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THE SWAMI I GREW UP WITH – PART 2

By Mrs. Geeta Mohan Ram


Mrs. Geeta Ram comes from a family that has been associated with Swami for the last four generations. She is the daughter of Dr. Padmanabhan, an ardent devotee and a familiar figure in Brindavan, Swami's ashram in Bangalore. Her great grandfather, Mr. Seshagiri Rao, came to Swami in 1943 and was the temple priest of Prasanthi Nilayam for many years. Having come to Swami at a very tender age, Mrs. Geeta Ram's life is full of wonderful Sai experiences and amazing anecdotes which are both interesting and illuminating. Currently, she lives in Washington, DC in the USA.

This is the second part of the transcript of a talk aired on Radio Sai a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, we do not know the venue and date of this talk, but we are sure it was in the USA and maybe five or six years ago. To read the first part of this article, click here.

Test of Faith

Remember the condition I said during my marriage, that I wanted to be in Bangalore. And so I got married and I was in Bangalore for 10 years! I had my children in Bangalore. They were born there. Swami gave them their names and everything.

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Swami and Me Sai Geeta
 
Mrs. Geeta Mohan Ram

And then suddenly, out of the blue - when you are all very nice and comfortable - Swami will throw a little bombshell at you! You know, when you want to put Swami’s picture, you hammer a nail or something into the wall, and before you put the picture, you shake it first to see whether it is strong enough to hold that picture. That is what Swami does! Once in a while, He’ll shake that faith, you know, to see if you are strong enough to take the test that He is going to throw your way! He is going to throw a test! And the tests have to come!

And once when I asked Him: “How many tests Swami?” He said: “Well, if you have to keep passing and going forward, you have to keep taking those tests otherwise you will be in the same first standard all the time! If you want to go second standard, third standard, college, you have to have the tests, there’s no way out of it!”

So, that was my test. In 1988, He suddenly called us one day and said to my husband: “You resign your job and go to the United States !”

We were settled. We were doing Swami’s work - I was an EHV Bal Vikas teacher then, my husband was the center president - we were doing as much as we could for Swami, with two young children in the house.

I kept saying: “No Swami! Swami, you promised me!” And He said: “I promised you when you get married, you would be in Bangalore. Now ten years are over!”

But He was very sweet - you know He sort of pampers our ego also! I said: “I don’t want to go and stay in somebody’s house with no job!” My husband’s brother lives in California. So Swami was very sweet. He said: “Let Mohan go…and then after three months, you go.”

I have seen Him more in all of you. Just because I know that you have not had the fortune that I have had - maybe in physical terms – and you have come to Him when you have become adults. You have come to Him with shaky faith maybe - by reading books written by others - but you have been able to conquer all those doubts to sit here for three days and spend your precious time, talking about Him and hearing about Him. And your devotion is far greater because you have done it without that physical proximity that I was so fortunate to have! And that’s what He wanted me to see, I guess! So He sent me away.

 

So my husband went and he found a job. He was in California , but he got a job on the East coast - in Gaithersburg. He called me and said: “There were two or three offers for jobs. There’s one in Gaithersburg. You ask Swami if that’s the one I should take!”

Now, when I was speaking to him on the phone, the line connection wasn’t very good and I heard it as Gettysburg! So I went to Brindavan and Swami comes to me from the Darshan line and asked me: “What? Mohan got a job?” I said: “Yes Swami. He said it is in Gettysburg !” Swami then laughed and said: “No, No! Not Gettysburg ! That is 100 miles away from where he got the job! Go and ask him!”

So I come back and I called my husband and he said: “I didn’t say Gettysburg! I said Gaithersburg!” So I went back again in the afternoon. He said: “See, Gettysburg is where Abraham Lincoln spoke! That’s not where he got the job!” So He taught me a little bit of U.S history there! And He said: “Ask him to take that job.” And so he took the job.

And so, now comes the real thing, right? I have to leave now. It’s time for me to go. And He said: “You know, you are leaving on this day, so come the previous day. I won’t leave for Puttaparthi. After I speak to you, I will go.” So He stayed actually till the day I left…and left the following day! See, the Mother that He is!

Lessons from a Distance

He called me in for an interview and said some of the most wonderful things to me. I was just crying; I said: “I don’t want to go! Why are You sending me away from You?”

