“Life is a challenge, meet it!
Life is a dream, realise it!
Life is a game, play it! Life is love, enjoy it!”
– Sri Sathya Sai Baba
A long-time-ago story about Sai Baba. I think the year was 1996. I arrived in Bangalore late one evening, and got a taxi to Whitefield. It had been a hell of a journey from London. The hot sun, after the cold and wet English weather, cheered me up but I was still not in a good mood. Actually, I wanted to go home! With some reluctance, I went to darshan the very next morning and found a row to sit in and reflect on why I was there. I sat there quietly pondering on why I would choose to put myself through endless lineups and cramped floor seats for endless weeks at a time. Was I stupid? What was making me torture myself like this? Sighed and sat with head down thinking: ‘this is not me, is it? It’s my heart. My heart wants to be here but my head is screaming ‘no, no, no!’ I dreaded more back row seats and those hot sweaty bodies and the sour bad breath that comes after long sits in the heat.
Then I spotted the seva dal with the bag full of seating numbers. I knew from countless visits before, this game of chance probably would not favour me! Too right! Our line was in the double digit category. I surrendered. When we eventually stood to be seated in the Sai Ramesh hall, I found a place as far away as possible from the central aisle. It was over by the chair ladies, in the last but one block. I could not be seen and I, myself, could not see anything but backs of heads !
Swami arrived that morning as usual. He did not enter the hall by the VIP entrance at the front but, unusually, by the second entrance in the middle of the ladies blocks. Instead of turning toward the VIPs and front as usual, he decided to go the other way, walking down the small narrow aisle, where sick and disabled ladies sat. He strolled all the way down to our block and stopped right in front of me !!!
I sat there with mouth open, in-deed shock! Of course, he never looked at me, but took letters from those nearby. He, later, strolled to the very back, walked along to the central aisle and up toward the front. “You can’t hide from Swami” – that’s the lesson here!