Love on the March (continued d)
(in 4 parts: (
a) continued b, continued c and continued d)

College Campus

The magnificent row of buildings which comprise the Sri Sathya Sai College near Brindavan, was opened at a joyous and colorful function by Bhagavan on 19th of May, 1978. The Karnataka minister for education, Sri Subbaya Shetty, inaugurated the library building with the Prajnana (highest wisdom) Pradarsan on the first floor. The Pradarsan contains an impressive collection of charts, drawings and pictures showing phases of Japa, Dhyana, Yoga and Puja. It has photographs and models of the holy places of India. Books of all major religions and portraits of saints, mystics and thinkers of all faiths adorn the place. The sayings and teachings of Bhagavan, explained and illustrated, find a place of prominence. To be among these records means being reminded of the inevitable journey to God - that oft-forgotten goal becomes clear once again.

The auditorium, was inaugurated by Srimati Govinda Narain, while Sri Govinda Narain, the governor of Karnataka, inaugurated the summer course in Indian culture and spirituality which commenced on the same day. The discourses during the first week were all on the Bhagavata Purana [see Bhagavatha Vahini] (or Srîmad Bhâgavatam), which is about the former avatars of the Lord, including Krishna.

 


'All Vishnu Incarnations' 

Bhagavan said that the youth of the country suffered the imposition of pointless and purposeless curricula. They were being shaped in colleges, into recalcitrant unemployables and sent out into the world with begging bowls called 'degrees' and 'diplomas'. They saw through foreign eyes, thought along borrowed concepts and held only film stars as their ideals. They had become rootless saplings, drifting with every whiff of wind. Their patriotism was not even skin-deep, for they had no knowledge of, or love for, their traditions and culture, their poets and saints, their fellow men and homeland. Dr. Benito Reyes, president of the world university in Ojai, California, who attended the course and stayed with the participants, commented in high appreciation on the benefits derived from it by westerners who had no knowledge of the depth and vastness, the value and validity of the spiritual message of India, so vividly perceptible in Bhagavan. He quoted T.S. Eliot and asked, "Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?" and answered, "It is here."

The 665

No sooner had the summer course ended then the organizers were persuaded to accept another assignment which was more spectacular and more fundamental - managing at Brindavan a ten-day orientation course on spiritual education for 665 teachers from the elementary schools of Andhra Pradesh, deputed for training by the state government. The government had planned a well-nigh revolutionary project of recasting the elementary schools (for children between the ages of six and twelve years) in the entire state, providing special emphasis on prayer, music, dance, painting, modelling, and parent cooperation with the teacher, so that the school house became a house of work, worship and wisdom, of love and service, of spiritual discipline and yoga. Dr. Chenna Reddy, first as governor of Uttar Pradesh and later as chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, knew about the Bal Vikas classes conducted by trained gurus of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva organizations, and had watched the children grow into self-reliant, cooperative and service-minded youth, revering parents, elders, and teachers. So he prayed to Baba to give the 665 teachers an orientation course, holding the camp in the college campus at Brindavan itself, so that they may benefit by the impact of His grace and from exposure to the simple, unaffected band of students whom He had trained as examples of His message.

The teachers were chosen at random from the outlying villages of every district. They had no time to prepare for the journey into a vastly different linguistic and climatic region, the state of Karnataka, nor were they aware of the discipline, the do's and dont's, spontaneously honored at the Brindavan campus. But the ten-day stay was amazingly alchemic. Baba entered their hearts and made them soft and pure. Several deep-rooted habits such as smoking, eating harmful foods and arguing aloud were jettisoned without a tear, while a sense of dedication was added to their professional skills. They began to feel like patriotic warriors who were engaged in driving away the demons of sloth and selfishness from schools, restoring to children their heritage that they had been denied so long. Bhagavan had planned lectures by devoted teachers in the morning hours. He formed ten groups of thirty teachers each, who met on alternate days to discuss among themselves the feasibility and necessity of the suggestions that arose in these lectures. The reports of these discussions were placed before Bhagavan in the evening and Bhagavan would choose some outstanding conundrum that required further analysis and clarification by Him.

