Volume 11 - Issue 01
january 2013
Other Articles

'Like' us on Facebook Follow us: facebook twitter vimeo youtube

Posted on: Apr 03, 2013


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

Conversation with Mr. Nimish & Mrs. Kamala Pandya

Part - 6


part 2 part 2 part 2 part 2 part 2

KM: He is forgiveness incarnate.

NP: That was an amazing thing. I just stood there with tears in my eyes.

KP: In fact, on the day before our wedding, when I was alone with Swami, I said: “Swami, I want to speak to you alone.” I always had these special requests. He asked: “Kya hai? Bolo, bolo. Maa hai one side, maa-in-love hai the other side.” (What is it? Tell me, tell me. Your mother is there on one side and your mother-in-love is there on the other side).

I said: “Swami, why are you doing all this for me? I just want to say ‘Thank you’ for all that you are doing.”

Swami said: “Thank you nahi bolne kaa hai. Tum mera Bal Vikas chalati. Itna bas nahi hai? Mein itna nahi kar sakta tere liye?” (You don’t have to say thank you. You are running my Bal Vikas. Isn't that reason enough for me to do this much for you?).

That day, there was some minister from Rajasthan in the interview room. In his presence, Swami asked me: “How many kids are there in the Bombay Bal Vikas?" I said, “Swami, about 1,300.” Then He turned to this minister and said: “Dekho, woh mera 1,300 bachche ko sambaalti hai.” (See, she takes care of my 1,300 kids).

Swami posing for pictures after a Drama by Balvikas children and youth from Maharashtra and Goa entitled, Khwaja Garib un Nawaz - 29 June 2004

As if those 1,300 was like the entire Vishwa Swarup. He is like that - all the time wanting to appreciate what you do. He just doesn't want you to feel bad about anything.

‘Forget, for Getting God’

NP: Even today, I constantly ask myself: “Why did we ever keep Him away as something different from us when He came on earth to be one with us?” I recall two incidents when He taught me how to control the mind and how the mind is an obstacle in sadhana. He also taught me the power of prayer.

KM: How did He do that?

NP: My father was an intelligent lawyer. He had a fantastic memory like Kamla's. One day, He was sitting on the portico when Swami came and asked him: “Hey Pandya, what do you want?” My father didn’t really want anything as he had everything in life. So, he didn’t have anything to ask. However, thinking himself to be intelligent and smart, He said: “Swami, I want Moksha.” To that, Swami said: “Accha, you want Moksha? Come on, let's go inside.”

So, saying Swami led him into the interview room. My father was extremely happy and thought to himself: “I'm going to get my Moksha inside the interview room.”

Swami made him sit and said: “Tell me, what is your name?’” This set off a volley of questions and answers. Swami asked several questions on where my father was born, his father’s name, mother’s name, wife’s name, son etc. This went on and on until some 100, 200, 300 questions were asked – countless. My father priding himself on his sharp memory power gave a pat response to every question. Eventually, Swami said: “Aah! Itna yaad hai tho kaisa moksha milega?” (If you remember so much, how will you get liberation?)

KM: You need to forget stuff to get moksha, empty the head of unnecessary information.


NP: I learnt from that experience that we need to ‘forget for getting God’.

KP: Love is giving and forgiving. Self is getting and forgetting.

NP: Unless you empty out your mind, you can never achieve anything in life.

Whenever I meet young people, devotees or others, I tell them, let's not complicate things. God is very simple. Swami is a very, very simple avatar. He has told us: “Let's learn to forget everything.” If you are able to forget and live this moment freely in life, then you are a happy person. If you carry your baggage at this very moment, then you're a dead person.

KM: You said that Swami also taught you the power of prayer.

Prayer Works.. it Really Does

NP: I don't know how many of us really believe that prayer works, because we always have doubts even when we pray. We have this dichotomy about prayer.

One day, after the Aashadi programme got over, there was a kid sitting next to me. Swami took Arathi and walked into the room and left. We all know that once Swami goes inside the room, and Arathi is over, He never comes back till the whole programme is over. But the moment Swami went inside, this little boy started bawling loudly. You know how it is in the Sai Kulwant Hall. If a kid cries, you are in danger with all the Seva Dals. The volunteers pounce on you from all sides and I was no exception. I really panicked when this kid started crying.

KM: Was he one of the performers?

NP: Yes, he was. I thought he had got hurt or had got a cramp or something. I asked him what had happened and tried my best to keep him quiet, all the time looking at the volunteers who were ready to pounce on me.

KM: Father of 3,000 children, not an easy position to be in!

