Summer Showers At Brindavan 2002
Today we had Summer Course 2002, day 6. In the morning, right
after darshan, I noticed that there were new decorations going up
for the afternoon session. I had some breakfast and came back to
the hall around 8 am. Young men were bringing arm loads of flowers
and greenery, ribbon, scissors and other items needed. So, when I
came back to the hall this afternoon, I wasn’t surprised to see
The four pillars that hold up the roof over the altar area were
wrapped in gold fabric. Two large,
colorful, hand-made butterflies and one heart were attached to
this fabric on the front two pillars. The back two, each had a
green garland encircling it. There were four floral baskets
hanging from the front of the roof filled with roses and greens.
A wooden lattice work backdrop had been placed behind the brass
Krishna statue. Behind it, so you could see it through the lattice
work, was dark, royal-blue velvet fabric. On either side of this
lattice work was a panel of gold fabric. This stretched across the
entire back of the altar area. Entwined in the lattice work were
floral arrangements made of white glads, greens, and multi-colored
roses. A large bow with a huge white arrow was also attached to
the lattice. I assume this was a depiction of the Kodanda bow
which figures prominently in the Ramayana story. The Krishna
statue had two huge garlands, one of red roses (very thick) and
the other of white flowers. The tall brass jyoti lamps on either
side of Krishna were hung with white garlands as well.
On either side of the altar (there is a large stage area on either
side), terra cotta flower pots with green plants had been set,
spaced about. Some of the pots had hand made sunflowers (painted
with yellow and orange on long wooden stems) stuck in the middle.
More floral baskets with roses and greens were attached to the
railings along the edge of the stairs. The effect was that of a
beautiful garden. It was very sweet and childlike – reminiscent of
a Disney animated movie.
The weather has been very comfortable for sometime now, rain a few
days ago -- now just big puffy clouds and sun, with cool breezes.
It is very mild weather. I have not had to use the fan in my room
except in mid-afternoon just before going to the ashram. I had
expected it to be much warmer. In fact, this morning, I was quite
cold and wished I had brought my shawl to darshan!
At 3:45 pm Swami came from the lotus house toward the hall. He had
an entourage of 6 men with Him. Bhajans began immediately. The men
came in the hall through the ladies side and crossed over to take
seats in the men’s first block. Swami came in through the back
stage door (I could see Anil Kumar in the background with hands
together and head bent as Swami came in the door). Swami crossed
the stage to where His desk, chair and two podiums were set.
Bhajans continued as Swami took His seat.
We sang for a few minutes, then at 4 pm, with a small glance from
Swami, the bhajans stopped and a group of young men in red dhotis
came up to chant. They finished and bowed to Swami before leaving.
The MC came over and bowed to Swami before going to the podium. He
told us what the afternoon schedule would be. First, a summary by
two students of the morning Summer Course session, then a speaker:
Sri Rajit Vasai who is a former Sai student graduating with
highest honors and is currently a lecturer at Swami’s college.
Then we would hear from Swami on the Ramayana story.
The morning session for the students consisted of a speaker (Dr.
Gokak) and a panel discussion on the topic of “Hands that serve
are holier than lips that pray”. Dr. Gokak spoke on “Indian
Culture & Spirituality: It’s significance in the new millennium”.
After the two students finished their summary of the morning
session, Sri Rajit Vasai came to the podium and spoke to us about
Swami. He said there are lots of parallels between Swami’s current
incarnation and that of the Ramayana. True teachers teach not by
words, but by their very lives.
He related two stories of Swami’s life – one in the 1940’s and
another in the 1970’s. Both stories were told to illustrate how
Swami responds to the sincere person with love and compassion. One
was about a cobbler and the other about a poor woman. Both were
not well known or wealthy, but Swami came to both of them when
they sincerely yearned for Him. He visited the poor cobblers home
when invited and took a small gift (beetle nut) from the woman,
who had yearned to give Him something.
Sri Vasai ended his talk at 4:30 pm. and went to Swami for His
blessing before leaving. Microphones were brought for Swami, as
Anil Kumar came to the other podium to translate. Swami sang the
opening remarks, as usual.
The one with compassionate heart, who speaks truth, who renders
service, such people will not be effected by the Kali Age. But, in
fact, everyone is effected by the Kali Age and people have been
suffering because of it.
Swami began to talk about the Ramayana, starting with Ravana’s
death. Having come to know the end of his life, sages gathered
around him. They asked what He wished to convey to them. He said,
those who want to do good, should do so without delay. Don’t wait.
Make proper use of time in rendering sacred service.
Ravana said he had all these plans. He wanted to make a ladder
from earth to heaven. He wanted to convert sea water to sweet
drinking water and wanted to provide needed conveniences to those
in hell (!). But, he did not undertake these tasks. So, don’t
delay in doing good actions. This is one thing I tell you.
