13 Dec 2014

The Sweetest and most Compassionate Guru

This article is the third one in a series of five posts, introduced previously in the article “The Amazing Grace of meeting Sri Swami Vishwananda – Aspects of a living Guru”. It is based on a testimony shared by Hina from London, sister-in-law of Sri Swami Vishwananda, during His last Darshan, held at Shree Peetha Nilaya (SPN), on the 29th of November.

“I have known Swami maybe over 10 years now. I am very blessed because He has allowed me to have a very personal relationship with Him. I am His sister-in-law and the way we engage, it's in a very natural way. He is the coolest: we can laugh about anything; we can have quite mischievous jokes; I can cry about anything - so we have a really cool relationship. What I can say as His sister-in-law is that He is the sweetest, the most loving compassionate person. For example, last year my dad was having a heart problem and he was convinced that he was going to die. During all these years, he had never come to SPN. But Indian people, when they feel that their time is near they go for a Yatra (pilgrimage) so he came to SPN last year. Of course I was having a hard time to deal with it. Around that time, we were also planning to go away for Swami's birthday and it was something that we were really looking forward to. A couple of days before we had spoken and I said, ‘Yeah, it would be so nice to have a break, do something different, to take the kids away.’ And then, my dad had his heart attack and he was in ICU (Intensive Care Unit). We called Swami and He said, ‘Oh, you know, I feel like not going, I don't think I will go either.’ So what He did? He cancelled His birthday plans and then He turned up to London at the hospital bed of a person, that knows that there is something about Him, but has never made an effort to come towards Him. There was God, standing there with my dad, who was oblivious to what a blessing He had. So, that's the compassion Swami shows and to this day my dad is fine.

Photos taken during Navaratri 2014 at SPN: Hina and her daughter Shreya (up left); Sri Swami Vishwananda and Hina (up right); Sri Swami Vishwananda and Shreya (left). Photo taken during Darshan at SPN: Sri Swami Vishwananda and Shreya (right)

Another example might be – last time when we were here at SPN, we were watching a saint's movie and anyone who has watched saints movies with Swami knows that when the movie is on, you don't say anything. So we were sitting and eating. The movie was on, everybody was watching it and Mahi (Hina's baby daughter) decided to start crying. The lights were switched off and Swami said, ‘Take that noise away!’ So I quickly took her outside. When Swami realised that I had left the dinner table, He got up and went outside the room to meet me. He said, ‘Don't worry I have seen this movie. You go, sit down and eat.’ I said, ‘No, no, it's fine, it's fine.’ He said, ‘No. I put her to sleep.’ And Mahi is very difficult to put to sleep, so it took maybe 45min to an hour, in which time most of the movie was over; everybody had finished eating and His food had turned cold. So He had put Mahi to bed while the rest of us could enjoy the movie. So like this, He is very sweet and loving, in a way I don't think words can do justice to His sweetness and the way He interacts.

Sri Swami Vishwananda with Hina's daughters, Mahi and Shreya.

People often ask me, ‘In a day-to-day basis what does Swami like? What I would say is that we are extremely lucky to have Him staying at home and He is very normal. And often people might think that it is easy to practice what He preaches. He always says, ‘Remember God in everything you do, 24x7 and you will be fine.’ To meditate... and all of these things He is always telling us to do. And it is great when you are hearing it and you kind of think, ‘Yeah, that is going to be possible. I am going to do this.’ And maybe it is sometimes easier for us to get into the routine while we are here at SPN. And also I think for Swamiji it must be easier for Him to be in the routine of doing prayers and things. But when He is out travelling – a typical day of Swamiji might be – when He wakes up He will find a playlist of different bhajans; He puts that on, so already God is being ticked off. Then He goes into the shower while the bhajan is playing – God is being ticked off. Then He comes and gets ready and is talking about some stories, or some experiences or some visions – God is being ticked off. And He just makes us realise that even in day-to-day simple mundane tasks, He is the living example that it's possible to include God and remember Him in everything we do. There is a song, in which the refrain says, ‘Without you, even gold becomes brass.’ And such is His Grace. Everything I see, I hear, I do, I have, it's all His Grace. And what I hold dear to myself, everything including my children, all of this means nothing, absolutely nothing without Him and His Grace. And I pray that He always keep us at His feet. I love Him lots.” - Hina, London

Hina with her daughter Shreya following Sri Swami Vishwananda during Govinden Festival in Cudrefin, Switzerland

The Sri Swami Vishwananda Sri Guru Gita – Commentary on the great mysteries of the Guru Disciple Relationship will be launched during Christmas Celebrations at Shree Peetha Nilaya (Bhakti Marga shop)

In the book Blossoming of the Heart, which is available in the Bhakti Marga shop, relatives, friends, devotees and disciples from different countries and different cultural backgrounds share their very personal experiences with Sri Swami Vishwananda. The original English version (right)  is already translated in German (left), Polish and Portuguese.