God is closer to you than you think...
This happens to be the 50th hub that is getting published. I felt that I must share a part of myself to commemorate this beautiful and fulfilling event. As I sat back and thought of what to share, one episode kept repeatedly arising in my heart. I took that as Swami’s message and decided to share it with all.
After that unforgettable day, 24th of April, 2011, life changed completely for me. I was not able to do any of my work. I was not able to keep cracking my usual wisecracks. I no longer felt the need to keep chatting and making people laugh - how could I when I myself was poverty-stricken in that respect? There were no smiles on my face nor was there laughter in my heart. The pain was so much that I did not even have the guts to go to the Sai Kulwant hall where the mortal remains of my beloved Swami had been buried.
In fact, I mentioned to my fiancée, Pooja (my wife now), that I would not be going to mandir (temple) any more! She was not surprised but she told me that Swami would miss me if I did not go. I told her that I would meet Swami daily in my workplace for, by His grace, my work involves seeing Him, hearing Him and writing about Him. And that was how life went on for two months after that. It surprises even me to think that there was a time, not long time back, when I used to spend at least 3 hours every day in mandir. Now, I was not even seeing the face of mandir.
It was on the July 2nd, as I was riding towards work, that I suddenly felt like going to the mandir in the morning. The bhajans were about to begin. My heart longed to go for the bhajans. My mind also came up with a reinforcing justification,
"You did not want to go the mandir because you felt that you would cry there. And the tears would be because of the memories that would come flooding by. You do not have many memories in the morning right? All of them are in the evening times. Maybe you should begin by going to mandir in the morning.”
Thus, I parked my bike and went for the bhajan session. But, within a few moments, as I saw the marble structure in front of me, I began to shed a few tears. Soon, I began to weep and one bhajan later, I was crying inconsolably. I just could not stop crying. I remembered the times when Swami had told me that the only thing I should do for Him was to love and be happy always. And now, I was letting Him down. Ironically, that thought made me cry even more!
Once the bhajan session concluded, I moved to my workplace. I was so shaken with emotion and I just told Swami in my heart,
“I miss you so much!”
It was about 10am when my fiancée called me. She works a shift that ends at 11pm. So she sleeps quite late and rises at about 9:30am. I picked the phone.
“Hey listen, I called to tell you that I had Swami’s dream”
“That is nice. (but my voice was still feeble)”
“Why are you still whining?”
“What do you mean ‘still whining’?”
“Ok listen. In the dream I could see you seated in the Kulwant hall mandir. Swami was sitting on the chair in front. There were people seated next to you, but it wasn't like the hall was packed! I think there were very few people and there was bhajan going on. He called you and you gave Him a letter and started shedding tears. He asked why you are sad. Then turning to someone next to Him, He made a pouting face while pointing to you. You managed a weak smile at that. He patted your right cheek, gave you a sweet and told you that He was always with you and that you should not cry.”
As I heard this, I was dumbstruck. She continued.
“And now again you are sounding sad. That is why I asked you so.”
“Did you get this dream today morning?”
“I woke up with this dream about half an hour ago.”
“What sort of a question is that? Really!”
“Because, I was in Kulwant hall, half an hour ago. I went for bhajans and was crying because I was missing Him.”
“You told me you would never go to mandir….”
“Correct. But today morning I felt like going.”
“Did you go to bhajan today morning.”
“I just came to work straight from bhajans half an hour ago.”
“What sort of a question is that? Really!”
Both of us fell silent. Suddenly there seemed another being listening to us, grasping us in His love and feeling happy at the joy that was sprouting in our hearts.
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© 2011 Aravind Balasubramanya