Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Yearning to serve is the only prerequisite to serve - the Nepal Youth Conference 2017

When God arranges...

I walked into the magnificent Bengaluru airport gearing up for my late-evening flight to Kathmandu. This was going to be my first ever visit to neighbouring Nepal and I was both nervous and excited. I was travelling to participate in the National Youth Conference of the Sri Sathya Sai Organization there (14th and 15th of April, 2017) and I had been told that more than a thousand youngsters in the age group 16-35 would be participating. The energy and power that the youth carry is tremendous and as Spiderman says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” For me, it was a slightly modified statement,
“With the opportunity to address and harness great power comes great responsibility.”
The ‘responsibility’ part made me nervous; the ‘opportunity’ part excited me.

The wonderful venue for the National Youth Conference 2017 at Nepal. (Courtesy the head of the Armed Police in
Nepal who admires Swami with all his heart!)
Taking a seat in the lounge, I made a quick, momentary prayer to God.
“Swami, it has to be all You at the conference. You alone inspire, You alone transform. May I be a good instrument.”
I had barely completed my thought when Swami responded in a startling manner. I began to hear the bhajan, “Omkara Roopini Janani Maa” in my most favourite voice - that of Ravi Bhaiya. I was thrilled and I turned around to see where it was emanating from. It was the ringtone of an elderly lady.

As she completed her call, I moved towards her and said,
“Sairam aunty. Are you coming from Puttaparthi?”
“Oh Yes... Wait a minute? Aren’t you Aravind? I have read your books. I know your mother...”
“Yes aunty. I am Aravind and I too have come from Puttaparthi. Am travelling to Kathmandu for a conference.”
“I am also travelling to Kathmandu! I am Heera Basnet and I am a permanent volunteer at Prasanthi Nilayam...”

Needless to say, a sweet Satsangh ensued and I felt the reassuring warmth of Swami’s love. The nervousness was gone, replaced by confidence in His Divine Plan. It was only excitement now.

The flight was delayed by an hour. When it finally arrived, I realized that my seat, 34B, was in the last row and would lack the pushback ability of other seats. I didn’t want to curse my luck for I felt there was a reason why Swami had put me there. But then, things started to get a little bad. The guy on my right asked for alcoholic beverages and then for non-vegetarian food. I always like to believe Swami travels with me everywhere I go and I was finding it hard to see Swami in this person.
“NO! I cannot touch non-veg food. I have specifically asked for vegetarian while booking my tickets”, boomed a voice from my left.
Hearing him argue in Nepali with the air-hostess, I realized that there was no more vegetarian meals on board! It was exhausted and would we prefer fish or chicken? Now I cursed my fate and asked for some bread and butter. Mutual frustration kindled a conversation between me and the guy to my left. Imagine my surprise when I found out that he was the former youth-coordinator, Bishnu KC, for the SSIO in Nepal!
The Conference commenced with a march by more than thousand youngsters through the busy roads of Halchowk. 

Another beautiful satsangh followed as I learned about Swami’s love for Nepal and the Nepali youth’s love for Him from Bishnu. I understood why Swami had arranged the seating in that manner for me. It was valuable prep for me before the conference.

The first miracle and a few more...

It was past 10:30 pm as Bishnu guided me out of the crowded Tribhuvan International Airport. I was welcomed by a radiant young man, Bhaskar Bhattrai, who took me to my room in his car. The streets of Kathmandu were vibrant with activity of the Rajasic and Tamasic types. Bars were in full swing and disco music was being served liberally.
“Tomorrow is the Nepali New Year day, the day of Baisakhi”, said Bhaskar, “and so, don’t be surprised to see youngsters pull all-nighters like this in the extended weekend.”

The next morning, we reached the venue at the Armed Police Headquarters in Halchowk, Swayambhu. The decorated venue amazed me.
“This place looks wonderfully done. This is how it would be if Swami was visiting!”
“Sairam brother”, said a smiling, red-eyed youngster, “it has been our privilege to work for Swami through the night to get this hall ready for Him.”
What this youngster, Sarad, told me thrilled me with delight. I silently told Swami in my heart,
“Swami, thank you for giving me the opportunity to witness a miracle. When all over Kathmandu, the youth are pulling all-nighters for wine, women and sensual indulgence, here are a thousand youth preparing through the night for You. This is a miracle Swami! Your miracle of pure love!”