Wednesday, 14 August 2013

God's Masterplan works subtly and silently for each of us (Part 2 of 4 of my career story)

This is Part 2 of the story of how Bhagawan Baba helped me make my career choice. If you have arrived straight here, please take a few minutes to read the first part to ensure continuity and better understanding. Part 1 is posted here.


When the Lord decides...


The Lord’s ways of working are indeed mysterious. Of course, there are times when He performs a miracle and gets things done. However, a miracle, by definition, goes against the ‘laws of the Universe’, the laws that He Himself created! Now since He created the laws, God definitely transcends the laws. But still, most of the times, He works well within the framework of these laws in a subtle manner. Thus, not only does He achieve what He has decided, He also sets an example to the world about right action. When the Lord decides on something, the whole universe conspires and begins to work in a manner to achieve it. And that is exactly what I saw happening in my life too as far as my career and living with Swami, in Puttaparthi were concerned.


And to show the mysterious and subtle workings, I would have to narrate some normal, everyday events that eventually added up in an unimaginable manner.


It was early in the year 2007. The year would mark the Golden Jubilee year of the monthly magazine started by Swami (that is how I address Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) in 1958, Sanathana Sarathi. Plans were afoot for making a commemorative video for the occasion. Swami, on His part, showed great interest in the video and so, it became imperative to get it ready ASAP. Sai Prakash CG, who currently works at Radiosai Global Harmony was roped in to edit the video and get it ready for Swami’s viewing. He worked overtime on the project, throughout the night and got the video ready in 24 hours! (Only God can inspire such dedication I feel!)


Having completed the video, he showed it to the seniors and elders who were very happy with the work. As he planned to go and crash on the bed for some well-deserved sleep, he got a piece of news that made all sleep fly away. He was asked to present himself at Swami’s residence to be there when the video would be shown to Swami! What a piece of fortune!


Swami saw the whole video and was very happy with the effort.
“Who made this video?” was the question.
Sai Prakash was pushed to the front. Swami smiled at him and blessed him. At that time, Sri Chakravarthi, then the secretary of the Central Trust, said,
“Swami, there are a few students working at Radiosai. They want to induct a few more students so that they can do more work.”
At this point, Swami looked at Sai Prakash and told him,
“This is a kind of job which everyone cannot do. I want you to look out for someone, who in your opinion, is suitable for the job. Come and tell me your choice(s) and I shall appoint him/them.”
Sai Prakash was pleasantly surprised. He wanted to ensure that he heard right and sleep-deprivation was not making him imagine things. Sai was prodded him to do the ‘HR’ job for Radiosai! He just nodded. Swami repeated what He said. He was dead serious.


The ‘exam’ time which proved to be a testing time


There was barely a month left before the final examinations would begin. There was lots to study. However, my concern was not about the exams but about what would happen to me after I completed the MBA. My heart was decided that it would not be happy anywhere else. But my mind kept telling me,
“If you have to become a waiting boy after studies, what will you do? Instead of using your talents and skills to help Swami, will you simply allow them to waste?”


I knew that my mind was misguiding me. But the mind is very powerful when it starts taunting and creating fear. When it starts doing like this, it becomes like a rabid dog which will first growl at you, then bark before finally pouncing on you unless you show it who’s the master. And the master for this D-O-G is none but G-O-D. Thus, I started praying,
“Swami, you know my heart. You know I want to be here. But I cannot get a job here unless you give me one. I know you will not give me the job till the correct time comes but I fear that I may not have the patience to wait. Please do something.”


I pleaded from the bottom of my heart. I even told my mother,
“Mom! Please pray for me. I do not want to be a waiting boy because I lack patience. I am scared that my mind will overpower me and convince me to go away if I am made to wait. I am scared. So please, pray for me.”


I tried to reason out to myself,
“Don’t worry. If you have to wait for a few months, it’s no big deal.”
Immediately, another half of me protested,
“No way! Once I change from a student to an alumnus, I will lose all the ‘privileges’ that I have got accustomed to in the last 9 years. No more photography - unless you become a staff member. Will you be able to take that revoking of privileges?”


Tears streamed down my cheeks. I felt that I would not be able to take it. I could not imagine a day without photographing Swami. I wondered how Swami could do this to me - separating me from my camera and shooting Him? I just kept my fingers crossed.


