“Divine Visit to Delhi and Shimla"

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The Sunday Talk Given by Prof. Anil Kumar

 “Divine Visit to Delhi and Shimla"

April 9 to 18, 2010


April 21, 2010 




Sai Ram


With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of our most beloved Bhagavan,


Dear Brothers and Sisters,




Thanks to Swami for having made this session to cover the details of the Divine trip to Delhi and Shimla. My friends, I was very fortunate to have been selected to accompany Bhagavan during this trip. In fact, for the two days prior to the Divine trip people were talking about it. Some were giving their own dates, others were saying, “He may go here and not there.” Some were guessing the names of the people who might accompany Swami. Everything was up in the air, and nothing was finalised.


Then around April 6th, the plans were finalised. We came to know who was to accompany Swami and the places they would visit. It was clear that Swami would start from here on April 9th, that He would go to Delhi and spend a couple of days there, and then proceed to Shimla for a day or two. The selected boys were told of their inclusion in the Divine trip.



My friends, the fascinating thing is this: Bhagavan visited Delhi eleven years ago for the inauguration of the Sri Sathya Sai International Stadium in Delhi. The Sri Sathya Sai International Centre inDelhi has so many activities to its credit. The Sri Sathya Sai International Centre is managed by experts like General Chibbar of the Indian Army, Maharaj Rasagotra of the Indian Foreign Service, and some past governors and lieutenant. governors. Top people manage the Sri Sathya Sai International Centre in Delhi inaugurated by Bhagavan eleven years ago! Therefore, people in Delhiwere eagerly waiting for Him all these years. Now you can understand how anxious they were to have Him in their midst!


On April 9th, the boys and elders selected for the trip started for Sri Sathya Sai Airport located in Prashanthi Nilayam. The time of departure was 2:30 p.m.. As you may know, the summer is extraordinarily severe this year with scorching sun and severe heat--it is unbearable! You cannot walk because of the heat! But strangely enough, devotees started lining up on either side of the road all the way to the airport to greet Bhagavan, and to bid Him farewell! I saw some devotees standing on the hills and on the water tanks! Some had climbed trees to have a glimpse of Bhagavan. Nowhere else would this happen in severe summer heat!


Swami reached the airport and entered the plane. It was a chartered Kingfisher flight from Puttaparthi to Delhi. The group comprised eighteen students and ten elders, and all of us were seated comfortably. The captain and members of the crew started lining up to take padanamaskar from Swami. They touched His Feet. After receiving His blessings, the pilot asked for His permission, saying, “Bhagavan, shall we fly now?” Here I want to tell you a very interesting thing. The captain of the Kingfisher flight that morning happened to be a former Balvikas student from Kanpur. The pilot of today was a Balvikas child of long ago! You can estimate his joy! Now he was the pilot of the aircraft in which Bhagavan was seated! His joy knew no bounds! He was ecstatic!


We reached Delhi around 4:45 p.m. All were busy at the Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi. Bhagavan left the plane first and we all followed Him.  The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Rosaih, received Him and touched His feet, welcoming Swami to the capital of the nation, New Delhi. That’s how our journey to New Delhi started.



We drove straight to the Sri Sathya Sai International Centre in New Delhi. It is a three-storey building, brick red in colour. From a distance it looks like a monumental building of great architectural beauty! The colour is similar to the Red Fort of India in Delhi. The building has a basement where bhajans are held every day. The bhajans are attended by 4,000 to 5,000 people, closely packed.


The first floor has corridors all around it, with a lift to the second floor where there are guest rooms. The third floor was exclusively for Bhagavan. All of the guest rooms were well furnished and very comfortable. Next to the International Centre is a school building, which is connected to the centre. Such a beautiful building, I tell you!  The whole building is full of illumination!  


In front of the main door of the centre building was a huge shamianah (tent). The shamianah was a greenish yellow colour and had some frills called chandini all around it. There was a thick red carpet on the ground and a few chairs for VIPs. In front of the chairs there was enough room for three or four rows of VIPs to sit on the carpet. When Swami came through the main door, He could see the VIPs at close quarters. So beautiful! The shamianah extended all the way to the school building, where a special stage was raised. Such a beautiful, panoramic view: the greenish yellow tent, red carpet below, and cushioned chairs with white covers. Very nice!


