Saturday, July 18, 2020

"God as my Guru" - (By Dr.Usha)

As Nanna would quote often, unable to Express the Beauty of a person in words, Shakespeare said: "Heaven walks on the earth". In our eyes, there is no other heaven apart from Nanna; the perfect personification of divine love, peace, happiness, compassion & mercy.

I became spiritually inclined the day I identified myself as having a body. I met Nannagaru physically in 1991, but his presence I felt from childhood in the greenery of trees & fields, in the stillness of hills & nature, in calmness, in solitude, in pain, in the cool breeze, in a child and of course in my very own heart which I later realized in his company. I never dreamt that this all-pervasive divinity would take form and descend on earth for my sake as a Guru though I had read about it in books. More than a Guru, he is our caring & responsible father, loving and tender mother, understanding & comforting friend, compassionate & a merciful guide who leads us from the darkness of ignorance to light-filled knowledge & wisdom. Later, at a tender age and adolescence, the time when I didn’t know about the existence of Sri Nannagaru, many spiritual queries became a part of my life.

I used to wonder What am I? Where do I come from? Why do I exist? To what purpose is this life of mine? A few times I used to go into a state of silence. My family members would ask me why I was silent, and I had no answer for that. These bouts of Silence were followed by alternating phases of jubilant behavior and socialization. At times I would gaze at myself in the mirror while combing my hair (the only time I looked in the mirror) and would ask myself ‘Is what I see as a body in the mirror me? Or is it the thinking faculty? What am I? What is God? How will I know?’

I came across Swami Rajarajeswara Ananda (last disciple who was initiated into Sanyas by Swami Sivananda) when I was in my 6th class, on the day of Sivaratri. He threw some light on my path but I wasn’t really content.

One day when he asked me if I would like to be initiated, I asked him if I can have God as my Guru?! He smiled and said: “God is all-pervasive. How can I say that the same will take form & come as your Guru?” When I was adamant to have only him as Guru, he smiled and asked me to read Lalitha Sahasranama Sthotram once a week and Sri Suktham daily and chant OM NAMAH SHIVAYA. After some duration of practice, I used to have tears flowing when I recited or listened to these chants. (reason unknown)

With time I was drawn to Shirdi Sai Baba and I used to pray to Him internally to clear my doubts. I would have visions of him occasionally. I used to spend most evenings on my terrace watching sunsets & enjoying Nature in its Silence. Again, I used to wonder: Is this Silence, God? Or Is God something more? Slowly as age progressed, Shirdi Sai Baba became my everything. I used to talk to him like I would with a dear friend.

After a few years, I traveled to Shirdi with family friends. One morning after darshan my friend asked for a flower from Baba’s shrine. The priest smiled and gave her a rose! Her mother asked for a flower too, in the same evening in the next darshan and she was given a garland of lilies from the samadhi! They were given their most favorite flowers co-incidentally which overwhelmed them.

I laughed to myself and said, 'Oh, your people have to ask you for something for you to give to them. You don't give anything unasked?!’ Then I walked to Chavdi, the place where according to what was written in the history of Baba's talks (Sai satcharitra) and his life, he would come to meditate every evening at 6 o'clock. I looked at the place and I thought Baba himself was God, and why was he meditating here, daily at six in the evening? I was standing there, then a man came and tapped on my shoulder. He gave me a beautiful garland of multi-colored roses and then said, 'Just place it there.' I looked around because I thought he must have mistaken me for somebody else, but he said, 'No, you! Put the garland there.' I put down the garland and turned back and found he vanished. Then I realized it's not just prayer – if you believe that God is there for you, He's there more than any friend; He's more present than your parents and His presence is everywhere all the time, and you are never alone. He is so beautifully and dynamically present everywhere. It was just a very casual, joking note that I made to Him – you give only when someone asks you for something. You don't offer anything without being asked – and He brings a beautiful garland of multi-colored roses. God is so truly present – He could be in form, He could be without form. I prayed to one without form; He came with form and gave me the flowers.

After all this, on my way back home in the train, I had a dream. I was all alone and frightened; it was dark and there were many dark figures coming towards me. I closed my eyes and asked Baba for help. Instantly he was beside me. He had a stick in his hand. He looked at me, took the stick, and drew a line around both of us. As he was drawing the line it caught fire and there was a circle of fire around both of us. The message was, 'Don't be afraid, I'm always with you.' I woke up from my dream feeling blessed. He would be with me, guide me all through my life, and would also reveal himself to me someday. I had to put my faith in him. I came back home and in a week's time, Nannagaru, my Guru (God in human form) came home.

I had heard my sister talk about him sometimes, but personally, I had never met him. On one of his trips to Hyderabad, he came to visit my neighbors, who were his devotees. He stayed with them for ten minutes and asked, 'Who is staying next door? I would like to spend some time with them', and he just got up and walked to my house. He rang the doorbell and came directly into my house without an invitation! He introduced himself to my family and then nonchalantly went around inspecting the house and all the rooms! After that, he sat on the sofa and talked to me for more than an hour.

He asked Questions regarding my schooling and told me to recite a few lines from my school prayer.

I recited a few lines and then he said: “You have been worshipping the supreme consciousness from your childhood”.

Nannagaru then asked me, "What I was planning to study further?"

When I said I was preparing to do medicine(MBBS), he said, "Usha, it’s better you pursue dental degree rather than medicine as the number of years you will have to study will be more & also without specialization you won’t have a good practice, that will be a really long duration. Dental Doctors won’t have to deal with much of emergencies & also you can start practice after BDS. You will have sufficient time for family as well as to travel to me. Your spiritual life will become easier too, so you can do BDS where ever your father is willing to get you admitted.”

When he was leaving our home, he told us: “Keep visiting me often”!

The next day at noon I went to attend his sermon in one of the devotees’ houses. As I was going closer to Nanna, a person who also came to meet him tapped on my shoulder and gave me a garland, asking me to garland Nannagaru. I told him to do it himself, but he insisted that I should garland him. This incident reminded me of my Shirdi experience. I hesitantly went and garlanded him. As I was seeking God as my Guru, here he was awaiting my arrival!

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