Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A beautiful prayer

I remember reading this somewhere in the Sathya Sai General Hospital in mid-March 2011, when I was there for my Prasanthi seva. A beautiful one that struck an immediate chord with me! I noted it and kept. I happened to come across it today and so, decided to post it here.

When you take me on your wings into the skies of your glory,

Give me the humility to bow to you in all men.

When you trample me under your feet, to shake off all my unlikeness to you,

Grant me the resolve to cling to your feet with love.

When you take up the sword to strip me off all selfhood,

Give me the strength to surrender to your wrath.

When you lift me up into the heavens of your bosom,

Grant me the courage to sever the bonds of earth.

Revisiting my Parthi trip of Jan 2009

I happened to check my 'Sent mails' folder today and discovered a mail I'd sent on Jan 11th, 2009 to a friend in my Sai circle. As I read through this mail today and looked back, I could easily see how Swami has planned everything for me down to the last detail and how He has pulled me so close to Him in recent years.

Pls find below a slightly edited version of my experiences in Parthi during end of Dec 2008 and beginning of January 2009. My parents and I were there for nearly a week starting from end of Dec 2008.

I am really grateful to Swami for everything in my life. I am absolutely convinced that every good thought we have comes from Him only. The fact that I was moved on seeing mothers with handicapped kids or the way I resolved to use my youth properly or the way I decided to try and follow 'Help Ever, Hurt Never' or my thought about not complaining and accepting everything as His prasad -- all these I cannot claim as my own but I can only dedicate them to Swami. In hindsight, I am now realizing that He is the source of all good thoughts, words and deeds. Thank you Swami for this lovely realization you've blessed me with! Help me always remember this so that my ego never surfaces.

The thoughts might be a bit random but the below write-up reveals exactly how I felt on my return to Chennai after that trip to Prasanthi Nilayam.

It was a lovely experience in Parthi, a good break for me and my parents. Amma did not come much into the Kulwant hall but I went and sat for almost every session. I was very touched to see so many people yearning for Swami and coming and waiting so many hours, especially mothers with young kids, some of whom were handicapped. I could also see many young kids who were just in 10th or 11th classes.

One day, we were in the token lines early and people who came late got a token number much ahead of us. When I started muttering about this along with a few others next to me, one girl beside me (I learnt later that she was from a group that had come from Sivakasi and that she was in 10th class) told me that we should be happy that Swami gave us at least the chance to be seated inside Kulwant Hall, no matter what number token we got. That was a very valuable lesson I learnt! That girl, so many years younger to me, had such maturity. I felt ashamed of myself. What is the use of knowing Swami so many years if we can't follow such simple things?

When I saw old ladies and mothers with handicapped children, I felt very moved. Swami has given us healthy bodies. People are so devoted to Swami and have so much faith in Him, even if he has not solved their problems for many years. On seeing such people, I resolved that I should not waste my youth and should do something of use. I decided I will render whatever service is possible. I know that bhajan is also a service, but if I can do something else too, I will have some satisfaction and that is a sure way to earn Swami's grace.

New Year Day, January 1, 2009 was a lovely start for me. All through my stay in Parthi, I kept praying to Swami to be with me and guide and guard me throughout my life. I told Him I was confused and helpless and didn't know what direction to take, with regard to many aspects in my life. But I was very happy when I got a 2009 calendar on New Year Day with Swami's photo and the mesg “I am with you – to guide and guard.” I really felt Swami was speaking to me directly. What more could I ask for? Why should I fear or worry when He has promised to be with me? That was a great experience. I could really feel Swami's presence.

When I heard all the old songs like ‘Humko tumse pyar kitna’ and ‘Tu pyar ka sagar hai’, tears just kept flowing from my eyes. I was able to sing along for most of the songs, since I was very familiar with them. I felt Swami had chosen those songs for me, so that I could also join in. :)

The 1st samithi I attended was VP Colony samithi in Ayanavaram, North Chennai. I started going to this samithi from 8th std and played harmonium for the bhajan sessions. That time, I was not too involved in anything else. I attended the samithi only because I was interested in playing harmonium and in music.

Of course, I have been praying to Swami since my young age. Swami has written 'Aum' for me and given, which is such a great blessing — it is so rare nowadays to get it. I always used to pray before Swami's photo and touch the 'Aum' slate and pray.

I attended bhajan, nagarsankeerthan, devotional songs program, etc. in the VP Colony samithi so many times, without realizing much what a golden opportunity I was being given. Only now, I realize what a chance Swami gave me and how He has moulded me, my harmonium playing and my understanding of Him through these years. Really, I feel that whatever bhajans and other music-related activities I took part in all those years have borne fruit now and have made me visit Prasanthi Nilayam many times in the recent years for Swami's darshan.

