The story of HAMSA – THE SWAN !
(Article posted during the year 2003)
Four long months, staying away from the physical proximity of Bhagavan Baba! I had missed Darshan of the Lovely Divine form while I was in USA where I spent a vocation with my son. And yet, I had the benefit of the Sathsang with many Sai devotees, and these chances somehow made me conformable, and gave me immense joy. I could feel the warmth of Love in their company.
The joy was much greater when I boarded the plane towards my trip back to India. At |Frankfurt Airport, Gate No.B42 was filled with Indian community. Many ladies had their Babes in their hands, and also many elderly couples, who are returning back to India after spending time with their dear ones in USA. I was alone in my thoughts, always centering on Sai. The method of channeling all our thoughts towards God in one way or other, is also sort of meditation.
There were television monitors inside the aircraft, along the aisle. The screen was displaying the logo of the airlines; “Lufthansa” This logo indicated the form of a bird flying. It is widely believed, that the German thinking is akin to the Indian traditions in many ways, and that Germans had tried to absorb much of the knowledge from Indian vedic scriptures. “Hansa” as is known in the Northern parts of India, is spelled, as “Hamsa” is Sanskrit. The English equivalent word is “Swan”.
Swami has liberally used the forms of Swan, Lotus and elephants in the decoration of the temple complex in Prashanthi Nilayam. When I saw the name “Hansa” and its form in the logo, my thoughts went to the balcony structure in Sai Kulwant Hall, over the verandah, where the images of “Hamsa” is depicted along the curved border. Then my mind started thinking over to identify more places where we could locate “swans” in Prashanthi Nilayam. Just above this curved balcony, there is one more semi circular layer on the second floor position, and here too we can “Swans” lining up from both sides and converging in the center, face to face. As we enter inside the Mandir, to our left side is the beautiful three-dimensional structure of “Gita Upadesh”, (Sri Krishna revealing Bhagawad Gita to Arjuna). Just above this conclave, along the beams, we can find more “Swans” lining up! There could be more of such lovely swans in Prashanthi Nilayam.
Sri Sai Padhuga Trust had undertaken extensive gold fixing job and I was fortunate enough to be authorized by the Trust, to supervise this intricate work. We were directed by Bhagavan to decorate the swans, down the mandir balcony using minimum gold and yet, to bring out its beauty. To illustrate this, Bhagavan showed us a beautiful porcelain flower vase, made in the form of a SWAN”. I have seen this flower vase in the form of a swan, in the window near Swami’s Chair, inside the Interview room, The pure white in colour vase, has some streaks of gold painted along the feathers, and Swami suggested that this method could be adopted while decorating the swans in the temple structure.
By these narrations, I am trying to bring to the notice of my dear Sai devotees, how the thoughts could be initiated and inverted to Divine presence even from an unexpected location. While I was wandering along these thoughts, another divinely episode came to my memory.
It was about eight years prior to this, when we were in the Divine Presence in Kodaikanal. Swami was having a nice time with the students whom he had chosen to accompany Him during the Vocation with the Divine. It was late in the evening and the usual chat with students commenced. Swami was explaining the story of “Nala & Damayanthi” whose love affair became fruitful in their wedlock.
Swami said, that there was a small canal running along the backyards of the palace where Damayanthi was living and further down the stream where Nala was living. Swami explained that Damayanthi used to send letters to Nala and a faithful Swan in the stream used to carry these letters to Nala and bring back the replies.
Just a few days before the wedding date, Nala accosted Damayanthi who looked very sad and forlorn. Nala enquired the reasons for her sadness, when Damayanthi replied that the Swan, which was instrumental in bringing them together, has passed away recently, and that the feeling that the swan will be missed during the actual wedding, is making her sad. Nala too expressed his shock and grief on hearing the news. He enquired how best he could do something to remove her sorrow. Damayanthi suggested that he could design a “Mangala Suthram” (Thirumangalyam or the wedding necklace) having a pendent in the form of the swan. And Nala fulfilled her desire by designing the Manga suthram in the form of a Swan. Swami then enquired whether the students wished to see the pendant of the Mangala suthram which Nala made and offered to Dhamayanthi. The excited students cried in chorus, “Please Swami!!!”
Swami waved His Divine Palm and created a pendant, and showed it to all of us. We were wonderstruck with the beautiful design and the creation of the pendant, which was in the shape of a swan. It was filled with hundreds of small, small pieces of Diamonds studded all over!!!! “This is the pendant of the Mangala suthra, which Nala tied around the neck of Dhamayanthi!!!” declared Swami.
While we route our thoughts with such Divine experiences, our minds are united with Swami, and this also forms a great path of meditation. Any small or probably ‘not-that-much’ important factors which we may come across in unexpected sources, may give us a cue to enable us channeling our thoughts towards Swami.