Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Memorable Meeting With Sai In O'Hare Airport

Author is PRIYANKA RAUTELA.DHANKAR on Sunday, December 21, 2008
Sairam to all readers , Baba knows what is good and what is bad for us ,we sometimes think that Baba is not listing to our prayers and we do curse Him for our problems forgetting that whatever Baba is doing for is will be for our good only . Today by the grace of my father Sai I am publishing a beautiful Sai leela experienced by Geetanjali sister . Here I am attaching Geetanjali sisters mail for all of you : Hello Priyanka ji, I hope you are doing fine. As always I am reading your blog every day but was not getting time to reply and write my own experiences due to my job. Baba had promised me that I will get a job before my birthday and as always he has kept his promise... I have been offered a new and better job in a company I haven’t been able to speak with you that frequently but you are always in my thoughts. Today I decided to share another experience of mine with you... I seek HIS permission to pen down my experience. Baba, I am not qualified enough to write your leelas, so please direct me yourself and write your own leela. I would like to mention that Baba is the eternal bliss himself. He is the Adi and Anth of all the beings and of this universe and whether we accept or not, He is the sole doer of everything around us. The following experience is very significant and dear to me. As you read through you will probably understand why… In my earlier post, “My Guru Sai Blessed me on Gurupoornima”, I had mentioned that I was leaving Toronto for good and that 2008 Gurupoornima was my last festival that I celebrated with my Sai in Toronto. My flight was booked for July 31st and I had planned to send some of my stuff through cargo because of the weight restrictions in the flights. I approached one of the known cargo company on 26th July and booked the air cargo.

The man there assured me that the cargo will leave by 28th and will be there by 1st August, the same day I was to arrive in Delhi and I can collect it the next morning of my landing. I was given a waybill to track the cargo and for the custom clearance. I was content with the feeling that at least one job is done satisfactorily and thanked Sai for this. Finally, July 31 came and I went to Shirdi Sai Mandir in Toronto to bid goodbye to my guru for one final time and still praying that I shouldn’t be sent back and if at all being sent back, please call me back soon. Well, it was a situation that I couldn’t help and for a moment I felt even Baba couldn’t do anything for me. I reached the Mandir early morning to attend the Abhishek and Kakad Aarti. I knew almost everyone and was very close to most of the devotees. The elder devotees would bless me always and as they knew I was leaving, most of them came over specially to bid farewell to me.

I couldn’t help my tears when Baba gave me an opportunity to serve him fully one last time in Toronto. One very dear Aunty told me to come up before the mangal snaan and take off the night dress of Baba and also I was the first one to make Baba do mangal snaan.

