Monday, 3 March 2014

"Why fear when I am here" - the story of Anantappa and Sathya Sai

The relationship between God and the devotee is the relationship between God and God!

God and devotee

It was one of those famous ‘Trayee sessions’ at Brindavan, Whitefield (Bangalore). Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, ‘Swami’ as He is affectionately called, was seated on the ornate swing in the jhoola room and all around were the students who had decided to stay back in the ashram even during the summer vacations. This was a ‘sacrifice’ that they had gladly made for they knew for sure that they would receive much more than they had ‘given up’. Nothing is greater than being near and dear to the Master, their Swami, whom many even considered as their Lord. I too was among those students who considered Swami as his Master and Lord and so, for me, every word that fell from His lips and every action that He did was of great significance.
That day, Swami asked one of the senior teachers, Sri.Sanjay Sahni, to address the boys. As always, Sahni sir had a unique style of blending stories with messages. That day, he chose a very reassuring theme - that God will never sit quiet when a devotee is harmed or subjected to injustice. He narrated the experience of a devotee who was not ‘worldly-wise’ or ‘smart’. Thus, he was naturally exploited by many in different ways - especially emotionally and financially. During the narration, I was lost in my thoughts of Swami as I was sitting quite close to the swing. So, I am unable to remember the details of the experience he narrated. However, I cannot forget the ending statement that Sahni sir made,
“If you criticize the Lord or even harm Him, God will forgive you but just touch His devotee and you are finished!”
I remember that statement because there was a spontaneous applause and Swami looked at Sahni sir as if asking him to repeat the final statement. Sahni sir repeated the statement with greater volume and greater emphasis and that message got firmly reinforced in my heart.

In times of trouble

Many have been the instances in life when I know that people are being unfair to me or are trying the cheat/harm me. Sometimes, these ‘people’ have been those who are apparently very influential, powerful and wealthy. What I mean to say is that when they decide to put you into trouble, it looks like nobody can save you. You feel a great fear in the heart and think that maybe the best way out would be to compromise your stance and bend in front of them. At such times, it feels as though it does not matter what is ‘RIGHT’ or ‘WRONG’. Might automatically becomes right and since you are a weakling, you just have to shut up.
It is precisely in those times that I always recollect this episode at Trayee Brindavan. There is definitely a reason why Swami made Sahni sir repeat that statement. He wants it to be drilled deep within me that come what may, when I am right, the greatest power in the Universe is on my side. And that is the power of goodness or the power of God. So, all that I have to do is ensure that I am good and on the right path. The Lord may be loving and forgiving enough to suffer pain and ignominy. But He will not tolerate it if such pain and ignominy befalls the one who is dear to Him; the one who is on the path of goodness and love. Before I dilate further on a few other points, I must relate the powerful experience of Ananthappa’s daughter. This has been recorded by the legendary Prof.N.Kasturi in his autobiography, Loving God.

Anantappa’s problem

Anantappa was one among the sixteen peons at the college in Davanagere, Karnataka, where Kasturi was the College Head. He was slow in his thinking and considered by everyone as a dullard. He had difficulty carrying out the simplest of commands and any shopkeeper who was unscrupulous could cheat him with the greatest ease. He slept when he was supposed to be on guard-duty and did not seem to understand whether he was being scolded or praised.
And yet, Kasturi employed his services because he was a very pious soul. He seemed to have all his mind and heart dedicated to Swami. He spent hours of sincere efforts when it came to things related to Swami. Kasturi felt that Anantappa would surely lose his job if he was in the service of any other. Kasturi felt redeemed in his choice when Swami reciprocated Anantappa’s love. Swami showered him with grace divine and, on one occasion when Kasturi had taken him along to Puttaparthi, told Kasturi that Anantappa was not an ordinary soul. In his slum dwelling surrounded by drunkards, drug-addicts and vagabonds, Anantappa was like the saintly Vibhishana in Lanka, Swami had said. Numerous were the miracles that Swami performed to safeguard Anantappa and his family. That was the reason why the world could not take him for a ride even though he was a dullard - Swami would never allow that!
Anantappa’s younger daughter was wedded to an employee of the Mysore Railways(which has today been replaced by Southern Railways). This son-in-law, though a smart and intelligent man was of a highly suspicious nature. He always felt that his wife was flirtatious and even suspected that she kept the window of the house to ogle at men on the streets! In spite of all her explanations and pleas, he did not listen to her and often locked her within the home without even allowing a window to be opened. He even beat her at times based on his suspicions. Anantappa tried a lot to convince his son-in-law that his daughter was chaste and pure but it was all in vain.
Doubt is such a deadly demon and there is absolutely not cure for it! And before we start to criticize Anantappa’s son-in-law for his dastardly acts, we should examine our own selves to realize how often we fall prey to this demon called doubt. As Swami says, when things do not ‘seem’ to be going our way, we begin to doubt even God! We wonder at times whether God, in His ultimate knowledge, actually knows what is good for us? The demon of doubt can be defeated only by the angel of faith. But hey wait! Faith is so ‘unscientific’ right? Faith implies taking things at face-value without deep inquiry. Faith is only for those that are irrational!
Please allow me a much-needed detour before I get back on track to Anantappa’s son-in-law’s story.

