Following the Birthday Celebrations, Bhagawan gave some of us, Westerners, the wonderful gift of allowing us to sit outside His door, on the Mandir Verandah, for several days. For me, this was an enormously significant spiritual experience. For a time, I felt waves of happiness sweeping over and through me, and my attention was totally captured by the feelings inside. The state I was in can best be described as a joyful reverie. Without ever having done this before, I found myself repeating 'Om Jai Sairam' 'Om Jai Bhagawan' over and over again. It seemed as if the sound was not being made at all, but was making itself, continuously bubbling up, as if from deep wellsprings within. I marvelled at the sweetness of this inner sound and the subtle rhythms and tonal variations which arose quite spontaneously, seemingly directed by the unseen inner source.
I also found myself visualising Baba's face and body in a pose I had not seen before, with His hands outstretched in the attitude of giving. He was so beautiful I could not take my inner eyes off Him. Occasionally, I would hear a stir around me, open my eyes, and there was Bhagawan nearby!
And, then to my great surprise, I found myself choosing to close my eyes again, because, I was too attached to the inner vision, to allow myself to be distracted by even Baba standing very close. Of course I realised this was an unusual blessing Baba had bestowed, to thin out the clouds of Maya sufficiently to permit me to experience the glory of the inner view. I can now understand how this combination of repeating the name and visualising the form can take us to regions of unprecedented peace and Ananda.
Sitting there on the verandah, I would occasionally look out on the world and observe how different it looked from the view one gets sitting for Darshan in front of the Mandir. From the 'Darshan line', we see into this beautiful structure, looking with anticipation for a glimpse of Swami even if just for a few seconds as He opens the door and ushers in some lucky one for 'interview'. Even when Swami is not in view, it is very compelling to direct the gaze towards the temple. The feeling is one of looking into a very holy place. It is as if the Mandir is our heart, and, looking at it satisfies some great inner urge, to look inside the heart to see the dwelling place of the Lord, and even occasionally get a direct glimpse of Him within it.
We can never get enough looks. If we see the red robe for a minute, we long to see it for just another minute; if we see it steadily for 15, 30, or 45 minutes, we all come to Baba as beggars; through His Love and Hammer strokes, He transforms us into Bhaktas. A little maxim flitted through my mind.
When we first come, it is... always, "Please, Baba.”
But, He teaches us to.... always please Baba.
Over the last few days, this has become like a noon sign flashing on the inside of my forehead. ALWAYS PLEASE BABA. ALWAYS PLEASE GOD. I find myself examining every thought, every word, every action, to see if it will please Him. To be equal minded and unattached to the objects, beings and concepts of this world but to be attached like an eagle's claws to Him, seeing Him in everything and everybody, motivating all acts, all energies, all forms. And also to be attached to Truth, to loving all beings, as our very own, to be devoted to service, to be attached to all aspects of the Dharmic way of life.
This attitude has a remarkable effect on one's consciousness. Quite rapidly important changes take place and every move during the day becomes remarkably easy, problems solve themselves; decisions decide themselves; every thing becomes suffused with Baba.
He appears everywhere! Hearing the gong being struck repeatedly during the Aarati in the Bhajan Hall becomes Baba hammering us into His instruments to do His work; seeing a little sparrow perching on the window looking at us is an unexpected visit from Bhagawan!…"Sai Ram! Little Baba sparrow!" Getting another room mate in an already crowded West Prasanthi Room is Baba coming in, in another Form; waiting in a long queue for meals is such a nice opportunity to go `inside' or look around at any one or any thing outside and have `Baba's Darshan'. The whole world becomes filled with Baba.
We are all so fortunate and blessed to be alive today in the Presence of this beautiful Avatar. Imagine what it must be like for Him who is the in-dweller in all our hearts, who sees all, all the time, who came into this world especially for us His devotees, to be watching us caught up in Adharma! All the time, not just in the Prasanthi Nilayam, or during special times of worship, we must work towards pleasing Him and becoming fit vessels to receive His immortal Amrit. We must become full time devotees.
Let us all strive to give Him this gift, willingly and lovingly, from the depths of our hearts, doing, saying and thinking only what pleases Him. Perhaps, then, we may be able to repay, in some small measure, the boundless treasure of Grace He has given us by His Advent.