The Story Divine is the untold story of Madhusudan Naidu. He plays one of the most important roles in the ongoing mission of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who continues to guide, encourage and motivate His devotees to tread the spiritual path of Love and Service, from beyond the realms of the seen and the heard! An unprecedented account of a divine adventure, a saga of service and surrender, a tale of tangible transformation and a testimony to the power of faith, this book is a spiritual thriller, which will leave you inspired. This book authored by Madhusudan Naidu, at the command of Bhagawan Baba brings the rarest insights in to his life with Bhagawan Baba, and gives the first hand account of a human being living with the Divine, in today’s modern times.
Below excerpts said and written by Madhusudan Naidu on 15 October 2018 at Muddenahalli
“One good news may transform someone’s life. somebody may get inspired by it. somebody may take to that path”
— Sri Madhusudan Naidu at ‘Tatva Sameeksha’ (October 30, 2017), Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba once said, “Ego that comes from doing Seva is far more difficult to get rid of than the ego that comes from not doing Seva.” You understand the subtlety of it? If you are not a good person, you have a certain ego. But if you think you are a good person, that ego is far difficult to get rid of. I am superior than most. Look at these people, they don’t do any Seva or Bhajan. I am superior, a better person. That is far stickier. It is very difficult to get rid of. Publicity and praise, rewards and awards can bring that ego. Not everyone can handle it. Not everybody can handle popularity and praise because it requires tremendous amount of substance in a person. At the same time, awareness is important. Swami told once, All the newspapers carry only negative news. One good news may transform someone’s life. Somebody may get inspired by it. Somebody may take to that path. There are people who are doing things like this? I also would like to join them. Informing about the good that you are doing, if it is with only and only motive of letting more people know about this inspiration that you have derived. For example, if somebody had not come and told about Sai Baba and what He has done, I wouldn’t have been probably here. If we don’t inform people in rural areas about our schools (Sri Sathya Sai Institutions), many would not know. Many won’t realise that such a school exists. It is our duty to keep people informed, especially those who need to be informed. At the same time, we should have the ability to handle this praise, although at the same time handle the blame also! We should have that equanimity. In our case, it becomes even more easy. Because over the last five years, we realise that none of us are capable of doing what we have done. It is only Swami who has done it. When we go and tell others, with great understanding we tell that it is Swami who is doing this. I don’t mind going to the streets and shouting that Swami is doing this. Because, He can handle that praise. I met a person who drives a pickup truck carrying goods who was on the verge of selling his truck for the heart operation of his child, but luckily, he read an article about our hospital (Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital) in the newspaper and came here. It is important for the positivity to be spread. But for us, we have to be very clear why we are doing it. Not for self-gratification or advertisement or publicity. We are doing it so more people will get to know and be benefited and many more will get involved. With that motive it is alright.More
“Courage is not about being God. Courage is about not being what you should not be. Courage is to discard all that old petty things that we hold on to ourselves”
— Sri Madhusudan Naidu at ‘Tattva Sameeksha’ (October 30, 2017), Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli
Today, Swami (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) gave interview to one of the very devoted families and He told them, “It’s the new you now. The old you is over. When you have decided to give up everything and come to God, the old one is over. It is a total new phase of life. Everything old has to be given up.” Then He gave a beautiful analogy. In old times, when disciple would go to a Guru, he will carry a handful of dry twigs and place it at Guru’s feet, which will be burnt. Why it is to be burnt? It is a symbolic representation of giving up all our past when we come to our Guru. If we have past attachments, entanglements, affairs, issues etc., they all get burnt the moment we come to the feet of the Guru. If something is not going to be helpful in our spiritual progress, we have to leave all that behind. That is where courage comes from. Courage is not about being God. Courage is about not being what you should not be. Courage is to discard all that old petty things that we hold on to ourselves as if it’s the most precious thing on earth. Swami said for relationships there is time for everything.
There is Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa. It is very clear. Indian scriptures so very well define the stages of life which is very correct. Earlier I had my own prejudiced view of these things. But now I realise it’s extremely important most of the world can follow this and still reach God very easily. It’s a very easy path than jumping from Brahmacharya to Sanyasa which is far difficult. Swami says bachelor’s life is like a unicycle whereas married life is like a bicycle. So, it’s difficult to balance in a unicycle all the time. So, there is a reason why things have to happen in a certain way and time.
But not forever… It has to be discarded off. Swami gave an example, you take an auto rickshaw and go to the bus stop. From bus stop, you go to the railway station. From railway station, you take the train and reach the next destination. Now, once you go to the bus stop, you have to give up the auto rickshaw. Once you take the train, you have to give up the bus. If you say, no, I want to keep sitting in the auto rickshaw you cannot catch your train. So certain things are useful only to reach a certain destination in our lives. After that, they have to be discarded. It’s of no use anymore. Most of the people don’t follow and till the end of their lives they are busy in Grihastha and they don’t move into the next phase at all.More
You challenge Him? He will go and do more good works! If you ask, ‘How dare you open a university?’ He will say, ‘I will open 18 of them, you wait and watch!’ (laughter) ‘How dare you open a hospital?’ ‘I will open five of them, you wait and see!’
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Swami Vivekananda and his people went through a lot when they started the Mission. Before Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa passed away, he called eleven of his disciples and gave them orange clothes. He did not speak a word. It was a silent conversation. Swami Vivekananda understood what was to be done. And it was to the credit of Sarada Maa, the great spiritual partner of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa who guided them, motivated them to take up this path of renunciation – the monkhood. And it met with lot of ridicule at that point in time. People laughed at them. But they stood by their conviction. Had they all bent low and if Vivekananda had thought, ‘Anyway, Ramakrishna is not here. Who is going to guide me? And if I get into some kind of depression who is going to kick me and make me feel the Oneness of the whole creation? So, let me give up and go back to my family, find a nice job in British Govt office, become a Barrister, fight cases for British Govt against Indians and help the government win and get my salary and make sure my mother wears silk and sister wears diamonds and gold’; and with that he could have ended his life. He could have settled for a very meaningless, worthless, purposeless life. But because he stood by his conviction then, despite all the ridicule, Ramakrishna Mission is what it is today!
We stand by this conviction that what we are doing is right. Whatever others think, say or feel about it; we believe in our heart of hearts that we have Swami with us who is guiding us on this path. It may be a difficult terrain to negotiate but then we are not the first ones. There are people who have done greater things for God before us. St. Francis of Assissi did, defying all the norms of the society, throwing away the silver spoon with which he was born, taking upon himself the rags to wear and then settling down in some cold little cave to do what he had to do. (We have a nice Ashram at Assissi in Italy) It is the sacrifice of the few that leads to emancipation, redemption of the rest. And this opportunity, this great privilege has been given to us!
Mahatma Gandhi said whenever someone embarks on a mission like this which is beyond the understanding of just any common man, “First they ignore you, then laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win!”
