In order to understand the Power of Love, we must first experience it without any reservations or rationalisation. This happens only when we act from the heart. This is my story of discovering the Power of Love.
I was born into a Christian family, studied in a Christian school and learnt all about Christ from instruction from the priests. However it was through the love of my mother that I first experienced the love of Christ.
My parents were devout Christians, but my father’s difficulty with alcohol meant that my mother had to raise the four children with the wage that she was earning as a school teacher. My first encounter with the Power of Love was what I saw in the way my mother took on the responsibility of bringing up the four children. Never did I hear nor see her complain about anything. There were times she had to go without a meal for days but she made sure my father and the children were fed. She never put herself first nor thought about herself. It was always others first.
All this drove me to bury myself in reading the bible at every opportunity I asked Jesus why do we have to go through this hardship. Every night without fail I used to cry out for help. This was the routine for years. I started working at a young age to make ends meet at home. Slowly but steadily things were getting better and then another disaster struck with the race riots in Sri Lanka in 1983 when everything we had was taken away and the refugee camp became my home. In desperation, I prayed to Jesus 24 hours a day asking him to take me out of the country. This went on for weeks. Then, out of nowhere my friend who was not impacted by the riots asked me to go to the Australian High Commission and inquire whether they would accept refugees. Everything happened so fast that my wife and I were the second couple to be granted refugee status and arrived within a few months in Australia.
Things began to move at a faster pace after arriving in Sydney. I began chasing the dream of a comfortable life with the opportunity the country afforded my wife and myself. To cut a long story short as I began to live my dreams the EGO also began to grow and drove me to forget my roots and purpose. That’s when Swami appeared in dreams reprimanding me and saying He will correct me. I initially thought that I was possessed and argued with Him saying that I am a believer of Christ and I do not believe in anyone else. I kept on saying “I do not know You.” His answer was “Is your Behaviour Christ-like”? To which I answered, “I read the bible and say my prayers.” Again, He inquired “is your Behaviour Christ-like”. I did not understand what that meant. He then said, “I will take care of you; ask for whatever you want.” By this time, I had come across books written about Swami by chance, and each book that I read stirred my heart and I understood and experienced what the authors were sharing about their experience. Only then it dawned on me that I had to learn to love. Not just verbalise it but in fact, feel it in my heart and then act on the feeling. With this realisation taking hold of me, the inner experience grew, and I looked for opportunities to serve society consciously and intensely.
Thus, I joined the service activity of one of the Sathya Sai Centres in Sydney and once a month took care of the canteen for a disability rehabilitation hospital. What I witnessed there began breaking down my hard-heartedness and motivated me to explore opportunities to serve the needy. Swami opened the door by enabling me and a friend to prepare and distribute sandwiches and tea for the homeless every Monday. As this effort grew, we involved a Sathya Sai Centre and in addition attracted other religious groups to provide meals on other days of the week. Today, there are several organisations providing meals. A small act that was conducted without expectation and with intensity has grown today into daily provision of meals in the area. This cannot happen without Love.
When the calling came and when I experienced the connectivity to Swami, I felt the yearning and the search was over. I began submitting everything to Swami and things would happen the way He wanted it to happen. At every juncture, He prompted me to work with my heart.
This was not an easy process as I was a very driven person and I believed nothing was impossible if I put my heart and soul into it. In my work I would say, I was task-oriented and the set objectives had to be achieved. This enabled me to go up the ladder in the organisation and afforded me the opportunity to look after the Asian region for the company. I was based at a location which was only a few hours’ by flight from Puttaparthi. Swami gave me the opportunity for several years to travel every few weeks to Puttaparthi and the other locations that He visited or resided in India.,. The most touching experiences I had was during Christmas. I have not experienced Christmas like what I have experienced in Prasanthi Nilayam.
On reflection, I can truly say that Swami wanted me to practice love, which meant “Be like Christ”. I then delved into reading the Bible again and this time I began to see the underlying message of Love that Christ was teaching us. I was inspired by the following message of Swami on Christ.
1. Christ first said He was the messenger of God
2. Then, He said I am the Son of God
3. Finally, He said the Father and I are no different
That is, first through our own discipline, belief and practice we must become an example. That can only happen if we open our hearts and act without any judgement but only with love. This then enables us to relate to God as His own child and experience the father’s love. That is what Swami does. He pours love and encourages us to strive more to realise the selfless love that is inherent in all of us. Finally, He also gets us to aspire and realise that there is no difference between Him and us as we submit everything to the divine who is residing in our heart.
The greatest mantra that Swami has taught us all is “Love all and Serve all”. He made it very simple for us. However, He has left the intensity and conscious effort to each one of us and not merely quote it without experiencing that feeling and power within ourselves. The other powerful mantra Swami has given us is to remind ourselves with the prayer “I am God, I am God”. What this means to me is that If you remind yourself that you are God then you are saying to yourself “I am Love.” Thus, the Power of Love will take hold of you and permeate outward, transforming you and everything around you.
The Sathya Sai Organisation for me has been the greatest vehicle as well as the one that has afforded the opportunity to serve without any expectation, enabling me with my personal transformation. The opportunities which helped to open my heart and work with the Sathya Sai Organisation were Prasanthi Nilayam Christmas decoration pilgrimage, SSE pilgrimage, assisting the youth pilgrimage and serving the Sathya Sai School in Australia. The Power of Love is always tested when you take on a responsibility, but if you attune yourself to bring joy to others by giving your best, Love will succeed at the end of the day. This has been my greatest learning.
I have been fortunate and blessed to have been drawn into the Power of Love that Swami has shown. I pray that Swami will grace me with His unconditional love always.
In closing, I remind myself that I am only a speck in this great universe of Yours, Swami. Yet, You have showered me with so much love that I have nothing else to give but love You more. Everything that has happened and will happen is only for my good alone.
With love to all of you and wishing you all a beautiful and enlightening Christmas.