Post No.9

Lord Vishnu
Sai Ram All
This final posting is about some of the happenings that happened on the 13th and 14th of March 2013.

It has been 4 months since the sojourn and everything is now a bit hazy concerning some  
 of the details of what had transpired during those last couple of days.
Should of kept a diary!

Everything had quietened down by then. Most of the crowds had left.
Prasanthi Nilayam was so peaceful and quiet!!!
The streets of Puttaparthi itself was also... much less congested.

Spent most of the time I had left within the confines of Prasanthi itself... soaking in as much of Swami's Divine Energy.
The Darshan's were beautiful and sublime.
So I did not take much film during those last days.

Chithravathi Road

After morning darshan, I went with a brother, walking down Chitravathi Road to see the 
Kalpa Vruksham (Wish-Fullfilling Tree), as I have not seen it, since a storm almost destroyed it some years ago.
 The Kalpavriksha has a very old history. Young Sathya Sai used to play around this tree. He used to sit on its branches for long, and discuss spiritual matters with people under the shade of this tree, say oldtimers.
 Devotees say, Sathya Sai Baba at a young age used to give mangoes, oranges and apples from this tree. When Baba acquired the fame of Bhagwan, this tree was named by residents as Kalpavriksha.

Early photographs

To get there you have to walk up many a stone steps going up a very steep hill overlooking Puttaparthi and its surrounds.
I was surprised to see now, that almost 80% of these steps leading up to the tree, are covered by make shift stalls selling Swami trinkets, videos, photos etc etc. All the way up to the top!  Most of the stalls were closed while we were there.
 Except right at the top of these steps, a couple of sisters were selling their Swami wares.

Follow the arrow...

Climbing up the steps through the endless stalls.

At the Tree

 Towards Karnatagapalli village over the Chitravathi River.

Overlooking Puttaparthi from the top of the hill.

Tibetan Prayer Flags

 Back at the Ganesh Gate

 Later on in the day, I quickly took a few video snippets at the Sri Venugopala Swamy Temple, before going to evening darshan.

Here's a short video.

 This temple is dedicated to the worship of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna was brought up in a community of cowherds or gopas and He is lovingly called Gopala. The history of this temple is intricately woven with the legend of Puttaparthi. 
 This temple dedicated to Krishna or Venugopala has an interesting mythological genealogy. Apparently, Gollapalli (Puttaparthi's earlier name) was a prosperous village of cowherds at one time. However, evil fortunes fell upon the village when one incensed cowherd hurled a stone at a cobra that was sucking milk from the udder of one of his cows. The dying cobra cursed the village, and as a result, the cattle began to perish, and the place was infested with ant-hills. Its name was now changed to Valmikipura (the word 'Valmiki' denoting 'anthill' in Sanskrit, and Puttaparthi being the Telugu equivalent of the same). In an attempt to appease the spirit of the dead snake, the villagers installed the blood-splattered stone in a shrine and started worshipping it. Sathya Sai Baba instructed them to wash it and smear it with sandal paste. On doing this, the outline of the figure of Krishna (or Venugopala) holding his customary flute, became discernible. The temple was now called the Venugopalaswamy temple, and the curse on the village of Puttaparthi came to an end.


Here's another short video of this temple, I filmed way back in 2006.

The next day (14th March), a brother suggested to go and see a new life-size marble statue of Swami, at a temple some distance away.
So out of curiosity, I did!
It was about 10 kilometers away heading out from Puttaparthi. Again passing the Super Speciality Hospital and beyond.
Arrived at this small temple and it was quite a hot day that day.
The Sri Sathya Sai Darbar Temple was still not finished, but there was Swami sitting in His Chair.
Quite surreal!!!
They hold bhajans there on a regular basis.

Eventually heading back and spending the rest of the day in Prasanthi Nilayam.
This was my last full day, as I was set to depart back to Australia the next morning.

 The sun sets ...over Australia

Hope you have enjoyed this 'Sojourn to Puttaparthi for Maha Shivaratri 2013'

Brindavan 1992
(B/W Hand-Colored Photo)
Thought I would sneak in this final photo, that I took at the Brindavan Ashram in Whitefield...during my first trip in 1992!
I was asking Swami inwardly, that could I take a picture of Him looking straight at the camera?
 He answered! 

Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba ji ki Jai!

Sai Ram