For Bhagavan with Love and Gratitude Stories by Susan Caffery Illustrations by Helen Cherry FORWARD Sai Baba land from which these stories have emerged includes both the ―Seven Seas of Sai Baba‖ and the ―Reverberating Rotunda of Sai Baba Space.‖ Frankie, frisking in the metropolis of this three tiered Empire, tickles a million jokes through his impossible adventure tales in which the inhabitants (and out-inhabitants) of this super-real realm enact delectable roles. The incidents described herein twinkle in the titillating twilight where gazoons, giants, gnomes and griffins gambol arm in arm with cobras, elephants, spiders and scorpions. Frankie, the fearless child, delves into the den of dinosaurs and zooms beyond the blue dome to gallivant with the galaxies and pixies. Nowhere does he leave hold of Sai Baba, His Guide, Guardian and God. His companions are soaked in Sai sweetness and his foes shed their claws and spit their teeth when his Sai intervenes to save him. The stories are multi-cast dramas of exploration and discovery. The narration is so realistic and picturesque that parents are bound to pilfer this book from their kids who would love to keep it for themselves. For, it is good recreational reading. The questions presented by the author when they are tackled in silence by parents and elders, teachers and pupils can help the recreation of personality. I firmly believe this book of wonders will kindle light and delight in many a murky mind and home all over the world. N. Kasturi Prashanti Nilayam India: 5th Aug. 1981 LORD GANESHA: REMOVER OF OBSTACLES You see, little Ganapathi is at a very big disadvantages to start with. He has a big pot belly and a big head and a short little body and a long trunk. Besides, His vehicle or the thing he rides, is a little rat. So, He knows all about obstacles, all right. But with all these disadvantages, He had to use His head and develop a keen sense of discrimination to overcome them. His mother Parvathi and His father Shiva decided that, just for fun, they would let their two sons‘ race around the Universe. Now, Ganesha‘s brother, Subramanya had a peacock for a vehicle and so little Subramanya just jumped on its feathery back and away He went! But what about poor Ganesha? What was He to do? He couldn‘t possibly win. That rat was not going to be able to make very good time with potbellied Ganesha on him! So Ganapathi used His head. He smiled lovingly at His two parents, walked around them once and then touched their feet and sat down. This is how Subramanya found Him. He was flabbergasted! ―How did you do it?!‖ He exclaimed. ―Well,‖ said little Ganesha serenely, ―Our Beloved parents are the essence of the universe, isn‘t it?‖ Subramanya nodded his head slowly. ―Of course, and so I simply walked around our Mother and Father. They are the Universe to me!‖ Shiva and Parvathi smiled. Ganesha won the prize. And from that time on, His father Lord Shiva made him the leader of his army of Ganas. To insure the success of any project said His mother Parvathi, it must be first offered to my son, Ganapathi. SONG: GANESHA SHARANAM (Hindu) CONTENTS The Guru Prema Pig and Shanthi Pig The Demon Game The Court The Dinosaur The Spider The Cherub The Cat Little Brother The Ant The Sea The Mountain Dassera THE GURU Lesson Plan 2 Objective: Understand that God is in all forms of nature. Quote: ―If you are sincere, you will appreciate the sincerity of others. You see faults in others because you yourself have these faults.‖ BABA Alternative Quote: ―Every being that is in the universe has the possibility of transcending the senses. Even the little worm will one day transcend the senses and reach God. No life will be a failure.‖ BABA Silent Sitting: Imagine that you are a grain of sand. Sai Baba comes and stands on you. Songs: Sanskrit Bhajan: Jay Guru Omkara Jaya Jaya Sadguru Omkara Om English song: I Am One, Dear Sai, I Am One with Thee Poem: Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean, and the mighty land We are like those drops of water, you and me And our Lord, Sai Baba, is the mighty sea Shinning little gains of sand lying in the sun Feeling very separate are really only one The One is our Sai Baba or He is the shore And we will abide in Him forevermore Discussion Questions: 1. Why is the old lady listening to the grains of sand? 2. Do you think they could be holy? 3. What does the old lady do for Frankie? 4. What does Frankie mean about the undesirables? 5. Do you think Swami sees anyone as undesirable? 6. Are the scorpions undesirable? 7. What does ―Aum‖ mean? 8. Do you know another name for ―Aum‖? 9. Did a scorpion really sting Sai Baba‘s toe? Can you tell the story? 10.Who is the old lady really? 11.What area Sai Baba‘s toys? THE GURU Dear Jake, How are you? I am fine. Boy, when you come to Sai Baba Land there‘s one thing you‘d better remember. Don‘t wish for something unless you really want it. The other day I was playing with my cars in the sand outside the courtyard … Mother was inside praying and I was outside, tired of playing with my cars all the time. I guess I was sad and feeling sorry fro myself so I figured I‘d talk to Sai Baba too! ―Dear Sai Baba,‖ I said, ―please give me something exciting to do because I‘m getting kind of tired of playing with these toys …‖ Before I could even finish, I heard a ‗tap, tap‘. I looked up to see an old lady with a twinkle in her eyes, holding long stick. She was standing over me, looking down. I stood up, of course. Sai Baba says to respect older people, but standing up, I couldn‘t see her face, so I sat down again. ―Sai Ram,‖ she said, smiling and moved on. She was bent over so far so that her face was always turned towards the sand soil. I ran after her and sat in her path. ―How come you walk bent so close to the ground?‖ I asked. ―Because,‖ she said, ―each little grain of sand is chanting ‗Sai Ram‘ and I want to hear every one.‖ She smiled again and started to leave. ―Please wait,‖ I cried. ―I wish I could hear the sand or do something better than play with these old cars. My mother spends all morning in the prayer hall and leaves me out here …‖ ―This is where you belong,‖ the old lady said lovingly. ―She belongs in there and you belong out here. She is doing her work and you doing yours. Everything is correct. But, tell me would you like to be able to talk to the animals and understand their language?‖ ―Boy, would I!‖ I shouted. ―Acchaa,‖ she said and touched my head with her stick. ―Good boy!‖ she muttered and moved away. (―Before I could even finish, I heard a tap, tap!‖) ―No room, no room,‖ I heard the crows calling from the top of the mandir. ―No room, Ma, this is my special place.‖ The flock of crows spent all their time waiting on top of the prayer hall for a glimpse of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Each has its own four inches and, sometimes, one tries to push its way into another spot. ―I‘ve been here since seven o‘ clock and this is my space!‖ All the crows started yelling at the new crow. ―Sounds familiar,‖ I thought t myself. ―Mother says they sound like that inside too!‖ just then, I saw a big old dog hurry by. ―I just know I say and outsider pass by here.‖ The dog peered around a tree and shook his head. ―Just won‘t do, you know, outsiders try to push their way in here. Give them an inch and they‘ll take a mile.‖ ―What‘s the matter, Mr. Big Ears? Why can‘t outsiders come in here?‖ ―Why?‖ the old god sputtered. ―Sai Ram, like most humans, you just don‘t understand. You see, lad, we dogs have our work too. We guard Sai Baba Land against the undesirables. Why, just the other day, a strange dog came in and … ah … made a loud noise in the inner courtyard. The Seva Dal ladies were very upset. It was very embarrassing until I hustled him out!‖ he said with importance. ―Oh, I see,‖ I said. ―We ashram dogs would never do that, of course. We know our duty and we do it.‖ ―Gosh, Mr. Big Ears, I had no idea.‖ ―Sai Ram, lad. You humans just don‘t look at things from our viewpoint very often. Sathya Sai Baba says we‘re all one, you know.‖ ―Even the undesirables?‖ I asked timidly but he had run off again, sure that he‘d seen another strange dog. ―Aum, Aum, Aum.‖ I ----- I heard that sound, like my mom makes every morning. ―Aum, Aum.‖ It was coming from the direction of the neem tree. I went over to investigate. ―Au…mmm…mmmmmm.‖ I could hardly believe my eyes at such a strange sight. There, between the roots of the tree, was a deep hole, full of scorpions. I was really scared, so I said Baba‘s name a lot of times, ―Sai Ram – Sai Ram – Sai Ram.‖ I felt a little braver so I crept closer. ―Please, sir, would you kindly move as you are blocking my way?‖ ―I looked down to see a small wren bird sitting on the ground in front of me. ―Gosh, I didn‘t mean to get in the way,‖ I said, ―but I thought I heard someone praying over here and now I see a bunch of bad old scorpions.‖ ―They‘re not at all bad,‖ the wren said indignantly, ―they‘re simply meditating with our teacher, Guru Dev,‖ she explained. ―Don‘t know who he is?‖ ―No.‖ ―Oh well, I‘m sorry. I thought everyone knew, but then, you‘re a little human, aren‘t you?‖ ―Yes,‖ I said. ―Well…many years ago,‖ she began, ―when Sathya Sai was a boy, a scorpion stung Him on the toe. The insect that stung Him, Guru Dev here, tasted the foot of God. He immediately entered a high state of joy and began performing spiritual practices.‖ I looked in between the roots of the tree and there was this big old scorpion surrounded by about ten other scorpions in a circle. Everyone was chanting ‗Aum‘. ―He has been in a state of bliss ever since he stung Sai Baba‘s toe.‖ ―Really,‖ I said, ―is that true?‖ ―Sai Ram! There are scorpions down there!‖ I heard a man‘s voice yell and suddenly the small cave between the roots of the tree filled with water. They kept right on chanting ―Aum‖ as if they didn‘t care what was happening. Gradually they sank, one by one, underneath the water. Guru Dev was the last to sink. I saw a white light all around the whole tree and it grew and grew until I couldn‘t see where it stopped. ―Did you get stung God?‖ the man with the water hose asked kindly. ―No.‖ I tried to say, but there I was crying and I couldn‘t seem to stop. ―Are you sure?‖ ―Yes,‖ I said and ran back to the courtyard. ―My place, my place.‖ The crows were at it again and the dogs and the sparrows; there was such a lot of talking all around that I couldn‘t think straight. I saw the little old lady tapping her way across the courtyard. ―Please, wait … could you tap my head again with your stick? I don‘t want to hear all the animals talking anymore. I just want to play with my toy cars.‖ The little old woman looked at me thoughtfully. ―I thought you said that you were bored with waiting for your mother all morning while she is praying to Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Remember my lad no matter what happens you should say, that it is the best for me, it is the best for me.‖ I looked at the old lady again and then at her feet. Perfect little brown toes all smooth and clean like they‘d just had a bath. ―You‘re the LORD,‖ I exclaimed happily. Sai Baba, you are this old lady and you are the crows and even the scorpion Guru Dev that bit this very toe!‖ ―Good boy,‖ Sai Baba said as I dove at the lotus feet. When I looked up, I saw the bright orange robe and on top, framed in a halo of soft black hair, the smiling golden face of Sathya Sai Baba. The Lord looked down at me. And I knew that everything was perfect here in Sai Baba Land. And that was the end of my first adventure. Aum Sai Ram, Frankie. PREMA PIG AND SHANTI PIG Lesson Plan 3 Objective: Learn how to control the senses. Quote: ―If you fill your heart with verses but are powerless to face reverses, you will not get peace. Be moderate in food and keep the senses under strict control.‖ BABA Silent Sitting: Offer each of your senses at the Feet of the Lord and ask Him to take control. Songs: Sanskrit Bhajan: Sathya Dharma Shanthi Prema Saba Ko Dijo Sathya Dharma Shanthi Prema Swarupa Apa Hain Sathya Dharma Shanthi Prema Jivana Ka Marma Hain English songs: Watch, Watch, Watch We Offer God this Food Poem: Arise, awake you sleepy head It‘s time that you got out of bed, Now wait a moment, not quite yet Take Babs‘s hand, don‘t you forget For all the day He will be helping you To do the things you have to do. Yes, Baba will always go before Gently He will show the door so Take His hand, don‘t hesitate, Hurry now, don‘t be late. Discussion Questions: 1. What is the first thing Frankie does when he gets out of bed? 2. What prayer does he say? 3. What is the food prayer in English? 4. Do you know it in Sanskrit? 5. What do you say before eating? 6. Why did Mr. Wuzzy teach the little pigs to be well-behaved? 7. How does prema control each of the five senses? 8. Why does she try to be good? 9. Who is her ―real‖ Mother? 10.What does discipline mean to prema? 11.What does Mr. Wuzzy say discipline is all about? 12.What does he say about ―hard experiences‖? 13.Why did Shanthi get into difficulty? 14.How was he saved? PREMA PIG AND SHANTI PIG Dear Jake, How are you? I am fine. Well, I had another great adventure here in Sai Baba Land! It started out with a beautiful clear day. I looked out the window the skies were a deep through. The moment I woke up that morning, I felt that it was going to be a special day. ‗Not that every day isn‘t special when you live in Sai Baba Land,‘ I said to myself. Then, I reached for Swami‘s hand before jumping out of bed. I always do that every morning, even if it‘s only in mind. ―Good morning, Lord,‖ I said. ―Thank You for such a beautiful morning. Now, I rise from my slumber, I offer You the tasks of this day. Direct me, guide me and be ever with me. Let me not harm or be harmed in any way.‖ That‘s a prayer Swami gave us. After my morning prayer, I dressed and ran down to the canteen for breakfast. I had to talk to the Lord again about that. The food prayer. ―Thank You for this ----- breakfast, Lord. I offer You this food in profound gratitude for the fire You have lit within. You are the food and You and I are one. The purpose of eating is to carry on your work. I pray that the fruit of this work may mean progress towards You.‖ That‘s another prayer Swami gave us. Cause I love ----------- It was good breakfast and afterwards I ran down the path to Mr. Wuzzy‘s house. Mr. Wuzzy is Sai Baba‘s animal keeper and my good friend. He can understand animal talk too! Ever since a little old lady tapped my head with he stick I‘ve been able to communicate with animals, insects and just everything. I was glad he reminded me of the Lord just hen because in all the excitement I had forgotten. But, when I saw those sweet, fat, little piglets all curled up in a big basket, I felt such a lot of love filling my heart that I remembered the Lord because I always know that He is those feelings inside. ―Oh, Swami,‖ I whispered, ―Thank You for letting me have these little guys to play with.‖ During the next few months, I spent many happy hours playing with the four little pigs. I named them Sathya, Dharma, Shanthi and Miss Prema Pig. She was the only girl. Mr. Wuzzy taught them to be good and well behaved so that they might be happy when they grew up. He knew that no one would want hem around if they were naughty and bothered people. And when little pig isn‘t wanted, sometimes there are bad people who just might want to eat him. Mr. Wuzzy certainly didn‘t want that to happen. Little Prema Pig was the pretty white one. She was always the first to come when she was called and she never ate more than her share. In fact, she usually gave her food with her brothers. She never tried to push or shove them away from the trough and she was careful to eat only good clean food. Her squeal was soft and sweet and she always listened to what Mr. Wuzzy said. Her little pig brothers weren‘t quite so good. Not bad, mind you, but not so good either. July rolled around and the rainy season began. Rain means mud and, as everyone knows, all pigs love to roll around in the mud; all pigs with the exception of Miss Prema. The three dirty little pigs hung their heads and looked at their muddy little feet. ―Why don‘t you ever get muddy like your brothers, Prema?‖ I asked one day. ―Because, Frankie, I don‘t want to make your mother unhappy,‖ she said. ―She loves us so much, how can we disappoint her?‖ ―But, Prema, your mother … well, I mean … you guys are all orphans, aren‘t you?‖ ―Yes, we are orphans,‖ repeated little Dharma Pig, a big, fat tear splashing down his round, little cheek. ―Oh, Frankie, squeal I don‘t mean our pig mother. She was only mother for this body. I mean ‗Sai Mata,‘ beloved Sai is the mother of my ‗Real Self‘. How can we disappoint Sai Mata with loud squeals? She hears every word we say. How can we even look at ugly sights when She is in our eyes?‖ ―Yes, or by having bad, ugly feelings towards others,‖ I added, ―because Mother Sai lives in our hearts. Gosh, Prema, you sure have a lot of self-discipline for a little girl pig.‖ ―Discipline?‖ Prema frowned. ―That‘s a big word and I don‘t know about it. But, I do know about loving Sai Baba. And I love Mother Sai so much that I never want to disappoint Her. I just want to please Her all the time.‖ ―Mr. Wuzzy sure knew what he was doing when he suggested I name you ‗Prema,‘ Prema,‖ I said. ―Maybe that‘s what discipline is all about, anyway, loving other people and ourselves.‖ Just then one of those white fluffy clouds got very fat and sent a sweet shower of rain down all over the ashram. The little pigs squealed with delight as the nice soft rain rinsed off all the mud from their feet. ―Now come here quickly before you get dirty again, brothers,‖ called Prema. ―You see how much our Mother loves us, Dharma?‖ She knows you‘re sorry for getting so muddy and She‘s always ready to forgive us by sending this sweet soft rain.‖ When the hot October weather came, Mr. Wuzzy let the four little pigs run out into the hills to play. They would return each afternoon when it was cooler. But, one day, only three little pigs retuned. Shanti Pig was missing. Mr. Wuzzy hurried to my flat. ―Frank, I‘m afraid something might have happened to little Shanthi. He didn‘t come home today. We‘d better go and search.‖ I went one way and Mr. Wuzzy went another. We both called and searched, repeating Baba‘s name as we walked. When it was almost dark, I figured it was hopeless, so I tuned around to start back down the hill. There was an old man slowly trudging along up ahead. I could only make out the dark outline of a man, and a large sack was slung over his shoulder. As I got closer, I heard a small muffled squeal. ―Shanthi, Shanthi, is that you in the sack?‖ I shouted. The old man dodged me and ran back the other way. Shanthi was really squealing now. ―Hey, wait a minute, you, that‘s my pig!‖ I shouted. But the man was a fast runner and seemed to disappear in the dark. ―Frank, Frank!‖ it was Mr. Wuzzy at the top of the hill. I could see his silhouette against the sky. ―Stop him, Mr. Wuzzy, he‘s got Shanthi!‖ ―Aum Sai Ram, you bet I will,‖ answered Mr. Wuzzy firmly. When the old man saw he was outnumbered, he threw his sack to the ground and ran away. Shanthi rolled out of the bag as soon as it hit the ground and jumped into my arms, squealing happily and giving me a lot of kisses! It was a happy reunion ad all the little pigs got special treats for supper. ―How did it happen, Shanthi?‖ Mr. Wuzzy asked after everyone was fed and were relaxing around his feet. ―Well!‖ snorted Shanthi, ―I was heading back to the ashram when I noticed a few cobs of roasted corn in a pile of grass under a tree. I only meant to smell them,‖ he said nervously, ―I mean, I know that you‘ve taught us not to touch anything that doesn‘t belong to us, Mr. Wuzzy. But, it smelled and looked so good that I just … well, I got pretty close to it, I guess.‖ ―You mean you are the corn, isn‘t that right, Shanthi?‖ Mr. Wuzzy asked. ―Well, maybe, a little bit … just one bite, but then, there was like a big hole under the grass and I fell in and then that old man grabbed me and pushed me into a sack. I suppose he was going to eat me if you hadn‘t come along.‖ ―You see, Shanthi, this can be a good lesson for all of us,‖ began Mr. Wuzzy. ―This is why the Lord gives us these experiences that cause us pain, so that we can learn. You were looking at things in an unsacred way, at food that belonged to someone else. Then, you smelled it and, next, you tasted it. If you had been minding your own business and thinking about Swami, none of this would have happened.‖ ―I called out His name and when I fell into the pit, though,‖ said Shanthi in his own defense. ―Good, good, and He saved you too, didn‘t He?‖ laughed Mr. Wuzzy. ―Yes, Sir, He sure did,‖ said Shanthi with relief. ―Well, this is a good example of how our senses trap us and get us into difficulty.‖ I had a wonderful time watching the little pigs grow up. I think, maybe, I grew up a little too! And that was the end of my adventure. Aum Sai Ram, Frankie. SONG: WE OFFER GOD THIS FOOD Activities: 1. Color the illustration and add the new words to the box. 2. Place a reminder by your bed to take Swami‘s hand before you get up. Try to control your senses this week by not looking at things that would tempt you in the first place. Remember to remind you class. 