At a slightly lower level on one side there were many chairs for the VIP ladies, that is, wives of cabinet ministers or governors. Moving further down and at a slightly higher level, there was a huge, red carpeted stage. At the centre of the stage, on the top was a rose-coloured canopy, or a chandini under which Swami sat. So Bhagavan was seated in front of that huge pandal where at least 10,000 to 15,000 people can be seated comfortably. Here the carpet was brown in its colour, the shamianah was red, with rainbow coloured fabric draped all around. Men were seated on one side, ladies on the other side and in the centre was a path for Swami with a violet coloured carpet from one end to the other. There were two large screens so that everyone seated far away could see Bhagavan. That was the arrangement in front of Sri Sathya Sai International Centre in New Delhi!


Here Bhagavan gave darshan, and bhajans were held in the morning and evening. I am happy to report that the bhajans were excellent and of very high standard, particularly from the ladies: full of melody, depth of feeling, and emotion. I understand there were 5,500 sevadal. They maintained traffic, were responsible for all the arrangements, monitored Bhagavan’s convoy, supplied the water, and maintained the kitchens. The sevadal were not only from Delhi; they were also from neighbouring states like Haryana and Chandigarh. There were a sizeable number of old students ofSathya Sai University, numbering two hundred. They did a beautiful job!



I happened to stay on the second floor, and noticed every guest enjoying wonderful hospitality, an excellent reception, and the best, unparalleled service. On one side of the second floor was a big dining hall where Swami sat. On either side of Him, there were chairs. We had our breakfast, lunch, evening tea, and dinner everyday with Swami. I was very happy.  


At every dining session, Swami would enquire, “Anil Kumar, how have you eaten?” In North India, food is not spicy as in Andhra Pradesh where I come from. We are used to spicy food, and moreover, I come from the Guntur District, which is a very hot area and we relish only hot stuff! At each session Swami would enquire, “How are you? How is the food? Did you get pickles? Where are the pickles? Have they served you?” That enquiry, made every morning and evening, made me feel at home, and ever grateful to Bhagavan for His personal concern, and the tender care that was extended to me. Yes, I have no words to thank Him!  


Everyone started staring at me, and asking for my opinion and comments on the food served: “How do you like this item? How do you like that?” In other words, I became an expert at giving my opinion about the delicious items served! It was all fun, you see! That’s how God comes close to His devotees. If God stays far away on a high pedestal, we cannot communicate with Him. So He comes down to our level, He communicates, He communes, He jokes and laughs! That’s how He comes closer and closer to devotees.



The second day of our visit to Delhi, on the morning of April 10th, the children from slum areas staged a cultural programme full of dance and music. It was interesting. Incidentally, I may tell you that the Balvikas movement has gone to the slum areas. The poorest of the poor are also benefiting from a Balvikas education programme. They were well-dressed. They danced and sang, and Swami was happy. He blessed all the children and also the Balvikas gurus.



About a forty minute drive from the Centre is the Dwaraka Stadium, which can easily accommodate 50,000 people. Swami visited the Dwaraka Stadium twice or thrice during His stay in Delhi. On April 10th, we went to Dwaraka Stadium in a car convoy. Every car had a sevadal man with a walkie-talkie facility, the cell phone. The sevadal kept talking on the phone, “Hello, how are we doing? Where are we going? Shall we turn to the left or right? The car in the front, are you in the correct track? How far are we from Dwaraka Stadium? Where is the convoy? Where is the security? Is Bhagavan’s car moving?” They monitored every step. Every movement of every vehicle was efficiently managed, as if by trained military personnel! It was really fantastic! The convoy comprised about fifty cars. There were two security jeeps in the front and two behind Swami’s car. This was followed by fifty cars. That was the convoy of Bhagavan!


Dwaraka Stadium is a vast area, an open stadium with huge grounds. On one side is a parking area. A very big dais was specially raised for the cultural programmes and for Bhagavan’s seat, where He could shower His Grace and grant His darshan to 50,000 people seated in front of Him. The stage was huge and covered with a dark blue carpet. On the top was a shamianah with rainbow colours. In front of the dais there was some open space. Behind that open space were shamianahs, eight or ten feet high, thin and soft white in colour, with chandini or frills all around, over a red carpet. Some 50,000 gents and ladies were nicely seated. They were supplied with drinking water in the hot summer.


