Personal Transformation Experience
Our Transformation is all that Really Matters to Him
How do I write in an article, about something that has possibly been going on for more than a thousand lifetimes?
The way I see it – Swami is only interested in our transformation. That’s what He came down as an Avatar for. Sometimes, our transformation takes place through moments of adversity and pain. Other times – through His presence and His showering of pure love on us. Then, there are times when He helps us transform through facing our fears.
When I was a young lad of about five or six, I watched a documentary on TV about World War II. It had very vivid scenes of people dying – whole villages and cities wiped out in a matter of seconds. I was so disturbed and worried about dying that I could not sleep that night.
At the foot of my bed was a little bookshelf where I had kept an old sudam box. It was a very precious box, because inside it was something I held very dear to me. A little picture of Ganesha. I took the picture out of the box, and held it very close to my heart as I attempted to sleep. With my eyes tightly shut, I asked Ganesha to stay with me that night as I kept him as close to me as I possibly could.
I woke up in the morning next to a very crumpled picture of Ganesha, but I did not feel an ounce of fear or worry about death anymore.
That was the first time, I remember actually attempting to speak with God. Of course, I wasn’t aware of what I was doing at that time. It just felt like the right thing to do. Looking back, I think it was Swami’s way of using my fears to transform me, and introduce me to the idea of depending on Him through His many forms.
Years later, as a fresh graduate, Swami had blessed me with a wonderful job at one of the top management consulting firms. I worked very hard, but I also partied equally hard - clubbing on weekends, spending money on alcohol and entertainment.
The cycle continued for almost two years - very hard work, very little sleep, very hard partying. Then one morning, I woke up, and a voice rang loudly and clearly in my head, “It’s been a long time since you thought about Jesus!”.
At first, I thought it was a very strange thing for me to hear in my head because I was raised as a Hindu and not a Christian.
However, it did also make sense because I had a beautiful picture of Jesus in my bedroom, hanging on the wall just on top of my bed – and throughout my childhood, just like the Ganesha in the sudam box, this picture of Jesus too was a constant companion to me. And so it struck me that this voice in my head was absolutely right. I hadn’t thought of Jesus in ages. In fact, I couldn’t even remember the last time I had visited a temple for that matter. So, I closed my eyes, and said a long, warm prayer to the sweet Lord.
And then things began happening in my life.
A few months after that morning with Jesus, out of the blue, I decided to stop drinking alcohol. I was at a barbeque, and my friend’s father handed me a Carlsberg beer. I took it and drank it, and as I did so, a voice in my head said, this is the last one I will ever have.
And so it was.
A few weeks later, my love for meat dishes began diminishing very quickly, and soon I couldn’t stand having any meat in my meals. Again, it was sudden, but it was also this persistent, voice in my head guiding me in this direction. Slowly but surely, something was definitely going on.
A few months later, after I had fully turned vegetarian, and had been free from alcohol for about four months…. on April 18, 2003, I was blessed with the opportunity of visiting a small bhajan unit called Sai Ananda.
The dilapidated, abandoned temple in which Sai Ananda was housed in was small, yet, the energy and the love that poured forth from the centre, was very, very large.
The first thing I noticed was there were children and youth everywhere (and only maybe one or two adults). There were no politics, or ego games or leadership squabbles that you sometimes see in other organisations. There was always something to do, whether it was preparing food for the hundreds of children and family members that came on a weekly or monthly basis, or the teaching of EHV classes, or the running of weekly computer and tuition classes or the organising of multiple medical camps, and so forth.
Swami didn’t let me waste any time. What I initially thought was going to be one visit to a Sai Centre, instead became the first day of the most amazing part of my life – my life with Sai.
I realised later that all those changes in my lifestyle that I thought was my own doing, was actually Swami’s invisible hand, transforming and preparing me for this new life.
Now, years later, my wife and I are still very much a part of Sai Ananda even though we’ve migrated to a different country altogether. Marriage and parenting are another two of Swami’s effective tools for transformation – but that would be another thousand word essay by itself.
I feel there’s so much more transformation that needs to take place in me, but I am thankful that He is giving me glimpses of how it is taking place, and that He is showing me that He is with me all the way.
Thank you, dearest Swami, for the sudam box Ganesh, for your voice in my head and for every moment of transformation that is yet to come. Love, love, love. Jai Sai Ram.
Sai Ananda, Malaysia