Last updated on 22nd Jan. 2017
Ravi: The first Sathya Sai samithi that I joined was in Dombivli, Maharashtra which is close (commutable distance) to Mumbai (where I used to work) around 1993/1994 or so. I got associated with Prasanthi Seva as Seva Dal a couple or so years later, and have done six stints of Prasanthi Seva at Prasanthi Nilayam perhaps in the period 1995 to 1998. It was in this period of my association with Dombivli Sathya Sai samithi, and Prasanthi Seva at Prasanthi Nilayam, that I came to have some contact with Shri Ramesh Sawant, a leader and later state president of Maharashtra Sathya Sai Seva Organization.
Above pic shows Shri Ramesh Sawant with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Hadshi, Maharashtra in 2009. Pic Courtesy: http://www.saibabaofindia.com/june09/12-3day-evening-sri-sathya-sai-baba-hadshi-panduraga-kshetra-pune-mumbai-maharashtra.jpg
I found Sawant sir to be an inspiring leader for LOVING service. He was (and would still be, I think) very approachable, friendly, encouraging and full of devotion to and has great faith in Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I have had the pleasure and privilege of even visiting him in his home (apartment flat) in Andheri (suburb of Mumbai) and if I recall correctly I had also visited his business office (in the second half of 1990s).
If Ramesh Sawant sir sees this post, here are my words to him: Sairam Ramesh Sawant saheb (sir)! Namaskar! Thank you so much for all your loving guidance to me personally during my Prasanthi Seva stints, the few occasions we interacted at other Maharashtra Sai organization events, and the one or two times you met and spoke to me at your office and home in Mumbai. You stood out to me as a model for loving service in the Sathya Sai organization. That inspired me to try to emulate your model, in terms of loving service. Thank you so much for all your love and guidance and inspiration as a model for loving service. I earnestly pray to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to continue showering his grace on you and your loved ones. I am very glad to get this opportunity to transcribe your speech about your journey with Sathya Sai and am doing it out of both a sense of love towards you, sir, and a sense of gratitude towards you. Jai Sairam!
--- end my short message to Ramesh Sawant saheb ---
I was very happy to see a recent video talk of Sawant sir (in Alibag, Maharashtra) put up by brother Satish Naik, Sri.Ramesh sawanth shares experience with Swami in Marathi, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VShnku0jbt8, 26 min. 50 secs. The event was held sometime in April 2016 (according to the video caption as shown in screenshot pic below).
I have given below some highlights as well as part transcripts in Marathi and my English translation of those part transcripts:
Ramesh Sawant sir (RS) starts by welcoming Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju (AK) and Mrs. Kamaraju to the meeting and states that all have gathered to hear AK (and not him). He talks about the great blessing of proximity to Swami (Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) that AK had for many years and then showers praises on AK for dedicating himself to spreading the teachings and Leelas of Swami. RS says that if AK had chosen to focus on some other (material) occupation he would have been extremely successful (materially). But AK chose to stay with Bhagavan (and do Bhagavan's work). RS does Namaskar gesture to AK to which AK responds similarly, and RS welcomes him (again). [Applause]
RS says that many would be reading Shirdi Sai Satcharitra. He then says that he has read Shirdi Sai Satcharitra many times and that he has been visiting Shirdi from a young age. Some times he would take guests and visitors who had come to his home, to Shirdi. RS said that in the early years they had much freer access to the samadhi of Shirdi Sai Baba and could place garlands on it. Now that access is not possible (due to much bigger crowds at Shirdi).
From Shirdi Baba, RS moves on to birth of Sathya Sai Baba in Puttaparthi, eight years after giving up Shirdi Sai Baba body.
RS said that he still does parayan (reading) of Shirdi Sai Satcharitra regularly. Sometimes he reads one chapter, sometimes he finishes it (the whole book) in seven days.
Like Shirdi Sai Baba would give Udi from his Dhuni, Sathya Sai Baba gave that (same) Udi (vibhuti), sometimes by materializing it with a wave of his palm. Sathya Sai Baba gave such vibhuti prasadam to crores (tens of millions) and lakhs (ten thousands) of people.
He said he has been with Bhagavan Baba for 50, even 55, years, right from when he was a young boy/man. RS said he/we has/have had experiences with Swami earlier and even now after Mahasmadhi.
[Ravi: I felt it appropriate to capture the Marathi words of Sawant sir and so have transcribed some parts of his talk. There is a nice flow to his Marathi words. I have also given my attempt at somewhat literal English translation of it. My Marathi was kind-of manageable when I was living in Dombivli before Oct. 2002. Now, out of lack of touch, it may have become rusty and so both my Marathi words capture of Sawant sir's talk and my English translation may have some flaws. Further, I have not spent time to capture all the Marathi words. Whatever parts I have missed or deliberately omitted, are typically shown as .. or ... in the Marathi transcript below. I must also mention that I enjoyed listening to RS's Marathi speech - it has been quite a few years since I have heard a speech in Marathi.]
[From around 7 min, 30 secs in the video]
.. me gele pannaas varshacha, panchavan varsha pasun suddha, Bhagavan Baba cha barobar, lahanpana pasun, aahe. Hoto ani aajhi anubhavto. Mhanje purviche je anubhuvtoy, aajhi tyaanchi samadhi ghetlyanantar suddha barachse anubhav amhala veloveli yet astaat.
[English: I have been with Bhagavan Baba for the past fifty, even fifty-five years. From my childhood I have been (with him). I was (with him) and even today I experience (Swami). That is, I have experienced in the past, and even today after his taking samadhi, we get many experiences (of Bhagavan) from time to time.]Tar asha hya Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba chya sannidhyat aalya nantar, je parivartan amchya madhe jhala, majhya madhe mhana, majhe aayi madhe, majha vadlan madhe, majha bhaavan madhe, majha bahinin madhe, majhya aaspaas aalelya mitran madhe, majhya natyevaiykan madhe - Sathya Sai Babanchi je bhakt aahet, tya bhaktan madhe jo parivartan jhala, to, to me swatah majhya dolyanni bagitlay. Sathya Sai babanna jodun, tyancha gharat rahun, tyancha barobar rahun, Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba kaay aahe aani Bhagavan kaay, he me swatah anubhavlo. Aaj mi ya stage var ubha aahe aani me tithun tumcha barobar aalo, chalath aalo, stagevar aalo, aani je kay me aaj ubha aahe, te Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baban mulech aahe.