Coming to Sai Nivas has changed my life in many ways. I have been learning Vedas and have got the chance to play harmonium in the bhajan group. My playing has improved a lot. Also, I am learning Vedas. I had never imagined I could chant Vedas and I sincerely thank Swami for giving me a wonderful teacher and for blessing me with the ability to grasp well and chant the various Vedic hymns.

In Kulwant Hall, when I saw Swami this time, I kept thinking that I have done some punyam in my previous birth to get the gift of playing the harmonium from Him — it is indeed a very very rare blessing. I also kept thanking Him for making me play for two programs at Sai Nivas during His 83rd bday celebrations.

It was a great learning experience for me. I learnt many ragas that I was not too familiar with earlier and in many languages, especially during our mahila youth program. Swami has been with me throughout and guided me during these programs. Without Him, I could not have done anything. If the programs became successful, it is only because of His grace. All praise and glory to Him alone I am just an instrument in His hands.

I also realized that there is no point in complaining about anything — be it at the Sai center or the people around us at work, etc. Swami wants us to be the best and set an example and to accept everything He gives. That is my New Year resolution and I hope Swami helps me to live like that always. I just prayed to Swami that I should do good things to earn His grace and make myself worthy of His grace.

We were in Parthi for almost a week and that week was super. How time flew, we didn't know. It was heaven. We didn't feel like returning at all.

I heard that Swami recently told His students that He's depending on them to create a better world. What a profound thought that is! We have been chosen by Swami to be in His mission. Everything is His sankalpa. There are so many people who don't know Him.We should feel grateful we know Him.

There's a line in a devotional song ‘Dhanyawad’ by the Sai students that goes like this “Aap ki pehchaan hum ko aap ki kripaa se hai”, which means that we can get to know Him only if His grace is there. We can do nothing on our own — it is He who is making us work every day. That song is my favorite nowadays. Lovely lyrics! I kept singing that many times in Parthi, thanking Swami for everything He has given me. “Sukh aur dukh, aashaa niraashaa, aap ki kripaa se hai” is a lovely line, which means that happiness or sadness, desires or aversions, everything is His grace.

I resolved to keep doing good and helping others in whatever way I can. It's enough if we follow Swami's teachings ‘Help ever, hurt never’ and ‘Be good, do good’. If we keep thinking of Swami all the time, it's very easy to remain peaceful and no bad thoughts will cross our mind and the easiest way to do this is namasankeertana. I keep singing some bhajan or other all the time, some devotional songs too — that really helps. We must be thankful to Swami for giving us this wonderful gift of music and we must use it properly. I can go on writing but I think I will stop at this.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Surround yourself by persons devoted to the higher life

Beautiful mesg from the Lord, which is in sync with what I was thinking this morning!

Force your mind to breathe the grander atmosphere of the Eternal. Do this by reminding it of God and His Glory every second, with every breath, by repeating any of His Names. 

Or engage in some work, which will take you out of your narrow self into His vast magnificence; some task where you dedicate the fruit to God, or where you devote your time and energy to share your skill, joy or knowledge with your fellow beings. 

Or keep yourself surrounded always by persons devoted to the higher life; persons who will encourage you to move forward along the road towards the goal. Through these means, you can achieve Chittha Shuddhi (cleansing of your mind).

-- Sathya Sai Baba in a divine discourse on Mar 27, 1966.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Sai - The Mother of Mothers - A few recent experiences I had

Just to share a few thoughts about my recent wonderful trip to Prasanthi Nilayam. Right from the time mom and I stepped out from our house in Chennai, we felt Swami's hand guiding and protecting us. Truly, Swami is the mother of mothers, watching over us all the time. We have to just keep holding on to His hand all the time. Then, He does take over and plan things for us.

Here are 3 striking incidents which really touched me and showed that Swami is the mother of mothers and really made me feel His love for me. It was as if He was saying "I know you have come to Prasanthi Nilayam. I also want you to know that I am with you all the time and am aware of every lil wish of yours, even if it is a fleeting one."

1. On July 20th in the afternoon, I was just telling amma that we should remember to ask for Vibhuti prasad in the small room near the South Indian ladies canteen in the ashram. That afternoon, one Sai brother had come to meet us. He spent some time with us sharing about Swami.

I dunno what prompted him but just before he left,  he showed us a picture of him with Swami which he has in his wallet & gave us a lil Vibhuti which Swami had given with His own hands when He blessed him for his wedding. WOW!!

