A very interesting episode occurred during my school days. Today, when I look back on it in retrospect, I see that it shows the immaturity of a child’s thinking and the maturity of Swami’s love! This happened when I was in my 11th standard (1998) when I had taken the combination BPC ( Bio Science, Physics and Chemistry).
Before I narrate that episode, let me tell you about the mandir lines. Everyday, we would go to the mandir (for darshan of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) from the hostel in ordered lines. And to ensure that everyone has equal chances of getting physically close to Swami, each day different classes would go first. For instance, if the first day, the order of the lines was classes VIII, IX , X, XI and XII, the next day the order would be IX, X, XI, XII, VIII and so on, in a cycle. Sundays were special because we would go even for the morning darshan as it was a holiday. The Sundays had a special rotation system of its own with the cycle changing every week! And this whole thing would be manned by teachers.
That was fine as far as equality of classes was concerned. But what about the order of students within a class? There was an unwritten rule (made by the boys, of the boys and for the boys!)- anyone who could get ready with a wash, shave and vibhuti dot on the forehead could rush down to the assembling point after (and only after ) the bell for lines would ring. The order of the boys in different rows would then get determined as 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 and so on. If anyone was not neatly shaved and washed or missed the vibhuti dot, he would be disqualified and his position confiscated by the next boy in the order. At times, this would force us to go to classes after a complete wash up. This was especially true for the post-lunch sessions on the days when our class would be first.
On this particular day, we were having our Chemistry lab sessions. As a class we had disappointed the teacher concerned and he was in an irritable mood. It was also the day when our class would be first in the lines and there was a nervous energy all around. We were all the students of the Science section. There were students of the Commerce section too from our class and so our silent hope was that our class would be let out earlier than theirs. ( You see, there were so many levels of competition to be overcome to get first into the lines!)
With 10 minutes to go, all of us began to automatically wash the glassware and start winding up for the day. It was a tough task and in the hurry to finish fast, a few beakers cracked and broke. Needless to say, this irritated the teacher even more. None of us have ever paid any laboratory fees and all the chemicals and glassware are provided to us with love by Swami. (And that is because Swami believes that education is the right of every child and not a privilege!) While other labs have breakage charges, there are none in our labs. So, naturally, the least that is expected of us is to maintain these gifts of love with care.
I too was washing away furiously in a hurry, taking care that no glassware breaks. Finally, within a minute of the final bell, all the glassware had been washed and arranged in the shelves. My legs were waiting with pent up energy for the rush to capture a front spot in the lines. As fate would have it, the teacher began to inspect the washed glassware and he located one beaker that had remnants of the organic chemicals that had been used. He immediately picked it up and asked “Whose beaker is this?”
I realized that it was mine. And I was caught between the horns of a dilemma. Immediately the little white angel on my right and the little red devil on my left began their traditional conversation!
“Just keep quiet. There is no way he will find out it is your beaker. He will get frustrated and let go.”
“No! That is not right. You know that it is yours and you should own up. Moreover, instead of letting go, he may punish the whole class.”
“You raise your hand now and your chance to be front in the lines is gone! The chance to get physically near to Swami is too great to be left for the sake of a chemical drop on a beaker!”
“You know that the problem is not as skewed as the devil is putting it. Remember that more than the nearness, the dearness to Swami matters. And by following the truth, you will please Him.”
“Satyameva Jayate (Truth alone triumphs) is a motto for the aeons gone by. It is not relevant now.”
“Truth is for ever and it always triumphs. You speak the truth and you will be rewarded. That is for sure. ”
“Tell me! Whose beaker is this?”, the voice thundered.
I immediately raised my hand and said, “I am sorry sir! That is mine.”
The teacher’s eyes immediately seemed to calm down. He said, “All can leave now.”
Even as I prepared for the sprint, he said, “Aravind. Stay back.”
I was punished. I was given a load of glassware to wash and then alone could I leave for the mandir. I was immediately fraught with disappointment and sadness. It then erupted as anger within me.