3. Role Play: Shanthi first sees corn where he shouldn‘t be looking. Smells and then grabs corn, falls into pit, and man grabs him. 4. Pretend that your eyes are Swami‘s eyes for a day. Now make a list of things Swami‘s eyes would like to see and a list of things He would not like to see. The next day, do the same with your hands. Are your hands making Swami happy? Play the game each day with another sense and tell the class about it next week. WORD PUZZLE Words in story: ASHRAM SWAMI BAL VIKAS MANDIR DARSHAN SAGE PRASHANTI GANAPATHI NILAYAM HINDU ACCHAA __ S __ __ __ __ __ __ R__ __ __ __ __ __ __ I __ S __ __ __ __ __ __ A __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ T __ __ H __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ Y __ __ __ A __ __ S __ __ __ __ A __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ I __ __ __ SONG: WATCH, WATCH, WATCH THE DEMON Dear Jake, How are you? I am fine. Well, right away, I had another adventure. It started out to be kind of scary! You hear a lot of rumors around Sai Baba Land. Most of them turn out all wrong. Anyway, the rumor went around that one of Sai Baba‘s baby cows down at the Gokulam woke everyone up the other night, yelling her head off, and when her mother went to find her, there was blood and teeth marks on her hip. That sure scared me! Then, Mother noticed that the cheese she bought was all eaten up. Something had chewed through the box, the paper, and everything. She thought it was a rat … After she left in the afternoon, to go to the prayer hall, I thought I heard a crunching noise coming from the highest shelf over my bed. I looked that‘s when I saw it. It was bright green, had pointed ears and it seemed to be smiling. ―Hi,‖ I said. ―I‘m Frankie.‖ ―Hi,‖ it replied. I sort of wish it hadn‘t opened its mouth because then I saw all the teeth. There were at least two rows and all of them were long and sharp. It was sitting cross-legged on the shelf over my bed with a piece of cheese in each hand. ―Gee, I guess you‘re sitting there eating our cheese,‖ I said as nicely as I could. ―Yes, I sure am hungry,‖ it said. I thought to myself, ―Better it should eat the cheese than me.‖ I said, ―Oh, go right ahead, there‘s more where that came from.‖ ―Thanks,‖ the little green thing said. I didn‘t know quite what to say to it so I tried to make polite conversation. ―How long are you staying?‖ ―Till I finish my job, I guess,‖ the thing said. ―My name‘s Danny.‖ ―Frankie,‖ I said. ―What‘s your job?‖ ―Oh … I‘m supposed to spoil the yagna.‖ ―What yagna? What‘s a yagna?‖ I asked. ―I‘m not sure myself,‖ it said, ―but I think it‘s a lot of holy men talking and saying holy things and … like throwing rice and stuff into a fire … anyway, it‘s supposed to make the world better, that much I do know.‖ ―Better? Oh well, then, why do you want to spoil it?‖ I asked. ―Well, because I want the world to be worse, that‘s why, of course,‖ I explained. ―But why?‖ I persisted. ―Because I‘m a demon, dumb dumb. My name is Danny Demon and us demons like to make the world worse!‖ ―Oh, I see,‖ I said. ―Well, you‘re pretty small for a demon – you don‘t look like the demons I‘ve seen. I saw some that were green and orange and had pink tummies.‖ ―Well, I‘m just a little kid. Give me a chance. See, the head demon sent me here because … well … let‘s face it, how important is a little yagna in a place called Puttaparthi? Most of the heavy guys are now in New York and L.A., really messing things up.‖ It laughed and all those teeth showed making me very nervous. ―Hey look, is there a take-out food place here?‖ ―No,‖ I said, ―but you can eat in the canteen.‖ ―Yuk, no! I‘ll eat this cheese for now. But I‘ve got to have a hamburger as soon as I can.‖ ―You won‘t find any around here. We‘re all vegetarians.‖ ―No hamburgers? I don‘t know how long I can last. That‘s how come I got to be a demon in the first place. The foster lady who looked after me last used to say I was a demon for hamburgers and then, one day, I ate a rotten one and died.‖ ―Gosh, and you still like them?‖ ―Sure … why not? I guess you don‘t know when the yagna is, do you? I need to get some meat to throw when those holy men start chanting. That should ruin it pretty well,‖ it laughed again. --------------- ―Noh, what I really need is meat. I tried to get some a couple of nights ago but it was still alive and it yelled a lot.‖ ―Oh! You mean .. you were the one who hurt that baby cow!‖ ―What baby? There was a tender piece of steak and I couldn‘t bite it off, that‘s all.‖ ―No, no; that‘s not all. You hurt that little calf really bad! Her mother is very upset because now her baby is afraid to go to sleep at night. --- You can‘t do that here is Sai Baba Land!‖ I said. ―Sai Baba. Oh yeah, I read about Him in the files on this assignment. He‘s the guy in charge here, isn‘t He?‖ ―Sai Baba is in charge everywhere,‖ I said. I was beginning to get angry. The demon sat munching on the cheese for a few minutes thinking. ―You say that you‘re friend of this … ah … baby cow?‖ ―Yes, sure … her mother is one of the best cows in Sai Baba‘s dairy,‖ I said. ―Best one, huh? Think of that!‖ it muttered slowly. ―Gee, well, I‘m really sorry that I scared the dear little thing. Maybe I should apologies or something. Do you think that you could take me to where the dear little cow is so that I could … ah … tell her myself?‖ It had a funny smile on its face and seemed to be trying to cover up its horrible teeth. ―Okay,‖ I said. ―I‘ll take you right now! We could go across the hills to the Gokulam.‖ I didn‘t want to be seen with it on the street. For one thing, it didn‘t have any clothes on. ―You want to wrap this towel around you?‖ I asked. You don‘t have any clothes on. ―No way!‖ it yelled. ―Now that I‘m a demon, I don‘t have to do nothing I don‘t want to do!‖ and off it skipped over the hill. Lets go kid. I caught up with it and we walked along. ―Where are you from?‖ I asked. ―Chicago and a lot of places. I had a bunch of foster mothers.‖ ―That‘s too bad,‖ I said. ―I mean, that you didn‘t have a real mother.‖ ―Who need it!‖ it exclaimed loudly. ―I always hated to be ordered around,‖ it said laughing. ―So, this way, I got to do what I want all the time because nobody cares,‖ and it skipped over the next hill. We got to the cowshed. ------------- ―Hello, Mrs. Cow Devi. Can we come in?‖ ―Why, hello Frankie! Of course, please do. That‘s a nice little friend you have there. Is it a human being?‖ ―No, I‘m a demon.‖ ―That‘s nice, dear. Little Frankie is such a nice boy that is friends are our friends. Now, you boys sit right down here and I‘ll make you a snack.‖ She hurried out but continued to talk from the kitchen. ―Little Jyoti Cow isn‘t home just now. She‘s out grazing with her father. We can‘t leave her alone since the … ah … incident, you know.‖ When she returned, she held a jug of think white milk and a plate of crispy sweet chapattis, all buttery and running with sugar and nuts. ―I don‘t want that stuff,‖ said Danny Demon. ―When will you daughter get home, anyway?‖ ―I don‘t know,‖ said Mrs. Cow Devi, ―but now you must eat if you‘re to grow to be big and strong like Frankie here. I don‘t like your colour, young man. Do you have a temperature?‖ She felt the little demon‘s forehead. ―Hey … wait a minute, lady,‖ it protested. ―You‘re very cold,‖ she said and bustled out and came back with a large horse blanket. I‘m going to wrap you with this horse blanket and feed you. ―Now, you come here to me, young man. And before it could yell or anything, she had it all wrapped tighter than anything and was rocking him in her arms. ―Awwwwwww,‖ he said and she stuck a sweet chapatti right tin the middle of all those teeth. ―Crunch, crunch, crunch! Hey … this is really good.‖ ―Have some milk,‖ she exclaimed, pouring it into its mouth. After about a quart of milk and abut twelve chapattis, she rocked Danny Demon in her arms for a while. ―I feel .. burp … kind of … yawn … sleepy,‖ it said in a soft voice. ―Well, you seem a little warmer,‖ and a lot less green. ―I think he needed some sweet cow‘s milk and a little love, too,‖ crooned the motherly cow. Just then, Jyoti, the baby cow, ran in though the front door. ―Mummy dear, I‘m home!‖ ―Shhhh dear. We have a little friend here who‘s asleep.‖ Little Jyoti took one look at that demon and shrieked, ―EEEEEEEK! It‘s him, it‘s him! That‘s the terrible thing with all the teeth!‖ And she was so afraid that she just ran all around the room in circles. ―You, you tried to bite my baby!‖ the mother shouted. ―How could you have done such a thing?‖ and she dropped the little demon right on it s pointy head. Danny just sat there, kind of dazed, then he looked up at the angry mother and surprised everyone by bursting into tears. ―Oh heck,‖ he sobbed. ―What‘s the use anyway? I‘ve been dumped by everyone all my life.‖ The little green body was shaking and trembling. ―And I didn‘t do the job here I was sent to do. I‘ll be fired probably and now I‘ll starve because I don‘t even feel like biting anybody,‖ he sobbed on and on. ―So, kick me out!‖ he cried … ―Go ahead, but I don‘t have any place to go.‖ He sniffed a long sniff and tried to wipe his nose with his arm. Mrs. Cow Devi raised her eyes to heaven and sighed deeply. ―What am I going to do now?‖ Her little daughter was still clutching her tail and peering out from behind. ―Ask Sai Baba,‖ I said. ―Hey, you know we forgot about Sai Baba all this time. Nobody said His name or anything. If His name is in your heart, there isn‘t any room for demons!‖ Danny Daemon hung his head. The little curl that had been standing on the top fell. ―Sai Ram, Sai Ram,‖ I said as the orange form appeared. The Lord looked very kindly at the trembling little demon. ―You have come,‖ He said to Danny. ―Who are you?‖ asked Danny. ―I‘m Sathya Sai Baba.‖ ―You look familiar,‖ Danny said. ―Of course, you‘ve seen Me in your dreams. I called you here.‖ ―To ruin the yagna?‖ asked Danny. ―To save you,‖ smiled the Lord. ―You could never ruin My yagna, My will prevails. But now you are here and everything is as it should be. Do padanamaskars!‖ I figured He was talking Danny but didn‘t want to miss out so I dove at the precious lotus feet. Danny saw mw and did the same. By the time we got up, he wasn‘t green anymore, but a nice dark brown with black hair and a broad shining smile. A real live boy, like me. ―Hey, let‘s see your teeth,‖ I said, wanting to make really sure. Danny grinned, showing off beautiful white teeth, all of them the right size. ―You are Mine and I am yours, Bangaru,‖ Sai Baba said, ―Stay here at Gokulam and you can go to Eshwaramba High School.‖ Then the form of Lord disappeared. ‗Gosh,‘ I thought, ‗he gets to stay here forever and go to Baba‘s school. I try to be good all the time but He never said that to me.‘ ―Are you happy for your friend, Frankie?‖ asked little Jyoti. ―I guess so,‖ I said, and then I really thought about it. I looked down deep into my own heart and found the smiling Lord sitting here. I wasn‘t jealous, after all! ―Yes. I am glad for him,‖ I said, and I was, down deep in my heart. And that was the end of my adventure. Aum Sai Ram, FRANKIE. THE DEMON Lesson Plan 4 Objective: Understand the nature of a pure heart. Quote: ―I am yours whether you like me or not; you are mine even if you hate me and keep away from me.‖ BABA Silent Sitting: Baba‘s Feet can really transform us. Offer Baba your own little demons, take padnamaskar and see how much light you feel. Songs: Sanskrit Bhanjan: Bhagavan Bhagavan Patita Pavana Ram Dayakaro Dayakaro Dayakaro Bhagavan Patita Pavana Ram Deena Dayalu Parama Kripalu Raksha Karo Bhagavan Sai Kripa Karo Bhagavan English Song: Brother No Poem: The voice of conscience is not strong It quietly tells us what is right and what is wrong So if your desires are hopping about Demanding attention with all of their shouts It‘s hard to hear conscience so cool and so quiet Above the desires which are causing a riot If you are trying to hear Swami‘s words Don‘t heed those desires then, conscience is heard For conscience is really Swami in you Quietly telling you what to do Also it helps to surrender your will Then, carefully listen to the voice so still How can you be warned of a dangerous route If you‘re acting so foolish and running about Your conscience is Swami‘s private telephone And when you are ready, He will call you back home. Discussion Questions: 1. What does Frankie say about Sai Baba being in charge? 2. What does a Demon like to do? 3. What does he hate to do and what did Mrs. Cow say he needed? 4. How should we keep demons away from our heart? 5. Could the little demon ruin Sai Baba‘s yagna? Why not? 6. Was Frankie jealous of the demon? Why? Activities: 1. The little demons which deeps us sway from Baba are greed, anger etc. Draw a picture of your biggest demon. How will you kill him off? 2. Color the illustration. Alternate Activity: 1. Demon Maze. SONG: BROTHER NO DEMON MAZE: THE COURT Lesson Plan 5 Objective: Understand what Dharma is. Quote: ―The first step in sadhana is the adherence to Dharma in every individual and social act.‖ BABA Silent Sitting: Sai Baba will come if you call Him with devotion. Call Him now, silently, from your heart. Songs: Sanskrit Bhajan: Rama Rama Sai Rama Parthi Purisha Sai Ram Madhura Manohara Sundara Nam Shymala Komala Nayana Bhi Ram Ravi Kula Mandana Rajala Ram Parama Pavana Mangala Dham English Song: Right Action Song Poem: Duty is worship and so, do your duty T‘will cause you to shine with a radiant beauty Duty is Dharma, righteousness friend A sturdy armour which will always defend If you will wear God‘s ―duty dress‖ You can always be cheerful for He does the rest Discussion Questions: 1. Why do we associate with Krishna with cows? 2. What is Adharma? 3. Is Dharma important to Sai Baba? 4. What are some other words for Dharma? 5. When was the last time you saw someone doing an undharmic act? 6. What did you do? 7. How did Sai Baba appear in the story? 8. What did He decide? 9. What does Mary Cow say about her relationship with Swami? 10.Do you think He will take care of her? Activities: 1. Swami says that everyone has his own Dharma. What is yours? Draw a picture of you doing your Dharma. 2. Write a short story about what would have happened if Frankie had just let Mary Cow into the Ashram. 3. Color the illustration. 4. Play the game. GAME The children are made to stand in a semi-circle or straight line. The teacher stands in front and announces that it is a game of obeying commands. A command will be given and they will have to act accordingly. But, there is a condition. They should not only obey those commands preceded by the words, ―Baba says…‖ They should not respond if the command does not follow the words ―Baba says…‖ (if it does not come from Baba). The pupils who break the rule are out of the game. Sample Commands: Baba says ―shake hands with each other‖ Baba says ―smile‖ Sit down Beat your friend Baba says ―greet your teacher‖ Baba says ―say good morning‖ In the place of Baba, words like Mother, Father, Master, Guru, or Teacher can be substituted. Care should be taken to see the commands to be obeyed are positively good, throwing light on value. Commands like ―beat, pinch, fight,‖ etc. which are not to be found in the behaviour of good children, should not be given after the words ―Baba says ……‖ Thus impressions on the children are that Mother, Father, Guru, Teacher would only lead them on the right path. SONG: RIGHT ACTION SONG THE COURT Dear Jake, How are you? I am fine. I had another adventure. Boy, it sure is exciting here in Sai Baba Land! It was night time and Mother was fast asleep. There was big old mosquito in my net, dive- bombing my head. So I was wide awake. The moon was shining real bright through the window and I looked out and saw the weirdest looking crow I ever saw in my life. He had a really long curved beak that touched his chest and no feathers on his neck, which was thin and scrawny. He looked about one billion years old. ―I have to see you,‖ he croaked. Right away I knew something was up … so I hurried outside. ―Are you Frankie?‖ he asked. ―Yep,‖ I said. ―Yes, I thought so,‖ he said, wobbling his head on his skinny neck. ―We animals need you at the Gokulam.‖ ―Me? … Are you sure?‖ I asked. ―Yes, yes, quite sure. We are holding a trial and we need your vote. Will you come straight away?‖ ―How can I when its so late at night?‖ I was a little sacred. ―Oh, you can ride on Mukti Mule,‖ he said, pointing to a donkey all saddled up and waiting. ―All right, let‘s go,‖ I said. I‘d been waiting to ride a donkey ever since I came here. ―Sai Ram,‖ he said as I hopped on. ―Hi, I‘m Frankie,‖ I said to the donkey. ―I‘m Mukti Mule.‖ The crow had hopped on to the donkey‘s head. ―Let me introduce myself. My name is Shridi Crow.‖ ―I wish you‘d trim your nails if you‘re going to ride on my head, you old crow,‖ said Mukti Mule. ―Your name is Shirdi?‖ I asked. ―Yes I was with Shirdi Sai at the turn of the century. He used to feed me from His hand.‖ The crow had vibhuti all over his forehead. ―What‘s his about a trial?‖ I asked. ―Well, you see, we run the ashram for all the animals at night from the office at the Gokulam. I am Sai Baba‘s maintenance officer. Sometimes, when an animal doesn‘t obey the rules, we have a trial to decide whether he goes or stays. If we can‘t decide, we have to call on the Lord, but Sai Baba is so busy ------- at night, we try to decide things as His instruments.‖ --- ―You‘ve got your foot in my eye and I can‘t see where I‘m headed,‖ complained Mukti. ―Sorry, old chap,‖ rasped the old crow. He continued, ―The jury came to a tied vote in this case and we need the opinion of an impartial human. Radha Wren, you know, the ex-devotee of Guru Dev, the Scorpion? Well, she told me that you could be trusted. Most humans wouldn‘t understand. They think they‘re the only ones who have any sense. A lot of animals have more sense than humans.‖ We rode through the gate of the Gokulam and trotted up to Sai Gita‘s shed. ―Sai Gita lives here,‖ I cried. ―Yes, she is the judge and all the cows are on the jury,‖ reported Shirdi. We walked in. There were hundreds of fire flies in the corner of the shed, dimly lighting the circle of cows. One stood in the middle. ―Banana?‖ she asked sweetly as I came up. ―Banana? Biscuit? …‖ ―Silence, Mary Cow, you‘re not supposed to talk,‖ said Sai Gita sternly. ―Mary Cow?‖ I asked. ―Yes, she is a Christian cow, but religion must not enter our judgment,‖ explained Sai Gita. ―Biscuit? Coupon for the canteen?‖ she asked smiling and bringing her hoof up to her mouth. ―Is she hungry?‖ I asked. ―Certainly not. She just loves to ask for things and the foreign ladies spoil her. It‘s a game---- ------. ―Sai Ram,‖ I said. ―This case touches all of us animals and the jury has tried to be impartial, judging one of our own. But, it is a tie and we need a tie-breaking vote.‖ --------------- ―I‘ll do my best,‖ I said. ―Yes, yes, now could we hear the opening summary from the attorney for the defence, Mrs. Devi Cow?‖ ―Well, your Honor a new man was sent here to milk Mary,‖ began a nice lad Brahmin Cow. ―He was mean to her and so she was too upset to give any milk.‖ I looked at Mary Cow who smiled at me. ―Banana? Bells for my pretty blue horns?‖ ―In what way was he mean?‖ I asked. ―Oh, Mary was asking for a banana or something and the man told her sternly that there was to be no begging in the ashram.‖ ―I was only asking for a banana,‖ Mary said, pouting. ―Never mind, Mary Cow,‖ defence attorney said. ―Anyway,‖ she continued, ―my client got very angry when the man spoke so harshly and refused to give milk. Then, he slapped her.‖ ―Oh, he slapped her,‖ I said. ―Yes, and so then she would not give any milk at all. You can certainly see her point.‖ ―Of course,‖ I said. ―May we hear from the prosecution?‖ Sai Gita said, stamping her foot. ―I am here, Your Highest Excellency,‖ the camel said as he strolled up to the circle. ―Oh, he is such a flatterer,‖ whispered one of the cows behind her hoof. ―Well, everyone knows how he feels about Gita,‖ whispered another, ―he‘s had a crush on her for years.‖ ―Order, order,‖ Sai Gita said, stamping her foot more firmly. ―Order in the Court.‖ ―Most beautiful supreme judge,‖ began the camel again. ―That will do, Professor Camel. You will address me as Your Honour only.‖ ―Yes, Your Honor, if it please the Court.‖ ―It pleases the Court, all right,‖ giggled the cows. The camel moved to the center of the cows. ―Imagine, if you can, a world without milk. Where would we be without our sweet milk and our curds and, lest we forget, our creamy butter? Why, Krishna Himself would condemn this cow for not sharing her milk. True, the man slapped her. How hard we don‘t know…‖ ―No one should ever slap a cow.‖ Spoke up one of the cows. ―We give unselfishly all our lives,‖ ―Yes, and the man was fired by Sai Baba Himself for what he did to Mary,‖ said another cow. ―There is always pain in life‘s pastures of pleasure,‖ smiled the camel. ―Pleasure and pain, it‘s all the same.‖ He suddenly looked stern and shook his finger in my face. ―I‘ll tell you this, young man. If Mary Cow is allowed to refuse to share her milk and remains in this ashram, all the cows will follow her example. There will no longer be any milk or curds for anyone. One man‘s hands may be too cold for them, another may have calluses on his fingers ….