Volume 10 - Issue 06
June 2012
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Posted on : June 12, 2012



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part 04

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KMG: On the same lines, I remember one of the senior brothers saying that on one of those occasions when he had the opportunity to walk with Swami, one of the devotees shouted, “I love you Swami”. Instantly, the Swami replied, “Don’t love Me, just love My teaching.”

SG: Swami has always emphasised on transformation and it was something that was very dear to Him. I remember a beautiful incident that took place in 1999. A group of MBA students were seated in the front rows in the Mandir and as Swami came for darshan, they all shouted out to Swami saying “Swami interview, Swami please, interview Swami.”

And, you know how Swami loves to crack jokes with boys. He said, “Get your wives and I’ll give you interview.”

Everybody laughed out loud as they thought Swami was just joking. And, they continued to say, “Swami we love you, Swami please give us interview” and all that.

Then, Swami turned and with a very serious demeanour said, “Eh, your mind is your wife and your atma or soul is the husband. If your mind and the atma are in perfect state of understanding, there is peace and harmony at home but if the mind and atma have diverse opinions or if they think differently, the result will be ‘diverse’ and that will lead to a catastrophe.” Swami was actually playing on the word ‘diverse’ (divorce).

So, when Swami said “Get your wife’ I’ll give you interview”, He meant “I am your soul, let your mind ever be on Me, then you will automatically gain that inner view.” I think this is the most important step towards transformation.

KMG: Speaking of devotion transmuting into transformation, Swami has said that the river of devotion should flow between the banks of duty and discipline. Even devotion must be regulated in the disciplined channel and this calls for training the mind for applying the brakes. In modern times, we all have become inflicted with an addiction to speed.

We want everything to move fast. We seek instant gratification. This is why the young generation, always bubbling with energy, enthusiasm and passion, is reminded to be careful and more self-controlled when they get restless. Self-control is synonymous to applying the brake; it may seem to be contradicting the freedom, the intense speed with which one wants to achieve his ambitions but it is this self-control that stops the individual to take the short cuts that are more often than not the wrong cuts of life.

I am sure brother Sai Giridhar will agree with me, out of his immense experience in bike and four-wheeler stunts that better the brakes, the more confident is the biker.

SG: Not just that, Ganesh, you also need to know when to apply the brakes.

KMG: So, we must train our mind to apply the brakes when and where required in order to avoid the accidents. We need to strike a balance between the accelerator and the brake - this is the spirit behind the word ‘self-control’ that ultimately leads to transformation.

BP: This is how our devotion can really transmute into transformation.

GSS: So, what is most dear to God is when you follow His teachings and that leads to transformation. I am reminded of a very nice anecdote that happened during our student days. Bhagawan would put us through these ups and downs that the students are typically aware of.

And, it was one of those periods when Bhagawan was very unhappy with His students and stopped talking to us for days. We ultimately reached a breaking point and decided to seek Bhagawan’s mercy. All of us got together as a team and when He came out for darshan, we rushed to Him, held onto Him and said, “Swami, please forgive us, please forgive us.”


Bhagawan gave us a strict reminder about discipline and said, “All are watching, don’t do this.” Gradually, our refrain of “please forgive us” became “please Swami, please Swami”. We kept saying that over and over again.

And then, beautifully, Swami punned on our words. He said, “What are you saying ‘please Swami, please Swami’.” He said, “You ‘Please’ Swami, then automatically I will talk to you.” Isn’t that so beautiful?

How do we please Swami? By following His teachings! Bhagawan communicated this in such a simple way that made a deep impact on our minds. One sentence from Bhagawan but it says it all.

I think we should not conclude this discussion without mentioning one more point. The moment you say “follow Bhagawan’s teachings”, people typically say, “Oh come on now, I love Swami. Isn’t that enough?”

They respond in this manner because most people generally believe that to follow Swami’s teachings is very tough. We remember the great saints and sages who had to walk the bed of thorns and cried all the time. So somehow there is a feeling that devotion is a tough path to walk on. Little do they know that ‘I love Swami’ is a very easy path to traverse.

