Wednesday, 22 October 2014

An addiction called God - experiences of Navaneeth Kumar_ Part 2

Pleasure is an interval between pains (and vice versa)

The February of 2008 began in quite an eventful and wonderful fashion for Navaneeth. It seemed as though God had arranged a bumper bonanza for him. Everyday, Navaneeth would speak at length with his two ‘friends’ at the shed, trying to convince them to come into the bhajan hall for morning bhajans. He told them that seeing Swami during bhajans was an altogether different experience. However, inertia prevented his friends from rushing for bhajan hall seats after morning darshan.

On the 5th of February, Navaneeth had the blessed opportunity to take padanamaskar as Swami moved through the hall during bhajans. With great joy and enthusiasm, he described the joy that coursed through him to his shed-mates. (One of the friends was an outpatient at the SSSIHMS and the other was in Parthi for a fortnight of seva  and sadhana.) The next day, the same story repeated and the day after that too, it happened again. Now, the two friends were spurred into giving up breakfast to go into the bhajan hall for the bhajans. Thus, Navaneeth again proved to be a true friend, guiding people ‘closer’ to God. Swami seemed to be rewarding him for that as for the fourth day in a row, Navaneeth enjoyed a padanamaskar. He was in seventh heaven (or any other higher heaven that exists).

Bhagawan Baba often stresses that pleasure is an interval between pains. When one enjoys a pleasure, one can be sure that some pain lies ahead and when one is in pain, one can be sure that brighter days lie ahead. No one is exempt from this - even the one who is seeking God. It appears as though the world is designed this way to help man develop equanimity and the thirst to seek a way out of this endless cycle. When the seeking is done intensely, like Siddartha did, one indeed finds a way out of this endless cycle, like the Buddha did.

{This is actually the second part of a very interesting story. In case you have come here directly, you are advised to read the first part and then continue. The 1st part is located at the link below:

As Navaneeth was discussing his ascent to the seventh heaven, one of his friends asked, pointing to his face,
“What is this boil?”
Navaneeth tenderly touched a boil on his face.
“There is one more here...”
“... and another here...”
“This is definitely chickenpox...”
He was taken to the General Hospital and the doctor there gave him the requisite medicines and a topical gel for regular application. Navaneeth called and told his mother about his affliction and she wanted him to return home immediately. Navaneeth shared his two fears with her:
  1. There was the risk of him infecting others during his journey.
  2. There was the risk of his father getting to know that he was no longer attending nursing college.
Navaneeth reassured his mother that he would be well taken care of because he was with Swami. The mother was not fully satisfied but she reminded herself to have faith.

Navaneeth’s faith was not let down. The two friends took care of him as his own brothers. Since about half of the shed #5 was empty, they made a bed away from everyone else for him. They fetched neem leaves to help relieve the itch and also took care of all his dietary needs. One of them had been a veteran of two chickenpox battles. He advised Navaneeth to eat a lot of ‘cooling’ foods and also ensured that he had a constant and regular supply of melons and squashes. Even the nurses in a hospital couldn’t have nursed him so well. But Navaneeth was not happy.

Two days into chickenpox, he was already missing Swami terribly. Since chickenpox is contagious, there was no way he could go for darshan. Even when he thought of going for darshan, his friends dissuaded him.
“You would not want to infect Swami with chickenpox right?”
That question silenced Navaneeth. Though Swami had literally become a “Navaneetha Chora” (stealer of hearts / one who steals Navaneeth’s heart), Navaneeth’s love for Swami was too great to risk Swami contracting the virus. He cried because he missed Him. Swami too seemed to miss him because that very night, He came in his dreams... and the next night... and the next too. Navaneeth realized that the four continuous padanamaskars had reinforced him for the battle against the pox. But the fifth day, the pain became unbearable - not the physical one; the one in the heart. Navaneeth was missing Swami a lot and he cried silently within himself.

“If you need me, you deserve me”

When the pining is intense, nothing can keep the devotee away from the Lord. There is this Chinna Katha (little story) of a disciple who was seeking to find God. He goes to his Guru and says,
“Guruji, I have been seeking God all my life but he does not seem to hear my pleas. He is not responding to me. I wish to see and experience God...”
The Guru seemed moved.
“Tomorrow morning, complete your ablutions at the river and wait for me. I shall help you see God.”

The next day, the disciple was at the river even before break of dawn. Finishing his ablutions, he awaited the Guru’s arrival. The Guru came and told him to step into waist-deep water, facing away from Him. The disciple did as he was told.
“Now surrender yourself completely to God...”
The disciple closed his eyes and tried to lose himself to the Divine. Suddenly, he felt weak at his knees and plunged into the water.

