Reflections From Pune…

True to the saying “God’s Delays are Not God’s Denials”, fulfilling the long cherished desire of the Jadhavs and the Puneites, Divinity encased in human frame, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba blessed the Peshwa City with abundance, with abundance of His Love, all by His rich presence for three full days! Thousands upon thousands thronged to have a glimpse of The Lord…None would understand and decipher the subtle moves and vibrations of His Divinity, inner significance of which would go far beyond human perceptions for the emancipation of mankind. Concluding His visit as His Divine Caravan sped on through the Pune – Mumbai Highway on October 31, 2009, we had a reflections published on the epochal visit, reminiscing all that happened in Pune-Hadshi…written by Sri Jullie Chaudhuri.

If the hills around Hadshi make a priceless necklace, then Sri Sathya Sai Pandurang Kshetra is the most exquisite pendant. Such a wondrous sight to hold and behold. A veritable feast for the eyes. It was the most surreal environment decorated gaily for the Lord, His entourage and the ardent devotees gathering there. But let us start at the very beginning.

Activities were on in full swing, in a highly synchronized manner ever since our Lord accepted Mr Shivajirao Jadhav’s invitation to visit Sri Sathya Sai Pandurang Kshetra. The winding road leading up to the Kshetra and then on to the mandir and the divine residence was quickly repaired and tarred. For easy flow of traffic, a one-way system was made for travelling up and for the return journey down towards the city. The mandirs were decorated for the Praan Pratishthan. A huge stage was designed with a wonderful backdrop of Shirdi Sai, Parthi Sai and Lord Panduranga in the centre. On one side of the backdrop was Swami’s saying – I am in you, You are in Me, You and I are one. On the other side, it had words that perhaps every devotee would like to say to Him – Tum shwaas ho, Tum paas ho, Tum vishwas ho…

Barricades and seating arrangements for devotees who would be coming to have darshan of their Lord was made in this most scenic of all places. The hosts left no stone unturned to do their best for our Beloved Lord’s arrival.

There was free food being served in the prasadalay for visitors and workers during these preparations, which went on ever so smoothly. Aesthetically designed fragrant flower arrangements enveloped all the mandirs and of course Bhagawan’s Divine residence.

Day 1, Oct 28, 2009
At last, Wednesday, the 28th of Oct, dawned. It was a timeless moment and Pune’s moment in time, when the Lord’s flying chariot touched down at Pune’s airport a little after 9.30 am. The Maharashtra CM’s flight landed a little prior to Bhagwan’s. He was there not only to receive Bhagwan, but also to seek special blessings as it happened to be his birthday too. Mr Shivraj Patil and Mr Jayantrao Patil were also present along with the AAI director Capt Mahajan and Deputy GM, Airport, Mr Prasad. An ambu high lift had specially been brought in from Ahmedabad airport for the Lord’s deplanement. The lift was decorated with red and yellow carnations and a red carpet covered the floor. Another red carpet was put on the tarmac right up to Bhagawan’s car. A convoy of four cars had been lined up on the tarmac to whisk Bhagawan away through the city, to Mr Jadhav’s residence and then on to SSSPK.

Outside the airport, 11 motorbikes stood ready to lead the convoy, to which five other cars were also added. Balvikas children, traditionally attired, greeted members of the Divine entourage who were served refreshments in the arrival hall.

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At SSSPK, 1200 villagers from Hadshi welcomed Bhagwan with a Tukaram Dindi. Through the day, thousands of devotees thronged the Kshetra for a glimpse of Bhagawan. The evening programme began at 5.15 pm with bhajans. Swami arrived at 6 pm. There was an instant stir in the air and all hands were folded in reverence and there was a prayer on every lip.

25 villagers performed Tukaram Abhangs, after which singers Kavita Krishnamurty (Kavita Subramaniam), Nitin Mukesh and Sapna Mukherjee took centrestage. After taking His blessings, they sang beautiful bhajans that left everyone in ecstasy.

