Why visit Prasanthi Nilayam (or any pilgrimage spot) when God is everywhere? - A message from Sri Sathya Sai

Pilgrims enroute the holy Hindu shrine of Amarnath located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Pilgrims enroute the holy Hindu shrine of Amarnath located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The story so far...

This is the second part of a double-experience bonanza having its roots in the first part:

Should we write letters to God when He knows everything? - A revelation by Sri Sathya Sai.

The author humbly suggests that one read that first before reading the concluding part here. The story will definitely feel more wholesome and fun that way. :)

If you have arrived from that part, please read on...

The pilgrimage visit or letter is made into an instrument

Drawing tremendous inspiration from the experience of his teacher, Amey went back to his room and decided to resurrect his torn letter. No! He did not take the pieces of paper from the dustbin and glue them together. Instead, he re-wrote the same letter. It was an easy task because every year, he wrote more or less, the same lines. Thus, within minutes, pen came in contact with paper and the letter poured out from his heart.

Most beloved Master,

I offer myself at your lotus feet dear Bhagawan. You brought me into this world to figure out the puzzle of life. You have become my master who is going to take me out too.
Let me understand that you are the divine wirepuller of my life. Let me love you more and more each moment.

Please become the thinker of my thoughts.
Please become the doer of my deeds.
Please become the speaker of my words.

Guide me. Guard me. Protect me.
You are me and I am you.
Let me realize that O Lord.
Bless me this day.

Your loving son and student
Ameya Deshpande.

Having written this letter, he decided to offer it to Swami the next day itself.

A long journey for a little letter

But Swami’s plans seemed to be different. Forget being able to give the letter the next day, for weeks after that also, the letter was not accepted. But Amey’s inspiration was not one to die down. It had slowly transformed and grown into Shraddha and Saburi, faith and patience - the two favorite qualities that God looks for in the devotee.

In fact 3 months passed without the letter being taken. The piece of paper got yellowed with the sweat from Amey’s hands. But that did not stop him from holding it in offering to Swami on a daily basis for about 2-3 hours. When the paper got too yellowed, he would tear it up and re-write the same on a fresh paper! The letter too seemed to go through the cycle of birth and death till it met its ultimate objective of realizing its oneness with God!

The letter that Amey wrote to Swami

Thanks to him for sharing a souvenir... :)
Thanks to him for sharing a souvenir... :)

March 13th, 2008 - the landmark day

It was like any other day. Amey sat in the bhajan hall with the other members of the bhajan group. He was still holding his letter, the 4th ‘reprint’ of the letter actually! He was in the 5th line and Swami had walked into the bhajan hall about 15 minutes before the bhajans had actually begun. He was interacting with a few students and teachers in the front.

All of a sudden, Swami looked at Amey and asked,
“Boy, how is your father?”
Having got used to being ‘neglected’ for months now, Amey was not sure that Swami was talking to him. He sat in his place. Swami repeated,
“How is father?”
Now he was sure that Swami was talking to him. He pondered on the meaning of what He was saying. He felt that it was either one of these cases:

1. Swami had seen him holding the letter for so long and therefore was ‘thinking’ that maybe his father is ill.
2. His father was ill and Swami was indicating this to him.

However, instead of getting lost in thoughts, he immediately got up from his place and went up to Swami who was seated on the chair in the bhajan hall. Swami instantly accepted his letter. He asked him again,
“How is father?”
“Swami, you know... (I have no idea)!”
Swami waved His hand and materialized vibhuti and gave it to Amey.
“Send this to your father.”
Amey was immediately at ease. He knew that he didn’t have to worry about his father any more. Whatever be the problem, Swami had already taken care of it.

God knows everything - And that is why He encourages to write letters!

Swami now opened the letter and began to read through it. He read each line of the letter and began nodding His head as if He was listening to Amey speaking. Amey too, on his part, began to mentally speak out the letter for he knew the whole contents by heart.

Swami suddenly seemed to stop at one particular point. Amey, who was mentally reading out the letter, too stopped. The statement was,

You are me and I am you.

Swami now turned the letter towards Amey. He underlined that statement with His finger. He said,
“Treasure and foster this feeling and Truth in your heart. That is enough”.

