Volume 11 - Issue 01
january 2013
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Posted on: Apr 03, 2013


Law, love & life:
Learning it all from the lord

Conversation with Mr. Nimish & Mrs. Kamala Pandya

Part - 4



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KM: How do you think it worked?

NP: I applied Swami’s principle that there is an element of Godhead in every human being and if you are able to touch that core, you can win over that person and make anything work. Perhaps not immediately, but the response will come soon enough. The same thing happened when my father died and I had to get the death certificate issue sorted out. I filled out the form and submitted it to the official concerned. The man turned around and said it would take 20 days. I said, “Never mind, Sir, take as much time as you like, don’t worry about it.” I also added that I would not pay anything more than the usual fee for a death certificate. The man threatened to give me the certificate after one month. Surprisingly, he called me back in five days and gave me 15 copies when I had only asked for 10! I did tip him thereafter not as a bribe but as a matter of goodwill.

I do believe that nowadays, we don’t make an effort to share our love with others and we don’t bother to establish that personal or emotional connect. We demand things; we degrade people, and approach them with a high-handed attitude. You must know that if you have a right to demand, you also have a duty to be nice and loving. I don’t see this attitude too often these days.

KM: Swami has constantly reiterated what you just mentioned – to identify that element of Godhead in people.

After the Bal Vikas Rally on 5 D’s in Dharmakshetra, Mumbai

NP: Let’s just for a moment think how Swami got His big and ambitious projects accomplished. He never bribed anybody and neither did He spend any uncalled for money on these projects. People may say ‘He is God’ and could do whatever He willed. I don’t subscribe to such an argument. Although it’s a good way to reason it out, Swami got things done purely by being nice to everyone, Swami touched everyone’s heart. If some guy came forward to donate a few million dollars, it was because Swami had touched this man’s heart as a consequence of which, this person was ready to pour His heart out to Swami. Here is a lesson that we need to follow in our day to day life and relationships. If I want my servant to do something good for me, I must be nice to him; similarly, try being nice to that guy at the municipal office. Ask him how he is, how his day is. Remember, you are just one more person standing in the line. But if you make a difference to his day by touching his heart in some way, he is sure to respond to you in a manner that you want.

If you are nice to people, people are nice to you. Unfortunately, most of the problem we face today is because we have lost the habit of being nice to people. The onus to be nice and civil lies with us, before we expect others to be so.

KM: That’s a good point to ponder over. We have seen several people transform in the presence of Swami, probably because of the connect that Swami made with them on a very humane level.

NP: We have seen this miracle over and over again. People from across the world who are known to have a negative reputation somehow transform in Swami’s presence. During Swami’s Mahasamadhi, several very big people who we have seen with Swami came to Prasanthi. When I met them, I was really awe-struck. These people are like kings in their domains, they are arrogant, rich and powerful with everything at their command. At any other time, you would have to wait for years to get an audience with them – that’s the kind of power they wield. To deal with any one of them would be a huge challenge. But during the Mahasamadhi, it was humbling to see so many of them sitting together in the front row…all expressing just their power of love.

Therefore, corruption is a malady in society that we have created by not being nice to people and by treating people with arrogance and disdain.

KM: What about greed?

NP: Greed is bound to prevail because of the dichotomy in society. How do you handle this situation? The only cure is Swami’s principle of human values and His principle of love. Somebody has to put His principles into action. And, if all of us who have had the fortune to be with Swami do not start the momentum and if we don’t set this wheel of virtue in motion, who else will?

NP: For 80 years, Swami won the heart of millions of people all over the world. If all of us take a decision that we want to love people, we want to be nice and we want to practice His principles in life, all of us have the power to change the world overnight and make it a better place.

The Swami That We Need to Hold on to is Within

KM: Earlier on, you mentioned about a period in your life when Swami put you out ‘into the cold’ so to speak.

This was when you were made to realize that the omnipresent God was your only friend even if He had almost ‘dumped’ you. But eventually, the awareness set in that this ‘Friend’ was in fact still with you. Tell us, how did you cope with that period?

NP: I drew solace from Bal Vikas. It helped me to know that I could still be associated with the Sai organisation and continue to do the things I was doing.

KM: So, your Sai work was your solace?

