Catching the mood of the ‘blushing bride‘, Shimla, while she was gearing up to welcome her Lord, someone wrote:
Nestling in the foothills of the Himalayas, Is Shimla, The British called Shimla the "Queen of Hill Stations," Shimla, was the summer capital of India before independence, Now this capital of Himachal Pradesh, Is in the midst of joyful celebrations… Shimla had a long wait, in fact, she endured it for a much longer period of thirty-five years for her Lord to set His Feet in…and on the destined day, 15th April 2010, when the Air Chariot carrying the Lord touched the tarmac at Shimla Airport at around 1130 hrs., it was her dream that came true…and for our Beloved Bhagawan, it was His Divine Sankalpa!
After leaving the soil on the 5th April 1975, the next defined moment was 15th April 2010. For Prof. Shyam Sunder, a retired professor of Bioscience and a former Principal of Govt. College for Women, Shimla, who retired as Director, Education, Himachal Pradesh, and who has been the State President of Sri Sathya Sai Organisation ever since its inception , it was a rare triple as He was instrumental in spearheading the earlier two visits, and this one came as a dream that turned true.
When her joy knew no bounds, With gaiety, joy, humility and reverence she did celebrate, That the Lord chose her for His Divine stay…
This celebrating mood was writ on many a face, thousands upon thousands, who thronged to steal a glance of the Lord while He was travelling from the Shimla Airport to the destined “Anand Vilas” at Pujarli.
It appeared as if entire Shimla township came to a standstill celebrating His" Advent"! The stretch of 35 kilometers, from the Shimla Airport to the newly built "Anand Vilas", the Divine Abode in Shimla, thousands upon thousands lined up on the roadside, satiating their lives' desire, stealing a rare glance of the Lord. There was a riot of colours all along, with flowers and buntings welcoming the Lord all over, with rangoli adorning the floor at every vantage positions and thousands upon thousands vying for a glance, lined up all along the way. There were devotees showering flowers, dusting the ground that touched the "Feet of The Lord", many with moist eyes, but all with their hearts full of Love! It appeared as if entire Shimla township came to a standstill celebrating His" Advent"!
The original convoy of around 15 to 20 vehicles multiplied into huge proportions as devotees desired to join the caravan, crossing the hundred mark and Bhagawan motored the entire stretch of 35 kms in over 80 minutes, blessing the thousands on His way, to reach "Anand Vilas" at 1250 hrs. Ceremonial religious welcome awaited the Lord at His new Abode as a huge assembly of devotees was waiting with prayerful hearts for His arrival.
…And came the destined moment, when The Lord, upon arrival, sanctified the latest of His Abodes, by setting His Feet in! Thereafter, Bhagawan moved onto the balcony at the first floor granting Darshan to the devotees assembled inside.
Earlier, at the Shimla Airport, Bhagawan was welcomed by the Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Ms. Urmila Singh along with scores of other dignitaries.
On the first evening at the new Divine Abode, Bhagawan emerged for darshan at quarter to six while bhajan was on. As bhajans continued, Bhagawan sat through for almost an hour, blessing the vast assemblage of devotees before accepting Arathi. Upon accepting Arathi, Bhagawan retired for the day.
Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh and some top police officials from the state were at Anand Vilas seeking Divine Blessings.
In Shimla, at Anand Vilas, what one witnessed and appreciated was the highest reverence and devotion of the devotees that had been on display. When The Lord emerged in the evening, granting darshan, one could see thousands upon thousands of hands going up, in pure devotional ecstasy, greeting The Lord. ...And as the assemblage glued 'their' eyes on the beauteous form of the Lord, it was nothing, but bliss of being in the immediate presence of the Lord that was reflecting on each and every face. The huge darshan ground outside Anand Vilas could easily accomodate thousands, almost the capacity that the Sai Kulwant Hall of Prasanthi would hold.
