MDH:: Invitation to 80 devotees from Singapore
SAI ANUBHAVAM-Love beckons- Muddenahalli a Divine Experience- Part 1'Sai Anubhavam'- (Experience Sai in the Divine Hills of Muddenahalli) was the theme of the spiritual retreat which we, a group of about 80 devotees from Singapore were to embark on; from 1 Dec 2013 to 4 Dec 2013. I was looking forward with bated breath for this blissful retreat. I had heard so much about the Sathya Sai Grama at Muddenahalli (a village located about 45min drive from Bangalore airport on the way to Puttaparthi. Sathya Sai Grama is the haven of Institutions of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust at Muddenahalli) and now it was time to actually experience this much talked about place.
Our Singapore coordinators planned the trip well in advance and had chalked out all the necessary preparations that needed to be done before we could begin this journey. We had to practise individual sadhana (spiritual practises) daily, beginning 2 weeks prior to the trip. This included early morning chanting of the 21 Omkaars, Sai Suprabhatam, followed by Jyoti meditation and nine times chanting of Gayatri Mantra, Sai Gayatri and Samastha Lokaah along with reading of Sai literature for at least 30 min. This was like a warm up exercise to be ready for the actual sadhana at Muddenahalli.The group left Singapore on 30 Nov night and reached Muddenahalli at about 2.30 am on 1 Dec. Since I had left for Bangalore earlier, I reached Muddenahalli on the evening of 30 Nov.
The real inward journey now begins.
True to the title I have given, 'LOVE' was the highlight in this trip. From the start of the day till the lights were shut off at night, we experienced 'Love in Action'. Care was taken to the minutest details. From food to the spiritual talks and all other activities were arranged to perfection.
We had both the food for the body as well as the soul. We were treated like 'baraatis' (people from bridegroom's side) when they arrive for a wedding and served the most delicious meals and snacks four times a day with so much love by the students and teachers of the campus. We were jocularly mentioning that this is the first spiritual retreat where we have chanted the food prayer 'Brahmaarpanam' more times than any other prayers. We were not even allowed to lift or clean up our own plates after food. They taught us the lesson of practising 'Love All Serve All'. The spiritual talks were also thoughtfully planned by the organisers, which captivated all of us and brought home a lot of messages and learnings.
The first thought that came to my mind there, was "Where has Swami gone? 'Nowhere', He is 'now here'. In each one of them I saw Swami, all of them exactly behaved and acted the way Swami would have expected them to. They were living up to His message. It was all through "Athithi Devo Bhava'(Treat guest as God) in action.
SAI ANUBHAVAM- Love Beckons- Muddenahalli- Divine Experience Part 230 Nov 2013, Saturday 7.15pm
Navigating through the unlit, bumpy pathways of little villages off the Bangalore Hyderabad highway, we managed to finally reach the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning campus, Muddenahalli, shining as a jewel in the midst of the lovely hills and dales at around 7pm. As our car entered the premises, we could sense a divine aura about the whole place. The moment we got off the car, two Sai brothers were at the door step to welcome us warmly with a beaming smile and gentle 'Sairam'- (a panacea to all the Sai devotees around the globe). They were ready with our room keys and thoughtfully had put me up in a studio room for a single occupant ( though I had requested for a room partner) since the person who was to stay with me would arrive only by 2 am and it would disturb my sleep. From the very beginning everything was planned to the detail. I was led to a clean bright room with all the toiletries in place, snacks, mineral water all stacked up in 5 star style. The brother also insisted in carrying the luggage up to my room. Needless to say I was very happy with all the arrangements, as I hadn't really expected such a warm welcome.
My husband had just come to drop me off and was to return immediately to catch a flight back to Singapore as he had some work commitments. When the volunteers there came to know of this, they quickly arranged for a vehicle for us to have a darshan (divine sight) of the 2 mandirs 'Prem Deep' and 'Sai Anandam'(temples- residences of Swami- Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) and gave us vibhuti prasadam and insisted that my husband partake the dinner prasadam before he leaves. We were touched by their love and hospitality. This was just the beginning; little did I know what the next 3 days had in store for me?
