Swamiji arrived in Kuwait at 8.30 a.m. on 10 November 99. It was my Birthday. Having said that, everything has been said. Yes it may not communicate anything of the love, the affection, and the commitment (an old fashioned term and currently often mis-used) that Swamiji brings to his relationship with his Devotees. The Gopikas of Brindavan are honoured in rhyme and song for the divine Love that they bore the Lord – which Love in equal measure, if not more, Lord Krishna had for them – and for the Divine dance that they danced with Him. Even a fraction of the joy of that event would bring one close to the door of Divine Bliss. We are, if we can attain to that hallowed status, the Gopikas for whom Swamiji dances the Dance of Joy.
It may have been an idle wish of a moment that Swamiji should spend the day with me on my birthday. Once wished did it set in motion the train of events that culminated in Swamiji’s arrival?. Did I bind Swamiji with my wish? Did he wish to be bound? What matter, these vexatious and even useless questions that have plagued the thinking of men on issues spiritual. They add not a whit to understanding and do not produce the clear Joy of the Heart that alone can lead to Peace. The perfect peace that passeth all understanding that the simple Carpenter of Nazareth, the Shepherd of Men referred to. Not for the Nazarene any other issue than LOVE THY FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN AND HAVE FAITH. “Believe” He said like Swamiji does. No ONE has ever said otherwise. FAITH like Love is Blind. It can only be experienced and no amount of explanation and theorising will ever change that.
One can easily picturise the pastoral scenes of an evening when probably Jesus gathered around Him people across a Bonfire to talk to them of the Virtues of Belief and Love. The light of the Bonfire has been replaced by the illumination of the lamp when Swamiji Lights it, the setting is Urban and International, it may be Madras-India one day, Dubai the next, Singapore the third and yet again New York. The settings have definitely changed but the Message; the Message has remained the Same. The Peace and Understanding that men sought around the feet of the Nazarene they still seek today.
Swamiji had arrived. Nothing else need be said. Nothing else need be known.
It is not important, the manner of his arrival. But to the practically minded such questions may have relevance. He arrived in his usual simple manner with a “carry on board’ hand bag just large enough to carry a few change of clothes and a BIG ALL EMBRACING SMILE and a BIG WAVE of the Hand.
Would this communicate or provide an understanding of the Drama that had taken place prior to His arrival. Of the Devotees who had dreamt of his arrival. Of the devotees who had continually called in the days preceding his arrival, marking down the days when he would finally arrive, enabling them to drink their fill of the Fount of Peace at His feet and set aside, if only for the moment, the burdensome cares of the World, seeking the much needed respite that would enable them to face the World with a Braver Heart secure in the knowledge that there INDEED EXISTS A SUPREME POWER that cares for each and every individual.
Swamiji had arrived and the moment of Quietitude was at hand. Did anything else matter?
Many devotees had wished to be at the Airport to greet Swamiji on his arrival. The ones that made it to the Airport were the ones who needed to be there, the ones for whom it was convenient to be there. Was the part of the other devotees who wished to be present and could not make it any the lesser? Nothing could be farther from the Truth.
They also serve who stand and wait the Nazarene had declared. And in another age, not so long ago, this message had been converted to the words “Shraddha” and “Saburi” which now reverberate around the world. Like the Nazarene, the Sai Baba of Shirdi, the bearer of this message, had also chosen to play his role in a rural setting seeking no advertisement, no self promotion or the promotion of any cause other than that of strengthening the Belief of each one who came to Him in the Supreme.
Swamiji had arrived and after the formalities at the airport had been completed. We drove home with Swamiji. Enough has been said and yet nothing has been said.
Once in the car, Swamiji settled immediately into his informal manner asking about this or that devotees and in an equally casual manner fished out of his coat pockets the invitation cards for the 12th Hanumanth Jayanthi and Bhajan booklets. He distributed these.
And then as if to say that no one may corrupt the knowledge of the one Supreme Power by bracketing the Supreme Power into a rigid form of practice or expression drew attention to the differences in this invitation from the ones circulated for the previous jayanthis. In his very simple manner he added Hanuman Swami arranges something new for the Jayanthi each year. Verily is variety and simplicity in such variety the Hallmark of the Supreme.
