Skip to main content

Power of Love

                  Love without a price tag, conditions attached or the fine print of debt 


At the age of five or six years, I told my Dad that I would never ever opt for an arranged marriage, especially the transactional ''bride seeing'' ceremony, where the bride is paraded around like a fancy showpiece before a bunch of curious strangers, who are more interested in how much gold she is wearing than her IQ.

Dad, being my ever patient, serene hero, just smiled that calm, soothing smile that some of you are already familiar with and he said, ''Sure, that's fine."

I was expecting a full flung family drama, a storm, maybe even being thrown out for the audacity of breaking the much-treasured family tradition. How dare a girl even say such a thing to her parents, right?

Nothing happened. Dad was so cool. Then it struck me - maybe I am adopted. That's why it doesn't matter so much to him. 

I did manage to summon the courage and ask Dad several times, "Ami an adopted child?"

Dad would laugh and ask, "What do you think? Whatever you think is the right answer."

That put me in a fix. What ami supposed to think, huh?

Now that answer added to more confusion. Of course, it didn't help that my younger sister was very keen to prove that I am adopted. She came up with the most bizarre theories that drove me nuts!

You can imagine  - World Wars 2 and 3 happened over some of those statements. You can imagine who won. Of course, the younger one always wins - do you have any doubts about this time-old Indian tradition of the elder one bowing out?

Okay, so coming back to what we were talking about. 

As the years passed and my longing to join the spiritual order in Prashanti Nilayam grew by leaps and bounds, I told my parents when I was sixteen years old that I intended to serve Swami and embrace a life in the ashram forever.

They were cool about this too. What mattered to them was my choice.

Dad and Mom told me, ''First, you have to complete your education and then lets have this conversation again. If you feel as strongly about this as you do then, we won't stand in your way.''

The same year, when I prayed to Swami with tears in my eyes at the ashram in Kodaikanal, He completely ignored me and looked the other way. I went on crying and crying. Finally, through my tears, I heard his voice clear as crystal, ''Do you even know what it takes to be My student or disciple? You have no idea, no eligibility and no traits for ashram life. You are not even remotely eligible."

I was completely heartbroken. This is not what I expected. I had thought that Swami would be delighted to accept me. I was crushed. Or more accurately, my ego was crushed beyond recognition. I couldn't stop the tears from flowing. I sobbed like a child. I probably looked like a complete idiot. 

Then I heard his voice again, brimming with love, "I shall protect you always as the eyelids protect the eyes. I am always with you - isn't that enough? Ashram life is not for you - enjoy what the world has to offer and come back to me. Come back only when the time is right, but not in many, many years. I will call you. I will send you a sign - only then. Do you understand? I know what is best for you. Have faith."

No, I didn't understand but then I didn't have a choice but to understand. 

Looking back, I see that Swami was right. At the age of eighteen, I fell deeply in love with Sanand Ramakrishnan and my life took a completely different direction. On His part, Swami knew everything but He asked no questions about it at all. 

The first time Swami came face-to-face with Sanand, He looked deeply into his eyes for several moments. I like to believe that Swami was ''checking him out'' like a parent does when checking out a prospective bridegroom for the daughter. Not only that, many years later, Swami went to the exact spot where my father was seated in the last row behind a pillar and asked him, not once but twice, for my marriage invitation! He took the invitation letter, blessed my father with an intense gaze and walked swiftly back. Within moments, the volunteers came out running with several prasad packets for all devotees in Whitefield ashram - at the time, this was unusual as it was not a time of any festival then.

I asked Seva Dals, ''What is the reason for the special prasad?"

They told me, "We don't know what the occasion is but Swami is very happy today. It must be related to a devotee."

I felt that the special prasad that day was for me. Just for me. 

I also understood then what Swami said about my eligibility for an ashram life. He was right. 

That one choice He made was for my happiness - it was not a rejection of me. 

He took that decision for me out of absolute pure love and gave me the absolute freedom to live my life on my own terms for my own happiness. 

As a parent, I know this - when you love your child deeply more than anything else in this world, you put your child's well-being, growth and happiness first. 

In the end, it is the power of love that triumphs above everything else. For me and many others on the path, Swami's love came without any conditions, any price tag. He gave so much love and so much of Himself to us that we took His love and His attention for granted. He did not ever like us to talk about Him or ''advertise'' Him as He used t say, but He was there for all who came to Him. He gave all grace to all those who sought Him, keeping nothing for Himself. 

I learned the power of Love through Swami's rejection. But the words still echo in my heart, ''Come back only when the time is right, but not in many, many years. I will call you. I will send you a sign - only then."

Comments

KParthasarathi said…
That is a beautiful writeup.A true Guru knows when an aspirant becomes eligible to be taken as a disciple.I learn when one is ready and desrving for the spiritual path,the Guru appears unsolicited before him/her.
It is nice that you have been advised rightly and who else knoiws more than a Guru.
Ajith Kannan said…
Awesome writeup ...every time i get tired of browsing through mindless stuff and casually visit this site and find some "gems" of spiritual pointers which enriches life and the quest n search of the real truth..
@KP Parthasarathi: I completely agree with you Sir. A true Guru knows when an aspirant is eligible.