I was simply amazed at this beautiful blessing from Swami. I felt Swami saying, "Aarthi, you asked for Vibhuti. Here it is, directly from Me!"

2. On July 20th evening, as I was seated in Kulwant Hall, I could see Swami's students lining up basins full of sweets in the area outside the mandir, which I could see from where I was seated. I was wondering what the special occasion was. Towards the end of the bhajan session, the sevadals came and distributed the sweets to us. As I was wondering which direction I should put out my hand to, I felt a laddoo land on my lap. :) 

I smiled and thanked Swami. I felt Him saying, "You said you've come to your mother's house, right? Will a mother ever allow her child to return without a sweet or two? Here is a sweet for you. And you dun even have to put out ur hand for it."

True. I had told a few friends that I was going to my mother's house, referring to Prasanthi Nilayam.  And Swami had in His own way reiterated that for me. :)

3. On July 21st morning, we had set the alarm for 4 am. Somehow, during the previous night, we could not fall asleep easily, even tho we slept only by 12. I told Swami, "You better wake me up at 4 am. We have to get ready early 'coz we need to start at least by 6.30 am from our room to hand over the room key in the accommodation office and then go to the bus depot. Only if we wake up by 4 am, we can do things in a relaxed manner."

Sometime in the morning, I heard my mother's voice call out 'Aarthi!!' and I woke up with a jolt but noticed amma sleeping. I woke her up and asked if she had called me. She said no. When I saw my mobile, it was 5 mins to 4 am and the alarm hadn't even gone off. I immediately realized it was Swami who had woken me up as I had asked Him to, that too much before the alarm. :) 

I thanked Him profusely. Truly, when we tell Him that He needs to take care of us, He does to the very last detail.

These are just 3 incidents but overall, our recent trip to Prasanthi Nilayam was most fulfilling. Right from the lovely room to the food to the weather to the few people we met and spoke to, everything was so memorable. Everything was so convenient and comfortable for us. All His grace. That's all.

Thank you Swami! What else can I say? You gave me a recent disappointment but I thank you for that also, because only 'coz of that, I felt prompted to come to Prasanthi Nilayam to run into your arms. And boy! What a welcome you gave me! And what a send-off!!

I can only shed silent tears of gratitude! Thank you once again Swami for this lovely blessing!

Powerful words that reassured me today

I just got back on Saturday night after a beautiful and very fulfilling trip to God's own place, Prasanthi Nilayam, in Puttaparthi. It was simply an amazing 2 days there for me and amma.

And today, as I browsed through Radio Sai searching for something, I came across these lines. It is Swami's will that He made my eyes fall on these lines. They really mean a lot to me.

"Prayer does help you to withstand tensions and problems with courage. Intense prayer, deep devotion, strong faith, sincere repentance, constant yearning and supreme love for God can alter the sequence of events in life. They can make even God reverse His own will."

Thank you Swami for all the love you are giving me. I can never repay you and I don't want to also. Let me remain indebted to you forever. :)

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Look behind, thank God; look ahead, trust God

A beautiful message that greatly encouraged me today!

Look Behind, Thank God -- For all the things that He has done for you in the past.
Look Ahead, Trust God -- Definitely He will not leave you having brought you till here.
Look Around, Serve God -- Verily the same Swami is in all the fellow human beings whom we can serve.
Look within, See God -- He is our Indweller!
Look through, Be God -- Let us go beyond this veil of Maya and realize who we really are!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Swami speaks to me today

A beautiful message to me from Swami's discourses.

I shall tell you just one thing, which is the essence of all noble scriptures. I want you to resolve to follow this, every single day - “Do not seek to find fault in others. Give up maligning and injuring others in thought, word and deed.

Do not scandalize anyone; do not feel envy or malice. Be always sweet in temperament; use soft and sweet words. Fill your conversations with devotion and humility.”

Live in Love, for love, with love. Then the Lord, who is Himself Divine Love personified, will grant you all that you need, without you asking for anything.He knows. He is the Mother who does not wait to hear the moan of the child to feed it. He anticipates every need and rushes to you with help that you must have in every occasion.

Friday, 6 July 2012

2 beautiful messages that I read today

Bhagawan Baba once told His students "What is amazing for you is Sahajam (natural) for Me."

Yes, it is true. We often label some events as coincidences or miracles but it is God's hand at work to reassure us or give us joy.