[English: Then, after (I) had come close to the presence of Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba, the changes that happened in us, say in me, say in my mother, in my father, in my brothers, in my sisters, in my close friends, in my (other) relatives - those who are devotees of Sathya Sai Baba, in those devotees, the transformation that happened, that I have myself seen with my eyes. By attaching (oneself) to Sathya Sai Baba, by staying in his house, by staying with him, what Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba is (and what Bhagavan is), that I have experienced myself. Today I am standing on this stage and I came from there with you (all), came walking, came to the stage, and whatever (related to) me standing now, that is only because of Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba.][Around 8:30]
Kaaran ka? 2001 madhe mala, jawal jawal purna doni paya paralysis - ek paayala ek vel ek haatha la ek vel (ek side le yeto). Mala donhi bajula aala aani to kamre paryanth. To kamre paryanth kasa patapat patapat patapat hovun gela, mala kalla naahin. Veig-veigle doctor jhale, .. mot-mothe doctor jhale, mhanjhe Andheri pasun, Parlya pasun, Bandra pasun, Leelavati pasun, Breachcandy pasun, te Bombay Hospital paryanth je. Jevde mhanun naavach (lehle) Bharata madhe jaga madhe ase neurologist neuro-surgeon, je kai aahet, veig-veigle prakara che doctors sagle jhale. Saglyanni ekach sangitla ki tumchya mahitya madhe cyst aahe. To kaadlya shivay tumcha madhe kaahi hovu shakat naahi. Aani to pan jar kaadla, kaadla tar ani (jar) jhala tar eka divas, 30 takke tumhi bara hoval, wheelchair (rahat ki ...) ubhe tari rahaal. Tyavela me wheelchair var.
[English: What is the reason? In 2001, to me, almost full paralysis in both legs - one leg at a time, one hand at a time, (it usually) (comes to one side). I got it on both sides and that was till the waist. How that came up to the waist so quickly, I did not realize. (I went to) various doctors, famous doctors, that is, from Andheri to Vile Parle to Bandra [suburbs of Mumbai] to Leelavati to Breachcandy to Bombay Hospital [famous hospitals of Mumbai]. Whichever neurologists/neuro surgeons in India, whoever they may be, various types of Doctors - all of that was over. All said only one thing that in your (mahitya - spine?) there is a cyst. Without removing that there can be no (improvement) in you. And even if that is removed and if it happens then 30% you may improve. wheelchair .. you at least will be able to stand. At that time I was on wheelchair.]Ani Asha hyacha madhe mala ekach aadhar hota to Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba cha. Me tya saglya mothe doctoranna sangitla tyanni je -tyancha aapsaat vichaar .. jhala, ani sangitlaki aaj tyancha operation kela sivay he bara honaar naahi. (Ani tyachi) guarantee deto. Me tyanni sangitla ki mala - to paryanth mala .. (numbness) kamra paryanth jhala hota.
[English: (And) at that time I had only one support and that was the support of Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba. I said to all those famous (big) doctors ... their consultation amongst themselves .. happened. And they said that now (today) without doing an operation he will not become better (normal) and we give guarantee on that. I (RS) told them .. till that time .. I had numbness till the waist.]Me mhantla mala - tya veli Puttaparthila .. direct flights hota. Airport aahe tithe. Me mhantla teen divsa cha - (tya veli) aathavdyathun donda flights jayache. Mhantla ek - shanivaari jayeen ani budhvaari parat yeyin. Bhagavan Babala bheteen - tyanni jar sangitla - te kaay tharavthil te tharavthil, operation karaycha, kivhan kaay karaycha te sangtil tya pramane me karnaar. Asha prakare me tikde gelo.
[English: .. At that time there were direct flights to Puttaparthi. There is an airport there. I said, three days - that time two flights used to go per week. I said I will go on Saturday and come back on Wednesday. I will meet Bhagavan Baba. If he says - whatever he decides he decides [Ravi: i.e. it will be the final decision], whether to do operation or to do something else - as he says I will do that way. In this manner I went there.]Khaali basta yet navhta. Khaali basla naahin. Mage basle tar khurchi var basla tar Bhagavan bagtil ke naahi mala ek shanka hoti. .. Mala sagla asa ushya dilya - cushions dile. Me thithe tyaachavarti baslo. Sathya Sai Baba tyaancha gharatun (tithun) aale, hall madhe aale.
[English: I could not sit down. I did not sit down. If I sat down at the back on the chair then I had a doubt whether Bhagavan will look at me or not. I was given lot of cushions. I sat there on top of these (cushions). Sathya Sai Baba came from his house (there), came into the hall.][Around 10:55]
Aani majya samor tya velche Farooq Abdullah (Jammu & ) Kashmir che je .. chief minister hote, aani tyaanchi mula hoti. Te mula aali hoti darshaana saathi. Aani saat aat jana hoti - khup group motha hota. Karan te VIP hote. Tya mule tyanna pudhe basavla hota. Majhya bajula Barclays Bank che Managing Director basle hote, (Samir Bhatia). Tyanni mala sangitla ke aaj kay tujha kay theek nahi aahe. Karan kay aaj sagle VIP aaleli aahet. Tar Bhagavan Baba kay tula kay bagnar naahi. Tujha kay aaj (theek nahi aahe).
[English: And then in front of me, then chief minister of (Jammu &) Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah and his children were there. Those children had come for Darshan. Seven or eight persons were there - the group was big. Because they were VIPs. Therefore they were seated in front. Next to me, the Managing Director of Barclays Bank (Samit Bhatia) was seated. He told me that today it is not okay for you. Because today a lot of VIPs have come. So Bhagavan Baba will not see you. It is not okay for you today.][Around 11:30]
Ani Khara mhantla tar majha moodach navtha kaaran jya paristhith me gelo hoto. Majya barobar majhi bayko hoti, suun hoti, aanhi mala aas paas kay challay kay nay yacha kahich he navhta. Kaaran kay me majhya dukha madhech hoto. Bhagavan Baba jasa te gate aahe [RS pointed to something in the distance (a gate, perhaps)], tya gate paasun chalath aale, chalath aale. Aamhi ithe baslelo aahe. Ani VIP mandali ithe basleli aahe.
