Monday, 25 November 2013

No reason or season for Love - but are we happy?

Who are you Baba?

Love is my form; Truth is my breath; Bliss is my food.

Many have been the times when my Swami, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, has been asked,
“Who are you?”
Swami’s answer to this question has been different, based on the understanding of the people who asked the question. On one occasion, He answered,
“I am God; but so are you.”
On another occasion, the answer was,
“Find out who you are and then you will realize who I am.”
On yet another occasion, to a group of westerners who asked the same question, Swami replied with a melodious song (which has today become a bhajan in itself).

Love is my form; Truth is my breath; Bliss is my food; 
My Life is my message; Expansion is my Life

No Reason for Love
No Season for Love
No Birth No Death

Satya Dharma Ananda Shanthi Prema Ananda

Shirdi Sai, Parthi Sai, Prema Sai Jai Jai
Shirdi Baba, Parthi Baba, Prema Baba Jai Jai

If one understands this little song, one understands the greatest secret of life. Elaborating further on the song, in a discourse Swami said,
“When the song says ‘My Form’ it does not refer to me alone. It refers to anyone who sings the song.”
Well, that was another way of saying, “I am God; but so are you.”

Every line in the song is a punch line - worthy of deep contemplation and full of insights. In fact, I have often lost myself in the beauty and grandeur of the ‘central’ line of the song -
“No reason for love; No season for love.” But before I share my thoughts on that line, I must share one little episode.

Party or Duty

A long and beautiful day came to an end as the Christmas celebrations concluded in the Sai Kulwant Hall. Personally, it was a very satisfying day for me and I had taken pictures in both the morning and evening sessions. I was very happy with the beautiful darshans and, as Swami returned to Yajur Mandir after the divine discourse, I decided to ‘rock the night away’ as the popular carol Jingle Bell Rock encourages.

My plan was to go to the home of a close friend and enjoy a lovely Christmas meal with some movie going on. At the end of a hard day’s work, the prospects of the dinner-movie combo was alluring to say the least. A host of other friends too had gathered at the ‘party house’.  I just reached my friend’s house and was about to settle into the night when I got a call. It was from my colleague at Radiosai.
“Aravind, listen. The Christmas decoration with lights at Swami’s residence is simply breath-taking. Only you are permitted to go near the residence. So, would you mind going there now and taking a few pictures? It would be good for our records.”
My first reaction was of disappointment. I had to change into my white dress again, pack the camera and then go and take the pictures. So I said,
“Can I not do it tomorrow? It’s quite late now anyway...”
“We are not sure that the decorations will stay tomorrow. If Swami asks for them to be taken down, we would have missed the opportunity...”
“Ok. I am going.”

The others who had arrived for ‘rocking’ away the night looked at me with their ‘do-you-want-us-to-wait-now’ eyes. Forcing myself to be sportive, I said,
“Carry on. I may join you later on.”
With that, I felt that all my party plans got washed out. Reluctantly, I made my way to the studio to pick up my camera.

How I actually ‘rocked’ the night away

My mind was complaining but I silenced it. I told the mind,
“So many times I have been thrilled with the privilege of entering the Yajur Mandir grounds. It is the same privilege that has given me this responsibility too.”
“But, you had such a beautiful night planned ahead”, my mind protested.
By now, I had become quite familiar with the dialogue between the mind and the heart.
“If things are going this way, it is because Swami has planned it this way. His plan is bound to be better than your plan”, said my heart to my mind. I also remembered many instances in my life when doing the right thing over the pleasant thing had made me a recipient of Swami’s love. There were also instances where I had sacrificed something dear to me for Swami’s sake only to receive something dearer in return. I had learnt that there is nothing like ‘sacrificing’ for the Lord.

Thus consoling myself and actually feeling very happy about my decision, I reached Yajur Mandir gate. Showing my ID card, I walked in and was truly spellbound by the beauty of the lights and decoration. Suddenly, I was no longer feeling bad about missing the ‘party’.

As I was taking pictures, I noticed that there were three seniors standing on one side of the Yajur Mandir. I immediately recognised one of them as Veda Narayan sir. I walked up to him and saw that beside him, on a stool, was a large cake.
“Oh wow! Is that a cake?” I was obviously stating the obvious!
“Yes.” That was sir’s reply with a smile.
“Is this being offered to Swami on behalf of the Central Trust boys?”
“Wow! After Swami blesses it, can I get a large piece of it?”

The three ‘yes’ answers in a row somehow cheered me. These three would ensure that someone from Swami’s residence would take the cake in and then maybe come back tomorrow morning to receive the ‘blessed’ cake. That was what I assumed and went ahead, continuing my photography.

Sai Kulwant Hall as seen from the Yajur Mandir that night.

Santa and the Christmas tree

The last image I took before the unexpected entry...

Within 10 minutes, the main entrance door of the Yajur Mandir opened and was I pleasantly shocked! That door would almost never be opened unless Swami was there. Adding to my ‘shock’ was the scene of the three people walking into the Residence with the cake!

Was Swami calling them in? I am working in Radiosai. Though that is not part of the Central Trust legally, I am also a Trust boy right? Because Swami has no distinctions based on ‘rules’...

These were my thoughts as I rushed towards the door before it could slam shut. I wedged my hand in between and a surprised ‘door-keeper’ there let me in. I entered and immediately was face to face with my Lord! Can you imagine that?

