Wednesday, 28 December 2016

The best gift a parent can seek for a child - Bhakti (devotion)

December 15, 2015

The day turned out to be a landmark one in this lifetime of mine. Poetically speaking, it was the day when a soul in the heavens above decided that Pooja (my wife) and I would be the appropriate beings as its parents in its earthly sojourn. Prosaically speaking, it was the day when I became father to a baby girl. But however prosaically you may state that, the experience is always poetic! I felt a thrill like never before and my first sounds were similar to the ones that the baby made -
The innocence, detachment and purity with which the baby seemed to look at everyone around reminded me so strongly of my dear Swami.  So, the first thing I felt like doing, even before carrying the baby or cuddling her, was to gently touch the lotus feet. Ah! How soft they were and so similar to Swami’s. It was indescribable divine joy.

The baby is the easiest and closest that anyone can come to experiencing the Divine. With a baby, you become like a baby!

As parents, you want to give your child the best things in life. But what is the best thing in life? Both Pooja and I felt that the greatest gift we had received from our parents (and grandparents too in Pooja’s case) was ‘Love For God’. Having love for Swami is the greatest treasure, a bounteous blessing and the most intelligent investment that a parent can gift a child. And so, ever since we had come to know about the baby, all of us at home had the same prayer,
“Swami, let this child be one that will love you with all it’s heart...”

What’s in a name? Everything

Even as the baby grew from a single cell into an embryo, we began discussions on the choice of a name. The name is a very important part of life. It will possibly be the most-heard word for the being and therefore, it is vital that it be something inspirational and aspirational. No wonder that all societies in the world spend considerable time and effort in naming a new-born.

Our plan was to make a list of boy and girl names and then choose the most appealing one. Though we started like that, somewhere along the line the plan got changed into me naming the baby if it was a girl and Pooja naming it if it was a boy. Thus I began focusing on girl names. My pick was “Vibhuti”. Having sought vibhuti, the holy ash from Swami all my student life, I felt it was a perfect name because, more than anything else, it symbolised Swami’s prasadam (a gift blessed by God).

I had this feeling that Pooja was carrying a boy. That is when I discovered that ‘Vibhuti’ is a unisex name! Irrespective of the gender of the baby, ‘Vibhuti’ could be used. One day, I asked Pooja,
“What do you think about the name ‘Vibhuti’?”
She was silent.
“You like it? Or you don’t like it?”
“See, Vibhuti is a unisex name...”
“Exactly my point! If we agree on it, then we needn’t search further...”

She wasn’t in conformity. She wanted a female name for a girl or a male name for a boy. Unisex names didn’t appeal to her.
“We have decided na that if its a girl it's your choice and it's my choice if it's a boy?”
I agreed though I was feeling defeated because of my gut feeling that we were going to have a boy. In that case, Pooja would win the naming rights. Pooja was smiling with a gleam of victory. Intuitively, she also felt that she was carrying a boy and knew that she had already won in the ‘naming choice’.

Monday, 19 December 2016

The Second Coming - Indications of the Sathya Sai Avatar in Christianity

An artist's impression of the second coming of the Christ.
(Actually the advent of the Father of Christ...)
A word on the specialty of Christianity

Being a follower of a Master who emphasizes the unity and divinity of all religions, I go through the various aspects of different religions when their holy days or holidays arrive. So, I spend some time in Christ’s life and teachings whenever it is Christmas, Good Friday or Easter.

Christianity is a fascinating religion in many ways. One of the special things about Christianity is that a lot of information is derived through the writings of the apostles of Christ. The religion offers the aspirant different perspectives or views of the same master, Jesus Christ, through the eyes of many. Thus, we have the Gospel according to Mark, Gospel according to Matthew, Gospel according to John and the Gospel according to Luke. None dare say that one is better than the other for each is the Truth in itself and battling by quoting one against the other, we would be like the blind men fighting over their respective descriptions of the elephant!

Munde Munde Matir Bhinnah”, says my Master and God, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba who many lovingly call as Swami. In spirit, this translates into ‘there are as many interpretations of the Truth as there are heads’ because everyone is allowed an opinion. So, when I read through the description and interpretation of the same life of the Master through ‘different heads’, rather than get confused and upset at things that do not match my perspective and opinions, I celebrate the grand diversity and beauty of the Master. The Master’s concern is always for the individual and therefore, there are as many ways to God as there are individuals. The Master allows the aspirant to seek a path most suited for him/her to progress spiritually. Thus, I try to enjoy the perspectives and interpretations for none of them are wrong - all are right because ultimately, there is only Truth and nothing else.

The second coming

Among the different things I was reading, one subject that interested me tremendously was that of the second coming of Christ. Why did that interest me?
I would love it if God were to come on earth in physical frame once again! I have been blessed to have enjoyed the proximity of my dear Swami and I know how wonderful, holy, elevating, uplifting, sanctifying and fun Divine company can be. And now that He took Mahasamadhi on Easter Sunday, 2011, I look forward to anything that says anything about Him ‘coming again’!

(My belief that 24th April 2011 is a day of His ‘departure’ was shattered through a miraculous experience that happened exactly an year later - on the 24th of April, 2012. Swami showed that it is a day to mark His ‘arrival’ into our homes and heart(h)s!)

You just have to do an internet search for the term, “The Second Coming” and in a span of 0.36 seconds you will see nearly a billion results hit your computer screen! That should suffice to say that it is an intensely discussed and possibly debated topic. There are interpretations galore. Such was the abundance of the interpretations offered that I decided to go to the actual ‘Book of Revelation’, the final book of the New Testament, credited to the apostle, John. Again, there are so many versions and I referred to the King James’ version of the Bible, chapter 19. What I found there simply thrilled my heart. The reference to the descent of the Father of Christ or the “King of Kings and the Lord of Lords” was so wonderful. (Christ is considered as the son of God by John.)

And here, I shall present these as stated in the Bible and any Sai devotee will immediately grasp the cause of my wonder, thrill and joy. (The relevant passages from the Revelations have been presented in bold.)