Jagjit Singh: Sabse Oonchi Prem Sagai

"You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you." John Bunyan

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Kishan, one of our Moved by Love volunteers shares this beautiful anecdote that taught him a lifelong lesson in compassion.

"I recollect an experience we had a couple years ago in Panchgani at a beautiful retreat center with Jayesh bhai.

One morning Jayesh bhai observed a rusty light pole fixed on the trunk of a giant tree. He had taken a liking to this tree  and would sit forhours under it, and had lovingly named it Sahyogi because it offered its shade and support to all creatures. Jayesh bhai shared with us about the pain which the tree might be facing because of the nails planted in its trunk. The care taker of the retreat center mentioned that she too feels it is not a good idea to put nails in the tree for the pole.

Obtaining a go ahead, in afternoon Jayesh bhai arranged a ladder and few tools from the vicinity and found his way up the tree. To support, I climbed up with him. Since the nails were there for quite some time, they had got rusted. With ardent efforts, first three nails were removed, and the fourth gave quite a tough time. Had I been there alone, I would have given up, yet Jayesh bhai was persistence and compassion embodied as he refused to give up. I too stayed with him and after some effort, the tree was finally free of this light pole. We both felt a sigh of relief and our faces were all smiles for the rest of the day.

Next day morning when I was heading towards our Sahyogi tree, I saw Jayesh bhai with shovel in his hand. Seeing me curious, he shared "I saw this small tree while walking and observed that  its trunk is encapsulated with cement pavement and it may struggle to grow against the cement. I felt as if this tree is calling and expressing gratitude for removing the light pole from its brother tree. I felt love and am called to remove the cement around its trunk." And with immense patience he joyously removed the cement freeing the trunk to expand. 

I was awestruck observing the whole episode. The love for one tree instilled compassion, which in turn led to constructive action. When there is love for one, it find its ways to express it for all. Nature has its ways to communicate and convey, we need an open heart to listen and express."

This is a bhajan written by Surdas. He was a 15th-century blind saint, musician, and poet, known for his devotional songs dedicated to Lord Krishna. "Sabse Oonchi Prem Sagai" refers that among the many ways of engaging with and relating to the Divine, love is the highest.

Lyrics and Translation:

Sabse Oonchi Prem Sagai
Duryodhana Ko Meva Tyago
Saga Vidura Ghara Pai
Sabse Oonchi Prem Sagai

Lord Krishna renounced the delicacies that Duryodhana offered, and ate vegetables at Vidura’s house.

Juthe Phala Sabari Ke Khaye
Bahu Vidhi Prema Lagai
Sabse Oonchi Prem Sagai

As Lord Ramacandra, He ate fruits which were already filled with love from Sabari.

Prema Ke Bas Nripa Sevaa Kinhi
Aap Bane Hari Nai
Sabse Oonchi Prem Sagai

Love is indeed the best way to serve and please the Lord.

Rajasuya Yajna Yudhisthira Chino
Tamai Jutha Uthai
Sabse Oonchi Prem Sagai

In Maharaja Yuddhistira’s Rajasuya Yajna sacrifice, Lord Krishna served the Brahmans and picked up their eating utensils.

Prema Ke Basa Arjuna Ratha Hankhyo
Bhula Gaye Thakurai
Sabse Oonchi Prem Sagai

Out of pure love for Arjuna, He took the position of being his charioteer, and He forgot that He was the Lord.

Aisi Preet Baḍhi Vrrindavan
Gopina Naach Nachai
Sabse Oonchi Prem Sagai

Such love did Lord Krishna portray in Vrndavana when He danced with the gopis in the rasa lila.

Sura Krura Is Layaka Nahi
Kehe Lek Kare Baḍai
Sabse Oonchi Prem Saga

Sura Dasa asks, "In what way could I worship the merciful and magnanimous Lord?”

Credits: Pixabay

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