Here I would like to recall Mother Teresa’s episode. We all know that she did tireless service in catering to and serving the aged people and the lepers who were almost on their deathbed. While treating a person who had fallen into a drain; there were a lot of maggots on his body and his body was stinking, Mother Theresa’s biographer saw this and said, “Mother, how could you be doing this? The stink is unbearable. I wouldn’t do this for a billion dollars.”

To this, she replied, “I am also not doing it for a billion dollars. I am doing it for God, for Jesus.” So for her, her experience was very pleasant but the onlookers experience was, ‘oh how could you be doing this?’ So, many a time we assume and make a judgment that something is very tough or difficult. But do we ask the person if it is tough for him or her?

'Is the Spiritual Path Always Painful?' Let us elaborate on this before we wind up the discussion.

Is the Spiritual Path Always Painful?

KMG: In fact, on one occasion Bhagawan was asked by an earnest devotee as to why some of His dearest devotees such as Meerabai and Sakhu Bai had to go through so much suffering and travails, to an extent that their spiritual path seemed to be strewn with strain and tribulation. Swami replied, “Did Sakhu Bai or Meerabai come and tell you that they were suffering? That is your perception.”

Truly, it is a misconception that the spiritual path is full of trials and tribulation. And, if you actually ask the devotee who is going through the test about how tough the journey is, you will find out he or she is usually oblivious of all the suffering because their focus is on God, on the beloved.

GSS: I think the Pandavas also never complained during their period of exile. It is we who feel that they went through so much of suffering.

KMG: That’s why it is important that we are not judgmental about others’ behaviour because it could just be a figment of our imagination.

BP: When I decided to stay back in Prasanthi Nilayam, a lot of my class mates and friends always felt, ‘oh my God, you have done such a big sacrifice’. Frankly, I have never felt like that. I actually felt the opposite! It is they who were giving up the joy and fulfilment that one experiences from staying at Prasanthi Nilayam and doing God’s work. And, while you are in such close proximity to the Divinity, you somehow end up feeling that anytime you need something, Swami will provide it and it happens! So, people who choose to believe that in following Swami’s teachings, life becomes strict and disciplined, or completely boring with no fun or colour - I think these are all but figments of their imagination.

AD: On the contrary, it is the most joyful experience.

BP: Yes because things pan out so beautifully in life.

GSS: Despite the ups and downs, there is no doubt that it is the most fulfilling experience.

BP: Ganesh was speaking of saints, and I am reminded about the story of Father Damien who was sent to the Hawaiian settlement in Molokai. This was a small island where lepers were quarantined off to. And when the Bishop of Hawaii wanted to send a priest to that settlement, Father Damien volunteered to offer his services. He was sent with the instructions that he must not go too close to the diseased. The selfless person that he was, Father Damien had no reservations about mingling with the lepers as he felt committed to serve them, build houses and a school for them. He nursed them day and night. Soon enough, he fell sick.


Father Damien epitomized the prayer that he would often recite: “Lord, you gave your life for all of mankind, how can I call myself a follower of Christ if I am not willing to give myself away in service."

Yes, he succumbed to that disease but had no regrets. He lived a great life and enjoyed every moment of being there for the other person.

SG: We have now discussed several instances of the experience of a person who has ‘experimented’ to love God, if I may say so. But I think the fundamental issue still remains the question that we started off this discussion with – the question of ‘how do I go about following God’s words and all that, oh it’s a very difficult thing to do’.

Allow me to narrate a most wonderful experience when some of us had made a trip to Rishikesh Vashishta Gufa, the cave of Sage Vashishta that Swami Himself had visited in the year 1961. We met a Swamiji there by the name of Swami Shantananda. He spoke to us about sadhana and about practicing the teachings that Bhagawan has taught us. One of us suddenly spoke up and said, “But Swamiji, the teachings are so difficult to put into practice.” To that, Swami Shantananda immediately pounced on us saying, “See this is the fundamental problem. You yourself put a barrier right in front of you!”

