SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI
Samarppanam Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba often says that he belongs to the entire mankind. And yet, on the Day of Declaration, Bhagavan announced that He has come in human form, and has taken birth in Apasthamba Suthra, and Bharadwaja Gothra. Long time back, when I was, for the first time, reading this portion in “Sathyam Sivam Sundaram”, my mind raced back to my early childhood period, when I was initiated into Gayathri Japa Mantra, during the sacred thread ceremony. The priest also taught me another mantra, which serves as an introduction of ourselves while paying obeisance to elders. It runs as under: “Abhivaadhaye, Aangeerasa, Bharhasspathaya Bharadwaja, Thraya Risheya, Pravaraanyutha, Aapsthamba Suthra, Bharadwaja Gothraha Yadhu saaka adhyayet, Srinivasa Sharma naama, Aham Asmibhoho” Here, I, Srinivasan Sharma, identify myself before the elders to whom I am offering my pranams, by tracing the lineage from and my origin to the Rishi Bharadwaja. When I utter that I belong to the Bharadwaja Gothra, it traces, the lineage of the particular saint, i.e., this family has originated from Saint Bharadwaja. It was further explained to me by the priest that, having born in this lineage whoever claims to be of this Gothra, they are supposed to belong to the same family tree. Marriages amongst the members of the same Gothra are avoided because it is deemed that they are brothers and sisters belonging to the same family lineage. (Please Note: When we write down the individual horoscopes, the Gothra is prominently written immediately after the name. The girl’s family and the boy’s family first make it sure that both families do not belong to the same Gothra.) The above thoughts sounded so nice and pleasant, when I read that Sri Sathya Sai Baba belonged to Bharadwaja Gothra. It thrilled me to claim kinship with Swami on this plea and this feeling helped me to develop closeness
with Swami in the years to come. I am transposed to a state of bliss whenever I recall my pilgrimages to Swami, several times during the last 30 years. Swamiâ€™s Grace flowing in abundance during these years had held me together through thick and thin. I always cherish the thoughts of the several events in my life when I had experienced Saiâ€™s Grace protecting me and guiding me, all along. Without Swami, I shudder to think, how I would have survived in this world. At each of my faltering step, there has always been the Divine Hand stretched to pick me up and place me again on the path chosen by Him, for me to tread along. Sweet memories, Divine experiences, all flash through my mind very often, I always feel truly blessed for the varied Divine experiences. Presently, invoking His blessings, I am trying to weave the various sequences of His Grace into a garland in the form of this Book, and offer the same at His Lots Feet. May I invite you my beloved Sai Brothers and Sisters, to travel along the pages and share the bliss with me. It would be a great revelation to experience how the Grace of Lord Sai, flows to you, when you completely surrender to HIM, and lead your life, following His Divine Directions. V.Srinivasan
PRAYERS My Dearest Swami, I offer my Pranams at your Lotus feet. Born somewhere, bred somewhere, career elsewhere, I now stand at the cross road, expecting and waiting for the inviting call of Swami to put an end to my nomadic life, and help my settlement nearer to Swamiâ€™s presence and abode. My life has traversed from humble origins through a rugged mountainous path to heights, only to roll down to depths, and again to revive gradually. Swami, you took charge of me, and since then you have been shaping my destiny and also supporting me to see though my destiny; good or bad. So far as this little self is concerned, it only knows to rush to you, as it has been doing all along, beseeching, particularly in helpless situations, crying out â€œSwami, now you take charge; I surrender unto you totally and unconditionallyâ€?! This small book is just a feeble attempt of mine, born out of the little ego, that I too have run the race to capture your glory and that I too have been the proud recipient of your Grace which has bestowed on me, the thrills of various experiences. If, in this process, the experience and joy gets shared and the reading of this book imparts some momentum and motivation to the readers, to adopt an attitude of total surrender in performing any task in life, then I would consider it an accomplishment; the credit of which I do not deserve. Many devotees had prompted me and helped in bringing out this, in a book form. I pray to Bhagavan to bestow His Blessings and Grace on all those who have contributed in whatever form in the publication of this book. With Pranams at your Lotus Feet, V. Srinivasan
