Aravind Balasubramanya has spent more than 2 decades with Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He has studied under Baba and been His photographer.
The first message that Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba gave mankind was "Manasa Bhajare Guru Charanam Dusthara Bhava Saagara Tharanam" meaning,
"Meditate in thy mind on the Feet of the Guru. This can take you across the difficult sea of existence in birth after birth."
He sang this as a boy of 14 and thus declared His mission of leading Humanity back to its connection with the cosmic creator. He had returned home from school and He threw away His books saying,
"Illusion has left me. I am no longer yours. My devotees are waiting for me."
Thus began His endeavor of making a Hindu - a better Hindu, a Muslim - a better Muslim, a Christian- a better Christian, a Sikh - a better Sikh and a Parsi - a better Parsi.
Taking refuge at the feet of a Master is not anything new among those who are familiar to spirituality. In fact, there is a sweet story of a fish taking refuge at the feet of the 'Master'!
Speaking to some of the students in a private session, Swami had said,
"People today learn Baa Baa Black Sheep! This Baba is a 'white ship'! A ship to take you across the troubled waters of Samsara (worldly existence).
Coming to the subject of this article, there is a story from the life of Shirdi Baba. I was reading Swami's discourse during Guru Poornima on the 24th of July, 1964! There was this anecdote of the Shirdi Avatar that He narrated. Along with that anecdote came a great assurance. I felt like dramatizing that anecdote into a play. All facts are as narrated by Swami though the style is mine. Hope you enjoy this little play....
(Shyama is serving Baba – massaging His feet and seems to be worried…)
Baba What bothers you so much Shyama?
Shyama Baba! I am at your feet here. What worry could I possibly have?
Baba Ah! The classic case of a conflict between what one is actually feeling and what one wants everyone to think he is feeling! (gentle laughter)
Shyama Baba, forgive me. You know everything and yet you ask? Don’t you know the innermost recesses of my heart?
Baba Shyama! If I were to ask only out of ignorance, there would be no possibility of any dialogue between God and devotee. So, tell me. . . what is bothering you?
Shyama Baba you are aware of Radhabai. She serves you in all love and diligence.
Baba What about her Shyama?
Shyama She has been seeking a mantra from you for so long. Her need is spiritual and yet you have been keeping her at a distance. Help her Baba.
Baba So a day has come when your love for her is greater than mine!
Shyama Baba please do not speak so. She is so bent upon getting the mantra that she has refused to take food till she gets one. And it has been three days now. She has grown so weak and if this continues…… she may….
Baba …die? Hahaha Shyama! Having determined to get something, one should either achieve it, or collapse from that effort.
Shyama Baba! Please do not take it to the extreme. If she dies then….er….what will people speak about you? I am worried about your name Baba. People have vicious tongues.
Baba Sai cares neither for the praise nor the blame heaped upon him. Sai cares only for the welfare of his devotees. And sometimes, welfare comes along with a struggle or pain.
Shyama I plead to you Baba. Please do something.
Baba You are a madcap Shyama but still you please me. When I am here to give temporal and spiritual relief, why do you worry so much? Summon Radhabai and I shall give her what she truly needs.
( Shyama arrives to Baba's presence with Radhabai)
Radha - Baba….Baba…..
Baba - Radhabai! There is a fine line between stubbornness and determination and you do not understand it.
Radha - Baba I am just seeking a mantra for Spiritual redemption….
Baba -Why do you ask me? Go and seek your mantra from your Guru…
Radha - Baba you are my Guru! I know no other…
Baba -Hmmm. Easy words Radhabai. . . Do you know what a Guru is?
Radha - Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu Guru Devo Maheswaraha. Guru Sakshath Parabrahma Tasmai Shree Gurave Namaha.
Baba Tell me Radhabai……when the Guru is everything – Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara (the trinity of gods) – the ultimate too – then why not take His name as mantra? Why demand another name from the Guru? If the Guru is God, obeying His orders, walking in the path He has shown, these are as effective as the repetition of the name.
