As we walked towards Entrance Gate 3 of the Shirdi Sai Baba temple, a person walked to us and said that he will get us a VIP (Very Important Person) Darshan without the crowds. Of course, this was for a fee. We just walked past him as though we had not heard him and walked in to the temple. This was exactly what Sai Baba had talked against in the 19th Century. He didn't want any such difference based on economic criteria or for that matter any such criteria. These touts and many of us have forgotten the very tenets that Sai stood for and now make a living out of the temple in ways that leave a lot to be desired.
As he helped the elderly lady up the staircase, I saw the Sai in him. Another one bought tea for those who could not afford it. So many others donated blood at the temple's blood camp. Many others stood as volunteers helping and guiding pilgrims through the confusing temple campus. Still, so many others served water free to all those who needed it. There was a Sai in every one of them.
Many a time, we forget to see all these Sais in the temple and focus on those few touts who sell their souls to make a living.
After the darshan, we headed back to the hotel. It was a really hot afternoon. We were tired and stopped for a cold mango milkshake. As we enjoyed the milkshake, an elderly lady walked up to us and asked for some money. One look at her and somehow I felt I had reached her soul. Not sure why this happened to me, but it did. She needed something cold too and she was very hungry. Yet, there was calm in the eyes and total peace in the face. I got her a milkshake. She lifted her frail hands, placed it on my head and blessed. She then pointed to her eyes and gestured to me that she saw me. I saw peace and calm in her despite the fact that she did not have food and was asking others for it. I saw Sai in her. I had experienced the Sai moment!!!
As we headed back to the hotel to get some rest before we left for Bangalore, I couldn't help but think of this experience. Sai had given me this amazing opportunity to be of service to this elderly lady. In turn, I got peace, calm and a feeling that I am unable to describe. The feeling brought up all kinds of emotions inside me. My wife had brought me to the temple as it was our 25th Wedding Anniversary and she said that it would be the best experience for both of us. Indeed, it was!!!
If we are lucky, each of us will have these moments...and these moments can be experienced right through our lives. The search is inside each of us and I am convinced. It is, for me, recognizing the fact that we are each given opportunities to pour our love and be of help to those who need it. If we choose to grab these opportunities and are grateful that we got these opportunities, we become the chosen ones and will experience the Sai Moment.
Take this to the corporate world or in to our every day lives - as Leaders, we can seize these moments that come to us daily. I don't believe that we need to go searching for these Sai Moments. They present themselves to us in various types and forms. The true Leader recognizes these moments and is there to make a difference to her/his organization and the world around her/him. In turn, these Sai Moments transform the Leader in to a better human being...after all, Leadership is all about being human and not just about human beings.