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter-1
"Objects are not to fall on magic wand". It was the year 1965, when I was employed in Bombay, that I heard, many people talk about Sai Baba. I was a regular visitor to Shirdi, offering worship at the Samaadhi very often. One day I again heard the name of Sai Baba, still alive and likely to visit Bombay very shortly! I felt something mystical about this, and I started enquiring what this was all about. One of my friends gave me a copy of a recently published English magazine “Illustrated weekly of India”, and showed me the cover page. There I could see the picture of a saintly man, but with a crown of hair on the head, holding out the right hand upwards, as if blessing somebody. “This is Sai Baba, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba”, said my friend, and urged me to read the cover story inside the magazine. The article mentioned about the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba, as Sri Sathya Sai Baba, born again at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh. The amazing miracles of materializing Rings, Pendants, Mangala Soothram, etc. vividly explained therein, were very difficult to believe. Something deep inside told me that there was nothing wrong in believing Him and it would still be better, if I could visit this Holy Man. There was excitement in my mind, to know that I am living during the period of an Avatar. We have only read or heard stories of various Avatars. I thought that if only it is true that Sai Baba is an Avatar, then it is really an unique chance to live during this period. We have seen Gods as idols in temples, and in pictures in our Pooja rooms. Here I hear that God is presently living on earth, in human form, and that He is available for all the humanity. The more exciting news was that Sai Baba was likely to visit Bombay shortly and that we could see this God in human form for ourselves. I did not know what to do. Something precious was within our reach, during our lifetime. Great devotees had lived and served God during earlier Avatars. In Dwapara Yuga, it was said, that Gopies worshipped, served and lived ever in His memory. Arjuna was constantly with Krishna. The only thing that I could understand was that it would be a God sent chance to live while God is on earth and to get opportunities to serve Him. However, we should deserve HIS grace. Would I deserve His Darshan? If He is God, then, He should know everything about me (About all of us), past present and future. Oh My God, I would have committed many a sins during this life. He would be knowing all about my deficiencies and blemishes and He might not like to see me at all. When Baba might come to Bombay, lakhs of devotees would be longing for His Darshan. Could it be assumed they are all free of sins? Then why not I also go and have His Darshan at least from a long distance! I was very much confused and restless for several days - to see Him or not to see Him! I could not concentrate on my office work and could not sleep peacefully. I wanted to know more about Sai Baba and started making enquiries with whomever I happened to contact. Many did not know about Baba nor had they heard of Him. They were looking at me curiously and perhaps thought that something was really wrong with me. Restless I was, yet I tried to engross myself in my office work. I was living alone since my wife had gone to her native place. We were waiting for the arrival of our first child. This was already causing tension. My confusing thoughts of Baba added to my tension. My wife had developed some problems during her earlier pregnancy resulting in abortion. The specialist doctors had certified that she might not conceive again. The Grace of Sai flowing unto us, even before we came to know of Him, is a different story altogether and I shall narrate it, elsewhere in this book. Here, I only wish to mention that, in spite of the complications and anxieties, my wife insisted on going to her native place for delivery. It is a small remote village in Kerala with no doctors and hospital facilities. Yet that was her wish that she wanted to be with her own mother. Sitting alone in the house, my thoughts were oscillating between my unconfirmed faith on Baba and fears of my wife’s safe delivery. My dull mind was not able to knit the possibility of Baba’s Grace with a solution to my
