Wednesday, 24 September 2014

God is content with one's good intent - Sairam's experiences with Sri Sathya Sai - Part 2

God always bestows more than what one needs


The experiences of Sairam with Chayee are so amazing and absorbing that they will be part of a separate story as promised. However, this much can be said here that Sairam indeed made Swami happy with his dedication and, in return, Swami blessed Sairam amply with grace. In fact, one such blessing from Swami taught Sairam an unforgettable lesson.

Swami and all the Chayee boys with Chayee Koh Seng in Chayee's room. Chayee is the person in blue shirt.
Sairam is kneeling to the extreme left in the picture with his hands folded in prostration. 

Pleased with the three ‘Chayee boys’ (as they were called), Swami called them in for a mini interview. He gifted all of them with white Safari suit cloth.
“Here”, He said to the two other boys, “you have big frames and hence you will need 3 meters of cloth each.”
The two boys gratefully received the divine gift and took padanamaskar. When it was Sairam’s turn to receive the cloth, Swami smiled mischievously and gave him a shorter cloth,
“For you, 2.5 meters are sufficient...”


Sairam then bent down to take padanamaskar but he was slightly disappointed. Why did Swami give him less cloth? He was smaller in frame than the other two boys but he wasn’t that small either. Anyway, there was nothing else he could do and so, he received the cloth gratefully. On returning to the hostel, he devised a plan. During the vacation, he would purchase a matching cloth that was necessary to get him a safari suit and then get it stitched. Happy with how he had solved the problem of cloth-scarcity that Swami had created, he slept at night.


The next day, Swami summoned the three boys again. Giving them money, Swami said,
“I want you three to stitch safari suits and wear them tomorrow...”
While the other two boys rejoiced at this bounty and blessing, Sairam was slightly worried. Would he actually be able to stitch a safari suit with the smaller cloth that Swami had given him? Nevertheless, the three of them went to the tailor.


“We need a safari suit each, stitched and ready to wear for tomorrow. Will you be able to do it?”, they asked the tailor.
“ If that is what Swami wants, it shall be done”, he said and took their measurements. Sairam kept a watch on the measurements and noted that he was not much less than the other two in these ‘figures’. He did not tell the tailor about the lesser cloth he had received. The three of them submitted their cloth pieces and left.


(This is Part 2 of an ongoing story. If you haven't red part 1, it is highly recommended that you do so before returning to read the concluding part here.
God is content with one's good intent - Sairam's experiences with Sri Sathya Sai - Part 1 )

The stitching was completed overnight and the next day afternoon, the three were at the shop. The tailor looked at Sairam and began,
“There was a little problem in the cloth quantity sir.”
“I thought so... the safari suit is not ready then?”
“Nothing like that sir... The cloth from the other two boys was little less and I did not know how to complete trousers for them. Thankfully, there was extra cloth in your piece. I borrowed from it and completed theirs too. Hope you don’t mind...”
Sairam was baffled to say the least.
“And, what about my suit? Will you stitch the trouser later?”
“No no sir! Your suit is ready. Its just that there was extra cloth which I used for these two boys. Please don’t mind...”


How could Sairam mind when his mind itself had got blown away?


That afternoon, the three of the presented themselves before Swami in the new safari suits. Sairam had worn a belt because his trouser was a bit loose! Swami was satisfied and happy when He saw them. Turning to Sairam, He asked,
Sari Poyinda? { Was it (the cloth) sufficient?}”
Sairam only smiled and nodded. What could he say? He realized that one should never underestimate whatever God gives. God always gives more than enough for our needs though it might seem like a scarcity or shortfall.


Denials are actually delays for greater rewards


Many such little but profound experiences filled Sairam’s life at Brindavan. The task that he feared a lot in the beginning - taking care of Chayee - became very dear to him in a short while. As stated earlier, those experiences will be subject of a separate article. Swami showered special attention and grace on Chayee and, in turn, on the Chayee boys as well. One such shower of grace took place when Sairam was in the final year of undergraduate studies.


