Prasanthi Nilayam and Dharmakshetra, twin abodes, woke up to Monday, 2nd November morning with completely contradictory feelings. While Prasanthi Nilayam was in her exuberant best humming tunes to welcome her beloved back, back in Mumbai, Dharmakshetra was experiencing a mixed feeling, rhyming a slow parting tune, reminiscent of a heart that embraced her beloved with all her pristine love, often going nostalgic at her past many an experience of parting her beloved.
Yes, The Lord was returning…and the day at Dharmakshetra began in a somber mode at the very thought of bidding farewell to her Beloved, only to regain her charm embracing the subtlety of the parting feeling which is a reunion at another level.
After two days of hectic schedule busying Bhagawan like any other mumbaikar, the day of departure had no fixed official schedules. After having an interactive session with a group of old students of Sri Sathya Sai University at the Sathya Deep complex, Bhagawan came down to the Jalan Mandap for the parting darshan for the thousands gathered to see the Lord in physical once again in the blessed Dharmakshetra premises.
The parting moment arrived at 2:45 p.m. when His car glided past the holy precincts of Dharmakshetra, escorted by a fleet of over fifteen cars heading to Chatrapathi Shivaji International Terminus. Farewell is a word, so simple and so dour…but the feeling it induces tells how much you loved Him…and the silence that hung in the air and the deserted look Dharmakshetra wore upon His departure said it all.
Lifting off at around 4, the airborne sojourn took precisely sixty-five minutes landing at the tarmac at the Prasanthi Airport at 5:04 p.m. The fortunate aircrew, each member in the entourage and the police security team were blessed with individual “in-flight” photo sessions at the Mumbai Airport before the take off. …And before leaving the Airport premises Bhagawan yet again blessed the crew, for their loving services rendered to Bhagawan and His entourage.
It was a slow attentive drive back to the ashram through the three kilometer stretch blessing hundreds enroute to reach the holy precincts for a traditional welcome with Poornakumbham, colourful flag bearing procession coupled with Vedic chants and a rented air with couple of melodious and meaningful “Swagatham” songs.
First couple of days after His arrival had been witnessing late evening darshans, almost leading to twilight.
Akhanda Bhajan that has been a regular fixture for the second saturday and sunday of the birthday month in the Prasanthi Calendar ever since its inception came bit early this year. 1st of November being the first sunday of the week and 8th November coming as the second sunday, Akhanda Bhajan was scheduled for the 7th and 8th of November. 7th November being Bhagawan’s Birthday based on the Telugu almanac, He chose to distribute sarees to selected fifty odd old women devotees, all by Himself personally ‘handpicking’ the devotees.
The evening witnessed Bhagawan’s fulsome presence. Having come down to the hall at 4:20, after making several rounds and distributing sarees to selected ones, Bhagawan came back to the Bhajan hall again at 5:30. Interacting with many a student, Bhagawan finally lit the Akhanda Jyothi officially commencing the 24-hour Akhanda Bhajan 2009 for Global Peace. After sitting for half an hour, Bhagawan retired to Yajur Mandiram , only to return to the hall at a quarter to eight. Blessing the singers and students in the bhajan hall with His gracious presence, Bhagawan moved down the aisle taking rounds of the illumined Sai Kulwant Hall, packed with devotees, reverberating with bhajans. Bhagawan later returned to Yajur Mandiram at quarter to nine spending a full hour with devotees in the Mandir.
Loud speakers were turned off as a regular practice till the next morning at eight. ..And half an hour slots were fixed for various recognized groups to sing bhajans covering the night session without loud speakers. The morning witnessed yet another saga of His sumptuous darshan. Bhagawan came at around ten and had been there till half past twelve, granting His gracious presence inside and outside Bhajan Hall, moving around, often coming down the aisle blessing the vast concourse. Once again loudspeakers were turned off until half past four. In the evening, Bhagawan came at half past five, once again blessing the bhajan hall that had been eluding His gracious presence during bhajans, for past over ten months, ever since Bhagawan commanded to have bhajans outside. Bhajans continued beyond the scheduled hours, at His instructions, till ten minutes past six when He called for Mangala Arathi.
In the meantime, while coming out from Yajur Mandiram, Bhagawan graciously blessed the prasadam kept at the rear end of the third block in Sai Kulwant Hall. At the end of the twenty-four hour marathon bhajans, prasadam, tamarind rice along with sweet rice, was distributed to the vast concourse of devotees including students. Bhagawan, role-modelling like a typical responsible head of a family, supervised the entire prasadam distribution, spending quite time in the middle, first in the bhajan hall followed by a session on the dais, watching the proceedings outside. Selected teachers and students from the Anantapur campus, involved in leading the Bhajans were blessed with sarees at the hands of Bhagawan after the bhajan sessions. With Bhagawan returning at ten minutes past seven, the week was slowly drawing the curtain handing over the baton to yet another fresh one which was on the anvil.
Dignitary visit for the week included Higher Secondary Education Minister from Karnataka, Aravinda Limbavali seeking Divine Blessings. The week’s Rose Beneficiaries were Director of SSSIHMS, Dr. A.N. Safaya, Asst. Director of SSSIHMS, Dr. Jagdish Chandran, Chief Engineer at SSSIHMS, Mr. Vishwanathan and Plastic Surgeon at SSSIHMS, Dr. Raghava Reddy.
Reflections were pouring in with the blessed entourage returned with Bhagawan bringing inspiring and interesting tales of their sojourn with Bhagawan. For some, it was an occasion to offer back unto The Lord all that He has blessed them with, and for some other it was an great learning ground, seeing and experiencing the organizational modes, living up to His benchmark…all were basking in His glory, reflecting and reminiscing the Highest Boon that came unto them…a Journey with The Divine!