Somebody said God is a surprise wrapped in an enigma inside a puzzle. But this is surely a gross understatement, for God is not shrouded with mystery; He is, in fact, mystery itself. He is the very embodiment of every enigma that ever was, is or will be in this cosmos – mystery multiplied by infinity. Since the beginning of time, man has been trying to understand trees and typhoons, waves and flowers, stars and sand, and the human body, but the drama of life on this Earth is so inscrutable that, when an iota of knowledge is gained, the journey extends by another million miles. And this whole process of understanding the creation becomes most fascinating when the Creator Himself descends, and decides to play a physical part in this greatest drama of the universe. Mankind then gets a very real taste of the cosmic unfathomable that is the The Divine.
Why was Lord Rama born only when an angel arose from the sacrificial fire and offered the bowl of porridge? How could his second mother, Kaikeyi, who loved Him more than she loved her own son, Bharatha, turn against Him overnight and send Him to exile for fourteen years? Why did Rama accede to the request of Sita and run after a golden deer when such a thing did not exist on Earth? Why did Lord Rama Himself worship Lord Shiva in the form of a linga before proceeding to Lanka for the battle with the demon king Ravana? And then, why did Rama, who left no stone unturned, however mighty it might be, to rescue his consort Sita, finally, after winning her back, want her to go through fire to prove her chastity, before accepting her again? [Read the complete story with explanations in our serial articles section]. These and many others from the life of Lord Rama have been deliberated and debated upon for centuries. Manifold mysteries abound within each Divine Incarnation.
Take the Avatar of Lord Krishna. Why did He choose to be born inside a jail and then be miraculously carried by storm and rain to Gokulam? [See the serial article on Avatars]. Why did He steal butter from every home with His friends when there was enough and more in His own house? Later, though He was a peace maker, why did He inspire Arjuna to lift his bow and fight the great Mahabharata War? At the same time, why didn’t He ever hold a weapon during the deadly battle? And then, in the end, why did He accept the curse of Gandhari and allow the entire Yadava clan, to which He belonged, to be destroyed? Aeons have gone by and volumes have been written, and maybe many more will be penned in the centuries to come, but these set of queries will still remain just that – impregnable mysteries.
It is the same with the life of Jesus too. Out of the thousands, why the Lord chose Mary and Joseph is a divine secret. Similarly, the whole episode of the Crucifixion and Resurrection is so complex and profound that no amount of literature can ever help us to understand the real Truth comprehensively. Where there is Divinity, there is mystery. And this is exactly what is happening in the present time, too.
In this modern age, why did the Lord choose a tiny obscure and poor hamlet to be born again? Why did the drums, bells and other instruments in the house of Easwaramma create music on their own when Sathya was born? Why was a coiled serpent found under the Divine Baby’s bed? How could He gift His friends with apples and oranges, guavas and grapes from a tamarind tree? And then, how was He seen inside the lingam in the Virupaksha shrine as well as outside the Temple ? [Read this story in the serial Shirdi Sai Parthi Sai]. Again, why did He submit Himself to terrible torture in the hands of an exocist who thought He was possessed?
If we observe, every single event in the life of the Avatar is so full of mystery and meaning. In fact, not a second of glance or look, word or pat, happens by accident; everything has a definite purpose. It is a cosmic programme that is unfolding during every moment of the Divine on Earth.
Sixty years ago, who would have thought Puttaparthi, which was described by Hollywood director Schulman who came to Puttaparthi in 1968, as: “160 km from Bangalore and ten minutes past the Stone Age!” would one day become the spiritual powerhouse of the whole world. Even people in the close proximity of Bhagavan, who had complete faith in His Divinity, never imagined His words to be so powerful and prophetic. The story of how the Prasanthi Mandir was built is most amazing, which Prof. Kasturi describes in Baba’s biography ‘Sathyam Shivam Sundaram’. He says, “Heavy girders for the central prayer-hall came from near Trichinopoly by train to Penukonda all right, but, how on earth could they be brought over the District Board Road, sixteen miles long, with a sandy stream on the seventh mile? How can any lorry with those long bars sticking out negotiate the acute angled corners of the village of Locherla, on the ninth mile? And, after Bukkapatnam is reached, there were three miles of a track that can be referred to, only by courtesy, as a road, and then, the broad expanse of sand which the Chitravathi River spreads across a distance of three furlongs, between Puttaparthi and Karnatanagapalli!”
But this seemingly insurmountable obstacle was overcome when an out-of-action crane suddenly appeared in front of the house of the engineer at Anantapur. And Baba made this mammoth of a machine work by asking the engineer to scatter on its metallic body the Vibhuti that He created and gave him (!). The machine roared to life! Still, it could not travel the whole distance. Then, most amazingly, Swami sat next to the driver and handled the wheel so that the crane loaded all the girders perfectly at the work spot. Through such acts of Divine intervention and hours of selfless work of dedicated volunteers was the Mandir and Ashram of Prasanthi Nilayam built. Truly, its very name evokes cool breezes and quiet solitude, created especially for the spiritual aspirant.
But according to Swami’s Master Plan, this ‘Prasanthi Nilayam’ did not stop in Puttaparthi. It has multiplied itself in many places, under His direct Divine guidance and manifested in the same manner - through His grace and selfless service. In 1968, Swami inaugurated Sathyadeep and Dharmaskehtra in Mumbai. Much later in 1981, ‘Sundaram’ in Chennai was consecrated by Bhagavan to be His abode and the centre of the Sai Movement in that metropolis. [In the March 2006 issue of H2H, we brought you the detailed story of this beautiful edifice]. While we have preserved the scintillating story of ‘Sathyadeep’ for a future issue, in this month we have the revealing account of ‘Shivam’, the epicenter of auspiciousness, serenity and service for thousands of devotees, which also serves as Bhagavan’s abode whenever He visits Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh.
When you read this cover story, which is woven with the threads of the startling experiences of more than a dozen devotees, apart from other stories and facts, you will know why, for many, visiting Shivam is as good as having Swami’s physical darshan! In fact, some of them feel His presence more in Shivam than in Prasanthi Nilayam! Such is the glory of this sacred site. But how did this enigma of an edifice, shaped in the form of a Shiva lingam, come into being? What is the secret behind its sublimity and spiritual magic? Who were the chosen instruments in this Divine Mission? And what is the principal motive of Bhagavan for its existence? You will find answers to all these and more, through a series of eye-opening tales of Divine Grace and Power, Love and Care when you read this comprehensive cover story.
You will find that if there is one important message that rings loud and clear throughout this enlightening article on Shivam, it is the message of Selfless Service. Speaking on Ugadi, the Telugu New Year Day, in 1979 in Shivam, Swami said, “Launch a new movement to mark the New Year. People in the villages have no medical and educational facilities. They have no drinking water or sanitary arrangements. They have no food to eat. Provide these facilities for them and thereby realise Divinity. The need of the hour is the man of action, not the one who only talks.”
Dear reader, in this month, falls the sacred “Easwaramma Day”, the death anniversary of the one who gave us our beloved Bhagavan. Swami has any number of times narrated how the Divine Mother was the real inspiration behind all the mega service projects of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. Compassion came as naturally to her as fragrance comes to rose. [Read about her in the Swami and Me section]. Therefore, as we offer our obeisance to her on May 6, let us decide to spare at least a little of our time and energy in making the lives of our brothers and sisters, the poor and the forlorn, the needy and the neglected, better. Swami says, “When you serve the poor, make no mistake to think that you are helping the other. Be grateful to them, because, actually, they are aiding you to redeem your life.”
Let serving others be the only reason why we breathe and live.
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