Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Where to find Sri Sathya Sai Baba?

The life-changing day

The 24th of April, 2011, changed life for millions of people around the globe. It was the day when Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba took Mahasamadhi ( For those considered as Spiritual Masters, the term 'death' is never used for they are beyond birth and death. The term Mahasamadhi literally means 'Great Samadhi'. 'Samadhi' refers to the realized conscious departure from the physical frame.) Needless to say, it was an earth-shattering event for me. I seemed lost and the world seemed to come to a standstill. Considering everything in life as temporary and transient, I had held on to my God and Master. But now, He Himself was gone! What was I to hold on to now?
The earliest unveiled form of the Mahasamadhi structure of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. 
I had always delighted in my work at Radiosai, spreading Swami's message of love and selfless service. But now, I was not able to do any of my work. I was known as a person who kept cracking jokes and making people laugh. There is nothing that satisfies me more than to know that I have been the reason for someone's laughter, someone's joy. Now, I no longer felt the need to make people laugh and happy - how could I when I myself was poverty-stricken in that respect? There were no smiles on my face nor was there any joy left in my heart. The pain was so much when I saw my Master lying in state for the 'funeral' that I did not even have the guts to go again to the Sai Kulwant hall where the mortal remains of beloved Swami had been buried.

The days passed agonizingly slowly. I don't remember much about those days except the fact that I just kept breathing on when I wanted to actually let go of everything and allow my breath to travel with Swami's. However, I remember one incident that Swami seemed to have especially planned to kick me out of my stupid stupor and kick-start my life again. 

An impulse that overruled a decision

It had been just a couple of months since I had been engaged to Pooja. It now became clear that Swami would not be present for my wedding. In fact, I realized that He would not be there for any of my life-events from now on. I wasn't ready to accept that. In an attempt to forget the Mahasamadhi, I decided that I would not go anymore to the Sai Kulwant Hall, the temple where I had spent hours daily for more than a decade! Later in the day, when I mentioned this to my fiancée, she did not seem surprised but she told me that Swami would miss me if I did not go there. 
"I don't think so Pooja. I will meet Swami daily in my workplace for, thankfully by His grace, my work involves seeing Him, hearing Him and writing about Him."
"Your wish. It is your journey to Him. I can only pray and pray hard for you... Pray for me too okay?"
I realized that, lost in my sorrow, I had forgotten that it was equally sorrowful for Pooja too to have lost her Swami.
"Yes! Absolutely. I shall pray for you. Let us pray for each other..."
That was how life went on for two months after that - in sorrow and prayer. It surprised me to think that there was a time, not long time back, when I used to spend at least three to four hours every day in mandir. Now, I was not even seeing the face of mandir. Then came the 2nd of July, 2011. 

As I was riding towards work on my motorbike, I suddenly felt like going to the mandir in the morning. The bhajans were about to begin. My heart longed to go for the bhajans. My mind also came up with a reinforcing justification,
"You did not want to go the mandir because you felt that you would cry there. The tears would come because of the memories that would come flooding by. But, you do not have many memories in the morning time right? Most of your memories are of the evening times. Maybe you should begin by going to mandir in the morning.”

Thus, I parked my bike and went for the bhajan session. Right in the front, there were only about twenty people seated because the students would be coming only for the evening bhajans. I smiled at a couple of my colleagues to my side. However, within a few moments, as I saw the marble structure in front of me, I began to shed a few tears. Soon, I began to weep and one bhajan later, I was crying inconsolably. I just could not stop crying. I remembered the times when Swami had told me that the only thing I should do for Him was to love and be happy always. And now, I was letting Him down. Ironically, that thought made me cry even more!

Once the bhajan session concluded, I moved to my workplace. I was so shaken with emotion and I just told Swami in my heart,
“I miss you so much! How I wish You were still with me.”

Let us never forget the fact that the form that we held so dear still rests in the Sai Kulwant Hall. The mandir
in Prasanthi Nilayam still has the singular privilege of holding the sacred form of the Avatar in its bosom.
"I am as close to you as you are to yourself"

It was about 10 am when Pooja called me. She used to work in Mumbai, in a shift that ended at 11:30 pm. Naturally she would sleep late and wake up by about 9:30am. I picked the phone.
“Hello”
“Hey listen, I called to tell you that I had Swami’s dream”
“That is nice. (but my voice was still feeble)”
“Why are you still whining?”
“What do you mean ‘still whining’? When did I whine to you before... today?”

