Home >> Swami And Me
Posted on : Oct 19, 2011
PERFECTLY 'POLISH'ED BY Sai
- Conversation with Mr. Yarosiaw Rynkiewicz, a devotee from Poland
When Yarosiaw Rynkiewicz's life at Poland changed dramatically in early nineties, he hadn’t seen Baba physically yet. All he had seen of the Avatar was a few pictures and a video. But what led him to be drawn to Baba’s fold were His teachings that struck a chord with him and answered many questions that perturbed him since his church-going days.
In his almost two-decade association with Swami, he’s been to Prashanti Nilayam just once in 2002. In August 2011, he along with his wife made his second trip to have the darshan of the Samadhi and also sing in the all-Polish choir on August 20, 2011. But he was blessed with much more. With heartfelt gratitude and love for Baba, he shares with Radio Sai his experiences and also his challenges in swimming against the tide to follow Baba's teachings back home in his small Polish village.
Radio Sai (RS): You, your wife and three children are so fascinated by Bhagawan and His teachings. So how has this journey to Baba been?
Yarosiaw Rynkiewicz (YR): Swami has totally transformed our lives; that’s the reason why my wife and children too are so captivated by His teachings. But on the other hand, it has been a very difficult path for us. Baba’s teachings are clear and simple, but putting them into practise was quite difficult for us.
We live in a small village and the people around observe our behaviour patterns closely. It was a challenge to be a Sai devotee in our environment. For instance, turning vegetarian was difficult. It is not easy to change your lifestyle when you are living in a small community where everyone knows each other. Almost everybody in our hamlet consumes meat and they began wondering about our family’s resistance to eat non-veg.
RS: Did you really give up eating meat?
YR: Yes, I gave up meat. I am a vegetarian and so is my family. It has been 17 years since I left eating meat; my family followed suit a little while after I had made my determination. It was quite easy to influence my family because at home I do the cooking.
Actually I’m very happy giving up non-veg; I do not miss it. I think it was easy for me because Baba helped me with it.
RS: Did you do so after you started following Swami’s teachings?
YR: After I heard about Swami, at first, it took some time but not too long. But once I read His teachings, I decided to quit meat.
This was the first transformation that occurred. There is a second miracle that happened. Firstly, I had no plans to become a vegetarian but now I am. Secondly, I was a heavy smoker; I finished two packets daily. And in just a moment, even before I realised, I stopped smoking! It was totally by Swami’s grace. I prayed and pleaded with Him to help me overcome this problem. I was then studying in Warsaw (the capital of Poland).
Once night, after a party, I prayed to Him again sincerely, and when I woke up the next morning I just did not feel the need for cigarettes anymore. Surprisingly, since then I never smoked, and even today I have no desire to take a puff. It just happened overnight; He answered my prayers.
RS: How many years it has been now since you last lit a cigar?
YR: Exactly 17 years. It is not the cigarettes alone. I was very fond of alcohol too, because I belonged to a music group who’d play at weddings and parties. It was in one of those wedding parties, 17 years ago, when I gave up this habit. Like always that night I was about to drink and suddenly I felt Swami’s presence so strongly. Jocularly I said to Him, “Even here, You are not giving me my peace!”
I simply put away my glass of alcohol that day and since then I have not sipped any of those drinks.
RS: What really captivated you about Swami that you loved Him so much and felt so inspired by Him?
YR: It is difficult to say. I grew up in an orthodox catholic family. I appreciate my mother for talking to me about God and religion. As all practising Catholics, we went to church every Sunday but I couldn’t understand certain things. None could explain why some people suffer or why some children are born blind. The reason behind God’s doings always intrigued me.
Then, when I met Swami, I started to read a lot of His books, His sayings and started to understand the concept (of karma) more clearly.
RS: So you were impressed by Baba’s teachings?
YR: Yes, absolutely.
RS: What aspect of His teachings appealed to you the most?
YR: Now I don’t remember exactly. It is difficult to describe because the happiness that I get doesn’t arise from the mind; it is a joy springing from within me. I feel such a connection with His teachings. I begin to cry as soon as I start reading His words.
RS: Did you find answers to your questions?
YR: Generally, yes. But I am still seeking answers.
RS: So did you have the desire to see Baba once you knew about Him?
