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!’
To know more about Madhusudan Naidu
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.