Thank You For The Light

arathilampbangalore9photo taken during 2007 in the foyer of the Leela Palace Hotel, Bangalore.

Marvin Barrett writes ‘Death is the experience of the light. Prayer is the rehearsal for death.’ I like that. It turns things around to a way of thinking that is not usual. I like unusual  ideas. They have me thinking more deeply about the meaning of life, light and prayer.


Short excerpt from Marvin Barrett’s article ‘Beyond The Curtain’.

“I have had several experiences of the light in my relatively long lifetime. At first, at age five, followed by an accident I had while playing in the snow. I don’t quite remember what happened, but I fractured my skull and was, for a while, given up for dead. When I regained consciousness, there was, directly above me, a circle of heads and beyond them, the light. The doctors stayed by my side, busy, concerned, drawing me in their various ways, back to life. The light faded but not the memory of it.

The next occasion was in early twenties when, as a young naval officer, I experienced a religious conversion and was instantly blinded by a light that was inexplicable, consuming, thus confirming the convictions that were falling into place. Again, it flashed out, but it’s sustaining memory was indelible.

My last experience with the light, and I expect my penultimate experience of the light, was, as with my first, part of my losing consciousness. That time, as before in my child-hood experience, associated clearly with the proximity of death and for that reason, strangely life-enhancing, illuminating a view of the ever-present future which has lasted me for, so far,  two decades..

Meanwhile, I refresh the memory and preserve the reality of the light by prayer. ”



O Light Invisible, we praise Thee!

Too bright for mortal vision.

O Greater Light, we praise Thee for the less;

The eastern light our spires touch at morning,

The light that slants upon our western doors at evening,

The twilight over stagnant pools at batflight,

Moon light and star light, owl and moth light,

Glow-worm glowlight on a grassblade.

O Light Invisible, we worship Thee!

~ T S Eliot, ‘Choruses From The Rock’

Photos – Sathya Sai Memories


Beautiful Reflection : A photo of Swami the way he used to look in Whitefield during Bhajans (1990-2001). This  photo sums up all my yesterdays with Him in India. The days of sunshine, the laughter, the joy, also to remember the many gifts of sweets that would fall into my lap, or on the ground under my shawl, or bounce off from my hair-band to fall often into my clothes during darshan, and of course,  kept forever or until I just had to eat one while remembering the moment.  Then the days of tears,  the learning, those tedious  days when he seemed so far away, and when life itself seemed so unforgiving.  

Keenly remembered are those days of magical mystery and the days that brought me moments to keep forever in my heart. … Gosh! would i do it all again? Those times of illness, bad  flu, the sitting in the sun for hours, the sweat, the burnt feet on hot concrete and  sharp sand and those sand flies, dirty toilets, the “sting” of the severest of all – the ” seva dals!” Would I do it all again? not sure – but I learned so much from my times spent there… I learned that we are not a body only, we are far greater than that piece of flesh we call ‘me’.. We are spiritual beings and our earthly clothes are mere garments of no real importance to that tiniest  spark of divinity within each one of us, which is eternal and forever… Sai Ram, eve


“The Miracle Letter” – Early Devotees


I would like to share a event which I heard personally from a very good family friend of ours,  the Late Mrs Usha Pillai who used to stay at Mission Road in Bangalore many years ago .She was the head of the Sai Mahila Vibhag in Bangalore and she was active in the Sri Chinmaya Mission too.

She was a staunch devotee of Baba right from the early years and she used to tell us many interesting experiences she had. She was one of the devotees from the early years, when there was  at that time, no proper transport  to Puttaparthi . They would travel by Horse or Bullock carts to reach Puttaparthi and when they were going back in the evening to their native places, Swami would come to see them off with a lantern in His hand and bid farewell.

She once narrated a very odd incident to me which is still sharply etched in my memory till  this day, though at the time she told us this story, we  had just joined the Sai fold.  At the time that this incident happened , Swami Chimayananda was in Switzerland.  She said that she was working actively in the Sri Chinmaya Mission too and Swami Sai was aware of this. Swami once called her for an interview during which He waved His hand high in the air and caught an envelope.

He then told her that  “Swami Chinmayananda ki heart attack vacchindi” – meaning in Telugu that Swami Chinmaya nanda had just got an heart attack. He then opened the letter and showed it to her.


It was a letter written by the Swiss Misson of the Swami Chinmayananda Organisation addressed to their Bangalore counterparts in which it was written that  Swamiji had indeed had a heart attack at about 02.30 AM that day (early morning). She was a bit surprised as she was not
aware of it or anyone else at the local unit. Then after the interview, she went to the Chinmaya Trust and told them that Swami Chinmayananda had a heart attack in Switzerland. The incredulous members in the Mission did not believe her and asked her how it was possible for her to know as they themselves were not aware besides they were in touch with the overseas mission. A few days later the Mission Members in Bangalore received a  letter that the Swiss Mission had sent via airmail,  with the details of the heart attack of Swami Chinmayananda.     

Amongst other things, that Swami told her was that He asked His devotees to take very good care of their health as He wanted them to live long and witness the earth-shaking Miracles He would perform in the later years of His Mission.