[English: (And) to tell you the truth, I was not in a good mood at all due to the circumstances in which I had gone there. With me were my wife and my daughter-in-law, and I had no idea of what was going on around me. Because I was (immersed) in my sorrow. Bhagavan Baba came walking from a distance like that of the distance of that gate (RS points in the distance to a gate perhaps). We are seated here. And VIP group is seated here.]Te saral aale. VIP mandali ubhi rahili. Swamila namaskar karayal laagle. Swamine sangitla, Baitho, Baitho, Baitho. Tari pan tyaancha pahilich visit hoti. Tikadcha system baddal tyanna mahit navhta. Swaminni tyanna dam dila Baith jao. .. Te sagle basle.
[English: He came straight. The VIP group stood up. They started doing Namaskar [folded hands salutation] (to Swami). Swami said, sit, sit, sit. But it was their first visit. They did not know about the system there. Swami ordered them, sit down. .. They all sat down.]Ani te saral majha kade aale. Majhya kade yevun tyanni vibhuti nirmaan keli. Majya hathaath dili. Mala vaatla me khau hi vibhuti. Tar kai hoyil. To paryanth mala urjha nahin, kahi nahin. Swamini te vibhuti haathath ghetli, kagdaath bandhli anni .. thevali. Me baslo. Mala dharla, uthavla hota. .. Ani tya mandilinna ghevun interview room madhye gele. Tyancha interview jhaala aani te nighun gele.
[English: And he came straight to me. Having come to me he materialized vibhuti. Gave it in my hand. I felt that I should eat the vibhuti. Then something may happen. Till that time I did not have energy, not have anything. Swami took that vibhuti in the hand, wrapped it in paper and placed it in ... I sat down. I was held and made to stand. .. And then he took that group and went into the interview room. Their interview got over and then they left.][Skipped words about general matters related to Veda and bhajan singing at all Sathya Sai events.]
Tya divshicha ved jhala, bhajan jhala, aani aarti jhaali. Sagli mandali nighun gele. Aamhi nighun gelo. Raatri gharath - room madhe aamhi baslo. Majhi bayko mhanali, Bhagvantani tumhala aashirvaad dila, vibhuti dili ... Aata aapan udaya ghari javuya - Mumbai. Aani operation karun ghevuya. Me tyanna sangitla kutlyahi paristhith me ithun yenaar nahi jo paryanth Sathya Sai Baba mala kahi sangath nahi to paryanth me ithun janaar naahi. .. Majhi suunhi mhanayl laagli. Tena Mumbaila phone kela. Mulana sangitla Babani tumhala dilay, vibhuti sagla dilay. Ata tumhi yaa (Mumbaila). Apan operation karuya. Doctorni tumhala sangitlay ki ankhin ushir kelath tar hyachaat kaahi hovu shaknaar nahi mhanoon. Tar tumhi tabadtop nighun ya. Tya divshi, tya room madhe amcha thodasa .. mhanje bhandan jhala.
[English: That day's Veda (chanting) got over, bhajan (singing) got over and the Aarti got over. All people left (the hall). We left (the hall). At night we were seated in the home/room. My wife said, Bhagavan gave you blessings, gave you vibhuti. Now we will go home (Mumbai) tomorrow. And we will get the operation done. I told them that under no circumstances will I come from (go from) here so long as Sathya Sai Baba does not tell me anything till that time I will not go from here. My daughter-in-law too said (similarly). She made a phone call to Mumbai. (My) son said Baba has given you vibhuti, has given you everything. Now you come (to Mumbai). We will get the operation done. Doctors have told you that if more delay is made then (they may) not be able to do anything (to help improve the problem he was suffering from). So you (all) immediately leave and come. That day, in that room there was a little (verbal) fighting amongst us.]Dusrya divshi parat Darshanala baslo. Dusrya divshi darshanala aale. Ankhi samor aale. Kunha-kunhala, VIP madhe basle hote .. ghevun aatmadhe, interview room madhe gele. Interview room (madhun) parat baher aale. Mala maanyanni sangitla andar chalo. .. Andhar chalo (mhanjhe) me vaatach bagtoya kadhi mala uthavthaat ..Mhantla Mala uthva. Mala uthva mhanun. Mala uthavla saglyanni. Majhakade kaathi hoti. .. Tya gate kade taayi thithe basli hoti. Suun thithe basli hoti. Jasa me uthla bagitla - te thithun dhavath aale. .. Jya hall madhe bastaath tya thikaani vis te panchvis hajaar maansa bastaath. Tar tya hyacha madhna, tevdya gardi madhna te yena ... Mhanje agdi jasa kasva saarkhi laksh thevayla pilla ... tasa te majya varthi thevla hoti. Thithun te aale. .. Mala dharun aatmadhe nehla. Aatmadhe nehla. Swaminni bakichyanni kahi kahi nirman karun dilay. Kunala pendant dila, chain dili, khup kay kay dila... Aath madhe gelo tar me khaali basnar hota Bhagavan Babancha charna madhe. .. Aath madhe pay thevlya barobar - idhar baitho. Khurchi thevli hoti Bhagvantani. Khara mhantla room madhe konhi khurchi thevath nahi. Bhagavantach paya jawal sagle bastaat. Ata me mala .. jhalay ki kasa basu me? Bhagavancha samor khurchi var kasa basu? Dam dila - mala mhanale khuchivar bas. Tar me khurchivar baslo. ..