‖ ―No, no, we wouldn‘t ever be like that!‖ I heard a chorus of voices from the other end of the shed and I realized there was a large cow audience. ―Dharma must be upheld,‖ said the camel. ―What is dharma?‖ I asked. ―Dharma, my young friend, is one‘s duty. It is the duty of cows to share their milk with one and all.‖ ―Well, Frankie, now you must decide,‖ said Sai Gita. ―But I can‘t‖ I said. ―I‘m only 11 years old and I can‘t decide such an important question.‖ ―I was afraid of that,‖ Sai Gita said. ―Well, we‘ll have to ask Sai Baba to come to our aid.‖ ―All right, Gita, I‘ll fly over to get Him,‖ volunteered the crow. ―Wait a minute,‖ I said, ―don‘t you know that you only have call His name and there He is … He said so!‖ ―Yes, yes, quite so,‖ said Sai Gita. ―All right then, Sai Ram, Sai Ram, Sai Ram …‖ Sai Baba appeared so quietly it was like He‘d been there all the time … which, of course, He had. All the animals stretched out full length to their Lord. It took a lot of room for Sai Gita. ―You know the questions in our minds and You know the answers in our heart. Oh! Lord of Lords, please instruct us.‖ Sai Baba crossed directly to Mary Cow. ―No, no, Mary,‖ He said, ―you cannot refuse to give your milk: that is your duty. It would be bad for cows everywhere if I let you stay at the ashram and bad for all the people too. You cows set an example of unselfish service to the world.‖ Mary put her hoof in her mouth and began to cry. ―You must leave the ashram, Mary Cow,‖ said the Lord. ―But … but … what shall I do? You are my Mother and my Father,‖ cried Mary, ―and you‘re Jesus too!‖ ―Yes, yes, and you will always be mine. I reside in your heart whether you live here at the ashram or not,‖ Sai Baba said. Mary Cow knelt and kissed the precious feet. ―Don‘t worry,‖ said Sai Baba. ―I will get you a nice husband to care for you. He will buy you bananas, only you must promise not to beg anymore.‖ Mary blinked her large brown eyes. ―I promise,‖ she said. ―Not to worry,‖ Sai Baba said, patting her head. ―Now, Frankie, it‘s time for you to return to your bed,‖ and the Lord of the entire universe messed up my hair and tweaked my cheek! I dove at His feet. There I was back under my mosquito net. But only one thing was different. That mosquito must have become hungry and left. I fell asleep. And that was the end of my adventure. Aum Sai Ram, Frankie. THE DINOSAUR Lesson Plan 6 Objective: Learn how to live in the present with God. Quote: ―The mind must be ever pure, untarnished and calm and full of courage. No weeping for the past and no faltering in the performance of the task at hand.‖ Silent Sitting: Imagine God is holding you in His lap. Songs: Sanskrit Bhajan: Daya Karo Hari Narayana Krupa Karo Hey Jaga Vandana Bhavatita Bhagya Vidhata Dina Natha Anatha Ke Natha English Song: Hold Me in Your Arms, Lord Poem: Life is lost in dreaming. Being is lost in becoming. To dwell in God‘s presence We live in the present To be one with Sai. Beyond recovery is the past Those days are over Sadness and joy never last. Now, you can start over. Discussion Questions: 1. What did the old Yogi say to Archie? 2. Who do you think that old man might have been? 3. While Frankie and Archie are walking along the path to God, what are some mistakes that a child makes? 4. Can you think of other mistakes people make? 5. What does Frankie say about loneliness? 6. What does Frankie mean about ―writing scripts‖? 7. Archie says that the world is changing too fast. Have you heard elderly people that way? 8. What does Sai Baba say about ―living in the present‖? 9. What does He say about ―excess baggage‖? 10.Do you think that most people would like to sit in Sai Baba‘s lap? Would you like to? THE DINOSAUR Dear Jake, How are you? I am fine. Well, it‘s January now in Puttaparthi, kind of a good time because it isn‘t too hot. So, lots of days I hike around the hills here and explore stuff. Especially, I like to hike up old Giridhar Mountain early in the morning before the mist has burned away. One day, I discovered a whole meadow of yellow buttercups. It was so pretty that I climbed down from a cliff and ate my tiffin right in the middle of all the flowers. A few days later, I got up really early and decided to go back up the mountain to take another look at the buttercups. I climbed and climbed to get up to the high meadow. At last, I saw a small tree that sort of grew out of the rock, so I pulled myself up to have a good look at the sea of yellow below. But, surprise, surprise, when I looked down, it was a sea of green. The buttercups were gone, every one. But that didn‘t surprise me as much as the flight of steps leading down from the edge of the cliff. I knew they hadn‘t been there before. ―Ah hah! An adventure!‖ I said to myself as I started climbing down the funny steps to the meadow below. As I went down, I didn‘t seem to be getting very far. That was when I realized that the steps were moving. The staircase was walking across the field with me on it! ―Something is sure funny here,‖ I said aloud, not really thinning it was so funny. Mostly she was scary. ―I don‘t like this too much,‖ I said in a very loud voice. ―Lo there, don‘t you like to ride?‖ A head, about the size of my whole body, attached to a skinny neck. About as long as a football field, loomed up beside me. It seemed to be connected with the huge moving staircase. I tried to be cool. ―Oh, oh, sure … I like it a lot,‖ I said. ―Sai Ram, my name‘s Frankie. I … I came up here to see the buttercups that used t grow around here.‖ ―Oh golly,‖ said the head waving back and forth on the neck, ―I‘m sorry, but I ate‘em.‖ ―All of them?‖ I exclaimed. ―You ate all those buttercups?‖ ―Well, I was hungry. I hadn‘t had a good buttercup in about a million years of so.‖ ―A million!‖ I said amazed. ―I don‘t understand.‖ ―You don‘t understand … well, I wish someone would explain me to me,‖ said the huge monster. ―I had a nice lunch of buttercups one day and went to sleep for a little nap in a cave in the Himalayas. One million years later I woke up with the taste of the buttercups still in my mouth. I must have frozen or something and then thawed out. ―So, I crawled through the cave to the front where I found an old yogi sitting with his eyes closed. I told him my problem and, without even opening his eyes, he said, ‗Yes, yes, you need not worry. I have been waiting for you to waken. Now, please walk south to Puttaparthi. There you will find God and more buttercups. ―So, you see, I‘ve come a long way and eaten all the buttercups and now I‘m ready to find God. Is He really here somewhere?‖ ―Yup, He is,‖ I said. ―That‘s good,‖ he said, ―but you know, those buttercups weren‘t like the ones I used to eat a million years ago. Boy, oh boy! I remember when my wife used to make the best buttercup salad you ever tasted … and sautéed buttercups …‖ ―Oh, Mr. Dinosaur.‖ ―She used to mix in a few mushrooms and a little wild mustard and …‖ ―Oh, Mr. Dinosaur.‖ ―Yes, Frankie?‖ The neck stopped waving the head around and pointed in my direction. ―You want to meet God now?‖ ―Now?‖ he said, ―Oh, sure.‖ ―Okay, I‘ll take you. I mean, I‘ll direct you …‖ ―Good boy, Frankie, you stay up there on my back now and just tell me where to go.‖ ―Neat!‖ I exclaimed. ―This is really fun up here.‖ I wasn‘t at all afraid anymore. We started back towards the ashram. ―I used to ride my kids on my back, too; ‗course they always scrambled for the highest spot. George, he was my eldest boy, he wanted to see everything coming and going, so …‖ ―Mr. Dinosaur …‖ ―So, he‘d stand right there on the highest part of my back and yell at the top of his lungs, I‘m the king of the mountain,‘ but then, when he got too big …‖ ―Oh, Mr. Dinosaur! You should have turned right back there, by the fields. You‘ve gone too far. You‘ll never find God if you don‘t pay attention.‖ ―Sure, sure,‖ the dinosaur said. ―In those days it was really important to pay attention and watch out for enemy dinosaurs. I mean, my kind weren‘t fighters, just mostly good families. But, many other were. And sometimes I just had to out run those mean ones. I remember one day …‖ ―Mr. Dinosaur.‖ ―My wife said to me, ‗Archie,‘ that‘s my name, Archie.‖ ―Mr. Dinosaur.‖ ―What … what is it, Frankie?‖ ―You missed another turn.‖ ―Oh, I‘m sorry.‖ ―Well, don‘t be sorry. I mean, I‘m having fun riding up her but you wanted to find God, I thought. And after you came such a long way and everything, you seem to be more interested in the past.‖ ―Do I? Well, I guess the past is still alive to me. Golly, all my friends, my family, all wiped out by that ice age. Sometimes I wish I hadn‘t just been put in cold storage. I get so lonely. What is there in this world for me? Look at my size. How will I ever fit in anywhere?‖ ―Gosh! I don‘t know. I guess only the Lord can solve a problem like that. But, I know that other people feel lonely and then find out that God is really their dearest friend, so then the loneliness goes away. It‘s a good thing that you‘re coming to Him for help.‖ The dinosaur went on ….. ―I don‘t feel as if I have a part to play in this world and I‘ve eaten the last of the buttercups even. The world used to be full of buttercups. I don‘t know, I sure hope God has the answer.‖ ―You know, Archie, you sound like my grandfather. He used to talk that way. He said the world had changed too fast for him to keep up. I didn‘t understand what he meant then. But you don‘t have to worry about God having an answer. He writes these scripts so that we can try to find the answer ourselves, but He knows all along. Have a little faith, Arch.‖ Just then, as we approached the last hill overlooking the ashram, we heard the powerful engine of Swami‘s car. As it pulled into sight, there was the happy smiling face of the Lord Incarnate, beaming at us from the back seat. The rear window came rolling down. ―You‘ve come at last,‖ said the Lord. ―Lo,‖ said Archie. ―I‘ll bet I know who You are. I‘d recognize You anywhere, God.‖ ―I‘ve been waiting a long time for you,‖ said the Lord. ―I‘ve been looking for You, too, God,‖ Archie said in a surprisingly small voice, a big tear splashing down his cheek. Then came another and another. I climbed down from his back as fast as something if he really started sobbing. ―It‘s all right now,‖ the Lord of compassion said kindly. ―But, but … Lord, nothing is like it used to be. No good buttercups anymore …‖ ―There, there,‖ Swami said, patting the huge head as it wobbled down to Him. ―The past is beyond recovery.‖ ―But, my wife and family …‖ ―Those days are gone, Archie,‖ the Lord said. ―The future is uncertain. The given moment is now. One must sanctify it with holy thoughts, words and deeds.‖ ―It‘s no use, Lord. All I do is dream of the old days when I wasn‘t the only one of my kind.‖ ―Life is lost in dreaming, Archie, old friend. Being is lost in becoming. God‘s presence is in the present.‖ ―But even this body is ridiculous, Lord, just look at it, it‘s out of date and not even useful anymore.‖ ―Many people have that problem, Archie. Also, they carry around feelings and attachments which are no longer useful … excess luggage! Only yesterday, at darshan, an old man was still crying because his father had punished him unfairly, and his father had left his body years ago and had taken on a new body. Your wife has had thousands of bodies since she was your wife.‖ ―Well, I sure would like to leave this body behind,‖ Archie muttered. ―But then, I‘d have to leave You, too, Lord, wouldn‘t I? well, now that I‘ve finally found You, I want to stay. I only want to ask You for one thing, Swami. ―Yes, what is it you want?‖ ―I want, to remain always in Your physical presence and …‖ ―Yes, and what else?‖ ―I want … I want You to hold me in Your lap!‖ ―You do?‖ said the Lord, pretending to be surprised, ―but how? Your very very large.‖ Archie started to feel bad again. A large tear welled up and then rolled down his cheek. ―I feel silly,‖ Archie said. ―No, no, not silly,‖ said the Lord. ―I‘ll tell you a secret, Bangaru. Everyone feels that way! Great big businessmen, statesmen, doctors, scientists, little children and even mothers want to be mothered. All would like Me to hold them on My lap … just for a little while. And sometimes I do. Come here, Archie.‖ And the ever compassionate Lord reached out and took Archie's great huge head in His lap. He gently stroked the tears away. I felt kind of embarrassed to be around so I tip-toed around the car and left for the ashram. A few days later, Mother was telling me a funny story about how a tiny little lizard had been scaring all the ladies at darshan. I whant to see for myself. She was right. A small lizard, not your ordinary or common lizard, but one with a long shiny neck and ridges down its back, seemed to be playing games with the ladies. It would run along in front of the line, making them all nervous, and then dart into the middle of them, causing them to squeal and run. Then it would dash up a coconut palm and survey the damage from a safe distance. It seemed to be laughing. The great carved doors opened and the Lord Incarnate slowly approached the ladies‘ lines. He walked directly to the palm tree and shook His finger at the lizard. The crowd of ladies laughed somewhat nervously and the Lord had a twinkle in His eye. Once everyone saw the beautiful divine form of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, all else was forgotten. I knew that old Archie had at last found that the present was a happy time filled with the presence of the Lord. And that was the end of my adventure. Aum Sai Ram, FRANKIE. A tiny lizard has been scaring all the ladies at darshan. Activities: 1. Write a ―new script‖ about Archie‘s life as a lizard. 2. Color the illustrations and make cards for the words. 3. Draw a picture of a dinosaur with Frankie on his back. 4. Next time you talk to an elderly person, encourage them to talk about things that are happening now. 5. New words: Giridhar, Himalayas, Yogi, Lord Incarnate. SONG: HOLD ME IN YOUR ARMS, LORD THE SPIDER Lesson Plan 7 Objective: Learn that we should always follow the Lord. Quote: ―To help the helpless is the only way to please, follow and reach Him.‖ Silent Sitting: Imagine that you are sitting under the pandal and Baba appears and walks toward you. Songs: Sanskrit Bhanjan: Nanda Lala Yadu Nanda Lala English Song: Follow the Master Poem: Yogis are your friends Hurrah for friendship If yogis they be With selfless love For you and for me But then that ―pure love‖ We must give in return Otherwise this subject Must be relearned It‘s hard to love selflessly Our kith and our kin But Sri Sathya Sai Is our dearest Friend Discussion Questions: 1. What is maunam? 2. Why is silence a good practice? 3. What does swami say about silence? 4. What does a yogini practice? 5. What should we help people to do? 6. What does Sai Baba say about luggage? 7. How is that explained in the previous story? 8. What does luggage represent? 9. What happens when you take one step towards the Lord? 10.What makes Frankie‘s joy even greater? THE SPIDER Dear Jake, How are you? I am fine. Well, everything changes. All of a sudden, Swami told my mother that we were to return with Him to Brindavan to live so that I could go to school. You see, Swami has colleges in Puttaparthi can Brindavan, so He goes back and forth to see His boys in both places. So, I wasn‘t too sad to leave when I know that Swami would be there too. Of course, He‘s everywhere all the time, but I mean His physical form. Mother and I go up very early to do our puja and pack. She packed all our stuff … pots and pans, clothes, bedding and all that. Then, she got a porter to carry it all down to the taxi. She left one big duffle bag for me to pack my toys and my school books. I was trying my best to neatly stack all the boxes and books inside when a small grey spider frantically ran down the wall and jumped into the bag. ―Get out of there!‖ I yelled. ―You‘ll get all squashed‖ I felt that I should get the little thing out because when the porter flung the bag on the top of his head and into the taxi, the spider would certainly get squashed. ―Where did you go to anyway?‖ I said in exasperation as I took everything out. I couldn‘t find it so I had to empty it all out. Then I took the bag outside on the veranda and turned it inside out. The little spider fell out and darted away. I went back in the room and tried to carefully pack all my toys again. Sometimes I‘m not very neat and I knew Mother was waiting for me in the taxi. Just before I put my box of cars in, the same little spider darted in at the window, down the wall and again leapt into my duffle bag. ―Now, wait a minute!‖ I exclaimed. ―You can‘t go with me.‖ Then I remembered that little green frog who wanted to see Sai Baba. ―You must really want to go to Brindavan to see Sai Baba,‖ I said aloud. No comments from the little spider. ―Mr. Spider, if you will please come out here and talk to me, I will see that you get to Brindavan.‖ With that, the little spider anxiously crept out of the bag and sat on the draw string. ―I can understand animal talk, so please just tell me what you are trying to do,‖ I said. Suddenly, the little spider ran across the floor to the wall, jumped onto the window ledge and started spinning a silvery line so fast I could hardly see him. The web flew back and forth and across the window and, gradually, I could see that he was forming letters. First there was a large clean ―A‖ supported on all sides by an intricate web, then an ―U‖ and then an ―M‖. ―AUM,‖ I said aloud. The little spider leapt from the web and jumped up and down on the window ledge. ―Oh,‖ I said, ―it‘s like playing charades.‖ The little spider then almost flew back to the web and formed the next words quickly, ‗AUM SAI RAM. PLEASE HELP ME FOR I AM OBSERVING MAUNAM AND CANNOT SPEAK. I MUST GO TO BRINDAVAN TO BE WITH THE LORD.‘ ―Sure, I‘ll help you,‖ I said, ―but it‘s not safe to travel in my bag. You‘d get squashed for sure. I‘d let you come in my pocket but if my mother saw you she might squash you, too. I know! You can get into one of the small boxes here, maybe… I could pack the box in the bag.‖ ―Hi, Frankie,‖ it was Radha Wren. ―Hi, Radha.‖ ―What are you doing? Oh, you‘re all packed. Does this mean you‘re leaving Prashanti Nilayam for good?‖ ―No just for a while. Swami said that I might go to school for a while and we live in Brindavan.‖ ―Oh, my goodness, Frankie, is that true? Well … maybe I‘ll come along. I‘d love to see the Lord there under that beautiful tree where He gives darshan.‖ ―Really, Radha, could you? Just like that?‖ ―I have no attachments, Frankie, I‘m as free as a bird, as they say. I would only have to say goodbye to my yoga teacher, Mataji Mouse.‖ ―Well, you‘re welcome to come along with us, if you like …‖ ―Would your mother mind, do you think?‖ ―I don‘t think so, Radha. I want to take this little spider with us, too. As a matter of fact, maybe you can help think of a way for him to travel safely. I‘m afraid he‘ll get …‖ ‗Squashed,‘ the little spider quickly wrote on his web. ―That‘s ‗squashed‘,‖ I corrected. ―You see, Radha, he is observing maunam and cannot speak so he has to spin all the words on that web.‖ ―Mmmmmmmm, let‘s see,‖ thought Radha aloud. ―Perhaps I could pluck some of my smaller feathers from the downy part under my wing. If we put them in a small box, it might cushion him for the drive.‖ Radha started plucking out her small soft feathers and putting them into a small box. ―Doesn‘t that hurt, Radha?‖ I asked. ―Not very much, Frankie, I am a yogini, after all. Pleasure and pain, it‘s all the same, you know. And we must always help someone to reach the Lord, if we possibly can, just as you are helping me.‖ The little box was all full and the spider crept inside, waving his thanks with one arm and then the other. I put the lid on and wrapped a piece of string around it before packing it in the duffle bag. ―Not to worry, Frankie, Sai Baba will protect,‖ said Radha, seeing my anxious face. ―Of course He will,‖ I agreed. Then the porter came and picked up the bag and hoisted it on top of his head. The taxi was waiting. ―Hurry, Frankie, we want to get there to have Swami‘s afternoon darshan,‖ said my mother as I came up. The driver, Babu, loaded some of the luggage into the trunk and piled some of it on the top of the car. My toy bag was on top so I was glad. ―Dear Swami, please take care of the little spider … as You always take care of Mother and me.‖ The taxi was all ready and I wondered how Radha was going come with us. ―I‘ll close the trunk, Mother,‖ I called, ―I just want to check something.‖ ―All right, Frankie, but hurry up!‖ I motioned to Radha and she flew down and hopped into the trunk of the taxi. The taxi was very crowded with my mother and me, two other foreign ladies, all their luggage as well as ours. There was luggage on the top and luggage in the trunk, luggage on the floor and luggage in our laps. ―Sai Baba says, ―Less luggage more comfort‘ …‖ I began. Mother nudged me with her elbow. As we drove out of Puttaparthi, the two ladies started telling Babu how to drive his taxi. ―Not so fast, go faster, watch for that dog, driver, there‘s a hole‖ and so forth. I knew it was their first trip. ―How many times have you made this trip, Babu?