Namami Sayeeswara Pada Pankajam
Karomi Sayeeswara Poojanam Sada
Vadami Sayeeswara Nama Nirmalam
Smarami Sayeeswara Tatvamayayam
(Let us surrender at the divine lotus feet of Lord Sai,
Let us always engage in the worship of Lord Sai,
Let us chant the sacred name of Lord Sai,
Let us remember the eternal message of Lord Sai.)
“As long as I live, so long do I learn” said Sri Ramakrishna, the saint of Dakshineswar. Offering myself at the divine lotus feet of our Jagadguru (Universal Teacher) Sathya Sai Baba, I wish to share some of the precious lessons that I learnt from the hundreds of darshans (seeing the divine form) of Sathya Sai Baba that I had in this life.
It is said that the Saint Sabari, the devotee of Lord Sri Rama, had just one darshan and attained the highest goal of life, achieving liberation from this cycle of birth and death and merging with God. I had hundreds of darshans of Sathya Sai Baba (referred to lovingly as Swami by many devotees) in my life and I often wondered why I did not realise the omnipresent divine form of Him. I know that my Lord Sathya Sai is perfect, so it must be a fault within me. How was Sabari able to do it? You will have to read this article to the end to learn the secret of Sabari’s success.
On this auspicious day of Guru Poornima, let us try to realise the goal of human life. Swami, in almost every discourse, directly or indirectly, told us that the goal of human life is to realise the inherent divinity that is present in everything, everywhere, ever. Therefore, we need to realise the inherent divinity within us. This is one of the reasons Avatars take human birth, whether it is Lord Rama, Lord Jesus or Lord Sathya Sai Baba. The tools the Avatars use to transform and grant us this ultimate blessing and bliss of realising God may be different, depending on the time and context.
We celebrate the full moon day in the month of Ashadha (June–July) as Guru Poornima because it is believed that the Guru principle is thousand times more potent on this day than any other day. It is important to note that Jagadguru Sathya Sai Baba walked amongst us daily, giving darshans morning and evening. When we share the memories of these darshans with other devotees our happiness multiplies a thousand-fold and it also gives happiness to others.
The first song by Sathya Sai Baba, manasa bhajare guru charanam (mental worship of our Lord and Guru or spiritual guide) clearly helps us to understand what is expected from us, the devotees. It is not the hundreds of darshans of the physical form of Sathya Sai Baba alone that give us eternal happiness, but it is our mind that should always faithfully worship His lotus feet. Lord Sai Himself will then assume the responsibility of taking us across the ocean of samsara, which is the endless cycle of birth and death.
One of the beautiful moments for all devotees of Sathya Sai Baba is waking up very early in the morning, perhaps as early as 2:00 AM and going for His darshan which is usually between 6:30 and 7:00 AM. People must wait for several hours and there is no shortcut. During my visits in the late 1990’s to Prasanthi Nilayam, the abode of supreme peace, I would go for darshan of Sathya Sai Baba around 3:00 AM towards the mandir where 40 to 50 long lines formed outside Sai Kulwant Hall. Then the lines moved into the hall according to tokens randomly picked by the first person of each line. The devotees in the first token line went first into the hall and took the good seats in the front along the path where Swami would walk. Beyond two or three token lines, people had a somewhat obstructed view or darshan of the Lord. We longed to get a first line token, hoping for the chance of close interaction with the Lord.
A fond memory comes to my mind as a devotee seated in Sai Kulwant Hall once shared an experience with those around him, including me. During darshan this devotee expressed his happiness to Swami that after waiting for six months, he finally got to be in the first token line to see Swami. Swami replied that He has been waiting for him since his last 1,000 human births! In fact, the Lord loves us much more than we love Him. However, most of us are not suitably prepared to have darshan of the Lord. It is the constant thinking of the Lord, like Sabari, which purifies us, and prepares us to benefit spiritually from the darshan of the Lord.
Another important lesson I learnt during darshan is not to judge others. Swami knows the spiritual progress of each person and what they need. One day during darshan, my line was the first to go inside Sai Kulwant Hall and I was in the front row. Sitting near me on my side of the footpath was a villager wearing a little dirty lungi (simple cloth). I thought that Swami will not look towards my side because villagers are usually not disciplined, and Swami loves discipline. To the contrary, Swami on that day walked slowly, looked at him and asked him in Telugu “where did you come from?” This man went into bliss and did not speak a word. I noted that this villager was the most disciplined person sitting near me as everyone else was getting up and moving around, causing confusion. Swami again asked the same question to this villager softly and came very close to him while also looking sternly at me. Swami then created vibhuti and lovingly applied it on his forehead and gave some to others around me, but not to me. He was very stern when He looked at me and I realised at that very moment my own fault for judging the villager.
Lord Sai luckily did not test me for a long time. The next day He asked me the same question and patted me as a sign of forgiveness. This made me very happy since I realised my fault on the previous day.
It is important for us to realise that the Lord is within us. Every thought of ours is known to Him and a physical interaction with the Lord is not needed if we have true faith. Faith that God exists and is always within us and watching over us will lead us to the goal of human life without fail. There is no need to run after numerous false gurus who collect money. Instead of wasting our time in listening to these so-called gurus who are platform heroes and practical zeros, let us remember our true Guru and practice the teachings of our Jagadguru Sathya Sai Baba who is always with us.
I am grateful to Him for providing many opportunities to serve Him through the Sathya Sai International Organisation. His love for me and every one of us is immeasurable. Let us all arise, awake and stop not till we realise the divinity within us. Let us serve Him and remember Him in our thoughts, words and deeds and attain our goal of Self-realisation in this very life.
Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all the worlds be happy.
Krishna Srinivasan, USA.
Follow the example of Sabari, who always thought of Sri Rama and His happiness, and dedicated all her thoughts, words, and deeds to Him alone, so much so that every action of hers was transformed and sublimated into the highest thapas(penance.) From her example, you must learn the lesson that meditation does not mean sitting idle in a particular posture of the body, as if you are posing for a photograph. As in her case, your entire life must become a continuous meditation wherever you may be staying and whatever you may be doing. Whatever you eat or drink must be offered to God as naivedya or holy offering. In this manner, if you offer everything to the Lord, you will naturally be prevented from engaging yourself in bad actions or evil ways in your life.
Summer Showers 1990.