Friday, 27 September 2013

God's pining for the devotee - story of Meerabai and Sathya Sai

(This is concluding part of an ongoing story. Please read this after you have read the part 1 entitled - Love between Meerabai and the Lord- from source and not by force.
Thank you)

Swami and Koustubh in a conversation in Kodaikanal in the
summer of 2007.
Kodaikanal Trip 2007 - Koustubh realizes his aspiration


Koustubh’s story at Kodaikanal in 2007 was little different from what it had been in 2006. As it had happened on the previous trip, this time too, Swami (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) kept asking him to sing the Meera Bhajan, Darshan Deejo Aao, on a regular basis. And every time he sang, he longed to imbibe the love and devotion of Meerabai. That somehow, never seemed to be happening till a climactic day.


The evening bhajans had concluded and Swami was sitting with all the students in the small hall. This was the daily private session before dinner. He looked at Koustubh and told him to sing the Meera bhajan and Koustubh began. He closed his eyes and began to sing out the initial notes - Krishna... Krishna... These were the notes of Meera’s longing and pining and he tried to put in his best feelings and emotions as he sang them. Within, he felt as if Swami was gazing at him intently.


He opened his eyes and saw that Swami was indeed looking deeply into him. Their eyes met and Koustubh realized what he had been missing all this while. While his physical eyes had been closed and therefore blind to Swami’s gaze, his inner eye had been blind to the great love and longing that Swami had for him! In an instant, Koustubh realized that the Lord’s pining for His devotee was as intense if not greater than the devotee’s pining for Him. And here was his beloved Swami, looking with all love and pining, deep into his eyes. That was enough!


That was enough to well up tears in Koustubh’s eyes. Out of the blue, an eternal spring of love and pining sprouted in his heart. Once the devotee realizes how the Lord pines for him, reciprocal pining is spontaneous and instantaneous. The South Pole of a magnet is attracted to the North Pole of the magnet because the North Pole is attracted to the South Pole with equal intensity right? Such is the spontaneity of the ‘pining’ between the poles that one cannot say which is longing for the other.


As tears flowed down his cheeks, his vision became blurry. His voice choked and he was unable to sing. But he continued because his Swami was listening. As he wiped his tears what did he see? There were tears flowing down the Lord’s cheeks too! Those blobs of divine liquid were falling onto the robe and blotting it. That brought a fresh burst of tears from Koustubh’s eyes and those in turn did the same to Swami’s eyes. Would this beautiful leela end? Koustubh didn’t want it to for, in those few moments, he had realized the ONLY thing in life worth crying for and pining for. And when he was at the heights of his pining and crying for that absolute, he didn’t want things to come to an end. Swami was the first to wipe away His tears. He looked at one of the elders and said,
“Get me that gold-plated watch from inside. If I don’t give this boy something, he will not stop crying.”


Immediately, there was laughter. Koustubh stopped his song and his tears. Swami gifted him that  beautiful golden watch. Though he got the watch, the moment of great joy, blessing and divine peace when his gaze had met the Lord was over.

The Lord is as close to the devotee as the devotee is close to the Lord.
Logical right?
The Lord’s leela


In that single act, Swami had delivered another profound yet subtle message. A “golden watch” had stopped Koustubh’s tears for the Lord. When one is crying and pining for the Lord, the Lord gifts many a ‘golden watch’. We know that ‘golden watch’ by different names - wealth, relationship, career, fame. We often stop ‘crying’ for the Lord when that is given. Koustubh realized that in his life, he should never stop pining and crying for the Lord. He should never be satisfied with anything less than the ultimate blessing - the Lord Himself. Then only would he have become a devotee with the pining of Meerabai.


On His part, the Lord does this like the Divine Mother. When the infant is crying, the mother offers it toys and trinkets. The baby stops its crying and the mother continues with her work. It is only when the infant cries persistently, refusing to be placated by any toy or trinket that the mother stops whatever she is doing and picking up the baby, places it at her bosom. I felt inspired to be a ‘cry baby’ in that manner and always ‘cry Baba’.


