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Then & Now
A day in Ashram



July, 11 - 22, 2006 , Sunday

After the Guru Purnima celebrations on 11 th July, there were many international groups from various countries awaiting the opportunity to present their programmes before Swami.

The Indonesian devotees were the first to get the approval. They put up a skit on ‘being a star in God’s skies and a flower in His garden’. They portrayed the child Dhruva as an ideal who epitomised the 5 Ds of Devotion, Dedication, Duty, Discrimination and Determination. These formed the 5 parts of a star that can guide the world like the pole star or Dhruva Nakshatra. Swami was very happy with their programme and spoke about the programme even later when He attended the Bhajan Session.

The Canadians followed. They had a programme ready on the growth of the only Sathya Sai School in Canada . Portraying the miracle of how the garland on Swami’s picture grew 75 inches on the 75 th Birthday, they explained that ever since its inception, the school has seen abundance of His love and grace. Their programme was entitled, “The power on ONE” and it starred a grandmother in 2070AD reliving and recapitulating her days at the Canadian Sathya Sai School . This programme too made Swami so happy that He descended down amidst the children to pose for photos. It was a beautiful sight to see Swami surrounded by a sea of colour and love.

In the meanwhile, the “NexGen IT for Societal Advancement and Integration Conference” was held. Over 300 delegates attended it. As part of this international conference, the students put up a programme entitled, “From I to We to HE” in Sai-Kulwant hall on 15 th July. Swami came out that afternoon and instructed the students to begin the programme immediately. The programme stressed that the industrial revolution was a “physical“ one as it improved power and efficiency. The IT revolution is “mental“. But mere networking is of no consequence without human connectivity. “We are all networked, but are we connected?” So in a logical sequence, a revolution of the spirit is due and is taking place at Prasanthi Nilayam. Midway through the programme, Swami called for the car went for a drive. The programme concluded with the students performing for the omnipresent Sai. Swami returned dramatically amidst the sets of the programme. He enquired as to the number of boys who had participated in the presentation. Bhajans followed.

A new indoor stadium, coming up opposite to the senior boys’ hostel, is being built in all fervour. The bhoomi pooja had been performed on the auspicious Aashadi Ekadasi day. Swami has been evincing keen interest in its progress and more so in the construction of a new palatial stable for Sai Gita (Prasanthi Nilayam’s very own elephant). Sai Gita has now been temporarily housed in a shed behind the planetarium and her home is fast coming up next to the planetarium. The progress board in front of the indoor stadium says-‘Days to completion: 106’ and the countdown has begun. The entire place has been levelled and is bustling with activity 24*7!!

On the 19 th, Swami came out at 3:45 pm and there was a musical concert by the students. Two students sang songs on the glory of Rama and His name in the Carnatic style. Swami was enjoying and swaying to the tunes. He called all the boys who had letters and accepted them (about 30 boys altogether!) He also patiently leafed through the photos (of kingfishers, mynahs, garden lizards and toads) that an amateur photographer amongst the students offered to Him! Then Swami blessed another student from the music college to play the Sitar. He did so with such finesse and deftness, that Swami materialised a chain with a pendant for him. Swami also blessed all the birthday boys. The Bhajans were also held outside and Swami sat till 5:35 pm . It was thrilling to have His Darshan for such a long time!

On the 22 nd, devotees from Japan had been permitted by Swami to put up a programme. Swami walked out of the interview room at about 4:00 pm and sat on the sofa outside. The programme began with a traditional dance by small children wielding a percussion instrument consisting of a plate and stick. They danced gracefully making few charming acrobatic moves. Then a short skit on the true story of how the Veda chanting spread all over Japan was performed. Three students were portrayed as being Swami’s instruments in doing so. The lead character, a Japanese youth wanting to desperately learn the Vedas in the drama, was called by Swami, midway through the drama. Swami materialised a ring for him and there was loud applause. The icing on the cake came when all the Japanese began to chant the Mahanarayanopanishad, Ganapathi Atharvashirsham and the Shanti mantra with such clarity of diction that everyone sat spellbound. Swami too joined them in the chanting at times! He was fully involved in the chanting and was very happy too. He called two foreign students from the school and music college and told them to chant the Srisuktam. After they completed chanting, Swami permitted the Japs to sing bhajans. The bhajans were both in Sanskrit and Japanese. After four bhajans Swami went into the interview room after telling them to continue the bhajans. After 15 minutes, He came out, received Aarthi and retired to Yajur Mandir.