‖ I asked. ―Five thousand and eighteen times,‖ came the quick answer. ―Well, you should be better at it by now,‖ snapped one of the ladies. ―What can you expect, Myrtle?‖ sighed the other lady. ―It‘s their mentality.‖ ―What‘s mentality, Mother?‖ I asked. ―It means intelligence,‖ said Babu, smiling, ―as in I.Q. I received an M.A. degree in psychology from Bangalore University.‖ He turned to look at the two frozen faces behind him. ―What to do, Ma?‖ he said, lapsing into the Indian speech pattern, ―driving taxi making better money.‖ The ladies were quite, then, for a while. About three-fourths of the way, we stopped at Chickbelapur for tiffin. The dosas were very good at one place that Babu knew. Dosas look like big old pancakes but they aren‘t sweet. After the rest, the ladies were little nicer, but you could tell that they were still nervous. They would go ―oouuuuuh‖ and ―eeeeek.‖ Over every little thing. Down the road there was this very big lorry which is like a truck. It was going very slowly. We were on sort of a little hill and could see that nothing was coming for miles. For a while, we followed the lorry, but black exhaust fumes were coming out of the side and making everyone feel sick. ―Pass, Babu.‖ ―No, don‘t.‖ ―Go ahead, Babu, I can‘t stand the smoke.‖ ―No, don‘t Babu!‖ Finally, Babu pulled out to see if anything was coming. A shiny black Mercedes was right there as if it had come out of nowhere. It should have been on top of us before we could do anything. Babu didn‘t even have a chance to swerve out of the way, a head-on collision was certain. But, somehow, something else happened and we went over it. The two foreign ladies screamed and mother and I yelled in unison: ―AUM SAI RAM, BABA!!‖ A split second later we were on the ground and behind us was the black Mercedes. Babu pulled the taxi over to the side of the road and we all stumbled out. ―What happened, Babu?‖ Mother asked quietly. ―Swami,‖ he said and rested his head on his arms. ―Swami,‖ Mother and I said to each other. ―Jai Bhagavan.‖ Soon after that we arrived at Brindavan and unloaded the foreign ladies at the gate. When Babu opened the trunk, he jumped back in surprise. First, a bird flew out and then a snake and, finally, two small mice jumped out of the trunk and scurried into the ditch in front of the ashram. WOW! Was everyone upset then! After the yelling and confusion was over, we moved into our flat at the back of the ashram compound. Mother quickly changed her sari and left for darshan. I could not wait to find out about the little spider so I untied the strings of the bag and opened the top. I could hardly believe my eyes. The entire inside of the bag was full of spider web. The little spider had written AUM SAI RAM hundreds of times all around and under and across everything. And there he was, sitting in the middle of one of his AUM‘s, cross-legged … all eight legs. ―Gee, little spider,‖ I said, ―how did you do that?‖ ―Not squashed,‖ he spelled out correctly. ―Swami protects His devotees,‖ chipped Radha Wren as she flew in the window and observed the scene. ―What happened, Radha? Where did the mice and the snake come from?‖ ―Oh, word got around, Frankie. The mice are yoga students and the snake is a very nice fellow I know who practices ahimsa. You know, non-violence. I‘m sorry if anyone was frightened.‖ The tiny spider jumped up to the window and started forming a web. It read: ―I CAME TO SEE THE LORD. PLEASE SHOW ME WHERE I MIGHT HAVE HIS DARSHAN.‖ ―Yes, I‘ll take you there now,‖ I said and, putting him in my pocket, we all ran for darshan. I took off my shoes at the gate and then sat down on the men‘s side, under the pandal. The pandal is like a big round tin roof around a tree. The spider scurried through the crowd, up the trunk of the tree and disappeared. The Brindavan devotees had not seen the Lord for one month and so they were very anxious and full of love and devotion. We waited for hours and it was beginning to look as if Swami wouldn‘t come out that day. Then the gate started swinging slowly open as college boys began to stream from the garden of the Lord‘s house. ―Swami, Swami,‖ the crowd whispered as everyone straightened up and smoothed their clothes. The air was suddenly still, like it is early in the morning just before the sun comes up. Every hand was clasped together in prayer as the small bright orange figure glided through the gates like warm morning sunshine. Smiling, the Lord waved a blessing as He walked towards the crowd and I remembered some of His words: ‗When you take one step towards Me, I will take a hundred steps towards you.‘ My heart started beating really fast and it felt like it was getting bigger and bigger in my chest as He seemed to be walking straight to me. I know that somewhere Radha Wren, the mice, the snake and the little grey spider were all enjoying the thrill of this darshan and it made my joy even greater. Swami says that the compassion He shows us equals the compassion we show others. I was glad that Baba let me help. Half way, He stopped, looked up the tree and said, ―Acchaa.‖ I looked up over the roof of the pandal and there … ‗AUM SAI RAM‘ was hanging from the tree branches in a silvery thread. As Swami passed me in the darshan line, I heard Him say, ―This, too, is Sai Baba Land,‖ and I dove for the sweet lotus feet of the Lord Sathya Sai. I knew that my adventures were not over yet. Aum Sai Ram, Frankie. Activities: 1. Ask you mother if she could pick up another chilled to take Bal Vikas, a child who has no other transportation. 2. Color the illustration. 3. Play the game. GAME: PACKING FOR BRINDAVAN If you were packing to go to Brindavan from Puttaparthi, what would you take? (Cover up # of points while choosing). Person with most points wins. FOR MOM FOR FRANKIE +1 Hair conditioner +1 White shirt +1 Blouses and petticoats +1 White shorts +1 Soap +1 School books +1 Towel +1 Chapples 0 Hair conditioner +1 Underwear -1 Pancake 0 Toy cars -1 Panty hose +1 Notebook +1 Swami picture -1 Junk food 0 Stationery 0 Peanut butter 0 Tape player -1 Video game 0 Bhajan tapes -1 Disco tapes +1 Vibhuti 0 God comic -1 Chairs and table -1 Suit -1 Electric hot plate -1 Tie 0 Cup immersion heater -1 Gold watch +1 Mattress +1 Tales from Sai Wonderland 0 Bed and pillow +1 Water bottle +1 Sheets +1 Soap 0 Mahabharata +1 Towel +1 Sathya Sai Speaks +1 Toothbrush +1 Sewing kit +1 Toothpaste 0 Instant oatmeal +1 Mattress -1 Cigarettes +1 Sheets -1 Expensive jewels +1 Pillow +1 Toothbrush and paste +1 Swami picture -1 High-heeled shoes +1 Chappels +1 Clock +1 Underwear 1 point = NEEDS 0 point = WANTS -1 point = DON’T NEED SONG: FOLLOW THE MASTER THE CHERUBS Lesson Plan 8 Objective: Learn how to handle doubts. Quote: ―Doubting clips the wings of joy; it dampens enthusiasm.‖ Silent Sitting: Imagine that you are a cherub sitting on Swami‘s shoulder. Pat His soft hair and His cheek. Songs: Sanskrit Bhajan: He Ram Bhagavan English Song: Have Faith Poem: If you‘re wondering what do to, be kind If someone annoys you, be kind If a friend is shedding tears, be kind If a child is having fears, be kind If a stranger asks for foods, be kind If a person‘s acting rude, be kind For if kind things you‘ll always do Then, God will be kind to you Discussion Questions: 1 What are Frankie‘s doubts? How did Mom answer? 2 Does anyone in the class know of any Baba stories in which He has healed people? 3 The story is only imagination, but do you think there is really a heaven for Sai bhaktas? What do you think it is like? 4 Why were the cherubs so eager to be found by Swami? 5 What does He tell Shanthi about being out of His sight? 6 Swami answered Frankie‘s doubts, didn‘t He? Does He always answer our doubts? Activities: 1. Draw a picture of Swami with the cherubs or make a picture by cutting out a picture of Swami and adding little cherubs from Christmas cards of wrapping paper. 2. Color the illustration. 3. If you had a chance to play with Swami, what game should you play? Have the class play some game with Swami. 4. Re-write the end of the story and have Shanthi go back to her parents. 5. If school were in the West, what would be a good ending. 6. Role Play: Swami visits your Bal Vikas class. THE CHERUB Dear Jake, How are you? I am fine. Well, I wasn‘t fine last week because I was very sad, but Swami made me happy again. Last week a lady brought her little girl to see Swami. She was about four years old and had a very bad sickness. I thought for sure that Swami would make her well again, like He usually does. Mother almost always just gives me vibhuti when I‘m sick because Swami is the best doctor in the world. The little girl was in her stroller in the darshan line when I walked by. ―Hi,‖ I said. ―My name is Frankie.‖ ―Helo‖, she said, with a little smile. ―What‘s your name?‖ ―Fwanti.‖ ―What?‖ ―Fwanti.‖ ―Shanthi,‖ her mother explained. Shanthi was very pale with black ringlets all around her face. ―Are you sick?‖ I asked. ―Yeff, but Fai Baba make we all well,‖ she said. Her mother smiled and called her ‗my little angel.‘ Then it was time for darshan and I racked over to the men‘s side. The next day they didn‘t come to darshan and the following day I heard that Shanthi died. ―But why, Mother?‖ I asked. ―She was so little. You‘d think that Swami would have cured her. I don‘t understand.‖ ―I know, Frankie, but we can‘t understand everything. Only Swami knows all her past lives and what was best for her. Maybe He wanted her to be His little angel.‖ ―I don‘t care.‖ I said, my eyes suddenly filling up. ―Swami could have cured her.‖ I ran away from the darshan line and around the marriage mandir and sat under the fruit trees near the gate of Swami‘s house. I knew I wasn‘t supposed to be over there, but I wanted to be alone and I figured no one would see me. I didn‘t want to cry but I knew I was going to anyway. I thought for sure that Swami would make her well again. ―What kind of a father would let his little girl die?‖ I asked, choking back the big old sobs. I felt so sorry for the little kid. ―And she believe in You, too.‖ I said accusingly towards Baba‘s house. ―You could have saved her!‖ ―Oh, Fwankie,‖ a small voice called. I looked around but didn‘t see anyone. ―Fwankie,‖ I heard again. ―Look up here.‖ I looked up and one of the two cherub statues over the gate was wiggling its fingers at me, waving hello. Then she put her finger in her mouth and batted her long eyelashes. ―Fwankie is a cwy baby, tee hee hee.‖ ―I am not,‖ I said stoutly, ―only some things just aren‘t right around here, that‘s all!‖ ―Your fwiend is vewy vemy happy with us. Don‘t you believe me?‖ ―How do you know? You‘re just a stupid statue,‖ I said. ―Awight … if you‘re gonna be dat way I wont talk to you anymore.‖ The little cherub turned around. ―Hey, wait a minute, little cherub, I really do want to hear about Shanthi. How do you know she‘s happy?‖ ―‘Cause at night I get to go up t Baba‘s convent school for His little angels and everyone is happy up here.‖ ―She‘s here, I mean, there? Where, where is His convent school? I only know about the one at Ooty and the one at Prashanti Nilayam.‖ ―You don‘t know everything, dough,‖ the little cherub said wiggling her chubby little finger at me and giggling. ―Like what? Tell me,‖ I said impatiently. ―Well, Baba has a convent school for His little angels too and it‘s very nice here. You want to go?‖ ―Sure I do,‖ I said, ―But how can I?‖ ―Ask Fwami,‖ said the little cherub. So I closed my eyes very tightly. ―Dearest Swami, I feel so bad about the little girl who died. I would like to see that she‘s all right. Please let me go with this little cherub. If it is Your will.‖ And suddenly the world seemed to fade away. The colours and shapes of everything got lighter and lighter and I could see through the trees and the gate and even the ground. I could hear a tinkling kind of noise like wind chimes in the trees, and the noises from the street and all around got lower and lower, like rumbling sounds. The wind, full of a clean sweet fragrance, blew all around me and seemed to lift me up and carry me to another space, but in the same place … only different. I cant explain it any better than that. ―Wing awound duh woses, pocket fu‘ wuh poses, ashes, ashes, aw faw down.‖ I heard squeals and giggles as into my sight came about twelve fat little brown and pink cherubs, all tumbling together on a smooth green lawn which sloped down towards a lovely garden. ―All faw down an go boon,‖ squealed one more cherub leaping into the roly-poly group. Then they all saw me sitting on the lawn, too. ―Hewo, hewo,‖ they all giggled and jumped on my lap and twisted around my shoulders. ―Who are wu?‖ one little boy asked, poking me in the tummy while another little one kissed me on the cheek with big old wet kisses. ―Frankie,‖ I said, a little overcome. ―Hewo, Fwankie, did you come to see Fwanti?‖ ―Yes, I … I just wanted to see how she was doing,‖ I said. ―She hasn‘t come out yet to pway,‖ one cherub said. ―A movver angel is giving her a baf.‖ Suddenly a bell started ringing a beautiful music all around and three tall lady angels came half flying, half gliding down the hill. ―Little ones,‖ they called, ―it‘s time for darshan, Swami is out! Come, come.‖ The tallest one was all in white with beautiful white wings that reached all the way down to the ground. She clapped her hands and scooped up two or three of the cherubs in her arms. The other ―mother angels,‖ one in pink and the other in lavender, scooped up some more cherubs. ―Hello, Frankie, come along, you don‘t want to miss darshan,‖ said the tall angel in white. ―Me?‖ I said looking around. ―How do you know me?‖ ―Swami,‖ she said, laughing a musical laugh and rushing down the green grassy slope. The other cherubs tumbled and danced along, carrying garlands and small bouquets of flowers they picked from the garden as they passed. Two little brown ones flew up and rode on my shoulders while others flew ahead laughing and looking back in glee. We reached the bottom of the hill near the garden and there, like on the other side of the roses, was the pandal with all the people sitting for darshan. And then … our beloved Baba glided out of the gate exactly like one of those angels. ―Fwami, Fwami,‖ squeaked the cherubs. ―I want go Fwami,‖ one little girl cherub said as she flew up and sat on the Lord‘s shoulders, twining her garland around His neck. Another little tow-headed boy put his fat little hands around Swami‘s face and gave Him a great big smacking kiss right on the nose. The Lord smiled at the babies and murmured, ―Yes, yes,‖ while at the same time taking a note from lady in the darshan line. Swami couldn‘t take a step without at least two cherubs on each precious divine foot. One sat backwards on His foot and clung to His legs and another sat on the first one‘s shoulders. Three or four flew down in circles around His head, trailing garlands and twining their little chubby arms around one another and around Swami. The rest danced and pranced before and after Him, a few twisting their hands in His hair and putting their flowers between His ears and on His shoulders, while others flew up very close to the people in the darshan line, giving them kisses and murmuring, ―Be happy, Fwami loves you.‖ It was so sweet I wished that everyone could see these little cherubs loving the Lord and loving all the devotees. In fact, it was so sweet that Swami had come and gone before I realized that I‘d missed a chance for padanamaskar. After He left, six of the little boy cherubs played hide and seek through the branches of the tree over the pandal. ―Come, cherubs.‖ It was another mother angel, all in gold with lovely white feathery wings which were very tall behind her and reached very high with sweeping tips. All the little cherubs joined hands with one another and then, with the mother angels, flew back up the green sloped towards the Convent School. When we got back, we found little Shanthi waiting for us, holding the hand of yet another mother angel. This one had wide, strong wings because she was a nice fat angel. Shanthi was standing there looking a little shy but smiling a big grin at her angel. She seemed to have become a lot less pale since I had seen her at darshan and her large black eyes seemed to have a bright glow. She looked at all the other cherubs and then, after a glance at her fat jolly angel, she took a few toddling steps, wiggled her little wings back and forth a few times and flew about a foot off the ground. Boom, she fell on her little bottom and proceeded to burst into giggles. All the other cherubs giggled, too. Then she looked a little shy again and put her hand in her mouth. ―It‘s all right, Shanthi,‖ said the fat mother angel. ―We‘ll have a flying class this afternoon. It‘s really quite easy and you‘ll have a lot of fun. Now, did you notice that you have a visitor from Baba‘s ashram? Little Frankie. Do you remember him?‖ she turned her head in my direction. ―Fwankie!‖ she cried and jumped up and threw her fat little arms around my neck. From then on she was okay and played happily with all the others. They asked me to stay for lunch and I was sure glad because I was very hungry. We all sat on long straw mats and ate from bowls of sweet rice mixed with think curds and vegetables. No chillies. It was very good and then the angels brought large bowls of sliced mangoes and papayas and pieces of apple, grapes and cashews and raisins all mixed up with jaggery and curds. We ate until we were full, and I understood why all cherubs are so plump and healthy. After healthy there was flying class. All the little cherubs sat in a circle around several of the mother angels. The angel in which white showed them charts of air currents and taught them theories of aerodynamics. Then it was time for demonstrations and the more experienced cherubs showed the rest how to take off and land and how to glide on the wide. Next, they had stunt flying which everyone loved: somersaults and roll-overs and close precision flying formations. Then it became a free-for- all with all the cherubs getting into the act, zooming this way and that. ―All right, Shanthi, do you think that you are ready to fly a little now?‖ asked the round mother angel. ―Awight, I twy,‖ she said, putting her finger in her mouth. She toddled a few steps and, flapping her puffy little wings very hard, she took off … then she veered sharply to the left and shot up very high. ―Mercy,‖ muttered the round angel, who dropped the needle-work she was doing and sort of waddled into the air. But then in a flash she had Shanthi around the waist and bringing her back down. ―We must watch the wind currents by wetting you fingers and holding them up. See?‖ she said, showing her how to do it. ―And, most of all, keep our minds on what we are doing and where we want to go. All right, enough for today. Tomorrow we‘ll have another lesson. Now I want all of us to make a sleeping cloud for the afternoon nap. Frankie, perhaps we‘d better let you rest in this sweet clover.‖ All the cherubs took naps on little white puffy clouds that they materialized just for the purpose. The angels hovered a few feet off the green slopes on little clouds as soft as down and they gently swayed the cherubs to sleep. I woke up to the ringing of the bell again. ―Little ones, I have wonderful news. The Lord is coming for bhajans,‖ announced the tall white angel. ―You see, Frankie, we always go for bhajans with Baba‘s college boys in the evening, but sometimes He comes here and graces us with His divine presence.‖ Swami walked up through the garden and towards us on the green velvety lawn. As He came, the cherubs were beside themselves with happiness. ―Jai Bhagavan,‖ they shouted. ―Sai Ram, Jai Sai Ram,‖ they danced and circled around Him as He tried to walk. Then our precious Lord picked up a cherub and tossed him into the air over His head and caught another and another, tossing them high into the air where they tumbled and laughed with glee. Then Swami flow into the air Himself, and He and the cherubs played leap-frog among the little round clouds left over from the afternoon nap. After that He sat down on a cloud and put His hands over His eyes and began to count. As He counted, all the cherubs dashed around, finding places to hide from the Lord. Then He stood up and said, ―Coming, ready or not.‖ One by one He found them, giggling in their hiding places, because none of them really wanted to be missed by Him. Finally, everyone was discovered except little Shanthi, who was standing directly behind the Lord, but since she had her hands over her eyes, she thought she was invisible. ―Acchaa,‖ said Swami in a very loud voice. ―I have found everyone except Shanthi. It looks like she has outsmarted Baba!‖ Shanthi couldn‘t stand it another minute. She burst into gales of giggles and rolled on the cloud, right to His beautiful feet. ―Yes, yes, My little one, you are never out of My sight for a single moment!