By Ranganatha Raju
(Rangantha Raju completed his MBA, MA. And BA Economics from the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. An avid economist and academician, Raju has been the economics stretegist guiding TVS Motors from success to glory. He has been an outstanding dramatist, actor and script writer since his student days. Raju is also a poet of high repute with Swami Himself granting him the title of Telugu Kavi. He has had numerous interactions and has also been guiding youth from Andhra Pradesh in their cultural programmes staged before Swami. In this article he eloquently expresses his heart’s conviction.)
My world stopped as I read the text message…..What would I say or even think…can that be true? Can Swami leave……my body shuddered, tears rolled…but deep inside was a voice…a whisper..a belief that nothing can go wrong with Swami..He is in total control.!! How do I describe all those moments when we experienced the sweetness of His love in His presence…those smiles, those silent acknowledgements, those nods…those pats, those words, those acts of insignificance…..each and every one of those carved a world for us, made us worthy of ourselves. In my first year when I joined the hostel I was a small boy. Scared, never been away from my parents. heavy heart as I slept that night he appeared in my dream with broad welcoming hands and with a smile beaming on His lips. He then held my hand, took me all around the huge hostel, each and every room, every corridor and every corner….even to the lavatory and showed me even how to flush the toilet. Then we appeared in front of His car (earlier I had heard about His magnificent car and wanted to look at it from close quarters). He let my hand free and I went around the car like a child admiring each of its curves. With a smile he asked, “did you like the car?” and I said excitedly “Yes Swami”. Just then, I woke up. That evening all of us had assembled in front of our college auditorium to welcome Swami. He came in the same car. The driver was particular to drive it as slow as possible to allow students to have a closer look. As the car neared me, Swami looked up and said, “Did you like the car?”…the same smile and the same question as in the dream.… I stood motionless and the world that I built till then crumbled … Gates to another world were opened….
As we grew up under His loving care ,each day we would notice His untiring love pouring out to His devotees…His selfless magnanimity , His simplicity amidst His grandeur, His unconditional commitment of service to mankind. These ennobling qualities appeared incidental for beyond them was the resplendent divinity that drenched every presence with a beauty that can never be gauged by words. Even the most unnatural acts like creating things at mere will, healing the most dreaded of diseases with a mere word, and even reviving dead to life seemed natural. This resplendence we called and knew as Swami. Each day, my new world grew richer in experience and mature in perception.
We knew that He was GOD..Rather we thought we knew that He was God. We thought we believed his word, we thought we lived His ideals; we thought we learnt what He wanted us to learn. We thought we were building a richer world. But today as I ruminate I realize that I was completely wrong. As He opened the doors of a new world, we never entered it.…….
We today choose to believe current circumstances more than divine assurances. We limited Swami to the confinements of a physical body and began bitter brooding over illusions. I remember Swami telling us once, “With a snap of my finger I can turn earth into sky and the sky in to earth. These hands do not know the meaning of the word impossible”
But what are the current circumstances that we are witnessing? Humans believed for the known 12000 years of history that earth was flat, that it was the center of the universe and the Sun revolved around it. Were there not luminaries, wise men and scientists those days? Was there not logic, reason and research those days? Yet how could human understanding for thousands of years succumb to this misconception? Human mind is limited to the length and breadth of its imagination. Sadly, imagination itself is a byproduct of perception. For thousands of years we have been seeing that dead never return. We began to believe that this is the law of nature and firmly established: all that disappears through death never returns. Is it not something similar to the earth being flat?
In 2006 we had depicted a scene from Ramayana in HIS presence. Bharatha approaches Sri Rama and prays for his return from the forest to Ayodhya. Rama does not relent. Bharatha argues that as much as Sri Rama is bound by his Dharma to His father, He is also bound by Prema of his devotees. He then questions, “Is Dharma greater than love?.” Rama opines that being a king of great wisdom Janaka’s response should be sought. He also promises that he would abide by the outcome .i.e. if Janaka suggests that Love is greater than Dharma, Sri Rama would walk back to the kingdom. Being approached, Janaka thinks deeply and responds that all scriptures suggest that Love is greater than Dharma. The whole crowd erupts in joy and the royal entourage that accompanied Bharatha starts preparation in ecstasy to take Sri Rama back to the kingdom. Sri Rama then looks at Baharatha and says, “ Bharatha Love too has its Dharma. It is Dharma of the lover to abide by the wish of the beloved. I am your beloved. I want to go to forest. Should you not then abide by it?” Including Bharatha and Janaka, the whole crowd was left speechless. They knew that it is now impossible to get Rama back to the kingdom.
On seeing this drama, Swami was ecstatic. He called the boy who played the character of Bharatha and created a beautiful ring. Swami kept repeating numerous times, “It is not that Sri Rama ignored the prayers of His devotees. He came back to Ayodhya at the right time.” We had performed dramas of much grandeur, better acting and thoughtful story lines. But his reaction was never so emotional. Back then it appeared strange, but now we know the reason.
This incident is extremely potent in its relevance. We too are in similar position of Great Bharata. He carried back sandals that leave human trails and we carry His memories. Similar to us, He was forced to look at the world in absentia of Sri Rama. But what Bharatha did was astounding. He refused to climb the throne, he refused to be adorned in regalities. He remained a mendicant lost in prayer for the return of His beloved. In fact Bharatha was lost in the thought of Rama so deeply that His physical features too turned similar to Rama. I remember Swami saying that when Sri Rama returned, people of Ayodhya were confused as to who the real Rama was. During his temporary physical absence in Ayodhya Sri Rama must have killed countless demons but importantly He transformed Bharatha into Sri Rama! An un- civilized tribal woman called Shabhari waited for 96 long years, an egoistic violent bird called Jatayu wounded, bleeding and battered awaited with bated breath; illiterate eccentric rural woman who knew nothing other than rearing cows called Radha waited with an agonized heart; sages of immense wisdom called Vasista and Rishyashringa waited for years. Neither the evolved sages nor the tribal women, not even animals and birds were left disappointed. Will we whom He called as His Breath and His cherished property be disappointed?.... NEVER!!
LET US PRAY AND AWAIT HIS RETURN.