Faith is about being rationally irrational instead of being irrationally rational

A simple case to point here. How do you know that you are your father’s child? Isn’t it because your mother told you that and you have faith in her words?
“Nah! I have a birth certificate issued by the doctor in the hospital that I was born. So, its not as if I am my father’s child because of faith.”
That means that you have faith in the doctor and the hospital where you were supposedly born. How are you sure that the doctor is not lying? Or that he is hand in glove in a nefarious scam with your ‘alleged’ mother/father?
“I see where you are going. But don’t think that proves me to be unscientific in my conviction about my parents. There is this thing called parental testing which is scientific. I can get that done.”
But hey! Wait a minute! You mean to say that you have faith in the instrument that does the test? How are you sure that there is no malfunction of the instrument? Worse still, how do you know that the method works? Isn’t that confidence based on faith that every hospital in the world is using the method and so it must be true? How can YOU be sure? Have you personally checked it?
If one goes on this way, one will realize that the only way one can be scientific is to have all the knowledge in the world - biological, engineering, medical, chemical etc. Then alone one will not need to take anything on faith. Else, somewhere along the line, one would have to have faith. There is no other choice. Now, here is the ‘faith way’ of parental testing. It works this way - Accept the person as your father/mother and the way he/she treats you in life will prove to you that the person has to be a parent to be so loving and sacrificing!
That is why, when science screams, “Seeing is believing”, Faith softly but firmly proclaims,
“Believing is seeing.” All said and done, faith is the only cure for doubt.


Swami cures the doubt of Anantappa’s son-in-law

Frustrated with her imprisoned life, the wife told her husband,
“Take me to Puttaparthi and ask Baba about me. He will vouch that I am a faithful wife to you. Else, I shall put an end to my life by jumping into the well there and you will be rid of me forever.”

Hearing the drastic words, the son-in-law agreed to accompany Anantappa and his family to Puttaparthi. With great love, Swami immediately granted them a personal audience. Without even being updated of the state of affairs, Swami told the doubting son-in-law,
“Your wife is as pure as Mother Sita (consort of Lord Rama). She is as noble and loving as Mother Parvati (consort of Lord Shiva). Take care of her.”

The son-in-law was struck by Baba’s omniscience and he nodded. Swami told Anantappa,
“Don’t worry. He is a good fellow. They will live happily from now on.”

But Swami’s words somehow seemed to be going wrong as the son-in-law was again caught by doubts. He wondered whether Anantappa and Baba had conspired to create this drama of ‘omniscience’. He charged his wife of infidelity and said he would take revenge. He got up and stormed out of the room, without bothering about Swami’s presence. Swami just smiled.

That night itself, the son-in-law said that they should leave Puttaparthi. At Penukonda railway station, the four got into the Bangalore-bound train. The son-in-law, by virtue of being an employee of the Railways, could get a first-class seating for his family. However, doubts and thoughts of revenge made him place his in-laws and wife in the wooden-seater, third-class compartment. He himself got into the empty first-class compartment. Now, he could plan the remaining part of his revenge in the solitude of luxury he thought.

The next morning, Anantappa was shocked to see a completely transformed son-in-law. He spoke humbly and sweetly and treated his wife with the greatest dignity and respect. In fact, he never locked her up ever again and almost worshipped her. Every month, he even submitted his entire salary to her to use for the house as per her discrimination and just sought a paltry sum of 15 Rupees as his pocket expenses! And Anantappa’s family indeed lived happily after that, just as Swami had said.

