God is the best friend forever...

This is actually the second part of an interesting story...

So, if you have come here directly, I would highly advise you to visit the first part of this episode by moving your mouse over the link given below and clicking on it! :)

And the best friend award goes to...

Getting the complete picture and story always makes way for more understanding and entertainment. If you have already read the above, the please proceed. :)

God's friendship is above all, beyond all and always en'light'ening! :)
God's friendship is above all, beyond all and always en'light'ening! :)

The preparation for my own ‘Award-ceremony’ for my best friend

Having decided to offer the post of my best-friend to Swami, I tore up the cover of the greeting card and got a new one for it. The letter that I had previously addressed to Amey detailing the history of the greeting card also met with the same fate as the cover of the card. I now wrote a fresh letter to Swami. I told Him that the card I was giving Him was a very very special one. I also detailed the history of the card and now, Amey, too was part of that history! (To read the actual contents of the card click on the link here).

The journey so far had been a quite long one. Thus, it was my desire that Swami accept this card from me the first time I offer it to Him itself. And I decided that I would offer it to Him immediately, viz. on the 24th of December 2008. I prayed to Swami and told Him that I had been foolish. In spite of knowing the Truth that God alone could be one’s best friend, I had tried to seek the same from so many others. And today, I had planned to offer the most cherished card of my life to Him. I did not want Him to disappoint me.

24th December, 2008 - Christmas Eve

The choice of a day to give the card to Swami could not have been more wrong! It was the eve of Christmas and a huge gathering of overseas devotees filled the Sai Kulwant darshan hall at Prasanthi Nilayam. This was the day when the overseas devotees sang carols and songs in praise of Christ as the morning programme on the 25th of December, Christmas, was always reserved for the students of Swami’s educational institutions. And usually, during such huge gathering times, Swami did not accept letters. He would often spend all the time granting darshan to devotees who had filled every nook and cranny in the hall.

This Christmas Eve too was no different. Even as Swami came out of His residence, Yajur Mandir, into the Sai Kulwant Hall, I saw that He told the devotees to keep their letters with themselves. He was gently telling them that He knew what was in their hearts and there was no need for Him to accept the letters. I, sitting on the steps in front of the dais, was hoping that this was only a temporary phase in the evening. But that was not to be. Swami completed His rounds on the ladies side and He had not accepted any letters. I was feeling bad. I told to Swami within myself,
“Swami, the best possible conclusion for this episode which has been running for 6 years in my life now is for you to accept the card from me. But I see that chances of that are getting very slim. Please do not disappoint me.”

The gents’ side darshan was now complete and there were still no letters taken. The only area between me and Swami now was the ‘birthday boys’ block’. Swami usually took all the birthday boys’ letters for it was their special day - but not today! He passed by all the birthday boys and took letters from none! However, at the last minute, he took one letter - the first letter of the whole darshan session! And the next was me.

“Ay! Marriage eh?”
He asked me and pointed to the card I was holding. Wow! What a drama He created at that moment. He had asked me whether the card I was holding in my hand was my marriage invitation card. I knelt and showing the card to Him said,
“Swami, it is friendship card.”
He smiled and so casually picked the card from my hand and moved on. I was so thrilled. Swami then moved through the block of Primary School children and then all the guests and VIPs seated in the veranda of the mandir. When He finally came on stage, I saw that He had four letters in His hand and out of that, one was my card!

As Swami gently brought the Veda chanting to a close and enquired into the programme for the day, the big card of carols and songs was presented to Him. He blessed the programme to begin. As the carolers and choristers went about the hills and dales of their first song, Swami opened the letters in His hand. Within the first song, he quickly read through the three ‘other’ letters which He had collected. The first song ended and a carol began. Swami now was turning the cover with my card in His hands.

He tried to open it but I had sealed the cover firmly with adhesive tape. He tried gently and could not open it. He seemed to give up and hand over the cover to one of the boys who was sitting by His side. I felt like such an idiot. I wished that I had not sealed the card so firmly. Then, Swami would have gone through my card too. Even as I was feeling like kicking myself, Swami turned to the boy to whom He had given my card and told him,
“Open that cover and give it back to me.”

I had goosebumps now.

Every sentence in the card was meant for God

As the opened cover was given to Him, Swami pulled the card right out from the cover. Along with card came out the ‘covering’ letter that I had written about the history of the card as well. Swami began to read the card, line by line, sentence by sentence. I was watching Him intently and it seemed that He was reading each ‘reason’ in the card intently. (The card was about 101 reasons why He was my best friend.) The carol that was on concluded and Swami looked up at the singing devotees only at that point. He smiled at them, blessed them to start the next song and buried Himself in the card again!

