The Friday satsang started on a great note as usual.
At 9:30 ET, Sujathaji from California led the Nama Sankirtan prayers. The Nama went on for about 10 minutes after which we had introductions. The regular members were on the call, with increased participants from the West-Coast.
Then Ramaniji from Cerritos, CA, during his talk, narrated a wonderful story….
Ramu was a humble person who rang the bell in the temple. That was the only vocation known to him and he has been doing it devoutly for all his lifetime. One fine morning the temple authorities summoned him. They told him that they no more needed his services, for, with technology advancement, they had upgraded their temple bells with automatic ones.
Ramu felt totally dejected. What would he do henceforth? He knew not another job. How would he earn his living? While he was walking on the road, in utter sorrow, he came across an elderly person who advised that he should perform pooja and offer prayers to Lord Rama and Lord Rama would show him a way.
Ramu was upbeat hearing this. Immediately, he went to the nearby shop, got a beautiful idol of Rama and brought it home. He decorated the idol with the best of dresses, and performed pooja and prayers to the idol every day, without fail, as advised by the elderly gentleman. Two months passed, four, six, eight and ten. Finally, a year had passed and Ramu spent all his savings in offering pooja to Lord Rama. But his financial situation did not change, nor did he get a job.
He felt distressed by the fact that his prayers did not yield fruit. Just then Ramu met yet another elderly person who said, ‘hey! Rama is a deity of the past! Krishna is more powerful. Why don’t you perform pooja to Krishna and worship him? He is certain to yield you good results!’
Ramu was fascinated by this new idea. He, at once, walked into the shop next door and got home the Krishna idol. He enthusiastically performed pooja to the Krishna idol.
One day, as he was lighting the incense sticks in the course of his prayers, something struck him – Lord Rama was also in the form of the idol in the same prayer room and he had decided not to worship Rama. Now if Ramu lighted an incense stick, would not Rama be able to get the scent of it too? ‘My incense sticks are meant only for Krishna. Rama should not smell them!’ he thought. At once, he took a cotton swab and plugged it in the nose of the Rama idol.
The moment Ramu did this, He saw a beautiful person suddenly appearing in front of him. Ramu was stunned to see this glorious form in front of him and questioned who he was. True, it was verily Lord Rama, who was in front of him. Ramu asked, ‘When I worshipped you last year, you did not come. How come you are here now?’. The Lord said, your faith was then limited. Today when you really believed that Rama in the form of the idol could smell the scent from the incense scent, you manifested true faith, and I am here, to grant you any boon that wish!’
Indeed whatever we do, we should do with faith in God!
Where there is faith, there is no fate, it is said. Sometimes it is also said that faith is greater than God Himself. Indeed faith is the greatest wealth that one can possess.
But this faith in God does not come by itself. It is only due to the grace of God that we get staunch faith in God. Pleased with Ramu’s sincere, selfless service to the Lord for all these years, the Lord blessed him with the faith at the right moment. So any small activity you do knowingly or unknowingly towards spirituality and for the sake of God never goes a waste!
Ramani also mentioned about his satsang, where they chant the Nama and one house every week in their apartment complex. An interesting thing mentioned by Ramani was that they follow the ‘bring a new neighbor’ policy. Every host should guarantee that s/he brings at least one new member to the satsang that they host! What a novel way to spread the Divine Name of God!
After this, all of the callers were in for a surprise. We had a special guest from India, who joined the call. Ms. Nirmala Giri, an ardent devotee of Sri Swamiji for the past so many years, came on the call, thanks to Sriramji of Houston, who conferenced her in.
Mrs. Giri gave a quick overview of the Brahmotsav, being the live witness of the event herself. She mentioned how the number of devotees that attend the utsav has swelled up over the past years.
Mrs. Giri spoke shortly on Sri Swamiji’s sense of wit and humor.
Generally it is said that Jnanis possess a wonderful sense of humor. Let me share a few of the incidents which depicts it, in the case of Sri Swamiji.
A lady devotee of Sri Swamiji used to brag about her Sadhana. She often imagined that she felt occult internal transformations inside her! One day, she said with a heavy head, ‘Swamiji, I am able to visualize a thousand petal lotus on my head!’
Swamiji almost immediately shot back, ‘Very true! Lotus blooms only in the marshes!’
There was yet another devotee who was very proud of her wealth. She used to donate to the mission and had an air that Sri Swamiji’s mission could not survive but for her monetary contributions. She said, ‘Swamiji, even the largest ships have lifeboats!’
Swamiji quickly said, ‘Yes, you are the big ship and I am your lifeboat!’
Aravind added another interesting incident to bring out the wit of Sri Swamiji – ‘the (h)armless Krishna’ – a piece that he read on the Nama Dwaar website.
Then GBji gave an update on the Radha Kalyanam that they performed in the Bay area and Sriram gave an update on the Janmashtami fair.
We concluded with Mahamantra, with special prayers for safety from hurricanes and for the souls of those who lost their lives and were rendered homeless due to the Bihar floods.