The sight which I saw on entry 
Loving Swami's uncertainty

The minute I entered, I saw that there were at least 6-7 people about Swami. Almost all of them had a look of shock and disbelief. They seemed to be wondering what on earth was I doing in there. I was suddenly confused. Had I done something terribly wrong? Had I barged in where I wasn’t supposed to? My palpitating heart was comforted when my eyes fell on Swami. He was on a chair with a knife in hand. The cake was in front of Him. He was looking directly into my eyes. When my eyes met His, He beamed a lovely smile. I now walked in and closed the door behind me. The three who had been standing now bowed to Him and took padanamaskar. I had my camera in hand and I was taking pictures (naturally). When they had completed bowing down, I went on my knees and sought namaskar. When He consented, for the first (and only) time in my life, I bowed down in a complete Sashtang namaskar (bowing down where all the eight limbs of the body are touching the ground) at His lotus feet. Swami smiled again and told me to pose for the camera. Veda Narayan sir snapped a few pictures. Swami then blessed all of us and we were let out.

He heard the little prayer that I made and then gave me the Sashtang Namaskar.
Oh! How I wish that the smile He gave was captured in a picture...
I was in a daze. It was only later that I came to know about the cake tradition. These three ‘lads’ (they were fully grown men by then) had the great privilege of sleeping outside Swami’s bedroom when Swami stayed in the small room above the bhajan hall. And so, on Christmas mornings, Swami would pass by them before entering the balcony via the ‘Silver door’ for the magnificent Christmas morning silver door darshan. The boys would then offer a cake to Him which He would cut and bless. Swami had stopped the balcony darshan from a few years now. But He had graciously permitted these ‘boys’ to continue getting their share of the ‘cake-blessings’ by allowing them to get a cake in the late evening! I had been an absolute gate-crasher!

Ah! How grateful I was to Him! If He had not smiled at me and blessed me, my gatecrashing could have landed me in serious trouble. Instead of that, now I was being given a large chunk of cake to eat and enjoy. How I love Swami’s uncertainty when it expresses itself like this! Much later, I was also told that this was the only time that the ‘three boys’ got pictures with Swami and, therefore, Vedanarayan sir personally thanked me for that. I also thanked him because I had got the chance of my lifetime.

I went straight back to my room without the slightest regret of having ‘missed’ a party. I was glad and happy that I did not flinch when it came to doing my duty or giving up something that I felt was fun and special.

No reason for love; No season for love

Here is some food for thought.

All of us love Swami’s uncertainty when, out of the blue, something nice and memorable happens. We are thrilled when we receive a blessing ‘without a reason’. We conclude that it happens because of Swami’s love which has ‘no reason; no season’. Even though we are not deserving of the good that is happening to us on the face of it, we are happy to accept and even celebrate it. But what about those instances in life when things take a sudden turn for the worse? Please allow me to elaborate.

What about those times in life when we are hanging by our necks from the tight noose of some problem but Swami does not seem to be responding to us? What happens when life that is otherwise moving smoothly is bombarded by disaster, death or disease? What if a lovely relationship suddenly sours, a business loss destroys all savings, an accident handicaps one for life or a life which was full of people suddenly turns lonely?

In my introspection, I notice that every time such a thing has happened to me, I have shouted out inwardly, asking my Lord,
“Why Swami? Why is this happening to me?” OR
“Is it fair that this is happening to me?”

Let me throw that question back at myself but seeing it from Swami’s perspective like the wonderful Krishnadasa did.
“Aravind, when something ‘wonderful’ happens to you without you ‘deserving’ it, you accept it as Swami’s benevolence. When something ‘bad’ happens too, is it not His benevolence?”

When I am deeply rooted in my faith that everything in my life is going as per a MASTERPLAN, there is no need for me to despair or celebrate for God is doing everything. Reminding myself of this always helps me to live in serenity and peace and ‘enjoy’ everything that is happening in my life. And there IS A REASON why there seems to be no reason or season for God’s love.

Unlike human love which is concerned with the body and the mind, Divine love is beyond these temporary phenomena. Divine love is concerned only with the soul. Divine love is ready to sacrifice the body and mind at the altar of the soul. Swami’s Love for us is like that - He will do anything and everything possible for our soul’s upliftment - whether we understand it or not; like it or not. Isn’t that why He often exhorts,
“Love my uncertainty.”

But instead of loving His uncertainty, we grow uncertain of His love! Is that fair to Him? We accept and celebrate His uncertainty when it benefits us but condemn and criticize the same when things don’t go our way.

As Prof.U.S.Rao, former principal of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam, once put it in our class,
“We have to grow into accepting Swami’s uncertainty first. Then alone can we grow to the state of loving His uncertainty.”

Yes. That is the way. Acceptance and Love. But why?

There is no reason for Love! :)

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy the following:

1. Messenger ceases to exist once the message is delivered

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  1. Aravind, so beautifully brought out. You are indeed a blessed one! Thank you for sharing this beautiful 'slice' from your life. :)

  2. Aravind incredible divine timing- just last night I felt deep dispairing uncertainty trying but not being able to get a ride to attend , then feeling I am unworthy - its 90 miles to the SSF &healings occur regularly. I lived in the mandir with th medium for several month in 2008 - now unable arrange a ride I felt crushed , upset - unloved - I feel as if you posted this
    just for or me
    Thank you so much for this!

  3. Sai Ram Aravind,
    Thank you for sharing and writing s well. Love is my form is our last unison bhajan every Sunday. Recently I have been grappling to understand Love all Serve all especially when things are not going well. This is very insightful, thank you.
    May father is a great fan of your articles and he has shared many of your other articles with me. Thank you for the great work all of you are doing at Radio Sai. It is my lifeline.

  4. Dear Barru, this is the best article I've read yet. Lucky bugger.


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