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"Satyameva Jayate" - Truth alone triumphs
A very interesting episode occurred during my school days. Today, when I look back on it in retrospect, I see that it shows the immaturity of a child’s thinking and the maturity of Swami’s love! This happened when I was in my 11th standard (1998) when I had taken the combination BPC ( Bio Science, Physics and Chemistry).
Before I narrate that episode, let me tell you about the mandir lines. Everyday, we would go to the mandir (for darshan of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) from the hostel in ordered lines. And to ensure that everyone has equal chances of getting physically close to Swami, each day different classes would go first. For instance, if the first day, the order of the lines was classes VIII, IX , X, XI and XII, the next day the order would be IX, X, XI, XII, VIII and so on, in a cycle. Sundays were special because we would go even for the morning darshan as it was a holiday. The Sundays had a special rotation system of its own with the cycle changing every week! And this whole thing would be manned by teachers.
That was fine as far as equality of classes was concerned. But what about the order of students within a class? There was an unwritten rule (made by the boys, of the boys and for the boys!)- anyone who could get ready with a wash, shave and vibhuti dot on the forehead could rush down to the assembling point after (and only after ) the bell for lines would ring. The order of the boys in different rows would then get determined as 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 and so on. If anyone was not neatly shaved and washed or missed the vibhuti dot, he would be disqualified and his position confiscated by the next boy in the order. At times, this would force us to go to classes after a complete wash up. This was especially true for the post-lunch sessions on the days when our class would be first.
On this particular day, we were having our Chemistry lab sessions. As a class we had disappointed the teacher concerned and he was in an irritable mood. It was also the day when our class would be first in the lines and there was a nervous energy all around. We were all the students of the Science section. There were students of the Commerce section too from our class and so our silent hope was that our class would be let out earlier than theirs. ( You see, there were so many levels of competition to be overcome to get first into the lines!)
With 10 minutes to go, all of us began to automatically wash the glassware and start winding up for the day. It was a tough task and in the hurry to finish fast, a few beakers cracked and broke. Needless to say, this irritated the teacher even more. None of us have ever paid any laboratory fees and all the chemicals and glassware are provided to us with love by Swami. (And that is because Swami believes that education is the right of every child and not a privilege!) While other labs have breakage charges, there are none in our labs. So, naturally, the least that is expected of us is to maintain these gifts of love with care.
I too was washing away furiously in a hurry, taking care that no glassware breaks. Finally, within a minute of the final bell, all the glassware had been washed and arranged in the shelves. My legs were waiting with pent up energy for the rush to capture a front spot in the lines. As fate would have it, the teacher began to inspect the washed glassware and he located one beaker that had remnants of the organic chemicals that had been used. He immediately picked it up and asked “Whose beaker is this?”
I realized that it was mine. And I was caught between the horns of a dilemma. Immediately the little white angel on my right and the little red devil on my left began their traditional conversation!
“Just keep quiet. There is no way he will find out it is your beaker. He will get frustrated and let go.”
“No! That is not right. You know that it is yours and you should own up. Moreover, instead of letting go, he may punish the whole class.”
“You raise your hand now and your chance to be front in the lines is gone! The chance to get physically near to Swami is too great to be left for the sake of a chemical drop on a beaker!”
“You know that the problem is not as skewed as the devil is putting it. Remember that more than the nearness, the dearness to Swami matters. And by following the truth, you will please Him.”
“Satyameva Jayate (Truth alone triumphs) is a motto for the aeons gone by. It is not relevant now.”
“Truth is for ever and it always triumphs. You speak the truth and you will be rewarded. That is for sure. ”
“Tell me! Whose beaker is this?”, the voice thundered.
I immediately raised my hand and said, “I am sorry sir! That is mine.”
The teacher’s eyes immediately seemed to calm down. He said, “All can leave now.”
Even as I prepared for the sprint, he said, “Aravind. Stay back.”
I was punished. I was given a load of glassware to wash and then alone could I leave for the mandir. I was immediately fraught with disappointment and sadness. It then erupted as anger within me.
“I thought that speaking the truth will save me. It only put me in deeper problem. Forget the front lines, I doubt whether I will even be in time for darshan!”
As I angrily continued the washing, I failed to notice that the teacher had punished himself too - by not going to the mandir till I was done. I was too busy with my own ‘misfortune’ to think about him. My mind continued to speak
“This Satyameva Jayate really seems to be relevant only for the past. I don’t care how, but if it is relevant even in the modern times, then Swami, I want you to bless me today. I want you to accept a handkerchief from me and smile at me. I don’t know how you will do it but you must do it if you want me to have faith in the truth.”
I threw this as a challenge to Him. I felt slightly happy within because I was in a win-win situation. At a time when I was sure to be late for darshan, if Swami were to give me that chance of offering a handkerchief to Him, my day would be so special. In case that did not happen, I would have no problem lying myself out of future situations! (There! This is what I referred to as the immaturity of the child.)
Finishing my punishment, I informed the teacher who was still waiting patiently for me. He too seemed sad. I felt that he deserved to miss darshan for he had made me miss mine. ( Later, I found out that he was sad because he felt responsible for me missing my darshan and he was praying to Swami to wait till I arrived! Wow! The teachers here are some magical creatures of love!)
I went to the mandir and there was no music on. I was sure that darshan had been complete. I was shocked to find out that for some reason, Swami had not yet arrived for darshan! (This was very very rare those days. Swami was always on time!) And as I walked in to the students’ area, I saw one empty space right in the first line. How could anyone have missed it? I asked the boy seated there whether that space was reserved for someone and he replied in a negative. Once again, the immature thinking set in.
“Swami wants to make it easy for Himself to prove to you the importance of Truth. If I sit here, He will create vibhuti for some devotee and take the handkerchief from me. I shall not make it that easy for Him!”
Thinking thus, I gave up that space and went to sit in the portico outside the interview room. This was a region that was manned by two of Swami’s assistants and in case He created vibhuti here, they would offer the kerchief to Him. I wanted concrete proof of His response and as I did this, I could see the little red devil snickering at the little white angel. I felt a little guilty too, but I went ahead with my plan.
What happened, completely bowled me over. I sat in the portico and the darshan music began. Swami arrived and completed His darshan rounds. He came to the portico and began to speak to some devotee. And the end of the two-minute interaction, He began to swirl His palm to create vibhuti. He gifted the vibhuti to the devotee. I was a good 3 meters away from Him. But, out of sheer instinct, I had tugged the kerchief out of my pocket. However, I stayed put in my place and one of the two assistants went to Swami with a handkerchief.
Swami just looked away from him into my eyes. He smiled and stretched out His hand seeking the kerchief in my hand. Like a robot, I got up from my place and went to Him. I gave the hand kerchief to Him. He wiped His hand, smiled at me and threw the kerchief back to me. I returned to my place in a daze.
Even as I sat, my senior beside me nudged me and said,
“You are a ‘form’ boy man! He specially wanted you. Did you have some sort of a prayer-deal with Him?”
What could I say? I realized that a win-win situation for me was also a win-win situation for Him. His love is such that He wins if I win. One thing is for sure. I know that Truth Always Triumphs.
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