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Posted on: Oct 09, 2016
The Supreme Empress of Elevating Love
by Dr. T Ravi Kumar
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. T. Ravi Kumar came to Swami’s fold as a boy in 1969. He joined the erstwhile Sri Sathya Sai Arts and Science College at Brindavan (Bengaluru) as a student for his intermediate course in 1974. He continued this with his Bachelors in Science (Chemistry). After that he joined for the Masters in Science (Chemistry) programme at a Post Graduate Centre at Anantapur on Swami’s command. In 1981 Swami appointed him as a faculty member in His Brindavan College. Later, when Bhagawan’s University came into being, Swami blessed him to be one of the earliest research scholars at the Department of Chemistry at the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus. He received the Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Divine Chancellor in 1990, after which he was again appointed as a faculty member in Bhagawan’s college at Bengaluru. Currently, in addition to being an Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry, he also serves as the warden of the hostel at the Brindavan Campus.
I offer my prayerful salutations at Bhagawan's Lotus Feet. Most beloved and dearest Bhagawan, respected elders, brothers and sisters, loving Sai Ram.
When the Prasanthi Nilayam building came up, the old devotees who were there felt that there was a transition. They felt that the intimacy of the Pata Mandir (Old Temple) days was over and the numbers were increasing. So one of them put this question to Bhagawan, “Swami, You are saying that in the days to come tens of thousands of people would come to Prasanthi Nilayam. How will they feel close to You?”
Swami replied, “Ee Prasanthi Nilayam pranganamulo koorchoni Swami Kathalu chepthuntaru" meaning, 'Sitting in the precincts of Prasanthi Nilayam, they will narrate stories and the leelas of Swami and that is how they will feel close to Me.'
Dasara is a very beautiful festival when all of us are drawn to the feet of the mother. We sit here at her feet and remember all the wonderful things that she means to us. The Lalitha Sahasranamam starts with “Shri Mata Shri Maharagni Shrimat Simhasaneshwari.” There are so many attributes of God, but the beginning is always the mother — Shri Mata, the sacred mother.
Growing Tall in His Love
I would like to narrate to you a few of my experiences because once a great scholar told Swami in Trayee, “Swami, I am not able to understand You.” Swami said, “Why do you try that futile thing? Don't try to understand Me. Experience Me and enjoy Me.”
We have to experience Him and enjoy. Swami has said, “If somebody gives a Mysorepak (a delicacy) in your hand, why do you waste your time trying to find out its length, breadth, weight and smell? Why don't you put it on your tongue and enjoy it? That is what the wise one would do.” So in the next few minutes, I will narrate to you the taste of this Mysorepak.
A mother is someone very close to you. She is the one to whom you can take all your problems without feeling hesitant or shy or worried. You can open up to the mother and when you have the divine mother as the mother, you know that she already knows everything and what you are placing before her is only a carbon copy of your prayer and therefore there is no hesitation at all.
When I was a student in Brindavan, in my first year intermediate, there was a tradition then that everyone would stand and have Swami's darshan. Nobody would sit down. All of us would be standing and as Swami moved, we would walk along with Swami. In fact, if somebody sat down, Swami would ask, “What happened to him? Is he not well? You are all small boys.”
So we would walk with Swami. One beautiful thing that happened was that we were all the time with Swami and knew what was happening but at the same time if there were tall boys around, it would become very difficult. We had to somehow get a peek. There was a day when I silently prayed, “Swami, why don't you add a few inches to my height?” I couldn't have told this in public but I am doing it now because I told this to Swami in my prayer.
Swami had gone to Mumbai and when He came back He said, “All short boys come and stand in the front.” We were all astonished because we never knew there were so many of us. In that particular batch the average height was quite less. Swami said, “I have brought a medicine for all of you to grow tall” and He took that out from behind a box. He called the warden and said, “Take these boys to your office, measure their heights and every morning give them this medicine. This is a medicine for them to grow tall.” Already a few inches were added to our heights by that statement from Bhagawan!
The warden took us and every morning as others drank ordinary milk, we had the green pista sweet medicine mixed with milk. About 15 days later, that particular packet got over and the warden went to Swami and said, “Swami, that dose is over, the next dose...” Swami said, “Emi akkaraledhu (nothing is necessary), go and measure their height.” When our heights were measured, every single boy had added from half to three and a half inches!
Let me fast forward to about 25 years later when the final year batch had come from Brindavan and I had accompanied them here. They wanted to put up a drama in front of Swami. As Bhagawan passed during darshan He called me for an interview and asked, “Emi samacharam? What is the programme the boys have practised and brought?”
