Volume 7 - Issue 08
August 2009
Other Articles

SCINTILLATING MOMENTS WITH SWEET SAI
Part 2

By Mr. Mayur Pandya

An alumnus of Sri Sathya Sai University, Mayur joined the erstwhile Sri Sathya Sai Arts, Science and Commerce College in Brindavan, Bangalore in 1978 for his Bachelors in Commerce. Later, he pursued his Masters in Commerce in the Bangalore University. After Bhagavan unfurled the Sri Sathya Sai University in 1981, Mayur served as a lecturer in the Brindavan campus for a year. Later, he moved to the Prasanthi Nilayam campus and completed his Ph. D in the area of Banking in 1989. After this, he served for a year and half in the Prasanthi Nilayam campus as a lecturer, and later, moved to the corporate sector, and since then has held managerial positions in various companies in Mumbai, Los Angeles and Vancouver. Currently, he works as a Technical Writer in the HSBC Bank of Canada. Additionally, he is also the President of the Vancouver Sai Centre.

This is the second part of Mayur’s reflections, the first was published in the June 2008 issue.

Every room in the Mandir holds different memories for me, but more so, the interview room. In fact, within the interview room, there is another room which serves as the inner chamber for private interviews. Many a time, this inner room has also doubled as the place where Swami gives interviews to very eminent guests like the President of India, governors of states and the like.

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The inner chamber in the erstwhile Old Bungalow in Brindavan where Bhagavan would grant interviews

Memories of this private room are especially close to my heart, for Swami would often call me too along with another guest, and I would have the wonderful fortune of doing padaseva (serving His feet) to the Lord even as Swami sat talking to that devotee.

It so happened one day that a certain devotee was taking pada namaskar. As he got up, however, his back hit the coffee table behind and the glass broke.

The devotee was profusely apologetic. But the all-merciful Bhagavan reassured him saying, “Don’t worry. I will get it fixed.” And Swami asked another devotee, instead, to get the coffee table fixed.


Treasured Tales from the Safe Room

“You think I don’t read the letters. The moment you think about something to write to Me, I already know it. Just for your satisfaction, I take the letters.” What a brilliant way to proclaim His massive omnipresence through a tiny missive!


The story now moved on to the safe room, reminiscent again of the many private sessions we had with Bhagavan. (The safe room was so called because there was a huge safe in there, apparently placed there even before the building was constructed.)

In that room, there was a beautiful couch for Swami, around which we few senior students would often huddle in a sort of a horse shoe arrangement, even as Bhagavan would speak to us for long

That morning, when Swami sat there on the sofa, just after He returned from the Sairam Shed (the erstwhile darshan area in Brindavan), Swami had about two hundred letters in His hand.

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The Safe Room - the scene of many splendid stories of HIs love and sweet manifestations of His grace
 

Typically, what Swami would do is to simply keep the letters in a tray next to Him. That day too Swami put the bunch of letters down and looked at this devotee who had just got the coffee table repaired.

Swami asked him, “How much did you spend on this furniture?” The devotee said, “No Swami, I don’t want any money from Swami.” But Swami insisted, “Cheppu” (Say.) So the devotee replied, “Swami, one thousand rupees.”

Swami looked at the devotee, then took the whole tray of 200 letters, and put it on His lap. The next few seconds, He flipped through them with His two fingers, picked one letter out from the middle and opened it.

There were exactly ten notes of 100 rupees each! Swami then said, “You think I don’t read the letters. The moment you think about something to write to Me, I already know it. Just for your satisfaction, I take the letters.” What a brilliant way to proclaim His massive omnipresence through a tiny missive!

There were exactly ten notes of 100 rupees each! Swami then said, “You think I don’t read the letters. The moment you think about something to write to Me, I already know it. Just for your satisfaction, I take the letters.” What a brilliant way to proclaim His massive omnipresence through a tiny missive!

Almonds and His All-Mindful Concern

The safe room, indeed, holds secure for me a treasure trove of wonderful memories. Another beautiful incident that happened in the safe room was when somebody offered a whole box of almonds to Swami. The Lord looked into the box and said, Aba, aba, too fattening! I cannot have this.”

Then He looked at me and said, “Ye Gujarati ko dedo (Give it to this Gujarati).” I was taken aback, elated yet wondering why Swami was singling me out. So I didn’t say anything. Swami then picked up one almond from the box, broke it into two, ate one half and offered me the other half saying, “Eh Mayur, take.”

I was even more dazed, thinking what a fantastic thing Swami was giving me. That too, prasadam that He had directly partaken! As I was slow to respond, Swami asked, “Oh, because I put it in my mouth, you don’t want to have it?”