In the twilight, this exquisite architectural marvel situated at Pujarli in Shimla district was shining in splendour as a beacon of Love and Peace. The building that was constructed in the most hostile and harsh climatic conditions prevailing in the cold arid zone in the high altitude mountain ecosystem was executed by Sai Engineering Foundation, a voluntary organisation working for the welfare of humanity without the distinction of caste, colour, creed, region and religion. The construction work was ably supervised by Sri Raj Kumar Verma, a long-time devotee and CEO of the Sai Engineering Foundation, as an offering at His Divine Lotus Feet. Devotees from various parts of the state would come in batches, every weekend, to contribute their might in the construction work as their loving offering to Bhagawan.
On the second day of Bhagawan in Shimla, 16th April, Bhagawan emerged at 1100 hrs. while bhajan was on. Upon emerging, granting Divine Darshan, Bhagawan went straight to sanctify the Ganesh Temple at the entrance. After sanctifying the temple, Bhagawan went to the school building that has been operational from 2007 onwards, having classes upto standard 5. Upon sanctifying the same, He further proceeded to the hostel adjacent to the school. At the hostel, Bhagawan was accorded a ceremonial welcome by the children with "welcome" song. Inaugurating the hostel building by pulling the ribbon string, Bhagawan sat for some time listening to the children, who were singing, before returning to "Anand Vilas" to accept Arathi at 12 noon.
Earlier, recordings of bhajans and devotional songs had been on at "Anand Vilas" from 9 onwards until live bhajans began at 1040 hrs. Union Minister for Steels, Veerabhadra Singh, who hails from the state, was at "Anand Vilas" seeking Divine Blessings.
As Pujarli's exquisite architectural marvel, Anand Vilas, the Divine Abode in Shimla is marvelling at her great good fortune, for a mortal, whose search for his immortal identity has taken him to this very picturesque location that has a widespread of panoramic canvas with guardian hills around, for this mortal seeker, the sight at Anand Vilas is verily the meeting of Prakruthi with Purusha, the seeker and that which is sought!
As the penultimate evening (darshan session) before Bhagawan's departure to Delhi arrived, there was greater expectation and excitement in the air as the news of Bhagawan's departure was flashed and confirmed by then. Bhagawan was ushered in at 1700 hrs. granting Divine Darshan. At 1710 hrs. Bhagawan asked the Music Troupe of students accompanied Him to have their maiden music presentation during the trip. What followed was a half-an-hour scintillating musical shower that lasted at 1745 hrs. The programme had two carnatic pieces written by Saint Thyagaraja, one Quawwali, followed by the popular devotional number, Mahapraana Deepam Shivam Shivam...This was followed by a short stint of bhajans by the same troupe.
After 3-4 bhajans, Bhagawan moved into the newly constructed Auditorium wherein children from Sri Sathya Sai School, Shimla and Balvikas Children of Himachal Pradesh had a combined cultural programme. The programme that started at 1815 hrs. continued till 1930 hrs. The presentation, a drama on Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was followede by an array of dances depicting culture and tradition of the state.
The second programme, "Sai Sanrachna" was a depiction of glimpses of rich cultural and Divine heritage of Himachal Pradesh in the form of music and dance. The programme that commenced with a Ganesh Stuthi, invoking Lord Ganesha had nine songs depicting various cultural traditions of the state. The second piece to follow was a Shiva Stuthi followed by Duru Dance. The forth depiction was on Fairs and Festivals of Himachal Pradesh, consisting of Nagada, Turi, Narashinga etc. What followed next was a Shakti Dance, depicting various mudras of five main Shakti Peetas of Himachal Pradesh believed to have orginated from Maa Sati. This was followed by Kinnuri Dance of tribals of Kinnore, celebrating Bhagawan's arrival at Anand Vilas, describing the beauty and splendour of Sanga Valley of Konnore. Lahaulspipi is supposedly a cold district of Himachal Pradesh and the next dance was a tribal dance from Lahaulspipi invoking Divine Grace of Bhagawan. Jamakra folk dance of Kangra district followed before winding up with the familiar gratitude song, Yentha Hai...Yentha Hai, thanking Bhagawan for His greater benediction.