The different pieces come together


One day, as I was walking back from class, Rangarajan sir, my teacher (currently the Controller of Examinations for the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning), accosted me. He said,
“Aravind, Prof.G.V (referring to G. Venkatraman, director at Radiosai) says that he wants to recruit some students. He is interested in recruiting you and asked me to speak to you about it. Would you be interested?”


The reader must be imagining that I dived at this opportunity that presented itself; that I told Rangarajan sir how grateful I was; that I told him how I pined to be with Swami all my life. Well, that is exactly what I did!


However, I did mention to him one small worry that cropped up in my heart. I always wanted Swami to give me a job. I wanted to tell all my life,
“I am was and am employed by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.”
I was hesitating to give that ‘employer’ status to Prof.G.V! When I expressed this to Rangarajan sir, he laughed and said,
“You talk as if Prof.G.V is going to appoint you tomorrow itself. It is not that easy. The professor cannot take you like that. He will definitely tell Swami and if Swami is happy with that, Swami will tell you.”


That satisfied me. Even if Prof.G.V wanted me, Swami would have to tell me to join the job. That would make Him my employer! (Swami is the employer always, irrespective of where people work in the world! However, in my childishness, I entertained these thoughts.) But again, that nagging worry came because it was not a surety that Swami would accept me!


The next day, I was told that I had a visitor for me in the hostel. It was a certain Sai Prakash from Radiosai I was told. He wanted to meet three of us from the final year post-graduate class. I got a feeling that something was moving along now. When I went to him, he spoke at length about the aims, goals and vision of Radiosai. He also spoke of his confidence in me being the right person to be employed at Radiosai. It was simply thrilling though I had no idea of the commandment which Swami had given him. Often, that is how Swami works in our lives - silently and efficiently. The evening soon grew late but we continued speaking. I was so eager and excited about being a part of Radiosai and spread Swami’s love in the digital dimension.


A shooting star streaked across the skies as
we finished the discussion. 
Even as we completed the discussion, a shooting star cut across the skies. I was aware of the practice of wishing upon a shooting star. Legend has it that wishing upon a shooting star makes the wish come true. Coincidentally, I had made my wish!
“Swami, I want to be with you forever.”
For a moment I felt disappointed that my wish had not been,
“Swami, I want a job in Radiosai.”
Immediately, I remembered the first time ever that I had spoken in Swami’s presence in 1997. Then too, instead of asking for admission in His school, I had asked Him the same thing,
“Swami, please keep me with you throughout my life...”
Though that was not foremost in my mind, that prayer was the basis for me wanting admission in His school and me wanting a job in Radiosai. The realization immediately made me feel so good and I thanked the shooting star for its appropriate appearance.


A note on the shooting star


Please forgive my little detour here. It is imperative that I do this because there is a beautiful message to be conveyed.


I have often wondered at the logic or wisdom behind the legend of wishing upon a shooting star. Googling for the same, one comes across many reasons and causes for the legend. However, my heart gave me an answer and I feel that is the Truth!


Wishing on shooting stars is actually somewhat of a challenge, since they disappear almost as soon as one sees them. Then, how is it possible for one to ensure that one is able the wish when the shooting star streaks across the skies? Simple! Keep making that wish every time - while eating, while playing, while praying, while working... even while sleeping. Even one’s dreams must be about one’s wish. Then, the timing of the shooting star does not matter. Whenever it comes, the wish will be made!
I feel that the legend of wishing upon the shooting star carries the message that the innermost desire of our hearts always finds fruition. It also inspires us to wish for the ‘most valuable’ because it is simply not possible to wish for more than one thing in this manner! It reminds me of another similar example that Swami often gives in His discourses. He says that the thoughts that one entertains during the last moments of life determines the next birth.


“If anyone thinks of God on the deathbed, one is assured of the ultimate - moksha.”
In fact, this is the message of the story of Ajamila too as mentioned in the sacred texts, the Puranas.


On the surface, that appears so simple. But the catch lies in the fact that unless one has thought of God throughout one’s life, one will not be able to think of God at the last moment of one’s life! A hundred other thoughts will come flooding the mind. Swami tells the story of a man who named his four sons after different gods because he felt that when he was dying, he would call out to his sons. That is exactly what happened. As he was dying, he called out,
“Rama, Krishna, Narayana, Shiva...”
All the four promptly rush to him. Seeing all the four of them together, he shouts,
“Fools! If all four of you come to me, who will take care of the shop??”
And the man died!
So, thinking of God while dying instead of one’s attachments is very difficult indeed. Unless, one has practiced.