‖ The cherubs lovingly circled Him and stole kisses at His hands and feet, His face and His neck. One little boy rode right on top of Swami‘s head with his arms under His chin. Baba was so lovingly with them. He kissed them back and patted them as each flew to His lap. He squeezed their cheeks and made murmuring noises and He patted and caressed each and everyone. Then the bhajan started. It was a wonderful bhajan. The mother angels played the harmonium and the tambura, the tambourine and drums. One even played a vina, which is seldom used for bhajans. The cherubs have very soft voices but they are very very sweet, so that two or three would lead a bhajan together. ―He Sai Bhagavan,‖ sang the little cherubs, filling up the whole world with sweetness and light. It was a beautiful scene. But this time I decided that I wasn‘t going to miss out on padanamaskar. So, after aarati, when the Lord turned to walk down the slope to His house, I ran to catch up. ―Swami, please may I take …‖ Sai Baba stopped and looked at me solemnly. He took me by the shoulders and said, ―Frankie, My son, of course. You are My little angel too … even when you have doubts. Always I answer your doubts, don‘t I?‖ and He squeezed my cheek really hard and I dove for the divine golden toes and seemed again to disappear into that sweetness. The low rumbling noise of the street became more and more distinct and the shapes and colours became brighter again … ―Well, Frankie, did you miss morning darshan?‖ Mother asked me as she came up. ―No, I got two darshans,‖ I replied. ―I never know whether to believe you or not,‖ she said, half to herself. ―I was thinking about little Shanthi, Frankie, maybe if you talked to Baba about it, you know, in your heart, you‘d feel better.‖ ―Oh, don‘t worry, Mother,‖ I said, ―it‘s like you said. Baba wanted her to be His little angel. I know she‘s very happy.‖ And that was the end of my adventure. Aum Sai Ram, Frankie. SONG: HAVE FAITH THE CAT Lesson Plan 9 Objective: Learn that duty is God, work is worship. Quote: ―Carry out every task assigned to you as if it is an act of worship through which you can approach the pedestal of God.‖—Baba. Silent Sitting: You have fallen and landed in Sai Baba‘s hand. Realize that you are always there in His hand. Songs: Sanskrit Bhajan: (or any ―Ma‖ bhajan). Durga Bhavani Maa Jaya Jaya Sai Maa Kali Kapalini Maa Jaya Jaya Sai Maa Parama Shivani Maa Jaya Jaya Sai Maa Jagadodharani Maa Jaya Jaya Sai Maa English Song: Love All, Serve All, Adore All. Poem: Sri Sathya Sai, please let us love You By serving You in everyone Teach us to be Thy willing servants Teach us to say, Thy will be done With no desire for harvest With no desire for gratitude Let us but work for Thy sake for mankind And let all honour go to You This poem can be sung to the tune of: ―I‘m Just a Poor Wayfaring Stranger.‖ Discussion Questions: 1. Why dies Frankie want to do service? 2. Do you do any service? 3. Does your Bal Vikas group do service together? 4. What is niskama karma? 5. What does Radha say about body consciousness? What does she mean? 6. What does Radha mean about a ―fallen sparrow?‖ 7. What does the Lord mean when He says Frankie will always be in His hand? 8. Who is really the ―doer?‖ 9. What is Frankie‘s first duty? Is that his dharma? What is your‘s? Activities: 1. Colour this illustration. What are the human values in this story? 2. Discuss Seva and decide on a service project if you haven‘t already started one. 3. For one week, keep a record of all the service you do for everyone and bring it to class to share. SONG: LOVE ALL, SERVE ALL, ADORE ALL This song is based on the words of Sathya Sai Baba. ―Sadhana‖ means ―Spiritual discipline.‖ THE CAT Dear Jake, How are you? I am fine. Well everything is peaceful here in Sai Baba Land now but things were different yesterday. I was sitting outside the prayer hall on the ladies side waiting for Mother. There‘s a big old tree, by Lord Ganesha, with a lot of stone carvings underneath…like Krishna and Shiva and like that. I noticed that there were hundreds of birds in that tree and they were singing bhajans inside. Then I saw a few birds at a time flying down and bow, real fast, and fly up again. ―Oh! Catch on, That‘s the bird‘s prayer hall,: I said out loud. ―That‘s very observant of you, Frankie,‖ a small voice said and I looked down to see Radha Wren looking at me. ―Hi, Radha,‖ I said, ―I haven‘t seen you for a while. How‘s everything?‖ ―Oh, I‘m afraid that we animals have a problem, Frankie,‖ she said. Just then a pretty grey and striped cat jumped from the porch of the prayer hall and took off in the direction of the canteen. I looked around and Radha had vanished. ―Pssst! Is she gone?‖ it was Radha. ―Yes, she‘s gone,‖ I said. ―She‘s a mean one,‖ said Radha, ―and fast too! She caught a friend of mine yesterday and almost did her in. Luckily, a group of us managed to scare her off by dive-bombing her head!‖ ―Does Sai Baba know?‖ I asked, forgetting for a moment that He knows everything. ―Of course He knows, Frankie,‖ she said. ―The cat is a natural hunter. It is her dharma, or duty, to hunt for her food. But here‘s the problem. There‘s a small mouse monastery in the prayer hall. They worship Lord Ganesha. The Brahmin has noticed the mice picking up grains of rice and decided to bring this cat in to get rid of them. We can‘t talk to the Brahmin, of course, to explain that they aren‘t just ordinary mice but monks. They are the vehicle of Lord Ganesha. It is proper. The Brahmin should understand that they belong there. ―What‘s a vehicle?‖ I asked. ―Well, like you ride a car, Lord Shiva rides on Nandi the bull. Lord Ganesha rides on a mouse.‖ ―Oh,‖ I said. ―Yes. Well, the cat can‘t get behind the silver alter to kill the mice, but she makes so much racket, the mice can‘t meditate. It‘s a shame, Frankie. Would you talk to the Brahmin, please? You would be doing us a great service.‖ ―Oh, Sai Baba wants us to do service,‖ I said. ―I‘ll go right now!‖ So I went to find the Brahmin. He had just finished the morning puja and was walking across the ashram grounds. ―Good morning, Sir,‖ I said. ―Sai Ram, Frankie,‖ he said, ―I‘m in a hurry this morning.‖ ―Oh, well, I—ah—wanted to talk to you about your cat.‖ ―Oh yes. Isn‘t she a nice cat? I call her Durga because Durga rides on a big tiger cat, you know. That‘s her vehicle.‖ ―Oh, I know all about vehicles,‖ I said. ―Did you know that Lord Ganesha has a mouse for His vehicle and that there are mice in the prayer hall?‖ ―Do you know?‖ he asked. ―Why, the other day a mouse climbed up into the Lord‘s chair and hid behind His pillow. During bhajans he tried to climb into the Lord‘s lap!‖ ―Pretty smart mouse,‖ I said to myself. Out loud I said, ―But, Mr. Brahmin, you wouldn‘t want to hurt the mice, would you?‖ ―Well, at least it might get them to move out,‖ he said with a twinkle in his eye. ―Well, if I could talk to the mice and get them to promise to stay out of sight and most particularly out of Sai Baba‘s chair, will you keep the cat out?‖ The Brahmin looked at me with a smile. ―Of course,‖ he said. ―If you do that, I‘ll keep the cat away.‖ He walked back gently laughing and shaking his head. I ran back to where Radha had been. ―I have to talk to the mice, Radha,‖ I said. ―I promised the Brahmin I‘ll tell them to stay away from Sai Baba‘s chair.‖ ―But, Frankie, you‘re too big to get behind the alter. What to do?‖ ―Oh,‖ I said, ―but I promised him. No one can do it but me.‖ ―May be there‘s a way, Frankie. Guru Dev gave me a lot of yogic powers. One of them is to be able to change the size of things. I could shrink you to the size of a mouse.‖ ―Oh, that‘s a good idea, Radha, then I could talk to them. Go ahead.‖ ―All right,‖ she said. ―Shut your eyes.‖ So I shut my eyes and felt myself getting smaller and smaller. ―Okay? Can I look?‖ I asked. ―Yes, you can open your eyes,‖ she said. I was about two inches tall and the world looked strange. Mostly, all I could see was a forest of grass and giant bird. ―Are you okay?‖ asked Radha. ―I guess so,‖ I said. ―Well, you jump on my back. Hold on very tightly to the feathers around my neck,‖ she instructed. I did just as she told me and we flew, zooming through the open doors and over everybody‘s heads, to a perch high up near the ceiling on a great picture of the word ‗AUM‘. I almost lost my breath so I clung very tightly to Radha, hiding my face in her back. ―There‘s your mother down there Frankie,‖ Radha said. ―That‘s nice,‖ I murmured from the feathers. ―I‘ll take you behind the alter.‖ She could see that I wasn‘t interested in seeing the sights. Down we zoomed to perch on the top of the silver Lord Ganesha. I looked down. There behind the alter, was a large room with a tiny opening. On the floor were a bunch of mice all sitting cross- legged in neat little rows. Their little eyes were closed. In front of them, on a small platform, was the yogini, sitting in the same way. ―That‘s Mataji Mouse,‖ Radha said softly. ―She‘s my new guru. Isn‘t she marvelous? Why, she‘s so advanced that it‘s very hard for her to stay in her body. She keeps going into Samadhi. That‘s a state of bliss, you know.‖ ―Is she alright?‖ I asked. ―Oh yes. She just went into Samadhi again,‖ explained Radha. ―We have to feed her or she would leave us for ever. Absolutely no body-consciousness!‖ The tiny mouse lay for a few minutes on the floor and then, rising, she sat cross-legged again. ―Oh, Mataji,‖ I said. ―Yes!‖ ―Oh—I spoke to the Brahmin about the cat….‖ ―Yes?‖ ―Yes, and he said that if the mice would promise to stay away from Sai Baba‘s chair…..‖ ―Yes,‖ she said and fell off the platform again. ―Are you sure she‘s all right?‖ ―Oh, its just so hard for her to stay in her body!‖ ―But I promised that I would get her word,‖ I said. ―I‘ve just got to do this. It‘s up to me!‖ I was beginning to cry and I didn‘t want to do that. ―Maybe we‘d better come back another time,‖ Radha said. ―But what if the cat gets one of the monks, Radha?‖ ―We‘ve done our best, Frankie, it‘s up to Sai Baba now.‖ ―Yes, but…. Sai Baba got too much to do, to take care of every mouse,‖ I began. ―And He takes care of every fallen sparrow too,‖ said Radha. ―Who said anything about sparrows?‖ I said, irritated and not understanding what she was talking about. ―Come on, Frankie.‖ ―Oh, all right,‖ I said and climbed on her back. I clutched at the small feathers and off we went. We zoomed up and over the alter and then….I fell off! I don‘t know how I managed to do it there I was hurling head-over-heels down, down, down. My heart stood still but my mind was saying, ―Sai Ram, Sai Ram,‖ all the way down. I heard myself scream a tiny little scream, ―Sai Raaaaaaaaaammmmm,‖ as I went down. I bounced twice or thrice on something very, very soft….like a great big bed of …hair! I had landed in Sai Baba‘s hair! He had come into the prayer hall for the end of the bhajans and was sitting in His chair. I just lay there and gradually the fright, anger and fear started going away. The tears and the big sobs, which were ready to choke me, went away too. A warm peace started to flood me and I rocked back and forth as Sai Baba moved His head in time with the music. Then we stood up and the Brahmin was waving the flame in a circle around us. I looked out through the hair at the Brahmin‘s face. He was looking back…… Then we stood over and the Lord and I went outside and into the interview room! I never thought I‘d get an interview this way! I felt the hair being parted, and two fingers very gently grabbed me around the waist. I sat in Sai Baba‘s hand, still sobbing a little from all that had happened. ―Acchaa,‖ said Sai Baba, ―rest.‖ And I curled up in His palm and felt very safe and relaxed. Sai Baba stroked my back with His finger, very very lightly. ―I wish I could stay right here,‖ I said. ―You will always be here,‖ said the Lord. ―I was only trying to help,‖ I said, trying to explain. ―It‘s very good to help,‖ Sai Baba agreed. ―Yes, I was only trying to do…..‖ I began again. ―No, not do, you are not the doer, God is the doer.‖ ―Oh. But I can serve You?‖ I asked. ―Very happy,‖ Sai Baba said. ―Now, you‘d better go or your mother will worry. Your first duty is to your mother.‖ I found myself standing in the courtyard, my normal size again. ―Oh, Frankie!‖ I looked up to see the Lord standing on the veranda outside the interview room. ―Yes, Sai Baba?‖ ―Don‘t worry about the cat. I will tell the Brahmin.‖ And that was the end of my adventure. Aum Sai Ram, Frankie. LITTLE BROTHER Lesson Plan 10 Objective: Understanding Ahimsa. Quote: ―Compassion towards all creatures is the highest virtue. Willful injury to any creature is the worst fault.‖ Silent sitting: Repeat the Sai Ram Mantra and listen very carefully to see if the hairs of your head are also singing. Songs: Sanskrit Bhajan: Rama Lakshamana Janaki Jai Bolo Hanuman Ki English Song: Sharing is Caring. Poem: Lord Hanuman had no wife, He only lived for Rama He grace up His private life, to only serve Sri Rama. Devotion, strength, humility, He said He gained from Rama Please let me Your devotee, was His only prayer to Rama Teach the Self to serve the Self, this He learned from Rama Serve the Self to reach the Self, the Self our Atma Rama. Discussion Questions: 1. How was the little monkey caught in the first place? 2. What lesson is there for us? 3. Who was Hanuman? 4. Who was His father? 5. What is his little brother‘s greatest wish? 6. What does suffering some times do that is good? 7. What does the little monkey mean be ―take me home‖? 8. Frankie says the same thing when he dives for the Divine Lotus Feet. What are they talking about? 9. What is the relation between Little Brother and Swami? 10. Is Little Brother aware of the relationship? Does it matter? 11. How does Frankie gain the Lord‘s approval? 12. Do you know some things that you could do now that would make Him happy? Activities: 1. Bring to class a picture of Hanuman and have the children tell what they know about Him. 2. Colour the illustration. 3. Do the word puzzle. SONG: SHARING IS CARING. LITTLE BROTHER Dear Jake, How are you? I am fine. I didn‘t think I‘d have any more adventures because Mother and I have been doing a lot of studying lately on my school books. But then I met ‗Little Brother‘. Mother sent me down to the bazaar for some bananas and, on the way back, I saw a small monkey, wearing a dress, run past the fruit sellers and up the street. Then I saw him jump up on the wall of the ashram and hide behind a stone lotus. ―Little Brother, you come back here this instant!‖ It was a young girl running after the monkey. ―You‘d better come back or you‘ll be sorry,‖ she called as she chased him. She had a long stick in her hand. ―Did you see the monkey?‖ she asked. ―Well I …..yes, I did.‖ Baba says we always have to tell the truth. ―Do you know where he is?‖ ―No,‖ I said. I didn‘t know for absolutely sure for me, so it wasn‘t a real lie. ―Well, if you see him, please catch him for me,‖ she said as she hurried away. ―No,‖ I said. ―No?‖ she turned around. ―Did you say, ‗no‘?‖ She looked surprised. ―I said that because you‘ve got a big stick and he is only a little monkey,‖ I answered. ―Yes, but he‘s a very bad little monkey and he‘s always running away. My father feeds him well, too.‖ ―Well, but you shouldn‘t ill treat animals. They are kind to us and we should be kind to them.‖ ―But we are,‖ she protested. ―He‘s like my little brother. In fact, we call him, ‗Little Brother‘. Now please be a good boy and bring him back if you see him again.‖ I could only look at her and watch her walk away. Then I hurried into the ashram and back around the wall to where I thought the monkey was hiding. He was. ―Oh, thank you for not telling where I was,‖ the little monkey said. ―I‘m afraid she would hit me very hard. I know that I will have to take my punishment when I get back, but first I must have darshan.‖ ―Oh, I meant darshan of my beloved Hanuman,‖ said the monkey. ―There is a most beautiful Hanuman temple here in Old Puttaparthi. I discovered it the last time we were here. I want only to pay homage to my beloved Lord, and then I will return to my duty.‖ ―I‘ve seen that temple,‖ I said. ―May I go with you?‖ ―Please do,‖ said the little monkey, ―but we must hurry.‖ We raced around the mandir, through the main gate and up the street past the bank. ―You said that you have a duty to that girl.‖ ―She is the daughter of my owner, Harisingh. He caught me when I was very young. She plays the harmonium while I dance. People give us money. Also, he has a cobra which dances.‖ ―How did he catch you?‖ ―Well,‖ he explained, ―as I remember, there was a big pot with some pretty gold pieces inside. I reached my hand in, out of curiosity, and I was trapped. Harisingh had caught me. I could get my hand in but not out of such a small opening.‖ ―Oh,‖ I said, ―I think Sai Baba says that we get caught by our worldly desires in the same way. We don‘t let go and so we‘re trapped.‖ ―Who is Sai Baba?‖ asked the monkey. ―Oh, He‘s God,‖ I said. ―He‘s an incarnation, of God, like Rama and Krishna and Jesus.‖ ―And like Hanuman?‖ asked the monkey. ―Sure, I guess so,‖ I remember that Hanuman had been the son of the wind god, so I guess that made him a god, too.‖ ―I‘m that Sai Baba is wonderful too, but I think Hanuman knows how I feel about things because we‘re both monkeys. Anyway, it is my greatest wish to be in His presence. I call His name with every breath.‖ ―Gosh,‖ I said. ―I wish I could remember Sai Baba all the time like that.‖ ―Well,‖ said the little monkey, ―sometimes suffering makes you remember God.‖ We reached the Shiva Temple and then headed straight for the Hanuman Temple. As we reached the door, the little monkey scurried inside and fell to his kneeled in front of the large stone idol. ―Aum Hanuman, Aum Hanuman, I have come home,‖ he said, tears rolling down his cheeks. Then he scampered up onto the ledge surrounding the idol and, flattering himself against the stone, gently patted Hanuman. I began to feel I shouldn‘t be there, so I left one of the bananas for the monkey and started to leave. Then I remembered his friend, Hanuman, and I left two before I went out. A few days later I was in the bazaar again when I heard the harmonium player‘s tune. I hurried to the street corner and saw Little Brother with a cup in his hand, dancing in the street. A small crowd stood clapping in rhythm. ―Did she hit you with the stick?‖ I asked when he danced by. ―Yes, she did,‖ he said, ―but I wish I could go again, if they just wouldn‘t keep me tied up all the time.‖ ―You are not tied now,‖ I said. ―Is Harisingh looking?‖ he asked anxiously. ―No, he‘s looking the other way,‖ I replied. Off he flew, running as fast as he could. ―It‘s your fault, boy, you told him to go!‖ the young girl screamed at me. ―I remember you from before,‖ she yelled, and then she raised her arm and began striking me with her stick. It really didn‘t hurt very much, but I must have yelled or something because Little Brother heard me and stopped in the middle of the street. Just then, a large heard of Sai Baba‘s sleek black water buffalo came down the street, like out of nowhere, and as Little Brother started to come back, the herd of buffaloes came down on him. I ran with the harmonium player and his daughter to where the monkey was lying. Somehow, he had been kicked clean away from the herd, but he was covered with blood. ―Well, that‘s too bad,‖ said the old man. ―He was a good little monkey.‖ ―I don‘t think that he was such a good monkey,‖ said the girl. ―He was always running off.‖ ―Wait a minute,‖ I said. ―Maybe he isn‘t dead.‖ ―He‘s no good for me anymore,‖ said the man. ―We‘ll have to catch another one tomorrow.‖ And then they turned their backs and walked off down the road. ―Aum Hanuman, Aum Hanuman,‖ I heard the monkey saying very softly. ―Oh, you‘re alive! I didn‘t think you were. Oh, I‘m so glad. Listen, don‘t worry, I‘ll get you to a doctor somehow….‖ The monkey opened his eyes a little. ―No, no, please…just would you take me home?‖ whispered Little Brother. ―Of course, I will,‖ I said. I took off my shirt and put it under the monkey as gently as possible. ―I‘m trying not to hurt you.‖ I said, crying. The monkey seemed to lose consciousness and fall limp. His eyes were all funny. ―Well, maybe now you are dead.‖ I said out loud, ―but I promised you that I‘d take you home so I‘m going to!‖ I held the monkey in my shirt, as if it were a hammock, and hurried to the temple as fast as I could. As I entered, I saw an old burlap bag in the corner and placed him on that, propping up his little head, so that if he ever opened his eyes again, he would see his beloved Lord Hanuman. ―Lord Hanuman,‖ I said, ―he‘s only just a little monkey that nobody wants but he sure does love You, You could save his life. Well, it‘s up to you, I guess. I mean, he‘s only just my good friend, but he‘s Your son.‖ I remembered that there was a well outside so I picked up an old can and got some fresh water. Using my shirt, I cleaned off some of the blood and poured a little water into his mouth. He didn‘t move or anything. Then, I heard what sounded like a car engine. That surprised me because there aren‘t many cars in Old Puttaparthi. I heard footsteps and when I turned around, I saw the bright orange dress of Sri Sathya Sai Baba! ―Acchaa,‖ said the Lord, ―good boy, you are caring for your little friend. Now I will care for My little son.