3 poignant stories of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba full of insight
It is said that Maya (illusion or delusion) often covers up Divinity just like the clouds cover the sun. Everything seems dark then till the clouds are blown away and the sun is revealed in all glory. Nothing ever happens to the sun! But we humans on earth experience its absence. In fact, the concept of Maya itself is an illusion as Swami, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, put it:
“There is no such thing as Maya; it is all one's imagination. To think that you are the body is Maya. You mistakenly believe that you are something [body] that you really are not; that is Maya. Truly speaking, there is no Maya; it is all one's imagination. Maya is like the shadow of a tree. What casts the shadow? The branches of the tree and not the rays of the Sun. If there are no branches, there is also no shadow. The shadow called Maya arises from the branches called human desires. If there are no desires, then there is no Maya as well!”
Well, as a student, I have seen this Maya on innumerable occasions. Before I go into some interesting episodes, let me define what I mean by Maya here. Maya is when we limit Swami to the 5’ 2” frame of His forgetting that He is what the scriptures call as Anoraneeyan Mahatomaheeyan. (Smaller than the smallest but larger than the largest!)
Each of these episodes show a beautiful aspect of His love and message. They occurred in different points in time to different classmates of mine.
Prayers should be free of selfishness and delusion
The first one happened on 24th of October,2006. Swami was speaking to some of us students who had planned to put up a programme in His presence for the occasion of Ramzan. The whole session was enlightening and fantastic. Towards the end, one of my classmates rose and told Swami,
“Swami there is one desire...”
“What is it?”
“Swami, till now you have made us walk. Now, you walk Swami!”
( Swami had been coming and moving about only in a wheelchair due to a fracture in the hips.)
Swami did not say anything. My classmate continued,
“Swami, we cannot see this pain... We want to see you healthy and happy.”
And with that he burst into tears. Seeing this sudden outburst, Swami too had tears and seeing them, all of us to felt hot streams down our cheeks. Then Swami said,
“Naaku Emi Noppi Ledu Bangaru. (My dear one, I have no pain of any kind.) I am always happy.”
With that statement, He effectively countered the request that He should walk because He should not be in pain. But my classmate was in a stubborn devotion. He did not give up and he continued,
“Swami, you are not in pain. But we are sad and pained to see you like this.”
And to that, Swami gave a stunning reply,
“ If you want me to walk so that you are happy, that is selfishness!”
At that point in time, it did not strike hard. My classmate continued,
“Swami, it is our selfishness- not yours. So why should you suffer?”
“There is nothing like your or my selfishness. Selfishness is selfishness. Swami is always happy. He becomes sad when His children are sad!”
And then He declared,
“I will walk. Just wait and see.”
The episode ended there.
On later analysis, I realized that there was such a potent message hidden in there. Almost all of our prayers to God are due to ignorance/delusion (eg. Swami should walk because He should overcome pain) or due to selfishness (Swami should walk because we are in pain seeing Him so).
What and how should our prayers be?
Now that is a point to ponder...
Offer a fresh leaf of meals to God...
This is an episode that another classmate of mine in the interview room. Swami was speaking about some of his personal matters. In between all that, Swami narrated an analogy. And that analogy is poignant and heart-rending.
“You know, when you organize a marriage, there is an order in which food is served. First, the guests are served with all the delicacies. It is that the relatives have their food. After them, the close family and the couple have their food. If there is food remaining, the workers and helpers at the wedding hall are given food to take home for their kith and kin. If food still remains, the beggars and poor people nearby are called and given food. And then, if there is still food remaining, it is thrown. The dogs and crows come and eat them.”
At this point, Swami made a statement that wrenches the heart.
“My condition when I seek Love is like that of the crows and the dogs! People offer their love and devotions to everyone they find and only the discards are offered to God.”
At this point, the boy was in tears. But Swami only had a gentle smile. He also gave an assurance,
“If anyone offers their love to God in their youth, they earn the right to demand from the Lord anything, anytime. Youth is the most sacred time in life which should be offered to the Lord.”
Love is all that the Lord seeks...
I remember a speech that was delivered by a student in Sai Kulwant hall. He spoke about the concept of avatarhood in a very interesting manner.
He said that the Supreme taking on the limitations of the human frame could be understood to an extent with an analogy. Imagine, you had a dog. The dog loves you and you love it too. But how much ever you try to explain to the dog that there are wonders in life grander than just eating, sleeping and wagging its tail, it will not understand. Then, imagine if you had to become a dog yourself so that you could communicate the grand secret to it!
"Now, that is love", the speaker had said.
I stated the above instance because of its relevance to the third episode.
There is another classmate of mine who had chances to be physically close to Swami on many occasions. As it happens, physical proximity often puts us into Maya - which is confusing Swami to be the 5’ 2” physical frame. Seeing the ‘human’ way in which Swami did many things, he one day prayed to Swami.
“Swami please let me be steady in my faith...”
When Swami enquired as to why he prayed thus, he replied,
“Swami my faith in you trembles at times. I don’t want it to collapse.”
(This is a fairly common prayer of all devotees - not only Sai devotees! They pray that their faith should be steady.)
Swami’s answer just blew me away.
“Bangaroo (My dear), do you love me?”
“Yes Swami. I love you.”
“That is enough. There is no need of faith. If you love me, you deserve me.”
With that, I realized how loving and compassionate our Lord us. He never seeks even ‘faith’ from us. He is hungry only for our love. Has He not said,
“If you need me, you deserve me.”
I would be grateful if you can share your insights in the comments below...
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© 2012 Aravind Balasubramanya
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