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Posted on: Oct 05, 2016
Seek Me in Wordless Silence
by Sanjay Mahalingam
The Dasara celebrations in Prasanthi Nilayam is a syncretic manifestation of all the principal pathways to the Divine as enunciated in the Bhagavad Gita. The yagnams and the associated rituals symbolise the Bhakthi Marga (the path of worship), the grama seva conducted by students of the schools and colleges essay the Karma Marga (the path of action), and the illuminating talks and expositions of various scriptures in the evenings goad one into the Gyana Marga (the path of wisdom). Presented below is the transcript of one such talk delivered in the Sai Kulwant Hall on September 27, 2014.
Dr. Sanjay Mahalingam did his Masters in Business Administration and Doctorate in Philosophy in Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning during 2002-2008. Since then he has been serving as a faculty member in the Department of Management and Commerce in the Prasanthi Nilayam campus.
Offering our most loving salutations at the Divine Lotus Feet of our most beloved Bhagawan, our most merciful, loving, most compassionate master, the One divine principle, the One without a second, essentially timeless, causeless, formless but who put on a garb of limitation and form so that we people who are still in our minds could get a glimpse of the unlimited through the limited.
To the One who shines in all our hearts here, now, alive, dynamic, throbbing with the light of a thousand suns, to that divine mother, divine father, our divine Guru, our divine benefactor, the source of our inspiration and above all, our hero, to that divine being, at His Lotus Feet, I offer our endless, limitless, thousand, thousand salutations.
Also, my loving and reverential pranams at the feet of all the beings who have made themselves present here today in this hall.
Wisdom blossoms always from within. Outside events can at best be possibilities and pointers. In fact, our scriptures go to a greater extent and say ‘Shabdajaalam Mahaaranyam Chitta Bhramana Kaaranam’. Translated, it means that words are like a dense, thick forest and they are primarily responsible for the distraction and the delusion of consciousness. Having said that, the show must go on.
The Solution to a Problem is to Delete the Problem
I'll take this opportunity to share two or three experiences and the lessons I learnt thereof. The experiences may be small but to me in my life, they were very subtle and profound and they left an everlasting impression on my consciousness.
It was September 2010 and I had finished my Ph.D. Those days I was living on a very meagre financial subsistence, if I may say so. We used to get along with about Rs. 5,000-6,000 a month. It was enough to live a life of dignity in Puttaparthi. I had an unexpected expense very early that month. It was the September 4 and I was left with Rs. 2,000 in my bank account. The month had to be lived and I was quite worried - Rs. 2,000 and 26 days. How was I going to manage?
It was time for my evening prayers. So I just washed up and sat in front of the altar. The mind was agitated. There were streaks of anger and resentment and as you would all agree, that is not the best space to be in if we are trying to connect to the divine within. So I just offered my inner state to Bhagawan and told Him, “Swami, this is my state. You are the supreme light. I offer You my troubles, do what You wish.”
It is my confirmed experience that Bhagawan is such a merciful master that if we ask anything from Him from our heart, He always, always, always responds. There is no exception! As I was sitting after my prayer, I realised that my mind was really calming down. It was becoming very silent and in that silence manifested in my consciousness an interview that I had many years before with Bhagawan.
In that interview, Bhagawan had told me one sentence and it kept cropping up in my mind. Translated, the sentence went like this. Bhagawan said, “A problem is a problem if you think it is a problem. Delete it completely from your consciousness. Then all that will remain is consciousness and whatever the problem, consciousness will always find a way.”
With these thoughts I sat. I had a wonderful session of connection to Bhagawan and I got up really, really happy, divinely touched, healed, loved and embraced and with tears of joy. I completely forgot about the entire situation. That night I slept like a child. What concern does a child have in the hands of the divine mother?
The next morning, I got up. I had an ATM slip which shows the balance in the account. My balance read Rs. 2,000. Funnily I took my pen and added one zero and it showed Rs. 20,000 now. I thought, “That should be enough. That's how I am going to live my month. Let's see.”
