Friday, 23 August 2013

5. A devotee's PRAYER and the Lord's unusual RESPONSE !

This incident happened during evening darshan exactly three years ago on August 23rd 2010, and I was a fortunate 'witness-participant' in this delightful episode.
Apart from the fact of Bhagawan's compassionate Omniscience and Infinite Divine Resourcefulness, this incident also demonstrates how Bhagawan often wills (and waits) for us to be a part of His plans and designs for humanity. If we respond, the gain is ours, for God always has many other options to fulfil his Divine purposes. It does not matter even if our role be that of the little squirrel who longed to serve Lord Rama in the building of the great bridge across the ocean to Lanka.
Lord Rama fondling the little squirrel and 
that is how they got STRIPES on their back !
There is a PREQUEL to this whole episode. 
But that is at the end. Let me first narrate what happened during darshan.
I was sitting next to a devotee of Bhagawan from a South Asian country, a recipient of Swami's Grace and Love for many years. All eyes were on Bhagawan as He was wheeled into the darshan area -- faces expectant, letters and trays for blessing held out in anticipation. Near the entrance, an old volunteer who's been serving in the mandir from several decades stretched out a letter and stood as Swami accepted it from her. After that Swami seemed to be in a hurry and did not take any other letter till He reached near where we were sitting. He looked at the South Asian lady next to me, smiled at her and with a flick of His wrist, threw something at her. There was a collective gasp from all the ladies around as she was the lucky recipient of the treasured vibhuti packet that Swami would throw those days into the hands or laps of lucky ones. However we were all in for a 'twist' !
Bhagawan blessing a fortunate devotee with Vibhuti packets

As Bhagawan proceeded ahead we all noticed that on the floor was NOT a vibhuti packet, but a small letter. All the ladies looked at this devotee with sympathy. Oh! Swami had made a 'mistake'; instead of a vibhuti packet, it was a letter. People relaxed, interest faded and the letter remained on the floor without anyone trying to take it away. The lady and me looked at each other. I leaned forward, picked up the letter, thrown 'mistakenly' by Bhagawan and discovered that it was a single sheet, folded in half, without even an envelope. I suggested to this long-standing devotee that since Bhagawan had specifically meant it for her, she should take it and examine it. She opened it and it was a letter written in an Indian regional language. It was neither in Telugu (the local language here) nor in Hindi (the national language) but one native to a particular state in India. The interesting bit was that it was one of the two regional languages that I could speak and read apart from the ones mentioned above! In fact, in my whole group of student-volunteers, I was the only one who knew this particular language and that day, I 'happened' to be sitting next to her. I immediately guessed where this was leading to, but I had to tread carefully. I offered to translate the few lines in front of us. So while Swami was busy in the men's side of Darshan-area I surreptitiously read the letter. It was very brief. It just said that the writer of the letter (WL) hadn't received her pension for many months (four to be precise) and requested Bhagawan to intervene in some manner and help her. The name was signed (all in the said regional language) and anyhow, since it was the only letter Bhagawan took that day from the ladies' section, I knew without a doubt whose it was!
I explained all this to the devotee. she too knew WL. I then told her what I had experienced that very afternoon (read 'prequel' below) and I strongly felt that Bhagawan was giving this devotee a message. But it was not my call. The devotee had to decide what to do; I could only suggest and then withdraw from the scene. The lady then told me how that very morning her brother had called from abroad and had discussed with her, the financial crisis he was going through. She was in fact thinking aloud, wanting to understand Bhagawan's indirect directive. The lady had consoled her brother and had reminded him that whatever we possessed was God's gift to us and we were just like care-takers of Bhagawan's property; her brother should bank on God's will and not get unduly agitated. I almost smiled; the key word here was 'care-taker'; that we weren't owners of the wealth we had and God was the real owner. Omnipresent and Omniscient Bhagawan had heard and was weaving events together ! By the time Swami reached the verandah after His darshan round, the devotee made up her mind. She requested me to intimate to WL that she wished to meet her privately. I agreed to do so and the next day they met.
Later on, I came to know from WL that all her pension arrears (a mere pittance as far as the South Asian lady was concerned) were cleared by the South Asian devotee via the bank. WL ruefully wondered aloud to me as to why Swami had to help her in this manner! She was feeling extremely delicate about the whole episode. But since the other devotee had been very gracious and respectful, after all WL had spent a whole life-time serving Bhagawan, she accepted the monetary offer that mitigated her problem for a while. Also, I reminded WL that she had nothing to do with this whole event; it was between Swami and His devotee. After all God was never anyone's debtor. He would recompense her many-fold at the right time.
I felt very happy with this whole event and I deliberately mentioned it to a few people who held the view that since Bhagawan was on the wheelchair, it was all different now . . . nothing much happened during 'darshan' and so on and so forth . . . . I was thrilled to prove them all wrong,  for after all who knew what else happened during 'darshan' . . . So many, many instances of Bhagawan's Grace go unrecorded, this was merely one .
Whether He walks or He is on a wheelchair, whether we see His form or not, whether He is in human embodiment or in His Unseen Cosmic Essence, the same power of LOVE operates unceasingly. We require the eyes of Faith (Sradha) and Perseverance (Saburi) to experience it.
That evening I almost did not go for the evening session to Sai Kulwant Hall and report for 'duty' . I was physically and mentally exhausted, but SOMEONE within me had prompted me to attend the session. As I was resting in the afternoon, slightly despondent and tired, I switched on the TV and the Cable network was showing a video of Bhagawan walking amidst devotees in Brindavan granting darshan in Sai Ramesh Hall. Brindavan darshans were ethereal and my mind switched back to those wonderful days of Swami's loving, leisurely interactions with His devotees there. Also, I remembered an episode wherein He had taken an envelope from one devotee and given it to another sitting nearby, much to the surprise of both! Later verification proved that the second devotee was in a financial crisis and had asked Bhagawan for help. The first devotee had offered some money to Bhagawan in the envelope. A quick letter-exchange happened and both were happy! This incident had created waves when it had happened. My spirits lifted after this TV-Satsang and I trudged to Sai Kulwant Hall little knowing about the drama that was to unfold.
LESSON: Our thoughts play an important role in our actions. Good company, good sensory inputs (food) leads to good thoughts and then are instrumental in making us do right things and beneficial deeds. After all, the mind can hold only one thought at a time. Perhaps we have some say in deciding which ones. 
However, how did I come to remember that particular Brindavan episode from scores of others ? Was it really 'me' who chose that memory? Obviously not. It was Swami at work here, because He knew what was to follow during Darshan. Before someone props the question 'then how come we get negative emotions and thoughts ?', let me just say that when we choose to create a positive environment in our minds, God then works through us. Negativity blocks His presence that is within us. So here's to all of us being POSITIVE !

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