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Posted at 17:42:26 Hrs. IST on 25 Nov 2009

One has read the scriptures and envisioned the interactions between the Pandavas and Lord Krsna. The welcome and the hospitality the Jadhavs so lovingly placed at the Divine Lotus Feet of Beloved Bhagawan, the self same Krsna who now walks amidst us in flaming orange elegance, was perhaps akin to that.  What took place in Dwapara Yuga and that which our finite mind is unable to fathom, we were fortunate enough to witness right before our very eyes and cherish in our hearts forever…

Being a part of His Divine entourage, watching the Lord from close quarters, is a special privilege that befell on a selected group from Prasanthi Nilayam..Read on for one more reminiscence from one of the privileged student who travelled with Bhagawan. (With inputs from Julie and Nupur Choudhuri, Pune)

The snake wound round the neck of Lord Shiva looks mischievously at its natural predator, the eagle and asks sarcastically, “Brother Garuda, How are you these days?” “As long as each of us stays in our designated places, all will be fine”, counsels Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. This is the advice of Garuda. It is pregnant with meaning. – Poet Kannadasan

The love of devotees for Bhagawan is one of such expansiveness that it encompasses His entire entourage.  What we thought of as a stopover on the way to Mumbai, turned out to be a lesson in devotion, service and humility. The Hadshi visit, was a true eye-opener. A remote hillock surrounded by bigger hills, it was a sleepy village still seeped in rustic innocence sandwiched between Pune and Lonavala.

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But like a giant woken from his slumber, Hadshi become the hub of activity before the arrival of Bhagawan. Temporary structures sprung up in no time at precisely planned locations. There was a place allotted for every person and every task. Huge structures were constructed to house the thousands of devotees for their free meals.

More than 6,000 people could dine at a time. Up to 30,000 dined for every food session during Bhagawan’s visit. Sprawling grounds which could seat 50,000 was filled to capacity. Huge areas were allocated for parking purposes. Hundreds of volunteers coordinated all these activities.  The hosts shrank from recognition, hid in obscurity and worked nonstop with well being of Bhagawan and His guests in their mind all the time. An extremely pleased Lord blessed them profusely for their yeoman service.

The Jadhavs, the whole family, are blessed with pure devotion that clearly touched our loving Lord. Their humility is a lesson in itself, for it pleased Bhagawan. Their humble invitation to Beloved Bhagawan to visit Sri Sathya Sai Panduranga Kshetra, so named by Bhagawan Himself, won His sweet approval to grace and honour to  the soil of Maharashtra, that many Saints of renown have treaded and blessed in  the past.

Their thoughtfulness, their selfless actions, their unassuming ways while preparing for the Divine visit and during Bhagawan’s stay at SSSPK, was definitely noticed by Bhagawan and He blessed them profusely for the same. So many were involved in sprucing up this most sylvan surrounding for the Lord’s visit and the thousands that would gather for Darshan. All were looked after with utmost respect and loving care. This continued during the Divine visit. And is happening even now, as visitors stream in to SSSPK since it has been rendered most sacred by the touch of the Lord’s Feet…

It is apparent that what they experienced no words can express. For in times such as these feelings overcome words. Yet this is how Mr Shivajirao Jadhav conveyed his feelings and deep felt gratitude when he spoke.

Mr Jadhav said that his joy knew no bounds when Beloved Bhagawan accepted their humble invitation to come to SSSPK. All their prayers and wishes had definitely been lovingly fulfilled by Bhagawan, who had so graciously given them a thousand fold more than what they had asked for. They couldn’t have asked for more.

Since Bhagawan’s departure from the Kshetra, their whole family was reliving this dream visit by watching VCDs of these divine moments all through their waking moments. The only desire the entire family is left with now, is that Beloved Bhagwan should visit SSSPK every year for at least a month and grant them the grace and good fortune to serve Him ever more.

Mr Jadhav spoke as he felt. Now it is time for us all to show our gratitude for the loving hospitality he extended to all making  each and every one feel ever so welcome and a part of one big family that is growing and uniting people all over the globe – the Sai family. A universal brotherhood under the fatherhood of God.

