8th February 2006, Wednesday
– Sri Sri Ravishankar visits Brindavan
In the morning, Swami came out at around 9:45 AM. He walked up to the front
of the stage, where he stood holding the railings for support enjoying the
bhajans for a few minutes. He continually indicated that the naal wasn't
being played all that loud. He also asked by gesturing whether the boys
didn't have breakfast or not. At this slightest cue, the whole hall
resounded with rejuvenated clapping and loud singing. At 10:30 AM, He got up
It was an interesting sight to see the boy who climbed up to offer a rose to
Swami, at first very happy that he could be so close to Swami, gazing at Him
for a long time, because Swami looked everywhere except at him and the rose
which he was holding in front of Him, and then later, rapidly getting
anxious as it dawned on him that Swami may not take the rose after all!
After the aarathi, Swami turned the other way to go back; the poor boy had
to run over to the other side and offer the rose to Swami, which of course,
He took with a mingled expression of surprise and mischief.
In the evening as we assembled in the Sai Ramesh Hall, we noticed that a
nice chair was placed behind where the aarathi boys sit. This place is used
to seat VIPs only on function days generally when Bhagawan gives a
discourse. Enquiries revealed that it was meant for His holiness Sri Sri
Ravi Shankar, who was coming for Swami's darshan.
The bhajans started at 5:00 PM. At around 5:15 PM, the founder of the Art of
Living Foundation arrived along with five to six disciples. They carried a
huge basket of fruits and had in their hand invitations to the Art of living
Silver Jubilee celebrations. All of them were clad in white. Sri Sri Ravi
Shankar had his head covered and was wearing a simple white dhoti and a long
white cloth with red jarri border wrapped around his body.
As they came to the place where the chair was kept, one of the disciples
took out a long cloth like a bed spread and covered the chair. Sri Sri
Ravishankar then sat on the chair.
After a few minutes, Swami arrived, on the stage, walking. He stood near the
front railing and smiled at the boys and indicating the throat and signaled
'is nice'. In the morning Swami had indicated that the bhajans following was
anemic. So boys were singing with greater fervor and this was recognition of
Swami stood for a couple of bhajans and then sat down on Porte chair.
As the bhajans continued Swami indicated a couple of times that the tabla
shruthi was not okay. On being changed He signaled that it was alright. Then
He indicated that the naal was not being heard…. At 5:45 PM, Swami got up.
Aarathi was offered and Swami went in walking.
All this while, Swami had not even glanced towards the place where the
aarathi boys sat. After aarathi was over, Seva Dal elder Sri Venkatraman and
others led Sri Sri Ravi Shankar inside through the main gate.
As Swami walked towards the door inside, one of the AVC brothers prayed to
Swami to sit down. "Where?", "Swami the chair is behind you please sit
down". Swami lovingly told him "No, that is not my place. My place is in
Meanwhile Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was approaching Swami with his head covered
and hands folded. Swami held his hand and spoke a couple of words. Swami
then walked all the way to the interview room flanked by Sri Sri Ravishankar
and the brahmacharis accompanying him on one side and our brothers and
elders on the other side.
As Swami went inside the interview room He called two Italian devotees for
interview. Swami took them inside the personal interview room and spoke to
them for one hour as Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji and his followers waited,
patiently. Bhagawan then called the Swamiji and his group into the drawing
room. He also called Mr.Parida (and his family), Chairman AP Electricity
Power Transmission Corporation and Mr. Kandaswamy and his family. Swami gave
all of them a long group interview.
When finally the Swamiji and his group came out at 7.45 PM, there were
visibly happy. The Swamiji had come to personally invite Swami for the
silver jubilee celebration of the Art of living foundation which is being
celebrated on a very grand scale in Jakkur air field from the 17-19 of
February. Newspaper reports also say that the 50th birthday of the holiness
is being celebrated concurrently. After giving interviews to all those
called, Swami went upstairs only at 7:55 PM!
6th February 2006, Monday – Chinese New Year is
It was only late yesterday evening that Swami permitted the Chinese devotees
to celebrate their new year in His presence.
Overnight the stage has been tastefully decorated with Chinese lanterns and
other things distinct to their culture. Hanging from the front of the stage
were red pineapples which signify prosperity. In front of Lord Ganesha were
placed a basket of mandarin oranges. There was a table in front of the gents
block with eatables and other items like tea cups elegantly arranged. There
were red packets with some gold embossed figures which signify good luck.
