"With God on my side" - A primary schoolgirl's sweet experiences with her God - Part 2
The heart and mind of a child are very impressionable. Lessons learnt at a young age stay for the entire life. That became evident as Pooja continued the narrative of her adventures with music and Swami. The third episode she told me convinced me that children should be taught lessons of love, humility, forbearance and patience more than academics. Maybe, I shall rephrase that. The children should be protected from outside influences that change their innate nature of innocence, love, sweetness, forbearance and large heartedness.
And that was the reason why Swami (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) spent so much time with the children. Childhood experiences with Swami shape the entire life of individuals as everyone who has been moulded by Him have realized. With that introduction, I shall no longer stand between the narrator and her audience!
Over to Pooja and her narration now...
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In a spot of bother...
I was in the 7th standard and suffering from a very bad cold and throat infection. It was towards the end of the academic year and we were having all the cultural competitions in full swing. The music competition for my class was to be held that day but I was barely in a position to whisper a few words without coughing! I was feeling very bad but what was I to do? I decided to do the only thing that struck me - seek help from my Swami.
It was a Thursday morning and the students of the Primary school had the unique privilege of attending morning darshan on this day. As we were seated in the mandir, I quickly tore a sheet of paper and wrote a letter to Swami. I told Him that I had a very bad cold and couldn’t possibly sing in that day's, class music competition. I wrote that I was sure to be disqualified. I began to freely share all my fears and feelings in the letter.
I feared that the other students who weren't as good singers as me, would eventually get all the prizes. Thus it would get embarrassing for me because I prided myself on getting the first prize every year. Also, during the prize distribution ceremony every year in school, Swami would intently listen to the details of prizes won by each student and would respond accordingly when we went to receive the prize from Him and take padanamaskar. I wanted to be able to take the first prize in music from Him again, that year too. As all these welled within me, I grew more desperate. In the letter, I prayed that if only the music teacher, Keya aunty, gets sick that day (!), then the competition would have to be postponed. I would then be able to sing after a few days!
The spot of bother becomes really sore!
As the music started, Swami walked into the mandir and seemed to be walking towards me with a knowing smile. I felt there was hope; that He would delay the competition as per my prayer in the letter. I raised myself and offered the letter to Him. He took the letter,blessed me with padanamaskar and leaving me in a super joyous state, walked away. Even as I was smiling, Swami took a few more steps and dropped my letter into the lap of my music teacher! Was I shocked! What was I to do now?
The teacher, on the other hand, was very happy as Swami granted her padanamskar. She must have been feeling that Swami had blessed her specially with that piece of paper. I was simply shuddering within, thinking of the consequences once she opened the letter read it. I had freely shared my feelings and thoughts with Swami and now, He had ‘broken’ the pact of secrecy that we shared! How could He do that?
Even as the bhajans started, I couldn't stop thinking of the consequences that I would soon face. Then, an idea struck me. It was a known fact that this teacher would close her eyes all through bhajans everyday and would be lost to everything around her at that time. I thought I could sneak near her during the bhajans and steal away the letter from her lap!
However, to my dismay, that particular day, she was so filled with the joy of getting Swami's blessings that she didn't close her eyes at all! She also held the letter in her hands all the while! I was convinced that there was no hope for me. I began to think of all that would happen once we got back to school after darshan. The teacher would possibly show the letter to the headmistress and the warden and I would be called and punished for hoping that a teacher should be sick. I didn’t know what to pray for and even as Arati was over and Swami stepped out, one thought crossed my mind.
A lesson well learnt
Swami had purposely put me in a spot. He wanted to teach me a lesson maybe.
I was myself upset with myself for making such a prayer. Swami always taught us to pray for the good of everyone and I had made this stupid prayer in my selfishness. I told Swami that I would never do so again. But, I was also angry at Swami. Why did He have to put me in such a predicament? I had learnt my lesson, but still would be getting my punishment anyway! He didn't care about me, I felt.
And then, after the bhajans got over, I noticed that Swami was not taking the usual route via the ‘Krishna statue side’ back to His residence in the Poornachandra Auditorium. Instead, He was moving back to the residence via the same route that He had taken during darshan - which meant, He was coming towards me!
Even as He came towards me, I started fighting with Him in my mind,
“Swami, you are enjoying this whole thing. You have really put me in a very difficult situation. All I was asking was for a little help and you do this!”
He walked to my music teacher and asked for that letter which was in her folded palms – it was my letter that He had dropped into her lap earlier! I saw a flicker of hope and prayed,
”Swami, please set it right again. I have learnt my mistake. Please, just help me this time.”
The teacher gave the letter to Him and he innocently smiled and asked,
”This is for me,isn’t it?”
Even though I was seated four feet away, I shouted,
”Yes Swami, that is for you.”
He smiled, took the letter and walked on. Even as I heaved a sigh of relief, my music teacher was transported into an even higher plane of happiness. She had a smile on her face as she left mandir as she had been doubly blessed today. But that was not the end of His drama.
As the day progressed, it was time for the music competition and I still could barely speak. I decided I had no choice and walked upto the teacher and said I wouldn’t be able to give the exam due to throat infection. To my surprise she said I needn’t worry - she was giving me the first prize! She felt, based on my track record for the past 6 years, I would have done well if not for my throat infection and hence I deserved the same.
I was so overjoyed and knew that it was only because Swami had so lovingly blessed her and got her into a very happy frame of mind that she was being so gracious with me. Silently, I thanked Him and was grateful that I have such a wonderful Lord to whom I can rush with every little problem.
I was struck by so many beautiful lessons that this story narrated by Pooja held. Apart from the obvious ones that one could share anything with the Lord and that one should never pray for the harm of others, there are two more.
The nobility and goodness of the Lord is such that even a ‘negative’ prayer about a person, does good for the person. Just thinking of a person and God in the same thought brings good to the person, irrespective of what our prayers are! It is so beautiful isn’t it - when our prayers are good, they are granted and when they are ‘bad’, God’s wisdom overrides it and converts that also into good!
The second is that where God is concerned, everything always ends happily. And as the popular saying goes, all’s well that ends well!
Is it any surprise now that Swami spent so much of His time with the youth and youngsters? The seeds of these important lessons had to be planted in tender hearts. Having come to Swami at a young age, we youngsters ought to realize our great good fortune.
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