Most days at Sita Kalyanam began with a visit to a nearby temple. Three a.m. or so would find me padding along the dusty road, barely able to see in the pre-dawn greyness the vague shapes of the trees and dwellings I was passing. Occasionally in the distance I would hear the scuffling of a night creature or perhaps one of the local villagers. Sounds romantic? The road surface, as dusty and soft as it was, hurt my bare feet and my companion just would not keep quiet. My day was beginning.
A couple of thousand people would come each day to have Paramahamsaji's darshan. With faces radiant with love and devotion they wanted to pranam at his feet or perhaps shake his hand and tell him what a good job he is doing. One or two other swamis and myself were the luckiest people there. We were in charge of crowd control. Oftentimes, with muscles strained to the limit and feet sliding backwards under the pressure from zealous devotees, we were there to gratefully receive on Paramahamsaji's behalf this gentle touch of love.
At other times, when things were a little more civilized and orderly, we would discreetly hang around on the peripheries, admiring the tiny space between Paramahamsaji and his devotees and encouraging it to remain that way.
These were the times I liked best. These were the times I could watch the effect Paramahamsaji's energy was having on people. Like this one young lass I remember. Through the strength of her devotion she managed to get herself into the Akhara not once but half a dozen times. She only wanted to spend a little bit of time with her guru. Most of my team-mates were having difficulties trying to keep an eye on her. When everyone's attention was focused on the stage I brought her up close where she could receive an uninterrupted view of Paramahamsaji for a few moments. That was enough. She quietly went back to her place and proceeded to cry away all her pent up emotions. One quiet look was all it took. I have a feeling she will carry that touch of love throughout her life.
Sounds corny? It almost does except that patch where she sat and cried soaked up the tears of quite a few people. But tears were not the only thing on offer. If you needed a laugh there were those to be had also.
If you needed some understanding that could be found as well. I shall always remember the faces I saw change as they began to realize that one man's sadhana could affect the lives of thousands of people for hundreds of miles around.
What did I learn at Sita Kalyanam? I learnt that mustard oil is a good balm for those ligaments that received the gentle touch of love.