Ashram visit: 19 September 2001

a group with Sai I was reflecting on what to do when Swami came out. I had just decided relax and let go and accept whatever, when Swami came out. I didn’t have a chance to think about it… you know, when Swami walks along the verandah, and someone else comes out from behind a pillar on the verandah. I have had this experience several times …

I believe I was given a gift in darshan yesterday and today. When Swami came out today, and entered the hall, he changed briefly, in my perception. I saw him change to the young Sathya Sai of about 18 years old. You know the picture, white robe, hair parted on one side and combed, billowing down to his shoulders. Seeing this is called bhava darshan, when the Lord shows one or another of his forms. I have also experienced this in Kodaikanal, many years ago. It’s a split second thing. Until you wake up to what is going on, you can doubt your very eyes.

Swami then disappeared behind a pillar for a long time. A large group of ladies got up to go. They moved slowly. Swami continued to cross one side to the other on the ladies side. He arrived in middle and took a look behind him at the ladies slowly walking. He took some more steps and then paused for quite some time, looking over his shoulder until the ladies had sat down. This didn’t surprise me in some respects, for some people take their attention off Swami and watch whoever is going up to the verandah. I have been guilty of this myself from time to time. Monkey mind. So Swami was pausing, creating the opportunity for all of us to control the senses and focus on HIM alone. All attention on his form in darshan. When the ladies had seated themselves, he proceeded to cross to the mens’ side.

Not seeing entirely everything, I saw Swami face the VVIP area and make a pushing away gesture, and then beckon someone forward. Quite definite gestures.

Then I observed something (apparently) odd. When Swami had reached the top, he faced the totally empty area in front of the blue garage doors, and raised his hand in that familiar lifting motion. Twice. Swami then turned back to the waiting devotees and began to take letters. He suddenly turned to a man hidden behind a pillar and took his letter. Crossing toward the verandah, he paused and spoke briefly with Anil Kumar.

A very large group goes in for interview.

Devotees go for tiffin (afternoon tea) and the darshan hall empties out. I remain and take a seat on the benches. Soon, the students arrive and a gentle bubbling conversation hums in the Sai Kulwant Hall. I look around the hall and observe devotees talking softly, some reading, students at study, some writing, some chatting, some moving in and out of the Mandir. Just below the surface I sense transcendental bliss, serenity, peacefulness.

Sitting in the darshan hall, amid this bubbling peace and bliss, whilst Sai Maa was attending to devotees in the interview room and outside, my mind returned to Swami gesturing toward that empty area. I begin to speculate, and I recall the night Swami came out at 9pm and was walking around an empty darshan hall. The ladies who reside permanently in Prashanthi can sense when Swami is moving about. On this evening, several ran into the darshan hall and found Swami walking around in an empty hall. One asked Swami, “Why are you giving darshan in an empty hall?” Swami replied with words to the effect “Do you think you humans are the only ones I give darshan to?”

So I thought about that empty area.

I also speculated on the Formless Sai hearing all the prayers for world peace at the moment. Perhaps also, there was an intersection between the form and formless, time and timelessness, a transcendental moment when Swami’s form may also be acknowledging, responding to all the prayers all over the earth for peace, for strength, for those who must do their duty, for those who live with the insecurity generated by terrorism; was he also raising vibrations and perhaps a silent blessing? Is this an example of “Why Fear When I Am Here”?

Darshan over, I am hurrying along the footpath towards the North Indian Canteen. I became aware that my ego was squawking a bit. It is quite subtle, and it takes some self reflection on behaviour to become aware of it. Walking in a hurry, “have I got enough money”, “will there be a long queue”, “is there a crowd around the water fountain”? Like this. I must take the time to reflect and become aware of what is happening when I act; am I driven by the ego which wants to be in control in a big way and create its safety zone. It makes me worry, and the inner voice keeps saying, relax, be happy, this is your home.

This is relevant to surrender. When you hand the gold to the goldsmith, you don’t tell the goldsmith what to do with the gold. He is the craftsman, he knows what he is doing and he will purify and shape the gold and create an object of utility, an object of beauty.

The next step is “Use Me“. Swami says leave your bad habits here at Prashanthi Nilayam (you may come here in spirit and do this, this is your home). A bad habit is a strategy of the ego, so once I give it up and hand it over, the ego is going to squawk and the mind will rebel and return to its old habit. Now is the time to sue for grace, and TELL HIM he has to help, he has to give the grace, he has to enable us to walk across the stage and play our roles well. So I am calling on him a lot and doing my bit; self reflection and taking the steps he gives. I have to give myself time and Sai nurturance. The ego is quite capable of making things a misery.

Last night I had evening meal with a friend who ate facing Swami’s shrine in the canteen. He sat closest to Swami. He kept on taking a bite and looking up at Swami and smiling. This fellow actually radiates a tremendous amount of love, he is single-pointed in his devotion. I ate in silence with him, respecting his devotion, and I felt an energy of love descend as I ate. I was staring at the lamp on the shrine and I realised that the lamp of love is never diminished. It can light another lamp, and another, and the first lamp is still shining brightly. I felt that Swami’s teaching on the ego had come the full circle in one day.


Prashanti Sai