Personal Transformation Experience
From I to Sai
Sai Ram to one and all! My name is Maria. I am 29 years old and I live in Naples, Italy. In this article, I will tell you about my transformation so far.
Change frightens us. As human beings, we are too attached to our habits, especially bad ones. I am the first! But, a heart transformed by God is something else entirely.
There are no magic words that trigger a change, but it is when you decide to open up to God that the magic happens within you. This is because it is not we who change, but it is God who moves through us from the moment we allow Him to, by abandoning ourselves to Him completely. God makes us free when we seriously put ourselves in His hands. However, He will also transform us at the same time!
It all began five years ago, when I decided to take my first step towards Baba, my Master. Until then, I had admired Him from the stories I had listened to, but my personal attention was not attracted as much. The step I eventually decided to take came from research, a desire to know the Truth and a desire to take a positive turn in my life which I increasingly saw heading towards a dead end.
The desire to be reborn was partly due to my brother, a great source of love and inspiration, who always tried to make me aware of Baba; of what I could receive by approaching Him and of the happiness which cannot be found anywhere else other than in His Presence. My brother tried to take me to Satsang. However, like most youth today, I was unfortunately attracted to the world and its illusory happiness.
Every night, I went to places with bad company where they consumed alcohol. Once the party was over, I stayed out on the streets until the next morning, wasting my time in useless and destructive activities. I was always unhappy, angry with everyone, including my family, and disappointed by this world that left me with nothing but a great emptiness.
So, one day, I decided to become a vegetarian and follow the examples set by my brother and his wife, to begin purifying myself. After this decision, I initially returned to the activities of my previous life. I went out at night to clubs, but without consuming alcohol and always thinking of Baba.
However, as time went by, I began to feel something strange and different in me. I did not have fun when I went out; I did not enjoy being with those people anymore and I started to dislike that environment.
On one night, which seemed no different than any other, something happened which I strongly feel was a clear sign from God. I was in a club, standing in a corner and feeling bored. A stranger approached me and said: ‘What are you doing here? This place is not for you!’ This phrase was repeated twice more by different people unknown to me. As I reflected on these episodes, I came to the conclusion that I needed to get away from everything and everyone and start to understand what I needed to do for my highest good.
I asked myself a thousand questions and searched endlessly for answers:
What do I have to do to be like You?
What do I have to do to make You happy?
What do I have to change to make me worthy of being Your devotee?
Through these questions and reflections, I understood what God does in a soul that seriously wants to transform. He sends you infinite signs. He sends you people. Surreal things happen when He decides to transform you. And when you put the pieces of His infinite signs together, you begin to understand His Presence and His immense Love!
I started going for His Darshan, group Satsangs and world youth gatherings. Being together with great souls helped me in bringing about the changes which I wanted and which Swami was making for me.
I finally visited India in 2017 for Swami’s 92nd Birthday Celebrations. This completely transformed my heart. During the seven days I spent there, I felt Baba's Love flowing through my veins, each time more and more powerfully. So many things happened to me which I took as His trials and His infinite signs of a full and inexplicable Love that bound me completely to Him and to His Mission in this world.
When I returned to Italy, I began participating in service for the homeless every Monday and Saturday, preparing meals in the afternoon and distributing them on the streets in the evening. This service has given me so much more than I have given to those we serve. Every time I do Seva, I think about Baba and give all the love that I can from within. I want His Love to flow through me into the food for the brothers and sisters on the streets so that they too can feel Swami's greatness in their hearts.
When I look into their eyes, I receive a mix of emotions – sadness, loneliness, hope, anger, gratitude, a lack of affection, abandonment – and I suffer seeing their condition. But, at the same time, I also think that I can be with them again next Monday and Saturday, when I can give them love, food, warmth, smiles, words of comfort and whatever else they lack that Swami asks us to give them. This is how I become happy again within myself and happy to be present for these precious opportunities that God gives us to serve Him and participate in His Mission.
If I previously lived my life believing that I am an individual and nothing else, the real change in me came when I realised that I had erased and forgotten the "D" in front of "I" (D-IO). Now that I have reunited myself with Him, we have merged and there is only GOD.
In Italian, ‘God’ and ‘I’ are denoted by ‘Dio’ and ‘Io’ respectively.
Region 3, Italy