We partook a sumptuous dinner fit for the Gods, served with utmost devotion and love by the teachers and students of the campus. My husband reluctantly left the place to attend to his duties back in Singapore and I retired to the quietness of my room waiting for the break of the dawn.
SAI ANUBHAVAM- Muddenahalli- Divine Experience- Part 3
1st Dec 2013
The day started around 8.30am in the morning as many of the Singapore devotees had arrived and settled only by 4am early morning. We were treated to the most delicious breakfast ever again served with so much love and humility. We enjoyed every bite in the beautiful setting with lovely Sai sisters and brothers and an awesome weather.
We then did a campus tour of the place where we visited the old residence of Swami, the auditorium, Goshala- Cow shed, the mandirs 'Prem Deep' and 'Sai Anandam.' The entire campus was like a green paradise, with 'Tulsi" (holy basil) plants, palm trees and hibiscus flowers adoring every corner.GreeneryGoshalaAuditoriumAltar at the AuditoriumOldest residence of SwamiPrem DeepSai Anandam
This spiritual retreat was the first event to be organised by the "Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence", Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli. The event was inaugurated by the lighting of the lamp by Sri B. Narayana Rao, Secretary, Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust followed by welcome talk by our Katong Centre, Singapore President Bro Rajesh. After the formalities, the programme for the day commenced.
We were longing to hear a series of inspiring talks by various ardent devotees and students of Swami.
The first among them was by a very well-known Sai brother, Bro Aravind of Radio Sai. He shared beautiful experiences as a student of Swami.
Some of the key points of the talk were the following:· Swami says; "If you need Me, you deserve Me." After the need is fulfilled don't forget Swami, because you will need Him again. If one really pines for the Lord, He is sure to win the grace of the Lord.· Always hold on to Him. If one holds their hands imagining one of them to be Swami's hand and clasp it, you will realise that it is actually the way we pray. So holding on to Him is itself a prayer.· Talk to Swami. We may not hear Him respond or see Him, but He knows every thought and words of ours. He is always ready to hear us provided we talk. Brother shared an experience where Swami proved that He heard whatever brother had spoken to Him in his imagination. We should have the firm belief that our inner voice is Swami's voice and not our ego. Swami will always prevent us from doing the wrong or getting the wrong messages.· The messenger leaves when the message is conveyed. So if we adore and respect the messenger, we should 'live' the message.This was followed by a short address by Mr. Narayana Rao about the Institute. One can know more about this at
After the lunch break , Mr Narayana Bhat, a yoga master shared with us the significance of yoga.· "The word "yoga" is derived from the root "yuj," means to unite, suggesting the fusion of the two principles, self and totality. It is for both the body and the mind.· The right practice of yoga leads to union of the human with the divine· There are four main divisions of yoga: Karma (action), Bhakti (devotion), Jnana (wisdom or knowledge) and Raja (penance) yoga .· The upward progress towards the supreme end is made up of eight stages. They are as follows: Yama (moral virtue); Niyama (rules and observances); Asana (bodily postures); Pranayama (control of the life force); Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses); Dharana (memory); Dhyana (meditation); and Samadhi (total concentration).· The first two stages are ethical preparations emphasizing morality, cleanliness, and devotion to God. The next two stages are physical preparations that condition the body to make it supple, flexible, and healthy – the physical aspects of fifth stage involves control of the mind and senses to withdraw from sensual objects. The remaining three stages entail the cultivation of increasingly concentrated states of awareness.· Control of kaya (body), vacha (speech) and Manasa (thoughts)
It was a good learning indeed especially for us, as beginners.This was followed by the much awaited talk by Dr Srikant Sola's on 'Path to Self-Realisation is very easy.' Dr Sola is very well known cardiologist currently practising in Swami's Whitefield Super Speciality hospital. He is also a highly evolved soul and often teaches the techniques of meditation to a lot of interested people. One can know more about him at
We were very fortunate to hear from him and practise the 'Thumb meditation', a technique which involves lifting of the thumb in front of us and observing it continuously for 12 seconds for a start.