[English: Next day, we sat again for darshan. Next day he came for darshan. And he came in front. Some persons seated in the VIP (area) .. (he) took inside, went into the interview room. He came out again (from) the interview room. He indicated (by nod of his head) to come inside. "Come inside" - I was just waiting (for the moment) when he would call me. I said, raise me, raise me. (Others) raised me. I had a (walking) stick. At that gate (his wife) was seated. Daughter-in-law was (also) seated there. When they saw me having got up they came running from there... In the hall where people sit in that place twenty to twenty five thousand people sit. Then they coming from that crowd .. it is like the tortoise keeps its attention on its baby ... like that they had placed their attention on me. They came from there. ..They held me and took me inside. (I) was taken inside. Swami gave others something or the other that he materialized. To some (he) gave a pendant, gave chain, gave many things ... After going inside I was going to sit down at Bhagavan Baba's feet.. As soon as I placed my feet inside - 'sit here' - Bhagavan had placed a chair (inside the interview room). To tell the truth, in (the interview) room nobody keeps a chair. People sit (on the floor) near the feet of Bhagavan. Now for me .. how shall I sit? How can I sit in a chair in front of Bhagavan? Bhagavan ordered me to sit on the chair. Then I sat on the chair.][Around 15:30]
Saglyanchi interview jhaali. Saglyanchi bolna jhaali, pathvun dila. Aamhala aatlya room madhe bolavla. Aatlya room madhe gelo. Parath ataa aatlya room madhe dharun mala ghevun gele. .. Mala ata .. parath paya khaali, Paya javal basna, charna javal basna asa majha vichar chalu hota. Ani majhi missus ani suun basli. Mala sangitla idhar bajume baitho. Sofa aahe tyachyaat. Lahan lahan room aahe. .. Mala yevda vatla ki aapan Bhagvantache charan sparsh karnyache prayatna karto. Tyancha charnashi basnyachi sandhi aapan bagto. Parantu Bhagavan saakshath mala mhanthaat bajula bas. Anhi mala tyanni bajula basavla.
[English: The interview of all (others) got over. Their interactions got over and they (had left). We were (then) called to the inner room (private interview room, I guess). We went into the inner room. Again I was taken to the inner room by (others) holding me. Again I thought of sitting at (Bhagavan's) feet. My wife and daughter-in-law sat. I was told 'sit here nearby'. There is a sofa inside. The rooms are small. .. I felt that we try to touch the feet of Bhagavan. We look forward to the opportunity to sit at his feet. But (manifest) Bhagavan is telling me to sit next (to him). And he made me sit next to him.]... Ekaantha majhya mandalinna milaala. Mandalinni radayla survath keli. Sangayla survath keli. Asa jhala, tasa jhala, Swami ... je kay varnaycha, karan gyaychay, sagla sagla jhala. Swamini aikla ani ekach prashna vicharla, 'Kal raat ko kya jagda chalu tha'. [Laughter and applause. RS smiles]
[English: ... My group got privacy. They started crying. They started saying, this happened. that happened, Swami. ... Whatever (had to be told), all that got done. Swami heard it and then asked only one question, "Yesterday night, what fighting was going on?"]Me tar .. hoto. Mala kai .. Majhi bayko mhanali, "Nahi nahi Swami! Aapne vibhuti diya. Hamne kaha ke ab ham Bombay jayenge aur operation karayenge."
[English: I .. My wife said, "No, no Swami! You gave vibhuti. We said that we will now go to Bombay and get the operation done".](Thaakdishi) Swamincha chehra badalla, bot asa spashta jhala [RS points and wags his right hand forefinger], "Operation nahi karna." (Baykola sangtaat) "Operation nahi karna." Majya kade (bagun) "Operation nahi karna." Daha vela tari tyanni sangitla, operation nahi karna, operation nahi karna, operation nahi karna.
[English: (Suddenly) Swami's face changed. His finger (gesture) become clear/pointed [RS points and wags his right hand forefinger] [Swami said:] "Don't do (the) operation." (Tells (my) wife) "Don't do (the) operation." He looked at me (and said), "Don't do the operation." At least ten times he said, don't do operation, don't do operation, don't do operation.]
Above pic is another screenshot of the video whose part transcript is provided here.
Magh Swamini bolayla survath keli. Ki Ramesh Sawath ha kasa aahe. Kay aahe. Majya saathi tyani kay kela. Kasa aahe tyacha swabhav. He kasa aahe, te kasa aahe. Sagla, sagla, sagla purna chaalis varshacha paath tyanni bayko samor anhi suunhya samor vachla. Suun navin (hoti). Tila tevda anubhav navhta. Aanhi sagla paat vachla ... Tyanni sangitla, Ha maajha kaam karto. (Mag me pan) hyacha kaam karto. Majhi javabdari aahe hyachi sagli dekhbaal karaychi. Kaaran to sagla kaam majha karto tar majhi pan javabdaari aahe.. tyachakade and tyacha family kade bagaychi he majhi purna javabdaari aahe mhanun sangitla. Atta hyacha pude operation karaycha nahi. Kaay nay karaycha.
[English: Then Swami started speaking (in detail). About who Ramesh Sawant is, what type of person he is. What he has done for me. How is his behaviour. How is this, how is that. All, all, all - forty years story (of Ramesh Sawant) he (Swami) said before my wife and daughter-in-law. (My) daughter-in-law was new. She did not have that much experience (knowledge about Shri Ramesh Sawant). And he read (narrated) the whole story. He (Swami) said, he (Sawant) does my work. (Then I also) do his work. It is my responsibility to look after him. Since he does all my work so I too have the responsibility of looking after him and his family. Now don't do operation. Don't do anything.][Around 18:18]
Mhanun Baher Aale. Swatah baher aale. Aani mandali .. bahercha room madhe. Aani vibhuti parat dili tyanna. Mala pudhya dilya - bandhlelya. Ani sangitla, ja mhanun. Swami darvajah ugadala (aani paathvun dila). Majhe missus ani suun baher geli darvajyatun. Me ekta aatmadhye. Swamini majhi hi ujwa hatachya don bota pakadli. Don bota pakadli ani darvaja tun mala baher kaadla. Jaa Mhanun. Ani me, asa chalath chalath baher alo. [Applause] Me visarlo ki mala chalta yet nahin. kaay - me visarlo. Maajhi kaathi sudha aatmadhye. Majhe support suddha sagle baher galele. Ani sagli jana tyaveli dhavat aali mala - Young mula astaat Swami (barobar). Te aale. Tyanni mala dharla. Are padshil, padshil, padshil mhanun. Aaj asa jasa tumhi talya (vajavle) tasa purna hall madhye talya. Kaaran me jya paddhatit gela hoto aani jya paddhatit chalat alo, te bagun.
