Are We Walking Swami’s Talk?

Addressing the Balvikas Alumni, during the recently held Balvikas Alumni Meet, Ms Anushka Pathak from Assam spoke of her golden memoirs of being a Balvikas child, recollecting some of the priceless lessons learnt from Beloved Mother Sai. Ms Anushka is a Balvikas guru, currently settled in Bangalore working as a technical writer and instructional designer at DELL R & D Division.

My humble Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Pranams to all my elders present here, Sai Ram to everyone, to all my brothers and sisters also present here.

As Balvikas alumni, I am sure we are all aware of Chinna Kathas, so a Chinna Katha I start with. Just that this Chinna Katha happened to be, which showed me Swami’s omnipresence. It was during one Shivaratri – 2008 if I am not wrong – that Swami during His discourse mentioned something very strange. I remember Prof Anil Kumar’s voice translating it thus – ‘Among the birds, the bat is a very different kind of bird.’ … And he repeated that twice. The discourse went on, but the bat was not mentioned again. I was a little surprised because the bat reference here seemed a little out of context and so I wondered – why bat? But about one thing I was absolutely sure – Swami would never say anything that is meaningless or purposeless. I did not get any explanation however until the next day.

The next day in the morning at around 4.00am,  I went to the Gayatri temple for pradakshina. It was dark still, I started the pradakshina when I suddenly heard a screeching noise. Distracted, I looked towards the wired fence, and I saw something very small hanging over there. the screeching noise was coming from that small thing hanging on the wired fence. I also saw a huge bird hovering around the small thing hanging on the fence. It wanted to swoop down at that small thing but then there were people around, so the huge bird was scared. With a sudden shock I realised that the small thing hanging on the fence was a baby bat and the bigger bird, hovering around it, was the mother bat. The baby bat had obviously fallen down from its mother’s side. So I looked around for some help and a Seva Dal member nearby helped me in lifting up this baby bat to one of the branches of big banyan tree next to the Gayatri Temple. The baby clutched to one of the branches and I was standing there waiting and watching and wondering if the baby bat could climb up the branches of the tree on its own. Suddenly I saw the branches above the baby bat shake a little and  saw something coming down – almost sliding down towards the baby bat. It was the mother bat. The next scene that I saw was perhaps one of the most beautiful scenes that I have ever seen in my life. Upon reaching the baby bat, the mother bat opened her wings, the baby bat clutched on to the mother bat’s chest. The mother bat closed her wings around the little baby bat and started climbing up the tree. It was the baby bat which was enclosed but with love by the mother bat’s wings, but somewhere I felt I was the one who was enclosed with Mother Sai’s Love. I realised that this is the reason why Sai Maa had mentioned the bat in the discourse the previous day so that I become mentally ready for this amazing rescue drama the next day.

Nothing that Swami ever says is meaningless or purposeless – nothing ever happens without His Will. This incident most importantly taught me that all of us are always at all times under His surveillance and protection. Another fact which this entire episode taught me is that the entire universe is nothing but a drama. Everything is pre-planned like the way He planned the rescue for the little baby bat. He is the Director and He is the Enactor too. Yes, He is the Enactor present in each and everyone of us. In fact, He is our true identity – the identity that we are constantly searching for in this external world. If you notice, every moment we try to be somebody or somebody’s. I am somebody’s mother, I am somebody’s daughter, I am somebody’s son, I am somebody’s sister, somebody’s father, somebody’s brother or I am trying to be somebody – I am a Vice President of a company or I am an engineer or I am a doctor. We identify ourselves with these roles so much that we think that they are our real identities. What are they? We get lost in all these role playing – we forget that this is all role playing in a huge drama. And in all these roles, who is the real me? That is where Swami came in and that is exactly where Balvikas comes in for me.