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It seemed as though He was giving me a punishment for a mistake that I didn’t know I had made! I didn’t know what I had done to deserve this punishment - to be thrown away so far away from Him! Not to be able to see Him, not to be able to run to Him for my silly problems!

He said: “You have seen Me since you were a child - only as this little Form. And you have only seen this Swami, and you love this Swami! That was wonderful; that was a Blessing and the Grace you got! But you have to see My Glory in other places! You have to see with what devotion and dedication other people do their work when they hear My Name! How are you going to enjoy that Glory if you are here all the time under My shadow? When a child grows up, the child has to leave the mother, and go out and prove to the mother that whatever she has taught, the child has learnt. If you are always with the mother, how will the mother ever know?”

But that’s what Swami said to me: “If you are always with the mother, how will the mother know if you have learnt the lessons that she has taught? You have to go; it’s time for you to go. But you will see Me there in a different way.”

I have seen Him more in all of you. Just because I know that you have not had the fortune that I have had - maybe in physical terms – and you have come to Him when you have become adults. You have come to Him with shaky faith maybe - by reading books written by others - but you have been able to conquer all those doubts to sit here for three days and spend your precious time, talking about Him and hearing about Him. And your devotion is far greater because you have done it without that physical proximity that I was so fortunate to have! And that’s what He wanted me to see, I guess! So He sent me away.

Sai Never Lets Us Go

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And then He said a beautiful sentence. He said: “You are not really going far away! You know, when the mother takes the child to the market and there are a lot of people milling around the child, the mother holds on tightly to the child’s hand because she doesn’t want the child to get lost! So the mother holds even more tightly when you are far away - away from home - in a strange place!”

In the old days, Swami used to take all the old devotees to the Chitravati in the afternoon. And I used to go too as a child. But sometimes, when He would take them, they would climb up the hill to that Kalpavriksha tree. And out of that tree Swami would get them things that you couldn’t imagine - sweets, and fruits and whatever it was!

“Swami! You’re easily making us cross this crevice! Make us cross the bhavasagara - this worldly ocean - in the same way! That is more difficult!” But if we keep these little wants and desires low, I am sure; it will be easy for Him to do that also!

 

And when you went up to that tree there would be a big crevice that you had to jump over to get to the tree! Swami would go and all the old people would follow Him very slowly, and then the younger people would try as fast as possible to catch up with Him. And then, Swami would reach that big opening in the hill and He would jump across, stand on the other side and very patiently hold out His Hand to make every person jump across!

The women - He would take the children from the women, and then help them across. And my aunt would always say: “Swami! You’re easily making us cross this crevice! Make us cross the bhavasagara - this worldly ocean - in the same way! That is more difficult!” But if we keep these little wants and desires low, I am sure; it will be easy for Him to do that also!

Swami Takes Care of Every Case

So this is the Swami! He will keep His Word no matter what! If He says He is going to be there to help with the suitcases, He is going to be there! You know, Swami has been very busy doing this kind of stuff for my family! We are quite bad at learning, I assume! Because my father who had spent all his life with Swami, had a very similar experience in 1970 when he came to the U.S.

Swami had asked him to come to the U.S and meet with some of the professors that my brother Jagadish would be studying under. Swami sent him two years ahead of time and told him: “Go and meet this professor, because they will be the people who will be teaching Jagadish.”

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My father had come and Swami had asked him to visit two old devotees in Holland - two Dutch ladies who were very old and were devotees of Swami. And Swami had sent a letter with them for my father. So my father had to break journey, and see them and come. And he missed the flight that he had to take - the interconnecting flight within Holland - because his previous flight from India came in late!

And he was wondering what to do because he knew that these two ladies would have driven to the airport and they were pretty elderly. So he was wondering what to do, and he was talking to them in the airport, when they suggested that he take a taxi to the next place (it was only about eighty kilometers) and they said you could probably make it to your flight if you drive!

So he got into the car and drove to the next place, and he could get the connecting flight. When he got off there, he met a person dressed in the uniform of a pilot! And he came and said: “Are you Dr. Padmanaban? Come on! Come on! We are waiting for you!”