About thumb meditation· How long should you practice the thumb meditation? Swami says that when we practice the thumb meditation for 12 seconds, it becomes one period of dharana, or concentration. When we practice this for 12 x 12 seconds (2 minutes 24 seconds), it becomes one period of dhyana, or meditation. When we practice this dhyana for 12 consecutive periods, then one will attain samadhi (absolute equal mindedness, or merger of the small self with the Godself).· Start with 12 seconds, and then gradually extend the period of practice. Everyone has 12 seconds free during the day to practice this simple meditation. When practiced in this way every day for 3 months, one will be blessed with laser like concentration.· Why the thumb? Swami jokingly says; that it is because we always carry our thumb around with us. But the deeper reason is that the purusha, the soul within the body is said in our Vedas to be the size of the thumb. But we can do the thumb meditation with any object – a photo, the light of a lamp, a star, a speck on the wall, the light of a traffic signal, etc.· One can even practise this for eg At a traffic signal, waiting for the light to go from red to green. In the grocery store checkout line, the bank, the post office, etc.
Learnings from the talk other than the thumb meditation were· Download everything from Swami; knowledge, strength etc and experience it· Believe that you are God. We are all having a dream experience (illusion) that we are separate from God.· It is a reflective universe. What you think happens. Everything is resound, reaction and reflection. So have the self-confidence and strong conviction that you are God.· We have only one free will. Either identify yourself as body or identify yourself as God.· Let go of the body consciousness.· Constantly watch what is removing you away from that awareness.· How to live a self-realised life? Clarity of mind and thoughts and Constant sadhana. Discipline is very important for performing a sadhana. It is more important than devotion.
After this profound learning session we proceeded to 'Sai Anandam' to derive the Anandam (Bliss) listening to the soulful rendering of Bhajans by students of Muddenhalli campus.
Thus we blissfully ended day 1.
SAI ANUBHAVAM- Love Beckons-Muddenahalli- Divine Experience- Part 42 Dec 2013
The day began early with 21 chants of Omkaaram, Sai suprabhatam. We had about 10-15 min after that for meditation.Prem Deep Altar
This was followed by the Yoga session for ladies at 'Prem Deep' by Sis Ambika from Mangalore, who specially came to Muddenahalli for these 4 days to do seva. She taught us the basic simple exercises of yoga including pranayama and asanas for beginners. She taught the technique of chanting Omkara. AUM consists of 3 syllables. A- akaara, the sound should emerge from the stomach region, then u- ukaara the chest and respiratory region and finally M- makara sound should be resonating on top of the head.
Yoga offers such a broad range of healing benefits, because it works holistically on the level of our whole being, not just the physical body. According to yoga philosophy, we are not just our physical body or mind, we are holistic, multi-dimensional beings made up by many different, interactive levels.
In the yoga framework, these levels are referred to as the five sheaths of our being, or the Five Koshas. Starting from the outermost layer and moving towards the core, the Five Koshas proceed from outer to inner in greater and greater levels of subtlety:1. -The Physical body. This sheath represents the physical body, the 'regular' gross expression of our body that we can see, touch and feel. The Sanskrit word 'Anna' means food, and the word 'maya' means appearance. This is the sheath of food, nourished by and created by our daily intake of food. The Annamayakosha is our physical body, the most familiar aspect of our being. As we practice yoga asanas, the physical body is the starting point of our experience. (Sitting straight)2. -The Energy body. According to yoga therapy traditions, this is the second layer of our being. Prana means energy, prana is the life-force, the vital energy which flows through and enlivens all our physical systems. The breath is the most physical expression of prana, and prana is closely related to the breath. Breath awareness and breathing practices, called pranayama, increase and facilitate the flow of prana in the body and balance the flow of the life force to all the physical systems. (Observing your breath)3. -The Mental-Emotional body. Manas means mind, and the Manamayakosha is the layer of our being expressed as mind, emotions, and feelings. These are the mental faculties with which we absorb, process, and interpret input from our life presented through the senses of the physical body. (Be at the present moment)4. -The Wisdom body. The fourth Kosha is considered part of the subtle body. Vijnana means knowing, and this sheath represents the higher mind, the faculty of wisdom, which lies underneath the processing, thinking, reactive mind. This is the level of our being, that has the higher wisdom to guide us through life and lead us to higher and higher levels of truth and integration. It represents the reflective aspects of our consciousness, which allow us to experience a deeper insight into ourselves and the world around us. (Be aware)5. The Bliss body. This is the fifth and final sheath of our being. 'Ananda' means bliss, not bliss in the sense of emotions, such as happiness or pleasure, but an expanded, unbounded experience of reality. The ancients viewed the experience of the Bliss body as an experience of the deepest level of our being, an unbounded, blissful state of peace, joy, and love. (Connecting to God)
According to yoga philosophy, this is known as Atman-the unbounded, universal Oneness of all that exists.