Balvikas – for me – is an answer to an identity crisis. In fact, the whole goal of Balvikas is to put us on the path of the answer to the question – Who am I? and I feel so lucky that even before I could actually speak properly or even walk properly for that matter, I was attending Balvikas classes – thanks to my mother who herself was a Balvikas guru. In fact, I am so grateful to my mother – it is she who put me on this spiritual path, it is from her that I learnt about Swami even before I knew my own name – rather the label that is my name. While the children all around us were learning to take up identities from the external world – we the Balvikas students were learning to shed identities.  We were being told that Swami’s form mirrored all that we truly are. Sat-Chit-Ananda – Being, Awareness, Bliss. Swami’s physical form might not be here today, but let us – his Balvikas alumni never forget the real reason why He came. Let us not make Him another picture hanging on the wall.

Again another Chinna Katha, like Swami used to say – A guru once while travelling far and wide, came upon a jungle in which two tribes were living. Both the tribes were living in very primitive conditions – they did not even know how to light a fire. The guru taught them how to light a fire, taught them how to cook and many more other things. After he went away from that place, after teaching them everything he knew – one of the tribes continued practising what he taught them. Generations passed. They forgot the guru, but they did not forget what he taught them. They practised what he taught them so much so that they became themselves like the guru. The other tribe however did not do so. They did not practise what he taught. They made idols of him and worshipped him. he became just another deity in the jungle for them. Now, which tribe do you think gained more out of coming in contact with this guru? Obviously, the tribe who practised his teachings. This is exactly where we – the Balvikas alumni need to do a self check. Are we, the Balvikas alumni walking Swami’s talk? Or are we making Him yet another deity in the jungle.

Time and again Swami repeated – Your life is My message. There is a deeper meaning to that. We would love listening to Swami’s Chinna Kathas, but I think right now it is high time we realise that we are His Chinna Kathas – each and everyone of us here are His Chinna Kathas. His little stories, His little fairy tales that He Himself has penned down.

While saying the phrase fairy tale – another incident comes to my mind. As a child, I believed in fairy tales a lot and I loved them. I am sure everyone of us here had loved fairy tales at one point of time or the other. Quite a few years back, I was here in Kulwant Hall, taking darshan of Swami and I remember I was very upset that day – I do not remember why I was upset but I was very upset that day and I do remember what I told Swami because I was so upset. I told Him, mentally of course, Swami why is life so difficult? Why cannot life be like a fairy tale? And I also added for no reason at all, which till date I cannot understand – Swami I think the grownups are right when they say fairy tales are just tales and they are good for reading. They are lies and they do not exist. Life is not a fairy tale. With such a depressive mind, I went out of the darshan hall and I got this sudden tremendous urge to go into the book store which is right across the entrance gate of the ashram. I listened to this urge and I walked into the book store and a small book in the corner of the book store caught my eye. That book’s name is – ‘Sai Darshan’. I picked up that book and I randomly flipped it open and the page which stared back at me in the face said and I quote - ‘When your love for Me is true, I respond at all times. My words echo – I am known,  I am present, do not worry when you hear these words – know for sure that the fairy tale will end happily everafter.’

Words cannot describe what I felt at that moment – my mind blanked out. Mother Sai had responded once again to Her child’s cry. Every moment with Swami is a fairy tale, every moment with Him is a miracle, every breath with Him is a miracle. His love for us is much more than the love of a thousand mothers put together. And we are His messengers, His army, His sparks, He would call us – Premswarooplaras’ – that is our true identity and it is up to us to spread this message of His. He is Love in action I did say is because He is Love in action through us right now and right here.

Our motto at the moment needs to be – ‘Haath mein kaam, mann mein Ram’ . He would constantly say – ‘Hands that serve are holier than lips that pray.’ That should be the motto of our Balvikas alumni present here.

Every time we say that we follow Sathya Sai -  our actions become a statement defining Him – at least to the rest of the world. So what kind of statements are we putting out today?

Balvikas exams are not just Group I exams, Group II exams or the Group III exams. Balvikas exams start as soon as the nine years of Balvikas training is over and we come out to face the world. Are we ready for it? I think we are after all these years of training that Swami has given. Most importantly, however, it is not just being ready, it is being eager to serve the Master and we can be of service to the Master when we whole heartedly realise and feel the main reason behind Swami’s advent into this world. The lesson being which we need to pass on to our children in turn is that Swami is just the wake up call to the Gods that we all actually are.

II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II