It has been almost 2 years now since the day when tears welled up in me like never before. I cannot think of any other time when I have cried the way I did then nor do I think I will ever cry like that again. Seeing Swami (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) in His physical state on the 24th of April 2011 made my heart experience something that it never has before.
Love without attachment is a beautifully fantastic concept but I think that all the memories we savour arise from the attachment that love brings with it. Swami has been such an influence in my life. He has filled it like nothing else ever can and at the same time left such a gaping void. How can someone be so fulfilling and so ‘vacuuming’ at the same time?
I have been reading the Mahabharatha comics from Amar Chitra Katha for some time now.
(A small detour here. I must recommend these awesome comics for and and all! Hats off to Amar Chitra Katha for immortalizing these glorious stories for all times to come. I feel so happy to have grown up, reading them. Today, the comics are all about Transformers, Spiderman, Chota Bheem, Bey Blades and the likes popularized on cartoon network. I have nothing against them but feel saddened that not many children know our glorious culture. The Amar Chitra Katha comics, I must say, are equally exciting and also full of virtue, character, nobility, righteousness and education for life. I recommend them for all ages!)
Inspiration from Baba's Chinna Katha
I have been devouring through the pages of the Mahabharatha for the last few days and as I was reading it, I was repeatedly reminded of a story that Swami narrates. And that story transformed into an intense inspiration. Swami speaks about the plight of the eldest Pandava brother, Dharmaja, at the end of the great Mahabharatha war. Let us relive those times briefly so that we appreciate his situation.
After years of toil and pain in forests and temporary dwellings, the great Mahabharatha war begins for the Pandava brothers. They have faced the grind of mortal life but have always relied on their Lord Krishna who has always been by their side, guiding and guarding them. In 18 days of terrible war, the unrighteous Kaurava brothers are vanquished and Dharma is back on track. Celebrations are about to begin after a very long time of misery for the Pandavas, when they hear a most dreadful news - their Lord Krishna - friend, philosopher and guide - has left His mortal coils.
On hearing this, Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas drops dead instantly and the Pandavas are plunged into grief. What was to be a moment of celebration becomes a moment of great renunciation. They decide immediately to renounce everything and go into the Himalayas to spend the last leg of their lives. And now, as Swami says, Dharmaja faces a very difficult situation which he handles with great equanimity.
He calls his four brothers and entrusts them with one task each :
1) To make preparations for the celebrations of the victory of Dharma over Adharma.
2) To make preparations for the mother’s funeral.
3) To make preparations for the renouncing journey to the Himalayas.
4) To make preparations for the coronation of their youthful grandson - Parikshith.
Swami always praises the equanimity which this eldest Pandava brother exhibited and the diligence with which he carried out his Dharma or duty.
I have heard this story many times. But of late, I have viewed the story from a different perspective - that of the going-to-be-ruler, Parikshith. I was wondering how it must have been for him.
The way he got his name is an interesting story in itself. A missile had been directed to him when he was in the womb. It was Lord Krishna who had divinely intervened and had saved the foetus. And so, when the baby was born, it was constantly checking faces to identify its saviour. It smiled only after it had the darshan of Krishna. So, the baby was named, “Parikshith” - one who examines. That was his only experience with the Lord.
And as Dharmaja took the major decisions in equanimity, Parikshith was facing the test of his life. His Lord Krishna was gone. His doting great-grandmother had dropped dead. His great uncles, the ambassadors of Dharma - the Pandavas - were giving up everything, including him, and leaving for Sanyasa. Amidst all this, he was not to grieve but take over the responsibility of a vast empire and rule justly. He was to be the pillar of strength to his subjects.
A similar situation today...
Today, even as I still feel the void in my heart, I feel the situation is so similar. There have been some wonderful devotees like Dr.Savitriamma (who superbly manned the general hospital in Whitefield) and Mrs.Prabha Sridharan (who was the foremost among the ladies bhajan group at Brindavan whom Swami personally trained) who gave up their mortal coils soon after the Mahasamadhi.
(Please note that the term 'Mahasamadhi' is being used here only in an indicative manner. Please do not go into the semantics of it.)