Meerabai’s place in Sai’s heart


As stated earlier, almost on a daily basis, Swami heard Meera bhajans during the 2007 Kodaikanal trip. So, when He gave Rs.500/- to each of the students and told them to go shopping, one of them decided to buy a small Meerabai idol as a gift for Swami. The idol was small and cute and the boy was sure that Swami would like it.


Swami gifted the students with a session where He would examine what each of them had purchased. It is not as if He is interested in sundry shopping but He uses every opportunity to give chances of Divine interaction. At the end of half and hour, after all the boys had shown their purchases to Swami, Sai Giridhar went to Swami with the Meerabai idol. He showed it to Swami and Swami placed a hand on the idol. He then said,
“It is nice. Keep it.”
Giridhar clarified,
“Swami, this is a gift for you - Meerabai. Please keep it with you...”
Swami smiled and returned the idol. He then made a statement which I am sure enthralled the soul of Meerabai. Swami said,
Idi verum bomma ra, Meerabai naalone undi.” (This is only an idol. Meerabai is in me. She is not separate from me.)
There was a silence after that and everyone could only marvel at the saint’s devotion to her Lord.

Sai Giridhar shows the idol of Meerabai to Swami in Kodaikanal. 
The Meerabai drama


Swami’s penchant for Meera bhajans kept growing as days passed by and that was a great blessing for Koustubh. He kept singing the song Darshan Deejo Aao very regularly. The other members of MTV (Meera TV) also got many chances to sing for their Lord. Since Meerabai seemed to make Swami so happy, the students made sure that each and every programme they put up for Swami had at least one Meera bhajan in it. The same line of thinking inspired the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School to put up an entire drama on the life of Meerabai.


The drama was scheduled for January 2008 and Sri Ram Mohan Rao, my wonderful English teacher from school, called me on my cellphone,
“Aravind... I am calling you because I need a favour.”
“I would be happy to do anything for you sir.”
“Our school students are putting up a drama. Would you mind going through the script and help in directing it?”


Soon, I was neck-deep in the drama which had been titled “Bhakt Meera”.


Going through the script, I realized that though the drama had some Meera bhajans in it, the song, “Darshan Deejo Aao”, about which Swami had spoken so much in Trayee Brindavan, was not present!  I immediately suggested that the song be included. Since it was a long scene, the screenplay had to be created. No points for guessing what I did! I opened my diary and went through the description that Swami had given about Meerabai’s pining. We planned a screenplay together. It was just as Swami had narrated with Meerabai banging her head at the threshold of the sanctum sanctorum during the climax of the song.


The scene was coming out well. The next question was - Who would sing that song? I immediately suggested that it should be Koustubh. But how could a male singer lend voice to Meerabai? That was a dilemma. In my heart, I was convinced that “Darshan Deejo Aao” was Kaustubh’s special since Swami had made him sing it so many times. So, I wanted him to sing. I managed to convince Ram Mohan sir and all the others too about the idea. When we rehearsed, many smiled and some laughed at the discrepancy of a male voice emanating from a despondent Meera. I just ignored it and thankfully, Koustubh too adopted the same stance.


The 31st of January 2008 saw the school students stage the Meerabai drama in Swami’s presence. Everything went on pretty well and then came the time for the final scene.


Final scene


Something totally different happened as the final scene began. This was a scene that had always evoked muffled laughter. But even as Meerabai came crying out to Krishna and Koustubh’s voice rented the air with the notes “Krishna... Krishna... “ the whole atmosphere got transformed. Everyone sat enraptured because their Lord, their Swami was in tears. It was as if He was unable to bear Meerabai’s plight! And when Swami was like that, nobody even noticed that Meerabai was singing in a ‘male’ voice. Everyone was simply lost in her devotion and the devotion being exuded by Koustubh.


