‘THIS IS YOUR DUTY. THIS IS YOUR PUJA’
Updated: Aug 10, 2019
by Dr. Ravita Singh
Experience with Guru can be very subtle and it takes quite a few days of meditation and reflection before the experience turns to wisdom. On this occasion I was walking directly behind Pujya Balaswamiji and saw when HE abruptly changed direction from heading into the temple, to passing behind the elephant. Then he approached the 103 Fm radio table. This is a typical example of how Guru, full of compassion, goes out of his way to bless a sincere devotee. (Editor’s note)
On the evening that Sri Bala Swamiji was arriving in Trinidad, fellow devotee, and trustee at DYC Carapichaima, Mr. Gyan Ramlogan, asked me to host the live radio broadcast of the welcoming ceremony at the Ashrama.
A short while earlier, I had asked 16 senior female devotees to line either side of the street in front of the ashrama (Datta Drive), so that they could perform aarti to welcome Sri Bala Swamiji as the car carrying Him turned onto Datta Drive. I requested them to start the aarti as SOON as Sri Bala Swamiji’s car turned onto Datta Drive. At the time when I made that suggestion, I did not know how I would come to be affected by that timing. I simply wanted Sri Bala Swamiji to feel these lights “pulling” Him lovingly towards the Ashrama and Trinidadian devotees. It was symbolic of the light He brings into our lives. More than anything, I wanted Him to feel and know how much we love Him and wanted Him here.
Meanwhile, I was standing at my post, doing the radio bit on the DYC compound. Suddenly, devotees started running out onto Datta Drive, because Sri Bala Swamiji was almost there. Even Gyan ran out, as did many of the other members of the bhajan group. That evening’s live broadcast, incidentally, involved alternating between the bhajan group singing bhajans and me speaking about what was happening (live) at the ashrama, about Sri Swamiji and about Sri Bala Swamiji after each bhajan. I had been told that the radio in the car in which Sri Bala Swamiji was traveling would be tuned in to this live broadcast of the welcoming ceremony.
Anyway, suddenly I barely saw one of the 16 aarti ladies start to perform aarti. My vantage point was not the best. I saw her start to perform aarti and I KNEW that Sri Bala Swamiji was on the street. I so wanted to see Him again (I was blessed to have met Him, for the first time six months earlier), but I kept telling myself, “Stay put. This is your duty. This is your puja.” I was mentally repeating that to myself over and over again, so that I would feel no regret about not being able to go out onto the street to see Him immediately.
DEDICATION TO SEVA WINS
Then the car appeared, the driver drove onto the compound and Sri Bala Swamiji got out. He greeted devotees as He walked, but He walked directly over to where I was standing, looked at those of us who had stayed on the DYC compound near where the radio equipment was set up, and He asked, “Who was announcing?”
To anyone reading this, that might seem fairly insignificant, but only He and Appaji know how much I had wanted to run out onto the street, but did not, for fear of neglecting my duty to be on air! I just had to ensure that Sri Bala Swamiji could HEAR His welcome, in addition to now seeing it. So now, after struggling harder than I can describe, to overcome my desire to run out onto the street, after repeatedly reminding myself, chanting to myself, that “duty comes first,” to have Him come straight up to me and ask about that one job... “Who was announcing?” Well... it felt like what was in my heart was written all over His face, His eyes and His smile,” and that was love. He knew my inner battles that evening, and, by coming up to where I was standing and asking that one question, it felt like He was saying, “I know.” And He does. How could He not? After all, Pujya Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, my beloved Sadguru, has said that He and Sri Bala Swamiji are One and The Same!
Sri Bala Swamiji, within minutes of arriving at the Ashrama, showed me, in my humble opinion, in no uncertain terms, that He knew that I was forced to choose between fulfilling my heart’s desire to see Him immediately and my duty as hostess of the radio broadcast. He taught me, before any discourses were even given, a valuable lesson...dedication to duty shortens the distance between shishya and Guru. He physically filled that gap - that distance, between us that evening, but for the compassion He showed in not just doing so, but doing so immediately upon getting out of the car, before even heading into the Ashrama, and for the valuable lesson He reinforced within me just minutes of His arrival, my heart melts!
Sri Guru Datta.