Next was the talk by Mrs Karuna Munshi of Radio Sai on 'Ceiling of Desires'. The emphasis was mainly on understanding the actual meaning of Ceiling of desires. (COD)· It is to lead a life as per the 'Golden Mean' theory by Aristotle. In philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, the golden mean is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency.· In Chinese philosophy, a similar concept, 'Doctrine of the Mean', was propounded by Confucius; Buddhist philosophy also includes the concept of the middle way.· This means that we should live moderately, not wasting or splurging money. But we should have enough for a decent life.· This is true for COD of money, food, energy and time.· If we apply this in our daily lives we will be happier and also be able to serve others in a positive manner.
Following this was talk on 'Spiritual Sadhana and Self Evaluation of Spiritual Progress' by Sri Narasimha Murthy.
(Sri B.N.Narasimhamurthy hails from Loka Seva Vrinda, an order of committed youngsters founded by Sri Madiyal Narayana Bhatt, an eminent educationist of Karnataka in India. The Loka Seva Vrinda established two schools at Allikke and Muddanahalli. The institutions and the society were being run under the direct guidance of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The members of the Lok Seva Vrinda are known as 'Thyaagajeevi"s and are bachelors. On the demise of Sri Madiyal Narayana Bhatt, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba took over the institutions and the Loka Seva Vrinda became Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust. Sri Narasimha Murthy was chosen by Bhagavan to serve as the Warden of Sathya Sai Hostel in Brindavan Campus of Sathya Sai University in Whitefield, near Bangalore in India. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba also gave him the rare oppertunity to continue " Sathyam Sivam Sundaram" the official biography of Baba which was earlier authored by Prof N.Kasthuri. Sri Narasimha Murthy has narrated his formative years and the development of Loka Seva institutions in his well received autographical book "Sri Sathya Sai Divya Kripashraya)
Uncle shared Swami's message for the Singapore group.
Uncle's words were profound· Purity and Innocence provides great capacity for faith. Children have these 3 qualities. We must preserve these as we grow.· It is said "Matru Devo Bhava, Pitru Devo Bhava, Acharya Devo Bhava, Atithi Devo Bhava". We have duty towards all of them. But when we start getting too much attached and give more to the world than to God, then things start going wrong.· We must tell Swami, 'We feel Your presence everywhere and surrender to Your will. Thy will be done'. He will always do the best for us.· Show compassion to all beings. Remind ourselves of 'oneness' of all.· Make spirituality the way of life.· Nine point formula for Spiritual Progress· Early to Bed. Early to Rise.· Simple living and high thinking.· Set aside atleast 30 minutes everyday for satsanga or swadhyaya. (Self study of Spiritual learning)· Set aside atleast 30 minutes every morning for communion with God (either through meditation or prayer or contemplation)· Put in effort to do full time seva; praying for others is mental seva, speaking kindly and lovingly is verbal seva. Serve with activity whenever an opportunity presents itself· Chant God's name continuously by practice of namasmarana· Have love for everyone in your heart, but conduct yourself according to Dharma or righteousness· Offer all your activity to God all the time (mental, verbal and Physical)· Perceiving God in everyone, everywhere.
In the afternoon, the Singapore Youth sisters organised a spiritual quiz program which was very interesting and well planned.
