Towards the end of last February, one afternoon, I was rolling pappads in my house, when a letter came from Sri Vineethji who was at Bangalore. I did not open it then and there, but, kept it aside. The Postman brought the ‘Pradeepa’ dak and in it there were two letters for me, both from great Yogis of Northern India, who treated me like their disciple and who were interested in my Sadhana. I felt like a child sitting at their Feet. I could not, but open their letters; so, I got my eyeglasses and read them. They had exhorted me to carry on my Sadhana and recommended some further steps.
I felt suddenly sad and lost. I sighed and wept because I was struck by the inadequacy of my efforts and the consequent insubstantiality of the progress made. I prayed to God that He might make me worthy of the tenderness and care that these Yogis were bestowing on me. I got some relief from my agony and resumed my work.
Then, I remembered the letter from Vineethji that lay unopened on my lap. I tore the cover and spread it before my eyes. At the very end of the page he had written, “I had the Darshan of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and He spoke to me, also. He is the Inscrutable Mystery; He is Omniscient; how can I describe Him to you? I shall try my best, when I come, to communicate to you my joy and His Glory.” Believe me, when I read that sentence, I felt a flash of Illumination pass through me; I became unaware of everything outside me. The eyes closed of themselves. There was no body consciousness. It continued like this, off and on, for two or even three days. Meanwhile, Vineethji came back from Bangalore; we decided to reach Puttaparthi a few days prior to Yugadi.
Some days passed, I was immersed in Dhyana, steeped in concentration. Then, when I came down, suddenly, I knew not why, I took paper and pen and wrote a letter to Sathya Sai Baba, the Baba I had not seen! Why I wrote it and what I had to write, I did not know. I only know I wrote. It was a call from Jiva to Siva, a call that did not crave a response.
I was like a tree, putting forth fresh leaves in spring. That letter gave me so much happiness, mere writing and sending it to Baba. Two or perhaps three days later, I wrote again. “Lord, You vouchsafed Darshan to Vineethji; grant me, too, the Darshan and shower on me too Thy Grace. Make my life worthwhile, giving me the Vision of the Form I worship. You are the Ocean of Mercy; You are the Giver of all Boons.” I sent the letter, but, somehow never worried about the reply. The mother is content, if the child’s cry “Amma!” reaches her; she might not care to respond every time. The Lord made everything smooth for our journey; we reached Puttaparthi without any trouble, we had His Darshan immediately on arrival. The next day, He called me in, along with two other elderly ladies, for “Interview”. The door was closed; while He was talking to those others, I was asked to move away into a place from where the stairs climbed to the first floor. I could see Baba, talking and blessing. Suddenly, I had a feeling that it was no longer earth, but, Heaven. I thrilled in the Presence of God. I saw God before me in human Form. Baba had His Hand on the wall, when He turned to me, in the midst of His talk with those others and said, “I know, I know, Your Sadhana has all along been for Merging with Iswara. But, why are you worried about that, even when you are in the actual Presence? Do your duties as an embodied Atma and leave the rest to Me.” Thus, I understood that my Lord had known the agitations of my heart. I was overcome with joy at the motherly Love and Grace of Baba.
My eyes opened a little. I recollected who I was and where from I had come. I saw before me in a flash, Narayana Himself, my Ishtadevata, my Upasanadevata, He who came as the Friend, Guardian and Companion from Birth to Birth, through countless ages. As a hungry man gets calm when he has secured a plate of rice, I too got Shanti, at the sight of the Lord. I had not spoken a single word so far. Now, I was seized by the urge to speak. I placed my hands across my heart and said, “Lord! The ‘I’ must go, now, here; ‘You’, ‘You’ alone should exist.” He said, “It will, it will.” I held His Hand in mine (!) and said, “Prabhu! Narayana! You must dwell in this heart.” He replied, “I shall, without fail.”
Two days later, Baba called both of us into that room; I feared that I will have to return to Dharwar and it will be some long time before I could sit at the Feet of the Lord. Then, I felt I had not so sat at all, I entered the room wishing that He would give me that joy. He closed the door and asking us both to sit on the carpeted floor, He sat down Himself, very near in front of us. Saying with a smile, “You desired to sit like this, is it not? Well. Do sit down now.” “Come, come take the Saguna aspect also little by little.” He ordered. I replied, “How can I stop with the Saguna? I do not succeed when I try to halt at that stage. In that vast splendour, this little light gets merged. How can I keep the mind on exterior things? Something pulls it in, every time I try. If you grant me the capacity, I may succeed.”
Baba smiled meaningfully and nodded that He would grant me the skill. He said, “While on the path of Sadhana, this experience is quite natural. You see, this is unreal; that too is unreal. The Atma alone is Real and it is neither this nor that. Still, one has to pretend that both are real and carry on. This is one cage; that is another; this is iron, that is gold; but both limit and imprison.” Suddenly stopping His speech, He said, “You know this; why should I repeat it now?” “Just a little anger remains; a passing phase, but still, a little blot is seen more clearly in a clean cloth, remember. Drive it out and become and more perfect,” He advised. I cannot express in words the fullness of my heart at that moment. I felt that Sri Krishna Himself was before me; I was overwhelmed. With a quivering voice, I said, “Lord, I am in highest Bliss. Yes, My life shall be as the life of a flower.”
I am generally very patient and quite; but, I cannot tolerate anyone walking away from God, or trying to force the world on me. Then, I really do get angry. How can I keep this trait away from the all-knowing Lord before me?
Both of us were with Baba again, for a few minutes. The next, we left. “The external life is a dream, it is hollow. How then can it be worthwhile?” I despaired.
The train moved on; men came in; men got down and disappeared; every one was on the move, endlessly, tirelessly. I came to know in a flash, “The core of life is steady, and the hub is fixed; only the rim goes round and round. If the hub is steady, the rim can move faster and faster, round and round.” “The external life is the rim, the internal is the hub.”
We reached Dharwar. The film moves on and the pictures are focused on the screen; on the back wall of Ananda the pictures of sadness and joy, of meanness and nobility, move on and on. Let them move, I decided. I shall be the wall, the Ananda; My Lord has given me the way to reconcile this with that. “Lord, with one glance from Thy Eye, you have transformed my life into LIFE.”