AD: Mental block.

SG: Yes, a mental block before anybody else can erect that barrier in front of you. Most of us would know that the first fundamental barrier is the one that we put in front of our own selves. The Swami went on, “Unless you remove this barrier, how will you ever experience this joy of following God's words?”

He continued, “Try for a week, a month, a year, and you will experience the joy. And it is that experience which will take you forward in life.” Swami said it’s a step by step process and all that we need is perseverance to try or experiment loving God in that manner.

AD: I agree it’s a step by step process that gradually contributes to our spiritual growth. Most of us think that it’s a quantum leap on the lines of – “I am like this from tomorrow, I am expected to be like that” as if it’s an overnight miracle that will change you.

BP: You feel the change is so steep that in the bargain you end up saying you cannot go through it, and that you cannot walk on the path.

AD: It is thoughts such as this that gives us this mental block. In this regard, I am reminded of a beautiful prayer that I had read somewhere which goes something like this, ‘Oh Lord, forgive me for I am not what I ought to be, but thank you Lord for I am not what I used to be’.

I believe that gaining spirituality is a step by step process, similar to the experience of Sabari who went through the process day in and day out. Eventually, the Lord came. Similarly, our spiritual progress can also be a day to day process.

GSS: Amey, why don’t you share one of your personal experiences to illustrate how this happens?

AD: To me, following Bhagawan’s teachings has been an extremely joyous experience. It started off with a lot of pain. When Swami would say, ‘Love all serve all’ – it would be the most difficult thing to do and I would think how could anyone love all and then serve all? So I took it up as a challenge. As we all know, Swami always radiated love. Anyone who came to Bhagawan would be mesmerized by His smile and forget all their problems. I asked if I could also lead a life like that. I took that one message of Bhagawan and tried to implement it in my own life. And, the outcomes have been beautiful.

I would like to share an experience to explain my point. I was travelling by train and as is the norm, we have all sorts of people coming and going - beggars, hawkers, etc. There was this person who came up to me and started pestering me to give something to him. Sadly I did not have enough in my pockets to offer him anything and I felt this burning anger beginning to build inside me.

That was when I suddenly thought, ‘Okay this is the time when I can start practicing Bhagawan’s teachings’ – to radiate my love towards the person asking me for something. All of a sudden, I looked at this person and gave him a beautiful smile. I prayed to Swami pleading Him to pour forth His love through me to this person. Within the next few seconds, it felt a miracle of sorts when this person looked at me, smiled and just walked away. I have had several such experiences with regards to radiating love.

BP: A classic example is that of Phyllis Krystal transforming the hijackers. We will not go into that but I think it is a beautiful example of this concept.

SG: I have an experience to share too, although quite trivial in comparison but one that physically impacted my life. I was suffering from migraine for more than a decade. I tried all sorts of medications for the first four to five years. Yet nothing seemed to help me.

Once, I even prayed to Bhagawan saying, “Swami, there is this kind of a headache which keeps coming, what should I do?”

And Swami said, “Cheptanu, Cheptanu” (I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you). Years passed and we once travelled to Chennai. During this trip, He advised us that coffee and tea were bad for health and asked us to stop having them.

GSS: That would have been tough.

SG: Yes, and that was the thought going through our minds. It was tougher for me because every time I had a headache, it was natural for me to run for a cup of coffee or tea and here Swami was asking me to stop both. Of course, Swami never imposes anything on us. He only says, something is not good or not advisable. He leaves the choice to us.

I of course took His advice and stopped having coffee and tea. It’s been five years now and I have not had a single instance of migraine since then. I would never have correlated coffee or tea with migraine, but that was the cure!

So practicing Swami’s teachings or His words have a far more profound effect on us than we can even comprehend.

