When God Steers Our Path..
Things can only get more exciting and thrilling when you decide to chase Swami, both literally and metaphorically, heart racing for Him. Swami gives us ample opportunities to bathe in His Divinity to make us "ready" to be an instrument in His Mission.
Tumkur was like any other city to me personally until 16th August 2015 and suddenly it becomes as special as Muddenahalli or Puttaparthi since the Lord decided to grace the city to chair the Alumni Meet of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Institutions of Alike and Muddenahalli, aptly named, PREMABHANDAM. Any place transforms into Prasanthi Nilayam when God makes an entry, your heart included!
The city gets its spiritual hue from the revered seer Dr. Shree Shree Shivakumara Swamigalu of Sidddaganga Mutt who turned 108 this year, a blessed soul who attended the Sahasra Chandra Darshana programmes few years back in Prasanthi Nilayam.
The venue was a college auditorium in the city with the typical vibrations that come along with it which didn't seem to suit my idea of hosting Swami. But then it only took Swami's arrival to turn the place into an Ashram. As Swami's White Mercedes glided into the college campus from the main gate majestically, it was a sight to behold. The world around looked just perfect and beautiful for the Lord. Swami shed a beatific smile from the car. I thought that was enough to keep me going for a few days before I could return with my backpack to partake some more from what He was giving us all at Muddenahalli. But He had more to offer this time, a surprise in store!
The program began with the chanting of Vedic hymns. Sanjeev 'Anna' Shetty, the Tyagajeevi from Alike who was our Principal almost 20 years back spoke eloquently at such an advanced age. The sacrifice of these great men of character is immeasurable. Sri Madiyal Nararayan Bhat, the founder of Alike and Muddenahalli institutions was the inspiring figure who brought together these exemplary men to work for the greater cause of 'Atma Kalyana and Loka Kalyana'.
Sri Narasimha Murthy Anna spoke next about how blessed we were to be a part of the Divine Mission. Murthy Anna is 70 plus, but the energy that he exhibits through all his actions could put to shame a 20 year old! He spoke at length on what Swami's Mission is in the subtle form. It is not to build schools and colleges or build hospitals and take up Water projects but to prepare ground for the advent of Prema Sai. Swami was getting the Ashram and the state of Karnataka ready for Prema Sai. Even though Prema Sai was born in the Mandya region, He would eventually make Muddenahalli, His headquarters. Swami once asked Murthy Anna how many acres of land they had at Muddenahalli. Murthy Anna replied, with a sense of pride, "Swami! Around 120 acres!" Swami then said, "Every inch of the land will have buildings in the coming years". The 108 flats apartment which is under construction is almost ready. Swami said there will be 1008 flats in the near future. The Grand Darshan Hall with a seating capacity of 5000 under construction which is to be ready by this November was designed by Swami Himself, again for Prema Sai. Swami appeared in a vision to the architect of this hall and showed him the completed building and gave him an idea of what exactly He wanted. Swami named it 'Premamrutham'. On the insistence of Murthy Anna, Swami consented to add His name and was called 'Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham'.
Once Swami joked, Shirdi Baba didn't do anything for Me. I had to do everything from scratch for Myself! In fact, the first temple for Shirdi Sai Baba was consecrated by Bhagawan Baba in the year 1949 even before the temple at Shirdi came into existence.
Murthy Anna shared an intimate conversation he had with Swami few months before Samadhi. Swami looked very weak. He fell at His Lotus Feet crying and asked "What have you made of your body, Swami?" Swami smiled and said, "Manashulu Papamulu Parihaaram Cheyutakai Avatarinchina Leda?" (Haven't I come to wash off the sins of mankind?). Our Sweet Lord.
He also shared a beautiful anecdote that connects Ramayana and Mahabharata. Vanaras were picking up boulders from Himalayas and taking them down south to build the bridge between the present day Rameshwaram and Lanka across the ocean in the service of Lord Rama. Govardhana Giri was one of the 'boulders'. When the monkeys got intimation that the bridge was ready and they didn't need any more boulders, they just threw them wherever they were and left the place. The Govardhana Giri was extremely disappointed that it couldn't be a part of Lord Rama’s Mission. Rama assured Govardhana Giri that He would take its service in His next Avatar. Krishna did keep up the promise.
