بسم الله الرحمان الرحیم

به نامِ خداوندِ بخشندۀ مهربان

In the Name of GOD

The Compassionate, the Merciful

I was born in a Moslem family. My parents believed in God and were very open and respected all religions.  I did not know much about Islam, other than what they taught in our school for a few hours a week and from friends and relatives. I knew that Allah was invisible, and he was somewhere up there above us. I don’t remember much about my understanding of God in those days, just that I loved Him and prayed to Him whenever I needed help or a refuge; a refuge bigger than a human’s capacity. I needed to know that Allah is with me and was almost sure that He had the power to always solve my problems.

I heard that during Namaz (prayers)you contemplate on every word, be present to what you are saying, and try not to let your mind get distracted. Even though I was not regular, it felt good to read Namaz. I guess I was praying, wanting to have a closer connection with God, without truly knowing Him. We would occasionally go to mosques or shrines, and it felt good to be in the presence of that kind of energy, still not knowing who really God is.  

As I was growing up, this unrecognised thirst, this hidden yearning to know God remained unfulfilled. When I came to the United States I was facing a lot of hardships in my life. I had to deal with a lot of day to day problems, and was very disappointed with the way life was going for me. That is when I became very close to my cousin Sathyam. Her ways of worship, words of wisdom and teachings of the truth and Self, is and always will be my inspiration and guide to know God, to know the truth, to know the Self, and the One. I call it God’s grace when the right being appears in your life.

Sathyam introduced me to meditation, I suppose because of my hidden yearning to know God. I saw meditation as a way to fulfil this yearning and ran towards it, thirsty to get help from within. Meditation opened a new chapter that let in a small ray of light. This light revealed an empty jar within, awaiting fulfilment from the yearning to understand God and the urge to know the unknown. Meditation made me feel a lot better, but as a human I still felt lost and helpless at times. Until one day, Sathyam introduced me to Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Not long after this introduction I decided to visit the Sai Baba Center in San Francisco where I was living at the time. I cannot tell if I decided to go or the decision was already made and this was just my path.

Anyways, I went to the center without knowing much about Sai Baba or His teachings; I just remember that it felt like home. Not long after the first few visits, I found myself on my way to India with Sathyam to visit The Beloved, Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I loved Him before I met Him in person, and without knowing much about His teachings and this path to God. I just knew that He brings the message of love. I was experiencing this different face of love, a love beyond words; this motherly, fatherly, heavenly, and Divine love.

I still had my ups and downs with God, with the Creator, not so much doubting Him but questioning His way of doing things. But something deep, deep inside me trusted Him, a trust that was beyond all my doubts, and misunderstandings.   I still had vague ideas about religion. Every time I heard Baba’s saying that “there is only one religion and that is the religion of Love”, I really connected with this message and it touched my heart.  

Sathya Sai Baba's Visit to Puttaparthy Mosque - 1978

By knowing Baba, and His presence in my life, I learned “LOVE”; I was experiencing, and tasting this heavenly Divine love.  Knowing Baba, allowed me to grow up with the beauty and glory of God. His omnipresence allowed me to know that I can rely on Him, call on Him and feel His presence. Knowing Baba allowed me to grow up knowing that miracles exist and can happen every day and at every moment.

I would like to call this growing up, a process. A process that takes you step by step, back and forth towards knowing God, towards knowing yourself and your relationship with God. For me this is an ongoing process that expands and evolves. And at times this process of knowing God, or knowing oneself became very, very slow. At times, I was getting frustrated for not getting it, or realising it at all, or as much as and as fast as I wanted to. The main question would always come up. Who am I? Who is God? These questions led me to search for the truth and the oneness of the Self with the Beloved.

By the grace of God, when there is yearning to know, the best path to learning will show up. It was time for me to pass the bridge of always asking, and learn how to be, to look inwards and not out. I had the privilege of being introduced to ways and methods on how to stop going with the mind and thoughts, to be silent, how to truly trust God, how to recognise our oneness and more. Learning and practicing these ways and methods were and are Divine tools for me towards knowing the truth of who one is.

I realised that to the extent of our understanding of what is permanent and what is temporary and to the extent of our awakening to the nature of God or Self; to that extent, we are free from our day to day problems and struggles and to that extent, we are living in heaven or hell. The more we realise the truth of who we really are, the more free we will be. This freedom expands our love for God and consequently love for ourself and for others. This infinite and boundless love brings unity to all.  

During a thought provoking conversation, I realised that it is not the religion that creates differences and divisions. It is our understanding and our mind’s translation of religion; it is our interpretation of its messages and our approach towards it, which defines our notion of religion. Religion began to make more sense to me when I had a better realisation of God and Self and their oneness. I started to understand and admire my religion that touched my heart and inspired me more deeply. I realised that the more I loved God, the more I trusted Him, and the more I trusted Him the more I loved Him. When your heart expands with love and trust, you see the miracles that happen all the time. When one trusts, one surrenders to the all- knowing, to the all powerful, to the ever present,  God, who resides in the core of our being and is the essence of our being.

And of course, hearing the truth is one thing, living the truth is another. I realise that living the truth is a constant effortless effort to be present, to be silent and to be as much as you can, true and sincere to the truth. I am a student on this path, trying to be present, silent and vigilant, and during the times I succeed doing that, I can hear and feel the Beloved.

I would like to say that I am truly, deeply, ever so grateful to my SADGURU, to my Divine Inner Teacher, to my Love, for being in my life, for directing me towards the path of love, light, and wisdom, for allowing me to hear His VOICE of wisdom, which shed light on my heart and illuminates my path.

May we all be aware of Swami’s presence at each moment, be aware of the joy of this oneness, and may we always be awake to who we truly are.

God is Perfect. We praise God. There is no other but God. God is Great.

سبحان الله والحمد و لله ولا اله الا الله و الله و اکبر الله و اکبر الله و اکبر الله و اکبر الله و اکبر

Nilu, California