- The morning air is wet after a rainy night as Sumatee swept the rock foundation of Ananda Puri courtyard. She thought simply of Swamiji over and over again. His remembrance radiated within her as if it was a person in itself, a presence with the golden aura of Swamiji himself. The evergreen colored gate was wide open- indicating that Swamiji was out for his morning walk around the grounds of his adheenam.
Suddenly, before she saw him, a deep silence pervaded the area, seeped through the courtyard and the air that she breathed itself. Swamiji approached the gate and glanced at her with a signature smile at his full lips.
Swamiji took his padukas off there at the front of the gate. Them people behind him all continued to walk in with their shoes and sandals still on, not noticing Sumatee, the dust that they would bring in and that she would ultimately clean again. But Swamiji- she knew-
was not at all so careless.
His bare feet walked the stones that she had just swept up all the way to his seat, where she had laid out flowers around the mat that he would rest his feet on. These were simple, small things but they were the sweet moments that deepened the romance she finally felt for her
life since it went dry 10 years ago. The fulfillment that Swamiji brought to her was irrevocable. She would continue to let it fill her until it overflowed for others to taste.
In her own words
Feeling so much gratitude towards Guru, Sumatee decided to express that gratitude by going to Guru Poornima. Even being in that space she was grateful. For a few years Sumatee had been asking her mother to go spend time with with Sumatee eldest sister in the US, but her mother kept saying no, but amazingly her mother said yes, so Sumatee can now attend Guru Poornima. She felt so blessed to be able to show her gratitude to Swamiji among the many who were there. She had decided to stay for 2 weeks and volunteer and maybe visit a temple, Then Ma Ganga told her since she is going to be here why not do the shiva acharya training so she started. Then 3 days into the training Sumatee got invited to Nithyananda Yogam. She was shocked and ecstatic at the same time. At first she said that she couldn’t stay but when she realized what was being asked she immediately said yes!
Sumatee is a shy person especially around Swamiji, and she doubts her own intelligence. When you are in front of Intelligence Himself Sumatee says she feels she has no mind. Three days into Nithyananda Yogam, Swamiji announced that there are a few people who want to do seva to him by cooking meals for him. Sumatee heard her name called among the names- another surreal moment with Swamiji. Everyone in Sangha wants to cook for Swamiji!!!. OMG was all that ran through her mind because she was in cloud 999.
Got to the kitchen at 5 am and then coming down to reality. She doesn’t know how to cook with the spices. She was born in the west and cooked western style, so some one else came to do the cooking, But Sumatee helped with the cutting up of the vegetables. She was so disappointed in herself. She so wanted to cook for her beloved Guru. Having the opportunity and not being able to fulfill it broke her heart, but she took solace that at least she was able to cut the vegetables that he ate. Sumatee kept asking the people who came to cook to show her and at least guide her through so that she could at least make one dish for Swamiji to have. There were days when Sumatee would come to the kitchen in the morning that no one would be there, so she and another devotee would sweep and clean Ananda Puri. This became the routine: first clean or if kitchen was open chop vegetables and then clean. After the devotee who helped with the cleaning left Sumatee was told to also clean Swamiji swing.
What a gift she thought, and there were some who turned up their noses at her doing cleaning.
HA she thought, I don’t care what anyone think, this is the closest I am to doing such a personal seva, many would give up a lot to do this.
So she continued doing both cleaning and chopping vegetables until one grey morning she was told to go to yoga and then come clean. Sumatee was devastated. She was booted out the kitchen and she can no longer be involved in the making of Swamiji food in anyway. She cried but again took solace that at least she cleaned the ground that he walked on and make ready and clean the swing that he sat on. But Sumatee had the best. Every morning when Swamiji went for a walk she was among the first he would see and in some cases she would be the first he would see when he came down the stairs.
Now, Swamiji knew that Sumatee had some incompletions about not being in the kitchen so he inspired Sumatee to put flowers around the mat that he rested his feet on and the swing and she put a special flower on the table that he uses. On the first day that she put the flowers he so lovingly called them ”Sumatee love flowers”. She overflowed with joy that he accepted, so compassionate is he. In her mind knowing that he did that just for her. Swamiji kept mentioning ”Sumatee love flowers” for a few days and suddenly a lot of people wanted to clean. Sumatee smiled and loved her Guru even more. She was always happy whenever he would give the flowers that she left on his table to someone to be healed. She expanded to offering flowers to all the deities in the courtyard. Sumatee always swept the path that Swamiji’s feet would first touch the ground as he came down the stairs, where he would hug the trees and blessed them.
On one blessed morning as Sumatee was just finished cleaning the yard in just inside the evergreen gate Swamiji came back from his walk, and with his ever loving cosmic smile he looked at her and he did something she never expected. Swamiji took of his slippers outside the gate and walked where she had just swept BARE FEET!!!”. This was not even in the courtyard, it was outside the courtyard, where people would walk with slippers.
It was his way of saying ”I appreciate what you do and accept it”
But the people who was with him on his walk was in unawares of what Swamiji did and the significance of it. They just picked up Swamiji’s slippers and walked in with theirs still on. The cosmos, ever so compassionate and loving in this body. What a space he carries. Sumatee never looked at cleaning Ananda Puri as work but as being in the state of bliss. One morning she couldn’t find a rose to put on his table but Swamiji led her to the most beautiful pink rose and then the roses was no more where she picked flowers, but Swamiji again, she was sent to help take stock and on her way back she discovered the mother load, a rose garden. She blurted out to the people with her “ROSES! ROSES!” but they gave her a look ”so what”.
The morning Sumatee left, she plucked all the roses she could find and decorated Swamiji’s swing. She left with a heavy heart, but knowing that she was given the opportunity to worship and celebrate Sachala Maruti and the memory and the experience she had and the love and compassion she felt just overflows from within her. The joy and happiness she felt after ten and a half years after loosing her husband to Yama. Life happened in her again. The biggest smile on her face as she took blessing from Swamiji as she left knowing that he did it all for HER.