The Zephyrs of Experience - By S. V. Guru Prasad

Bhagavan often says "Education is for Life and Not for a living". What then is life? — and what is this education? Life essentially involves living — or so we think and this is where we stumble — the essence of life is 'leaving' not living. Leaving meaning nurturing gradually but surely a sense of supreme detachment Moving from Kama to Rama; from Trishna to Krishna — from Bhrama (delusion) to Brahman (Reality). Self-realisation, the scriptures say, is beyond beauty and joy — verily it is Ananda (even the word Bliss does no justice). 

The experience that we have, are but small peeps into eternity that Bhagavan chooses for us to have - "His subtlest of nuance to fill eternity in a glance and shower His Love so sweet and pure, that even tears cry out for more."

It is these experiences that express Bhagavan's all-embracing compassion, mercy and love. It was the summer vacation that followed the 12th Class examination and one boy was preparing for his entrance exam in Parthi. He reached Parthi a few days before the examination. Bhagavan was in Brindavan. And Parthi, without Him seemed lack-lustre. The seemingly endless wait for the date of the examination gnawed into his nerves. He felt fairly jittery and restless. And then it happened. It was the evening before the examination — as usual he sat in the Bhajan Hall for the Bhajan. It might have been during the second or third Bhajan that he felt very rested — a soft of strange calmness descended upon him as manna from heaven! It was then, that he had a most exquisite vision of Bhagavan smiling and swaying gently to the rhythm of the Bhajan. He then raised His right hand and closed it as a fist. He then released a finger on which was rotating a globe. It stayed for a moment and the Vision vanished. He felt strangely soothed — 'He' had reassured him (the boy) with the authority of one who governed the heavens. It was as if He was saying, "When I am sustaining the whole world, why do you fear?" This eternal whisper of Bhagavan should reverberate within our hearts for all times to come. 

The cornerstone of our relation with Bhagavan is faith. Faith is not a blind belief, but trust without reservation. The first step towards strengthening our faith is believing. Believe what? — one may ask Belief in yourself. One should never demean oneself, however conservative one's estimate be of oneself. Think positively and most of all think nobly. Even the Rig Veda declare "let noble thoughts come from every side." Belief in oneself will ultimately lead to belief in self which is bereft of 'one' or 'Aham'. Know that 'God is' and that is all there is to know.
Sri Sathya Sai with idol of Lord Subramanya installed at Prasanthi Nilayam
Here I shall recount an amazing incident which occurred in 1943. There lived a devout couple who believed in Lord Subramanya (Muruga). It so happened that the wife was suffering from cancer which had advanced to the terminal stages. Doctors had left all hope. She prayed, and reconciled to her position and pleaded for a peaceful death. On one such day, the Lord Subramanya appeared to her in all His Splendour and took her up a hill and told her to take Namaskar. He then asked her if she wanted to be with Him, or with her husband. Hesitating for a moment, she chose the latter. The Lord asked her to walk down and assured her of His care and protection. But she was non-plussed, the hill was steep — how could she climb down? She looked helplessly at the Lord, who smiled and touched the ground with his 'Shoolam' — lo and behold! steps appeared. She started walking down and the next thing she was in her bed. She told this to her husband and they decided to keep it a secret. Till 1963, they had not heard of Bhagavan. They came to Parthi. Bhagavan called them for an interview and, after some casual talk, remarked significantly that He had been taking care of them for the last twenty years! This puzzled the couple. They were in speechless amazement when Bhagavan recounted this very special Darshan He had given them 20 years ago. As if to convince them beyond all doubts, He led them up and told them to look at the floor - what did they see? They saw the very steps that Lord had materialised for His child. That day, Bhagavan proved without any shadow of doubt, proved that 'Prasanthi Nilayam' was Heaven itself. Bhagavan repeatedly stresses the importance of Prasanthi. Each one of us must carry a Prasanthi Nilayam in our hearts for the Lord to reside. 