Some gentleman! And he just took my father’s suitcase, and put him on the flight! They didn’t even look at his tickets and he got on the flight! And in the hurry, my father went into the airplane and didn’t even turn around to say anything - because he was so stressed out with the whole thing and he left!

When my father came back to Bangalore , after his whole visit, Swami said: “You even forgot to say thank you to Me!”

When we do Swami’s work; He is always beside you - taking care of you. That is the key! When we want to do Swami’s work... He is always there! If you have ever felt: “How can I take on all of this work that the center is asking me? Can I do it?” Please never doubt! Because Swami will somehow give you the strength to do it! And He will take care of your other things while you take care of His Work! That is the way I look at it.

 

So, this is the Swami, you know. When we do Swami’s work; He is always besides you - taking care of you. That is the key! When we want to do Swami’s work - whether it is your service activity, whether it is your Bal Vikas work, your SSE work - He is always there! If you have ever felt: “How can I take on all of this work that the center is asking me? Can I do it?” Please never doubt! Because Swami will somehow give you the strength to do it! And He will take care of your other things while you take care of His Work! That is the way I look at it.

An Educative Training

I’ll tell you an incident that happened to me where work is concerned. Somebody asked me this question - which is why I want to tell you this. Somebody said: “It must have been so very wonderful to have Swami like that with you all the time!” Of course, it was wonderful! But you don’t realize it when you are young though! It was wonderful, but when I was young, I thought it was a big pain! Because I got caught, whatever I did! I mean, there was no escape! I could fool my parents if I wanted to, but I couldn’t fool Him!

And it was a very difficult childhood in that sense! Because all my friends would do all sorts of things; and as human beings, we are tempted to do it! You want to do it, but you know you are going to get caught! So there’s no fun in it!

When I was 15 years old - when Swami decided to start this whole SSE thing - I was just in 9th grade I think; I wasn’t even 15! He came to our house and He asked my mother to take over the SSE program in the whole state of Karnataka; to become the coordinator! They had just started at that time - what they called the Bal Vihar. And Swami said: “Gather up the children in your neighborhood, teach them bhajans, and tell them stories”. That was the beginning of the Bal-Vikas!

She had started to do that and had a few children - including me and my friends in the class. And we had all started to do the Bal Vikas and would attend classes in a very informal fashion when Swami wanted to make it happen all over the State, and so asked her to become the coordinator.

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She said: “Swami, I have about 15-20 children in the class! Who is going to teach them?” Because, there were no teachers at that time! Everybody was just Sai devotees – coming, sitting, having Darshan and going!

So Swami said: “Here she is!” And pointed to me! And I was in 9th grade! And I said: “Me?” He said: “Yes!” I said: “The people who attend the Bal Vikas classes are my friends! They are not going to listen to me if I sit there and start telling them stories!” He said: “No! You start doing the Bal Vikas classes yourself!”

So suddenly, from being a student at age 15, I became this Guru in the Bal Vikas! And outside I would play and chat with all of these people, but was a teacher inside the class. Swami said: “If you dress appropriately, and come and sit in the class, they will respect you as a teacher.” So suddenly I had to learn how to wear a sari and sit in the class - and all that!

Anyway, I did that! And I had done this for a few years. I entered college when Swami started the EHV program. And in that EHV program, He selected a few teachers who had had some experience to start going out to the general schools where the teachers who were not devotees - who teach in the schools - would start getting some EHV training so that they could start that in their school.

So there were about 9 or 10 elderly people - who were teachers by profession - who had been given this job. And Swami suddenly asked the lady who was coordinating this - a lady called Ms. Kalyani Sundaram – “Where is Padmanaban’s daughter?”

She said: “Swami. She is only 17 years old, you know! And the people who are going to go and train are non-devotees, who are school teachers, and who are older than her. So I haven’t chosen her for the EHV program.” (Even though I had been doing Bal Vikas for a while now.)

He said: “No! No! When they see that young people are doing this, the older people get motivated! So you take her.” So this lady comes home and she calls me and says: “From tomorrow onwards, Swami said you have to be in the EHV training.”

And I put up the biggest fight of my life! “I am not going to go to any EHV program!” Because this meant traveling all over Karnataka with this group of 9 teachers; training unknown people - non-devotee teachers - and I had to go with these elderly women – who were all teachers - everywhere! You know, that was my problem!

