Sai Spiritual Showers Volume 2 Issue 83 Thu, Feb 17, 2011
To feel agitated and anxious when this body is suffering is the duty of Bhaktas; to taken upon myself the suffering of my devotee is my duty! I do mine and you do yours. Yours is as much your duty as My assumption of illness is mine. If you understand the Reality, you have no reason to suffer, no have I any suffering. These are only temporary, transitory suffering and anxieties, that ar both the expressions of Prema(Love). When the relationship between us is fixed in the recognition of Truth and the Atmic Principle, there can be no suffering, no anxiety, no agitation. - Sri Sathya Sai
From Tragedy to Truth

After describing how a friend of his had been admitted in a hospital in Lucknow with a compound fracture after a scooter accident two days before he and his sister were to leave for Brindavan, and how despite the efforts of the doctors and his own prayers to Baba, the young man died, Ajay Pant writes:

All the time somewhere in the subconscious I was blaming Swami for all that was happening. Then the journey to Bangalore started with an already built-in prejudice against Swami. The picture of the boy haunted me throughout the much delayed journey, due to railway disturbances (May 1970).

I reached Whitefield on the day the Summer Course was to be inaugurated. My sister was also with me. She too had been selected for the Summer Course. The first reaction to the whole set up was strange. I liked it, in spite of having a grudge against Swami.

I met all the boys selected from Uttar Pradesh. What I could not understand then was their eagerness to see Swami, which I more or less pretended not to have.

At last, we stood outside the gate of Swami's residence—waiting for Him to come out. My reaction at confronting Swami was least expected. When I saw the saffron-clad, magnificent figure gliding closer, I was quite taken aback. "No one can be rude to this personality" I thought. But the "Intellect" prevailed and I stubbornly put my hands behind my back, while everyone else had them folded respectfully. Swami smiled at all others and acknowledged their greetings. He just whizzed past me. I felt, only felt, as if He looked at me in a queer way, as if to say, "Wait! I'll show you!!”

I had taken the challenge. I was stubborn, headstrong. My campaign against Baba was to make fun of Him somehow or the other. I remember a boy telling me that I weakened his faith, talking all that rubbish. I did even go to the extent of distorting the words of the bhajans.

But, how long can one resist charm? I slowly found myself doing what he told all the students to do. The explanation for this I gave to myself was that since Swami was feeding me and would be doing so for a month, it was my duty.

The day came when Swami was giving interviews to students of our State. I was eager to see him in order to have my queries answered. We went into the interview room. Half the boys rushed forward to be seated where Swami would come and sit, but I chose a back seat almost next to the wall. When at last Swami came in, the boys rushed to touch His feet. Good sense prevailed and I too touched His feet. I was surprised at what I had done.

Swami very sweetly started the conversation asking us how the food was, how the classes were going on, etc. Swami answered some philosophical queries. The boys were all eager to gulp down everything that He spoke. I found that my turn would not come nor would Swami say anything to me. Then He started asking all the students what their names were and what classes were they in. My turn also came and I mumbled the Information.

To my utter surprise I found myself desperate—desperate to ask: "Swami, why did you kill the boy so young? Why did you not listen to me?" Suddenly Swami's conversation turned to Life and Death. He glanced knowingly at me and said, "The Body experiences age, the Atma has no age". The others took the statement as a casual remark but I knew what he meant. He continued illustrating, "You buy a suit-length cloth and keep it in the cupboard for 10 years. After that you have it stitched and are under the Illusion that the suit is new. When you wear the suit and bend, it gets torn. Then, why do you cry that the new suit is torn. You forget it is the stitching which was new and not the cloth. Similarly, the body is the new stitching and the Atma is the ageless cloth."

I listened and stared in disbelief. Was life and death as simple as He made it out to be? Whatever it was, my head was throbbing with excitement and above all it was clear of all doubts. Had it been anyone else, I would have refuted, doubted but the explicit, loving, knowing and earnest manner in which He explained was much above doubt.

After that I watched Him sorrowfully as the interview came to an end. Swami walked to each one of us and distributed Vibhuti packets. Giving a heap to me, He asked in a slow melodious whisper, "Kya Mangta?" (What do you want?). The only words He inspired me to speak out were "BLESS ALL". He seemed happy, said, "Yes, yes" and went to the other boys.

When I came out of the hall, I was almost in a new world. Everything explained so easily—the mind was so free. This was the greatest sort of miracle for me.

After that I felt closer to Swami. I got a chance to go on the dais one evening, garland Him, touch His feet and even manage to speak to Him.

On the day when the Course was being concluded, I was sitting on the floor of the over-full auditorium listening to Swami's discourse. He was telling us about the challenge which we would have to face, when we go back. In other words, He said, the actual Summer Course was only beginning. He concluded with bhajans in his captivating voice and the ever-enthusiastic devotees (me too) joined in.

After arati, Swami left the auditorium. I saw an empty step on the passage through which Swami walked. I rushed, and stood there, watching tensely as Swami approached closer. I folded my hands.

Swami stopped before me, yes, stopped, amidst all the fanfare, the excitement. I was floating in the air, to say the least. The opportunity was too rare to be missed. I said; "Swami, help me to be good." He smiled "Yes! Yes! I am always with you". I touched His feet and felt His hands on my back blessing me. Then He asked me In Hindi: "Are you not coming to Puttaparthi?" I replied "No". He raised His hand, His sleeve went up and he circled it thrice. My palm stretched out automatically and Vibhuti came pouring onto my hand. He said, "Eat it" and sailed away before I could think or say anything.

I stood still, dazed; as I came to I gulped down the Vibhuti and walked back to the hostel, still excited. I felt miserable after that—miserable because Swami was leaving the next day with most of the students for Puttaparthi.

The next morning, Swami was leaving. The few students who stayed back sorrowfully waved Swami good-bye. After that the hostel seemed empty without Swami and my sister and I decided to leave for Bangalore that very day.

Now when I sit here and write my confession, I feel not ashamed but proud to have lost my ego battle with Swami. He made me face reality, the bitter reality, in a sweet soothing manner. The name of the boy who died was "Anand Mohan". Now, when I weigh the scales, I find that I have lost "Anand", but I have gained the "Anand Swaroopa".

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