Once Sri Swamiji was visiting the Namadwaars located in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu. At that time, a satsang was being conducted in the place that Sri Swamiji was then staying. A devotee from another town located a few hours away, had come all the way to participate in the satsang. For that devotee, Nama was his life, and he could not be without having the darshan of Sri Swamiji.
As soon as Sri Swamiji saw that devotee, he asked him to come near and spoke to him. “When did you come? It is cloudy and rainy. How did you come?” he asked with a lot of concern.
The devotee replied, “I came a few hours ago. I came in my two-wheeler (motorbike).”
Sri Swamiji exclaimed, “You have come this far on your two-wheeler?” and pointing to his head, he asked, “Where is your helmet?”
The devotee replied enthusiastically, “Yes Swamiji, in order to see you I came all the way from my town on my two-wheeler itself. My helmet is in poor condition. So I did not wear it.”
Sri Swamiji said, “Oh, is that so! You have come all the way eagerly to participate in this satsang, in this rainy season, without a helmet, having traveled for so many hours!”
Happy to hear what Sri Swamiji said, the devotee said, “Yes Swamiji, God is there; I have Nama on my tongue; Gurunathar is there. So I am not worried. I came boldly.”
When he said this, a shadow fell on Sri Swamiji’s face.
“Do you think this kind of behavior is living with faith in God? Knowing that this is dangerous, you undertake such action, and then say Bhagavan Nama is there and I am not afraid! It is that Bhagavan who has blessed you with the buddhi (intellect). Making use of that properly is only the right characteristic of a devotee. Moreover, do you know how one who really has devotion to God and the Divine Name will behave? He will live cautiously thinking that people should not speak ill of Nama or find fault with it or say things like, ‘He was saying ‘Nama Nama’. Now he has had an accident!’ True bhakti is living in such a way that there is no slur on God, Guru, or Nama.” Thus Sri Swamiji advised that devotee.
Mahans have said ‘All that happens is due to God’s compassion, Gurunathar’s compassion!’ This is indeed true. There is no doubt about this. But during certain times in our lives, we may rashly do some things without thinking, because of laziness, carelessness, haste, or to fulfill desires that far supersede our needs. After doing that, if danger befalls us or if we are afraid, we will say, “God, the ocean of compassion, is there! Nama is there! Gurunathar is there!”
God’s true benevolence is the buddhi that He has blessed each one of us with. Living a life where, at each step, we make use of that buddhi and take sensible decisions to the extent possible by us, is only truly living a life depending on God’s grace. Living this way always, let us also pray that, beyond this, only He can protect us.
Translated from Tamil MadhuraMurali magazine, July 2020 issue