wife’s problems. Then the thought suddenly flashed through my mind. Why not pray, to the till then ‘unknown Baba’ and request Him to take care of the situation. Here, I was in Bombay, my wife in a remote village in Kerala, and Sri Sai Baba in Puttaparthi, also a remote village in Andhra Pradesh. If what others say to be true, that Baba is God, then He should be Omnipresent. He should be able to listen to my prayers, reach out to the Kerala Village, and bless the lady for a safe delivery. Slowly and steadily confidence started building up in me, in Baba’s divinity. At last with my sincere prayers, I placed the entire burden on Him. No more worries. No more tensions whatsoever disturbed me thereafter. I believed that He would take care of us. The timing was very perfect. I got a telegraphic message that a son was born. The delivery was normal and that my wife’s mother herself was able to handle the situation. There were no complications, as we had feared all along. The same day, Bhagavan Baba had arrived in Bombay! Yet I was unaware of the Divine visit. I got a telephone call form one of my friends, asking me whether I had Baba’s Darshan. I said ’No’, and in turn I enquired where I should go for Darshan. I was told that Darshan had been arranged daily morning and evening in the compound of a certain palace grounds at Worli area. Nothing could prevent me any longer. I rushed to Worli, and found that there was a huge crowd of devotees, singing Bhajans and I could see Baba far away, sitting on an ornate chair, listening to Bhajans. I was very late and had to stand at the entrance gate of the palace ground. I could not proceed further inside, because right up to the gate devotees were sitting. I was told that Baba would usually go around the devotees, so that every one could have very close Darshan and even a chance to touch His feet. I learnt further that, Bhagavan had already finished the rounds and anytime now Arathi would be offered, and He would go inside. There was no chance of seeing Him close by, on my first Darshan day. How unfortunate, I thought. Standing where I was, I prayed unto Him, thanking Him profusely for His Grace on my wife, who had no problems with her delivery. I spoke through my heart that I had come to Him and that He should accept me, in spite of all my deficiencies and to guide me through the rest of my life. I was emotionally surcharged, literally weeping and praying. Deep in my mind, I was aware that He was hearing my prayers. There was a slight movement. I watched Baba getting up. He was seen moving slowly along the central pathway. Ladies were sitting on one side and the gents on the other side. It was something strange in Bombay, to see ladies and gents sitting separately. Before I could realize it, Swami (as He is called reverently) was standing just in front of me! I was overwhelmed on seeing Sai so close to me, and I did not know what I should do. Could I talk to Him, or worship Him, but then how? Face to face with Baba, without any premeditated thought I just happened to catch hold of His both Hands. Baba, lowering His charming face to a side, just smiled at me. What a captivating and charming smile it was, which bestowed all the Divine Bliss! He did not speak. But instantly, it struck me that I had erred in holding His hands, and that Swami did not approve of my act. At the same time, a quotation in English, flashed through my mind.
“Objects are not to fall on magic wand”. It took a few moments to realize the implications of my act and when it dawned on me, I just withdrew my hands. Benign Sai continued to smile, patted on my back and walked away. A magician normally holds a stick in his hands and touches on any object with this stick. The magician’s stick is called ‘magic wand’. When the wand contacts any object, say a stone, it becomes an egg or something. It is the will of the magician. On the contrary if we put the same stone in the magician’s wand, nothing will happen. I have now understood that there is absolutely no gain for us, by holding His hands or touching His feet. We are only causing Him inconvenience or making ourselves a nuisance. We can touch Him only when He asks you to do so, if any benefit of His blessings is to result. After this first encounter with Divinity, I decided to wait for His call to take Namaskar. I waited and waited, year after year patiently, though I had frequent chances of having His Darshan that too very closely. But I dared not touch His Lotus Feet. The longed for chance did come! But, after a patient wait for the next 16 long years! Then this is a different story .all together!
