“Humans are but puppets in your hands, Is it not you who makes them think and makes them move, Oh! Mother?!” — Poet Ramprasad.
I stood in front of the beautiful, magnificent gigantic structure which read “Universal temple of sri Ramakrishna”. I had come to Chennai for my post graduate preparation. For the first time I saw a temple in which 500 people could sit and meditate peacefully without push or pull. Tall coconut trees, jasmine and hibiscus all around the temple made it all the more beautiful and the waft of incense gave a divine aura. hardly ten people were sitting inside and meditating. I did pradakshina and came back to the entrance and prepared to leave. There was an elderly gentleman distributing prasad.I went and extended my arms to receive the mishri from the small box. He gave me a look as if he would burn me down with his eyes and said , ‘ what do you think you are doing?’, “what? what did i do”, he said, ‘who takes the prasad with sandals on?’ It’s then that I realized that I forgot to remove my sandals. The anger he expressed insinuated me and I moved aside with the gesture to remove my sandals but instead went to the parking lot and left the temple with a resolve that I would never ever step in this temple ever again.
Next day, After my work in the evening, I had to go out. I totally forgot the episode which happened yesterday ( I was made to forget, I realised later). I came to the same temple which I visited yesterday at the same time, went around just like yesterday and came to the entrance. The same elderly gentleman was distributing prasad. I removed my sandals and stood in front of him and extended my arm. As soon as the prasad landed on my palms, a thought like a nail being hammered hard fell into my head, “only yesterday, you resolved that you won’t step into this temple ever again, what happened now?”. A shrill went through me and I felt goosebumps all over my body. ‘Oh my goodness! What is this place? How did I forget the resolve I took yesterday? Is this world really ‘The Matrix’? Who’s watching me? How’s this possible? As a reaction to the resolve I took yesterday in my mind, who blocked my mind for twenty four hours and the thought landed in my head exactly as the prasad fell on my palm. Like, how a mother pulls her mischievous child, gives him a tight slap and asks him to sit still, that’s exactly how I felt. With the prasad in hand and in shock, I slowly recovered and put the prasad in my mouth. With the thought, “ What’s my connection with this temple?”, I saw a sign board “Old shrine” at one corner. Went there, saw the photos of all the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna hung on the sidewalls. who were all these people, only Swami Vivekanand I could make out as I had read about him in school days.At the end of the old shrine, there was a bookstore with hundreds of books. I picked up one, “Life of Sri Ramakrishna” written by Romain Roland, with a foreword by Mahatma Gandhi……
Two years later in 2003, I got initiated! from the same temple in which I resolved I would never step inside again.
who can defend what the divine has ordained.
During the zen retreat in 2014 and the meditation retreat in 2015, Om Swamiji made all our minds go blank for a few seconds with his will power.
Sadhvi Vrindha Om in her book ‘Om Swami as we know him’ writes how her ego was snubbed and she resolved not to visit Badrika Ashram again. But Om Swamiji knew her thoughts and told her that she will definitely visit next year.
Who are we but puppets, in the hands of the divine!