"Everyone has a friend... That’s Me!" - By N. S. Ramnath

Sri Sathya Sai at Trayee Brindavan
The greeting card was really beautiful. There was a painting of a small boy smiling cheerfully. The caption read “You have always been with me when I needed you, given me courage and made me feel good.” There was another caption inside the card, “Wish everyone has a friend like you. Happy Birthday!” The boy who bought the card liked it. He wanted to show it to a senior student who stayed in his room, as soon as he bought it. But, the busy schedule in the hostel could spare a few minutes only before the bed time. The senior student looked at the card, smiled and said somewhat cryptically, “There is only one friend I know who fits into this description perfectly.”
 
“Really, do I know him?”
 
“Perhaps! He lives here, said the senior student.

“Then I’ll find out. I’ll tell you tomorrow.”
 
With that, the conversation ended, and the boy went to bed thinking, “Who could that friend be? How wonderful it would be to have a friend like him! A friend who is near you all the time you need him.”
 
A student in the hostel suffered from breathing trouble. For him the days started with the fear of nights, when breathing became very difficult, and ended with symptoms of yet another attack of asthma. He could not concentrate on his studies, could not play any game, and found it difficult even to jog. That year, Bhagavan was in Brindavan, and he had called the boys from Prashanti Nilayam to participate in Guru Poornima celebrations. The boys were jubilant. They reached Brindavan, rushed to Sai Ramesh Hall to be in the comforting presence of their beloved Lord. 
Trayee Brindavan - Sri Sathya Sai Residence at Bangalore
The day came to a close and the boys retired to their beds. Among them was this boy, dreading the long night ahead of him. Then came the symptoms - cough and sweat. The boy thought, “Why should I fear, when Swami is so near to me?” He looked through the window facing Trayee Brindavan. It was just a few meters away. This thought comforted him. The minutes ticked by and he realized he was more aware of Swami’s presence, than he was of the difficulty in breathing. Though he had to take in long breaths, he did not feel any pain. During the snatches of sleep he could manage, he dreamt of Bhagavan. Thus, the whole night passed. The boy could feel Swami’s presence throughout. As the bell in the hostel chimed to herald the coming of a new day, the boy felt rejuvenated. The fear of asthma lurked no longer in his mind. He felt light, happy and grateful.
Sri Sathya Sai Hostel, Brindavan
Swami has not cured the boy of his asthma yet, but the boy no longer fears the nights of suffering, for he knows that he is not alone.
The boy who bought the greeting card did not feel sleepy. He thought of how the students, after leaving the portals of Sai Institute, held on to the principles in spite of adverse circumstances. Those instances truly are demonstrations of courage for as Gandhiji said, “Mental courage is infinitely more important than physical courage.” There was the student who refused to drink Vodka (an intoxicating drink), offered by a Russian executive (during a contract negotiation meeting) even at the risk of losing millions of dollars. And then, there was another boy who refused to pay a bribe of five rupees to get a ticket to his place. Ultimately, in the first instance, the boy was instrumental in getting the million dollar contract for his company. And in the second instance, the boy did buy a ticket without bribing the clerk. Swami not only gives the courage to stick to one’s ideals but also makes sure that one realizes that it pays to lead a principle - centered life.
 
Sri Sathya Sai Darshan at
Sai Ramesh Hall, Brindavan
Now, the boy remembered a story - Once, a man asked God: “O Lord! Will You forgive me for the sins I have committed?” God smiled and said, “Sins! My child, I don’t remember the mistakes you might have made. I only remember Your love.” A boy sitting in the first row of Darshan lines was feeling very bad. He remembered his unkept promises. He remembered how fast he lost his temper when a friend of his tried to play a practical joke on him. “What will Swami say? Will He ignore me? Chide me?” The boy was anxious. At last, Swami came and looked at the boy. What did the boy see in Swami’s eye? Anger? Reprimand? No! Love was all he could see, and his spirits soared high. Love and joy took the place of guilt.
 
Thinking thus the boy fell asleep.
 
The next day, the senior student came to the boy and read out from the greeting card, “Wish everyone have a friend like you.” With a mischievous smile he asked, “Did you find out?”

“Yes
, the boy pointed to a beautiful picture of Bhagavan. The smile in Bhagavan’s face seemed to say, “Yes, Bangaaru! Everyone has a friend. That’s Me!” 


- N. S. Ramnath
Student (1996-98), Department of Management Studies
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus
Currently, Co-Founder, How India Lives, Noida
 


Source: Sai Nandana 1995 (70th Birthday Issue)

1 comment:

  1. Another beautiful article from Ramnath, he ensures that his reader goes through emotions, gets insight and then smiles towards the end of the article, some talent I can say, more from you is our lesser ask Ramnath, thanks again.

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