UNVEILING OF MAHA SAMADHI
At the stroke of 8.00 in the morning, the Mahasamadhi of Bhagawan Sri Sri Sathya Sai Baba was unveiled with the offer of Mahamangalarati. The sepulchre, if one can call it presented a beautiful sight, the whole structure including the pillars on both sides was draped in white colour. The first programme for the morning was Guru Vandana (salutations to the Guru) by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions. This presentation was a collection of melodious songs and Stotras (verses) interspersed with beautiful incidents, experiences, interactions that the students had with Bhagawan. With the chanting of Sai Gayatri, the students offered their salutations at the Lotus Feet of Sadguru, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on the auspicious occasion of Guru Purnima. Twameva Mathacha Pitha Twameva, Twameva Bandhuscha Sakha Twameva, Twameva Vidya Dravinam Twameva, Twameva Sarvam Mama Devadeva. (Oh Lord! You alone are my father and mother, friend and relation, wisdom and wealth. You are my everything). We have found our mother, father, Guru and God in Bhagawan was the announcement by the students. Describing a wonderful incident that happened during Prasadam distribution when a child at the end of the hall could not receive the Prasadam, the student said the merciful Lord Himself went all the way to the child and gave the Prasadam. This world may forget us, but the Lord will never forget us was the underlying theme in this incident. Narrating another incident in the olden days when the host was expecting Bhagawan for a function, but Bhagawan had not come even after a long wait. When he went in search of Bhagawan, he found Bhagawan arranging the footwear of people who had come for the function. This incident is very much reminiscent of the days of Dwapara Yuga. The song that followed was a composition of Bhagawan, Sathya Dharmamu Santhi Premalato, Nee Nitya Jivamu Yatra Saginchu (perform the journey of your life with truth, righteousness, peace and love as your companions).
There was a cascade of experiences one after the other. This incident of the mother and child during Narayana Seva is equally touching. Once during Narayana Seva, Bhagawan found a woman sitting with her baby. As the student was serving sweet rice and tamarind rice, Bhagawan told the student that the child would not be able to partake of the rice items. At this instance, the student ran inside to get milk. The milk he brought was fresh and hot. Bhagawan asked the student as to how the kid could drink hot milk. Bhagawan Himself took the glass of milk in His hand, allowed it to cool and gave to the child. After this experience, another Guru Stotram followed. A student was suffering from Asthma, and was gasping for breath. His every breath was a struggle. He cried out in front of Bhagawan’s photograph and expressed his anguish. Once Bhagawan called him for an interview where he could see Bhagawan gasping for breath, and His face had turned blue. Bhagawan told him that He had removed his suffering of ten births. The experience that followed was elevating. Bhagawan had gone to Santhi Vedika to see the students doing their morning exercises. Then Bhagawan was explaining to them showing His forearm that students have to be strong and sturdy. A student felt how is that Bhagawan who is looking frail could explain about sinews and strength! It is then that Bhagawan turned towards the boy, smiling mischievously asked him to try arm wrestling with Him. The boy too felt happy to wrestle with Bhagawan. At first the boy took it lightly and was not using his full strength, but later he used his full force, and even three more boys tried arm wrestling with Bhagawan. But all in vain. The boy told Bhagawan since He was God, he had so much strength. Bhagawan laughed at the boy and told him, “Do you think that I will use my divine power to arm wrestle with you?” You too can have such strength if you have purity in thought, word and deed. The song Maa oh Maa, Maa Sai Maa followed. The next experience shows Bhagawan care and concern for the devotees. A student saw that Bhagawan had clipped his nails to the maximum that blood was oozing out. When the student asked Him, Swami told that since devotees touch His feet during Darshan, there is a possibility that they may injure themselves while doing Padanamaskar. That is why I am cutting My nails so small. The song that followed was a Telugu song. Bhagawan’s care and affection for the little ones of the Primary School has to be seen to be experienced. Once Bhagawan was giving ice creams to students of Primary School. Suddenly Swami asked the students, “Do you know the qualities of God”? A boy quickly answered, God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Then Bhagawan said, “God is cool, sweet and soft like ice cream.” Once in Poornachandra Hall, Bhagawan was distributing items of everyday use like toothpaste and deodorants. Some of them got toothpaste, while some got deodorants. They were discussing what they got and what they did not get in Bhagawan’s presence. Then Bhagawan went to the stage and asked, “Who wants Me?” The students could not answer this question succinctly. The message was when God gives, do not compare. Ask for Swami and everything will be given to you. It was at this point a student announced that usually we wait for Bhagawan’s Darshan when He glides in the hall. Let us be aware that now He is always waiting for us in the hall. A student summed up that on this Guru Purnima day, let us be aware that God is always with us. He has not gone anywhere. The presentation of the students ended with a Telugu song. Prof. Anil Kumar paid encomiums to students for their performance.