Meerabai went to threshold, in front of Krishna and began to ‘bang’ her head. The song built up to a climax and it would be a matter of another 15-20 seconds before Krishna would make an appearance to grant Meerabai her soul’s longing. But Swami was unable to bear the intensity of her pining. Even before ‘Krishna’ could come to her, He called out,
“Meerabai... Come...”


The boy who was playing the role of Meerabai saw that his Swami was calling him. Leaving the temple, he ran to Swami on the dais and Swami waved his palm, materializing a beautiful gold chain for ‘Meerabai’. As He placed the chain around ‘her’ neck, the song concluded and everyone in the audience applauded. It was hard to tell whether the Lord had ‘chain’ed the devotee or the devotee had ‘chain’ed the Lord!


Of course, Meerabai went back to complete the drama and offer herself to Lord Krishna who made an appearance. The  narrative and details of this drama is captured in the 31st January section of Prasanthi Diary.

As I wiped tears from my eyes that day, I thanked Swami for giving me a chance to be part of this drama. I also expressed my gratitude for having got the opportunity to see what true devotion is. Swami went down from the stage to grant group photos to the students. Even as I was taking the pictures, I could see Koustubh from the corner of my eye. His face reflected supreme happiness and peace - something that comes from only from union with God.

(Below here is the video of a concert by students at Brindavan, Whitefield on June 23, 2013. In this concert, Kaustubh Pare sang his favorite Krishna song, the Meera bhajan.)





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14 comments:

  1. There are certain times when you just can't express the pining. During those times, it is when you realize that the Lord pines for you, automatically your pining level goes up to become equal to the Lord's pining. There's just so much joy in pining alone - joy that cannot be described in words.

    And reading this serial blogpost, got tears to my eyes, because at that point where Swami too cried when Koustubh bhaiyya cried, I imagined the whole thing live in front of my eyes and I placed myself in the place of Koustubh bhaiyya.

    It has happened that almost every time that I cry because I miss Swami, I hear Swami say, "Don't you think, I am missing you?" Those moments are so precious and I always wish it never ends. Then,sometimes there's this mind which says,"C'mon, Swami is everywhere and He is still seeing you. Why would He miss you!"When I listen to it like a fool the beautiful experience fades but when I listen to Swami, its just tears of pining and so much love and bliss in the air. Reading this gave me the same experience now. This made my day. This is going to be another memorable piece of writing like that of the Krishnadasa story.

    And I feel this is a blogpost to inspire me to learn Meera bhajans to pine for the Lord in a better manner. Is it any coincidence that my whole Tuesday was filled with singing and listening to Meera bhajans and the very next day, I saw your post! Thanks a lot to the Swami in you, anna! This is made my day in the most fantastic way possible! Thank you! :-)

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  2. Aravind this is so much more touching then the written word alone ,not that it is not told well, wow you are accomplished all around, writing, public peaking , photography, acting and all else technical & electronic-- as we say my hat off to such profuse talent, its all multilevel the feelings involved thispoint is well underscored, sing for the Lord hats what pleases him best , but if you are from another country and can't sing coraky voice especially not these complicated sounds - then what?, Its a serious question for me.. granny
    to me ..

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    1. Sairam Granny,

      Swami has said that God cares for feelings alone... It is only man that bothers about the squeak and creak in the voice. So, He advises, sing your heart out to God, in your own altar , bedroom or bathroom. Do not sing in public if your voice is not good. After all, your intention is to please God right? why sing in public, in samithis or other places where people hear and feel upset? Sing in public if your voice is good for then, you would be doing a service to everyone, helping them develop feelings for God.

      The same holds good for all talents. Do it in public if you are good in producing a favorable result. God judges effort while man judges result. :)

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    2. Loved the above info... :) ....

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  3. Thanks. Thoroughly enjoyed the narration. It is always a pleasure to hear Koustubh sing this bhajan (and others). I was just thinking as I read, that I should go to the video of the Whitefield performance and hear it again, and...I saw that you had already inserted it at the end!

