Monday, 29 July 2013

A real 'God of small things'

The God of small things

“Why is Sathya Sai Baba God for you?”

This is a question that people are often asked when it is discovered that they have placed their faith in a contemporary ‘God’, a being who seems as human as any of them. The answers the issue forth range from a grateful silence to a verbose chatter where the devotee seems to credit everything in life to his/her ‘Swami’ (as Sri Sathya Sai Baba is called lovingly). For a ‘rational’ mind and heart that has not yet been touched by the divine alchemy, any answer seems incomplete. While the stories of cancers being healed miraculously raise interest and curiosity, the narratives of Swami’s hand in the day-to-day affairs of His devotees seem to just be brushed off as figments of the devout’s imagination.

But those little instances; those small things are what make Him the personal deity for millions. If I am allowed to modify the statement of Henry Royce, an English engineer who is believed to have said,
“Small things make perfection but perfection is no small thing”, I would say,
“Small things make Divinity but Divinity is no small thing.”

Mr. Royce sure knew what he was talking about. He went on to become the co-founder of the Rolls-Royce company along with Charles Stewart Rolls. I sure know what I am talking about because I have met at least a hundred people who have their faith firmly entrenched in God and in Swami as their god because of the small things He does for them. These acts might mean nothing for the world but they mean the world to the people who experience them!

Henry Royce and his 'perfection' - the 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom
This conviction of mine got added strength when good fortune made my path cross that of Mrs. Poongody Ratnam from Canada (originally a native of Sri Lanka). She is a regular reader of my blogs and, out of motherly affection, took time out to visit me at my workplace, Radiosai studios. It was captivating to listen to her narrative of how Baba was and is her God because of the small things He did and continues to do for her.

Strength to brave a tsunami

The 26th of December, 2004 saw a major disaster strike several nations lying on the Indian ocean. The tsunami that hit the Sumatra-Andaman region was of such historic proportions that, as far as I remember, it was for the first time in my life that I heard the word ‘tsunami’! Though the ocean waves from the earthquake did not directly affect Mrs.Ratnam’s family house in Sri Lanka, the havoc wreaked all around was sufficient to cause a massive heart attack to her father.

It was at her home in Canada that she received the news of her father’s passing away. She was halfway across the globe and it was near impossible for her to be at her home in Sri Lanka for the funeral ceremony. But suddenly, she had a wishful thought.

Mrs.Poongody Ratnam at Prasanthi Nilayam
July 2013
She regularly sent greeting cards to her father, and that too ones which she procured specially from Prasanthi NIlayam, bearing Swami’s picture and message on it. Since these cards had Swami on them, her father had preserved each and every one she had sent. She had sent a card on the 23rd of December, just 3 days before. Since it usually took the mailman at least 15-20 days for delivery, there was no way that the card had reached its destination.
“If only the card reaches my father, it could be given to him. That would be like an assurance that Swami is ‘traveling’ with him. That would also give me solace because, as a daughter, am not physically there for the ceremony.”
That was her wishful thought.

Since she had not used a courier service, there was no way to track the card or hurry it to its recipient. Mrs. Ratnam did the only thing she knew for such times - she prayed to her Swami,
“Swami, please reach in time for my father’s ‘journey’. And let me know that you have reached via this card!”
We not only pray to God to grant our desires, but also pray for the desires to be granted in a way want!

What happened was simply unbelievable according to her.
“Just as the ceremonies were completed and the coffin was being moved out of the home for the funeral, the mailman arrived at the door in Sri Lanka! He had just one post for that address that day - it was my card... Swami’s card rather! The card was placed beside my father before the final cremation rites.”

That ‘small’ act by Swami, gave her the strength to bear the force of the emotional tsunami that hit her when she lost her father. She knew, he was ‘safe, happy and peaceful with Swami’.

The mother’s journey

The 27th of April, 2013 saw Mrs.Ratnam facing another emotional storm in Canada as her beloved mother in Sri Lanka breathed her last. Once again, she was not in a position to make it for the final ceremonies. In fact, she told me that she was on her way to her ancestral home in Sri Lanka having had the darshan of her Lord at Puttaparthi.

“Whenever I travel, it is only to India, to Puttaparthi and to my parent’s place. I am at home at these places and that is why I always wish to be here. Few months before, when my mother passed away, I could not travel to Sri Lanka. I felt very bad about it.”
Once again, she just prayed to her God.
“Swami, you showed me that you are with my father. In some way, you have to show me that you are with my mother too. You must.”
This time, she gave freedom to Swami regarding the way to show the same!

Nothing happened for a week after the funeral but she held on. Her prayers did not cease, nor did her determination. On the morning of the 5th of May, she had a dream.

In the dream, she walked into her ancestral home and saw her mother lying down on a platform. She was ‘dying’. Then, before her eyes, her mother’s body vanished and it was Swami lying down there. He spoke to her and though she was seeing Swami, she was hearing her mother. Swami said,
“I have completed all my duties. I am happy and satisfied. I feel free and am ready to go.”
“Yes Swami”, she said because she was seeing Swami in her mother’s place.
Then, her mother told a strange thing. She pointed out to a bell in a temple and said,
“That is broken. Replace it.”
The dream concluded with that.

When Mrs.Ratnam woke up, she contacted her sister in Sri Lanka. She knew that her mother always worshipped the ‘Mother’ aspect of God in the nearby temple of a local goddess. She wanted her sister to go to the temple and see the bell in there. Though intrigued by this request, the sister did as she was asked nevertheless. She visited the temple and then called up her sister in Canada.

Mrs. Poon Ratnam just had tears in her eyes as she heard her sister say,
“I visited the temple. There is indeed a bell where you said it would be. It is broken.”

