FROM ‘I’ TO ‘WE’ - by Ashwin Salian

“Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine master, grant that
I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.”

St. Francis of Assisi

Before I joined the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School in my eleventh class, I studied in a school by name ‘St. Francis D’Assisi High School’. As the name implies, the school was dedicated to St. Francis. Every morning we used to say the prayer given above.

Then I could not understand the real meaning of the prayer. Now that I have joined the Higher Secondary School, I have realised my duties and responsibilities to some extent. Thus, I can now understand the true meaning of the prayer and relate it to my own life. Why only my life - it can be related to everyone’s life. 

The prayer can be divided into three parts. The first part is where the person prays that “Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.” This statement is very significant in the life of a Sai student. Let me tell you why.

Sathya Sai with Students
Bhagavan has specially selected all His students to be His instruments. He has said in one of His Divine discourses, “I am depending upon you students for a great transformation in outlook, for a great revolution. Students of Sri Sathya Sai College must lead this revolution.” 

Thus we are all the instruments in His Divine mission. Knowingly or unknowingly we are working towards the goal. Let me narrate to you an incident to illustrate this point. Once a student was suffering from chicken pox. He was put up in the old hostel. He was feeling very sad since he could not come for Bhagavan’s darshan. He was continuously praying to Bhagavan. One evening, another brother went to meet him sometime and then the sick - boy asked him if he had any Vibhuti, packets. The other brother promptly gave him a few packets of Vibhuti he had in his pocket. At this the sick boy started crying. On being asked the reason for his crying, he told that Bhagavan had come in his dream and told him that He would give him Prasadam. And he did not know how that would happen, as he could not go for darshan. And yet Bhagavan kept His world. Thus, unknowingly the other boy had become an instrument of Bhagavan. Similarly, all of us are ‘destined’ to become His messengers.

In the second part of the prayer, the devotee prays to God that he may remove the bad from this world i.e. hatred, doubt, despair etc., and replace it with good qualities like love, faith, joy etc. This is what a true messenger of our Lord’s love is supposed to do. But for that we have to change ourselves first. Bhagavan has said, “You are My instruments from whom My love will pour. Be always aware, that the moment you let your ego descend on you, My work ceases. When you have overcome your negative mindfulness, you will again become My source.” 

St. Francis of Assisi helping leper
Let me drive this point home with an incident that happened in the life of St. Francis of Assisi. Once Francis was riding home from the market. He saw a leper on the way. The lepper was in a terrible condition; a terrible stench was coming from the pus that oozed from his wounds. Francis was horrified and he went away as fast as he could. But then he remembered the phrase from the Bible, “Desire, what you formerly despised; despise what you former desired.” Immediately, he turned back and went to the leper and showered his love on him. He wrapped up the leper in a blanket, put him on his shoulder and started walking towards a home for the destitute. On the way, suddenly he found there was no weight on his shoulder. He put down the burden, unwrapped the blanket and found that there was no leper in it! This was one among the few incidents that changed the course of his life. When he left his sense of pride, he could become the messenger of God. It was due to this that the world respects him as a saint. 

The third part of the Prayer is where the devotee puts others before himself. He does not care to be understood and loved by anyone. Instead, he wants to love others. He cares not for receiving and thinks that it is in giving that he receives his joy and everything. He says that it is in forgiving the faults of others that his own faults will be forgiven. He believes firmly that when he puts his own interests behind, he becomes one with God. These are the very teachings that Bhagavan gives us. He says, “Love all; serve all.” These little teachings finally take us to God. As Bhagavan says, “In this college, you will be marching from smaller truths to great truths.” Let us all become worthy instruments of Sai and travel from ‘I’ to ‘We’. 

- Ashwin Salian
Completed his BSc. (1998-2001) and MFM (2001-2003), SSSIHL
Currently, Senior Manager, TCS e-Serve, Chennai


Source: Sai Nandana 2000 (75th Birthday Issue)

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