A simple experiment  here-
As I go to bed at night, I try to think only of God. But is it possible for me to isolate only thoughts of God from everything else? If I am not able to do so while going to sleep, what is the surety that I will be able to do it when I am about to die? I get to sleep every night but I will die in this body only once! Is it not important to practice?


Surely a lot of food for thought there. And with that, I complete the little detour.


A step closer to the dream


It was the 28th of March, 2007. Only two more exams remained for me to complete and be done with my formal education. That was when, I had another summon. The three of us with whom Sai Prakash had spoken to were told that Sri Chakravarthi, then the secretary of the Central Trust, wanted to speak to us. It had to be something very important otherwise he would not be calling us a day before the final exams.


When we met him, he asked us whether we REALLY wanted to work in Swami’s institutions. My heart leapt in joy. I could not believe my ears. At the same time, I was thinking,
“I don’t want Sri Chakravarthi to give me a job! I want Swami to give it to me!”
He immediately cleared that doubt.
“I am not here to offer a job. However, let me tell you that working for Swami is not easy. There will be no Saturdays or Sundays. There will be no summer vacation or winter vacation. You will have to sacrifice all your other ambitions. It will be work, work and more work.”


He went on with this rhetoric for the next ten minutes. I would not be dissuaded by that! If it were true, why on earth did Sri Chakravarthi himself choose to give up a lucrative career in the Indian Administrative Service and stay to work for Swami? I knew there was something that he was not saying. While I was lost in these thoughts, he completed his rhetoric and then asked a question,
“Now, do you still want to work for Swami?”
“Of course sir. I know all that you have said. I have considered them and then only made my decision because being with Swami is more than sufficient compensation.”
He smiled.
“Working for Swami is not easy. But it is the most fulfilling thing in the universe - you can be assured about that.”
He got up and left. The meeting was over. We could now go back to our studies.


In the eyes of the world, it appears as though people have sacrificed a lot to be with Swami. But ask the same question of those very people and they will say that they have sacrificed nothing. That is the Truth. I too had thought that I would be sacrificing so many things to be with Swami. Today, I can confidently say that I have sacrificed nothing. I just decided to stay with Swami and everything has been conferred upon me. I am completely convinced that if one decides to choose God, everything else automatically comes along (unless the choice is done with the view of getting everything else by choosing God).

The three of us returned to the hostel feeling that surely something was brewing in God’s cauldron. And we couldn't just wait to finish our exams and find out what it was.

Proceed to the 3rd part:

How God changed my disappointment into appointment


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4 comments:


  1. Sairam Aravind,

    Began the day with your article on Swami.

    Once again you have made us wait....:-)

    Thanks for adding me to the mailing list

    Manoj

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautifully written Aravind!!! :) I could absolutely relate to what you wrote in the foll. lines. In fact, 'like a rabid dog which will first growl at you, then bark before finally pouncing on you unless you show it who’s the master" made me laugh but then as I proceeded I felt you are just echoing many of my thoughts.

    "But the mind is very powerful when it starts taunting and creating fear. When it starts doing like this, it becomes like a rabid dog which will first growl at you, then bark before finally pouncing on you unless you show it who’s the master. And the master for this D-O-G is none but G-O-D. Thus, I started praying, “Swami, you know my heart. You know I want to be here. But I cannot get a job here unless you give me one. I know you will not give me the job till the correct time comes but I fear that I may not have the patience to wait. Please do something."

    The following lines also just resonated with my thought. I have been thinking on exactly these lines. It's amazing how Swami keeps showing me He's with me all the time.

    "I just decided to stay with Swami and everything has been conferred upon me. I am completely convinced that if one decides to choose God, everything else automatically comes along (unless the choice is done with the view of getting everything else by choosing God)."

    Waiting eagerly for the next part.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful article Aravind .... the photo of Swami in black & white above is a source of great joy for me .... it was around 1975 that this photo has been placed in my hall since then ..... and whenever I look to Him in that photo..... I feel fully contented ..... Though we had received the original photo in black and white we got it colored through a professional then - Sai Datta from Mumbai

    Deepak Bharwani

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  4. There is always something in God's hopper! Glad it all worked out for you. Just wondering how you feel now that the physical form is no longer in Puttaparthi. Any regrets? Are you still as happy, Aravind? Sai Bless!

    ReplyDelete

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