My friends, Delhi was burning hot! It was not comfortable to walk in forty-three or forty-four degrees Celsius! It felt as if there was fire on your cheeks. You had to hold kerchiefs on both sides of your face when walking. You might feel more comfortable sitting on a fire rather than walking on the street! It was so hot that the Delhi newspapers reported record heat over fifty-two years! But heat or cold does not matter to devotees coming for Baba’s darshan. Heat or cold does not matter to Baba granting His darshan to all the devotees. Devotees had transcended the climate. Devotees had gone beyond the temperature, or else it would be unimaginable to be there!


In the evening of April 10th, the Delhi Balvikas children staged a cultural programme, which was quite interesting. It represented the day-to-day life of a person, busy with all his computers and newspapers. Life has become a market place. No one has any time to spare. So the present day life was well depicted by the Balvikas children that evening.



The evening of April 11th, we were at the Mavlankar Auditorium in Delhi.  The Mavlankar Auditorium has a seating capacity of approximately 3,000 people. It was a beautiful auditorium, like our college auditorium, with compact, cushioned chairs, as in a gallery. Swami sat on the stage. A symposium was organised that evening. On either side of the stage were huge, very imposing posters of Swami. People looked at all the pictures and posters of the teachings of Swami which were hung around the auditorium.


The topic of the symposium was “Sai Way for Human Development” or “Sai Way for Human Progress”. The entire gathering was welcomed by the Air Marshal, or Air Chief, Suri. In a most befitting way, he welcomed Swami to Delhi after an absence of eleven years. He welcomed the vast gathering, and introduced the speakers of the day. There were three speakers: the first was SunilMittal, the head of Airtel, a cell phone company. Mittal is a very rich man, a top industrialist. Suri said, “Mittal started his business in a very humble way, with a capital investment of Rs. 25,000. Today he manages Rs. 25,000 crores (one crore equals ten million)!” How he has grown in stature in the communication field! The second speaker was our former Vice-Chancellor of the SriSathya Sai University, Sri S. V. Giri. The third speaker was also a former Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai University, Prof. G. Venkatraman.


That was the programme of the day. But what interested me is this: it was Mittal who said, frankly and openly, “Bhagavan, I am not a devotee. But my wife, my brothers-in-law, my parents-in-law are Your devotees. They visit You; they worship You. My children, who are receiving higher education abroad, were blessed by You long ago. Our family is doing well because of Your blessings.” Then he said, “Swami, I am inspired by Your message! I am inspired by Your illustrious example. I started three hundred and fifty schools in which five thousand children, mostly girls, receive their education. With Your blessings, Bhagavan, I would like to extend these education facilities to a total of one lakh (100,000) students in the near future. I pray for Your blessings.” That’s what Mittalsaid. When he said these words, it touched my heart, I tell you! As a matter of fact, everyone must have been literally moved by his wonderful statement.


He was followed by S. V. Giri, who explained the education programme of Bhagavan, including grama seva. He also mentioned the water project and the medical services in Prashanthi Nilayam. His talk was followed by Professor G. Venkatraman, the former Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai University and the Director of Sai Radio for Global Harmony and Sri Sathya Sai Digital Studio in Prashanthi Nilayam. G. Venkatraman used audio-visual aids. PowerPoint presentations were projected on two huge screens. He explained all the details of the water project undertaken by Bhagavan Baba. What was Anantapur District before? What is Ananthapur District today? How did people survive before the water project, suffering from the shortage of water, walking miles and miles to fetch a pot full of water! He showed how the water tanks were built, how the pipes were laid, and how happy people are today! In addition, some of the beneficiaries were interviewed. The audio-visual presentation by Venkatraman was certainly impressive.



Following the symposium, in the same Mavlankar Auditorium, 'old boys' (meaning former students of the Sri Sathya Sai University), along with the youth from the Delhi sevadal group, staged a drama. They acted very well. The theme was about a man leading a simple, yet happy, life. He got married and suddenly confronted a problem. His mother-in-law came and said, “Why don’t you go abroad? Why don’t you earn more money?” With that the whole problem started!


The young wife became very disturbed, due to the influence of her mother. She goaded her husband to earn more, buy more gold, and go abroad. The boy was restless, without peace. But with a turn of events, the old lady understood that all the gold and currency were useless. Then the family realised the value of a spiritual life. That’s how the family finally settled down and created a happy home. The family members became totally contended with whatever they had.


The drama had a good message. There were also one or two dances. Swami really enjoyed the jokes. The humour in the drama made Swami laugh. We were very happy about that!