The consequences of ‘touching’ a devotee

What had actually transpired was something that Kasturi got to know later in a strange sequence of events. When he was waiting for a bus, his student came along in a horse-carriage and offered him a lift. Then, this sworn athiest of a student asked Kasturi about Puttaparthi and Baba. He was actually eager to meet him. When Kasturi asked him the reason for such sudden spiritual thirst, the student, a Railway Guard by profession, related the happenings of that fateful night when Anantappa’s son-in-law was transformed. He had been a personal witness to the events as they transpired.
Anantappa’s son-in-law was deeply lost in his plotting and planning in the late hours of the night in the first-class compartment. When the train was about 10 kilometers from the Thondebhavi railway station, all the lights in the compartment suddenly were ablaze and turned deep red. Suddenly, he saw Swami. But there was not one Swami. There were Swami’s everywhere and He seemed so angry. Blows began to rain on him from all sides and he was wondering how could Baba get on to a speeding train? How did He multiply Himself and how did He know what he was planning to do? But all those thoughts soon vanished as the pain from the blows hit him. Swami said,
“Won’t you believe me when I say she is innocent? Stop beating her! She is my child! In fact, all those who suffer are mine…”
Such was the impact and pain from the blows that the son-in-law rushed out of the compartment at Thondebhavi seeking solace and protection. His face and body were badly battered and he complained to the Railway Guard. Moments later, the compartment was completely empty and there was not a single red light therein. Anatappa’s son-in-law had experienced a transformation, albeit a forced one.
Months later, Kasturi was with Swami when He said that in His previous Avatar at Shirdi, He even beat people with sticks in apparent ‘bursts of anger’. Kasturi asked,
“Swami, in this Avatar, have you hit any one?”
“No. This Avatar is all love.”
“Still Swami, if not directly, have you hit anyone indirectly?”
“That is also out of love”, replied Swami with a twinkle in the eye.
Kasturi also just smiled in understanding as his heart completed,
“Love showered on a poor, hapless daughter!”

Concluding thoughts

“Why fear when I am here”.
Swami’s statement takes on new meaning for me here. All that I have to do is ensure that I am on the path of goodness and purity. Swami’s protective bubble is around me always when I do that and I have nothing to worry. Great forces in the universe may conspire against me but they are no match to the greatest force in the Universe that is protecting me. That is why the ancient Indian scriptures emphatically stated,
Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha. Dharma Eva Hatho Hanthi.”
(Righteousness/Goodness protects those that protect Righteousness/Goodness. Righteousness/Goodness destroys those that destroy Righteousness/Goodness.)
Now that gives us reason to be good and fearless. It gives us reason and need to realize the importance of being good. Right? And while I am being good and following righteousness, those that wish to malign, criticize or torment me, beware! I have a great good wonderful Lord watching over me! Hehehehehehehehehe!

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11 comments:

  1. Sangeetha Jagan3 March 2014 at 15:04

    I think one word that we need to keep in mind is - Karma. There is not the slightest doubt that Swami will definitely come to His devotee's rescue. But if a devotee has past bad Karma tagged against him/her, he/she has to bear the consequences. Swami however will ensure that the impact of that Karma is reduced thereby saving His devotee from an even more disastrous danger. One should accept this with firm faith in Swami and should not crib about Swami not saving him/her from the reduced impact.

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    Replies
    1. Yes I agree that „ Karma „ plays a very big roll in our experiences. If we are fortunate enough to walk on righteous path then as He has promised He will take care of us. While going through difficult time it is important for us to have faith and remain in balanced state. That sounds tough but it is possible . On our part can we cultivate at least firm faith in HIM and have patience that everything will work out for best? Last 3 years, I went through severe harassment from my neighbors. Went to police and lawyers. It did not help. Finally learn t a lesson that I must have earned it. As Baba says I used all my Strength to change my attitude to those who were „ very difficult.“ I literally began to practice „ Love all serve all „ I ignored everything that was „most unkind things done to me“ Somehow the situation changed ! Now I am placed in most peaceful, happy and comfortable situation in my Life ! I see it as Baba´s Grace . K.L

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  2. Again I'm a late comer today just now read it after repeating changes in the link actually I've faith in Aravind bhaiyaa as he will surely update the link...hehehe:)...no that's a excuse only.....just now got some time to read it full...I think we are typical sometime as we question GOD as why He has done this or why He is not doing this? Are we not the biggest foolish to ask God about His deeds? Actually its our habit to doubt in everything. I even know some people who says: "We believe that God is doing right, but still we r human beings, what to do? we cant sit quietly just letting Him do all things. If He miss to do them? As He has lot of other works to do".....so they though God as an employee who does all jobs perfectly if we give Him good salary through our devotion and worship, otherwise He will stop rescuing us and leave this job. Such mentality still exist in our society and for these people sometime our thoughts affected. If we cant have faith upon Him, them upon whom we'll believe? Is there anyone other than Swami, who can assure us that we r 100% percent secured? The answer is NO. So I think what Arvind bhaiyaa written at last phase is so perfect. People should think twice before criticizing us, as We have appointed Mr. Universe Himself as our security guard and We know He will guard and guide us life after life...birth after birth...SO BE AWARE !!!!

