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A WEEK LONG ACCOUNT OF SWAMI AND DARSHAN.

Dasara Yagna 03

Posted on 02.10.2003

Sai Ram!

An account of the Dasara yagna... sent by a USA devotee currently living in Prashanti.

Take care and God bless!

yours in service,
lalita

Monday morning:

It was thrilling to see Dasara yajna begin today! It was raining and raining hard since last night. There are tons of people here, the entrance into the Poornachandra (PC) was mostly disciplined but went slowly and the hall was soon filled up. I noticed that 3/4 of the hall (on the ladies side) was filled with the students, VIPs and staff!

There was a procession as usual, from the Mandir to the Poornachandra hall.  We heard bhajans and Vedic chanting a long time, then finally could see the procession arrive. Swami was wheeled onto the stage in a big chair (from Poornachandra backstage). One or two minutes after He came (nearly 10 AM!), the priests who had been rubbing the sticks together, produced the fire and lit the homa. So, I saw what I came to see!

Monday evening was a program of Vedic chanting, speeches and bhajans. Swami came in the open chair and sat throughout.

Tuesday morning He came at 7:05 AM (!!) to the Darshan hall in the open chair, just sat on the veranda for nearly 45 minutes then went back to the PC. .

This evening, there was the same program as yesterday evening and most likely, this same program will most likely be followed through October 4th.


This was sent by a USA devotee who is presently in Prashanti. A week long account and I promise you, worth the read....

Take care and God's bless!ngs
yours in service,
lalita

Posted on 01.10.2003

September 22, 2003

No morning darshan.

Afternoon darshan.  

4:38 p.m.: chanting began.  Swami was on His way.  He  came in the chair through the ladies section onto the veranda.  

4:46 p.m.: Swami signaled for the chanting to stop.  Swami spoke with a boy on the veranda and instructed Him to have the singers sing south Indian songs.

They were fast tongue-twisters; one was even sung in harmony by two boys.  

5:02 p.m.: bhajans began and continued until 5:25.  Since the chair is lower than the golf cart it is sometimes difficult to see Him over other people’s heads.  It is so cute to see the hair at the front of his head blowing back and forth with the breeze from the fan on the floor ahead directed towards Him.

September 23. 2003

Yesterday I was unable to get into the mandir for Omkar and Suprabhatam, so this morning I left the room even earlier and arrived there ten minutes before 5 p.m.  The lines were already full.  I went outside to line up for the tokens.  Very strange: there were less people outside than inside.  It was a reversal of the usual situation.  Normally people want to get good seats for darshan so they don’t go into the mandir because they would come out after everyone else was already seated in the hall.  Now that Swami is not coming in the morning fewer people are coming early and those who do want to go inside the mandir.  “Go Inside” is the message and more and more people are getting it.  Again, there was no morning darshan today.

Afternoon darshan.

At  4:12 p.m. I saw Him leaving His compound in the chair.  Soon thereafter the chanting began.  In a couple of minutes He was on the veranda, smiling.  The chanting continued until 4:20 when He instructed the singing of south Indian songs to begin.  Later His mood
became more somber.  At 4:47 He signaled for arati and left for home.  No bhajans.

September 24, 2003

No morning darshan.

Afternoon darshan.  At 3: 36 p.m. chanting began; Swami was on His way.  Swami came onto the veranda smiling.  Chanting continued for 5 minutes after which south Indian singing commenced and lasted until 5:32, when three “boys” of Swami’s got up individually to speak.  Each spoke for about ten minutes about God’s promise to look after His devotees and related stories of this avatar and the Rama avatar.  This lasted until 5 p.m. when the singing resumed.  The singing went on for 6 minutes only at which time Swami signaled for arati and He left for home.  No bhajans again.

September 25, 2003

No morning darshan.  No, I was fooled.  Swami had come out in the white Mercedes some time after 7:30 a.m. when I left the hall to go to breakfast.  At 9:12 a.m. during bhajans I received His darshan outside the hall as He was returning through the gate leading to the driveway.

Afternoon darshan.  

At 3:49 p.m. the sevadals motioned to each other that Swami was coming out.  In a short while chanting began.  He came out in the golf cart, sitting on the left side behind the driver.  At the crossing point on the ladies side we weren’t sure which way He would go.  He proceeded straight ahead towards the men’s section!  When the cart reached the men’s section Swami stood up and the men applauded.  In the men’s section He took two or three letters.  This was different from before.  He actually pointed to the individual from whom He wanted a letter.  That person stood up and gave it to His assistant. When the cart came to the section at the side of the mandir, he turned to the area where young boys from His orphanage were sitting.  There the cart slowed and He said  something to the boys.  The cart continued around the front of the veranda then came onto the veranda from the ramp on the right.  Swami was still standing when the cart came to the low ramp leading to the front of the veranda.  There the driver hesitated a bit, shaking his head.  Swami was holding the bar in front of Him with both hands as the cart smoothly descended.  Soon after the cart stopped four boys came to Swami’s left side to speak with Him.  Shortly after that two men brought out the microphones with stand and the podium, the ones used for yesterday’s talks given by three boys.  Then an older man came up to His right, talked with Him and gave a letter.  Also He said something to the men to His right near the guardrails.  Anil Kumar quickly came up, but He was not the one Swami meant. A younger man approached and spoke with Swami a short while.