There were fire crackers tied like poppins which were placed to remind one
of the evil qualities which need to be destroyed completely.
The idol of Lord Krishna is today draped in a green saree! On the wooden
panel next to the Lord are two hangings with Chinese characters which when
translated read 'In four seasons all dreams are fulfilled' on one side and
'Throughout the hundred years luck and prosperity are with us' on the other.
A bunch of mei Hua flowers are found in a vase. These flowers blossom even
when the landscape is snow covered and hence these are to remind one that
however bleak the prospects, in God's creation, there is always room for
hope and joy.
The Chinese devotees are in the first block as it is their day. All the men
sport a rose pink, red or yellow on their shirts…
At 9.30 AM bhajan starts with Vignavinashaka Gananatha…probably the only
place where Chinese new year starts thus! At 9.35 AM the sound of drums is
heard and the chandelier on the stage comes on indicating that Bhagawan has
come out. A procession consisting of two lions and two men dressed in
Mongolian masks with their characteristic fans lead the way and Bhagawan
follows on the wheel chair.
After coming into the hall Swami turns north and goes along the central
aisle till the very end. He then comes to the front, turns along the first
ladies block where all the devotees are sitting, going round the entire
block Swami comes to the front where a row of lady devotees are sitting with
various items in their trays. Swami goes to them takes the red rose offered
and keenly looks at all the items on the tray. Then coming over to the
gent's side Swami goes round the entire block blessing all devotees with
close darshan, takes letters and even pats a small child on its cheek.
After a full round He comes to the gents side lift and goes up.
When Swami comes to the middle of the stage, the lions dance perform their
final steps.. these lions look like poor cousins of the well fed ones we
encounter during our sports meet at Parthi!
The devotees performing remove the mask and offer their pranams. Next all
the assembled Chinese devotees chant some short slokam repeatedly for a few
times. Now it is the turn of the devotees to sing Chinese bhajans in tunes
familiar to us like Sai Jagannatha and Jai hari bol jai.. After this, the
devotees go up in pairs – a lady and a gent and offer Swami tea, candies,
mandarin oranges.. Swami picks up one item from each person. There is a
person explaining the significance. Now one lady and gentleman go up and
open two scrolls for Swami to read. Swami blesses the scroll by caressing
it. They then show some photo album. Swami looks at all the photos leisurely
asking questions and in short getting fully involved. Swami even releases
two books and goes through them. A huge photo is opened and He sees it. Even
as He is asking questions, one can see that Swami casually passes a remark
making them smile at His Omniscience. Swami has spent more than ten minutes
with this pair! Others follow and Swami takes the items from them also. This
is followed by a skit in which the customs and traditions observed in
Chinese on the lunar New Year day are highlighted. These are also aptly
punctuated with Swami's quotations.
The spoken English diction by the Chinese devotees who compeered is very
good and clear. Bhajans continue and it is 11:30 AM when the aarathi is
waved to the lord and the Lord retires.
In the evening Swami comes out at 5:30 PM.
Swami comes walking and stands in the front keeping time. He even leaves
both His hands on occasions. Swami sits down and listens to almost fifteen
bhajans. It is 6:15 PM. Swami gets up. The boy offering rose does not miss
the opportunity. He kisses Swami's hand. Swami sits down on the wheel chair
and retires to Trayee.
5th February 2006, Sunday – Deve Gowda and Vice President
of India visit Brindavan
Today being Sunday, the Seva Dal were in the first block, ready for the
day-long Bhajan session. The Bhajans started at 9:30 AM. At 10:15 AM, the
usual hustle started on-stage, heralding Swami's arrival. In a few minutes
the screen next to the Krishna statue parted and there Swami was, giving the
most benign of His smiles. He came walking to the railing near the end of
the stage and stood for a while. The Porte's sofa chair was trailing him.
Swami sat down on the chair for a few Bhajans.
After a little while, Swami got up from the chair and indicated that he
wanted to go down amongst the devotees. Swami made His way towards the lift,
came down, walked a few steps to where Sri H.D. Deve Gowda was standing,
blessed him, and started walking amidst His students. Watching Swami Walk
was thrilling, as this was the first session when Swami actually walked
amidst the devotees during this visit.
