What to seek from God - the experience of a child with Sri Sathya Sai
Another Trayee session...
It was a cool summer evening in the city of Bangalore in the year 2005. Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba had arrived from Puttaparthi to the ashram Brindavan, in Whitefield at Bengaluru. After the daily darshan and bhajan sessions in the Sai Ramesh hall, Swami (as Baba is affectionately called) would call the students in for a Trayee session. The Trayee session was a wonderful opportunity bestowed especially on the students and staff of the Sri Sathya Sai school and college though the staff members of other Sathya Sai institutions were also permitted to be present. All would assemble inside Trayee Brindavan, Swami's residence at Brindavan and Swami would usually spend an hour with all of them.
All the students who were seated outside in the hall were tensing their calf muscles for the call could come anytime. All their eyes were riveted to the right side corner door which would open with a teacher signalling the good news that Swami had called the students in for the Trayee session.
Ten minutes later, there was a storm in the calm. The door had opened and the signal had been made. Like a herd of wildebeest crossing the river during a migration, the stage of Sai Ramesh hall and the lawns of Trayee Brindavan were overcome. Another five minutes passed and it was calm again. The only sounds felt were that of hearts pounding partially from the strenuous effort a few minutes ago and partially from the anticipatory excitement of seeing the Lord.
The Trayee Brindavan building is built like two concentric circles. The inner circle on the ground floor forms a central hall and leads to a couple of rooms and the stairway. One third of the outer rim is what is famously known as the jhoola room, the place where Swami’s swing is present. Bang opposite to the door that opens into the jhoola room is the door leading to the staircase. It was this door that was now the focus of all attention.
When we get the chance to seek... what do we seek?
The door opened in one quick swing and the beloved form in Orange stood there, a broad smile playing on His face. He sloly walked across the packed central hall through the passage that had been left for Him. Even as He walked into the jhoola room, the swelling waves of students wiped out the path that had existed a few moments before. Swami sat on the jhoola and the boys in front promptly began to massage His feet. A couple of boys gently pushed the swing. Everyone seemed to fill with a strange peace and joy simply with His presence.
None of us had an idea that we would today witness a funny, yet poignant episode.
Swami saw on little boy sitting in the fourth or fifth line. He must have been 6 years old and had just been admitted in the first standard of the primary school at Puttaparthi. He was holding a letter like many of his much senior brothers around. I wondered as to how Swami even saw him when He called out,
“Ay boy! Come here.”
The boy came to a little above the level of our heads when he stood straight. He simple eased in the gaps between us and went to Swami and offered his letter. Swami took the letter and opened it completely. The paper was the center page of a four-lined, cursive writing notebook. I thought that this might have been the kid’s first major letter in life and he had got it right by writing it to Swami. Swami began to read the letter and some parts of it, He read aloud. Given below is a gist of what the boy had written which Swami read out to us.
“Swami, keep me always with you. Always give me the opportunity to serve your lotus feet. Let me always love you and be with you.”
As Swami read out parts of the boy’s letter, He kept looking at all of us and said,
“See how noble the boy’s wishes are! He wants Swami and nothing else. He seeks only Swami in his life.”
Our admiration for the kid was on the rise and it kept growing by the moment. And then came the climax. Swami said,
“Boy! Come here.”
A broad smile had swept across His face as He asked,
“What do you want?”
There was a moment of silence. And then, with a shrieking voice, the boy said, pointing to his nose, “Swami I have a cold! Please make it alright!”
All of us burst out laughing. Swami’s face also had a smile but He too seemed a bit disappointed after all the ‘build-up’ He had given. He sweetly rubbed the nose of the little boy and said,
“Go! Your cold is over.”
The boy smiled and returned to his place. We were all still chuckling under our breaths.
The session went on. There were a couple of speeches. Swami then received Aarthi and we were all given sweets as prasadam. As we came out, most of us were discussing the incident of the little boy. We could not help but smile at how Swami had been 'let-down' by the little fellow.
And then - it struck!
It was easy to laugh at the child and Swami but has it not always been our failing too? How many times have we approached God and asked for petty and trivial things? How grander are our desires for success, prosperity, health, life and relationships compared to the running nose of that little boy? No wonder that the Lord says, “I give you what you seek so that one day you will seek what I have come to give”.
Is God really our first love?
We all state that we love God and that God is our first priority. But tomorrow, if we lose a relationship, can we still look up to God and say, “God, I love you and want you”, because that is our top priority right? When in a financial crisis, if we seek money, does that not mean that money is the top priority then? Now, imagine a situation where you lose something very close to our heart - self respect. Even when that happens can we look to Swami and say,
"Swami, I still seek you because you are more important for me than my self-respect too"?
Swami has said that God will not give Himself easily to everyone. He will give Himself only to those who want Him as top priority. And that means having the ability to go through the three zeroes test! That test will ensure we seek that seeking which we will never have to seek anything again! For those people, Swami, the Sadguru, promises to give the greatest gift - Himself!
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© 2011 Aravind Balasubramanya