Visualizing and materializing the Lord...
Being a devotee of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, it will not be an exaggeration to say the the 24th of April, 2011, was the saddest day of my life. Swami, whom I consider as my Master, best friend and the light of my life, departed from the physical to the realms of the the spiritual. I am sure that it was a shock to so many of His followers and devotees also.
But before you think that this is going to be an outpouring of grief, let me stop. This is more an expression of relief and joy. Why? Let me say this much that there are ways in which we are able to still ‘see’ Him and feel His presence. While manifestations and miracles happening depend on His will, there is one powerful technique that we can definitely adopt to open up a communication channel with dear Swami!
Unknowingly, I have used this technique in the past and the result was amazing. It is almost as if Swami can be bound permanently! I shall narrate that experience shortly but the best thing - this technique has been given by Swami Himself!
Even as I think of sharing this, it seems Swami wants to add another experience to the same. In course of an email conversation, my Chemistry teacher, Dr.K.Anil Kumar (not to be confused with Swami’s translator) shared his experience. It is actually to him that Swami gave the technique. Thus, it is with great joy that I present his experience which is His present to me.
Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi in the summer of 1981 (or maybe 1982)
Swami is residing in the room above the interview room in the Prasanthi Mandir itself. Darshan is at about 6:30-7:00 am while bhajans are from 11:00am to 11:30am. Evening bhajans are from 5:30pm to 6:00pm. It is the summer vacations and, so, there are very few students. Some students have arrived from the Brindavan campus and Anil Kumar is one among those students.
The prelude to the experience:
The evening session has just concluded. Swami has moved into the interview room where He will have His a few morsels which He calls ‘dinner’! The students, like everyday, decide to wait till He retires to His room above. Who knows, they may be lucky enough to catch another glimpse of Him. It was a chance that was not to be allowed to slip for, after all, it was only the students who had the permission and opportunity to wait thus.
It turns out to be a very memorable day for the students who decide to wait that day. The interview room door opens and out walks Swami. His presence is so powerful with His huge mop of hair and flowing robe. There is complete silence till Swami looks at all the students and beckons them to go into the interview room.
The silence is shattered by the thundering of footfalls as all the students rush towards the interview room like iron filings towards a powerful magnet. The ‘magnet’ is the last to move into the interview room. It is a small room, about 6 feet by 11 feet in size and yet it seems to have a magical capacity to accommodate all those that need to be inside!
Once Swami is inside, the room is filled with laughter and merry talk as He starts pulling legs and cracking jokes. Soon, everyone is in a very happy and light mood. The situation is set for sowing some seeds of wisdom. Swami begins to speak on how bhajans should be sung,
“Whenever the name of the Lord is sung, dwell on the meaning of the name. The name of the Lord is as powerful as His form. While singing bhajans, the head, the heart and the hands must be involved. For instance, take the name - Gopala (one who tends and takes care of the cow - Krishna). The cow, after giving birth to a calf, licks it clean. If a “Go” (cow) can have such love, imagine the love embodied by ‘Gopala’. Feel this love as you sing about Gopala. Picture your God and pour out your feelings. They will reach Him.”
The session comes to a close too soon. (Any session with Swami seems to come to an end too soon!) Anil Kumar is inspired by what Swami has said and decides to implement it with immediate effect. He starts practicing to feel intensely during bhajans, visualizing Swami on a regular basis.
The student's experience with visualization:
One of the days, Swami goes out for a drive to supervise a construction site during the bhajans. Anil Kumar sang the bhajans with visualization which had now become his regular practice. He pictures Swami standing in front of Him and gently swaying to the tune of the bhajan. IN his mind’s eye, he sees the trees gently swaying in the breeze and the birds merrily chirping.
The orange of Swami’s robe seems to blend in with the orange of the skies as the sun is setting. Swami’s presence fills his whole heart, and thus, his world too. Slowly, tears of joy begin to form and trickle down his cheek. He is lost in the beauty of darshan and he realizes the meaning of what Swami had said a few days before. Though Swami is not in the mandir, he is not missing Him. And the beautiful experience continues.
One bhajan later, he suddenly feels a hush all around. And his beautiful meditation seems to get disturbed. It is almost as if someone by his side is tapping gently to call him. Leaving aside the beautiful image of the swaying Swami, he opens his eyes to determine the source of ‘disturbance’.