I had been praying for strength to handle a particular situation in my life and I had so many questions running through mind last night. Today, I found all the answers in the poem below, which I found on the Sai Divine Inspirations blog at the link http://saidivineinspirations.blogspot.in/2012/07/faith.html

Is He who has promised
Are you passing through a testing?
Is your pillow wet with tears?
Do you wonder what the reason.
Why it seems God never hears?

Why it is you have no answer
To your oft-repeated plea.
Why the heaven still is leaden
As you wait on bended knee?
Do you wonder as you suffer.
Whether God does understand.
And if so, why He ignores you,
Fails to hold you in His hand?

Do black doubts creep in, assail you,
Fears without, and fears within,
Till your brave heart almost falters
And gives way to deadly sin?

All God's testing have a purpose---
Some day you will see the light,
All He asks is that you trust Him,
Walk by faith and not by sight,
Do not fear when doubts beset you,
Just remember---He is near;
He will never, never leave you,
He will always, always hear.

Faithful is He who has promised,
He will never let you fall,
Daily will the strength be given
Strength for each and strength for all.
He will gladly share pain with you,
He will gladly give you peace,
Till your tired and weary body
Find its blessed, glad release.

When the darken veil is lifted,
Then dear heart, you'll understand
Why it is you had to suffer,
Why you could not feel His hand
Giving strength when it was needed,
Giving power and peace within
Giving joy thru tears and trial,
Giving victory over sin.

So till then just keep on trusting,
Thru the sunshine and the rain,
Thru the tears and thru the heart-aches,
Thru the smiles and thru the pain
Knowing that our Father watches,
Knowing daily strength He'll give,
Victory for each passing hour,
This is life, so let us live!

And just as I finished reading this poem and silently thanked Swami, I got another lovely message in my mailbox.

It ran thus:

"On this day of your life, Aarthi, I believe God wants you to know that your kindness has been observed -- and, more than observed, deeply appreciated -- by another.

Sometimes it may feel as if we go through life and nobody notices any of the "good" things we do, only the "bad." It may seem that way, but this is not true.

Why, this very moment someone thought of you, and of a kindness you have done. Your soul may have even tingled a little just now. (It does that when it receives good energy.)

So keep sending out those kindnesses, my friend. You are becoming known for them..."

I felt doubly blessed and thanked Swami for showing me His omniscience and omnipresence.


Thursday, 5 July 2012

This is God Work

Amazingly wonderful msg I got in my mailbox today. Yet another direct msg from God to me.

On this day of your life, Aarthi, I believe God wants you to know that Life is conspiring in your favor.

It may not always look that way, but it is, I assure you.

Everything that is happening, is happening just the way it must, in order for you to have the opportunity to create the experience of your Self for which you yearn.

The idea behind all of this is to give you a chance to become and to know, at the highest level, Who You Really Are.

This is God Work we are up to, you and I. So keep on.


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Three little trees

I happened to come across this beautiful story today from the Radio Sai archives. When I finished reading this, I felt Swami's presence greatly. Definitely, it is His plan that I should read this today and get reassured.

Here's the link for the story that touched me today.

And the last line of the article really confirmed my belief that whatever I go through, even though it may be painful is really good for me. In the end, it will all turn out fine. 

"The next time you feel down because you didn't get what you wanted, just sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you."

Thank you Swami for everything!

This too shall pass

Yet another beautiful message from God today.

"On this day of your life, Aarthi, I believe God wants you to know that morning comes every day; the sunrise does not fail, nor the sunset.

Give it time. That is all that may be required. Just give it time. Do not try to push the river. The cycles of life present themselves, play themselves out, and make smooth every passage and terrain.

Try not to get caught up in your story of the moment. Look, rather, to the Long Story. Therein will be found your peace. The cycles will redeem this moment, if you let them, and even this shall pass."

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

2nd msg from God for me today

On this day of your life, Aarthi, I believe God wants you to know that when you pray for anyone, you tend to modify your personal attitude toward them.

Norman Vincent Peale said that, and he touched on something truly profound. If someone is vexing you right now, say a prayer for that person. Send them all of your best energies.

Nothing changes the environment like one person deciding to love another, no matter what.

Very profound! :) Thank you, Swami!

Message from Swami on this holy Guru Purnima Day

Practice detachment at every step, or else, greed and miserliness will overpower your finer human nature. Try to win God’s grace by reforming your habits, reducing your desires and refining your higher nature.  
One step makes the next one easier; that is the excellence of the spiritual journey. At each step, your strength and confidence increases and you receive larger and larger installments of grace. I command you on this day of Guru Poornima, to take the path of your chosen spiritual practice sincerely.