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Name vs Form

Updated on April 3, 2013
Dear baby deer! So Sweet!
Dear baby deer! So Sweet!

22nd August 2011

Today is Krishna Janmashtami - the first one in the physical absence of Swami. The merry procession of cows, calves, deer, peacocks and rabbits with the students decked as Gopalas came to the Kulwant hall. I suddenly felt a pinch of emptiness in my heart - Swami was not there physically. My mind raced to the years before when He would feed the animals so lovingly. It especially raced to the the most memorable Krishna Janmashtami of my life when Swami showed me that though He seems to be absent, He knows everything that goes on everywhere and at everytime!

“And this year, the animals will be fed by some elders!” my heart seemed to wail.

But then, there was a sudden joy. Little Krishna came out and He fed bananas to the cows! I was thrilled. Ah Swami! What a lovely idea this had been of the students to deck one little boy as the Lord to feed the animals! Only Krishna could give joy like Sai Krishna. Immediately, I swing into action, taking photos and I take a picture of Krishna feeding each of the cows, just as I would have done when Swami was feeding the cows.

Krishna visited Sai Gokulam.....
Krishna visited Sai Gokulam.....

Having witnessed this beautiful scene, two stories and a burst of inspiration spread through my heart. And in that was a panacea for my sorrows of missing Him.

The first story is the one that is known famously in history as Krishna Tulabhaaram.

Among all His many wives, Lord Krishna seems to have special love for Rukmini. In the eyes of the Lord, all are equal. But some appear to be more equal than the others! And this has happened in every Avatar. Even in the Sathya Sai Avatar, in our human vision, many of us felt that the Lord has His favourites. In that age, the Lord’s consort, Satyabhama was jealous of Krishna’s ‘partiality’ to Rukmini. She seeks the help of the celestial sage, Narada, who realizes the situation.

It is time for Satyabhama to learn her lesson and hence Narada tells her, “Oh Queen! If you offer me (a sage) some offering equivalent in weight to that of Lord Krishna, then He becomes yours and yours alone forever!” Satyabhama jumps at this opportunity and says,” I shall offer you gold which is equivalent in weight to my dear Krishna!”
“However be warned! If you fail to make the offering, Krishna becomes my slave!”

An overjoyed Satyabhama conveys her desire to Lord Krishna.
“But my dear Bhama! I do not want to be the slave of that Narada!”
“That will never happen my Lord! I will never let go of you. You will be mine forever.”
With a smile, Lord Krishna agrees.

Satyabhama always envied Rukmini
Satyabhama always envied Rukmini

The scales are brought and the smile of victory on Satyabhama’s face slowly fades into a frown and then grows into a grimace as all her gold in tons does not tilt the scales in her favour! She begins to borrow gold from all her co-wives and even that is not sufficient! This is a calamity now for the Lord is about to get enslaved to Narada. At this time, Rukmini arrives on the scene.

She plucks a leaf from the holy Thulasi (basil) plant and holding it to her heart, calls out, “Krishna”. She places it on the scales and the leaf lifts the Lord!

Swami explains in His discourse, “Remember, its only the name of the Lord that can equal the form of the Lord. Wherever His name is, the form is automatically there!

This interpretation is something so unique and it gives us all so much hope today.

Before delving into that, I want to tell the second story. This is the story of the blind devotee - Surdas.

Surdas was born blind. And he also possessed a blind love for the Lord. He spent all his life in the thought of Lord Krishna, his beloved. It is believed that whenever he sang, little Krishna himself came to hear him.

The Lord installs Himself wherever His name is sung
The Lord installs Himself wherever His name is sung

Once, as Surdas was walking along the road, he fell into a well. There was nobody nearby to help him. But Surdas, in his natural manner continued to think of and chant the name of Krishna. And then, a little boy, Gopal comes to his rescue. As he speaks to the boy, Surdas realizes that this is none other than his beloved Krishna. But the minute he understands this, Krishna frees his hand from Surdas and runs away.

Surdas is immediately plunged into grief! The Lord whom he sought throughout his life was in his grasp but now, He is gone! And in the depth of his grief, illumination happens and he bursts forth into a song-
Baaha Chudaye Jaat Ho,
Nibal Jaan Ke Mohe,
Hriday Se Jab Javo Tho,
Sabal Mein Jaano Tohe.

The song is so beautiful in its meaning. It says, “Oh Krishna, you think am weak because you are able to free your hand from my grasp. (I have enshrined you in my heart.) I shall consider you really strong only if you are able to leave my heart.”

This song also has a special place in my heart for the impact it has had in my life. (That is recorded at the end of the article on the fruits of action.)

"I have bound you in my heart from where you can never escape"
"I have bound you in my heart from where you can never escape"

And with that story arose a resolve in my heart.

Swami! You think that you can escape me by leaving me physically? I have bound you strongly in my heart! Try leaving my heart if you can! You will never be able to do that. And I will bind you even more firmly by incessantly chanting Your name.

And with that resolve, sprouted a smile on my face. Krishna, by now, had fed the cows and he seemed to have disappeared. I thanked Rukmini and Surdas for the inspiration and love they provided in my heart. And looking up at the smiling Swami, I too simply smiled.

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© 2011 Aravind Balasubramanya


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    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 6 years ago from Nepal

      I think Krishna is the greatest soul to ever take birth on the earth. His words on Karma is greatest gift to mankind.

    • profile image

      Hema B 6 years ago

      I agree with you fully

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      This is a very beautiful article which shines with God's love. The stories are particularly important and fit the article and your message perfectly. Thank you. Sai Ram.

    • aravindb1982 profile image

      Aravind Balasubramanya 6 years ago from Puttaparthi, India

      @ Ranjani - Could you mail me at I could suggest some ways for you to share your experiences...

    • profile image

      ranjani 6 years ago

      Yes Arvind,

      Swami's hands are there always.. always ready to guide and love. We are to tune to Him. Get his messages from within ourselves. I feel like sharing some more experiences in line with how Swami is constantly guiding me through. Can i give them through face book messages?



    • aravindb1982 profile image

      Aravind Balasubramanya 6 years ago from Puttaparthi, India

      @ Ranjani -

      Beautiful! It is your humility that you say "this is a very small thing"!

      The experience is simply so beautiful and my heart has been engulfed in emotions as I read about it.

      Thank you for sharing it. May we always feel His guiding Hand and His Love.

    • profile image

      ranjani 6 years ago

      Sairam Arvind,

      What a write up!!! Tears in my eyes while reading the lines of Surdas. Yes, He can never escape from our hearts. Since Swami's Samadhi i feel His presence even more intense at my home and where ever i go and what ever i see. He drives us this way. He makes us realise and gives us the satisfaction of understanding the truth. Before and after His Mahasamadhi Swami made me realize the truth about it and also cleared all my doubts regarding his sudden loss. By His grace, till today i have not felt his absence nor i gireved for his physiscal form.

      Just one such vision i would like to share with u...

      I had some very busy days as there were so many programs lined up in Samithi and ofcourse was lazy to clean my house, on a wednesday, Swami came to me.. showed his feet... and said, in tamil "en kaal paaru.. Evalavu karupa iruku.. Epadi naan un veetula nadakarathu?" meaning, "look at my feet, how black it is.. how do u think i will walk in ur home (if it is so dirty)"... that is all, immediately i appologised and said will never do this again. The next day morning ofcourse cleaned the whole house.

      This is a very small thing yet, an assertive feeling that Swami is always there totally with us everytime. Now He is free to go where ever to whom ever he wanted to.. This also he told me just the day of mahasamadhi.

      Thanks for sharing a wonderful article where i cld also write and share with you my experience.



    • profile image

      Balasubramanya Subbarao 6 years ago

      Today during my morning walk I saw Chitravati flowing like Yamuna. The hills looked like Govardhana. Puttaparthi is Brindavan and one can feel Sai Krishna's presence everywhere.After returning home I read this article and I am very very Happy.

    • profile image

      Ravi 6 years ago

      Sai Ram and thank you for this beautiful article. May I ask what is the name of the author?

    • profile image

      Sruti Raman 6 years ago

      My heart winced in pain at the thought of Krishna Janmashtami in PN, without Sai Krishna himself being there!

      But I found my solace - Why worry when you've kept HIM secure in your hearts, where no one can steal HIM from! :)

    • profile image

      Arpita Mallajosyula 6 years ago

      arvaind anna...lovely..!! this is just so beautiful...!! i just love the way you interpret thngs happening in everyday life to reveal some message or the other...just so dat v cld grow each day n 'strengthen our bond' with HIM...!!

      as i was reading the that point even i thght dat true dis time Swami isnt der physically...i was lukin fwd 2 see who did actually feed the cows...and the way u put it dat it cld be ONLY Krishna who wld do jus brought a whole-hearted smile on my face..and may be i shld say a great sense of satisfaction & contentment... :) :)


    • profile image

      Jayantthi 6 years ago

      Sairam, I am always inspired by your articles.

    • aravindb1982 profile image

      Aravind Balasubramanya 6 years ago from Puttaparthi, India

      @ Aarthi - Wanted you to see this for reasons more than one!

      @ krishna - I too join you in expressing my gratitude to Swami!

    • profile image

      Krishna 6 years ago

      It brings warmth 2 my heart.. tears 2 my eyes.. thank U, Swami 4 dis beautiful write up

    • profile image

      Aarthi 6 years ago

      Profound words - "You think that you can escape me by leaving me physically? I have bound you strongly in my heart! Try leaving my heart if you can!"

      I am reminded of what Vidya Srinivasan aunty (our AIP Sri V Srinivasan's wife) told in a Radio Sai interview. Here are the exact words - "The picture of Swami is in our heart and no one else can erase it, unless we do so. I don’t think I would have done it anytime in my life."

      Let us bind Sai in our hearts with chains of love, so that He can never escape. Thank you bro, for sharing this today! Btw, I loved the pic of the cute deer. :)