NP: Yes. And, at that point in time when I was going through a transformation in terms of readjusting my priorities in life, I needed a lot of help, love and grace from Swami. Right from childhood, friendship was very important to me, I always had the need to depend on a friend. But, Bhagawan wanted me to be free from that dependence. When I look back at those years, I realize Swami was really giving me strength to understand and come to terms with the fact that the real Swami is within me and not outside. That was the learning process which was happening because that was what I would be speaking of in later life. That was how I understood what Bal Vikas is and understood what human values are.


KM: Swami put you through experiential learning.

NP: That’s right. Let me share with you an event that led to this ‘cold period’. I was in Puttaparthi. Kamala and I were just married and we were planning to return to Mumbai after some conference in Prasanthi. A very senior devotee couple from Bombay expressed that they were heading to Kanyakumari and Rameshwaram for darshan. They asked us if we would join them. We immediately agreed. The moment I left Puttaparthi, barely a few minutes later, Swami met my father at the portico (my father was a staff member at the Sai University then) and asked him, “Beta kidar gaya?” (Where has your son gone?). My father very proudly replied that we had gone to Rameshwaram with a very senior devotee (he was under the impression that the devotee couple was very renowned in the ashram and worldwide and Swami would be happy to hear that). The moment my father said so, hell broke loose and Swami was livid. He asked, ‘Why did he go there? Who told him to go there? What is in Rameshwaram that is not here at Prasanthi?’ Now, that was a huge thing to say.

KM: The implication is really big!

NP: My father was shell shocked. I soon got to know that Swami was very upset about my decision to leave for Rameshwaram. I actually thought to myself, “What’s wrong with Swami. I am not setting out for a friend’s party or to a movie. What’s wrong in going to Rameshwaram? Why is Swami so upset?”

Needless to say, that trip started the beginning of my testing time. And, Swami put me through a period of distancing. He did that all for a good reason of course. Through the next five or six years, I attended Kamala’s classes and became a great student of Bal Vikas. She is a fantastic teacher. I love the way she takes her classes. In fact, even today, however busy I may be, I make it a point to attend her class, sit in the corner and listen. I find it inspiring to watch the bond between Kamala and the children when the class is going on. I don’t see her as my wife and those kids are not my kids – I see a divine presence in what’s happening with those kids. I can see the transformation happening, I can see the joy on their faces. I can see the total ambience that has been created. And for me that is a matter of great fulfilment. In fact, as Vice President, I have mandated all State Presidents and Trust Conveners to attend Bal Vikas classes regularly. I have shared with them that if Swami’s Divine Feet is our ultimate goal, our work as State President, Vice President or Trust Convenor alone will not help us. On the other hand, if we participate in a Bal Vikas class, we are sure to gain instant access to Swami’s Divine Lotus Feet.

KP: During those years, he also got involved into the implementation aspect of Education for Human Values programme.

NP: Swami gave one discourse in the mandir at that time. He said that conscience is love, the voice of conscience is truth. If we put the voice of conscience into action, that is dharma. He also said that peace is the birth-right of the man who forms the habit of putting conscience into action. Nobody can take that away from him. This was a strong lesson that I imbibed during those years - when I realized that this is the truth that Swami has come to teach us. So, I progressed in my path of sadhana and understanding and I got more and more involved in the schools and Bal Vikas movement. All my dramas started getting based upon that. In fact, during every Ashadhi programme, my recurrent theme was the voice of conscience.

The Father's Discipline and the Mother's Concern

KM: How did this period of non-attention from Swami come to an end?

NP: Kamala was unwell and none of us knew that she was in great pain. We were at Brindavan then. And very dramatically, as an artist of great stature would do, Swami called us both in and closed this door with aplomb. And like a typical actor, He turned His head like that and said, “Kyu Rameshwaram gaya tha?” (Why did you go to Rameshwaram?”). I was bewildered that after so many years, He had chosen to pick out that conversation.

Mrs. Kamala Pandya explains the contents of an article from the Compendium of articles by the All India Bal Vikas Alumni

KM: Unbelievable, he brought up the subject?

NP: And I caught His feet and cried, “Swami is in my heart, Swami is nowhere else, Swami is God and God is inside the heart.” “Ah that’s the way it should be,” He said. And, He seemed very happy.