During midday, I had a sudden irresistible urge to clean my cupboard. Before this, let me digress a bit. Bhagawan being the divine mother would sometimes give His children some money as a supreme blessing. With Bhagawan, everything is profound. Nothing is material. He is such a great divine master that whatever He does has so many profound implications in so many dimensions. We may not have perceived it but nothing He ever did was material. So as a supreme blessing, sometimes He used to give money.
On one such occasion, in 2007, when He was giving me some money, He said, “Keep it in your cupboard.” I said, “Okay Swami.” He asked, “Where will you keep it?” and then said, “Keep it right under all your stuff.” I thought Swami was saying like that so that the money remains safe.
He read my thoughts and said, “No, no, no. It is not because it should be safe. It is because you should always remind yourself that money is the least important thing in life. Therefore, keep it right at the bottom of your shelf, below everything. Consciousness is supreme. God is most important. Money is least important. Don't give it any weight in your consciousness ever. In abundance, in poverty, either way let it not become heavy in your consciousness. To remind you of that, keep it right below in your shelf.” This had become a habit with me over the years.
I was cleaning my cupboard on September 5. Unusually, I took out all my stuff and in an obscure corner of my cupboard there was a crumpled envelope. I opened this cover and found money in it. I took out the amount and started counting and there was exactly, to the last note, Rs. 18,000. I had written Rs. 20,000 in the ATM slip! Gosh! I thought, “I wish I had put two or three more zeros in the ATM slip! But I can live with one zero for now.” I had no clue where the money came from but surely it could not have just appeared. So I sat down and thought. I had to rack my brains. Finally, I remembered that about one and half years before I had liquidated some savings and for some weird reason instead of putting the money in the bank, I had kept it in the shelf in my cupboard and as was the habit, right beneath all my clothes.
The point of the story is not that whenever we are in need and we offer our need to Bhagawan He will come running and solve all our problems as we see it, because after that instance many times I looked deep inside my cupboard and I never found a single rupee!
But the point of the story is that when we allow God, He works miracles. When we allow the divine energy to flow within us and through us, amazing things can happen. They happen all the time but we block them. We block the amazing flow of divine love with our troubles, anxieties, thoughts, thought structures and the edifice of ego that we have built over countless lifetimes. All we need to do is to get out of the way and God will work wonders!
Listen Within and Live a Glorious Life
The second lesson that I learnt and that got imprinted in my heart is that come what may, whatever happens outside of us, it is possible to make ourselves in such a way that we always remain in a calm, peaceful and joyful state. It takes effort but it is possible and it can be done. Swami has shown us the way. All it takes is a very subtle shift in perception.
In one interview, Bhagawan had told me, “People think that ignorance ends and wisdom begins. There is no such thing. There is no beginning and no end. Like wisdom is infinite, timeless and endless, ignorance is also endless, timeless and eternal. Both are like two railway tracks that are all the time running parallel to each other. There is no end and no beginning. It is only your choice which railway track you want to hop on to. You can hop on to the track of ignorance and live a life of misery or you could choose to hop on to the railway track of wisdom and live a life of joy and above all, freedom.”
The next incident happened around 2007. I had to go to Bengaluru for one day for a personal errand — nothing major but just one or two things. I was to go on Sunday morning and come back the same evening. Since we had the opportunity to inform Bhagawan all the time of all our movements, I sat with a letter one day. Bhagawan came and took my letter. I said, “Swami, this Sunday I have to go to Bengaluru. If Swami permits I will go and come.”
Swami said, “Yes, go and come.” So I booked my tickets, made appointments with whomever I had to meet in Bengaluru. Everything was done. It was a very small matter. It was not the first time I was going to Bengaluru and surely not the last. It was really a very trivial matter and nothing to get very excited or frustrated about. But somehow as the day approached, I started feeling very uncomfortable. I had no idea why. I just brushed aside those feelings and felt, “Swami has permitted me to go and so I must go.” I had the 5.30 am bus to take to Bengaluru. The previous night in the hostel as I was trying to sleep, I became deeply uncomfortable. I felt so uncomfortable that I felt I was being absolutely choked and suffocated.
Every time I got the thought of going to Bengaluru, something in my system just revolted at the very idea. I just could not fathom any rhyme or reason in this behaviour because it was a small thing and just a day's affair. I had to just finish my stuff and come back but what was happening? I was just not able to get myself to accept the fact that I had to go for a day to Bengaluru.