NP: To my repeated questions about what he wanted, the child said: “I want Vibhuthi from Swami's hands. Swami said He would give me Vibhuthi from His hands, and I want it right now.” I said: “Gosh! What's wrong with this kid? Swami's gone inside, Arathi’s over, now where will Swami come back and give him Vibhuthi?”


See how this situation worked out. My mind was working overtime about how to keep this kid quiet. So I said: “Close your eyes and pray. If you don't close your eyes and don’t pray, you will not get the vibuthi.” This kid believed me and closed his eyes and sat down quietly. I had almost forgotten him because he was so quiet and I was safe from the volunteers.

NP: I got busy with the other mundane matters like packing things after our programme. Suddenly there was a flutter, and the door opened. Swami walked straight down the line where we were sitting. In my selfish mind, I thought Swami was coming to talk to me. I was ecstatic and oblivious to the fact that this kid was still sitting next to me. Swami stood right in front of me, and pointing to the kid said: “Wake him up.”

KM: Oh! His eyes were still closed?

NP: His eyes were closed, the boy was sitting in meditation. At that moment, I realized his presence next to me and woke him up. I said: “Get up son, get up, Swami has come”. He opened his eyes and a broad smile appeared on the kid's face. Swami looked at him and asked: “What do you want?” The kid sweetly replied: “Swami, I want Vibhuthi from your hands.”

Swami materialized Vibhuthi and gave it to him. He then gave me a look that said: “You idiot, you didn't believe that prayer works, but it really does”. That was the lesson I got in my life that day, that prayer indeed works.

A sincere prayer always reaches the Lord. We should have no doubt about this ever in our lives. What I love about Swami is that the greatest of truths are made very simple. And I think we have no business to make it complicated at all now. We should let it be as simple as they are. I wish we all succeed in keeping His message as simple it was, rather than make it complicated.

Bhagawan's 2009 Mumbai Visit

KM: Swami visited Mumbai two years ago. You have fond recollections of it. Could you share that with us?

NP: When He visited Mumbai then, He was physically very frail. His schedule was hectic. He had travelled to Hadshi Temple close to Pune, and then in Mumbai He was equally busy meeting millions of people. In fact, it was during that trip when He gave Mr. Ratan Tata an interview at 11 o'clock in the night in Dharmakshetra. Swami has never given such late night interviews before.

Swami granting Darshan during His visit to Mumbai in Oct-Nov 2009

However, while all this was happening and the trip was progressing well, we as organizers were getting fired for putting together such a stressful agenda for Swami. All the elders were badgering us completely, saying: “You don't care about His health. How can you make programmes like this? Swami Himself was very graceful and patient during those two days.

When it was time for Him to leave Mumbai, He walked over to a group of two-three trustees who were sitting on the portico as did the organizing committee. We were all somehow trying to thank Swami for giving us this opportunity. True to Swami’s nature, He picked up the story that everybody else was talking about. He started: “Very hectic programme you prepared for me, I was very tired.” We were all confused. I mean, it was okay to hear from other people, but when it came from the Lord’s mouth, we were very touched and felt we had done the greatest crime of our lives by troubling Swami so much.

KP: He persisted on the same note saying: “Very tired, very hectic.” Then I realized that we were getting cornered into this situation. Instead of saying, “Sorry Swami” and all of that, I said: “But Swami, you came to Mumbai after such a long time, after a 10-year gap, there were so many people waiting for you.”

Even then, He continued saying: “But still it was very hectic”. I did not give up and replied: “Swami, everybody else was very happy”. That also didn't appease Him. He said: “No, but still very hectic, tired.” I said: “Swami, all of us are happy, we are very happy.” Then He turned around and said: “Tum khush, toh main khush.” (If you are happy then I am happy). So beautiful!

The last darshan during Bhagawan's visit to Mumbai in November 2009, Dharmakshetra

KM: That is what He is all about.

NP: And that was the supreme sacrifice of the highest kind for Him – there was nothing like His personal happiness, His personal joy, His personal sorrow – all this didn't exist for Him. His life was about our happiness and our joy. And, when He said those words of “Tum khush, toh main khush,” He looked as fresh as a flower - so amazing, so beautiful.

Do His work He Will Take Care of Yours

KM: Sister Kamala, you're a self-aware, professional woman, and you have been a consistent partner in your husband's efforts to serve a higher purpose. Surely, you must have made a lot of sacrifices along the way. When you look back, has it been worthwhile?