The Union Steel Minister, Mr. Veerabhadra Singh, who was at the Divine Abode for morning darshan continued to stay for evening darshan as well. Another noted personality who was present during the evening was AP Minister for FDC, Information Public Relations and Trourism, Dr. (Mrs.) J.Geeta Reddy.
A photo exhibition, same that was held in Prasanthi Nilayam commemorating the Golden Jubilee of Sanathana Sarathi, was held at Pujarli from the 14th April to 17th April, on the sidelines of His Divine Visit. An estimated 22000 devotees have attended the four day exhibition.
The next morning, at Anand Vilas, Bhagawan emerged at 0845 hrs. while bhajan was on. After one bhajan, Bhagawan accepted Arathi before proceeding to the Airport at 0850 hrs. After an eighty-minute drive, Bhagawan reached the Airport at 1020 hrs. and His flight for Delhi took off at 1045 hrs. IST.
…And it was Delhi’s bonus fortune as she got an extended day with Swami. Bhagawan's flight touched down at Indira Gandhi International Airport at 12 noon and Bhagawan reached His Divine Abode, Sri Sathya Sai International Centre at 1240 hrs.
As Bhagawan was set to return from the National Capital to the Spiritual Capital, this previous evening prior to His departure to Puttaparthi, Delhi earned the rare grace of having her "Divine Guest" moving through landmark locations in the city, blessing the city in general with His Divine Presence.
That evening, Bhagawan emerged at around 1800 hrs. and set Himself out moving through the Delhi lanes, glancing and blessing the environs of the Capital City. Bhagawan passed by many a lane adjacent to the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, The Parliament House and even went upto India Gate till Amar Jawan Jyothi (the flame of the immortal warrior), Shanti Path, Supreme Court of India, Purana Qila (Indraprastha) and many an embassy building, while moving through the road leading to Connaught Place, New Delhi. The more than half-an-hour "Divine Safari" was at a slow pace and no doubt, the fortunate ones would be at the right place at the right time receiving blessings that came most unaware.
In the meantime, bhajan was on at the International Centre and Bhagawan upon returning, spoke to His boys who had just returned from Shimla in a bus. Five minutes into the session, Bhagawan accepted Arathi before retiring for the day.
Prominent personalities thronged to the centre included Ms. Ambika Soni, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, Young Parliamentarian and steel magnate Naveen Jindal, Director of The Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, one of Delhi's most important tourist destinations, Sri Rituraj Maharaj, the young scholar who conducted Bhagavata Saptaaham in Prasanthi Nilayam couple of months ago.
On the final morning, on 18th April 2010, Bhagawan blessed the Sai Centre Committee members, Delhi Youth and Seva Dal volunteers who had done a wonderful job throughout Bhagawan’s stay in Delhi. Blessing them profusely, hearing State President's prayers to visit Delhi every year, Bhagawan replied in Hindi: Zaroor Aaoonga, meaning will definitely come. Before leaving, Bhagawan spent ten minutes amidst devotees blessing them profusely. Arathis were offered at Bhagawan's residence, then onstage and the final Arathi just before departing, near the car. The Lord whose magnanimity and love encompassed Delhi and its environs for seven full days has been given an emotional farewell at the Centre. As the wheels rolled over carrying The Mighty Lord, the "Farewell Song" was still heard, mellifluously rendering the air, and many souls were trying to cover up their emotion with those beauteous momentous moments filling the vacuum created with His departure.
Bhagawan along with His entourage left for Indira Gandhi International Airport at 1220 hrs. and His plane took off from Delhi at 1345 hrs. for a two hour air ride that turned out to be a dream musical flight with Divine!