I was also given an opportunity to dress up Baba. I am attaching a picture of the Baba on my last day (Thursday) in Toronto. As I was leaving, another aunty stopped me and asked me to sing for Baba before I leave. I couldn’t help control my tears but she insisted that I shouldn’t leave without singing a bhajan. Baba has given me an opportunity to serve him and I shouldn’t leave without singing a bhajan. I was in no condition to sing as I cried my heart out to Baba but on Aunty’s insistence, I sang my last 2 bhajans for Baba and as I was leaving not only me, but few other devotees had tears in their eyes. I looked at Baba and felt He was just sitting there watching me in tears and smiling back at me. I asked him would you ever cry for me.
Would you ever feel bad about what you are doing to me? What crime have I committed to be pulled away from you this way? I didn’t have much love for Canada as a place but I was so deeply attached to this Mandir that I forgot that Baba is everywhere I go. He is and will always be with me no matter what part of the world I am in. In my own little world and small thinking process, I had forgotten that he is the sagun and nirgun and whatever he does, he does for our good. Anyway, I was all packed to leave and board a flight back to my home. One of my very dear friends drove me to the airport. I checked in my baggage and cleared the custom and immigration formalities and waited for the flight time. As I was sitting, it struck me that I should check the cargo status to make sure there everything was in place and on time. As I checked the cargo status, it wasn’t dispatched and was supposed to be delivered 2 days after I reach Delhi. My hometown is Chandigarh and I had planned that I would stay overnight at the airport and next morning my parents would drive down from Chandigarh to Delhi airport and we will collect the cargo and leave for Chandigarh immediately after.
I spoke and fought with the cargo guy for the delay when I had already given him all my travel details. He apologized and said that he thought I was leaving on 1st and not 31st. There was some confusion about my travel date and that’s how this error occurred. Well there wasn’t much him or I could do but my mood was spoilt because of this. The next thing that could upset me wasn’t very far. There was a windstorm in Chicago so all the flights to and from Chicago were either delayed or cancelled. I was travelling with American airlines and had a stay of 1 and a half hour between the flights and the delay was causing a worry to me. I was anxious not to miss the connecting flight from Chicago. The airline staff wasn’t of much help to any of the passengers. I was no exception to their behavior. I kept on checking the flight status time to time on internet and phone and the connecting flight was shown to be on time. The flight from Toronto took off an hour late and needless to mention I did miss the connecting flight from Chicago to Delhi. As I came out of the flight from Toronto at the Chicago O’Hare airport I spoke to airline staff at the counter and informed them that I have missed my connecting flight to Delhi and they told me to approach Terminal 1 coz the terminal where the flight landed was the domestic terminal. Just to make the readers aware, Chicago O'Hare is one of the busiest and largest North American airports.
There are 5 terminals which are very far from each other. I asked someone for the way to terminal 1 and as I reached Terminal 1, I was told this isn’t the terminal I am supposed to approach. I should go to terminal 2. I asked the way around and moved towards terminal 2. On the way I just asked another person about the American airlines counter on terminal 2, I was informed that the international flights terminal was on terminal 5 and not 2 so I should head for terminal 5. I was getting frustrated with all this even more since all the people I asked for directions were either the American airline officials or the airport staff. I am trying to write this experience as I recollect information about the location of terminal 5. I followed the signs as I tried to locate terminal 5. The signs led me to a long walking route followed by stairs/escalator and then as I went down the escalator I saw a train terminal. As I read the sign, it said train to parking levels 1, 2, 3 and so on. I was much irritated then. There was no one I could speak with there and no one who was walking there. It was a complete desolated area and I could not find my way anywhere.
It was 45 minutes since I was doing this run around and this train terminal seemed like a dead end. I walked back the escalator and still couldn’t find anyone to speak with. Very frustrated I had tears in my eyes and I cried out very loud in utmost frustration, “Sai Baba aap chahte kya ho.. I hate you”. I was so frustrated running around and not able to find my way that I just couldn’t think through anything at all. I was lost in an alien land it felt. Just then a girl came and on enquiry told me that I have take the train to reach terminal 5.
I took a train and reached the terminal 5 and then the American airlines terminal. As if my patience was not tested enough, I was told this is the arrival terminal and I have to go to the departure terminal which is at terminal 3. My frustration knew no bounds and I was cursing Baba all the way for putting me through all this.
I was continuously telling him that I hate him. Just then I got down the terminal 5 again to take the train back to terminal 5. As I went down the escalator still frustrated, a smiling face welcomed me. This was a guy who looked South Asian and was among one of the airport staff. He saw me and gave me a beautiful smile. I didn’t say anything. Here is what happened then: The first question was “Missed your flight?” Answer: Yes Second Question: American airlines Answer: Yes He immediately said you are on the wrong terminal. I said I know I am so frustrated running around the terminals. The American airline people don’t know their own terminals and the staff has not been of much help either. I am really tired of all this since I have landed. He said, I know. He said wait I will get a map for you. You don’t have to ask anyone. This map will help you. You have to go to terminal 3 and there they will be able to help you. Don’t worry. He went to one corner where the maps and other airport information was placed and got me a map. He pointed out to me exactly where I have to go. He said this train’s last destination is terminal 3 just take the train. Please see attached the pictures of the terminal map that he gave me. I still have this preserved with me. I said thank you for your help. You have been very kind.
He asked me again, you are from India. I said, Yes. He again said, I am from India as well.
I am from Andhra Pradesh and my name is Subodh. I told him thank you so much Subodh for your help.