Another picture, taken much after that first picture, of Sairam with Swami and Chayee Koh Seng. The location
is in front of the Trayee Brindavan. As the picture shows, Sairam seemed to have 'moved' closer to Swami. He
did that through his loyalty, love and dedication to his Lord. 


The final year students seek ‘extra’ blessings and chances for interaction from Swami since it might be the last ‘student-year’ for many of them. Sairam too joined his classmates and would, therefore, be seated with them during the darshan sessions. One day, when Sairam was not along with the Chayee boys, Swami called the Chayee boys and told them,
“Get ready. I shall take you all along with me to Kodai.”


A Kodai trip is something very special and memorable where Swami takes along with Him a group of students and teachers to the Ashram in the hill-station, Kodaikanal. Several volumes of books can be written on the miracles and lessons at Kodaikanal. One such later Kodai trip with a lovely history of Kodai trips has been beautifully chronicled by Prof.G.Venkataraman, director of Radiosai.


When Swami spoke to the Chayee boys, he concluded by saying,
“That Pakoda (nickname by which Swami referred to Sairam) can stay back here and take care of Chayee during the summer vacation.”
When Sairam got to know of this, he felt it was a double whammy. Firstly, Swami had not given him and ‘special blessing’ though he was an outgoing student. Secondly, He had ensured that Sairam would not be able to even go home and ‘enjoy’ the vacation. That evening, the warden called Sairam and told him,
“Try to speak to Swami and pray to Him to take you along to Kodai...”
“I will see sir. I cannot ask in front of everyone. If I get a chance to speak to Him in solitude, I will do so.”


That opportunity  came by very soon. A few days later, when he was walking across the Trayee Brindavan (Swami’s residence) grounds, he saw a most enchanting sight. The Lord of his Universe, the one who hears all prayers, was walking towards him from the opposite direction. Sairam and his friend, Saroj Pradhan, were carrying tea to serve Chayee (Chai for Chayee as he humorously put it for those who understand Hindi). They rushed and knelt before Swami. Sairam immediately said,
“Swami, please take me with you to Kodaikanal.”
Swami began answering in Kannada when Sairam said,
“Swami, I do not understand Kannada.” (he spoke in English)
Swami spoke to him in Hindi now. Though Sairam did not understand Hindi at that time, Saroj translated what Swami said, later.
“You stay back here and take care of Chayee. It will be difficult. But you can do it.”
Saroj comforted Sairam saying,
“See, Swami trusts you so much...”

Swami appointed Sairam and His teacher in
the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School.
That was no consolation for Sairam who felt so deprived of a beautiful, final vacation. Yet, he just smiled and accepted. Wasn’t it his intention to always make Swami happy?


His adventures during the summer vacation will be part of the chronicles of Chayee. Sairam completed his duty well. He might not have got the chance to accompany Swami to Kodai, but his loyalty, service, love and dedication ensured him a MSc seat at Puttaparthi and, more importantly, a seat in Swami’s heart. Swami also ensured that He kept His Sairam close to His heart by appointing him as a physics teacher in the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School (where he currently serves). Good intention is always rewarded by Swami.


A little note here about Sairam’s ‘sacrifice’. He was a very good student and his professor in college, the brilliant Prof.Srinivasan, wanted him to pursue the MTech degree also. However, Sairam told him that he would love to use his knowledge and intelligence to teach young minds. Though the professor was academically disappointed, his heart leapt in joy at Sairam’s passion and dedication. He also felt that the school would be greatly benefited by such heartfelt teachers. The Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School boasts of a dozen such wonderful teachers today. Little wonder that it has won many laurels including a position in the top 10 schools of India in 2014 with letters of appreciation to several students and teachers from the Human Resource Development Ministry of the Govt. on India.


