Sunday, April 5, 2015

I am just a beggar at your door, Swami (Sathya Sai Baba)

The entire year of 2010 and the first three months of 2011 were a period of heightened spiritual awareness and sadhana (spiritual effort), and also some facial gesture type interaction, for me with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba at physical form level. [Note that the last public darshan of Swami, alive in physical form, in Kulwant Hall was towards end-March 2011, after which He was moved to the hospital.]

As I was a teacher then in the Sai university, PrashantiNilayam (Puttaparthi) campus, I would have regular darshans of Swami in Kulwant Hall from quite close quarters (10 to 20 feet typically) where eye contact between Swami and me was easily and unmistakably possible. Due to my IBS health problem I would sit in the garage side (old students block) as that allowed me to leave whenever required (except while Swami was doing his darshan round) without causing significant distraction to others.

The Upanishads as well as Swami in some discourses (in the past) were driving in the message that we are all God. That is, I too am God. Swami would clarify that we, or most of us, rather, have not realized our truth and imagined or rather deluded ourselves that we were only limited to our body and mind. And Swami would exhort us to rise higher spiritually.

As I tried to go deeper spiritually via meditation and a loving attitude towards all, I was hungry for the experience that I was in all and that all was in me. That led me to do some foolish things which landed me in really serious trouble, and taught me some unforgettable lessons about how a spiritual aspirant, especially a meditator, should be when he/she is interacting with others in society, especially those that are not into meditation.

Try what I could, including some foolish things, I did not get that experience. I was made keenly aware of my limited spiritual evolution. Further, as I also faced some health challenges, perhaps made worse by some inappropriate spiritual efforts, I was made keenly aware of my physical body limitations too!

I also planned to do something which seemed to me to be quite trivial then, which I now realize was exceedingly foolish. Swami's fury towards me due to that stupid plan of mine in 2010 (I am not entirely sure that it was in 2010; if not it would have been in early part of 2011) when He was bound to a wheelchair, was expressed in a truly extraordinary and miraculous way, in Sai Kulwant Hall, at darshan time. I am afraid I am not in a position to give more details about the miraculous (paranormal) way He showed His fury to me. I was utterly awe-struck by that demonstration of miraculous/paranormal power by Swami. After that incident, Swami became Lord Shiva for me. Earlier I had developed deep faith that Swami had come as Rama and Krishna in earlier ages. But now Swami was the even older Deva, Shiva (Siva), for me. [BTW, being an Iyer,, my family is traditionally Shaivite/Saivite. But I do not recall special devotion to Shiva particularly, in comparison to devotion to Rama & Krishna, as well as the other Vedic and Puranic gods and goddesses. My family environment led me to belief in Adi Shankara's Advaita,, at quite an early age, where all these gods are treated as generally equal. One God with various forms and names, was the accepted view. I must also mention here that college life (I graduated in Physics) and my extensive reading habit of books & media in English language, led me, during my young adult days, to become an agnostic with lots of doubt about the truthfulness of accounts of miracles in Hindu scripture like the Puranas and the Itihasas (Ramayana and Mahabharata).]

Of course, I learned my lesson very well. I completely dropped the idea of doing the seemingly small thing that I had planned to do. Later I realized that it was spiritual immaturity and misunderstanding that led me to think of doing that seemingly small thing. The seemingly small thing may have led to creation of spiritual doubt in the mind of somebody. And, after a particular stage at least, doubt, IMHO, is the biggest enemy of the committed spiritual aspirant. Even accomplished spiritual leaders can get devastated by spiritual doubt.

Over the past few years, especially after Swami's Mahasamadhi, I have felt very bad that I had planned to do something seemingly small, which infuriated Swami to that extent in 2010. At that time, I did not really know the extent of His physical body challenges, and fully believed that He had just taken them on Himself and could shake them off (like He shook off His paralysis some decades earlier) in a moment. I was absolutely sure that He would live in his physical body till 96 years (solar calendar). Later, after His Mahasamadhi, when I learned details about how fragile his body had been, I felt extremely anguished that I had caused Him to become so angry at me. I have since prayed to Him and apologized fervently, many, many times, for having infuriated Him then. Even now, via this blog post, I earnestly pray to Him and seek His forgiveness for having infuriated Him with the seemingly small thing I had planned to do then. And, I guess, I will be continuing to apologize and seek His forgiveness on this matter, in the future too.

Perhaps it was destiny that led to this incident/experience between Swami and me. This experience deepened my faith in Swami's miraculous powers quite dramatically. Now the incidents mentioned about the fury of Narasimha Avatar or of Shiva himself, and even Krishna's fury at Bhishma during the Mahabharata war, as related in Hindu scripture, became real for me. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that previous avatars would have had such powers.

As I went through such experiences in this period of heightened spiritual awareness and sadhana (spiritual effort) it became crystal clear to me, that at least for my level of spiritual evolution then, I was just a beggar at Swami's door. I recall that in this period I had sent such thoughts (I am just a beggar at your door, Swami) to Swami as he was doing his darshan round in Sai Kulwant Hall or after his darshan round when he would be stationed at the centre of the Darshan platform giving darshan to all around. I don't recall any gesture response from him for this thought of mine being sent to him. Perhaps he did not like me referring to myself as a beggar at his door. But I think that was my reality then and now. Whenever I faced any problem I would do my bit to tackle it and if it still did not get resolved I would turn to and pray to Swami for help. And that continues to this day.

So, even today, while I believe in the truth of the Upanishads and Swami's statements on the matter that at the core inner being of each of us, our existential reality, we are all one, and that one entity is what we refer to as God, I have not spiritually evolved to the level where I have had any such experience, let alone being established in that experience. So, even today, my spiritual level is that, for many, many matters beyond my control, I am just a beggar at Swami's (Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's) door.

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