[English: Saying (that) Swami came out (from inner/private interview room to outer/group interview room). He came outside himself. And the group .. in the room outside. (Swami) gave vibhuti again to them. I was given vibhuti packets. And he said, go. Swami opened the door (of the outer/group interview room) (and sent us out). My missus (wife) and daughter-in-law went out through the door. I alone was inside. Swami caught two fingers of the right hand/palm. He caught two fingers and ushered me outside through the door. (Saying go). And I came out walking. [Applause] I forgot that I could not walk. What - I forgot. My (walking) stick was also inside (the room). All my support (people) had also gone outside. And then (others) came running (to hold) me. Young students are there with Swami. They came. They held me. Saying, Oh you might fall! As today you people clapped that way the whole hall was clapping. (Seeing) the manner in which I had gone in and the manner in which I came out walking.][19:25]
Mhanun Bhagavan Babancha Anubhav majyan saati, majya gharchyaan saati, majya mitran saati, majya natyevaikyan saati .. ithe aaj jevde jana baslele aahet, jevde bhakt aahet Bhagavan Babanche pratyekala kaay na kaay, kaay na kaay, kaay na kaay anubhav aahe. Ani to anubhav hyaahi phude samadhinantarhi hajarovarshaha tech rahnaar jasa Shirdi Sai Baba (samor) aaj hi aaplyala yeto, Shirdi Sai Baba aaplyala swapna madhe distaat, Shirdi Sai Baba aaplyala baher (pradarshan kartaat), Shirdi Sai Baba aaplyala - je kay (matrutvet?) detaat tasa aaj Sathya Sai Baba suddha amchyaat aahe aani jyajya veli, tyanni sangun gelale aahet, ki jya jya thikani majha bhajan .. - hoyil tya thikani tumhi mala bolvaal mala .. mala amantran dyaal tya tya vela me hajar rahin. Mhanun aaj aapan sagle jana bhagyavaan aahot. Kasha saathi? Ki jya paddhitine Anilkumarji ani tyanche missus hya .. hya thikaani aalele aahet ani Bhagvantala ithe amantran dile aahe. Mi tar aatvan kartoch aapan .. aapan tyanna bolavtoch. Parantu aapan ... ki Sathya Sai Baba aaplyaa madhye yetil ki naahi? Parantu mala guarantee aahe ki jya veli Anilkumarji ani missus hya ithe aaleli aahet tar nischithi te yenaarach, yenaarach, ani te aaj aaplya madhe aahe.
[English: Therefore Bhagavan Baba's experiences for me, for my people at home, for my friends, for my relatives .. (for) those people who are seated today, those who are devotees of Bhagavan, each one has some experience or the other. And that experience from now on, even after samadhi, will remain (the same) for thousand(s of) years. Like how Shirdi Sai Baba comes before us even today, (like how) Shirdi Sai Baba appears to us in dreams, (like how) Shirdi Sai Baba gives us darshan outside .. like that Sathya Sai Baba also is amongst us. He has said (before going) that where his bhajan will happen, (where) you will call me, (where you will) invite (me), at that that time (or place) I will be present. Therefore we all today are blessed. What for? That the manner in which Anilkumarji and his missus (Mrs.) have come to this place and invited Bhagavan - I certainly remember (him). We (all) call him. But we (may have a doubt?) whether Sathya Sai Baba will come amongst us or not. But I have a guarantee that when Anilkumarji and his missus (Mrs.) have come here then surely he (Sathya Sai Baba) will come, will come, and he (Sathya Sai Baba) is amongst us today.][Around 20:45]
.. Ankhil vel gyaycha naahi. Parantu ek sanghatnya baddal sangaycha. He saghatna aahe, he aadhyaatmik sanghatna aahe. He kutlehe prakarche seva bhaavi sansthe naahi. He Aadhyatmik sanghatana aahe. Sathya Sai Seva Sanghatna. Bhagavan Babanni he aajcha Kali Yuga madhye nirmaan keli. Bhagavantani ha manav jathivarthi kelala motha upkaar aahe, motha bakshish ahe motha gift aahe, .. manav jaati saathi (dilelay). Jya jya lokanna jya jya mandilinna jya jya manav (jaatinna) Sathya Sai Seva Sangatane madhe rahun kaam karnyachi sandhi milali hi saakshat Bhagavantachya karya madhye bhaag ghenyachi sandhi milali. Yevda bhagya aaj amcha sarvancha aahe ani mhanun aaj me ithe aahe. Ani tyaancha hya aashirvada mulye anek kaama sukhad (hot) jataat.
[English: I don't want to take more time. But I want to say one thing about our organization. This is an organization. This is a spiritual organization. This is not just any kind of service organization. This is a spiritual organization. Sathya Sai Seva organization. Bhagavan Baba has created this in today's Kali Yuga (Age). It is a great favour bestowed upon (the caste of) humanity by Bhagavan. It is a great gift. .. It has been given for (the caste for) humanity. Whichever people, whichever group of people, being in Sathya Sai Seva organization got an opportunity to work/serve, they have got an opportunity to serve in manifested God/Bhagavan's work. This is the good fortune of all of us and that is why I am here today. And because of this blessing of his, various works/activities become easy (to do).]...
--- end part transcript & English translation of Shri Ramesh Sawant's speech in Alibag in April 2016 ---
I also came across a talk in English by Sawant sir here: Sri. Ramesh Sawant – Samarpan 16-3-2014, https://ssssoka.org/sri-ramesh-sawant-samarpan-16-3-2014/. It has both the video and a transcript. This talk was given in Brindavan (Bangalore) ashram of Bhagavan.
Given below are some extracts (somewhat edited) of the above speech transcript.
[Around 2 min, 20 secs]
Shri Ramesh Sawant: Actually I am not a speaker, I am a worker. Because Swami has said He is the first servant of this universe and when He introduced the organization, He said as the State President you are the first servant of the State. So I know only that I am His first Sevadal of my State and I have been doing the service work as guided by Bhagawan Baba.