KP: Yes, it has been. I got a lot of offers to become a judge as women judges are in the minority in India. Somehow, the idea did not appeal to me. Besides, I would not do anything without Swami’s consent. Having said that, I remember Swami asking me once, “Kabhi judge banthi hain?” (When will you become a judge?) I remained quiet and did not answer Him. So, perhaps my decision cost me a lot monetarily, I might have made a lot more money, but all of that did not matter to me. For me, the be-all and end-all of life was to do what Swami willed. I was totally dedicated to Bhagawan. The Master’s word was final. And, in whatever I did, I had the compulsion to do it well, meticulously. There were no half measures for me.

KM: What advice would you give young, educated professional women within the Sai family about prioritizing and balancing life?

KP: I have a simple piece of advice - If you do God's work, however small, He will do yours. Swami had once told me in the interview room, “Tum mera Bal Vikas chalati, main itna nahi kar saktha hoon?” (You run my Bal Vikas for me in Mumbai. Can I not do this much for you?)

KM: And His 'little bit' included conducting a beautiful wedding for you!


KP: He gave everything from a sari to the house to the jewellery. He took out each item of jewellery and put it on me as if He was the head of the family. Wasn't that enough for me? Do I need anything more?

So I tell everybody, every small desire of mine is fulfilled in some way. Even mundane things when I randomly wish I had a lipstick or a nail polish of a certain colour and lo and behold, that evening somebody would come and give me what I had wished for. Swami satisfies every small wish. Just do His work for Him to do yours. In whatever capacity, any small deed that you enjoy and do well.

And, anything that you do, do it as if it is the last time you will be doing it and there is no tomorrow. Do it to the best of your ability. God will certainly help.

The Uniqueness of the Sathya Sai Organisation

KM: Mr. Pandya, from the vantage point that you occupy, as the National Vice President of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, where do you see the Sai mission headed?

NP: I see great hope as I believe that the Sathya Sai Seva Organisation is unique in several ways, particularly in the way it revitalises and energizes itself.

KM: How do you mean?

NP: It is constituted of people that share a profound love for Swami. There is no enlistment or recruitment of any kind; no one is coerced to be a part of the organisation. It is a body of willing people who come together for the love of Sai and put into practice what Swami wants us to embody - people who are convinced that Bhagawan is the Master and the symbol of the ultimate divinity or people who are bold enough to exemplify Swami’s word in their daily lives and serve as befitting examples to the world outside. When there is such a unique body of people, there is no downside, no going back. It can only grow further as this body of people throughout the world are fountains of divine love themselves, wherever they are.

The other uniqueness of this organisation is that although we have rules and regulations, it is not dependent on those rules and regulations. I say this because anyone who has been touched with Swami's love and wants to share love will do so wherever he is and in whatever he is doing. I believe millions of people all over the world are like dots that Swami has already put. From His age of 14 until He left His mortal coil, Baba has touched millions of people around the world by His love. Our work now is to join all these dots to take forward Swami’s message. The picture that Swami has painted of love and peace in the world will become apparent the instant we join all these dots across the world.

As we travel around the world, we see the devotee, man, woman, the child, the youth, the girl, boy - all tremendously enthusiastic and bubbling with energy to do their bit for Swami. What we need to do as an organization is to give them that channel, to translate that love into action.

Swami blessing the awards…at Dharmakshetra, Mumbai

I believe that the day is not too far off when we succeed in this exercise of joining hands all over the world. The golden era that Swami spoke of is already being manifested. I won't be wrong if I say that if the world is sustaining itself today, it is because of this body of people who are at the grass-root level wherever they are located and spreading Swami's love. Take a bhajan singer way back in Mexico, or a bhajan singer in Uttarakhand, or a bhajan singer in Kerala, or a Bal Vikas Guru who's sincerely doing her work – each one of them shares a direct contact with Swami – which is what makes the Sai avatar so unique.

KM: Could you explain further?

NP: He is here on a one-to-one contact with everybody. He doesn't need the organization. The biggest relief for the organization and the biggest advantage it enjoys is its role as a facilitator. Swami is the source. As the facilitator, the organization has the sole mandate to enhance the love of Swami in an individual and help the love blossom into a flower.

Swami has said: “I don’t need the organization. I have given you the organization as a platform, where you can use it to strengthen your one-to-one relationship with me.” This is the clear vision of the Sai organization, that we are only a platform or a facilitator where each individual can come, practice, and strengthen his individual bond with Swami who resides within us.

KM: Brother Pandya, you are a great proponent of youth power, Generation Next. What mechanisms has the organization put into place to speak their language and attract the youth?