This has been the story from the beginning. ‘Baba, without a body in a place like that?! Do you think these people can be luckier, more pure, more devoted than us? Why not us? If it was Baba, it had to be us!!’ They will laugh at you! Then they will violently oppose you- ‘No, this cannot be true’. They will ridicule you, oppose you. Then they fight you- ‘This cannot go on forever. Let us stop it somewhere’. And finally what happens? You win, because, all that will not stand in front of God!
The discourse that Swami gave two weeks ago! Very rarely, Swami gives discourses like this. But I enjoyed it to the most (laughter) I am quite bored with philosophical discourses! I have heard so many. When Swami talks business, when He talks what He needs to talk, it is really enjoyable. Swami does not speak like this very often. Inside, in His private conversations, He will speak things, sometimes He will speak His mind. But in public, He will always say things which are very soft, gentle and nice to everyone. He does not want to hurt and disturb anybody’s thinking or faith. But that day I believe, it was not about Him.
There is an old Hindi couplet, “Prabal Prem ke Paale Pad Kar Prabhu ko Niyam Badalte Dekha; Apna Aan Tale Tal Jaaye Par Bhakt ka Maan Na Talte Dekha” The poet says, ‘Out of the great love for the devotee, I have seen God change, modify, bend the rules; because, if His reputation or His name is at stake, it does not matter to Him. But if His devotee’s name is at stake, He will not keep quiet!’ He will fight back. You hurl abuses at God, He can handle it but if you throw abuses at His devotee, then He will not stay quiet. That is God’s nature. Let His name go, it does not matter to Him. He will not let the honour of the devotee be compromised. That is what Swami did!
I think I must share this with you. This aspect of Swami, you won’t get to know every now and then. It was 89th Birthday Celebrations at Muddenahalli and it was the first time, Swami publicly, openly gave a discourse in the stadium here. About ten thousand people had gathered here, mostly out of curiosity. That time people were not even aware of what was going on. They had just heard something like this is going on in a place called Muddenahalli. They thought, on the way back to Bangalore, let us drop in and see what’s going on. There was a discourse and I was literally shaking and shivering. Outside, I may have looked very courageous. The discourse happened and soon after that there was a huge uproar by those who did not want to believe! They immediately sent out some terribly worded circulars around the world. Had they sent a circular saying that this is something that they don’t approve of, that they do not subscribe to, that they do not believe in; Swami would not bother because even when Swami was physically there, there were more people who did not believe in Him than those who believed in Him. So, this is nothing new for Bhagawan. But their mistake was that they named one of His oldest devotees in the circular that made Him feel absolutely hurt. ‘Mr Indulal Shah has grown old and senile which is why he cannot understand what is right and wrong! So he has fallen into this kind of a thing’. The circular went around the world and reached Swami. Till then Swami was silent. In fact, He does not bother. Even during physical phase, lot of magicians would go to Puttaparthi and challenge Swami. ‘I can create a pumpkin; can you create?’ Some of us, students would think, ‘Swami! Give him back a fitting answer! Create a pumpkin and show!’ But that is our silly, limited thinking. For Swami, should He even stoop down to those levels to prove that He is God and can do amazing things? So, that is how it was. Some people thought of challenging Him that way. Had it been a challenge thrown to Swami, He would have not bothered about it. But it was the name of a devotee which was at stake! For decades, He has been the grandsire of the organisation and has done so many wonderful things for Swami. Nobody could have spoken ill of him for whatever reasons, because he had so much to his credit. But unfortunately somebody spoke. This was the first even for his family.
So, how did Swami respond? He told the family of Indulal Shah ji; ‘You wait. I will see to that the Prime Minister of India will honour Indulal Shah in front of everyone!’
His reaction was not to send another circular back, another missile back to them. He said, ‘No! That’s not my way!’ I will not stoop down and do things like any other ordinary being. I would rather do much better than what I have been doing; more good work, more Seva, more sacrifice. That is the answer to all the ridicule and abuses. Few years down the line, when we were there in Palwal (Haryana) for the inauguration of Sri Sathya Sai International Center for Pediatric Cardiac Care and Research, Swami saw to that Sri Indulal Shah ji and Sri Satish Naik ji were honoured by the Prime Minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi. There was a similar story about Satish Naik ji and Swami had taken it to His heart. They both were honoured by the highest authority in India from all practical points of view, the Prime Minister himself when he said, ‘They have done such great service to Swami and I am happy to honour them’. And a silver plaque was presented to them. That is how Swami answers negativity.
He does not answer negativity with more negativity. He will answer negativity with more positivity, something that we need to learn. You challenge Him? He will go and do more good works! If you ask, ‘How dare you open a university? He will say, I will open 18 of them, you wait and watch!’ (laughter)
‘How dare you open a hospital?’
‘I will open five of them, you wait and see!’
If somebody is abusive, our immediate reaction is to go ten times more abusive thinking we have conquered the battle! But that is not His way.
River Ganges is eternally polluted (physically). Govt spends crores but to no avail. One day, there was a huge cloudburst somewhere up in the Himalayas and the huge floods in Ganges and all the dirt got cleaned up! He said that is My way of doing things. One cloudburst of a thing and everything gets cleaned up! It is only His mercy for everyone. When Shishupala was hurling abuses at Krishna, He waited for ninety nine times, and the hundredth time, when He did what He had to do, He did it in Shishupala’s interest for making him an eternal name in history.More
Brother Madhusudan Naidu says, “Surrender is not fifty percent or ninety percent or even ninety nine percent. Either you are surrendered or not surrendered! There is nothing called percentage of surrender. It’s binary; either you are zero or one!”
“Most of you may have read these two books of THE STORY DIVINE, first part is more of a flight of fantasy; it takes you through many miraculous, mysterious things and keeps you glued to it because it is a nice happy read. But the second part literally plunges you back on to the hard ground and tells you that it is not that simple a story and there are lots to it, lots below the surface than what is above, what meets the eyes. And so it goes on a trip of lot of hard realities of our lives and what does it take for God to make man surrender to Him. Mr. Isaac Tigrett always quotes, “I have to break you to remake you”. Swami is somebody who does not believe in renovations. He believes in complete annihilation and then rebuilding it all afresh. Those in construction and interiors will know, renovation takes more efforts than actually rebuilding the whole thing again. If the building is falling apart, it is very difficult to renovate it. Probably, the better thing is to just destroy it completely and start all over again. And with Swami, this is the way! We may think we are fifty percent good, fifty percent not good and Swami will somehow make sure, the other fifty percent becomes better. But what does He do? He will take us all, and then He will take hundred percent of good and bad and He will make it nothing. He will put it back to zero! And then He will start all over again. So any percent is not good percent for Him. He once told me, surrender is not fifty percent or ninety percent or even ninety nine percent. Either you are surrendered or not surrendered! There is nothing called percentage of surrender. It’s binary; either you are zero or one! There is no in between for surrender. I had my own story of surrender. And I was quite headstrong. If I was not headstrong, I would not have been able to withstand so many things which happened during this journey. I am sure many of you over here are very strong people who have great convictions in their beliefs, who will stand by what they truly believe in and who will not budge whoever says. And that’s why we are here so very firmly rooted in the faith that Swami is there in the Sukshma Swaroopa and Swami is doing what He is doing; whatever friends, close associates, relatives, anybody says, it does not matter because we all are people who believe in certain convictions. You either live by the values that you believe in or you die for the values that you believe in. There is nothing in between. There is nothing called compromising the values. We believe Swami is there completely and he is doing what he is doing. And come what may, we stand by that. There is no changing our stand for the sake of pleasing or appeasing a few people, however close they might be. I am also a man of certain convictions. And I believe Swami is guiding and I truly believe in that.