I explained everything to Swami and He said, “Okay, this evening we will have it at 4 o' clock. Velli pillalu deggara cheppu (Go and tell the boys). Tell them to be ready. I will come at 3:45 itself.” As I got up, there was a beautiful smile on Swami's lips and He said “Ravi, nuvvu chala perugaledu kadha? (Ravi, you have not grown too much, isn't it?” I immediately remembered 25 years back how He had given that medicine and I said “Swami, Swami padalu paina bhaktilo perugali meaning, I want to grow in my devotion to Your feet.”
Swami asked, “Oh! Bhakthilo perugala? Ikkada ra” (Oh! You want to grow in devotion? Come here) and I went close to Him. He put His boon-bestowing hand on my head and then got up. He stood next to me and said, “Choosava? manamiddaram same height. (You see, both of us are of same height)” as if to console me. That is Shri Mata Shri Maharagni!
She is the supreme empress but how sweet and how loving she is! Even the smallest of fears she can remove — bhayapaha. She can demolish and destroy those fears. How much Swami cares for each one of us and for each one of our desires! The mother is described as “Samasta bhakta sukhada” in the Lalitha Sahasranamam. Swami satisfies all of our desires.
The Birthday Gift of a Lifetime
It was 1979 and I had applied at the PG Centre at Anantapur to do my Masters in Chemistry. There was no Masters course in Swami's institute at that time and therefore I had to go and do it there as instructed by Swami. After the entrance test, they put up the list and I was selected. We had to join on a particular date but it was a little worrying for me because that date happened to be my birthday.
One week before that, I slowly started the topic with Swami. I said, “Swami, actually on the first day, nothing much happens.” Swami said, “Evaru cheppindhi? (Who told you?) First day nunchi class start aavuthundhi (Classes start from the first day itself).” Then I tried a slightly different strategy. When we learn Vedam, the second day we have somehow got to continue what we learnt on the first day; otherwise we might not be able to complete what we have learnt. So I said, “Swami, actually it is a Saturday. Second day dwitiya vignam avuthundi Swami (the inauspicious act of not continuing on second day).”
Swami said, “Emi ledhu (Nothing). The college works on Saturday and then on Monday. So, there is no dwitiya vignam on Sunday.” Finally I said, “Swami, that also happens to be my birthday Swami.” He said, “Oh! Atla cheppu (Tell that). Kani, entha lucky ra nuvvu (How lucky you are!) Nee birthday, ne PG birthday rendu same (Your birthday and you being born as a PG student is happening on the same day). Kapatti bangaru, first day povali (Therefore, first day you have to go).” I gave up further attempts.
I told myself, “I may not be able to have Swami's darshan but definitely I want to touch the soil of Prasanthi Nilayam on that day. So, I will start off at 6 o' clock from here and then go to Anantapur.” At 5:30 am that day, somebody came running and said Swami was calling me. So I rushed to Swami who was upstairs. He said, “Nee birthday ani cheppinavu kadha Ravi? Ra. Papam! Namaskaram chesko” (You said today is your Birthday, isn’t it Ravi? Poor thing! Come, take namaskar). So I had namaskar. As I was getting up, Swami put something into my pocket and said, “Nee birthday gift adi (Thats your birthday gift)!”
These might be small instances but they are very profound because the empress of the universe has time for each one of us and I have seen this happen any number of times. In fact, in the mid-nineties, when Swami sat on the golden chariot and came from the other side of the Poornachandra auditorium to the hall here, it was a glorious sight.
In Brindavan, exams had started and therefore there was no chance for us to come but the previous night we got a message from Swami. He said, “If any of you do not have exams, you can come.” So we made a quick dash and arrived here just a few minutes before the grand event.
We quickly got ready and we were part of the procession chanting Vedam. It was a most wonderful sight. It has been mentioned in the Nadis that the Avatar of the Kali Age would come on a golden chariot but what moves me very much is as Swami's chariot came here and Arathi was being taken, He came down the steps, walked up to me and said, “Ravi, how is your father?” I said, “Swami, I have not met him.” Swami said, “He was very serious yesterday. I sent prasadam to him and he is fine now.”
The All-Pervading and All-Providing Mother
Swami is the supreme empress of the entire universe but has time for each one of us. There are a number of instances which I remember but since time is short, I will confine myself to one or two. There was a time when Swami would give darshan in the morning at 6:30 and would take a group of devotees for interview. Most of us would finish breakfast before darshan or after darshan. It was one of those days when Swami had gone inside the interview room and I was sitting outside.
