He continues to make me feel special – by Bharani Prasad M. S.

Sairam,

Life took its normal course after the Summer Course in Muddenahalli. ‘HE’ had made me feel special in his own way by teaching the Lesson of Equanimity. Now I was to experience him in my heart even more (I had promised him that I would establish him in my heart only if he made me feel special). But Swami is a tough taskmaster. He not only teaches but also tests whether his children have learnt the lesson properly or not.

The first test was on its way. As mentioned earlier, I work for a premium chocolate company and we have our own boutique stores in high end locations in Delhi. The store where I work is in one of the best malls in India where the ‘who is who’ of Delhi come to shop and socialize. The first few days after the summer course were quite normal and my connection with Swami was intact, but as days rolled by, I realized I was being trapped into the materialism around me. My mind was clearly overpowering my heart.  I was no longer seeing my customers as forms of Swami walking in. It had become difficult for me to smile genuinely. Mind was making all kinds of judgments about everyone around. I was telling swami- “Swami how can people wear such clothes, why do they spend so much money on these materialistic things. They really are not good examples for their children”. Everyone’s actions suddenly seemed to be fake and unnatural.  I was getting a lot of negative thoughts and I was giving into it. Mind had completely taken over. I couldn’t appreciate the diversity among the people and I just couldn’t relate to the oneness that existed in each one of us. I kept wondering where is my Swami amidst all of this. I thought I should run away from all of this materialistic traps. Equanimity seemed like an alien word to me at that moment. A dear friend of mine who had also come for the Summer Course invited me for a Bhajan session one Thursday. I went and I just had one prayer

“Swami, enough is enough. Please help me get out of this trap. Forgive me for indulging and entertaining those negative thoughts”. I was literally pleading and was hoping that a flower would fall and that would be a sign that Swami had forgiven me. Bhajans got over, Arathi started and there was no sign of the flower falling down. I prayed harder but nothing happened. Well Swami doesn’t want to forgive me, I thought. What happened next took me by surprise. Just after the Vibhuti Mantram, my friend said- “I am sure all of you will agree that Bhajans were not so great today, we were out of shruthi and talam but somehow Swami seemed to be happy. I had placed a flower in the mala and there was no way it would have fallen on its own. May be swami is happy with our bhajans”. I then looked at the photo and there was actually a flower which had fallen down. Wow! Swami was responding to my prayers. It was also the first time I lead a bhajan. I had sung Devi Bhavani Maa…. and I could feel Swami in my heart as I sang even though there was no shruthi and talam. After the bhajans I felt as if all my sins were washed away in one moment and I felt totally cleansed. I was on a beautiful high and I was very thankful to Swami.

I was back to work on the next day with a renewed hope and rigor. Everything looked beautiful, people seemed to be nice and I was smiling. I could easily connect with everyone around and I was thoroughly enjoying my work but this high again was not long lasting. I was soon back to my lackadaisical self. Mind was slowly overpowering and I was in the same vicious cycle. This time I completely gave into my mind’s diktats. I started revolting against Swami (heart). I was like- “Swami do whatver you want I am giving into my mind’s orders”. I was gossiping about people, their ways of living, their beliefs and lifestyles. I was pitying them for the poor lives they were leading. There was hatred building up within me and I completely let loose of this feeling. I saw the customers, the general crowd in the mall with those hatred eyes. Obviously my mind was seeing only differences and it was reveling in it. I allowed the mind to thrive and rein over me and I put aside all thoughts of guilt. I even went to an extent of saying that there is nothing called conscience. Mind is our ultimate conscience and satisfying its cravings was the key to happiness. This went on for a few days. The revolt against Swami (heart) was getting bitter but history is replete with examples of how revolutionary steps/actions would never last long. Here I was revolting against God. One day or the other it had to fizzle out. The revolt did subside and it dawned on me that I had been on a roller coaster ride in the past week or so.

There were days when I was completely in tune and there were days when I was tuned out totally. I could no longer take these extremities. The good and bad, the highs and lows were really testing my endurance. I thought I had learnt the lesson of equanimity fairly well after the airport incident but here I was in situations which really tested my equanimity. I didn’t know what to do and this time I didn’t even bother to pray. I had become numb to everything around me. On one particular morning I broke down listening to Kanakadasa’s composition- Toredu Jeevisabahude Hari Ninna Charanagala (Can I stay away from the feet of the Lord). I was crying out to the Lord and it was not out of desperation and guilt but it was just a very natural expression of the self to be one with the divine. As this longingness to be one with the divine continued, deep within I heard a voice and I knew it was the voice of Swami. It said- “Go to Facebook on your phone, I have a message for you”. I didn’t have a second thought on this and I just followed the command. I immediately reached out to the phone and as the page was loading I exactly knew from whom the message would come. To my utter surprise the first post on my page was this person’s and there was a long message. I am posting this message below as it is just so that the readers know how the Lord responds in myriad ways and how this message was so apt and directed to me.