YR: Way back in 1992, it was possible to get pictures. In a small city in Poland, I saw a movie on Sri Sathya Sai Baba in which Swami was materializing Vibhuti. In this film, Swami mentioned about the spiritual path and while referring to it He said ‘finally start’. Almost instantly the words touched my heart deeply; they were meant for me.
It was an indication to start pursuing the spiritual path. I asked Him, ‘How should I do it? What do you mean by spiritual path?’ I started to learn more about this and Swami guided me, showing me the meaning of the spiritual path and my understanding became clearer.
RS: When did you first see Swami? How was that experience?
YR: In 2000; it was beautiful but also was quite difficult. Swami gave my wife and I two interviews. And in these sessions, He touched a very sensitive family problem: the relationship between the two of us was a big issue as my wife did not accept some of my views, and Swami started talking about it!
When we had the chance of the second interview, keeping me in mind Swami asked her, “How is your boyfriend?” She replied that I was fine. He snapped back quickly and said, “No, no. He is not fine. He is just eating and sleeping, eating and sleeping.” She was quite shocked to hear those words from Swami because she would often tell me in the same manner that I wasn’t doing anything more than eating and sleeping. Swami used the same words!
RS: Did your personal equation change after the interview?
|More than 120 devotees from Poland were in Prasanthi Nilayam to offer their love to Bhagawan for an all-Polish choir in August 2011|
YR: Oh yes! It has changed though still we have problems (laughs). Now I am happy because both of us are here from August 10 (2011); it is a beautiful time. In the first week we got only four hours of sleep. Swami has given us so much. Actually it is like our honeymoon.
Last Wednesday, I was sitting in the room. I had knee pain but eventually I decided to go for darshan. I got the first line. I was sitting close to my friend and I told him how I wished for Swami to appear in front of us. I was wondering what would happen if really Swami appeared and walked around us in the Mandir.
So we kept talking about this and then I said, “You know Jesus too appeared in physical form three days after His death. So it is very much possible.” After this I stopped speaking and closed my eyes, and started visualising Swami walking in the Sai Kulwant Hall. I felt Him there physically. He was blessing everyone and was very loving. And in my imagination Swami came near me and I saw Him standing close to me. I asked him if I could touch His feet and He allowed me to do so. And then when I opened my eyes, to my surprise, about 50 cms in front of me I saw footprints!
RS: You saw footprints?
YR: Yes! I was shocked, wondering what it was.
RS: Did your friend too see the footprints?
YR: No, only I was able to see. And then I went towards the Samadhi. While I walked along with my friend, I felt something going on inside me. I felt like crying. I felt lot of love around and inside me. Then I sat close to Samadhi and put my right cheek on the marble. After a few moments, I felt someone was touching me delicately. I thought this was happening because I had stayed on for too long near the Samadhi and someone was probably asking me to get up and go. So I turned my head and what did I see? There was a beautiful column of orange colour moving! For a moment I didn’t understand what was happening.
After I got back, I cried so much, and so profusely that I couldn’t breathe. In the next three days every time I came close to the Samadhi, I experienced the same feeling.
|The devotees from Poland performing in the Sai Kulwant Hall, 20 August 2011|
Also when I went for Omkaram chanting in the morning I had a beautiful experience. I opened my eyes and all around the temple and everywhere I saw Swami’s eyes looking at me. I was very aware and conscious after seeing His footprints. I sat on the floor and noticed His footprints. This time they weren’t in my direction; they were in the opposite direction.
RS: Swami’s presence is so tangible here!
YR: Swami’s presence is here! I am very grateful that it has happened to me and I keep asking Swami, “How do I deserve all this? You have given me so many gifts, and I am able to see and feel so many things.” I always have these experiences, when I am focused on Swami. I feel His love, lot of love.
RS: You must be feeling His presence in Poland too.
YR: Yes. Even now when I think of getting back home soon because I have a lot of work, my wife wonders why I want to go back to Poland since we are having a fantastic time here. I told her that I can feel Swami in Poland, in my country and in my work too anytime. In fact, all the time.
RS: With what feeling are you leaving Prasanthi Nilayam?
YR: Fulfilled. I feel that Swami is going with me wherever I go. So I don’t feel sorry that I am leaving Puttaparthi. Swami will always be with me, in my country and in my work too.
RS: When will you be back in Puttaparthi again?
YR: Well, I don’t know. It’s a question of finances, and also my work. In any case, Swami is going with me! I know it.
RS: Thank you very much and all the best!
YR: Thank you, Sairam.
- Radio Sai team