KM: That was a tough test. Sister Kamala , were you also a part of the test?

KP: I was the pampered one

NP: Oh no, she was spared.

I think Swami was a little worried about her. Through all those years (I call them my ‘training years’), every time I met Swami, His first question would be, “Wife keisa hai?” (How is wife)’. It used to be a great joke between us. I would say, “Look Swami I am sitting in front of you and you are asking about her.” In fact I have a picture in my bedroom where Swami is distributing gowns and I am receiving the gown from Swami’s hand. It’s a close-up shot, and if someone sees it they’ll think, ‘Oh, Swami is showering so much love on Nimish’. But the conversation of that picture is “Wife keisa hai” (How is wife?)

KM: Obviously, Swami was always concerned about you.

KP: During that interview in Brindavan, when I didn’t know that I had to go in for a surgery, I told Him, “Swami I want one promise from you.” He asked, “What is it?” I said, “When you pass by, don’t turn your face that side. Just say ‘hello’ and go.”

KM: That was a smart move.

Offering of Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas Book of stories for Group 1 and 2  

KP: He avoided what I said but gave me a Vibhuti box. I kept saying, “Swami promise, Swami promise, Swami promise don’t turn your face, I cannot bear that face turned away when you pass by, just say a little hello.” And, we all know how smart Swami is. He technically complied with my request and said, “Okay, okay, hum karta, aise karta hai” (Okay, okay I will do)

KM: But when Swami turned His face, at least you knew He was doing it for you.

KP: People around would look at me as if asking, ‘what is that you have done’. As I said, Swami is technically perfect. After I said that to Him, during one of the darshans, our family was sitting right in front and I was behind in the next row. He came and stood in front of me and looked at me. I said, “Swami I want to talk to you.” He said, “Kitna talking, kitna talking.” (So much talking, so much talking). And then I said, “Swami, you’re not talking.” He kept saying, “Talking, talking, talking, talking.”

KM: He knew how to deal with a pair of lawyers.

Technically, He kept His word on His own terms.

NP: Bhagawan was an expert on the law of contract.

KP: In fact, during the Aashadi period, when He would go back and if whoever was with Him at dinner would say, ‘Oh Nimish bohut accha play kia’. (Nimish did the play very well), Swami would immediately say, ‘No! wife bohut madat kiya. (wife helped a lot) Wife does everything but name goes to husband.” He would always take my side. So, now it’s a big loss for us. Now who will ask, “Where’s your wife?”

NP: Kamala has always been special to Swami. He was very particular to acknowledge her presence. Once he even gave me an apple saying,

“Go and give it to your wife, she is sitting across the room.”

KP: He has always been very caring like a father.

NP: To ensure that my marriage worked well and I don’t mess up with it, I always reached out to Swami as my divine counselor.

KM: You needed God’s intervention to make it happen!

So when you look back at this long journey together as instruments in His hands, what are some of the greatest life lessons you both have received from Swami?


KP: Just live and let His will prevail. Some people would say ‘oh that’s so non-challenging, that’s boring’. If you want something in life, just think of it and leave it to Him. Just say, ‘Swami if you think it’s right, make it happen for me’. He makes it happen if it is good for you.

KM: What about if you are going through a really difficult time in your life?

KP: I went through it for 20 years when I suffered a lot (with health problems). I was told that I was in pain by everyone around me, the doctor as well, although I didn’t feel the suffering at any point in time.

KM: You didn’t feel it?

KP: No, in fact the doctor was shocked and asked me, ‘you intelligent girl how did you manage all that?’ I had discomfort, I had trouble but I had no pain.

KM: But if somebody is going through a difficult time with lots of challenges, when life comes crashing down on you, how would you see Swami’s will prevail through it all?

NP: Acceptance is a big thing in life. You need to accept all that happens, the good and the not so good, as Divine Will and His Grace. The balance between human effort and Divine Grace and Divine Will is something that we must all learn to acknowledge. I think the greatest lesson I have learnt from being with Bhagawan is to be a happy person; I am fundamentally a peaceful person and I will never wish to lose that happiness and peace for any reason whatsoever. Whether it’s my wife, whether it’s my business, money, my wants in life, I would not want anything that will be at the cost of my bliss and happiness. In fact, I like the way Swami used to say that.


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