Thanks to our Sai
Sister in Puttaparthi, we have an incredible description of today's
events in Prashanti with the passing of Swami's last living sibling,
Janakiram. Swami gave even gave an impromptu discourse.
From: Sai Sister in Puttaparthi
Sent: Friday, October 17, 2003 9:39 AM
Subject: Swami's last sibling dies; Swami gives discourse
On Thursday, Swami came out as usual in the morning for bhajan. After
lunch, He walked all the way up to the edge of the verandah,
supported by two assistants, before settling down in the open chair.
For some reason, they did not put the footrest on, so His feet were
hanging down,inches from the floor!
After bhajan, I was surprised to hear the whole village humming that
Swami's brother (who has been in serious condition in the Super
Speciality Hospital since his heart operation) had died! I called up a
reliable contact, who told me that there was absolutely no
confirmation on that rumour. How tragic that rumours send a person to
the grave before their time!
Later, Swami went to the hospital. We all heard that his brother, who
has been in a comatose or semi-comatose state, awoke; however he
wasn't able to speak. Swami poured a few drops of water into his
mouth. After that, "he was all right," the rumour spread. But
actually, we had no definite reports, only that he is "still alive."
(This made me remember the last hours of Swami's two elder sister:
both were, at different times, in serious condition and comatose. Only
when Swami came to the hospital, they suddenly became awake and aware.
They even held Swami's hand. He gave vibhuti to them and left; after a
few hours, they left their bodies peacefully. And of course, the
Indian practise is to give a few sips of water, preferably with a
leaf, in their last moments.)
It is an extraordinary thing that droves of people, hundreds and
hundreds, (thinking that Janakiram was dead or in the last stages),
descended on the Super Speciality hospital to see him, and they were
actually let in to look at Swami's brother through the glass doors of
the ICU unit!
Evening was a program of different small school children chanting the
Vedas, speaking and singing songs. Swami stood up for a minute or two,
at the end of the program.
Friday morning, Swami came early, about 7 AM. The same lady who stood
up the other day, was in first line. She again stood and lunged
towards Swami, to touch Him! She even managed to touch His arm. Swami
utterly shocked at this event, then suddenly put on a very harsh look
and said, "NO! GO AWAY!" By then, the Seva Dals were dragging her
away. Swami, also by then, was smiling and giving a look full of love
It seems that someone from Singapore has donated a large amount, which
will be used to build and start a nursing college here. There was some
small puja related to that, after which (8 AM), arathi bells were
rung. Later, there was bhajan as usual. Swami came in the open
chair as usual. Bhajan ended at 9:20 AM, and Swami came out from lunch
and was back at the Poornachandra by 9:45 AM.
At about 10:30 AM, Swami's brother Janakiram, aged about 73, really
did leave his physical coil behind. Hundreds, even thousands, of
people from Puttaparthi and beyond came flocking to the hospital, as
word spread. Janakiram leaves behind his wife, two daughters and one
son, all comfortably settled in life with children of their own.
Swami's elder brother died in 1986; His eldest sister in 1993; His
second elder sister in 1996; and now His younger brother.
The last of Swami's siblings is dead!
The entire town of Puttaparthi 100% closed their shops and went like
iron fillings to the magnet of Swami's brother. The place was like a
ghost town! He had helped numerous people and was the protector
of all the villagers and others in these areas. He was active in
politics and also a member of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.
The body was soon brought to their village house (a few houses before
the birthplace of Swami, the Siva temple) where pandemonium reigned. I
didn't go there, but I saw the events on the local TV channel:
pathetic scenes of his poor wife falling on the body and crying, and
of his son sobbing uncontrollably. The body was already alarmingly
swollen and bloated. Hundreds of people then filed past the body. The
only movement in Puttaparthi all morning and afternoon, was of people
going and coming back from seeing the body. Hundreds of people, from
the flower girls and sweepers to the big contactors, were feeling like
orphans abandoned. After all, it is not so easy to have close contact
with Swami, but Janakiram was always there to help them with their
problems and do practical things to tide over various tragedies. Many
people depended on him.
Swami had cleverly organised a function to hold people's attention!
Swami came about 3:30 PM to the Darshan hall. First, there were
speakers talking about the nursing college. Even the kind donor talked
about how Swami has been protecting his family.
Then, the talks on Janakiram began. Several people talked on his good
nature, his equal love for all and what a major figure he was in
Puttaparthi. Last was the flowerly-speached Anil Kumar, who spoke
eloquently in Telugu. He talked on how he first was introduced to
Janakiram in the 1980's, when he shared a room with him in Kodai Kanal
for 40 days. He talked of how he had equal love for all, was
always ready to help and be kind, and though he sometimes seemed
angry, he would immediately turn sweet and soft again, and forget
completely about the harshness.
(Meanwhile, the body of Janakiram was taking in procession at about
4:30 PM and buried as is, as per family custom, on a plot of
land near the bypass road, in Enumulapalli.)
After that speech, Swami indicated that He, too, wanted to speak! Anil
Kumar couldn't resist then coming to the mike and formerly
inviting Swami to say a few words "to lift our heavy hearts." The
table was brought and with the help of only one boy, He stood up, at
about 5:10 PM, and started to talk.
First Swami sang the poem about the greatness of Indian women,
ironically starting with the line about how Savitri brought her
dead husband back to life! His voice faltered with emotion several
times. Swami then began talking about the power of God that is in man,
and how one such great Shakti was Janakiram! He said that although
Janakiram may have had harsh speech, inside his heart was soft and
calm. He repeated this several times.
Then He immediately started talking about how Rama felt when his
beloved brother Lakshmana fainted on the battlefield. Rama said, "How
can I ever find a brother like you? It is not possible!" Swami went
on; several times His voice cracked and fathered, and two or three
times He had to stop mid-sentence because He actually started to sob!
It was a heart- ending moment, the closest Swami has ever come
to outright, real crying.
Slowly, Swami changed the subject to the power of Atma in all, the
Divinity that is permanent, etc. Then His voice became strong again.
After some time, He began to talk about the nursing college and the
great help that the kind donor was rendering.
After that, Swami talked the rest of the time on love: how we should
fill our hearts with love and give love to all, etc.
To me, this was a message for all of us: perhaps He was showing, by
His own show of emotion, that sometimes we may have tragedy occur, but
we should overcome it by concentrating on spirituality, filling our
hearts with love and sharing that with all.
about 5:50 PM, Swami's right side seemed to buckle and he faltered,
starting to fall to one side. His assistant helped him to regain
balance. Swami then said, "Don't feel bad that I am put to suffering.
I have no inconvenience. In fact, through my actions I am an actual
example of pure love." Amidst the applause, He slowly slid down in the
open chair and He motioned for bhajans to begin.
After the Ganesh bhajan, and one other bhajan maybe, they sang the
really appropriate, "Araja suno mere, parama kripalu," a beautiful
bhajan saying, "Listen to my prayer, oh one of supreme compassion!
Take me across births and deaths!" etc. On the second time around,
just at the line about births and deaths, Swami wiped his eye and
called for arathi! So, the bhajan was ended right there in the middle
and Swami went out in the open chair.
Whew! What a day!