But you may not believe, most of the guidance in the initial years was very confusing to me. He would say a thing and it would not happen. I would wonder if I was hallucinating, imagining. When ten things won’t happen and I would be about to give up, the eleventh thing will happen and it will again rejuvenate my spirit, reaffirm my faith and again the same story went on. Madhusudan Naidu
He first told me to not be in the job that I was in, because that was coming in the way of His work. You can’t go at eight in the morning and come back at ten in the night and also do all what Swami wants you to do and that too at the pace at which it is going now. He wanted a full time dedicated servant. He did not want a part time devotee, as He sometimes jokes! I had my own plans of my own devotion, how I thought devotion should be. A little of the world, a little of friends, a little of family, a little of property, a little of wealth, a little of name and fame, and a little of God; put it all together and it is a nice soup that we are always in! But Swami wanted all of it for God. He did not want any space for anything. Probably, in Hebrew, they describe God as a jealous one. He would not allow anything around Him. It is only Him and He won’t tolerate anything else in your life. He truly loves you and truly wants you. Swami had His own way of elbowing and nudging things out of my life one by one. He did all these things and at some point of time, it came to a state that I did not know where I will have the next meal and what will happen to my family and who will look after them because my brother was still studying, sister was younger, father was unwell, mother had already taken a voluntary retirement because Swami told her to do so. I was the only earning member and I was earning quite well, so there was no difficulty. Swami never gave us any hard time and things were going on well till Swami suddenly came and started rebuilding the mansion; started destroying everything that was there because He wanted a clean ground to start all over again. And it was a very difficult phase.
Swami Vivekananda was a lion of a man who dared to challenge all the dogmas that were literally destroying the fabric of Indian culture and spirituality in those times. And everything that was Indian, everything that was spiritual, and everything that had anything to do with our history and culture was considered lesser than all that was foreign. In those times, he took upon himself the challenge, he took upon the entire empire of the British head on and he fought tooth and nail to re-establish the Sanatana Dharma. I am a great fan of Vivekananda. I can’t call myself a devotee of Vivekananda, but truly I always think he is like a colleague, a peer, somebody who also worked for his Guru and worked with masses and did whatever he had to do. Today, many of us have the opportunity to do similar thing, may not be with the same intensity and surrender as Swami Vivekananda but probably we can look up to him and derive some inspiration. It feels good that before us somebody had done this kind of work and so we are not the very first ones. At the same time, if they could achieve something, with God by our side, we can achieve definitely much more than that. So, that always gives me courage.
There is a story about Swami Vivekananda which goes this way. It so happened, when his father passed away, all the burden of the family fell on Him. There were debts to be paid. Swami Vivekananda was a very bright boy; we all have known him to be. He had read up all kinds of literature when he was a young boy. His English was phenomenal in those days. He could have been a promising lawyer like his father; he could have been anything if he wanted to. So on one fine day Swami Vivekananda, who was Narendra then, comes to Sri Ramakrishna. Sri Ramakrishna asks, ‘Where were you? I have been waiting for you for so long. I can’t even eat my food without looking at your face’. Narendra says, you keep saying these things but you don’t help me at all. We have no money, no food to eat. We have nothing. In a book ‘The Monk as Man’ by one of Swami Vivekananda’s followers; it is extremely painful to read his story. I read only 20 to 25 pages and closed the book. I could not bear it. I could not even bear the pain of the thought that Swami Vivekananda that I know of, had to go through all that. Sri Ramakrishna says, “What can I do? It is mother who looks after everything. Why don’t you go to the mother and ask?” Narendra in a state of desperation goes to the temple of Mother Kali to pray. When he goes inside, he goes with all the ideas to ask her to set the house right, to get his sister married, get his property back, and get him a good job where he could get good money and look after his mother, sister and brother. But when he goes inside, he forgets everything and cries to Mother Kali, ‘Ama Ke Shakti Dao; Ama Ke Gan Dao; Ama Ke Bhokti Dao; Boiraggo Dao’ (Give me strength; give me knowledge; give me devotion; give me detachment). This is what he asks and comes back (We had enacted this drama in front of Swami and He would become so emotional during this scene). Ramakrishna, a very cunning kind of a Guru that he was would poke Narendra, ‘So did you ask Mother for job, wealth and all that you wanted to ask?’ And Narendra would say, ‘Oh! I forgot to ask all that! I went inside and forgot everything’. Ramakrishna would ask him to go back and ask again. This time he would go back with double determination to ask the Mother! This went on for many times. Finally, Narendra comes out of the temple and tells Ramakrishna, I realise what you are trying to teach me. I don’t want anything. I only want Mother, Bhakti (devotion), and I want Vairagya (detachment). That is when Ramakrishna kicks on Narendra’s chest and suddenly the world opens to him in a different way. He suddenly feels one with the entire creation and he experiences ‘Sarvam Brahmamayam’ (the feeling of everything is Divine). The world looks like an illusion to him. That’s when he becomes Vivekananda; when he grows into a man from a boy. So did all the problems of Vivekananda get sorted out just because he forgot about his prayers and asked for Bhakti, Gyan, Vairagya? No! I believe all his family members went through a lot because after this he got totally detached from it. And last words of his were (as mentioned in that book which somebody told me who read), ‘I feel very sorry that I could not do enough for my mother! And I am dying with this pain, the guilt in my heart that I could not do enough for my mother.’ In a way a very remorseful death, he could not do anything for his physical mother even though he did lots for his divine mother.
