"What fascinates me about Swami?" I ask myself.
"I do not know..." says the heart, and then pauses and continues,
"I love Him because.... I love Him. Thats about it.
"I cannot reason it please... It is the feeling of unfettered freedom of my spirit that I experience in His presence, it is the sense of ultimate sublimation of my soul when I just think of Him, it is the unlocking of unbounded reservoir of energy within me when He is with me, it is the descent of undiluted and undisturbed peace that settles in my mind when I close my eyes and just envision His enigmatic form.... well, sorry, it is not all this, rather, it is much more than all this... I cannot articulate it please. As I said, I love Him because I love Him. I cannot explain it."This is perhaps the unspoken feeling of any number who have been touched by His love. We do not know the stories of all but occassionally when we do get to fill our ears with the tale of one or two it simply revivifies us.It was the same experience for me when I had the opportunity of sitting across Anup Jalota as he bared his heart out about Swami. This happened just after His elevating concert in the Sai Kulwant Hall on the evening of His 86th Birthday.
One statement he made that night never leaves me. "After performing here, now I am so charged that I can give another 1000 concerts!" This is from the 'Bhajan Samrat' who has given over 5000 concerts the world over.
"My music is all what He has given me and what He has directed me to do... I came to Him when I was just 10 and today I am 58; He has groomed me for 48 years. If I have spent most of my time doing only devotional music even though I could have gone into playback singing or any form of modern music, it is entirely because of Him.
"25 years ago He directly entrusted me with a huge responsibility - that of creating only such music which will touch and transform the hearts of the coming generations. I have been doing only this."
Anup Jalota has recorded over 200 albums, most of them devotional. He holds a record number of over 100 gold, platinum and multi-platinum dics. Who says devotional music/spirituality does not sell? Or that it does not entice and energize masses?
"It is His grace that each one of my albums is a success. Music is God and it should be offered to God... I have sung other ghazals off and on but that leaves me so empty... when I do Sur Ramayana, or Bhagavad Gita or Meera Bhajans or Sai Surya Saman and so on, I am lost in devotional fervour. Such music take me over completely.
"You may not believe it, many of the times when I am composing in my home, I am crying; I cannot do this on the stage so I try and control my emotions. I am involved in my music totally; they raise me to sublime heights.”
Every bit of insight that this great legend shared thrilled me. How Swami has used him as His instrument in so many ways was even more exhilarating.
"When the Water Project started, Baba called and informed me about it. And then I received invitations to perform a series of concerts in London and Spain; all the collections went as donations for Baba's new project that was to help millions who are thirsty."
"Wow!" I reacted in excitement, "Your music flowed before Sai Ganga!"
"My mission is to do His bidding, that is all," the master musician asserted.
"I came to Prasanthi after so many years today... But Baba was and is always with me. Today, I could feel Him... it was not darshan but a feeling... a feeling is more powerful than darshan itself! He is so much there!"
The conversation in this manner went on for almost an hour and Sri Anup probably still had not scratched the surface of what Swami really means to him.
[To listen to the entire conversation, please go here. To see a few glimpses of him narrating these fascinating slices of his life, do watch this video on radiosai.org.]
Little did I know that there was a time when Swami used to beckon him as “Chota Baba” and say, “Aye! You look like Me!”;
Or that He blessed him with an elaborate interview explaining to him the essence of Bhagavad Gita before he embarked on his album series on this Celestial Song Divine;
Or that He demonstrated to him how to render Rag Malkaunsh and Bhairavi so as to do justice to their latent beauty;
Or even that he actually saw Him sitting on the Jhoola on that unforgettable Birthday evening which is why He spontaneously sang out Mere Sai... Mere Sai... Jhoola Jhoole Mere Sai.
In the end Anupji said, “All I say is He is still doing His job! Very Much!”
Well, that is Sai! We know it!
Now, the question is 'Are we doing our jobs'? What do you think?