|P.S. Pramod with Sri Sathya Sai at Trayee Brindavan|
During one’s stay in His Institutions, one gets the rarest opportunity of learning from the Cosmic Teacher Himself. One learns from Him the most important lessons of life, some so simple as how to behave in awkward situations and some as intricate as understanding the inner self. Each day, He teaches us either directly or indirectly through His actions and interactions in a manner that is at times candid and at times subtle.
I wish to mention some the invaluable lessons I have learnt in his hallowed institutions. Each experience with Him leaves a message, a message that serves as an inspiration throughout one’s life.
This incident took place two decades ago. A new solar water heating system had been installed in the Primary School and Swami had to come to the school to inaugurate it by opening the tap so that the water could flow out. Swami turned the tap on. But something happened that left everybody present there shocked. Due to some problem the tap came out of its fixture and steaming hot water splashed on Swami drenching Him totally. All looked at Swami filled with apprehension.
Swami laughed it off as though He was the least affected by it. Like a child said, “Wow, I had the first bath.” Had I been in this situation, I would have taken to task the person responsible for the mishap. In this single act of His He taught us how to tackle such situations.
Many a time, one can commit a wrong almost unconsciously. But He is not oblivious to one’s doings, whether right or wrong, as I was made aware on a February evening last year. Swami was sitting in the Kulwant Hall during the Bhajan. During one of the Bhajans, the singer’s voice cracked, so he could not sing articular line well. I began to think low of him. I then looked at Swami and was taken aback to see Him staring sternly at me. I wondered as to why He stared at so and then it struck me that I was no singer to judge and was merely a follower. Thus I realised my folly.
I looked up again at him praying for forgiveness and He smiled at me in answer to my prayer. He had taught me in a single glance, without even uttering a word not to be critical of others.
|Pramod with Sri Sathya Sai |
- After chanting Vedam on the dais at Sai Ramesh Hall, Bangalore
Every act of His contains a lesson to be learnt. He does not consider any act as menial. In fact, He would do anything to teach His students vital lessons of life. Many summers ago, Swami had taken a group of students along with Him to Kodaikanal. On a particular day at lunch, He got up earlier than usual from the dining table He was sharing with the students and proceeded to the washbasin. As He did not return for quite some time one of the students went to the washbasin and was shocked to see Swami cleaning the basin. The student asked Swami to leave the job to him and asked Him as to why He was cleaning when He could have asked any of them to do it. He countered by asking the student if there was anything wrong in His cleaning the basin when He found it dirty. The student was at a loss for words ashamed that Swami had to clean the washbasin. He would have easily instructed someone to do the job but He Himself did it, because He wanted the boys to learn the importance of being socially aware and keeping one’s surroundings clean.
Some of His Actions may appear strange at first and He may behave in a way that deludes us, leading us into thinking He is human. Only by deep thought one can realise the meaning and the staggering import of His Words and Actions. Swami frequently poses this question to many of his students, “Where do you come from?” Some reply by giving the name of their hometowns, others say, “From You, Swami.”
Swami put this question to me a number of times. At first I used to give the first reply. Later, I too started giving the latter reply. I began to wonder, “Why does He ask me this question so many times?” I was confused as to which answer was the right one. Then one day Bhagavan mentioned in a discourse that one is separate from his body and that one must go back to his source i.e. God. I felt, “At last I know the right answer.”
I was eagerly awaiting an opportunity from Him to express this late realisation of mine. Many months passed and the chance came on my birthday. He asked me the question and I replied Him the name of my hometown. I had forgotten the right answer. I realised that profound Truth is elusive, and it is difficult to imbibe it at one go. I later realised why He keeps asking us the question. It is so that we may recognise the fact that we are not the body, but a child of the cosmic Divine (which He undoubtedly is) to whom all of Creation must finally return. I began to pray for another chance. A few days later, He asked me the same question. This time, sure of the right answer, I looked up at Him and said, “From You, Swami.”
He then gave His most beautiful smile acknowledging my realisation of the timeless truth and I was transported to another world. He shows us the way in undertaking any good activity. He says that any good act contemplated upon will have no hindrance be it either due to dearth of funds or of willing people and this has been proved in all the welfare projects He has taken up. All projects of His, whether they are the super specialty hospitals, the educational institutions, the water projects, the gram Seva or the orphan adoption scheme are an outcome of His profound love towards humanity and His desire to uplift its suffering section. All His projects are now world famous and are models that ought to be replicated not just because they are offered free of cost, but because of the inspiration and the commitment behind them due to which they have all been implemented ahead of schedule and are running successfully on a sustained basis.
|P.S. Pramod (right) receiving the Sports and Cultural Meet Cup from Sri Sathya Sai at the Valedictory function of the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet|
The United Nations recently commissioned a report to study the role of values in building water supply projects looking at the speedy implementation and the impact of Bhagavan’s projects. As His students we have been directly involved in His Grama Seva projects and this has taught us the value of service that can bring a smile to the faces of the suffering masses.
His sending us youngsters to do service in the villages has made us aware of the pressing needs of the villages in our country. His service activities inspire us to take up similar projects. He teaches us to selflessly serve society.
Of all the lessons He has taught and keeps on teaching us, the greatest is that of love. It is His Love alone that makes Him serve, forgetting His own wellbeing that others may be happy. About three years ago, around Gurupurnima, a boy studying in first class in the primary school had been infected with mumps and was in severe pain. The headmistress informed Swami of his condition. Swami assured her saying everything would be all right giving her Vibhuti to be given to the boy. By the next morning, the boy’s mumps had vanished and he had no pain whatsoever. However the devotees in the Mandir noticed a swelling on Swami’s throat and asked Swami what had happened. He replied that they were imagining things and He was perfectly fine. It was only after a few days of constant pestering that He revealed His taking upon Himself the mumps of the Primary School boy.
All His Activities are motivated by His immense Love towards humanity. It is His love that gives birth to all His projects. The Grama Seva shows the extent and depth of His love. It was around five years ago, on an October afternoon that He called all the teachers of His educational institutions to the Bhajan hall. He expressed His wish to start the Grama Seva. As He addressed them about a news report He had happened to read, His voice choked and tears welled up in His eyes. A mother, unable to bear the suffering due to poverty had committed suicide after killing her children by giving them poison. He said that such incidents must not take place in our great country - Bharat, which has been made sacred through the actions and sacrifices of our ancestors. He decided to do something to address the situation and the Grama Seva was the result. It has been serving villages to uplift the lives of people. The expressions of His love are innumerable and infinite and it would be impossible to narrate all of them.
It is His Love alone that attracts people from the entire world, who come to see and learn from Him. It is His Message of Love that is so uplifting that it can save mankind from the forces of chaos and destruction.
It is the very same love that inspires millions to do acts of service they otherwise would not have done. He says, “My Life is My Message.” His Life is indeed a powerful Message that can uplift man from His banal existence in the material world to a place of eternal bliss and fulfilment. It is up to us to draw upon the lessons from His Life and Teachings, which can redeem man from the vicious cycle of birth and death.
- P. S. Pramod
Student (2003-2008), Department of Physics
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus
Currently, Senior Research Fellow, ARCI, Hyderabad