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Then & Now
A day in Ashram


10th-15th March

We have a very glad and good piece of information to share with our readers. 45 students appeared for GATE (General Aptitude Test in Engineering) examination in February 2005 and out of them 20 students have secured All India Ranks with above 90 percentile.

The greatest honour to Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning is done by a student E. Naresh Kumar from the II M.Sc. (Physics) class who secured the All India First Rank!! This is a matter of great pride to the Institute and we must congratulate all these budding intellectual masters who have brought pride to the entire Sai Student fraternity!

Another important point to be noted is that these students have followed the rigorous routine of the Hostel, participated in all extra curricular activities and still reached the top! (Please read on for more detailed information about this on 15th March 2005.)

13th March 2005

Being a Sunday, the students had assembled at the Mandir for morning Darshan. Swami came out for Darshan at 9.05 a.m. He took a full round and then to everybody’s delight, Swami came and sat down on the sofa placed at the centre of the dais. Bhajans went on till 9.50 a.m. Though the wait was long, but the end was very fruitful, since the students and devotees had a long satisfying Darshan. It was a fulfilling Darshan especially for devotees who come from cities like Chennai and Bangalore to spend the week end in the Divine Presence.

In the evening, Bhagawan came out for Darshan at 3.25 p.m. The III year undergraduate students were ready with their Gratitude Programme. In fact, they had been trying on so many occasions to present their programme. Swami had even blessed their card but they had not been able to manage a slot. This evening, finally, their prayers were answered.

Their presentation was titled “Nuvvu Unte Chalu” – “It is enough if You are there”. The introductory song based on this theme was catchy and the lyrics were very meaningful. The first scene was a skit showing a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna.

The skit shows Lord Krishna blessing Duryodhana with all wealth and prosperity in spite of him accusing and insulting Krishna. On the other hand, a Brahmin devotee who sincerely prays to Krishna is blessed with the death of his only cow, which was the main source of income for him.

Arjuna is totally confused. Then Lord Krishna explains that He had given Duryodhana all the wealth and had thus moved him even farther away from Him, whereas by putting an end to the cow, He had enabled the Brahmin to get over his attachment to the cow and go closer to Himself! For the Brahmin, it was enough if Krishna was there. Nuvvu Unte Chalu …

In the next module, several students expressed their gratitude in words and poems, in different languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit, Hindi, Kannada, Nepali…

This was followed by the song – Love is so wonderful – so wonderful Love.

It’s so high, we can’t get over it…
It’s so deep, we can’t get under it….
It’s so wide, we can’t get around it…

With each song, two students would go to Swami with a card and Bhagawan would read through each of those letters and cards and bless them profusely! The presentation concluded at 4.35 p.m. with group photographs. Bhagawan was so compassionate that He stood up and posed for the group photos. He then called each character of the skit and spoke to them individually. Prasadam was distributed to all and Bhajans began at 4.45 p.m. At 5.10 p.m. Swami was offered Arati and then He retired for the day.

14th March 2005

Swami came out for Darshan at 3.20 p.m. in the golf cart, gliding past devotees, cajoling and comforting some, hearing their queries lovingly, receiving their letters and reached the centre of the dais. Then Swami got down from the golf cart and walked up the steps to the sofa. This day was a great day for several students. He called one by one a number of students and spoke to them. At 3.40 p.m., He signalled for the Veda chanting to be stopped. Six students were given an opportunity by Bhagawan to express their thoughts.

The first speaker was a student from the II M.A. class. He gave a 20 minute talk expressing very thoughtful and noble ideas. The main theme was the Grace of the Lord. He said that the Grace of the Lord was like the sun and it was man’s ignorance that stood in the way of attaining it. Grace of God was like water and anybody could collect it so long as one keeps the vessels upright.

Divine Grace, he said, could come in any manner – in most unexpected ways. He narrated the story of the drowning man who ignored the help offered by the boatman and even by the pilot of the helicopter. For in his opinion, God would come directly to save him. Later, during his interaction with God in heaven, He realised his folly for not having perceived God in the boatman and the pilot.

Talking about the functional aspects of Grace, he said that God’s Grace works just like the morphine injection which makes a person numb to the pain and he does not feel the pain though it is there. Grace of God postpones the Karmic effect to a point beyond which the pain is not felt, just like a tablet which is consumed after the expiry date. God also cancels the Karmic consequences by experiences in the dream state. Thus His Grace could flow in a variety of ways, concluded the speaker!

