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Dasara-Yagna -Sunday, October 5th-2003



Sai Ram!

A beautiful account sent by a devotee presently living in Prashanti.

Take care and God bless!

yours in service,
lalita

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 of God.

 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 outside.