What happens when Bhagawan calls you for an interview, a life time opportunity? All pre-formulated questions and requests become like mindless voices from another world, lost in the intensity of the transformation that is taking place. No one is precisely the same person as one leaves the interview room, writes Shep Sandal, New York, U.S.A. (...from the Sanathana Sarathi archives)
It seemed that Bhagawan was calling only large groups for interviews on that day. During the morning Darshan, He had called a Swedish group of about eleven people. At evening Darshan, He called an even larger group from another country. I prayed for a dream. An interview seemed out of the question.
I had found myself in a fortunate position at evening Darshan, as I was seated exactly three rows from the end, and three from the front. I was startled when my position for Darshan the next morning was identical. I had brought a book, "Prasanthi Vahini,” to read while awaiting Swami's appearance. I am generally not an outgoing sort of person, so I surprised myself when I stood up to offer Swami my book for His autograph. I proceeded to shock myself even more by inquiring, "Wedding, Swami?" as he signed the book. As He handed me back the book, He asked, "Where are you from?" "The Hollywood Center,” I replied. "How many are you?” he asked. "Two, Swami,” I answered. "Go!” He said, motioning to the interview room. I stood there, thunderstruck. He took several steps, looked back, saw me still standing there like a statue, and repeated, more forcefully, "Go!” I went.
Nancy, watching from the women's side, could hardly believe her eyes. As I walked toward the Mandir, I tried to spot her in the crowd. Finally I gave up and just signalled in that general direction for her to join me. I was relieved finally to see her, as she stood up and walked over to where I waited. All we could do was to sit there, feeling complete love and fear all at the same time. I had never experienced anything like it, and the interview hadn't even started yet.
There were five women and three men in the outer room. Swami called us either individually or in couples into the private interview room. The interview lasted about twenty minutes and seemed like a lifetime. In fact, I'm not certain that I could relate all the details. One begins to understand biblical references to God as a whirlwind or a burning bush after being in that room with Bhagawan. All pre-formulated questions and requests become like mindless voices from another world, lost in the intensity of the transformation that is taking place. And, regardless of degree, a transformation does take place. No one is precisely the same person as one leaves the interview room.
As we sat at Swami's feet, He instructed us in various aspects of our lives; the ultimate parent, gently chastising and simultaneously holding out hope for the future. He reached out for the package of letters that Nancy had brought with her from the Center. She was also holding a photograph of her brother, pictured in flight gear, with his trainer plane in the background. Swami asked his name and then pointed to the plane and asked, "What is this?" Nancy looked puzzled, and Swami repeated the question, pointing, "This, what is this?" Nancy replied that it was a trainer plane. We knew, by His look, that this was not the answer He was awaiting. It was with a look of fatherly tolerance for His slightly silly children that He continued with the interview. We realized what He had been asking about later, upon re examining the photograph. Because of the angle of the photo, the "U" of "U.S." (United States) had been cut off, leaving only the "S" on the front of the plane. It was to this "S” that Swami had referred when he had asked, "What is this?"
Swami had earlier said to Nancy, "You have many doubts, too many. Be confident. Be sure." He now reiterated, regarding her missing brother, "Here, too, you have doubts. Is he alive? Is he dead? Yes or no? At first you knew, but now you are not sure." Nancy said, "Yes, Swami. I do not know." And He replied, "Yes, you do know. Yes, yes, he is with life." Nancy, in a voice choking with years of pent up emotion, asked, "Swami, do you mean he is alive here, in your heart?" "No, no,” said Baba. "He is with life. He is happy and healthy, and now, for you, he is coming home soon, very soon."
As tears of emotional release streamed down her face, Swami said to Nancy, "No, no more crying, no more doubts. Now you can be happy." He repeated this from time to time as Nancy's tears continued flowing. He blessed our marriage and spoke some more with us before ushering us into the outer room and leading in the next couple.