What had actually happened was something unexpected. The Guru had pressed the disciple’s head into the water. Since the disciple had ‘let go’ of his guard, he was now drowning. He tried to fight the Guru’s grip but it was of no use. He fought hard. He definitely wanted to ‘see’ God but he did not desire that the Guru arrange a face-to-face meeting with God in this manner! But what could he do? However hard he tried, he was unable to surface. Finally, his lungs were about to give out. He knew that if he did not get air in the next few moments, he would die. He made a last-lunge effort and was surprised at his own strength. As he lashed out and pushed up, the Guru was thrown to a distance and he gulped in a huge blast of air.

As the disciple recovered, the Guru also got up on his feet.
“What happened?”
“What do you mean by that Guruji?! You tried to kill me...”
“Is it? Let me assure you that I didn’t. Tell me what did you see underwater. Did you see God?”
“I could not see anything. All my attention, energy and focus was on getting out of water and gasping air...”
“Then what happened?”
“Nothing... I was blind and deaf to everything else. I was trying to get air but was simply not able to get free from your grip.”
“But you finally managed it....”
“Ah! That happened because I realized that if I didn’t get air, I would soon die. That conviction gave me that amazing burst of strength I guess...”
“And you found what you sought - air. Remember child, when you seek God the way you sought air, you will find God just as you found air! Do you feel that if you don’t get God, you will die?”

The disciple understood his fault. If he ‘needed’ God more than anything else, he would ‘deserve’ God more than anything else. That is the special promise of the Lord who has incarnated in the Kali Age!

Navaneeth sought Swami with great intensity and his prayers seemed to have got answered. The next day was supposed to be ‘Day 5’ of chickenpox. But he rose feeling so much better. The boils seemed to have receded and he had his first bath with crushed neem leaves. The chickenpox was gone! Medically, it usually takes about 7-9 days but Navaneeth seemed to have been given a special priority. In great joy he rushed for darshan. No prizes for guessing that he got a smile and padanamaskar from his Lord that day!

The story of Navaneeth and the Navaneetha Chora (stealer of hearts) is the story of every soul seeking the Ultimate.
A new resolve

It was the chickenpox that woke up Navaneeth to the fact that he couldn’t continue long without telling his father about his academic misadventure. But what was he to tell him? That the 1.5 lakh Rupees he had invested so far in his nursing course was all gone down the drain? That he currently was not doing anything as far as the world was concerned?

It was in this moment of intense thinking that Navaneeth hit upon a win-win idea. He would try to get a seat in Swami’s college at Puttaparthi! That would ensure him being close to Swami and also give him an education. The application forms were available for admission into the academic year 2008-2009. Brilliant idea indeed, but what would he apply for?

Navaneeth decided not to opt for BSc because he was least interested in the Sciences. His tryst with nursing had made him dislike the Sciences even more. He decided not to opt for BCom because that would mean going to Brindavan (Whitefield), physically away from his Lord. Arts was not something that his father would appreciate. Again, he wasn’t interested in Arts. What was he to do?

He knew a few friends of his had joined as students in the newly started Mirpuri College of Music. They had said that it was amazing with good teachers. Added to it was the fact that Swami is Ganapriya (lover of music). But Navaneeth had not a single day experience in music. Nevertheless, he applied for the Foundation Course in tabla. He felt that he would inform his father about his newfound love - music. He wouldn’t stress on the fact that his love stemmed from Swami’s love for music.

Made for God and so mad for God

It was after filling in the application form that Navaneeth came to know of another Music College aspirant staying in the shed. This lad had applied for two courses - tabla  and mridangam. He was also sincerely practicing for the same. For Navaneeth, it was the first time he was seeing the musical instruments from such close quarters.
“You can practice along with me if you like. I will teach you some basic beats...”

With that, the lad showed his skills on the instruments. Why did he need a college education in the instruments that he already played with such dexterity? Possibly, he too was seeking music as a means to get closer to Swami. That line of reasoning in Navaneeth was demolished by the next statement from the lad,
“If you wish to get admission, you should practice regularly and hard. For a few weeks, give up going for darshan and bhajan. Stay with me in the shed here and we will practice well.”

“Is he mad?” Navaneeth wondered. How could he give up something which had been the cause for him to apply for music in the first place? Navaneeth felt that he was made only for God and that was why he was mad for God.
“No thank you! I cannot spare that time for practice. Let me practice for an hour after the evening session in mandir.
The lad felt that Navaneeth was mad.

And that is how it is in the world. Those that are world-crazed think that the God-crazed are mad; those that are divinely addicted feel that the world-crazed are mad!

Weeks passed. The lad practiced hard while Navaneeth drunk deep into the nectarous darshan with his eyes, heart and soul.

An entrance exam like no other

The first part of the entrance exam for scheduled for the 6th of May, Easwaramma Day. As Navaneeth was proceeding towards the college building, he could sense a lot of excitement and sound on the road. That could mean only one thing - Swami was coming out for a drive! Thus, he enjoyed a darshan just before the entrance exam too. The darshan bolstered Navaneeth’s confidence. He had only learnt and practiced the Adi Talam ( a primary beat in Carnatic Music) for a day. He hoped that would get him a seat.

