Volume 16 - Issue 12
December 2018
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Posted on: Dec 07, 2018


And the Sweet Celebration of His Birthday in My Home

Mrs Priya Tandon

Mrs. Priya S Tandon and her husband Mr. Sanjay Tandon have been long standing devotees of Bhagawan. She is the daughter of late Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi, a former Chief Justice of India, and was blessed to have her first darshan of Bhagawan in 1973. A gifted artist and an inspirational short stories writer, Mrs. Priya has co-authored with Mr. Sanjay six books. Each book in this "Sunrays" series has 52 stories each. She is also a blogger and lyricist, besides being a busy homemaker and mother of three young men who are all former students of Bhagawan's school in Prasanthi Nilayam.

You may want to listen to the "Learning with Love" conversation between Mr and Mrs Tandon and Radio Sai's Ms. Karuna Munshi (Part 1 and Part 2) done in the Radio Sai studio in June 2015.

How does one thank the Lord for all the bounties He has bestowed us with? How does one even begin to count and enlist the endowments which we seem to take for granted?

I happened to be in the emergency ward of a public hospital a few days ago. The pain and suffering I witnessed all around me, shook my conscience and made me count my blessings. Well, made me try to count! Is it not a blessing that my limbs are normal and functional! My physical and mental faculties are in order!

Is it not a blessing that I can feel the warmth of food in my belly! That I have clothes to cover my body!

That I have money in my wallet to pay my bills! That my family loves and cares for me and I for them! That I can feel the grace of God as distinctly as I can feel the heat of the sun or the chill in the air! The bounties of the Lord can never be enlisted.

Looking around I saw people who were victims of accidents and others of burns, some were bleeding while others had fractures, some were in excruciating pain while others in delirium, some were crying while others were unconscious, some were in grief over death while others were rejoicing over birth. An amalgam of emotions enveloped me as my head spun round in circles.

As I closed my eyes to shelter myself from the cornucopia of emotion and commotion I held on fast to my husband’s hand and offered gratitude to Swami for all His mercies on me and mine.

Introspecting deep within, I realized that this attitude of being grateful, is also a gift from Swami. It is He who taught us to be aware of everything that we are blessed with. It is He who has taught us about love, sympathy, empathy, gratitude, service, sharing, caring… the list is again, endless.

All of a sudden I realized that Swami has taught me how to live life. Not only has He given me the gift of life, He has taught me the art and science of living.

Living could merely be brought down to mundane existence, if it be devoid of emotions that emanate from the grace of God. Swami made our lives full of meaning by teaching us big things through seemingly little things.

The five human values of Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love and Non-violence expounded by Him are really the basis of living a meaningful life. The understanding of the importance of the human values taught by Swami, has been very impactful in shaping our persona.

Why is it that an extra light left switched on or a running tap or food wasted or time idled away or abusive language or imprudent behaviour pricks my conscience? Who brought me to the awareness of all this? It is Swami and Swami alone.

His teaching of “Love all-Serve all” etched on His Maha Sannidhi is the most profound teaching of all! For if we can bring ourselves to love all and serve all humanity or for that matter if we can extend these feelings to all things living and non-living, we can never, ever go wrong.

The abuse of the five elements the world over, is due to greed and indifference to the bounties of nature that the Lord in His infinite grace has blessed us with. If man were to love the Earth, air, water, fire and space, he would never abuse it for his selfish motives.

The pollution of the atmosphere, caused by industries or individuals is because they are concerned only about their own materialistic gains.

The very fact that each of us breathes the same air, should be reason enough for all to ensure that we do not contribute to air pollution. The oceans, seas and rivers too are being callously polluted by individual or industrial wastes.

Man is selfish and thinks of himself only. If only he would think himself to be a part of the whole; as an organ in the body of the universe, perhaps he would behave more responsibly.

Swami taught us how to conduct ourselves such that we do not cause harm to others. The instinct of self-preservation is of course very strong in all of life, but it does not license us for the destruction of others. We have to live and let-live. The imbuing of His teachings in our lives is what we should strive for.

Thinking about Swami, I am overwhelmed with nostalgia about the beautiful times we spent with Him. One look from Him would send shivers down my spine. I wonder why the sight of Him would always make my eyes well up with tears.

He once pointed towards my eyes and remarked, “Washer-less taps!”   How embarrassed I was then! But today I feel that I was so blessed that the Lord and Master of the Universe noticed those tears in my eyes and chose to comment on them.

Were they tears of sorrow or joy, or remorse, or shame or gratitude? I still don’t know. Most likely, I think they were tears of love. The love for the Lord, that is beyond this life or the previous one and who knows if there are more to come or this be my last.

Writing this I am reminded of the last few days of my mother Mrs Meera Punchhi’s life. Swami had left the body in April, 2011. My mother passed on August, 2011.

She was terminally ill with cancer and knew that she had only a few days left. My sister told her to pray to Swami, to grant her Moksha, that she merge with Him eternally.

She said, “Why should I suggest to Him to grant me Moksha? If He is coming to the Earth again, then why should I not come with Him?  Perhaps He wants to assign a role to me in the leela of his next Avatar as Prema Sai! Why should I ask for anything or even suggest? I leave everything for Him to decide. Whatever He wants to do with me, is fine! His wish is my wish!” The profundity of her statement never fails to overawe me.

Surrender means surrendering everything to His will. When we do everything with the feeling that He is the doer, the giver, the recipient, the task, the action, the thought - Then all that is left is HIM! The sum total of everything put together is just Him in His various manifestations.

Life after Swami’s leaving the physical frame has definitely not been easy. But the comfort of having had beautiful memories with Him are our most valuable treasures and make us bow with humility for His grace and also give us the strength to hold our heads high with pride of having experienced Divinity when He chose to walk the earth as one of humanity.

I am reminded of a Doha from Saint Kabir:

“Dukh mein sumiran sab kare
Sukh mein kare na koye
Jo sukh mein sumiran kare
Dukh kahe ko hoye!”

(Everyone remembers God in misery, no one remembers Him in happiness. If one would remember Him in happy times, why would sad times ever come!)

Perhaps that is why Swami advised us to do Namasmarana at all times. Life has to have its highs and lows; its tough and easy times, just as day follows night and night follows day. But if we are lost in the remembrance of the Lord, perhaps tough times lose their sting.

Let me share that on Swami’s 93rd Birthday we had a small celebration at our home as per the instructions of the All India President, Mr Nimish Pandya. We had our siblings and close friends over. We put little round stickers of Swami on everyone’s lapel, and tiny round stickers of Swami as bindis for the ladies. We chanted the food prayer, “Brahmarpanam …” before dinner and our son Shiven explained its meaning in Hindi.

After dinner we had Bhajans for 20 minutes, where all our family members sang one bhajan each. We then showed on TV the ‘Song of creation’ and Frank Baronoswki’s Krilian photography video, where he talks about Swami’s aura as shown in Chaitanya Jyoti museum.

This was followed by a short darshan video. We then performed Mangala Aarti to Swami. Then we had cake cutting and dessert, which we offered to Bhagawan and played His birthday cake cutting video alongside.

While parting we gave a cabinet sized mounted picture of Swami to each family. The experience was beautiful and all our friends said that they enjoyed it and look forward to being a part of it in the years to come.  

May we all continue to be lost in the sweet memories of the Lord! May we continue to bask in the warmth of His glory and thank Him for His bounties and share His love with the world! Jai Sai Ram!

Thank you and loving Sai Ram,
Team Radio Sai

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