Swami's Trip To Maharashtra, July
From: A. S.
Subject: Swami's Trip To Maharashtra Yesterday
Here's news from a resident of Puttaparthi about Swami's visit
yesterday to an area near Bombay. So much love! He is now back in
Today, Wednesday July 18th, Baba came quite early for darshan at
2:10pm. His chair was then placed on the verandah along with a
microphone for other speakers. After interview was over, at
3:15, Baba came out and sat while two speakers who had accompanied
Him on the trip shared their experiences. It was touching and
uplifting, and I actually took some notes to tell you.
Afterward, He took arati and went back to the Poornachandra
Hall--no bhajans today.
Where they went was in the interior of Maharashtra (the state
where Bombay and Shiradi are
located), an apparently largely undeveloped area. Most of
the people were villagers from the whole state, most of whom have
never seen Baba before in person--only in their hearts. The Chief
Minister of Maharashtra and all the other ministers and high court
judges were there, as well as many university professors,
engineers, "elite" and "intellectuals." The assembly session
was supposed to begin on Monday, but the Chief Minister and others
skipped it to see Swami.
The Chief Minister himself and his family personally served
Baba and his guests, and refused to ride with Baba but only at His
feet. When Baba rode in a gold chariot for a 3-mile procession
toward the temple, all the ministers walked and ran behind him
barefoot. This was very impressive because high government people
here are typically very haughty and authoritarian, and rough with
the common people. But all were humble before Baba.
The occasion was the inauguration of an enormous temple
complex. It was built by a man who is so humble that he would not
approach Baba unless he was invited, and the All-India President
of Sai Organizations didn't even know him. It is called the
Shivalaya. There are enormous arches like those for Baba's
car in P.N. Then there is about a 3-mile ride through orchards to
the main hall, which is almost as big as Sai Kulwant Hall. It is
on a hill and is shaped like a Shiva lingam, with two parts. The
tall egg-shaped part is blue and 3 stories tall with a beautiful
Shiva lingam underneath the dome. The wide flat part is the hall
where thousands can sit. The lingam is before an idol of Krishna,
and there are also idols of Satya Sai and Shiradi Sai. There are
nine other temples around to other deities. The entire place was
packed with people.
After building it, the builder desired that Baba come
personally to bless it. He did tapas (austerities) and Baba came.
He said he had no other desire in life. There was a golden
chariot for Baba to ride in, and the builder told Swami that it
was there for him but He could ride in it or not, as He wished.
Swami did ride in it.
He gave a discourse the first day (Sunday July 15th) to
invitees who were the "elite" and "intellectuals." The previous
speaker humbly said that "We have nothing to say before Baba
except to ask Him to instruct us how to live our lives." As usual,
Swami told them that education is of no use if we don't know who
At one point they needed to go to another place about 2 hours
away by car, and the Chief Minister had brought a helicopter for
Baba. But Baba wouldn't go in it because it is a government
vehicle and it is improper for Him to ride in it. The Chief
Minister said it would be okay if he went in it also, but Baba
refused, saying, "We must observe the rules." So He went by car,
It is the monsoon season there, but when it started to rain
the first day, Swami came out and looked at the sky and the black
clouds dispersed for the rest of His stay.
There was free food for the tens of thousands of people there.
This is an important thing, since most of the people live at
This is an area where the Vithala form of Krishna is
worshipped.Numerous bhajan sessions occurred, with many bhajans fo
this form of Krishna. People dressed in their local, traditional
dress and sang North Indian (mostly Hindustani) bhajans, unlike
those sung in Prashanti Nilayam.
[For those who may not know the story, a young boy was an
ardent devotee of Krishna and prayed fervently for His darshan.
Finally Krishna appeared, but the boy was busy serving his parents
and he made Krishna wait and wait until he was finished. Krishna
appeared in a pale form (hence the name "Panduranga"--"pale
color") and stood there like a brick ("Vitha" or something like
that means "brick"; hence the names Vithala and Vithoba).]
The entire affair was carried out without pomp, and with
humility. It sounds like the true devotion of the people and their
relative discipline were very inspiring for those who accompanied
Swami. They remarked that we should not take Swami for granted,
and that Baba has said that, "People who are far from Me
physically are often closer to me spiritually. And people who
think they are close to Me because they are physically near, are
far from Me spiritually."
At one point Swami was scheduled for a rest, but He said, "No
rest. When I am with My devotees there is no need for rest."
At one point Swami was waving His hand, and it turned out He
was indicating that a policeman, who was stationed atop a 60-foot
high water tower, should come down because the high winds might
make him unsafe. Swami pays attention to all the little
details of individuals, even with tens of thousands at His feet.
The last day He gave a discourse in a huge stadium. It was
jam packed. It was translated into Maharathi, the local language.
He said "Bhagavan's words are nectarine. His discourse will
satisfy the hearts of crores (tens of millions) of devotees." And
it sounds like He did. He said, "Who says Bhagavan Baba is 75?
No! He is 17!" Afterwards, the Chief Minister showed Baba a way
out. But Baba chose instead to walk out through the crowd.
The feeling was likened to when Rama returned to Ayodhya and
was finally coronated after his 14-year exile. It sounds like an