Cataract - a problem very common among all mankind. A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye which leads to a decrease in vision. It is the most common cause of blindness and is conventionally treated with surgery. Visual loss occurs because opacification of the lens obstructs light from passing and being focused on to the retina at the back of the eye.
Eye with Cataract
However, what most people don't pay attention to is the fact that Cataract is born from the eye and blurs the vision of its very source. This is exactly the problem with our personality as well. The cataract of illusion or maya is born from God and blurs our vision of Him.
Swami gives us beautiful examples of this. The clouds which are formed because of the rays of the Sun block the Sun and prevent us from seeing the Sun. The ash covers the burning embers even though its the burning embers which produced the ash.
Similarly, the mind which is born out of our true, eternal, blemishless and resplendent Self covers our knowledge and awareness of being the Self. I remember during an interview, I humbly submitted to Swami saying, "Swami, I know that I am also God since You are telling me so. However, knowing this does not change my state. I feel no bliss although I know. Why is it so?"
Swami sweetly replied, "Knowing is not enough. You must experience it."
"But how do I experience it Swami." I asked
"You have to do Abhyasa. Did you know A B C D the moment you were born? No. It was only due to constant practice that you learnt it. Now, you can write not just words but sentences and essays as well. How? Only due to Abhyasa. So, start practicing this feeling of being God. Some day you will experience it." said Swami.
Swami lighting a lamp
Beautiful conversation. But the question still remains that if I am the source then what do I have to practice? Practice is when you pick up something new. But this is to go back to your original state. It is like the cataract of the eye which blurs the vision. This cataract has to be removed. For this, Swami gives a solution. He says that the cataract can only be removed via surgery by a doctor. That process of surgery is Sadhana - what Swami meant by Abhyasa in that conversation. And the doctor who can perform that surgery is God. But then, isnt the surgery performed by God! What process should the patient undertake. Only that of absolute surrender to the Doctor. That is when God will make you do what is necessary and effect the cure.
The ash on the embers have to be blown away by someone. The clouds have to be wafted away by the Wind. The cataract has to be removed by the doctor. Who plays these roles in our case? God!
Swami gives the example - the wick, the oil and the container are there. But, someone has to light the lamp isnt it? The wick of sense control, the oil of devotion and the container of renunciation need to be present for God to light the lamp. Do we have them? Sometimes, its just not enough if we have devotion. We need to be able to have sense control as well. We need to have a quality of selflessness as well.
The presence of a wick should motivate one to secure the oil and the container in order to light a lamp. The devotion in the heart should motivate the devotee to practice self control and selflessness.
It is not enough if the thread, the needle and flowers are present. Will it form a garland on its own? There should be someone who can stitch it into a garland. But, if either of these is not present, can the garland be made. The flower of devotion, the thread of self control and the needle of discrimination are needed. God needs these tools.
Will we be able to secure these before its too late? Time will only tell.
Memories flood me as I pen down - or rather - type down a few words in fond remembrance of my Guru and God (GURU DEV) - Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. How Sai has entered my life and filled it with meaning and purpose is known only to me. I am certain this is the story of many youngsters out there who were lost, forlorn, despondent and directionless. It is the artist who can see the idol embedded within a stone. He only chips away the extra adages and the beautiful idol emerges. It is the painter who sees the painting before he even starts. He only fills in the colours and the painting emerges. It is the Lord who sees the Divinity in each of us. He patiently weeds out the 'not so Divine' qualities and shows us our true nature. Many memories flood me as I reminisce over the Divine Love that Swami poured out by giving His quality time and working at chiselling my character. However, I would like to share two stories of His love and how He shaped my life by becoming my Sadguru.
"Describe Spirituality in one line Swami", said one of the boys during a group interview with Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba - my Guru and God.
Swami coolly replied, "Love All, Serve All". Ah! What a disappointment we felt. This was the oft repeated quote of Bhagawan and then we just continued with our conversation. However, this definition of spirituality by Swami often made me think whether it is so simple. To be honest, it pretty much throws out of the window all the ritualistic approach and devotional mayhem that people tend to create in different religions cloaking them under the garb of 'Spirituality' when actually the term has nothing to do with lighting the lamp, waving camphor, controlling the breath or attending sermons and visits to the mosques, churches or temples.
Wow! If all that isn't about being spiritual, what is? - Love All, Serve All?
Recently, I visited Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparthi for Gurupoornima, where the Mahasamadhi of Bhagawan …
"Swami, the source of all the problem is You. All the problems in the world exist because You created the world in the first place. Why did you create the world Swami?" - these brave words were said by one of the youth brothers who was present in a group interview that Swami was granting to us many years ago.
As all of us waited with bated breath and with our ears perked up to catch the response that was to be the solution to all the problems of the world, Swami coolly replied, "A..B..C..D raani vaadiki words cheppi emi prayojanam. Meeku ardham kaadu." (For the one who does not know the alphabet, what is the use of teaching him words. You will not understand.)
This answer from Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, or Swami as we lovingly called Him seemed very simple and the topic ended there as the conversation drifted elsewhere. But, looking back at that piece of interaction today, I feel Swami's words make a lot more sense to me today than they did in that room on t…