[Ravi: The visit of Swami to Panjim/Goa referred below is before Swami's famous appendicitis suffering (when Swami took on the disease of somebody else) and later miraculous cure without surgery, in December 1970. For more on the latter, see http://sssbpt.org/pages/Prasanthi_Nilayam/sss90special.html. end-Ravi]
Shri Ramesh Sawant: One day Swami came to Panjim. He was supposed to come to Swami Vivekananda hall which is in Jumta house on the sixth floor of that building. I was at the gate, building gate. As soon as He got down He just tapped me. I was absolutely new. I was having the first Darshan of Bhagawan. (I had limited exposure to) spirituality or anything related to that - I was not aware of anything. I followed Him to the lift gate. Again he materialized vibhuthi. He put it on my forehead and then put it on my hair. I was standing there, at the lift gate. He said come inside. I got into the lift. I went up. Many, many people were gathered there - all top people, top officials, all rich and poor - everybody was there. Hall was packed. Along with me, my brother in law and other people were there. They came by (climbing the stairs) to the sixth floor.
I (only was) allowed to enter the hall somehow and Swami started giving Darshan. Swami said come and I was walking (with Him). I don’t know what I have to do as my duty and I just walked along with Him. I could not enjoy also because I was not knowing what is (the significance of such) proximity to Bhagawan. .. That day there was a public meeting in Goa, in Panjim. Those days people were not aware about Bhagawan much. Only the outsiders who had gone from different states they knew that Sathya Sai Baba is Poorna Avatar, Bhagawan. We were enjoying the bhajans (at) that young age and that too in Goa having lot of attraction(s) all around. I don’t know (how) I used to go regularly to the bhajan. I don’t know Swami. But that day He tapped (me) and He took me with Him. I will like to mention here (that) I had no background whatsoever. Today also I have not gone through many Puranas or Pothis (Hindu scripture). Whatever I have heard, whatever I have experienced, of Bhagawan, whatever Bhagawan has blessed me, on those basis I have been working. And as of today, I am as it is [Ravi: I am what I am?]. I have no knowledge about spirituality ...
Again He materialized one more ring, Navagraha ring there and He put it on this finger [Sawant Sir is showing to the audience that finger]. See without any expectation, without anything Swami is pouring His love on me. Because He has tapped me in Goa in that childhood. When I was young, that time (itself), He had decided [Ravi: to attract Sawant sir to him, I guess]. It is not that we have done something great in this life [Ravi: to have physical proximity to the Avatar], must have done in the past life, some great things. “Manushya janma durlabh aahe” [Marathi to English: Getting human birth is difficult]. It is said (that) .. you have to cross eighty six laksha (Lakh) yonis (births in non human form), and then you get this maanav janma (human birth).
And that too, that's maanav janma where? In India, Bharat, we will not say India, its Bharatvarsha. The most spiritual (land), where all the avatars have taken birth. This is the land where you get a birth (if you are fortunate). (Further) you get a birth - I consider since I (was) born in Maharashtra, Maharashtra (is) supposed to be saint bhoomi (land of saints). So .. I consider myself fortunate to be born in Maharashtra. (Further) in a family where my father and all [Ravi: father and close relatives to father?] - they used to be devotee of Bhagawan Baba. and (further) get (associated with) avatar, .. and not only associated with the avatar - you have not only had darshan, sparshan, sambashan, but He gave an opportunity to be in His Mission. It’s not simple to be (in His mission). There are so many great people, great scientists, intellectual people, very rich people - they get Swami’s darshan, sparshan, ashirwaad and so many things. But to get an opportunity to be in His mission is something you cannot put a value to it. You get that opportunity and again you have to be consistent in that seva. Because so many people, came (into His mission) and they did lot of good work and went away. To be with Bhagawan in His mission permanently, there should be His Grace.
[Ravi: After Swami personally ensures that Ramesh Sawant is fed very well at Kodaikanal.] You tell me what I have done for Him, what I have done in my life. I have not done anything except service, except service. That too He wanted this service to be done without any expectation and that too with love. Otherwise there are so many institutions doing good work, social work outside. They are doing better than us. They are spending so much money also outside. But He wanted us to do Service without any expectation (and) with love. Otherwise this will not reach to Bhagawan. That's what is mandatory. And that was very simple for me. I was young. I was going on doing work.
Now what he said [Ravi: referred to me as] industrialist, I don’t know how I became (an) industrialist. Till today I am not giving one hour time (per) day to my business. Not even one hour. Imagine! Murali is a witness. Murali Bhaiyya - he is a witness there. I don’t give one hour’s time also to (my) business. My wife is (managing the) business. Sometimes my people - they manage the business... They say at least give one day in a month for the business. My son says at least give one day for me for the business so that I will not make mistakes. I said Swami is willing to give you everything. Why do you bother? You go with whatever you know about the business. You do (it) that (way). You will be successful in the business.
This incident too I would like to tell. Once it so happened - I used to go for Prashanthi Seva regularly. Then Swami selected me as the State President. Even then I am like a sevadal only. I don’t consider myself somebody great. State President means more responsibility on you to see that it reflects - Swami is reflecting through you. The responsibility is more when you are office bearer of the organization.
[Ravi: Around 49:00 Ramesh Sawant (RS) sir starts relating the paralysis in both legs incident in somewhat more detail than in the Alibag April 2016 talk mentioned earlier in this post. I have given below only a few extracts (and not all parts) that add to the Alibag talk description. end-Ravi]
[Around 1:03:45 (RS and family are in the interview inner room)]
Haan! In the meantime what He did - He got up from the sofa and He touched my knees. He touched my knees and did like this [Sawant Sir moves both his palms in circles, showing perhaps how Swami's palms touched/massaged his knees.] Now we are so eager or we consider ourselves fortunate to have His Paadasparsha or some .. seva (service) we can do (for) Him. If not (service) to Him at least to His devotees. If not to devotees (then) to devotees of devotees. Something like that. We crave for that type of seva. And when He Himself gets up and touches .. our knees and does like this [Sawant sir circles his palms again], (it is) something (very) different. I was shocked.