All of us (I, my mother, brother and sister) had gone for a South India tour two years ago, Swami had permitted us to go, and my mother wanted to see a few temples. At the Vivekananda memorial rock in Kanyakumari, there is a beautiful dark statue of Swami Vivekananda standing in his most majestic pose. I suddenly felt Swami Vivekananda came alive, a real man in flesh and blood, and I was quite mesmerized, though it was not a new experience to me. Every now and then I keep seeing things like this, experiencing things beyond the physical realms. It is quite a common place for me now. His eyes fell on me, I was down and he was on the pedestal, he asked me, ‘Is this your mother?’ I said, yes! And then he asked, ‘Is this your family’. I said, yes Swamiji. Then he said with a certain disappointment, ‘God did not look after my family the way he is looking after your family’. I was shocked. But that is the truth. Whatever I have read about Swami Vivekananda and his family, what they went through was tremendous. And for us, Swami made it so easy. Of course, it meant giving up a lot of things, our attachments to our old place, old home, friends, relations, associations, and our own ideas in life on what we would like to do with our lives. All this everybody had to give up. Only then Swami gave us what he had come to give us.
One day, during Darshan, a small boy had something in his hand to give to Swami. And Swami was having chocolates that He wanted to give to the small boy. But the small boy’s hand was already full. He said, first you empty your hand and only then I can give you what I want to give you! In that moment, He taught a small lesson. To know more about Madhusudan Naidu visit http://thestorydivine.com/about-madhusudan-naidu/
To us He did it this way, and when I heard about Swami Vivekananda, I thought that I must share as to how wonderfully he has looked after all of us. Truly, nothing belongs to us today. None of us own anything. There was a time when we owned at least some petty things and thought we were doing well in life. And we had the envy of most of our relations, how we had come out of middle class life and were looking at the upper class life. But today, it’s the other way and yet we are the happiest people. It is Swami’s tremendous grace. He can do anything. I have seen Him look after people in the most compassionate, the most magnanimous way. You ask for little and He will give you so much more! I have seen it any number of times. The last thing we should have is the doubt or apprehension, what if we take to the path like Swami Vivekananda, what will happen to us and our family. Believe me, when we are with Swami, our life is far better than that of those who lived with others before. I have the acknowledgement because I heard Swami Vivekananda himself say this to me. Today, there is no tension, no worry, there is no anxiety; best part is there is not even a preparation for the next day. I can simply wake up, get ready and go and I know things will move. The only requirement is to wake up with a peaceful mind and go in a surrendered state and let things happen and they will start happening. And look at the things that have happened when you are not prepared, if you don’t allow your mind to interfere with God’s mind. Look at what amazing things can happen, schools after schools, hospitals after hospitals, hundreds of people joining the mission, thousands benefiting across the globe and so many wonderful things are happening which is not conceivable by any ordinary human mind.More
Brother Madhusudan Naidu says that once Bhagawan said, ‘Never for a moment forget who you are dealing with! I am Divine!’ For that I clapped within myself!!! (Laughter) Because most of the people don’t know who they are dealing with! If only I could step aside from the podium, I would have clapped very loudly and come back to the mike!” (Laughter)
We had music programmes over here, in Muddenahalli for Guru Purnima. You saw the dance recital by Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam. At the ripe age of 80 plus, she is coming and dancing for Swami’s sake. These are people who have been there, done that. They have achieved everything that somebody could achieve being a dancer but their humility, their reverence, their surrender to Swami is simply amazing.
And then we had Dr. Prema Pandurang who has been doing Harikatha of Ramayana and Bhagavatham. She is innocent, like a small girl. As she grew older, she got younger because she became purer and purer, like an innocent child. So innocently she was narrating the stories of Krishna and Gopikas. At the end of it, Swami went to her on the stage and told her, ‘It’s very difficult to run the Trust isn’t it?’ She has a trust where she takes care of old people, Go (Cow) Seva, Veda Patashala (Vedic School) and a regular English school where she gives education to many children. Obviously, not at the scale at which Swami does! In her own limited way, like a small lamp in front of the sun, she is doing her little work for God. She was touched beyond measure. She said who would be concerned about my pain and my work. It is only Swami who can be concerned! ‘I will help; I will help’, Swami assured. She was so overwhelmed. Later our office sent her a message asking for the details of her Trust because Swami wanted to do something to help her. She sent a message back to our office and the office staff forwarded the message to me to be given to Swami. It is so beautiful. She writes, “I dare not write to Him directly and hence this message through your goodself. My Pranams to Revered Swami again.” Look at her humility. They know who Swami is because through the Tapas of so many decades of continuous remembrance of God they have attained Chitta Shuddi, by continuously singing His glory, they have attained the purity with which they can understand divinity.
For our students, Swami is great fun! I see our students writing all kinds of letters to Swami, from petty things onwards to bigger issues; from my leg is paining, to my teacher is scolding me; I am not getting good marks in Math; my memory power is failing; my ajja or ajji is having this problem; my dog is having this problem! Everything that one could possibly imagine they write to Swami. And rightfully so! It’s perfect. I am not saying it is wrong. For them also, He is there. See the beauty of it. As a Guru, He is there for the primary school child; and then He rises all the way up to the PhD level to guide research scholars too. It always amazes me. He can bend low on His knees to reach the level of the smallest child from sixth class and suddenly He can rise to the heavenly heights and guide someone on Atma Jnana or Brahman Jnana. He is capable of such a spectrum of things. One shop stop for all our spiritual needs!! You don’t have to go to ten people to get your things going. He can take care of you even if you are the youngest, immature, absolutely novice in the field of spirituality and He can also deal with someone who is realized and is a Brahma Jnani or a Jeevan Mukta! Look at the way our Guru is. Where do we find a Guru of this nature anywhere on the planet? If we don’t realize, it does not really matter to Him. He does what He has got to do. He keeps doing this day in and day out.
And at the cost of repetition, I must tell you, there cannot be somebody more fortunate than us. Without a Guru, we are all lost. Our whole life can be spent in a wasteful way. At the end of the life when Yama is standing at our door step; that time when we look back, we may wonder ‘My God! What did we do with our lives?” One of my student friends when I was passing from my 12th class wrote in my diary (slam book), “Live your life in such a way that when you look back and see your life, you should be happy!” We cannot do this by ourselves, dear brothers! By ourselves, we are lost. That’s why our culture emphasises so much on the importance of Guru. No other culture does. We have Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Uncle, Aunt; every kind of day now. But Guru’s Day was there since the beginning. Guru Purnima was always there in Indian culture because we knew the importance of a Guru, the most important person in our lives. I must tell you He is the ultimate blessing, greatest boon one could ask for; to have known Him and to have been known by Him; to be with Him and to have Him with us and to do what He is asking us to do is the greatest blessing, greatest honour; greatest boon. You cannot ask anything further than this. Without Him, what we would have been! Just imagine if Swami was not in our lives!
What a Guru! He becomes a mother when time demands, becomes father the next moment, becomes our friend or a brother and suddenly He becomes our leader and roars like a lion.