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  3. Wonderful :) ... the statemnt of
    Sahni sir .... "do anythg unto me; but once u touch my dear ones ul b
    gone".... :)

    From few days i have experienced that whenever somebody who has helped me , suported me etc etc comes to harm; i do whatever is
    possible to make them happy or to bring them on rite track.... then i realised why Swami always says service and love r all powerful.... when i as a mere human;
    who have no extraordinary powers cannot seee my knwn ones cmng to harm; then how can Lord of the universe (having all the
    powers working under him) allow his
    devotee to come to harm... practicaly tried to be in Gods shoes .... n its wonderful :) :) .... do any harm to me; but touch my people and you will be gone - this
    statement sounds toooo familiar :)
    ..... seems God copied my dialogue :)
    ....happy to see HIM imitating me :p

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  4. ThankU Aravind n thankiiyuu dearest Swami! I absolutely love this blog coz my feel good 'mantra'even in bad sad times is Swami's fav statement "why fear when I'm HERE " Even as I was reading this,I was mentally adding up number of people i would like on my 'Hit List' ;-) as in want Swami to happily do the bashing up for me! Its very heartening to read such stories,helps us to stick to the right path n be as good as Swami wants us to be....feeling very happy,safe,loved n protected to be coccooned in Swamiz bubble of Love...Jai Sai Ram!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wonderful :) ... the statemnt of
    Sahni sir .... "do anythg unto me; but once u touch my dear ones ul b
    gone".... :)

    From few days i have experienced that whenever somebody who has helped me , suported me etc etc comes to harm; i do whatever is
    possible to make them happy or to bring them on rite track.... then i realised why Swami always says service and love r all powerful.... when i as a mere human;
    who have no extraordinary powers cannot seee my knwn ones cmng to harm; then how can Lord of the universe (having all the
    powers working under him) allow his
    devotee to come to harm... practicaly tried to be in Gods shoes .... n its wonderful :) :) .... do any harm to me; but touch my people and you will be gone - this
    statement sounds toooo familiar :)
    ..... seems God copied my dialogue :)
    ....happy to see HIM imitating me :p

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you Arvind,
    for reminding this beautiful story from Loving God..One book that i love the most..everypage in this book is a like a guide.

    Aruna

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  7. Sai Ram Aravind and thank you for sharing the link to this blog again. We readers can't get enough of His repeated assurance. Why fear when the Lord of the universe himself is guarding us. Surrender, that's all we need to do and HE takes care. Blessed are those who realise this secret to a peaceful life.

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  8. This story is really very moving. It amplifies the Sahni Sir's statement “If you criticize the Lord or even harm Him, God will forgive you but just touch His devotee and you are finished!” What a story to narrate during the Holy Navarathri period. My most humble pranaams at the DIVINE HOLY FEET OF My Beloved "SAI MAA" JAI SAIRAM

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  9. Sairam sairam sairam
    Thank you SWAMY for making us to have FAITH in you always. Thank you brother Arvind for reconfirming n reconnecting to SWAMY
    Why fear I am here thank you SAIMAA for reassurance n Blessings again on the day of DURGA ASTHAMI through brother Arvind

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  10. Dear Brother - My Loving Sairam.

    Thank you for the double bonus gift of 2 articles (Sep 25th on Paadaseva to Beloved Swami and today Sep 27th on Swami's Assurance of Protection to the devotee with supreme faith on Swami with having the qualities of goodness and righteousness) which you published with love for all of us. "The demon of doubt can be defeated only by the angel of faith - Believing is Seeing." Thank you so much for this assurance and beautiful experience of the devotee for the quality of goodness and purity (Swami saving devotee Vibhishana and his family). Thank you Brother for Inspiring us with this Truth and Swami's Love. With Lots of Love.

    ReplyDelete

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