Remembering Sai Geetha (aka ‘Sai Geeta’ – ‘Sai Gita’)

Baby Gita - Hairs Standing On End

Baby Gita - Hairs Standing On End

Remembering Sai Geetha (aka ‘Sai Geeta’ – ‘Sai Gita’)
Sai Gita: The Sweet Song Of Sai

To the mortals, exit from the physical plane comes as a big blow, for. It inflicts pain of separation from near and dear ones. Quoting an anonymous poet, Prof. N. Kasturi wrote substantiating his statement that anything, which is born and grows, declines and dies, …as soon as we are born our funeral procession started! Our heart is the drum. Our hearts beat like a muffled drum and the funeral march starts! So, birth is only the beginning of death!

Sai Geeta’s illustrious story that has essentially become a part of His Story is indeed an inspiring saga, especially in an age when man often falters to understand God’s greatest boon to humanity, the great sojourn called life. In an age when human values struggle to find their way into human hearts, when man’s bestial tendencies often prevail upon the latent good in him, it is Divinity’s masterplan that showcases the dedicated life of an elephant modelling devotion in its real and complete sense. indeed, it serves as a great lesson to humanity.

Tears that rolled down her cheeks on many a occasion, her mischievous pranks acknowledging ecstasy at having been blessed to be in the Divine Presence, were testimonies to the unmatched love, pristine in quality, she has had for her Beloved Master, Bhagawan, that for sure would be envied even by human beings.

It was not a mere coincidence that brought The Creator and His Creation together in the Mudumalai forest marking the beginning of this glorious tale of love. It was a Divine happenstance, a well-crafted master plan by the Divine that would have had its roots linked to many previous births that had made such a meeting possible. Sai Geeta is a Shuddha Brahmacharini (pristine and perfect celibate). She has come for Me, said Bhagawan once, at the end of a long arduous trial she had been forced to undertake at the instance of some senior devotees; she had been ‘reluctantly’ sent to the forest for breeding at the dogged persuasion of some senior devotees in the ashram for no positive result.

Adorned as a Little Princess
There came Sai Geeta to Prasanthi Nilayam
Rejoiced Prasanthi in her endearing presence
And struck a love tale…Creator with His creation
Echoed the song of her heart’s melody
Love for Baba…Life for Baba!
Gazing at Baba she wept
The King returned ‘His Own’ to her
His Love was that she sought
His Heart was that she conquered
Knowing fully, still unknowingly…
She lived a Life…a Life Full…
Unruffled and nonchalant
Dissipating every passing thought
…into the gleam of eternity
Yet, in the end came ‘the end’
Denouement of the drama of life…
Yet, she survived the scare…death
Basking in the love of her Sun
At the end…she receded…devoutly
Into the gleam of eternity!
We salute You, Oh! Little Princess!

Sai Geeta is history now and essentially a part of His-Story. She must have been with Bhagawan through many of His previous Avatars and hence possibly having found her way to Prasanthi Nilayam. Who are we to decipher Bhagawan’s play with our very limited intellect? It all seems a part of His overall drama. He knew that the children would come in to study at the schools and the universities. He knew that they loved animals and animals loved them in return. He had a plan to instil the mantra of divine love through His interaction with Sai Geeta. And she too seemed to play with the Divine, just the way the cows nuzzled up to Him in Brindavan.

“Death is the denouement of the drama of life” wrote Prof. N. Kasturi. For those who loved Sai Geeta, her passing away marked the end of a drama in physical. Devotees would definitely miss her beautifully caparisoned frame majestically leading processions, her gorgeous princely gait, rare sight of tears of love rolling down her cheeks, the beauty of her being cuddled and fed by Mother Sai so affectionately, her unruffled nonchalant looks dissipating every passing thought into the gleam of eternity and lots more…. But, her footprints would continue her legacy in the hearts of millions who loved her so dearly.

