two accounts of seva carried out at mammoth gatherings
of devotees at Lord Murugan's shrines in Malaysia. It is
heartwarming to learn how, in one instance, the Sai
volunteers made every effort to help those unable to
have Darshan, and in the other, break a Malaysian
national record - read on to know more!
spark of tears in their eyes gave me the happiness
of a lifetime, not because I have achieved something
great but to remind me to be more grateful to God
for having an able body.’
This was the moving comment from
a volunteer who had helped physically and/or
mentally challenged pilgrims have Darshan of Lord
Murugan during the festival of Thaipusam, at a hill
top temple in Malaysia.
celebrated on the full moon in the Tamil month of
Thai (Jan/Feb). Pusam refers to a star that
is at its highest point during the festival. The
festival commemorates both the birthday of Lord
Murugan, the youngest son of Lord Shiva and Mother
Parvati, and the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan
a vel (lance) so he could vanquish the
In Malaysia, Thaipusam
attracts mammoth numbers of devotees. Over 1,000,000 people
congregate at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur and 200,000 at the
Waterfall Temple, Penang . Heart2Heart is
pleased to inform you about the wonderful seva carried out
by the Malaysian Sai devotees at these two sites during the
festival period from 10th-11th February, 2006 .
Sai Seva at the
Waterfall Temple, Penang
Food was taken
at base camp
The ascent up
to the temple....
The Waterfall Temple is
located at the top of a steep hill. Many devotees make their
way there to worship Lord Murugan and to climb up is part of
the ritual and penance. But the Sai devotees of Brown Garden
Centre, Penang, became concerned for those people who are
unable to climb up due to physical disabilities. They are
forced to remain frustrated at the bottom, while their
relatives go up to the top to receive the blessings on this
holy day. It was indeed a sight to pity.
Emboldened by the
teachings of Lord Sai to help those in need, they
formed themselves into special palanquin teams to
convey the yearning physically challenged pilgrims
to have Darshan of Lord Murugan.
This seva activity was
aptly called ‘Journey to God’ and it became so for
both the sevaks and the disabled people. The
palanquins were handmade by the Sai volunteers
themselves and each was carried by 4 devotees with
one man to oversee the safety of the disabled
devotee and to make way through the crowds up the
Upon reaching the
bottom of the hill the disabled pilgrims were given
food by the lady volunteers. Then, to invoke Swami’s
blessings before commencing the climb the volunteers
chanted Ganapati Prarthana, Ganapati Atharva Shirsha
Upanishad, Narayana Upanishad, Sai Gayatri and
performed Arthi to Swami’s picture. Then, they began
the ascent and reached the temple after one hour.
We take you through this holy
journey with a series of pictures, showing one gentleman’s
complete ‘Journey to God’.
We follow this
He is going
through the crowds...
Smiling, as he
Now it is
At last holy
Finally, the disabled people
were able to feast their eyes and fill their hearts at
sacred Lord Murugan’s shrine. Many were in tears at this
longed for opportunity come true. Some of them had brought
milk with them, so that they could perform Abhisheka
(worship) for Lord Murugan.
Here you see two other
disabled boys being lovingly carried to the lord.
This boy is
about to set off ...
He looks very
men are carrying him ....
This is service
to see God...
So, there were all kinds of
people who were carried to the top – elders, physically and
mentally chanllenged children and adults. If there is one
thing that was common to all - the ones who were being
served and the ones serving – it is the smiling joy on thier
faces. It was a truly joyful spiritual odyssey.
In all, 21 disabled people
were blessed by Lord Murugan’s Darshan that day, thanks to
the Sai volunteers. One young boy could not stop speaking of
his experience for the whole day. Many of the disabled are
not able to speak and could not convey their feelings, or
were too young, but their parents were in tears at the
sacred gift of Darshan that was given to their wards.
This man is
One volunteer said
‘When I saw the smile in their faces,
it was a heart-felt satisfaction because I managed to help
them experience a lifetime joy seeing Lord Muruga on such an
auspicious day. It was a wonderful feeling making another
person happy.’ The volunteers numbered 140. An
interesting aside is that only 70 were from the Sai
Organisation. The remaining 70 were young people from a
squatter village which the Sai Centre had adopted some time
ago and for which they had been conducting Bal Vikas
classes. By God’s Grace the inspiring flame of seva had
spread to them.
All the volunteers were
overjoyed that they had made this holy pilgrimage possible
for so many. One volunteer mentioned that,
‘The joy of the disabled
in getting Lord Muruga's Darshan was the greatest gift that
I have earned.’
And another echoed these
feelings, ‘To see the special kids and
adults smiling in joy, finally able to go up the stairs to
the temple was just wonderful.’
Truly there is no greater joy
than bringing a smile to another’s face and happiness shared
is really happiness doubled.
Record Breaking Blood Donation
at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur
It is at Batu Caves,
Kuala Lumpur, where the wish to have Lord Murugan’s
Darshan reaches overwhelming proportions. On 30th
Jan 2006, the world’s largest statue of Lord Murugan
was unveiled at the base of the ascent to the caves
- 140 ft tall and gold painted. Over one million
people throng there in the fervour of devotion
during the Thaipusam festival.
It was here that the
second seva event was held, when the Sai
Organisation in conjunction with the Malaysian Blood
Bank set up camp at the festival site with 80 beds
ready for blood donors’ comfort.
This amazing mega blood
donation drive broke the Malaysian record, reaching
2,330 pints over a 35 hour period.
The Sai Organisation
also organized non-stop singing of devotional songs
from top Malaysian Indian artists for 36 hours to
inspire the devotees and attract them to come
forward to give blood. Behind them was the source of
their inspiration in the form of a large picture of
The authorities gave
the space used free of charge and a prestigious
radio station supported and covered the event,
encouraging its listeners to donate to save lives.
In fact this time of year heralds celebrations of
Chinese New Year, a major Muslim festival and
Thaipusam. The 5 days of holidays unfortunately
leads to many road accidents – thus there is a vital
need for blood in all hospitals.
Some volunteers were
present for 48 hours! They looked after the donors
many of whom were donating for the first time, moved
to come forward by the singing, prayers and the
The Star Newspaper
covered the event under the headline ‘2,330
blood donations collected in just a day’
and mentioned that “The National Blood Bank and
the Sathya Sai Council of Malaysia could have
achieved a record by collecting 2,330 blood
donations in a single day at the Thaipusam
celebrations in Batu Caves.” The Star 12th Feb 2006
At the same time, in
the cities of Ipoh, Penang and Johore Bharu, Sai
Centres held similar blood donation days, where a
further 364 pints of blood were collected.
is very pleased to pass on to you, dear reader, these two
accounts of inspiring seva. It is wonderful what can be done
with God’s grace, disciplined organisation and a will to
make a positive difference to the world.
- Heart2Heart Team