The Kodaikanal Experience - Part III of III
Rendezvous with Prof. Anil Kumar
It is said that
Prasanthi Nilayam is Swami’s office, Brindavan is His home and
Kodaikanal is His playground. In a manner of speaking, this is so
particularly where Kodaikanal is concerned, for it is here, that one
gets a glimpse of the Sai of the Forties, especially where Divine
Leelas are concerned. It all lasts only a
few weeks, but what extraordinary weeks they are, for those blessed to
enjoy Divine intimacy then!
Kodaikanal is a
hill station in South India about four hundred and odd kilometres
south east of Bangalore and near the Temple Cities of Madurai and
Palani. In former years, every summer Swami used to take a few
selected students with Him to Kodai. To help you to know more about
Swami’s Kodai sojourn, we reproduce below the transcript of a dialogue
between Prof.Anil Kumar and Prof. Venkataraman, broadcast earlier over
Radio Sai. Both are from the SRI SATHYA SAI INSTITUTE OF HIGHER
the previous issue)
Straw hats? In fact I thing I have a photo of Swami and
Narasimhamoorthy with straw hats.
Swami got down from His car one day and purchased a straw hat and put
it on His head. When Swami wore that hat, the whole Kodakanal was soon
full of these straw hats. Bhagavan said, “See they now have plenty of
money and are very happy”. These are all poor people and they wait for
Bhagavan to arrive in Kodai because with Swami, Lakshmi [the goddess
of Wealth] follows and takes care of their life. And one day, Swami
called two servant maids, very poor ladies, and gave them silk sarees.
I was wondering why.
did He pick these two women?
They were working there in the Ashram, washing utensils. Swami gave
them silk sarees. I asked, “Swami, silk sarees for servant maids?”
Swami looked at me and said, “It is I who give; why should you cry (laughter)?
Are you jealous?” I replied, “No, Swami they cannot afford these silk
sarees, I don’t know why You give them such expensive clothes?” He
replied, “So that they may wear them and attend marriages and such
functions. When they visit relatives wearing these sarees, they would
say, ‘Sai Baba gave this’. That would give them a lot of joy. Why do
you think like that?” Sai loves everybody and His Love is uniform.
always tries to make people happy.
GV: The message is that we also should try to do that.
Tell me how Swami, in subtle ways, teaches the students. I ask this
because you say living with Swami is an experience. What are the
watches how every student conducts himself and immediately points out
there is any mistake, He will notice it. To begin with, dining-table
manners, how one should conduct himself while dining with others.
Usually boys serve first. There are so many points to consider here -
how to serve, how to receive guests, how to extend hospitality, how to
talk to elders, how to dress, all sorts of minute details. These days,
parents do not have the time to observe and teach. They are busy in
their own way. But Bhagavan is more than a parent. He cares for His
boys.With the result the boy becomes so good that his parents would
wonder whether he was the same child. When they leave home the boys
are of one type while when they come back they are totally transformed.
That is the transformation that Swami produces.
you feel it was kind of very strange that God is doing all this?
Well, God comes down for both for reformation and transformation.
Reformation of the world and transformation of the inner being.
say Swami selects boys with talents. How does He put these talents on
display in Kodaikanal?
many ways. During Bhajans He will ask them to sing. Later, boys would
be asked to play on musical instruments. Boys with talent for speaking
would be asked to give talks.
there some KAVI SAMMELANS or sessions
devoted to poetry?
Sathya Sai Institute is rather unique in that we have students from
many parts of the country. We have all together about fifteen
languages or so. Thus each student would compose a poem or a song in
his own language. One day Swami would organise this KAVI SAMMELAN, or
an assembly of poets, rendering their compositions. Swami will tell
every boy, “Come on, sing a song or recite a poem in your mother
tongue.” And while the boy is doing so, Swami would translate, add
explanations and interpretations, besides correcting the boy wherever
he went wrong.
Translating? If it is a Bengali poem ?
translates all languages.
Then, why does He need you?! Anyway, this is amazing. Now tell us
something about the picnic. That must be something very unusual.
Swami will take the boys to a nearby mountain area in Kodaikanal. The
party would go there with food packets. All would sit in the form of a
circle and Swami would start joking on the dress and the walking style
of boys, besides imitating them, much to the amusement of every body.
It is all quite light-hearted. Of course, when He pokes fun, it is
really to help the boy to correct his mistakes. He says to one boy,
“You are walking like a lady,” and that boy would know how to walk
properly. He will look at another boy and ask, “Why you are so fat?
You had better do some exercises,” making everybody laugh. After some
bantering like this come the games. Small slips of paper are prepared
with various instructions written on them, such as: You must dance,
you should sing, you must crack a joke, and so on. The number of slips
so prepared is equal to the number of people seated around in a circle.
A slip is put in a box and the box is passed around while music plays.
Suddenly the music is stopped and the boy holding the box at that
moment has to do exactly what is written on the slip inside.
GV: Everyone gets a slip including Swami?
so happened, Prof. Sampath was there in the group. He got a slip.
Prof. Sampath is a wonderful person, a well-known scientist, a man of
ready wit and humour, and a personification of human values. When
Prof. Sampath’s turn came and he looked at the slip inside, it said,
“You should sing a song.” Professor said “Swami, I cannot sing.” Swami
said, “I cannot help you. You have to follow the rules of the game and
do just what your slip says”. Prof Sampath then pleaded, “Swami, can I
be exempted?” Laughing merrily, Swami said, “No, no, you should do
what is said in the chit”. Professor started singing in his coarse
voice; he was not used to singing at all, and every body started
putting their fingers into their ears, and plugging their ears so that
they don’t have to hear him. That added to the fun and frolic. Every
body was reeling with laughter.
remember Prof. Sampath telling me this story. He did it all in good
humour. He is a very sportive person; a wonderful man. So if you were
to summarise this extraordinary experience that Swami gives in
Kodaikanal, how would you do it?
Well Sir, in Kodaikanal we have a number of opportunities to put any
number of questions to Bhagavan covering all topics under the sun.
Boys also get influenced by what they see. When they go out with
Bhagavan, they see thousands of devotees waiting for Him by the
roadside. That is when they realise how lucky they are! They say to
themselves: “These people have been waiting since the early hours of
morning in the cold, to have just a glimpse of Bhagavan. We, on the
other hand, are all the time with Swami. We are so very fortunate.”
That is the first reaction. Number two, Swami watches a boy eating a
particular item. He sees to it that he is served extra. And how He
cares for them! Swami’s extra-ordinary concern and love naturally
touch the boys, and that is what brings about the transformation. They
ask: “What shall I do in return, for all the time He spends with me,
and for all the concern, love that He shows me? How am I to repay?”
What does Swami say about that?
says: “I don’t want anything from you. All I want from you is for you
to get a good name for yourself, for your parents and for your
Institute - that is the way of expressing gratitude to Bhagavan”. That
is what HE says, “Do good, be good, see good,” - that is the
quintessence of His message.
is so unimaginable. This broadcast would be heard all over the world
and so literally you have brought Kodaikanal experience to thousands
of people all over the world. We are very grateful to you from Radio
Sai, and we do hope we will have more opportunities to talk to you on
this subject. After your next Kodai trip, you had better report
immediately to our studio here to tell us all about it!
eagerly look forward to that opportunity.
least for that sake, I hope you will be taken in the next trip! Thank
you very much and Sai Ram
Thank you, and Sai Ram.
Read Part I -
Read Part II