This is not a typical love story but then I am not a typical person either. This is a story that began with love, was infused with love and continues to be the deepest source of love in my life.
It began on an ordinary day but in an extraordinary way.
The 8th day of June in the year 1986. It was a blistering hot South Indian summer day; I was a broken bird with damaged wings and a heart that had had more than its fair share of wounds. I was waiting, asleep in a car outside the school gates of Sri Sathya Sai Primary School at Prasanthi Nilayam. I must have opened my eyes on time, as willed by the Lord of the universe, for Swami passed me by but not without His gaze piercing through my heart.
That moment, in hindsight, was the one that changed my destiny. Unbeknown to me, Divine Love gently woke me up from an equally unknown place in my little heart. My ignorant mind didn’t see the obvious then and didn’t catch up for years. The moment when God looked at His child was an eternity with no yesterday or tomorrow to try to match it or describe it. A Love story rewrites a life story.
As Divine Love in His car went ahead, my father came bounding from the imposing school gates and told me that I was indeed admitted in His School (It seems for life as well). Oh how that sounded! Even today, as I type this, I can feel those magical, marvellous words.
I had seen the opposite of love at home- discord and disharmony. As the days passed, I was terribly confused. When I saw Swami for the first time, my mind began to race to all that love was NOT. After all, I inferred based on what I’d seen first-hand-too many unloving and unforgiving people to think that the beautiful, smiling figure of Swami would be any different.
For the 8 years that I was His student, I watched Him and sometimes spoke to Him. He usually answered in monosyllabic answers. For those 8 years, He was the centre of my life, carving me like only God can. Today you finally read the ready product. Not the finished one but the ready one, the one which has all His teachings and values, the one that has all the Love that He is.
As a child I never understood Swami-I saw him only as another mortal (a magnificent one, nevertheless). It was only after I stepped out of the precincts of Swami’s University after my Bachelor’s degree that I felt the intensity of His presence and guidance in every step in my life. My life story began to be melded with His love story.
Over the years I have had major mental quarrels with Him. There have been days that I do not acknowledge Him or even remember Him, but even when I don’t outwardly express myself to Him, I love Him. And I live Him. That has been my tribute to Swami – and to His love. That to each heart I profess love, to each child I hug, to each moment of life I embrace, it is with Him at the centre of it all.
Swami is behind the smile of my loving daughter, He is hiding in the long thick eyelashes of my darling son, He is the essence of a new born child. He is in the words and notes of a soulful song, in the words of a beautiful endearing personal story, in the whisper of the wind and in the soothing breeze that blows across me from time to time. He is in the rhyme that a poet is in love with; He is the heart of the poet. He is in the pixels of a surreal landscape created by an artist. He is a smile; He is the uproarious laughter that happy people are perfect at. He is the kindness that I am lucky to witness often in life. He is in all my friends who have been more than family to me. He is in the heart of my teacher who has loved me even when I was not the “me” you now see. He is the people who hurt me, for me to look past the surface and find Him in their hearts. He is. He is. He is everywhere.
For me, a child with a spontaneous yearning for God, Swami is the epitome of all I ever longed for. He is the Love that is worth yearning for till my last breath. He has secured his place in my heart for His gift of Love is why I find Him in everything, every being and every memory. That I love Him is the simplest way to describe it. That I live Him is the most intense way I can express my Love for Him.
My darling, dearest, most mischievous, marvellous and magnificent Swami, today, I wish you Happy Birthday. Although you left your physical frame a few years back, you’ve actually never been away- from me and from my heart.
Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School 1986-91
SSSIHL- Anantapur Campus, 1991-94