A year has gone by. And it is still vivid in the minds of those who were present to witness the scene on the morning of 23rd May 2007 when His all conquering love filled and fulfilled Sai Geeta and perhaps her final wish to have Him with her during her final earthly moments. How an ordinary mortal could decipher the mysterious moments that happened on that fateful morning when Bhagawan Himself drove down to the planetarium side to have a look at His pet elephant that had dropped down on the previous evening? He went close to Sai Geeta and smeared vibhuti all over her head. He was there for a couple of minutes pressing her head with His fingers, stroking her trunk, applying vibhuti on her face and limbs. He then lovingly moved His fingers over her eyes and even asked the caretaker to open her eyes. Though it had been fifteen hours after her passing away, clinically, her body was still supple and flexible as if it was still having traces of life inching towards final exit. Braving the simmering summer, there waited God in human form, silently guiding the entire proceedings of His beloved’s final journey, for more than two and a half hours, at the newly constructed Sai Geeta Mahal, as devotees affectionately started calling the same.

All knowing God, the master crafter and designer who knew in advance of the events to come had a well thought out plan for His beloved pet elephant. He had in fact shared with Mr. Pedda Reddy, the caretaker, an interesting idea well in advance of the fateful happening that the new building could be dedicated as a memorial to Sai Geeta. The hidden truth behind Bhagawan’s ‘indication’ was not properly understood by anyone, then. In similar fashion, it was against the usual schedule that had been in place over the years, that Bhagawan returned straight to Prasanthi Nilayam after three week’s stay in Kodaikanal, as if some important event was awaiting Him over here.

A Divine Grace to Record the Present:
Alex Prowse, an accomplished artist from the United Kingdom, member of The Pastel Society, a member of The Federation of British Artists, The Mall Galleries, London and more importantly an ardent devotee of Bhagawan had a beautiful experience with Bhagawan that had a Sai Geeta flavour. He believes that, foreseeing the future, Bhagawan had given him a rare chance to record the present, painting Sai Geeta alive!

Alex Prowse along with his wife was fortunate to have an interview with Bhagawan on the afternoon of 3rd April 2007. During the interview Bhagawan lovingly enquired after his health, as he had been unwell in between. Upon answering the question in affirmative, Alex showed Him a pencil drawing on Sai Geeta that he had done just a week before and expressed his concern that the elephant was suffering from a bad tummy. Bhagawan keenly looking at the drawing asked his wife, ‘now he will do painting?’ His wife, sitting at the other end, looked across to Alex before nodding and replying that yes, he would. During the following week Alex spent more time dedicated to drawing and filming Sai Geeta in preparation for a series of paintings that he was sure by then to undertake, as inspired by Bhagawan. “What a joy and privilege it was” writes Alex. Upon returning to the UK on the 19th April 2007 he began working on the first painting. Barely a month later, on 22nd May, he was shocked and saddened to receive a message informing him of the passing away of Sai Geeta. Alex writes:

“Swami had seen the future and given me the chance to record the present. The painting given here shows Sai Geeta losing her worldly form and morphing with her heavenly energy surrounded by Devas.”

Sai Geetha - An Offering

Sai Geetha - An Offering

From Switzerland To Shirdi To Parthi:
Urs Keller, a devotee from Switzerland and a great fan of Sai Geeta has had some interesting tales about the little princess of Prasanthi Nilayam. But, before turning into the Sai Geeta pages, it would be interesting to read, in his own words, how this man who set out to meet Sathya Sai Baba of Prasanthi Nilayam mysteriously reached the Abode of Shirdi Sai Baba at Shirdi from where he was subsequently guided to Parthi during his maiden trip to Bhagawan, as if some unseen hand was orchestrating the whole of the happening. Writes Keller:

“In the year 1978, I was in Luzern for teacher’s training. To go somewhere after my studies where there was peace was the most important thing for me. So, I began searching for this place in different spiritual groups and in literature where I could be free and at peace. After a long search here and there I came across an article in a magazine with a small photo of Sathya Sai Baba. The title was ‘Prashanthi Nilayam, The Abode of Supreme Peace’.