On April 12th, Swami wanted all of us to visit the Baha'i temple. In Delhi, the Baha'i temple is one of the interesting tourist spots. The Baha'i School of Philosophy is universal, and was started by a Muslim saint who strongly believed in the unity of all religions. The Baha'i temple is built like a big lotus flower with all its petals opened up. Set far away from the road, the temple is the very personification of silence. Silence prevailed all over.


So we went to the Baha'i temple.  Chairs and benches were brought for us, and a special chair was brought for Bhagavan. There were a few participants from the Baha'i faith. Each one read out passages from Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism. Scriptures were read from the Dhammapada, Quran, Holy Bible, Bhagavad Gita, and other spiritual texts. There was a musical presentation full of songs and hymns. The songs were calm, slow, serene, solemn, and dignified. It was like the echo of the heart, not the beat of the drum--like a lullaby, a song celestial, a hymn Divine, which takes you to another plane of consciousness.


Watching the whole thing, I felt Sathya Sai believes in unity of religions, and the Baha'i faith emphasises the harmony of religions. Both are very much the same, and hence we thoroughly enjoyed the programme. In front of the Baha'i temple is a library, an excellent reading room, well-furnished with books in all languages! We visited that also. Our visit to the Baha'i temple in Delhi was memorable.



On April 13th, there was a special function particularly for Punjabis: it was New Year’s, or Vaisakhi Day. This was a day of joy, dance, fun, and frolic. Swami distributed clothes that morning to about one thousand people at the Sai International Centre. All of the people received clothes distributed by Swami.


In the evening we went to the Dwaraka Grounds for a cultural programme. I tell you, my friends, for that evening the setting was a specially raised, huge dais, red carpeted, with a beautifulshamianah in seven colours, in front of fifty thousand people. At one end sat a group of musicians. They were dressed in all white Punjabi dress, pyjama and kurta (long shirt), with dark blue waist coats. The waist coats had bright, shining gold buttons on all sides; they sparkled in the floodlights! There were musicians on the keyboard, tabla, dholak and drums--all dressed up!


In the centre sat a well built man, a pucca Punjabi, a very popular musician named Mr. Hans Raj Hans. He is very well known in North India for his music. When he started singing, I tell you, my friends, I have no regrets in life so far, but for the first time in my life I regretted not knowing Hindi! I do not know Hindi, so I could not appreciate the words. But many Hindi speaking people told me that the songs of Hans Raj were of literary excellence, especially composed in praise of Bhagavan. Hans Raj Hans sat looking at Bhagavan and started singing. The entire gathering of fifty thousand started clapping.  He is a long-haired man, and it seemed his hair started dancing! Punjabis are highly expressive, very industrious, hard-working people full of courage. Hans Raj made the day for us! I felt that Swami should give him a chance to sing for Bhagavan’s 85th Birthday, because the music was of that calibre! The compositions were of that depth!



On April 14th, Bhagavan was invited to the Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar. The Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar is a school under the management of the Sri Sathya Sai Trust, New Delhi. The school is beautiful! The three-storied building is highly imposing with a large auditorium where we had lunch. In front of the building shamianahs were specially erected, and beautifully decorated in rainbow colours. The stage was at least three or four feet high with a red carpet. Swami gave darshan to everyone, then He came down from the stage to watch the Balvikas children give a wonderful programme.


The cultural programme presented by the Balvikas children illustrated three main episodes from the life of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. In the first episode, Baba as a young boy visited a local temple along with His friends. He and His friends circled the temple, doing pradakshina (circumambulation). Suddenly a monkey jumped up, and caught hold of His feet, saying, “Don’t move from here!”


All of the other boys were scared. Young Sathya could not move, and told all His friends, “I cannot join you in the pradakshina.”




“Hanuman is preventing me. He is saying, ‘You are my Lord Rama. This is Hanuman’s temple. How can the Lord go round the temple of His servant? Swami, I won’t allow You!’”


This episode touched the hearts of everyone. Swami was nostalgic about it. I saw Him deeply moved watching the entire depiction on the stage.


The second episode was about a British district collector, who went hunting in a forested area, like the Ammagondavaripalayam area close to Puttaparthi. At one spot, the jeep gave him trouble. It didn’t move, in spite of the driver’s repeated attempts to repair it. So the British collector got down and asked his driver to find a mechanic. The driver said, “Sir, no mechanic is available in this vicinity. But I heard that there is a young boy near here named Sathya, who will give us the solution.”


