Text & photo source: Radiosai.org Prasanthi Diary, sssbpt.org - Sri Sathya Sai Media Foundation - h2hsai.org . - web layout - photo design : saibabaofindia.com & SBOI group.
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28TH SEPTEMBER 2010
Om Sairam dearest Sai Family,
There are no words in the Oxford English dictionary to describe the excellence of today’s happening in Prasanthi Nilayam. Wow!!! Unbelievably true and it was just a beautiful experience and every one of us watching this, were praying for the time to stand still as this happiness can never be experienced.
About 2400 brothers and sisters from South Africa (read as Sai Africa) are camping in Prasanthi as part of their pilgrimage to Prasanthi. This is the biggest group so far and yes they made their presence felt. The pilgrimage had people from all walks of life. There were old, young, rich, poor,men,women , children and also infants.
In olden days, especially in villages, if a poor family was planning to undertake a pilgrimage, every one in the village used to contribute financially as they considered this offering as a noble act and a means to please God.
If not exactly the same, devotees from South Africa did the same thing. 108 children from the under privileged African black community were chosen and they all were blessed to be part of the pilgrimage to our beloved Lord. Those children, were from those communities who would not have seen an aeroplane even on the TV. But what made them come to the Divine Abode was their devotion to Swami,their love for Swami. The children were given utmost care, they were fed stomach full, they were taken around Parthi, they had all the liberty and freedom as they have with their own parents. I hope many other countries will also undertake this kind of spiritual seva which is second to none.
To bring such a huge number of devotees was not an easy task for any one. It was sheer Swami’s grace that the SA pilgrimage was such a grand success. I am sure this pilgrimage dispelled all the jealousy, hatred and misunderstandings amongst devotees. They had done intense practice for this play. Many sleepless nights, many comprises in work life and family life, lots of travelling, all for one reason, to make our Lord happy and they had a great success in this aspect.
The evening of 28th September 2010 is indeed a Golden day in the history of Sai Africa. Swami out of His immense grace had permitted for UBUNTU (the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can't exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness.) ,a music, dance and drama presentation covering the important stages of transformation of South Africa which is an inspiring story for every one.
The stage was all set for the drama. The devotees, men and women were allowed to sit on either side of the dais. Considering the large numbers, the students were asked to sit in the token devotees’ darshan area.
The hall was jampacked in no time.The veda chanting stopped at 5:30pm and it was pin drop silence after that. The time started ticking. It was 6pm, 6:30, 6:45 no sign of Swami’s arrival. By then Primary school children had entered the hall. Though they come on Thursdays and Sundays, Swami blessed them with an extra darshan of the week. It was 7pm and when every one were praying bit more intensely, there was some activity at Swami’s residence, in no time, our beloved Lord, clad in His beautiful Orange robe, seated majestically in His mobile throne entered Sai Kulwanth hall. The joy in our hearts knew no bounds and the the South African devotees would have experienced boundless joy watching our Lord come in. The bhajans started right away. Swami glided through the lines slowly, looking into every one’s eyes, smiling, blessing, accepting letters. When He came in the middle of the hall, He slowly looked at the little children who were all dressed up for the evening’s programme. He gave a beautiful smile and am sure all the restlessness would have vanished right away.
Swami then moved on bit further, when
He came closer to the dais, looking at the South African devotees,
He raised His hands blessing them all.
There were quite a few devotees who went upto Swami to seek His blessings. One girl at the end in particular was much blessed. She was holding a big album like thing of about 50-60 pages. Apparently the album had messages from all the children of South Africa addressed to Swami. The girl was trying to open each page and show to Swami. As we all know, Swami many times, just opens the first 2 or 3 pages. The boy sitting next to Swami was helping to turn the pages and while doing so, probably considering the number of pages, he tried to skip some pages while showing it to Swami. Swami looked at him as if saying one page at a time, don’t skip. The album was a big one and Swami looked at each and every leaf (page) of the album. Only after seeing the album Swami signaled for the programme to start.
The programme started with Aum and introduction of the big five of South Africa. The story started with the native Africans, Zulus, Xhosa, Mponda and the life they were leading.
The South African National Anthem Nkosi Sikele was beautifully sung and explained. The variety of the programme was the live singing by the devotees. The story then shifted to the arrival of the whites from the north and how they were captivated by the beauty of SouthAfrica. The slavery, exploitation started at this time.
The next scene then moved to the entry of Indian Immigrants which is an important happening in the history of South Africa. During the British rule in India, many poor Indian labourers were randomly picked and sent to South Africa in ships as Indentured labourers to work in the sugar canefields. They were promised to sent back to India which never fructified. For all the Indians it was a big challenge. Apart from the language barrier, the climate, food habits didn’t suit them but there was no choice but earn their living. Records say that some poor Indian labourers could not make it and died in the ship itself before reaching South Africa.
