National Capital Delhi endured a long wait of 11 years and the erstwhile summer capital during the British Raj, Shimla, endured it much devotedly for a much longer period, 35 years, both praying to Bhagawan to set His Divine Lotus Feet yet again granting the sanctifying satiating touch, in Delhi and Shimla.
It was on 30th March during evening Darshan that Bhagawan called Mr. Jatinder Cheema, State President of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations - Delhi, onstage, confirming His Divine visit starting from 9th of April. The day next found a group of students, especially music troupe, earning attention, marking and finally making them eligible to form the Divine entourage along with some senior devotees. And what followed from their side was hectic practice sessions that extended beyond midnight hours, fine tuning their skills ensuring the Prasanthi benchmark.
April 9th to 18th, a nine day sojourn, started off with Bhagawan taking off in a specially chartered Kingfisher VT KFG airliner from Prasanthi Nilayam airport. After a prayerful and reverential farewell from Prasanthi Nilayam the specially chartered “Air Chariot” carrying Bhagawan and His entourage touched down the tarmac at the Indira Gandhi international Airport at 1645 hr., to reverential welcome by Sri Jatinder Cheema, the State President of Sri Sathya Sai Organisation, Delhi-NCR and other senior functionaries of the Sai Organisation. After an hour-long drive by car, Bhagawan reached Sri Sathya Sai International Centre which was magnificently decorated to welcome The Lord to Delhi after an 11-year hiatus, the last visit of Bhagawan to Delhi being in the year 1999.
At the Sri Sathya Sai International Centre, “Divine Abode” in Delhi, the venue had a riot of colours with decorations galore greeting The Lord. Bhagawan was accorded a Poornakumbha Swagatam at the International Centre. As His car turned into the street where the International Centre is situated, at around 1740 hrs., the drums beat out loud welcoming Him. Bhagawan’s car was led up to the entrance of the Centre by the boys of the band dressed in white and blue, followed by the group of Veda chanting boys dressed in orange. There were many Balvikas children showering rose petals acknowledging the auspiciousness of receiving The Mighty Lord. As He entered, serene air surrounding the centre was rendered by a sweet welcome song and upon alighting He was accorded a Poornakumbha Swagatam, as Divinity ‘deserved’.
Upon alighting Bhagawan came onstage granting the first darshan in 11 years satiating the hunger of thousands who were awaiting The Lord from the morning hours.
Being His Divine Abode, the Sri Sathya Sai International Centre had the great good fortune of hosting Divine Darshan sessions invariably both in the morning and evening, irrespective of schedules at other venues.
On the first morning of Bhagawan in Delhi after 11 years, the Sri Sathya Sai International Centre was bristling with devotees in large numbers. Along with these thousands there were men and women of accomplishments from the world of business and society, vying to steal a glance and blessings from Bhagawan. This included the Chairman and Managing Director of Bharti Telecom that runs India’s largest cellular company, Airtel, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Hero Honda Group Chairman, Brij Mohanlal Munjal, S.K. Birla, Chairman, S.K. Birla Group, Minister of State for Railways, Mr.Muniappa and Justice Karpaga Vinayagam, currently Chairman, Appellate Tribunal For Electricity and Times of India Chief, Mrs. Indu Jain and many secretaries of various ministries of the Government of India.
After the morning Darshan Bhagawan was gracious enough to move to the Primary School block where a cultural programme was presented on the theme of unity of religions by Balvikas children from the slum areas of Delhi adopted for all-round development by Sri Sathya Sai Organisation of Delhi under Sri Sathya Sai Village Integrated Programme. At the conclusion of the drama, Bhagawan blessed the children before moving into the rows of devotees granting the the bliss of close proximity.
Dwarka, almost thirty-five kilometers from the SSSIC was the chosen venue for public darshan and the first afternoon’s programme was schedule at the Dwarka grounds. Before going to the Dwarka grounds, Bhagawan granted darshan at Sri Sathya Sai International Centre. At Dwarka, a mammoth congregation of devotees from Delhi regions, and from the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh assembled with eager anticipation to experience the bliss of His beauteous darshan. The programme commenced with Veda chanting which was followed up with bhajan. Thereafter, Balvikas children from Delhi had an excellent drama presentation. Bhagawan sat through the entire presentation, blessed the children at the end of the drama and even blessed them with a coveted photo session.
On the third day, Sunday, 11th April 2010, Bhagawan granted darshan at Sri Sathya Sai International Centre while bhajan was on. Coming out at 1050 hrs., Bhagawan sat through till 1125 hrs. and similarly in the evening, upon emerging at 1620 hrs,. He sat through till 1640 hrs. granting the feast of darshan. Family of the first citizen of India, of President Ms. Pratibha Patil, was at the centre seeking Divine blessings. Former Union Finance Minister, Mr. Yeshwant Sinha was the other dignitary present at the centre seeking Divine Blessings.
