Grama Seva 2014 - Saturday, 27th September 2014

The day’s programme began at 0500 with 21 Omkars and Suprabhatham. Today was Saturday, or Shanivar, and so the morning prayers were dedicated to Lord Rama and Hanuman. It was the first day of the Veda Purusha Saptha Jnana Yagna, where the sacred fire is generated by rubbing two sticks together while all the four Vedas are recited simultaneously. We fondly recollected our previous experiences of this most auspicious occasion, such as how Swami used to materialise offerings to the fire with a gesture of his divine hand and how He would receive the Vedic Aarti. In particular, we recalled one occasion some years ago, in 2007, when we returned early from Grama Seva and so went and sat inside the Poornachandra Hall to watch the Yagna. We found out that Swami had not come yet, but within 15 minutes, he appeared on the stage, stayed for some time and then went back. On our way out, we heard that Swami might be going to give darshan in Sai Kulwant Hall, so we all ran and the entire group managed to be in the first line right in front of the portico. Sure enough, Swami came, and when he turned past the pillar to come in front of the Veranda, he gave eye contact to every member of the group with a big smile on his face.

In the morning session the Thought For The Day relayed Swami’s omnipresence by conveying the feeling that he will be as present as he used to be before Mahasamadhi.

We then made our way to Poornachandra Hall and watched as the procession of Pandits and Vedam Chanters entered.

The auspicious spark to generate the fire for the Yagna was created using two sticks being rubbed together by the priests as was the custom in the olden times.

Once this had been done, we moved to our vehicles and partook in Swami’s Prasadam in preparation for the coming day’s Grama Seva. Today, we were extremely blessed to be serving Swami’s own divine instruments by doing Seva at the staff quarters of the Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital, Puttaparthi. Traditionally, this has been one of the hardest days of Grama Seva, as the crates of prasadam have to be carried up the multi-story buildings. However, inspired by the place in which we were doing service and with Swami’s Grace, we managed to complete the task. Having done this, we went to the hospital itself so that some of the group could donate blood. After spending a few minutes in the magnificent domed entrance hall, we returned to Prashanti Nilayam where we once again shared in the prasadam that we had been distributing that day.

In the afternoon, we returned to our daily study of Lingaashtakam, with Puppet Sir today concentrating on the third verse. We learnt that through worship of the Lingam, the intellect can be strengthened and made more positive. After the start of the Yagna earlier in the day, this afternoon saw the commencement of the Prashanti Vidwan Maha Sabha, where faculty members and students of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, along with other eminent speakers, give talks to those fortunate souls assembled in Sai Kulwant Hall before the evening bhajans. The first speaker was Dr Sanjay Mahalingam, who completed his MBA and PhD at Swami’s institute and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management Studies. Dr Mahalingam narrated several experiences at the divine lotus feet. One experience was when he needed to take a day trip to Bangalore to conduct some personal work. He wrote a letter and asked Swami for permission. Swami said to him “Go”. As the time came, he began to feel very uncomfortable about the idea for reasons that he could not fathom. The night before the trip he was feeling extremely restless. When the morning came, he put aside those thoughts, went to Bangalore, completed his work and returned to Puttaparthi. When Swami next saw him, he said, “I told you not to go.” Dr Mahalingam replied, “I’m sorry Swami, I heard you tell me to go.” To this, Swami replied, “But what about the night before you went?” The message of this experience was that we should learn to listen to the Swami within.

The second speaker was Dr T Ravi Kumar, who has been at the divine lotus feet for almost 50 years since he formed part of the first batch of Bal Vikas students. He is currently Associate Professor of Chemistry at the Brindavan Campus, along with being warden of the Brindavan Hostel.  Dr Ravi Kumar narrated various personal experiences with Swami related to the theme of Swami as mother. He said that mother is a person to whom you can go without hesitation with any problem, no matter how small. He narrated one experience when he was himself a student at the Brindavan campus, where he prayed for Swami to make him taller! Not long after his prayer, Swami, having recently returned from Bombay, instructed the warden to bring the short boys to the front, saying that he had brought some medicine to help them grow taller!! He handed over the medicine and told the warden to measure them all first and then give it. Over a period of time, those boys took the medicine with milk every day. When it had finished, the warden went to Swami and said that the course had finish, asking for some more. Swami told him that it was not needed and to go and measure the boys. Much to their delight, all the boys had grown by between 0.5-2.5 inches. This narration emphasised how we can go to mother with any problem, and that being the divine mother, Swami already knows all our problems.

The evening concluded with Swami’s divine discourse, a musical program by the students of the Muddenahalli campus, bhajans and Mangal Aarti.

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