During the Sports Meet practice, Sairam was given the opportunity to hold the umbrella as a sun shade over Swami.
He was confused because he did not know whether he had to stand so that the umbrella is visually over Swami
or should he position himself away so that the shade is on Swami. Finally, Sairam decided to be visually right. So,
he stood with the umbrella over Swami though the shade was all for himself only!
That was when Swami turned and asked him, "Is that umbrella for you or for me?" Though he didn't realize
it then, Sairam understood that Swami's question also revealed a great secret.
"If your intention is good (to provide shade to the Lord), even if you don't do it well because of
confusion or a mistake, you get rewarded (with shade on yourself and an interaction with the Lord)!

Another beautiful experience on the primacy of intention


As a teacher in Swami’s school, Sairam sir is very popular among the students. That is because Sairam sir, apart from being very good in his subject, also makes it interesting and fun to learn. But that is only half the story. He is also a treasure chest of humility and wisdom that he has gathered from the dust of His Lord’s feet. He inspires, he amazes and he touches hearts even as he teaches in the classroom. Till his marriage, he also stayed with the students in the hostel like a guardian. Hundreds are the students who have been deeply impacted by Sairam sir and I count myself as one among those hundreds. In fact, I was bowled over by the first question he asked us when he entered the classroom for the first class of the academic year. That was a self-introspective question that made us think about our purpose at Swami’s institution. I have recorded this episode in a separate story entitled, “My first memorable interaction with Sathya Sai as His student.


It was during the days as a hostel teacher that Sairam got another comprehensive proof for the power of good intention.


Walking in the corridor one day, he observed an over-ripe papaya fruit in the dustbin. He realized that this was definitely one among the thousands of papayas distributed in the Sai Kulwant Hall as prasadam. The privileged students from the school and University had received one full papaya each on Swami’s instructions. Apparently, some student had not cared a hoot to the fact that throwing into the dustbin is the worst possible way of treating the Lord’s prasadam.


Immediately, Sairam plunged into an investigation and within an hour, zeroed in on the culprit. It was a certain Kalicharan from grade 8.
“Sir, I thought of eating it after a few days. I kept it in my cupboard and I forgot. It looked like it had got spoilt and so I threw it...”
“Do you know that any devotee will die to get a piece of that fruit?”
“C’mon sir... Its a rotten fruit now...”
Sairam realized that apart from committing a grave mistake, the boy did not even have the slightest idea of the gravity of the situation. He was someone who ‘did not know’ and ‘did not know’ that he ‘did not know’!


“Go and fetch that fruit from the dustbin, now...”
“Sir, its gone bad... and its in the dustbin for God’s sake...”
“It is for God’s sake I want you to get it right now... Or else...”
Sairam fixed a long and hard stare on the boy. Everyone in the school knew that Sairam sir was not someone to get angry at all. He anger was always righteous anger. And when he got that righteous anger, his voice could chill a tiger’s blood.
Kalicharan bowed his head, walked to the dustbin and fetched the fruit. He placed it in front of Sairam and took a piece of newspaper nearby to wipe his hands.


What ‘Sairam sir’ did next horrified Kalicharan.


Sairam shut the door of his room. He walked to a cupboard and fetched a carving knife. He carved out the really rotten part of the papaya. That, he kept aside to feed a cow or buffalo, he said. He told Kalicharan to sit down.
“Let us eat this together.”
“I can’t... this is terrible...”
“You better eat it with me. There is no choice here...”
Kalicharan had to eat the fruit. While Sairam ate it with serenity on his face, Kalicharan was on the verge of tears. Sairam knew that the boy might carry tales of horror against him to the other boys and his parents. But he was determined to make the boy realize that Swami was not to be taken for granted like that. After the papaya had been completely consumed, Sairam opened the room door and let the boy out.


“Maybe I was too harsh on him”, he thought later, “Did I take an extreme step, a wrong step, to inculcate what I thought was right?”
That was a question that only God could answer.