And then there are some like the Pandavas - grand people in the Sai Family who have been Swami’s instruments always. They are in great grief for their entire lives have been spent at His Feet. And yet, with great equanimity, they are carrying out their duties, preparing for fresh blood and the youth to step in. They have fought many battles and have been guided by the Lord to do everything. But soon, they will be marching off to Himalayan heights to seek their salvation.
Finally, the majority of us are like the lad Parikshith! An empire has been entrusted to us - an empire of Values and Love. Physically, our Lord has left and the venerable elders are encouraging us to take up the reins. And we have to be pillars of strength and take up our responsibilities. We have not stayed always with the Lord physically but we have experienced Him in our own ways.
When Parikshith was in his mother's womb, the deadly Brahmastra, a divine missile, was discharged on him by Ashwatthama. Lord Krishna, in His form, entered the womb and protected the fetus from the missile. Thus, Parikshith knew that even though he had not physically experienced Krishna much, He was the reason/cause of his life. That is another similarity - we know that just like for Parikshith, for us too, God is the reason for our lives.(
Parikshith did rule wisely and well. He always looked up the glorious deeds of his great uncles for inspiration and always had his God Krishna guiding him from within. And when the time came for him to leave his physical frame, he knew it. He listened only to the glories and stories of Lord Krishna for one complete week before dying. Those stories narrated by sage Suka to king Parikshith have been collected into the wonderful Bhagawatham, veritably the Hindu Bible!He died a wonderful death and in death too, he ensured that the Bhagawatham - stories of Lord Krishna - sprouted in every heart.
And that, should be an inspiration for all of us. Like king Parikshith, we should be able to shoulder the responsibilities in spite of missing the physical presence of our Lord. And we can do that by living His teachings in our day to day life.
As we live, let our lives be part of the Sai Bhagawatham that has no beginning or an end. May our love for Swami grow stronger every passing moment. Let us remember what He once told a student,
“Bangaroo, I don’t want you to die for me. I want you to live for me!”
Dying for something is easy - it is a one-time affair. Living for something is a lifetime commitment. And once we live for something, we automatically die for the same too - just as Parikshith did!
If you enjoyed reading this, you must read these too:
1. God-bashing : The Mahabharata solution for devotees - on how to deal with those who criticize God.
2. 24th April 2012 - The Day to mark His Arrival - from yajur Mandir to Hrudaya Mandir.
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© 2012 Aravind Balasubramanya
SubodhchandraChatterjee on June 08, 2016:
Very good for all Sai Devotees.
Ajesh kumar on May 28, 2013:
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on April 30, 2013:
@ Indra Mohindra - That is a beautiful episode that you have quoted from the Ramayana! :)
Thank you. Yes. True Love lies in sacrifice - Sacrifice of one's selfish desires for God. :)
Beautiful message indeed.
Indra Mohindra 04.30.13 on April 30, 2013:
I am touched to the core of my heart by reading your message of Loving Swami by living His teachings now that He has assumed His FORMLESS -REALITY. Indeed you have brought all of us in the shoes of PARIKSHITH.
I also remember an episode from Ramayana, where Lord Rama tells Bharat, "it is easy for you to give your life because you love me and would like me to come back to Ayodhya to rule the kingdom, But the real love is if you can go and rule the kingdom for me until my return from the Forrest and there by honor the words of our father"!Likewise, we have to live our lives filled with Swami's teachings so we can honor the WORDS and MISSION of our beloved Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji.
KokilaVaidyanathan on March 21, 2013:
Beautiful... I am not sure but I think being away from India for a while can make things slightly different and have a different perspective. I personally have never felt His physical absence coz we always He is there in far away land looking after us and all we need to do is remind ourselves to live His teachings... While in Prashanti the physical absence hits us....in saying that I was there during Christmas last year and felt His presence far more...it felt like one of those days where Bhagwan decided not to come for darshan. May be that's an advantage of being away from India. When people like you share His experiences we feel like being there in that experiences. Swami will be with us now and forever...we are part of His Bhagawantham....Sairam and love your sharing as always.
Sudha Ram Sai on February 12, 2013:
wow.. We are all Parikshits... How encouraging..
