Prasanthi sends tankers with Elixir Divine!
Sri Sathya Sai Water Supply

The image of hapless villagers carrying pitcher full of water covering long distances will remain to be an old dismal memory for the folks of Puttaparthi. The most privileged and blessed village in the history of mankind had its toll of abject misery almost till a century ago, until she was blessed with the rare great good fortune of His Divine Advent…and ever since she has been growing slowly and steadily to become a role model under the apple-of-the-eye care and grooming of none other than God walking on two feet! The picture of this village dates back to several decades portraying a hapless underdeveloped hamlet, that was aptly described by famous western author of Hollywood fame, Arnold Schulman, who had visited the village in the late sixties as “ten minutes past the Stone Age” has had dramatic turnaround, recording tremendous progress, presently holding the status of a pilgrim centre of International repute, where millions after millions throng every year to have the rarest boon of the sight of God walking on Earth.



Sun God’s extra graciousness that beats down heavily during the summer months has not spared even this God’s own village, Puttaparthi. It is simmering summer during the months of March, April and May and there comes along with acute drinking water shortage. Bhagawan’s Divine Discourse on Ugadi was an eye-opener to expand the service activities to interior villages and with relevance to the drinking water problem, He posed a question: “The rich get water in tankers for themselves. What about the poor?” Answer to this came in kind…in action…and water tankers rolled into villages in and around Puttaparthi…with Elixir Divine as Divine Succour…as Gift from God.

Initiating the proceedings under the Divine guidance, a survey was conducted to identify villages that were facing drinking water crisis. In four days time a comprehensive list of villages and households was ready; each house was given identification cards to receive two pots full of drinking water. In the meantime a big tanker of 10,000 litre capacity was procured. Blessing and pressing the same into service, Bhagawan commanded that pure drinking water be filled into it from Prasanthi Nilayam and be supplied to the needy villages as Gift from God (prasadam).

Pressing into service from 2nd April, the water tanker rolled into the villages distributing drinking water at ‘every doorstep’, of course, with the enthusiastic participation of scores of sevadals who adorned the role with utmost punctuality and discipline. The first phase covered, approximately 1800 households in 15 villages including Vengalammacheruvu, Patalakunta, Bandlapalli, Kotlapalli and other hamlets of Puttaparthi and Kothacheruvu Mandals. The supply would start at 6:00 a.m. in the morning and would go on uninterrupted till 6:00 p.m. in the evening. In between when tanker got emptied, it would rush back to Prasanthi to get refilled and returned sans any break.

Bukkapatanam, the adjoining mandal to Puttaparthi, does claim a special status in the history of Sathya Sai Avatar. It was in this village the Avatar had His primary education as a little boy by name Sathya. And whom would one expect these villagers turn to when it came to meeting their primary requirement…scarcity of drinking water? This time it was the turn of these villagers to plead Bhagawan for Divine succour…and in answer to their prayers came another huge water tanker with a capacity of 24,000 litres. …And on 2nd May the same was pushed ahead into action marking the second phase of the Project. This phase covered 24 villages delivering water to 4,500 households at the rate of 2 pots-full on every alternate day.

The local folks from the cluster of villages around Puttaparthi, who are mostly ‘daily bread winners’ may not be regular in their attendance in Sai Kulwant Hall paying obeisance to Bhagawan. But, that should not take away anything from them discounting their gratitude and devotion to Bhagawan. These local villagers neighbouring this God’s Own Village have in their hearts Sai embossed and the way they conducted and fared while receiving the ‘Gift of God’ from Prasanthi Nilayam stands testimony to it. Mr. Ramana Rao, a long-time devotee of Bhagawan, formerly State President of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, Andhra Pradesh from 1990 to 1995 and ever since has been the National co-ordinator for Sevadals, who was privileged to spearhead this service activity, chronicled interesting anecdotes that they have had once they trudge past into the village interiors with the Divinely ordained Mission.

Each morning the village women would clean-up the designated spot for water supply, decorate with flowers and various hues before awaiting the arrival of the tanker. They would form a queue some 50 ft. away and all in the queue would be carrying two pots alongwith identity cards supplied to every eligible household. The moment the tanker reached the place, the same would be garlanded and worshipped applying turmeric, lighting incense sticks and breaking coconut, followed by chanting of Om, Sai Gayathri and Shanti Mantra. This would be followed by an offering of Arathi by the village head and loud shouting of ‘jaikars’ (victory), hailing ‘victory’ to Bhagawan. Following this water would be filled with the help of sevadal volunteers observing highest discipline.


