Jet lag had slowly, but surely crept in for the entourage, though nothing deterred the spirit to be with God! For what more could one ask for? For what more would a soul yearn for? Constant proximity with the Ultimate One!
After a wonderful breakfast, Swami called the hosts Mrs Manju and Mr Krishan Singhal, Mrs Jennie and Mr David Cornsweet, and His entourage to His room. There was a sweet surprise which awaited all! Day one and Swami wanted everyone to go shopping, in His words, ‘Marketing’! He very lovingly gave everyone envelopes of Love, and assured all that He would join them for lunch at Mr Singhal’s 18-hole golf course!
A quick round of shopping followed the Lord’s command, and everyone reached the Gatineau Golf and Country Club, which is spread over 200 acres of lush, green vistas! Bhagawan manifested for lunch, blessed everyone, before proceeding to Mr Singhal’s office. The entourage also had the wonderful opportunity to go around the golf course, and enjoy nature’s glory.
Bhagawan’s entourage proceeded to the office of Sri Krishan Singhal to meet his team of senior executives, who have been with them through thick and thin, for atleast a couple of decades. Bhagawan blessed them all with prasadam and said something very profound to the team at Richcraft. He said, “Don’t think you are doing just another ordinary job. At the end of day, this is helping the lives of many children in India, either for their education or health! Work with that feeling.” How beautiful and profound!
Thereafter, everyone proceeded to the residence of Smt Sudha and Sri Pavan Gupta, who have been long time devotees of the Lord. After tea and snacks, the Satsang began, with bhajans by Brother Sumeet Tappoo.
Swami called upon Sri B N Narasimha Murthy to say a few words, soon after the soulful renditions were over. Looking at the most beautiful picture of Vishvarupa at the altar, he reminisced a particular shloka from the Bhagavatam, which was the prayer of the mother of Pandavas, Kunti, to Bhagawan. It is a very profound episode which recorded both in the Bhagavatam and also in the Mahabharata, and a very revealing episode.
“At the end of the Mahabharata battle, Krishna had to go back to Dwaraka. For a very long time, Krishna was staying with the Pandavas beginning with His mission as an ambassador of peace, to the court of the Kauravas and He knew everything but still He went there to settle the dispute between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. When He was about to leave, Draupadi encountered Him.
She wanted to meet Krishna when none of her husbands were present. Hence she came out, and waited at the chariot. Just as Krishna was getting into the chariot she prayed, ‘Brother, Lord, you know what is in my heart.’ She showed her disheveled hair to Krishna, and said, ‘See, there is a pledge that I have taken, again I am not going to comb my hair unless this hair is drenched by the blood of Dushasana, who tried to humiliate me. At that point of time none of my husbands came to my rescue. There were so many elders, Bhishma Pitamaha and Drona, amongst others, but You only came to my rescue. That was the time when I took this oath that unless I drench my hair with the blood of the heart of Dushasana, I am not going to comb my hair! You are going on a peace mission. If You succeed in Your peace mission, there is no way once again I have a well arranged hair on my head!’ So Krishna knew about it and Krishna smiled and told her, ‘I know what is in your heart and your wish will be fulfilled.’ These were His words, before He proceeded for the peace mission.
The peace mission was a failure, as was designed by Krishna, and the battle took place. Everyday Kunti would listen to the stories of what happened on the battlefield, massacre of so many soldiers, the commanders, athirathis, maharathis, and finally they won the battle. Kunti was absolutely sure and Pandavas were also convinced, that without the helping hand of Krishna, there was no way they could have vanquished Bhishma, Dronacharya, Karna, and finally Duryodhana! Krishna had saved the life of the Pandavas many times, and He came to their rescue on the battlefield. All this was very fresh in the memory of Pandavas and also Kunti, the great mother, as Krishna was about to take leave!
He said, ‘I have my own kingdom to look after. For your sake I stayed here for many, many months and now I have to go back,’ and the Pandavas cried along with Kunti. She held the hands of Krishna and told him ‘Don’t think I am holding Your hands, I am holding Your feet – being an elder I cannot hold Your feet, I hold Your hands as if they are Your feet. Why should You leave us here and go to Dwarka, Krishna?’ Krishna again smiled and said He had to leave but told her she could ask for any boon.
What she prayed is the aspiration of a very great devotee and such a prayer cannot be seen anywhere in any of the scriptures, in any religion for that matter. The two prayers to Krishna were – the first prayer is “Vipadaḥ santunaḥa shashvat: tatra tatra jagadguru bhavato darshanam yat syad apunar bhava-darshanam.” What does she pray, when God says “I will give anything you want,” this is what she says. What did she say? Vipadaḥ santunaha shashvat – Permanently let all difficulties and adversities befall us. That is what she prays. She did not pray for wealth, she did not pray for properties, she did not pray for the welfare of her children. She says “Let all the time let there be difficulties in our lives.” Why? “Because only then You will be with us.”
That was because in her mind it was very fresh, how so many adversities befell them during the war and how Krishna saved them. When difficulties are there, we think of You more and more and You come to our rescue, and Your darshan will be there for us. By having Your darshan what will happen again – apunar-bhava darshnam – again we will not be born in this world, we will not have the darshan of this bhava, bhavachakra.” That is what she prayed!
It is a very wonderful prayer, great lessons because all of us here are elders, past 50-60 except for three or four young people who are also very, very mature spiritually. Therefore in our lives there is nothing greater, more glorious and more valuable than the company of the Lord! And how blessed we are that Bhagawan, our Lord Sathya Sai Baba did not desert us even after leaving His body; He left His body but He did not desert us. He has been blessing us with His presence, with His guidance, and with His rescuing grace all the time He is with us. Swami, we are very, very grateful to You.