Bhagavan also personally supervised the teachers' boarding and lodging and enquired about their health and requirements. He gave woollen rugs to those who had not brought any with them, sets of books to some, and cassettes of His Bhajans and discourses to others who had access to cassette players in their villages. He posed for photographs along with teachers and trainees from each district, and also arranged for each one of them to receive a free copy on the day the camp ended. Most of the teachers desired to visit Mysore and Puttaparthi, besides going round Bangalore itself, but they could not afford the cost. So they appealed to the government of Andhra Pradesh to loan them the money which they all agreed to repay out of their salaries. When He learned of this, Baba Himself arranged for buses, and saw to it that they were loaded with hampers of food and plenty of fruit with which the teachers could regale themselves while on the road.

The teachers were filled with admiration at the intelligent and hearty response they received from the student volunteers deputed to attend to their needs. They concluded that it was the love that Bhagavan embodied and showered on those whom He chose, that had moulded the students in His college into young men of whom the nation could be proud. When the teachers left the campus and the presence of Baba, they were all in tears.

The Face of Divinity

Towards the end of the course, on the eighth day, the trainees had the singular good fortune of listening to a talk given by Dr. Frank G. Baronowski of Arizona University, on the uniqueness of Bhagavan's aura. This speech equipped them with faith in the divinity of Baba - a precious possession that would fortify them throughout their lives. Dr. Baronowski said, 
"I was not brought up in any belief, though I am a Christian by birth and a roman catholic. The scientific community in my country finds it difficult to accept God. "It is not scientific," they assert. The aura that Swami projects is not that of a man. The white was more than twice the size of any man's, the blue was practically limitless and then there were gold and silver bands beyond even these, far beyond the building, right up to the horizon! I am risking my reputation when I make this statement. Two days ago, right outside this hall, I looked into His eyes. They had a glow in them. It was clear to me that I had looked into the face of Divinity. If ever I can use the phrase, 'I have seen Love walking on two feet', it is here."

On 14th August 1978, Bhagavan formed the Loka Seva Institution into a new trust, the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust, of which He agreed to be the President. This He did at Muddenahalli where, too, there are schools and hostels maintained as part of the Loka Seva complex. Bhagavan concluded the formalities of the transfer and change of name. He later addressed the members of the trust, teachers and students:

"This holy institution was established by Narayana Bhat quite early in his life. He was ever eager to offer pure and unselfish service, so he planted the seed which has now grown into this tree. We have arrived at the stage when we can eat the ripe fruit, but this tree has also to be well cared for by us."

The Mosque

The Muslim festival of Ramzan (Rammadan) in 1978 was a landmark in the history of Puttaparthi, for the muslims of that village celebrated in the mosque that Bhagavan had built for them. It is a simple and spacious mosque, with an ambience of spiritual fragrance. Professor Bashiruddin of Osmania University expressed the gratitude of the muslims of the region and described to the vast gathering how the impact of Bhagavan's teachings had made him a more understanding practitioner of the message of the holy Koran. Janab Fakhruddin, convenor of the village Muslim committee, offered thanks to Bhagavan for this gift of love, saying "We had earlier to walk four miles to Bukkapatnam, through sun and rain, slush and sandy river bed, to recite our prayers." Bhagavan told the Muslims that the real significance of the Ramzan fast was "to be near God and detached from sensual desires." He also said that the Ramzan month was one during which the holy Koran was communicated to Mohammed. The message of Bhagavan is that the truly religious will neither deny the validity of any particular religion or group of religions, nor declare that salvation can be secured through one path only. So He encourages all those who have faith to march forward along their chosen paths, whichever religion they may follow or be born in, since all spiritual paths lead to the same goal.