So I told my mother: “I am not doing this! Why is Swami asking me to do this EHV?” So my mother told Swami: “She doesn’t want to do it Swami!” He said: “Tell her that won’t work! She just has to go!” All my life, this is how He is!

So, I became this EHV person. And I started to go and do the training. But anyway, it wasn’t too difficult because they would give me a topic, so I would prepare. And whenever it was in Bangalore city, I would go, do the training, give the talks and return.

Untruthful Trip to Tumkur

Sometimes I had to go out of station - and that would happen only when my college was closed because I couldn’t skip school! And then, one day, there was a training program in a place called Tumkur - which is about 40-50 kilometers from Bangalore. The training program that was going on there was from Monday through Friday, and it was during the Dasara vacation. So I couldn’t get out of it because I had no college!

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Swami and Me Sai Geeta

So, the one thing that Swami told this lady - the coordinator Ms. Kalyani Sundaram – is this: “Geetha is young. When you go out of town and all that, make sure you take her with you. Let her not travel alone.”

So this became a major problem! Wherever I went, these people took it so seriously! They wouldn’t even let me go to the restroom! They would take me there to the restroom! They said: “Swami will scold us! He said to accompany you wherever you went; so we are coming with you!”

So wherever I went, I had these two women following me! And if I wanted to read a book or something in the bus; I had to make sure it was a “Sathya Sai Speaks” or something - because there were these teachers! They followed me everywhere! And I would come home and grumble to my mother! I used to just grumble so much!

Anyway, I had to go to Tumkur. Kalyani Aunty called me the previous day, and said: “Make sure you’re at the bus station at 7 o’clock in the morning because the program begins at 10 o’clock and it takes one and a half hour to get there.”

My talk was at 2 o’clock in the afternoon! So I said: “Kalyani Aunty, why don’t you all go because I’ll just take the 11 o’clock bus or whatever…” She said: “No! No! You’re coming with us! You know what Swami said!”

So, first day – Monday – I went with them. And I sat and sat while all the lectures happened and then my turn was at 2 o’clock , and I had to give my talk. Now on Tuesday - the second day - I knew where the place was; it was in a junior college in Tumkur. I knew how to get there and I was pretty confident. So, on the second day, I came up with this idea! I Forgot this Omnipresent Lord - that He was Omnipresent!

So, I left the house very obediently at 7:30 am. I told my mother goodbye and I went very nicely. But I didn’t go to the bus station! I went to my friend’s house! I knew these people had to take the 8 o’clock bus - because their lectures were there at 10. They couldn’t skip. And you know how upset Swami gets if we are not on time! So they had to take that bus and I knew they couldn’t keep waiting for me. So I went to my friend’s house.

My friend said: “What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to go to Tumkur?” And I said: “Yeah! But you know, my lecture is at 2 o’clock ! So I can just spend some time with you.”

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So I happily chatted with her, drank coffee; had breakfast in the house and made a whole bunch of remarks on these women who “followed me everywhere and were such a pain. They keep coming with me, and all they do is keep talking about their husband and children - and it’s just so boring!”

Anyway, I said all this to my friend and then I went to the bus station. (You know, I am setting myself up so nicely! Swami must be just laughing every time He sees me: “Here she is again!”)

So, at 11 o’clock I go to the bus stand and I buy my ticket. And those people in the mean time have frantically called my mother and all that; and I have no idea about all this!

I take the 11 o’clock bus, and I get into the bus. Now the first thought that comes is that - “it may not go as smoothly as I thought!” Because when I get into the bus, I find that I am the only woman in the bus! It is filled with men and they are all men from the villages and they are all looking at me because even then, you know in the mid-seventies girls in India didn’t go about in the buses, especially on the village buses by themselves!

I get in and they are looking! I say to myself: “Well, there is a whole bus full of people, you know; what can they do!” I sit there and nobody sits next to me in the bus! So I am sitting there occupying one seat; and then the bus starts. And we go about maybe ten kilometers, when we hear all kind of weird sounds and the bus stops! So we all have to get up! And now of course the second thought - you know – “there’s something going on here!” And I am looking at my watch and then I say: “Well, I had given myself 45 minutes margin. And the bus driver tells me they can fix it. So I am still all right! Calm down!”