The collector said, “Go and ask Him.”


So the driver went and brought Sathya, our present Sathya Sai Baba, who was a young boy at that time. The young Sathya looked seriously at the British collector. Even at a young age, He was very firm and highly courageous. He said, “You shot a tigress and left her two little cubs crying alone. It is feeding time; they are very hungry, and they want milk. You shot the mother tiger. What a crime you committed!”


Then the district collector apologised and promised that he would find both cubs, place them in a public zoo, and see that they were brought up nicely. After some time, the collector brought the skin of the tiger that he had killed, and gave it to Swami. “Swami, I repent. I regret very much what I have done. I want You to put this skin under Your throne, so that it is blessed, as proof that You have excused me.” Baba blessed him. The same tiger skin you may see today in Prashanthi Nilayam, under His chair in the Mandir. That was the second episode.


In the third episode, a school arranged a function to raise funds for the construction of school facilities. A dancer named Rishyendramani was to perform at the function. Unfortunately, at the eleventh hour Rishyendramani did not turn up. Rishyendramani was a very famous dancer. The headmaster and all the teachers were in a panic. The gathering was already assembled, the stage ready, and it was time for the dancer to perform. Young Sathya came and said to the headmaster, “Sir, if you permit me, I will dance.”






“Can You dance?”


“Why not?”


The Headmaster gave Him a chance, so young Sathya, dressed as Rishyendramani, danced very well on the stage. He even picked up a needle from the ground while dancing!  In this feat, a plate is placed on the stage, the dancer stands on the edge of the plate, holding lamps in both hands and picks up a needle from the ground. It is a very tough item to perform! Baba did it successfully in the role of Rishyendramani. Everyone clapped. The headmaster came to shake hands, but Sathya, dressed as Rishyendramani, said, “Sir, I am a woman; you cannot touch Me. You cannot put a chain on My neck. You can pass it on to Me. Namaskar!” Even then He showed what Indian culture is!


The next day, the chairman of the local organisation, Subbamma, who was a very important lady, came to distribute prizes. She was a great patriot. She came to distribute the prizes, and the young boy Sathya came. What was the announcement? “Now Rishyendramani will receive the cup.” Who was Rishyendramani? Young Sathya!


She said, “You are Rishyendramani?”


“Yes, Madam,” He said.


Then she lifted Him in her arms and kissed Him. That was the talent of Sathya Sai Baba! All these three episodes were very nicely depicted by the Balvikas children of Delhi on April 14th.



Then the news started circulating that Swami would leave for Shimla on April 15th. Shimla is a hill station, a very interesting place to see for visitors from abroad. People from different countries go there. Interestingly, Baba had visited Shimla 35 years ago!


Shimla is the capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh. Most of the people in Himachal Pradesh are devotees of Baba. They come in thousands to Prasanthi Nilayam every year for service activities. Shimla only has a helipad, so only small flights can land there.


The boys left Delhi by air-conditioned bus and reached Shimla via Chandigarh. They spent a night in Chandigarh. The boys told me they had an excellent time while going through Chandigarh! “Sir, it was a heavenly experience, a life-time experience we will cherish!” What kind of hospitality they were given in Chandigarh by the Sathya Sai Organisation is unimaginable! They were very happy.


The next day we started from Delhi in two helicopters, with just five of us in each helicopter. It was very small, so I was able to see the cockpit, where the pilot and co-pilot conversed. I was able to see how they were adjusting and working with the machines--it was scary!



Shimla is a beautiful place, full of mountains. There are no flat areas; the roads are laid connecting one mountain to another. There are thick forests and a small population. You can see the clouds moving over the mountains, forests, and greenery! Where are you? You are in heaven, you are in paradise! You are in the company of the Creator and His beautiful creation: an unpolluted, beautiful reflection of the Creator!


Swami’s convoy started going up and down the hills, as in Kodaikanal, Tirupati, or Srisailam. All of Shimla was out on the streets! People left their houses, closed their shops, and lined up on the streets, standing on both sides greeting Baba, and waving flags with Baba’s pictures. They hailed Bhagavan with shouts of victory: “Bolo Sathya Sai Bhagavan Ki, Jai, Jai, Jai!” The shouts mounted in the air as flags were waved welcoming Bhagavan. From a one-year-old child to a ninety-year-old man, no one stayed at home, at school, or at the colleges! Everyone was out on the streets!