Baba's grace is boundless and universal. So people from all lands and followers of all creeds gather at His feet. Several sects and communities of India who have special festivals to commemorate their regional deities, also discard age-old boundaries and conventions and gather in thousands wherever Baba may happen to be, feeling such celebration to be truly meaningful in His presence. The Onam festival of the Malayalam-speaking Keralites - Hindus and Christians - is held by thousands year after year with all the orthodox observances. Bhagavan has thrown new light on the legend which forms the background of Onam. What was for long a season of folkplay and dance, has now taken on the habiliment of a spiritually-elevating sadhana week.

Prolong Your Life Span

Dasara 1978 began as usual with the hoisting of the Prasanthi flag over Prasanthi Mandir and the celebration of the annual day of the Sri Sathya Sai Hospital in the evening that same day. Bhagavan touched the hearts of the massive gathering of devotees present when He gave them the most worthwhile reason for preserving and promoting their health. 

"The one grand reason for maintaining health, which I am urging you to do, is that you have yet to witness and delight over many more Leelas and Mahimas (expressions and manifestations of divine qualities) far surpassing those you have witnessed so far, and many more wonders, victories and triumphs. You can thrill with ecstatic delight when you witness these. So guard yourselves carefully. Maintain good health and keep your hearts ever filled with joy," 

He said.

During the discourses related to the Vedic yajna which lasted for a full week, Baba expounded the meanings of various scriptural passages. The verses from the Gîtâ [*] which He prescribed for repetition while saying grace before every meal, were given special emphasis by Him, for they remind one of the immanence of God in the food made ready, in the fire that was used for cooking it, in the cook, in the one who ate it and in the activities which the eater could fulfil as a result of the strength that the food conferred on both, his body and brain. [**]

Dasara is an occasion when thousands from all over the country and abroad see for themselves the triple ideal of Sai education - duty, devotion and discipline - practised by the boys and girls of Bhagavan's colleges. They can listen to these students speak profoundly on a variety of topics and share their own intimate experiences of love and service towards Sai and towards all those upon whom He bestows His grace. They can also be audience to plays, choirs and orchestral music by students from all parts of India and from places as different and far apart as Hawaii, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Libya. Integration of mankind is no more an armchair dream; it is being realized here.

Save Villages from Cities

Twenty-five thousand people gathered at Prasanthi Nilayam for the Birthday festival in 1978. Bhagavan emphasized that it was not because of the birthday that so many people had assembled, but it was because they assembled that the birthday was celebrated! 

"I have no interest in publicising the date on which this body, which I willed for a purpose, appeared among mankind. I want each of you to celebrate the day I am enshrined in your hearts as My birthday," 

He said.

To those who wished Him a 'Happy Birthday', He replied that "this is a superfluous wish, for I am always happy." The festival included a musical recitation by students, with the college orchestra providing excellent accompaniment to a narration of the story of the Sai Avatar. Baba exhorted every one to transform 'daily living' into 'truly living', visualising God as the very breath of life. Bhagavan had called delegations of Seva Dal units (comprising men and women living on Sai ideals and trained for service to the distressed, the disabled and the diseased) from all over India. He directed them to engage themselves more in rural areas, where the evils of city life were becoming rampant. Villagers are misled; they imagine the city-dwellers to be more happy amidst cinema houses and cars, immersed in exotic and intoxicating life styles. They do not realise that their physical moral and economic stamina is being corroded by gambling and drinking, by noise and slogans, and by the rowdiness that thrives on such life patterns. "Save them from moral and physical pollution," He commanded. When one of the district convenors suggested that each seva dal member should always carry with him a mini first-aid box so that he could serve people more often, Baba modified the contents of the box, saying, "Carry in it a few tablets of discrimination and detachment, an ounce or two of sense-control, a packet of love and a bandage strip of fortitude. Only then can you effectively render first aid to people suffering from a stroke of ego or a bout of greed, a jaundiced vision or an allergy to serving others."

