Wednesday, 25 November 2015
My first Raksha Bandhan with my beloved Swami, Sai Krishna
Today is Karthigai Deepam, a festival celebrated by Tamilians. And we too are celebrating it at home. This festival is special for brothers and sisters, just as Raksha Bandhan is in North India. So I am putting up this post as my humble offering and tribute to my beloved Anna Sai Krishna.
On July 19, 2013, I was thinking of how Swami had responded to me as my elder brother on Krishnashtami the previous year (http://voyagetowardstheself.blogspot.in/2012/08/a-beautiful-krishna-janmashtami.html).
I immediately felt I should send Him a Rakhi and greeting card to Prasanthi Nilayam for Raksha Bandhan that was coming up on August 20, 2013. So I sat and wrote a detailed letter to Swami explaining how He is my brother Krishna, etc., etc., and how I am His Draupadi. I also said that He should uphold His promise to me and said I wanted to send a Rakhi and card for Him.
The next day on July 20, 2013, I read somewhere that on one occasion when Lord Krishna cut His finger while cutting sugar cane, Draupadi instantly tore off a bit of her saree to tie up His bleeding finger. Krishna then said that she'd tied Him up in debt. He added that He would repay when the time came and He would protect her. I was very moved on reading this and prayed earnestly to Bhagawan to shower His grace upon me, just like He did for Draupadi. I later bought one Rakhi and kept it aside for Bhagawan.
Cut to August 1, 2013.
I bought 2 new Rakhis that morning and thought I would send them to Puttaparthi for Bhagawan and also for a very dear and caring Sai brother but had some hesitation. This is because on one side I was angry and fighting with Swami as I was worried about my mother's impending cataract surgery the next day (August 2, 2013).
Two days earlier, on July 31, 2013, when we went to Sankara Netralaya in Chennai for a thorough check-up by the physician, he checked mom's BP and said it was quite high. He said that he would give tablets for the next 2 days and only if the BP was normal on the morning of August 2, mom would be taken in for surgery. Naturally mom, dad and I were worried and not sure whether the surgery would happen or not.
On August 1, 2013, as I wrote earlier, I was mad at Swami but prayed to Him about the Rakhis as well as mom's surgery the next day. I wrote a letter to Him and prayed intensely about various things that were troubling me. I told Him that it was He who gave me the thought of comparing myself to Draupadi the previous year, and not Radha or Meera. I added that since He had promised as my brother, He should take care of everything. I also told Him that I hoped He would accept my love through the Rakhi and greeting card I was planning to send Him.
That night, I told Swami that I would open a book and look for a message just before I went to sleep around midnight. I told Him it could be anything and nothing specific. The book I opened was ‘Students with Sai – Conversations - Part 1 - 1991 to 2000’ (http://www.saipublications.com/b014_Students_with_sai_conversations_1991_2000.html)
I was indeed pleasantly shocked at what appeared on the page I opened up. Bhagawan had spoken about Raksha Bandhan!!!
This is what was printed there.
August 19, 1997
(The conversation then shifted to Raksha Bandhan – the previous day being Rakhi Pournami. Bhagawan disclosed that the practice had started during the Mahabharatha War)
One day, as Lord Krishna was about to leave for the battlefield, His sister Subhadra came and asked if she could tie a Rakhi to His hand and Lord Krishna agreed.
Tears immediately flowed from my eyes. I thanked Swami for giving me His assurance as my brother and also giving a positive sign to send the Rakhis and greeting cards to Parthi. I also knew He would take care of mom's surgery the next day. Needless to say, mom's BP was normal the next day and her surgery went off successfully. She was back to normal in 2 weeks itself! But the story of the Rakhis and greeting cards did not end there.
On August 8, I couriered the Rakhis and greeting cards to the brother in Parthi. Little did I realize what drama Swami had planned ahead!
I kept checking the online tracking for the courier but it kept saying 'In transit' and so on August 16, I enquired at the courier office in my area. The person said he'd check and call back in the evening but didn't.
I spoke to the brother that night and he asked me to check if the parcel had reached the courier office in Parthi and let him know, so that he could then go and collect it. He said because of the Telengana issue the courier might have reached the office in Parthi but would not have been delivered inside the ashram.
Another interesting thing is that on August 16, I was searching the Radio Sai web site for a few bhajans in Desh raga and I stumbled upon 'Sai Kanhaiya'. This is a bhajan I know very well but for some reason had forgotten it. Swami reminded me about it that particular day and it got stuck in my mind.