NP: The organization conducted its first ever national retreat in Bangalore on 1 April 2012. All-India President Mr. Srinivasan proposed that the youth be given an opportunity to make presentations on what they feel about the organization, what they believe the bhajans should be like, what they believe the Bal Vikas should be like, what they believe the seva dimension should be like, and what they believe should be the ethos of the organization. The exercise proved an eye-opener. All the 200 youth who participated in the activity demonstrated a thorough, in-depth understanding of what Swami expected out of them. I even felt that they had a better grasp of things than some of us adults do.

The question & answer session at the Youth Retreat in Brindavan, Whitefield, Bengaluru

KM: That's a great vote of confidence you have in the youth. But what is the mechanism to ensure that these ideas are translated into reality and greater leadership roles are created for the next generation?

NP: In 2015, we will be celebrating 50 years of the Sai Organisation. I sincerely hope and believe that by that time, younger people will take on the mantle of the organisation.

It's evident that the youth are ready for assuming responsible roles. It's just that as elders, we will have to be bold enough to hand over that charge, to the extent possible.

And, I am firmly committed to doing my bit to make this happen and follow it through. Currently, some of us are actively travelling all over the country and talking to a lot of the youth, interacting with them and motivating them. What I have noticed is that the youth has the enthusiasm and the vision, but they are all passing through a phase where they are trying to find a niche for themselves in the society. I would like to give them a transition period of three-four years to help them settle down in their lives. They can also use this period to steadily ease themselves into their roles at the Sai organisation.

KM: Have you drawn up a plan to achieve this objective?

NP: At the national level, we are promoting the youth to take up posts of district presidents. We are motivating young people to actively lead the spiritual dimensions of activities such as the Bal Vikas. In fact, we are already seeing this happening. At many places, several ex-students from Swami's universities and former Bal Vikas students have taken up posts at the grass-root level - as district presidents, Bal Vikas coordinators, or Bal Vikas gurus.

In Maharashtra, we have created a sub-committee in the Trust comprising seven alumni of the Sai University. These seven alumni will be groomed to take over the Trust as Trustees in the next three years.

KM: And beyond Maharashtra?

NP: I am motivating the youth in the States that I oversee. I encourage them to take up the posts in the respective Trusts, get into the internship mode, and gain an understanding of what Swami's expectations are of the Trusts. The biggest challenge we have overcome is the fact that we are open to the idea now, we have accepted the fact that the youth must take over, and it is the right time to hand over the baton to the next generation because they are more than prepared than we thought they were. This is my conviction.

Leading a Life That Reflects His Message

KM: My final question to both of you - in light of your joint involvement and commitment over the decades of living, breathing, serving Swami, how would you like history to remember you?

Speaks in the divine presence on the occasion of Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas Conference for Gurus

NP: We got married in 1983. Shortly afterwards as we had not gone on a honeymoon, we went on a short holiday to Goa. Although Kamala and I enjoyed the trip a lot, I got fired after I returned. Let me explain what happened.

When you travel to Goa, it’s natural to go to the sea, you swim, have a lovely time, and return home.

But the moment I came back, I was immediately summoned to Swami’s interview room. Kamala and I went in and saw to our utter surprise my parents sitting there. My first thought was something good was about to happen or else my parents wouldn’t be there in the room. On the contrary, hell broke loose.

Swami vividly played out every small detail of the Goa trip – like a video film.

Every word, every talk, every dress that we wore, every shirt, pant that I wore, and how I went to the sea to swim, how I fought, and how was the room in the hotel where we stayed – he narrated everything with such accuracy. At one point, his description became so personal that I had to touch Swami's feet and tell Him, “Swami please stop, my parents are sitting there, I'm embarrassed.” He said, “What do you think? Swami is everywhere. Swami's with you, inside you, outside. You mean to say Swami's not in your bedroom? Swami's right there in the bedroom.”

Then He said a lovely thing: “Dekho, tum husband-wife, Swami ka instrument hain.” (You husband-wife are like Swami's instruments.)

There will be a time when you will walk and people will say, ‘Look, Swami's people are going.’ Then, how you dress, how you talk, how you walk will determine what people think about Swami. Remember that you are Swami's instrument.”

So, all I can hope for is to pass the test as a worthy instrument of Swami. And with His grace, the world is able to remember me in good light, for the work I have done and the values I have shared.

KM: That's a wonderful aspiration. How about yourself Sister Kamala?

KP: He had also said that time, “People will see you and say, ‘What an ideal couple!’” I hope we can live up to that.

KM: Sister Kamala Pandya and Brother Nimish Pandya, thank you for being so upfront, honest, and candid. Your narrative about your interactions with Swami is sure to touch many hearts. Sairam.


- Radio Sai Team

counter for wordpress