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BP: I want to add to Amey’s observation about radiating love. I have experienced in my life that whenever I do not share a cordial relationship with someone and feel it cannot be solved with just a frank chat and I need to do something more, I sit down to pray. And the next morning, I envelope this person with my love and do it really sincerely and whole heartedly. Each time, this approach has worked. It may not work immediately, but it does eventually.

GSS: How does it work, what happens?

BP: You suddenly see warmth seeping into that relationship. Earlier whenever you meet that person, there would have been a lot of negative energy. But slowly that transforms into positive vibes and then you start warming up and things become normal.

SG: I agree with Bishu’s words because I have had a similar experience. I used to share a room with a brother but somehow I had developed an aversion towards him because of the difference of opinion we would have. But then there was this strong feeling in me based on Swami’s message - Love All. I thought to myself that I cannot afford to hate anybody in this world. With all my heart I prayed to Swami asking Him to show me some way to help start loving this room mate.

In one of His discourses, Swami had given this methodology of doing it. He says if you cannot come face to face with a person whom you don’t like, when you are away from them sit and pray for them from the bottom of your heart.

Pray for them that they are happy in their life, that they follow Swami’s teachings and grow very near and dear to Bhagawan. By practical experience, I have found that such selfless prayer helps. Today, when the roommate and I meet, we are able to look into each others’ eyes.

We are very comfortable with each other and we exchange pleasantries; it’s a perfectly harmonious and loving relationship between the two of us. And it is merely the miracle of prayer that has brought this about.

GSS: These are lovely and beautiful experiences. Basically, this whole process of following Swami’s teachings becomes very enjoyable when you do it with the right spirit. And then in a way every moment becomes a miracle. As Bishu just said, your whole relationship changes because of every small experience.

BP: You start to notice all the tiniest miracles that begin to happen in our lives.

GSS: Then it’s no more a manifestation of vibhuthi or manifestation of nectar which are of course miracles in their own way, but what becomes more important are the subtle miracles - the timing, the circumstance, somebody just coming to you and telling you a word that changes your life, and so on.

In fact, I would like to quote one very beautiful anecdote. This is about a student who was educated here from the primary school and is now in the institute. He once told me that during his primary school days, he lost his socks. Perhaps, it was sports day then and he had left his shoes outside.

Feeling bad, he went and told his teacher about it. He thought he would get some sympathy from her. Instead she scolded him and said, “Can’t you even take care of your socks?”

This put him off so much that in the evening when he went to the Mandir he had a dull look on his face. At this point, something totally unimaginable happened. Bhagawan came out of the interview room with a huge basket. He came straight to the primary school students and was just about to distribute something to them. Guess what it was?

All: Socks!

GSS: Yes, socks!


The young boy was taken aback and thought it was too much of a coincidence. The teacher distributed the socks to them and he was extremely happy, but the masterstroke was still to come.

Bhagawan then picked up a few socks asking every student, “Did you get, did you get?” He came close to this boy and without asking him, He threw an extra pair of socks at the boy.

All: Wow!

GSS: This student says that one event of Bhagawan’s omnipresence and omniscience changed his life forever. He did not need any further proof of God’s presence; the presence that makes our entire journey a miracle every minute and every second. It’s no more about one day or a particular event.

KMG: Life becomes so much more meaningful in this knowledge.

GSS: Very meaningful and enjoyable too.

To sum up our discussion today, we have started with the whole theme of ‘Loving Bhagawan’. We also clarified our understanding of the words, ‘We love Swami’ – that is it is not about liking but about truly loving. And, true loving is about following His teachings.

Again following His teachings should not be just limited to following His instructions on paper but one that leads to individual transformation. Ultimately, this whole process is not a very difficult and stressful journey but an enjoyable process that makes every second of our life memorable and fulfilling.

AD: Let us all hope and pray that we truly love Bhagawan the way He wants us to.

GSS: In doing so, let us all endeavour to please Him.

BP: Let us now end this session as we end every study circle - with a prayer.

Om Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanthi Shanthi, Shanthihi


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