How nice it was to watch. I saw people hugging each other, jumping in joy. I saw people shedding tears of joy watching Swami. They had been waiting for God’s arrival for thirty-five years! It was a penance, a meditation, and their penance resulted in this visit! Swami was happy. Shimla being a hill station, I saw close to ninety-nine per cent of the population in excellent health, with very attractive complexions. The children were very cute, and all the men and women were very handsome and beautiful. Perhaps Bhagavan wanted beauty in Shimla: the people and the place matched each other! You can easily identify a person from Shimla: you find two apples on their cheeks red-touch!



Then we speeded up the mountain. On the mountain there was a huge five-storied building, carved in different colours: light blue, light yellow, and a light brick colour. Oh, what a beautiful building! Was it like something out of the Roman Empire, or a replica of Moghal culture, or like the Taj Mahal? Was it like our Mysore Maharaja’s palace? How shall I compare it? People know me as a man of description, but I fail this time, because my words are not enough to describe the beauty of the building! Wow! I don’t think I shall ever see a building that beautiful in the near future. Of all the buildings and temples built for Swami, Shimla stands first!


In front of the building there is a space that can accommodate three thousand people, right up to the edge of the mountain. There are railings on all sides, so people will not fall off. If you look at the open space from the building, it looks like the map of India. For Swami’s arrival, the ground was covered with a thick green carpet where people were seated; at the centre was a red carpet for Swami’s chair to move on. In front of the red carpet was a wide space and steps. You have to climb up the steps to get into the building.


The building may not be as big or as spacious as the Vidhan Soudha in Bangalore, but it is more beautiful! The building is called "Ananda Vilas". At the centre is the bhajan hall. The five floors do not have any rooms, only corridors, and all the corridors are circular. If you stand at the centre you can see people walking on all the five floors. From the corridors you can see the hall where the devotees sit on the floor.


From the inside steps and along the corridors, you can see beautiful paintings depicting scenes from the Ramayana and Bhagavata. On the temple ceiling in the centre hall you can see theDasavataras, or ten incarnations, of Sri Maha Vishnu, including Sathya Sai Baba as Kalki Avatar, with Baba’s figure seated on a horse. Kalki Avatar, the last incarnation, is depicted on a horse.


On the fifth floor are rooms for Swami. Adjacent to the top of the five-story building, which is located on the mountain top, is a replica of a lotus flower. A bridge for Swami connects the fifth floor to the lotus flower, so that He can go over the bridge to the lotus flower, and give darshan to everyone. In addition, there were two projections, or balconies, on either side of the second and third floors for Swami to give darshan. These balconies were not separate boxes. They fit into the temple and are light blue in colour, with beautiful flower carvings, just like the carvings on the walls of the Prasanthi Nilayam temple.


Kailasa Pathey Bhagavan Shankara

Sai Natha Bhagavan Shankara

Kailasa Pathey Bhagavan…


You could see Bhagavan as Kailasa Pathey, who is Lord Siva! Wow, how beautiful it was! Swami gave darshan in the bhajan hall. His chair was kept on the stage, and all the devotees were seated on the floor.



All of Shimla was there, jumping in joy! No one stayed at home. I am a crazy guy, you must know by now. I, too, was jumping around, touching the railings, and watching the whole panorama! What did I see? Valleys, mountains, clouds and what a building!  Like a dark cloud, a blue coloured five-storey building, with a lotus flower on top and a bridge for Swami! I was speechless! Could I ever dream of seeing such a beautiful building! That was the situation.


On April 15th, the Government of Himachal Pradesh issued a circular, which stated that: “Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba shall be treated as a State Guest of Honour. He shall be given all the treatment that is accorded the head of any nation.” The army, the police, and the ministers, all were at His Lotus Feet! Bhagavan was received at the airport by Governor Urmila. She touched His Feet and welcomed Bhagavan on April 15th at the helipad. The Chief Minister Dhumal refused to sit on a chair in Bhagavan’s presence. He was sitting on the ground, wearing a beautiful Shimla cap. All the people were at Baba’s beck and call, because He was the state guest of the Government of Himachal Pradesh!


Down the hill from the mandir building was a guest house with eight rooms, and all other facilities were attached to it. We were accommodated there. As I came out of my room to enjoy a cup of coffee, there was a parapet wall, and what did I see? Mountains, trees, and a silence, a deep silence. You can hear the beat of your heart; you can listen to the echoes of the Divine; you can hear the trees singing in joy, in praise of God. The clouds move across the sky in silence, majestically expressing Divinity. I would have my cup of coffee and watch the whole panorama, forgetting the time, until a sevadal would come and ask, “Sir, would you like to have another cup?”