I quickly reacted, saying, “No, no Swami,” grabbed the almond, and put it in my mouth! That was, indeed, a very beautiful gesture from Bhagavan, and I took the almond even as He said, “You are part of Me now.”

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The almond connection continued, however. For, I had been having persistent headache for over two weeks. So I wrote a letter to Bhagavan saying, “Swami, I have this headache.” Taking the letter, Swami asked, “Ah, how long?” I replied, “Two weeks, Swami” and the Lord said, “Oh, I see.”

After darshan when everybody had gone, Bhagavan took me up to His dining room, holding my hand all the way through the long corridor that opened to that room. He then asked the cook for a big packet of almonds. Handing the cover to me, Bhagavan said, “Soak four every night and then have them in the morning. Your low BP problem will go.” Again, Swami escorted me back all the way to the steps to go down!

Words fail me each time I think of the incident. Swami could have simply given me the almonds and asked me to go. But He chose to walk me down the corridor, so concerned and full of feeling, holding my hands all the way as if to reassure and rejuvenate me. One could not but simply feel overwhelmed.

Restoring a Faint Heart Fabulously

I recollect another wonderful incident, one that occurred again in the safe room. As ever, we were all standing in a semi-circle and Swami was giving a beautiful discourse that went on for about an hour and a half. Suddenly, one of the students, a pretty frail boy, fainted, collapsing right there in front of Swami. Bhagavan, who was sitting on the diwan, got up mid-way through His discourse, went straight to the boy, and held his hand.

In a manner very similar to restoring a patient’s heartbeat by applying electric shock through defibrillators, Swami just touched the boy’s hand and the boy was back again to consciousness, as if some energy had passed through him! And Swami said, “See, divine power!”

He looked into my face and said, “Eh Mayur, do you love Me?” I was taken aback by that question. I said, “Yes, Swami, I love you.” And Swami said, “No, all lies. If you really love Me, then you are lost in loving. You are not aware of that. The moment you are aware that you are (in the act of) loving Swami, that is not love.” And He walked away...

All of us were shocked because we saw that boy completely knocked out! The very next moment, Swami covered us with His maya (Illusion) again. For He said, “So, what was the last sentence I said in the discourse?” And all of us instantly started thinking about what Swami had said last. It was simply so amazing.

That was one experience that has been to me a constant reminder of His Divine Powers, which we all tend to forget, lost in the charisma of His Cosmic Playfulness; that beneath those endless games of hide and seek that Swami envelops us in with the able assistance of maya, there lies, in essence, Divinity!  

The Copious Reward of Selfless Concern


In those days, I would sleep just outside the safe room. That was my favorite spot, and each night when I lay down, I would think of the ceiling and Swami’s bed, which I knew was just above that. That was my way of connecting with Swami. In the next room lay Mr. Ramabrahmam, the caretaker of the Mandir, who would sleep just next to the safe room.

At that time, he was very ill with a certain malady and was moaning at night with pain. As I was about to sleep, I could not help feel sorry for him. And the thought came to my mind, “Swami, You are saving devotees far away and here is this person right under Your very roof. And You are not doing anything for him.”

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A few days later, a boy came up to me saying, “Swami is calling you upstairs, come running.” When I went to His Presence, Swami, who was waiting there, said, “Eh Mayur, come here.” As I knelt down next to Him, Swami said, “I am sending Ramabrahmam to Bangalore to get himself examined because he is suffering with so much pain. I want you to go with him.”

I was wondering as there were so many senior students whom Swami could have sent, perhaps even the warden. But He picked me instead, although it did not strike me then. Nevertheless, I was thrilled to be sent on an errand.

I went with Mr. Ramabrahmam for the examination, and when I returned, Swami asked for a detailed explanation. Swami usually retires by 7:00 – 7:30 p.m. But that day, by the time we returned from Bangalore, it was about 8:00 p.m., and Swami was still waiting up there. The staircase boy on duty bid me to hasten to Swami, who was calling me. When I went up to Swami, He debriefed me like no one could. He asked me to explain exactly what the doctors had said, and when I was finally done, Swami said, “Take namaskar.”

As I bent down to touch His feet, Swami raised His feet in a very deft movement such that my hands landed up on the cushion instead of His feet. Swami then put His feet on my hands! With Swami’s robe automatically covering His feet, nobody could really see where my hands were as I was taking the namaskar. It was, in fact, not a namaskar because Swami was pressing His feet on my hands. It was unusually long, about four to five minutes. Even as I lost track of time, Swami said, “Eh, get up, get up,” telling the warden that I had gone to sleep!

