By: Swami Chinnappa
“If you can wait, from sour grapes I’ll make you halwa, a sweet delicacy,” goes a saying from Sai Maharaj to Tatya Saheb Noolkar when he was staying at Shirdi for treatment of Carbuncle during 1909-1911 when this delicious sweet is laboriously made from grape juice. It is meant to convey that maturing requires patient waiting.
Sai Baba regarded faith and patience as ‘Nishta and ‘Saburi’ as two paise ‘Dakshina’ a discipline and an antidote to anger. “A hot-tempered man provokes a quarrel; a patient man calms strife,” says the Bible (Proverb 15:18). Baba considers his life and mission to be summarized in three attitudes — simplicity, patience, and compassion.
Impatience starts with mild irritation and can escalate to unwise reactions that one might well regret later. Patience is the capacity to face unpleasant and unfavorable circumstances without giving way to irritation and agitation. Wisdom and discernment, imply stopping one’s habitual propensities from taking control of the mind. Pausing, cooling down, and thinking through, results in more skillful handling.
We each possess a relaxation baseline of ‘Shraddha and Saburi’ which determines our stability or composure level. This baseline can be lowered by such practices as the reading of Sai Satcharitra, yoga and pranayama, several breathing exercises, and meditation. Regular practice of these helps to avoid knee-jerk responses, and quickly return, when disturbed, to the incrementally lowered baseline which is a place of stillness, of letting go, and of kindness. We should take this vow to propitiate Lord Sainath on Guru Poornima Day.
Constant stress and exhaustion create barriers to accessing that reservoir or baseline leading to over-sensitivity and frayed nerves. Another big barrier is the easily hurt ego because the ego feeds on entitlement, me-first, and impatience when not dealt with immediately. The habit of strengthening patience leads to flexibility, adjustability, and the surrendering of some of the ego’s unreasonable demands.
Faster technological advances have made us more impatient, expecting immediate results and instant gratification. We are habituated to shortcuts and quick fixes, and we treat our illnesses in the same way. We pop a pill rather than pray to Sai Maharaj for relief. Rather than addressing the cause, with ‘Shraddha and Saburi’ we treat the symptom. It should come as no surprise that an ill person is called a patient — because there is a need for patiently waiting for the process of recovery and only with ‘Shraddha and Saburi’ we can achieve it.
Most achievements in life are based on patient work. Farmers know how one cannot speed up the reaping of what has been sown. Patience is vital for research and sustained effort. Any meaningful training demands sustained investment of time and energy, take music or art. That is often why impatient people give up after the initial excitement dies down for lack of ‘Shraddha and Saburi’. In terms of establishing meaningful relationships, there is a need for the sustained exercise of patience. Parenthood is impossible without mega doses of ‘Shraddha and Saburi’.
Patience is needed in dealing with difficult people, those who push our buttons; and yet these allow us to transform our responses. We are told that Shama, Mhalsapati, and Tatya Patil accompanied Baba to Lendi Baug and Shirdi rounds to exercise and strengthen their ‘Shraddha and Saburi’, Dasganu Maharaj had paid an unbearable character, in his Kirtans with ‘Ninda Stuthi’ to test and strengthen the patience of the devotees.
Awareness of triggers is an effective approach in the management of ‘Shraddha and Saburi’— knowing where, when and with whom one is likely to lose patience, and this includes waiting time as in traffic jams, and queues. Always carrying some reading material or hearing soothing music, are simple and effective coping ways. While it is true that some impatient responses are legitimate, one needs to look for alternative routes to deal with them, and these strategies will depend on one’s creativity.
Let us rededicate ourselves with ‘Shraddha and Saburi’ on this Guru Poornima Day.