A Letter for Life – By Lakshmikant Sharma

Lakshmikant with Sri Sathya Sai
In our lifetime, to hear about God when He is in human form is ‘Praapti’, to be able to see God in His human form is ‘Anugraha’ but to live with God in His human form is “Anubhava”. Many a times, in our lives, in different situations we feel this should not have happened or this should have happened. But for God everything happens because it is picture perfect according to His Divine plan. The relation between Swami and His students has been very unique. One of the most important modes of communication in this relationship has been ‘The Letter’. When Bhagavan was physically present, I would always write a letter to Swami for every small thing which happened in my life. Sometimes I wonder, the Lord of the Universe had come down for the whole humanity, but at the same time He made apparently insignificant creatures like me and many others, feel so important, that He would graciously accept any letter which contained even the most mundane matters.

It was in my third year of under graduation, in the year 2011, that Swami had called all the Captains and Vice-Captains of the University to the Bhajan Hall for an interactive session. Since I was the Cultural Captain, I got a chance to be a part of that blessed group. It was the evening of 9th January; we all were waiting for Bhagavan. As Swami came out for giving Darshan our excitement grew. Anticipation of a beautiful and memorable interaction arose in our minds. As Bhagavan entered Bhajan Hall, hearts started beating faster. There was complete silence and the silent air was filled with excitement. It appeared as though each pillar was thanking us for bringing Bhagavan inside the Hall, each chandelier was shining brightly as if enjoying the Darshan of the Lord. It all appeared as if Bhagavan, at that moment, was answering the prayers of not just the animate but also the inanimate objects. Soon, Swami started gliding amongst us on His mobile majestic throne, blessing some boys with His smile or a pat or accepting a few letters. I had a letter in my hand. As Swami came close to me, I showed Him the letter and what came next was very different as well as quite unexpected. Generally Bhagavan would either take the letter or indicate to keep it down but quite astonishingly Swami said, “Do not write letters”. For a moment I was taken aback for I was not sure as to what I had just heard. As Swami came closer, again I showed the letter and again Swami said, “Do not write letters”. This time it was very clear and I was shocked for a moment. I didn’t know how to react. I kept my letter down. But my heart was not at all at peace.

After some time as Swami took a complete round around the hall and was returning, I thought this was probably a nice chance to again clarify clearly what Bhagavan wanted to tell me. This is what happens when the human mind starts doubting the Divine plan. As I showed my letter again, Swami looked at the letter and looked at me sternly. The hand holding the letter came down, the heart started sinking and all the anticipation came crumbling down. And the only question which started haunting me was, “Now what?” I could not believe that I lost my life’s precious chance of writing letters to my Beloved Lord. Days and weeks passed by and the magnitude of my prayers went on increasing. It was indeed an immense test of my devotion, conviction and faith. If Swami is not talking we still have a chance to try, but when you are not allowed to even approach Him through a letter, it was an awful Divine punishment one could get. Time was just passing by. The pain in my heart was excruciating. Yet a special feeling encompassed me. This is the most beautiful aspect of our Bhagavan; whatever He gives us has a unique feeling of oneness with Him. I felt that Swami’s words were a direct instruction to me and me alone. But now this boon was turning into a bane. During this period since Swami was physically unwell, He moved by car for a very short period of Darshan every day. I felt I was completely paralyzed for I couldn’t get up and talk to my Lord, couldn’t show even a letter to Him.

On 20th March, 2011, I got a chance to give Aarti to Bhagavan. My excitement knew no bounds. I was overjoyed. An air of anticipation, hope and expectation started surrounding me. As I reached the Mandir, I was informed that due to Swami’s ill health, no one was supposed to touch Swami, take Padanamaskar or force Swami to talk. Again, I felt I had lost the chance. After a lot of thought, as to whether I should write a letter or not, finally I decided that I should. As I was going to offer Aarti to Bhagavan, I thought maybe I might get a chance to give my letter to Swami and ask for forgiveness. A rush of anxiety overcame me, as I waited for my Lord. Finally, Bhagavan, in His ever resplendent form arrived for Darshan, sat in the portico, and started enjoying the Bhajans. The usual norm entails that we enjoy Bhajans and His Divine presence for as long as possible. But today was different, since there was a pining for Aarti within me, and I wanted the chance as fast as possible. I had decided that after Aarti, when I go to Swami I would just do Namaskar and go and sit behind Him. I did not want to show my letter to Swami at that time because we were not allowed to. Then came the moment I had been waiting for, Swami indicated for the Aarti to commence. I got up and started performing Aarti during which Swami looked once or twice at me. After Aarti, I went up to Swami and said, “I love You Swami”. Swami heard and nodded. I did Namaskar and went behind Swami and sat. 

Now, I was in two minds, whether I should show my letter to Swami or not. If I showed there were two possibilities – either Swami would take or not. If Swami took the letter then I would be relieved of my agony, but if He did not then it was a clear indication that henceforth I should not even try writing or showing a letter to Swami unless He asks for it. Or another option was I do not show the letter at all and wait for another opportunity. After Aarti I had just a few more moments to decide. Swami was about to turn to leave and I decided I would show Him the letter. Showing Him the letter would be a very risky thing since if Swami got angry again, I would lose my chance for eternity. But I took the risk. 

As Swami turned, He gave me a glance and saw the letter in my hand. Then, Swami started to look ahead and was moving away in front of me. I kept looking at Swami, but the moment Swami crossed me, I felt I had lost the precious chance of my life forever. As all my expectation, anticipation came down, suddenly I saw Swami indicating with His left hand for the letter. Since I was right next to His left hand I could see the indication clearly, but since Swami had already crossed me and was looking in the front I did not know if I could get up and give the letter. Just then, Swami’s chair was pulled back near me, because apparently others had also noticed Swami asking for my letter. Swami looked at me and smiled. I got up, Swami took my letter, and then I said, “Swami as per Your command, I have applied for M.A. (Economics). Swami, I need Your blessings,” and Swami said, “Manchidi, Chala Santosham”. Swami indicated me to take Padanamaskar and then I sat back. This interaction lasted probably for a few seconds and the whole act, for the people who were watching, was just Swami taking a letter by from His student. But for me, it was my life’s most precious moment which I would cherish throughout my entire life because little did I know that five days later, from then, would be Swami’s last physical Darshan for the whole of humanity. It was later that I truly realised what a great blessing I had received from my Lord.

We had the last physical Darshan of Swami on 25th March and after that we saw Swami on 24th April, but in a Samadhi state. Had not Swami allowed me to give a letter to Him on that day, I would have been left craving for a chance to write a letter to my Lord for my whole life. I thank Bhagavan from the bottom of my heart for this Divine blessing in my Life.

- Lakshmikant Sharma
Student (2008-2015), Department of Economics and 
Department of Management Studies
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Currently, Investment Banking Associate, Tata Capital, Mumbai 

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