Selvaraj’s Experiences with Bhagawan
“The divine descends where there is no selfishness. Where there is even a trace of selfishness, the divine will not descend.” Yogi Ramsuratkumar was a living example of that. He was neither selfish nor family oriented. He treated everyone equally and blessed all the devotees.
I had the fortune of serving Swami for 7 years from 1995 to 2001. Initially, I went to the ashram as a construction worker only. My first dharshan of Swami was memorable. Before the full fledged ashram work started, once when Swami came to see the site, he decided to go around. As he walked, I cleaned the path before him removing the thorns. Towards the end, he came so close to me that I stopped plucking the thorns and stood up thinking that I can continue after he crosses me. But Swami stopped walking, stood there itself for 5 mins and kept looking at me. That was my first dharshan. He smiled at me, blessed me and went away. After 2 or 3 weeks, the Trustee, Mr. Mani called me for the construction work. When I went to the ashram, Swami asked me if I want to do construction work or I would like to be with him. I told him that I will serve him. This is how I got the opportunity to serve him. Probably during my first dharshan itself, he decided to keep me with him.
During the initial days, while I was working at the ashram, doing construction work, I was just a worker there and I did not have any great devotion towards Swami. One day, I informed the trustee Mr. Mani about my intention to go to my home town. I came to my house to prepare for the journey. When I tried to get out of my house, I felt some power stopping me. Again for a couple of times, I tried to leave and I was stopped. Then I made up my mind not to go out of town. I could then go out of the house. I went to some shop and came back. A person from the Ashram came to my house and told me to come to the Ashram immediately. When I went to the Ashram, Swami called me near him and told me not to go out of town and that it is dangerous for my life. I agreed to listen to his words. I sat in my place. Again he called me near him and said the same thing. Again I agreed and sat in my place. After 10 mins, he called me to say the same thing and this time I promised him that I will not go. He was still not fully convinced. He called Mr. Mani and asked him to tell me not to go mentioning that I might not believe the words of the “beggar”. Mr. Mani told me that it would be dangerous for my life if I go out of town. I told him that I am confirming that I will not go and he conveyed the same to Swami. Swami left me only after he was convinced that I will not leave for my home town that day. That day, I realized the divine power of Yogi Ramsuratkumar and also his concern towards me.
Every day, when Swami comes in the car, I will have to receive him, hold his hand to help him to get out of the car, walk with him holding his hand and help him sit in his chair. He would come thrice every day, first time, for the breakfast, then for morning and afternoon dharshan. For every visit, I should be present there to receive him. If I am not already there waiting for him, he will not get out of the car. He will look around for me. So I had to be very punctual. During dharshan time, I will hand over the list given by Mr. Mani to Swami. Swami will tell me who is to be called, to come closer to him for taking prasad. I will call them. Once, a devotee staying in Adhiti Ashram asked me if I can help him to get Swami’s dharshan. I told him to follow the procedure. The man did the same. When his name was read out to Swami, Swami asked me if I knew that friend. I was shocked. I told him, “Yes, Bhagavan! Yesterday, I saw him at Adhiti Ashram”. Swami told me, “Call him!” There is no way we can speak anything without his knowledge even when he is not around. He will always come to know.
When Swami gives the prasad to devotees, I had the job of handing over the fruits to Swami. Sometimes, if some familiar devotee comes, I would take out some costly fruit like an apple to be given to them. Swami will look at it and say “Let’s give kalkandu (sugarcandy)”. Then I learnt that things will not happen as per our wish. We can serve him only if we can be like a lifeless object without any personal preference. He should only decide. The direction will be his and only the action will be ours.
I had studied till senior secondary. I had failed twice in English. But I gradually learnt English and started confidently conversing in English because of Swami. When some foreigners come for Dharshan, Swami would ask me to find out from them what they wanted to say. I would ask them “What do you want to say to him?” I will repeat whatever I could understand from their reply. Initially, it used to be very difficult. Sometimes I was not able to understand their pronunciation. During those times, I will guess what they would have wanted to say. If I am not saying the right thing, Swami will just stare at me. I will understand that I am not right. I will ask the foreigners to repeat it again loudly. Swami himself would hear it this time. Still he would not leave until I convey the right message to him. This is how I learnt English while serving Swami.
When my son was born, I requested Swami to name the child. Swami thought for a few minutes and asked us to wait for sometime. Months went by. As Swami had not named the child, we did not use any pet name at home, even while cuddling the baby. After a year, one day, Swami called me and gave the name of his guru, “Aurobindo” for my one-year old son. We patiently waited for a year with the faith that Swami knows what is best for us and when to do it. We were blessed and rewarded with such a great name for my son!
(As told to Nivedita on May 10th, 2015)