A lot of announcements He did on that fateful day. Most of the people liked many other things. When Swami said He will have 18 university branches across the world; somebody very interested in university clapped for it. Suddenly when He said I am going to open a Post Graduate studies in Medicine, especially cardiothoracic sciences for Pediatric; those interested in Medicine clapped for it. And He said Annapoorna is going to be the world’s largest breakfast serving institution; somebody who resonates with that idea clapped. Then He said, ‘He said, ‘Never for a moment forget who you are dealing with! I am Divine!’ For that I clapped within myself!!! (Laughter) Because most of the people don’t know who they are dealing with! If only I could step aside from the podium, I would have clapped very loudly and come back to the mike!” (Laughter). I wish you all could understand Telugu. So much beauty is lost in translation. In my limited life, I have not heard a language sweeter and more beautiful than Telugu. Appropriately, Swami chose Telugu as His mother tongue. Other language could have been Sanskrit. But unfortunately, not many speak Sanskrit today. In Telugu He said, “Nenu Daivamu!” (I am Divine!) The authority with which He said, ‘I am God’s The power, the magnificence of that word was amazing because He knows He is. Otherwise all this was not possible. “I will single handedly lead you all to glory, just be with Me!” What assurance! It’s a better assurance than ‘Ananyas Chintayanto Mam..’, It’s a better assurance than ‘Abhayam Sarva Bhootebhyo..’, It is a better assurance than anything else that has ever been given by any Avatar! He says, just be with Me. Singlehandedly, I will take you to that glory! Don’t have to do anything. Just be with Me! I will take you all the way there!
There is a precondition in every Avataric assurance before,
‘Ananyas Chintayanto Mam ye Janah Paryupasate, Tesam Nityabhiyuktanam Yoga-Ksemam Vahamyaham’
“Those who think of nothing else other than Me, and worship Me with all their heart and soul, THOSE people I am assuring, that I will look after their welfare.”
Means, those who don’t think of Him all the time, and they don’t worship Him this way, there is no redemption for them!
‘Sakrudeva Prapannaya Tavasmiti Cha Yachate
Aabhayam Sarvabhutebhyo Dadamyetat Vratam Mama’
Those who come and say, ‘’Lord! I surrender to You; I belong to you, to them I give refuge!’’
Ignorantly if I don’t surrender to God, what happens to me?
But Swami says, don’t do anything. You don’t have to surrender to Me. You don’t have to worship Me day in and day out. Just BE with Me! That’s it. I will take you wherever you need to be taken to. Whoever gave this assurance in the history of Avatars? Which other Avatar has said what Swami has said. This is our Guru; our God!More
Brother Madhusudhan Naidu says, “Swami will put you on His shoulders and take you to the skies! You will not have to put the effort of flying or flapping your wings. He will take you to any heights. He can do anything. What He does is beyond!”
My family has gone through a lot. He made us go through a lot. He turned the world upside down on us and made us do all kinds of things that we never had even imagined. While He plunged us into depths of despair at the same time He made us rise to the glorious heights where you have nothing, but you have everything! He made us free from desires. He made us free from attachments. He made us free from all the bondage. He gave us the taste of that freedom that otherwise we would have not experienced by own own. From ‘Baddha Jeevas’, He made us ‘Buddha Jeevas!’ We were bonded labourers of our Karma; suddenly He broke all the shackles and made us Buddha Jeevis – Aware Beings. What is right and what is not right, He taught us what is real – Nitya and what is Anitya; without which we would have continued to be slaves of our own Karma; our own desires and senses. What He did for us is beyond redemption, I would say.
My mother is sitting here. You can ask her. When she was working, she would not have even two good Pattu (Silk) sarees with her; she had one from her marriage which was tearing into tatters because if silk is kept folded for too long, it tears. She would not dare to purchase one extra saree out of the income she was making. Today, she needs another cupboard I guess. Swami has given her so many sarees! I can guarantee you she will have not less than 300 to 400 sarees! (Applause) As a son who has seen her struggle, I wanted to do all this for my mother. I had thought when I grow up and become rich, when I earn well, ‘Mummy! I will buy you this jewellery. I will buy you a car of your choice. I will buy you a home. I will buy you so many sarees that your cupboards will always be full.’ I had all these desires. As a son, everybody will have this desire. Who does not have it? Everybody would want their father to live comfortably and that mother should have all the luxuries of the world. We all think that way; nothing wrong! I also thought like that. But who fulfilled it? Swami fulfilled it, not me! Any festival, any occasion; He will call and give a saree. Each Pattu (Silk) saree will cost so much. We won’t dare to purchase these things. Even if I was working and earning in crores, I wouldn’t have gone and purchased these things.
Other day, my sister had come. I was so moved. She told Swami, I want to forget all my past. I want to completely give myself to you. A double post graduate, she was working in our Publications trust for a small salary. Earlier she was working as a teacher elsewhere and doing odd jobs. Swami called her here and told, you work for Me. Don’t work for anybody else. She said yes, but I am sure she was not fully convinced then about leaving everything behind and coming here. One fine day, she came, I guess it was on her birthday and asked for Swami’s Blessings. So, I prayed to Swami and Swami allowed her. And so she comes with a packet with her and gives that to Swami and says, these is all the jewellery I have. Well, I remembered having purchased it using my credit card (Laughter) for her marriage! O My God! I was thinking! (Laughter) She bundled it all up and put it at Swami’s feet and said, ‘Swami! You have given us enough. I don’t want any of these which I thought belonged to me! All this belongs to You!’ I could not have been a prouder brother that day because I realized my people have learnt this lesson finally. And she said, I don’t want any salary here onwards. I will work for You because You look after everything for us. I don’t want anything from You. I felt so proud because as children we have fought tooth and nail over petty toys and here she was all grown up like a spiritual giant and saying, ‘Take everything that I thought ever belonged to me because all I need is You and I know You will look after!’ Let me tell you, since then He is looking after her even better than she would look after herself. Before she has a need, it is fulfilled, somehow or the other. I know how well He takes care of all of them. Above everything; where will you get that satisfaction, the Atma Tripthi that you get out of living here every day? That comes to them so naturally.