He then patted Amey and sent him back to his place among the students in the Bhajan group. He put back the letter into his pocket for him to cherish as a souvenir of this beautiful lesson. (That is the letter presented in the picture above.) Soon the bhajans began and Amey just could not help but feel the overwhelming love of Swami. He just did not understand why he felt so, but he simply felt it. No wonder that there seemed some added divine melody in the bhajan he sang that day.

The highlighted line...

Seeking the form to realize the formless is an example of the truth that at times, one has to move away from the goal to reach the goal!
Seeking the form to realize the formless is an example of the truth that at times, one has to move away from the goal to reach the goal!

Understanding

It is definitely true that God has no need of our communication. But there is something magical in writing a letter to God. During that act, we achieve the rare unity in thought, word and deed! Our thoughts for and of God, get translated into words for and of God resulting in our act of writing the letter for God! Through this simple act of writing Swami a letter, we are achieving what the sages and saints of yore strived to - trikarna shuddhi or the unity and purity of thought word and deed.

Swami says,
“Manas ekam Vachas ekam Karmanyekam Mahatmanam” ( A great soul is one who has unity and purity in thought word and deed.)

And that is why God has always encouraged the devotee to engage in some sort of communication/prayer/dialogue with Him/Her. This was the reason why the Lord Maha Vishnu asked Dhruva to state the desire in his heart though he knew his thoughts and feelings even as they arose!

On a parting note, one has to accept the ultimate reality that God is everywhere and at all times. One does not need to seek Him in a separate form. But until one reaches that level of oneness with Him, one should seek. And that is because even such seeking takes one closer to realizing the ultimate reality as it happened in Amey’s case. He sought the form no doubt, but that endeavor resulted in boosting the message that he must realize his oneness with God!

Writing letters to God, going to a religious place, praying and the like are all media to reach the Reality. They help us achieve our ultimate objective like tools help in completing a project. They are like ladders that one uses to scale a wall. Having scaled the wall, there is no need for the ladder. However, it would be foolish to kick the ladder away before scaling the wall, or worse, while one is climbing the wall!

And this is seen in Swami's exhortations in many discourses:

The battery of your "car" is charged when you come to Puttaparthi, or at least when you go to some other holy place. Charge the battery of your spiritual discipline (sadhana) and then, after you return home, do not keep the car idle. If you do, the battery will run down. Take the car around and keep it going; then the battery will charge itself. So also, if you do not continue the company of the good, engagement in truth, devotional singing, and repetition of the name, then all this charging becomes a waste.

Sathya Sai Baba, Sathya Sai Speaks I, 26, 159.

Source

PS

This thought struck me a bit later. There is a lot of benefit in synergy. That is why team work is always emphasized in corporate offices, schools, sports etc. In spiritual endeavors too, Swami has always encouraged group activity and group satsangh.

In that light, pilgrimage places like Prasanthi Nilayam in Puttaparthi are hubs of intense devotional and spiritual activities. An aspirant will greatly benefit from the helpful atmosphere created by the synergy with fellow aspirants...

Don't you think so?

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© 2013 Aravind Balasubramanya

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Comments 17 comments

Ajay Rajan 9 months ago

Sairam brother... I always believed that Swami knows everything then why should I write letters but this really changed... So from now on, I will be writing love letters to my Swami...


yugandhar 11 months ago

thanx Aravind .... Pray Swamy to continue to Shower HIS Choicest Blessings


VENUGOPAL.S 15 months ago

Very inspiring article Sairam.


Munishkumar 2 years ago

/*The letter too seemed to go through the cycle of birth and death till it met its ultimate objective of realizing its oneness with God!*/ Good one ..!