“I thought that speaking the truth will save me. It only put me in deeper problem. Forget the front lines, I doubt whether I will even be in time for darshan!”
As I angrily continued the washing, I failed to notice that the teacher had punished himself too - by not going to the mandir till I was done. I was too busy with my own ‘misfortune’ to think about him. My mind continued to speak
“This Satyameva Jayate really seems to be relevant only for the past. I don’t care how, but if it is relevant even in the modern times, then Swami, I want you to bless me today. I want you to accept a handkerchief from me and smile at me. I don’t know how you will do it but you must do it if you want me to have faith in the truth.”
I threw this as a challenge to Him. I felt slightly happy within because I was in a win-win situation. At a time when I was sure to be late for darshan, if Swami were to give me that chance of offering a handkerchief to Him, my day would be so special. In case that did not happen, I would have no problem lying myself out of future situations! (There! This is what I referred to as the immaturity of the child.)
Finishing my punishment, I informed the teacher who was still waiting patiently for me. He too seemed sad. I felt that he deserved to miss darshan for he had made me miss mine. ( Later, I found out that he was sad because he felt responsible for me missing my darshan and he was praying to Swami to wait till I arrived! Wow! The teachers here are some magical creatures of love!)
I went to the mandir and there was no music on. I was sure that darshan had been complete. I was shocked to find out that for some reason, Swami had not yet arrived for darshan! (This was very very rare those days. Swami was always on time!) And as I walked in to the students’ area, I saw one empty space right in the first line. How could anyone have missed it? I asked the boy seated there whether that space was reserved for someone and he replied in a negative. Once again, the immature thinking set in.
“Swami wants to make it easy for Himself to prove to you the importance of Truth. If I sit here, He will create vibhuti for some devotee and take the handkerchief from me. I shall not make it that easy for Him!”
Thinking thus, I gave up that space and went to sit in the portico outside the interview room. This was a region that was manned by two of Swami’s assistants and in case He created vibhuti here, they would offer the kerchief to Him. I wanted concrete proof of His response and as I did this, I could see the little red devil snickering at the little white angel. I felt a little guilty too, but I went ahead with my plan.
What happened, completely bowled me over. I sat in the portico and the darshan music began. Swami arrived and completed His darshan rounds. He came to the portico and began to speak to some devotee. And the end of the two-minute interaction, He began to swirl His palm to create vibhuti. He gifted the vibhuti to the devotee. I was a good 3 meters away from Him. But, out of sheer instinct, I had tugged the kerchief out of my pocket. However, I stayed put in my place and one of the two assistants went to Swami with a handkerchief.
Swami just looked away from him into my eyes. He smiled and stretched out His hand seeking the kerchief in my hand. Like a robot, I got up from my place and went to Him. I gave the hand kerchief to Him. He wiped His hand, smiled at me and threw the kerchief back to me. I returned to my place in a daze.
Even as I sat, my senior beside me nudged me and said,
“You are a ‘form’ boy man! He specially wanted you. Did you have some sort of a prayer-deal with Him?”
What could I say? I realized that a win-win situation for me was also a win-win situation for Him. His love is such that He wins if I win. One thing is for sure. I know that Truth Always Triumphs.
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Shruti on December 14, 2012:
You were very right about the teachers!...
What an eye opener!
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on December 14, 2012:
I'm curious (as usual rofl) Mr. Aravind: in your spiritual teachings, is there mention of things such as telepathy?
Great read again.
Thank You and all the best!
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on September 08, 2012:
@ Spirit Whisperer- Profound will be that experience! :) I agree...
surbhi mandale on June 08, 2012:
this is really true bhaiya.u shud never challenge swami as he answers them back with lots of love.i myself hav experiencd this kind of act in parthy when i was a bv student n we were going to present a dance drama in 1997.i get thrilled when i think of it.swami is so kind n he loves all.sairam
Lrao on April 25, 2012:
This is an incredible story. So well narrated. But then I could say that about all your stories. The line about "He wins if I win"...priceless.
Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on April 03, 2012:
The inner dialogue between two aspects of the split mind which conjures up the illusion that the outer and not the inner world is real. What if God had bridged the gap between the two parts of the split mind when he asked for the hand kerchief and in that moment there was only the holy instant of now!
An Impressed Reader on April 01, 2012:
Wonderful experience Aravind .. So well written .. I could see it play in front of my eyes as I read :)
And you are so blessed to have got the opportunity to play with Swami like that!
Thanks a lot for sharing.
saritha on February 04, 2012:
The game for 1st row made me remember,the day when our block was almost empty with no push and pull for first row!It was varalakshmi vratam,i found out separate block is given for all married ladies and participants!! 3 of us remained in the first row,Swami was not even looking at the special block,but all the time looked at us and had a smile-but the immediate thought that came to me was -neeve naaku ikkada koochu pettanu-You have made me sit here!!!!I feel so foolish and laugh at my folly when I think of that moment!!
malini on February 03, 2012:
Really amazing.I should admit that you have mastered the art of catching people's attention and not let it go throughout the narration!!!
I am extremely glad to hear this wonderful story pertaining to Swami from your expressive writing.
You already have plenty of Swami's blessings
All the best for your future
poornimasrinath from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA on January 30, 2012:
You were a chosen boy..Such deals by any other person would not have become a reality just like it had happened to you. I feel as though I was you as I keep reading the nail biting scenes you describe in every post!:)
Rajeshwar Singh Amar on January 29, 2012:
SATYAMEV JAYATE! IT MAY TAKE TIME TO PROVE IT. BUT FACT IS TRUTH ALONE TRIUMPHS IN THE END. SOMETIMES IT TAKES LITTLE LONGER TO PROVE IT, NEVERTHELESS TRUTH DOES TRIUMPH. MANY TIMES WE ARE NOT PREPARED TO ACCEPT THE TRUTH AND WANT IT OUR WAYS, THAT IS WHEN PROBLEM ARISES. ARVIND YOURS WAS A NICE EPISODE TO PROVE THAT TRUTH TRIUMPHS AND I HAVE SEEN IT MANY TIMES IN OUR INTERACTIONS WITH BHAGWAN OVER THE YEARS..... BEAUTIFUL SHARING.....KEEP SHARING LOVE IN THIS FORM, HELPS MANY TO REMIND THEIR TRIUMPHS AND TRIBULATIONS!!!!!!!!!
Amey on January 29, 2012:
Another gem from from a master narrator! Madhuram Sai Madhuram...
Linda M on January 29, 2012:
You continue to drip droplets of divine nectar on the tongue of a thirsty heart - thirsty for the purity of your honest, open commentaries of your Divine experiences with our Beloved. Words are inadequate to express gratitude for your sharing. How blessed we are!
Gopal on January 28, 2012:
Aravind keep sharing these nectarine experiences !! Good for sadhana
Himanshu on January 28, 2012:
Once a devotee asked Swami "Swami,do you always speak truth" then replied from Swami was "No" then Swami smiled and answered "I don't speak truth ,whatever I speak becomes truth"
saisarannaga from Chennai in Tamilnadu, India. on January 28, 2012:
Nice emotions. You have portrayed the inside rivalry between your good self and the ego. The consummation act by Swami is really superb. Truth always triumph!
hema b on January 28, 2012:
lovely episode like your others... enjoyed and loved...keep sharing
Aditya on January 27, 2012:
The teachers here are some magical creatures of love!
I shall not make it that easy for Him!”
His love is such that He wins if I win.
Arpita Mallajosyula on January 27, 2012:
Hmmm.....what do i say.....this is simply superb...it reminded me of those times when as i child even i gave challenges to Swami saying if you want me to believe this then do this today...!!!
and true...teachers at Swami's institues are just poersonification of love...!!! i have had and still have loads of experiences in this regard...!!! :)
Thanks for this beautiful narration anna...!!! :)have a good day...!!!
Aarthi on January 27, 2012:
Wow! What an amazing yet revealing incident. Superb!