 

I come out and start asking people, “Where is the place?” Because my lecture is at 2 o’clock and it’s almost 1:15 or something! Then the guy who is painting says: “I can take you there if you want.”

I started crying! And now I know - this is Swami shaking that nail there! I am petrified! I have disobeyed Him! I have deceived my parents! I deceived the women who waited for me at the bus stop and these are like major crimes in Swami’s book!

But when I get down, there are a few old men in the bus who look at me and say: “What kind of family do you come from? Your parents are sending you alone like this in a village bus!” My poor parents!

So I say: “No. I had some work”. And they said: “Why are they sending young women these days in the bus!” And you know these old elderly gentlemen sort of start saying: “Look what the world has come to…” and all this stuff!

And I am standing there feeling very embarrassed with the whole thing. Then, of course, the bus starts and I say: “Fine! Swami is not really testing me!” Because I didn’t really do any thing wrong; you know - I am getting there, hanging there in the bus!

So the bus goes; we travel, I come. It stops right in front of the junior college where the program is. That is the boys’ college. So I go there to the venue, where it is in some hall that we had the program yesterday! I’ve been there! I go there and they are all painting the whole place! There is nobody there!

I say: “Where is the program?” And they all look and say: “What program?” I said: “The one that happened here yesterday was supposed to be here for the whole week!” And a few people there, they said: “No, No! We are painting today and they have all moved to the other building at the other end of town!”

And then I come out and now I am really scared. I don’t know how to get there and in the mean time it’s a boy’s college and they are all whistling and calling out names and I am getting shakier and shakier as I come out, and some of them are saying: “Oh, who are you?” And inviting me to lunch and what not! I am getting really scared now.

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I come out and start asking people, “Where is the place?” Because my lecture is at 2 o’clock and it’s almost 1:15 or something! Then the guy who is painting says: “I can take you there if you want.”

I started crying! And now I know - this is Swami shaking that nail there! I am petrified! I have disobeyed Him! I have deceived my parents! I deceived the women who waited for me at the bus stop and these are like major crimes in Swami’s book!

And here I am, and I don’t know how to get to the venue and I am going to miss my talk! I am going to be hauled over the red-hot coals is what I am thinking! And I am crying by this time! I come out of the gate and at this time you know; that is when in Kannada they say: “Sankata Vandarey, Venkata Ramana” “When you are in trouble, you call out to Venkataramana!”

I am saying: “Sai Ram! Sai Ram! Please help me, Swami! I will never do this again! I will go with the most boring women again in my life! I will never do this again! Help me, Help me!”

Rescued by Swami’s Relation

And I come out and I stand there and a car passes me by, goes a few feet, stops and backs up. And the window comes down and who should be sitting in the car - Swami’s sister Venkamma!

She looks and says: “Aren’t you Padmanabh’s daughter Geetha?” I say: “Yes.” She has seen me since I was a baby! She says: “What are you doing here standing in front of this boy’s college all by yourself? Are you by yourself?” I said: “Well, I came for the EHV.” She said: “Get in. Get in!”

And I get into the car - her son-in-law was driving. I say: “I came to the EHV program aunty, and the venue has been shifted.” So she said: “What is this Swami? He’s making all these young girls go like this for EHV programs with nobody to chaperone them! I must talk to Him!”

And of course I am not telling her that I missed the bus or anything! She says: “Why didn’t you go with Kalyani Aunty and everyone?” I said: “I missed the bus.” One more lie! Missed the bus! She said: “Oh! Okay. Alright, we will drop you there - wherever the venue is. Where is the place?”

Her son-in-law goes and finds out and then I ask her in the car: “Aunty, what are you doing here?” She says: “We are on our way to Shimoga,” which is another four hours drive! “And I suddenly developed a really bad headache! So we came into Tumkur to buy some medication for my headache. That’s why we drove here and then we saw you standing here.” They were very sweet. They took me and got me some orange juice and dropped me off at the venue.

And of course, by that time poor frantic Kalyani Aunty! She is looking at the clock - it’s almost 2 o’clock ! And I arrive with five minutes to spare. And I go up and do my talk and I don’t tell them anything that happened.

