When you are under the Wings of the Master, every step is laced with the possibility of Learning. This can happen, provided, one is willing and eager to observe, experiment, reflect, adapt & learn.
I discovered, my Readiness and Openness to Learn from unusual experiences would soon be challenged.
I was an Ashramite serving Rural Development Programme (RDP) under Vinod Menon ji. One fine evening, there were four of us in Vinod ji’s room. If you are lucky, chances are Gurudev might call Vinodji and enquire who all are there with you? I witnessed one such lucky day.
What a pleasant surprise! Gurudev told Vinodji to send me to his Kuteer.
My joy knew no bounds. I was floating and every step towards Kuteer seemed like ascending to Heaven. Many an hour, I had spent biding my time outside Shakti Kuteer (Gurudev’s Room) in the old Ashram. Dream had come True!
Proudly I told the Gate Keeper of Kuteer: “I have been called by Gurudev”.
Alas, my joy didn’t last long…. Swami Sadyojathah came out of the Kuteer. He handed over a small packet to me. Message: “Gurudev has told me to hand over this packet to you”.
My hopes dashed of meeting Gurudev, I was then, trying to make sense of what needs to be done? I opened the packet under bright light. Noticed some flower seeds.
It was evident that I had to make the seeds grow here. It struck me: Gardening was one of my boundaries. Getting into the mud, soiling your hands, sometimes feet, even legs repelled me. I had been avoiding this Seva.
The Writing was clear on the Wall. The Instructions had come from Gurudev Himself.
No way, I can escape this time! Now, I need to learn how to make it grow.
I went to the Expert in Charge of Gardening. Showed him the seeds. He told me, these were very good quality Sunflower Seeds. The plant had the potential to scale up to 6 feet.
Season was right to nurture them. I received detailed instructions to grow them.
We need to germinate the seed and make it into saplings. This is done by putting the seeds in small pots under a suitable environment so that it gets optimum light, water and heat.
I counted 150 seeds. Every seed was important. A common theme in many Guru stories, Gurudev would quiz you on the one thing you might have missed out…99% accuracy not withstanding….
Being aware of this, I was cautious, right from the beginning.
I imagined, Gurudev might ask how many flowers came out of these seeds? I was fortunate that all seeds became saplings.
The Sunflower Seeds had sprouted. They resembled crawling babies who would like to sprawl around. Therefore, I had to scout for a bigger place. So, each sapling was put in a different pot.
The pots were arranged meticulously. Right Manure with right amount of moisture was the secret formula. Like Vasudeva took Baby Krishna across Yamuna on a stormy night, I had to facilitate the delicate transition of these Saplings to their bigger, safer home.
It was a very fulfilling moment for me. Pure Love. Unconditional. Divine Motherly Intervention. I had to ensure that each sapling thrives. No lapses.
Few weeks passed by. They were Toddlers. Standing on their feet, it required us to dig suitable size pits for them. Care was taken to apply right amount of manure at right distance.
Fortunately, the place chosen was the Vishalakshi Garden, right outside Vishalakshi Mantap. Ground was dug. Manure applied. These ‘Toddlers’ or Big plants were shifted. Despite our Best Efforts and Care, few of them could not make it.
I was a little sad. They were my Kids. All along, I was taking care. Final count, nearly 140 of them was planted.
By this time, my Teacher’s Training had started. I was assigned, Supervision of these plants, in the Seva time between the sessions.
The magnitude of Responsibility had increased. I was now, Accountable for the survival of the remaining Saplings.
This was Tough. Saplings were no longer in their Nurseries. Rules of the Game had changed. Survival of the Fittest.
When to water and how the plants make their food. In this phase, Someone was assigned to take care & pour water regularly.
One day, to my dismay, I saw nearly 25 % of them fading away. I was shocked. Keen to know the reason, I investigated. Found out someone had been careless during watering.
As a result, the Mud had settled on their leaves. This prevented them from making their food from sunlight.
Immediately, the people were taken to task. Despite my word of caution to them, I had to ensure every day, removing the dust from their leaves and providing support wherever required.
In the end, 128 finally made it.
In retrospect, theory and practicals went hand in hand for me. Knowledge imparted in Teacher Training sessions were brought to life, symbolically, in the Garden of Life.
Gurudev was inculcating Sensitivity. Instilling Alertness. Both through real life experience.
It was a matter of great pride for me, to tell all my colleagues, that these fully grown beautiful sunflowers were my babies!
First time, I connected with the joy and pride of the Gardener in Nurturing and Enabling the seeds to Blossom.
Time & Again, I noticed, if one has the thirst for learning, Master makes it happen! Direct or Indirect. He ensures, you draw big lessons from even small things.
Let me quote Gurudev here: “You don’t become Big by doing Big things. Chances are, you can become Big, by doing small things with Perfection”.
I blossomed manifold beside my Sunflowers.