Youth from all over the state of Karnataka had gathered at
Brindavan to have a seva camp and rally. In the morning, the Sai
Ramesh Krishen hall was overflowing with devotees and the youth
delegates. The hall wore a festive look, with floral decorations
all over the stage area. All were eager to have the first
darshan of Bhagawan after His return from Kodaikanal.
At 8.20 am, the first signs of Bhagawan's arrival were seen -
the chandeliers around the stage were switched on. Soon after,
we could hear Nadaswaram players welcoming the Lord. Then Swami
came walking down the road from His Trayee residence, and walked
into the hall from the first entrance on the ladies' side,
accompanied by a Brindavan lecturer and Dr. Padmanabhan of
Bangalore. As He entered, the students started a welcome song:
"Swagatam... karte tera Sai hum." Swami walked over to the lift
on the left side of the stage, went up to His chair at the
centre of the stage. Meanwhile, the sevadals had started their
bhajans after the welcome song. Swami sat onstage keeping time
to the bhajans for half an hour. Then, He asked for the golf
cart to be brought. Getting down from the stage from the gents'
side lift, Swami boarded the golf cart and went on a full round
of the hall, to the delight of all the devotees. While bhajans
went on, He moved slowly down the centre aisle, and back to the
front of the hall along the path on the gents' side, taking
around ten minutes in all. Bhagawan left the hall, but bhajans
continued, as is the practice at Brindavan on Sundays. The
bhajans usually go on till the evening, when Bhagawan receives
After Bhagawan left the darshan area, the Sai youth who had
gathered for their camp formed a procession and went around
Bhagawan's Trayee Brindavan residence as is done during Nagar
Sankirtan. Mini-trucks with banners reading "Sri Sathya Sai Seva
Organisation Grama Seva" were waiting for the participants, who
then left for their village service activities.
In the afternoon, all were waiting for Swami to arrive, singing
bhajans like "Aao Aao Nandalala". Bhagawan walked in at 4.40 pm,
following the same path as He did in the morning. He sat for the
bhajans for another half hour. As He took Arati, He signalled
for prasadam to be distributed, and laddus were brought out from
behind the stage. As the laddus were being distributed and the
Arati was drawing to a close, Bhagawan walked towards the rear
of the stage and returned to Trayee from there.
April 19th to May 7th, at Kodaikanal
On April 19th, Bhagawan landed at 1.15 pm at Madurai less than
an hour after taking off from Prashanthi Nilayam Airport. From
there, Bhagawan and his party of guests and students proceeded
straight to a location at the foothills of the Western Ghats
where they stopped and had snacks. Then they drove up the
mountain road to Kodaikanal, reaching there at 7.30 pm.
At Kodaikanal, Bhagawan would come out of His Sai Sruthi
residence for giving darshan to devotees at around 9 am and for
bhajan at around 3.45 pm. His darshan route used to be to walk
down the porch, get into the golf cart, ride down to the ladies'
side, then to the gents' side, take a turn, and return in the
opposite direction back to Sai Sruthi. Bhajans were in the
bhajan hall next to Sai Sruthi, and Bhagawan would walk down
there in the evenings. Though it rained frequently at Kodai,
darshans were not interrupted by rain. Once or twice it rained
during the evening bhajans, and devotees couldn't gather in the
bhajan hall, but were instead gathered in the covered area
beyond. Swami went up to the portico to give darshan to them on
Bhagawan spends a lot of time with the students He takes with
Him to Kodai, and has all His meals with them. The students had
informal sessions with Bhagawan after breakfast and afternoon
tiffin, and before lunch and dinner. In the evening sessions,
there were some speeches also.
On April 21st, Bhagawan went to His hilltop bungalow for
afternoon tiffin with His entourage. They spent ninety minutes
there, and students sang some songs. There were no bhajans that
evening at Sai Sruthi.
April 26th was Trayee day - the anniversary of the opening of
Trayee Brindavan, Bhagawan's residence at Bangalore. Sai Sruthi
was decorated for the occasion, and Narayana seva and Vastra
danam were conducted in the complex adjacent to Sai Sruthi after
On April 29th, Bhagawan asked Mr. Ajit Popat of London to speak
after evening bhajan in the bhajan hall. On the 30th also Mr.
Popat spoke, and his speech was followed by Bhagawan's Divine
Discourse. Bhagawan spoke about the correct use of the senses,
and narrated stories from the Ramayana. Dr. Deepak Anand, a
student from Prashanthi Nilayam, spoke the next day after
On May 3rd, after morning darshan, Bhagawan went on a drive with
all the members of His party, in a convoy of fifteen vehicles.
They drove to various spots of natural beauty in Kodai, like
Pillar Rock, Coaker's Walk, Upper Lake View Point and Green
Valley View. On other days, Bhagawan also sent the students who
accompanied Him for boating, horse riding and shopping
expeditions. While sending them shopping, He specifically told
them to buy things from the itinerant Tibetan refugee merchants
also, saying that in that way those poor people would get a
May 6th was Eshwaramba day, and Balvikas students and teachers
had gathered at Kodai. Swami distributed saris for the teachers
and pens for the students. Narayana seva was conducted, and all
were served with vegetable rice, sweet rice and another sweet.
The poor were given blankets, rugs, saris and dhoties. That
afternoon, Bhagawan with His party went for tiffin to the house
of Mr. V. Srinivasan, All India President of the Sathya Sai
Organisation. In the evening, after bhajans, Mr. V. Srinivasan
spoke, followed by Bhagawan's Divine Discourse. Swami spoke of
the need to respect one's parents, and the need to earn their
love and grace. He mentioned how Ramakrishna Paramahamsa grew in
spiritual stature due to the influence of his mother. "Mother is
God, God is Mother", said Bhagawan. After Bhagawan's Discourse,
Balvikas children from Madurai staged a play in English,
Nachiketa of the Kali Yuga. This play was also staged in the
bhajan hall, and was enjoyed by all.
On May 7th, after breakfast, Swami and His party left for
Madurai by road at 8.45. Swami reached Madurai before the rest
of His party. There, He gave darshan at His centre there, Ananda
Nilayam, and also visited the residence of some devotees. After
that, Swami and His party proceeded to the airport, and their
chartered flight to Bangalore took off at 3.45 pm. After
reaching Bangalore at 4.30, Bhagawan and His party first visited
the residence of a devotee, and then proceeded to Brindavan,
reaching there around 8.15 pm.
see an illustrated version of happenings at Prashanthi Nilayam
Prashanthi Diary of our monthly e-Journal
Heart to Heart.