Sapna Mukherjee and Nitin Mukesh’s new album – Sai Krishna – was released at the hands of Bhagawan. Mukherjee said, “I’ve been singing His bhajans since I was a child, and I am simply too thrilled that this CD was release by Baba…” Mukesh added, “Today’s evening was most Divine. He smiled at me and praised me. I’m too overwhelmed. First, God came to me in the form of my mother, then my daughter and now Sathya Sai…”

Kavita Krishnamurthy too said emotionally, “I am what I am because of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He is God, and it must be my past karma that has led me to perform in front of Him…”

Day 2, Oct 29, 2009
The deities at the Lord Siddhivinayak Mandir, Vitthal-Rukmini Mandir and Shirdi Sai Mandir came alive by the Lord’s touch and SSSPK will now be considered a most sacred pilgrimage centre after as the Pran Pratishthan was performed by the Lord himself. Through the ceremony, there was a paraglider who showered rose petals on the Aum-shaped Kshetra.

In the evening, Bhagawan was welcomed for darshan by a traditional Tukaram Dindi. Bhagawan gave darshan from the Vitthal Rukmini Mandir. Mr Shivajirao Jadhav spoke about Swami’s message and showed his gratitude to Swami for accepting the invitation. Then, the All-India President of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, Mr V Srinivasan, gave a short interesting speech which was followed by Nishikant Barodikar’s Marathi narration of his own experiences with Swami.

And then, the moment that all were eagerly waiting for – Bhagawan’s Divine Discourse, which was translated into English and Marathi. Bhagawan spoke about a life of love – not to criticise anyone and to correct one’s own faults rather than pointing fingers at others. He spoke about the oneness of all beings and also stressed that our life has to be His message.

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In His Divine Discourse, Bhagawan also spoke about compassion for all living beings. He particularly mentioned snakes and scorpions and said that these creatures don’t attack unnecessarily. They attack only because they fear us humans.

Here is a tag to the above Divine remark. Interestingly, a day prior to Bhagawan’s Discourse, a snake was spotted close to the music and lights equipment. The men feared it would get into their equipment so they contemplated killing it. However, two lady devotees stopped them, and instead caught the scared snake in some cushion covers, and handed it to another lady devotee who offered to release it. The lady devotees cautioned small crowd that had gathered around the snake that Bhagawan would never like anyone killing it.

And there came His Divine Discourse and an “off-the-cuff”  remark about compassion for living beings… He gave His speech and spoke about snakes and scorpions! It is coincidental for the ordinary, but indeed ‘Saicidental’ for the Beloved Almighty Omnipresent Lord!

(Incidentally, Sri Sathya Sai Pandurang Kshetra is teeming with snake holes, but there was not even a single case of a snake bite reported. It was as though the snake(s) were charmed by the Lord and were content with His blissful darshan…)

After the Divine Discourse Bhagawan lovingly blessed the gathering and sweetly expressed His happiness.

Day 3, Oct 30, 2009
In the morning, there was a havan that took place near the Vithhal-Rukmini mandir, following which Swami came on to the stage for Divine darshan. Village children sat in front of the stage and sang Prashanthi Bhajans for our Beloved Lord, who smilingly acknowledged their devotion.

In the evening, after bhajans, the Little Champs of Marathi Sa Re Ga Ma gave a scintillating performance in the Divine presence. They began with abhangs immortalised by Tukaram and then went on to sing devotional songs which touched the heart of one and all, including Beloved Bhagwan.

It seemed as though the musical notes had incarnated as these children to serenade the Lord! To Swami’s amusement, each child who performed kept taking Padanamaskar!
Bhagawan blessed them, their parents and siblings.

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He was so enchanted by their performance that He asked them for one last song together even though they had finished singing the songs they had rehearsed for!

Though the evening was melodiously blissful, the imminent departure of Bhagawan for Mumbai next morning left a sad feeling deep within.

Creator and His creation; Srishti-Karta and His Srishti; Mountains, lakes, evergreen trees, fragrant flowers, mango orchards, green, green grass, butterflies and dragonflies, the white-blue expanse of the sky, a sunset most wondrous, twinkling stars and soft silky moonlight, and the loving, loving presence of Beloved Bhagwan – could anyone ask for more?

Each and every darshan is ever so valued, but to sit in front of the Lord in the lap of Mother Nature is ever so fulfilling. Dreams do come true…

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Day 4, Oct 31, 2009
The next morning, Bhagawan left SSSPK at around 10.45 am. Villagers lined up in a disciplined manner along the entrance and road leading towards Lonavla. One could see the winding procession – motorbikes, two cars with security guards, Swami’s car, and a string of 20 cars following. Swami blessed the villagers with double Abhayahasta and then the convoy sped on, towards waiting Mumbai…

II Samasta Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II