After a break, we had the lovely narration of Swami's experiences by Smt Sucharita. Aunty is an old time devotee of Swami, dating back to 1944. Her grandfather Mr Sheshagiri Rao was one of the earliest devotees of Swami. The Rao family were instrumental in starting the akhanda bhajans (now it has grown into the yearly global akhand bhajans ) way back in 1944. Their family is very fortunate and immensely blessed to have known Swami for the past 7 decades. Her experiences were really comparable to that of Gopikas in Vrindavan who experienced Lord Krishna's leelas. Sucharita aunty and her family experienced such wonderful leelas of our Sai Krishna.She has shared most of these experiences at 'Samarpan' talks in Brindavan. Whitefield. If interested you could visit the link. . Definitely worth listening.
Through aunty's sharing session we were able to actually visualise those past glorious days of Parthi. We were basking in joy listening in rapt attention to her lovely anecdotes of our Lord Sai.The significant message of her talk was, '.
The final program for the day was a drama by the pre-university students of Muddenahalli. The story, costume, setting and acting were all to perfection. The story was about a Guruji (teacher) who wanted to impart value based holistic education free of cost to all the children, in accordance with Swami's words. He faces so many difficulties in terms of financial needs, but how his conviction and faith in Swami helps him achieve his objective was very well portrayed. The students presented the story with so much feeling that we could not control our emotions. They had placed a special seat for Swami in the first line of the audience and how they invoked the blessings of Swami at the start and finish of the play, really touched our hearts. All of us could feel the Divine presence that evening. The commitment and dedication of the teachers and students are worth emulating.
SAI ANUBHAVAM- Love beckons- Muddenahalli- Divine Experience- Part 53 Dec 2013
The morning schedule was similar to the previous day, starting with Omkaar, Suprabhatam and yoga. It was such a beautiful feeling when we used to gather at a common place and proceed to 'Prem Deep' together and on the way, in the twilight surrounded by hills listening to the chanting of suprabhatam by students in their respective hostels and beginning of Nagarasankirtan by various small groups. It was as if we were transported to some celestial place. The feeling cannot be explained in mere words, it has to be experienced.
That morning suprabhatam session we were also fortunate to hear the tune in which Swami sang the suprabhatam. All the 3 days the suprabhatam was led by a Sai student, who rendered it very beautifully and with full of devotion.
The first talk that morning was by Bro Madhusudhan Naidu, alumni, SSSIHL (Swami's institution). It was a very wonderful experience sharing session and the take away lessons were· You are not the doer· Whatever happens, happens for the good· Complete surrender happens only if you have complete faith· One must choose the Lord. When you have Him, everything else will be yours.· Goal of one's life is to know Him and then become Him. i.e be selfless· Devotion only to the Lord. 'I' to 'We' to 'He'. i.e selfish to less of self to selfless· Grace gives grades (of course we should try our best also)· No pretensions especially in front of the Lord. We should really mean what we say.
Most of these experiences have been shared by brother in radio sai. Attaching the links for those who are interested to know about the lovely experiences
This was followed by yet another heart-warming sharing session by alumni of Swami's college, Bro V.Kumar, who is an accomplished singer (he has recorded many bhajans in the Bhajan CD Series by Alumni of SSSIHL-'Bridge Across Time'). He has been blessed by Swami in so many occasions and various lessons were learnt. The lessons were not only for him, but it is applicable for all of us as well.· When God is beside you, the whole world will be around you. (He shared an experience in Prashanthi Nilayam, where Swami asked brother Kumar to stand next to Him during one of the Ganesha festivals, while various Ganeshas from the campuses were being brought near Swami and after circumbulating Swami, was to be taken for immersion. Brother felt very odd standing next to Swami during this process. But Swami insisted and then all the boys took the Ganeshas around both Swami and brother. Swami asked brother whether he knew why Swami asked him to stand next to Him? Brother didn't know an appropriate answer for this. Swami then explained to him that when brother keeps Swami next to him, the world will be around him, just as he had experienced then. This was a very big learning which brother still treasures. It is a lesson for us also to remember that when God is with us, the whole world will be around us, but unfortunately we don't seem to realise this fact.· Complete faith in Swami and Swami's love. (Swami resurrected brother's mother in 1985 at Prasanthi Nilayam)· Swami's compassion-'When you do My work, I will do your work'. (Swami helped brother by sending a special pen for his exam when he was not very well prepared, as he was busy with Swami's work. With Swami's blessings, brother was able to write his exam well with the Divine pen and attained good grades).· Swami cured brother of a severe cough once and took it upon Himself. When brother realised that, he felt very guilty and for that Swami responded, 'Nothing will happen to your Master. Passing clouds-3 days." He blessed brother by first pressing His thumb on brother's forehead so hard that he almost fell back and suddenly felt his entire body being re energised and then Swami gave a shot on brother's head and asked him to pull his tongue out and Swami either wrote something on the tongue or blessed it and even before brother could realise what was happening, Swami told him to go to the mandir and sing a bhajan. Brother was taken aback by this as he was not a great singer then, just a bathroom singer as he puts it. After that day there was no looking back. Brother became one of the most prominent and well known bhajan singers at the mandir and still sings whenever he is at Prashanthi Nilayam.· The gifts bestowed by Swami to His devotees are meant for Him. (Brother had a deep urge to sing for All India Radio (Biggest radio station in India) and expressed that desire to Swami. Swami lovingly made him realise that his voice was meant only for Swami/God. That is what is best for him.