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) CHAPTER – 2 THE CALL COMES THROUGH th
It was the year of Swami’s 70 Birthday celebrations. All over the world, Sai volunteers were engaged in various activities connected with the celebrations. I was also assigned with some important job. Due to some misunderstanding with the higher ups in the state organization, all the works allotted to me were withdrawn. I was made to feel that I was not wanted. I felt very sad. No activity whatsoever connected with Sai Seva was given to me. When all other devotees volunteers were involved in such holy activities, I was idle. This caused mental depression. I was worried about myself. Then the call came through. A friend of mine from Delhi, also a devotee of Swami, informed me that he would be going to Shirdi and requested me to join him. I felt very happy when I heard this. We met in a mid way station and traveled together to Shirdi. Two days of Darshan at the Samaadhi relieved my depression very much, and I felt very normal, knowing fully well that I was with Swami, though in a different location. On the third day, we were to leave Shirdi shortly after lunch. While my friends were packing, I went to Mandir, for a ‘farewell’ Darshan. I sat in a corner and prayed to Swami. I was asking Him within me, as to whether I was still with Him. “Am I with you, Swami?” was my question. After praying for about ten minutes there, I was passing by the side of the Samaadhi to offer my Pranams. Just then, a khaki clad security staff confronted me to inform that I was wanted by his officer. I followed him and found myself inside a large room just behind the Samaadhi Mandir. Bundles of currency notes had been stacked in all possible places; on various tables, almirahs, book shelves etc. I was taken aback. I was wondering, why I had been brought there. A gentleman who introduced himself as the secretary of the Shirdi Samasthan, told me that they had opened up various ‘Hundies’ that day and had collected all the money offerings made by devotees. They were supposed to take into account all the collections in the presence of devotee citizen. They requested me to sign the cash registers as a witness. They explained to me, the register entries of various currency denominations in a statement form in the cashbook. I willingly signed at the appropriate place. I was also requested to write down my residential address and telephone number below the signature, which was complied with, by me. The Secretary, there upon stood up, read out my name, and address to the other members of the Trust, and they also noted down my details in their registers. I was all the time, thanking Swami for the immediate response He gave, to my query whether I was with Him. Swami by Divine Will had my name and address entered in the Samasthan (Trust) registers, thereby implying that I was very much with Him. He confirmed that I am still close devotee, whatever be my relationship with the organization. I left Shirdi with this assurance and the miraculous divine experience. Very soon after my Shirdi pilgrimage, I received a telephone call from my son, Ramesh (my second son) who was studying in Swami’s college at Prashanthi Nilayam. He told me that he was blessed by Swami with an interview. Swami in His infinite mercy and love called Ramesh nearer to Him and had allowed him to take Paadha Namaskar. Swami then materialized a ring studded with 3 diamonds, and slipped the same into his right hand finger. He also explained to me in detail of his wonderful experiences in the interview room. I could not resist my eagerness to visit Prashanthi Nilayam, and see the Divine gift for myself. Very soon, I proceeded on yet another pilgrimage to Swami. I had to go alone, since my wife was away from Madras, where I am settled for the last two decades. I reached Parthi on 29-9-1995 evening after Darshan was over. Swami was th giving interviews to a group of selected devotees. The next day i.e. on the 30 was a memorable day. Swami directed me to go the interview room. I had no words to express my feelings at that moment. Though I had got several chances of group interviews, Swami had provided a golden opportunity of personal interview for the first
time. There were in all about 18 persons selected for the interview that day. A group of devotees from Croatia and members of a rich business family, who had settled in overseas country, were also blessed by Swami by selecting them for interview that day. Swami ushered all of us into the interview room. Immediately Swami enquired from me whether I had seen the ring He had given to my son Ramesh. I replied, “Yes, Swami”. Swami called the boy nearer to Him and asked him to remove the ring from the finger, and give it back to Him. Bhagavan showed the ring to all those present inside the room and asked how many diamonds were there in the ring. Everybody replied that there were 3 diamonds. Swami then held the ring nearer His mouth and blew it. When Swami showed it to us again, all the 3 small diamonds had vanished and a large single diamond was found in the ring. He told my son that the 3 diamonds had merged in one. “Likewise, Swami, you and your father are all of only entity; and should not be differentiated. All of us are embodiment of a single atmic principle”. Swami then invited the devotees group-wise into the inner room for personal interview. Our turn came up last. My son and myself were alone with Swami. Swami asked me what was my problem in Madras. I did not give any reply but kept my head on His lap. Swami patted me and told my son that I had been