19th April 2014- 1st day
The beautiful Saturday evening commenced with the tribute by the Singapore based Alumni of Swami’s Educational institutions. The program began with the invocation prayers including the popular numbers- ‘Prema bandhamu’ and ‘Tu pyaar ka saagar hai’ by the Alumni and sharing of Swami’s love through their reminisces on ‘How Swami loves us’; ‘How we love Swami’; and ‘Swami- Love Personified’- in accordance with the theme of the programme ‘Loving God’; followed by the most awaited enthralling talk by Bro Satyajit on Skype; direct from the Abode of Peace- Prashanthi Nilayam.
The talk was suffused with so much love and was so endearing, that it touched the very core of our hearts.
Bro shared many incidents where Swami took the pain of others and Himself suffered and the compassionate and merciful nature of our Divine Master. He is Antaryaami- all knowing-omniscient and the most loving Lord.
However the main message of the evening was on the 7 stages of love, how a devotee can attain God. How can we love God? We know God loves us; but how do we love God? Wanting to be close to God and love Him, is itself His grace. When His mercy dawns on us, He guides us through this 7 stages of love and ultimately merges us in Him.
The seven stages of love are
- Dilkashi (attraction) – The Lord first attracts us through His beautiful form and His loving words and actions. We are so mesmerised by the Divine form that the eyes keep longing to see it.
- Uns (attachment) – The attraction soon turns into attachment towards Him, always wanting to be around Him, experience Him. We get so attached to the lovely form. We associate everything divine with that form.
- Mohobbat (love) – The attraction and attachment now develops into an intense love for Him. We love Him more than we have ever loved anyone else.
- Akidat (trust) – This intense love makes us trust Him without an iota of doubt.
- Ibadat (worship) leads us to surrender and worship Him, adore Him.
- Junoon (madness) develop a madness for Him, see none other than Him everywhere, every time and in everything. This kind of love was seen only in great saints like RamaKrishna and Mirabai. They did not have a Living God to worship. They adored and worshipped an idol. Their madness for God brought life to the idol and the Lord had to manifest. We are so blessed to have seen the Lord in His physical form, so we can realise how merciful the Lord is; that even without any great efforts in this birth; we were able to see the beautiful form, hear Him, and experience Him. When so much was and is still given to us; how much should we be thankful to Him and love Him?
- Maut (death) ultimately merging in Him- This was experienced by the great saints who actually passed through the above 6 stages to attain the ultimate goal of life.
Even if we are able to reach the 3rd or 4th stage; we are progressing in our spiritual path. The Love of Swami is unparalleled. We are so fortunate to have been His contemporaries.
Brother was asked as to how can one experience Swami or serve Swami; as brother was near to Him, whereas others didn’t have that kind of physical proximity to Swami. For that brother beautifully answered that Swami always wanted His devotees to be dear to Him rather than near. And it is very simple for us to be dear to Him. We have to just “Live His message” of ‘Love All, Serve All’ and ‘Help ever, hurt never’.
Swami is always with us guiding and protecting us, we must just have the vision to recognise that.
The session closed with a documentary of Swami’s interaction with the Alumni from Singapore and mangala aarathi and prasadam.