At 4 p.m. He signaled for chanting to stop and singing to begin.  The boys  in front began the south Indian singing performance.  There were four boys who sang, two of whom did solos or duets.  During the singing I had a good view of Swami from the side, mostly from the belly up.  I could see Him tapping His right hand onto His lap.  He would alternate tapping with an open hand and a loose fist with a “knocking” motion.  Then He would tap with His index finger as He held the handrail in front.  Sometimes He would gently sway His body side-to-side.  Occasionally he would take the handkerchief from the handrail to wipe His lips or eyes.  Intermittently he held His head down.  He was reading the letter handed to Him by the gentleman to His right.  Then He would look up and resume tapping or just look at the boys.  Sweet to just observe Him performing these mannerisms.

At 4:39 He signaled for arati and the cart made it’s way to the front of the veranda.  At the right side of the veranda two men stood up and came to the cart, an older and a younger man.  The younger man came very close to Him in the cart and spoke with Him for quite some time as arati was playing.  The cart then continued through the ladies section and was out of the hall by 4:41 p.m.

A small side note.  Last week He had inquired about the welfare of the
orphanage boys.  The man in charge of the orphanage related the following story that happened last Thursday.  Four boys were getting their bedding materials at night from a room which was not well-lit when one of the boys said that he was afraid to go in there.  Immediately Swami descended from His photo hanging on the wall and appeared before them.  He said to them in Telugu, “Don’t fear, I am here.”  He further told them that He would come again on Sunday.  He did come on Sunday but not in the way they expected.  He gave morning darshan in Sai Kulwant hall, but the boys were not there
until the afternoon for which He did not show up.

September 26, 2003

Morning darshan.  Today we had plenty of rain.  It rain moderately heavy since the early morning so not many people were in the darshan hall.  Coming back to the hall after breakfast there were again, like yesterday, people waiting on either side of the driveway at the Rama gate.  Swami had come out and left the ashram sometime after I had left for breakfast.  I joined the group there to wait for Swami.  It is more organized there than in the past.

Yesterday and today the men and women were separated.  Yesterday when we had nice weather people were made to sit in rows on the ground.  Today because of the rain we just stood.  Bhajans began at 9:00 a.m. and lasted for 30 minutes.  Swami did not return before the end of bhajans but it was still nice to have bhajans even while standing in the rain.


This morning while waiting at the gate I saw a procession of men walking outside the ashram, one man carrying the Indian flag.  When I went to the village later I found that all the shops outside were closed.  There I saw another procession slowly making its way down the street.  Then I saw a jeep-full of men with the Indian flag at the helm of the vehicle.  I learned that the Congress Party was on strike.  Why that would cause a shutdown of all the shops, I don’t know.

Afternoon darshan.  At 4:18 Swami came from the far end of Poornachandra in the golf cart.  Darshan music started, followed a second later with a single note on the keyboard, then a second after that the vedic chanting.  In a couple of minutes Swami was on the veranda in the usual spot.  Chanting lasted for only 5 minutes at which time south Indian singing began.  This time there was no keyboard to accompany the singers.  Instead there was a veena (?), the four-stringed instrument sitting on a large gourd of a base, and a violin.  A man on the veranda to the right of Baba would occasionally direct the singers with hand motions.  The microphones on the stand and the podium were waiting at the side of the left column in front of Ganesha, but today they were not needed.  Swami did not come to the men’s section today.  Neither did He stand up in the cart.  He did not take any letters, until the very end when a VIP handed Him a letter as the cart was departing.  In front of Ganesh He stopped and spoke (it appeared) with the priest who was circling the arati lamp.  Then he stopped and talked briefly also with a young man who was also holding an arati lamp.  He went further and spent even more time at the right side of the veranda speaking with someone there. Then He proceeded homeward.  On His way he blessed the ladies section to His left just before exiting.  The cart was out of the hall by 4:58 p.m.  No bhajans.

September 27, 2003

No morning darshan.

Afternoon darshan.  I came back from the village just after 1 p.m. and
everyone was already in the darshan hall!  No token lines outside!  I went home then rushed back to the hall.  Sevadals were waiting at the Rama gate.  

