Grama Seva 2014 - Monday, 29th September 2014

The day’s program began at 0500 with 21 Omkars and Suprabhatham. As it was Monday, Somwar, the morning prayers were dedicated to Shiva and conducted just as they had been during Shiva Puja in Sai Kutir for so long. During the remainder of the morning session, Puppet Sir discussed various topics. Among these was how when we ask things from God, it is important that we ask for the right thing at the right time and in the right manner. He narrated a story from the life of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa when a devotee, who was a very worldly man, had arranged a boat trip for Master. On the boat, he said to Master, “I want to ask for something from you.” Master asked him what he wanted. The man replied, “I first want you to promise that what you will give me what I ask for.” To this, Master said, “First tell me want you want.” The devotee insisted that Master first gave him the promise. In this way, they went back and forth until Master finally relented and agreed to the promise. “Now tell me what you want,” said Master. He said, “Master, I want a promise from you that you come to receive me at the end.” Master was overwhelmed with emotion at this request and said, “I give you that promise.” Swami again showed his presence through the Thought for the Day, when he proclaimed, “I will receive you,” and addressed the matter of asking for things from God, stating, “If you keep your mind fixed on me, you will have it.”

For today’s Grama Seva, we once again travelled with Sri Ruchir Desai’s, this time to the village of Krishnapuram. The village was around an hour’s drive from Puttaparthi and has a population of 5000 people. We were also allocated a small housing colony 15 minutes further on from Krishnapuram called S.C. Colony, which comprised of around 75 houses. A number of boys from the UK group were sent on to cover this village with a supply of prasadam. Having finished around half the number of houses, we had run out of rice packets, so one of the vehicles was sent back to the main village to obtain a further supply. When we arrived at the main supply truck, we found there were no rice packets left. We tried several other supply trucks nearby but found that we could only manage to find one crate, which would not be enough. Disheartened, we headed back to the Colony with what we had. On the way, we passed another vehicle coming in the opposite direction that contained just the amount that we required and prasadam was given to every house . How Swami provided to make sure that none were left without receiving his prasadam!

For lunch we shared in Swami’s prasadam, and in the afternoon we recommenced our analysis of Lingaashtakam with Puppet Sir. Today’s Sloka reiterated the idea that worship of the Lingam will lead us to the formless attributeless God and that by worship of the Lingam, all past tendencies are wiped out.

In Sai Kulwant Hall, we heard talks by Sri Ruchir Desai, Associate Professor in the Department of Commerce at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, with whom we have been going for Grama Seva, and Dr Deepak Anand, Assistant Professor in the Department of Management Studies of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. Sri Ruchir Desai spoke of the unique nature of Swami’s institution. He questioned whether there was anywhere else in the world that you could find students going to villages to serve prasadam in the morning and then sit in the afternoon to chant Vedam and listen to talks 2 weeks before their university exams. He also explained that being a Sai devotee is not a passport to an easy life, rather it is a passport to the way in which we should meet the troubles of life.

In the second talk, Dr Anand stated that the world we see is not the ultimate reality. Swami says that the world we see is like the shadow of an object or the reflection in a mirror. He also said that there are two wheels of life; one is the grace of God, the other is self-effort. This was echoed by Swami in his discourse, as he said that knowledge of atma cannot come from books or Masters, it has to spring from within.

Following Bhajans and Aarti, we had a meeting with Sri Chakravarthi Garu, former secretary and current trustee of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, where he enquired about the backgrounds of the group members. We sat with him for nearly 2 hours. At the conclusion of the meeting, we retired for the day in order to recharge our batteries in preparation what Swami had in store for us the following day.

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