I would say one good thing that came with this pandemic is the culture of work from home. Especially if you are lucky like me to work from a quiet place in the Himalayan valleys. I cannot put in words the joy of being in the Himalayan mountains, silent yet full of life, remote but a witness to many great tapasvis.

These days, after my work or on weekends, I go for a trek into the nearby villages, forests, and rivers. Sometimes I walk on foot, other times I take my bicycle when I plan to go for a longer distance. Pedaling on quiet roads carved into forests, passing from one village to another. Sometimes it is so quiet and peaceful that when going down a lonely road, sitting in one posture one only hears the whirring rhythm of the chain for minutes.

I was on one similar trip last week. After pedaling for around 6 km one way I was a bit tired. I had to cover another 8 km which also included a very steep climb. While passing through a village on the bank of a seasonal mountain stream I came across three young boys walking with their cows. Maybe around 8-10 years old. The moment my bicycle passed them one of them whispered “Bhaiya ek round dedo (Brother, could you please allow me a ride)!”. I was confused about what to do but stopped few meters ahead. “OK but don’t go past that board,” I said pointing to a worn-out road sign from where the road started curving. He excitedly hopped on and within few seconds he was out of our sight. Now I was walking with his two friends and their cows. In a not very encouraging tone, the second boy said, “Lagta hai ye nikal gya! (It seems he has gone away)!” Now I was worried a bit coz that cycle was around 14k INR. Sheepishly hiding my worry I joked to him, “Oh if he doesn’t come back with the cycle then maybe I’ll take one of your cows”. To which he promptly replied, “these aren’t our cows, these are stray cows that we are chasing away from our locality”. I noticed carefully at the right spot and realized, not only are these stray cows but stray bulls. I wasn’t scared much of facing a 14k financial loss but the questions I would face from my parents and soon neighbors and then friends for losing a 14k cycle to some strangers. But to cut the long story short, he came back happily within few minutes making me happy. Never before in my life, I was so happy to see 10-year-old cycling towards me:) Soon after, the other guy also took his short turn on it. They were quite excited and asked me if I come daily on this route. I told them I take this route very often and if we meet again you could have your turns again. In all, it seemed to be a good decision in hindsight now (and a not-so-boring incident to write on os.me).

I think this is the effect of Swamiji’s love.  Maybe what He speaks is from the deep recess of his heart. And that is why it drenches us so much in love. It is only our Swami who could make us cry and laugh at the same time in just a few sentences. Just like in the first Sunday zoom meeting. “Always remember, doesn’t matter what you are going through, whatever challenges you are facing in life, wherever you are in the world there is somebody who would always be there for you. There is somebody who would never judge you and somebody who would always accept you. Somebody who would always love you. (Now we just have to find that somebody) Just joking, that somebody’s me.” This made me chuckle with tears in my eyes, remembering the popular song somebody’s me.

I don’t know what merit have we earned to be graced with Swamiji’s presence in our life. But I think there is one thing we could do from our end that could be a small offering to Him for His enormous love for us. We could try to spread that love to every creature around us without judging without expecting anything in return. The way we receive it from our Swami. If He is the giant Peepal tree providing for us, we could be the seeds which carried by winds to distant places would sprout into tender plants to nourish the surrounding environment. If He is the glorious Sun at the center of our world enlightening us all, we could be tiny Diwali lamps scattered around the world, spreading smoke and causing air pollution. Just joking:) We could be tiny Diwali lamps scattered around the world spreading joy and hope. Every creature should feel loved in our presence, the way we feel in His. After all, at least for me, He is the source of all that I have to offer to this world including my jokes.

Honestly, it just doesn’t matter if the other person is being ignorant and being mean or not able to understand us. We could always be more humble, polite, loving, and forgiving. As Swamiji says after few years nothing would matter. Almost all of us would cease to exist in our current form within a century (trying to be conservative here:) from the face of this earth like we never existed. Just like our great-grandparents (I am adding this part). No matter how much we say that they are alive in our memories but there used to be a time when they actually roamed on this very land (having their own existence) where we are standing right now. “Dust thou art, to dust returnest“. All our grudges, fears, possessions, desires, even attachments won’t matter in the year 2121 A.D. (And you know how fast the time flies by).

Past and future, are just a figment of this mind, this exact moment is the only truth. And spreading love is the only act worth doing!

Love you all:)