Sathya Sai Centres of Singapore usually have a series of events for remembering and paying respects and conveying our gratitude to our Master; Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba during the Mahasamadhi week finally culminating on 24th April; being the actual Mahasamadhi day.
1st day- 18 April 2015
18th April morning began with Narayan Seva for the foreign workers in their dormitory. Food was prepared and served for the workers at their dormitories.
18th April evening was one of the most memorable evenings for every Sai devotee who was blessed to be part of the special musical program ‘Prema bandham- A bond of love’ by none other than Bro Ravi Kumar, Bro Amey Deshpande and Bro Siddharta Raju; who are the core bhajan team; singing at Prashanti mandir and have been blessed to sing in the divine presence an umpteen number of times. This was part of the program coordinated by the Alumni of Swami’s institutes.
The program for the evening, titled ‘Chal Re Mann Apne Dham’ (Let’s go back to our source) was aptly named so as each and every song and experience rendered and shared by the brothers kept reminding each one of us seated there, of the Divine Master and more so this time of the year which reminds us of His physical separation; a reminder for us to stop looking externally for Him; rather find Him within and finally attain Him who is our ultimate source.
The program began with the title song ‘Chal re mann apne dham’ followed by sharing’s of experiences of brothers as to how they first came to Swami. Each and every song was rendered with lot of love and devotion. The soul stirring songs; ‘O Ma, Sai Maa, Sai bin raha na jaaye, Tumne Kya kya Kiya hamaare liye, Premabandhamu; brought tears to our eyes. Bro Amey’s Om Nama Shivaya’ was breath taking, and no words can describe the most cherished song which Swami loved and often asked Bro Ravi to sing; the qawwali; ‘Mohobbat ki kami’.
This session took me back to the time when we were lovingly taken by Swami into His fold and I was able to reminisce all that He has done for us from then and still doing for us. I shed tears of gratitude to thank Him. I am so grateful for this reminder.
The salient points/ takeaway from the session
- Swami’s unconditional love for His students as well as His devotees. Swami would be a loving mother enquiring about how was their health; had they eaten properly etc and as a father; He would enquire about their grades, other extracurricular activities. As the students were away from the parents; all the more love and attention was showered on them. ‘O ma Sai ma’ and another song “Tum ne kya kya kiya hamaar liye’ brought out all the love and emotion of these students for what their Sai ma had done for them and how much they owed to Him.
Though I didn’t have any such proximity or even a word spoken to me by Swami; my Sai ma has taken care of me in all possible ways esp after the loss of my physical mother. When I look back I realise that His unseen hand has been on me since I was a child. So this song touches me the most. And remembering each and every incident where He has been there for me; I am in gratitude and keep asking ‘You have done so much for me; how can I ever repay You’. Give me the strength to follow Your message dearest Lord.
- Prasad/Naivedya cycle-Bro Amey mentioned that whatever talent we have been bestowed with; is His Prasad or gift to us and how we offer that Prasad to Him is our naivedyam to Him. This analogy is so beautiful. It is His mercy that we are bestowed with talents and equally His grace how He allows it to be offered as a naivedyam for Him. Brothers have been blessed with so much talent and Swami expected them to excel in everything; to be a multifaceted personality; and hence they put in so much efforts and were ever prepared to offer the ‘prasad’ (talents) bestowed to them as naivedyam for the Lord; which pleased Him the most.
When I heard this, I too felt that whatever little sharing capability I have which is nothing; but His pure grace; I should offer to Him and hence I am eager to share it in my blog and hope the readers get some benefit or joy reading it.
- It is the thought behind the act that the Lord looks out for. Brothers shared experiences where Swami was touched with simple love like the one where a student offered a small sum during the construction of Super speciality hospital by actually saving up the amount which he would have used for his laundry. Many more experiences like that were shared like accepting ground nuts from an old lady who felt that was the only thing she could offer Him; small thoughtful heartfelt gift by the students etc. It is always the love and devotion rather than other paraphernalia which pleases the Lord.
This reminded me of my brother who was also Swami’s student and he was once blessed to be part of the Kodaikanal trip with Swami. During that period, once Swami’s little toe was hurt and Swami was limping. My brother saw this and was pained, so he passed a small ointment tube through another brother who was with Swami for applying to the toe. Swami then told that He was fine and didn’t need all this. Some years after this incident; after my brother graduated from Swami’s institute, he was again blessed to be in Kodaikanal and Swami was talking to a group of students and then recollected my brother’s love and concern for Swami. Swami remembered that small act of kindness even after many years.
- Surrender and acceptance of His will– Brother Siddharta shared about how he accepted Swami’s command for him to take a break for 6 months from the Institute due to his grades and despite many people not happy about this decision, brother accepted His command knowing that all would be for his good and it finally happened that way. The batch which he would have actually graduated didn’t have an opportunity to be with Swami at Kodai whereas the next batch in which brother happened to be; was blessed with this most coveted opportunity and which was the last ever visit by Swami in His physical form to Kodai. He knows the best.
I have also observed many times in my life that whenever I have surrendered and accepted His will He always gives the best, but logical mind plays games. Hope to always keep this lesson in mind and try to put it in practise.
- Everything has a right time and place. Brother Ravi shared the incident of Swami’s birthday celebrations. One year when he sang ‘Tere Janam Din main Sai’ Swami was full of joy and happiness, the whole crowd was swaying with joy, so next year as well bro started off the same birthday song; Swami didn’t seem happy about that and wanted him to stop singing it. Brother was wondering what went wrong and Swami then told him that there were many devotees from villages of Andhra who were present for the birthday celebrations and they didn’t understand hindi; so they should sing something which those people would also enjoy and be happy listening to. Everything has a right time, place and situation.
I had a message through this for me. Last week I was on a pilgrimage down south to various temples and in 1 or 2 places I was asked to sing some songs in praise of the Lord. I told them that I didn’t know anything other than some simple bhajans. They asked me to sing whatever I knew. I was not sure whether I should sing the bhajans with ‘Sai’s’ name in it, so with some effort sang a Shiva bhajan without any reference to Sai’s name in that. Later I was thinking was it right to do that? I should have chosen any bhajan even if it was with His name. I got my answer through the above message, that what I did was right for that place. I was in a place where other saints and Masters were adored and though we know all forms and names are His, He guided me to sing the appropriate bhajan suitable to that place and occasion.
- See SAI within-Final message with the most popular song “Mohabbat ki kami’ (if there is a vacuum or lack of feeling of love within you; remember that Sai is always within you) Learn to look within. That is ‘Chal re mann apne dham’ (lets go back to our source) the Sai within.
Swami, need Your grace to seek You within.
Amazing and inspiring musical session ever. Thank You dearest Swami.
The below links share more about the brothers some of which they shared during the session which I have not covered.