Last updated on 20th Nov. 2018
The contents below are from my Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1670357666514137
Above pic: Common halls for Sai devotees as Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi. Pic courtesy: Puttaparthi news Facebook user
Ravi S. Iyer: I have used these facilities when I used to come to Prasanthi Nilayam as Seva Dal in the second half of the 90s (sometimes the Seva Dal building would not be free till the first/second day of the Seva)! For me, it was wonderful exposure to simple living from a sadhaka perspective. It gave me the confidence that I could slip out of the rather cushy software techie life, and be able to lead this sadhaka type life, at least for a week. The camaraderie and general brotherly attitude in the Seva Dal group staying in such facilities was also encouraging. Of course, sometimes there would be some issues, but nothing really serious. Over time, that prepared me for making the move to Puttaparthi in Oct. 2002.
I am deeply grateful to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for enabling me to benefit from such a wonderful ashram and a system where people leading regular worldly lives can take a week off and live the simple spiritual sadhaka serving society life in Prasanthi Nilayam. Nothing like doing Seva Dal duty to get your ego battered, no matter who you are in regular life outside :-). Essentially you become just another person in the Seva Dal force serving the ashram, with nobody really caring or knowing what your status in regular life is. That battering eventually helps you not get too caught up in the ego trap.
Some comments on the Facebook post are given below.
Terry Reis Kennedy wrote:
I stayed in these facilities. At the time of my arrival in 1990 they were called sheds. My happiest months were staying in these sheds, going to bed by 9...lights out...getting up for Omkar at 4:30 in the morning....and doing seva all day between meals at the south Indian canteen...the only canteen then. How fortunate I was, and am in the Divine Presence of Our Beloved Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sa Baba. Great photo!
Deborah Lyn Ward wrote:
OMG!! My home for Swami's 83rd Birthday Celebration in 2007. So many beautiful, cherished memories were created in the almost 4 weeks I was there. Priceless friendships and deep love. They were called The Sheds at that time as well, but I lovingly referred to my humble abode as my Five Star Shack. Thank you, Ravi S. Iyer for warming my heart today. Heart emoticon
Taruni Tarun wrote:
Swamis sevadal system is just wonderful...It is like a battery recharger ..We get more enthusiasm to serve people around upon return also dumping the egos on the way ..There is a sense of divine happiness in serving at PN as a sevadal.what ever be the service allotted ...Time flies joyfully .. . . I personally always feel it is super good special blesssing for women from swami ....Most of us feel It is like being at mothers place .Even though the time of service may be short to get food served on the plates (with loving smile ) on time to time /taking a break from day to day cooking without worrying what to cook for the next /.absence from family routines for a week /absence from other daily house hold chores is something that is not conferred easily on all women. I think so that the same applies to men sevadals in that they take a joyous break from various work related and other family tensions..Other Family members very happily agree to it and also cooperate because they feel happy that a family member is getting an golden a oppurtunity to serve at swamis abode ...Swami is extremely compassionate to have started this system Thank you swami and Love you always . :-)
[I thank Terry Reis Kennedy and Deborah Lyn Ward for their above comments and their approval of the comments being shared in this post. I thank Puttaparthi News and Taruni Tarun and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing their pic/comments from the Facebook page mentioned above on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]