|Harish Krishan with Sri Sathya Sai|
‘Divine Humour’ - Is this an oxymoron? Divinity is serious business. Is it not? Then how can it be associated with humour, one may ask. The answer is simple. Humour is the sugar coating to the potent pill of Divinity. Humour has been used as an effective tool by a variety of Divine personages from Veda Vyasa to Ramana Maharishi. Now, when Divinity itself has personified into human form, the human race – especially the connoisseurs of humour - will have to start stocking medicines for curing stomach ache, an effect which cannot be avoided when the human race starts laughing out loud on experiencing the jokes galore of the Lord through seeing, listening and reading. His jokes, however, are not idle ones - but jokes pregnant with deep meaning. It is characteristic of our Swami to give the greatest of messages in the form of a high velocity slapstick comedy such that the addressee does not know what hit him. Let us see a few such instances:
The Divine Photographer
Once Swami called Prof. Kasturi and told him that a newspaper wants to write an article on him since he was the editor of Sanathana Sarathi. Swami also informed him that they wanted a photograph of Prof. Kasturi and that He Himself would take the photograph with a ‘special’ camera. Prof. Kasturi quickly applied the required ‘touch-ups’ and was in the presence of the Lord again. Swami then took out his ‘special camera’ and after suggesting various poses, settled on one, focused the lens and then ‘clicked’. Immediately a rat flew out of the camera, heading straight for Prof. Kasturi. He jumped in fright not knowing if the rat was dead or alive. It was only then that he realised that it was a stuffed toy. Swami laughed out loud and then told Prof. Kasturi that one should not aspire for the temporary glory of appearing in the newspaper which becomes a waste paper next day, but should work hard and with devotion to the Lord such that he is etched in the hearts of men.
“You may not have trouble with her”
Once a Danish man had come to Bhagavan and was so happy that he decided to stay longer than planned. He called up his wife and informed her of his change in plans. The reply was a huge list of complaints and a ‘hot chilly’ speech not only towards her husband but also towards Bhagavan. After some time this Danish devotee got an interview with Swami. This is the conversation, which took place,
Swami: “Your wife has a wild temper.”
Devotee: “No Swami, she is very sweet.”
Swami: “Yes she is very sweet but she has a wild temper.”
Devotee: “No Swami, I do not have any trouble with her.”
Swami (mockingly): “You may not have a problem with her, but I do!”
This proves that the Lord accepts all offerings irrespective of whether it is in the form of flowers or in the form of burning charcoal. Swami does not like people being afraid of God. He has descended unto the earth to love and to be loved. Hence He puts the devotees into complete ease at all times, often by using humour as an effective instrument.
“Yes Sir, Yes Sir”
Once when a lady devotee went for her first interview with the Lord, she was so nervous that she could hardly speak anything except “Yes Sir.” When she repeated the same duplet for everything, Swami mockingly quipped, “Yes Sir, Yes Sir, three bags full.” Amidst the laughter that naturally followed, she lost all her nervousness.
Swami asked a person in the interview whether he was married. When he replied in the affirmative, Swami replied, “WIFE is Worry Invited For Ever.” Then looking at the downcast face of the woman, He ‘corrected’ Himself. “No, No,” He said, “WIFE is Wisdom Invited For Ever”.
Swami wishes that we should all develop an excellent sense of humour. Swami however explains what a true sense of humour is in the following incident. Once Swami was having a chat with His students in Telugu in the presence of Dr. Goldstein. Dr. Goldstein realised that Swami was making fun of him by the giggles and the subtle glances that the boys cast towards him. After a particular quip of Bhagavan, everyone including the Lord Himself burst out laughing. Dr. Goldstein also joined the laughter. Swami turned to him seriously and asked, “Why are you laughing?” Dr. Goldstein replied, “Swami, I am happy because You are happy.” Swami then turned towards the students and said, “See he is a true devotee. Despite knowing that the jokes were on him, he was big enough to laugh at himself.” This indeed is a true sense of humour: Being big enough to laugh at oneself.
- B. Harish Krishan
Student (2003-2005), Department of Management Studies
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus
Currently, Assistant Manager, Vital Solutions Pte Ltd, Singapore