It is said when Krishna asked the cowherds for a helping hand to lift Govardhana Giri, nobody doubted if they could lift. They simply raised their hands to lift the mountain in support, with Krishna. That is absolute faith, Swami says. But Yashodha wondered how would Krishna place the mountain back on ground?!! A mother's concern. When Swami asks us to be a part of His Mission, it is not because He cannot do it without us. He can get things done despite us. It is an opportunity Swami is bestowing on us. Let us be part of His Mission and redeem our lives. He knows exactly what to get out of each of us
Swami blessed the audience with a Divine Discourse, communicated by Bro Madhusudhan Naidu and translated by Murthy Anna. I have to put in my two cents here with regards to Bro Madhusudhan, an able instrument handpicked by Bhagawan. I don't find it difficult to believe some are spiritually more evolved than others. Swami is indeed accessible to all, if you put in your effort. God has given a brain to all, but some people are genius, some are average and some are dull. It is not right for a student having scored poorly to accuse the one with distinction of fraud, without any basis. Swami selects people for reasons best known only to Him. To spread hatred about someone who may be higher to you spiritually is the equivalent of hating a rich man in a socialist society.
Swami was leaving in His car to a devotees' home for lunch. He was keeping up the promise that He had made 40 years back to the devotee that He would visit his home. As the car passed by me, Swami looked at me and made a sign from inside the car asking me to come to Muddenahalli. I was planning to return home after the meet. I changed my plans and rushed out of the campus after lunch prasadam to catch a bus to Muddenahalli, my real home. It was already 2PM, impossible to reach Muddenhalli in time for the evening Darshan. But I knew when Swami calls, He will make sure I would be there. As I crossed the road, I saw my friend (from Muddenahalli) in a car at the signal. I just went to him to confirm if there was going to be Darshan in the evening. He replied in the affirmative and also asked me to get into the car since he was going to Muddenahalli too and there was just one seat vacant. What a blessing! I wasn't surprised at all as I' m getting used to the ways of Swami. He is our Praanasakha. With complete faith, flows the Divine Grace.
As our car stopped at the next traffic signal, I realized we were just behind Swami's car!! Now this is something that I had never expected. Swami had finished His lunch at the devotee’s place and was returning. To know that we would be following His car all the way to Muddenahalli was unbelievable. With Swami, nothing is a coincidence. You increasingly start to believe the script is ready, and the enactment is on. At the next signal we were just next to Him! He looked at us, amazed, with a hint of smile. At the Toll gate on NH4, the escort BMW saw Him off. Then it was just 3 vehicles in the convoy, Swami's Mercedes, the Innova and our Etios. Every time our prayers intensified, there would be a huge truck or a bus blocking the speeding Swami's car, perfectly in sync.
Rain swept Sathya Sai Grama looked fresh. I was glad I'm alive to be here, in this period of transition! I had reached the Ashram by 3:30PM. When the Eternal Charioteer steers your path, you are destined to reach the destination swiftly and comfortably. Swami has been gracious enough to have me seated in the front row for Darshan every time I was there, thanks to the "Old Student" tag. But somehow somewhere I had this feeling of guilt lurking in me that I wasn't doing enough to deserve the seating. Since Swami is on a “business trip” this time in the subtle form, He means work. There is no scope for dilly dallying for the devotees. He needs to accomplish 70% of the tasks of the Sathya Sai Avatar in this last phase of just 8 to 10 years before He switches to the next level, a crucial phase where you have to be on your toes to keep in pace with His speed. And here I was aimlessly sitting not knowing what to do that would make Him happy. After a re-energizing Vedam, Bhajan, Satsangh and the Divine Discourse, Swami came walking, taking letters from some and guiding others, a word of solace to the depressed. As He came towards me, He gave me an instruction on a task that He had decided I would do. My scene had finally come in His drama! A 'Govardhana Giri' moment to be elevated by Him to be part of His Mission directly under Him!
He does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called ones!
When I look back, I realize the car that had brought me from Tumkur to Muddenahalli belonged to the same Division where Swami had entrusted me the work at. These are little things that strengthen our faith. It couldn't have been anyone else but Swami who is behind the wheel steering my path.
God often chooses unlikely people to carry out His plan because He looks at the heart and not human qualifications!
Preetham Sai P V