Volume 6 - Issue 12
DECEMBER - 2008
The OVERPOWERING DIVINE ‘PRESENT’By Ms. Nooshin Mehrabani
The afternoon darshan on the day after the Akhanda Bhajan, on November 10, 2008, brought joy to the hearts of thousands of devotees, especially the ladies from overseas countries who were present in Prasanthi Nilayam. It was the first day of the Sapthaham of the Srimad Bhagavatam, the week-long reading of the great epic tale of the life of Lord Sri Krishna.
Swami Fulfils Heaps of Dreams
The afternoon began like any other day in the Divine Valley of Prasanthi Nilayam, with Swami coming out for darshan in His chair, crossing over to the gents side and then moving up to the verandah of the Sai Kulwant Hall. But that day He didn’t stay there for long. Soon, Swami was again on the ladies side and it appeared as if He would just return to His residence. But what actually happened was something unusual. Swami did not turn towards His residence, instead He moved to His right, and now the second round of darshan had begun! Swami now stopped at one place and selected three foreign ladies, and asked them to “Go”. He then spun around and headed back into the hall, and on the way began to call more ladies from overseas. Everyone was amazed and delighted to see Swami selecting ladies from even the seventh and eighth rows! They gathered in a group and were led to the verandah by the head of ladies’ security.
The devotees on the ladies’ side had another chance to see Swami as He walked up to the verandah again, giving instructions to the ladies to assemble in the Bhajan Hall. Then, the Divine Drama really began.
Pining for His Darshan
Word spread throughout the ashram quickly as a result of which women ran to join the stretching queue on the ladies side of the Sai Kulwant Hall. All of them were eager to have this unexpected chance of closeness with the Lord.
I entered the hall quite late that day and joined the queue where I was able to watch the women stepping out of the m andir. They were crying with joy holding tightly their precious gifts from Swami. It was such a personal moment of joy for them! Most of them had the fortune to touch His feet as well, converse with Him, and offer their salutations. It was more than a dream that saw the light of day! Like it was with many other ladies, for me too, the saree was not as important as being able to touch His feet.
Soul Searching Begins…
Swami let the ladies inside the Mandir revel in His glorious company for nearly an hour. He made sure that every heart sitting there had an experience of Divine Love. It was already 6 p.m. when Swami came onto the stage to the delight of the devotees, waiting in eagerness, in the Sai Kulwant Hall. There was an important programme scheduled for the evening.
Now, some of us who were still in the queue and could not get the opportunity to even go inside Bhajan Hall were devastated when we were asked to return to our seats. Obviously, it was heartbreaking, and some of us began to break into sobs. At first, I did not know what to feel. “Should I feel rejected?” No, that was not the truth, since God never rejects anyone. “Should I feel ignored?” That wasn’t the reality either because I have sat at His Lotus feet daily, morning and afternoon, fully aware that He wanted me to be there. I started to pray to Swami, asking Him to help me understand the lesson I was to learn from this drama.
After a few minutes of silence, a soothing thought dawned on me. If we identify ourselves on the basis of our physical form, we see others as well as God as entities separate from ourselves. This is why we find it hard to appreciate another’s joy or feel another’s sorrow. I strongly felt Swami saying to me , “If you are not envious or jealous, you should be able to enjoy the happiness that others experience around you. You should be able to sense the pain of those who consider themselves unfortunate and hope for them and for yourself that I will bless you when it is the right time for you.”
Feeling the Joy of Others
While my eyes were still closed, I felt my heart filling with happiness and joy for those who were blessed in that one precious hour. I was as much a part of this event as the women who had received padanamaskar and a saree. I felt as if Swami had given this gift to me, too. The mind is the obstacle that creates separation when, in reality, nothing of this sort exists. It is only at the physical level that we experience duality. T he lesson I learned that day was one of unity.
There are many times when Swami has given interviews to some, or gifts to others. If we feel disappointed, then where is the spiritual practice of love and oneness? I am sure people were crying not over the saree; everything we have has been given to us by God. People were dejected because they felt they might never have this opportunity of closeness with the Divine again. But Swami is our c ompassionate God. We should always believe that we are worthy of His Love and Grace.
We should always be hopeful that He will find the perfect way to shower His Grace at the most opportune time. This is why He has called us to His perfect world of bliss. We are not any less special to Swami because we didn’t get this chance. We have our own special moments with Him.
Unexpected Gift from a Sai Friend
As I reflected on this divinely-inspired awareness, I felt very grateful to Swami. But the Lord had something more beautiful in store for me that afternoon.
Before I left Sai Kulwant Hall that evening, Swami actually gave me a precious gift. I saw an Iranian friend who introduced me to a woman who had just arrived from Iran the day before. The lady seemed a bit familiar to me, but I could not place her as I had not lived in Iran for quite some time. When I mentioned my name to her, she said, “I know someone by the same name who lives in Canada.” I asked her that “someone’s” last name. She uttered my last name. “That person, you know, is me!” I told her. With tears in her eyes, she began to hug me, asking me if I remembered her. I felt a bit odd to tell her that I still c ould not recollect having met her or known her in any special way.
The new Iranian stranger began to tell me her story. Eight years ago, when I traveled to Iran from India, this stranger had sat next to me on the plane. As usual, my conversation was all about Swami. This lady had been in India at the time not for any spiritual reason, but for business, and it was her first time to hear Sai Baba’s name. I had shared some of my experiences with her for close to an hour. I left her with telephone numbers of some Sai devotees in Iran and never heard from her again. Little did I know that during the years since I had not seen her, she had become a devotee of Baba and made several visits to Prasanthi Nilayam.
In this particular trip, she had even brought her brother along; his first visit to India. She told me how her life had dramatically changed for the best since she came to Swami. What moved me the most was when she narrated about the altar she had made for Swami in her home. “When I go there to pray, I remember how you introduced me to Swami and I always pray for you.” Now, this was too overwhelming for me. By this time, as you can imagine, we were both crying! I told her I was just an instrument Swami had picked to bring her to God, and it is our constant prayers that make us worthy to be at His Lotus Feet.
I returned that evening to my home on a joyous note. Swami did not give me the same gift that so many had received that day, but He did give me what He knew was the best present for me. He is God, and He knows what we need and just when. Swami had shown me when I hadn’t expected in the slightest that He had not forgotten me in that big gathering! His ways of comforting us are subtle, which makes it even more overwhelming. If we are able to trust His judgement, and humbly surrender to Him, and accept His will for us, we can be happy in every moment regardless of what comes our way or doesn’t! And that is truly His greatest grace!
Vol 6 Issue 12 - DECEMBER 2008
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