We postpone things and waste our lives. We should step forward and
do good service immediately – put good thoughts into action. This
is the main thing humanity must do.
Ravana did many things, but not prompted by good thoughts. All
were wicked feelings with ulterior motives. He wanted a good name,
but did not get.
Swami narrated the story about Sita’s abduction and how Rama and
Lakshmana went in search for her, meeting a strange person with no
head – or rather the head was in the stomach area. They thought it
might be a demon. Lakshmana asked who this ugly creature was and
why was it like that.
The creature said his name was Kabunda (?) – my hands can stretch
10 miles. I can catch hold of animals without moving from my place.
Kabunda asked why Rama and Lakshmana were there. They told him of
their search for Sita and asked if Kabunda could help find her.
Kabunda said He could help, but that Rama had to kill him first,
then burn him to ashes. Rama and Lakshmana were surprised at this,
but Kabunda explained that is was the effect of a curse. So, Rama
did as asked and killed and burned Kabunda. From the fire a
beautiful form came forth and was able to help them with a plan to
So, Rama and Lakshmana went to find the monkey kingdom. Swami
continued the story about Sugriva and Vali – brothers who ruled
the monkey kingdom and who had gotten in a dispute. Vali had
accused his brother Sugriva of many things that Srugriva did not
do. Vali had Sugriva banished from the kingdom and took his wife.
When Rama and Lakshmana came along, Sugriva saw them from the
mountain top and sent Hanuman to check out who they were. Hanuman
found them to be divine and brought them to Sugriva. Rama listened
to Sugriva’s sad story and agreed to help him get his kingdom back
in return for help saving Sita from Ravana. A plan to help Sugriva
was divised and put into action.
Sugriva went to find his brother Vali and they got into a terrible
fight. Rama had agreed to support Sugriva, but could not tell the
difference between the two brothers in the midst of the fight.
Surgriva finally retreated. Rama encouraged Sugriva to fight again
the next day. In order to tell the two brothers apart, Lakshmana
made a garland, that was put on Sugriva. Now when the two brothers
began to fight again, Rama was able to tell them apart and shot
Vali with an arrow from behind a tree.
As Vali was lying wounded, he spoke to Rama. Vali was very
intelligent. He asked why Rama had agreed to help Sugriva, when
this was a fight between two brothers - that Rama had no business
getting involved. Rama said that Vali had accused his brother of
all manner of false deeds, but Sugriva was innocent. It was Vali
who had been the wrong doer, not Sugriva. Vali was acting like an
animal and so Rama could treat him like one – shooting him from
behind a tree like a hunter. The argument went on, but Rama would
not yield and made His point.
Swami drew parallels and contrasts between the behavior of the
four brothers (Rama, Bharatha,
Lakshmana, Satrughna) and Ravana and his brother; and Vali and
Sugriva. With the four princes, all were one. They all agreed that
Rama should be king. There was no conflict about it.
Swami said Rama did not kill Vali for selfish purposes, as some
say. Every event in the Ramayana is full of truth. Swami then
returned to the episode of Sita’s abduction and how she passed
through the test of fire to prove her purity and chastity after
being with Ravana for 10 months.
Swami said Rama is the director and the actor as well, in this
play. Rama acted per his role, there is no mistake. Though 1000
years have passed, the Ramayana is ever new. Take sometime and
learn from it – make inquiry.
Swami began to sing a song about the marriage of Rama and Sita and
how the people all wanted to come to the wedding of such a divine
and beautiful couple. Swami sang so sweetly, as if He were
re-living the entire thing. Anil Kumar was trying to keep up and
translate, but Swami was carried away and kept singing. Anil Kumar
had to stop. Swami repeated some of it – they looked at each other
– we laughed. It was like being with family. Swami kept singing
about the wedding and what people said about it and the beauty of
the wedding couple and the ceremony.
Finally Swami stopped singing and said – no one should doubt the
Ramayana. Ramayana is History – His story! (Anil Kumar said this
with a big smile). The Sita/Rama nature is divine. The brotherly
love is not known now, nor the sisterly love of the three queens.
Kikye did not make a mistake in asking for the boons – it is all
Swami promised to tell us more unknown things about the Ramayana
in the days to come. At 5:25 pm, He started to sing a Rama song.
The audience did not know it, but some of the bhajan leaders began
to follow it. Swami said something to them, then stopped. He
started a new bhajan “Rama Kodanda Rama” which everyone knew and
sang out loudly, clapping happily. After a rousing finish, Swami
lit the arti lamp and took a rose from one of the students. We
sang as He walked down the stairs on the ladies side and out of
the hall. Day 6 of Summer Course 2002 was
At His Feet – love,