@Ajith Kannan: You won't believe how deeply moving and inspiring your words are for me. A day after writing this post, I came back to delete this post because I felt it won't be of any benefit or of use to anyone. But when I read your comment, I realized that it is a sign for me to keep writing what my heart tells me. I didn't delete this post after reading your comments. Thanks so much for your powerful, reassuring words. My prayer to God is simply this: Bless me, dear Lord, to write meaningful posts although I am aware that such posts are unlikely to be popular with a majority of people who are most likely to term it as 'rubbish'.
Vinaya Naidu said…
Love is indeed powerful...
Rebecca Subbiah said…
thanks for sharing your life and thoughts and nothing beats the love of motherhood hugs to you and pleased you found love
Ajith said…
Thanks i m humbled by your comments about my comments ..Actually your blog was an answer to at least some of my friends who are spiritual seekers but feel like "struck" in their current worldly lives.So please keep doing the God (good ) job...

“You must not let your life run in the ordinary way; do something that nobody else has done, something that will dazzle the world. Show that God's creative principle works in you.”
http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/14650.Paramahansa_Yogananda


Shilpa Garg said…
The Guru being omniscient intuitively knows what is best for the student!!
Vishnu said…
this article made me smile Swapna:) Not only because of your rejection of arranged marriage and your questions about if you were adopted or not (haha) but your desire to pursue a spiritual life. The guru was indeed wise to reject you - why are some of life's biggest rejections filled with so many gifts?
@Ajith - Thanks so much for the kind words. Grateful to you for these encouraging words and will do my best to keep writing on spiritual topics.

@Shilpa Garg - Thanks for reading the post and sharing your thoughts too.

@Rebecca - Thanks and warm motherhood hugs to you too, dear.

@Vinaya - Yes, truly. Love is what makes the world go round and a Guru's love is as vast and boundless like an ocean, charged with divine energy. Thanks for reading my post, Vinaya.

@Vishnu - Grateful to know that you read the post and happy to hear your thoughts on it. You have got it right all the way:)
Anonymous said…
http://www.ju.edu.jo/home.aspx
Jordan University
[url]http://www.ju.edu.jo[/url]
GOLDENLION2006 said…
@ Swapnaji, Ur posts r inspiring. U don't hurt anybody, any caste, linguistic group or religion. There r some bloggers whose only job is to abuse some community or other. Once a sannyasi told me that GURUBHAKTI alone is enough. Pls keep up ur good work.
GOLDENLION2006 said…
@ Swapnaji, Your posts may not be popular. Please don't bother about popularity. Some people write trash & become popular. What matters is the contents of ur posts.Your posts show that you are a good, pure- minded person.May God & your Guru bless you.

Most Popular Posts

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

Many years ago, when I wrote this post on Kerala's caste system, I had not considered the possibility that my thoughts and my personal journey would receive such online abuse or that I would be seen as some one who was trying to insult other castes. The intention of writing is always to share an experience and not to insult others. My experience of motherhood and marriage would be different from yours. When I write about my experience, it is illogical to shout that as being insulting to your experience because our journeys are entirely different narratives. 

My question is - why do you ABUSE any caste or person here? You are free to disagree but why do you ABUSE? How does that reflect on YOU?

In my article, I shared what trials I went through, without any intention to insult any community.The intention of my article is to question - why are we even exchanging insults over an issue called caste? 

Should we not be aspiring to be above caste considerations instead of abusing each other …

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. [ Do READ: THE POWER OF LOVE]
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he became very enthusiastic about chanting the mantras. Following this, my mother taught him the Maha Mrity…

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! 

[DO READ: The POWER OF LOVE]

Earth Angels have amazing superpowers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions and  becoming invisible at will.
[MUST READ: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter He loves]
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in …

Sukhamo Devi: Directed by Venu Nagavally

Not just as a fan of Venu Nagavally but as an avid movie watcher, I have to admit that Sukhamo Devi is a path breaking Malayalam movie that influenced many youths in Kerala. A campus romance with a most heart wrenching narrative and happy moments, by his own admission, Director Venu Nagavally called it a true portrayal of his own tragic love story.



The campus movie paved the way for a great shift in the realm of story telling, scripting, music and even the characterization of the protagonists. The way this movie reached out to touch and influence young minds cannot be expressed sufficiently in words. It changed our perceptions about campus romance, friendships, relationships and even the intimacy of our experiences in campus once we have come of the mould and learned to separate ourselves from those whom we once considered central to our happiness in life. 

Remember, the song ''Sukhamo Devi'' and see how it just transports you into another world altogether? Mohanlal, Sh…

Top 10 Skincare tips for Summer

Come summer, and we women worry a lot about how the sun lashes out on our skin. True, skincare tips for the summer are plenty but what about the hushed secrets - yes, those tried and tested family secrets that are passed on from mother to daughters? [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]




Here are some that are totally easy to do. Best of all, these are effective and bring on a feel-good factor in the peak of summer.

