Jai Sai Ram!
It was my dream to stand here and say some words, but now as I am here, I pray to Swami to take over and let me be only a speaker, keeping the microphone with Himself.
I heard a story that once somebody was driving a car in US during the times when cars were just coming out of the factories—early decades of 20th century. It so happened that the car got some problem, stopped but the owner was not able to fix the problem. At the same time, another car passed by him and stopped a few meters ahead. The person came back and offered his help. Within a few seconds, he was able to diagnose the problem and fix it. The thankful person asked, “Are you an automobile engineer?” The person replied, “No, I am Henri Ford; I made this car!”
Similar is the case with us. On the road of life, we stop and are not able to fix the problems. Suddenly Swami comes and fixes the problem in a trice. In a bewildering amazement, we question “Are you a spiritual power?” With a smile, He replies: “I am God! I have made you. In fact, I made you in my image; you and I are one”. We are not able to withstand the magnanimity of the words: are we God? How can this be? It sounds too much impractical to believe. But what a privilege it is to have God in front of us and say: why fear when I am here.
Okay, look here! I have an Indian currency note and I will give it to anybody who would like to take it and raise the hand. Please don’t doubt my intentions or think that I am talking about a topic which is not appropriate for this place. I am serious and I will surely give it. Please feel free to raise your hands if you would like to have it. (I supposed here that some hands will be up).
Okay, now I squeeze it and make it twisted. Who among you will like to take it now? (I still supposed here that some hands will be up).
And who will like to take it now? (Now I put the currency note on ground and trampled it with my foot. This is all my supposition here that some people still be putting their hands on).
Well, because there are still so many seekers, we close the game and I keep the note with me only. But what I wanted to convey was this: we are just like this currency note. Though we are twisted, tangled, crippled, stamped, stomped upon by the vicissitude and vagaries of this life, we still keep our value. Whatever we might have done or whatever might have been happening with us, we still carry the divine seal of divinity in our hearts. We still have the value that God gave us and this is the reason why Swami is here—He has come to make us realize our own value. He has come here to make us aware that we are not merely a lump of flesh and bone but a force; a force that is given by God Himself.
Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji used to say:
ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪ ਹੈਂ, ਆਪਣਾ ਮੂਲ ਪਛਾਣਿ।
O mind! You are of the nature of light, recognize your origin. And this is what Swami has come to teach us, so that we can realize who we are.
The emphasis on recognizing the origin has been there with all the spiritual masters and also with seers of the past. Yet, humanity seems vulnerable to the habit of forgetting.
The great political scientist, Kautilya, who was known as Chanakya also, wrote in his famous work “Chanakya Neeti”:
व्यालाश्रयाऽपि विफलापि सकण्टकाऽपि।
वक्राऽपि पङ्किल-भवाऽपि दुरासदाऽपि।
गन्धेन बन्धुरसि केतकि सर्वजन्तोर्
एको गुणः खलु निहन्ति समस्तदोषान्।।
The plant Ketki, known as screw pine, also houses snakes. It’s also without fruits and has thorns also. It’s also not straight and also has swamps around it. It is also not easily accessible. Ketki binds every being with its fragrance and therefore one good trait abolishes all the negative characteristics. We are also similar to this plant. We also have thorns of sins; we also have swamps of delusive conceptions around us. We also do not bear any fruit that is beneficial to others and our ego makes us inaccessible to needy people. But our latent quality of love draws the grace of the Lord, and He accepts it with the same feeling of love and comes to our rescue.
What’s the reason the highest power has decided to come here and act like we human beings? Swami is like a classical photograph that has been taken long-long ago—what He reflects now is our own reality: love. We all were like Swami—Satyam Shivam Sundaram. He has come to make us recognize our own photograph and realize that we looked beautiful like Swami but have now drowned ourselves in the dyes of actions and fruits. It is a common observation among devotees that when we see Swami, we feel that we see our own real self. This is primarily why Swami is here: to make us come face-to-face with our own self. Many among us can declare right before Swami that we can die for Him. But what will Swami do of dead people—He actually wants us to live for Him. To live so that we can radiate the same reflection and realize that we and Swami are one.
