A beautiful account sent by a devotee presently living in
Take care and God bless!
yours in service,
Last night it was announced that the Poornahuti (final offerings
and completion of the yagna) would be at 10 AM the next morning.
The schedule was changed from in
past years, because usually the yagna ends quite early in the
morning, before 7 AM. Then Swami gives a discourse.
This time, the priests chanted and
then stopped. Maybe they were through and waiting for Swami to
appear! There was some activity of the priests going out and then
returning back in procession. Then Swami came on stage, wheeled in
on the big off-white chair (no platform, just the chair with 3 or
4 small hidden wheels).
Swami sat in front of the fire for
some time, as the priests gave the final offerings. At one point,
though, I saw Swami's hand go up as He did the usual throwing of
rice grains into the fire (or over the
heads of the priests, blessing them?).
Usually the priests do pradakshina
(going around the fire), but there was some indecision and it
wasn't done. Swami then came over to the far side of the stage (on
the ladies side), accepted two or three big flower garlands
(holding them then putting them aside) from the main priest
and his wife, then arathi was done to Him and He was wheeled back
over to the other side of the stage, then backstage.
There was then an announcement that
everyone should receive prasad before leaving. A delicious
milk-sweet was distributed to all. there was no announcement about
the evening's program.
In the evening, Swami arrived
wheeled in the open-chair and sat in the usual place on the
verandah. There were talks by several people, then Anil Kumar
(Swami's translator) gave an enthusiastic talk, translating
certain poems in Telugu into English, about the might and majesty
After his speech, he
approached Swami and whispered something. Swami gave a short
reply, then Anil Kumar returned to the milk and after a few
flowery words, requested Swami to speak for at least a couple of
minutes, to give us bliss!
A mike was brought to his chair, but
it looked like it was several feet away and too high. Swami
instead ordered that His usual discourse table be brought, which
it was. The chair was wheeled up to the table, then Swami tried to
get up. Two boys, one on each side, helped lift Swami up.
When he was positioned standing at the table, Swami waved the boys
aside. Then He started to talk! At first His voice sounded soft
and a little lispy, but it soon became, for the most part, His
usual strong, clear speech. Throughout the discourse Swami kept
both His hands leaning on the table, except for occasionally
motioning with His right hand. He stood sturdy and looked alright.
Swami first spoke a lot on love, how
we should fill our hearts with love, live with love and share it
with others. He spoke a bit about how the body was a physical
basket of dirt but the indweller was God, and that is what we
should concentrate on. In a few sentences He said that it may look
like He couldn't walk, but He could actually do whatever He
willed! He said (in English) "My health is very good, very good,
very good!" He said also, that He would live to 96 years of age!
This is the first time in ages (that I can recall) that He
announced this publicly.
Swami started talking at 5:20 PM and
ended at 6:05 PM - standing for 45 minutes! We weren't too happy
with the strain He put on the physical body, but it was obviously
His decision. Stubborn patient!
After singing "Hari Bhajana Bina"
(taking both hands off the table to clap along), He sat back down
in the chair, helped by the two boys. Then arathi was done and He
was wheeled out.
The hall was full to capacity and there were thousands of people