I have a Dream... - By C. Gopala Pani

In the hour in which the world sleeps, and showers the night sky with the girdle of glittering stars, I had a dream which rose before the canopy of the mind’s eye. Wafted by the scented breeze, the trees of the distant hills bowed tremulously towards a little light, shining bright in the darkening glade. With quickened steps I walked on, only to catch a tantalizing glimpse, lost over the crescent of windswept hills. What awaited me at my journey’s end? Where should I go and what should be my endeavor? At times the call of head and heart clash in battle brave and the stratagems of reason bind man in fetters of gold as Arachne. But a moment comes, and rarely, when the soul breaks free of the sand of dead habit and soars on the wings of imagination into its tryst with destiny. 

As the stout Cortez on his bedrock stood, I too made my heart resolute. My goal was the temple, aloof in the raging fury of the elements. As one approached its rising edifice, the eyes espied a figure, scarce, a boy of ten, serene, clad in ochre robes pacing the hall with quiet tread. It is the mission of this boy, the Chitta-Chora of our age, to save us from the swamp of hatred, betwixt Scylla and Charybdis of sense and flesh, the sirens of a materialistic age that looms towering before the pilgrim’s cowering gaze. It is He who has come to epitomize Keats words that “beauty is truth and truth is beauty”. Caught in the rapture of His life’s Divine song, people rushed from all towns; as Radha at the call of the flute, ran oblivious to her disheveled state, soft feet over thorn and hedge; or as the Ganges rushed dancing to the ocean’s waves.

Who was He? What can move millions of people in such a way? Why does a hush descend over the din of the chattering assemblage? Nor was it a sight gay, but deigned to sway, minds of men to hush and pray. Sunshine smote the heart, groping in the dungeon of Hades.

The Premium Mobile, the Empyrean of Virtue and the Father of Semites: the gentle Buddha, the dancing Rudra and the smiling Krishna of Asiates, tangled glimpses of the one, moved by the harrowing plague and the pestilence of evil, descended not as Prince, President or Chancellor, but in poverty in an arid land. The world with Nelson’s eye, for its scribe loved the dead letter to the spirit and its pride lay in the antiquity of its accumulations and the sublimity of its time honored walls, which can belong only to the security of tombstones.

The boy’s name was Sathyanarayana Raju, in the salubrious climate of Parthi grew, the apostle of peace and truth. When He was born, it is said effulgence streamed over the humble place, cherubim played music mellifluous, while the lamb stayed its flight and the lion its prey.

He grew in the boisterous company of the village lads and told them of our great motherland. Amidst fruits and dates to tickle their palates, He spoke of the Blessed Message. Most high, how fortunate, to be born as those lads in the village, whiling the pleasant time away!

One day, He told His people that His devotees were waiting for Him and He sang the song celestial “Manasa Bhajare Guru Charanam, Dustara Bhavasagara Taranam.” When God comes among men, his feeble intellect cannot grapple His magnanimity, glory and power, and eyes are tinged by the laws of this world. Swami’s parents pleaded, cajoled and threatened, but to no avail. There gathered around Him, a select band of committed men and women, who found in Him, what they had been searching in temple and mosque, philosophy and science or art and literature. In the steps of the old Mandir, people found response after trekking through the golden sands of the Chitravati.

The sweet Amrita of Bhajans revived their failing bodies and a glimpse of the Divine, was the water mark of their lives. It is the ‘Second Coming’ and these words resounded in a thousand hearts beating in unison.

“Our father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name,
Your kingdom come, Your Will be done,
In earth, as it is in heaven.”
(Matt. 6:7)

So the dream swept through the panorama of time. The tumult of men increased to a crescendo as the mission fulfilled itself of its own volition, for its inspiration was God Himself.

There are great men who excite the imagination of the youth, as each generation gives place to the new. Napoleon, Michelangelo, Einstein, Shakespeare and Tansen have their names etched in gold in the pages of history for their immortal contributions to politics, art, science, literature and music. Thus H.W. Longfellow urges: 

“Lives of great men teach us,
To make our lives sublime,
And departing, leaving behind us,
Footsteps on the sands of time.”

How much more then should the ambrosia of God incarnate affect us? Things of the mortal hue, acquire a magic of pure enchantment when placed as a wreath for the Divine. So in the dream I saw devotees singing from their hearts to their Lord, and the radiance of peace shone from their mild frames. More than that was the pure and unsullied joy, as they observed Swami’s little smile when they knew that they had tried and not in vain. 

