Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Teachings


 (Indweller of Hearts)
By Bombai Srinivasan

Chapter 24
The Omni-Sai

In one of the earlier chapters, I had narrated an incident of Sai's Omnipresence. There are several such experiences for many devotees. And yet, when we are made to know of this Divine Omni, by our own experience, it is altogether blissful.

After I made it to Madras, in the hope of setting up an industry of my own, I visited 'SUNDARAM' at the first available opportunity, and enrolled myself as a Seva Dal volunteer. It was the year 1982 and in the whole of Madras city there were around 50 volunteers only, during that time. The seva Dals were highly motivated by the inspiring leadership of the organization. No wonder, even this limited number of volunteers could achieve satisfying results in their seva activities. Those days, the service activities were mainly in the sphere of Health Hygiene Several medical camps were being organized by the Madras Samithi in addition to the weekly free clinics run by it.  Such medical camps included free eye camps for cataract operation, Dental camps, Pediatric camps, Geriatric camp and polio surgical camps.

When I started participating in the above medical camps, it was totally a new experience for me.  I could never imagine hat there would be so much scope for seva in medical camps. I was under the impression that it would all be for the doctors   to attend to the   patients.     But a lot of preparations had to be undertaken by the volunteers. First of all the message about the camp had to be reached to the poor and needy who lived in the city slums.  I joined the other senior volunteers and visited the slums and the news conveyed house to house.  We even tried to identify the possible patients for each camp.  On the day of the camp, the patients would have to be received and registered.  The attitudes and expectations of the patients were of different kinds and each one needed care and attention till his or her turn came. The role of the volunteers during the operation and post operation stage would also be very important.  The duties included assistance to the patients in answering call of nature, providing sponge bath etc. The volunteers had also to handle all the paramedical work including dispensing.

Madras possessed the advantage of having a huge hall belonging to Sri Sathya Sai Seva Trust where all the camps were conducted. The patients selected for surgical cure were admitted in the make shift wards organized for this purpose. In one of the eye camps which I attended for the first time, I witnessed such selfless service by the volunteers. The patients operated for cataract were very old and poor, with differing   demands and needs.   During night time, if we switch on the fans some would call out and order us to switch it off.  Others would insist on having the fan. The volunteers were posted on  a 3- shift basis so that they could give round the clock nursing and attendance.  The volunteers posted for the night duty, were seen fanning the patients individually  by hand fans so that the others who did not want. would not have problems.  Even in the middle of the night,   when somebody wanted to pass urine, the volunteers would hold out  pans and carry it to the bath room.   The seva, made them, love the patients and do anything possible for their comforts.  They had been trained in that way. Highly motivated souls indeed!

There was the other Polio surgical camp. We were struck by the huge gathering of the parents carrying their polio-afflicted children to the camp.  The camp did suffer a limitation   in reaching the maximum level of perfection since almost all cases needed surgical correction.  In some cases, three or even four parts of the limps were to be cut open, and they were major operations on a mass scale. Naturally all the patients could not be accommodated and we felt sorry to return back many of them.  We had a difficult time in persuading them to go back.

The selected children were admitted into the make shift wards. The first duty of the volunteers was to carry the children to the bathrooms and give them a good bath. The volunteers had to prepare the children carefully for the operation. The nails had to be trimmed and hair shampooed before they were wheeled to their wards. As in the case of the elders, the children were also very difficult to handle, especially so when they were in severe pain after surgery.

One has to participate in such a seva to experience the joy and the mental satisfaction flowing from it.  Sri Sathya Sai Seva organizations offer unique opportunities, usefully channelizing the time and efforts of the seva Dals volunteers to offer maximum seva and derive joy.

During the initial period when I joined the seva dal in Madras, the number of seva dal members in the city was around 50 plus only.  With such a small group of dedicated volunteers, so much  activities  were  undertaken.   The organization in Madras have a number of senior most devotees of Swarm; perhaps they have been  the best in organizing service activities in the best ever  possible manner, I have seen. It requires an inspired leadership to motivate and get maximum seva from individual volunteers. It requires special skill to mobilize the limited manpower resources and attain greater heights of selfless service.