The play also depicted the most famous happening where in Mahatma Gandhi who was practicing Law then in South Africa, was pushed away from the train. Mahatma Gandhi also played a key role in fighting for equal rights for every one in SA.
The scene in the drama now shifted to the episode of Madiba (Mr.Nelson Mandela) who spent 27 years in jail fighting for a better South Africa. They also played a audio of Nelson Mandela speaking about the struggle South Africa had to undergo and the kind of joy and happiness he experienced after seeing a democratic South Africa.
The song “Swami You are the one behind it all” was sung so nicely. It was also very emotional song. The whole drama was very well done. From the SA of the tribal community, to Indian Immigrants, contributions of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and then the emergence of Sai Movement. There was lot of emotion and some scenes in the drama made us cry . Swami was watching the whole drama with rapt attention. In the recent past, we used to see Swami reading letters while the play is on but today, He was just immersed in the play. Many a times, resting His chin on His hand, sometimes smiling, sometimes emotional overall the South Africans stole His heart.
Last year one CEO of a bank who was in Parthi for the bankers' conference, said, Indians were able to face the financial recession quite successfully only because of their spiritual back grounds. The same thing happened with the indentured labours from India . Not knowing where they landed, not knowing the language, they still made it only because of their faith in God. They formed small groups, gathered money and started small temples. Inspite of heavy resistance and restrictions from the white community, the hardworking Indians made their presence felt. They slowly moved into cultivation, growing vegetables, opening up small business and this year also marks the 150 years of arrival of the indentured labourers from India.
The Indian community in particular needs a special mention here. Inspite of all the adversities they under went, more over South Africa literally didn’t have any mythological significance, they still stuck to their Gods and Goddesses. In the late 60s, after the divine visit of our beloved to the African continent, Swami became very much part of their lives. Devotees started coming to Prasanthi. By word of mouth, many more followed. Swami was watching them all. Swami knew all their hardwork. He showered immense grace and blessings on them.
Apparently, many years ago, looking at a group from South Africa, Swami asked “Where are you from”? and the answer came South Africa. Swami then asked,”but where are the Africans?” today watching the mix of Africans and African Indians, Swami was immensely happy. After the play, all the children assembled in the middle of the hall. Swami then asked the boys to wheel Him down. Swami came down slowly, moved towards the devotees. He went till the last line of the devotees blessing even the back stage crew. Swami, after completing a full round, asked to be taken again. The joy of the devotees knew no bounds. Many were crying, rubbing their tears for a better visibility of our beloved Lord, who was right infront of them. When Swami is in front of you, the happiness we undergo is matchless. The mind just goes blank. You will ask your tears to get out of the way, so that Swami is more clearly visible. Swami then stayed below the dais, facing the audience. We hardly see Him in this position. Swami was in the middle of His chosen ones. He called up one Physically handicapped African boy and blessed Him. He was just watching every one. He knew all the troubles and trauma they under went. South Africa needs more blessings of Swami. There are so many mishappenings, kidnappings, firing, theft etc in SA. Swami knew everything. Among the devotees there were mothers whose child was shot dead, there were families which were looted, there were also devotees who were miraculously saved by Swami, every one knew that He knew everything and Swami seated amongst His chosen ones was reassuring that He knew everything and He will take care of everything. Swami then asked for bhajans and the group members sang two bhajans and Swami now moved up to the dais. Arathi was offered to Swami just few minutes after 9pm and after arathi Swami raised His Abhaya Hasta 3 times. He watched every one from the dais. He was in no mood to go. The South African devotees were enjoying every second of this upclose darshan. Every one were so happy. This would have been the most beautiful day of their lives. Swami, then signaled every one to go have food. Every one burst into laughter. After such a heartful darshan no one would be wanting to eat. The arathi was over and Swami was still looking at them. Then Swami called up one small girl and presented her with a just printed group photo of the SA Pilgrimage devotees. Swami then raised both His hands blessing the group again. All of us jumped in joy. Swami signals again asking all the small children to go and have their dinner. Every one is touched. How sweet is our beloved Swami. Many times even our own mother fails to be so caring and loving. It was almost 5 minutes and Swami reluctantly decided to leave for His abode putting the curtains down for the most beautiful day for the SA devotees which ranks one in terms of number of devotees outside India, thanks to them and kindness of Swami that we devotees also had a beautiful experience…
SA is busy with many service activities and after such a magnificient blessing we will be seeing more in the near future.. Attached here is one of the low cost housing projects taken up by devotees from SA which I think will be an inspiration for other countries…
Siyabonga,Siyabonga Sai Baba
With Pranams at the Lotus feet of our beloved Lord,