Prasad - The Guru's Grace
The Guru's Grace
Many times during Swami's Darshan, I've received blessed Prasad.
Excited devotees would buy an assortment of delicious sweets,
them on a shiny silver platter and carefully decorate the offering
with an abundance of colourful flowers. Often, by the side of the
sweets, lay packets of tiny golden lockets, letters and deity
statuettes all lovingly arranged for his attention.
Usually, the determined devotees would wait for days for a
seating position where Swami could bless the platters. This would
mean re-arranging the sweets, and improving on their floral skills,
until finally, each platter resembled a beautiful bouquet of
Often, the devotee's efforts received Swami's blessings. He would
walk along until he reached a superbly decorated platter, stop,
and bless the sweet offering. While doing so, he would take large
handfuls of the delicious selection and throw them over the seated
devotees. With loud aahs! and whoops of joy, and small gestures of
gratitude, the sweets would be accepted and passed around to
or sometimes kept for loved-ones and friends.
I remember many wonderful moments with Swami as he blessed sweets.
Frequently, he would throw them high into the air and one would
on my head, chin, or nose. His favourite target seemed to be my
headband. Once, a sweet lodged itself between the folds of my
and not until I stood to leave, did it fall on to the floor where
could retrieve it. But mostly, sweets would simply land in my lap
even beneath my cushion; how they found their way there, I'll
know. But always, I felt elated when a blessed sweet came my way.
would keep my precious catch until a quiet moment, then eat it,
slowly savouring the delicate flavour.
On one occasion in 1992, when seated in the front line at
Nilayam, Swami came along and playfully tossed sweets to those
seated all around, but missed me altogether. It had been one of
those days when I had felt less than happy with myself and
therefore, undeserving of a blessed sweet. Mentally, I expressed
Swami that I didnt deserve one.
Immediately, he turned and tossed, with determined accuracy, a
toffee. The missile landed with a loud thud on my head, shattering
the silent moment. This of course, left me startled, because he
read my mind!
During my summer visit last year, Swami blessed my sweet platter
the last time. I remember the occasion well, for he had playfully
thrown the sweets back at me!
I had not been successful on my first attempt, for a very
Swami had been offered three platters, all at the same time. He
chosen just one.
On another afternoon, I'd taken my sweets to darshan and again had
been unlucky. Fortunately, on my third attempt, I was lucky enough
to be seated near the verandah passage. I patiently waited through
the hot afternoon until after Bhajans when he would walk back to
When bhajans were over, Swami came from the temple and began his
stroll along the aisle, where I anxiously sat hoping for his
attention. He spotted my platter and indicated for me to hold it
high. I immediately did so, and he, playfully picked up just a few
of the assortment and threw them back at me! I looked up to
my thanks, and caught him smiling from ear to ear. I noticed the
luminescence of his dark eyes, and felt the immense heat radiating
from him by his nearness (a characteristic not often discussed by
Sai writers or devotees).
As he continued his walk down the aisle, I felt such deep
I wanted to share the blessed sweets with everyone.
As I began to joyously distribute the sweets, a lady sitting
quietly refused the offering. I couldn't believe it! She had been
sitting there for hours, but now didn't want a blessed sweet. I
began to recalled a similar situation a week earlier, when I too,
had refused one.
On that particular occasion Swami had not thrown sweets, only
blessed them. The lucky recipient had offered sweets to those
sitting nearby. Somehow, one had been offered to me, but I refused.
I don't know why, perhaps because he had not thrown it directly to
Now sitting there with my blessed platter, and painfully feeling
rejection of my offering I instantly regretted not accepting the
blessed sweet from the previous week: for it is in the giving and
receiving, we truly show our appreciation of one another.
Blessed sweets are PRASAD a gift from the Guru; a gift that has
power to change our lives. When a master gives food to his
he is in fact, giving of his energy. If we take Prasad with this
understanding, it can gladden our lives and bring us closer to him.
There is a verse in the Bhagavad Gita:
Divine prasad removes all
sorrows, all miseries, and it calms down
the heart completely...
Here is a small story about the
power of Prasad:
Once a young man came to the ashram of a master, because he was
suffering from despair. It really didn't matter what he did, the
despair continued to plague his life. Eventually he prayed for it
be taken away, but nothing happened and the despair and suffering
brought now intensified.
A woman devotee tried to comfort the lad, and having received some
blessed food, she broke it into pieces and gave some to him.
He ate a small piece of the food slowly and deliberately, when he
had finished, he found to his amazement the despair had
He felt completely well.
No matter how we receive Prasad, or what form it takes, be it
directly given to us by the Guru, or blessed food shared with us
others, it is always full of Divine Energy. Having accepted such
blessings, we accept the Guru's grace. The secret is to appreciate
A week after Swami blessed my sweet platter in 1995, he stopped
blessing sweets altogether - a delightful sharing of joy, now
I am writing this piece to thank Sri Sai Baba for the many
occasions, when he threw playfully, lovingly and sometimes
his beloved Prasad. I will miss those shiny silver platters full
sweets - dreadfully.
Sacrifice is the best gift
Treat me not as one afar but as
very close to you. Insist, demand,
claim Grace from Me; do not praise, extol and cringe. Bring your
hearts to Me and win My heart - Baba