The non-stop supersonic speed at which Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba continues to operate and guide, albeit from another realm, does not seem to daunt His team, as they passionately try to keep pace with His every command and of course, constant travels around the world. Each and every single person, who are in some way or the other part of the continuing mission, seem to surpass every difficulty, challenge and situation only because of their unflinching faith and devotion to their Lord! They are willing to do anything and everything only to ensure, Swami is happy with them. It has been back to back travel since March, and this would possibly be the longest trip of the year, as Swami and His entourage took off on a very long flight to Toronto via Dubai on Sunday, 09 June, 2019.
Dr H S Bhat, known all over India as the Father of Urology, was a dear devotee of Sai since many decades. He and his wife lived in Prasanthi Nilayam, and Swami would call Dr Bhat ‘His friend’! Their son, Sri Gurudutt and wife Smt Geeta moved to Toronto almost a couple of decades ago on Swami’s command. Last year, Swami blessed them and said He would visit their home. No utterances of the Almighty pass without them being manifested! And so here was Bhagawan, who wanted Toronto as His first stop as part of a long six country summer divine visit! Upon arrival at Toronto on the morning of 10 June, the Bhat family joyfully welcomed everyone. Of course the time difference between India and Canada had consumed their sleep for the larger part of the flight, so the retinue rested until evening.
The Bhat family had stripped their home, from floor to furniture, ceiling to cutlery, to create a room for Swami in their humble abode in the suburbs of Toronto. The entire house was remodelled, walls were broken, new facilities added, only to ensure Swami had a comfortable room with an attached restroom! The ignorant might question why all this trouble for ‘someone’ who is not visible. But alas, this entire phenomenon of God in the subtle realm is the truth, the reality. Just because one cannot see air, can it be negated that it does not exist? It can only be experienced. As Swami came out of His room in the evening, He said something very poignant, and something for everyone to ruminate upon, “My room always existed, similar to the way God always exists!” Swami then walked around the house, and blessed the renovated home profusely.
An intimate evening for everyone to remember was about to unfold in the most magical way. Gathered at His Lotus Feet, were the blessed Bhat family and Swami’s entourage. Swami started by saying, “A house becomes a home when people start living in it. A home becomes heaven, when God also joins the home! God is, where happiness exists. When you choose God, God chooses you.” Swami went on to talk about the four kinds of people who come to God – Arthi, Artharthi, Jignasu and Jnani – and quoted an example from the Mahabharata for each kind. He narrated how Krishna was invited by Drithrashtra, Duryodhana and Bhishma to their Palaces, but at the end the Lord chose to visit Vidhura in his tiny, dilapidated home.
Drithrashtra – Arthi – Though he had a palace studded with diamonds and precious stones, he suffered from blind attachment to his sons.
Duryodhana – Artharthi – Though he had a Palace made out of gold, he was immersed all the time fighting for fame and power.
Bhishma- Jignasu – He had a silver palace. Though he wanted God, as he loved Krishna very much, he was not a serious aspirant.
Vidhura – Jnani – He did not even invite Krishna, and was standing in a corner. But Krishna chose Vidhura, who was almost cast in a spell. He offered banana to his friend Krishna, but staring at Krishna’s mesmerising form, he offered the peels and threw away the banana. Krishna are the peels without complaining. Vidhura wanted God for God’s sake!
Swami went on say, “Pandavas asked for Krishna and Kauravas asked for the army, and see what happened.” He urged that children should be taught to love God. “God alone lasts, that is the permanent bond. Do everything for the love of God, and everything becomes spiritual!” Dinner was served to Swami thereafter, and He retired for the night.
The next morning, 11 June, Swami urged everyone to visit the Niagara Falls. Located on the border of Ontario – Canada and New York – USA, the Falls are simply spectacular, and a depicts nature’s bounty. After returning for lunch, the entourage rested for a while before arriving at the Bhat residence for the evening Satsang, where close to 50 people had gathered. Apart from a handful, majority of those who came were experiencing Swami for the very first in the subtle. The evening commenced with the chanting of Sai Namakam and Chamakam, Mantra Pushpam and the Nirvana Shatakam. A few Bhajans were offered at Swami’s Lotus Feet thereafter. Swami then beckoned Mrs Geeta Bhat to say a few words. She was overcome with emotions, and could barely thank Swami for the love He had showered on their family for many decades, and He continues to do so even now! Thereafter, both Sri C Sreenivas and Sri Narasimha Murthy addressed the gathering. Sri Narasimha Murthy spoke about the selfless sacrifice of Brother Madhusudan who has dedicated his life at the Feet of His beloved Master, and only doing as He commands. Swami in His divine discourse started by saying, “Based on the time, place and situation, it is the Lord who decides how, where, in which form, in which way, should He come, and do what He needs to do. ‘Dharmasamsthapanarthaya – For the sake of establishing Dharma.’ What Dharma? Svadharma. Atmadharma. Hridayadharma. The Dharma of one’s own heart, one’s own divine self, to realise one’s Divinity. And He manifests in different times, in different places, in different forms only for this one purpose.
Followers of Vishnu are very happy to accept that Vishnu was also a fish, a tortoise and even a half-lion half-man. He was born as a Brahmin, becomes a Kshatriya, and this is also accepted. However, in the Kali age the existence of God itself is not accepted! The form, name, and place is secondary. The very fact that the Lord exists itself is questioned. In such a time, to manifest, to fill the hearts of devotees with love and devotion, to make them understand, to believe in this great spiritual phenomena, also in Divinity, and that the Nirakara Paramatman can take a Sakara Jivatman that is form, itself is a big task because the age is such! However, for whose sake does He do that? There is nothing that I need to attain, there is nothing that I will not attain, yet I act, yet I do what I need to do. For what sake? The way noble men conduct themselves, the rest of the society follows. The examples they set for others that is what is emulated by the rest. So to set an example, the Lord manifests in some form, some way in order to preach the same principle – your own Divinity!
When you are thirsty, you need to drink water. You drink it from a vessel. Vessels may be different; water is the same. You may drink from a silver or gold tumbler or just an earthen pot. The vessels may be different, but when you drink it you know this is water because it quenched your thirst. So all forms of Lord are like the vessels to give the experience of water to quench the thirst. He may choose vessels, He may change vessels. You may also choose and change vessels, but the essence is to drink that water which finally quenches this thirst – thirst to experience Divinity.
Somebody looks at the vessels and he states, ‘Oh, this cannot be that, because last time I drank from another vessel. I won’t drink from this vessel.’ You go thirsty then! When you look at it and say, ‘Oh, what is it?’ That is water, and in another vessel, but water is the same. If you don’t drink it, obviously you cannot quench your thirst. So is the experience of Divinity! Name, form, place, and situations will change. The experience remains the same. You drank the same water when you were a child and were thirsty; the same water you drink when you are an old man too because the thirst has not changed and that which can quench your thirst – water – has also not changed. That is the experience of God which never changes! The sages experienced this thousands of years ago, we experienced it today, or we experience it a thousand years down the line, experience will always remain the same, like water!”
Swami beautifully explained the importance of chanting the Mantra Pushpam and explained its true meaning. Mangala Arati was offered and Prasadam was distributed to everyone. Devotees who came as skeptics, returned conquered, with hearts full of gratitude to Swami, for they had decided to experience this phenomenon for themselves, and not go by hearsay! Like Swami often says, “Do not understand Me, just experience Me!” The Bhat family served dinner to Swami, and He retired for the night.