The evening programme was scheduled at the Mavlankar Auditorium behind Parliament House. A select gathering of devotees, legislatures and dignitaries that included several secretaries of Government of India, several senior lawyers, bureaucrats, technocrats, parliamentarians, business magnates, media personalities, diplomats and CEO’s of MNC’s were present at the auditorium. Cabinet Secretary Sri K.M. Chandrasekhar eminent jurist Ram Jethmalani and noted TV journalist and film personality Rajeev Mehrotra were some of the names present at the auditorium.
Bhagawan arrived at 1700 hrs. and the programme commenced with former Chief of Air Staff Nirmal Kumar Suri addressing the gathering introducing the speakers for the august assembly. The first speaker was Sri Sunil Bharti Mittal, Managing Director of Bharti Telecom. Sri Mittal spoke about his long association with Bhagawan, his marriage into a family of Bhagawan’s devotees and his first darshan of Bhagawan at Moga in seventies. Referring to the life and teachings of Bhagawan, the eminent speaker observed that Bhagawan’s universal message of truth, righteousness, love, peace and non-violence was for the redemption of entire mankind without any differences of religions, countries, nationalities and races. The second speaker was Sri S.V. Giri, former Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai University who went in detail explaining how Bhagawan’s Mission was spreading worldwide and was bringing about transformation in the lives of people of different countries and faiths from all strata of society. The last speaker Prof. G. Venkataraman, former Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai University, made an impressive presentation with the help of video clippings and slides on Bhagawan’s Chennai Water Project, highlighting its salient features and Bhagawan’s concern for the difficulties of common people, specially those from economically weaker sections of society.
Next to come was a drama entitled, “Life is a Game, Play It” which highlighted the importance of Bhagawan’s message on the Indian epic, Bhagavad Gita by the Sai Youth that has a sizeable number of old students from Sri Sathya Sai University.
Upon the conclusion of the programme, from the Mavlankar auditorium, Bhagawan along with His entourage reached the residence of Sri Kulwant Rai, and industrialist and formerly State President of Sri Sathya Sai Organisation of Delhi, at Aurangazeb Lane. Special arrangements had been made for public darshan outside the residence where huge gathering of devotees had been engaged in singing His glory. Blessing the concourse, blessing the family members Bhagawan and His entourage was treated with dinner before returning to Sri Sathya Sai International Centre.
The day next found Bhagawan, upon blessing the assembly at the International centre, visiting
Bahá'í House of Worship, the Lotus Temple, where He was offered choir by the followers of Bahá'í faith. Unique feature of this Bahá'í Temple is that like any other Bahá'í Houses of Worship, the Lotus Temple is open to all barring any religious or other distinction, as emphasized in Bahá'í texts. Bahá'ís believe the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the nature and purpose of life and of the future of society. It is a gathering place where people of all religions may worship God without denominational restrictions. The Bahá'í laws also stipulate that the holy scriptures of the Bahá'í Faith and other religions can be read or chanted inside in any language.
Bhagawan was warmly received at the Bahá'í House of Worship by administrators Jamshed Anvar and Inonani along with others. Swami was conducted to the main temple and placed in the centre. Thereafter the Bahá'í community sang Sarva Dharma Choir in Swami’s glory. Prior to this, passages from the Bible, the Quran and the Gita were read to highlight the truth taught by Bhagawan that the essence of the teachings of all faiths was the same. This special meeting was attended by about 300 persons.
From the Bahá'í Temple Bhagawan moved to Justice PN Bhagwathi's residence. Hon. Justice P. N. Bhagwathi is an eminent jurist of International repute and was formerly the Chief Justice of India. Justice Bhagwathi has been a long time devotee of Bhagawan and is a member, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam. Blessing the veteran and his family members, after having lunch at the jurist's house, Bhagawan retired to the Sri Sathya Sai International Centre at around 1430 hrs.
Earlier in the morning, Union Minister for Steel Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde and some Members of Parliament were at the Centre seeking Bhagawan’s blessings.
In the evening, Bhagawan came onstage at Sri Sathya Sai International Centre at 1820 hrs. while bhajans were on. Upon His arrival, Bhagawan nodded the students to sing and what followed up was soul-stirring rendering of devotionals, that kept the audience spellbound for nearly fifty minutes.
In a touching gesture suffused with Divine Love, Bhagawan, upon accepting Arathi, travelled to Krishna Menon Marg, New Delhi, to the residence of former Prime Minister of India, Sri Atal Behari Vajpayee. The former Prime Minister was scheduled to visit Bhagawan at the International Centre couple of days before, seeking His blessings, but could not make it owing to ill health. Eleven years ago, when Bhagawan visited the captial city last time, Mr. Vajpayee was the Prime Minister and the SSSIC was inaugurated by the Divine hands in his presence. Vajpayee has been a longtime devotee of Bhagawan and had visited Prasanthi Nilayam several times. After blessing the veteran leader, Bhagawan returned to the International Centre at around 2030 hrs.