|Amey Deshpande with Swami at Kodaikanal (2005)|
“Love is My form…Truth is My breath…Bliss is My food….” I have heard these momentous words flowing mellifluously from the Divine lips on a number of occasions. And even while I have diligently given chorus to the song many times, it was only recently that I had started pondering over it. The first few words of the Divine song itself are filled with infinite meaning and unfathomable depth. Let me take this opportunity to pen down some of my thoughts as I reflect on this song Divine.
Love is My Form
|Trayee Brindavan - Bhagavan's Ashram in Bangalore|
An elder devotee once asked Swami, “Swami, how is that You love us all so much? You know our shortcomings. In fact, most of us do not even deserve Your love for all the mistakes and sin we commit.’” Swami simply answered, “Love is my nature. I don’t have to separately will it to flow. It is not distinct from me. In fact, I don’t know what it is to be without Love.” Over the years, I, as His student, have seen Swami’s unending, ceaseless and incessant love pour torrentially. And many times I have wondered, “Why? What are we capable of giving back to Him, for which He is showering so much?” It was in 1995, Swami called my mother and myself for an interview. The water project was in full swing and Swami was giving His undivided attention to it. In the interview room, Swami began to explain to us the details of the mega water project that been undertaken. In great detail, He explained the intricacies and difficulties in pumping water over the hills, digging the pipes and constructing the summer storage tanks and then even began explaining the cost involved in the whole project. He said, “I have already hypothecated Brindavan (Swami’s ashram in Bangalore) to get the amount to complete the water project.” Our Hearts skipped a beat, “My God! Swami, why?” We questioned in the Heart. He said, “I am ready to sell everything to complete this project!” and then He said something that has been etched in my Heart forever. He said, “I am ready to sell even Myself!” It stunned us all! We were flabbergasted! Our hands covered our mouth… we could not believe what we were hearing. Swami then asked us, “Do you know what is My price?” as He said this a, twinkle had appeared in His eyes and a little smile on His lips. We had no clue what was coming next? ‘What is price of Bhagavan?’ In the most enchanting manner He went on to give us His price. He said, “I will sell Myself for tiny bit of pure Love, for that is only thing that can buy Me.”
The Lord had disclosed His MRP! (Maximum Realisable Price!) A tiny bit of pure, unsullied, unconditional love. That is all He needs. Love is my Form!
Truth is My Breath
It was Guru Pournima many years ago and towards the end of His Divine Discourse, Swami started singing, “Hari Bhajana Bina Sukha Shanti Nahi…” One of our student Bhajan singers was sitting in the first row and following the Bhajan. All of a sudden He noticed Swami looking at him and asking for something. On careful examination, He found that Swami was in fact asking him for the next line of the Bhajan. At first surprised, He quickly regrouped and went on to prompt Swami the next line. Swami picked up the cue and went on to deliver the Bhajan. A beautiful smile, almost saying, "Thank you" was the price that this particular boy received as a gift. He too was proud of that fact that He had rescued the Lord from a precarious position. During the course of the next festival Swami began singing the same Bhajan, “Hari Bhajana Bina…” and Surprise! Surprise! The same thing happened! Swami ‘forgot’ a line and beckoned to the same boy to ‘bail’ him out, which He promptly did! Swami once again showered the boy with a beatific smile. The very same thing happened in the next festival too and now this boy began to feel that “He was saving the Lord!” The Lord has incarnated to rescue the whole world and here he was ‘rescuing’ the Lord!! And as usual Swami had done it… He had managed to inflate the boy’s ego and now it was time to reveal His message.
One evening, as the Bhajan boys prepared for the Bhajan session in the Mandir, Swami walked in and started interacting with them. Swami asked this particular boy what Bhajan He was going to sing that evening. He replied, "Sesha Saila Vasa Narayana…" As if not recollecting, Swami asked him, "Which one? Sing it… Sing it softly" A few moments passed and this boy kept staring at Swami’s visage. Swami once again asked, "Boy, sing this Bhajan now…" The boy understood what Swami was saying but what he did not understand was why he was just not able to recall the Bhajan! He had absolutely forgotten the Bhajan altogether! Swami went to ask, “Do you know the Bhajan?” He stood clueless. By now a mischievous smile adorned Swami’s countenance. Swami then asked, "Ok, forget today’s Bhajan, what Bhajan did you sing yesterday?" This boy put all his might in recalling what Bhajan he had sung the previous day. With great anxiety he had to confess to Bhagavan that he was not able to recollect the Bhajan that he had sung the on the previous day. In such an embarrassing situation, the pride had been stung, ego deflated, Swami chose to give His message. Swami just tapped the boy’s head and in that moment he recalled everything. Memory had been granted back. Swami said, “Boy, did you think that I had forgotten the lines of the Bhajan during the discourses? And you thought that you were helping me in recollecting the lines. If I forget, the universe will come to a standstill!” Let us not mistake the form for the spirit. The spirit inside is the supreme consciousness who has taken a form to help us elevate. That is the truth! Truth is My breath.