When He says “MY LIFE IS MY MESSAGE”, we can appreciate this gem of wisdom in two aspects, both Sthulam (gross) and Sukshmam (subtle). In the gross aspect, We observe Bhagavan and learn to assimilate what He practices and how He follows the rigorous self-discipline He imposes on Himself. Within the realms of subtleties, we begin to understand and appreciate His actions better. The Omkaram and Suprabhatam that is chanted every morning is like switching on the mains of our conscience and consciousness. It makes us feel refreshed and drown us into the sublime ocean of 'Divine Awareness'. It broadens our heart and strengthens it to accept things as they come - relatively stable and unruffled. The Bhagavan gives Darshan to one and all. In other words, He surveys His creation. What a wonderful lesson it is for all of us. Through His Darshan, He subtly conveys the message of 'INTROSPECTION.' 'Look within - look at your thoughts, words and deeds. Is there even a semblance of unity among these three — He often says. It is this unity that one observes in His grandeur that is His creation, which is most delicately but firmly poised on the razor edge of His 'SANKALPA'. The journey from the gross to the subtle, takes one through the physical to the metaphysical and even beyond. 

All this is encompassed in the one word 'belief.' Belief strengthens faith. Faith is inherent and natural in every human being — what differs is its direction. Some may have faith in ritual worship, some in astrologers or palmists. In one of His discourses, Bhagavan has categorically stated that the worst sinner is he who does not believe in God. A sinner who believes in God has - that much more of a chance to redeem himself, but an atheist dooms himself by closing the very doors of heaven.

It is to strengthen and give direction to faith that Bhagavan, in all His mercy, grants experiences to His children. Bhagavan once had materialised a ring for one of the devotees. It proved to be too big for the finger. He took it back in His hand and blew it. This time it was too small. But Bhagavan gave it to the devotee who took it unquestioningly. It was again a few months later that Bhagavan reprimanded the devotee for not wearing the ring. The devotee, who always carried the ring in his pocket, gave it to Bhagavan and whispered his prayer that it was too small for any of his fingers. 
Bhagavan took the ring, held it between the thumb and forefinger, and asked the devotee to observe carefully as He blew lightly over it. In front of the devotee's unblinking and astonished eyes, the ring expanded! This time it was a perfect fit. Tears overwhelmed him and the unique miracle the Bhagavan had performed in front of his eyes had torn asunder the veils of doubts that had clouded him for a long time. The experiences, as Bhagavan Himself says, are like beacon lights that guide you through this dark tunnel of life until you cross it and become one with the eternal sunshine. 

Who exactly are great men? — They are those with noble experiences, to share with all who come along like them on the path of 'self-discovery'. Mahatma Gandhi had preserved for posterity his experiences in his autobiography “THE STORY OF MY EXPERIMENTS WITH TRUTH”. A very apt word to describe such noble soul is - MAHANUBHAVA. Bhagavan, with reference to this word, has given a gross and subtle meaning. In the gross aspect, this word is to be broken as MAHA (great) and ANUBHAVA (experience), meaning souls who have had great or noble experiences. When we consider the subtler aspect, we begin to realise the mission for which He has descended. In this respect, He has broken the word into three parts. MAHA (great), ANU (infinitesimally small), BHAVA (regard) meaning a true MAHANUBHAVA is one who sees unity and GOD in everything, be it MAHA or ANU. The advent of Bhagavan is a special benediction to the humanity at large. The Supreme Teacher has come down on earth to raise His children —to hold them by their hand and walk the journey together. A true teacher is one who:
T — Teaches us
E - Explains to us
A - Advises us
C — Corrects us
H - Helps us
E - Encourages us and thus
R — Raises us

There are teachers who either teach or explain or advise, or correct, or help or encourage us but it is Bhagavan and Bhagavan alone who does all this and more importantly, raises us step by step at every stage in life. Whatever He does is for our good and whatever He does, He does in full measure. He alone will lead us to the blessed shore of Sai. 

- S.V. Guru Prasad
Student (1984-1989), Department of Biosciences
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam

Source: Sai Vandana 1990

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