Swami crossed the first block, then turned left and crossed over on to the
ladies' side, all the while accepting letters from the devotees. Two
brothers had the blessed opportunity to support Swami throughout. Once He
reached the end of the first block on the ladies' side He turned to the left
and made His way back onto the stage. Only when He reached on-stage did He
sit down on the chair. There were few more Bhajans after which Swami asked
for the aarathi to be performed and then retired to Trayee Brindavan.
The whole session lasted almost an hour and there was so much of Love
radiating from Him and the whole audience was reverberating with joy.
In the evening, the Seva Dal Bhajans were going on and Swami arrived at 5:30
PM. He came walking onto the stage and sat down on the chair. The Brindavan
Hostel boys had prepared a cultural programme. As soon as He sat down, He
indicated to the students assembled in the front that they could begin. As
soon as Swami gave them the permission, two boys ran up the stage with a
huge card, seeking His blessings.
The programme titled "Ocean of Devotion" was based on the nine types of
devotion: Shravanam, Keertanam, Vishnusmaranam, Padasevanam, Vandanam,
Archanam, Dasyam, Sneham, Atmanivedanam; and how the great devotees of all
times had used these different types of devotion to merge with the Lord.
Parikshit had used Shravanam to reach the Lord, whereas Meera Bai and
Thyagaraja had used Kirtanam and so on.
There were anchors for each form of devotion and they explained the
significance of each type of devotion, and gave examples of the devotees of
the Lord who followed that form of Bhakthi. The presentation was
interspersed with beautiful songs, all chosen appropriately to that form of
During the programme, the Hon'ble Vice-President Sri Bhairon Singh Shekawat
and the Hon'ble Governor of Karnataka Sri T.N. Chaturvedi arrived. They were
seated near the stage and sat through the remainder of the programme.
There was so much feeling in the songs being sung that Swami appeared moved
by the programme. After the programme Swami took Arati, got up, walked
behind the stage and retired to Trayee Brindavan.
4th February 2006, Saturday – Swami visits Sri
In the morning, Swami came at 10:25 AM. Even as He came in, sitting on the
Porte's sofa chair, Swami was reading some letter given by some one back
stage. Today, Swami was in a contemplative mood. He kept his eyes closed
even as His fingers kept time.
At 11:10 AM. Swami leaned forward to get up and the student offering rose
and aarathi went up. Swami blessed them and stood up. He then walked inside…
Inside the youth from U.K were called for an interview. Around 12:20 PM the
group came out and Swami went out for a drive – to Mr. Adikesavalu's home.
So, when Swami returned around 2:20 PM the students had a nice darshan.
In the evening more than 1200 children had come from the city from a school
(class I –VII) in Bangalore. Bhagawan came out for darshan at 5:25 PM.
Bhajans continued till 6:00 PM. Aarathi was offered and Swami went walking
behind the curtain.
3rd February 2006, Friday – UK Youth are blessed in
Morning bhajans started at 9:30AM. At 9:50 AM Swami sent word asking us to
give aarathi. There was thus no morning darshan today.
In the evening, Swami had blessed the youth who had come from U.K to sing
bhajans. After they had finished all the bhajans they had prepared, our
students continued the bhajans. They were even ready to chant Vedas and a
couple of them were ready to speak. One of them was a Ph.D. from Oxford
University, but their chance did not come today. Around 5:35 PM Swami walked
into the stage gracefully, stood near the railing for some tune and then sat
down. The bhajans went on till 6:15 PM. After accepting the rose, Swami
stood full the end of aarathi and blessed all the devotees, gents and ladies
separately with His abhayahasta. He then blessed prasadam, which was
distributed to all those assembled.
2nd February 2006, Thursday – Future leaders Kumaraswamy
and Yediurrappa visit
This morning it was the turn of the Sevadal brothers and sisters to sing
bhajans. At 9:35 AM Swami came to the stage walking. Even as the bhajans
were going on, there was a slight stir and guess who came visiting?!
In walked the Chief Minister designate Mr. H.D. Kumaraswamy along with the
deputy CM Mr. Yediyurappa in a white safari, lots of security men and other
The bhajans continued for another half an hour. Swami then stood up, blessed
the student who; offered the rose (pushed the rose gently into his shirt
pocket) and the one who took aarathi.
Swami walked to the back curtain. Within a couple of minutes the CM (to be)
and deputy CM (to be) asking the rest of their retinue to stay behind,
slowly tip toed up the stage and went behind. Swami held onto the CM's hand
and talking to Sri Yediyurappa went walking till the drawing room in Trayee!
Swami spoke to both of them and blessed them. This photo of their sitting at
Swami' feet in the Trayee was splashed in newspapers the next day.