Another prayer I said which she made is also very powerful. She prayed, ‘Sneha-pasham imam chindhi dridham pandusu vrisnisu’. There was only one thing, she was highly devoted to Krishna, she had great love for Krishna but at the same time there were two things which were coming in her way to reach the Lord. “See, I am attached on my mother’s side, I am attached to the Vrishnis,” because she was born in the Vrishni vansha, she said, “On my maternal side I am bound, I have got great attachment for these Vrishnis and on my husband side – husband is no more but his representatives my five sons are there – Pandavas. Please somehow see that my attachment for the Vrishnis and Pandus is severed, so that all the time I can think only of You, because You are the only one, You are the only thing worth pursuing in this life.” That is what she prayed!”
Swami then commanded Sri C Sreenivas to say a few words. Very endearingly he greeted Swami thus, “The very heartbeat of our hearts, the most vital organ that makes this physical body move on its earthly sojourn; the very strength that beats within our hearts, Swami, which is the source of all strength not only to our physical body, but to our entire beings.
Feeling Your Presence is the purpose of all human life. Feeling Your Presence is the strength that is required to go through the challenges, and the vicissitudes of life. Feeling Your Presence brings meaning to life. After that Swami, the journey of life becomes so enriched and so purposeful. Truly these moments that we are sitting here with You; how blessed are we? Each one of us have had our individual journeys with You, and will continue to have our journeys with You. The thought, the feeling and the intensity of that, that You have always and will continue to hold our hands, continue to embrace us to Your bosom, hold us dear to Your heart and take us forward in our lives, Swami, how much it means to us and how much love You continue to shower on us in taking us forward. Swami, we are truly enveloped this moment in Your love. Though we don’t see You in the physical form, we can feel You and that was truly the lesson that You have always endeavoured to teach us from day one, when You took a physical from. It does not matter if we can keep seeing the physical form; it does not matter if we can claim to be very close to the physical form; but how much of that form and how much of that closeness, how much of that proximity can we feel, can we internalise and make that the very essence of our being? That was the lesson Swami, that You taught us, and that was the very Mission both for You and for us.”
Swami also called upon Mr Isaac Tigrett to say a few words, saying this was a warm-up session for them, before the Satsang next day. Mr Tigrett was overwhelmed and offered his gratitude to Bhagawan. He said, “I watched You for so many years in Brindavan and Puttaparthi and as You would build, You would step into every single corner and bless that place. And there is no doubt that in Puttaparthi the vibrations of Your Divine footsteps permeate every single stone, every single room, every single hall, every single place that You stepped on. And I watched also in Brindavan – I was blessed to be there – to watch You where You blessed every square foot of that place as, You have also done in Muddenahalli.
I really, really enjoy travelling with You because I know that as You come into these wonderful people’s homes that You have put the Divine stamp forever. This house is 25 years old and in a 1000 years, whether it is here or not this ground will be blessed and sacred, because You were here.
As we go to these many places over the past year and a half it means so much to me to watch as You put Your Divine presence, Your stamp, Your Feet everywhere! And it has been a joy to see You in our dear hosts’ homes and these homes have been sanctified in most glorious ways. When You seem to have left, I am sure they will remember forever the grace of having You in their homes and in their hearts.”
Thereafter, Swami in His beautiful message said, “In Indian culture, Time is very much respected. That is why we call ‘Kalaya namaha, Kalakalaya namaha, Kalatheethaya namaha’ – this is the way we worship ‘Time’, because ‘Time’ has very, very great significance in one’s life.
Similarly, the whole life has been divided into four parts based on the time that you spend on this earth: ‘brahmacharya’ is the first part of your life, wherein you learn the knowledge that is required to lead one’s life – both the material knowledge as well as the spiritual knowledge; then the next phase is that of ‘grihastha’, when one sets up his family life, begets children, raises them up, does all the work that is needed to fulfill the responsibility of the family; then comes ‘vanaprastha’ – that is, you must move away from your family and then engage yourself in the works of the society; and finally comes the stage of ‘sanyasa’, when you give up even the societal obligations, and only think of God and nothing else.
We have to go step by step – like you came from down to up (referring to the flight of stairs everyone climbed to reach the Puja room, where the Satsang was held), you had to take many steps – if you go step by step, you can go higher. Likewise, from one stage to other, we must go step by step. Respecting the time and the circumstances and situations, we must lead our lives. There are certain rules for certain age and certain time – we must follow those rules accordingly. There are certain rules in India that govern Indians; we must follow those rules in India. There are certain rules in Canada; we must follow the rules of Canada. There are certain rules of America; we must follow those rules accordingly. Therefore, according to one’s age and time, there are certain things that need to be followed, and which one needs to be followed.
What happens to us is – we spend enough time in brahmacharya – that is, we try to learn and gather much knowledge which will help us , but most of this knowledge is oriented only towards filling our bellies. It does not lead us to think of God or of higher things. During grihastha, we are busy growing our family, growing our wealth, growing our name, making a place in the society and that goes on. But then comes the stage of vanaprastha too, when your children grow up, you must hand over the responsibilities to them and then you move out in order serve the society. And finally comes the sanyasa where even your body has faded, you cannot serve the society through your body or mind; at that point of time, you must detach yourself from everything and think only of God. If you go step by step, you will definitely achieve.”
After Arathi, the entourage proceeded back to the Singhal residence for dinner.