Sai is the Pilot 

by Arun Balaraman

Swami provided our center officers with the incredible opportunity and experience of guiding our Sai Center’s activities through the unprecedented COVID pandemic. Like a pilot, He guided us as we navigated from pre-pandemic normalcy in 2019, through the uncertain times of COVID from 2020 to early 2022, and then back to a gradual return to normalcy in 2022.

During mid-2021, the levels of uncertainty had reached a crescendo:

- COVID had re-surged as the Delta variant, and was at its peak with no end of the pandemic in sight.

- Some center members were fatigued from the overwhelming number of online Sai activities, while those technically-challenged felt a great degree of isolation.

-  As a result of tough economic conditions, the wonderful location that we had rented as our center’s home for the past 29 years was sold by the church owners.  We were uncertain where to look for a new physical location to rent, whether we would find one in a community that was aligned with our needs, our values, and whether it would be affordable.

- We were also faced with uncertainties and unexpected challenges in the larger Sai organization 

As center officers, we surrendered and prayed to Swami to guide us. We felt ver much in sync with Swami and very united as we navigated through these difficult times.

During my morning prayers one day, during these times of extreme uncertainties,  I experienced a moment of complete deep surrender, when Swami gave me the following insight. Here is how I heard Swami’s words:

“Think of the current situation as if you are flying an airplane that is going through severe weather and turbulence. Consider the center officers as crew members of the aircraft. If the crew members get nervous and agitated, the passengers will also get agitated. If you are all calm and in sync with Swami, it will not affect the center members. They will not get agitated.

If you think that you are piloting the airplane, you can take charge and will be flying it all by yourselves. On the other hand, if you think of Me (Swami) as the pilot, I will navigate the plane. You, as the crew, should hold onto me as I navigate. This turbulence will end and you will be able to come through the storm and land the plane safely, and  be able to hand over the responsibilities to the next crew to take over.”

This insight provided me with great clarity, guidance, and calmness, and true to His word, Swami navigated the center through these tough times and landed us safely. 

Our center continued its activities in full swing through the COVID times including daily morning prayers, 96 days of daily home bhajans in advance of His 96th birthday, weekly devotional activities, service activities, and SSE classes with good active participation by Center members. Swami also guided us to find a wonderful new center location with an organization with values closely aligned with ours, in the same area, with more space to conduct additional activities, and at a reasonable rent. As COVID began to wane, our center was gradually able to hold more activities in person.

By His Grace, our center was able to hold together very well and was least impacted by all of the uncertainties as mentioned. By His  blessings, our members stayed united and engaged with center activities through all of those difficult times.