Grant Me Salvation, Swami
One afternoon a lady from Kumbhakonam sat near Bhagavan and exclaimed: "How glad I am that I have met you, Swami. I have craved to see you for a long time, Swami. Not that I want anything, Swami. Only please be kind and grant me salvation, Swami." With that she got up and went away. Bhagavan had a hearty laugh.
"Look at her - all she wants is salvation. Give her salvation, she wants nothing else."
I said: "Is it not what we all want?"
He replied: "Is salvation something to be handed over on request? Do I keep bundles of salvation concealed about me, that people should ask me for salvation? She said 'I do not want anything.' If it is sincere, that itself is salvation. What is there I can give and what is there they can take?"
Somebody brought a bell to be rung at the arati ceremony and it was put into Bhagavan's hands. He tried its sound in various ways and laughed: "God wants us to make a fire of our past evil deeds and burn our karma in it. But these people burn a copper worth of camphor and hope to please the Almighty. Do they really believe that they can get something for nothing? They do not want to bend to God, they want God to bend to them. In their greed they would swallow God, but they would not let him swallow them. Some boast of their offerings. What have they got to offer ? The idol of Vinayaka (Ganesha) is made of jaggery. They break off a piece of it and offer it to Him. The only offering worthy of the Lord is to clear the mind of thoughts and remain steady in the peace of Self."
As I Saw Him - No.5. My Life, My Light
by Varanasi Subbalakshmi.