Recently, I had a burning desire to know more about God. Yes, I read scriptures, autobiographies/biographies of saints and I learnt a lot from them. But I wanted to know the experiences of a common man with God. Saints, devotees and kings, about whom I studied, were extraordinary people with great devotion to God. Now, I am neither a deeply spiritual person nor a religious person. I am just a common person living for me and my family, going through the pleasures and pains of life. So, I wanted to know if a common man, like me, had any experiences with God in this age of Kaliyuga. In this search, I found a book by the name ‘When I saw Tirupati Balaji’ by P.V.R.K.Prasad in amazon. I bought the book and started reading it.
Author shared the experiences he had with Tirupati Balaji while he worked as TTD EO between 1978-82. I could not put down the book. I read the book at a stretch and completed it in less than a day. Book is so mesmerizing that I lost track of time. Mentally, I was in Tirumala and I had darshan of the Lord as I was reading. This book brought me tears many times. The incidents narrated by the author were extraordinary and unbelievable at times. One incident has shaken me and made me to introspect.
The incident goes like this. A devotee sees in his dream Lord Balaji and Lord asks him a necklace of 108 gold coins. This devotee was a primary school teacher with meagre land and huge responsibilities. Even if he sold his entire property, he cannot afford the necklace. Still, he and his family members decide to fulfill Lord’s wish(really? do such people exist?). Entire family, including children and elderly people, happily forgo one meal in a day for 6 months and with the money saved, they could get 2 gold coins. They continued this way for some more years. Slowly, they started becoming better financially and they continued working on this project. It took the family 16 years to get the necklace. Family was overjoyed and thrilled to offer the necklace to Tirupati Balaji.
When I read this, I was amazed. I know people who would do extraordinary things for God but they are all done with some wishes like marriage, good health, prosperity, peace etc(which is wonderful. If not God, whom do we ask?). But I haven’t read or heard about anyone fasting and saving every rupee to fulfill God’s wish. This incident has moved me and made me think – what have I done for God without expecting anything in return?
When I reflected, I realized I did nothing for God without expectation. All my life, I lived only for my happiness. I practiced energy healing, meditation, tithing, service , chanted mantras, prayed, did fasting, studied scriptures to improve my life(and these are fantastic tools to improve one’s life). I wanted good health, prosperity, harmonious relationships, peace. So, I pursued spirituality and religion. To me, God and Guru are the people who help me live a better life. But I never thought about doing something to God or Guru without any expectations. It was all about me and mine. After reading this story, I felt like a child who would only ask, ask, ask from parents and never does anything to parents.
This book has inspired me to think of doing something for God and Guru unconditionally. Of course, God and Guru need nothing from me because they are all capable and they have crores of devotees/disciples to do what they want. But I want to do something small everyday in my capacity. Out of the many activities I do in a day, I want to do just 1 activity(like chanting/praying/meditating) as an expression of love/gratitude for God and Guru and for this 1 activity, I don’t want anything in return. This is the impact created by this book on me.
Its rare to find a book that can be interesting, inspiring and life-transforming. This is one such book that touched my life. Deeply grateful to the author who shared his personal life in the book and took me closer to the divine. Author could convince me that an ordinary person like me, lost in the false glitters of Kali Yuga, can also experience God. Thank you God for sending this book into my life.
Sarve jana sukhino bhavanthu!
-Contributed by Geethanjali Balachander