He entered the room when his name was called out. The principal of the college was the noted Veena exponent Pudukottai Krishnamoorthy and he was heading the panel.
“You are from Kerala, South India. Why do you wish to learn the tabla which is a Hindustani instrument over the mridangam which is a Carnatic instrument?”
Navaneeth did not have an answer even for the first question.
“Sir, it is not a problem. I shall learn the mridangam if you feel it is better for me. I don’t know either of them well, and so, learning them will be an honour.”
His humility seemed to move the principal.
“Please take your seat”, he said pointing to a plethora of instruments on the floor.

Navaneeth did not know how to play anything on any instrument. He sat right in front of all instruments. The principal asked him to sing a bhajan. Navaneeth burst forth into “Om Namo Bhagavathe Vasudevaya”. The lines of that bhajan incidentally coincide with the mantra that the little boy Dhruva used to please Mahavishnu. Navaneeth closed his eyes and pictured his Lord as he sang. With that, the first part of his entrance exam concluded and he was surprised at how short it was.

That evening gave special joy for Navaneeth because apart from a smile from Swami, he received news that he had to attend the final part of the admission process - the interview - after a few days. The Vice Chancellor, Sri Anil Gokak, would also be present during the interview.

The great intellectual that he is, Sri Anil Gokak asked Navaneeth some deep questions about music in general and Carnatic Music in specific. Navaneeth answered with a blank face. The principal came to his defence.
“Sir, we really do not expect a student applying for a Foundation Course in music to know answers to any of these. He seems humble and eager and those are the biggest qualifications for a music-aspirant.”

Well, those are the biggest qualifications for a spiritual aspirant as well and Swami knew that Navaneeth qualified for being one.

In a few days, Navaneeth’s eyes welled up in tears as he saw his name among the candidates selected for the Foundation Course in Mirpuri College of Music. To his shock, his musically-accomplished friend had not got a seat!

Sometimes, not knowing anything is a great boon - in education and in spirituality.

And getting an admission in Swami’s college is not just based on academic considerations because what is conferred here is not information to eke a living but transformation that builds a life.

Navaneeth was thrilled no doubt. He could now inform his father about his changed circumstances. He told his mother and she was overjoyed. Navaneeth then followed Swami to Brindavan to enjoy darshan there, now as a student!

But if he thought that his life had been made, he was in for a very rude shock - a shock that would only make him hold on stronger than ever before to Swami... 

to be concluded in Part 3 which is at the link below:

An addiction called God - experiences of Navaneeth Kumar_ Part 3

For all readers:

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  1. Beautiful! Eagerly waiting for the concluding part.

  2. As always, a beautiful for God...Made for God and madly in love with God.....

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Happy Diwali to you too sister Aanchal... It was wonderful reading Sai's leela at your home....Blessed indeed is your brother...

      In Sai love


    1. It makes it inconvenient for me because it takes time to write an article. At the same time there are many who wish to get regular articles on Swami.

      Theoretically too, research shows that an ideal article should not exceed 2000 words. There are many other reasons too.

      Since you do not mind waiting, why don't you wait till all the parts are published and then read in one go? :)

      I know a few people who do this...


    2. Oh, that was not the tone of my line. Read as follows
      Why can't u write a lengthy article and finish at one go:). It is going to be a long wait !!


    3. Aha! See, I mistook the tone because the comment was written in "ALL CAPS". On the internet, typing in CAPS is the equivalent to shouting or screaming and people use it that way. :)

      Sorry for wrong understanding.... Tomorrow morning, third part will be ready... :)

      Happy Diwali

  5. An Addiction called "God"... An Addiction called " Reading Brother Aravind's Articles"...
    Reading, Understanding and Feeling such profound love of our Beloved Bhagwan through your articles.... it has truly become an addiction now...
    Happy Diwali to you and your lovely Family....

    1. Hahahahaha Thank you Mithun...

      Wish you too a happy and holy Deepavali.

  6. This morning my maa fractured her ribs.I hope n wish swami takes off her pain too like brother Navneeth and brother Arjun.

  7. sairam brother,
    yearn for HIM and our sweet simple lord is right next to us to pour out HIS luv. Such an unshakeable faith and luv for swami. Was moved to tears.Lovely article,especially the 1st and the last para of part 3 were so touching. Thanks for sharing

  8. Brother! I'm going to drop all other prayers to Baba and only pray that you should never stop!! . My Swami is soo much alive thru your writings, eliminating fear and increasing faith in Swami. ..May our beloved Swami's grace and blessings be upon you ALWAYS! Thank you.
    Jai Sai ram!! 😀

    1. I am so grateful to you for your prayers sister! :)

      Thank you.... I am also grateful for your wonderful prayers. May our Love for God grow stronger every passing moment...


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