He asked me again, you are from India. I said, Yes. . You have been a blessing in disguise for me. It was nice meeting you. I shook hands with him and just then the train came. He smiled at me and said this train will take you to terminal 3. Don’t worry. I boarded the train and again said thank you. As I stood in the train, Subodh again came inside and in a very caring tone asked me to sit down as I am too tired. I again said I am good, thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate it. He insisted I should sit. I again said no it’s fine. I am alright. He again smiled back at me and said okay and went out of the train. As the train started moving, he smiled back at me and waived me goodbye. I smiled back at him and then I could see him nowhere. I looked back to see I couldn’t locate him. Within a fraction of second, it occurred to me that Subodh was no one else but my Baba. He was there talking with me all this while and what a stupid I was not to recognize him. I cursed myself for this. I wanted to go back and look for him but it was too late. The train had reached terminal 3 and I went to American airlines counter. Spoke to them about missing the flight and the lady there was very courteous and told me that there have been a lot of cancellations today due to the weather and there was no other flight I could board for India that day.
She was trying to check for any other route I could take and reach Delhi. Incidentally, all flights were booked and there was no flight available on any route till 2nd august. It was 2 days more in Chicago. Fortunately, my best friend was in Chicago at that time and I called her and told her about the situation. She insisted that I should come and stay with her for 2 days that I am here. I got a confirmed flight for 2nd august and airlines people told me that I can let the checked in baggage with them and it will be sent with the same flight that I was to board on 2nd august. She came to pick me up at the airport. As I settled myself at night at my friend’s place, Subodh’s face kept coming in my eyes. I was thinking that how could that be that of all the people he spoke only to me. His expression was full of compassion and smile. How come he knew that I missed the flight and that too American? How he said I know you are tired and that things will be okay now.
No matter how hard I tried to think it might have been a coincidence, I couldn’t convince myself for it. I still strongly believe that it was none other than Baba who came to my rescue. As I mentioned above about my cargo problem, missing the connecting flight and not getting a flight for 2 more days, solved that issue as well. The cargo was now to arrive the same day as I was to arrive in Delhi.
There was no tension of coming to Delhi twice from Chandigarh and causing inconvenience to my parents. I informed my family about the flight change and also that they shouldn’t be worried as I am staying with my friend. How beautifully everything connected was just a leela of Baba and being an ignorant person that I am, I couldn’t comprehend at that time. I was getting frustrated and irritated and cursing Baba while he was making things easier for me all through. He allowed me to meet my best friend for 2 days and spend some time with her. He took care of the cargo delay and how I got a connecting flight that coincided well with all other things that I had to plan. Before I boarded the final flight to Delhi from Chicago, I checked with the airline staff if my checked in baggage is also being taken care of. I was told yes the baggage is being taken care of and will reach with the same flight. I was a bit relieved and took the flight. After reaching Delhi I went to the get the baggage and another shock, the baggage didn’t arrive with the flight.
Another added tension but then I thought it’s again Baba’s plan for something. I will get to know soon. I lodged a baggage claim with the airline people and was told that as soon as they track the baggage it will be sent to my home in Chandigarh so I don’t have to worry about coming back to the airport. I stayed at the airport that night coz I was to claim the baggage at the cargo terminal next day. I had told my parents to come only in the morning as there was no point spending the night for them at the airport. In any case I had to stay and again fortunately another close friend came by to give me company. Next morning I headed for the cargo terminal, filled in all the required forms and my surprise everything was done very soon. The cargo people were very helpful and everything got cleared sooner than I thought. My father had arrived at the cargo terminal and as I loaded the cargo baggage in the car, I understood Baba’s leela of not getting my checked in baggage. After we finished putting in all the stuff from the cargo terminal in the car, we noticed there wasn’t any space left for any additional baggage. I left Delhi thanking Baba for his help all through the journey. It was an eventful journey which ended up well.. so all’s well that ends well.. The checked in baggage reached home in 2 days and everything was settled… I would ask Baba to forgive me for my foolhardiness and for cursing him of not taking care of me when I needed most. He always took care of me no matter what situation I was in. Before I close my post, I remember a line of a bhajan very close to my heart that I have now sung innumerous times…I would like to share it with all of you… Mainu maan eko bas teri rahmat da, mere maan nu satguru todi naa Main aan digaa dar tere te, mainu dar to khali modhi naa Sahib tum mat beesro, laakh log mil jaaye.. hamse tumko bahut hain.. tum sam hamre naahi It’s in Punjabi and it means that “O my Sadguru, I have no other pride than of your blessings that you bestow on me and of your grace that ever adorns me wherever I go… Please never betray my pride in YOU, never leave me in the middle… I bow down at steps of your Mandir/masjidmai.. please don’t let me go empty handed and grant me my dear wish as you always do.. Do not ever forget me as you have innumerous devotees like me but I only have one Sadguru and that is YOU. I would also like to thank you all for reading such a long post. It was important for me to write smaller details to link everything and for everything to make sense. Thank you Priyanka ji for allowing me and inspiring me to write and for giving us all a platform to share Baba’s leelas. Sai Ram Geetanjali
Wow ! what a great a experience Geetanjali sister ,thanks for posting this wonderful experience with all of us ,I am always thankful to you for all your support you provide me .
May Sai Bless you always
Allaha Malik

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madhuri on December 21, 2008 at 10:35 PM said...

sairam geetanjaliji,

very very beautiful experience. May baba always shower his blessings on you.


tyagaraju on December 24, 2008 at 9:34 PM said...

How can any one express his feelings on reading this beautiful experience. very very nice and most interesting believing that Sai will always be with his devotees.


Deepak Ahuja on April 27, 2009 at 11:16 PM said...

Great experience !!! It looks so nice that one we love is loved by so many people. His Greatness is beyond words. His love is beyond expression. We can never understand HIS ways but HE always understands ours.. He must have send you back to India for something good..
Sai Ram

Anonymous said...

a great are very lucky to have him experienced like this...may his blessings be on all of us always


Gaurav on June 4, 2012 at 1:06 PM said...

OM Sai Ram....this is a marvelous experience....My heart was filled with emotions after reading it...How much sai baba takes care of his devotees....

You are great and so is our lord sai baba.

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