 

 

On 28th November 1978, Baba laid the foundation stone of the College of Arts, Science and Commerce at Prasanthi Nilayam. In the north-east corner Bhagavan laid the first line of stones after sanctifying the spot and placing there nine precious gems created by Him in the palm of His hand. Baba wills that every college must have an auditorium as magnificent as the college itself, and also a special building, as impressive as the rest, for the library. He considers the library to be a fundamental part of every educational institution. He selected Sri Ramanathan Chettiar of Madurai and the Rajmata of Navanagar for laying the foundation stones of these two allied constructions.

Isa-Sai

Christmas brings thousands into the presence of Baba, for they find in him the teacher who can reveal the true glory of Jesus and lead them along the path illumined by the Son of God. Baba told them that day, 

 

 

"Carols and candles, readings from the Bible and staging plays about the incidents from the life of Jesus are not enough. When Jesus declared that the bread of the last supper was His flesh and the wine His blood, what did He really mean? He meant that every being alive with flesh and blood, was He Himself and ought to be treated so. That is to say, every living being is divine. Therefore no distinction should be made between separate physical bodies as good or bad, friend or foe, we or they."

Baba also revealed that Jesus' actual name assigned to Him by His parents was Isa. And Isa, when constantly repeated, echoes Sai! Both words mean Iswara (God). Baba said, 

"In the Tibetan monastery where Jesus spent many years, His name is recorded as Isa, which means 'Lord of all living beings.' "

The Tamils celebrated their new year on 14th January, so Baba flew to Madras to bless them on that holy day and to inaugurate the construction of a Dharmakshetra (an arena of righteousness) in that city, which was to be called 'Sundaram', to complete the series which had started with 'Sathyam' in Bombay and continued with 'Sivam' in Hyderabad. The festival also has the overtone of a harvest celebration as the farmers of Tamil Nadu offer gratitude to the bullocks that helped them grow grain and the cows that gave them milk. They boil the milk on ceremonial hearths and allow it to boil and spill over as a symbol of abundance and happy sharing. The Telugu new year day was celebrated in March, and Baba heightened the joy of the celebration by being present at Hyderabad for a full week. He called upon the city-dwellers to serve the villages, to which they owed much, by helping the farmers and artisans to combat poverty, disease and exploitation.

Meanwhile, on 30th January 1979, Swami entered the west coast harbor town of Mangalore in Karnataka State, to proceed to Alike, the headquarters of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust, which runs two huge educational complexes for children, mostly from rural regions. One complex is at Alike itself in the midst of the valley, nestling among the spurs of the western ghats. The other one is at Muddenahalli, on the foothills of the mountain range around the Nandi Peak, in the plains to the east. Alike is a dream come true, a vision vivified by faith and hope, as if Divine grace had shaped itself into its dormitories, playgrounds, libraries, classrooms and gardens - a hermitage where the heart of the late Madiyala Narayana Bhat throbs in the activity of the increasing band of devoted teachers, an academy with palm groves whispering 'Sai Ram' to every breath of wind.

Led into the Light

Baba's discourses dispelled the gloom that had descended upon the district when its patron, Narayana Bhat, was killed in a car accident. He restored joy in the hearts of the students (numbering over a thousand), the more than sixty teachers, several well-wishers of the project (who had cooperated with Narayana Bhat, its founder, and stood by him through thick and thin), the grateful parents and guardians of the thousands of boys and girls whose careers had been shaped by the Loka Seva institutions, the old students who were rendering service in various fields of activity, and the farmers, traders and workers from the village and plantations lying in the region. Baba likened Alike to a place of pilgrimage, when He noted that "you pay sincere attention to the development of the children under your care and transmute them into worthy children of India." Before returning to Brindavan, Baba visited Puttur and Chokkadi villages near Alike, Mangalore and Manipal, in the same coastal district. At Manipal, the centre of a popular educational complex built around well-equipped medical and engineering colleges, Baba found at 11 p.m. at night a gathering of at least fifteen thousand people waiting for Darsan. Such was their longing to have a glimpse of the Lord and listen to His voice.

