Ashram Visit: 16 September 2001

a reflection(My friend replied) that my Christian idea of grace was partly correct. When Swami gives darshan, intense radiations and vibrations come off him, and those who are receptive, benefit most highly from this. He explained that control of the senses was necessary to completely utilise the grace Swami gives in darshan. He went on. Swami fills you with grace, then pushes you away and says “Go and use it, and when you need more, come back, I will fill you up again”.


One of the salient reminders from Conversations with God was to be alert to the ways in which God communicates. Allow me to digress: On the way to PN I was reflecting about the senses and desires, and which comes first; control of the senses or control of desires. The inner voice replied, “You control the senses, I will look after the desires. My only desire is to make you desireless“. I was a bit nonplussed by that answer. Next day, I was in conversation with an ex-student and the subject of spiritual progress came up and he told that it was most important to control the senses; the human body has limited energy and it must be used appropriately. We talked about grace, and I explained Thomas Aquinas on grace, put not too elegantly, God pours bucket-fulls of grace on you all the time. I contrasted that idea with sadhana, shradda, effort, yearning, and grace being awarded commensurate with effort. Swami uses the analogy of the bank teller issuing cash with reference to your credit, etc.

We recalled the Ganesh Chaturthi discourse where Swami told that we have lakhs and lakhs of light rays in the body and the energy can be wasted in bad vision, bad sight. The body only has so much energy, it can be wasted and not replaced. We need that energy to utilise to go within for spiritual progress. Wasted energy, lack of control of senses, we do not have enough energy to progress.

My friend replied that my Christian idea of grace was partly correct. When Swami gives darshan, intense radiations and vibrations come off him, and those who are receptive, benefit most highly from this. He explained that control of the senses was necessary to completely utilise the grace Swami gives in darshan. He went on. Swami fills you with grace, then pushes you away and says “Go and use it, and when you need more, come back, I will fill you up again”.

Later that night I went to the canteen and had dinner. An old friend came and sat with me. We discussed this and that. He told me that many people were coming here, and then got restless and felt pushed away. They would come and go. I listened to him explain and give some examples. Then, I understood this nearly-empty canteen I was sitting in.

I went and took a look at the new Supermarket last night. Whilst walking toward that area, I observed older ladies sitting in stairwells. I had an intuition that these ladies were too old to go to darshan and had lived here for many years. They take darshan from the stairwells, or from the porches of East Prashanti. Many are house-bound, and wheelchairs are taken to front doors to enable them to take Swami’s darshan. Some have been resident in Prashanti for more than twenty years. Particularly South and East Prashanthi. On arrival at the “old” supermarket, I saw it is still there, the bakery, ice cream shop, vegetable shop and SBI – the State Bank of India; still all open and functioning on the ground floor. Boy invites me to buy some popcorn. Perhaps I will. Upstairs is closed.

The new supermarket is large emporium, spacious, well lit and excellently designed. I have to say that, I was most taken aback. New purchasing areas on each floor, bar code readers, computers, shopping baskets on every floor. Gone are the days of pushing and crushing in narrow culverts. One floor for ladies clothing, next for mens clothing, shopping needs like soap and personal toiletries (and my favourite murukku) on the ground floor. Huge photographs of Swami on each floor. Spacious and well lit, whoever designed this did a good job. At the moment, the hours are 5pm-7pm and Sunday Mornings there is a switch, Men may go in the morning, ladies in the evening. I part with my rupees and return to the front gate.

Crowds surge past; bhajans are over. I look at these faces, I see such clear eyes, I see all these faces and comment to myself, there is a lot of purity here. You see, I was explaining to someone yesterday about channelling in the new age movement, and how this does not go on with Swami and his devotees. Channelling involves passing messages from the spirit realm, in a broad sense. Often from a specific guide. Yet, with Swami it is not so. All are told to seek this heart to heart connection, there is no middleman or third person passing messages from Swami to a devotee. In this, Swami is quite emphatic and definite. He is a thorough and demanding teacher. The fruit of this is devotees who *do* have this connection in one way or another, devotees who are single pointed, Sai only, only Sai, internally. Swami produces gold, his devotees are gold. I was stunned when said that. So there I was walking back from the supermarket and I was observing on the faces and in the general vibrations of all these devotees, a distinct, tangible purity.

It was raining in Prasanthi Nilayam the next morning. That did not deter the Nangarsankirtan; some simply walked in the rain, others had umbrellas, and some held their cushions on their head. The voices rang out clearly in the rain, although!

Swami paused and spoke to the men in front of me. He actually smiles as he takes all the letters, this amazes me, observing him smile and wait and reach out to people who are already reaching over three or four other to hand the letter is like sharing a divine intimacy. He shares his bliss with us. Takes letters, raises hand in blessing to men sitting. He stopped very close to my right this morning. Large samithi here, wearing orange scarves, Om Sai Ram, Vishkapatnam. Large group bunched up. Swami stops, speaks to several, then he speaks to the group at large. Pause. Says more. Pause. It seemed to me that something was coming out of his heart as he stood in front of the assembled members of this samithi. Then his hand moved in the familiar circling motion and he distributes vibhuti to some men.

Swami moved on. Watching Swami’s back. I felt like I was sitting in the sand again, I saw darshan from many years ago, something seemed to crack and reveal that all the darshans I have ever attended were here in this one and the same eternal darshan experience. I cannot quite say how I sense that or experience that.

Afternoon darshan. I watch the seva dal and Police at the rear of Poornachandra. When they come to a more “alert” attention, Swami has emerged. It is then that you can begin to scan through the trees for Swami’s form. Swami criss-crossed on the ladies side this afternoon. When he reached the men’s side, at one stage I saw him hand letters to the man behind him, he pulled his right sleeve back twice before he began to take letters again. It reminded me of those men who role their sleeves up before they get into the work.

Today is Thursday. Guru day. Primary school children were in attendance at morning darshan. High school students came for afternoon darshan. Filled the back of the hall, each side, boys and girls come in and sit down. Senior boys supervise. Teachers are quick to pounce and catch the rushing, pushing village boys in their whites. Steer them deftly to sitting down.

The shopping bag came out. I observe ladies in sarees with white badges get up and sit in rows. Swami moves slowly up and down the rows of women. Takes a long time to move through them, I lose sight of his form several times. Then he stands in front and puts one hand behind his back and begins talking. Gestures. Talks with one hand folded behind his back, just like he does when talking to students. Faces right. Makes great big circles with his right hand and suddenly turns left and gives (something) (a ring?) to a totally unsuspecting woman. Ladies clap. A bhajan is sung to Swami. It is quite a difficult bhajan, it changes pace and rhythm several times. Crisp, sharp, clear womens’ voices ring out. Swami sways gently as he stands in front of the singing ladies. At the end, we all applaud quickly. Swami continues; puts his hand behind his back again and continues to talk. Finally, he leaves the ladies and heads toward the verandah.

Sai Ram to you all from the Abode of Highest Peace.

 

Trayee Brindavan

 

 

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