Love in Action
We all find that some occasions in our lives become engraved on memory. The events that are described below are engraved on mine because of three things that they so vividly illustrated.
It was in November 1997 that Baba Ji invited the foreign visitors in Dera to a satsang in Moga, Punjab, warning that it wouldn’t be easy. Many volunteered, really looking forward to the chance of accompanying our Master to this large programme outside the Dera. And it wasn’t easy because shortly after Baba Ji started the satsang the heavens opened and torrential rain flooded everywhere. Baba Ji interrupted his satsang to advise the restless sangat that they were already wet, they might as well stay sitting!
There is a popular song which runs, “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden. Along with the sunshine, there’s gotta be a little rain sometime.” Well, we certainly got our rain that day and I guess I learned that satsang, like life, isn’t necessarily a comfortable experience – let’s just stick it out!
The foreigners were sitting on both sides of the dais upon which Baba Ji was sitting to give the discourse: men on one side and women on the other. As we sat, the water rose higher and higher, not able to flow away because of the plastic sheeting used to cover the muddy ground of the open field. The water level was soon over our legs as we sat cross-legged, having darshan of the Master.
The satsang continued – around thirty minutes passed and the cold crept into our bones as we sat, damp now to our waists. Suddenly a tiny girl, four or five years old, in filthy clothes, her eyes wide with terror, splashed towards us making little shrieking noises. A satsangi in front of me, Mike, reached over and lifted her up out of the water, holding her above it. Sitting just behind them, I could see her as he held this little bundle of bones out of the deluge. And I could see how she clung to him and how the terror started to leave her eyes. Perhaps she had been parted from her family in the throng; or perhaps she was an orphan, a street child scraping a bare living through begging and stealing. Perhaps she saw the crowds flowing towards the huge shamiana structure and she was drawn along, like a twig in a fast flowing river, towards the satsang. The rains came suddenly and in her terror she ran into the tent, panicked by the water now up to her knees, until she was lifted out by a gentle man.
I will never know how the story ended for that lost child, but believe that sevadars would have ensured that she was either re-united with her parents or placed with those who would care for her. The image of her rescue remains with me as an enduring impression of the day, somehow symbolising our own spiritual rescue (through satsang) from the world that would otherwise engulf us as surely as the water did.
In Moga’s satsang field, wet and bedraggled foreigners finally shuffled towards the buses, and found very welcome and reviving hot tea and sandwiches waiting. Despite being so cold, they were happy as they clambered into the buses for the return trip to the Dera. And then suddenly Baba Ji appeared. Even though the satsang audience was of many thousands, and he had so much to arrange – meeting the local sevadars and reassuring many Moga citizens who lined up to see him – he still made time to check on his cold, soaked guests. The Guest House people had all boarded, so Baba Ji approached each bus in turn, checking if everyone was well after the shock of the rain. This was my third lasting image – our Father making sure his children were safe and bringing us all face to face with the very source of love in action.
A newborn does not exercise a choice
but, helpless, leans towards its mother’s voice,
the one clear sound above a world of noise.
Like this O God,
I need you.
A traveller stranded on a foreign shore,
longing for lands no longing can restore,
feels longing’s pain but may not know of more.
Like this O God,
I crave you.
But when, as man, you come to lead the dance
and, turning, when we catch your gracious glance,
and though untrained, we follow you entranced –
O God, it’s then
I love you.
Original poem by a satsangi