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Posted at 19:30 :00 Hrs. IST on 3rd Nov 2009

The week that went past clearly belonged to Maharashtra, precisely to Pune and Mumbai, as it were the Puneites and Mumbaikars specially privileged and blessed to bask in His Divine All Conquering Love, when Bhagawan embarked on a week-long visit to the twin cities.

28th October was Pune’s scheduled date with Divinity and the city was blushing like a bride in eager anticipation of her Lord’s imminent presence. Taking off at 8:30 a.m. in a chartered Jet Airliner, with an entourage comprising fifty members, that included students, senior devotees and ‘family’ members, Bhagawan’s Air Chariot touched down the Pune Airport at 9:40 a.m. for a grand reception led by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Sri Ashok Chavan and former Union Home Minister Sri Shivaraj Patil.

Summing up the first half of Bhagawan’s week-long visit to Pune and Mumbai someone reflected it as “His Celebration of Jadhav’s Love”. True to the saying "God’s Delays are Not God’s Denials", fulfilling the long cherished desire coupled with fervent prayers of the Jadhavs and the Puneites, Divinity encased in human frame, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba blessed the Peshwa City with abundance, with abundance of His Love, all by His gracious presence for three full days! Thousands upon thousands thronged to have a glimpse of The Lord in physical. It was indeed the fructification of the Jadhavs’ unparalleled devotion and surrender to Bhagawan. …And the blessed village Hadshi in Pune is now blessed with a Divine Abode, Sri Sathya Sai Panduranga Kshetra!

It was celebration galore for the next three days with Bhagawan visiting the house of His host twice, attending cultural programmes, sanctifying the triune temple and delivering an electrifying Divine Discourse besides officiating the Poornahuthi of the Yajna that had been going on, on the sidelines of His Divine Visit.  Now, Sri Sathya Sai Panduranga Kshetra stands majestic, blissfully radiating a pristine aura, induced by the gracious presence of her Lord!

Enlightening Divine Discourse
The enlightening Divine Discourse, the only one during the entire sojourn, started off in Bhagawan’s inimitable style hailing Bharat and her cultural heritage. The discourse was full of Bhagawan’s regular adages divulging topics into His timeless teachings exhorting one and all to raise to the level of Divine Consciousness. Bhagawan spoke about a life of love – not to criticize anyone and to correct one’s own faults rather than pointing fingers at others. He also spoke about the oneness of all beings and also stressed that our life has to be His message. Concluding the Discourse Bhagawan said: “…If anybody does good, follow it. This is the message of Baba to everyone today. The whole world should be happy. Let all the beings be happy”. The Divine Discourse was translated into English and Maratti simultaneously. The Divine Discourse was preceded by three speeches by Mr. Jadhav, the Divine host at Hadshi, Mr. V.Srinivasan, All India President of SSSSO followed by Sri Nishikant Barodekar, faculty, Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music.

Showing Omnipresence?
In His Divine Discourse, Bhagawan also spoke about compassion for all living beings. He particularly mentioned snakes and scorpions and said that these creatures don't attack unnecessarily. They attack only because they fear us humans.

Here is a tag to the above Divine remark. Interestingly, a day prior to Bhagawan's Discourse, a snake was spotted close to the music and lights equipment. The men feared it would get into their equipment so they contemplated killing it. However, two lady devotees stopped them, and instead caught the scared snake in some cushion covers, and handed it to another lady devotee who offered to release it. The lady devotees cautioned small crowd that had gathered around the snake that Bhagawan would never like anyone killing it.

And there came His Divine Discourse and an “off-the-cuff” remark about compassion for living beings... He gave His speech and spoke about snakes and scorpions! It is coincidental for the ordinary, but indeed ‘Saicidental’ for the Beloved Almighty Omnipresent Lord!

(Incidentally, Sri Sathya Sai Pandurang Kshetra is teeming with snake holes, but there was not even a single case of a snake bite reported. It was as though the snake(s) were charmed by the Lord and were content with His blissful darshan...)

Parting Scenes
Three full days of merriments and celebrations and the 31st morning dawned with the blushing bride that she was, Pune, getting herself set to bid farewell to her Beloved Lord! The Lord was set to leave for Mumbai for the second leg of His Divine visit.

…And Bhagawan left the Panduranga Kshetra at around 10.45 a.m. with villagers lined up in a disciplined manner giving The Lord a “Guard of Honour “along the entrance and road leading towards Lonavala. One could see the winding procession, the Divine Caravan comprising of motorbikes, two cars with security guards, Bhagawan’s car and a string of 20 cars following. A parting Blessing from The Lord, an Abhayahastha and the convoy sped on, towards an eagerly awaiting Mumbai and His Divie Abode atop the hills in Andheri East, Dharmakshetra.

