It was a Holy time, the Sacred Week between Palm Sunday and Easter. It was also the beginning of Holi, the Hindu festival. The Jewish Passover was within a day or two. For me it meant an opportunity to reach deeply into my heart with renewed prayers that my own life itself would cease from all its human will and fall utterly and completely into alignment with God's Perfect Design. I had lit special candles and spent special time in prayer. The time was late for lunch, but, I also knew I was going to have a special lunch. I was going to take a simple and hearty meal at one of the canteen facilities provided by the Sai Organsation; and, I had overheard that the volunteers helping in the kitchen were regularly chanting the Gayatri Mantra, which Baba extols as a source of enormous spiritual light and strength. This meant a great deal to me.
When my son was only four years of age, our Sai Baba Centre avidly took up the study and learning of the Gayatri. All members of the Centre had begun chanting enthusiastically and humbly. We read carefully in "Vision of the Divine" all of Baba's words about this sacred Mantra. So from the age of four, Sathya had known and felt its healing upliftment. When he was eleven we decided he should recite it thrice daily and he himself became so deeply aware of its special goodness that he would not take food no matter what the occasion or earliness of the hour until his morning Gayatri was completed. I often sat with him as he recited the deep prayer and felt an especially calm beauty in those moments. Even at the age of four he had, through constant exposure to Baba's teachings, begun to grasp the subtleties of God's play. One day as I had succumbed to a feeling of dejection and sat down on the floor moping, Sathya toddled around the corner and upon seeing me, stopped, leaned his pudgy little face down into my gaze and patting me on the cheek softly said: "Don't forget, Mommy, you're the Immortal Atma."
I was thinking of my son on this special day of prayer giving deep gratitude that he was being educated in a school blessed by Baba, and being taught in that school the rich tradition of Sanathana Dharma, Vedic morals and trust in God. Knowing that my son had eaten heartily and often from Mother Gayatri's sacred meal of upliftment, I, too, felt a kinship of protection for him as I walked to my own meal prepared in its Holy Light.
I was almost the last one to enter the canteen. I quickly requested 2 chapattis, and was most graciously served. However, suddenly I saw, almost as though drawn by a thick crayon, the lovely outline of an OM. It was made of the toasty darker brown and was vividly clear. (Later when the chapatti was cut in half the OM was seen to be perfectly centered in its raised puff of dough.) How beautiful, I thought. I tip-toed into the kitchen to show it to the workers. How lovely it had been for us all to see that sacred Symbol so perfectly drawn, in the very food we were to eat. One lady said she had felt particular guidance from Baba that morning to recite the Gayatri as the chapattis were rolled, whereas previously they had done so over vegetable chopping.
The Gayatri's very meaning, Baba tells us, is the affirmation of God in everything. He says it draws down upon us enormous spiritual benefits. All I could think, when all of us stood looking at the lovely Chapatti OM is: can we ever estimate the unseen value of the love and care we receive when we eat food prepared in a holy way and in a reverent environment? What prasad it is to receive food prepared by those who follow Baba's Intent and Instructions?
One man volunteered to preserve the OM by taking a photograph of it. I had even prayed to God that ...though I did not have a camera, such beautiful message from God as an OM in chapatti should be saved. Imagine my surprise when someone stepped forward and mentioned a desire to photograph the Precious Symbol. The man having the camera also mentioned it was his son's birthday. I could not help but think again of the Rebirth which the Gayatri affords and, my own child basking in that light. So many of the persons who saw the Chapatti OM felt special meaning in its manifestation. All of us felt most deeply, I think, a pure gratitude to Baba for letting us feel once again the precious efficacy and worth of Sadhana done with love, a most Precious Food.