Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Each life has a purpose and meaning - a story and an experience with Sri Sathya Sai

Grass is greener on the other side

The expansive garden stretched as far as the eye could see. The myriad variety of trees - crabapples, citrus, myrtles, maples, oaks, banyans and the bright flame of the forest created a multi-hued canopy above. Dandelions, roses, daffodils, magnolias, chrysanthemums, dahlias, daisies, tulips, asters, begonias, carnations, buttercups, foxgloves, clovers, lilacs, jasmine, petunias and even lilies and lotuses in the pond adorned the garden which had aptly been named ‘Eden’. The floor was covered with a soft and velvety carpet grass. Birds and bees abounded in this green space and and their sounds coupled with the breeze to create nature’s harmonic melodies.

And the gardener stood in the middle of the garden with a smile on his face. His toil might not have borne fruits but it had certainly presented him with flowers galore! The sweat on his brow tasted sweet in the magical environment of his garden. The scene was simply perfect. He was  a very satisfied being and it was with great pleasure that he gently ambled along the garden path.

A garden of heavenly delight... That is what life is isn't it?
In this happy scene however, there was a hint of sorrow. In one corner of the garden was a little patch of grass. In that was one single blade that was shedding tears. This blade of grass was not part of the carpet lawns but sadly, felt that it did not belong to the garden too. Seeing the grandeur and beauty around, it cursed its very existence.
“Why did the gardener have to plant me in the first place? The garden is complete even without my pathetic existence...”
The grass blade bent low in its sorrow. It was lost to the peace and joy of the garden.

Dimitri’s tryst with Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

It was in 1978 that a gentleman of Greek origin, Dimitri, came to know of a supposed living God - Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Dimitri had shifted to the city of Denver, Colorado in the United States of America when he felt an urge to make a trip to India to visit this ‘God-man’. Thus, in 1980, he travelled halfway across the globe to Puttaparthi. Being informed that ‘Swami’ was at His Bangalore ashram in Whitefield, he added another leg to the journey, travelling by road to India’s Garden City. Everyone who has come to Baba has had a wonderful story. You have yours and I have mine. Dimitri was about to get his.

Dimitri continues to make regular trips to Prasanthi
Nilayam and Brindavan. This picture is taken at
my office where we met by 'chance'. 
It was love at first sight for Dimitri as he experienced unexplained gratitude, joy and emotion when he first saw Sai Baba. He wept with joy and felt a peace in his heart. That was followed by a strong resolve - he wanted to serve Swami in some way or the other. This maddeningly compulsive urge grew stronger and stronger each day. Dimitri felt that Swami was both - the cause and purpose of his life. And so, it only felt natural that he must express his overwhelming sense of gratitude to Swami.

As he sat in the darshan grounds daily, he kept praying for an opportunity to serve. Whenever Swami passed by him, he kept repeating, “Swami, service... service... service...”, ever so softly for he somehow knew that Swami would be able to hear the whispers of his heart. A few days passed this way. And then, all of a sudden, something happened that set his heart fluttering.

It was after the darshan session as everyone was exiting the hall that it happened. A ‘white man’ as Dimitri refers to him, came out of the compound of the Divine Residence and called out aloud.
“Dimitri from Greece... Dimitri from Greece.”

Dimitri knew instinctively that this person must be a ‘VIP’ in the worldly sense because he was lodged in the quarters on the other side of Swami’s residence where only those allowed by Swami would stay. But how did he know about him? In fact, there was nothing ‘Greek’ about him. He had been an American citizen from long and held an American passport. He had not spoken to anybody and there was no chance for anyone to know that he was of Greek origin.
“Possibly, this is an amazing coincidence where a second Dimitri from Greece is also present”, he thought to himself.

The Gardener’s explanation

The grass blade was shedding tears...
As the blade of grass felt despondent, it felt a gentle touch on its back. Looking up, it saw the gardener. The smile was still on his face as he asked,
“Why do you feel so bad dear?”
“What is there for me to feel good about?” the grass blade asked, “everyone in this garden is so beautiful and wonderful. Everything is special, save me. Who am I? Am just an ordinary grass blade. I will never be able to make you happy like the others...”
Another tear rolled down from the grass blade.