Was this all? No. An aside to dwell on the SARVA DHARMA SAMO BHAVET THATVA (the principle that the underlying essence of all religions is the same- the ONE TRUTH – the bedrock of belief that has ever sustained the thinking of the people South of the river Sindhu) was not missing either. He drew attention to the fact that the picture of the Holy Kaaba had been printed on the Right hand corner of the cover page of the invitation card.
No reading or mastering of the large tomes of philosphy or religion, no amount of tutoring could have achieved and in so effective a manner the Learning that Swamiji wishes his devotees to absorb.
We reached home. An adequate and complete statement of an event. But wait. Does it do any justice to the Gopikas who were waiting to receive Him, each of whom in an individual way and in an individual manner wished to offer a Song of Welcome?
Some had come to confirm that an event Swamiji had spoken of in prior meetings had come to pass; yet others to share the Knowledge that the Lord’s way of fulfilling wishes was not only unique but also superior to their own imagination of its culmination. Yet others patiently awaiting their turn seeking reconfirmation that they had not been forgotten and that the promised for event, even the promised land was at hand and yet others, though fewer in number, who wished to just revel in His physical presence.
The chorus of voices rose. A church choir singing Hosannas to the Lord. A Choir resounding Beethoven like with but one thought ‘Let us with a Gladsome Mind praise the Lord for HE is kind’.
The song had just started. Did it matter who had what part? TO BE PRESENT, TO HEAR, TO BEAR WITNESS, to participate and be uplifted by the sheer JOY as well.
Swamiji then spoke a few words. A few words !!! Words !!! Sheer volumes were spoken and understood. A healing touch here, a loving glance there, a simple query directed perhaps to a third. Enough to say I care. Enough to say Do Not Worry. Enough to say Do Not Fear; the Lord with thee always abides. Enough to bestow on each that ONE TREASURE above all, the great feeling of Inner Peace and Tranquility.
Swamiji then partook of some refreshments.
Can it convey the eagerness with which every pair of hands present applied itself to keeping Swamiji continually supplied? The sheer joy expereienced in doing so!
Departing from usual practice during his visits to Kuwait, Swamiji consented in the evening on the very day of his arrival to spend a little while shopping.
It had been in the mind that a suit should be offered to Swamiji on his arrival and this was about to be fulfilled.
Again the total inadequacy of words to convey the expereience, the drama that took place at the showroom for ready made suits which we visited and the drama thereafter.
Of the warm welcome that was accorded us at the shop; of the several suits that Swamiji tried on for size but was not happy with; of the salesman’s remark that the size of Swamiji’s stomach made it a bit difficult to find a readymade suit that would fit without the need to carry out alterations; of Swamiji’s statement that the stomach was not the problem and that it would of it’s own accord fit into the suit when the right one was found; of how the very next minute such a suit was identified by Swamiji himself; of the gifts that were offered to us by the people at the showroom; of how a devotee who was proceeding to India the next day and would therefore have failed to have Swamiji’s darshan , happened to spot Radha in the shop whilst passing by and entered the showroom with the intention of chatting to her and thereby had Swamiji’s darshan and blessings; of the joyful drive back home; of Swamiji consenting to wear the suit on reaching home; of Swamiji, after wearing the suit, summoning one of the assembled devotees to seek as it were his opinion; of the devotee’s astonishment that this was the very colour and the very material selected for sticthing the wedding suit for a friend also a devotee of Swamiji’s; of Swamiji consenting to meet the assembled devotees ‘ suited’ as it were, again a departure from usual practice; of another devotee seeing Swamiji attired in the suit as he came and took his seat in the hall and not believing her eyes for had she not dreamt of him dressed in the very suit; of her repeated question in wonderment as to how this had indeed come to pass.
Another glorious day spent with Swamiji was drawing to a close. Do the words convey the Ananda, the bliss of Sheer Joy?
WORDS!!! WORDS!!! OF WHAT IMPORTANT!!!
AS SWAMIJI SAYS HAVE FAITH!!! NOT 50% or 60% or even 90% but 100% FAITH!!! Faith above all, Believe in the Supreme Power.
BHAKTHI IS ALL THAT MATTERS.
MAY SWAMIJI BESTOW US WITH THAT BHAKTHI, WITH THAT 100% FAITH.
THE REST MATTERS NOT. NEVER MATTERED. WILL NEVER MATTER.
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