To talk about the Bal Vikas...They were eagerly awaiting their Beloved Lord’s darshan. The Bal Vikas gurus arranged for buses to transported the children to Hadshi. They were all prepared to welcome Bhagawan with colourful flags and pom-poms! Some carried plates containing flower petals to worship their Beloved Guru, while others displayed placards comprising Sai Ishwar Ashtakam, saluting the Jagat Guru. Some even displayed His teachings in Telugu, Marathi and English.

A few girls were clad in traditional  Navari sarees and carried a kalash, Tulsi Vrindavan, flowers etc. A few boys dressed up as saints and Maharashtra’s brave freedom fighters.

The whole atmosphere was charged and all of them waited for the moment of Swami’s arrival. The enthusiasm of the children, and their glowing and smiling faces depicted were then graciously reciprocated by the Lord as He made His car stop, and He Himself lowered the window-pane and, raising both His Hands, blessed all His Bal Vikas children. Such was the love and affection He showered on them.

Every child had tears of joy in his/her eyes. When asked how they felt, each one said that Bhagawan looked directly at them, filling their hearts with joy and deep love…

There are so many devotees who yearn for Darshan, Sparshan and Sambhashan but cannot do so due to various reasons – old age, infirmities, finance, etc. but the all knowing Lord finds a way to delight all. The heart is overwhelmed that our sweet Lord so graciously accepted Mr Shivajirao Jadhav’s invitation, an offering straight from the heart .

Like frogs in a well, we often do not realise the value of the company of Bhagawan when in Prasanthi Nilayam. It is when we have the extremely blessed opportunity to travel with Him, do we understand the yearning and love of many a devotee across borders and languages. These devotees had put in unstinted efforts and made elaborate arrangements to make the Divine visit a grand success. It was a visit which humbled us to our very being, elevated our spirits with gratitude and melted our hearts with Love.

There were programmes by prominent musicians including Kavita Krishnamurthy, Nitin Mukesh and Sapna Mukherjee and also another very interesting programme by 5 little children entitled Little Champs. It was surprising to see how these little children were able to handle such huge crowds with complete élan. Bhagawan was extremely happy with the programme and kept appreciating the fact that they were completely uninhibited and let the meaning of the songs control their gestures.

And then there was Mumbai:

In the last few visits of Bhagawan to Mumbai, the surging crowds could not be accommodated in Dharmakshetra. Hence Bhagawan blessed the organisers to arrange Darshan in 3 different sprawling grounds and stadiums situated at different parts of Mumbai. Going as a part of Bhagawan’s convoy, we had a taste of the Mumbai traffic but were spared the whole course, thanks to the changing green lights.

The company of the Lord opens all roads. On the 31st of October, Bhagawan granted Darshan in NSE complex in Goregaon, Mumbai. We were given the privilege to sit on the stage behind Bhagawan. Famous artistes of Mumbai were sitting in front of Bhagawan almost like small children before team selection in a game of football vying for a chance.

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We spotted Pandit Shivakumar Sharma, Sri Rahul Sharma, Sri Hariharan and Sri Kunal Ganjawala to name a few. But, Sonu Nigam was the pick of the lot, as Bhagawan permitted and blessed him and his accompanying artistes to perform. Sonu Nigam started his performance with “Sai Baba Bolo...” and held the attention of the audience till the end. But even in the midst of all these famous artistes, Bhagawan was enquiring when His students were going to perform and the organisers replied that they had reserved the CCI grounds for the programme.

The next day morning began with a meeting of Bankers and Industrialists with Bhagawan. The same dignified gentlemen who were used to giving talks on sophisticated topics changed into small children the moment Bhagawan entered the hall. Each of them stretching out to reach Swami’s feet and praying for a glimpse and a smile. This only reaffirmed that we are all children in the presence of God. It was a humbling experience for all of us. The Chief Minister then invited Bhagawan to his residence and also most of his guests and students personally.

After the morning Darshan and visit to CM’s residence, Bhagawan gave Darshan in the CCI grounds where the students were to perform. Bhagawan sat through the programme enjoying every bit of it, and blessed all the participants profusely. Even when the tens of thousands assembled in the grounds saw Bhagawan as their only property, here was Bhagawan beaming at the people He considered "His Property". Ha, the privilege of being His Student!