Sai humour - Bloopers in the Divine Presence of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Please, please go by the spirit of the article. Nobody is being ridiculed here - only circumstances and situations being relived. :)
Revisiting some of the wonderful Trayee sessions that have taken place over the years that I was blessed to attend, I am reminded of some episodes where speakers suffered from the ‘foot-in-mouth’ disease in the Divine presence! Those errors committed unwittingly, were a source of mirth and happiness as they were made and they continue to be inciters of laughter even today! The episodes are well known in the Sai-student community and it is with some delight that I recollect them.
The most famous among them is that of the devotee from the armed forces. He was narrating about the protective power of Swami’s name. The scene was in a helicopter during the infamous 1971 war between India and Pakistan. In the eagerness to impress the audience with Swami’s mercy on him, he said, “There was firing all around. Bullets whizzed past our helicopter and a few passed through it too.
I just called out, “Sairam, Sairam” and miracle of miracles, the bullet hit my ADC and not me!”
Talk about making Swami look like a biased God!
There was another devotee who was trying to glorify the compassionate aspect of the Lord. He began a talk, “In the Dwapara age, the mother of the Pandavas, Kunti, prayed to Lord Krishna to fill her life with troubles. For, it was only in situations of trouble that she would constantly remember God. In that age, she had to pray to the Lord.
But in this age, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is so compassionate that he has gifted troubles made me think of Him even without me praying so!”
Oh My God! How we laughed! And he had a bewildered expression on his face.
This enthusiasm to portray Swami in the highest light often has made people convey exactly the opposite even without them realizing it. There is a devotee who was reliving the difficult times they faced when the floods washed away people and property in the state of Orissa in India. But when it came to conveying his gratitude to Swami, he said,
“It is only Swami’s grace that saved us. We all gathered in the home and did bhajans. Swami’s miracle was that all the trees fell on the neighbor’s house!”
Then, there is the classic case of an erudite and elderly devotee. He would often make use of high flowing Sanskrit terms and statements in his speeches. On one occasion, he wanted to glorify Swami’s name as, “Maha Abhayakara Sai Naamam” - meaning, that Name which confers fearlessness.
He ended up saying, “Mahabhayankara Sai Naamam” - meaning, that Name which is the most terrifying!
I shall never forget the shocked look on Swami’s face when he said that and the ripple of laughter that came about immediately after that.
The same speaker was once speaking during the Dasara celebrations. He was talking of the glory and story of the Divine Mother. And like any speaker would do, he wanted to say that Sathya Sai and the divine Mother were one and the same. The Mother is also known as Mahishasuramardhini ( one who annihilated the demon Mahishasura). As he spoke, he said,
“And in our presence today, we have Sai Mahishasura ( and stopped to take a sip of water before completing )- Mardhini !”
To those unfamiliar with Sanskrit, the sentence that was punctuated with a sip of water stopped at referring to Swami as the demon rather than the demon annihilator!
There was this student speaker who was narrating as to how he had found a small bird abandoned and helpless. He was prompted from within by Swami to take the bird to the zoology teacher. And unknowingly, he let a statement slip that made everyone put their heads down in embarrassment in Swamis presence,
“I went to the Institute and sir had not yet come. See, he usually is late to college!” Thank God the teacher was not sitting in the audience!
Another student became a little nervous as he spoke. He began to suffer memory lapses. He said, “....at this point, I am reminded of a famous story. It is so inspiring that it has become a mantra in my life. The story is.......the story is.......” -
Oops! He had forgotten the story!
But nobody will be able to better me am sure! I was speaking on the occasion of Sankranthi, after the Sports Meet. I began with,
"The annual Sports and Cultural Meet is an annual affair."
As if that was not enough, I began to describe the wonderful programmes put up by the Primary school children.
I said, "These small children, 2 year olds and 3 year olds..."
(They were a minimum 5 1/2 years old!). It elicited hearty laughter from everyone and I did not even realize what was happening! The complete and comprehensive details of that episode is subject of another article!
Long live such bloopers for they fill our beings with joy and laughter.
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© 2011 Aravind Balasubramanya
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