Then He (asked) us (to go to the) outer room, outside room. Then He allowed my wife and daughter in law to go (outside the outer interview room into the verandah). And I was standing there (in the outer interview room). He (held) my (these) two fingers [Sir shows how Swami held him] right fingers slowly, so delicate His hand is, so delicate. He just told me to go out of interview room. I went out like this [RS sir acts as if he is walking slowly]. I could not notice that I’m walking. I came out walking. Everybody started clapping there inside (Sai Kulwant) hall. Suddenly Nitin Acharya comes (and) all those boys came and started saying, "Arre gir jayega, gir jaayega" (Oh! You might fall, you might fall). I myself (was) not aware but I am walking! My stick was also inside. I had no support and that day I took three rounds without stick (and) without any support, to (of?) N 9 building. It’s quite a big building where I could not put one step (earlier). And without medicine without doing anything, He made me walk. (I had) three full big rounds.
And then we came back to Bombay. And then we went to all these Hospitals, mainly Leelavathi. It’s a big Hospital. We had MRI. We had other test(s), everything and all test(s) were negative, negative, negative. Those doctors were shocked. This fellow such a big record - when I went inside [Ravi: the interview room at Prasanthi Nilayam, I guess] I went with the (medical records) file. What happened you know - Swami took that file (and) just put it so loudly on the side table. That time itself only, He has ... finished my all this sickness [Ravi: cured me]. (Those) [Ravi: medical record] reports - I thought Swami will go through [Ravi: the medical] reports (to know) what is the problem or something like that. He just banged the [Ravi: medical records] file there and He (cured) me. I went to those hospitals and they were so surprised - [Ravi: all tests came out] negative, negative .. and I could walk and today I am walking here. I am here with you after so many years. This happened, I think (in) 2002, (sometime) in 2002. Now I’m still there. Of course, He has kept little thing in my leg, (so) that I should always remember Bhagawan. If He had made me one hundred percent (cured ...). Point one percent [Ravi: problem remains?]. He has kept me that (so that I remember) that Bhagawan is there, don’t forget that He has cured you. But after that whenever I have met Bhagawan or had (an) interview (with Him) or at lunch time (with Him) or anything, anything, He never gave any indication on His face (or) with a word that I have cured you, or I have done so much good for you. That is Bhagawan.
[Ravi: In a later part of the speech, RS talks about him being admitted to an ICU of a Bombay/Mumbai hospital for his heart problem. The doctor(s) had suggested (implanting) a pacemaker. RS got a friend to speak to Satyajit over telephone, who conveyed the matter to Swami in Prasanthi Nilayam. Swami conveyed to RS through Satyajit the message, "Do not have any fear". After Swami passed on that message, RS relates how the lead doctor took the extraordinary step of removing him from all medicines and putting him on a stress test, even though another doctor objected strongly to it saying that RS may die on the stress test machine. RS was able to be on the stress test machine for over 9 minutes and later was able to walk between two floors of the hospital while on observation. After 24 hours he was declared normal and discharged from the hospital. Then RS says [around 1:12:40]]
It is a just one sentence, not even sentence, just blessings through phone, phone call, He makes me perfect. This is Bhagawan.
.. you have to have devotion, single (pointed) devotion. You don’t have to have devotion at different different places. If you have single point(ed) devotion there will be a hundred percent reaction and blessings will come back to you thousand times - a thousand times, means that (much) force. Because nowadays we don’t see Bhagawan physically. We think that there are some people around, some people (acting) like Swami.. Of course, if (you) have your Guru means family Guru or something like that, (it is) obvious (that) you are supposed to go there. But those Gurus taking name of Bhagawan, wearing dress like Bhagawan, talking like Bhagawan, giving instructions like Bhagawan, something like Bhagawan - I think we should not deviate, we should not go away from our Bhagawan because Bhagawan is Omnipresent. [Ravi: RS is saying that we SHOULD NOT follow people who dress like Bhagavan, talk like Bhagavan, give instructions like Bhagavan (this would include any claimed/so-called communicators and mediums of Bhagavan - that is, we SHOULD NOT follow them or accept their communicator/medium claims.) end-Ravi.]
[Ramesh Sawant:] He is already there and He has been helping us, guiding us, blessing us. What not He is doing even after His physical departure.
Whatever we are doing here, whatever we are in the college, whatever/wherever we are in the Organization, it is for our own transformation. Swami does not want anything from you. Swami does not want money, gift or anything. You become a good person, good devotee and follow His path. That is what He wants. That change. That transformation ... And I think if you succeed in this type of journey, definitely He is going to give you salvation. Definitely. Because we have got a lot of desires - I want to become an MBA, Finance, I must become a Doctor,I must become an Engineer, I must become so and so, I must have some spiritual knowledge, spiritual something. What for? If you are doing Bhajans, if you are attending Sadhana Camp, if you are doing Service to lot of people, giving medicines to so many people, or feeding so many Narayanas, because Swami has said so, that’s why we have been doing so. With what intention?
It is a very simple (teaching) he has given. “Love All Serve All”. And we are just saying, Love all Serve All, Love All Serve All. What is that Love All Serve All? Before serving, if you don’t love the person, that (service of yours) is going to be a social work. It is a social activity. Of course, you are going to get a reward for that. It’s going to get a reward. But what reward He has come to give you .. that reward you may not get. Why (should we) have another life for that? In this life itself He says I am here to give you salvation. You just follow my instructions. The Seva what we are doing it should be with Love. If you can’t see Bhagavan in [RS points to various people] her, mother, brother, everybody, whoever is there, whenever I do service to that man or to mankind or for dog, if we don’t do (it) with Love ... When do we love him? You can love your mother, you can love your father, you can love your brother, you can love your wife, love your children. But what is that type of love? There is some relation. There is some blood relation. There is some expectation.
But, Bhagavan wants us to Love each and everybody in the Universe. And how you will develop that love? ... He has given you (teachings). Whenever you do Bhajans, do that Bhajan from the Heart, not from the voice [RS points to his throat]. Not from the mind, that I am going to sing a very good bhajan today and I am going to please everybody, my convener and (all). No. You have to please HIM. It should come from within [RS taps his chest/heart]. Definitely He will come out. He will come out. He will get up from the chair and HE will Bless you. ..
