Aged Avatar of the Age
"For most sessions, Bhagawan has been coming straight from His residence to the Mandir portico without taking a full darshan round. Using either the Porte or the Prius, Bhagawan alights near the interview room and walks inside. A few minutes before bhajans, He walks to the Bhajan Hall and sits on the throne there. Then He contines the Bhajan for around 45 minutes before taking Arati and leaving for His residence. Morning darshans have not had a fixed pattern: on Saturday Swami came at 8.45, on Sunday at 6.55 and did not come at all on Monday."
Having viewed video footage of the 80th Birthday celebrations I was surprised to note that, despite the ultra-high-tec look of the Baba's wheelchair, it is not an electric lever-powered model as you'd expect. This shows that, even when the Avatar of the Age has full technology at his disposal, he is still too lazy enough not to wheel himself around but insists on a couple of close and servile students nearby to push and pull him about, lifted into cars (yes, his new car is wheelchair-friendly!) and being taken down, and so on.
I have worked with people in wheelchairs, and the one thing that I am most amazed by is how they do their damndest to retain their independence and wheel themselves around as much as possible unless the situation calls for direct assistance. They have a sense of pride and do not like accepting help if it is not necessary, they do not like being mollycoddled. Although I accept that everybody has a different temperament, I am very surprised to see Sai Baba enjoying the servitude of his followers and accepting all of their assistance for the slightest of things almost as if nothing has happened.
Does he take letters these days? Yes he does, but mostly only the student's letters. And even then, he calls each student to come up and give their letters. The experience of darshan is obviously reduced due to the maneuverability (or not) of the non-motorised wheelchair. Add to that his increasing health problems and increased shivering that resemble the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease - we have an Aged Avatar of the Age on our hands.
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