“Dissolve the self in the supreme Self as the pot-space is dissolved in infinite space; then, as the Infinite be silent for ever, O sage!”
– Adhyatma Upanishad
One summer’s afternoon in 1994, I was sitting in the front of block two in the Sai Ramash Hall in Whitefield, listening to one of Swami’s discourses. It was one of those days when everything had gone amiss and I felt a strong sense of being let down. In this negative state of mind, I sat with arms folded in an effect to prevent further pain.
At the end of the afternoon’s discourse, Swami began to sing his favourite Rama bhajan, then instantaneously He beckoned us to join in the singing. The cheerful crowd began to clap and sing with enthusiasm – in fact the entire hall seemed to come alive and move with the music. But I stubbornly remained motionless – still hugging myself.
Swami, who was not far away, looked down with concern as I sat there still and silent. Then all of a sudden, the hall turned a misty brilliant white. I gasped and looked around me but within a few seconds the assembled crowd, myself included, were engulfed in the gathering mist. I rubbed my eyes and blinked but the luminescence continued to gather. As I sat there watching, the mist seemed to take on a life of its own. It began to thicken and intensify in a manner that seemed to reflect the joyfulness of the singing. When the bhajan came to its climax, I could no longer see anything as the mist had completly enfolded me.
At the end of the bhajan, I glanced up at Swami. He, too, was encircled by the mist, but to add to my surprise, a powerful light shone around Him. Not entirely convinced I was seeing correctly I thought to myself, ‘someone must be shining a very strong spotlight on Him.’ I peered around the hall for signs of extra lighting but there were none. When Swami turned slowly around to preform Arathi, I clearly saw at the back of His head, and unattached, a milky white shiny disc. When He moved, so the disc moved with Him, never wavering from its position. It quivered with some unearthly luminescence.
After the Arathi, Swami began to walk away and the disc became more apparent. I can only describe it as a halo, but unlike those seen on pictures of Christian saints. Swami’s halo had a radiance that I felt was somehow charged by His divine essence. When Swami reached the door, both the mist and the halo disappeared.
The memory of that long ago afternoon is as fresh today as it had been then. Swami had given me a wondrous insight to encourage me during a time when I felt like giving up and it was – ‘LIKE THAT HE TAUGHT ME’.