When the world walks out on you, the Lord is still by your side

Amey confiding to His beloved Lord and Master, Bhagawan Baba during his MBA days (2003-2005).
Amey confiding to His beloved Lord and Master, Bhagawan Baba during his MBA days (2003-2005). | Source

It is a very famous quote -
“A true friend is he who walks in when the world walks out on you.”
When I think of my Lord and Master, friend and guide, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, this statement seems so apt to describe Him. And yet, it does not feel complete, for, my Swami is always by my side. It is not as if He walks in only when the world walks out. There is no need for Him to ‘walk in’ for He is always by my side, even when the whole world has walked out. And that is all that matters because with God by my side, there is always a fulfillment and wholesomeness that I feel within - irrespective of how things go in life.

This was the subject of discussion with my brother and confidante, Amey Deshpande, a few days ago. For those who have come in late, let me quickly introduce Amey as my classmate during my postgraduation who has grown very close to me due to shared ideals, passions and most importantly, love for Swami. In fact, I planned to anoint him as my best friend before Swami took that crown, granting me an experience of true friendship in the process! He also had a very interesting and unique first-experience with Swami at Prasanthi Nilayam.

The personal experience he shared with me dated back to his days in the primary school, the year 1991 to be precise. So beautiful and poignant was the episode that I requested him to allow me to share it with the world. After a bit of hesitation, he agreed to share and my heart rejoiced. And so, with all joy and anticipatory excitement and the wonderful ways of Swami, I share Amey’s experience.

The 5 people guilty when a ‘sin’ is committed

The VII grade for a boy in primary school is a kind of peak that one can only scale in due course of time. He becomes the most senior boy of the school and all the privileges - prasadam distribution in mandir, sitting in the front lines during darshan, being the captain of various sports and cultural teams - become his automatically. All that changes when he makes the transition to VIII grade in Higher Secondary School when he becomes the most junior student in the campus where the seniormost students are the XII grade boys. The incident in 1991 happened when Amey was a student of the VII class, hoping to make it big that year.

I was pretty good at academics and used to always do well during the various tests and exams. Once, during my unit tests, as I furiously solved the problems in my Maths paper, I heard a slight whisper. I looked up and saw that it was my friend, SKP, who was trying to catch my attention. SKP was a bit weak in his studies and so, on many occasions, struggled to pass. Apparently, the Maths paper had confounded him and he was desperately ‘seeking answers’. My heart went out to him and I signaled to ask him which question he was struggling with. Once I came to know of it, I wrote the answer on a piece of paper, rolled it up and dropped it on the ground. He dropped a pencil and bent down to pick it. He picked the piece of paper along with the pencil.

And so it was, that Amey silenced the voice of his conscience to help out a friend. Though he was strongly against copying during exams, he felt that helping was not such a big mistake. He was unaware of what Swami has always said about a ‘sin’ being committed. There are 5 parties which are guilty in every sin-
“For every act of sin, five persons are mainly responsible. One who commits the sin, one who is the cause, one who encourages the act of sin, one who shows the ways and means to commit the sin, and one who witnesses it. All five will have to face the consequences.” (Discourse on 14th February, 1999, Sai Kulwant Hall)

Even a single black dot is seen easily on a clean white paper.
Even a single black dot is seen easily on a clean white paper.

The clean paper theory

Please allow me a small but relevant digression here. It is an easily accepted fact that even a small black spot on a white paper is easily noticed. So too, a small sin or mistake on our otherwise clean ‘Karma paper’ gets easily noticed. And Karma is inescapable. Sometimes, the ‘punishment’ for our wrong acts takes time to arrive. At other times, it arrives immediately. I feel that in the latter case, one’s Karma paper is so clean that even a single spot stands out glaringly. Thus, it is immediately ‘spotted’! And therefore, if we see that every small mistake or wrong that we commit seems to be getting ‘punished’ immediately, we should rejoice that our Karma paper is otherwise very clean! It is a point of celebration and not only one of despair.

I made that point because it appears that Amey’s Karma paper was very clean. His little act of dropping down a chit to ‘help’ a friend was noticed and brought to the attention of the class teacher.

The Copy’cat’ is out of the bag

The class teacher knew Amey to be a very good boy and so she did not pay much attention to the complaint. Amey felt that he had ‘been saved’. However, God’s universe is so loving that it always conspires to ensure that the best alone happens to every individual in it.

It was a funny sequence of events. When the teacher was correcting our papers, my class teacher happened to be there too. The maths teacher made a sudden remark,
“Hey! Look at this SKP. He has got all the steps wrong but has somehow arrived at the right answer...”
That statement triggered the class teacher’s memory. She repeated to the Maths teacher, the complaint she had heard. Quickly, I and SKP were summoned to their presence.

And then followed some of the most harrowing times of Amey’s (and maybe SKP’s) 7th grade life. They received dressing downs from the concerned teachers and the headmistress. All their test papers were annulled and they were required to sit for all the papers again. A decision was also taken that an ‘unhealthy’ friendship was developing between Amey and SKP and therefore they had to be separated. The plan was to shift one of them to another of the 3 sections of the class so that the two would not be in the same room during school hours. Their places in the hostel too were put apart so that the contact between them would be minimal.

