Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Yearning to Learn; Learning to Yearn

An evergreen song - Ek Radha Ek Meera

There is a popular Hindi song comparing the love of two devotees of Lord Krishna, Radha and Meerabai. These two are possibly among Krishna’s greatest devotees. The first few lines go like this:

Ek Radha Ek Meera, Donon Ne Shyaam Ko Chaahaa
Antar Kya Donon Ki Chaah Mein Bolo
Ek Prem Diwaani Ek Darash Diwani

{Radha and Meera, both desired for Krishna.
Tell me what is the difference in their desire?
While one longed for His (physical) love, the other sought to see Him (darshan). }

What makes the song interesting is that Radha was a contemporary of Krishna while Meera lived in an era thousands of years after Krishna’s physical passing. In fact, everything about their lives is different - totally. And yet, what is common is that both achieved their ultimate goal of union with their beloved. That should be an inspiration for us because it shows no matter how different we are in the way we love God, we all are equally capable of achieving Him. What matters is how we yearn for Him ALONE. There are many instances of yearning for God being more important than experiences with God and this post will be an extension of those thoughts.

Hear the beautiful song in the golden voice of Lata Mangeshkar.

Personally, the song brings solace to my heart that pines for and misses the physical form of my Sathya Sai Krishna, my Swami. It encourages me to keep the flame of yearning going with the oil of devotion till the wick of my body burns away. It soothes me with the assurance that though all do not get the opportunity to be a ‘Radha’, everyone can grab the opportunity to be a ‘Meera’.

Every now and then, it is not uncommon for me to feel a spiritual void, a disconnect with my Swami within. At such times, I try to focus on Swami in everything I do. Like a faithful dog, I stand barking at the door of my Master, refusing to lick the juicy tidbits He throws me because I know that when all else fails, He will surely come out of the door and pat me. It is one such experience post the ‘Mahasamadhi’ of Baba that I would like to share.

The void

It had been several weeks since Swami had come in my dreams. It had been nearly a month since vibhuti manifested in the altar at home. Of course, my work at Radiosai involved seeing videos of Him, hearing His discourses and thinking about Him. And yet, I was feeling a void. I realized that while with yearning and personal sadhana, work becomes worship, without them even worship becomes a work! Thus I felt that I need to pine more for Him.

I confided into my wife, Pooja, and told her that I was missing Swami a lot.
“It was so easy when He was here. Why did He have to leave?” I asked her rhetorically.
“Swami knows best”, she replied before encouraging me, “the very fact that you are yearning for Him is a blessing from Him. Be grateful and keep praying.”
“Sane advice indeed but it does not help my crying heart...”
“If you love Swami, instead of just feeling for Him start doing something for Him”, she egged me on.
“I am doing many things right...”
“But you still are not satisfied” she cut me, “then do more for Him. See, I am planning to do a week long Sai Satcharitra reading.”
“Where do you have the time?”, I asked wonderingly because she would have to manage our daughter Bhakti at home apart from the 7 hours she would have to put into the work-from-home job.
“I will make time...”

Friday, 11 November 2016

Sai's Geeta - the extraordinary tale of an elephant that rose to the level of God

Sai Geeta's relationship with Bhagawan was beyond that of the love
between a pet and the master.
The Extra Sensory Perception of an elephant

It was life as usual in the Sri Sathya Sai Senior Boys’ Hostel, one fine day in the early 1990s. As the students were getting ready to go to college for the noon session, they heard ‘the alarm’. It was the trumpeting of Sai Geeta, the pet elephant of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who was residing in a huge vaulted roofed enclosure right in front of the Senior Boys’ Hostel. The excited trumpeting could only mean one thing - their Swami was headed that way!

As they rushed out of the hostel, they saw Geeta rushing towards the gate and had it not been for her caretaker, she would have crushed it. She was out on the road even before the boys lined up. She seemed unduly excited that day, making it difficult for her mahout to hold her in check. Swami’s car approached and Sai Geetha moved forward. Instead of raising her trunk in her customary salute, she rested it heavily on the bonnet of the car, effectively blocking its progress.

The glass window beside Swami slid down noiselessly and before anyone could crowd around, her trunk slickly slid off the bonnet into the window and ever so gently touched Swami’s cheek and hair. Swami stepped out of the car and immediately the flapping ears stilled to a gentle wave. She undulated backward as Swami moved towards her, murmuring endearments while her trunk reached to caress His feet. He touched her and the ones closest could see a ripple run across her huge frame as she rejoiced at the blessing.

“Come on Geetha, I have to go,” He said, patting her trunk.
She protested softly and her trunk rose to lie on the bonnet again. It was a very loud “No!”
“I want to go Geetha, come on, come on, move,” said Swami, reaching up to stroke her cheek. And suddenly a diamond glistened, a dew drop that was the coalescence of her love for Him, a silent expression of her feelings: a tear found its way down the very cheek upon which His hand rested.

“Okay, okay, I will not go!” said Swami sympathetically.
Immediately the ears moved a whisker. She had not stirred an inch. Perhaps she did not want to break the contact.
“Will you go back if I return to the ashram?” asked Swami.
She stepped back a fraction – but only a fraction - her trunk still lay on the bonnet.
“Okay, okay, I will not go, I am going back to the ashram. Are you happy?” He asked her.
She visibly trembled with joy and replied in her own language in the affirmative. He, of course, understood.

“Good girl, good girl,” said Swami. Then turning to all the students gathered there, He announced,
“I had planned to go to Brindavan (Bangalore ashram) today. She knew it, she sensed it. She somehow figured out Swami was leaving and she was crying, Paapam (poor thing)!”