At 2:02 p.m. bhajans began.  A few minutes after that chanting also began and both went on simultaneously.  At 2:11 p.m. Swami came into hall preceded by a procession of boys.  I saw earlier that boys lined the driveway, some holding green or orange flags.  Swami came in a silver Mercedes.  The car continued to the far end of Poornachandra.  Bhajans and chanting stopped at 2:21 p.m. with an Om and three Shantis.  Afterwards people were asked to go back outside to join the token lines for regular darshan.

At 5:00 p.m. bhajans started and ended at 5:30.  Baba did not come out again.

September 28, 2003

Morning darshan.  We men were not allowed to sit in the “island” section; that was reserved for the staff and those with special passes.  On the veranda there are low steps two on each side located between the back and middle sections, and between the middle and front sections.  Previously there were ramps connecting only the front and middle sections, between the handrails.  This morning there were ramps also connecting the middle and back sections.  All four ramps were covered with red carpet.  Too, the wooden thresholds at the two doors to the mandir were removed.  Presumably this was all done to allow Baba access into the mandir for these next several days.

At 7:48 a.m. darshan music started, but it was soon replaced by vedic chanting.  Within a couple of minutes Swami came out in the golf cart, which proceeded directly to the veranda from the ladies side.  Swami this morning was in a light mood, even  excited!  He called many people to Him.  Men came up to both sides of the cart singly or in groups of two or more.  When He had two men on His left He was so eager to speak with them that He had pulled Himself forward with His right arm and was leaning on the handrail with His forearm.   Two men came rushing to Him also from the VIP section on the right, then four boys came up from the musician section in front, then a boy from the same section came up by himself, a VIP man came forward from behind to show Him something from a large envelope.  Swami used quick short movements of His hands and head, so excited was He.  He “slapped” one man on the side of his shoulder a couple of times and He tapped the shoulder of another. He called forward one of His attendants and sent Him into the mandir.  Shortly after that attendant returned Baba signaled for the cart to take Him home.  On the right side of the veranda the cart stopped and He spoke with the men seated there.  By 8:24 the cart was at the entrance of the hall.  The cart stopped there as Swami waited for a VIP woman from the left side of the entrance.  She rushed to the cart and was there for a couple of minutes.  Then Swami continued homeward.  The chanting continued for a few minutes after Baba was outside the hall.  Normally chanting ends with an Om and three Shantis.  This morning they ended with an abrupt “Om Tat Sat” which means “Brahman (God) alone is the Reality.”

Bhajans started at 9:00 a.m. and ended at 9:30 with arati.  Normally when Baba is not present the priest does not perform arati with the camphor lamp.

Today he was there and circling the lamp in front of a statue of the  Goddess placed there this morning in front of Ganesha.  That must have been what Swami had told His assistant to do when he went into the mandir before Baba departed.

Afternoon darshan.  

At 3:17 pm Baba came out of His residence in the golfcart.  At that time all of the men from the token lines were in but the ladies had just started to enter, and so most of them were still outside. The majority of the students also were not inside yet.  When sitting outside in the token lines I saw a group of priests walk by; when I entered the hall they were in the mandir chanting.  They now lined the path of Baba on the veranda behind Ganesh.  Shortly after Baba left His residence chanting began.  At the intersection on the ladies side where the cart turns right or goes straight the cart paused for a while.  The ladies were stopped at that point from entering, then the cart turned right and continued to the veranda.  At the top of the ramp on the veranda the cart halted again.  Baba was then framed (for me anyway) between the right column and the edge of the wall in which Ganesh sits.  I could see Him full figure waiting there.  Baba motioned with His left hand.  Maybe the path was too narrow with the priests sitting there on either side.  Maybe He motioned for the cart to go via the front of the veranda.  In a short while the cart continued forward and so by 3:22 He was in the regular spot.  It was certainly a surprise for many people that He came so early.  Students (boys and girls) as well as men and women devotees came running inside.  Like this morning Baba was in a light mood, although He did not call many people to Him this afternoon.  He looked for a while at the chanters.

At 3:30 the chanters did an Om and three Shantis and singing began.  I am not well versed in south Indian singing but it seemd to me that at least a couple of the songs were not classics, i.e. they seemed to me like newer arrangements.  I thought I heard the words “Sai Baba” and “Thyagaraja” which are more contemporary than traditional.  The boys did a repeat performance also of the song where there is a little harmonizing.  Very nice.  The singing continued until 4:15 when bhajans began.  Bhajans continued until 4:32 p.m. when Swami signaled for the cart to leave.  The priest and a boy were circling lamps for arati, but the priest put his lamp down when Swami signaled with His hand.  The cart continued to the right side of the veranda where a man came from the area behind Ganesh to speak with Swami.  Soon Anil Kumar was called forward also to speak with Swami.  Swami then continued off the veranda and left for home.  By 4:37 the cart was outside the hall.  Anil Kumar then announced that tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. Yajnas will be conducted in the divine presence of Bhagavan.