Each and every day is ordinary; Prashanti Nilayam is here, everything is offered for your spiritual progess, and Swami has left his form; but everyone in Prashanti and Puttaparthi township says, “Nothing has changed, Swami is still here!”
So when I am looking up at that ceiling, I know I have gone up in consciousness to a higher form of consciousness. I used to talk to Swami in this state, and ask, “When are you coming out, it’s hot, hot, hot out here“! Like this, and HE would answer, too. I remember one morning …. I asked if he was coming out and said he “had visitors” and so I took padnamaskar on the inner level, got up and left. The crowd were still there, three hours later… I never said a word. Not a word.
Yesterday, many people were splattered with many colours. White darshan clothes really show this up, I can tell you. I had to duck and run a few times in Main Road on the way into the ashram in the morning! Also, many auto-rickshaws carrying roses on the front.
A friend from Tweed-Gold Coast region found me as I was kicking my chappals off to go in, so we had a brief chat, before and after darshan. He is working in the local orphanage, has been so for some time. Swami gave the name to the orphanage; translated, he tells, it means The Place of Love and Compassion for All.
I mentioned magnetism, earlier. It has become clear to me just how powerful thoughts are. In one place I read that Swami described thoughts like multicoloured plasticine (or putty), which goes out into the Universe – faster than the speed of light – and agglomerates with many other similar thoughts until sufficient like energy is amassed and it returns to your own magnetic field, wherein manifestation takes place. I was reflecting on this during vedam this morning. I was thinking about my mind wandering, and how that was reflected in the vibrations within. So sometimes, I stop and just breathe deeply, pulling the energy from chakra to chakra up the spine to the top, until I feel that serenity within again.
On the subject of vedam, when I am walking to the darshan hall, you will understand that I pass many people by. Due my exposure to bhajans, I can lip-read Sanskrit. So I was pleasantly taken aback to observe that many women who were chanting vedam – exactly the same vedam that was coming over the loudspeakers – as they walked by. Wonder of wonders!, I felt. Even the Russian ladies are chanting vedam. This brought a good feeling to me as I took my place in the darshan hall; I looked up toward the Samadhi, and thought of vedam being chanted worldwide. (That’s two elements of Swami’s mission spread worldwide – Veda vidwath [learning and study of Vedas] and Veda poshana, [the chanting and propagation of the Vedas].) Yes, it brought a warm feeling to the heart.
I still haven’t worked out this coupon system for the Western Canteen; first time I went to lunch there I rocked up, made a selection of food, and went to pay. I was sent off to a small store-room to purchase some coupons and then come back and hand them over. Today, I purchased the coupons first, and then selected my foods (He told, “I want you to get some salads into you”) and presented my coupons, carefully watching those in front of me. I don’t get it, there is some important colour code here … I thought I presented the right amount, but no, the lady hands three chits back to me. I dunno. I’ll try again.
Speaking of ladies, I noticed lady seva dals handing out cups of water to a large assembly of ladies in the darshan hall this morning. I wasn’t aware of why this was happening, but suspected the ladies had been in there for some time. Bhajans commenced with two Shiva Shankara bhajans this morning; that kinda popped my eyebrows up a bit. More Shiva bhajans followed, too.
I had asked my friend from the Tweed-Gold Coast region how his time was progressing. “It’s a workshop!” he laughed. I too am in the workshop, for I wrote yesterday that so much of our true spirituality is how we interact with people. Walk into a canteen or the Ashram Supermarket, the workshop starts. In the Supermarket last night: One kind lady finds me a bar of strong soap; excellent! Go to pay for it, it’s not in the system. Kind seva dal on the cash register tosses my bar of strong soap into a bin. “But, but, but, I spent ten minutes trying to find that!” Not in system, Sai Ram, is the reply. “But, but … ” “Sai Ram, please pay for the rest of your purchases!” “But, but … here, just charge me ten rupees or something!” “Sai Ram, not in system. Cannot do that.”
Well, I just had to leave it. In the bin. My, my.
In Cutting the Ties that Bind, Phyllis Krystal mentions ink blots and how they are carried on through the generations of family, so they end up in your mind, amid the many layers of mind we are bequeathed with each time we take birth. (Oh yes, we bring a lot with us!) Swami tells us to do a very quick review of our day when we go to enter the land of sleep – and sometimes, you can see things from a different point of view when you share them with Swami. I begin to see some of the reactions I have are not really mine but behaviours I learned along the way. This is the supreme value of the workshop here in the ashram; Swami gives the experiences, and with his love, you can step back and take a bit of an objective look at yourself.
Walking back from the Western Canteen, I walk that road which leads towards Yajur Mandir. I look at the rear of Poornachandra where Swami resided for so many years, and look over to Yajur Mandir itself, as I pass by. I recall the festival days, the streamers, the banners, and wonder, “Will they ever let us in to see?” Many are asking this, and it is mentioned in conversations in the Canteen. I walk up towards South Prashanti and see the “old” shops, now closed, just some seva dals sitting there in the shade. Some things change, some things stay the same, but HIS presence and love are eternal. Each and every day is ordinary; Prashanti Nilayam is here, everything is offered for your spiritual progess, and Swami has left his form; but everyone in Prashanti and Puttaparthi township says, “Nothing has changed, Swami is still here!”
My friend who likes to wear yellow, told me she woke up the other morning and did some typing for about three hours, and then went back to bed, for she got tired. Her husband got up and went for ablutions. In and out of the land of nod, she turned and looked out the window. Swami was there, outside the window, wearing a yellow robe. His eyes had a far-away look, and he was holding a sign which said, “Hello” !!!!!
Sai Ram from Prashanti Nilayam
© Chris Parnell