Current Sai Baba News
March. 2011 >>
Sai News Archive
click to enlarge
SAI BABA'S FINAL
DAYS - AN EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT, By Prof. G. VENKATRAMAN
It is not
Emptiness but a Super Cosmic Fullness
"Swami has not gone. He is very much here,
there, above, below, around, etc., indeed everywhere..."
RECORDED ON APRIL 29,
OM SRI SAI RAM - SPECIAL MUSINGS
At the outset, I offer my loving Pranaams at the Lotus Feet of our
Beloved Lord Sai.
Dear Listener. This is a talk that I never thought or dreamt I would
ever have to give. In a sense, the events of the last one month or
so have gone by like a surrealistic experience, and suddenly I feel
bewildered. More explicitly I am wondering, as perhaps many
listeners are, whether the world as it existed before 28th March was
real, or the world as it appears today without that Beautiful Form
is real, the earlier experience being just a dream. Inevitably, this
reminds me of a story that Swami used to narrate occasionally, back
in the old days.
The story goes like this. One evening, after a rather tiring day at
the royal court, Emperor Janaka returns late to his chamber.
Welcoming the monarch, his Queen asks him to freshen up and get
ready for dinner. Janaka nods as if to say yes but, overcome by
exhaustion, slumps into a chair and dozes off. During his nap, he
has a disturbing dream from which he later wakes up with a start. As
he looks around, the scene is very different from what he was seeing
just moments ago–no forest, no tiger chasing him, etc. Puzzled,
Janaka begins to mutter, “Was that real, or is this real?” The Queen
keeps on reminding the Emperor about dinner but the latter continues
to remain in a stupor, constantly repeating the same question.
Palace medics are summoned but they are unable to help. Ultimately,
the assistance of Sage Vasishta is sought and when he arrives,
Janaka is still asking the same question. With a smile on his face
the Sage places his hand on Janaka’s shoulder and gently observes,
“O king, neither is real; you alone are!” Vasishta was of course
referring to the Atma within, dismissing what is experienced both in
the waking as well as in the dream state as illusory. In other words,
Vasishta was telling Janaka that what is Real lies beyond the
experience of the senses and the thoughts of the Mind, both of which
Alas, we have no Sage Vasishta to guide us out of our confusion but
luckily, anticipating precisely the situation we face today, Swami
has prepared us through innumerable Discourses in the past.
Inevitably, I have to make references to them; however, all that
would have to wait for the future; right now, I have just enough
time for some reflections on recent events.
For me personally, this is the way it all started. Every evening
evening during February and a good part of March of this year, I
along with a couple of others would go for Darshan a little after 6
PM or so, since almost invariably Swami came out rather late. His
arrival could be anywhere from 7 O’clock to as late as 8.15 PM and
occasionally even later. Devotees waited patiently, while the boys
sang Bhajans vigorously. By the way, Bhajans would commence
punctually at 5.30 PM; however, when Swami came out the tempo of
singing would become really charged. For His part, Swami would just
sit there quietly enjoying the Bhajans, making everyone in the vast
Sai Kulwant Hal forget about time. Bhagavan did have the magical
power to make time disappear or lose meaning in His presence.
The Sai Kulwant Hall would always be packed to capacity, and not a
soul moved when Swami gave Darshan, including the children from the
local schools who came taking turns. Finally, around maybe 9 PM,
sometimes even later, Swami would take aarathi, linger for a while,
raise both His hands in loving benediction, and slowly leave. For
over a year, it used to be that Bhagavan would come in a mobile
chair (popularly referred to as car-chair) and leave the same way.
However, the routine began to change, almost imperceptibly. He would
still come using the chair but return using the Porte chair-car.
Still later, He started coming by car and returning the same way.
Towards the end on some days, the car would come to the porch and
halt, after which aarthi would be offered almost immediately,
without Swami even coming out of the car – all this on days He came
out. There were also days on which Swami did not come out all, and I
shall now briefly refer to that.
Basically, if Swami was rather tired, He would give an indication
whereupon there would be a signal from Yajur Mandir and aarthi would
be given to the Chair. Initially, it was the morning Darshans that
Swami started skipping but not very often. When that happened, I
inevitably recalled the days when we used to rush around 6.15 AM for
morning Darshan. In winter particularly, it would be still dark and
yet, all the devotees would be there in Sai Kulwant Hall, waiting
for Swami to come out. And He always did, gliding out of the Poorna
Chandra Hall, even as the Sun came out in the East to herald a new
day. By 7.30 AM or Swami would have taken the first batch of
devotees selected for Interview into the famous Interview Room, and
all of us with work to do would rush back to our rooms to grab a
bite of breakfast and go to college, office or whatever; that would
be the case on week days. On Sundays, we would rush for breakfast
while Swami was in the Interview Room, and be back in our seats by
the time the Interview ended.
Bhajans would start on the dot at 9 AM and around 9.20, it would
aarathi! Swami would then go into the Interview Room and from there
into the adjacent Dining Room, followed by the Trustees and have
lunch with them. Swami would come out in about seven minutes,
leaving His guests struggling to finish, wash their hands and come
behind Him. Bhagavan would then take His leisurely walk back to the
Poorna Chandra Hall making His way through the ladies section,
picking up letters and chatting with various people on the way. By
9.35 AM or so, Swami would have entered the PC Hall as we refer to
it here, and one more morning Darshan would have passed into history.
I am recalling all this just to drive home the point how the scene
never remained the same with Swami; He always kept changing the
script. Getting back to late February-early March period of this
year, on many evenings, Swami was rather tired to come out, and the
signal would come to give aarathi usually around 6.15 PM or so.
Let me now cut to Saturday, March 27, 2011, the day before Swami was
admitted to the hospital. That evening aarthai was given early,
after which the current Vice Chancellor Prof. Prasad, former Vice
Chancellor Prof. Pandit and I went to Swami’s residence, as we often
did. We were told Swami was not well, that two doctors whom Swami
lately permitted to attend on Him were upstairs with Swami and that
some monitoring equipment was being brought to keep a watch on His
health condition. At that time, no one had the slightest indication
whatsoever that a crisis was fast approaching.
Night passed and when I checked next morning, I was told that Swami
had rested and spent an uneventful night. Around 3 O’clock or so in
the afternoon, Prof. Pandit called me to say that an ambulance had
come to Swami’s residence Yajur Mandir and there was some activity
around there. It seemed as if Swami was being taken to the hospital,
and so we both rushed there. It so happened that though we left a
bit later, our car almost caught up with the Ambulence, not only
because we took a short cut but also for the reason that the
ambulance was being driven slowly. Anyway, to get on with the
narration, both of us managed to be there when Swami was helped out
of the ambulance at the entrance to the hospital. Although Swami
went by an ambulance, He was actually on a wheel chair and not on a
stretcher as I had imagined. Prof. Pandit who was by my side all the
time tells me that Swami gave him a gentle smile. Little did he know
that that smile was going to become his most treasured memory. ...
|| Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu ||