It was the year 2011. A year which will never ever be forgotten by a Sai devotee. The year Master shed His mortal coil. That year I visited Parthi around Guru Purnima; the first visit after His Mahasamadhi. It was hard to accept that Swami was not physically present at Prashanti but the huge pictures and the Samadhi mandir were resonating with His Divine vibrations. That year we were planning our first trip to the US, as we wanted to check out some universities for my daughter who was to start her under-graduation in 2013. We decided to visit the West Coast- California as it had many good universities. I prayed Swami to show His omnipresence to us in US as well.
As usual whenever we visit any country we try to locate a Sai centre and in LA we were at Hollywood and the closest centre there was at Glendale. We had contacted devotees before going to the US and they had sent the addresses and schedules of different centres in California. We were not sure which date would be convenient for us, so we didn’t confirm the exact date to the concerned people. When we were at Hollywood, we were staying in a hotel bang opposite one of the biggest ‘Hard Rock’ cafes. Whenever we came out of our hotel, a big signage of ‘Love All, Serve All’ would be constantly reminding of His omnipresence.
One Friday evening we decided to visit the Glendale centre about 30/45 min drive from where we stayed. We knew that bhajans would be on that day and hence took a cab and reached the centre on time. The bhajans were beautiful and after the bhajans; a video on Swami was shown. Then there was an announcement that some devotees from Singapore (ie us) were here and they welcomed us warmly to attend the other programs as well.
After the arati, it was around 8.30/9pm, my husband was calling for a cab for us to return back to the hotel. Suddenly a kind lady came behind me and started talking to me. She asked me whether we were visiting some relatives and how had had we managed to come to the centre etc? When she knew that we were calling for a cab and staying in a hotel, she immediately called out to her husband and insisted that they would drop us back to the hotel. They were an old couple 65 plus age, who drove every week around 45 min to reach the centre and their destination was opposite of where we stayed. My husband politely refused their offer as it would be a bother for them driving so far late in the night and that too quite far away from their place.
They refused to listen to us and insisted with so much love that we had to accept a 45 min ride from them. On the way she enquired whether we had dinner and when we said we would have it after we reach the hotel, she felt so bad and told me that had she known earlier that we would be at the centre that evening she would have cooked for us. We were touched by her kind words. Then she asked me the purpose of our visit and when I mentioned about our daughter’s admissions; without a blink of eye she told me, “If your daughter gets admission in LA, we will be her guardians”. OMG, we least expected something like this. We hardly knew these people and their outpouring of love without any expectation bowled us over. These loving people were Dr Chandra Das and his wife who regularly went to the Super Speciality Hospital at Parthi and served there selflessly. They dropped us back at our hotel around 10pm. We conveyed our heartfelt thanks to them.
Just as we were entering our hotel; I turned back to see ‘Love All, Serve All’ again, I smiled and understood what it meant! It was indeed a lesson for all 3 of us as to how we should serve others with love whenever we get an opportunity. Every visit to a Sai centre teaches us something especially on love. We are indeed blessed to be part of the Sai family where we believe ‘Our life should be His message’. By Swami’s grace let this belief turn into action.