Thursday, 5 December 2013

'Okka Chinna Katha' 1 : 'One small story' from the Divine lips about PERSEVERANCE on the spiritual path

The month was DECEMBER, the year 1995. The celebrations of Bhagawan's 70th birthday had concluded, with the announcement of a multi-crore Water-Project for the State of Andhra Pradesh, (the first of many) bringing safe drinking water to 1.2 million people in 750 villages in the drought-prone district of Anantapur. The colleges closed for a break after the Birthday and Bhagawan suddenly called us for an Interview (private audience in the Interview room next to the mandir bhajan hall).
After we were all seated in the small room, (that seemed to expand and contract with the numbers He would call inside !) Swami talked about the recently concluded grand 70th Birthday celebrations. Someone asked Him why He wore a simple white robe on His Birthday:
SWAMI: (in sweet innocence) They said that in a red or orange robe, I would blend with the background, hence a white one
Devotee: Bhagawan, you should have worn a golden robe for this grand birthday.
SWAMI: (in a rare moment of revelation, setting aside the usual Maya that He always assumed, said emphatically in Telugu)  NENE . . . . GOLD (I AM GOLD!!!) I do not care for all this -- pomp and show, functions, etc. I do it for the sake of My devotees, that's all.
A STUNNED SILENCE ensued, as everyone pondered on this statement. Being deluded by an Avatar's humanness, while in His physical proximity, we often forget the Divine Essence within the human form, till He reminds us in different ways. We forget that all these appearances and paraphernalia are merely on the surface; beneath all this is the MISSION of the Avatar to awaken us spiritually)

Bhagawan then went on to speak on some fascinating topics, but before I retell the pertinent story, let me digress a bit here. 
Sometimes while visiting a holy spot or a spiritual place, one encounters people or situations not quite holy or spiritual. And then you begin to wonder why exactly spend so much time, money and resources to come here in search of peace and go back disillusioned ! Better to have stayed at home and link with the Omnipresent Lord there itself! This has happened to not just visitors to Prasanthi Nilayam, but to those who live here as well. No one is immune from this predicament !!!

A bird's eye view of Prasanthi Nilayam

The Omniscient One being aware of this, sometimes parted the veil a little and revealed why this happens. This conversation between Bhagawan and a student from the University, who had gone home for the holidays, some years back illustrates this. When he returned, Swami asked him casually:
SWAMI: So, how was your vacation ?
Student: It was good, Swami
SWAMI: Did you visit any place?
Student: (nervous, but truthful)  Swami, I visited . . . . .  Ashram
SWAMI: Oh, I see. And did you like it there ?
Student: (with enthusiasm) Yes Bhagawan, very much.
SWAMI: Did you like it better than Prashanthi Nilayam?
Student: (back to nervous, but still truthful) Bhagawan, I found it very peaceful, the people were all rather calm and friendly, (and he added hesitantly) unlike here.
SWAMI: Hmmmm. Do you know why this is so? Student: No Swami                                              SWAMI: There, (the place the boy had visited) they all meditate most of the the time. Hence, many things are suppressed within. HERE, I BRING EVERYTHING OUT.

Nothing escapes this Master !

However, in His compassion Bhagawan knows that sometimes one explanation is not enough to assuage a wounded heart or dissipate a devotee's doubt. Then, He brings forth more messages for us to comprehend a little more of the truth.
When I was studying at the college at Anantapur we had heard a remark of Bhagawan where He emphasised that no-one can enter the holy precincts of Prasanthi Nilayam without His Will. In fact He said: "Even an ant cannot come here without My Will This is true of any hoary spiritual place; without the 'Call', no-one can come, no matter how great the effort. As Bhagawan confirmed to a Western devotee,
“As I told you , no one can come to Puttaparthi, however accidental it might seem, without My calling him. I bring only those people who are ready to see Me, and nobody else, nobody, can find their way here. When I say ‘ready’ there are different levels of readiness, you understand.”
However, the matter does not end here. What happens 'after' we come here is equally and perhaps more important. The chinna katha, in fact emphasised this to us.
Bhagawan said that day, as a prelude to the story:
One has to try very hard on the spiritual path. Pleasure comes out of pain. It is a step-by-step process, like climbing a mountain. You have to cross many stones and thorns on the path and learn how to avoid/overcome them. There is no fruit without striving; hence to attain God too, you have to strive. This striving is for your own good.
 To illustrate this point about striving on the spiritual path, Bhagawan then narrated this little-known story, (yes, finally it's here !) from the Puranas:
In ancient times, there was a king in Bhaarat called Kritaveerya, who prayed ardently for a son and heir. After many a penance, a child was born, who was very beautiful but crippled. His arms were mere leathery appendages. The boy was named Kaartaveerya Arjuna. The king spared no efforts to train the prince as the future king and he was taught all forms of knowledge. But at the age of sixteen, the prince realised that being physically handicapped, he could not successfully rule a kingdom. At this, his wise father knowing that only God's Grace could help him, sent him to the hermitage of the sage Garga. The sage directed the boy to the ashram of DATTATREYA, the Divine Guru. But he also cautioned him that while Lord Dattatreya could grant him anything, his faith would be TESTED.