She laughed. Then she said,
“Ok listen. I had Swami's dream and I feel it was meant mostly for you!"
"Was I there with Swami?"
"That is why I said it is meant mostly for you!" she said. 
"Tell me! Tell me!" I was eager now. Pooja began to tell me about her dream.

"In the dream I could see you were seated in the Kulwant hall mandir, right in the front. Swami was sitting on the chair on the dais. There were about two dozen people seated next to you. It seemed like the hall was not packed. I think there were very few people when the bhajan was going on."
I was stunned at the nearly perfect description that Pooja seemed to give of that morning's bhajan session in Sai Kulwant hall. I said nothing and she continued.
"Swami called you. You gave Him a letter and started shedding tears. He asked why you are sad. Then turning to someone next to Him, He made a pouting face while pointing to you. He seemed to say that you were being foolish in thinking He wasn't there. You managed a weak smile at that. He patted your right cheek, gave you a sweet to eat and told you that He was always with you. He also said that you should not cry.”

As I heard this, I was dumbstruck. She continued with laugh,
“And now again you are sounding sad. That is why I asked you why you were still whining.”
“Did you get this dream today morning?” I asked her immediately.
“I woke up with this dream about half an hour ago.”
“Really?”
“What sort of a question is that? Really!”
Pooja seemed puzzled. I cut in,
“...Because, I was in Kulwant hall, half an hour ago. I went for bhajans today and was crying because I was missing Him. I told Him that He shouldn't have left me...”

Now, there was silence on the other end of the phone. After a few moments, Pooja said
“You told me you would never go to mandir….”
“Correct. But today morning I felt like going.”
“Did you go to bhajan today morning.”
“I just came to work straight from bhajans half an hour ago.”
“Really?”
“What sort of a question is that? Really!”

Both of us fell silent. Suddenly there seemed another being listening to us, grasping us in His love and feeling happy at the joy that was sprouting in our hearts. It felt like having darshan (vision of God), sparshan (touch of God) and sambhashan (conversation with God) at the same time!

This song (with sub-titles in English) is sure to make you
weep in joy in case you are still weeping in sorrow,
missing Swami. In case you have already seen this video, 
PLEASE SEE IT AGAIN! :)

Yad Bhavam Tad Bhavati - As is the feeling, so is the effect

I remember the dozens of times when Swami had said publicly,
"My true home is in your heart."

And here He was, reminding me again that I should never forget He is with me always. Ever since that day, there have been multiple experiences where He has shown that He is there for me, whenever I think of Him and feel that I need Him. One little episode on the 13th of September 2017 will make this more clear. Those are the little moments that have big impacts. 

I was walking back home after work at Radiosai. I was missing Swami. That feeling was getting heightened because of the presence of fakes and imitations that had emerged after His Mahasamadhi. It was almost as if the same people who believed in His divinity were now acting as if His power was over with His physical departure. Without the slightest fear of acting against the Word of the Master they seemed to have revered, they were using His name and legacy for their own selfish ends. 

"How can they miss your Presence and behave like this Swami?" I asked.
"Yad Bhavam Tad Bhavati" came one answer.
"Yenta Matramuna Yevvaru Talachina Antha Matrame Naenu (I am only that which one considers me to be)." came another answer.
"Yes!" I told myself, "if someone feels and behaves as if You are not existent, You do not exist for them. If someone feels that You are present in every grain of sand, You are present in every grain of sand for them!"
Overwhelmed with that thought, I spontaneously bent down, put my palm on the soil and smeared it on my forehead. I was in front of the R2 building in Prasanthi Nilayam. This was the building where I had stayed for years during my bachelor years. I felt that I should never forget that every inch of Prasanthi Nilayam is blessed by the touch of His feet and it is not a coincidence that one comes here or stays here or goes away from here. Feeling blessed, I walked on. A minute later, my phone chimed. It was a WhatsApp message from sister Swapna who had been to Parthi for Onam celebrations which had concluded a few days before.  In that she expressed her desire to to stay in Puttaparthi as a resident and concluded with the words,



"In every send (sic) grain in Parthi we feel His divine footprints."
Since she had made an obvious typo, she had resent the corrected words. Those were the words that appeared on my phone's locked screen because the last message sent via Whatsapp is what appears on the screen. The words that I saw were "sand grain"

The words "sand" and "grain" were in bold. I felt moved and gratitude to Swami for the 'coincidental' and instant acknowledgement of my feelings. I knew for sure that He was with me ALWAYS as He had promised. 