As I ruminated upon the meaningful lyrics, it made me cry and I felt it was customized for me because of its lyrics 'Tum ho mere maa baap bhaiyya, Hridayanivasi Krishna Kanhaiya'. So I decided to sing it on the upcoming Sunday for Swami in the evening bhajan at Sai Nivas, the Sai mandir near my house.
In the meanwhile, I began to get worried thinking "What if the courier doesn't reach Parthi in time? Maybe I should offer a card and Rakhi here at Sai Nivas itself. Swami is very much here." In my mind I said "Swami, you cannot reject my card and Rakhi here. You have to accept."
That is when I decided to prepare a small greeting card and write my heartfelt feelings for Swami. I decided to keep the first Rakhi that I had bought for Him and also sing 'Sai Kanhaiya' for Him. I told one brother here about this idea and asked him to request one of our senior elders to keep the card in front of Swami's photo in the altar at Sai Nivas.
On the evening of August 18, I sang the bhajan during the bhajan session. Later, I asked the brother where the card was placed, since it didn't seem to be in front of Swami's photo. He pointed out that it is below Swami's footstool in His chair. I smiled. More was to come! :-)
We had a meeting of all our samithi members regarding various things that evening and I too attended it. Suddenly, towards the end of the session, one uncle (whom I'd spoken to in the morning and had even shared about Raksha Bandhan and my Rakhi offering to Swami) called out my name and said I should share about Raksha Bandhan and its origin and my experience.
I initially thought, "Oh, why is he doing this? I haven't shared this with too many people." But I didn't want to create a fuss about not speaking. Moreover, I thought it was Swami's will and blessing that I should talk about this on the mike and so I shared all the details. Many people (including the convenor) later appreciated and said I spoke from the heart.
Looking back, I feel that Swami created this drama of the courier apparently not reaching the brother in time just so that I would get prompted to offer the card and Rakhi and the bhajan on August 18 at Sai Nivas to Him. :) Also, He made me speak about it in His presence that evening on the mike. What a blessing!
A little detour here. After nearly 2 years I am putting up this blog post. I was a bit hesitant but thought I will still do it as an offering to Swami. Even as I am composing this in my blog and I finished 'What a blessing!' in the previous paragraph, a rose from Swami's photo on my wall fell with a distinct thud on the floor, as if someone took it and put it down. Wow! :)
I have not switched on the fan in my room and so there is no wind to make the rose fall. I'm absolutely sure it is Swami who showed His presence now, accepting this blog post. :) Thank you Swami!
To continue the story...
I found out from the courier office the next day that the courier had indeed reached Parthi but was at the office there. So I requested the brother to go and collect the package. He did so on August 19, just a day before Raksha Bandhan.
I wrote a poem in the greeting card I sent to Parthi for Bhagawan. But sadly I did not make a note of what I wrote.
However I did make a note of what I wrote in the card I offered at Sai Nivas. And here it is:
It is YOU I run to every time I need help or guidance.
It is YOU I hold on to when in pain or anxiety.
YOU know my fears, YOU know my tears.
YOU know my ecstasies, YOU know my efforts.
It is YOUR HAND I clasp firmly all the time.
And it's YOU ALONE I'm totally depending on.
You are my mother, father, brother — MY ALL-IN-ONE PERSONAL GOD.
You know every fleeting thought and every letter I'm about to write.
You never forget a prayer, even if I do.
I have come to realize that I am Thee and You are me,
for I see your response to every thought and plea.
YOU ARE THE CORE OF MY INNER BEING.
YOU ALONE ARE THE SOURCE OF ALL GOOD WITHIN ME.
Even if I'm incapable on my own, You have the power to make Your love flow through me.
You alone can change anything and everything.
Tum ho mere maa baap bhaiyya
Hridayanivasi Krishna Kanhaiya
Hridayanivasi Sai Kanhaiya
Paar karo mere jeevan naiyya.
This sacred bond of love that a sister ties to her brother, I tie to You today.
In return, I seek Your love as my protective armour.
May this Raksha Bandhan between me and You last for lifetimes.
I beseech You to accept this offering of love and gratitude!
Swami did acknowledge what I wrote! And how beautifully He did it! :-)
A month later, for my birthday, the brother sent me a loving wish. And in it he had written "Wishing you a great, fulfilling, Sai-filled life ahead!" and "Swami will take care and fill you with His protection and love.... I am sure!!"
I was totally amazed at this because in my heart I felt that in return for the line 'I seek your love as my protective armour' I had written in my greeting card, Swami had sent His promise and reassurance through the words of this brother as my birthday gift, a month after Raksha Bandhan.