Symbolic representation of Lord DATTATREYA

Here Bhagawan added: 
Without tests, no one can be promoted and sent to the next class. Every semester, you write exams. To get a job, you write exams and face an interview. Then why not tests for spiritual progress ? Tests are God's TASTE !!
The story of Kaartaveerya Arjuna continued with Bhagawan almost enacting it!
So,the prince (KA) set out towards the ashram. But when he reached the gates he saw some strange sights. Normally one would expect an ashram to be very peaceful and so on. Instead he found some people there fighting and abusing each other. Though puzzled, he however ignored it and went ahead. He saw some people lying drunk on the path. Now he felt disturbed, but remembering his Guru Garga's caution, he again walked on, looking for Lord Dattatreya. Finally a very hefty and tall personage with bloodshot eyes and a large tummy, who also seemed drunk appeared swaying in front of him. (Bhagawan gave a marvellous imitation of this figure by swaying on His chair and rolling His eyes and so on !) KA politely asked this giant whether he knew who the head of this ashram was. The giant gave him a piercing glance and roared (clutching at his huge tummy):
Giant: Hey, that is me. I am the head of this ashram ('NENE ra'!) said Swami with perfect intonation
KA was aghast to hear this and his heart sank at the appearance of this person. But the words of his Guru Garga revived him. Garga Muni had warned him, " Be very careful when you reach there, for He will TEST you. You must not give up your FAITH but hold onto why you have come to Him."
KA: Sir, please help me. I have come to you with so much hope.
Giant:  I cannot do anything; you are mistaken.
KA: Sir, my Guru said You are the only person who can help me.
Giant: Alright, alright. Why don't you relax a bit and go around the ashram and then come back to me ?
KA did that and after three days during which, his faith was sorely tested by all that he saw and heard, went back to the Giant and requested to see him.
Giant: Oh, you are still here!
KA: (fell at his feet and clutching them) Lord, please help me to gain the physical powress that I lack.
Giant: (angrily) What are you doing? Leave off ! (He then kicked KA in an effort to shake him off)
KA clung to the feet that kicked him and saw that his useless arms had fallen off. He lost whatever he had come with. As he fell down, in his mind he remembered his Guru and vowed, let my hands fall away, let my life leave me, but I shall not LET GO my FAITH, nor leave him.
As soon as he determined this, Dattatreya (for that was who the giant was) revealed His true Form. The Effulgent Form of Lord Narayana stood in front of him. KA looked at himself and his body was healed of all its handicaps. He felt rejuvenated and strong and was in bliss at this Divine Vision. He looked around and the sights and scenes that had so disturbed him were playing in the background, behind the Lord, unimportant and unreal. He no longer wanted anything, being immersed in Bliss. However, Lord Dattatreya sent him back to rule the kingdom as he had originally wanted

Bhagawan then mentioned TWO requisites for a devotee who wishes to reach the goal:
1. Chalinchani MANASU (Unwavering or STEADY MIND)
2. Bhraminchani DRISHTI (NON-DELUDED/Steadfast VISION)
When one has these two qualifications, then one can overcome tests on the spiritual path and win His GRACE, for when tested, we might forget that God loves us and will never leave us under any circumstance.
I am always with you,” Baba has said. “Even when you don’t believe in me, even when you try to forget me. Even when you laugh at me or try to hate me. Even when I am on the opposite side of the earth….


  1. Chalinchani manasu,Brahminchani drishti...Thanks for the lovely message bhagawaan.TKS DIDI.

  2. Eternally relevant for devotees everywhere !


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