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Posted on 31-10-2003

Sai Ram!

Greetings....some news from Parthi from a USA devotee currently residing in
the Ashram.

Take care and God bless!


I had to work late most days in the past 10 days or so, so I haven't been able to go in the afternoons for Darshan. I just hear the program from the speakers (remember I'm right behind the Canteen, so hear the speakers near it). I listen to the echo of the talks, or to the lovely classical Indian singing, while eating lunch in my room (4-5 PM)!

In the mornings, Swami generally comes out after bhajan - straight out, He is not going in for lunch lately - and I see Him go by then. He is using the small, electric red car (I hear that it is the same type that disabled people are us ing in Western countries, and that is now to be seen on the streets of Bangalore too). He keeps the window down though, leaning His hand out. Still, there is definitely even less opportunity than before, for Him to talk to people or take the occasional letter. All He can do is wave or raise His hand to us in blessing, as He silently speeds by! Wonder if changing to this safe, enclosed car has anything to do with the occasional devotee who tries to run up to Him!

He comes twice a day, but when He comes and when He returns is anyone's guess! Sometimes He comes and leaves before bhajan, sometimes He ends bhajans right in the middle of a bhajan or calls for arathi still in the middle of the Vedic chanting. Thank goodness, from the little I've seen, He seems to be walking better lately. He is still supported by one assistant, but He is standing up straighter and looking more comfortable taking those few steps (chair on verandah to car).

There was the 'Grama Seva' conference, and now (28th-30th) the Vice Chancellor's conference, so Swami's program is still fluctuating. (I hear that the Vice Chancellors from all over India hold their conference in different places every year, and this year it is HERE!) Swami gave one discourse for this conference.

Yesterday (Wednesday) morning, Swami stopped the car just off the verandah and called to his poor brother's widow. It was heartrending to see her wiping her face, crying and crying, while she tried to answer whatever Swami was asking. The final 11th-day ceremonies (when the soul is said to leave the earth-region and go to a more subtle abode) were over on Tuesday evening. His widow had to remove her kum-kum dot on her forehead and take off all the colourful glass bangles (widows are only allowed to wear gold bangles), as well as other jewelry.

Posted on 31-10-2003

Lovingly sent by Vickie and shared by April

My Dears,
Below is an update of ashram doings and today's Dipavali celebration.

-----Original Message-----
From: Sai Sister in Prashanti
Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2003 5:20 PM
Subject: Easily predictable: unpredictable!

Saturday 9 PM

Things have been going on normally here in Prasanthi Nilayam for the last week (since I last sent a report!). Usually Swami has been coming in the mornings, sometime between 7 - 9:15 AM (one day He didn't come out in the morning at all), in the open chair usually. He returns after sitting in the Mandir for bhajans (except the day He left just as bhajans began, and didn't come out again). In the evenings, sometime between 3 - 5 PM, the program is mostly a mixture of Vedic chanting, talks, classical Indian music and bhajans. Swami sits outside on the verandah for this.

Sometimes Swami walks a few steps to the interview room/inside Mandir (in the mornings); or (in the evenings) just stands for arathi (sitting down after His attendants beg Him to sit) or walks all the way to the interview room (20-30 feet?). He is not walking well, still: always very shaky, limping and supported by one or two others. Sometimes, He returns back to the Poornachandra in a new, small cute red car (a normal-sized car, but we can see Swami sitting inside it nicely).

Internet has mostly been down for the last week, reason unknown but it is simply not working well around here. Some trouble with the server in this district, they say. We had several days of nice rains, which may have something to do with it!

There was a 'Village Seva-Youth of Andhra Pradesh' conference 19th - 21st. Swami was supposed to give a discourse on 20th morning, but it was raining so much that He didn't come out until 9 AM, and then only for attending bhajan. He spoke that evening for a short time, maybe 15 minutes, mostly praising the service the Sai youth were rendering in the villages.

On 21st morning, the conclusion of the conference, Swami gave a longer discourse. He spoke mostly of His youth - stories to encourage and inspire the youth He was talking to!

Today, the 25th, was Dipavali. There was some Vedic chanting and bhajans in the morning, with Swami sitting on the outside verandah. The whole hall was PACKED with people. Prasad was distributed afterwards. Also, Swami left in the morning in the small car at 9:20 AM, without going inside for lunch.

In the evening, there was a program of Vedic chanting and talks. For the second year in a row, there were no fireworks in the Ashram.

There was an announcement that tomorrow (the 26th) was the 'New Year' of the Gujarati people, and there would be a function at 8 AM.