If you take my brother; just a young boy, very brilliant, Swami put him in His University in Puttaparthi, made him go through his bachelors, masters, M.Tech, and finally asked him to do PhD. Swami called Dr Prabhakar Rao back from Nandyal to be his research guide. He saw to it that PhD was finished in record time, then pulled him out from there and told him come here (Muddenahalli) and teach. What is his age? He is younger than me. He is 37. Swami asked him to be the Registrar of the new, Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence! How many become Registrar of a University at 37 years, let me ask? How many people are given this privilege by Swami? What a joy, what a privilege to him! This is possible only with God and none else. He will put you on His shoulders and take you to the skies! You will not have to put the effort of flying or flapping your wings. He will take you to any heights. He can do anything. What Swami has done is far beyond anybody, our own kith and kin how much ever they may love can do for us. What He does is beyond! The best thing is that He has cut off all our desires, ambitions, and aspirations. ‘Nasti Lobha Samavyadhi’ (There is no disease greater than greed) If it comes, it does not go. This is the Guru I am talking about who will redeem us from ourselves. Madhusudhan Naidu
There is a beautiful song by A R Rahman. It goes this way. ‘Kar de Mujhe Mujh Se Hi Riha’ – Redeem me from myself. ‘Kun Faya Kun’ – You are the ultimate One. What I expect from You is redeem me from my own pettiness, redeem me from my petty self. This is the God that we are dealing with, the Guru that we are dealing with. Any number of speeches I give or I talk about Him for hours, it is like scratching the surface of the giant glorious being that He is. You can’t even describe Him in the most limited way also. This is our Swami. We are the only fortunate people who have Him somehow, I don’t know if it’s Punyam from previous births or our parent’s blessings or simply the unconditional compassion of the Lord that He has cast His glance on us and took us so close. If we do not use this opportunity, the way it should be used, not partially but completely, history will record us as the most unfortunate beings on earth. Like those Yadavas, Krishna’s kith and kin, his sons and grandsons, all of who fought and killed each other. They didn’t realize who Krishna was. But the distant unlettered Gopikas became immortal. You can either be Yadavas or become Gopikas, both had Krishna to themselves. But who became what depended on how they dealt with Krishna, not how Krishna dealt with them. Krishna dealt with everybody with Love only. This is the Guru. This is the God that we have.More
He says as once Swami said, “I know all of them. They all know Me. That’s good enough!”
Swami was going to another new place and whenever He goes to a new place or a country and meets new people, it’s like Agni Pariksha (test of fire) for me! I feel, ‘O God, I have to again meet new people and these people will start questioning, investigating, doubting me and every move of mine, every gesture, every look, every word will be weighed against the experience they have had in the past’. They are going to do all this judging. It’s very difficult. It’s like going through an examination. But Swami’s mission has to expand. And nobody can tell Swami, do this or please don’t do that. He is the master of His own self. So when Swami said, we will go to this new place, I did have some discomfort. And to meet devotees who have been devotees for decades is a bigger problem for me. New devotees are open-minded and have no baggage. But the devotees from the past have many questions. ‘Will Swami say something that He told me in 1960? If I ask, will Swami reply in that way, the way He had replied to me earlier. In what way Swami is going to prove He is here? In what way am I going to accept this is my own Swami who loved me and cared for me?’ And so many other questions which are natural and I completely understand and empathise with the situation that they are in.
I was very uncomfortable and we were going to the house of these devotees whom I had never met before. I didn’t even know they existed till Swami invited Himself to their home. So we were there finally and they too were in a fix not knowing what to do. When we entered they gave Arati to Swami and in whatever way they could express their happiness and gratitude and welcome Swami they did. All this somewhere in the middle of the night! Meanwhile I was very keen that Swami goes off inside the room and closes the chapter quickly and we will deal with the rest, the next morning. After a little talk, Swami went into the Master bedroom that was kept for Swami. The devotees had the opportunity to offer it to Swami for His use during the stay. So, I went into Swami’s room and closed the door behind. I was waiting for all the devotees to disperse so that I could go to my room at the other end of the house. I was a little jittery and nervous and this was visible in my body language. Swami was sitting calmly in a corner, quietly in a chair. He looked at me as I was fidgeting and asked me, “What is wrong with you? What happened to you?” I said, “Swami! I am feeling very uncomfortable!” These are people I don’t know. I have never met them. They don’t know me. Swami smiles and said, “Oh, it’s alright. I know all of them. They all know Me. That’s good enough for you!! (laughter) You don’t have to necessarily know them and they don’t need to necessarily know you.”
And He put me in my place. I think I was overdoing it a bit. He spoke thus so I could relax and let things happen as they were supposed to happen. When things settled, I went to my room and as I was tired of the journey, I quickly slept off.
Next morning, I went to Swami’s room. Again the tension started. OMG! I am going to deal with these devotees all over again. I have to sit and talk to them and they are going to ask questions. God knows what they are going to ask and what Swami is going to reply. Because sometimes, Swami being Swami, He will say things that make a lot of sense and sometimes He will say things that won’t make any sense at this point in time. Probably, after a month or a year later, people would realize.
For example, we were in Chennai, we were going to the house of a particular devotee and as He walked in, Swami saw a young budding musician (Stephen Devassy), pianist and a musical genius of his own kind, very famous in the southern musical world. Swami looked at him and said, “Oh your leg is alright? You haven’t met with an accident?” He was confused. He said my leg is alright. Then Swami asked him, ‘You were going to Goa and met with an accident. Isn’t it? Your leg got hurt.’ But the puzzled new devotee said, ‘I have never been to Goa and met with an accident and my leg was never hurt!’ He was totally confused and people around thought things were not looking rosy. Swami was saying something that doesn’t make any sense. Anyways, Swami went inside the home and eventually Bhajans and other programmes happened and it was time to leave. Again, Swami looked at this person and said, ‘Oh so your leg is alright? Now this person perhaps started to think if it was something that he had forgotten about. Few days passed and after two weeks I got a call. I was told that this particular person was on his way to Goa when an accident happened. This person, his brother and couple of others were driving to Goa and they met with an accident. And in the accident, his brother, who he considers more dear to him than his own self got his leg fractured. Then this boy realized that Swami had dropped a few hints before. He eventually came here and was profusely grateful to Swami. He knew now that Swami definitely knew that they were going to meet with an accident on the way to Goa. And definitely Swami saved him and his brother who loved him so much that he must have taken over his Karma of leg fracture. So this was one situation where Swami said something that made no sense at that point in time but only much later.
Back to the original story, so here, we were in the morning and I was not sure how Swami was going to speak. As I was coming out of Swami’s room, I felt that the air was tight in the room. Everybody was trying to assess what was going on. And I walked into this air tight room behind Swami, amidst so much of stress and went and sat on my chair next to Swami’s. But then all of a sudden I totally lost the sense of myself. Swami started speaking and picking people. ‘I know your father, he did this and that’. Swami went on talking, and for about two hours He engaged them in conversation. Imagine a set of people whom I knew nothing about; not even their names and professions and what their relationship was with Swami in the past and here was Swami who went on an on for over two hours, His words continuously flowing. In two hours, you know what Swami did, well, what Swami always does – He goes, He sees and He conquers! Everybody was conquered. Everybody’s heart was so full of love and excitement. And then He came back to the room and told me, “Simply you were getting tensed. Didn’t I tell you I know all of them and they all know Me?” And I said, ‘Yes Swami, now I understand you knew everybody!’
Why I shared this incident is because all of you are here. I am sure I don’t know each one of you and may be all of you don’t know me. But definitely, there is somebody who knows you as much as He knows me. And that is good enough a reason why we should be together. We are here because of Swami. He knows us, He wants us here, He called us here and therefore we are here! Otherwise, who is going to come for anybody else’s sake? Swami used to make a joke in the initial years. This Muddenahalli was there for any number of years, for decades these buildings were there, but why were not so many people here, He used to ask. And obviously the answer is straight and simple. Because Swami was not here this way as He is here today. We are all here because Swami is here. And Swami wanted all of us to be here. Because He knew each one of us and He wanted each one of us. And therefore, He did all that was required to bring us all together.