As he opens his eyes, he is in for a blissful surprise. The mental image of Swami, instead of disappearing, gets reinforced as Swami is there, right in front of him! And He is swaying gently, EXACTLY as he is picturing Him. Swami’s face is glowing in joy and a gentle smile is dancing on His lips. As Anil Kumar gazes longingly at the form that is the object of his adoration and love, Swami walks up to him. He smiles at him and says,
“Inside Swami - outside Swami are ONE.”
Then He walks away.
I was so thrilled reading this. It was such a beautiful blessing from Swami because I wanted to share a very similar experience. This narrative was a bolster for me.
It was as late as 2008 that Swami blessed me with many chances of physical interaction and talk with Him. Before that, for almost 10 years, I have constantly pined for physical attention from Swami. It was during my undergraduate days at Brindavan that I came up with this ‘visualization’ technique, totally by instinct and chance.
What I used to do was this - I would close my eyes and picture myself with Swami. I would speak with Him and also ‘make’ Him speak to me. I mean, I would put words in His mouth. And since it was Him, the words I would put in His mouth would also be of that nature. In this manner, I would close my eyes and converse with my beloved Lord, my best friend. In due course, my imagination and visualization became so powerful that everyday, I would feel as if I had an interaction with Swami. Soon, I stopped pining so much for the ‘physical’ interactions. I had my ‘own, personal Swami’ now!
One day, I suddenly had a doubt,
“Is this imagination and visualization a hallucination on my part? Am I being spiritual or am I being schizophrenic?”
This was a time when Swami, for some reason, was not accepting letters from any student. As I lay down to sleep, I began my conversation with ‘my Swami’. I told Him,
“Swami please take my letter tomorrow...”
“No! I have been telling that I will not accept letters from students for some time. I cannot take it from you.”
“Swami! Please. You must take it. It is very important for me because I want to know that you are for real.”
“Of course I am for real... Why do you doubt?”
“I don’t know Swami. But please take my letter.”
“If I take your letter, then others will feel bad. They will get jealous of you.”
“Swami, I shall sit in a corner. Take my letter in a manner such that nobody sees it. Thus, no one will feel bad or get jealous. I shall also be happy and know that you are for real. I promise I will not tell anyone that you took my letter.”
“Hmm.. Okay. Lets do that.”
I must say that this whole conversation was completely made up in my mind on my own.
The next day, something amazing happened. I was in the corner with my letter. Swami indeed came near me. I showed my letter, but He did not accept it. He passed by me and stood next to me, talking to a devotee. I was disappointed and feeling that either Swami had disappointed me or ‘my Swami’ was not real.
As I was coming to terms with what was happening, Swami brought His hands behind Him and held His left wrist with His right hand. And then, it happened!!
He moved His left hand fingers so gently. But via His fingers, He was asking for my letter!!
I slowly took my letter near His fingers. In an instant, He took the letter and then moved on. I was dumbstruck. Great joy erupted in my heart. I was almost trembling with excitement and joy. The students by my side were wondering what happened. ‘Sadly’, I could not not tell them anything for that was my promise to ‘my Swami’.
My heart celebrated for I was sure that ‘my Swami’ is real. I had found a way of having Him with me always.
Dear reader. Trust me. Go ahead and visualize your Lord. Put in as many details as possible in your visualization. Live it. relive it. Enjoy it. Know that it is true. Your own experience is just waiting to happen. It is just round the corner. It is not simply that it is said,
“Mana Eva Manushyanaam Kaaranam Bandha Mokshayoho”
(The mind alone is responsible for one’s bondage or liberation).
The Vedas declare,
“Antar Bahischa Tat Sarvam Vyapya Narayana Stithaha”
(in spirit this means- Whether it is the inner world or the outer world, the Lord is ever present.)
If am allowed to use, with slight modification, the famous quote from the Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens:
It is the worst of times; it is the best of times. It is the age of foolishness; it is the age of wisdom. It is a season of darkness; it is a season of light. It is the winter of despair, it is the spring of hope. It is a time when everything has changed; it is a time when nothing has changed!
The fact that Swami is not with us physically is a great opportunity for each one of us to discover our personal Swami within. And believe me, He is as real as real can be.
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This entire experience narrated...
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