‖ Sai Baba bent down and put both hands around the monkey. The white ash of vibuthi poured out of both hands as the Lord rubbed and patted the little monkey‘s back and chest. ―Not to worry,‖ said Sai Baba, and He turned around and left as quickly as He had come. I sat dazed for a moment and then ran after Him. Just before He stepped into His big white car, He turned around and saw me. ―Please, Sai Baba, please may I take………‖ ―Take,‖ He said before I could finish, and I dove at the precious lotus feet. I felt as if I had come home too! Then He was gone. I rushed back to the temple to find Little Brother gazing at the idol. I gave him some water. ―What happened?‖ he asked as soon as he could talk. ―Sai Baba was here and fixed you all up with vibhuthi,‖ I said. ―You‘ll be alright now.‖ ―My arms and legs feel dead. I don‘t see how I‘m going to get back to Harisingh,‖ he said. ―Oh. You don‘t have to. He left you for dead in the street and said you weren‘t any use to him anymore,: I said. ―Then, I‘m free, I‘m free, I‘m really free! My beloved Lord, You have set me free!‖ ―Oh no,‖ I began, ―you see, it was Sai Baba who came here and made you all well.‖ But the little monkey didn‘t even hear me. He was staring at the idol of Hanuman and chanting His name. Tears gushed from his eyes. ―Oh, well,‖ I thought, ―who knows? Sai Baba says that there‘s only one God and He is omnipresent, and Mother says that means He‘s everywhere all the time.‖ Then I looked closely at the large stone idol. I could see tears flowing from His eyes as He gazed upon the small monkey and, I could hardly believe it, vibhuthi was covering both hands of the Hanuman idol. ―Sai Baba is Lord Hanuman and Lord Hanuman is Sai Baba,‖ I said aloud. I started to leave the temple and as I got to the door I thought I heard at little monkey whispering, ―Hanuman, Hanuman, Hanuman.‖ It sounded somehow different from before so I turned around to see the small monkey‘s face. His eyes and mouth were closed and he seemed to be in a state of bliss. I crept closer and closer to him and discovered that each hair on the monkey‘s body was whispering the name of the Lord. Just as Hanuman had realized Rama, so my friend the monkey had realized his God. Little Brother was home at last. And that was the end of my adventure. Word Puzzle: These are the long words found in the story. Make cards from the new words with definitions. Then place in order so that the middle letters spell ‗Om Sri Sathya Sai Baba‘. Baazar OmHanuman Ashram HanuMan Baba Ashram Darshan DaRshan Sai Baba SaIBaba Hanuman Harisingh Puttaparthi PuttAparthi Mandir VibhuTi HariSingh KrisHna Rama Sri SathYaSaiBaba Krishna MAndir Jesus JeSus Shiva RAma OmHanuman ShIva LordHanuman Baazar SriSathyaSaiBaba LordhAnuman Ahchaa Baba Vibhuti Ahchaa WORD PUZZLE O________ ____M__ _S____ __R___ ____I_ S____ __A______ ______T__ H____ ____Y__ _A__ S____ A_____ ____I___ B_ _ _ _ _ _____A_____ B___ A_____ THE ANT Lesson Plan II Objective: Learn that Swami in the inner Guru. Quote: ―Nowadays, God is the only genuine Guru. Call on Him and He will guide you. He is in your heart ever ready to help, protect and guide you.‖ Silent Sitting: You are sitting at the Lord‘s door waiting for hIm to come. Does He come? Songs: Sanskrit Bhajan: Guru Deve Sharanam Deva Pahi Prabhu Sharanam Deva Guru Deva Sharanam Deva Sundara Rupa Sri Sai Deva Sharanam Sharanam Sadguru Deva English Song: I Am a Little Ant Poem: God is the resident of each heart And yet, in God, we are anly a part We are the wave on the ocean wide And yet, sweet God is ours inside No one can understand God‘s mystery We just know how to love Him, you and me. Discussion Questions: 1. Why do you think the ants love their ant Guru? 2. Why does an ant Guru praise Frankie so much? 3. What is wrong with saying ―Baba Blesses You?‖ 4. What does the Guru say about ―Special People?‖ 5. Who are the ―Special People‖ around Sai Baba. 6. There are people who sit in front, but do you think anyone is really more special to Him? 7. What does Frankie say about Sai Baba needing a ―Channel‖? 8. What does Raghu Ant say that he would do if Sai Baba were in his little heart? 9. Is Sai Baba in your heart? What difference does it make in your life? Activities: 1. Colour the illustration. 2. Make a picture of your heart with Swami sitting inside (you could cut out a picture of Swami). What are all the things in your life that you would like to offer to Him? What are the things that you would not? 3. The children start an ant colony and watch the ants at work and play, in the same way as Swami watches us. SONG: I AM A LITTLE ANT. I am a little ant, oh please, don‘t step on me! I only sting when I am scared. I squash so easily, You are so very large, and I so very small. Why even if I pushed you hard, you wouldn‘t even fall. CHORUS. THE ANT Dear Jake, How are you? I am fine. Did you know that ants have a world of their own too? I didn‘t until the other day when I had an adventure with some ants here in Sai Baba Land. It all started when I noticed a stream of them coming from across the court yard and crawling into Sai Baba‘s rubbish bin. They were great big black ones, some as big as one fourth of an inch. I‘d notice them before in the darshan lines because they would accidentally crawl onto the ladies but never bite. They seemed genteel, or something. Well, I decided to find out from where the line of ants was coming from. I started tracking them backwards, crawling on my hands and knees. I crept around the wall, through part of the veranda on the ladies‘ side and around the side of the mandir. I kept on crawling around the mandir until I got to Sai Baba‘s door. Suddenly, I stopped. There, outside the door, were these two brown feet with ten little brown toes. Then I noticed the dress was bright orange, ‗Could it be?‘ I wondered. My eyes traveled up until I saw the smiling face of….Jyoti Seva Dal standing there shaking her finger at me! ―Sai Ram, Frankie,‖ she said. ―What are you doing here at Sai Baba‘s door on your hands and feet? You should know better than that.‖ Oh, hi there, Jyoti,‖ I said. ―Would you believe that I‘m following these ants to see where they come from?‖ ―Right to Sai Baba‘s door, I see,‖ she said doubtfully. ―Yes. See, they go all around the mandir in a neat line.‖ ―I know, just like the devotees walk around the mandir every morning to pay homage to the Lord,‖ she said. ―Next you‘ll be trying to tell me that they are all little yogis,‖ she laughed. ―Maybe they are Jyoti. Maybe they‘re looking for Sai Baba.‖ ―Well, it‘s more likely that you are looking for Sai Baba to come out of His door, which is against the rules. So just go and play somewhere else, Sai Ram,‖ she said. ―All right, Sai Ram,‖ I said and ran out of the courtyard and back to the rubbish bin. ―Gosh,‖ I thought, ―maybe they are all little yogis.‖ Just then that nice old lady, who is all bent over, came tapping along with her stick. ―Sai Ram, Ma,‖ I said. ―How are you today?‖ ―Sai Ram, Frankie, I‘m just fine,‖ she said. ―What are you doing?‖ I asked. ―I‘m doing what I always do,‖ she said. ―I‘m listening to each grain of sand saying, ‗Sai Ram, Sai Ram.‘ That keeps me pretty busy, you know. ―I can see that,‖ I said, ―there is a lot sand around. But I was wondering if you could tell me what a yogi is,‖ I asked. ―I‘m not a very learned person, Frankie, but I think it‘s someone who is devoted to God and who worships Him all the time,‖ she said. ―Are you a yogi then?‖ I asked. ―I suppose I am,‖ she said in surprise. ―I never thought of that before. Well, well, me a yogi…….can you imagine that?‖ She tapped her cane and walked away, laughing to herself. ―She‘s a nice old lady,‖ I said loud. Just then I saw one of the little ants weave to one side and then the other and then collapse. ―Poor little thing,‖ I exclaimed. ―Are you okay?‖ ―I‘ll be all right in a minute,‖ the little ant said. ―It‘s only that I am very tired.‖ ―Ants aren‘t supposed to get tired. Maybe you are tired from all that walking around the mandir……from being a yogi all the time,‖ I said hopefully. ―Oh no, walking around the mandir, paying homage to my beloved Sathya Sai, that‘s what gives me the strength to go on!‖ ―I knew it! You little ants are yogis!‖ I said triumphantly. ―Of course,‖ he continued, ―that‘s what gives me the strength to go on. It‘s collecting enough food for my family and for my guru, Sri Devishwara Ant, that tires me out. Sometimes there isn‘t enough and we go hungry.‖ ―Hey, I‘ve got a package of cookies here in my pocket,‖ I said, putting my hand into my jacket. ―I mean, I‘ve got a package of cookie crumbs. I guess I sat on them.‖ I picked up the little ant and let him eat a few crumbs. ―My name is Raghu,‖ he said, eating away. ―Thanks for the crumbs. Do you think I could take some with me for my guru?‖ ―Sure you can have them all,‖ I said. ―We human beings don‘t like crumbs very much. I‘m glad they are good for somebody. In fact, I‘d be happy to deliver these crumbs right to the doorsteps of your guru, if you like me to.‖ ―Oh, he‘d be pleased,‖ said the ant. ―We just love him because he is a direct channel for Sai Baba who is too busy to take care of all of us ants. He tells us what Sai Baba wants us to know. But he asks that we give him half of all our food and a nice safe house which is dry. He hates rain.‖ That didn‘t sound right to me, but I let it pass. ―Well, we are happy to deliver,‖ I said with a smile. ―He lives just over there in the corner of the rubbish bin. He won‘t eat anything but the leftover Prasad from the puja in the mandir. See that little mound of stones? He lives in there, up off the ground, where it‘s dry.‖ I got down on my hands and knees and peeped down between the stones. ―Hello,‖ I called, ―could you tell me if Sri Devishwara is at home?‖ Hello,‖ a voice called back. ―Yes, I am here.‖ ―Well, could you come out for a few minuets?‖ ―Who wants me?‖ the voice wanted to know. ―Oh, I‘m sorry, I should have introduced myself. My name is Frankie, Mr. Raghu Ant told me to deliver a lot of cookies crumbs to you.‖ ―Cookie crumbs! I‘ll be right there,‖ the voice said and out crawled a big fat ant. And he was blue. ―Are you looking for spiritual wisdom? Enlightenment can be yours, my young friend, as soon as you deposit that load of cookie crumbs on my doorstep,‖ he said. ―You‘re blue, like Krishna,‖ I said. ―Ah, yes how observant you are, my lad. Why, you may have spent your life times dwelling in the caves of the Himalayan Mountains and have never gained such spiritual development.‖ ―Gee, all I said was that you‘re blue. I never saw a blue ant before,‖ I said. ―But, you said blue like Krishna, as indeed, I am, like my revered ancestor. That‘s very deep, deep, my friend,‖ he said, stuffing cookie crumbs in his mouth. ―Have you….ah….got any more?‖ ―No, I have to go now,‖ I said, feeling uncomfortable, ―thanks a lot for taking the crumbs off my hands.‖ He didn‘t think that was funny. ―Don‘t mention it, he said. ―Sai Baba blesses you.‖ ―I don‘t need you to tell me that Baba blesses me,‖ I said startled. ―Sai Baba is my very own Father. He told me so.‖ ―How fortunate for you,‖ Sri Devishwara said coldly. ―You must be one of the ‗Special People‘. He‘s too busy for most of us, so that‘s why I‘m a channel for Him.‖ ―Hmmmmm,‖ I said. It didn‘t seem right to me at all. I know that everyone is special to the Lord. ―Isn‘t he wonderful?‖ asked my friend Raghu when I stepped out of the rubbish bin. ―I‘m not so sure,‖ I said. ―I think that your guru has it all wrong. I don‘t think that Sai Baba needs a channel. I know that He‘s very busy and everything, but that‘s only just the Sai Baba we can see and touch. To other Sai Baba isn‘t too busy at all. I mean, the Sai Baba who lives here in my heart is all mine every second and so, of course. He helps me with problems and just about everything, not because I‘m special but because ….well, we just love each other.‖ ―You are very fortunate,‖ said Raghu, ―I‘d love to have Him in my heart.‖ ―Well, that‘s just it. If you love Him it‘s the same as me….He loves you and lives in your heart. He‘s all yours all the time, day and night. Why do you need a channel to Him when He‘s as close as your breath?‖ The little ant looked dumbfounded. ―You mean He‘s in there right now?‖ he asked in a whisper, pointing to his heart. ―Sure,‖ I said. ―Oh, if that could be true,‖ he said sighing. ―If He would only just live right here in my heart,‖ he said with his hand on his chest, ―I‘d treat Him so nicely. I‘d sing songs to Him and talk to Him all the time. I‘d take very good care of Him and make sure all my actions and thoughts were good enough for Him to see.‖ ―Well,‖ I said, ―you just go home and think about it. I‘m really sure that you‘ll find that He‘s been there all the time…inside your heart.‖ The next day I found an old package of glucose cookie crumbs in the pocket of a pair of trousers. I decided to take them to the funny blue guru ant. I wanted to straighten him out about a few things, anyway. It had been raining all night so I pecked my way through the puddles all around the stupa on the way to the rubbish bin. The little pile of rocks had water around it. ―Oh, Sri Devishwara, it‘s me, Frankie. Can you come out?‖ I called. ―No, I‘m in meditation just now…Come again tomorrow,‖ mumbled a voice. ―But, I have a lots of cookie crumbs,‖ I called. ―You do? Ah well….No. I‘d better not. I have to keep on meditating,‖ said the ant‘s voice. ―Okay, well, I‘ll just dump them inside,‖ I said, lifting off the top of the guru‘s house so that I could see inside. ―Oh, there you are,‖ I said. ―Oh yes…yes….just put them anywhere,‖ said the ant, trying to hide behind the rock. ―But, you‘re not blue anymore, except a little right on the end of your nose. The rain must have washed it all off. Did you paint yourself that way or something?‖ Just then a crowd of ants who were milling around noticed the same thing. ―You‘re not blue! You‘re not blue! Some Krishna, you are!‖ they were yelling, ―who are you, anyway?‖ Then they started getting very angry and stamping their little feet. ―All this time you were taking our food while our families went hungry.‖ One ant started throwing sand and the others followed. ―We‘ll bury you, we will!‖ they shouted. ―Oh, please save me. It‘s your fault they found out my secret,‖ the ant pleaded. So I picked up the little ant and held him in my hand. ―How come you did that, anyway?‖ I asked him. ―You took their food and everything.‖ ―It started out by accident,‖ the ant said. ―Some lady in the darshan line was writing and shook her pen. A glob fell on me, colouring me blue. I felt terrible about it, being blue and everything, but before I had a chance to wash it off, some of the other ants saw me and started calling me guru and saying that I must be another Krishna. They started bringing food and asking me what Sai Baba thought they should do. It was lot easier than working. But I got lonely there in that little house all by myself, and it tickled when they touched my feet. I‘m glad it‘s all over.‖ ―I knew that part about speaking for Sai Baba wasn‘t true,‖ I said, ―because my mother says that no one speaks for the Lord. He doesn‘t need anyone to do that. People all over the world have a direct channel to Him. He‘s God.‖ ―Yes, well, I‘m glad it‘s over. Would you mind taking me out of the ashram and letting me off? I‘ll try to start another life, with His grace. You don‘t suppose He‘ll ever forgive me for fooling all the ants, do you?‖ ―You just ask Him,‖ I said. ―His mercy is as big as the world, but I guess you have to be really sorry.‖ ―I am really sorry. Maybe if start a new life, my friends will like me for myself instead of thinking I can get Sai Baba‘s blessings for them.‖ ―Gee, I wonder how the Lord can stand people begging Him or things all the time?‖ I wondered aloud. ―Well, He must be God to love them anyway,‖ said the ant. I took him outside the front gate. ―You‘d better wash the blue off your nose,‖ I said, ‗or next, you‘ll be reminding the ants of Lord Ganesha!‖ ―Oh, please, I wouldn‘t want to start that ever again,‖ he said, wiping his nose. I returned to the rubbish bin to find all the ants weeping. ―What will we do now?‖ they cried, ―we have no one to give us Sai Baba‘s word.‖ Just as I was about to explain, my friend Raghu jumped up on the roof of the ants‘ house. ―Fellow ants, we have been foolish, very foolish. We thought that we needed someone to speak for Sai Baba when all we had to do was to listen to our hearts. Sai Baba dwells in our hearts, of each and every one of us. Look within as I have done. Look within, my friends.‖ ―From now on we have a Sai Baba Centre here in this house we build for our old guru, and we‘ll sing bhajans and study Sai Baba‘s teachings and, when we have a problem, we‘ll just shut our eyes and know that the Lord will show us the way.‖ The ants were very happy to have this advice and set to work cleaning up the rubbish bin, and I was very happy too, because I‘d had another adventure here in Sai Baba Land. Aum Sai Ram. Frankie. THE SEA Lesson Plan 12 Objective: Learn that Swami is our protector. Quote: ―You must have skill to swim over the waves of joy and grief; of pain and profit. You must be a master of the art of being fully at ease, perfectly calm and unaffected whatever may happen to the body, the senses or the mind.‖ BABA Silent Sitting: Imagine that you are sitting next to Swami in the white car. His arm is around you and your head rests on His chest. Songs: Sanskrit Bhajan: (or any bhajan the children like to sing) Shambho Shankara Deva Bhole Baba Mahadeva Sai Baba Mahadeva Pahi Prabhu Sharanam Deva (2x) Bhole Baba Mahadeva Sai Baba Mahadeva Hara Hara Ganga Mahadeva (3x) Bhole Baba Mahadeva English Song: Why Fear When I am Here? Poem: Why do we fear when Sai Baba is here? Are we afraid our prayers He won‘t hear? But He‘s as close as the lid to your eye Don‘t we believe Him, our Sri Sathya Sai? Why do you fear when Sai Baba is here? His love is around us, He will always be near And if we cry He will wipe all our tears It is silly to fear when Sai Baba is here. Why are we so glum when Sai Baba has come? We should be glad that salvation has come So, be of good cheer, for Sai Baba is here! THE SEA Dear Jake, How are you? I am fine. Guess what? I have a friend. Her name is Jenny and even thought she‘s just a little kid, only six years old, she‘s a pretty brave little kid, as I found out when we had an adventure together here in Sai Baba Land. I met her the other day. ―Look! Look up in the sky! It‘s a bird. It‘s a plane, no it‘s …..‖ ―Is it Sai Baba?‖ I asked, hoping somehow that Swami was going to give us an extra darshan. ―No, dummy, it‘s Superman.‖ A little girl in pink sun suit was standing in the grass in front of South Prashanti. She was a skinny little child with round glasses and sandy coloured hair, and she was snaggle-toothed. I guess she looked a lot like I used to look, only she was a girl. ―Don‘t you know about Superman?‖ she asked. ―Sure, I know,‖ I said, a little hurt about the dummy part. ―Good! I‘m glad you Indian kids know something from Ojai, California.‖ ―Okay, that‘s good, you van play. I‘ll be Lois Lane and you can be my brother. We‘ll be chased by robbers and good old Superman will just zoom on down here and save us. Okay?‖ ―Not really. Superman is just a comic book hero. He‘s only make belief. Sai Baba is real and He can really zoom in and save us if we were even to get into trouble.‖ ―How old are you?‖ Jenny looked at me with suspicion. ―Ten.‖ I said. ―Well, you‘re a little old or fairy tales.‖ The skinny kid marched off. The next day, I saw Jenny sitting under the neem tree reading a comic book. ―Hi, Jenny, what are you doing?‖ I asked. ―Just looking at the pictures. I left my glasses upstairs in the flat and Mom is at darshan and looked the door.‖ ―You want me to read to you?‖ I asked, trying to be friendly. ―Sure,‖ she said. So I sat down and read her a couple of stories. ―You know this is really boring,‖ I said. ―All this shooting, and socking people. Nobody has mentioned anything exciting about God yet. I think demons and magic are a lot more interesting, don‘t you? Do you really like all this violence stuff?‖ ―Well, it‘s better than sitting around, I guess I like shooting and stuff like that, anyway. What‘s such a big deal about a guy in an orange dress?‖ ―You‘d be surprised,‖ I said. ―If you ever needed Him, you‘d see.‖ ―Yeah? But, He‘s so…short!‖ Jenny said scornfully. ―Not really,‖ I said mysteriously. ―He‘s as big as the world and as small as a dot.‖ ―And you‘re a big liar!‖ she yelled. ―I don‘t want to read anymore.‖ ―Okay, but you‘d better take it back about being a liar. Sathya Sai Baba meant Truth and I don‘t lie! Not ever!‖ ―Sai Baba, Sai Baba, Sai Baba! That‘s all you can say.‖ ―Hey, that‘s good. You just keep on saying His name and pretty soon you‘ll be okay.‖ ―Oh, shut up!‖ she screamed and ran off. The next day I felt kind of bad about the fight we had and I knew she didn‘t have anyone else to play with, so I went up to the flat where she and her mother lived. ―Hi, Frankie,‖ she said when I knocked on the door. ―I‘m sorry about yelling at you yesterday. Do you want to play?‖ ―I‘m sorry too,‖ I said. ―Maybe we could go for a walk or something. You want to go and see dry riverbed?