PRECIOUS CLOSENESS TO BHAGAWAN
By Sri B Arvind
A Current Student of Swami's Institute
This is the transcription of the talk delivered by Sri B Arvind in the divine presence of Bhagawan Baba on the 29th of July 2005.
Offering my Humble Pranaams at Bhagavanís Lotus Feet. Beloved Bhagavan, esteemed elders, dear brothers and sisters.
The Message of the Messiah
Once upon a time there was a Messiah who had come to Earth. After spending a long period on Earth, he decided that he would quit. So he went on top of the mountain and told everyone present, "Listen, today I am going to quit. I am no longer a Messiah." Hearing this, the people were shocked. They said, "You canít quit! If you leave us, how will we communicate with God? How can we keep in touch with Him? So you canít do this!" He said, "Listen, youíre a fisherman; when you get tired, you donít go fishing. You are a manager; when you get tired, you donít go to work. I am a Messiah, and I donít want to do it anymore so I am quitting."
The people could not convince him. And so, they said, "Before you quit, please give us one message from God. A message following which our lives will be fulfilled Ė the greatest and the most wonderful lesson that God has to give us."
The world always looks for compactness, shortcuts. They asked this from the Messiah. They said, "Before leaving, do this much for us." He said, "So you want to know what God wants you to do?" They all chorused, "Yes!"
"Okay, I will tell you. But are you ready to follow it?"
They said, "Yes! We are ready to follow it, even if it means giving up our lives, even if it means giving up our wives, our children, our husbands, our relations, everyone. We are ready!"
He said: "Think again. Are you ready?" They said, "Yes, even if it means going through the fires of hell. Even if it means getting crucified upside down. We are ready to undergo any torture, any amount of sadness for God."
The Messiah smiled and said, "ListenÖGod wants you all to be happy!"
And there was a stunned silence.
Brothers and sisters, we are all ready to suffer for God. We are all ready to undergo pain for God. But are we ready to be cheerful for God? To be happy for God every moment of our lives? What is it that we want in our lives? We want to be happy every moment. And what is it that God wants from us? He wants us to be happy every moment. Then where is the problem? Why are we not happy every moment of our lives?
This has been answered in various ways, in various scriptures, by various religions. And I feel that being in the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, this is the greatest gift we receive: the gift of this higher learning; learning how to be always happy.
We are unhappy because of what people term Maya Ė ignorance; and we have the Jagad Guru, the Lord of Lords amongst us to help us overcome this. Talking about ignorance, or Maya, I am reminded of an interesting anecdote.
Once upon a time there was a fisherman who used to go to the beach and throw out his fishing net. He would catch his fish and return. In the ocean there were so many fish but there was one particular fish that was never caught in the net. All of its friends and relatives used to get caught but not this fish. So one day, all the other fish went to this fish and asked, "How is it that you never get caught in the net?" The fish explained, "When the fisherman comes, he throws his net. At that time I swim close to his feet so I donít get caught in the net."
To escape from this net of Maya the only way is to take refuge at the feet of the fisherman Ė our Lord! That is what Jesus meant when he went to the fishermen and said: "I am a fisher among men." That is what Bhagavan also said in His very first discourse as a tiny lad: "Manasa Bhajare Guru Charanam, Dushtara Bhava Saagara Taranam."
At the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Swami is our Mother, our Father, our Guru, our Friend, our Everything:
Tvameva Mata Cha Pita Tvameva,
Tvameva Bandhus Cha Sakha Tvameva;
Tvameva Vidya Dravinam Tvameva,
Tvameva Saravam Mama Deva Deva.
Mama Sai Deva.
As You Think, So It Is
I used to wonder how should I establish my rapport with my Master, my Guru, my Friend, my Everything? And then what I did was this: (I am being very honest and frank in laying before everybody what I did and how wonderfully it worked.)
Though I could not see my Bhagavan with me always, I imagined that my Bhagavan is with me whether I eat my food, whether I sleep, whether I talk, whether I am in the classroom. I imagined that Bhagavan is with me and I would talk to Him. Anything I found uninteresting I would tell him, "Swami, this is not interesting for me." Anything I found interesting, I would also tell Him.
In fact, it became so much so that when walking on the road I would say, "Bhagavan, You walk on this side because vehicles are coming on that side." At the same time I would say, "Swami, now so many people are coming; please donít go and start talking with them. Be only with me." (I meant only in my imagination.) This was because in the beginning I used to pray, "Bhagavan, please donít leave my hand, always hold on to me."
One night He came in my dream. He called me and said, "You are praying in the wrong manner. Remember, I will never leave your hand. You donít leave My hand, okay?"
And so, this is how it went on. I imagined that my Bhagavan is always walking with me. Because this is what the Truth is: though we cannot see Him, though we cannot hear Him, He is always there. And so this went on everyday and I was happy.
All A Hallucination?
But then one day a small problem came up. I told Bhagavan, "Bhagavan, see this is the problem; it is not getting solved." And I wrote it down in a letter to Him and I came to the Mandir. And I was so sure that when Bhagavan came, He would take the letter from me. So I was sitting there, and as Bhagavan passed by I held out the letter. He merely passed by without even looking at me. At that moment I felt crushed. I felt that all that I was doing was nothing but hallucination!
Is it really true that Bhagavan is with me or am I merely imagining Him? Are these all my hallucinations? I was shaken. I said, "Then whom do I tell this?" It was something which I didnít want to tell anybody and I said, "I cannot even tell it to Bhagavan. Is it that I am alone in this world? Do I really have nobody?" And the next week was torture because I felt so lonely. I felt helpless.