In reply to Kalyani Aunty’s questions, I just remarked that I missed the bus. She said: “Okay, now next time, come on time! You know, we were all so worried and we were so afraid! Because Swami has said that you should always come with us.”

And then we came back. Swami is in Puttaparthi; so why volunteer this information to my parents! I didn’t tell them all that went on! I said: “Everything went on very nicely. I missed the bus, but you know Venkamma aunty came and dropped me.” I simplified the whole thing; you know! “And then she gave me a ride to the place, and everything went okay.” My mother said: “Oh, okay. That’s very nice. I am glad you got help,” and that was it.

Four months later, after birthday celebrations, Swami returns to Bangalore and usually whenever He came, we all had to give Him a report of the EHV work. Kalyani Aunty and all the 10 teachers sat in front. And Swami came in the darshan line and asked her: “How did the program go?” And she said we did so many programs; it all went well and gave Him the report.

Taken to Task Over Tumkur

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“I have been so rude to my mother who has given me this body, who had shown Him to me, who has given me everything that I have in my life! How can the Cosmic Mother look at me? He cannot! I have hurt my mother!”

He came to each teacher in turn and I am the last person - but I am not worried! Four months have gone by after all! And Swami comes to me and stands there and says: “Hmmm…you want Me to tell these women how you missed that bus?” I say: “No Swami! No Swami! Please Swami!”

“You want Me to tell them what you thought about them and why you didn’t go with them?” I say: “No Swami! Please!” Because you know, they actually think I am a good girl! I don’t want to disillusion them! I say: “Swami! Please Swami! I won’t do it again! I won’t do it again!”

He says: “When I tell you something, obey without questions! There is a reason when I tell you something!” And then He said - the tone changed from the father to the mother; and not even a mother really, a friend! He said: “Because of you, I had to give that poor Venkamma such a bad headache!”

He walked away! He was so sweet you know, He never told my mother. He never told those teachers. But I was so scared that at some point I told them myself!

But, that’s the wonderful Swami! He can be a Friend, He can be a Mother, He can be a Father and He can be anything that you want Him to be! It’s all in your own heart and in your mind. And of course Venkamma never, ever forgave me for that till the day she died! She said: “Because of you, I had to get a headache!”

But, it was difficult to have Him there all the time! A little bit difficult - but after all, what is that difficulty compared to all the love that I have received! But it’s only as I have grown older that I have valued it more. Only because when you’re a child you take things for granted. You think that parents are there to do every thing for you - that’s their job. But then, even with your own parents, as you grow older, you realize how much they do!

When we become parents ourselves, we realize actually the value of our own parents who have done so much for us! And Swami! I am not a scholarly person to give you any great lessons that I have learnt; I have learnt very simple lessons. And even those I find difficult to follow sometimes.

So, coming back to parents, we are all so fortunate to have such wonderful parents that we have. For me, I am so fortunate that I’ve had parents who showed me the Lord from the day I was born! And gave me this opportunity to enjoy His Love, just because I was born in their home. And they brought me up with just one focus – Sai, and that everything else was just very trivial compared to this. And I was fortunate for that – though I didn’t realize it then.

Impure Offering

In fact, to tell you an incident that happened with my mother and me – and I am sure many young girls will relate to this. Every week we used to go to Brindavan and I used to take the roses from my garden in a bouquet for Swami. Swami would always come to me and take it from me. One day, I didn’t want to go because I wanted to attend a music concert in Bangalore. So I said: “I don’t want to come to see Swami today.”

 

So, I just sit there and I say: “I am so sorry Swami! I am so sorry! I will not speak to her like this!” Then I think: “At least in the afternoon He should look at me! He shouldn’t ignore me like this!” And He is walking away. And that loving, forgiving Swami! He just stopped at the gate, turned around, came all the way back into the darshan line. He comes to me, takes the roses and says: “Aren’t the roses beautiful?” “Yes Swami!” I had tears in my eyes. He says: “But, learn to speak fragrantly - in the language of the roses!”

And my mother said: “Well, you haven’t come to see Swami in the past three days and Swami has been asking for you! Everyday He comes to me and says: “Where is Geetha? So if you don’t come today - it’s a Saturday – He will really ask! Especially since you don’t have school or college, so you should come!”