/*something magical in writing a letter to God. During that act, we achieve the rare unity in thought, word and deed*/ So true ! and

Wonderful. I thank our Swamy to made me read these posts of yours ! Jai sairam


kamala venkatesh 2 years ago

Sairam my son,

Avataar had come down to be with us and guide us to mingle with him in worldly manner to reach the world of spirituality .. His way of taking care our needs by making us write letters to him is indeed a beautiful divine experience. He also blessed our divine action by accepting letters during darshans.Even today when u write a letter and keep in the alter .. He reads Thank you and Amey for sharing your wonderful experiences .. Many a time i was questioned by my near and dear for such writings and i did not have any reply at that time... Now i have the answer.. Sairam


aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 2 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@Sumedha - Beautiful. Again, that episode highlights the same message - one writes the letter for one's benefit and not the Lord's! :)

The problem sometimes is that whenever we write a letter, we expect it to be received as well. :)


sumedha Habbu kulkarni 2 years ago

Aravind i am reading this article after a year. But it is so true that we all need to communicate with God in someway or the other. This reminds me of the 1990s when my brother was studying there. He carried a letter everyday and I am sure only he and HE knew what was written in those letters. But one day Bhagawan chided this boy saying and I quote, " dhunapota roz letter likhta hai." He also said that every time I sit to read the letters yours has to be there. Look at this, Aravind HE is sweetness personified. I would also like to add and say my brother never stopped writing to HIM. Those were the glorious days. I would just wait gor him to come home during holidays and we would sit up till the wee hours in the morning talking g of HIS GLORY.


poornimasrinath profile image

poornimasrinath 3 years ago from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA

The contents of this article itself made me feel that I am in close proximity to Swami. I donot know the reason..perhaps the copy of the letter itself is radiating Swami's energy as it was blessed by Him. Though the teacher's experience with Swami about the letter seems familiar to me, only when brother Amey's experience is put together with that it gives a new and even greater meaning. The maturity bro Amey had is even more amazing. Lots and lots of thoughts and memories are just getting refreshed in my mind. Definitely this write up has taught me a great valuable lesson and better understanding of the unexplainable doubts that were lingering in my mind for years :)


saisarannaga 3 years ago from Chennai in Tamilnadu, India.

It is the natural flow of thought and feeling which attracts people to your hubs. No doubt you have got a fine friend in Amey as well as in Swami.


Prakash Chittaranjan 3 years ago

This has been my experience as well.. I would write lots of letters but the success rate of Swami actually picking the letter was very low (1 or 2 in 10 maybe). There were times when I used to get very dejected that Swami would see me holding the letter and choose not to pick the letter and that my prayers or loving words did not mean much...

However, there is a tremendous feeling of love when he does indeed chooses to pick those rare letters. For that very reason I chose to continue to pour my mind out and write the 50 odd letters surrendering the outcome to HIM.

The same is true for Birthday Blessings (be it Blessing with Akshatam)..my B'day blessing HIT RATE was dismally low and probably never happened but now when I realize that I chose to go ahead with it every year when HE was physically there was a blessing indeed.


Ramamani Velamuru 3 years ago

Sairam Brothers,

Beautiful article indeed.I too have this dilemma whether to write a letter to Bhagawan when he knows everything about us.But at times I used to feel that at least in the pretext of giving letter,I can b close to SWAMI[during my student days at ATP].

I COPIED THIS LETTER n I'M GOING TO DISPLAY ON THE WALL OF MY LIVING ROOM,SO THAT WHENEVER WE, INCLUDING KIDS PASS BY CAN READ IT.

THANK U ONCE AGAIN FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL ARTICLE.

SAIRAM...


KokilaVaidyanathan 3 years ago

Beautiful sharing. Thanks to both you and brother Ameya for sharing the letter episode. Sairam


Dev 3 years ago

simply a wonderful lesson


Mark Aspa 3 years ago

thank you both so much. that really started my day with a spiritual lift...


Aruna 3 years ago

Amazing! Jai SaiRam


Thavam 3 years ago

Sai Ram Brother. Thank you bro for writing this beautiful piece. It was a question in my mind too - that why did Swami need to do anything at all (come out for darshan, look at us, wave His Hand, talk to us, ask us "How are you, sir?" etc. etc.) if He knew Everything? Then it hit me one day...He did it all for us - to re-establish that connection, to spark that love within us, to light the lamp of devotion... what a kind God He is! To have put Himself in that tiny frame and lived among us for all those years, loving us so visibly. And how fortunate are we to have been in the appropriate frame of mind to feel what He wanted us to feel. And continue to feel and love and connect for eternity. :)


Sucharitha 3 years ago

Beautiful letter and the meanings thereof..thanks so much Arvind & Ameya for sharing with us :)

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