, fellow human beings and God. And that is because
God is Love and Love is God. Always Live in LOVE - that is His message.
am told that one year on Eswaramma’s day, Swami distributed blankets
to the poor and then went out distributing to people who could not
come to Sai Sruthi or the Mandir in Kodai. Were you present at that
time? That seems to be a very unusual and moving incident. Why don’t
you tell us about it?
blankets were first distributed to all the poor people who assembled
in Sai Sruthi that day, the 6th of May celebrated as Easwaramma day.
Suddenly Swami said, “Let’s go!” He got into His car and the convoy
started moving. On the way, whenever He saw poor people He stopped the
car, got down and started personally distributing these blankets.
He explain why?
Bhagavan said you should do everything to care for the poor, the needy
and the forlorn. This is a lesson that everyone should learn from
Bhagavan. You should not expect them to come to you for service;
instead, you must go to them, the Daridra Narayana or God disguised as
it also because some of them could not come because they were disabled?
Absolutely. Not only that sir, on our way to Kodaikanal, His car would
sometimes suddenly stop whenever He saw a beggar or a village woman
carrying a head-load of firewood. He would call them and give money;
these are people who have never seen Swami before nor know anything
about Him, much less that He was SAI BABA. He does things like that
all the time. When I give Him a strange look, Bhagavan says, “I just
cannot bear to see these poor people suffering like that”. Sir, I
think you will be more thrilled and excited if I say, that in Kodai,
Bhagavan purchases fluffy candy or candy puffs. Once He purchased
about twenty five of them and took them in His car – His car was full
of that stuff. Later He distributed them to VIPs. They were just
amazed. Bhagavan then said, “Do you know why I bought them? Here, in
Kodaikanal there are some aged people, they cannot move about and
their children carry on their livelihood by selling these candy puffs.
So when I purchase them, they go back home with money and give to
their parents and that day is taken care of”. From that day, every
body started purchasing candy puffs. For twenty five candy puffs you
may have to pay about ten rupees, but Swami gave them five hundred
rupees. I asked, “Swami, why so much?” He replied that it was not the
price of candy that He was giving, but His Love! It is not the price
of the candy, it is the love of Bhagavan towards them. I was really so
happy when one day He called the boys and told them, “Boys, look here,
you have seen Tibetans girls selling woollen garments. Everybody go
and buy so that they will be happy!” When Sai Baba is in Kodai, they
all have very good business. And then you must have heard about the
Straw hats? In fact I thing I have a photo of Swami and
Narasimhamoorthy with straw hats.
(to be continued in the next issue)
Read Part I -
Read Part III