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LETTERS FROM HOME - 82

Aha, I had a dream early this morning, that Swami was came early for darshan. Wake up early, silently chanting Gayathri. It is 5.15 AM and the grey crack of dawn has passed and a faint blue tinge is beginning to streak through the skies. It has been drizzling all night, puddles and mud. Where the cars go, the mud is firm and I walk quickly to the ashram. I see the Seva Dal volunteers have changed the barriers they had up on the shoe racks to entire wrought iron gate coverings. Hmm, it must make it better after darshan, I think, to myself. Well, I was to find out, later that the mud mysteriously reappears when you go to get your shoes. I have discarded the mosquitoes, completely forgot about them and so they don't honour me with their presence any more. I wonder what I must do to release the mud where the shoe racks are...

Enter the darshan hall, pass through the first check and greet the policeman with the metal wand, "Good Morning", and take lines. Ladies are on the way in, nearly all inside. Odd you know, usually the ladies blocks are full; this morning I noted all the ladies lines had gone in, and the darshan hall on the ladies side was only half full, and only two rows of chair ladies at the back. Hmmm, I was surprised to see that. But, there are not many foreigners here at the moment.

Our seva dal who gives out the numbers was chatting with an small, enchanting, blonde-haired russian girl, a laughing Laxmi, she seems. Perhaps three or four years old, she was counting numbers with hands up, and our numbers seva dal was having a delightful time of it, repeating the numbers after her. Soon, we go in, and I take a seat on the side. You know, its really odd, the time passes really quickly waiting for Swami; there seems to be no drudgery, no boredom, no mind wandering. Perhaps we are in a different loka when we sit in that place, I wonder to myself.

Well, Swami caught them all on the hop this morning, he came out at 7.10AM, on came the lights on the stage, and there was mad pandemonium as students ran to the front, seva dals suddenly operated at 800 MPH to get people inside, men bunched up and moved closer. I observed students sprinting to the front carrying tabbala, harmonium, mats and textbooks. Staff walk at a more sedate pace. Good example! All settle down and wait for Swami. Hmm, I think about that dream, Swami was walking around in the darshan hall in that dream, I wonder what is coming.

About 15 minutes later, Swami entered the darshan hall in the chair, propelled by one Premaswarupa as we were singing Sri Ganesha, Sri Ganesha, Sri Ganesha Pahi Mam, and Swami, sans shawl, is tapping time with letter in hand, keeping time. A really vibrant energy, an uplifting to a new, fresh state, a new fresh vision goes whoosh through the darshan hall when Swami's form in the light blue chair becomes visible. Oh, it is an exciting moment, that first glimpse of the divine form! Up and down goes the letter keeping time, and I take in Swami's form, sans shawl. Well, he looks fresh, vibrant, and sparkling, sitting right up to the rail on the stage. Satyajit brings a small sidetable with tumbler. Three men sit behind Swami. Looking across the hall, it ain't full at this "early" hour, I can see vacant spaces at the back. Is this Bala Sai, playful, catching devotees out of step with his divine darshan? I wonder. Next bhajan, Govinda Narayana, Gopala Narayana, the students really take the bhajan up through the notes.

Sai Rama Rama Rama Ram, Swami's head nods up and down, his hand keeping time. Slowly the bhajan gathers crescendo, Swami looks straight down the darshan hall and back to the lead singers. Looks right across to the ladies on the benches. Wipes his lips with his right hand, I come to full attention as he puts that kerchief down... hmm, Swami is on the mend, that arm is no longer wrapped up, and he is using that right hand. Focusing intently on Swami. A faint gold hue appears around him, all around the stage, the people on stage, all around the lights. It seems out-of-this-world, a divine vision. Look to Swami's feet, clearly visible on the footrest of his chair. Its not really a wheelchair, its a settee type of chair with nice armrest, straight back, footrest for Swami's feet at the right height, and large castors underneath (I think they are castors, I can just see these small wheels from the distance).

We move to Shiva Shiva Shiva, Shiva Shivaya Namah Om, and the men really belt the bhajan out. Glancing around the darshan hall, I reflect on the glory of Sai, this throng all chanting the name of the Lord in this place, and in all places over the world. Swami looks over to the ladies side again. Swami starts keeping time with his right hand, that hand and arm we could not see for many days. I think about the Golden Age, intently observing Swami, thinking of the Lingham emerging from his stomach as golden liquid and crystallising into the Hiranyagarbha Lingham. Watching Swami during Sathya Dharma Prema Shanti Swaroopa, Prashanthi Nilayam Deva, I reflect that all the recent golden linghams brought forth by Swami signify that NOW is the golden age of Sai. Allah Ho, Swami is keeping time with the bhajan.

Swami calls for arathi, and a student runs up to the stage with the lamp. Swami waits for arathi, looking over, and then departs. Watch Sri Nagaiya turn the chair around, Dr Padmanaban right at Swami's side. The student puts the lamp down. The flame gets larger and larger, we all watch and chant the arathi hymn. Mata Pita Guru Daivum, the curtains at the back of the darshan hall close, the escorts race across the darshan hall to pick Swami up outside. Loka samasta, the flame dies out, Shanti Shanti Shanti, peace to all beings in all times and all places.

Sai Ram from a cool and cloudy morning at Whitefield.