It was indeed a great learning for all of us.
After the lunch session, we visited the 'Prashanti Bala Mandir' situated about 30min drive from Muddenahalli in Chikballapur. It was an eye opener for all of us to have a tour of this beautiful school where about 450 students are taught free.Prashanti Bala Mandir- AltarClassroom at Prashanti Bala Mandir· The veda chantings by the students of the school were fabulous. About 60 to 70 girls chanted the Ganesha Atharvashirsha in unison. It was absolute joy to hear them chant so well.· Many of the children studying in the school are from nearby villages or slums.· They received us in the classrooms with so much love and warmth. They were full of smiles, wishing us 'Sairam' and telling some rhymes, poems etc in their native language Kannada.· The place has Samadhi of a great saint named 'Yogeshwar' who attained Samadhi while he was alive and was buried underground. This was about some 60 years ago and he had predicted that there would be educational institutions in this very place and the 'real yogeshwar' (Swami) would come here.· The commitment and dedication of the administrators and teachers are commendable. This was yet another eye opener for us, seeing people work so selflessly, living up to Swami's message.
Evening talk was by Bro Vijay Sai alumni from Brindavan campus of Swami's college.· He shared how he came to Swami's fold and how he had various opportunities to sing and talk in presence of Swami.· Swami guided him how to start and end his speeches with couplets from various scriptures.· One of the incidents he shared really showed Lord's love towards His devotees. Once in Kodaikanal Bro Vijay was about to speak in presence of an Indian Journalist, Mr V K Narasimhan of 'The Indian Express' newspaper. He had prepared a speech very well on the topic of 'Grace'. When he came to the stage, Swami told the editor to ask Bro Vijay to speak on any topic of the editor's choice. Brother was dumbfounded. The editor asked him to speak on 'Faith and Surrender'. Brother was not prepared for this. He just took Swami's blessings and started with a couplet. (Fortunately for the brother, this editor had a habit of dozing off on and off) and during this period whenever brother got stuck with his speech, Swami kept prompting him to quote examples of Mirabai, Gajendra moksham etc which were stories of faith and surrender. The speech was a hit and was well appreciated by the editor.· Here brother Vijay mentioned a beautiful couplet in hindi, "Apna maan tale tal jaaye, bhakt ka maan na talne deta" meaning the Lord is prepared to lose His face or image but will never allow His devotees to lose face. That is the love of the Master.· If we trust the Lord and have complete faith in Him, we should follow His command without questioning and He will come to help us for sure.Sai Anandam Altar
Following this was awesome bhajan session at 'Sai Anandam' by the alumni students including Bro V Kumar, Bro Vijay Sai and Bro Sriram. Their soulful bhajans touched the depths of our hearts. Especially with the 'Humko Tum se pyaar kitna-Ee Prema bandhamu' song. (We love You Swami). All of us could feel so much of Swami's presence that evening.
Thus the third day of bliss came to a close.