My heart beat faster and faster as He opened the card I had given Him.
My heart beat faster and faster as He opened the card I had given Him. | Source
He was reading each and every line in the card. I must say, He took the text on the card very seriously!
He was reading each and every line in the card. I must say, He took the text on the card very seriously! | Source

This went on, over and over again. The devotees had sung more than 5-6 songs and Swami had not let go of the card. He was reading it slowly from top to bottom, going through all the four pages that opened out. My heart was now oozing with gratitude and joy. I am sure many devotees would have wondered on that occasion as to what was so engrossing in the card that Swami was looking into it all the while as they were singing carols - it held the friendship of a soul. And the Lord is ready to do anything for the sake of a single soul even. Be it His only foreign tour to Africa, the mammoth service projects undertaken, the thousands of interviews given or the billions of letters accepted, they were all done only for individual people. Swami has always done things for the individual at a very personal level.

After about 6 songs, Swami asked to be taken to the interview room. As He was wheeled in, I smiled to myself. I felt so happy that Swami had accepted my hand of friendship in so comprehensive a manner. In about 5 minutes, Swami arrived on stage again. What shall I say - He still was carrying the card I had given! He continued to read through the card and I pulled out my camera and took a few snaps as ‘evidence’ and ‘memory’ of this most beautiful episode. I cherish these photos today.

Even 25 minutes and a visit to the interview room later, He still was going through the card as the songs went on.
Even 25 minutes and a visit to the interview room later, He still was going through the card as the songs went on. | Source
The 'covering' letter with the 'history' of the card can be seen here under the card!
The 'covering' letter with the 'history' of the card can be seen here under the card! | Source

Friendship with God

Swami had the card with Him throughout the programme. In fact, even after the Christmas Eve programme, when He received Aarthi and went to the car, He was still carrying the card with Him. Usually, He hands over the letters to a person when He is leaving. But that was not the case today. He had decided to show me how much He would treasure me as a friend.

Today when I look back at my friendship with Swami, I realize one aspect that only God can fulfill - keeping the friendship timeless and beyond birth and death. Even after His physical passing on the 24th of April 2011, Swami has been guiding, loving, caring and helping me as my best friend. When something confounds me, He comes in dreams and gives the solutions. When I feel lonely, I suddenly get a whiff of His fragrance along with a cool breeze that brushes across my face. When I am looking out for some support and strength, vibhuti pours out of His picture - sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter - just like medicine from a doctor. And more than anything else, when I seem to stagnate in my spiritual efforts, He ensures that I do not forget the purpose of life.
Ah! That is the nature of Divine Friendship. Worldly friendship and love cares only for the body and mind. But divine love sacrifices the body and mind, if need be, at the altar of the soul/spirit. The bonding is much beyond a bond which binds. It liberates instead!

And the best thing is God’s love is so infinite that He guides each and every person according to his/her needs to seek friendship with God alone. It was He who prevented me in various ways from seeking the ultimate friendship from flesh. It was He who inspired to seek the spirit. And finally, it was He who responded so beautifully too. Though I never thought of asking His friendship, He had already chosen me as His best friend and was patiently waiting for me. What patience and perseverance! And when He finally got me to understand and realize, He did not mock my years of struggle saying,
“I told you so.”

Instead, He embraces me in all love. A best friend is He who is with me even when I tell Him to leave me alone. He is one who walks in for me when the world walks out. He is an extension of me and treats me like an extension of Himself. He neither walks ahead of me nor behind me, but with me, side by side. My best friend is my Swami. And is it any surprise that ‘me’ is an integral part of ‘Swami’?

With that in mind, why don't we make friendship with God as the first resort rather than the last one?

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Comments 18 comments

chandanben. 16 months ago

Sai Ram Aravind, Swami is my best friend also. I love sooo much how He is engrossed in your card. I have to admit that I only got up to reading about 5 of the 101 reasons. I got distracted by no: 3. I knew it was going to be Swami who is your best friend and wanted to know if He'd make some reference to the 'telling a lie' bit. Did He ever at some later date? Anyway the best thing about my BF is He never leaves me and I constantly yak yak at Him. Sometimes I think He puts 'cotton wool' in His 'ears' for a bit of peace!! By the way did you ever do a piece on your worst enemy? Jai Sai Ram.


Prashanthi 22 months ago

Sairam brother. Feeling very happy to have read this experience. You are extremely fortunate.


