When a child refuses to partake its food, the mother very lovingly takes the child into her embrace and shows to the child the silvery moon, floating in the star-studded sky. When the child is fully engrossed in its appreciation for the queen of night skies, the mother dexterously feeds the child, even without its knowledge. Similarly, when man refuses to imbibe the teachings of the Lord, He shows us His ‘moon-like’ miracles, which are no doubt enchanting but in the very course of these miracles, He lovingly feeds us with the morsels of the highest truth, that ‘He is the nearest of the near, the dearest of the dear, and one who is closer than the closest.’
In this context, I would like to share with you some prized possessions from the museum of my recollections. Our hostel, a manifestation of Swami’s love for his students, is in fact a ‘Philadelphia’ - a place of brotherly love. During my stay in the hostel, on one sunny and scorching afternoon, for some reason, I could not have lunch till an hour past my regular time. I could not help feeling that, had my mother been here, she would have lovingly enquired about the delay. Thinking thus, I absent-mindedly gulped the food. During Darshan time, Swami graced all with His physical presence. The sun was drowning to the west of the Sai Kulwant hall, bringing a tinge of turmeric orange to the horizon as if to welcome the Divine mother back into the Poornachandra. Sai ‘Jagan Mohini’ draped in a more enchanting orange robe was returning after the ‘auspicious’ Arati. As she passed in front of me, the Jagan Mata, graciously turned towards me and warmly enquired, “Bojanamu chesava?” The words were pregnant with motherly love. The ‘Tripura Sundari’, with a soul stirring smile had whispered a thundering truth, “I am the nearest of the near, the dearest of the dear, I am closer than the closest.”
On another occasion, when I was pursuing my third year in engineering at Madras, one Saturday night I suddenly felt an irresistible urge to visit Puttaparthi. As another friend of mine had the same urge, we left Madras at 9.30 pm speeding through the chilly winds of the December night chanting the name of the Lord. We reached Puttaparthi the next day, only to be informed that Swami was in Brindavan. As it was my first visit to Puttaparthi, we spent the next day in the ‘Bhuvaikunta’ and left for Tirupathi the next day. We reached the abode of Lord Venkateswara at 3 pm to find a serpentine queue ahead of us. We felt that ‘stars’ were against us because we were informed that we could not have Darshan till 10 pm. However, I thought of trying my luck at the J.E.O’s office. I felt a warm hand on my shoulder and turned back to see a six-footer with a letter enquired, “Want to have Darshan?” “Another broker,” I thought. I accepted letter and with an assumed air of authority, I walked in and proudly handed the letter to the J.E.O. Since any letter can be used only once, he tore the letter, dexterously threw into the dustbin. Then, the Darshan ticket was issued so that we can have the Darshan the next hour. The letter which I gave read, “Kindly issue Darshan tickets for Mr. X and family members duly signed by the Union Minister (in green ink).” I came out of the office to find the man, the one who offered unsolicited help, missing.
Thanking our stars this time, we reached the sanctum sanctorum. Lord Venkateshwara was shining gloriously in the midst of scintillating lamps. “Om Namo Venkateshwaraya” was played in the background. It suddenly struck like a thunderbolt, that the name mentioned in the letter, Mr. X was ‘SATHYA NARAYANA RAJU’.
A whole-hearted prayer and a timely response. He is the nearest of the near.
- Bharat Kumar
Student (2003-2005), Department of Management Studies
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus
Currently, Assistant Manager, Vital Solution Pte Ltd., Singapore