23 Jan 2014

T-Shirt Lila

“The Divine is far away from the mind because it is very difficult for the mind to understand the Divine. Until you have really cleansed the mind completely, until you have really purified the mind completely, it is quite difficult to understand the Divine.”
Swami Vishwananda

The above statement proved to be especially true a few weeks ago in Shree Peetha Nilaya. As the Media Team was getting ready to introduce the new t-shirt collection for the 2013 Christmas events, we asked Swami which t-shirt designs he preferred. As He looked through the selection, He made a few comments about each design, and pointed out that He especially liked the “Love” design which was shown to Him. Taking His input into consideration, the Media Team decided to order three t-shirt designs, one was a “Sri Yantra” design, another was a “Just Love and Chant the Devine Names” design, and lastly the simple “Love” design that Swami had mentioned He liked.

The t-shirts were on sale during the Christmas events and turned out be very popular with the Devotees. With the exception of the “Love” design, all of the other designs completely sold out, and we didn’t have any left over to sell after the conclusion of the Christmas events. This was somewhat surprising to the Media team, and we wondered how it could be that we sold all of the shirts except the one that Swami Himself said He liked. It would be one thing if none of the shirts sold well, but for every other design to be completely sold out, and for almost no one to buy the “Love” design didn’t make any sense.

As human beings usually tend to do, we started to rationalise as to why this happened. We said to ourselves, well the design is too plain, the design is too confusing, the colors don’t look nice, etc.. As we started to make excuses as to why the “Love” design didn’t sell well, Swami who always mirrors our thoughts, reflected back exactly what we were feeling. Swami started making comments such as “why did we get this design it’s too confusing,” and “we need to be more in touch with what the Devotees want in Europe.” Naturally, since Swami had confirmed what we were thinking, we concluded it was indeed a mistake to order the shirts, even though Swami himself had originally given His blessing and said He liked them.

The story could have ended there, but fortunately for us, God had other plans. It just so happened that during the end of the year celebrations, 12 Mauritian (Mauritius is the Country where Swami was born) Devotees where staying at the Ashram for a few weeks, and were scheduled to leave at the beginning of the New Year. As their stay was coming to an end, one of the Media Team Members thought it would be a good idea to give the t-shirts we hadn’t sold to the Mauritians as a going away present. The night before the Mauritians were scheduled to leave, Swami gave them a gift bag, with a few things they could take back with them including the t-shirts. After the gift bags where presented, a few of the Mauritians wondered if there where extra t-shirts they could take back to Mauritius and distribute them to the Devotees that couldn’t afford to make the pilgrimage to Shree Peetha Nilaya. After the Media Team had counted all of the Devotees in Mauritius that wanted a shirt, and couldn’t make it to Germany, the number of Devotees matched almost the exact amount of shirts that weren’t sold during the Christmas events.

If we had sold additional t-shirts with the “Love” design during the Christmas events, we wouldn’t have had enough to give to the Mauritians. The following day, when the Media Team was analyzing the series of events, we realized to our surprise that the “Love” design had the exact same colors as the Mauritius flag.

The “t-shirt lila” taught everyone in the Media Team a few valuable lessons. If the Guru gives His blessing for anything, whether it’s for something simple as a t-shirt design, to find a life partner, to have a child, to receive a job etc… then one shouldn’t worry about the outcome, one should have faith in the blessing and be firm in the fact that everything will happen exactly the way it should happen. The second lesson we learned is that we can’t possibly begin to understand the Divine with our minds. When we perceive something with our minds, and try to rationalise why certain things should be a certain way, we lose our connection with the Divine. As Swami once said, “the mind always wants to understand something and wants to understand it quickly. Well, there are certain things that the mind can’t comprehend and for that there is another sense to understand it. The sense is the soul itself”.

Hopefully with our Guru’s Grace we are able to understand with our hearts / souls and not our minds, and to follow in the footsteps of the disciples of Jesus. Jesus said to them “blessed are your eyes, for they see and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see, and have NOT seen them, and to hear those things which you hear, and have NOT heard them.”

“Nothing is coincidence. When people are saying a coincidence is happening, it’s not a coincidence. There’s no such thing as coincidence. The Lord plans everything in a way that when you are surrendered you know His plan even before you try to think about it. He will place it here, inside of you. Then you’re guided, and He guides you in every step. He brings you where you have to be.”
Swami Vishwananda

(written by Chidananada)