Bhagwan has been around me right from my childhood. I am talking about Bhagwan Shri Sathya Sai Baba, the saint from Puttaparthi whom millions consider God. Many don’t, and for the longest time I was not sure which side of the coin I belonged to. I knew him, thanks to the bhajans that would happen in our neighborhood and the Balvikas classes I attended (more to show off my shloka chanting prowess than out of spiritual interest).
However, it was not until college that I really started ‘knowing’ him. It was during my college days that I attended a few summer courses conducted by the Messengers of Sai, the alumni of Bhagwan’s women’s college in Anantapur, and started reading books containing his teachings. And therein, I found some gems that continue to be the anchor of my life, and the rudder that steers my life in the right direction. Today I share with you, some of the most profound teachings that have affected me most –
Love All, Serve All;
Help Ever, Hurt Never
These are really two different sayings coined by Swami, but look at the meaning they convey. In just eight words, Swami gives us the secret of a successful life. Well, it is easy to say Love all, serve all, but just as difficult to practice. For, to love all and serve all one must first conquer the ego, the ‘I’, that always stops us from loving all. It is the ego that makes us think we are better than our servant-maid, or the laundry-wala. If we are able to love all and serve all, then class, creed, religion, status, rich-poor, nothing matters.
The only thing that matters is love, to be able to serve everyone with equal fervor and humility without showing any kind of bias. Many people make a show of doing just that, but the real meaning of this phrase is realized only when our love and service is borne from the heart, with no reservation of any kind. I know I have to travel far to get there, but whenever ego ravages the heart and mind, a look at Swami and his sayings bring me back to my senses.
There is a beautiful phrase in the Vedas that Swami often quoted – Satyam vada, Priyam vada, Na vada satyam apriyam. Which translates to – Speak the truth, speak it sweetly, do not speak the truth that is not sweet. If you know the truth is going to hurt someone, do not utter it. That is something that I have to really imbibe, for I can be judgmental and use harsh words sometimes. But I have always been amazed at the simplicity of the solution that Swami offers for our lives. Would life not be easy if we simply followed these words?
I am God, but so are you!
As is the case with any saint, Swami’s life was not free of rumormongers or controversies. The mills kept churning all through His lifetime, at the time of His death, and even afterwards. Some people were indignant that He called Himself God, without bothering to read the complete statement. Time and again, Swami has reiterated, God is there in everyone. God is that Universal Consciousness that pervades every being, animate or inanimate. Religions, idols, saints, they are but the physical forms to serve as an initiation to reach the ultimate, the Formless. The real God exists within, not without. Once we realize this, differences cease to exist. The whole word is bound by that one energy that fuels existence – Love.
In fact, all of Swami’s teachings are centered on Love. A simple 4 lettered word, which has the ability to move mountains. It is said that an American scientist who endeavored to gauge Swami’s aura using a Kirlian camera found that the aura was pink – the color of Love – and extended up to 40 feet, the largest ever witnessed.
At various points of time, some people around me have ridiculed me at following a bird-nest haired ‘baba’. They have asked me leading questions about his authenticity, and smirked at me when I paid him obeisance. However, to me Swami has been the guiding beacon who has guided me when I was unsure, held me steady when my mind wavered, and ensured that my life did not get swayed away too much under the throes of the senses. His single point mantra of Love has helped me forgive and forget, and conquer ego on many occasions. And although I am far from perfect, I am confident that I have my guiding light driving ahead of me, whenever I am at the risk of losing my way.
I would like to conclude with an anecdote, or a miracle, like we devotees like to call it. Around 15 years ago, my mother and a group of her friends decided to pay a visit to Parthi once. They hired a chauffeured SUV and started the journey in the evening. Now, in those days, the route to Parthi lay through a naxal ridden area just beyond the TamilNadu-Andhra border. And as luck would have it, they lost their way, and stopped right in the middle of that area, some time after midnight, not knowing which way to go. All ladies, except two gentlemen, including the driver, everyone was naturally terrified, and praying fervently. After some time, out of nowhere, a white Ambassador appeared. A white clad man driving it asked what was the problem, told them to just follow the Ambassador, as he too was going to Puttaparthi. The driver did just as told, following the Ambassador by its taillights. Just as my mom’s party’s car entered the threshold of Parthi, and they all heaved a sigh of relief, they couldn’t locate the beacon anymore. The Ambassador was gone, no one knew where.
And that day, when my mom and her group sat for Darshan, Swami chose to speak to the audience. He implored them, to not travel to Parthi in car, at night, through routes that were not safe, especially all women’s group. Call it miracle, call it coincidence, for us, it was just an affirmation that we have the guiding light ahead of us to take us to our destination, safe and sound.
About Yamini Vijendran
Yamini Vijendran (@saimini) is the author of ‘Full Circle’, a romance novella published by Indireads. A techie turned freelance writer, Yamini has been churning out content from her home in Pune for the past three years. Her short stories have been published in ‘Love Stories That Touched My Heart’, an Anthology published by Penguin India, New Asian Writing and Six Sentences, and her poems in The Indian Review, Contemporary Literary Review of India and ‘A World Rediscovered’ a poetry Anthology by Cyberwit Publications. Visit her at http://yaminivijendran.