On my birthday, in May 2012, we as a family went to Art of Living Ashram in Bangalore to have Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s darshan and listen to his wisdom talk in the evening Satsang. As soon as we entered the Yagnashala Hall at Bangalore ashram, we discovered that every inch was packed with devotees.
I dropped the desire to go near Sri Sri and take his blessings physically. I thought it was almost impossible to approach him, leave alone talking to him and take his blessings on my birthday. I told my wife, “Let’s sit in the last row in Yagnashala and have a quite darshan from behind instead of trying to go near the stage.” But our 3 year old son Bhargavaram kept insisting that he wanted to go near the stage and have a close darshan of Gurudev.
We tried to convince him and divert his mind away. However, my wife Ragini suggested that we proceed to the front row so that Bhargavaram could be taken as closest as possible to Gurudev and he would be pacified. We milled ourselves to the front and stood there not able to proceed further due to the barricades etc. Bhargavaram being Bhargavaram was not convinced with this proximity and still kept insisting that we need to get near Gurudev.
Meanwhile, Gurudev came to the Satsang holding a bunch of coloured roses in HIS hand. During the Satsang, it felt so nice to listen to the Master’s knowledge on my birthday. I was totally satisfied! Meanwhile, one of the devotees nearby asked an Ashram resident as to how could one take Gurudev’s blessings without a prior appointment. The ashramite advised her to proceed towards Vishalakshi Mantap so that she could have Gurudev’s darshan on His way back to the kutir after satsang.
Having overheard this conversation, we made our way to the amphitheater and stood waiting for Gurudev to come back after the Satsang. All the while Bhargavaram kept asking us, “When will Gurudev come? Will I be able to see Gurudev…etc”and we had to answer all his questions.
After the Satsang, Gurudev’s vehicle slowly approached amphitheater and stopped in front of us when Ragini told Gurudev that it was my birthday. Meanwhile, we were pushed back by the thronging crowd and Gurudev’s vehicle started moving away. After a minute or so, Gurudev asked for the car to be stopped and he called out “Ragini…”.
I heard HIM calling out my wife’s name and responded ‘Coming Gurudev’ and rushed towards his car. The place was so crowded that it took some time for her and Bhargavaram to come near the car. In the meanwhile, I had reached and was saying, ‘Gurudev, it’s my birthday today’. He nodded his head with a smile, but seemed concerned about my wife and daughter who were struggling to come out of the crowd. All through he was looking at their direction.
The moment they both came near the vehicle, Gurudev pulled out the bunch of coloured roses from the seat and gave the whole bunch to Bhargavaram and blessed him with a big smile.
No words were spoken between the Divine and the little devotee. It looked like time had frozen at that moment and the world consisted of only the Master, the devotee and us — the witnesses of this event. Bhargavaram held the bunch of roses as the most precious treasure and smiled at HIM. We were both in tears at witnessing an innocent soul full of devotion and longing getting blessed by the Divine; witnessing the Divine waiting to quench a sincere longing regardless of the countless number of devotees thronging for attention. Till date, this remains in my memory as one of the most cherished and precious experiences we have had with the Divine.
by Guruprasath Sethuraman