Over to Mumbai
Speeding past the six lane track Pune – Mumbai Express Highway, Bhagawan reached Dharmakshetra just before 14:00 Hrs. to a grand ceremonial welcome. Over hundred motorcyclists escorted Bhagawan during the journey till official escort equivalent to that of the President of India took over the charge. It was after a long 9-10 years that Bhagawan was setting His Feet at the holy precincts of His Divine Abode, Dharmakshetra.

Mumbai witnessed three public programmes, first one at the NSE grounds, Goregaon wherein singer of repute, Sonu Nigam enthralled the Divine with his melodious rendering; the second programme was at Jamboori Maidan, Worli followed by the final programme at Brabourne Stadium, Churchgate wherein the grateful students of Sri Sathya Sai University transported one and all to heavenly heights with their enrapturing devotional numbers.

Banking on Baba
While high-profile dignitaries made a beeline to receive blessings from Bhagawan, it was the Chief Minister’s special privilege to have Him at his official residence, Varsha at Malabar Hill, for a private session blessing the family and close aids. Later Bhagawan paid a visit to the State Home Minister, Jayant Patil’s residence as well, acceding to his prayers. Earlier on the first day of His visit, Bhagawan blessed the doyen of SSSSO, Indulal Shah with a visit to his residence at Khar West.

Following up with the high profile conference on “Ethics and World of Finance” held in Prasanthi Nilayam in August, top shots from the industry converged yet again in the Dharmakshetra complex Banking on His Blessings. Some of the prominent names attended the function were Former ICICI Bank Chairman, KV Kamath, the Chairman and MD of the Union Bank of India, MV Nair, Kotak Bank’s Vice-Chairman and MD, Uday Kotak, Gunit Chadha, the head of Deutsche Bank’s India operations, PMS Prasad, a director on the board of Reliance Industries (RIL), India’s largest private sector company, and Meera Sanyal, CEO, RBS/ABN Amro Bank and an independent candidate from the South Mumbai parliamentary constituency and Bodhisatva Ganguly, Dy. Chief Editor of nation’s premier financial daily, The Economic Times.

Who’s Who?
Other who’s who thronged to have a glimpse of Bhagawan included former Chief Minister of Maharashtra and currently Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh, Chairman, Tata Group, Ratan Tata, Bollywood singers of fame, Hariharan, Sonu Nigam and Kunal Ganjawala, Santoor exponent Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, Bollywood Actress, Alvira Khan Agnihotri and famous Fashion Designer Saina NC, daughter of former Sheriff of Mumbai, Nana Chudasama apart from the high-profile names from the banking sector.

The Chief Minister’s residence had a huge chunk of VVIP devotees that included former Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, senior NCP leader Praful Patel, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manikrao Thakre, Mumbai Congress unit president Kripa Shankar Singh, State Legislative Council chairman Shivajirao Deshmukh, industrialist Ashok Hinduja and leading builder Niranjan Hiranandani. The outgoing Home Minister Jayant Patil also played host to Bhagawan. Cricketing Legend Sunil Gavaskar with family, former Union Minister Shri Shivaraj Patil, Bollywood actress Rani Mukherjee etc. were also present during the occasion offering salutations to Bhagawan.

Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust gets felicitated
In appreciation of the key role played by the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust in disaster reconstruction in the post flood situation in Orissa, the Orissa State Disaster Management Authority, a Govt. of Orissa Agency, felicitated the SSSCT in a state level programme organized at Jayadev Bhavan, Bhubaneshwar on the 29th October. Mr. K.Chakravarthi,IAS, Secretary, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, received the felicitation at the hands of the Chief Minister, Mr. Naveen Patnaik, on behalf of the Trust. The function was organized coinciding the Orissa Disaster Preparedness Day and the National Day for Disaster Reduction.

In the meantime, even during Bhagawan’s physical absence, Prasanthi was full of life with fairly good crowd staying back inducing ‘life’ in Ashram …and the last couple of days become vibrant with the return of University and school students after a ten day long winter vacation. With the Akhanda Bhajan scheduled for next week followed by ensuing 84th Birthday celebrations, students from the Brindavan campus also returned to Prasanthi Nilayam wherein they would be having regular classes for the first half of November.

Yes, the week ended leaving Bhagawan in Mumbai…and Prasanthi was bustling with enthusiasm at the imminence of her Beloved’s return, due for the first day of the following week.