So I told my mother: “You know, every weekend this is the only thing you want to do! I don’t want to come.” See, Swami was so easily available that I took Him for granted. So I said: “I see Swami everyday. But M. S. Subbalakshmi comes only once in two years. And there is a concert of M. S. Subbalakshmi and I want to attend the concert. I am not going to come.”

My mother was very upset with me. She said: “No, you have to come! If you want to go to the concert, after you come back, you go and attend the concert a little late. But you have to come!”

So, very angrily, you know - with no love in my heart, I must say – I went to the garden and started to cut the roses. Because it was a habit with me to take roses for Swami, so I took it any way - whether I did it with love or not - I went and cut all these roses and came and dumped it on the dining table and went to get ready. And my mother put it together in a nice bouquet for me. And when I came back, I looked at it and I said to her: “Oh! This bouquet looks terrible! I don’t want to give it. You give it if you want!”

Swami and Me Sai Geeta
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And my mother said: “Why are you acting like a small child? You put it together anyway you want to! I just did it because I thought we’ll get late!” So I took it apart and put it back together again! It didn’t look any different! But this was my argument with my mother. Everything she did that day was not the right thing. So I put it together - just because I wanted to be mean to her for forcing me to go - I put it together, and we went to Brindavan. And we sat there. And I went there walking very nicely with these roses!

And a few people there said: “Geetha, can you sit beside us? You know, Swami always comes near you when you have the roses!” Don’t ever do that! You’re setting yourself up! So I said: “Sure, sure! Come along! Have a seat!” I was so sure that He’s going to come for my roses! “Oh! Come and sit beside me! Sit behind me!” And we all sat there and Swami came out for darshan.

Swami can do this so beautifully! He walked in front of me and looked at everybody on the other side; made a big U around me, and walked away! And completely ignored me! So beautifully! And these poor people who sat next to me were like: “Oh! Goodness! I was sitting there and we went there and now all because of you; you know, we lost our chance by sitting next to you!”

And here I am sitting with my big bouquet of roses and Swami has walked away! And I am still quite self-confident that He’ll come! He’ll finish those rounds and He will come! So He finished and He is coming back and I am all set again with my roses ready to hand it to Him; like I always did.

He came, made a bigger U around me. And now at this point, I am totally embarrassed! I am sitting there with my roses in front of me - everyone is looking at me! And they all know, there is something wrong because He usually came to me and took the roses! At that moment, you want to disappear with the roses and everything under ground somewhere!

And not so much - I must be honest with you - because, Swami didn’t come to me! It was more my ego! Because everyone was looking at me! And I was embarrassed about it! And here I had bragged to all these people beside me, to sit down with me and I am just completely embarrassed! And then He starts to walk away very slowly towards the gate.

Speaking in the Language of Fragrance

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Swami and Me Sai Geeta

And at that point, I suddenly start thinking: “What am I so embarrassed about? I am losing His darshan! I am losing His loving gesture when He comes and takes these; and I am worried about all these people!” And immediately I think: “What did I do? Why did He do that?”

Of course, the answer came in one second! “I have been so rude to my mother who has given me this body, who had shown Him to me, who has given me everything that I have in my life! How can the Cosmic Mother look at me? He cannot! I have hurt my mother!”

So, I just sit there and I say: “I am so sorry Swami! I am so sorry! I will not speak to her like this!” Then I think: “At least in the afternoon He should look at me! He shouldn’t ignore me like this!” And He is walking away. And that loving, forgiving Swami! He just stopped at the gate, turned around, came all the way back into the darshan line. He comes to me, takes the roses and says: “Aren’t the roses beautiful?” “Yes Swami!” I had tears in my eyes. He says: “But, learn to speak fragrantly - in the language of the roses!”

It is not enough to offer Him those flowers - if you cannot speak like those flowers! If you cannot be beautiful and give joy to others like those flowers do; what is the point in offering it to Him? It just becomes a picture - just a very robotic habitual gesture!

So, those were the lessons I have learnt. And I hope I have learnt them! I am sure my mother may or may not agree with me, but I have tried as much as I can - as I got older and of course, now that I am a mother myself - to appreciate what our parents do for us!

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Vol 6 Issue 06 - JUNE 2008
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