That evening, in the mandir, there was a surprise prasadam distribution. This time, it was the laddu. Sairam was seated in the veranda of the mandir and Swami came walking up to him. He did not speak anything but just stood still watching the prasadam distribution in progress in the hall. Suddenly, up went His hand and He was beckoning to someone. Sairam saw one of the students in the front rows rise.
“Not you, that one...” Swami seemed to indicate with his index finger.
Another boy rose now and once again, Swami indicated that he was not calling him but the ‘other one’.
Sairam raised himself to see who it was that Swami was calling. A minute and 8 ‘wrong’ boys later, the correct student stood up.


It was Kalicharan!


Sairam’s heart now began thudding. Why was Swami calling Kalicharan of all the boys and that too when the prasadam distribution was in progress? Finally, why was this whole scene being played out right in front of him?


Kalicharan walked up to Swami. He too seemed tense and nervous.
Prasadam Dorikinda (Did you get prasadam)?”
“Yes Swami”
“Where? I don’t see it with you...”
Kalicharan put his hand into his pocket and pulled out the laddu packet.
Swami now had a broad smile on his face.
Chala Santosham (Very happy)! Don’t ever waste prasadam.”


Swami turned and walked away. Both Sairam and Kalicharan were wet in the eyes as they had anticipated. But the reason for the tears were totally different.
“Sorry sir. I realize that the teachers here are extensions of Swami. Whatever they tell us is equivalent to Swami telling us. I shall never waste prasadam again in my life. Nay, I shall never waste any food in my life because all food is ultimately God’s prasadam.
That was what Kalicharan told Sairam sir later that day.


“The way Swami gave me support when I most needed it has been a constant feature of this Divine relationship. I am convinced that God always backs good intent even though one might mistakenly do wrong while trying to implement that intent.”
That was how Sairam sir summed it.

Need one say any more?

Concluded

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy the following:

1. Sri Sathya Sai Baba and the green Mercedes Benz car - the story of a school teacher.

2. There is no life without Sai - experiences of the singer, Ravikumar.

3. The Fruits of Action 


For all readers:


(If you enjoyed this and wish to subscribe to this blog, please go to the right hand side and choose the last 'box' which says subscribe. Also explore the many 'previous articles' listed month-wise on the top right here, in the web version of the blog. Another blog which I maintain with more than 230 articles on it is at http://aravindb1982.hubpages.com. If you wish to be added to my mailing list, please email me via this page with the subject "ADD ME TO MAILING LIST".)



9 comments:

  1. I am convinced that God always backs good intent even though one might mistakenly do wrong while trying to implement that intent. - How beautiful !! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thank you so much for these beautiful revelations.I had prayed to Swami that I wish to read/know the experiences of his boys .and he has once again answered my prayers!,,
    Each of your articles is a MASTERPIECE!
    Thank you once again!i learn so much from each episode.

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  3. par excellent .....every particle is God...let me practice it ...
    thnx sairam ..

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  4. Before starting to read one of these articles, a get a tissue ready in hand as every single one moves me to tears. These beautiful experiences are so soulfully written, I cant thank Aravind enough for sharing them with us. sai ran

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  5. Today is exactly 19 years since Swami granted my family and I an interview. It is reassuring to know that Swami is always there for you in times of difficulties and challenges. Raju

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  6. no post for long time. waiting for one. probably abt Chayee.

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  7. sairam brother,yet another lovely tale of the special bond between swami and HIS children. It has become my habit now,to come to ur.blog seeking for HIM, whenever something seems to disturb me. Thank you

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  8. I was a room mate of Sairam in Brindavan hostel. He was my senior and very helpful, patient and kind. The amount of dedication and hardwork he and the other Chayee boys put in is just staggering. Sairam has shown that service to humanity is service to the Lord. The world needs more people like him.

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  9. Sairam brother Aravind... what a beautiful incident and another solid proof that swami guides and supports all deeds done with good intent... thank you brother..

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Please do take some time to leave your valuable thoughts and feedback here. It will be an enriching read for me. :)