Posted on April 4, 2011

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By Prof. G. Venkataraman

At the outset, I would like to offer humble Pranaams at the Lotus Feet of our Dear Lord Sai.

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prasanthi Nilayam. As I am writing this, it is about seven thirty in the evening of Sunday, April 3, 2011. I returned from the hospital a short while ago and I would now like to give you not only an update regarding Swami’s health but also take the opportunity to share a few pertinent thoughts. Later in the week, I hope I can do a full Musings on the recent hospitalisation of Bhagawan.

First, the news. I have been visiting the hospital regularly ever since Swami was first admitted a few days ago. This evening as I went upstairs, I found for the first time not only fewer people present but also a tension-free and relaxed atmosphere. That straight away meant that all was well and that there was absolutely no room for any kind of anxiety. Just to make doubly sure, I talked briefly to Dr. Safaya who said, “Good progress is being maintained, all vital parameters are completely under control, and there is absolutely no room for any anxiety.” A little later, Mr. Chakravarthi came out and he too confirmed every bit of the good news. I therefore most earnestly appeal to all devotees to pay attention to what people in responsible position have to say and not go by what they hear via e-mails, text messages, tweets, and so on.

It seems to me that we have two issues here; one is that of managing the health of Swami. That of course is the job of doctors in the hospital, who are assisted in matters relating to logistics by senior members of Swami’s Trust. Thus both teams, the doctors as well as the Trust members, are busy in their own respective ways. Turning now to the second problem, it is that of rumour management.

I don’t know how rumours get generated; indeed, I wonder if even God knows! Everyone decries rumours, but when the chips are down, most people tend to get swept and immediately carried away by bits and pieces of news, without bothering to check their source, veracity, the credibility of the person passing on the news, etc. Imagine now if people from all over flood the doctors and the Trust members with phone calls, distracting their attention.

I know people would say, “But what about us? Do you mean to say we do not care for Swami? Are you aware how concerned we are about Swami? Do you have any idea of how anxious we feel about Swami?” I understand all that, and indeed that precisely is why we in Radio Sai are constantly trying to reach out and assuage your anxiety. You might have noticed that we do it in two different ways; one is by broadcasting as well as posting the formal bulletins issued and signed by the Director of the Hospital, and the other is by offering suitable reflections on what we really ought to be doing during such a situation.

This afternoon, a young gentleman who helps us a lot in our work dropped into my room when I went for lunch. He came mainly to discuss some matters relating to our work and after we were finished with it, he said softly to me, “You know, this thing about Swami; it is too difficult to take. What are we to make of it? How do I personally handle it?” I knew perfectly well what he was asking; and yet, when suddenly asked that difficult and profound question, I found myself a bit dazed, to put it mildly. It got me thinking intensely, and several thoughts came rushing to my mind. But one thing was clear. Life always bowls bouncers, to use cricket terminology. And Swami has all along been telling us how to face such fierce bouncers that life has a way of surprising us with. However, we seldom pay attention to that, probably under the impression that what Swami is saying is all high philosophy and has nothing to do with us.

My mind immediately went back to the hospital, to Dr. Safaya there, managing a thousand things and the doctors attending on Swami, who were doing a job for which there is no known precedent in any of the earlier Avatars. And then the Members of the Trust who from the sidelines had many complex logistic issues to deal with. True, Lord Rama was injured during the battle with Ravana; however, there were Divine servants like Hanuman who could handle those kinds of crises. This is Kali Yuga where the Lord plays His human role with no frills. I said to myself, “Imagine what would happen if these people looking after Swami in various ways lost their cool?!” Luckily, that has not happened. How do I know? By watching from close quarters, how these people have been handling themselves. If there was one thing that they all radiated, it was equanimity. I tell you, it was a stunning lesson for me.

Remember Krishna saying that of all Yogas equanimity is the best? Remember Swami giving entire discourses on the importance of equanimity? I then recalled that equanimity does not drop like manna from heaven. It is a discipline and a virtue that has to be meticulously cultivated; and that is possible only by paying the closest possible attention to Swami’s teachings.

Talking of Swami’s teachings, I cannot help referring to an exceptionally beautiful Discourse that Bhagawan once gave, revolving around just two words. In brief, this is what that Discourse is all about. Bhagawan said, “Suppose you are not well? What would you do? Go to a doctor of course. After examining you and all that, the doctor would do two things; first he would give you aushadam or medicine, after which he would prescribe pathyam or diet restrictions. God also does the same to cure you of your spiritual sickness; He first prescribes aushadam or medicine and then outlines the pathyam or restriction you have to observe. What is the medicine God recommends? Simple; namasmarana or chanting the Name of the Lord. And what is the pathyam that God wants you to observe? That also is simple; it is that we must follow God’s command, always.”

Let us all pause at this juncture and honestly ask ourselves: “How often is it that we do namasmarana? Does even the idea of doing namasmarana occur to us, say once a day?” Similarly, Swami has given us so many commands, most of them absolutely simple ones. One of them is, “Talk less.” Do we do that? Earlier, we needed someone else if we wanted to talk. Not so these days, because there are the phones. Till about fifteen years ago, phones or landlines were still rare in India. But now, even children have cell phones. Recently a school teacher from Bangalore stunned me with the news that a survey conducted in her school showed that grade 8 students send on the average about 800 text messages per day! I am sure many of these students were children of devotees.

Let us be honest and ask ourselves; how seriously do we take Swami’s instruction, advice, command call it what you will, about being limited in our conversation? I guess we all know the answer. As I come to work or go for a walk in the evening, I see people on the cell phone all the time. I sure can understand some people having the need to have phone conversation when there is a specific need. But to keep talking while walking and going from place A to place B, while driving a scooter or even a car for that matter?

If you ask me, this is the moment when we all must ask ourselves how seriously we take Swami. This is a moment for a serious audit of our Heart, shall I say? It is not enough to say that we love Swami dearly. Of course, we all do. But does that not also place on us the responsibility of giving respect to His prescription and command? Maybe we mistakenly ignored it all along. But surely, we can make this the teaching moment, can we not?

Think about it.

God bless and Jai Sai Ram.

As always, with much love and deep respect, I offer this short talk at the Lotus Feet of Swami.

source: radiosai.org

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