Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sri Sathya Sai and the stars of the world

Travel epad:

Swami can take you through a joy ride. 
A few days back we were sitting along with a few advasi families, sharing food with them, and today we were at the Governor of Punjab's house having breakfast in a royal setting.

Now I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but i did have one in my mouth today. The cutlery was silver, embossed with the 4 lions emblem. Well dressed waiters presented varieties in different courses. Any effort to express that we had already had our breakfast was met with a response of "Please consider it early lunch."

All this simply because H.E. Shivraj Patil is an ardent devotee of Bhagwan and was more then happy to be interviewed by and meeting Sai devotees on a working day.

During breakfast we spoke about Swami (well who else!) and here's what we learned. 

Sri Patil mentioned that years ago when Prince Charles visited India along with Lady Diana, the then Vice President Sri Shankar Dayal Sharma invited them along with the Speaker Sri Patil for a dinner. As the 4 of them conversed, Prince Charles asked out of the blue "Do you know who Sathya Sai Baba is?" Surprised by the question they both replied in the affirmative, and then some other talk resumed. 

Some time later the Prince asked again "How far is His ashram from here?" They replied 'some 1500 kms.' Lady Diana curiously looked on as the Prince held his ground,  "Have you ever been there?" Both, the VP and the Speaker replied in the affirmative. He asked again "Can anyone go there?" "Yes" replied the Vice President and added that if he liked, they could make arrangements for the Prince to travel to Puttaparthi to have darshans. 

Mr Patil said the Prince looked very interested but then added with a tinge of disappointment "Perhaps on my next visit. My visit is tightly scheduled this time, also I do not know how the media back home will react to my visit to Baba."

This reminds me of a trayee session where Swami asked the All India President Sri Srinivasan to speak and he mentioned how on one of Prince Charles's visit to India where he came to a high level meeting with the top industrialists of this country, Prince Charles's secretary pointed out Sri Srinivasan to the Prince and whispered something. Prince Charles thereupon made way through the rows of chairs to where Sri Srinivasan was sitting and asked ~
"Are you associated with Sri Sathya Sai Baba?"
"Yes Sir, I am"
"Can you arrange a meeting with me and Him?
"For that you will have to come to Puttaparthi sir."
"I have a packed schedule on this visit, is there no other way to manage this?"
"No Sir, you will have to come to Parthi!"

Back to the Governors house.

Shivraj Patilji's son, Sri Sailesh recounted an interview. 
Swami called him in. There was an American couple already sitting there. Swami asked Sailesh "Do you know who they are?" 
"No Swami"
"She is Clinton's sister and her husband. They do a lot of work for Swami in the States.. they do Narayana seva and Bal vikas work."
Swami then waved His hands and materialized a beautiful pair of diamond earrings and gave it to her husband to put in her ears. Clinton's sister was weeping tears of joy.
We all know that both Bill Clinton and Hillary had requested permission to visit Parthi. Gene chipped in that Chelsea Clinton always has a photo of Swami by her side.

"So did Micheal Jackson." said Sailesh. "Micheal had written to Swami that he would like to come there and perform for Swami. To which Swami replied that people come here not to perform but to pray." As Shivrajji nodded his head in agreement there were smiles all around.

We conducted a wonderful interview, by the end of it we were all so friendly that there were high-fives all round (Just kidding :) ) But it sure felt like a meeting of Sai family.

Bharata or Rama!

After returning from Chitrakoot with his brother Rama's sandals, Bharata handed over the administration of the kingdom to his able brother Shatrughan and himself retired to nandigram in a small hut to live the rest of the 14 years like an ascetic, like Sri Rama, Sita and Laxmana were doing.

Bharata had no mind for anything. He no longer cared for his mothers, wife, the citizens of Ayodhya, the Kingdom.. He did not even care about himself, his food, even His breath. His only thought was of Rama. Day and night, every moment of His were spend in contemplation of His dear Brother.

As time passed Bharat was soon reduced to a skeleton state, his ribs showing, his eyes sunk. Time seem to pass ever so slow. 

Yet for every dark night, there must be a dawn. Hours, days, weeks, months and years past by..

Shatrughan with his ministers rushed to his brother to tell him the good news that Sri Rama along with Sita and Laxmana had returned and had alighted close to the ganges on the outskirts of the kingdom in the pushpa vimana.

Valmiki mentions that as soon as he heard the news of Sri Rama's arrival, Bharata in sheer inner joy,  instantly bloomed like a flower. His body gained strength and luster. He face shown like a sun and sweet fragnance began emitting from him.

Bharata asked for the finest chariot and all regal clothing to be brought immediately. He asked the charioteer to hand over the reins to him as he wanted to be the charioteer to bring Rama home.

It was a sight to behold when all brothers met. The earth was filled with joy and there was not a dry eye.

The citizens of Ayodhya were filled with joyous expectations at their beloved kings return. Flags and festoons pleasing to the eyes were hung every where. The roads of the city were washed with rose water; artistically pleasing floral and colorful decorations and patterns were made all along. The people in their finest clothing stood  crowded at every street from where the chariot would pass. Not an inch of space left.

And then the blessed moment came as Bharata led the chariot carrying Rama, Sita and Laxmana, entered the city. Shatrughana, Hanuman, Sugriva, Anga and the other Vananra heros followed along beholding the facinating scenes. Ayodhya looked like heaven, that even the Gods envied.

Joyous cries echoed in the air as the citizens expressed their joy. Flowers and scented waters were thrown and sprinkled from all around. Auspicious vedic hyms were chanted. Thousand's of arti's were waved at the procession to bring auspiciousness to the procession. Boundless joy filled the air.

But Bharata noticed something very strange. 

To his amazement he noticed that the citizens instead of showering flowers on Sri Rama, Sita and Laxman were showering them at him. All eyes were on him.. Aarti's were being waved at him. Bharata was greatly embrassed and gently pleaded with the citizens asking them to do the honors to Sri Rama, but his voice was lost in the din of the atmosphere. Sri Rama, Sita and Laxman were greatly enjoying this and Bharata's obvious discomfort. Bharata was at a loss, he didn't understand what was happening and why the citizens were behaving this way. But Sri Rama knew it all..

Having spent the last 14 years one pointedly on the thought of Rama, what Bharata did not know was that he had completely taken on the form and look of Rama. Moreover Sri Rama was in royal clothing now and Bharata still donned his bark clothing of a renunciant leading the citizens to believe that He was indeed Rama.

There is nothing surprising about this. If a piece of iron is kept long enough next to a magnet, the iron piece will too become magnetic. Human thoughts are a thousand times more powerful then magnetic energy. Having one-pointedly thought of Rama, Bharata too took on His form.

Isnt this why we do Namasmaranam / Japa? By constantly chanting a divine name, not just in sound, but with heart and mind we take on qualities of that divine aspect. Meditation is the same. A person tries to know God by one pointedly thinking of Him, and once he knows Him, then as the vedic saying goes : He who knows Brahma becomes Brahma. The point where God and bhakta become One that is known as Samadhi. 

May we all become Rama like.