The next speaker was a student from the II M.Tech. class. He gave an impromptu Sanskrit speech and delighted everyone with his lucid style and rendering of classical songs. The third speaker was a student from the I year M.Sc. Physics class. It happened to be his birthday and Bhagawan gave him the gift of speaking in His Presence! It was his first experience in public speaking, and he spoke admirably about Mother’s Love. He spoke about the Grama Seva and how it all began by a mother’s heart touching the Divine Mother’s heart!

He also quoted a fascinating experience that he had in Brindavan during his school days. When they had visited Brindavan as a class, few years ago, they had prepared some group songs. Among them were the songs O Sai Maa and Mother of Mine. To make the song shorter, the speaker, a musician himself, had fused the two songs together, cutting one stanza – Maa Bachon Ki Jaan Hoti Hai… from the first song.

When they sang this fusion song in front of Swami, as they reached the point where the first song gets truncated and the second comes in, Swami asked them as to why they had skipped the next stanza. The boys did not know what to say. Then Bhagawan repeated the lines - Maa Bachon Ki Jaan Hoti Hai…Wo Hote Hai Kismatwale… Bhagawan said, “Without this stanza the song has no meaning”. This is the importance that Swami gives to Mother’s Love!

The fourth speaker was a student from the Diploma in Indian Culture and Philosophy class. He gave a succinct talk for about 10 minutes followed by another student from the II M.Tech. class. He again spoke of the Love of Bhagawan and gave an example of how when a team of children on hearing Swami say that their hairstyle was not good, had tonsured their heads, Bhagawan was so happy with their prompt response that He gave them an interview everyday for the rest of their stay in Prasanthi Nilayam!

The final speaker was a student from the II M.Sc. (Mathematics) class. Very scholarly in his English language and adept in his ornate poetry, the speaker captured the attention of the audience for the next twenty minutes with his fascinating talk. He spoke about Bhagawan saying that test is His taste. He said that every test is a pretext for God to confer on the devotee the taste of His Love!

Bhagawan calls us Bangarus but our mind jumps like the kangaroos! We must love the Lord’s uncertainty because Love is His certainty – were some of his poetic and thought provoking statements!

He concluded with a beautiful experience of how Bhagawan clarified a doubt that he had in his mind. When Swami in one of His Discourses said that we should always look at the positive side of things, this speaker wondered what positive aspect he could see in the recent disaster of the tsunami. As this doubt nagged him, from within came a clear voice that asked him to focus his attention on the second tsunami and not just the first one! There were two tsunamis that occurred one after the other! One without and one within!!

The first tsunami brought out the fury of Nature whereas the second tsunami brought out the best in Human Nature. The first one caused huge tidal waves across 2 continents whereas the second one bound all the continents with its love and compassion for the victims. The first one occurred due to shift of tectonic plates under the sea while the second one occurred due to movement of the hearts within millions of people. The first one led people to believe that God is Nowhere but the second one helped people to believe that God is Now Here!!

He concluded his talk amidst a loud applause. Bhagawan blessed each speaker at the end of the talk. Bhajans began at 5.10 p.m. and at 5.15 p.m. Swami was offered Aarti and then He proceeded towards the Poornachandra Auditorium leaving everyone spellbound with the thought provoking statements of the speakers.

15th March 2005

This evening, Swami came out for Darshan and went straight into the interview room. The 2nd year postgraduate students who had secured top ranks in the GATE exam were seated in front to seek Swami’s blessings. After 4.00 p.m., they went into the Bhajan Hall and sat in the front. Around 4.45 p.m. when Swami entered the Bhajan Hall, He started asking for the student who secured the All India first rank in the GATE exam for M.Sc.(Physics).

Swami was beaming with joy looking at all His bright children. He spoke to the student for some time. Then Bhagawan called the Primary School Headmistress and asked her if there were any erstwhile Primary School children among them. One of the boys got up and mentioned to Swami that there were quite a few who had studied from the Primary School! Then Bhagawan said that He Himself would honour and award them!

After the Arati, as Swami sat in the golf cart, He called for a school teacher and gave him some instructions. Accordingly, the former Vice Chancellor, Sri S.V. Giri made an announcement. He shared the good news about the students securing top All India Ranks in the GATE exam. He said that these students would be honoured and awarded by Bhagawan in a special ceremony to be held in Sai Kulwant Hall on 16th at 3.30 p.m in Sai Kulwant Hall.