My Visit to Sangli
ll Hari Om ll
I am just back from a whirlwind tour of centres in Sangli and the adjoining regions. The visit was essentially a precursor to Bapu’s visit to Sangli scheduled for April 2013, and intended of course to take stock of the level of preparedness of our various upasana centres which are coming together to organize yet another historic event but also along side to understand their problems and concerns, if any and to fine tune their focus on the preparations if required.
We were in the midst of planning Bapu’s visit to Jalgaon. It was the year 2011. Around the same time volunteers from Sangli had come to meet me at Happy Home with a request that Bapu visit Sangli. As I was talking to them, all of a sudden Bapu entered my office and joined us. The volunteers from Sangli were absolutely thrilled! They could now put their request directly to Bapu To their astonishment and joy Bapu readily agreed to visit Sangli and also a few other adjoining places.
Enthused and delighted with this, the volunteers of Sangli set about their preparations for Bapu’s tour. They conducted more than 1600 Gunasankirtans across Sangli and its adjoining areas. Finally Bapu’s tour was planned for April 2013. My visit to the Sangli region last week was mainly to oversee the preparations of the visit.
I had a team of 8 volunteers along with me during my visit. The team with me had volunteers from our CEO office, CCCC and AADM which would be jointly involved in planning the tour in co-ordination with the local volunteers of Sangli and adjoining Upasana Centres.
We left Mumbai in the early hours of 23rd February 2013. While on our way we had a working breakfast which saved a lot of our time. On our way to Sangli our first halt was Satara that we reached at around 12:45 pm in the afternoon on the same day. Here I met volunteers from 7 authorized Upasana Centres including Satara, Wai, Phaltan, etc. More than 300 bhaktas had participated in this meeting. A CD of narrations of blessed moments (anubhavs) was played and then I addressed the gathering of bhaktas and also interacted with all of them.
On the journey that followed, we halted at Kadegaon which is a quasi-authorized Upasana Centre (Prayogik Upasana Centre). We reached here at around 5:45 pmin the evening. A total of 450-500 bhaktas from across 5 authorized and 16 quasi-authorized Upasana Centres had participated in this meeting. These centres included among others, Karad, Patan and Malharpeth. All of these Upasana Centres were from rural areas and the bhaktas had just poured-in from so many villages in the region. Here again we followed the same programme which additionally also included Satsang.
Finally we reached Sangli at night, where we stayed during this tour. The dinner was organized at a small eatery in the town where I had food with the volunteers who were present there. The food was also quite tasty. I did enjoy it but what I enjoy above all is interacting with our ground volunteers. That is always a delight for me. After the dinner we had a small meeting at the hotel where we were put up with volunteers of Sangli.
On the following day i.e. Sunday 24th February, we went to Miraj. Here again the CD of narrations of blessed moments (anubhav) was played right in the beginning and then I addressed a sea of the bhaktas who had come from 34 authorized and 30 quasi-authorized centres which included Gadhinglaj, Ichalkaranji, Pandharpur, Peth Vadgaon and many others. During my address I spoke about various facets of Bapu’s personality. After my address I also did a personal interaction with bhaktas during this meeting. We discussed the best practices to be adopted for conducting activities of the Upasana Centres, the aspects which have to be taken into consideration while conducting Gunasankirtan and of course the plan for Bapu’s visit to Sangli. The session lasted a good 3-4 hours.
After this session we returned to Sangli. In the evening we had organized meeting with some of the eminent people of the area which included legislators, doctors, professors, office bearers of local organizations, etc. We ended another busy day with personal interaction with Sangli bhaktas which was followed by Satsang and dinner at the Upasana Centre along with the bhaktas.