To know more about Brother Madhusudan Naidu.
“Prema Saadhana– We are here to Practice Love. When we practice Love, we are the first to be redeemed.”
More and more devotees are coming here to Muddenahalli. And it’s going to happen because where there is sugar, ants are going to come. Swami is going to attract many more people. Some will be new to us; some will be totally unknown to us. Some, we will immediately gel with; we will connect with. And for some people, we may not understand their ways, words and actions. And we may not know how to conduct with each other. But we have to keep reminding. They all have landed up in Muddenahalli because Swami knew them and Swami wanted them over here. And whether I like them for whatever reason and whether I don’t like them for whatever reason, it is secondary. Primarily, they are all so fortunate and blessed because they have all been drawn by the Divine.
Recently, someone forwarded me an audio clip of Swami’s discourse on WhatsApp. From the content it seemed like a discourse given to the Ashramites and staff at Prashanthi Nilayam. Generally, Swami’s words are sugar coated. He will never say it on our face that we are a trouble, even if we are. But that discourse was like totally out of the regular one. He roared, ‘Wherever I see, I see Bulldogs and Alsatian dogs sitting and barking at people. They don’t smile, they don’t greet, there’s no warmth. There is no trace of love anywhere.’ If Swami is saying it, it must be true. Maybe I have not experienced any of these things while I was there, but somebody might have experienced it, one heart somewhere must have felt hurt by something in the Ashram and obviously Swami was reflecting that. In that audio Swami so powerfully says ‘I want everybody to Be Loving! The minimum you can do is to smile. You are all divinity. You greet or hate anyone, it goes to God.’
Unfortunately, this is the new-age neighbourhood. Nobody knows who the neighbour is! We may know friends on Facebook faraway in another part of the world. But we don’t know who lives next to us, a typical situation in all cities. But I hope we understand why we are here together. Sometimes, we may not like each other’s ways. We all have come from different backgrounds. And there is a different culture over here. It takes time for people to understand the culture of the place and become one with it. Everybody will take their own time to come to their common, normal. At the same time, to have patience, to love, to greet and to be warm to each other does not cost us anything.
Who is in charge of the Ashram? Is it Swami as He called all of us and are we His guests and is it His problem, His responsibility to see to that everything is in order, in place? It’s like you know there is a big campaign going on against Narendra Modi. They say, he should have done this, should have done that! As if it’s Prime Minister’s responsibility alone to look after everything in the country?! Of course, it’s His responsibility to guide and show the way, to lead initiatives, to give us an opportunity. But it’s the responsibility of every citizen to look after their own country. Ashram is a collective responsibility. It’s a home. Ashrama, a place where there is no Shrama (a sense of effort). There is a Shrama because there is Prema (Love). Where there is Prema, there is no Shrama. If we really abide by these messages of Swami and create a place where each is so warm, affectionate and kind. That is the kind of environment we hope to create.
Yesterday, we were returning from Prema Sadana (an edifice of Love), the new spiritual home for all the Tyagajeevis (in Muddenahalli), Swami was explaining to Sreenivas Sir who was also there in the car about the Ashram. Then He told, “You know what Sreenivas, managing Ashram is a very difficult task!” (laughter). If God Himself says that managing Ashram is difficult, obviously it must be difficult. To manage one small family itself is quite a task. We were a family of three children and I really sympathise with my mother for all three of us were of different kinds! Swami here is managing a huge family, obviously it’s difficult.
With an Ashram (Muddenahalli) like this, which is still a fledgling Ashram because it’s just the beginning. This place is going to have a future of a few hundred years, few centuries for sure. From that point of view if you see, we are just a tiny bit in the whole span of Ashram’s life. As you all know, whatever begins well ends well. Therefore, beginning it in the right way lies on our shoulders. Look, what an honour it is. It’s like writing the constitution of India. What an honour it was. Few people who could think into the future by learning from the past and yet make a constitution which was going to be valid, useful and purposeful at all times to come. That is the kind of responsibility, an unwritten constitution over here. How are we going to lead each other to progress towards God? Answer is Prema Saadhana! (Practise of Love). We are here to Practice Love. When we practice Love, we are the first to be redeemed. When a boatman is rowing the boat, the first to reach the other shore is the boatman himself. Along with him other passengers also reach. Likewise, the first beneficiaries of loving people are we ourselves.
Jesus gave us two commandments. ‘Love thy Lord thy God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’. The first part, all of us are doing quite well. We are here for Swami. We are ready to do anything for Swami. We are ready to give up anything for Swami. Nothing is too costly, too big or too precious to be sacrificed for the sake of loving or being with Swami. First part, we can tick off. But the second part, Jesus says, ‘Love thy neighbours as yourself.’ (laughter) Second part becomes difficult! Last year in Kodaikanal, in the last session, everybody collectively shouted, ‘Swami! We Love You’ and Swami turned around and said “I know, but more importantly love each other!” It is easy to love Swami, because He loves everyone. So, once we have done the second part, we have done everything!
Why are we here, we have to go on reminding ourselves. A self-audit is required, every now and then.More
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba says, “Body may undergo changes; the intellect and emotional aspects of the institutions may also change with time, but the culture is the soul, and must remain changeless.”
Swami works so hard to bring His people to Himself, to make them what He wants them to become. Patiently like a jeweller, like a sculptor, He moulds and carves every piece, every one. But then there is somebody who comes with a big hammer; ‘I don’t want him, Thud!!’ And everything is broken and Swami’s hard work is gone. Swami says, ‘I work so hard to bring people to do what they have to do and you people work harder to get them all away by one wrong look or talk’. People run away because they feel disturbed due to others around.
We are just a speck in the future of the Muddenahalli Ashram which is going to span for centuries, not for a day, two or ten years. This spiritual institution will last centuries and whatever we do today will become the trend, will become the culture. Swami always spends a lot of time with the first batch of students, first batch of devotees because He wants to set the culture right. He wants to teach them how things should be. And then He expects them to continue the culture.