‖ ―Okay,‖ she said. We ran down the street past the fruit sellers, through a herd of goats and around a team of water buffalo pulling a wagon. Then we dashed across an open field and slid down the river bank. It was fun jumping from rock to rock. Jenny found one small shell, bleached white by the sun. ―I guess the sea‘s closer than I thought,‖ said Jenny. ―No, I think it‘s hundreds of miles away,‖ I said. Suddenly the sky turned black and seemed to touch the ground. As a few drops fell, we headed for the bank, but it seemed that before we could take even a few steps, the drops had turned into a sheet of rain as tons of water dropped from the sky. I could hardly see at all. As we tried to climb up the bank, out of the channel of muddy sand, the sides turned into streams of water and it was too slippery. We kept falling back. I tried to boost Jenny up towards the bank but I couldn‘t get footing. Then we heard a low rumble and when we looked up, I saw huge wall of water rushing down the riverbed, taking sand and rocks and debris on it‘s way. It would reach us any minute, so reached out my hand to grab Jenny‘s arm. I saw her little face freeze, her glasses clinging to one ear. The water came in a big wave. It picked us up and carried us along the river, very fast. I saw a wide wooden plank under a pile of sand and, as we swept by, I just had time to grab it with all my strength. Jenny took one end and we hung on for dear life. Jenny‘s glasses were gone. ―Hold on Jenny,‖ I shouted. ―Don‘t worry,‖ she shouted back. Somehow the wide plank kept us afloat and, as the river rushed along, so did we. At last, we managed to crawl up onto the plank, exhausted. We were so tired that we must have fallen asleep. When we woke up, we were floating on the sea. Jenny was still asleep. There wasn‘t a cloud anywhere and water sparkled. ―Namaste,‖ I heard a soft little voice behind me. I turned my head and saw a small water nymph sitting on the head of a dolphin. I nudged Jenny, and she woke up with a start. ―Who‘s that?‖ she whispered. ―I can‘t see very well without my glasses. Hey, where are we anyway?‖ ―Remember that shell? Well, we came the same way, I guess. We‘re at sea. And I think that is a water spirit.‖ ―Namaste,‖ said the small creature again, placing her hands together in a sign of greeting. ―Namaste,‖ I said in return. ―My name is Panilata. I have come to take you to the water kingdom under the sea, that is, if you would like to come. You see, my father, the king of the sea, has been having difficulties with human beings and he heard that a young boy was a friend of the nature devas at Puttaparthi. So he sent me to ask you to come and talk to him.‖ ―Oh, you‘re so beautiful,‖ breathed Jenny. She was very lovely, with greenish silvery sari covered with tiny starfish and clusters of pearls in her long golden hair. ―How can we come with you down under the sea when, we can‘t breath down there?‖ I asked. ―Not to worry,‖ she laughed a tinkling laugh and tossed both of us conch shells. ―Put your faces in the opening and get plenty of air.‖ ―Oh, please, Frankie,‖ Jenny said. ―I‘ve never had a real adventure before.‖ ―Well, if I‘m needed…‖ I began, pretending that the adventure didn‘t mean a thing to me. ―Oh good! Panilata, we‘ll be happy to go with you,‖ finished Jenny enthusiastically. Panilata‘s dolphin was joined by her sisters. ―Hello, we‘re Leela and Lata and we‘re to take you to the Kingdom of the Sea. Jump on,‖ the dolphins said. Away we went, diving and turning in the frothy waves, our arms clasped tightly around the dolphin‘ necks and our little conch shells tightly aver our noses. Down, down we went into the green kingdom of the sea, past coral reefs and lacy pink sea gardens. Bright fish like coloured lights darted everywhere. The dolphins took us into a fairy world of beauty and through the giant coral gates of the sea palace. We swam through huge caverns decorated with carved pictures on the walls and ceilings. Each door was guarded by giant squids, their arms folded and folded and folded in front of them. At last we arrived at the foot of the white marble throne of the King of the Sea. ―Ah, you have brought the little boy,‖ the King said. Like his daughter, he ware greenish silvery robes and carried a three-pronged spear. ―I‘m Frankie,‖ I said, ―and this is my friend, Jenny.‖ Jenny tried her best to curtsey, but it isn‘t easy when you‘re under the sea. Just then, a great cloud of reddish coloured water came through the room. It looked awful. ―There,‖ cried the King, ―there it is. That‘s why I asked you to come. You human beings, with your factories and mills, are contaminating our sea, your sea too. We won‘t be able to live here. The fish and the birds are dying. What to do, Frankie? Why must humans be selfish and ruin the beautiful seas which support the world? Why? Why?‖ he shouted. ―Father, Father,‖ Panilata cried, running to her father‘s side. ―Please don‘t cry.‖ The King waved the awful red water away from his face. ―Oh, what are we to do, Frankie? Why do humans behave like this?‖ ―Gosh! I don‘t know, King,‖ I said. ―Mother always tells me not to throw rubbish on the road.‖ ―And I always pick up my toys,‖ ventured Jenny. ―But I guess that doesn‘t help very much.‖ ―No, but if each one of us did our part to keep the earth neat and clean, maybe it would help some day,‖ I said. ―I know what to do!‖ I said brightly. ―We‘ll ask Sai Baba what to do.‖ ―Oh yes, we could,‖ said the King. ―But do you think we should? I hate to bother the Lord of all creation with my problems here in the sea.‖ ―Sai Baba?‖ said Jenny in wonder. ―But, it‘s His sea too,‖ I said. ―Let‘s all close our eyes and call His name.‖ Well, when we did that, Swami was there in a wink. ―Swami has been here all along as He is everywhere,‖ Swami said, handing Jenny her glasses. ―You lost these in the Chitravati River. Jenny almost fell off her dolphin. The King and his daughter did padanamaskar at the lotus feet and, before Swami had a chance to move away, I stole a blessed kiss as well. ―Man is polluting his own earth, his soil, his water, even the air he must breathe. The danger of nuclear destruction is imminent. This is the Kali Yuga. But,‖ Swami smiled, ―why fear, when I am here? This is why I have reincarnated: to save mankind from destroying itself. King, you must be patient. The only answer is in changing each and every heart. Each must see his unity with all the others. And education cannot be accomplished overnight. And so, Jenny, by picking up your toys, you are helping.‖ ―King, be patient. Pray for peace of mind. Realise the impermanence of all things, even the sea, and think of God alone. Not to worry. Swami will always be in your heart. You should never think that I am too busy to you for I am never away from you. With your mind always on God, you will become enlightened in this lifetime.‖ ―Now, Frankie, you children had better return to Puttaparthi,‖ the Lord said. ―Oh, couldn‘t they stay for tiffin?‖ asked Panilata. ―What‘s tiffin?‖ asked Jenny. ―That‘s same as teatime,‖ I explained. ―Please let us stay, Swami,‖ begged Jenny. ―Yes, yes. You must stay,‖ said the Lord. He waved His hand in blessing and disappeared. We had lovely tiffin and then bid our sea friends goodbye. Leela and Lata bobbed up and down with excitement as we jumped on their backs for the return ride. We drove and twisted and then started up towards the surface. As we hurried along we could see, above, the gradual brightening of the surface and knew we were coming out of the ocean. Suddenly, in a second, we felt a giant swoosh as if all the water were being drawn from around us, and the brightness disappeared, as if someone had put a lid on the ocean, leaving us in inky blackness. ―Oh no,‖ chirped Leela. ―I pray that it isn‘t that worst of all sea demons, the dreaded Karu, because some gigantic creature has come between us and the surface. ―What have we here?‖ roared a voice as big as the ocean itself. ―Some little travelers, no doubt. OH HO. So it is, and it looks like they might be Sai Baba devotees too by their sweet faces. I‘m so glad, because they do taste soooooooo gooood.‖ Jenny and I could just make out a huge red eye, about the size of a school bus, looking at us. ―Oh, Frankie,‖ Jenny said. ―We had better call on….‖ ―Oh no, you don‘t,‖ roared Karu, ―I know that trick. I‘ll swallow you before you have a chance to call out that name.‖ And, all of a sudden, Leela and Lata and Jenny and I were all sucked into a giant cavern along with hundreds of little fish, all silvery and gold, a lot of sea weed and one old boat. ―Hold on to your conch shell, Jenny,‖ I yelled. ―Yes, and your neck,‖ yelled Lata. Down, down we tumbled, round and round in a swirl, down the great whale‘s throat until we sloshed into his enormous stomach. ―Very, very tasty,‖ we heard from far away, ―too bad I didn‘t get to chew them up! Hah Hah Hah!‖ We blobbed up and down in the water in his stomach, still clinging to our pals, Leela and Lata. ―What are we going to say, Jenny?‖ I asked. ―I am going to call on Sai Baba to help us but the bad old demon swallowed us too soon,‖ wailed Jenny. ―I never thought you would say it, jenny,‖ I yelled. ―Ye gods and little fishes!‖ bellowed the whale demon. The entire cavern seemed to turn upside down, and out we sloshed again, swirling up through his throat, past all the enormous teeth and out of his mouth. Out we plopped, on to the sand dune. There, in the brilliant sun, stood a four hundred foot Sai Baba, calmly holding the three hundred foot demon whale by his tail and shaking him back and forth. Lata and Leela danced around on their tails and than they flipped themselves back into the sea. ―Sai Ram, Swami, Sai Ram, children. Thank you for a fantastic adventure.‖ ―Now, you~‖ Sai Baba said to the whale. ―When will you learn that you cannot pick on My devotees, even if they are very sweet?‖ ―Now, Swami,‖ wailed the whale. ―I will learn right now, if You‘ll just let me go. Please, I have a family who needs me.‖ ―All right,‖ Sai Baba said, ―but only because in your last life you performed years and years of spiritual austerities and earned My grace. But, you have just used it up, so you‘d better be careful from now on,‖ Swami warned, as He tossed the whale back into the ocean. ―Did someone call Swami?‖ He asked in a pretend-surprised voice, ―not Super-gent?‖ ―Super-gent? Oh, you mean Superman, Swami!‖ I explained, laughing. Sai Baba shrank to His normal size. The big white Swami‘s mobile drove up and we all got in. ―Very wet,‖ Baba said, putting little Jenny on His lap, and slipping one arm around me. I nestled in His arms and buried my face in His chest. ―You two have enough trouble in one day, haven‘t you?‖ ―But, Swami, if You are our Mother and our Father, You have to take care of us, don‘t You?‖ I asked, snuggling closer. ―Yes, yes, Frankie. But, think of God only. Don‘t worship zeroes, worship heroes. Worship God with all your heart,‖ Swami said. I‘m afraid it was all wasted on little Jenny, though, because she was fast asleep in the arms of the Lord. And that was the end of my adventure in the sea. Aum Sai Ram, Frankie. Discussion Questions: 1. Why does Frankie say Swami is better than Superman? 2. Why does Frankie think ‗shooting and socking people‘ is boring? 3. How big is Sai Baba? 4. Why doesn‘t Frankie like to be called a liar? 5. What does he say about saying ‗Sai Baba‘ over and over? 6. Why did the Sea King want to see Frankie? 7. What does Frankie say he does to help stop pollution? 8. What do you do to help? 9. What happened to Jennie‘s glasses? 10. What does Sai Baba say about pollution? 11. What does Swami say about heroes? 12. Who are your heroes (besides Sai Baba of course)? Activities: 1. Colour the picture. 2. Draw a map of Puttaparthi. Show where the river goes. 3. Find out about the Environmental Protection Agencies in your community. Ask them to send information to you. 4. Is there anything your class can do to make the Earth a cleaner place? 5. Role Play: You have gone to visit the King of your local river, bay, lake, etc. What do you talk about? Are there other beings in the water? SONG: SAI BABA WILL NEVER LET YOU GO THE MOUNTAIN Dear Jake, How are you? I am fine. Thank you for the notebook and the coloured pencils you sent me with Sathya and his mother. They got here from Ojai last week and little Sathya, who was named for Swami, you know, really likes Sai Baba Land. He may even go to Baba‘s school here, with me, but he‘ll be in the first grade and I‘ll be in the fourth. Leave it to the Lord to give us both a big old adventure right away. Aunt Mardee said it almost turned her hair grey! Mother and Aunt Mardee and Sathya and I went on a picnic up the mountain, east of Prashanti Nilayam. When we started out, there wasn‘t a cloud in the sky. Mother said she thought there was a temple near the top. Anyway, we left morning darshan. For about a week, our Sri Sri Sri Sathya Sai Baba had been climbing into the Swamimobile immediately after morning darshan and, with four college boys, leaving for the rest of the day. No one knew where the Lord had been going, so we decided that we, too, would spend the day away from the ashram! We followed Chitravati River through the town and up the side of the mountain. The sun was pretty hot. Mother and Aunt Mardee had an umbrella but Sathya and I couldn‘t wait for them and ran ahead. So, when a little white cloud scurried across the sun, I was glad because it made it a little cooler. ―Sai,‖ the little cloud whispered as it hurried by. ―Did you hear that, Sathya?‖ I asked. ―No, what?‖ ―That little cloud whispered Baba‘s name just now.‖ ―Oh, Frankie! Really?‖ Sathya said. ―I didn‘t hear it.‖ ―Yeah! You see, Radha Wren, this bird I know, is a yogini and has these powers, you know. Well, she pecked me on the head one day and ever since I‘ve been able to talk to animals and trees and understand them. It‘s like anything that has Baba‘a divine presence; I can communicate with….and I guess that‘s everything, right?‖ ―Boy, are you lucky, Frankie! Maybe she‘ll peck me on the head some day too. Hey Frankie, I wonder where that little white cloud is going?‖ ―Oh, probably to the sea to get some water for the earth. Mother says they fly over the ocean, gather up all the water they can and then bring it to the mountains and the plains.‖ ―Baba thinks of everything, doesn‘t He, Frankie?‖ ―He sure does.‖ We stopped in a grove for our picnic. We had nice cheese and tomato sandwiches and fruit and laddoos. A laddoo is a round sweetmeat made with cereals or other things, depending on what you like. ―Wait a minute, you two,‖ Mother said. ―Don‘t take a single bite before offering it to the Lord.‖ ―Are you kidding?‖ Sathya said. ―In Bal Vikas, my mother taught us that the Lord is the food and fire that burns the food in our tummies so we can use it. You know, like gasoline.‖ ―Sathya, you were really listening to all the things I was teaching the children! I‘m glad, dear,‖ said Aunt Mardee, smiling. Mother and Aunt Mardee went down to the stream to wash the plates after we finished. I was about to pop the last bite of laddoo into my mouth when suddenly….we were plunged into a thick fog that was so heavy with rain that we were drenched to the skin. ―Frankie, Frankie, where are you? I can‘t see anything!‖ ―Neither can I. Sathya? Mother, where are you?‖ ―Frankie, Frankie,‖ I heard Mother calling from a distance. ` ―Here I am,‖ I yelled but I wasn‘t sure where I was myself. I couldn‘t see my hand in front of my face. ―Whoooops,‖ I heard a soft voice whisper, ―I guess I did it again.‖ ―What do you mean, whoops, Claudia Cloud?‖ rumbled the deep resonant voice of the mountain. ―You‘ve missed my peak by a good half a mile. You‘d better straighten up and improve your aim or you‘ll be taken off your route.‖ ―I‘m very sorry Mr. Mountain,‖ breathed the cloud. ―Well, you should be. It just so happened that I have a small brush fire down there on my right flank and it‘s beginning to start.‖ ―Oh dear, oh dear,‖ whispered the cloud. ―And to think I did this last week, too. You know, I really did mean to head for your peak and joyfully burst with streams of rain and all that, but somehow… I just bumped into my shoulder….Well….maybe, I can get a little momentum going and get back into the air. I‘ll try hard.‖ ―Sathya,‖ I called, ―come back down.‖ But he was frightened now and, of course, hadn‘t heard the cloud and mountain talking to each other. I knew that any minute the rain cloud would burst and it could be very dangerous on the very top. ―Puff, puff. Well, I‘ve saved most of he rain for the top, anyway,‖ whispered the cloud. ―Now, where is that fire?‖ ―Here it is, down here on the right ridge,…see,….it‘s turning pretty hot now. Ow! Some old man with a cooking stove. If only people understand that the earth suffers pain too, perhaps they‘d be more careful.‖ Finally, I caught up with Sathya right at the top of the mountain and, as we looked up, I could see the vast black cloud of rain coming down very fast towards us. ―Aum Sai Ram,‖ the cloud whispered. ―Aum…..‖ The cloud seemed to lightly touch the mountain peak in a brief kiss. ―Sai…‖ the rain began to fall almost like solid sheet of water, right over us. ―Ram…‖ It rumbled down the mountain, washing debris and rocks and mud down on all sides. ―I‘m scared, Frankie, Aum Sai Ram,‖ said little Sathya. ―Where to turn in the time of trouble? Sai Baba, please help us.‖ Then the mountain noticed us. ―Oh oh, there are two little boys on my peak. I hope they‘re smart enough to grab an eucalyptus sapling and hang on tight.‖ I saw a young tree sapling waving in the wind and grabbed it with one arm and Sathya with the other. The storm raged on. ―Aum Sai Ram, Aum Sai Ram,‖ whispered Sathya. His eyes were tightly closed and his chin trembled a little. No sooner had he said the magic name of Sai than the rain relented. It was as if a movie camera was showing everything in slow motion. Each rain drop suddenly turned into a glistering jewel of light. Thousands and thousands of tiny lights fell on the mountain turning it into an enchanting fairyland. The wind died down too, and he trees seemed to dance slowly in joy as the raindrops alighted on their leaves and branches. They sang ‗Sai Sai‘ in unison with the small birds and butterflies all around. Each tree seemed to be a form of the Lord, tall and strong in its orange robe of bark and its soft leafy crown of Sai Baba hair billowing in the wind. The rain drips called ‗Sai‘ as they fell into the shinning leaves, which answered with yet another joyful ‗Sai‘. Rivulets formed, echoing the precious Sai mantra and gurgled His name down the mountain sides. Sathya‘s little face was all peaceful now as he watched the transformation taking place. It was the peace which always comes with the sweet Sai name all around everywhere. I let go of the sapling and realized that the strong orange branches still held us securely in their arms. ―Our Father, Lord Sathya Sai, will never let us fall, Frankie,‖ Sathya Said. ―I know. You only have to call His name,‖ I said. The storm was over. The sun was shining through the trees, turning every raindrop into a crystal prism. Rainbows were dancing everywhere. ―Aum Sai Ram,‖ rumbled the mountain. ―I‘m glad the storm ended before the big meeting. At least, everything is still on schedule.‖ ―What meeting, Mr. Mountain?‖ I asked. ―Who are you talking to now, Frankie?‖ Sathya said. ―Who said anything about meeting?‖ ―The God meeting,‖ rumbled the mountain. ―Oh, the God meeting!‖ I exclaimed. ―God meeting, what God meeting?‖ piped up Sathya excitedly. Just then the sound of an automobile was heard and the white Mercedes, the Swamimobile, drove through the trees and stopped. The college boys, all dressed in gleaming white, followed close behind. When Swami saw me He pretended to be surprised. ―Frankie, who told you about this meeting?‖ Swami said, walking over to where we stood. ―This was supposed to be a well kept secret. If these meetings become known, My devotees would climb all over this mountain and have sin strokes.‖ ―The mountain said it, Swami,‖ I said. ―The mountain!‖ thundered the Lord. ―Oh no, Swami! I…I…I… I didn‘t know the lad could understand me…I…I…‖ And the mountain started trembling from top to bottom. It trembled and shook so hard that the rocks and large boulders were falling everywhere. Birds cried and animals darted from bushes in fright. ―Oh Swami, help! It‘s an earthquake,‖ yelled little Sathya, running to the lord, Who caught him in His arms and held him fast. ―Swami, please understand me,‖ blubbered the mountain. ―I didn‘t mean to tell the secret. Please forgive me.‖ ―Yes, yes,‖ said Swami sweetly. ―Only, quite now. You‘re frightening everyone.‖ ―You won‘t stop coming here, will You?‖ the mountain cried. ―You won‘t hold the God meeting somewhere else?‖ His sobs were beginning to subside. ―No, no, of course not. I will not disappoint you again.‖ ―Again,‖ repeated the mountain. ―You don‘t remember, but you are the Govardhan Mountain. As Narayana, I churned the ocean of bliss with you. And then, much later, as Rama, I disappointed you by not using you to build the bridge to Lanka. I used you to shelter the gopies from the rain when I was Krishna.‖ ―Really?‖ said the mountain in amazement. ―Then it is me they sing about at aarati.‖ ―Of course. And, besides, I have promised you My darshan as Sri Sathya Sai Baba.‖ ―The greatest of all God‘s Incarnations,‖ added the mountain. ―But now I am only Your obedient devotee, and I only want to do Your will. That is my highest duty.