The old website of the SSSIO also proclaims the same Truth of His presence in the heart!


 For all the readers:

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23 comments:

  1. (I am only that which one considers me to be)This is exactly the case with every person.
    The Lord appears to you as you wish Him to appear.It is for us to wish Him to be with us always and wish that we merge in Him.

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    1. Swami says that beautiful message " Yenta Matramuna" and is depicted beautifully in the latter half of this 9 minute documentary. At around the 6 minute mark.

      https://youtu.be/jPQxK1Ap930?t=6m18s

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    1. Please ensure that the "Annotations" is on in the Youtube settings. (Right hand bottom corner there will be a wheel. Click on it and put the annotations switch on).

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  3. Thank you for sharing the dream and your experience. Left me in tears, but again, trying to console my self with ‘Yes, Swami is always there with me..in my heart.’
    Beautiful post.
    Sairam

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    1. Gues we have to stop looking at "Yes! Swami is always in my heart" as a consolation and start feeling it as a natural Truth. In the same boat as you though many times. :)

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  4. Always good to hear from bro Aravind.

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  5. Thank you for this blog and all other blogs as well Aravind. I eagerly wait for the Sai Student Experiences mail in my mailbox. You explain spirituality and Swami beautifully. Each word of His resonates completely with my soul.

    This particular line from Annamayya (Entha maatramuna evvaru talachina, antha maatrame neevu) aptly sums up spirituality. "You are as much as what others see in You". For someone, if there is no God, indeed there is no God. For someone, for whom everything is God, every single aspect of life is infused with God and designed by Him

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  6. Absolutely True Aravind. Pranams.
    Anil Kumar

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  7. Every experience of your life with swamy inspiring me. When I am reading your blog always feel happy and over joyed because of my beloved Swamy. Waiting for another wonderful article like this..

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  8. You are always inspiring us. Thank you very much! Love and light from Suriname. Jai sai ram.

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  9. As always Brother Arvind your narrations are spellbound. Jai Sairam

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  10. One more jem of your thouhtful memories imprinted in the heart of readers...
    Thanks Swami....and to you Bro.Aravind.

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  11. Om Sai Ram, !!!
    Arvind we feel the same, every sand grain of Parthi has a story of Baba spent time with them.
    We , me & my wife stayed 12 to 15, Dec 2017 at N-5 as usual. I came to meet you at Radiosai, but met Brother Pranav & Dr Sunsm but you. Next time . !!!

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  12. INFACT NOW HE HEARS PRAYERS INSTANTLY. SO WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL WHAT WE THINK. HE IS HERE , HE IS THERE NOT FAR BUT NEAR AND SO VERY VERY DEAR. SWAMI BLESS YOU.

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  13. Sai ram brother - this is very touching. I have also felt many times Swami's divine presence, especially very strong this year, with His daily messages:) He's always guiding and guarding us.

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  14. Sairam Aravind, an inspiring and heartfelt rendition from your pen to relive similar feelings experienced by many since 24 Apr 11. When I was reading this article I had a feeling that I have read part of the contents earlier. This is not a repeat article, so my memory is playing tricks. There is no doubt that SWAMI is with us at all times, we remain ignorant of this most of the time. Thank you once again.

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  15. The focused, stronger, fullness the devotion, faith, trust will each moment flood you with his real presence. Also a lesson for us to be aware that we are also not the body but the invisible inner essence

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  16. Thank you Aravind. Is there any way to listen to Me Rakesh Menon's talk that your sister has mentioned in her comments? I am one of those who eagerly wait for your posts on Swami.

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  17. A message that we all should live by-"Do not make Swami part of your life, Swami is your Life" He is your every breath.

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Please do take some time to leave your valuable thoughts and feedback here. It will be an enriching read for me. :)