“Why not? Please get it.” I enjoy that!


A number of sevadal people from Himachal Pradesh are young people who are former students of Sathya Sai University. Some are professors, some are engineers, some are doctors, now all serving as sevadals! They were all on the job. The man who took care of us in guest room #3 was the principal of a college! He was sleeping on the veranda in the corridor. I said, “Sir, please come inside the room, please come in and rest.”


“No, no! I am on duty, I will sleep here,” he said.


They supplied whatever we wanted. Such excellent service, I told all of them towards the end of the trip! “My father-in-law did not treat me like this on the day of my marriage! You are treating me far, far better, beyond all estimates, beyond all imagination.” It was all because of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. They were very nice, very humble people!



Down the valley and up another mountain was a school building. I went to the school building, which had a dome like the Prashanthi Nilayam Primary School. The classrooms were beautiful, with nice tables and chairs, as in any Sainik School or public school. Baba’s sayings were posted all around. It was a three-story building with an adjoining hostel. The hostel and the school were connected by a bridge, so that the students could move freely without wasting time. Wonderful! So there was the school and the hostel connected by a bridge down the hill, while up on the mountain was Swami’s building with a bridge.  Down the slope from the school were the guest rooms, and below that was a wonderful auditorium, an excellent auditorium! It equals our university auditorium, as well as the Sathya Sai University, Bangalore campus auditorium. It was wonderful. It had galleries on all sides, and had red curtains, red carpeting, and chairs, as well as room for people to sit on the floor.


A beautiful programme was arranged in the auditorium, which can accommodate about five thousand people. In the cultural programme, attended by Swami, were videos and pictures depicting Bhagavan’s visit 35 years ago! The culture of Himachal Pradesh was shown, including their music and dances, while the children danced on the stage. Himachal Pradesh has a number of villages, and some have their own language, culture, and lifestyle. All these groups danced, one after another, while in the background they screened various scenes of Himachal Pradesh.


They showed the Sathya Sai Water Project. They also showed Baba giving a promise to His mother that He would not leave Prashanthi Nilayam at any cost, and that His message and mission would spread throughout the world from Prashanthi Nilayam! These scenes were well enacted by the children on the stage. There was a fusion dance, combining Western and Eastern styles. It thrilled me very much! Swami enjoyed the presentation throughout. He was laughing, enjoying the whole programme. He was literally touched and moved by the presentation.



We reached Shimla on the evening of April 15th, spent a whole day in Shimla, then the morning of April 17th  we left Shimla to return to Delhi. We went back to the Sri Sathya Sai International Centre for lunch. We spent the night in New Delhi, and then left the next day, on April 18th, after lunch, around 2 p.m.. We reached Prashanthi Nilayam before 4:30 p.m., because the Rahukalam(inauspicious time) began at 4:30 p.m. on that day, and Swami was particular about arriving in Prashanthi Nilayam before 4:30 p.m.. The people in Delhi said farewell with a heavy heart.


My friends, I must mention this about Shimla Mandir: the building complex in Shimla was constructed by people of all classes. Everyone participated. I was in tears when someone said, “Mr. Anil Kumar, there are some people who donated Rs. 10, or Rs. 20, for the construction of this building. There are some who donated part of their pension or part of their provident fund!”


So Shimla Mandir is the people’s mandir. Shimla Mandir is the mandir of the devotees, by the devotees, and for the devotees! People from the entire state used to assemble there to doshramdan, or service, lifting and carrying the building material during construction. Therefore, the mandir represents devotion, sacrifice, and faith. Baba has shown the world that a common man, an ordinary man, can do extraordinary things out of devotion! An ordinary man doing extraordinary things--that’s what I saw in Shimla!


The visit to Delhi and Shimla was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Life is short. To come to know God is difficult. To be with God is rare. To travel with Him is the rarest of all, and is a wonderful blessing. The opportunity to share my experiences, and the joy, thrill and excitement of the Divine trip, is certainly, beyond doubt, a benediction!


May Bhagavan bless you!




Asato Maa Sad Gamaya

Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya

Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya


Om Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu

Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu

 Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu


Om Shanti Shanti Shanti


Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji ki Jai!

Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji ki Jai!

    Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji ki Jai! 



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