The summer course in Indian Culture and Spirituality in 1979, laid emphasis on the Bhagavad Gîtâ. For one full week attention was concentrated on this universal scripture which propounds and elaborates upon the three paths of Karma (action), Bhakti (devotion), Jnana (knowledge). Bhagavan's daily discourse provided simple and satisfying commentaries on the philosophical principles underlying the teachings of Lord Krishna to His diffident and deluded warrior-friend, Arjuna. Swami, like Krishna Himself, exhorted the student participants to do their best, without calculating the odds, and leave the rest to God. He declared, as Krishna had done on the battlefield, that victory is the reward for the brave and that bravery is drawn from the Atman, the Inner Spring. [***]

Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer of the Supreme Court of India, while inaugurating the month-long course in the presence of Bhagavan, said, "It is time that we wean our colleges from becoming houses of vice and violence, with students getting addicted to drugs and cultivating only materialistic desires. Baba's balm of Prema must penetrate Karma, kindle Jnana and sublimate into Dharma." He spoke on the inadequacy of science and its inability to restore peace, morality and brotherhood. He stressed that India must discover her soul and listen to the voice of the sages. Bhagavan pointed out that leaders of today had no will to promote moral and spiritual excellence in their people, while the people themselves had no urge to warn their leaders of the disasters that lay ahead when this foremost duty was neglected.

 


(5) "Your questions about Lord Krishna are of relevance for the welfare of the world because they satisfy the true self. (6) For mankind it is certainly the best way to attain to uninterrupted service to the transcendental without further motives. (7) Serving Krishna this way one will find detachment and causeless knowledge. (8) One's normal duties are useless if they miss this message. [SB, 1-2, v.5-8]


Swoosh!

Denise Eversole, who was among the two hundred foreign students at the course, speaks about its impact on her thus: 

"What is it like at the summer course? Let me throw out some adjectives to see if I can highlight its essence: packed, hot, uncomfortable, thrilling, awesome, pure essence, inspiring, stretching, blissful, catalytic, cathartic, revitalising, transforming, beautiful... Here we were at the feet of the same Soul which was the historic Krishna, Who first communicated the Bhagavad Gîtâ to Arjuna about five thousand years ago. As Sai Baba explained to all the students the true meaning of spiritual life and how to live it, I found every question I'd ever had, completely answered."

Karen F. Blanc summarises the message conveyed by Baba: 

"All life is a meditation. Formal prayer and what you think of as meditations, are means, not ends. They are good and are meant to help prepare the mind for concentration. But along with such spiritual exercises and practices, there must be examination of individual and collective attitudes. Instil and cultivate in yourselves love and respect for all religions. Return home and do God's work, wherever you are, with conviction, confidence and enthusiasm. If life ever becomes difficult, remember these evenings and think of Me, call on My name, and I give you this promise that I will always heed your call. You will never be alone again."

Karen went on to describe a thrilling miracle which happened on one of the evenings. The participants had many a chance to thrill at miracles that occurred whenever they were in Baba's presence. "But this was a big one, really first class," said Karen. 

"Maynard Ferguson, the world-famous jazz artist, gave a concert for us, about twelve hundred people, one night at the auditorium of the college. Baba was seated in the middle of the stage and Maynard Ferguson was standing next to Him on the right. He played Indian classical music set to jazz, with Baba tapping away at the beat gently with His hand. Then Ferguson played an incredible trumpet solo with all his heart. Baba stood up and made a large circle, clockwise with His right hand. Swoosh! Out of the air in front of everyone, Baba materialised a solid gold medallion, suspended from a chain, and placed it around Ferguson's neck. There was no movement in the auditorium. Not a flicker. It was as if time stood still. Overwhelmed, Ferguson wept like a child, just as we sat there with tears in our eyes and a sob in our throats.