“Oh my dear little one” said the gardener caressing the grass blade, “please don’t feel so lowly. You are irreplaceable.”
“You say that only to make me feel better, I know.”

The Durva grass is Lord Ganesha's favourite
“No Durva! What I am saying is the truth.”
“You know my name!” the blade of grass was surprised.
“Yes! And I have planted you with a purpose. It is Ganesh Chaturthi  today and Durva grass is the favourite of Lord Ganesh. I have come to the garden today to pick you for this noble task of worship.”

In an instant, the day transformed from a sad one into the best one in Durva’s life.
“Remember Durva, I have planted you with a purpose. If I wanted another rose or another oak, I could have easily planted that. But I planted you because I wanted you Durva! Never ever compare yourself with others. Each and every thing in this garden is here because I need it. Now wipe away your tears and get ready to go to the feet of Lord Ganesha.”
“These are tears of joy sir...” answered Durva.

A purpose and role for each and every one

Dimitri waited and watched for a while as nobody came forward to the beckoning ‘white man’. Curious to check whether he was actually referring to him, he walked forward and introduced himself,
“I am Dimitri from Greece.”

Instantly, the man came running to him and wrapped him in a tight embrace. Dimitri did not know what was happening. As he stopped quivering and quaking, the man revealed,
“Swami told me that I should find a certain ‘Dimitri from Greece’. I asked Him as to how I would find this Dimitri needle in the haystack of the populace at Whitefield. He simply told me that you would yourself come to me within minutes. And there, that is what exactly has happened.”
“How can I help you sir?”, Dimitri asked.
“Not me! Swami wants your help”, said the man and continued, “He has received this letter from the Sathya Sai Organization in Greece and he wants you to translate it into English for Him. Can you do that?”

Dimitri was thrilled. This was the answer to his prayers! He agreed immediately and, leaving everything aside, he seriously went about his task. He did three iterations in the translation in order to be perfect.
“It was all organizational matter. The devotees from Greece sought many clarifications from Swami.”

Apart from translating the letter, Dimitri rewrote it in English, all in CAPITAL letters. When he met the ‘white man’ and gave the translated sheet to him, he asked,
“Why did you write everything in capital letters?”
“I thought it would make it easier for Swami to read the letter...”
“How foolish of you! Don’t you know that Swami would have received the letter even as it was being composed in the heart of the writer? He just gave you an opportunity to serve Him.”

Dimitri just nodded in gratitude. Then it struck him - when Swami knew his name, birth country and everything else about him, wouldn’t he know the contents of a letter? Now he smiled and walked back to his room. Now, that raises a question - Should we write letters to God when He knows everything? That is subject matter of another blog!

Concluding thoughts

The divine Gardener has planted each and every one of us on this earth with a purpose. Just because I do not realize my purpose at a certain point of time does not mean that I don’t have a purpose nor does it mean that my purpose is something lower than that of another.

If you enjoyed reading this, these little stories might add more colour to your day.

For all readers:

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  2. Dear Aravind one more master piece from Leonardo Da Vince of Sai writing

  3. Nice blog as usual Aravind... It definitely helped to boost my morale or was I also thinking that I am a weed in this beautiful world.... Thanks buddy...

  4. sumedha habbu kulkarni6 August 2014 at 16:02

    Your way of putting things is so very special kano. As usual it makes all readers happy and most of all keep going. Such a lovely moral and very timely. Will surely tell the durva story to shivam.Love to you and all at home. Sairam.

    1. Definitely... Hope Shivam enjoys the story! :)

      Will convey your regards to all at home...

  5. Hi Aravind, loved the morale booster from Swami. Perfect timing of the message


  6. Beautifully narrated Sairam.
    Venugopal Seshadri

  7. Brother, I'm so happy to find your blog. Very inspirational and I feel blessed indeed when I read your posts. Thank you for your devotion, thanks for sharing your devotion.

    Jai Sai Ram

  8. Great one....'Just because you didnt realise.......'

  9. Sairam brother... what should I say about this now... Today morning I was having a chat with Swami {which I do regularly.. so times it will be even fight ;-) or just sweet nothings} as my feelings was just like the grass... so he choose to answer via this incident... Just waiting as when Swami will let me know or make me realize of my purpose... Am also excited that I will be seeing you in Parthi tomorrow... Wow....


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