visiting Him for the last 30 years or more. He also revealed that I had come to Him with lot of mental tension and worries. He did not want me to be sad, having done lot of Sai Seva. That is why He had bestowed me this unique chance of sitting under His feet and have an interview. Swami told us about the rich family and said that though they were very rich, there were problems aplenty for them too. The entire family was very unhappy due to the loss of their only son. The girl, though alive, was now spastic and living like vegetable in a wheel chair with no faculty functioning. She is unaware of her own existence. I prayed that since they had come and surrendered to Swami, won’t Swami be kind enough to do something for them. Swami in His infinite mercy made it clear to us, that people doing wrong to others, would have to face the cause and effect of their action and there would no way of escaping from ‘karma’. He further said that, however, God can and would interfere and make things easier, provided we repented for our misdeeds and commit ourselves to make sacrifices which would benefit the poor and needy persons. The rich people who can afford, can help the needy, by providing charitable hospitals for providing free treatment, schools for providing free education and so on. But God would not directly suggest these remedies. It would be for those who afflicted by the karmic backlash, to think back, and realize by themselves. “This is the self realization that I would expect from them. They should sincerely repent and take corrective actions by such deeds of charities which alone would please Him, and which would move HIM to help them out from the severity of the Karmic effects”. As Swami was explaining the karmic theory, I could almost feel the agony of our Lord, when He stated that He is unable to help out a devotee whom He loves so much, in doing away with the karmic results. Swami further said that even if we take small step, say by way of some charities, it will be like making a small opening on a closed door, and then Swami Himself will push open the door fully, and come to the rescue of the devotee. But, if we do not make any effort to make even such a small opening, what else can He do only other than giving solace and consolation. During the hour-long interview, Swami gave us lot of advice to me and to my son and discussed various family matters. “You are wearing a clean white pant, and to keep it unsoiled, you spread a towel or some sheets on the floor for sitting in Darshan lines. Don’t you feel that God deserves a better place to sit?”, asked Swami. He further said that the seat for the Lord is in our hearts and it is essential to keep it pure and unsullied, so that He can reside therein. “We call God as “HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS), i.e. He who resides in the heart. ‘Heart is combination of two words in Sanskrit. “HRUD+DAYA” It means “The source from where pure Daya or compassion emanate” One who has no compassion, is often called, a man without a heart. And in such a place, how do you expect Swami to reside?”
Swami asked us, â€œWhom do you love most? All the relatives in the world are bound to depart from this world one day or other and the love towards them is also a passing phase. Before we marry, there is no wife and until we beget child or children, there is no father or mother. All the relationships got evolved one day or other during this lifetime and your love with such persons are also developed through attachment and selfish desires. This love is not permanent. However, one should remember that God is with you through and through, your past births as well as in this birth and the forthcoming births too. Therefore, if you love God without any condition, it will be pure and selfless love. We should develop constant faith and love towards God who alone is eternal.â€? Swami was giving us lots of such advices and in the end He directed me to come again with my wife on 4-11-1995 when I was to step into my sixtieth year of existence by His Grace. It was another blissful event when further grace of Sai was showered on us with yet another interview on that auspicious occasion. Om Sai Ram.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter – 3 He calls us again The month of November is always a memorable one in Sai Calendar. November 1995, was however, uniquely memorable for me at Prashanthi Nilayam. And it would ever remain green in my heart. Yes, it would remain a life time experience for me resulting from flood of Grace showered on me by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Swami was very much busy with the ongoing water supply project. The Sathya Sai water supply project, catering to the entire Anantapur District was in progress. Swami had willed that the project should be inaugurated during Bhagavan’s seventieth Birthday celebrations. A world conference of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations was also planned for around 10 days, during the Divine birthday celebrations, including the Sathya Sai University convocation. Very high dignitaries including the President of India, the Prime Minster and scores of central and state ministers were listed to participate. th
The November functions started with a 24-hour Akhanda Bhajan on the 4 . Swami had commanded me, during the earlier interview that I should come to Him with my wife on that day. On this auspicious day, I would have th completed 59 years of existence and then stepping into the 60 year. I had submitted, “Swami, will you not be very busy during these hectic November days”. Swami replied with a benign smile that Swami has always got time for His devotees. th
