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
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
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
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
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