So (to enable) that transformation, for that Bhagavan has given His name to Sathya Sai Organization, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization. Is it so easy, when Bhagavan is physically present to get (His) name to any Institution or any Organization? Why He has given? This is the highest boon to mankind He has given - to work under that one umbrella. There are different minds, different mindsets, there are different age groups. There will always be tussle. There will (always be) lot of misunderstandings or something like that. But, what is the goal? Our goal is Bhagavan. When you put Bhagavan in the centre ,when Bhagavan is himself there, will you dare to raise any objection or anything? [Ravi: Tussle is there] because your thoughts are working, your heart is not working. When it starts working, you have to make a habit (of it). You cannot put something (like?) Love into (your) heart and then heart will function. No. It [Ravi: I think RS refers to Love as 'it' here.] is already there. It is inherent. It will automatically come out.
What you have to do? There are good and bad thoughts. Like farmers, simple farmers - How (do) they do (their) farming? They put the good seeds. Along with (the grain/plant) a lot of other jungly things (weeds) come. So, he has to remove those jungly things (weeds). All bad things he has to remove. He has to nurture (the plants), he has to put water. He has to put lot of things. He has to take care [Ravi: of the growing plants]. Similarly, from the heart, so many things will come. What you have to take care is, of the good thoughts. Bad thoughts: it is coming, just throw it out. Coming, just throw it out. It will not be easy to do it in one week, or one day or one month or one year. It is possible depending upon Bhagavan’s blessings on individual. But, you must go on trying and trying. You will definitely succeed (but) you will have to have a .. humble approach, because nowadays we think we are very qualified, or spiritually very uplifted. All those thoughts will not take you to Bhagavan. All those thoughts will have to (be) remove(d) from your mind. Actually they are not in the heart. They are in the mind. So you have to take care (be careful). That’s why (we have) Bhajans. It makes (the) mind clear. Sadhana, (like) Dhayanam, some Japam, .. Nagar sankeertan (also are for that reason). When you do Seva, you have to bend. Swami says bend and do seva. Means (removing) ahankara. When you remove something (money) from (your) pocket and put (spend) some money for seva, (that is) tyag bhavana (spirit of sacrifice), that (spirit of sacrifice) develops. So, it is easy.
I have enjoyed my life. Now, I am not worried (about) whatever happens to me. Because my family - my father also died (taking his) last breath after the Nagar sankeertan, after the Aarthi, after the (kalash?), after the Vibhuthi in the Mandir (temple), where he (had given) the land (for) that particular mandir. At that time when he left his body, he was there, he merged with Bhagavan. So we have only one wish. Whenever such things are there, whenever Satsang is there, or wherever I am there, I don’t know how fortunate I am. But I think I am fortunate. Whenever I leave my this body, I would like to have at least Swami’s name on my breath or on my tongue - that is .. my wish. That is the only [Ravi: thing?] - I think I should get that.
And really I tell you, you have not missed anybody. You have not missed Bhagawan. ...There are so many more incidents. Swami has appeared in His room after Samadhi. Swami has appeared in their room. Swami has appeared in the Hospital. Swami has appeared in the village, (I mean) those villagers have not seen Bhagawan physically. So Bhagawan has started giving Darshan. He is the Avatar. He is the only avatar. He goes to devotee. Do you think that we can .. easily go to Him. He has chosen us. He has selected us. He has identified us that’s why we are here. We are not that rich spiritually .. that He can (should) give us this type of opportunity.
So please do not think that you have missed the opportunity. You have not missed. Bhagawan will appear here, is already there and He will give you the darshan physically also. Sometime, somewhere in some form, He will definitely give you (darshan). I can assure you. I can guarantee you. Guarantee is .. not a good word. It is not a product where you can give a guarantee. But your heart should call Him. Heart should call Him. Intensity of your devotion should make Him come to you and that’s what I think we are expecting from each and everybody. We hope we will come to His expectation what He has been asking from us. And that should be our goal. And I pray at Lotus Feet to bless each and everybody here and those who are not here also. Please Bhagawan, kindly I request Bhagawan to Bless all of us, all of us, all of us. Sairam! Sairam!
---- end extracts from Shri Ramesh Sawant's speech in March 2014 in Brindavan, Bangalore ----
Over email, Terry Reis Kennedy wrote:
Utterly amazing. Thank you for the hard work you did so that we could enjoy this account.
I responded (slightly edited):
It was a labour of gratitude to Ramesh Sawant sir for the role he played as a leader of Maharashtra Sai orgn., in my journey to Sai, and I also realized that it could serve as a useful chronicle/record of one great devotee-worker of Sathya Sai who was associated with him for around half a century!!!
Given below are comments from the Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1841577062725529, associated with this blog post:
Terry Reis Kennedy wrote:
What a huge service you have provided, Ravi. We appreciate it so very much. Jai Sairam.
Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Thanks Terry Reis Kennedy. I do not exaggerate when I say that Ramesh Sawant sir is one of the finest examples of "Loving Service" in action leaders that I have seen in the Indian Sathya Sai organization. His speeches may not have linguistic finery or spiritual scholastic excellence, but he has understood very well Swami's core teaching of Service with Love and without expectation as one of the very suitable paths for many in this Kali Yuga (Age). I think his above talks reflect that excellent understanding of his, very well. .... I repeat that he practices these teachings and that is why I love & respect him very much.
The above mentioned Facebook post of mine associated with this blog post was also shared by Facebook user Dharmakshetra here: https://www.facebook.com/DharmakshetraMumbai/posts/1341928055848953. Dharmakshetra Facebook account seems to belong to Bhagavan's Sai centre in Mumbai - Dharmakshetra.
I added the following comment on that shared post:
Thanks for sharing. My journey to and with Sathya Sai started in early 1990s when, on an evening walk I wandered into Dharmakshetra in the early 1990s. I visited the main prayer hall and saw Bhagavan's sayings put up there and I also visited the bookshop at Dharmakshetra. At that time I was staying in a residential society close to Dharmakshetra, Takshila in Andheri (East) and did not know much about Sathya Sai. If I recall correctly I bought Man of Miracles by Howard Murphet from the Dharmakshetra bookshop and that started my journey to and with Sathya Sai... So I am glad to see my post on Ramesh Sawant saheb's talk being shared by Dharmakshetra Facebook user.
[I thank Shri Ramesh Sawant, Brother Satish Naik, saibabaofindia.com and ssssoka.org, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from the speeches and transcript, and pics on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]