    The idea of a male singer singing for a female role has a precedent in Parthi too. I remember -- either S. Kumar or Sunam bhai narrating how this happened during a drama in their time too (maybe the 60th birthday drama) and the same effect happened. No one noticed because the emotion fit so beautifully with the context, and Swami enjoyed it thoroughly.

    Thanks again for a lovely narration of a student's experience with Swami's Love. So beautiful. And Swami's comment to Sai Giridhar is precious -- Swami doesn't outward symbols of Love and devotion, only true inner Love and Devotion. He resides in us and we reside in Him.

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  4. Amazing devotion!we have actually seen him evolve...a gr8 example indeed...Sairam! The drama was superb too:)

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  5. exemplary devotion!n gr8 drama too:)

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  6. No words , Just this bliss after reading this :) Mind is in that trance :) Thanks Anna, the way you write it , even the simplest stories comes out so alive . Ur stories inspires me so much, to be a better person each day . Its like a teaching - your writings, step by step ,,, to reach Him :) :) :) Have tears even when am typing this :) Coz I know its He who is, lovingly pushing us to reach out to Him , for His love :)

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  7. Absolutely Amazing Aravind Brother,

    It was Extreme Bliss reading this great article and my eyes are still moist when i write this comment. A true devotee of Swami will certainly cry profusely when he reads this. Thanks and Great going for your writing skills as the MOMENT was brought LIVE which brings tears whoever goes through this great article.
    GED BLESS YOU

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  8. loveddd evrythg.... .....I alwz used to love meera songs n stories....but one point to see here is--- when d school students were playing d drama, swami cudnt wait for krishna to appear .... HE was so much desperate to meet his devotee....rembr ganesha story where u mentioned - HOW it feels to mmake God wait.... Ah! i enjoy it when God also waits n feel desperate like us....Awsm! ...vl read again both parts

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  9. May swami bless you.We are so grateful to swami knowing about your blog.Thank you from our bottom of our heart.Keep writing .sairam.

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  10. Aravind, this resonates so much with what has been going through my mind in the past 2-3 days. I feel that Swami wants only my tears because that is what is bringing out my pining and yearning for Him. If He stops my tears and gives what I want in the form of any 'golden watch' as you have mentioned, I will stop crying na.

    Well, for some reason Swami put the song 'Baaro Krishnaiyya' in my mind 2 days ago and I got the lyrics and also listened to the version sung by Aswath and Anirudh during the One with Sai concert of June 2013. That song kept playing in my head whole of yesterday and I kept telling Swami, "Swami, I keep calling you but you are not coming. U want me to keep crying for you? So be it! U dun have to give me anything. Even if u don't respond, I can't stop loving you and can't stop crying for you."

    Another thing is reg. what you have mentioned about Koustubh singing for Meera in the drama. Did you know that many decades back for the Radha Bhakti drama (which Swami himself wrote the script for and directed completely, including the songs) S. Kumar Sir had played the role of Radha and he sang in his deep voice the songs for the role?

    When someone asked Swami how a male voice can sing the songs of Radha, Swami had mentioned that it is the bhavam that is important and not the voice. Needless to say when the drama was staged, it was a resounding success and everyone in the audience felt the bhavam and never said anything about the voice.

    Many lessons from this brother! Thanks a ton for sharing. I know this much -- nothing will stop me from holding on to Swami and loving Him and pining for Him. Whether He responds or not, whether He gives me some things that I yearn for or not -- all these do not matter. These are 'golden watches' as you say that will distract us from the main purpose of pining for Him. And ultimately that is what matters, right? I will continue to keep pining and crying if it pleases my Lord...

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  11. Sairam and thanks a lot dear Arvind for posting the two part article on Meera bai's devotion and LORD's pining for such a devotee.

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  12. Sairam dear Arvind and thanks a lot for this 2 part article on Meera bai and Lord highlighting their mutual pining for each other.

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