I was in my final year when ARMY (Athi Rudra Maha Yagna) happened at Parti. It’s a joyous recollection for more than the obvious reason of the yajna itself. When I joined Anantapur, the Saiyan experiences were brand new from an organisational/university perspective.
The setback rubbed in, when I didn’t know the Prayers/Vedas/the usual Saiyanness, which many other kids in the University did. I liked what the Vedas did within me, just that I didn’t know them well enough to chant. By the end of first semester, I was desperately praying to Swami, and asked my senior Kalyani Rao, if she would teach. We agreed to pick it up in second semester.
When man proposes, God disposes.
It was the year 2004, two years prior to ARMY, and probably the only year, where dates of Dussera fell after the final semester exams. So there we were at the holy abode, with no care in the world, or books in hand. What ecstacy.
Also, the concept of darsans were new to me in the beginning of my first year, so Dussera gave me more of that: 10 days in a row. There was Veda Purusha Saptaha Yajna in morning, rolling ghee filled laddoos for devotees in the afternoon, darsan again in the evening, followed by pizzas and pastries and sweets coming to the dormitory from Bhagwan’s abode, and Puliyodhara packing in the night. We were on clock.
You know what else was on clock: Veda sessions in Sai Kulwant Hall 🙂
It gets better!
One evening Bhagwan made Anil Kumar Sir announce in his thunderous, much-loved voice that the 10 day session will go on for 45 days, and the students will stay on. I was on cloud 9. I felt I could burst in the happiness that bubbled within me. I couldn’t take it, and I wanted to share that happiness with my mates. Ironically, I couldn’t.
The first year kids adjacent to me were in tears, as it meant delay in holidays. Much later I realised the lesson of, ‘turning to Him/turning inward’, and not the involuntarily turning outward we are programmed to, but back then I was aghast. I quickly turned towards the dias.
The surreality of learning & chanting Vedas twice a day, in His presence, for 45 days, was humbling, and I was grateful to Bhagwan. He ensured I learnt Vedas after all. Not in the second semester like I planned, but before that. What more could I ask for?
Nothing. Of course until THIS happened a couple of years later.
I was whizzing past the Anantapur grounds like a carefree bumble bee, buzzing His Hymns in glorious abundance. Until I saw a bunch of fellow MPC kids chanting Rudram, as part of their weekly special prayers. While I, a commerce kid, had some other chant which I can’t remember.
The complexities of Rudram, the whimsical, hypnotic way in which it rhymed, as it sat on everyone’s lips was alluring to say the least. The one Veda which still evaded me, just because I didn’t choose a Science subject. Huh. I envied those wizards of Rudra. I needed to learn. NOW.
And I did:
Announcement of ARMY took place soon, and by August we were in the holy abode. I could learn a new Veda AGAIN. That too in an occasion as important as ARMY. In front of the manifested and unmanifested Rudra Himself. How about that! 🙂
Learning surely comes by habit and practice. Each of these two occasions were – a) not only a first in the University calendar, but also b) a grandiose ones in their own way, gave me just that – TIME.
Time long enough for me to get where I wanted to get. Learn what I needed to learn. In a setting as no other. The magnanimity and benefit of which was far greater than what a 19 year old college kid thought of. It felt like a butterfly effect in the grand scheme of things. After all, aren’t all prayers and acts of love ‘a butterfly effect’ on its own?
Truly, He connects the dots, in the way He knows is best, and we just need to be available.
I felt exuberant, as we took a row few seats behind the installed Rudra, and chanted ever so rhythmically – Rudra chants, all 11 times on all the 11 days. It was euphoric to say the least, and with the sprinkling of the holy water at the end, I felt sublimated. To have been there in those years; to be a blessed part of ARMY with so many other devotees and fellow year mates; to be part of Parti’s festive crowd, year on year, will always remain special within me.
That is why… That is precisely why… when C told me his Love to Love radio show will be on ARMY for Thursday Live, I was thrilled. It reminded me of the vibrations, the sacred chants, His discourses, and the experiences of Vidya & Vinay that followed post ARMY… If you are equally piqued, tune into Radio Sai’s Love to Love.