I told myself spontaneously, ‘I’ll go there!’ and cut out the article and put it into my wallet. Then I forgot about it, since I did not know about Sai Baba and Prashanthi Nilayam. Half a year later someone saw the photo of Sai Baba and invited me for tea. This Swiss man had visited Sai Baba in India and told me about the place. Now, everything became clear to me. Subsequently I had earned enough money and was able to travel to India to see Sai Baba in August 1980 and stay for three months. The article about Sathya Sai Baba had been with me for a long time.

Because I was told that all people in India know Sai Baba, I flew to Bombay. Outside the airport I asked where I could find Sai Baba. Everywhere I got the answer ‘yes, yes’ and was first directed to the railway station. There I heard different answers until I got exhausted, crouched down in a corner and wept. After some time someone came to me, took my hand, guided me to a train, put me into a compartment and told the fellow travellers where they should let me get off. At last he placed a ticket into my hand, smiled and disappeared. I had no idea who he was, but until today I am very grateful to him.

In the early morning hours I reached a small village north of Bombay. I walked through the deserted lanes as if guided by an unseen hand to a temple and stepped inside with my shoes on, like in a church. Because I was there all alone, ready to drop down, I fell asleep at the feet of the marble idol.

When the priests came they did not know what to do with me and first of all took my shoes off while I was still asleep. Waking up I realized that the priests and some other people were looking at me with eyes wide open. As I walked out of the temple one of the priests started conversing with me in a very friendly way. He explained that this was Shirdi Sai Baba’s temple and asked me to stay another day. Then he arranged my tickets for the train and bus to Prashanthi Nilayam – the Abode of Supreme Peace- about 800 km in the South.”

Sai Gita Bliss

Sai Gita Bliss

And once in Prasanthi Nilayam he developed a new found love, apart from regular darshan of Bhagawan, Sai Geeta, Bhagawan’s pet elephant. Keller continues:

“For several weeks, I spent my time at noon sitting near Sai Baba’s pet elephant, Sai Geeta, in the cowshed called Gokulam. Many a time, I went for a walk with Sai Geeta and her mahout. Once we were on our way to the small animal park next to the college when Sai Geeta suddenly started trumpeting like mad. The mahout told me that Sai Baba’s car would come from the village at any moment. In fact, after a few seconds the car showed up to the place. Bhagawan got down, patted Sai Geeta and smiled at me. I bowed down before Him. Sai Baba then explained to the man in charge of the small animal zoo in a very fast way many things about small animals like deer, rabbits and birds.”

It is indeed a known fact that every time Bhagawan would cross the then Sai Geeta residence through the road His attention would be diverted to Sai Geeta at that split second. Joy Zieglere of the US wrote about such an incident.

“Almost each day of my stay at Prasanthi Nilayam, I walked through the village, past the schools, past the new planetarium, to the large plot of tropical land that is Sai Geeta’s home. Often I would stop at one of the many small fruit and vegetable stands along the roadside and pick out five or six ripe bananas to take for the elephant. Usually, the gentleman who took care of Geeta allowed me to feed her and stroke her trunk.

Some days, if Swami was going to the Gokulam, He would drive by Geeta’s lush area and wave. Geeta would run to the gate and bow, holding her trunk out in salute to her adored Swami. I witnessed this many times during the two months I had been at the ashram. Sometimes Geeta would trumpet her love for Swami, sending elephant sounds deep into the sultry jungle that surrounded her.

There were other days when Swami would drive by and not glance Geeta’s way. Unhampered by this, the faithful elephant could still be seen at the roadside, knees bent, trunk outstretched, in praise to the Divine, as His car slowly passed. Geeta’s keeper was ever ready with assistance. Each day she was bathed, Indian designs were painted on her large forehead, usually in white, and a brass bell hung lazily from her neck. Purple bougainvilleas adorned the fence around Geeta’s yard as well.