Bliss is My Food
|Bhagavan during the inauguration of Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospital at Puttaparthi |
on November 22, 1991
It was the year of 1991. The construction of the Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospital was in full swing and Bhagavan used to visit the construction very frequently. He used to tell the students about how the construction was going on and the cost involved. He also lovingly explained to us the difficulty in procuring the resources. He explained how hundreds and thousands of rupees were being spent on various aspects of the hospital construction. A little boy in His 8th class suddenly felt an urge, “Everybody is doing so much for Swami and here we are simply sitting in the Mandir and doing nothing.” He pondered over what way He could contribute to Swami’s mega hospital project. He thought he was not in a position to give anything, considering his petty pocket money! Now, in the hostel where we live, in those days, we used to pay Rs. 25 as laundry charges per month. This boy decided that he would save these twenty five rupees by washing his own clothes, gather a sizeable amount and offer this to Swami. For the next 4 months, the boy toiled and washed his own clothes, gathered a sum of hundred rupees, put it in an envelope, wrote a letter to Bhagavan to accept this amount for the hospital building. On an opportune moment, he handed over the sealed envelope to Bhagavan in the Darshan lines. Swami also lovingly accepted the envelope and moved on in the Darshan lines. He had not told anyone about this venture capital offering of his, but how could Swami not acknowledge this offering. After completing the Darshan rounds, as Swami stood in front of students, He pulled out that envelope and holding it out in front of everyone declared, “This is the biggest contribution I have received!” He asked the boy to come forward and in front of everyone one opened the envelope to show everyone seated there the hundred rupee note. He narrated the entire sequence of events and then just said, “This hundred rupees is worth millions to Me! I don’t need anything else, this joy has satiated Me!” For the one who is served by 'Aishwarya' and whose servant is Kubera himself, what are the millions offered by anybody? Who are we really to give him anything, for isn’t everything already His? The Lord is 'Bhavapriya' and not 'Bahyapriya'. It is not the quantity but the quality of our offering that pleases Him. In fact each one of these mega service projects have been undertaken to teach us only this - the attitude of service - the attitude in making an offering. It reminds me of the story of Sri Krishna Tulabharam where Rani Rukmini offers just a Tulsi leaf in order to win the Lord. For Him the purity of offering satiates Him, because that gives Him joy unlimited. Bliss is His food!
|Sri Amey Deshpande with Swami in the Prasanthi Nilayam portico|
Contemplating on the song, I have realized that this one song really is the crux of all the scriptures. More contemplation has revealed newer dimensions to the depth of my understanding. In fact the further lines reveal more meaning and significance. “My life is My message… Expansion is my life….”
Expansion is life – This one statement is the panacea to all the problems in the world – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I am reminded of a beautiful incident that happened in Brindavan when I was on duty. The morning Darshan had just got over and Bhagavan had called a group of devotees for an interview. Even as He was walking towards the interview room He noticed that a large group of ants had formed a long line and were in the process of picking up the remains of a dead moth. What Swami did after that was absolutely stunning! He lifted His robe and jumped over the long line of ants! Then beckoning the devotees to come, He stood near the line of ants and was requesting all the devotees to jump over too! Once the devotees had gone in, He beckoned to us and said, “Papam, let these ants finish their work, don’t disturb them!” For the Creator of the universe, the entire universe is His own. He taught me that day that one should expand to encompass each and every sentient and insentient thing into one’s ambit. Others’ pain becomes my own. Others’ joy becomes my own. Therefore how can I hurt anyone? ….Expansion is My life!
Contemplation on each and every word of Swami’s teachings bestows on us meaning of the highest Upanishadic truths. We don’t need to learn anything else at all. All we need is 'Shravanam' (listening/reading) 'Mananam' (contemplation) and 'Nidhidhyasanam' (assimilation) of Swami and His teachings into our life. Then our life will become His Message!
- Amey Deshpande
Doctoral Research Scholar, Department of Management Studies
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus