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Love is God's only weakness...and our only strength - 2
Have you come straight to this part?
The climax of a story would be no good without knowledge of its settings and happenings so far right?
So, it would be great if you come to this part after reading part 1 at
Does the second hatched plan succeed?
..... Now, I was fervently hoping and praying that Swami would accept my letter. As Swami completed the supervision and was returning, He saw all of us seated along the path. He said out loud,
“I shall go to PC from the other path!”
“NOOO SWAMIIIIIIIIII......” we screamed at the top of our voices.
“To avoid me, He is going by another path”, I thought.
“SWAMI, PLEASEEEEE SWAMI” - another shout reverberated.
Swami smiled and turned to enter our path. I heaved a sigh of relief. As Swami came near, I did something very brave and desperate. I got up and blocked His path with the intention of not letting Him pass till He took my letter. He looked at me and said, “Dunnapotha” (meaning he-buffalo in Telugu). I was thinking
“Call me all you want Swami. I am not budging till you take this letter.”
He had about twenty letters in His hand already. Still, He took mine and then I allowed Him to pas. I was happy and relieved. Swami then moved slowly through all the boys, collecting almost all their letters. BY the time He reached near the entrance of His residence, behind PC, His hands were full of letters. He went into the door and the door closed behind Him. All of us immediately rose to rush into PC for Swami would be arriving there in about 5-10 minutes. As we were all getting up, one of Swami’s security guards came calling out to all of us.
He said that as Swami was entering the door, He had dropped one letter and then gone in, closing the door. Even as He said that, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I went to the door and there lay my letter! It had been cast out - a refugee that sought to get back into my pocket. I felt like a fool and began to tear the letter. A senior patted me on the back and tried to help saying, “Brother! The letter has been folded too small. Maybe, it slipped out of Swami’s hand. Try again later. Swami will take it.” I was in no mood to listen. I had been defeated in a smashing manner.
After that day, somehow or the other, I never took that photo for signing.
A month or two passed. The work in Kulwant hall was complete and it was reinstated as the darshan venue. My photo was still unsigned and I gave up on that idea totally. So many things happened in the months that passed - many experiences, many lessons. Fast forward to January 2000. The Sports Meet had concluded and I had been able to capture one lovely picture of Swami smiling and blessing the crowds that had gathered. The desire to get a photo signed by Swami re-ignited with this photograph.
The birthday boys now sat in the lower veranda of the bhajan hall, just outside the interview room. Since I was a photographer, many students who were celebrating their birthdays took a permission chit for me too so that I would capture the special moments when they were being blessed. I carried a series of six photographs with the objective of getting them signed atleast now. And then began the next part of the struggle. Swami would sign photographs about twice a week on an average. But every time I thrust my photo, Swami would say, “Ay! Not birthday boy.” This became so frequent that the student who used to walk behind Swami, one day reprimanded me, “Do not keep bothering Swami daily like this. If you do so, I will ensure that you are not sitting here!”
“As if His neglect was not enough, He was releasing His ‘goons’ on me”, I thought! I suddenly felt the futility of all my efforts. I just prayed to Him saying that I was ready to wait until He signed my photograph at His pleasure. The month changed into February and I continued to sit near the birthday boys, taking their pictures as Swami blessed them, hoping that one day He would sign my photograph. By now, I had dropped most of the photos and was carrying only the photo of His Sports Meet blessing with me. It was a small 7 inches by 5 inches picture.
On the 8th of February, 2000, Swami completed the darshan rounds and arrived into the veranda of the bhajan hall. There were two tiny tots from the primary school and Swami was so happy seeing them. One of them gave Him a picture to sign and Swami happily took the picture and signed it. And then, He asked,
“Only one photo?”
The little guy turned the pages of a book he had got and pulled out a photograph. Swami took that and signed it and I thought, “You lucky dog!”
“Only two photos?”, Swami asked, liberally sprinkling divine salt on my ego wounds.
Now the little guy rummaged his pockets and pulled out a small, crumpled picture. Swami took that and signed it too!
I was wondering,
“Mera number kab aayega (When will my time come?)”
I sat still. Swami took a couple of steps near me. The pen was still in His hand and He was looking at me. I was tempted to rise but the look of Swami’s ‘goon’ behind pressed me back to my seat. And then, He spoke,
“Don’t you want to get your photo signed?”
Like a coiled spring, I surged ahead and gave Him the photo. He smiled and said that if only I had brought a writing pad along, photo signing would have been so much easier.
I had been getting the writing pad and a book almost daily and today was the only day I had forgotten!
Swami then supported the photo on His left forearm and signed, “With Love Baba”. Then looked at me and asked with His eyes, “Only one?” I nodded for that was the only picture with me. He handed the picture to me and moved into the interview room. I looked at the ‘goon’ and He was smiling broadly at me. I felt so happy! The wait now seemed worth every single moment.
I vowed never to try to outsmart God! Just love Him and He will oblige and do what is best for me always.
The photo that Swami signed for me is in my altar, laminated. A few years ago, it had fallen on to the lamp and part of the photo had got burnt. But, no part of Swami in the picture had been singed.
And now, for a super thriller. This article was being written after I had received some harsh criticism from people who said that I should not keep 'doling' out personal stories like this on HubPages. I had prayed to Swami and told Him that He knew everything - and that included my motives in writing hubs regularly. And then, I started writing this hub. I had just started writing this article when Pooja, my wife called me up excitedly.
She wanted me to rush home from the studio immediately. She had started reading the Shirdi Sai Satcharitra on 15th March 2012, a Thursday. On completion of the first chapter, she placed the book down and closed her eyes in love and gratitude to Swami. When she opened her eyes, the book was full of vibhuti! I saw the book and was marveling at it. I told her that her reading had indeed been sanctified.
I went to the altar to thank Swami for that beautiful miracle and lo! There was also vibhuti on the very same photo about which I was writing the article! I knew that Swami was happy with me writing this article and with me writing about Him too!
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