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"The best midwife in the world" - a revelation by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on performing actions
What is midwifery and what makes a perfect midwife?
Midwifery today is a healthcare profession wherein the providers offer care to the child-bearing mothers during their pregnancy and immediately after it. Though midwifery has progressed into a professional career, it has for long been a service that was provided by experienced women. They would assist the expectant mother in a physical, mental and psychological manner in order to ensure a smooth delivery and and a comfortable postpartum period. In the 1980s, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba whom millions adore as God revealed one of the most essential qualities for a midwife. That revelation also sets the general guidelines for performing any action in the best possible manner.
The statement of the revelation is quite simple actually. But as always, its impact is best felt when it comes in the sequence of events in which it occurred. This episode took place in the 1980s, during the Grama Seva that the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning undertook.
The Sri Sathya Sai Grama Seva or village service is a very interesting initiative by Bhagawan Baba wherein He sends students from His educational institutions to the villages around Puttaparthi to serve therein. The initiative presents a win-win situation wherein the villagers are benefited and inspired by the service of the students while the students get a first-hand experience of the country India which is comprised 70 percent of villages. They also get to see the conditions and realize how life has blessed them with bounties. It makes them grateful for all they have and also helps them resolve to do some help at least to their fellow beings. Though it was after the year 2000 that Grama Seva became institutionalized in the University, it has a long history dating back to the early 1980s.
A totally unexpected revelation
It was one of those days when the students had returned from the Grama Seva (in the 1980s) and were in a very joyous mood. The good mood was because of the fact that Swami seemed very happy with their work and when Swami is 'happy', things are bound to get fun and exciting. It was during such times of being 'happy' in the past that Swami had charmed the students with many materializations and several revelations too. And today also, the students hoped that His 'happiness' would result in something that they would remember all their life. Swami did not disappoint them and they had no idea of what was coming that day.
Walking towards a group of students, Swami enquired as to how the day’s service in the village had been. (As far as I remember, the village was Jankampalli, near Puttaparthi.) As the students answered Him with great excitement on the happenings of the day, Swami stumped them with a question,
“Did you meet Radhamma?”
There was silence and the students looked at each other in bewilderment. The name was not even vaguely familiar but Swami was asking about the lady, Radhamma, with great familiarity and fondness. As they presented blank faces, Swami smiled and clarified,
“You remember that when you went through the narrow winding streets, a lady offered you ragi cereal? You all relished eating it...”
A few murmurs broke out among the students. They seemed to remember ‘Radhamma’ once Swami had given those particulars. The heart and the stomach are very close to each other and, often, filling one of them makes the other one full too! They remembered how a village woman had lovingly welcomed them and fed them all with the tastiest food that she could whip up at home. With that memory, they nodded to Swami in recollection. Swami smiled and then posed His next question,
“Do you know what Radhamma is very good at?”
The boys reasoned that the most probable answer to this question would be her cooking. A few students ventured to give this answer to Swami but Swami did not agree. Once again, the boys gave up and Swami answered,
“Radhamma is the best midwife in the whole world!”
That was a revelation for the boys. There are all sorts of champions on the face of the earth. These champs are recognised as such by various agencies, groups, events or professionals. But this was a different case. Swami was God for these students and thus it was a case of God recognising someone as being the best. They had not the slightest doubt that Radhamma was indeed the best midwife in the world. And then, came the hardest final question,
“Why is she the best midwife in the world?”
What changes a midwife into ‘the midwife’?
This was a question that the boys did not even hope of answering. It was just a few minutes before that they had discovered the existence of Radhamma. There was no chance of them knowing that she was a midwife and an excellent one at that. The technique of midwifery that she practiced was way beyond anyone’s grasp. So they just looked sheepishly at Swami and awaited His answer. The answer came quickly and sweetly.
“Whenever she is called to assist for a childbirth, the first thing she does is to think of me. She asks me to take charge and tells me that she is only an instrument. So sincere is her prayer that I take over...”
Pausing for a moment, Swami continued with a twinkle in His eyes,
“And when I take over, it has to be the best right?”
Do your best and let God do the rest is a sort of cliché that we pick up as children. But it is a very powerful mantra to follow in life. It takes a lot of motivation to do one’s best. For a true devotee, the best is brought out when he/she does something for his/her beloved - God. And so, the best way to do one’s best would be to do it for God! Doing something for God with all love, humility and focus makes it the best effort. And that is all God is concerned with. Did He not declare it as Lord Krishna?
Karmanyevaadhikaraste Maa Phaleshu Kadachana
“You have the right only to perform actions and not on the fruits thereof. Therefore, do not let the fruit be the purpose of your actions. This way, you won’t be attached and will also do your duty.”
The power of remembrance
Doing everything as an offering to God is the highest Karma Yoga. It is also the best way to ensure that any action done is perfect. The desire to please God will ensure that one fosters and develops all the skills and expertise necessary to perform the action. Since pleasing God is the only objective, the satisfaction that one derives will not be based on the results thus removing attachment too. One then becomes the best because one has all the expertise and and the humility to allow a higher power to flow through the action also.
In fact, doing everything to please God (Swami in the case of us devotees) is the way we should lead our lives. Swami has emphasized on that time and again in subtle ways. On one occasion, all the students were praying to Swami to visit the hostel. They tried their best but Swami did not seem to relent. So, one day, they gathered around Him and began to plead vociferously. After a while, their pleas got desperate and everyone in the hall could hear the loud requests,
“Please Swami....PLEASE SWAMI...”
Swami just smiled at them and said,
“Please Swami.... You should please Swami...”
The Lord is easily pleased. A simple remembrance is enough. Whatever we do, can we bring our dear Lord into it? For if we can do it that way, we are much closer to being the best in the world at what we do!
Doing work as an offering to God
Have you ever experienced how doing something as an offering to God adds to the value of the action?
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© 2013 Aravind Balasubramanya