SAI ANUBHAVAM- Muddenahalli- Love Beckons-Divine Experience- Part 64 Dec 2013
This was the last day of our stay at Muddenahalli. None of us wanted to leave this Divine place. The day started with Omkaar, Suprabhatam and yoga. Yoga was getting more intense with the learning of Surya Namaskaars. The session was enjoyable.
The morning talk was by Bro Govind Reddy, who is the Chairman of the Gulburga Campus of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust. He shared his experiences with Swami.· How he didn't believe in Swami initially and even disapproved of his parents attending Sai bhajan. How finally Swami dragged him into His fold.· He was blessed with opportunity to be Swami's driver for a couple of years. Brother used to collect letters for Swami from the devotees, and during one such time he learnt a great lesson about Swami. There was this one envelope from some VIP which contained cheque of a huge amount for Swami's projects and how Swami tore that up and told brother to return it back to the VIP indicating that 'Swami cannot be bought by money, He can be bought by love only.'· Swami was very particular about the intention with which anything was given to Him. He may out of compassion accept gifts; sweets etc from the devotees but will put it into use for the Divine projects or for the students, only if the intention is pure. The intention behind any act should be pure, if we need His grace and blessings.
This was followed by a Q & A session by Uncle Narsimha Murthy.
Some of the questions he answered were
Q. Sadhana practiseA. Mentioned in his talk on 'spiritual development' – Day 2 of our retreat. (Refer to Part 4 of Sai Anubhavam) experience-part-4
Q. ABCD of Spiritual progress chart-
A. Awareness of inner joy/bliss, Balance of Mind, Control of Senses and Dedication to the welfare of the world.
A. Concentrate on Swami's form or any ishta devata (favourite deity). First concentration, then contemplation and then meditation. Swami's 'Dhyana Vahini' is one of the best books to be referred for meditation.
Q. Swami's return as Prema Sai-
A. We must have the patience to wait for Him (Swami) to make the announcement when He would declare the Prema Sai Avatar.
Q. How to retain children in Sai fold, once they become teenagers?
A. Parents approach should be 0-5 yrs- be a parent, 5-15 yrs- be a warden, 15-20 yrs- treat them as younger brother or sister and after 20yrs- be a good friend. When one has this approach, the children can be raised well. This begins from home. We should first practise all values at home. Become a role model. Learning comes by observing parents doing the right actions.
The programme and the retreat came to a close with the feedback session by the Singapore group and concluding talk by Uncle Narsimhamurthy, where he emphasised on 'Complete involvement and Total detachment.' All the participants were presented a lovely memento.Memento- Front side
Memento behind picture
This was followed by Arathi for Swami and lunch.
I have a list of people to thank for without whom I would not have been able to partake this divine nectar of love and learning at the Divine abode· First and foremost gratitude to my Divine Master, my beloved Swami for planting the seed of yearning to visit this place and be a part of the spiritual retreat.· My Sai brothers and sisters at Katong Sai centre, Singapore, who had done the preparations well in advance for all the logistics to be handled smoothly for the retreat. The coordinators Bro Visu, Bro Rajesh, Bro Ram, Bro Sutha and Bro Yugu need a special mention here, as they were the 'sutradaars' in making this journey a comfortable one.· My heartfelt thanks to Bro Shiva and Bro Ravi Kasthuri, the co-ordinators at Muddenahalli, who under the able guidance of Uncle Murthy, made us feel as special guests of Swami. Words cannot express what we have experienced there. Another person worth mentioning is Bro Manjrekar, a teacher at the campus there, whose smile was irresistible and whose hospitality (especially in serving food during the lunch/dinner sessions) is unparalleled. (He is one of the main reasons why all of us have added 2/3kgs of body weight during our period of stay there :))
It is a 'must' visit place. It is one of the places where transformation of hearts is bound to happen, as we are watching all the messengers of Swami living His message day in and day out.
This was a real spiritual treat for all of us and is still fresh in our memories, weeks after our return to Singapore.
I pray to Swami that we keep reminding ourselves of these blissful days, lessons learnt and how we should be putting this into practise in our daily lives.
"Your life is My message"- Swami
Jai Sai Ram