A broken bell at the temple indeed did ring bells for Mrs. Ratnam
She managed to say,
“Please tell the concerned people there that I would be grateful for the opportunity to replace the bell.”

She had purchased a special brass bell from India and when she met me, she told that she would be taking it to that temple in Sri Lanka.

Thanking the God of small things for the small things

Well, replacing a bell in a small temple tucked away in a corner of Sri Lanka may not mean anything at all to the world. It definitely means a world to Mrs.Poon Ratnam. She did not stop with these incidents. She went on to narrate a few more. I too can go on writing about them.

However, that is not the intention of the post. The intention was to provoke in each and every one of us, memories of the many times when God showed that He was always there, taking care of us and loving us. Did we express our gratitude to Him/Her on all those occasions? If we start expressing our gratitude to God for every small thing that we are blessed with, will we ever have time in this life to complain? These ‘small things’ stand in good stead in our lives when we are faced with tough times. It will do us good to remember these ‘small things’ during the hard times.

After all, life is always made up of ups and downs. If it was a flat line, any doctor would call that as ‘death’ and not ‘life’! 

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  1. Sairam Arvind..Thanks for the reminder that we should remember to thank Him for every blessing in our lives...made a good are one such blessing:):):)who reaches us each day with HIStory to make our day...Sairam

    Sarala Jagannathan

    1. Thank you for your very loving comment. :) I know that your love for Swami expresses itself in this manner.

      It makes my day too to pen these down and also when people write back! :)

  2. thanks Aravind for this timely reminder of the grace Swami constantly bestow on us . It takes a daily wareness plus appreciation . This proves they are not figments of our imagination . His love and blessings are with us as HE promised !

    1. Definitely not figments of imagination! :)

      He being there always is the Truth.

  3. As rightly said by you the min we start to thank God for the small and beautiful things he has blessed us with it puts a full stop to all our complaints.And thankfulness indeed makes our heart filled with love and gratitude.Thanks Aravind for a thoughtful reminder...

    1. Gratitude is a very powerful prayer in itself. :)
      If one has gratitude, no prayer is necessary at all... Like attracts like and the gratitude itself will bring in more reasons to be grateful in life for!

  4. Yes, we should always see God in little things in our everyday life. This will make us thank Him for everything and also remind us not to take anything for granted. This does make life more beautiful. You are indeed a blessing in the lives of many like me, Aravind, for you constantly write about Swami and make us ruminate upon many things and thank Him. May Swami always shower His love and grace profusely upon you and your family. :)

  5. Again a reminder that He listens. And He alone listens. These are never small things. I have firm belief that He is the guide in everyone's life.

    Thanks bro, again.

    1. You are welcome bro... Wonderful belief for you to keep up...

  6. Sairam Arvind. A similar postcard incident happened to me too in 2005. During my 1st visit to Puttaparthi in Dec 2004, I had sent a postcard with Swami's picture to my home in Kerala so that it would reach on New Year's day 2005. After i returned home, still the card had not reached. Around 2nd or 3rd week of January, i was sitting along my study table. I was suddenly lost in thoughts of Puttaparthi and Swami. I prayed to Swami, "if You have heard this Prayer of mine, answer it immediately". And the next second, postman rings the bell and the same card is delivered to me.
    Very nice blogs Arvind. Swami is speaking through His messengers like you and Nitin Acharya sir for all His children.

    1. That is indeed a very similar incident - the only difference being that in your case a mail was delayed instead of being sped up. Whether delayed or sped, it is all His working, will and grace.

  7. Sairam. I would like to share something very nice I have come across
    "If God brings you to it, He will bring you thru it
    Happy moments, praise God, Difficult moments, seek God
    Quiet moments, worship God, Painful moments, trust God
    Sairam, We owe a big THANKS to you for bringing out such wonderful eye openers. May our Swami bless you & your family profusely for all the wonderful job you are doing. Pls keep up the good work!
    Ironically, I was one of the judges for the BV Talent Search competition held yesterday and the topic was "Why do we pray to God?'

    1. Thank you Sudha.... That is a really beautiful quote that you have shared....
      Thank you for your prayers and good wishes... Those play an important role in keeping me going.

  8. What a potent reminder Sairam Bro Aravind !!
    We need to thank God for everything, also very grateful to Swami for your presence in our lives through these loving blogs on Swami:love walking on two feet..
    Sairam, you are indeed an instrument of love and a channel of peace in HIS Hands...
    Many thanks,
    Loving Sairams to you n family

  9. Sairam aravind,reminds us to be ever grateful to our ever present lord:)n also very thankful from me n my mother's behalf for being a link to Swami...God of All things,big or small:-)bless U!

  10. SaiRam! Yes! It surely is the small things of our daily life that affect us and THAT is when Swami takes care of us, whether one asks for it or not! I offer my gratitude at the lotus feet of our beloved Swami.

  11. Sai Ram.. Very well said! The joy that Swami gives in these multitude of small things is enough to sail us thru' a few big things...

  12. Sai Ram brother Aravind Sai.... I have just started to read your blog recently and after every post I am definitely with tears of happiness... Thank you brother for doing this great service... Wish I could meet you when I am over to Parthi... Jai Sai Ram...

    1. Sairam brother. :)

      Glad that you are enjoying it... More than a service, I am doing it as my sadhana and so, am also benefitting.

      You can come over to Radiosai studio in Parthi and we can meet

  13. Sairam brother.... I really liked the way you said "sadhana" wonderful.... By Swami's grace, I am coming to the abode of peace (Parthi) on 5th March afternoon and would be there till 8th March... will definitely come over there to meet you... let me know your convenient time... Jai Sai Ram...


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