"Why was it so beautiful? Maybe, because we all knew at that moment, without question, what we had once known as little children but had long since forgotten. There is a part in us all, at the very core of our being, that wants to believe in angels, that good triumphs over evil, that Jesus did really walk on water and that Moses had once parted the Red Sea... . We want to believe all that and, regardless of what we say, we want to stand by the good guy... and we ourselves want to be good. That is why we wept and that is why it was so beautiful. The medallion was not a magician's trick. It was made for us all. It was so that we could all know, once and for all, that 'It is so, as it is written.' "

As soon as the summer course ended, Baba returned to Prasanthi Nilayam with a large number of students from various colleges who desired to spend a few more days in His presence at the 'International Temple of the Sai Avatar'. There a Sathya Sai college was inaugurated on 1st July, the first-year classes being held at the Easwaramma High School building itself.


The Buds Blossom

The Avataric mission of restoring humanity to man and raising him to Godhood are being translated into action by Bhagavan through educational reconditioning. He has blessed a world-wide project which supplements the state directed, institutionalised, secular education. It is called Bal Vikas, which means 'Blossoming of the Child'. Children in the developed countries (and, by contagion, in the developing nations also), are exposed to the ills of the machine age, the clash of isms, the conflict of races, obsession with war, the dominance of violence, an over indulgence in sensual pleasures and the open flouting of all morals. The Bal Vikas routes back the child to its age-old culture so that it may grow strong and straight. It instils a sense of reverence towards parents, elders and teachers, who are repositories of learning. It encourages self-knowledge, self-reverence and self-control, while enveloping the child in the warmth of Divine love. Children grow up under the watchful care of teachers whom Baba has blessed with the sacred title, guru. The teacher upon being conferred that title becomes bound to remove, as Lord Shiva does, the weeds of evil from the tender mind, to sow, as Lord Brahma does, seeds of courage and compassion, and to foster, as Lord Vishnu does, good thoughts, good speech and good deeds, elevating the profession of a teacher into a task carried out by the Holy Trinity. 

Baba has developed schools called Vidya Vihars (education through joy), where children are fostered after being admitted as whole time inmates. When the children enter their teens, they are taught elementary texts on spiritual discipline, besides being introduced to the technique of Yoga, social service, choral service, meditation, etc. These classes are referred to as 'pre-Seva Dal'. High schools that have been set up by Baba in several places pay special attention to the development of character and to programmes of Sadhana and social service. Then there are the colleges where the most impressionable years of adolescence and youth are spent under the gracious guidance of Bhagavan Himself. 

"Students are My hope, the source of My delight. They are what I live by," says Baba.

His Kingdom

During the Dasara celebrations in 1979, students of different religions from the Sri Sathya Sai college in Puttaparthi, presented themselves in their ceremonial costumes and described, to the great delight of the vast gathering, the main principles of each religion. A Sikh from New Delhi, a Zoroastrian from Bombay, a Christian from Hawaii, a Muslim from Libya, a Buddhist from Sikkim and a Hindu from Kabul were the participating students. When Baba stood in the centre of the group as they finished, all were pleasantly surprised that Sai, the sum of all religions and the goal of all sadhana, had condescended thus to teach them the unity of faith. The students of Sai colleges have mastered the art of coordinated labor. They have presented orchestras and plays on Sri Ramakrishna, Sankaracharya and Jesus, besides having set the Ramayana and the Sai stories to music. Bhagavan is, of course, the invisible and also, almost always, the visible source of all their achievements. While inaugurating the first anniversary of the association of old boys of the Sri Sathya Sai college at Brindavan, Baba directed them to utilise all their resources and talents in the service of the villages around Brindavan after a keen study of their urgent needs: 

"Students must spring like tiger cubs into the arena of the villages and cleanse them of pollution. They must teach and train the illiterate residents of the villages to live happily and with dignity. They must strive, along with the villagers, and lead them forward." 

Baba also said on that occasion, 

"I am encouraging these boys to be examples of the strength and equanimity that can be gained by constant practice of My message. I am ever prompting them to speak and recite, sing and enact this message, so that it is installed in their hearts. Whatever I do or get done, whatever I say or direct others to say, it is to emphasize, clarify or exemplify this message - the Atmic Reality of man."

