A WINDOW TO THE INFINITE
Some years ago, during a chat, my daughter Gayatri asked me from USA (at that time I was working in India) as to how she should start a narration of the story of Hanuman to a class of tiny tots of the Baalavihar at the Chinmaya mission, Orlando. The children belonged to the age group between 4 and 6 years she said. I suggested to her that in order to ensure ready participation, she should start the narration with a poser to the class like "who is the strongest man they can name?".Being ignorant myself of the quality of children in the Balavihar, I thought that the replies to this question would be something like 'superman','spiderman', ‘He Man’ and so on. My daughter, I suggested, should then tell the children that there is a 'Man' more powerful than all the earlier named and that is 'Hanuman'. My daughter somehow agreed to my naive suggestion and started the said class with the suggested question. When she had put the question to the class, then to her utter surprise and delight the class replied in chorus 'HANUMAN'!
When she told this to me during my next chat I was very glad.
Some decades ago, I had the great privilege of listening to the 'Gurudev' live on two occassions. I was amazed at his learning, scholarship and his energy levels. One of the batons passed on by 'Him' is being faithfully carried on by the wise elders in Orlando-I thought.
On another occasion my daughter narrated another amusing anecdote about a child in her class who one day came up to her and told thus. 'Ms.Gayatri, I am now able to understand Sanskrit'. My daughter then enquires as to what is the latest that she has understood. The child replies that 'Bhagawan uvacha' means 'Bhagawan is watching us'. Meanings apart, it was an interesting view point of a child who is initiated in to right thinking!
I had started becoming inquisitive!
I started attending the Balavihar classes of my daughter through distant learning mode! in my late 50's!!
I was getting eager to meet the great persons behind the mission work at Orlando and also my tiny little co-alumni!!
In 2008, a chance came my way to visit USA on business. While on this trip, I took a short leave from my work and rushed to Orlando to meet my co-students at the Orlando mission. Balavihar I realized is being run in conformity with Gurudev's view that 'children are not vessels to be filled but lamps to be lit'.
This visit was a great eye opener for me. Meeting with a person like Shailaji taught me humility.
A visit to the mission boosted my energy levels. All the persons that I met in the mission are 'achievers’, ‘successful in their respective fields of activity' and 'normal'. The ambience in the mission reminded me of the words of Stendhal "the normal most regularly approaches the sublime". Living such soulful life in the midst of modern pressures requires one to walk in the footsteps of a 'Master'. Blessed are all those at the mission who get this chance in abundance.
My first visit to the mission was brief. I had to get back to business in Chile. However the urge to get back to the mission became strong.
How lucky I am!
This time I am on a longer visit to Orlando along with my wife!
We have already attended a few study group sessions at the mission.
These gatherings of well accomplished and well educated men and women sitting together trying to understand the ultimate truth are greatly inspirational. Each may be looking through his or her window of experience but the view they seem to be getting is the same-the INFINITE.Our latest visit to the mission was on the saptami day of Navaratri. After the day's puja, while taking the prasadam from Shailaamma I murmured to myself "Jnana Vairagya siddhyardham Bhiksham dehicha Paarvati"- an involuntary act