The KING OF THE FRUITS, Mango, weighing at least 1 kilo each, was given to each and every one as the KING OF THE UNIVERSE watched all of us. Swami then blessed the birthday boys by sprinkling holy rice (akshintalu) on their heads..

The big tanker has 18 taps and the small 12 and it takes about 30 seconds to fill a pot with water. So, in a minute 60 pots are filled with water and in maximum cases pots can hold 15 litres of water with the exception of a meagre 10% with bigger pots of 20 litres. Piety and reverence of these village women could be seen when they sprinkle a few drops of water on their head before carrying the same away to their homes.

Bhagawan always insists that service should be delivered at the doorsteps with utmost humility and love…and the Grama Seva by students of Sathya Sai Institutions every year is a living testimony to this act of service. The water tankers once rolled into the villages, would stop at number of places along the interior streets and the houses close by would be served avoiding maximum strain for this hapless village folk already reeling under the simmering sun; one would be pained at the sight of some young children carrying water as some families would be left without any alternative than relying on these tiny tots as elders in the family would go to earn their daily bread during day time.

Sathya Sai Grama Seva in the villages should make the villagers self-sufficient in terms of ‘management’ so that the village leadership would be able to continue the show independently; and here came an opportunity for the rural leadership to come forward and organise the villagers at various distribution points. Their co-operation was specially sought to ensure that pregnant women, old and disabled persons receive their share with first preference. Village elders would educate the village folk about the precious nature of the water and thus to avoid mis-utilisation, urging them to use it for drinking purpose alone. …And barring any religious, caste or any other status whatsoever, the village folk would unite with one purpose…indeed a miniscule model of Unity in Diversity, atypical Prasanthi Model.

Apart from the village household two to four pots of water were given to all community places or offices such as temples, mosques, schools, panchayat centre, railway level crossing etc. In case of any special celebration or function or festival, prior intimation would be received and accordingly their needs would be met.

On one occasion, addressing the Sevadal, Bhagawan exhorted: In the name of village service, you may be renovating a village temple, cleaning a mosque or feeding the poor in a village. That is not all what you should do. You must take up activities that help all-round development of the village. Taking a cue from this spirited clarion call, volunteers on ‘water-seva’ would avail the brief intermission they get while the tankers roll back to Prasanthi for refilling, to enlighten the villagers about His Teachings and Mission.

From all that one could observe, the highest discipline and devotion exemplified by the villagers, with a rare touch of innocence that came from grateful hearts, it was a not a mere water tanker that they were receiving everyday into the interiors; but all the respect and reverence given to could well be equated to that to a temple, and it was undoubtedly a moving temple that these villagers visualised came from the Lord with Divine Succour, and the succour was as sacred as the waters of the holy Chitravathi or Ganges …Elixir Divine in quintessence! For these hapless villagers fighting ruthless summer woefully made horrible by the dried up wells and reservoirs, nothing else could have been more heavenly than this sacred water sent by Baba quenching thousands of thirsty souls. Chitravathi might be dried up for the time being with its sand beds becoming play ground for the local children, but Bhagawan’s grace could never get dried up as IT has been the perennial source of everything and would continue to be the same for eternity.

My Life is My Message, says Bhagawan. He practises what He preaches…By posing the question as to who would get water to the poor, Bhagawan was hinting at another realm of His Divine Mission, a Mission in its essence coming from the roots, watering the roots of society, thus humanity at large. During His recent Divine Discourse on the occasion of Vishu and Tamil New Year, while talking about the Chennai Water Project, Bhagawan declared: “Water is God’s Property” and it was that property Bhagawan wanted to send to neighbouring villagers as a Gift from Him….Indeed, in essence it is really the ‘Gift from God’. Every service project, everything that initiates in Prasanthi Nilayam does have a far reaching implication…supported by the Divine Vision…be it Medicare, Educare or Sociocare…Prasanthi initiates the archetype service projects, educating and encouraging the world to emulate, to make our lives His Message…Many would follow…



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