It is exam time. So students had just finished lunch and were opening their
books around 2:15 PM when there was a rumbling noise and sound of running
feet. Swami was going out for a drive. After about 15 minutes swami returned
and all of us stood in front of the hostel. Swami looked at each of us. All
the students went back delighted at this 'bonus' darshan.
In the afternoon Swami came out at 4:15 PM. We had bhajans as usual. As
bhajans were going on, the Governor of Karnataka H.E. Chaturvedi came for
darshan. This is his third visit within a week! By 5:00 PM Swami accepted
aarathi and went in. The Governor went near the gate and Swami blessed him
there itself before retiring into Trayee.
1st February 2006, Wednesday – An unabridged encore of
The Puppet show
There was no morning darshan today. Bhajans were sung by students from 9:30
AM and aarathi at 10 AM. In the evening Bhagawan arrived at 5:20 PM. He
walked briskly and covered the distance from the curtain to the railing in
one go. After standing for sometime looking at all the devotees, Swami sat
down. After a few bhajans Swami asked Mr. Poppat to speak. As he got up to
speak instead of the customary rose, he offered Swami some cloves. Swami
took one and as he was speaking put it into his mouth.
Today Mr. Poppat spoke for around twenty five minutes. Mr. Poppat reminded
us that the buddhi is closest to the Atma and reflects its light, so too all
of us near Sai – the paramatma, should develop sukshma buddhi, sthira buddhi,
paripakkura buddhi, viveka buddhi and vishala buddhi.
We then had three bhajans and Swami looked towards the aarathi boy. Swami
accepted aarathi and went inside.
31st January 2006, Tuesday – A mini Puppet Show
In the morning Swami came out at 10 AM. Bhajans had started at 9:30 AM (as
per instructions). Swami walked to the front railing with the minimum of
support and then sat down. At 10:20 AM aarathi was offered and Swami
returned to Trayee.
The first lady of Kazhakstan has come to Brindavan for two days stay and a
group of 15 youth have come from England with Mr. Ajit Poppat. These young
men have been blessed by Swami to join the Institute students during the
Gramaseva last Dussera and their enthusiasm was infectious.
In the evening bhajans started at 5 PM. At 6 PM the chandeliers came on and
one could sense (hear!) the excitement of the assembled devotees and
students as the bhajans picked up tempo.
Swami came walking briskly and stood holding the railing. After sitting down
and listening to a couple of bhajans, Swami asked Mr. Poppat to speak. In
his inimitable style Mr.Poppat spoke reminding all of us of how much Swami
has done for all of us and what the responsibility on a Sai devotee's
shoulder is. This speech was quite brief and when he sat down, Swami
remarked that he had not spoken long enough. 'You can do so tomorrow '.
Swami then asked students to continue bhajans. After bhajans Aarathi – Swami
stood up. Aarathi and Swami went in walking.
30th January 2006, Monday – Swami visit's Brother C
In the morning, bhajans started at 9:30 AM. At 9:55 AM, the chandeliers on
the stage came on indicating that Swami was coming out to bless us all with
His darshan. Swami entered the Shanthi Vedika at Sai Ramesh Hall waking from
the screen at the back of the stage to the railing in front with the help of
one of the student aides. Swami then walked towards the gents and ladies
sides - a few steps, holding the railing. Swami stood for three full Bhajans
and kept time with His hands just like in the olden days.
At one point, he left the railing support completely and kept time with both
His hands! Swami then sat on the Toyota Porte's sofa chair for some time and
then indicated that Aarathi be given. Swami lovingly put the rose offered by
the student and blessed the boy taking aarathi.
He asked the boys as to what time the examinations (mid term which commence
today) begin. He then asked what paper they had today and asked them to
write their exam well. Swami then returned walking till the door behind.
At around 11:45 AM, Swami went out to Brother C.Srinivas's home and returned
at 1:30 PM. One of the alumni who waited hopefully for Swami near "Hope
Farm" was blessed to hand over a letter to Swami as He stopped the car on
the road and asked for it to be given! What grace!
In the evening, bhajans commenced at 5:00 PM. Swami gave darshan at 5:20 PM.
He came walking just holding the hand of Brother Siddharth. He did not allow
anyone to even support His back. Swami sat down and time with both His
hands. The clock had turned back and Swami was His old self. After some ten
bhajans, Swami accepted aarathi and returned.