After the music programme of students Sri Leonardo Gutter from Argentina, a psychologist, a successful businessman and a member of the Prasanthi Council addressed the audience. He has the distinction of being the first president of Latin American Sathya Sai Council. Offering his salutations at Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet, Sri Gutter narrated an experience of his first visit to Prasanthi Nilayam. When he came here, Bhagawan was on a visit to Chennai. 50,000 people were waiting for him. He felt an inner urge and Bhagawan returned. So, the heart know prior, it is aware. Sri Gutter remarked that Swami says to be born as human is rare, and to be born when the Avatar comes down is still rare. Not only to know God, but to be selected by Him is a great fortune. Sri Gutter told the audience that some of us have travelled thousands to kilometres to be here. But let me tell you even residents of Prasanthi Nilayam should have taken so many births to be permanently in this place. We have to intensify our Sadhana not by the increasing the hours of Bhajans but by wearing the glasses of Sai. When we wear those glasses, we will not criticise anyone. To be a devotee, we have to deserve His love. Sri Gutter said that he has travelled far and wide in Latin America. There are so many people who know Swami. Many years ago when the Sai Organisation was at its infant stage in Brazil, he met a person there. The person was narrating his experience when he came to Prasanthi Nilayam. He could see angels everywhere in Prasanthi Nilayam. When he saw Swami, he could only visualise love, nothing else. With our physical eyes, we cannot gauge the energy that is there in the Ashram. He made an appeal to devotees, “Don’t ever stop coming here.” Nothing has changed here. We have to travel from the form to formless. He is alive, eternal; He does not go anywhere. Swami says, “If you look to Me, I look to you.” Sri Gutter made an emphatic statement that he was fully convinced in his first visit that Bhagawan is a Poornavatar.
Narrating the experience when Bhagawan formed the Prasanthi Council, He called the members to His residence. Bhagawan said, “You have the good fortune of knowing His message. You have to share it with all.” We should do everything to spread His message. The time is now for us. We have to take advantage of every moment of our life, we have to become beacons of His love. Sri Leonardo Gutter concluded his talk by expressing his gratitude to Bhagawan for all that He has given. He is our father, mother and closest friend and everything.
The last speaker for the morning session was Sri Nimish Pandya, District President of Mumbai, Sri Sathya Sai Organisation. Sri Pandya said that Bhagawan wanted us to realise that not only He is God, but we are also God. Man searches for God in different places like Gurudwara, temples, churches and mosques. But He resides in our hearts. Sri Pandya remarked that it is not that we have unveiled the Mahasamadhi, but Bhagawan has unveiled the ignorance in us. This is a unique Mahasamadhi; it breathes every moment. In the Shirdi Avatar, Shirdi Baba lit the Dhuni, but in this Avatar there is no Dhuni. He is going to live for ages through man’s devotion. Bhagawan has said that His words have the power of His presence. Many people had questions in their minds as to whether Bhagawan has left. Sri Pandya asserted, “How can He leave us, He is always with us. Bhagawan had a definite plan. He had decided to leave. It was a grand departure. He has taken the back seat. Now it is we who have to take the lead. Sri Pandya informed the audience that many questions were asked regarding the legacy of Sathya Sai. His legacy is the hospitals, university and the Ashram. Only God can make such hospitals for mankind. It is an emissary of Bhagawan’s love. It is God who has set up these hospitals and it is He who will run them. Sometimes I envy the students because I am not young enough to join the university. It is the alumni who will spread the light of effulgence of Bhagawan’s teachings in the world, opined Sri Pandya. If you want to experience love, this is the place. During dramatic performances Bhagawan bestows his benevolent look on the children and inspires them. Bhagawan has inspired so many millions to do service in Sri Sathya Sai Organisation. It is only God who can do such a stupendous task. No one could achieve what Sathya Sai Avatar could achieve. Bhagawan gave the feeling to everyone that He has come only for him. This is the personal experience each one had with Bhagawan. No individual can shake the foundation of Sri Sathya Sai Organisation, the legacy of love. Surrender everything to His love. This divine legacy of love will unflinchingly be present in every humankind. Manifestation of love through Sathya Sai Educare will live forever. Sri Pandya declared, “He will speak from within us, He will never leave us”. Bhagawan brought us to Him. Now is the time to reflect on His Divinity. Keep coming to Prasanthi Nilayam. At the end of all, we have to merge in Him. Every time you look in the mirror, think emphatically, you are God, told Sri Pandya. Bhagawan gave this Guru Dakshina (offering) on the 24th of July 1965: “Give Me your unselfish and unwavering mind. I will appear and give Darshan to you”.
After Sri Nimish Pandya’s speech, there were a few Bhajans by students. An announcement was made that Radio Sai has started a new service in Telugu on this day of Guru Purnima. It can be heard over Radio Sai Telugu Stream. Radio Sai Telugu has become a 24 hour channel from this day. Radio Sai can also be heard over mobile phones. Radio Sai will also start broadcasting the proceedings in the Mandir. Arati was offered at 10.25 am.
The Darshan of Mahasamadhi started immediately after the programme and will continue throughout the day. As people were having Darshan of the Mahasamadhi, a few songs and commentaries by students were in progress. This was followed by continuous chants of Sai Gayatri.