Sunday, August 24th, 2014
24 August 2007 shines forth as a red letter day, further imbued with the exhilarating colours of the rainbow, in the annals of Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust, as the Lord of the Universe graciously decreed to bless this Institution on this date. The portals of the SSSBPT acquired a most privileged status by the sacrosanct touch of Bhagawan’s cherished Lotus Feet, on that wondrous morning.
During that period of time, the prevalent custom was to pray for Divine blessings on the anniversary day, imploring Bhagawan to speak to His selected band of students. Thus, that particular year too, on 23rd August 2007, the members of the staff (most of them students from Bhagawan’s Institute) along with the Convener, with a fervent appeal in each heartbeat, traced their footsteps to His Divine Abode, seeking His amaranthine benevolence. …And Lo! The group was called in!
After consecrating the anniversary cake, to the sublime joy of the gathering, Bhagawan browsed through the card offered to Him, which revealed the fervent feelings of each member of the workforce at the Book Trust – “Swami, it has been 6 years since You visited our office; We have been waiting for Bhagawan with a thousand eyes!”
Incidentally, when Bhagawan had come to inaugurate the newly constructed building of the Publications Division, He chose to intermingle around the Book Stall area, blessing eager staff members. At that time however, the SSSBPT did not house an elevator and Bhagawan, for reasons best known to Him alone, preferred to bypass the mezzanine floor that housed the administrative section and the library. Subsequently, the facility of an elevator was provided, following which a prayer was offered to Bhagawan to sanctify the building with His footprints.
To continue the narration, to the great delight of the Book Trust team members, Bhagawan pronounced, “I AM coming to your office tomorrow.” The promise was a bolt out of the blue!!! …Most unexpected!!! Someone then whispered in Bhagawan’s ear, as if ‘reminding’ Him about the next day’s scheduled festivity – Varalakshmi Vratam. Nonetheless, Bhagawan reaffirmed, “I AM coming!”
The group came out of the Divine Abode, in extreme jubilation, perhaps akin to having just landed after an expedition to the moon, with their hearts filled and fulfilled! They put their heads together excitedly, to decide the course of action for the impending Divine visit.
The Book Trust witnessed a flurry of activities throughout the preceding night to make sure that everything was spotless and picture perfect, vis a vis the ‘demands’ of the ‘high-voltage’ Divine visit. The entire premises were decorated beautifully for the occasion.
The next morning all hearts were anticipating the momentous moment, embracing a billion hopes, with ceaseless prayers. While each heartbeat was tuned in to Yajur Mandiram with a regular inflow of updates, some agile minds were busy with various permutations and combinations, as Bhagawan Himself had taught us to “Love His Uncertainty.” As a flashback, it would interest our readers to note that, following the inaugural visit in 2001, later when Bhagawan was ‘invited’ for the 1st anniversary, He had readily given a Divine acquiesce. Nevertheless, it so transpired that when the D-day – 23rd August 2002 dawned, after a prolonged wait through the day, it was communicated in the afternoon, well past 1400 hrs. – “Swami is not coming.”
Reverting back to the 2007 story, at last, at 8:35 hrs, news flashed that Bhagawan had left Yajur Mandiram. As Bhagawan was wheeled into Kulwant Hall, He moved amidst rows of devotees, specially seated for the scheduled Varalakshmi Pooja. Bhagawan then went on to the dais, lit the lamp and sat for sometime glancing at the devotees. Even as the rituals commenced, Bhagawan signaled for His car…and the ‘wire’ reached the Book Trust through waves that beat the speed of lightning – Bhagawan is on His way!
Notwithstanding time or place, devotees swarm like bees wherever Bhagawan is expected to arrive or pass by. On this morning, too, when the news flashed, roadsides were full of ‘rushing’ devotees, ever so keen to catch a precious glimpse of the Beloved One.
At the Book Trust, the whole ‘family’ got on to its feet, gearing up for the final whistle, to embrace the glorious moment. At 8:50 a.m., Bhagawan arrived in His ‘Porte’ to a customary, religious welcome with Poornakumbham, amidst electrifying Vedic chantings. The elevator that had made its debut after His maiden ‘inaugural’ visit, conveyed the Lord up to the mezzanine floor, the venue of the day’s programme.
As Beloved Bhagawan came out of the lift, He was given a red-carpet welcome, flanked by staff members on both sides, some offering a rose, while many had their palms joined, in a gesture of deep reverence. He lovingly blessed all those who were present, glancing and smiling at everyone…and in between, while His chair was being maneuvered, He even looked up, seemingly to read the message displayed on the wall, profound words from the Divine lips, inscribed in shining gold, a timeless truth for mankind to practice – “There is only one Religion, the Religion of Love.”
The programme commenced with lighting of the lamp by the Divine hands. The dais was ready with a big backdrop image of a beaming Bhagawan.
Exuding tranquillity, it felt as though Bhagawan was portraying that this particular morning was exclusively reserved for the Book Trust. Bhajans were on and continued forth until Bhagawan asked the Convener to deliver an introductory speech.
Speaking up, saying that Bhagawan’s visit would be written in golden letters in the annals of the Book Trust, Sri Rajan, the Convener, gave a brief account detailing the progress made by the Trust. Sri Rajan reiterated that Bhagawan’s message was spreading to every nook and corner of the world through the medium of ‘Sanathana Sarathi’ as well as various books and audiovisuals. He went on to reaffirm that all this was possible only due to Bhagawan’s immense grace. Concluding his brief speech, Sri Rajan implored Bhagawan earnestly to bless the Trust with His Divine discourse.
Bhagawan’s Divine discourse lasted for twenty minutes, ably translated by one of the old students working for Sanathana Sarathi. Lavishly praising the students employed by the Book Trust for their dedication and love, Bhagawan outlined how the Trust should go about printing good books that could broaden the outlook of devotees. Book Trust should print books that are essential for everyone, urged Bhagawan, ending His thoroughly inspiring discourse with the words, “You should publish only good books. You have listened to many discourses and read many books. Treasure all that you have heard in your heart and try to put it into practice.” (Full text of the discourse is published along with this article.)
After the discourse, Bhagawan went into the Multimedia Room to watch a video presentation showcasing the Book Trust activities. Bhagawan also moved around each and every section of the Trust, energizing, sanctifying and blessing each department with His personal touch.
Finally, after bequeathing an hour and fifteen minutes of sheer bliss, Bhagawan left the premises for the Mandir at 10:05 hrs.
The Book Trust, to this day, recounts this wonderful ‘touch’…this ever fragrant bouquet of blessings…the wait for which was worth many millions, for incomparably priceless forever is Bhagawan’s presence!
He came…smiled…and conquered…leaving His indelible mark on the Trust, as well as all those who serve Him at the Trust.
Decades ago when the Trust was initially instituted, His ‘charge d’affaires’ Prof Kasturi was given the premier enterprise, to take the mission ahead, thus commenced the first publication of Sai literature – in the captivating apparel of Sanathana Sarathi. Book Trust moves on, nurturing close to its heart, Bhagawan’s eternal blessings, as a happy and humble instrument in His hand, uniting and enveloping the world with His Love, Light and Grace.
II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavanthu II