Sai Baba on burdens

Recently, I saw a lovely old photo of Sathya Sai Baba on Face Book. He was standing and holding a small piece of luggage in his arms.

The caption under the photo was, “Don’t make any arrangements. I am making the arrangements.” I enjoyed a good laugh over that.

How many times in my life had I made plans, perfect plans, only to see them fall apart? People changed their minds. Weather prevented travel. Schedules couldn’t be kept.

Things flew into our day-to-day lives like crazed hornets on the run; and in a flash, what was going to happen, got transformed into a non-event, or at best got postponed. I was often frustrated by these unforeseen events. It was not until Sai Baba became my spiritual teacher that I understood he had come to take care of his devotees.

He said, “What you have to do is to place all your burdens on God; that makes you carefree and grief-free. Then, when you take everything as the divine play of the Lord you love, you clap your hands in bliss whatever may happen, for it is all his play and you are as happy as he is when his plans are being carried out.”

At first I could not grasp this teaching, that I could be happy under any circumstance. It seemed impossible. I had no practice relying on God, surrendering my difficulties to him.But the more I practiced letting go and letting Sai, I began to see that the beloved lord, does know what is best.

This did not mean I did nothing. No, I practiced detachment. I practiced patience. I threw myself into community service and surprisingly, some of the many things I thought I could not survive without, I began to see as fleeting and trivial. I learned to put a lid on my desires. Less is best. 

The Puttaparthi avatar, once Lord Rama and once Lord Krishna, said, “Those who teach about Nature and its laws, matter and its properties, forces and their pulls, teach to bind, not to liberate.  It is burden, not bliss. It provides a stone boat for you to cross the sea with waves of grief and crests of joy.  It cannot float you along; it is certain to sink. What you need is the bark of bhakti (devotion, dedication, the path of love of God), of assurance of grace, of surrender to his will.”

Like many of us who were brought up believing that through the power of our minds, our cleverness, our sheer determination, we could guarantee ourselves a life of security.

But most of us learned that reputation and money are limited, and might be here today, but tomorrow they could vanish.

Happily, I chose to follow Swami Sai, who said, “Throw off all burdens, become light and you can trip across with one step on one crest and another on the next. God will take you through. You have no need to bother at all. For when he does everything who is concerned about what?”

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