Every child or a growing person like to set some ideal—a famous person, a celebrity, a powerful personality. For everybody, it is quite good to set some ideals so that he/she could work for the achievement of those ideals. We have been blessed with the vision of Sai. We also have heard His voice; we have also seen what is the power of His love! Let everyone among us understand it and declare quite clearly—मैं साईं बनना चाहते हूँ।
I want to become Sai so that I can realize who I really am.
ਸਾਈਂ ਸਾਈਂ ਕਰਦੀ ਨੀ ਮੈਂ ਆਪੇ ਸਾਈਂ ਹੋ ਜਾਵਾਂ,
ਆਖਣ ਮੈਨੂੰ ਲੋਕੀ ਸਾਈਂ ਮੈਂ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪਾ ਖੋ ਜਾਵਾਂ।
Reciting the name of Sai, may I become Sai and people start calling me by the name of Sai and thus I lose my own identity.
It is indeed our great fortune that during the times when people enjoyed Matador fighting, horse-racing and cat-walk, we witnessed the unique Leela of God-walk. In the grand hall of Puttaparti, on the magnificent ramp of white marble, we saw Love walking on two tender feet and instilling faith—the faith that truth lives, and it lives forever.
When the world is pursuing the never-ending length of sensory enjoyment, our Sai blessed us with a chance that is available only because of the grace of the Lord and not attainable by any efforts.
The ways of God are mysterious—they are impossible to decipher through reason. All this cosmic drama is His own play. He plays multifarious roles and performs them with mind-boggling precision. Let’s resort to the classic example of Mahabharta. It is the biggest epic of the world and contains more than 0.1 million couplets. And to hail its grandeur and all-encompassing content, it is said that whatever is not in Mahabharata, is not anywhere else. We pick the four roles of this epic: the hero, the heroin, the writer, and the director. Let’s now analyze the names of all these four:
Hero—Krishna, which is one of the 10 names of Arjuna apart from Partha, Konteya, and Pandava. Arjuna was the hero but his name was Krishna also.
Heroine—Krishna, which is the actual name of Draupadi. She was known as Panchali because her father was the king of Panchal, and Draupadi because her father’s name was Drupad.
Writer—Krishna-Dvaipayan, which was the name of Sage Vyasa, who wrote this epic.
Director—Shri Krishna, the eternal charioteer who resides everywhere and is without a second.
So, we can clearly notice that it was the Lord who pulled the strings and made everybody play the part. It is our great good fortune that the same Lord Krishna has come to save us from raging another epic war, and to make ourselves a witness of the drama. In Punjabi, they have a song that goes like this:
ਸਾਡੇ ਚੰਮ ਦੀਆਂ ਜੁੱਤੀਆਂ ਕਰੇ ਕੋਈ, ਜਿਹੜਾ ਜਿਊ ਦਾ ਰੋਗ ਗਵਾਂਵਦਾ ਈ…
May somebody make shoes of this flesh; but heal the ailment of my soul—the ailment of forgetting my own identity that is one with God. May I realize that this is all a play of our Lord and we all are Sai—let’s just be a witness to His Leelas and drive bliss therefrom. What else we can pray for than God’s love!
I have hovered all around the places of fragrance and smell: trying to satiate the thirst of these senses that are always asking for more.
Now spell a spider’s net around me and make me a prey of your love: let those unfailing threads of your yearning bind me to eternity and never leave me; and in the meanwhile you approach my Lord, with your majestic walk on those threads and consume me! Let me merge where I came from and be a part of you!
I would like to conclude with a prayerful song:
और कहूँ क्या अंतर्यामी
तन मन धन प्राणो के स्वामी
करुणाकर आकर ये कहीए
स्वीकारी विनती स्वीकारी…विनती सुनिए नाथ हमारी…
O merciful indweller of my being, say that you have accepted our prayer! O master of our body, mind and possessions, may we become lovers of your love and leave everything that could attract our attention or concern. O Ma, Sathya Sai, make us realize that we all are Sai!
Jai Sai Ram!