We used to meet at SUNDARAM every Saturday night. In addition to the briefing for the next day activities, our then, District President, (Presently the State President of the organization), Sri.  T.G.Krishnamoorthi   used to deliver talks on Swami, stressing importance of selfless seva.   He

used to advise us that without a spiritual practice in life and discipline, any service activity would not yield the desired result of Swami's   Grace, and that  without the spiritual approach, the  enthusiasm would not last long. Participation in seva activities, embedded in spirituality alone, would please our Lord.   If one is to undertake seva, without spiritual discipline and involvement, then there would be no difference between    the seva    attitude by Swami?s organization and that of the various other organizations. Such advice from the senior devotees impacted on us and with small numbers we were able to perform great things in seva.

During my initial period of seva, Sri. G. Venkatesan was our leader.   He had the uncanny ability to build a team and then lead them to the highest perfection.  Managing the individual seva Dals in  group activity  would  be very difficult especially in a voluntary organization.  He had to instill faith  in the volunteers and motivate them  by his personal example.  There were many occasions when we had worked together.  He used to narrate several of his experiences in the Divine Presence. He used to tell that Swami had said many a time, "Venkatesan is my son"

About three years back both of us visited Prashanthi Nilayam on some important assignment.  Having finished the job, we were preparing to return to Madras, and we informed the Secretary of the Central Trust accordingly. The same evening he told us that he had informed Swami of our intention to return and also had obtained permission from Swami for us to sit in the front line for Darshan, the next morning. I was very much thrilled to know that we were to sit  in the front line with Divine permission.  We were staying in a private lodging in the Chitravathi Road. Early next morning we got up and finished our morning bath and were getting dressed. I found that my friend was trying to wear the same dress of the previous day.  I told that since Swami had permitted us to sit in the first line, we should dress neatly like  a bridegroom, (in Tamil, Maapillai).  My friend replied that Swami had told  him earlier that he is Swarm's Pillai   (son)  and hence I could only be the maapillai (bridegroom.)  We terminated our dialogue at that point and proceeded towards the Mandir for Darshan.

We were ushered into the front line just opposite where the general public used to sit.  The college staff, senior students and other old devotees were sitting on our block. There was not much time left for Swami to arrive. Soon after we had taken our seats, the soft instrumental music started. We knew Swami would be coming very soon.  All our eyes were glued towards the Poomachandra Auditorium to have the first glimpse of the Divine Form. Everybody was very eager to have Swami nearer to them as early possible.  I felt that it was a long way for Swami to cover and it would take more time.  After passing through the Ladies' side, Swami moved on towards the Gents, and slowly reached the place where we were sitting, and stood in front of us.  Just about two feet away Swami was looking at me with His Divine charming smile, and then He uttered, "Emi Pellikkoduku"?  I could not understand the Telugu language and hence could not make out anything.   Mr. Bhaskaran, who was our District President in Madras, was sitting Just behind me and he was trying to convey to me that Swami was asking me something.  Like an innocent fool, I was also smiling back at Swami. Swami continued to smile at me for another few seconds and then moved away from us.

Swami had entered into the Interview room with the chosen devotees and the music also stopped when the door was closed behind Swami. I was excited to know what was the meaning of Swami's words. My friend Mr. Venkatesan who speaks Telugu very well explained that Swami was asking me if I was the bridegroom.  (Pellikoduku means Bridegroom) Mr. Venkatesan further told that Swami was only trying to prove that he was with us in the Lodge when we were discussing about the dress.  "I told you that I am Swami's son and not the bridegroom and Swami was joking on your remarks"

We have already known that Swami is Anthariyami and also Omnipresent.  And yet when we get confirmation of the fact through our own direct experience, we feel happy. I felt immensely more happy by Swami?s remarks than by getting any possible Pada Namaskar.

Author's statement in:

Many of you may be aware that I had authored a book with the title "Sri Sathya Sai Hrudaya Nivasi (Indweller of Hearts). This book had seen the third reprint, and is being sold in Bhagavan's Bookstall at Prashanthi Nilayam. Many of you would have purchased and many would not have got chance to go to Parthi and get the book. After the third edition, this may not go to print again. As such I wish to bring the contents of this book to each and every one of you.

Starting from today I shall post one chapter every week or if possible twice a week, depending upon the response I get from you all. I would request you to kindly read it and then re-circulate it to your other friends in the Sai Family.

The text could be transferred to your hard disk, and if possible print outs taken out.

Utilize the contents, as much as you like.

With Lots of Love and regards
Bombay Srinivasan


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