I dedicate this day to putting aside any thought about how I may differ in opinion, belief, or appearance from the people in my family, my world.

Now I focus on what I have in common with all people – our spiritual connection. This is a bond that unites me with every person on Earth. God is the sacred spirit that lives in us and unites us all. When I know this truth and live it in my life, my relationships are ones in which there is mutual reverence, love and caring.

Knowing that I am one in spirit with the people whom I live, work, and share the planet earth prepares me for meaningful, long-lasting relationships. With this understanding, I will always choose to be aware of my spiritual connection with others.

God’s spirit unites me with all people in a sacred connection”.

The above lines described so aptly what I had to do to get out of the current state of numbness I was in. After reading this message I was neither high nor elated. There was a certain sense of contentment that filled me up and I knew that this message was not for my mind but for my soul. My soul had to be recharged just so that I could go beyond the highs and lows, good and bad and truly be equanimous and in that state of equanimity I just had one thing to- To Love, To Love, To Love.

For days together I continued to experience a complete sense of calmness. Yes there was a shift from numbness to calmness. There were dull moments on some days but I didn’t have to do anything. It came and went away. Happy moments also came and went away. There were highs and lows at work but it didn’t affect me. I was just being a witness to it. I was in the state of “BEING” and it felt very different to be in this state. The journey from highs and lows to a state a being numb and then finally to a state of calmness was quite exhilarating. 

One the following Thursday I happened to go to a Gurudwara. As I entered the doorsteps of the famous Bangla Saheb Gurudwara, my body, mind and soul was in a state of reverence and gratitude towards the all-pervading divine. I knew in the past few days Swami had mended my mind, cleansed my body and had rejuvenated my soul. A certain energy passed from the top of my head to the tip of the toe and the joy I experienced was indescribable. Kirtans were being sung and I sat down listening to it. There was complete silence within me. I would rather say I was in “Sai Lens” (under the watchful lens of Sai). Time stood still and from the depths of my heart I prayed to Swami. “Swami you are giving me such an awesome experience now and I know I am one with you at this moment. I want to be in this state all the time. I cannot be separated from you. I cannot stay without you, away from you. I want to be with you all the time”.  The Kirtan that was being sung got over and the next one started.

The first line in the next kirtan was – Har Bin Rehna Sake Man Mera (My mind cannot stay away from you oh lord). Tears welled up listening to these lines. Was the Lord acknowledging my prayer? It definitely seemed like. These lines kept repeating throughout (at least 30 times) and what was even more surprising was in the entire kirtan I just understood only these lines (being a south Indian, Hindi is still a foreign language to me). May be the soul just needed these lines. I was in raptures every time this line was sung and I knew this was bliss and I can now say what it means to experience the all-pervading divine.

All I can say is that ‘HE’ continues to make me feel special and I am experiencing this specialness every moment even as I am writing these lines.

Love&Light

Bharani Prasad M S

PS– Just after writing this article, I happened to watch an interview of Brother Ravikumar (a famous singer from Parthi). He narrates how Swami would always ask him to sing one particular qawwali (he has sung this more than 100 times in the divine presence). The qawwali is

Mohabbat Ki Kami dil mein agar ehsaas hota hai

Zara jhaanko to paoge ke Sai paas hota hai……… Aalaap

Sai Bin Raha Na Jaye(I cannnot live without Sai)…Sai Bin Raha Na Jaye

Bro Ravi Kumar used to wonder why Swami used to like this qawwali so much. He realized, it’s because of the deep lesson it has and Swami wanted all of us to learn this lesson. That is whenever we feel that we cannot live without Sai (Sai Bin Raha Na Jaye) and if we are unhappy because there is lack of love in our hearts (Mohabbat Ki Kami dil mein agar ehsaas hota hai), then Zara jhaanko to paoge ke Sai paas hota hai ((look within and you will find that Sai is the source of the love). Sai is within our hearts.

Toredu Jeevisabahude Hari Ninna Charangala (Can I stay away from your feet oh lord)

Har Bin Rehna sake Man Mera (Can my mind stay away from you Oh Lord)

Sai Bin Raha na Jaye (I cannot live without you Sai)

Well this could not have been a co-incidence!

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