Monday, November 4, 2013

India Trip 2013

One trip, 23 airports ,  29 flights,  25 states, 4 months and 75230 kms.

Gene Massey, a film director from Hollywood, Los Angeles and myself, a filmmaker from Bollywood, Mumbai, undertook this journey to document the various Sai service activities being undertaken around the remotest parts of India. Given below are my reflections as I met various people, visited various places and institutions during this mammoth journey.

Travel e pad: Ajmer, Rajasthan, India

Visited the Dargah Shariff of Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, at Ajmer this evening.

The very first thing that strikes you about this place is the entrance where you get to see the most amazing sight - crowds of hindu and muslim devotees entering the same place of worship with the same zeal and reverence.

Rich in sufi history, every moment spent there is soaked in sacredness. Inside the main shrine one is overwhelmed by the pure Tranquility that pervades the atmosphere. As i saw the throngs eagerly trying to access the main tomb area of this saint, it occurred to me how extraordinarily fortunate we are to be able to easily access the Mahasamadhi of the Poorna Avataar of our age. Just the next moment i felt overwhelmed with the realization that we were the most fortunate to have had the darshans of the living God. An intuition dawned that very soon the Mahasamadhi at Parthi would also be thronged by the masses in the future.

When we stepped outside, i saw the many women who were offering their devotions from the walls outside, as i figured that they were not permitted inside the main shrine. But i could not feel sorry for them, for when i saw how fervently they were devoting themselves placing their heads on the wall, i felt the walls had become as holy, if not holier then the tomb within. Watching them pray was a very moving and inspiring experience. 

Around evening when all the people there knelt together for their namaaz, i felt a great urge to join my muslim brothers in offering my devotions, but couldn't because of my ignorance of their ways, so i simple sat in my corner and offered the Beloved One my humble prayers and gratitude for bringing me to His house of worship!

Travel e pad : Chokkadi, Karnataka, India.

We reluctantly visited a school not scheduled in our list, this afternoon; but were pleasantly surprised. 800 students being served by a Sai school in a remote village Chokkadi. 
While shooting lunch in their dining room, i noticed how cool the room was though the sun outside was blazing. I looked up and was surprised to see a tin roof. This room should have been an oven. Confused, i went to the authorities and enquired if they had put something over the tin roof to keep it cool. The gentleman couldn't understand me, but got very concerned and asked if i was feeling hot. Some other members joined us and i repeated my inquiry. He asked me again ' Sir, are you feeling hot! ' I replied 'On the contrary i am amazed how cool i feel despite it being so hot outside and this being a tin roof.'

My statement had a strange reaction on all of them. They had a shocking look on their faces, whereas one person couldnt control himself and began laughing in surprise (much to the annoyance of Gene).

Later the laughing person explained that the gentleman whom i had questioned Sri L N Kote, had been very concerned about us visiting and shooting in the dining and how it would be very hot in there. Out of concern he prayed to Swami that Swami should take care of us. So when i said it was cool ( and amazingly it was very cool ) they knew Swami had answered their prayers.

When i heard the name of this person i asked if he was the same Kote who was famous for his singing in Prashanti. His colleagues replied ' Indeed he is!'. I felt thrilled meeting him and piled him with questions about their days with Swami back in the 70's when they were students. Over lunch we both sat together and Brother Kote shared with me how they would sit and eat food with Swami on his table and how Swami would make sudden visits to the hostels and the classroom. he then mentioned the famous incident that i had often heard of.

Kote's singing was a very moving experience. Many devotees would weep when they heard him sing. One day as he sang, one lady, overwhelmed with devotion and emotion, stood up and began to weep uncontrollably. Swami Himself had to get up and bless her, only then did her sobbing stop. Then Swami walked up to Kote and lovingly reprimanded him in telegu ' What boy! why must you make my devotees weep!'

I felt blessed to hear such stories from him and was inspired to see how Sri Kote is now following Swami's command and has dedicated his life to serving this humble school.

Travel e pad:  Tamil nadu.

Visited a mentally challenged home today. The little boys and girls there lived in a world of their own. Our organization trains a few college student volunteers to teach and train these children. It is very easy to get emotional looking at those innocent souls, but not for long, cause when they get going, there’s a riot of joy, fun and frolic.

They played simple games in a sort of competition; when one little soul won everyone forgot the competition and clapped for him or her; when the child who came last finished their task all the children shouted with joy and clapped all over again. Everybody wins in this world. And guiding them were these vibrant college youth with humble backgrounds. While speaking with one of them, he pointed to a sevadal behind me, a simple lad who was carrying our bags around and said ‘ he is our lecturer at the college and he inspired us to take up this job.’ A lecturer, carrying our bags?? My jaw dropped. I was stunned to say the least. But he simply smiled in acknowledgement.

There was so much life around those children. Its hard to feel sorry for these joyous beings, who though living in humble circumstances, have the advantage of living amongst beautiful souls. We all came out of the place with a huge smile on our lips. As I stepped out into our world I couldn’t help but conclude that these little children were the truly sane ones.. our world outside was filled with the mentally challenged!

Travel e pad :

Waking up at 4 in the morning after a strenuous shoot the previous day is a tough tough thing. However, while the body and mind rebel and protest against the alleged ' human rights violation', the soul and heart feel content at the idea of using the sacred morning Brahmamuhurat hours in inner contemplation.
Life! You win some, you lose some!

Travel e pad :

While visiting an Educare school yesterday, I learnt the following in a class room -
What is Self confidence?
It is Faith in THE Self.
What is the Self ? Is it the ego?
It is the God dwelling within us .
So we should always live life with the faith that the God within can help us overcome any challenge that life throws at us, with ease.
That is Self confidence.
Now why can't every school teach that?

Travel e pad : 

Heard the story of this poor graduate boy who travels 190 kms every sunday from Thiruvanamalai to Chennai to participate in a service activity of reading to the blind. When this boy was asked if he could afford to come every sunday, he humbly replied that he sells some stuff in the train on which he travels to supplement his ticket fare.. But he will never miss the opportunity of serving Swami through these blind people every sunday. Makes me ask myself - How do I spend my sundays?

On the other hand I met and I heard the inspiring story of this blind girl who has to wake up at 5 in THE morning, change 3 buses to be able to make it to this school and with their help has graduated and done her MPhil and now inspires to become a teacher. Everyday Miracles..

1 comment:

  1. ok this is neera what do you understand blessed is the pure in heart god takes care of his devotee even when there is nothing and they are helpless faith in sai is the key word dear I live a dream life but my focus is faith I am not worriedhis will must be done sai is showing you true service thank him for the great karma you have to be part of this for in reality it is sai who is doing everything it is sai love for you that this is happening I am very proud to know you may he always bless you to behappy always om sai ram


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