Sai Aanchal 2 years ago

Sai Ram,

Respected Brother Sri.Aravind,

Happy TEACHERS DAY. Thought you to be a teacher one who guides so...I got the same realization of Best friend way back when I was 15. I mean I just fell in love with Swami seeing him. Well during those days I got to see one of his pic...I don't have words to express. Wow! I mean I have three friends among all other friends who have been with me for long. One of them is a friend from past 15 years.This year she left for Canada to pursue higher studies. But I tell you when we parted after tenth we both cried a lot. That year in 2004 I felt that I had no one who could take her place. Once I even told Swami that if she wouldn't have been there I would have given him the right to be my best friend but I don't know that was a very special moment of my life and I know you probably won't understand it. Swami came in my life unexpected as a best friend in 2004. Yes, he is my best friend. On a lighter note, I tell you a study revealed that most of the men hardly take any interest in things like cards. You can understand if Bro.Amey would have been a girl he would have even saved your wishes mail leave aside cards. Girls are not only caring but they are creative as well and for them even a thing written on a crushed paper matters a lot because they give importance to feelings rather than anything else. Well that's the other thing that the person matters the most. I remember as a child I gave a card made out of a sheet of paper to my Maa and she kept it with herself. Anyway I really enjoyed reading this article.

Take care.

Sai Ram.

With love and regards!


Chandni Kripalani 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

This is the most beautiful experience ever.. Have tears in my eyes as i read it.. Thank you for sharing. Jai sai ram


Madhusudan Vithal Nori 3 years ago

Sairam Arvind....Enjoyed thoroughly reading the article,eagerly waiting for next article from you.


aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 3 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@Pooja - It is natural that you remember it my 'homeopath' best friend! :)

happy that you enjoyed reading it....


Pooja 3 years ago

Had heard about it from you before, but reading it again was great:)


krishnannarayanas profile image

krishnannarayanas 4 years ago from BANGALORE

Sai Ram, execellant Article. I really appreciate the patience in penning this article

regards

Krishnan

Shell Peteroleum , Nigeria


poornimasrinath profile image

poornimasrinath 4 years ago from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA

"Be aware baba is aware" is the statement that rings in my mind when I read this article. You had won His heart with your bhaavam!


Prashanth 4 years ago

Seeing a hubscore of hundred. What does this mean??


Sai Grace 4 years ago

I missed watchng snaps so closely last time frm phone...but now...its just WOW! WOW! n WOWWWWWWW!!!!!!! ....


Aarthi 4 years ago

Aravind, you mention that our longing will make Swami respond instantly, but maybe He has a different time frame for each of us. He always does things only at the perfect time.

I say this because I do seem to be yearning and longing and pining for Him but He does not seem to respond. :( Anyway, I shall continue pining and praying.


aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 4 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@ Aarthi - It is really a good fortune that I was able to take photos as He was going through the card. I too keep seeing the pictures over and over again.

@Archana - That 'longing' is what Swami wants us to develop. Wherever and whenever there is a longing, He says that He responds instantly. :)

God has chosen each one of us as His best friend. We just have to realize that, have faith and be a friend to Him.

@Lrao - It is only Swami's grace that the story comes out as He prefers it to! :)

Thank you for your loving and kind words. As you rightly put it, nobody but God can do what He does.....


Mark Aspa 4 years ago

i found that quite thrilling....left me feeling warm all over...you really share the minutest details of the movements of your heart so well...all His Grace of course!


Madhavi Alapaty 4 years ago

Aravind..what can i say...So engrossing to read your experience about friendship with GOD. you have a very blessed soul.


llrao 4 years ago

Sigh.... aren't those pictures so precious? He is SO engrossed in the card... one pointed focus! I do feel for the poor carol singers though :)..singing away for him, and here Swami is engrossed in reading a card. Forever :).

On a serious note though... it is true, isn't it? The realization dawns on all of us that He is the best friend and only friend. And when we forget, and throw a tantrum and complain and whine and moan, He is still patient. And listens to us and waits for us.. to come back to that realization. Who else does that?

Thanks for sharing the lovely episode. It can't be easy sometimes - there is a lot of personal and personality related stuff that comes out while narrating episodes from one's life. It is nice that you are able to overcome the ego and narrate personal stories with such flair! :).


Archana 4 years ago

Tears of Longing roll out as I read this beautiful masterpiece. You are indeed very blessed that God chose you as your Best Friend even before you did! Sai Ram:)


Aarthi 4 years ago

The photos of Swami looking thro the greeting card are amazing, Aravind! Wow! :) Thanks for sharing with all of us. I completely agree that Swami did this just to reiterate for you that He is your best friend not just in this life but in all lives. :) As u say, let us seek Swami as our best friend right at the first shot. He will never fail us.

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