I saw people of all castes, color and creed gather for a common aim, for their summons were not of order but the call of the heart as the panting deer in the chase yearns for cool streams. In the affectionate depth of His eyes, the light of Asia shone again over the crags of despair and internecine strife, providing a sheet anchor to the disillusioned world.

The giant intellect of the Avatar penetrated into the Minotaur - like abysses of abstruse philosophy, sifting the grain of truth from chaff of the debris of centuries, discovering anew the life springs of the most ancient religions of the world. In His hand He held the zephyr and the sapphire, but greater was the power to invest the heart of stone with the power to love, opening the flood gates of all that is noble in man. Swami’s tender hand molded men of clay into steel. His life was a message of the inherent goodness in man, whom He had selected eons ago as the paragon of all creation and given dominion over land and the sea. It was He who made Earth, with second thoughts, better than the Heavens, as Milton’s refrain in “Paradise Lost” testifies eloquently.

“When the hour is darkest, the dawn cannot be far away” declared Subhash Chandra Bose. Swami’s life is a saga of India, in as much as He was a witness to the architect of that great struggle that gave India its independence. Today, His life is a living testimony to the other great struggle - of the spirit, only on realizing it, can India take its place in the community of nations.

There arose in my dream the visions of doubting men, who blinded by the insensate desires, judged the world by their own yardstick. To them let us pose the question, “Why does Swami deign to refuse the luxury and the comfort or settle in foreign land as lesser category of mortal men is apt to do. Why does He build colleges, libraries and hospitals, spanning length and the breadth of the country? Why do farmers and Prime Ministers come alike in droves to have His Darshan? Pious platitudes can be mouthed by any man, but they have not the stamp of sincerity that invests Swami’s words with a compulsive moral force. Why does the heart cry seeking to shed its bound of earthly existence to reside eternally in Him? Why do the most mundane of things appear so happy, done when we just take His Name? Indeed, those who have come into contact with Him and understand His message, however little, are alike to those who “On honey-dew hath fed, and drunk the milk of Paradise.”

The raison d’ĂȘtre of our existence is Swami, for the Light has come unto the Earth, and few catch its flame and rise to noble heights. So the tapestry of the dream wove on. All nations paid Homage to Him, for though He had not the power of wealth, nor the ostentatious display of miracles for gain’s sake, He was rich in the coin of the Spirit. In a world threatened with nuclear Armageddon, the prophecy of the Bible came to realization so that “swords were beaten into plough shares”.

Swami was armed with the greatest weapon- the Excalibur of Love. In the form of Rama, He destroyed the evil, alien from the self, in the form of Ravana. In the Krishnavatara, the war occurred between the cousins. Today the two are indistinguishable in the self. The only weapon efficacious now is the change of heart, which Swami wrought with His love that instructs and elevates the soul of man.

Man lives in hope. Let us look then to the promise of the future. There are still the little boys clad in white, eyes resting on Swami’s feet, clapping to the cymbal and beat, reverberating in the Mandir’s seat. But there are others, captains of the Industry, men of fame, in administration, science and laity. In their hearts devotion shines amidst the fury of storm and strife, they lead life the proper way, duty, devotion, discipline their mates, distributing Ananda like scattering seeds, on fertile ground.

There lies a great responsibility on those who are entrusted with the function of the Avatar’s work, but the invisible hand of God lightens their task. Remember the lines, “Say not the struggle naught availeth”.

Thus was I a witness of a few moments of a facet of the Lord on earth, and what a vision it revealed. Aimless men and women, lost in the abyss of sin, consumed in hatred, and hiding in shame, lifted their veils and a promise of a new life was revealed to their blinking eyes. 

The night shall stay in memory as: 
Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright,
Silent night, holy night, hearts quail at the sight,
Silent night, holy night, the Lord God, Love’s pure Light,
Radiant beauty from Thy beautiful face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace.
Sai, Thy mission is being fulfilled;
Oh, all ye nations rise,
Herald the triumph of the skies,
From anon till eternity.

- C. Gopala Pani
Alumnus (1983-1986)
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus

Source: Sai Nandana 1995 (70th Birthday Issue)


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Kaul. I didnt check this blog for ages. You know how we speak of Mahatma Gandhi...its difficult to believe a man of flesh and blood walked among us with such great values.

      So it is for swami.



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