The world walks out

What hurt me the most was the attitude of my world towards me. When the question of changing classes came, everyone in my class requested the class teacher that I should be sent away and not SKP. There was a reason behind this - SKP was an excellent football goalkeeper who would be very useful during the inter-section games. I had no such sporting abilities. For the same reason, the students of the other class also requested their teacher that SKP should be taken and not me! I felt very low, rejected and dejected.

Amey was (and is) tremendously gifted in singing and playing the tabla. But there were no competitions on those fronts and, irrespective of the section he was in, he would be playing tabla for all.

The teachers also told me that because of me they had to bear the extra burden of setting new question papers. The headmistress said that she did not like such cheaters and Swami also did not like such boys. I felt really low. I felt bad at the mistake I had made but I felt that I was not being given a chance to show that I was now reformed and had turned a new leaf.

The blessing of being in Sathya Sai Primary School is that, early in life, one is taught that God is one’s greatest and, in fact, only refuge. And so, Amey started praying to Swami. He cried and repented for what he had done and prayed for a second chance. Meanwhile, the feeling of not being wanted deepened with passing days.

The Lord is still by the side

I can never forget that Thursday morning when we went for darshan. I sat by myself in one corner of the sitting area. Swami came out after the darshan session to speak with the Primary School children. That day, He seemed angry and upset at how the students were ill-disciplined. He was saying,
“Your parents send you here with all love and care so that you grow into good boys - boys with character. But you do not have any gratitude or love? You are so undisciplined. Swami does not want bad boys. I want only good boys.”

As Swami went on thus, Amey was beginning to feel that even his God was now giving him a dressing down. Did Swami not know what was in his heart? Didn’t He realize how strongly he was repenting? Did He not know that he had turned a new leaf? The mistake he made had been immediately dealt with and punished. Why was his goodness not being rewarded with the same promptness...

Even as my head was a flurry of thoughts, something unbelievable happened. Today, when I look back, I don’t consider it as unbelievable. I know it to be the nature of God. But back then, it was something that I never felt would happen.
Swami continued to speak...
“I want only good boys. Good boys who listen to Swami and follow His word. Good boys like...”
and HE POINTED OUT TO ME!

He called me up front and put His arm over my shoulder and continued,
“See, this boy has come all the way from Abu Dhabi. And he does everything according to Swami’s wishes. He is a good boy and everyone must emulate him.”

That was it! In a single moment, Amey had been transformed into not only a class hero but a school hero as well. The same teachers came to him and told him that he was very special and they had failed to see his goodness. His class felt happy that he had remained with them and had not been shifted to the other section. From being an outcaste, he became an ideal worthy of emulation.

Amey is seen here receiving a prize from his dear Swami...
Amey is seen here receiving a prize from his dear Swami... | Source

The lessons

I know what I am. Just as I know that am not a sinner that I was painted to be, I also know that am not the ideal that Swami told others. However, the whole episode firmly planted one lesson in my heart - My Swami is always by my side whether I realize it or not. He showed that He understands my innermost thoughts and feelings. He showed that He is by my side irrespective of what happens.

Today, when anything seems to be going wrong, I recollect this incident and assure myself that Swami is by my side. He knows all that is happening and when the time is right, will step in Himself and do the needful. I also learn’t that when God is by your side, the world simply runs by your side too. So, I shall focus all my thoughts, feelings, words and actions for God. The Lord is the fruit and the world, its shadow. Chasing the shadow never yields fruit but getting hold of the fruit also brings along the gift of the shadow!

In case you did not know...

Did you know that the same Amey actually got "kicked out" of the Primary School by the same forgiving Lord? That is another magnificent story... Enjoy it at the link below...

Sometimes things go horribly wrong before going right

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© 2013 Aravind Balasubramanya

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Comments 21 comments

aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 2 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@Anon - Ah! The "He" used is only denotive. Sorry if the impression given was the way that if someone believes in Swami, then 'His' grace is got and if someone believes in 'God' 'His/Her/Its' compassion is obtained.

God is Love. God is Truth. And everyone, at the basic level, has faith in 'Truth' and 'Love'. Call it God/Truth/Love/Spirit/Atma anything.... Swami says that there is no 'faithless' one in the creation. 'Faith' (in something) is the basis of life. So, the term 'God' is used in that expansive manner.


Anon 2 years ago

"Compassionate you think He is, that is what He reflects to be".

