Volume 10 - Issue 02
February 2012
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Posted on : Feb 19, 2012


WHAT should we do this shivarathri?


PArt 3


Elevating Ecstasy Encased in Deep Pain

Prem: Wow! Doesn't it all fit in place like a huge jigsaw puzzle? The act of sacrifice or putting your interests behind that of others has hidden in it bliss far sweeter than that we get by pursuing our needs alone.

Bishu: And this joy, we’ll know only when we give. And when we know it, we shall get addicted to it, if I may say so.

Prem: Yes, I agree. And speaking about mother, I am reminded of a quote I had read a long while ago, and as always I don’t remember whose line it is.

Bishu: Okay, what is it?

Prem: It goes: “Is all pain only suffering? Ask a mother who is in labour.”

Bishu: Isn’t that itself a reminder? Really, true joy lies beyond pain. Whenever Swami used to perform the Lingodbhavam, He used to say it is as painful as the process of prasava, or child birth.

Prem: Yes I remember Him saying that many times.

Bishu: But why do you think Swami performed this act?

Prem: Honestly Bishu, I don’t think I can ever explain this act of His or for that matter any act of His. I think every aspect of His life is a lesson He is imparting. It is not necessarily the same lesson for everyone. Rather I feel each one takes home a lesson that is relevant to his or her understanding, and spiritual need.

Swami used to say that for those who have witnessed Lingodbhavam, there is no rebirth. For me, actually that was a repulsive thought. Because here was my Swami, whom I love so much, obviously suffering, and why? For me to get liberation? I would tell in my mind, ‘Swami, I don’t want this liberation, the cost of which is this pain You undergo.’ And I am sure many of the students and devotees felt the same.

Different years saw varied manifestations of the linga that emerged from the Lord's being

Bishu: Prem, even as you share your feelings about Lingodbhavam, that I can so easily relate to, I am moved by another wonderful thought.

One Act of Pure Love – A Colossus Jump in Consciousness

Prem: What is that?

Bishu: We were saying that Swami was trying to teach us sacrifice. But in fact, I think Swami was doing something far greater. A good teacher teaches, but a great teacher inspires. See, even without our knowledge, He was inspiring the spirit of sacrifice in us. So much so, we were ready to give up liberation itself! And this He did just through His one act of pure love.

Prem: Amazing Bishu, Amazing!

Bishu: And now when we look at it, probably that is what Swami did to all His devotees across the globe, when He chose to remain in the hospital during those harrowing final days of this earthly sojourn. Well, as you said, we can never ever understand any of Swami’s acts in its entirety, but what we do know is that during that one month or so millions of people around the globe had their minds fixed on Baba alone and nothing else. Forgetting everything, day and night they spent only in prayer and service.

Millions prayed the world over keeping aside their differences and focussing all their energies and love on Swami during that most trying time in April 2011

Prem: Absolutely. People forgot all their differences, didn’t matter which community they belonged to or what they believed in, they just came together and simply poured their heart out in prayer. And you saw poor feeding, serving in hospitals, helping the handicapped... all these activities moving into a new gear. During those few weeks everyone was in some form or the other thinking of Him.

Bishu: I feel, we all should strive to remain in such a state, in which we remember Him constantly, if not more at least as much as we all did in those few days.

Prem: I can’t agree more with you Bishu. And to remain in that state cultivating this virtue of sacrifice is so vital. And as we saw when we sacrifice we receive so much in so many dimensions. We actually are happier when we give than when we possess.

The “Oneness Way” of Sacrifice

Bishu: So true. Then why is it that many find it difficult to take to this path? What do you think Prem?

Prem: In fact even I am thinking of the same. My question is: How do these people sacrifice their joys – these joys which all of us always hanker after – how do they give these up so easily? How is it that Swami is able to do this so effortlessly. Agreed He is Divine, but I feel there must be a way, an approach that will get us to that state. After all when Swami’s life is His message, we need to follow it, right?

Bishu: Yes, there indeed is a way. And I think the answer lies in the way Swami perceived us all. You ask how Swami does so much for others. But for Swami, there are no ‘others’.

Prem: Hmm, I need to understand this.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa  
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa  

Bishu: Let me recollect for you a beautiful incident from the life of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. You must be aware that he too went through so much pain towards the last few days of his life.

Prem: Yes, He is said to have suffered from throat cancer.

Bishu: That’s right. In fact the cancer had proliferated to such an extent that he would struggle to eat or drink even a little. At that point, his disciples begged him to pray to the Divine Mother to cure him, at least relieve him of his pain so that he could take in something.

Though Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was not inclined to ask the Mother, but seeing the plight of his disciples he prayed to the Goddess. He said, “Mother, I cannot eat anything, please give me some relief that I may eat a little.” And later he recounted to his disciples the Mother’s response. She gave him a vision of all that there is, and said: 'Why, you are already eating through so many mouths, why be concerned with this one!'

Prem: That's something!

Bishu: Yes, now do you understand what I meant when I said, for Swami there is no ‘other’.

Prem: Right. True and complete sacrifice arises only out of the feeling of oneness, when we see ourselves as a part of the whole that God is.

Bishu: When you have a cut on your finger, and it hurts even to hold a spoon or a morsel of food, you don’t stop eating, do you? The hand endures the pain to feed the mouth. But we don’t call it sacrifice. Because the mouth and the hand are just parts of the same whole.

Prem: I understand. So when the perception changes, to the way it should be, when we see and live in that oneness, what appeared to us as sacrifice will now be entirely different and in fact be a natural way of being.

Neela Kantha Shiva – A Profound Lesson for Humanity

  The Lord took in the poison of the world spontaneously and
came to be revered as Neel Katha Shiva

Bishu: Yes. Take for instance the mythological episode of Lord Shiva drinking the halahala poison. I am sure you must’ve seen it being depicted in Baba’s presence, and also heard it being narrated by Swami Himself.

Prem: Yes. The demons and the gods churn the ocean of milk with the Mandara mountain and the serpent Vasuki, to obtain amritam, the elixir that grants immortality. And during this churning, many objects come forth.

At one point, the deadly poison, halahala spews out. Then they all run to Lord Shiva for protection, and the kind Lord drinks this venom to protect the creation. Witnessing this, Mother Parvati, His consort, immediately holds his throat so that the poison does not spread further down the body.

Bishu: And in the process, His throat turns blue with the venom, and hence the appellation, Neelakantha, the One with a blue throat.

Now let us look at this story in two different ways: What a great example of sacrifice this is! The Lord drank the poison to save the world.

And the other perspective is: He who pervades all saw no difference between Himself and His creation. It was a spontaneous act, similar to how the body protects that part of itself which is in danger.

Prem: That is a deep thought indeed. So our endeavour should ever be to feel that same oneness that the Lord, our Swami feels towards us.

Bishu: That’s right.




- Radio Sai Team

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