And then that night I had another dream. In that dream it looked like the whole world was out to strangle me. And when I was running, Bhagavan came out and said, "Come with me." Even in the dream I was still very angry with Bhagavan so I just walked with Him. Then Bhagavan said, "Shall we go to the park?" I told Him, "Why are you asking me? You do what you want!"
Then Bhagavan said, "No, no, no before you do anything you tell me. How can I do anything without telling you? So shall we go to the park?" I was surprised.
As we were walking towards the park, Bhagavan said, "Arvind, I am scared to walk on this side of the road. Can I walk on that side?" When we reached the park, Bhagavan said, "You sit here and block me, because you see those people there? If they see me they will come and talk to me. Then whom will you talk with?" And at this moment I was shocked.
In the dream I said, "Bhagavan, how do you know all this?" At that time Bhagavan put on His angry face. He said, "Until four days ago you used to tell me everything. You used to share and we used to be so happy. For four days now you have been so silent, I donít know why." And the dream ended there.
Bhagavan is always with us but we may not be able to feel Him. If the radio set is out of order, can you blame the transmitting tower? No. The radio waves are always in the air. The tuning system is broken, so we were not able to tune in and we blame the tower! This is what happens.
It once happened that Bhagavan came and mentioned to a senior teacher here, "So many people are writing letters." Then the teacher said, "Bhagavan, maybe they have some emergency Ė thatís why." Bhagavan then looked at Him and said: "What? Once they come under Me do they have any emergencies? The very moment they come to Me there is no emergency in their lives!" And this is the greatest benefit we have. We have all come under Sai.
Let me narrate one incident. We always think that we have come to Puttaparthi. We have come via rail, road, or airplane to Swami. Let me mention an incident that will make us all realize how fortunate we are.
"Your Time Has Not Yet Come"
There was a convener in Indore named Mr. Mandalay. Every Thursday he would hold bhajans at his house. He noticed that the number of devotees coming for bhajans was increasing and many faces were unfamiliar. So he went to those people and asked them, "Are you new devotees for Bhagavan?" They said, "No. On the railway station there is a Sanyasi who says, ĎIf you want peace of mind, go to this house on Thursday and you will get it.í Listening to this Mr. Mandalay was surprised. He decided he would go to the railway station and find out for himself. He went there and as he approached the Sanyasi, the Sanyasi told him, "Stop! Donít come near me. If you want to come near me there are two conditions. Condition one: you should not fall at my feet. Condition two: I will fall at your feet."
Listening to this Mr. Mandalay was stunned. Next the Sanyasi said when Bhagavan visited North India He went to the ashram of Swami Shivananda. He said, "I was a disciple of Swami Shivananda. Swami Shivananda was my Mentor, my Guide, my Guru, my Teacher. When Bhagavan came, he ran and prostrated to him and spent one day with Bhagavan.
"The next day, we all asked our Guru, 'Who was this lad?' [Swami was very young at that time.]
Swami Shivananda proclaimed: "He is the Jagad Guru!"
After that the Sanyasi said, "Whenever I meditated in my third eye region I could always see Swami." But he never made any effort to come to Puttaparthi.
One day, while traveling to Madras, He saw a photo of Bhagavan and he enquired about Him. Some people told him that Swami is there at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh. He was overjoyed listening to this.
He asked them, "How can I get to Puttaparthi?" They said, "Very simple. Catch a train to Dharmavaram. From there, take a bus to Puttaparthi."
He said, "I took a train to Dharmavaram. By the time I reached Dharmavaram it was late at night so I decided to sleep and catch the bus to Puttaparthi the next morning." But he said the next morning "I woke up in a distant cave in the Himalayas." And then I heard a Voice which told me "Bangaru, your time has not yet come. You will have to wait."
He said, "Sir, I have not been able to step on to the hallowed land of Puttaparthi, while you visit every now and then. You have had the chance to have Darshan, Sparshan and Sambhashan with Bhagavan Baba. Tell me, should you fall at my feet or should I fall at your feet?"
Brothers and sisters, let us never forget what a great opportunity it is just to sit and look at Bhagavan. Sages and saints of yore have prayed for ages and they just get a glimpse. We get Darshan for hours together. Itís time that we realize our opportunity.
Let Our Lives Be Bhagavanís Pride
I would like to conclude with one thing an elder brother told me. I asked him, "Brother, what do you think we should do so that our lives will not be a waste?" He told me something which seemed very radical. But I would love to share it with everyone because it is the truth.
He said, "Arvind, after Bhagavan completes His Avatarhood, suppose Lord Indra comes to Him and asks, "Bhagavan, you have returned! How was Your mission?" And before Bhagavan can answer Indra looks at Him and says, "Bhagavan, see that Arvind there, he stayed with you for thirty years but there is no change in him! What happened, Bhagavan?"
And that brother told me that should never happen. What should happen is that if Indra comes and asks, "Bhagavan, how was the Mission ?" Bhagavan should look and say, "You see that Arvind there? He was a piece of junk when he came to me. And when you see what he is today you will understand My Mission."
Each of our lives should enable Bhagavan to point out and say, "If you are to see the quality of My Mission, look at the life of this devotee. Look at the life of that student." And our life must stand as testimony to Bhagavanís Mission.
Bhagavan, I have only one prayer: "Give us that Love and let our Love for You grow every moment. Let it grow stronger and stronger."
Because in this life there is nothing, I stress nothing more important or of any greater value than loving Bhagavan, loving God, with all oneís heart.
Jai Sai Ram!
Posted by Gerald Dominick on 10.06.2005