The amazing things we could do when we put our minds to it! Puttaparthi is proof of that. The immense scale of what one man did when he applied his mind and yogic powers for the greater good. Truly, we are all powerful creators in our own right.
My first and only visit to Puttaparthi wasn’t planned or intentional. I was staying at Prashanti Kutiram which wasn’t far off from Puttaparthi and within our small group were a couple of Sai Babaji’s devotees. So when they asked if I would like to join them on an overnight trip to the ashram, I said sure! I have heard so much about the place and Sai Babaji’s work.
I thought, a day’s trip after so many days of intensive work in our yoga program would be refreshing. So we all piled into a jeep and set off from Prashanti after breakfast, stopped for some shopping in Bangalore city and then on to Puttaparthi.
Along the way, we saw lots of farms and especially, cashew plantations. Always by the roadside would be a makeshift tent with a smoking stove and women and men shelling the nuts. Fingers were blackened by soot and their skin burnt a deep brown from the hot sun, wrinkled and seemingly old before their time. Apart from a short stop along the way, the rest of the trip was as straight as the crow flew and so was pretty uneventful.
A self-sustaining town
Once there, I was surprised to see how well run and modern the entire place was. Multi-storied dormitories with western style bathrooms and toilets but water supply was down to a trickle so that was tough. And no hot water either which was difficult given it was winter. But it didn’t matter really as we weren’t staying beyond that one night. We were 3 to a room and we made do.
Dinner was good and can rival any good inter-continental buffet in town. There were at least 3 choices of cuisine and depending on which one you chose, you ate in a different community mess hall. There were so many people from all over the world there and the place was huge enough to accommodate all. I remember finally being able to find some pizza and shepherd’s pie which was a nice treat. Of course, everything was vegetarian.
He is a very popular guru and has inspired others to do good wherever they are. Like, there’s a small group of his devotees who have set up a nursing home here in Singapore which is dedicated to his name.
When I was studying in Perth, I often encountered a good number of his followers who would never fail to invite me to their satsangs or gatherings.
Then there is this businessman who offered up his walk-up free of charge as a studio to a yoga teacher who had come from India. All in service to Babaji.
And of course, a lady devotee who said one of my paintings had Buddha energy and she received darshan one day in her home. Ash just appeared where it should not have. She, too, offers her condo apartment to a Reiki teacher for his classes.
Although I am not his devotee I do admire him for what he has done. Truly great work for his people. Truly a social worker.
~ ॐ ~