Dousing Fires of Grief
FIRES OF GRIEF
25th of February 2004.Disaster struck the city of Nandyal, Andhra
Pradesh, India. A colony of not so well to do section of the
society, with predominantly Muslims, was razed to the ground by
fires. 139 houses got gutted. 200 and odd families became homeless
overnight. Everything, except
the clothes they were wearing, was burnt to ashes. ‘What will
happen to us? Where do we go? Is there someone who cared for us?,
the victims wondered.
Yes, there was
someone: the Sai Student. Students of Swami who passed out of the
institute, ever ready to serve their Master, by serving their
fellowmen. This suffering in Nandyal could not escape their
discerning eyes. They had read about their plight in the newspaper.
They swung into action. The local Satya Sai Samithi at Nandyal was
contacted and a survey of the extent of the disaster was done the
next day. Immediate
relief had to be provided.
They decided upon
their course of action: They would erect temporary huts for each
of the 200 families. They would provide them with clothes,
utensils, eatables, blankets and medicines…..which would last at
least a few days, till they settled back in their work and earned
All the necessary
items were procured. A letter was sent to Swami informing Him of
their plan of action and seeking His blessings. And the
compassionate Lord responded by giving them not only His blessings,
but sacks of rice and hundreds of blankets for the victims.
with the Lord’s blessings, six students and 32 sevadal from
Puttaparthi rushed to Nandyal. They were received and housed by
the local samithi people, who too wanted to participate in this
act of service. The next morning, they began this massive work of
erecting around 250 huts. Taking the name of the Lord on their
lips, they went about their work tirelessly and by evening it was
a different place. The temporary sheds were ready.
In the evening when
the grateful families occupied the huts, the group went to each
hut and gave them rice, clothes, utensils, blankets and Swami’s
photograph and vibhuthi. One Muslim woman saw the photo of Swami
and told them “This man had come here last night. He raised his
hands as if to bless and walked away”. The students were not
surprised. They knew their Swami was with them always, everywhere….this
was just a confirmation of their faith. It was not they who doused
the fires of grief of this unfortunate group of people. It was the
shower of His grace that did the job through them.
E-Magazine, April 15, 2004