The Barber and Baba
In the Hindu religious practices, there is a ceremony where the locks of a child are cut for the first time in its life. It is considered an important ritual and is also called the Mundan ceremony. And thus it was that a couple once pleaded to Swami (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba),
“Swami, please cut the first locks of our child. It would be the greatest blessing to have this done by You.”
To this, Swami smiled sweetly and replied,
“I am Baba and not barber!”
That being said, there is an interesting story of a doubting barber that I read somewhere. Having read that, I read another episode narrated by the former Controller of Examinations of the Sri Sathya Sai University, Prof.M.Nanjundiah. Both these narratives together made a beautiful lesson.
The story of the doubting barber
The story was of a person who goes to the barber for a haircut. As is the common practice the barber engaged the person in a conversation which steered towards God. Now the barber said,
“Look here! I do not believe that God exists.”
“But why are you saying that, my dear fellow?”, asked the client.
"Well, it's so easy. You just have to go out in the street to realize that God does not exist. Tell me, if God existed, would there be so many sick people on earth? Would there be abandoned children and old people? If God exists, there should be no suffering nor pain."
The man gave no response and the conversation ended there.
After the haircut, the man got up and started walking out of the shop. The barber stopped him, “Hey! You cannot leave without paying!”
“Pay? Whom should I pay?”
“Pay me of course! For the haircut.”
“But, there are no barbers in the world! Whom do I pay?”
“What do you mean?! Don’t be ridiculous. Did you not feel your hair snip as you sat in the chair. Were you not subject to the experience of a haircut? How can you say that barbers don’t exist?”
"Well, it's so easy. You just have to go out in the street to realize that barbers do not exist. Tell me, if barbers existed, would there be so people with unkempt hair and long beards on earth? Would there be children and old people who have not known the touch of a snipping scissors or a shaving blade? If barbers exist, there should be no person with overgrown hair!"
“If they choose not to go to the barber, is it the barber’s fault?” The client just smiled, paid the barber and walked out.
The experience of God is as personal as a haircut!
Seeking God - His departments
It was here that I was wondering on what it meant to seek God. Thinking of Swami always is possible but what if I seek Him for wealth, for a career, for health etc. Is that also seeking God? Swami has no problem with that. He says, “I give you what you ask for so that one day you will ask for what I have come to give.” But what does seeking Swami exactly mean?
The 85th Birthday commemorative issue of the Sanathana Sarathi magazine has an article by Prof. M Nanjundiah. And he writes about what Swami once told him. That answered my question completely.
“Just like the cabinet that the Prime Minister has, Swami too has His own cabinet. I have entrusted different tasks to the different ministers. I do not interfere with their work. If I get a prayer in a letter, “Swami we want rains,” I will redirect the letter to Varuna, the Lord of water. He will deal with it appropriately.
Only three departments come directly under me: Love, Selfless Service and Spiritual Sadhana. Whoever loves me, I too love them. I do not look into the other qualities or eligibility. Whoever performs service without expecting rewards, I shall take care of them. Whoever or whenever any person pursues spiritual sadhana, he/she will will come under my protective umbrella. Other departments are all looked after by My other Ministers.”
And so, if you want to seek God, seek Love; if you want to seek God, seek selfless service; if you want to seek God, seek Sadhana!
What a revelation!
If you enjoyed reading this, you might also enjoy the following:
Want to post this article or subscribe to such articles?
Since HubPages is very strict about plagiarism, if you use this article, or its part thereof, anywhere on any site, please also post the source link along. Thank you. :)
© 2011 Aravind Balasubramanya
Saipriya Ganesh on September 03, 2018:
Prithwis Kumar Goswami on April 14, 2014:
Baba's teachings are always very interesting.Sai Ram
vijaya lakshmi on April 13, 2014:
Sai Ram Aravind. barber story is great...Thank You
Kokila Vaidyanathan on April 07, 2013:
Great story about the barber...lovely article. Thank you Sairam
padma on April 05, 2013:
loving Article..Seems as though Swami is lovingly giving advice-love,service,Sadhana.thanks Again.
Prakash Chittaranjan on April 05, 2013:
If I may add...in my case, I wish to clarify that my path is exclusively Self Inquiry (you may wish to put that into Sadhana category if you wish) and I know how Swami has got me closer to this thru Self Inquiry !!
anju dhingra on April 05, 2013:
Awesome message for all of us.....one can seek God through Love, Selfless service & Sadhna. Beautiful article as always....simple & meaningful.
Just loved it. Thanks a lot !!!!!!!!
An Impressed Reader on August 12, 2012:
Really liked the analogy of Swami's cabinet .. It is a very powerful one and makes us realise such a profound truth .. That God can be won only through love, selfless service and persistent Sadhana ..
firstname.lastname@example.org on July 16, 2012:
This type of nice presentation can generate from His products only. Keep continuing your articles..
Kyle Quandel on March 10, 2012:
Great piece - thank you again! Kudos! - Kyle Quandel
Sreenidhi on December 25, 2011:
What a beautiful analogy! You have oncne again helped me out to answer a few of my friends and people around me.....this was Swami's way of teaching and helping me.....jaisairam
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on December 10, 2011:
@ Moodle - Thank you :)
moodle on December 10, 2011:
Great story about the barber - beautiful.
poornimasrinath from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA on December 08, 2011:
Beautiful colation of apt story and Swami's words for the topic chosen! well done again :)
omshidhar on December 07, 2011:
Thank you aravind. The best way to start my day.
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on December 07, 2011:
@ Sainath and Arpita - Swami's love makes everything happen!
@ Kyle Quandel - Thank you for the appreciation...My pleasure to share
Kyle Quandel from NYC on December 07, 2011:
what a great piece! thanks for sharing!!
Arpita Mallajosyula on December 07, 2011:
one of the best examples ever..!!! again a very simple daily life example yet so profound....i will remember this lifelong..!!! :) this cabinet ministers example has touched me so much....!!! thnx ana..!! :)
Sainath on December 07, 2011:
Beautiful Message - Once again reiterating that Love or Prema is the only thing we need to cultivate to all
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on December 07, 2011:
@ Shruti, Deepa and Spirit Whisperer - Thank you. Swami is the one who inspires everything.
@ Samir - Thank you. I shall convey the same to all here! Will be good to see you next year.
Samir on December 07, 2011:
Thanks a lot brother! All you in SAI radio are very vivid in my memories and make SAI still embodiment of Love in Prashanti!!! He left Swami's Boys when he left His body! Hope to have your Darshan next year :))) love for all
Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on December 07, 2011:
A beautiful hub. Thank you.
deepa venkitesh on December 06, 2011:
wow! a great hub, thanks for sharing. you helped bless us too.
Shruti on December 06, 2011:
How true!…. All that He asks from us Love to God…!
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on December 06, 2011:
@ Saisarannaga - Thank you. :) It is entirely HIS grace.
@ Aarthi - "Do not bother either about the past or the future. When needed, they will reveal themselves. Just continue to love." That has been His message always.
Aarthi on December 06, 2011:
Very nice article! "Whoever loves me, I too love them. I do not look into the other qualities or eligibility." - Simple yet profound! Swami does not consider any other factor of eligibility except love. What more assurance do we need? Thanks, bro!
saisarannaga from Chennai in Tamilnadu, India. on December 06, 2011:
What else can I expect from the students of Swami's Institute? Both the above experiences clearly points out Swami's way of teaching great Truths. Let us try to come under Swami's umbrella by opting any of the three paths. Thank you for the nice presentation.