Now, this means that a person who does not have belief in God at all is forever condemned to be that way. You see, God cannot show Him compassion as He is constrained by the fact that this person does not believe in Him, set aside thinking He is compassionate.


aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 2 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@Anon: Whatever flaws we see in others are flaws in us magnified. Whatever good we see in others is good in us magnified! :)


aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 2 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@Chaitra - Absolutely! :)

Swami says that God is nothing but pure reaction reflection and resound. Whatever one thinks/feels of Him, He responds that way. :)

Compassionate you think He is, that is what He reflects to be. Blessed it is to be able to love Him for all experiences of life - 'positive' and 'negative' :)


Chaitra 2 years ago

Swami is a compassionate mother who understands every thought of ours. But He also lets us experience and learn from those experiences. And brother Amey and Brother Aravind, thank you for sharing this wonderful experience with all of us :)


Anon 2 years ago

Aye, but there's the rub. There too the 'story' was worth narrating because Amey made it back to Prasanthi Nilayam. Many stories do not have such happy endings. In all such cases most devotees assume the worst about that person, is it not. I mean, I know you will now get on a high horse and claim that you do not, but it does not take away from the fact that this is how we evaluate people as being people of God or not.


aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 2 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@Anon: You are right when you say that Swami has thrown out people from the University. However, I guess you are wrong when you make many hasty statements like:

1. ...the ONLY reason readers here drew the conclusion that God is with Amey is that Swami excused his mistake.

2. SUCH stories will not make it to this blog...

In fact, Amey himself was "kicked out" of school the next year. And that story has been recorded in 'painful' detail in...

http://aravindb1982.blogspot.in/2013/10/sometimes-...


Anon 2 years ago

It seems to me the that the only reason readers here drew the conclusion that God is with Amey is that Swami excused his mistake. Many times, Swami has thrown people out of the university for no reason at all. Such stories will not make it to this blog and hence people may draw wrong conclusions.

God is always with each one, and in fact whatever He does is right for us - no matter what we feel about it!

No conclusion as such can be drawn from this episode other than to say this sequence of events is what happened :). Rest is all interpretations we make up according to what we feel is right.


Raghuramprabhu 2 years ago

Sairam.Really very very happy.I have been worrying about a small sin committed during my childhood.I have been praying to swami for apology.While reading this.i feel apology is accepted by the almighty.Thank u Aravindh anna and amey deshpandey anna.


saianand108@hotmail.com 3 years ago

How instructional , inspiring and comforting !Thank you for sharing such anecdotes which strengthen our faith in LORD's compassion.


Mark Aspa 3 years ago

thanks, that was heartening.

We gave all been in the same position of 'doing wrong' and having censure from the world - me, countless times!

But i know Swami has always beckoned me to 'come back'.

Like the car satellite navigation systems that will remind you to return to pointing to your destination from whatever place you have become lost at.

Amey did so well and received His Lord's commendation!


poornimasrinath profile image

poornimasrinath 3 years ago from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA

The heading that you have given for this post itself is very reassuring. Brother Amey is so blessed to have received the solace from swami Himself directly. I have many-a-times noticed that some people's simple mistakes gets blown up almost immediately while some getaway with greater mistakes committed very often. I am amazed and just wonder at the possible answer you have mentioned to this long time query of mine! I am sure that Swami has made lot of gnostics in His students fraternity like you :)


Parmila Singh 3 years ago

Thanks Aravind so heart touching and inspirational god is by your side and world simply runs by your side too.Swami knows what we need and the experience so touching and loving sai ram.


aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 3 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@ lrao - Thank you for the appreciation. It is Swami who gives the inspiration and courage to share! :) And when it comes to experiences with Him, I do not think anything is personal for it is the relationship between the Lord and a devotee.

@ Aarthi - It was equally my pleasure and privilege too to blog about this.

@SaiSarannaga - Thank you. :) I visualize and relive the episode as I write and so it is wonderful for me too... :)


saisarannaga 3 years ago from Chennai in Tamilnadu, India.

You have the ability to present the facts as though it is happening now in front of us. That is why you are there in Radio Sai Studios!


amrit 3 years ago

Beautiful ,Swami"s Love , Thanks brother , Sairam


Aarthi 3 years ago

I remember Amey bro mentioning this incident (tho not the entire details) in a Radio Sai study circle. :) He even mentioned how Swami put his arm around Amey's neck just like a friend would do. :) Beautiful! Pls thank Amey bro for sharing this.

His words "He knows all that is happening and when the time is right, will step in Himself and do the needful. I also learn’t that when God is by your side, the world simply runs by your side too. So, I shall focus all my thoughts, feelings, words and actions for God." really touched my heart.

Thanks Aravind for blogging about this.


Rajesh M 3 years ago

Beautiful share Brother


lrao 3 years ago

Aravind! as I had mentioned once earlier, I am always amazed that you (and now Amey!) are so brave to reveal your innermost experiences to the world, even if it means sometimes revealing the not so great actions or experiences that you might have indulged in as youngsters. This is a lovely experience that Amey shared with us - well, it didn't start that, although it ended as one. Thanks to Swami! He is amazing, isn't He! That was a Master Stroke! :).

ps: also enjoying the Radiosai Live Thursday discussions at noon....


yashpal grover 3 years ago

yes that should be the benchmark for us sai students and sai devotees there should not be a single dirty spot on the clean sheet of our heart , this is what the incident teaches us ....


Shruti 3 years ago

Really really beautiful!

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