Tuesday, 31 July 2012
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.