In Kodai, it so happened. Swami is a little bit of show off kind of a mother. He wants to show off to devotees that His students are knowledgeable and are very well read. That day was our turn and all the MBA students were there when Swami asked, “How many MBAs?” We were seven or eight of us, so like all MBA graduates, I also lifted my hand. Swami had invited some noted industrialist guests. They were all sitting on the sofa by His side. So I understood, Swami like a mother wants to impress all the eminent devotees there, typical of a mother. Swami asked Prof U S Rao Garu who was the Dean of our management school, to ask questions to MBA boys. I was supposed to be Gold-medalist and I was supposed to know everything. But let me tell you, I got the gold medal only because of Swami’s grace, not because of my effort! I know it. So, Mr Rao started asking questions to everybody. And I was thinking ‘O God, please don’t ask me a question which I don’t know the answer for’ (laughter). Because, then Swami will be very disappointed. Luckily, he asked me a question which is pertinent to the talk today. The question was about ‘Living Organisations’. It’s a paper in the strategy section of the management course in which we learn about various strategies organisations apply in their working. I had to reply to this question because Swami looked at me and said, ‘Cheppu’ (say). Fortunately I knew what it was. And I answered, ‘Living Organisation is that which lives beyond its founders because of the organisational culture. It lives for centuries, much beyond the people who have founded the organisation primarily because of the culture of the organization which keeps it alive.’
Yes, culture is the soul of the organisation. The body may undergo changes; the intellect and emotional aspects of the institutions may also change with time. But culture is the soul and must remain changeless. And as long as that is in place, organisations will keep growing. The day when the culture of the organisation starts deteriorating, people forget the very fundamental reason why the organisation was set up in the first place, everything collapses.
I answered and Swami said, “Correct and very important that the culture of the organisation should be preserved”.
Our culture is Prema Saadhana – Practise of Love. Our culture is to be loving, to be kind, to be warm, to be receptive, to be welcoming and we must continue that culture in all ways between ourselves and with anybody who comes new. Whether they get to see Swami or not, whether they get to meet Swami or not, whether they get to talk to Swami or not; is secondary. First thing they should feel is. it has to be that Swami is here because everyone is so loving here. How can that be possible without Swami around? Everybody is so kind. Everybody is a Swami personified in their own way.
Let us keep that as our culture. Let us not forget love finds fulfilment only in practice, not in talks, not in speeches, not in discussions. In what way can we make this love happen, every moment when we live in this beautiful Ashram of Muddenahalli. The more we think about it, the more we realize how beautiful it is. Let us keep that bigger picture in front of us. Let us concentrate on the inner view that Swami is pushing us for, not the outer and do the Prema Saadhana, the practice of love in every little thing, every thought, word and deed and I am sure this will be the heaven, the promised land where everyone would like to be.
— Sri Madhusudan Naidu at ‘Tattva Sameeksha’ (March 19, 2018), Sathya Sai Grama, MuddenahalliMore
“Let us be God’s own. Let us join Swami on the other side of the table. Rise up and become the host.”
I remember the first time I came to Muddenahalli to teach students some English. This was around 2008 or 2009. I used to come from Bangalore on some of the days to teach the PU college students. The moment I reached, first thing, our Jayaram Shetty Anna, would run and get me a cup of tea. It was done with so much of love that it felt so amazing. I would think that I must have the tea, not because it’s tea, but because it is liquid love, tangible love! Any elder here in Muddenahalli would receive us with so much love. And that was always the reason why people were attracted to this place even when Swami was not here this way, which I have seen for myself. Nobody would let you go out from the Ashram without you having had your food. First thing they would ask, ‘Oota?’!! They would ask if you had your food. And if you say No, that’s it! They will move heaven and earth to ensure that some food appears in front of you. They would do whatever was in their best capacity. If not, they would even go to the stores and purchase something to put in your hand.
Mahendra Anna is here and I had been to Alike in 2009. And I returned with a full tummy. All the time he was feeding me. ‘Come, we will have tea. We will have Pakoda’, all the time. And I was thinking, how much love is that? I have seen Mahendra Anna run around and do this. This is not some duty that he had to perform. But still he took personal care. This was what touched me in the first place.
Today, as we are growing, obviously few people, those who are – so to say – the original residents over here, would not have the capacity to go and do this to everyone. So each one of us has to rise up and become the host.
I must share with you an incident that happened in Trayee Brindavan when I was a student in 2003. We had done a beautiful decoration on Trayee lawns for the Trayee anniversary day. Swami was so pleased. He cut the cake, stood with us, and clicked photos. That itself was a great reward. We all thought we were blessed and fulfilled. So we all went back to the hostel when someone came running and said, ‘Swami is calling all the decoration boys to Trayee’. Swami had organized snacks for all of us, His favourite items from Bangalore. Tumbler Idli, Rasam Vada, Mini Dosa, Ras Malai etc. By the time I reached Trayee, all the guests, teachers and students had arrived. I was perhaps the last. Everybody was asked to sit in the circular hall in Trayee. I also, like a guest went and sat. Then Swami looked at me and said, ‘Sombheri’ (lazy fellow)! I realized Swami didn’t want me to sit and eat. He wanted me to serve. I ran into the kitchen. They gave me some water to serve. As I was slowly and carefully pouring the water in to plastic cups so that nothing spills, He looked at me and again said ‘Sombheri’, how slowly you are pouring water! (laughter) When I finished the whole round of pouring water, Swami asked me to go and sit in my place and eat. We finished the brunch. Swami then went into the Jhoola room. All the boys ran desperately to be with Swami, and why not after all it was a life time opportunity. Swami was giving Himself away so easily and freely. Who doesn’t want Him? Everybody ran. But I knew my lessons. I started picking the plates, cleared everything, put it in the kitchen and finally I went there, but there was no place to sit. So I stood leaning on the door watching Swami on the Jhoola from a distance. Swami was talking to them. I thought Swami did not notice me but He had noticed. He looked at me in the eyes and shook His head with a gesture to say ‘Good’. The look said He was satisfied. I felt so honoured that day because He did not consider me as an outsider who had to be fed and looked after. He considered me as His own who was supposed to be on His side and serve others and not run behind chances. I was to wait in a corner and watch whatever Swami was doing, just in case He needed anything. And I thought I belong to God! I was God’s own. He did not allow me to sit like guests. He made me stand up and run around, serve and help and only when everybody was served did He allow me to eat.
This was a great lesson for me. That’s exactly what we all can do. Instead of expecting to be guests, wanting to be served, this is a great opportunity for us to join Swami on the other side of the table. You may not get a strategic red carpet place, but Swami will be far more happy because He will say, ‘Here are My people doing My work. They are not guests whom I have to look after rather they will be with Me and look after all those who are coming.’
This is the culture we must create. It is the vision with which Swami sets up any Ashram, be it Prasanthi Nilayam, Whitefield or Kodaikanal. He had His own people. He expected them to look after the other. Swami said, ‘Once you taste the joy of service, every other joy will be tasteless.’ Let us not strive to be looked after. Let us work to look after each other as His very own.
— Sri Madhusudan Naidu at ‘Tattva Sameeksha’ (March 19, 2018), Sathya Sai Grama, MuddenahalliMore
Below excerpts said and written by Madhusudan Naidu on 15 October 2018 at Muddenahalli “One good news may transform someone’s life. somebody may get inspired by it. somebody may take to that path” — Sri Madhusudan Naidu at ‘Tatva Sameeksha’ (October 30, 2017),... Read more