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What should one do to deserve God? - A Divine Deja Vu
A strange sequence of events
When it comes to penning down experiences of Swami (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) and with Swami, I always do so based on inspiration. Swami had directly indicated to me that an inspiration is indeed His way of communicating and so, I always wait for the same before I write. It was one of those mornings when I was searching my heart for inspiration. I said to my Lord within,
“Swami, I have a strong urge to write about you. But what should I write about? When you have given the urge, will you not give the matter too?”
I guess that single thought triggered a most strange sequence of events that morning. The morning was a busy one and I met at least 3 people at work in the studio. As I prepared to leave for lunch, I noticed that my wallet was missing. I am a bit forgetful and so, I was sure, that I had just misplaced it somewhere in the Prasanthi Digital studios. But 20 minutes later, I was worried. My wallet was nowhere near being found and it seemed to have vanished along with the money, precious credit/debit cards, even more precious driving licence and the most precious vibhuti packets that Swami had personally given me.
I looked around and, to my greatest joy, found the wallet next to a colleague’s computer. I rushed and picked the wallet only to be disappointed that it was not mine, but one which was identical to mine! As I was beginning to despair, a sudden idea struck me. I began to call each one of the visitors to my room and asked them whether they carried wallets. It turned out that one of the visitors - a volunteer working with us at the massive video archives being organized - had indeed pocketed my wallet mistaking it for his.
We both laughed over the episode and I told him that I would drop by at the archives to pick up the wallet. I met him, picked the wallet and was walking out to head home when I was accosted by a stranger. In a few minutes, I understood the reason behind this drama of my ‘misplaced’ wallet!
The answer to my thought
The stranger introduced himself as Mr. Ganeshan Pillay from Mauritius. But even before he did that, what he said won him my ears totally.
“I have been experiencing Swami in such wonderful ways. The editor of Sanatana Sarathi told me to write a book. But, I don’t seem to have the interest to write a book. It is so easier to share by speaking right?”
“Well, that is true. But if you share your experience with me, I may write it down for you.” I was surprised at what I said myself! I do not speak in this manner to anybody because I usually write only my experiences. It was a strong inner prompting that made me promise him so.
Thus, Mr. Ganeshan Pillay shared his experience first and then I took down his details. However, I shall reverse the order in this narrative. I shall introduce him as a tall man in his 30s with a heightened passion and enthusiasm for Swami and His mission. He is a teacher at a Primary School in Mauritius and seeing his ‘josh’ I was sure that he would be doing a lot of good to the kids.
Mr.Ganeshan Pillay’s tryst with Bhagawan Baba
It was in the November of 2007 that he made his annual visit to Prasanthi Nilayam for darshan. He was seated in the Sai Kulwant Hall by 7:55am. It was the 17th of November, 2007 - he remembers the date very precisely. (Who would not after such an experience?) He was in a happy frame of mind because he had found a place in the front between two gentlemen, as if it had been reserved for him. Though there was a huge birthday crowd, he managed to be in the second line as darshan began at 8:00 am.
The darshan got over and bhajans began at 9:00 am. It turned out to be a special day for all the devotees assembled as Swami came for a second round of darshan during the bhajans. Swami came near Ganeshan and what happened next is inexplicable for him to say even today.
“I was suddenly in a state of trance. I felt that my whole body was still. Swami stood near me and my mind was totally empty. I bent down and touched both His feet with both my hands. That is all what I remember and everything else - the surroundings, the sevadal, the crowd - melted into nothingness. The only thing is remember is the bhajan that was going on - Shambho Murare Shankara Murare.”
So enthralling was the experience that after a while, Ganeshan had a doubt as to whether it had really happened or whether it was a vision. The cause for this doubt was the fact that when he took namaskar his all-time favorite bhajan seemed to have automatically begun. His attachment to Shambho Murare Shankara Murare had been spontaneous and instantaneous the first time he heard it at a Bal Vikas Guru’s Course in Mauritius. (Bal Vikas is Swami’s special programme for inculcating values in children.) Since that bhajan was not sung in Mauritius, Ganeshan had to sing out the bhajan for himself whenever he felt like experiencing divine joy. He has no idea why that bhajan is so special for him. But when he heard the same bhajan as he touched Swami’s feet, he thought that maybe the whole experience was a hallucination.
His friend in the lines and a frowning Seva Dal volunteer nearby confirmed that he had indeed bent and touched Swami’s feet. Having got that confirmation, Ganeshan was in seventh heaven. Gratitude sped from his heart to Swami who had ensured that his favorite bhajan was sung during his most special moment. And even as Ganeshan narrated this, I was reminded of a similar timing by Swami while giving namaskar to me.
“I had no idea that my experience would meet fulfillment during this trip”, Ganeshan said.
Deja Vu or Divine Assurance?
The year 2012 was significant for Ganeshan in ways more than one. It was the first time he was visiting Puttaparthi after Swami had left the physical. And by a strange quirk of fate, he landed in Puttaparthi on exactly the same day and date as he had done so in 2007 - Tuesday, the 13th of November. (The calendars for November 2007 and November 2012 are exactly the same.)
It was the 17th of November, a Saturday exactly 5 years after that most charming and holy Saturday morning. Ganeshan was sitting in the Sai Kulwant Hall and the feeling was the same. However, in his heart, he felt a kind of void. He knew that Swami would not be coming for darshan the way He used to when He was in the physical. He was feeling a little low when suddenly, the memories of the day, 5 years ago came flooding back.
He began to relive that day - how he had found a special place in the hall and how Swami had come and granted him namaskar. He was totally lost in visualizing that beautiful scene. It seemed so real because when the actual episode had occurred it had seemed so unreal! He was lost in the joy of visualization.
A small detour here. Swami has always emphasized on the power of visualization. That is because, whether we believe in it or not, we are all sparks of divinity. Whatever we visualize, we create before our eyes. Thus it is important that we spend all our time and energy in positive, powerful visualizations rather than dwell in negativity and frustration.
Coming back to Ganeshan’s story. I shall conclude that in his own words.
“I was in joy of Swami’s presence. And yet, a voice within me cried for a sign that it was indeed Him. The previous time, my friend and a volunteer had affirmed it for me. This time, I wanted a sign. And suddenly, I remembered my bhajan - Shambho Murare Shankara Murare. The time was 9:25am and the priest had walked out. I knew for sure that it was the last bhajan before Aarthi would be taken. And then, it happened. The harmonium played the initial piece and the bhajan Shambho Murare Shankara Murare filled the air!”
Deja Vu? Divine Assurance? Or both? Whatever it might be, it filled Ganeshan’s being with such peace, love and divinity that he had goosebumps on his skin and tears in his eyes. It hit him like a ton of bricks that his Swami was with him every moment of his life and all he had to do to have Him was to need Him! Hasn’t Swami assured all of us saying,
“If you need me, you deserve me.”
And that is all one has to do to deserve God - to need Him. So loving, compassionate and sweet is our Lord that He asks for no further qualification or effort - only that we need Him.
As I enjoyed the experience, I realized that my wallet had not been 'mis'placed but 'master'placed!
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© 2012 Aravind Balasubramanya