Each time I think of this beautiful incident, I am only convinced that it was Swami’s way of saying that He really appreciated the empathy that I felt for another human being; that Swami waits all the time for us to show that empathy and love for others. And when it comes spontaneously, He also blesses and rewards us in the same vein.

Herculean Care for a Humble Devotee

But there was a forgotten aspect to this incident which Swami took the pains to clarify to me in His unique way. For, a few weeks later, from this incident, Swami went to Ooty. Mr. Ramabrahmam, who was sleeping in that room, had woken up in the night to go to the wash room that was adjacent to his room.  And he had fallen down, unknown to any of us. When we got up in the morning and went up to the washroom ourselves, Mr. Ramabrahmam said to us, Babu, I fell down in the bathroom and Swami came and picked me up. He put me in the bed and sat with me all night. He has only just gone!”

just to make some small talk to break my nervousness, I said, “Swami, at night when I sleep, I don’t get sleep. I think about You, I yearn for You.” But Swami said, “All lies. You sleep well and you snore too.” Caught red-handed in a futile attempt to start a conversation

So I imagined myself sleeping, blissfully unaware of what was transpiring in the adjoining room, whereas Swami was there all night, despite the fact that He was physically present in Ooty! That is the kind of concern and love that Swami has for His devotee. I had, in my empathy, entertained a momentary misconception that Swami did not care about Mr. Ramabrahmam. But Swami proved me all wrong in a momentous revelation.

To Be Totally Lost in Love

I still remember another incident by the mandir window. In fact, our darshans of Swami by the window are some of our most cherished memories as students. Swami would come down the stairs, and as He came down in the afternoon or in the morning, each of us would place our face near the window, which was a nice curved window. It was ‘prime real estate’ because when Swami passed by the other side of the window, Swami’s face was very close to us.

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There were three such windows which were open, barred only by a metal grill. So if Swami were to put His hands through, we could touch Swami too. It was very intimate because it was the only place where Swami would be face to face, looking into our eyes, as if Him searching our souls!

Occasionally, Swami would even stop by the window! This one time, Swami stopped there, and He looked into my face and said, Eh Mayur, do you love Me?” I was taken aback by that question. I said, “Yes, Swami, I love you.” And Swami said, “No, all lies. If you really love Me, then you are lost in loving. You are not aware of that. The moment you are aware that you are (in the act of) loving Swami, that is not love.” And He walked away.

It sort of put me into a dizzy to think, “Oh my god! What a high expectation of love!” We think we love Swami just by that emotion and by all that running after Him. But truly, Swami’s concept of love is something that we will have to spend a life time understanding.

A Weighty Lesson in Witnessing

On another occasion, I had the privilege of going with Swami in the car. I was standing in the portico when Swami’s car came up. Our then warden Mr. C. Sreenivas was sitting next to Swami. Just as the car was about to leave, Swami looked at me and asked me to take my seat in the car.

So I sat down in the car, a Fiat car, as it went through the darshan lines and went out to Belathur village. Even as the vehicle headed through the village, I realized that nobody was talking in the car. So I looked behind, only to see Swami staring at me with His head tilted. Swami continued to stare without a blink. I turned back and again looked at Swami, and Swami was still staring at me but not saying anything.

 

So just to make some small talk to break my nervousness, I said, “Swami, at night when I sleep, I don’t get sleep. I think about You, I yearn for You.” But Swami said, “All lies. You sleep well and you snore too.” Caught red-handed in a futile attempt to start a conversation, I immediately changed the topic and said, “Swami, how to control this mad mind?” Swami said, “The easiest thing in the whole world is to control the mind. The most difficult thing in the world is not to control the mind.”

So I was even more confused. Then Swami said, “Choodu ra (see),” and He took His handkerchief. He held the cloth and said, “All my fingers have to make so much effort to hold the handkerchief. So easy to let it go. When the mind is running, if you try to catch it and control it, that is when the problem comes. That is the difficult thing to do. Let it run, watch it as a witness and then it is easy to let it go.

Swami continued saying, “What is this? Is this a handkerchief? This is not a handkerchief. It has got threads, so each thread is a thought. The moment the threads are gone, there is no handkerchief. The moment the thoughts are gone, there is no mind. That is how you have to do it.” Thus, He gave a beautiful explanation that day to drive home a profound lesson.

Every moment spent with Swami has been a revelation. They are memories so precious and powerful and at the same time so sweet that it enriches every second of your life and ennobles your every act.

Dear Reader, did this article inspire you in any way? Would you like more such stories from devotees who have been touched by His Love? Please write to us at [email protected] mentioning your name and country. Thank you for your time.

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