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Love and Light

National Pilgrimage: Visit to Brindavan

Sai Jyothi
Journey to the Divine Light

Brindavan, Whitefield

Each trip to Prashanti Nilyam is a spiritual adventure of mammoth proportions
and the UK Pilgrimage 2012 was no exception.

Wednesday 10th October – Thursday 11th October

At 7.30am the UK group, packed and very excited left Prashanti Nilyam for an overnight stay in Brindavan. The journey through the Indian countryside seemed to take no time at all as we sung bhajans and practised our English devotional songs. On arrival at the ashram, we received a warm welcome by Sri Sanjay Sahni, Director of the Campus, and his team. For a first time visitor to Brindavan like myself, it was immediately perceptible that the atmosphere of this ashram is very different to Prashanti with less hustle and bustle of people and a wonderful sense of calm. We were informed that it was commonly considered that Prashanti was Swami’s office where as Brindavan was His home which explained the difference in the energy beautifully.

Having been allocated our light and airy rooms, we were all taken for a walking tour around the complex. Despite the amount of traffic that surrounds Brindavan the venue was incredibly relaxed and peaceful. We arrived at Sai Ramesh Hall – an open Mandir (much smaller than Sai Kulwant Hall) that was cosy and very welcoming. We sat in front of the altar on a huge plush rug and soaked up the wonderful atmosphere. The energy was incredible!

The tour continued through the Sathya Sai College for Men where we could peek into the classrooms and were shown a presentation about a summer seva project organised by the students. They designed and fitted lights made from filled water bottles into the roofs of village houses and generally assisted the village in improving their living facilities in ingenious ways, as well as creating a play area for children.

A visit to the cow sheds where they lovingly look after the elderly cows once their milking life was complete was followed by a walk past the cricket pitch. Here Swami had been once encouraged by the boys, we were told, to play cricket and despite saying he didn’t know how, the students suggested he could try bowling under arm. Swami promptly bowled the student out with one attempt. Not wanting Swami to leave they then asked him to bat and lo and behold Swami hit a six: Truly the ultimate cricketer! … wish we had been there to witness that!

After lunch we visited the Super Speciality Hospital – a grand healing temple of epic proportions. Just in the entrance is a vast and beautiful hall with an immense glass chandelier hanging in the centre dome. It was so very different to hospitals in the UK! Everyone is treated there for free with tender loving care no matter what their circumstances.

We then called into Sathya Sai Home for the Aged, a home for elderly Sai devotees to meet and interact with them and share a cup of tea. We sung bhajans and were shown around their lovely residence.

On returning back to the ashram we walked through the grounds only to be directed to a building in the centre of lovely grounds. As we went through the door into a beautiful round hall we realised we had walked straight into Trayee – Swami’s home!! Everyone was stunned, thrilled, shocked and in awe of this awesome opportunity – the visit had been kept a secret from us and what a lovely secret! It was a small and beautifully decorated hall with a balcony all the way round – it was easy to imagine Swami standing on the balcony keeping a loving eye over us all. We all sat in front of His chair by the figure of Lord Ganesh … and then we all sung bhajans … there were not many dry eyes in the house.

Swami truly spoiled us with so much love and attention. We stayed in there for two glorious hours as we listened to the experiences of two ex-Sai students- Dr Ravi Kumar who is currently the Warden of the Boys Hostel in Brindavan, and Ashwin a faculty member- who relayed their many experiences with our beloved Swami. The energy in the hall was amazing and some smelt Jasmine in the air. We were allowed Padanamaskar and touched Swami’s Jhula in the next room. None of us wanted that moment to end! We were given delicious prashad before we left … everyone walking very slowly out of the grounds to soak up the atmosphere and extend the visit for a few moments longer.

After a sumptuous dinner at the ashram … with birthday cake for pudding (one of the group was celebrating a very special 50th birthday) there was a video of Swami before we all collapsed for the night - it was to be an early start in the morning! As dawn approached we went back to Sai Ramesh Hall for Suprabhatham – what an incredible place to be sat listening to this beautiful prayer. We all then joined in Nagar Sankeerthan around Trayee – three times we went round ever hopeful we might see Swami looking out of His window!

Sadly this particular spiritual adventure had to come to an end. It had been an incredible and very special trip that will remain in our hearts forever. Swami, the most loving and generous host had invited us to His home, what more could we want?

Jai Sai Ram.

Jenni Robson
Region 4