Just now, was mentally revisiting sub-plots of Mahabharatha and as I login stumble upon this hub-page.. We all are indeed sub-parts of our beloved sahasra purusha... the indweller...
Dr sanjay Aggarwal solan on February 01, 2013:
Great work arvind
Radha on September 15, 2012:
Sairam brother.very very beautiful article...and the need of the hour..to rise and live for swami..and not give up...very inspiring to say the least.may swami bless you abundantly for this fantastic effort..
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on July 27, 2012:
@ Aarthi - You have correctly arrived to the point that changing the world depends on we changing our world. That can be the best contribution we can make...
Totally agree to what you say - we are lucky to have got Him in our youth...
Aarthi on July 27, 2012:
Revisited this blog post today. And I was struck by "An empire has been entrusted to us - an empire of Values and Love. Physically, our Lord has left and the venerable elders are encouraging us to take up the reins."
So profound! Yet, not at all easy to act upon! But, if each of us among the youth brigade considers himself/herself as King Parikshit and moves ahead with faith in the Lord, I'm pretty sure Swami will be very proud of us.
There's a saying in Tamil which means "The young calf knows not fear." I got reminded of that now. We Sai youth are fearless but that does not mean we are rash in our approach. We have been moulded by Swami Himself and so we do revere our elders. We are not overconfident but we have confidence in Sai and self-confidence. These 2 will help us reign in the Golden Age. Of course, the elders must encourage us to implement a few new ideas, which will really bring in a freshness to everything.
Now I know why Swami caught me right in my youth period. :) He has chosen many of us to be good examples for our peers. He is thereby silently transforming not only us but others around us too. Thanks for this post bro!
An Impressed Reader on July 27, 2012:
Oh ok .. Dialogues being concise shouldn’t be a problem as long as they still convey what has to be conveyed .. But your reply has made me think .. I have lost touch with comics and so am not sure if I will still enjoy them ..I should probably sample some ACK from a library first :)
Thank you so much for the answer !
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on July 27, 2012:
@ An Impressed Reader - Well, seeing the conditions you have put forth, these comics may not be the best for you. In terms of sub-plots they are all well covered. Dialogues are not insipid but space is not a luxury that ACK can afford. thus, the dialogues have been made quite concise.
And That may not be able to deliver the same punch, say, as a detailed book or the Mahabharata serial.
Story is comprehensive and it is only after I read ACK that I could get the whole story spanning more than 200 years in chronological order! :)
An Impressed Reader on July 27, 2012:
Brother, could you answer this question for me?
How did you find the quality of writing in Amar Chitra Katha's Mahabharatha series? I read some reviews which said the translation is literal and renders the dialogues insipid .. Did you find any such shortcomings in the books? I usually find it impossible to read, if something is badly written, no matter how interesting the story or subject is .. And am thinking about buying it .. So I want to double check before going for it ..
Am also assuming that it would have covered most of the subplots considering the size ..
Would be glad if you could give me this feedback ..
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on June 22, 2012:
@ Pooja Sawhney - Thank you for the comment... :) Thank you for the wonderful prayers and blessings - I need them
@ Poornima Srinath - Yes! I thought of using it for the Thursday Live!
@ Aarthi - Totally agree... Yup. I would love to be one little squirrel of His....
@ Arpita, Padma, Himanshu and Bhaskara Rao - Thank you for your valuable comments...
@ Mark Aspa - Thank you... Am wanting to write another hub on the Mahabharatha.... So profound it is and has so much similarity with our state...
@ Sai Kiran and Impressed Reader - We just have to wait in readiness...
@ Darell Roberts - Thanks for stopping by and happy that you enjoyed it.
Darrell Roberts from North Carolina on June 22, 2012:
Anush on June 22, 2012:
Amazing Barru, Loved it when I read this piece last year. And had been desperately looking for it on your Facebook notes. Thanks for posting it here. Wonderful insight. Sairam
An Impressed Reader on June 22, 2012:
Wonderful post .. The parallel drawn is simply brilliant and inspiring..
Only yesterday, my brother and I were talking about what we need to do in the light of having known Swami and having been brought into his fold .. While I kept saying that even if we do not do anything big, we should never harm anyone and that in itself is good sadhana,his view was different. Swami has shown us the way and given us the means and medium too ..So having all this in hand, we should act was what he said ..
