A Story of Swami Sita
An Old Memory Brings New Sanity!
I stood in the kitchen, one chilly spring afternoon all stressed out as my mind was running a log of hysterical problems. Just then, an old story that rested in the far recesses of my mind was abruptly brought to the forefront when I whispered to myself, “I think I need an interrupting Om.”
An interrupting Om? Where in the world did I get that from, I wondered? It did not come from the kids or the husband? Then I remembered! Swami Sita and her interrupting OM!
I am part of a music band called Shanti Shanti. My sister and I, were spontaneously able to chant, read and write Sanskrit and our father, the late Robert Forman, was a musician and producer. Our music and chanting fit into all sorts of venues, from business conferences, to India Festivals, to Yoga and health gatherings. We were welcome at any venue that needed some inspirational music and the desire to experience the powerful effect of Sanskrit chanting.
Our band was invited to an ashram in the hills in Northern, California. When we arrived and were shown the rustic venue we were supposed to perform in, we had a barrage of questions and concerns. We were directed to speak with the head of the ashram; a small, shaven-headed lady named Swami Sita. At first glance I thought to myself, “This lady can’t help us, this venue doesn’t have the necessary elements for our equipment, and so on”. I attempted to list these problems to Swami Sita and as my voice gained intensity with higher and higher stress, she interrupted me with a short “Om”. “But you don’t understand, where do we plug in the amplifiers?” She responded in a soft, calm voice, “om.” Even more stressed out, I said, “What about the microphones? We need a power source.” Again, she interrupted my concern with, “om.”
“You can’t tell her anything. She just remains calm and says “om”,” I said to my dad with exasperation. “What are we suppose to do?” Feeling the stress of a y0ung performer, Swami Sita looked up to me, showed a slight smile, and an even calmer, softer “Om” was her final response. In looking into her eyes as she uttered the word “Om”, I felt a calmness come over me, and I realized that all of my worries were just in my overheated mind, and that everything would be just fine.
In the end, the performance turned out perfect, they had all the things we needed and there was really no need to have been concerned at all. We performed at this venue additional times, and each time I learned to express myself with more peace and calmness. The last time we performed there, I don’t think there was any interrupting “om”. In retrospect, I can see that she was interrupting my trivial concerns and bringing our conversation back to a state of peace. It forced me to stop and look at myself and not indulge in any pointless stress.
Fast forward a number of years later, and our lives are full of all the chaos and tribulations that come with making a living and having a family. The list of “problems” our minds come up with is just amazing. Some of the concerns are valid and need to be dealt with, but a good number of these problems are a product of our frazzled, stressed out, adult imaginations.
After that moment in the kitchen, I have found my inner Swami Sita and I interrupted my fear-based, mind-stream with an interrupting “om”. I invite you to be your own Swami Sita and interrupt your own worries with om. It worked back then and it works now! Notice the list of concerns our minds create and sometimes just momentary interruptions can help us see the wasted energy and uselessness of all that worry and stress.
Om is one of the first syllables we learn when we study meditation, yoga or eastern studies. It is a primary mantra in Sanskrit and is the root or our commonly used “Amen”! Om is the perfect mantra to interrupt us and bring us back to a space of peace, joy and clarity.