One morning, as was my practice, I waved at the keeper and held up my gift of bananas. Holding up his hand in returned recognition, he walked toward the entrance. Speaking to me, he said, ‘I will not have you feed these to Geeta today,’ taking the fruits from my hand.

I responded quickly, ‘Is she sick?’

‘No, no,’ came his reply. ‘Swami may stop and feed her these bananas today.’

I thought to myself, `I have been here almost every day, and Swami has never stopped to feed her. Why, sometimes He has not even looked her way. This man must be dreaming.’ I finally presumed that the keeper was going to consume the bananas himself.

No sooner had this thought gone through my mind than a student, neatly dressed in fresh, white trousers with matching shirt, galloped up to the gateway and shouted to the elephant keeper that Swami was indeed on His way. Wiping Geeta’s trunk and straightening her bell, the keeper walked with Sai Geeta to the entrance. He opened the gate and she stepped out on the sand to wait in anticipation of Swami.

She bowed low and trumpeted loudly, as the red car came to a stop in front of her. The door opened and Swami stepped out. Walking several steps toward Geeta, He reached out and put His arms around her trunk and gave a hug. Geeta closed her eyes in ecstasy. Swami then took the bananas and fed them one by one to Geeta, stroking her trunk as she ate.

I was breathless. How had the keeper known Swami would stop there that day?

Nudging me gently, the elephant mahout pointed to the camera that hung forgotten around my neck, then to Swami, reminding me of the opportunity to take pictures.

What went on between God and His elephant that day was inexpressible. But the love that passed between them was glorious.As Swami’s car vanished down the narrow road, I turned to the keeper in near hysteria. ‘How did you know that Swami would stop and feed Geeta today?’ I asked in an almost scream.

Softly, the man replied, ‘I didn’t know. What I did know was that Geeta needed to be close to Swami. It had been waiting for a long time. God gives each of us what we need; not just to humans alone, but to each species of creation. Every being is in His ever knowing hands.'”

Sai Baba - Sai Geeta

Sai Baba - Sai Geeta

Sai Geetha is incomparable and her life is a deep mystery that the ordinary cannot comprehend. She is arguably the most fortunate of her kind, a great devotee of Lord. There were questions after her passing away as to ‘who next?’ But, none expected another calf to come so soon to fill the vacuum. Barely few months after her passing away, another sweet calf was brought to Prasanthi Nilayam. Yes, yet another Geetha – Sathya Geetha and that too all the way from the Bihar Nepal border. The new calf that was fed and christened by Bhagawan Himself would continue the great legacy of Sai Geetha traversing in her footsteps unravelling greater heights of devotion towards God in human. Sathya Geeta would once again demonstrate the interplay of God with Nature. The very name rings true of the closeness which Nature has with God – Sathya – and Geeta. Is this the new song of love being demonstrably played by Bhagawan so that we soak in the melody and transform our lives?

Bhagawan’s love for the world is unfathomable. When Sai Gita moved on there was sadness and now when Sathya Geeta has taken her place, this little bundle has brought great joy. Is not this the message that Bhagawan is constantly trying to help us internalise? That pain and joy come in close cycles?

Yes, as a devotee wrote about the pet elephant, Sai Geeta got her befitting due, and a Divine Adieu! His words on Sai Gita would be ringing in every human heart reminding them of the level of devotion human should strive to peak, after having been blessed with the Lord in physical, to transport themselves to the gleam of eternity. In His first address after the passing away of Sai Geeta, to the students of His educational institution, Bhagawan exhorted:

“If only you can remember and ruminate on the intense love that Sai Geeta had for Swami and develop such sacred and noble thoughts, I will Myself take you close to My heart. You do not have to do anything else.”

Let us feel grateful to Bhagawan for making every large and incomprehensible lesson so seemingly simple that it reaches out to us – time and time again!!!

Reference

Also see:

Sai Geetha Website

Sai Geetha - Tender Stare

Sai Geetha - Tender Stare

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