Sunday, August 30, 2020

"Offerings into Blessings" - (By Dr.Usha Garu)

At the end of the second year (dental graduation), during summer Nanna had come to Tiruvannamalai from Jinnur & I travelled from Chidambaram to Thiruvannamalai. One day evening after he had his meals, the devotee that serves food for Nanna, offered him mangoes that were brought by devotees from Andhra for him to eat. He instructed them to give that to me and told me to eat it as he would get sick if he ate it at night time. He continued to say he would have one the next morning. Later he went into the hall to give darshan to devotees, as usual, I followed him to the hall (along with others).

When we went for dinner after Nanna went to rest, I got reminded about the mango that Nanna told me to eat, so I went into the kitchen to take it but I found it missing. Without much thought to it I went and had dinner. The next morning when Nanna came for his morning meal, they offered mangoes again. He called me and asked how the mango tasted, for which I didn’t have an answer. I told him that I forgot to eat it the previous day. He asked the lady that served him if they forgot to give it to me, she hesitantly said, “Usha followed you into the hall & we forgot about it too.”

He told them to give that fruit to me and said he would eat the next day. How much ever they persuaded him, he hesitated to eat (even after being pleaded). After he left the kitchen after having his food, she was annoyed with me, as Nanna didn't eat the fruit. She said in a frustrated tone, “It’s because of you that Nannagaru didn’t eat the fruit yesterday & today!” Later she gave me the fruit with dislike, which I couldn’t accept. I told her that in case Nanna asked me the next day I would say I ate the fruit (so as to not cause her worry).

Since there was a discontentment that I was the reason for Nanna not eating the fruit, I have made an internal decision to never eat mango again this lifetime. Because he is the indweller & witness of all, while having his meal the next day morning, he asked how the fruit taste was? I couldn’t lie to him nor tell the truth so ended up nodding my head. He told them to pull a chair closer to him, made me sit & eat the mango and asked how it tasted. Upon having the fruit and replying saying it was delicious, Nanna then ate a mango. My decision to not eat mango again was broken by so much love. He showered further compassion by saying, “Usha, these seasonal fruits are very good for health, so never quit on them (conveying a meaning that you needn’t quit what is good for health)” and smiled.

His love for us is unconditional. Many such incidents made me realize what a boon this human life is, and the rare privilege to live in the presence of a supreme master. Whenever I see a mango I get reminded of him. Nanna used to make me clean his dentures during the days I spent with him (myself being a dentist). He would make me apply ointment if he developed ulcers in the mouth. Later whenever I made dentures or treated elderly patients it always reminded me of Nanna.

The days I spent with him he would shower me with a lot of gifts like fruits, sweets & chocolates that he received as offerings from devotees & people from abroad. When I would tell Nanna to distribute it to other devotees he would amusingly tell me to take whatever I wanted to eat. At times it would be beyond my comprehension how someone can love so much, without expectations. Love for the sake of love, unconditional, pure, divine, perfect & heavenly.

Probably he was capturing our hearts in such a way that there is nothing left to look around, for his love encompassed devotees from all angles & they were attracted to naturally walk the path of liberation.

The point of him being with us or not doesn’t arise because he was giving full-time attention in every possible way and filled our hearts without any lack. Oftentimes, I reminisce about him in everything I see & do. If not for that tremendous love, how would the soul find fulfillment! Nanna used to mention. “In this creation, whatever food that is meant for us to be eaten, be it grains or fruits, Mahatmas say that our name is imbibed on them (meaning it will reach us wherever we are)”.

On one occasion when we went to Shirdi Sai Baba temple with Nanna, the priest gave plenty of big ripe mangoes that were offered to Baba, as prasadam to Nanna. Nanna gave the entire cover of those ripe mangoes to me & told me to take them home without fail. I put the cover in a safe corner, and I went around the whole place with him for a long duration. I completely forgot about the cover of mangoes and went home, I got reminded of it much later and felt bad since he insisted to take them home carefully. Being a lover of Baba & also since it was specifically given, I wanted to distribute among family members & neighbors but that was just a momentary thought. The very next moment I felt, we can afford to buy mangoes whenever we want to eat, probably someone who can’t afford to buy them or someone with troubles could have received it, which would be really wonderful & they deserve to get the blessings. This thought gave me much solace & happiness.

Bhagavan & Nannagaru also stated, “The fruit, much before it is formed on the tree itself it’s decided, whom it has to go to & also pre-determined as to who should eat it”. The above incident reminded me of this statement!

We generally take offerings when we go to a temple or to meet a Guru. When anyone offers fruits, sweets, or anything, Nanna would say amusingly to devotees, what you are giving is called offerings & upon returning them to the devotees he used to mention that those are blessings. The intricate meaning is once he receives the offerings, he blesses, purifies & returns it with a lot of grace. If only we can offer our ego with love & devotion, he will reveal himself as the true self in our very heart.

As Nanna always mentions, let us offer all our actions as a sacrifice to the highest & highest alone!

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