Swami Nityabodhananda Saraswati

The highlight of Sita Kalyanam was the ecstasy and joy surrounding Paramahamsaji as he carefully loaded some eight hundred saubhagya manjusha, good luck kits, onto the young brides' heads. Even at the end of this task, although he would have been tired, the joyous vibration was undiminished.

In the beginning Paramahamsaji talked about service, seva, giving purification, meditation and realization. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to do some seva. Of course, there was one part of me which wanted to participate very much in the program, but for the first few days I seemed to be secretary to Swamiji and he was always giving me jobs, running here, running there, calling this or that person. In between I would just listen to the program for ten or fifteen minutes or maybe I'd catch the whole speech. It was the same message again and again and made me think, “Well, maybe I should think about this very deeply and find out what level I am at. Am I at the seva level or at the giving level or at the sadhana level?” I found that the best thing for me was the seva level and I hope for the rest of my life I will have the opportunity to do service. I don't know personally how to serve God, but doing seva for guru is easy because he says, “Go and do this.” Sometimes, of course, it is not so easy because the instructions are general and you have to work out yourself how to try and do it best, but at least there is something to follow.

In the last few days my job changed. Paramahamsaji said, “Make sure nobody is standing.” Three minutes later he came back and said, “Nobody will stand.” So, especially in the afternoon programs, I started asking people, “Why are you standing? Would you like to stay or would you like to go?” Lots of people would come in groups of two, three or maybe five, and they would stand leaning against the back wall. I would say, “Would you like to stay? Then please sit.” And they would say, “Yes”, and remain standing. So I would say, “Nobody will stand. Please take off your shoes and sit down.” “No, no, we will go.” One man just kept on nodding at whatever I said. Three minutes later I said, “Can you hear me?” He said, “No.” “Then why did you come to the program.” “Just to see.” I got angry with him. I said, “Take off your shoes! Sit here! Now look at the stage.” There were certainly some characters on that back wall!

Of course, on the last day I was completely overwhelmed with my seating work. I couldn't do it. I would seat ten people and another thousand would still be left. I just gave up and sauntered around the corner and got mixed up in another job, controlling huge crowds.

The result was an opportunity for seva and I hope it continues because seva is a wonderful training. Every time I do seva I can find this selfish part of me blooming up, which otherwise I wouldn't have had a clue about. The whole of the year I do the things that are in front of me and for just these few days I have an opportunity to do somebody else's work.