(Baba now gets up and walks to Shyama)
Baba Shyama get some food and drink for Radhabai. Take care of your body Radhabai and I shall nourish your soul.
Radha I will do as you say Baba..
Baba (to Shyama and Radha) Once you have secured a Guru, leave everything to him, even the desire to achieve liberation. He knows you more than you yourself ever can. He will direct you as much as is good for you. Your duty is only to obey and to smother the tendency to drift away from Him. You may ask, how are we to earn our food, if we attach ourselves to a Guru like this? Be convinced that the Lord will not let you starve; He will give you not merely money but even Amirtha, not only food but the nectar of immortality
How often we commit this mistake of telling our master what is good for us? We call out to Him as the Omnipresent, Omniscient one but then, we feel that we know better than Him what is good for us. Our prayers reflect this ignorance,
"Dear Lord! Please let XYZ happen. Let me get ABC."
It is almost like telling the Master, "You know what is good for the Universe but are no good at knowing what is good for me!"
And that is why surrendering to one's Guru is the easiest path to salvation. No wonder that the first bhajan Swami taught us was, "Manasa Bhajore Guru Charanam" meaning, "Oh mind! Contemplate incessantly on the feet of your Guru and be redeemed across this ocean of worldly existence. "
But then, do we understand what this 'Surrender' means? Those with time should click on the highlighted link on surrendering to one's Guru. :)
Bow down to Shri Sai; Peace be to all
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KalyaniRajgopal on December 29, 2018:
Thank you so much Happy to read about your experience
Saipriya Ganesh on September 02, 2018:
I am so glad to receive your response. Thank you so much for your time to respond.
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on August 31, 2018:
Thank you for your comment here and on the other blogs as well. Very happy that you are getting your questions answered. Am grateful to Swami for the same. Jai Sai Ram.
Saipriya Ganesh on August 26, 2018:
Brother Aravind, I read Sai Satcharithra. The way you narrated the incident from that book was amazing. I am enjoying every moment of your writing. I feel Swami speaks to me through you and answering most of my questions. Thank you. Sai Ram.
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on March 14, 2018:
@Ashwini - Thank you so much. Happy to read about your experience.
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on December 09, 2015:
@Prasanth - I will need your email id. Post it as a comment and I will not publish it. Then, I will add you to my mailing list.
Sudha Narayanan on August 07, 2013:
Sairam This Gurupurnima reminds me of a dream which I had on the morning of Gurupurnima (year 2008 I guess). It was Swami floating & coming down to earth from the sky dropping his sandals down. In the dream there was another person, Shanth Mukund, (lady) great devotee of Bhagwan, who has been doing bhajans in their office for the past 20 years! She is there in front of me & rushes to pick up the sandals which falls on a kicchad. I follow her. Then She drives a two wheeler like 3 idiots kareena with me behind(!) with helmet on. . We are starting from a little further from a Shirdi Baba temple where we used to have Satsangh. She reminded me about this dream last time when I spoke to her.
Parmila Singh on March 02, 2013:
Manase bhajare guru charanam.There is an incident related to this song in my life I would like to share.The story goes back when I was about nine years old living in a remote country in Fiji Island.We three sisters and our cousins after reading Ramayana started singing manase bhajare guru charnanam in village temple.An unusual thing happened to us three sisters and my cousin.More like terence stage and my cousin said sai baba is in the corn field wearing orange.We did not know who sai baba was at that time we do not know how we started saying sai baba sai baba.People said he is in India After few years we came to that he is living god in India and this is how it all started. Humble pranam to lotus charan swami.
saisarannaga from Chennai in Tamilnadu, India. on February 28, 2013:
How i missed this beautiful hub? When surfing through some other hubs, i was attracted to the title and the black and white photo of Shirdi. Thank you for the nice service to the devotees!
Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on April 20, 2012:
I re-read this hub today and today I see clearly how the relationship between devotee and guru prepares the way for our ultimate relationship with the Holy Spirit as taught in A Course in Miracles. Thank you again for your soul food!
poornimasrinath from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA on April 20, 2012:
I am re-reading the articles in your hub. Found this to be very interesting..wud luv to do this as a play with children or need to find some adults to act for Guru poornima or vijaya dasami.. dialogue form is excellent tool to spread the greatness of guru! It will stay in the minds of audience rather than just sharing it like an information.
