Ecstatic Downpour at Thanjavur
At the Sathsang in Thanjavur, over 15,000 people filled the grounds. Halfway down the Sathsang, I smelled rain in the air. There was no lightning or thunder, but when it is just about to rain, the air will change. So I knew I needed to stop the discourse, skip the meditation and go straight into the Q&A.
If you are in a certain way in your consciousness, what you need always comes even before you think about it. And this is the way my life always works. I don’t even have to ask for it, what I need always comes by itself and I know it is coming. It has to come, there is no other way. So I went through the first question, the second question, then the third question came - somebody asked about Indian farmers and agriculture. And I thought, ‘This is it. I know the rain is about to come and this is the best thing they could ask me.’ And just as I just started talking about agriculture – ta ta ta!-- big drops of rain started falling. And in the back rows, people started to leave; people’s instincts are such that when it rains, they think they must run for cover.
But the previous two questions had arranged themselves in such a way that 90% of the people remained seated through the rain. The first question was about the five elements, how they can change your health and consciousness. And the second was about gods and goddesses – how in this culture we make everything into god. Even the farmer makes his plow into god. Or rain into god.
Essentially, your body is five elements and if these five elements behave, there is nothing in the world that can shake your fundamentals – neither your physical health, nor your psychological and spiritual wellbeing. There was a woman from the United States who met with me about ten years ago with her child who was about four years of age and had been a very serious asthmatic since infancy. I saw that the child must have been born in very sterile conditions in the hospital and that the mother was maintaining these sterile conditions – that he was never exposed to anything natural; he was eating sterile food, breathing sterile air, drinking sterile water…And the child was constantly sick.
The three of us were sitting by the leaning tree in the ashram. That was my favorite place at that time; I can’t go there anymore because it is being haunted by both the living and the dead. (You know the dead bodies are buried there and it is haunted by the living because there is also a parking lot adjacent to it.) But there was a time when I used to meet people there when the ashram was not so crowded. Now I can’t step out, the problems of popularity have come to us and I have to live in a walled space. I’m not complaining though.
So it had rained the previous day and I asked the mother to have the child sit in the puddle of water next to us. She said, ‘My child? He’ll get infected!” But I said it doesn’t matter and he sat in the muddy pool of water. Then it began to rain; it poured for one hour and the child was drenched and splashing water, absolutely happy. I also sat in the rain and made the mother sit too, and the whole time she was gasping as if she had asthma because she was so worried the child would get killed by this exposure. But his connection to the elements made sure that he did not get an asthmatic attack afterwards, at least for the 6-8 months that they were in touch with me.
The second question was about gods and goddesses. Whatever you can relate to, whatever connects to your life can be given a divine identity simply because there is nothing happening here without the source of creation’s hand in it. There is a rain god, an air god, a fire god. And when the third question came about farming, it started to rain and people began to run for cover. So I told them, ‘The rain god is trying to drench you. Why do you want to run away? This is your wellbeing.’ Even the rice that we eat – somewhere, people have become so sterile they think it is coming from the supermarket. But it is coming from a field where somebody spends almost 90 days in knee-deep water. Most people have lost all connection with the reality of the world. So I said, ‘Don’t run! This farmer would worship the rain and you people are running away from it. What are you running away from?’
About 90% of the people remained seated while it kept pouring. I had been sitting in a sheltered space in the dias, but I stepped out and stood in the rain and continued speaking. Then a fuse blew and the microphone went out, and there was no music and just a few lights. So I just walked on the ramp clapping my hands and you won’t believe it, thousands of people – young, old, men, women, children – everyone started clapping and dancing. Crying and laughing. And with such ecstasy – and these were not even meditators – this was the general public. And in a few minutes, the microphone and sound came back, so I told them to start the music and the drums went off and the crowd went crazy – just clapping, dancing, singing in the rain. They would have never done anything like that in their lives. It was such a magical, incredible moment.
And the next Sathsang in Chidambaram was equally magical, but there was no rain…