The Lord speaking is a privilege that was enjoyed by Moses,
Jesus and the Prophet. How lucky that we too
enjoyed that rare privilege!
A personal interview
From this point on, the interview took a very personal flavour in
the sense that many boys asked Swami different things that were
bothering them. Leaving out all the questions that are irrelevant
here because of their very ‘personal’ nature, I shall present the
ones that hold great relevance for all of us today and for all times
to come as well.
Swami looked at Abhijeet and asked him,
“Boy, what is your name?”
Abhijit was simply overawed and overwhelmed that Swami spoke to him.
No words seemed to be dropping out of his mouth! Somehow, he
gathered his wits and replied,
“Er... Abhijeet...Sir... Abhijit Swami!”
Even as he said that, he took off the Muslim skull cap.
All of us smiled at how he had addressed Swami as if He was some
military general and acted in that way too!
“Put back the cap on your head...put it on.” Swami said quite
sternly. Abhijit wore the cap back on his head. Swami then asked
“What is the meaning of Abhijeet?”
“I don’t know Swami.”
I knelt up and Swami looked at me. “Swami, Abhi stands for
(body-attachment or ego).
is to win over. A person who has won over body attachment is Abhijit.”
As I completed saying this, Swami looked at me. He bore deep into my
eyes and I was lost in His eyes. A smile played on HIs lips. I
wished that moment could be frozen for eternity. The flow of love
was so palpable that I placed my hands on His knees very gently.
Then, I began to massage His calves and feet. He did not protest. I
was so happy.
Jahpanah Akbar hopefully passed on to his son
what hisfather had told him!
Then, Swami looked at Karthik who was dressed as an emperor and pointing
to the kingly robe he was wearing, asked,
“Where did you get that from?”
“Swami, this is from our costumes department...” said the warden.
“Oh! You have all these in your costumes department?”
“Yes Swami! This is Akbar’s robe.” (That robe had been stitched
specially for the role of Akbar in a drama staged for the
Convocation 3 years before).
Swami then made some revelations,
“Akbar was a great king. His father once wrote a letter to him.”
“Humayun Swami?” I asked.
“Yes. He wrote to him telling him that it was indeed a great
blessing and privilege that he had become the ruler of India. India
is a land of
means character. To rule this
(land of character), you are indeed blessed.”
Even as Swami made this statement, His eyes became glassy, as if He
was reliving something within.
Prayer and Love
Ramakrishnan asked a question that seemed very simple on the face of
it. However, today when I think of it, it was a very pertinent
question and holds great relevance in life. It was a question
“Swami, how should one pray?”
There was silence for a few moments. Swami then said,
“Whenever you pray, you must always do so with the feeling of ‘You
and I are one’.”
Thinking about it, if prayer is done that way, none of us will ever
ask for anything, complain about anything or even think about
anything. Isn’t it?
Abhishek asked now,
“Swami what is pure love?”
“Pure love is possible only with God. It is possible only towards
This statement immediately triggered my thoughts. I ventured to ask
Him a question that had bothered me for a very long time.
“Swami, when I love anyone...”
Immediately He turned to me and was fully focused on me. encouraged,
“When I love anyone, I do good to them. But is it not basic goodness
that they too do the same to me?”
“That is not love at all. That is selfishness.”
I had to agree. “Yes Swami... that is expectation.”
“It is bad”, said Swami.
“But Swami, it happens so automatically...”
“Only love happens automatically. Expectation is what you foster.
One must have love and love is possible only with God, for God. Yes,
to a certain extent, parents’ love is there. But ultimately, only
God’s love is true.”
Power of Love rather than Love of Power
Suddenly, Swami began to cough. The cough was quite violent. A few
boys offered HIm a glass of water and He declined it. Santosh told
“Swami, please take care. You are coughing a lot.”
“Ah! It is because of these regular visits to the indoor stadium.
There is a lot of dust there.”
Sri Sathya Sai International Centre for Sports
is a marvel which has hosted international basketball, volleyball
and shuttle badminton matches. The surfaces there have been approved
by the ITF, IBF, ITTF and IHF. Any visitor to Puttaparthi must make
a visit to this stadium to understand what a magical monument it
“The Larsen & Toubro people asked for five years to build it. Not
even three months have passed and so much of it has already come
All the boys began to ‘praise’ Swami,
“Swami, this is possible only for God.”