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on August 25, 2011:
Hahahaha - The last two dialogue between Spirit Whisperer and Mr.Happy is rib tickling!
Its so wonderful to be gifted with two lovely friends!
Mr. Happy on August 25, 2011:
I was talking about Swami lol!!
Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on August 25, 2011:
I have very little hair Mr Happy! LOL
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on August 25, 2011:
Mr. Spirit Whisperer is always super-nice! I became curious about him a couple of months ago when I first saw his photograph. I will not lie: it was the hair that attracted my attention to begin with. I am glad it did though.
Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on August 25, 2011:
Another wonderful hub and your style of telling the story is very much like Swami's.
Swami was my guru when I was in need of an external guide but it was he he urged me to find my own inner guru and to listen to the voice within.
When I started to read A Course In Miracles I could hear Swami's voice again and my heart soars every day when I read another page from that book.
Your stories are very special and you are doing very important work by writing them. Thank you. I think that Mr Happy has been drawn to Swami through you. He is a good man with a heart of gold and I can see how Swami would want to speak to him through you.
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on August 25, 2011:
"Having determined to get something, one should either achieve it, or collapse from that effort." - I believe in that!
"Tell me Radhabai……when the Guru is everything – Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara (the trinity of gods) – the ultimate too – then why not take His name as mantra? Why demand another name from the Guru? If the Guru is God, obeying His orders, walking in the path He has shown, these are as effective as the repetition of the name." - This may very well be something that I was looking for. Wise words. Very wise.
"Be convinced that the Lord will not let you starve; He will give you not merely money but even Amirtha, not only food but the nectar of immortality." I am not sure what Amirtha is but faith is very important, in general I would say.
Now, from the little that I am understanding and excuse me if I am wrong, would I be correct in comparing Mr. Swami to say Budha or the Dalai Lama?
Thank you again for everything - I have been lucky to learn a lot in a short time. That makes an impatient Mr. Happy very happy. Cheers!
Sai Chittaranjan on August 24, 2011:
As I was reading this hub, I remembered Swami's explanation of surrender in the Geetha Vahini... the one explaining the three stages of surrender...
Arpita Mallajosyula on August 22, 2011:
beautifully written anna..!! it so nice how Swami reveals such important lessons of life in such a simple manner...in times like dis i feel it is truly very sweet of HIM - the Avatar to come down to our (human beings) level and explain like dis...nobody on earth cld hav put dese concepts better..simple yet profound...!!
btw ur title reminded me of ur speech...the fisherman's example which i remember till date...
really enlightening article i shld say...!!
THANK YOU ANNA..!! :) :)
Aarthi on August 20, 2011:
I remember reading this incident in the Shirdi Sai Satcharita. The line "Having determined to get something, one should either achieve it, or collapse from that effort." is very profound. I pray that Swami gives each of us that strength to persevere along the path of truth. Nice article, bro!
Balasubramanya Subbarao on August 20, 2011:
Hema B on August 20, 2011:
Typical Swami. Profound yet simple. Simple yet difficult for man, but not impossible. Love you Swami, always, love you.
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on August 20, 2011:
@ Jose - God's timing is always perfect!
@ Anjali Sai - Each and every statement of the Avatar is like a seed that sprouts at the correct time and gifts the fruits of wisdom.
@Indra - Swami has given a very beautiful interpretation of surrender. Will share that soon....
Indra on August 20, 2011:
Fantastic job!! Aravind. But very hard to practise surrender yet, we have to do our part and keep at it.
Anjali Sai on August 20, 2011:
Superbbbb......many teachngs in one go... " Having determined to get something, one should either achieve it, or collapse from that effort."....."He knows you more than you yourself ever can. "......"Surrendering to one's Guru is the easiest path"......just luvd it....
jose on August 20, 2011:
ina perfect time tnx Swamiji!!!!! love ya!!!