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Sri Rathnakars Talks at the Retreat: Valedictory Address

National Retreat: Valedictory Address by Sri R J Rathnakar (1st September 2013)
‘The Divine Sathya Sai Mission’

At the very outset, Sri Rathnakar expressed his delight being at the Retreat and felt very much at home with the kind of love and warmth he was experiencing here.

He commenced his address by saying that the Sai Mission and Sai Vision would continue with or without us since Swami will continue to take it forward. It would be our great fortune and blessing if we could be part of this wonderful experience.

Sri Rathnakar was recounting a moment with Swami when he was with other students in the interview room. One of the students said, “Swami, we will lay down our lives to you.” Swami looked at all of them and with a twinkle in His eye remarked, ”I don’t want dead bodies!”. So humorous, but profound! He further added that He wanted everyone to live for Him and live His Message. Only when we lived and practised His Message could we claim to be part of the Sai Mission.

Many a times Swami has reminded us to follow the inner conscience. Sri Rathnakar reiterated Swami’s message and said that if our conscience indicated something to be right, then we should go ahead and do it; if it does not indicate this, then not to do it! He added that the Self would never ever misguide us; the inner self would always guide us towards the right path. It was always prompting us and one should learn not to ignore it.

Swami was a unique personality who could relate to every individual. Sri Rathnakar made an attempt to understand how Swami was able to do this. He pondered that with our human limitations, whenever we looked at someone, then it was only natural to see that person through the prism of his position, background, his family and other such aspects. However, in God’s Vision, these parameters wouldn’t apply at all. He narrated an incident to illustrate this. He was once sitting with Swami in the interview room. Someone’s visiting card was brought to Swami which described that person was so and so and a Managing Director of a company. Swami’s humour is unparalleled, but His response was instantaneous: ”Managing Director….or Damaging Director! All out of Prasanthi Nilayam!”.

From being a witness to many such incidents, brother Rathnakar felt that whenever anyone entered Prasanthi Nilayam, Swami appeared to connect with our inner feelings and attitudes. He, being the Indweller in every living being, seemed to reflect Himself accordingly. He elaborated further with another incident.

He recollected the day when he had witnessed the splendour of Swami on the Golden Chariot. Millions of assembled devotees were offering their respects and salutations to Him in utmost devotion and reverence. After blessing them, Swami returned to His Residence at Yajur Mandir, and asked the watchman if he had his lunch. Often times, if the programme was a bit delayed, He would express His concern to the watchman or gate keeper or a volunteer manning the gate. That is how He connected to everyone. For Swami, every living creature was His own reflection. He saw Himself in everyone. And no wonder then that all of us were drawn to Him!

Sri Rathnakar also touched upon the question: Why some of us were the fortunate few in this vast population to have witnessed and interacted with the Avatar? Perhaps it was our past karmic deeds, he mused. He gave a good analogy using the example of iron filings which are attracted by a magnet. If iron filings were too rusted, they wouldn’t get attracted to the magnet. It is not as though people who hadn’t come to Swami are rusted, or that we were very pure! Those of us who have come to Swami are already in His Divine Mission, he stated thoughtfully. Sri Rathnakar further added that if we continued to follow Swami and His teachings, the Sai Mission would be an integral part of us. Otherwise sadly, it would be separate from us, and external to us. But it would still continue! He urged all devotees to make the entire Mission part of us so that we would be blessed forever.

A young lady had approached him at the Retreat, he said, asking if he had any advice for the youth. He shared that it was essential for the youth to get involved in the Sai Movement in an enthusiastic and vibrant way. He questioned what is youth, and shared a wonderful thing that Swami had once said:

YOU and TRUTH is YOUTH.

He exclaimed that you would always remain Youthful when you made Truth (Sathya) a part of You.

Sri Rathnakar connected this to Swami and said that because Swami was the very embodiment of Truth (Sathya), He looked very youthful and full of enthusiasm. Whilst energy and enthusiasm were important for the youth , Sri Rathnakar stressed the importance of having experience and wisdom as well. He cited the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust as an example where the elders of the Trust bridged the important gap of experience and wisdom that a younger person is yet to possess. The youth and the elders had to be working together and complementing each other. He encouraged the youth to take Swami as the inspiration. Swami laid the foundation stone for the construction of Prasanthi Nilayam when He was only 21. He started the General Hospital when He was 30 years old!

Sri Rathnakar shared a question that a devotee had posed him – why was it that Sathya Sai Baba didn’t have a person such as Vivekananda? In one of the interviews Sri Rathnakar was blessed to have, Swami asked him what he wanted to become. Very innocently, he replied that he wanted to become like Vivekananda. Swami lovingly asked him why? To this he replied that Vivekananda was a great personality. Lovingly Swami responded, ”No need! You become like me instead! Why do you want to become like Vivekananda?”. Sri Rathnakar then reiterated that we had to become like Swami to be part of Swami’s Mission.

Before concluding, Sri Rathnakar shared a touching experience. There was a gentleman who used to be physically close to Swami. Swami stopped talking to him, and understandably, this gentleman was very sad and dejected. He once shared his deep anguish with brother Rathnakar, and at an opportune moment, he conveyed it to Swami. Swami’s responded and said that if someone had a breathing problem, why blame the air? The problem was not with the air! So too, If one was not feeling the Love of Swami, why lay the blame on Him? it was not the mistake of Swami! He said that It was important for each and everyone of us to introspect and correct ourselves, so we could all feel the Divine Love which Swami is.

With that, Sri Rathnakar concluded his very interesting and thoughtful talk. He thanked the organisers, people in the kitchen who lovingly fed everyone, Mr Prasad an ardent devotee of Swami whose support was very crucial for various arrangements, and all the devotees for all the Love that he had received from them. He felt fully in bliss and was feeling the echoes of Swami’s voice. He said that he was going to carry the memories back to Prasanthi Nilayam. He prayed to Bhagawan to be close to us at all times, so that we remained always in Divine Bliss.