“If not for you Swami, this would never have happened.”
“Swami’s love makes the workers toil so hard day and night.”
Swami made a very important point here which any employer or
business owner should note.
“What is important is not that they are doing hard work, but they
are happy doing that hard work! If you give them love, they too will
give love. You know how they express their love? When I go there,
they spend 2 minutes having my
But then, they work for an extra four minutes to make up for it.”
As Swami explained this, I was lost wondering about the great power
inherent in love. Today, instead of a craze for the power of love,
there seems to be a craze for the love of power! If only we could
take a few lines from the pages of His-Story, we can make the world
a much better place to live in.
Since the topic was about the indoor stadium, I told Swami,
“Swami, when you come to the indoor stadium, please come to our
hostel also. It stands just opposite to the stadium being
Swami’s face seemed a little disappointed. The next statement He
made was a great assurance and one filled with Divine love,
“Che Che! Why do you say, ‘just nearby’ is the hostel? Will I not
come if it is far? If you call, that is enough. Distance does not
Immediately all of us chorused,
“Swami, please come to the hostel.”
“In the hostel you
(sing). In the stadium you will
(play). What is the difference where I come? All these are being
built for you children. Everything belongs to you.”
so touched when I think of
statement today. Really, no university in the world will have such
facilities offered free to every student who wishes to use it! No
skill needed, no fees needed. Only a ‘need’ needed. If the student
wishes to pick up any of the sports - cricket, football, volleyball,
basketball, shuttle badminton, table tennis, lawn tennis or squash -
there are world class facilities that Swami has set up ONLY for the
students. These facilities are not let out for any commercial
events. They earn nothing for the Trust but the gratitude and joy of
the students. For Swami, that is the greatest earning!
Of Course! I do not agree with him smoking...
but the quote is awesome! :)
All good things come to an end
Swami looked at the little Iranian boy and asked,
“What is your name?”
“If everyone lives up to his/her name, it is enough. Living up to
one’s name and keeping up one’s word are very important. If a
promise is made, it should be held dearer than one’s life. Also,
treat everyone equally.”
Elaborating, Swami said,
“Ornaments are of different kinds - ring, earring and bangle-
depending on where it is worn. So too, though there are many sweets
- laddoo, gulab jamun, mysorepak - the sugar is the same in them.
All are one, be alike to everyone.”
All good things in life come to an end. That is the inevitable
Truth. The corollary of that Truth is that all ‘bad’ things in life
also come to an end. We just have to hold on to the Lord. Sensing
that the interview was drawing to a close, many boys began to offer
letters to Swami. Swami collected lovingly from everyone. He opened
and read a few of them. Then, He commented,
“Dear Swami... dear brother... dear sister... All are dear. What
should Swami be?”
Karthik answered, “Dearest Swami.”
“Why rest? People write anything that comes to the mind. Before
writing letters boys must contemplate and dive within. When
festivals come, one must understand what the ancients have said and
written about them. People today, simply say and write what they
wish. They should write and talk only what they have experienced.”
Karthik again told Swami,
“Swami I want to surrender totally to you...”
“Surrender... surrender! Easy words to say.”
That was a take-home lesson for all of us. Understand what you seek
from God. Let prayers and words not be mere lip-service.
In conclusion, Swami said,
“Treasure and cherish all that you have received now. Keep
contemplating on these moments and derive joy from them always. Be
happy. Now, c’mon, sing a Hindi song.”
Treasure and cherish every moment
with the Lord - Be blissful always.
Spontaneously, we began to sing the eternal classic, “Humko
Tumse Pyar Kitna.”
There were no accompanying instruments or clapping. Yet, it was so
harmonic and wonderful. We were all in tears of joy. As the song was
completed, Swami blessed all of us with His
Many boys fell at His feet and took
“Now go! The bhajan singers will be coming.”
We saw the time. There were just minutes left for bhajans to start.
When we prepared for a Ramadan programme, we had no idea that it
would become this! But we were not complaining.
The longest and most beautiful interview of my life with my master and
best-friend had just concluded.