I have been mulling over that from the time I heard it .. We all do carry out his mission in our own small ways but is it to the best of the potential and resources that Swami has bestowed upon us is a question to consider .. We may be doing just what we think is 'possible' for us ..
As you have said in one of your comments, 'Being a part of Sai Bhagawatham is a chance and a choice given to all of us' ..
We will be missing a great opportunity if we do not use it to the fullest and give our best .. It would be a conferred boon thrown away ..
You and your writing are a great source of motivation brother .. Thanks and Keep it up!!
sai kiran on June 21, 2012:
Don't worry brother victory shall be achieved work is just starting the great kalki Mahabharat will dawn upon us,soldiers are coming . Sai has blessed us with preultimate work. Don't Worry, Be Ready
Mark Aspa from Berlin, Germany on June 21, 2012:
a very talented writer...you conveyed some deep ideas and feelings for me with felicity.
G. Bhaskara Rao, Hyd. on June 20, 2012:
Excellent article inspiring sai devotees all over the Universe.
padma ravindiran on June 20, 2012:
very good article we have to follow our beloved swami's message and live our life. thanks a lot for our beautiful articles
Himanshu on June 20, 2012:
So touching and emotional
Arpita Mallajosyula on June 20, 2012:
This is really awesome...wonderfully written anna....the message the mahabharatam conveyed and the way you beautifully applied it to the Sai Bhagawatham is just amazing....all His life Swami has been living only for us and has done so much for all of us....it is our turn now to do something for Swami, to express our gratitude to him and we should be grateful to Swami for giving us such an opportunity...actually he has given the opportunity to everyone but what is important is how many of are eager to seize that chance and actually get to action..i think that should define our love for Him, not to anybody else but just to our own selves....
thanks for sharing this wonderful article...!!! :) :)
HEMA B on June 20, 2012:
Aarthi on June 20, 2012:
Swami has chosen each of us. We have not chosen Him. That should fill us with gratitude for the rare chances He has blessed us with. That is what I keep telling myself whenever I feel anguish that His physical form is no longer there. We can never repay our debt to Him but we can try to do our bit like the squirrel in the Ramayana whom the Lord lovingly stroked for the 'seva' it did. Let us pray to Swami to enable us also to do our bit as His chosen instruments.
poornimasrinath from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA on June 20, 2012:
Beautifully articulated :D... In this article I see a petal of lotus that has just opened( in you and for us). We are all so blessed to have Swami as our guru , God and friend. The concepts that took so much time for our ancestors to grasp and understand, was brought like a readymade one to us by Swami. When Swami renders discourse it seems so simple, but if we reflect with inspiration from Swami it takes us elsewhere ...isn't it? Excellent..perhaps you must have reserved this for Thursday live..:)
Pooja Sawhney on June 20, 2012:
Beautifully written Brother Aravind...It struck a chord with-in...I am a regular reader of your hubs but have never commented on them...Today just felt like doing so...U are really gifted by Swami, in the way u write and express your thoughts and u are using this strength to the fullest and rendering wonderful seva to all...Keep up the good work... God bless :)
Sudha Ram on June 20, 2012:
Sai Ram Bro.Arvind. Recalling your own statement that we all should be not like Arjuna, but better than him... Swami within you had prompted you to make that statement to all of us from SG. Its one solid motivation statement.. JSR.
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on June 19, 2012:
@ Sai Sister - Isn't that wonderful? Swami's omnifelicity - makes many people get the same inspiration and thoughts at the same time... :)
Thank you for sharing...
Sai Sister on June 19, 2012:
Arvind, Thank you so much. So Beautiful. So True. Today itself I had this thought... "we are all messengers of God/Swami". And we are all in this together. We have to support each other. Loving Sai Rams.
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on June 19, 2012:
@ vaishnavi rao - Of course. Being a part of Sai Bhagawatham is a chance and a choice given to all of us...
vaishnavi rao on June 19, 2012:
WOW anna we are a part oh HIS Sai Bhagawatham can there be nothing better than this???? Thank u swami a million times!