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  Swami's Trip to Maharasthra

From:   April Skrobiza  

Subject:  Swami's Trip To Maharashtra Yesterday

Dear Ones,
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 Puttaparthi.

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 we are.

     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, upholding dharma.

     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 sustenance level.

     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 apt comparison.

Source: Newsgroup on Internet

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