1. Replace water with rosewater. It keeps your skin luminous and fragrant throughout the day. It's a good toner too.

2. Cleanse your skin by combining these ingredients - honey, milk, rosewater/rosepetals and turmeric. Add a dash of olive oil and yes, it feels wonderful.

3. Almond oil body baths are a must-have! You will smell delicious all day. This summer, skip all those body lotions & moisturizers! You will love the way almond oil pampers your skin all day!

4. Use a mixture of almond oil and olive oil for your feet. Your feet will sparkle an…

A Dad's advice to the daughter he loves: Be yourself, remember you are special and treasure your strengths

Just a week ago, Dad gave me a very emotional pep talk at the Bangalore airport. The good thing is that whenever I feel emotionally vulnerable or stressed out, I replay Dad's conversation. It lifts me up and instantly brings a huge smile to my face. That's my Dad - yeah! 




As a teenager, Bangalore used to be one of my favorite cities though the garden city was not as ''global'' and ''vibrant'' as it is today. It was a pretty cool place to go shopping for stylish accessories, not that I could splurge and go crazy with shopping but I could do so on a limited budget. So, I used to look forward to our summer trips to Bangalore, from where we would head out to Whitefield. 

The busy, broad streets, the scent of street food and the vibrant atmosphere had always perked me up every time I reached Bangalore. Be it heading to Puttaparthi or Whitefield, my parents and I have traveled to Bangalore so many times that it became a kind of ''routine'…

Conversation with a friend: How to deal with the death of a loved one and Three Lessons I learned

The simplest lessons are always the toughest to learn.This December, a classmate passed away and I was totally shocked to hear the news. Another shock came my way. I heard that another classmate's husband had passed away and when I received the news, I felt very deeply for her.
[Image: Pexels.com]
1. Reach Out, Show You Care and Be Honest
For me, my classmate is someone whom I had shared countless jokes and conversations with when we were young. Our conversations and happy moments have never faded though we have become different individuals with completely different journeys in life.  So, yes, I plucked up the courage to call and show that I am with my friend through this moment of grief. The experience of the conversation we had humbled me like a lesson of life and the blessing was that I felt much lighter within. 

2. Honour the need of others to grieve in their way
I believe that the ''body'' alone perishes but not the soul. I don't offer my beliefs  to those who …

A Book Review: Custody by Manju Kapur

Manju Kapur's fifth novel – following her highly acclaimed works such as Difficult Daughters (1998) and The Immigrant (2009) – explores the tumultous relationships once again set in the thriving, upper-middle-class colonies of Delhi in the mid-90s. The story thrives against the backdrop of the initial surge of foreign investment in India. The very first chapter of the book begins to enthrall a reader with the couple's love making scene. 

The only glitch is this: it is a married woman having a romantic adventure with her husband's boss. Cheesy as it may seem, the book sets itself apart by diving straight into the troubled waters yet without taking any sides, revealing once again the mark of a true family writer.


Extramarital affair breaks a solid marriage Shagun, the green-eyed beautiful wife of Raman, falls in love with his charismatic, handsome boss Ashok Khanna, who has never been in love before and is determined to possess the woman he now loves. It does not matter to him …

Gayatri Mantra as Panchamukhi: Get it right or let it go

Most people do not understand the importance of chanting the Gayatri mantra because they are not aware of its power. It is only when I began to read Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings that I learned how sacred and powerful the chanting of the Gayatri mantra is.
The Vedas represent the breath of God. The Gayatri mantra is the very basis of the Vedas. Try not to undertake chanting the Gayatri mantra as a light endeavor or as a hobby. It has to be chanted with faith, discipline and purity of mind and body. Be steady with your sadhana if you want to reap the spiritual dividend associated with the Gayatri mantra  and never once hesitate once you decide to do it.
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba said that the Gayatri Mantra is referred to as Pancha Mukhi, the Goddess with five faces that represent the five pranas or life forces. Here's more on it.


Chant the Gayatri Mantra correctly: Pause Five Times Here are some important things to keep in mind while chanting the Gayatri mantra:

1. Wh…

Mumbai Police Movie Review: Prithviraj breaks the typical 'hero' mold, challenges sexual stereotyping

Exploring a completely different dimension in his latest film Mumbai Police, Director Rosshan Anddrews delivers a fast-paced, thriller film after his award winning fims such as Udayananu Tharam, Notebook and others.



To flesh out the script written by Boby Sanjay, Rosshan Anddrews ropes in actors such as Prithviraj, Rahman and Jayasurya to portray three police officers: Antony Moses, Farhan and Aryan respectively.
The story begins with a phone call that Antony Moses (starring Prithviraj) makes to Farhan (starring Rahman) saying that he has solved the murder mystery of Aryan (starring Jayasurya). Just as he says this, there is an accident and Antony Moses loses his memory. From then, Farhan's attempt is to take Antony through people and places that are likely to trigger his memory so that they can solve the murder of their close friend and colleague Aryan. A series of events happen, almost hurtling us towards it.
And I am taking the liberty to hand out trophies for the following:
'M…