Bhagavan's message and the master projects planned for its realisation, drew many educationalists, administrators, scientists, communication experts and psychologists to the colleges He has founded. Seminars on spiritual and moral guidance were held at the Brindavan college. Summer schools brought together college professors from all over the country besides overseas countries including Singapore, the Philippines, Fiji, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and USA. Bhagavan conversed with groups of vice-chancellors, headmasters, professors, scientists and technicians, unravelling to them the insidious causes of the universal malaise and revealing the curative measures urgently needed. As a result of the impact of these conversations, the Sathya Sai Study Circle was formed in Bangalore, to probe into the defects of the educational system, and for restructuring and reforming it on Sai guidelines. Swami assured the group, "I promise you that I will be with you and take an active part in guiding the activities of the Study Circle." Truly, the Avatar has no rest! But, as Bhagavan says, "Had I needed rest, I would not have incarnated."

During the Birthday festival week in 1979, two thousand Bal Vikas gurus met at a conference in Prasanthi Nilayam. Bhagavan blessed them and enlightened them on the problems that they have to encounter and promised to reveal to them the solutions whenever they prayed for light. The play 'Jesus' was presented by the students on 22nd November. The costumes, the sets and the actors appeared so authentic that the audience of twenty-five thousand responded with a continuous ovation lasting several minutes. Jesus Christ was very accurately portrayed as the Son of God, with mercy, power and love in His voice, gestures and reactions.

Shiva on the Spot

Devotees who sought the home where Bhagavan incarnated as Sathyanarayana, the home of the parents Pedda Venkappa Rajju and Easwaramma, were for years shown an empty patch of land at the end of a rubble track in Puttaparthi. They were very sad that no holy structure marked that spot, after the Prasanthi Mandir and the temples of Ganesa had come up on the outskirts of the village that was immortalized by the birth, childhood and boyhood of the greatest Avatar in human history. They pleaded with Bhagavan and prayed in unison. So a simple but charming temple was constructed there, in which Baba installed an idol of Shiva on 22nd November 1979, fulfilling the long-cherished desire of millions.

The Avatar's decision to declare the cloistered village, Puttaparthi, still lacking even in several basic amenities, as the hub of the Sai Dharma Chakra (wheel of righteousness), raised around the Mandir rows of three-storeyed residential flats also housing banks, shops and a bus station. Besides these, it has added to itself a resplendent suburb with ornamental arches at both ends, containing rows of magnificent structures comprising the elementary and high schools and the College of Arts, Science and Commerce, besides a hostel for over a thousand students.

In June 1980 Bhagavan visited Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state of India, famed through the centuries for the artistic genius of its people, for its mountain ranges which are the source of several rivers and for the harmonious blending of cultures and races. He spent ten days amidst the people until it became difficult to decide who loved the other more - the people of the state or Bhagavan.

The march of love continues - fresh, full and free.

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Bhajans

 

[*] See Bhagavad Gîtâ: 
Chapter 17
Chapter 15, verse 14 
Chapter 4, verse 24 
Chapter 3, verse 14:
From grains material bodies grow, from rains there is the production of grains while rains become possible with the [watering by] sacrifices that are performed out of duty.

[**] Food Mantra:
BG 4-24:

brahmârpanam brahma havir
brahmâgnau brahmanâ hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyam
brahma-karma-samâdhinâ

The sacrifice itself, that which is offered in the fire of sacrifice and he who is of sacrifice are of the same spiritual nature; he will certainly attain the spirit of the Absolute [Brahman] who is completely absorbed in working for the spiritual.

BG 15-14:
aham vaisvânaro bhûtvâ
prâninâm deham âsritaha
prânâpâna samâyuktah
pacâmy annam catur-vidham 

Enacting as the fire of digestion in the bodies of all living beings, I keep the balance of the ingoing and outgoing breath and do digest the four kinds of foodstuff [food that one swallows right away, chews, licks and sucks].

[***] See Gîtâ Vahini, Bhagavân on the Bhagavad Gîtâ and the Krishna Bible


  


Written by N. Kasturi M.A., B.L.