Around me I found there were mats. Boys had gone for breakfast. I found one Gospel of Ramakrishna by M. So, I started reading it randomly and there was this incident where Naren comes to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and says, “Master, there is so much of poverty at home. Please pray to mother that she should provide.”
The master says, “Why should I tell her? You go and tell.” That is one thing that Swami always taught us — to have a direct link with Him.
As Naren goes and sees the beautiful bewitching form, he is not able to think of the worldly things that he had come to ask her for. He instead prays, “Mother, give me bliss and peace.” When he comes out Paramahamsa asks him, “Did you ask Mother? You just have to ask and she will give.” He says, “No, I couldn't ask her.” Paramahamsa says, “No. Go again and ask.” The same thing gets repeated.
I closed the book at this time and kept it aside and I thought, “If at this moment Swami comes out, what will I ask? My sister has had an accident. Maybe I should ask Swami about that. My father is not well. Maybe I should ask about that.” But then I caught myself. I thought, “How stupid can I get? Just now I read that we should ask God for the highest things. Swami is there to provide us with everything we need. We have Swami for us but who is there for Him? Have we ever asked Swami why He has pulled down so much?” It looked like Swami had lost some weight.
So I told myself, “If Swami comes I am going to ask Him why He has pulled down so much and why He is not eating properly.” Just two minutes later, the familiar creak of the interview room door was heard and Swami opened the door and came out. As all the devotees went back, Swami looked at me, smiled, came straight and stood in front of me. He looked at Himself and said, “Ravi, yemaina thaggi poyinana (Have I reduced)?” I was breathless and overwhelmed.
Even though we know Swami is ‘Sarvagna’ - knows everything, at the same time He is ‘Sandra karuna’ or intensely compassionate. I said, “Yes Swami. I was just about to ask You why You are not eating properly.” Swami said, “Emi ledhu (nothing), I am 108 pounds, perfect!” and walked off. Sarvagna sandra karuna!
The Taste that He Adds to Our Life
I will narrate one more incident and then end. When we were students in Brindavan there was a roommate of mine who was highly dynamic. If something went wrong in the hostel, he would first go to the warden and say, “Sir, I didn't do it.” He was that kind of a character.
One day, suddenly this boy decided that it was time he changed. So he wrote a letter to Swami listing out all the things that he had done and prayed, “Swami, I am sending this letter to You. I want to turn a new leaf.” Swami was in Prasanthi Nilayam and we were in Brindavan at that time.
Just when he was posting the letter, a thought came to him: “Swami, if You read this letter, all my past would be wiped out. But I need a clue that You have read the letter. So, Swami in some way, please do indicate it.” About three or four days later, suddenly the boy's father turned up in Brindavan and sent for him.
This boy met his father and asked, “Father, how come you are here? It's a surprise for me.” The father said, “Yes, it's a surprise for me also that I am here. I had gone to Prasanthi Nilayam.” The boy asked, “Oh! You had Swami's darshan?” The father said, “Not only Swami's darshan but I also got an interview.”
But where was the joy? Anyone who gets an interview with Bhagawan will not bite his teeth and tell you that he has got an interview. The boy was clueless why his father was so stern, and so he asked, “Oh! You had an interview? What did Swami say?” He had totally forgotten about the letter. The father said, “Swami told me about your letter.” There was a pause. He then said, “Anta chepparu (He told me everything).”
The boy thought, “O God! Swami, should You do this? I could have communicated to my father directly. Do I have to go through this divine route?” He was feeling very bad.
The father said, “Swami asked me to come to Brindavan and warn you” and the boy was sinking and feeling very bad. He thought, “Why did I ever do a thing like this?” and looked at the father who said, “Swami chepparu ‘Vadiki koncham buddhi cheppu' (Go and put some brains into his head). Is this what he writes to Swami?”
The father continued, “Don't you have that much of brains? Don't you know when the Avatar comes there are so many things to attend to? Should you write that salt is less in the hostel chutney? Is this what you write?”
The boy was taken aback and asked, “What else did Swami say?” The father said, “Swami said ‘Gattiga cheppu (Tell him firmly). Ituvanti antha rayakudadu ani cheppu (Tell him that he should not write things like this). If there is no salt in the chutney, warden is there to take care of that.”
That is how Swami added salt to this boy's life. See how beautiful it is! This is the mother who is the Simhasaneshwari, the One who occupies the throne of each of our hearts and for whose sake we keep our hearts open.
Shri Mata Shri Maharagni Shrimat Simhasaneshwari. Just three of these names I could not complete in a few minutes. There are a thousand more names to describe Her beauty, kindness, love and compassion. Thank you. Sai Ram.
- Radio Sai Team
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