I jostled all night and finally I brushed aside everything and left for Bengaluru in the morning. I had a very uneventful trip; everything went as planned. My work got over and I came back. Three days later, I had the chance to be in the interview room with Bhagawan and He asked, “Emi samacharam? (What's news?)”
I said, “Swami, I went to Bengaluru on Sunday and I did this, this, this. I met these, these, these people.” Swami said, “You went to Bengaluru? I told you not to go.”
I was silent but in my mind I said, “What? I gave You a letter and You asked me to go and come.” Swami said, “I told you clearly not to go.” I respectfully submitted, “Swami, I am so sorry. I gave You the letter and I heard You say ‘Go and come.’” Swami said, “Adi chumma (I just joked). The previous night before you left, many times I came and told you not to go. You still went. It was a test. Zero marks, failed.”
I was deeply dismayed and hurt. It is very hurtful when Swami says we have failed but I am very grateful to have been blessed with an insightful experience. Lesson learnt! It is of primary and fundamental importance that we try to connect to Swami within. In the dictionary the meaning of the word ‘spiritual’ is given as “that which pertains to the spirit, that which is of the spirit”. We can be called spiritual only and only if we have developed that inner connection with Bhagawan. In fact, there is no other purpose to all of sadhana.
Whatever we do - japam, dhyanam, seva, grama seva, study of Sai literature, anything we do, the purpose is only one and that is to develop that unbreakable connection with the inner Lord. It is so important that it is impossible for me to over-emphasise the importance of this aspect of our inner lives. If we have developed this inner connection with Bhagawan, we are alive. If not, we are just walking dead.
Recently, about 40 of us, friends, during our vacations went to the Himalayas. There was a beautiful temple there which was dedicated to a very great saint. It was a beautiful temple. All of us went and sat there and meditated.
One brother came and shared with me a very beautiful experience. It was a very sublime, very subtle, and very profound experience he had in that temple. I will quote what he came and told me. As this brother went there at five one morning, just when the temple doors were opened and he sat in meditation, immediately his mind was silenced. He told me that he had never ever seen a temple with such an intense presence of the divine mother. It was such an alive, throbbing and intense presence. It was truly remarkable and incredible.
So this brother just sat there, closed his eyes and entered what one might call a deep state of meditation. He sat there completely oblivious of everything. He opened his eyes and thought that 20 or 25 minutes had passed but 3.5 hours had passed! It was almost time for the bus to leave because we were on a schedule.
He was so touched by the divine light of the mother. He was so moved, so thrilled and so embraced by the rapturous and joyous love that the divine mother has for all of us, her children, that he just could not say or do anything. He could not even move his lips. All he could do was sit there and shed tears of joy. In that complete silence, he just said “Mother! Mother!” and he actually heard a beautiful, mellow, female motherly voice reverberate in his heart and the voice said: “Seek Me in wordless silence!” These are the exact words the mother propounded.
Sisters, brothers and elders, all our sadhana is only meant to silence the mind. When the mind becomes silent, we connect to something deeper within which is so beautiful that when in connection with that, there is no fear and no tension. We all say, we live in an ashram. The word ‘ashram’ when strictly translated means the place where there is no tension and effortlessness reigns supreme. There is no stress, no shrama. Where there is any tension or stress, it is not ashrama but shrama. True ashrama is inside us, in that state of consciousness where we have no tension, no stress but only relaxation. It is effortless, divine relaxation.
Having met such a great being as our Bhagawan, having touched Him, spoken to Him and having been guided by His words, His life, His message and His love, life calls upon us to raise our spiritual consciousness. It is our bounden duty, not a choice. Bhagawan once said in Trayee Brindavan, “Boys, you have only two options. Either you let Me in your heart or I will break open your heart and enter!”
With these few words, I pray to Bhagawan that He gives us all the strength to seal our lips, open our hearts, silence our minds, and dive deep within to find the beautiful gem of divine love, of Sai love and of Sai's presence. Thank you very much. Jai Sai Ram.
Radio Sai Team
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