‖ ―Yes, yes. It is time,‖ pronounced the Lord of the Universe and, picking up the hem of His robe, He half walked, half glided over the ridge of the mountain. Sathya and I followed as best we could. And there, under a gigantic white cliff, was a stage carved out of marble and brightly lit from somewhere unseen. A velvety green lawn spread all around the cavern where the vehicles belonging to the gods were parked. There was Durga‘s tiger and Ganesha‘s mouse. There was Subrahmanya‘s peacock and Saraswathie‘s swan and Lakshmie‘s elephant and Garuda who is Vishnu‘s eagle. Shiva‘s bull, Nandi, was sleeping peacefully under a beautiful flame tree. Roses and jasmine were everywhere and, from the trees, we could hear heavenly music. At the entrance of the cavern were four highly carved golden columns and, standing as sentries, by each was a Sai Baba college boy, each with his arms folded and, much to my surprise, great white feathery wings spreading out from their shoulders and arching to the ground. Their light was so bright that I had to turn my head away. ―Sathya, it looks like His college boys are really great angels, doesn‘t it?‖ I said in a whisper. Suddenly I became a little frightened. ―We‘d better find our mothers,‖ I said, and we hurried down the mountain side. ―That was some adventure, Frankie, wasn‘t it?‖ said little Sathya when we were half down the slope. I stopped. ―I guess it didn‘t seem much like an adventure,‖ I complained, ―I always get padanamaskar in my adventures.‖ ―Well, why don‘t you take padanamaskar like my mother and I do in Ojai, Frankie?‖ he said. ―Like how?‖ I asked suspiciously. ―Well, first you sit down and close your eyes, like this.‖ ―Right,‖ I said doing the same. ―Okay. Then you find your heart and the eyes of your heart.‖ ―But the heart doesn‘t have any eyes, Sathya,‖ I said. ―Oh yes….You just have to find them and then you‘ll see that the sweet form of Sri Sathya Sai has been there all along and you can take padanamaskar as much as you want, because….well, because He‘ll never go away from your heart…because that‘s where He lives.‖ But little Sathya didn‘t have to tell me any more. I was gazing with the eyes of my heart at the precious golden toes and at the wondrous smiling face of our Lord…and I kissed the golden toes over and over again until…I heard Mother calling. ―Frankie! Frankie!‖ as we scurried down the mountain. And that was the end of our adventure. Aum Sai Ram, Frankie. GIRIDHARI MOUNTAIN GAME 1. Use four coins. 2. Each player throws coins and moves according to the number of heads shown. 3. Begin square 1. 4. Player who lands on 60 wins. 5. Squares with outlines have special instructions. Special Instructions: #9: Forgot to bless food—go back three places. #20: Got lost on the Fog Bank—go back to space #14. #26: Got lost again—go back to space #14. #27: Found shortcut to save Sathya—advance to space #33. #36: Slipped—fall to space #29. #39: Storm—lose turn. #41: Remembered mantra—go to space #44. #45: Darshan takes you to Mom #60—You win! #50: Slide down the mountain—unhurt, land in the river. DASSERA Lesson Plan 14 Objectives: Learn that Swami is our Mother. Quote: ―These nine days are to help us to understand the different aspects of nature.‖ Baba. Silent Sitting: Imagine that you are sitting in the Poornachandra in front of the Yagna and Swami comes out and stands in the middle. Songs: Sanskrit Bhajan: Jai Durga Lakshmi Saraswathi, Sai Jaganmata. English Song: Mother Sai. Poem: Once when in an angry mood I stamped my foot and was rather rude I hurt my mother to the core And said, ―I don‘t love you anymore.‖ That night before I went to bed I said the prayers I‘ve always said I looked at Swami‘s smiling face And said, ―Please Lord, give me Your Grace.‖ Imagine my complete surprise When I gazed into His eyes And found a tear had gathered there I realized then I‘d been unfair. I rose and made my way in haste Because my mind was Swami‘s face ―O Mummy please,‖ I began to say ―Forgive my angry words today.‖ He tells us when we cause pain to anyone It is the same as hurting Him Our sweet Lord Sai I believe, for I made Him cry. Discussion Questions: 1. Why is meditation tree an unusual tree? 2. Why do Hindus worship Lord Shiva and who is His consort? 3. Do you remember His son? 4. Describe Maha Durga. 5. What is a trishul? 6. Describe Maha Lakshmi. Who is Her consort? 7. Why did the devas do puja to each seed? 8. What did they do? 9. Do we have seeds in our heart? 10. Describe Maha Saraswathi? 11. What is ‗Pranava‘? 12. What is the real message of Dassera? Activities: 1. Swami says we should worship our mothers as God. Discuss the qualities of the three Goddesses and how your mother personifies them. 2. Role Play: Three Goddesses come to class. What would you do and how would you act? What questions would you ask them? 3. Draw a picture of your mother with eight arms and dress her in her prettiest dress. Place in her eight hands the things that she uses most. Books, if she teaches. A steering wheel, if she drives a lot. A dust-pan and broom, if she is a good housekeeper. A cookbook, etc. Don‘t forget her crown. 4. Read the three slokas to the three Goddesses. 6. Colour the illustration. 7. Visit a Catholic church and see Mother Mary. Discuss three different types of energy: Creative, Constructive and Destructive. How do you use these energies yourself? During the week, notice these energies. Notice how constructive action comes out of destruction (like throwing out trash or disciplining a pet so he won‘t hurt himself). DASSERA Dear Jake, How are you? I am fine. Well, it‘s the Dassera now and I‘m having more fun than usual. There are so many people that Sai Baba sent all the ‗Westerners‘ down to sleep at His mother‘s high school. I mean the high school He named after His mother, Easwaramma. It‘s about a quarter of a mile away but it‘s like being in the country. Of course, Puttaparthi isn‘t exactly a big city, anyway. But there are farms all round and lots of cows and donkeys and Gokulam is right next door. Sai Gita woke all the ladies early morning. Mother told me that ‗Gita‘ means song, and when Sai Gita calls out on her trumpet, everybody hears it. But I have to tell you about the big adventure I had. Mother and I have been sleeping on the roof of the high school. The stars are very very big and Mother tells me where the Big Dipper is and all that, and there are hills all around. It sure is pretty. Well, a couple of nights ago, I was sound asleep when I felt something pretty land on my shoulder. It was too big to be a mosquito. Then I realized it was my friend, Radha Wren. ―Frankie, Frankie,‖ she whispered, ―it‘s time to celebrate Dassera.‖ Well, to be honest, Dassera didn‘t mean much to me at midnight. ―Later, Radha,‖ I whispered back, ―it‘s the middle of the night.‖ ―Come on, Frankie, it‘s now or never. Don‘t you want another adventure?‖ That did it. ―Well, okay,‖ I said. ―First, you have to be small,‖ said Radha as she pecked me on top of my head. I shut my eyes and felt the world blowing up all around me like a great big balloon. Then it stopped and I opened my eyes, I was looking at a giant bird‘s toe as big as my head. ―Hey, wait a minute, Radha. I don‘t mind being small, but this is ridiculous.‖ ―No, Frankie, you are just the right size. You see, we‘re going to celebrate Dassera with the devas.‖ ―We are?‖ I said. ―What‘s a deva?‖ ―A deva is a little tiny spirit, a speck of divinity, you know, like a fairy. There are all kinds, but we are going to visit the nature devas tonight. So, climb on my back.‖ ―Okay,‖ Radha said, ―but it‘s a good thing I did my yoga asanas this morning or I‘d never make it.‖ She swung me up and into her back. ―Now, crawl under the feathers, Frankie, so you won‘t fall off this time.‖ I crawled through layer and layer of feathers until I reached the skin. I found that I was not alone. ―Take it easy, greasy, you‘ve got a long way to slide, Heh, heh.‖ It was some kind of insect talking to me. ―Hi, my name is Frankie.‖ ―Louis Louse is what they call me. How are you doing there Frank?‖ ―Okay, I guess. Do you …ah….live here on Radha?‖ ―Not a bad pad, right? I mean…I really lucked out with my lousy karma. I mean, really lousy….Ha ha ha ha. Sometimes Radha will tell all of us lice that she‘s going into the mandir and so we all line up to see Sri Sathya Sai Baba through the feathers.‖ ―You‘re a devotee?‖ I asked with surprise. ―Well, I wasn‘t when I was a person. All the girls called me a louse. I worked up and down Hollywood Boulevard, picking pockets and stuff. But when I get a chance, I‘m going to be a good devotee. What are you doing here, kid?‖ ―Oh, I‘m just catching a ride with Radha to celebrate Dassera with the devas.‖ I felt Radha make a smooth landing. ―I guess we‘re home,‖ I said. ―Well, so long, Louis, I‘ll see you later.‖ I climbed up trough the feathers. Radha said, ―You can‘t see much where you are, Frankie, because you‘re so small. We have flown over the hill and landed under this banyan which is called the Meditation Tree, or the ‗vata vriksha.‘ Sai Baba placed a metal plate under it that He materialized, and which has mystical powers. This is where the devas celebrate Dassera. This is their Poornachandra Hall. Everything they do is small, so they celebrate in three hours the festival which takes humans ten days. The first hour we will worship Durga, the Goddess of Protection; the second hour, Lakshmi, Goddess of Good Fortune, and then, the third hour, Saraswathi, Goddess of Wisdom.‖ We flew around the tree and landed at the bottom where there was a hole between the roots. I never saw such a sight. All round, everywhere, were little fairies just like in the pictures of Peter Pan. Mostly, they were pin points of light, or they would have looked that way if I‘d been my real size. But now, I could see that they were tiny little spirit beings with real arms, and legs, and faces, just like mine. And they had the most beautiful shimmering wings you ever saw, kind of like butterflies or the tails of tropical fish. Some had little flower hats, and the ladies, the devis, were wearing saris made of dried grasses and dyed all colours. The boy devas wore green trousers made of leaves and shirts to match. They were all singing and chanting and flying around, holding beautiful garlands. ―Let me introduce you to Chandra Devi,‖ Radha said. ―I‘m too big to go inside.‖ She approached one of the devis, ―Excuse me, have you seen Chandra Devi?‖ ―Oh yes,‖ said the little fairy in a tinkling voice, ―she‘s over there.‖ She pointed to a large cluster of the little light beings. ―Oh, Chandra!‖ The cluster of fairies parted and one of them stepped, or rather, darted out. She was dressed from head to toe in peach silk like the stuff cocoons are made of, and her whole being glowed with a pinkish light. Yet there was an impish quality about her face that made me think we were about the same age. ―Radha Wren. How are you, darling? And who is this with you? Why, he‘s really a little boy, isn‘t he?‖ ―This is Frankie, Chandra. I wanted him to be able to celebrate Dassera with you and so I used my powers to make him tiny.‖ ―How nice of you, darling, and here is he. Well, Frankie, I‘ll try to slow down so that you can keep up. Right now, we‘re celebrating the Goddess Durga who is Lord Shiva‘s consort. He is the God of destruction.‖ ―Why would anyone want to celebrate that?‖ I asked. ―Destruction is bad, isn‘t it?‖ ―No, Frankie, everything is God. You see, if nothing were ever destroyed, there would be no room for anything new. Let‘s go.‖ She took my hand and we flew down between the roots through a long tunnel, well lit by a procession of fairy devis, laughing and singing along the way. They held hands as they walked and flew, acting as strings of coloured lights. I realized that we were going deeper and deeper into the ground and it was getting warmer. We reached a vast cavern deep inside and under the roots of the tree. ―You see, Frankie, the old leaves of the tree fall to the ground year after year and are buried deeper and deeper until the heat of their weight makes them dissolve and give back to the ground their food and energy. This is fed back to the trees.‖ The nature devas were singing bhajans and doing their work. They would take great steaming hot bundles of decomposing leaves and fly around to the roots of the tree, packing the food mixture around the roots and the tiny hair on the roots so that it could be absorbed. Suddenly, all movement stopped, the devas seemed to pause in mid-air and deep hush fell over the scene. The steam from the hot leaves seemed to get thicker and more condensed and then, from the steam, a great huge tiger sprang out growling and making fierce noises. On his back was a beautiful lady with long black hair and a high golden crown. She had a sword in one hand and a three pronged spear in another. ―That‘s a trishul,‖ Chandra Devi said, ―like the one Lord Shiva carries.‖ Her sari was a golden brown velvet with a border of solid gold threads! ―Gosh,‖ I said, ―who‘s that?‖ ―Why, that‘s Maha Durga, of course,‖ said Chandra Devi. ―Isn‘t she beautiful?‖ her voice was filled with awe. The tiger moved around the great hall with the Goddess astride. The little devas shrank back but each seemed to know that no harm would come to them. Then the tiger crouched down and sprang up into the air and disappeared with his divine rider on his back. After she left, the devas began passing out laddoos, which were round and sweet, on great trays made of clove leaves. ―Can I eat this?‖ I asked Chandra Devi, showing her the laddoo a fairy had given me. ―Of course darling, it is prasad.‖ I knew that meant it was food that had been offered to God first and made pure. ―Come, it‘s time to pay homage to Lakshmi.‖ Just then I saw what looked like a moving walk-way, only it was painted red and blue and green and all colours. We jumped on and this thing took us up through the tunnel again and around the roots to another part of the tree, As we moved along, more and more of the devas jumped on until they were all on it. As the thing moved around a sharp curve, I saw that it was alive and ….smiling! ―That‘s an earthworm, you know, darling. They work very hard cultivating and preserving the earth so that the leaves can be absorbed and the plants can grow. Maha Lakshmi is the Goddess of good fortune and also of preservation because She is the consort of Lord Vishnu. ―What is a consort?‖ I asked. ―Oh, that means wife or husband, She is Vishnu‘s wife.‖ Just then, the music seemed to all blend together into an orchestra of beautiful sounds. Choirs of fairies rose together in clusters of pink and golden lights. ―Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Sai Jaganmata,‖ said Chandra Devi. ―What did you say?‖ I asked. ―Oh, that‘s a mantra which means that all the three Goddesses are really the same as our One Mother, Sri Sathya Sai Baba.‖ ―Where is Sai Baba?‖ I asked. ―He‘s here now, of course, because He‘s everywhere always, but just wait for a while.‖ A golden glow began to appear from the top of the cavern and spread downwards as the choir sang. The earthworm, spiraling with colours, drew itself into a coil and then…the Goddess Lakshmi appeared on the top, flanked by two lovely white elephants. She was dressed in a beautiful red silk sari and carried large pink lotuses. From one of her hands golden coins spilled in a constant stream and on either side were little white baby elephants holding garlands. The fragrance of jasmines filled the air. The Goddess blessed one and all. The little devas and devis bowed and touched their heads to the floor. ―What are they doing?‖ I asked. ―They are doing pranam to the Goddess.‖ The golden glow became brighter and brighter until the entire scene vanished into the mist. Afterwards the fairies, wearing tiny orange kerchiefs, began passing out acorn cups of sweet foamy mixture of amrita. We all sang bhajans and drank the delicious liquid. Then I noticed that the devas had set up various scenes all around, consisting of little dolls all dressed up like the stories from the great epics. The Pandavas were and Krishna, and Rama killing Ravana. ―We have saved the best for last,‖ Chandra Devi said with a twinkle in her eye. We flew around to another part of the tree and landed between the roots. In the middle of the cavern, surrounded by the tiny devas, was a great bundle of thousands of seeds, each the size of my head. Of course, I was the size of an ant, don‘t forget. The devas were flying around and singing. A group of them would pick up a seed and paint the word ―AUM‖ on it and then, after doing pranam, would fly out of the cavern with it in their arms. ―What are they doing?‖ I asked. ―They are doing puja to each seed before they plant it in the earth. They know that each seed is a magical spark of God and so they offer each back to the source of creation. This is how they celebrate creation. Each seed has this huge banyan tree inside, just as each heart has within it all of God‘s creation.‖ ―Correct, darling, and Sai Baba is all of creation.‖ The fairies were carrying out the seeds and doing puja when, all of a sudden, everything stopped. It was very quite for a moment and then there was a low rumbling sound, coming from deep inside the earth, getting louder and louder. Then the sound reached another level, higher and higher, and still another sound, lower and lower. Somehow, all at the same time expanding, expanding and continuing to expand. ―That‘s the pranava, the eternal AUM which is the sound of creation,‖ said Chandra Devi. ―Oh boy, I know about that. My Mother and I say that word before we get up every morning and before we eat.‖ The soft light which was all around everywhere seemed to come from the sound of AUM itself, and it became brighter and brighter until it took on the form of a beautiful lady all in silver and blue, with pearls and diamonds all over her hair and her sari. She was carrying a vina, which is a musical instrument, and a book, and she was riding a swan. ―She‘s going to read a book?‖ I asked in surprise. ―No, no, Frankie, those are the ancient Vedic scriptures. From them has come all knowledge. She is the Goddess of wisdom and music.‖ I never saw such a beautiful lady before. Her smile was so soft and full of love that it reminded me of Sai Baba. She glided down and stood for a moment on a platform. Then, she went around so that all the devas could have darshan. The music she played on her vina was so sweet that I didn‘t know whether I was hearing it or feeling it, as all of us were drawn towards the Goddess. All the little fairies seemed to be drunk with bliss from the music and from her presence and they gleefully darted and twisted around her. And then, from either side, appeared the other two Goddesses. Finally, all three stood together in all their splendour. They all beamed very sweetly down at the happy faces. Then a shower of orange blooms and jasmine seemed to come from above. The whole cavern was filled with their beautiful fragrance and I could hear heavenly music. The blossoms fell faster and faster and along with them appeared a pink smoke that smelled very sweet. Suddenly, it stopped and, when it all cleared, there was our beautiful Sai Baba. ―Jai Sai Ram, Jai Sai Ram,‖ each and every deva cried. ―Victory to Lord Sai!‖ The Lord stood very still and then, as He could see the devotion streaming from each tiny being, His face broke into a beautiful smile. He held out His arms and each little creature grew brighter and brighter and then darted towards Him, merging in His great white light. It was so dazzling that I had to close my eyes very tightly. I dropped to my knees and reached for the lotus feet. They were cool and silky. When I opened my eyes, we were under the meditation tree. I sat at His side. ―What did you learn about Dassera?‖ the Lord asked. ―Well, I liked the tiger the best,‖ I said, ―but I found out that the Goddess of creation is Saraswathi and that She is married to Brahma.‖ ―Yes, yes, but what did you find as a lesson for yourself?‖ the Lord asked again. ―I don‘t know what You mean,‖ I said, hesitating. ―It is this. You must worship the Universal Mother in your own mother. That is your first duty. Honour your mother as God, honour your father as God.‖ ―But, Sai Baba, I don‘t have a father anymore,‖ I said earnestly. ―Oh yes, I am your very own Father, Frankie.‖ And then the Lord of all the universe and the devas, too, reached down, put His arms around me and gave me a great big hug. And that was the very best thing in the whole world. Then the Lord said, ―Time to go home,‖ and the next thing I knew I was back on the roof and dawn was peeking over the hills all around. Mother was sitting on her mat in meditation. Boy, was I glad she hadn‘t noticed I was gone! I didn‘t ever want to worry her anymore. And that was the end of Dassera adventure. Aum Sai Ram, Frankie. SONG: SAY THE NAME This song is based on Sathya Sai Baba‘s teachings about repeating the Name of God. Hari: A name for Vishnu, the protector and preserver of all creation. Avatars are incarnations of Vishnu. OM (AUM): The basic sound from which all else comes. SAI RAM: A name for Sathya Sai Baba, meaning this Sai avatar is the same as the Ram avatar. Say the Holy Mantra: Om Namah Shivaya, Om Namo Bhagavathe Vasudevaya. Call on the Lord – OM SAI RAM.