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  Volume 4 - Issue 04
APRIL 2006
 
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EXPRESSIONS OF LOVE - IV

A Gratitude Card for Swami
“Heart with us… Feeling with You”


In this section in the last issue of Heart2Heart, we had for you the touching story of a Valentine’s Day card and many readers wrote to us saying they were quite moved with the story and it filled their hearts with love for their Lord. Encouraged with this response, we have another beautiful card-story for you, this time a Gratitude Card created by Post Graduate students in 1993.

 

Before we proceed with the story, a little background about Gratitude Cards for those who are unfamiliar with the practice. Every year in the last months of the academic year (generally Feb-March) boys of all classes present a small programme in front of Bhagavan to express their gratitude to Him for His love and care and all the umpteen golden chances showered on them all round the year. So it was way back in 1993 too. But the scene that year for the final year post graduate boys was a little different. They were not in a pleasant situation. So what was the issue? And how did the boys finally come out of it?

Let’s hear it directly from one of those present, Sri O S K S Sastri, who was then a student and is currently a faculty member in Swami’s Institute, as he recalls those days -

It was during our final year post graduation in 1993. Swami, for some reason not very apparent to us, chided all of us for being ungrateful. He said we were not following His commands. We, the final year post graduate boys, were really crestfallen. And this happened at a time when in a matter of few weeks we were to leave the portals of Institute and consequentially the cool comfort of the physical proximity of our dear Lord. It was the time when we wanted to make the most of our last few days with Bhagawan and here was Bhagawan avoiding us every single evening in the Mandir. We wanted to somehow please Him, somehow win His love back.

Many in our class felt perhaps the feelings and intensity in our prayers were not strong enough to move the Lord. Perhaps we simply were not able to churn our hearts the way He wanted. Maybe we were not able to bring forth the purest of divine feelings. We knew we had to work more on ourselves, introspect a little more, cry for Him a little harder and then ultimately surrender to Him completely. Someone amongst us said that perhaps our feelings are not pure enough and instead of praying for His love, why not pray to Him for pure feelings as well. Many felt it was Swami prompting us through that boy. And all of us agreed that we are going to pray to Him to bestow on us sublime and pure feelings for Him.

And so, we all wrote to Him.

“Oh! Lord, The Heart is with us but the Feeling is with you.
Kindly bless us with the feeling to be able to win Your Grace.”

 

The result of this prayer was a beautiful card. A very simple yet poignant card that we made for Him. We made small fledglings on a tiny branch seated in their humble nest but no sign of peace on their beautiful faces.

With searching eyes and tiny probing necks, they were eagerly waiting for succour from their mother. It was as if the tiny little birds were saying “Oh mother! When will you come and end this weariness! Won’t you come?”

The tiny fledglings depicted our sorry state of affairs most aptly. All of us poured out our feelings and out came a beautiful little poem with three little stanzas, one stanza in Hindi, another in English and finally in Telugu that we wrote in the card just next to the bird picture. The poem was then set to a sweet yet moving tune. And all of us gave our heart and soul to this small musical creation.

Gratitude Card by Post Graduate boys, 1993
   

We practised the song again and again till our hearts ached and our throats dried. We soaked every line of the song with the best feelings we could express. The song went like this –

 

The Hindi Stanza

Dear Lord Sai! You are our very life!
Without You, oh Lord, our hearts are barren,
We are lifeless! We are crest fallen!
These thirsty hearts of ours
Long for Your love, Your grace.
Without Your love, dear Lord,
This rainy season has become
Dry and dreary like another autumn.

In English

Oh how We love Thee Lord, Living God,
With deepest purest feelings
Pray fill our hearts with righteousness
we worship Thee with rising hopes,
Lead us; Guide us; Love us…

Finally, In Telugu

Oh! Mother, do we not deserve Your Love!
Are we not Your very own children!
Why are You staying away from us?
Why are You delaying to grant Your Compassion?
The light in our eyes is missing,
Our minds are devoid of any peace,
We have lost all our talents.
Without You, we can never be at ease.
In spite of all our praying and pleading,
dear Mother,
Your warmth and love has eluded us.
Please bless us, dear Mother, with the right feeling
And the true spirit to set Your heart melting.
And if You deny us, dear Lord,
We just can not survive.

 

To download this song, click here. (856 KB). [Mind you, this is not live recording of boys singing in front of Swami, but a studio recording done later].

So, this was the meaning of the song and we practised it till it became a part of our life. That evening, when Bhagavan came for Darshan, as usual He avoided all of us. This only increased the intensity of our prayers. We prayed like never before holding the card in our hands. A few tense moments passed. And then we saw Bhagavan come out of the interview room. We just could no longer hold ourselves.

We all burst forth singing! Sai…Tum Hamare Pran Ho….We sang as loud as we can. We sang with all our hearts, minds and souls. The compassionate Mother then could not but embrace His loved ones. It was like the waiting of the tiny fledglings in the card was over. Their mother had come and with lots of food and gifts too!

Perhaps this was the last lesson that He wanted to teach us before the academic year was over. And He did it so beautifully. Swami so lovingly then went around all of us, speaking to someone here, lovingly patting someone there, cracking a joke at the third, blessing with padanamaskar the fourth, …this went on. It was as if He was compensating for all the chances we had missed for weeks.

 

He asked, “Who wrote the song?”, “Who composed the tune?” As always, everybody said that it was a collective effort. But Swami, the all knowing one, went and spoke one by one to all the three boys who had written the English, Hindi and Telugu portions of the song. There is nothing you can ever hide from Him. Each one of us was there before Him like an open book and on that day He wrote a golden chapter in each of our lives, a chapter which continues to inspire us to love Him with all our heart, whenever we feel life is becoming tough and we are missing His Love.

- Heart2Heart Team


 
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Vol 4 Issue 04 - APRIL 2006
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