Swami has said on a number of occasions that if we take one step towards Him, He takes a hundred steps towards us. This has undoubtedly been my experience throughout my life. The Lord’s mercy and compassion know no limits. In fact, He says that He loves us with the love of more than a thousand mothers. If we cannot fathom the love our parents have for us, how could we fathom the love that Mother Sai has for us? It would be a futile task to even think of measuring it. My family was very keen to admit me into the Primary school at Prasanthi Nilayam when I was small. However, I was very much attached to my home and family, and the thought of leaving and staying far away used to bring tears to my eyes. I used to tell my family when the subject came up, that I found Puttaparthi boring, that there was nothing to do over there and that I like Delhi and my friends. Even knowing that Swami would be there was not enough to convince me. I was not willing to take that first step towards Him and I resisted the thought of such a drastic change. But this never stopped Him from showering on me His love and grace. He would regularly inquire about my well-being; constantly give advice and endless reassurances to my family that He would be taking care of me always.
When I was in my seventh standard in New Delhi, I came to Puttaparthi for our yearly summer vacation. During this holiday I read some books on Swami in the afternoons and evenings after Darshan. One such book I happened to read was ‘My Baba and I’ by Dr. John Hislop. The book made me long and pine more for Swami. I decided to write Him a letter explaining to Him all my desires and wishes, and that He must bless me, and that I would not take no for an answer! When I look back at the letter I wrote, I cannot help but laugh at how silly I was, asking for mundane things. But of course, nothing is very trivial or very big for Him. We need not feel embarrassed. With whom we can be truly free, other than Bhagavan, who is everything for us? It is our duty to speak to Him as if He and we are one. This letter was different from the other letters that Swami had taken from me before. In this letter, I had written about my favourite rock stars and movie actors; I mentioned their names and told Swami how I wanted Him to bless all of them for making such good music and movies that I enjoy.
I spoke of all my friends in school at Delhi, as well as the people with whom I was not very friendly and requested Swami to take care and bless all of them. I spoke of lofty ambitions such as achieving Moksha and oneness with Him! I wrote about things of which I had absolutely no idea whatsoever! In fact, I was bold enough to say that If Swami would take this letter, I would take it for granted that He would fulfil all these wishes and not disappoint me! I wrote that I had wanted Him to take the letter from my hand though I knew Swami knows everything, even the contents of the letter.
Days went by and I sat with this letter every day. I increased my efforts and determination by going and sitting in the token lines at 4.30 am and in the afternoons at 2.30 pm. Every day I would be a part of the last few lines to enter the Mandir.
I started slowly losing hope. The letter had become wrinkled and dirty, the ink on the cover which read, “To Swami”, started to smudge and become blur out. Plus, I was too small to even get a glimpse of Him over the hundreds of people who sat in front of me. So I decided to make the best of the situation and started carrying a folding seat with two or three cushions to give me good height. I thought this would enable me to reach over and flash this silly letter at the Lord if I got the chance. A few days passed like this. Every day I was sitting a number of inches above the ground thanks to my elaborate seating arrangement, but it was of no use. I was still too far to even see Swami clearly. I remember sleeping one night, feeling extremely disheartened, knowing that the holidays were coming to a close and I had made no progress.
That same night Swami appeared in my dream. He was an incandescent figure. He looked very young and very thin. He was surrounded by elders in white who were much taller than Him. But this was not all – they were all having a hearty laugh at me and Swami was also laughing the most! When I started feeling sad and cowered away from the group with Swami right in front of me, He bent down and picked up what seemed to be my folding seat, and tossed it aside, which seemed to be an entire mountain of such seats! He then instantly dropped it to the ground and said, “Why do you need all this, sit straight… Like this!” Then Swami immediately dropped to the ground, cross legged, with His arms outstretched to His knees, His fingers in Chinmudra (meditative posture) and His back absolutely straight. The dream then ended abruptly and I woke up with the sound of my alarm. I quickly had a bath and got ready to rush for the token lines. While leaving, I took the letter in my hand, then stopped for a second and looked at the folding seat. I decided to follow what Swami told me in my dream and believed that it was not my imagination. So I left the folding seat right there on the shelf in our room and left.
When I finally sat for what would be my second last Darshan that summer, I took my place in the token lines and sat at the end of the last line to be formed. A few moments later after the tokens were out of the bag, I happened to hear the person in front of me telling someone to his right in the other line that we had got the third token! My joy knew no bounds; I could not believe my luck. When I entered the Mandir it was literally empty! I had never seen it so empty before and I rushed to the front and sat in the second row. When the music began my heart was racing. I kept praying in my mind to Swami to kindly take the letter or simply to look at me at least. However, I also remember that I had a feeling that He would take the letter this time. He had acknowledged my efforts in the dream. He gave me instructions which I followed obediently. This was His love and grace to give me a chance to listen to Him. So I felt confident that there was no need to ask Him further. But I still kept on praying to Him. Every moment Swami would approach closer, sometimes changing sides, sometimes stopping to talk to someone, or materialize Vibhuti. As He neared a few feet from me, my eyes were fixed completely on Him and my mind was now blank. The next thing that dawned on me was, Swami had swiveled around and was standing right in front of me. Through all the arms and hands that were reaching out to Him, holding something waiting to be blessed or offered, He looked at me with a loving smile that I can never forget. He began pulling the letter out of my hand and His hand brushed the tip of my fingers. All this happened in a flash. I was so happy that it took a long time for the experience to sink in. I walked back to our room in the Ashram and with a big smile, told my family that Swami had finally accepted my letter. My parents were extremely happy as well. The Lord had answered my prayers. I became at last a Sai student.
|Little Aditya with his mother in the first row of Darshan at Prasanthi Nilayam|
However low and lost one might think one is, one should know that one is never away from the Lord’s constant and powerful gaze. His gaze falls everywhere. There is no place on this earth which can hide us from Him. I used to feel scared knowing this once upon a time but now I feel happy and confident realizing that I am always under His watch. I understood that the reason that I was never truly or consistently happy was because I lacked firm resolve. I looked for sustainable and constant happiness but I could not find it. I never realised that I was the happiest when I stopped searching. And indeed, it was the greatest blessing to realise this. I can only thank the Lord for taking me into His fold. I pray to Bhagavan to shower His choicest blessings in the form of love, peace and joy upon every being. I pray to Him that I remain ever attached to Him; that I always make Him happy and proud, by growing, strong, steady and straight.
- Aditya Seshamani
Student (2012-2014), Department of Management Studies
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Source: Sai Nandana (90th Birthday Offering)