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-By Harini Narasimhan, SSBC of Encinitas

Come, my child, come visit me,” my dream beckoned “See Me in person at Parthi.”
A simple invitation,
A sudden unexpected business trip to Bangalore,
A long flight,
Heightened expectations,
Stories of fascinating interviews flashing through my mind;
Hot, humid Parthi , long lines, Sevadals.
“Lord I have come to see you”, I announce from the last row in the hall.
An orange speck appears, Bhajans waft faintly, and then He is gone.
Tears roll uncontrollably,
One precious day gone by with no warm greeting;
Two more to go.

Despondent, I buy a book.
“You have to take the plough of self-enquiry to the field of the human heart.”
So what did I do that was wrong? I thought all evening at dinner;
“The human heart has to be tilled and watered with love.”
I always thought that I was a loving person;
“Bad qualities are the weeds to be removed.”
I have a few bad qualities, but nothing compared tomy neighbour, I mused.
“You have to raise the fence of discipline.”
I am soooooo disciplined in my daily life;
“Then you can cultivate the crop of bliss.”
So what was I missing?

A restless night, a cold shower at 4am.
No Darshan today, a Sevadal announces.
A long empty day stretches ahead.
A flurry of saris rush to the canteen, an old lady stumbles;
Does anyone care here? I thought.

“Aunty, can you help us please?”
A young voice breaks my train of despondent thoughts.
Students attempting to serve lunch and dinner to the villagers;
A sick cook, ambitious young adults, Indian meals!
Stirring huge pots of dhal, missing afternoon Darshan token lines.
Crawling, absolutely exhausted into bed at 7pm!

My last morning …………..
What did Swami have in mind when He invited me?
No special Darshans, token row number 12!
Dragging my feet into Darshan, I sat far away from everyone.
Despair, another 20 hour trip back to the USA to get home!

Darshan music starts, an orange speck appears.
Clutching my childrens’ pictures, I pray feverishly;
A shower of yellow rice grains falls on my head,
My lap, my pictures, my hair, covered in it.
The orange speck disappears into the interview room.
Scooping the grains of rice, the nearest lady gets up to help me.

Thrilled at the unexpected blessing,
Triumphantly packing the precious grains of rice
I look up to see the Lord Himself grinning impishly
At my simple joy with the grains of rice.
Marveling at the creation - rather than the Creator
Who stood inches away -
“Thank you Swami” I blurt out.
“Welcome” he smiles and blesses me.
“Very happy” “Very happy”, He beams.
Eyes lock, time stands still, waves of bliss
Wash the doubts and fears away.
For within those compassionate eyes
An unexplainable depth, a sudden glimpse
Into an unknown world
Of pure bliss.
Unspoken, unimaginable, immeasurable
Pure bliss……..

Years later, older and greyer,
Am still unable to explain that feeling
Of pure bliss.

  Volume3 Issue1 Jan 2005         Optimized for Netscape and Firefox. Best viewed in Internet Explorer - 1024 x 768 resolution.