Well before the rise of the sun for the day, 4 November 1995, I took up my seat in the Darshan line with ‘AKSHTHA” (rice colored with turmeric powder). Sai Kulwant was filled to capacity and devotees were overflowing into the outer spaces as well. Everybody’s look is tuned towards Swami, hoping for His blessings or His “ABHAYA HASTHA”, or His “KRIPA KADAKSHAM” , even from a long distance. That would, indeed be a fulfillment of Darshan, even if it is from a long distance. They return home after a few days of stay at Prashanthi Nilayam. As for me, I was praying and hoping that I would be blessed with Paada Namaskar, and if lucky Swami’s benediction by way of sprinkling of the Akshatha on my head. It was too much to expect anything more than such a grace from our Lord under the circumstance. In such a magnitude of crowd of devotees, what else could I aspire! The melodious light music over the system signaled the sweet appearance of Swami from the Poornachandra Auditorium. As Swami entered the Mantap, all our attention was focused on and traveled along with Swami and we even became oblivious of the music. Swami was moving along the ladies side. The Mantap was enveloped in pin drop silence. We were feasting our eyes, on His divine, movement, accepting letters from some, allowing Paada Namaskar for some who gained access to His Paada (Divine Feet), and blessing all others with Abhaya Hastha. Swami looked like floating through the middle of the crowd. As He was passing along, at a short distance from me, I was trying to catch a glimpse of Swami’s Divine Lotus Feet. But alas, the long free flowing robe, came in between His Lotus Feet and my vision. With intense prayers, I continued to wait for a glimpse. There they were!. Swami’s Lotus Feet came to my vision, as Swami took a couple brisk steps. And in no time, Swami was standing in front of me with Divine smile. I lost all consciousness and I was simply staring at Swami with tears in my eyes. Swami spoke; He asked me who else had come with me. I spurred to my senses and suddenly held out before Him the cup containing Akshatha and took Namaskar at His Lotus Feet. Swami sprinkled the Akshatha on me. When I got up, Swami again asked, who else had come? I replied, “Swami, only my wife” Swami commanded me to go inside.
This signal from Swami, directing us to go inside, signifies His Grace earned by us through our previous good deeds and karmas. This He himself confirmed later during the interview. A coveted interview with Bhagavan is a lifetime desire of every Sai devotees, and I am no less exception to this longing. I moved on to the verandah of the Mandir and took up my place. I could see my wife from the ladies side, also moving towards Mandir. My second son, S. Ramesh who was a student in Swamiâ€™s college doing his B.Sc. final year, joined us in the veranda. Swami was still among the devotees, blessing them with His Darshan.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter –4 The Spiritual Wedding The wait in the verandah seemed to be very very long for me. Swami belongs to every body and He gives His time to everybody. In our concern with self, we become impatient of Swami’s concern and time for others. I sat through, praying mentally and reverently. Swami entered the verandah, walked through the devotees and students, and reached us. With His benign smile, He spoke a few kind words to on or the other who has assembled there, on His call for interview. This time, Swami had selected a group of Australian devotees and a Lady devotee from Thailand whom Swami introduced to us as the Maharani (Queen) of Thailand. When Swami directed us to go inside the Interview room, we could see the Lady walking very reverently, her face almost touching her knees. Swami pointed out this to us and remarked what a devotion this Lady had got towards Swami. Swami’s remark touched us deeply. Blessed indeed are such souls and it is also Swami’s way of making us learn to intensify our own devotion. After ushering in all of us into the interview room, Swami closed the door, bolted them from inside, and looked at us to see whether everybody was seated comfortably. Swami switched on the fan and occupied His seat. Even though the room was over crowded Swami insisted on ladies and gents sitting apart. One gentleman from Australia, when asked to mover further away from the nearest lady, mentioned that she was his wife. Swami sharply said that such wife and daughter relationships would be true in their individual homes. But in the Ashram the rules are very strict and should be followed as such. Swami then materialized Vibhuthi and distributed the same only to the ladies. I was sitting at His Lotus Feet and my wife was sitting at the far end of the end room near exit door. Swami called her to come and sit near to Him. Bhagavan then announced abruptly to all assembled devotees that this couple (meaning us) would be wedded again in His presence on the eventful occasion of my sixtieth year birthday. This announcement took me by surprise. At the same time, the Divine Mercy overwhelmed me. I could feel the warmth of His love overflowing on us. I could utter nothing. During the course of general talks on various spiritual matters, my wife prayed to Swami for a clarification. She told Him that Bhagavan had blessed her through many Divine dreams during which Swami had told her that he would always be with her. Though she believed in Swami’s assurances in the dream, she had never had such experience of His presence. Swami smiled at her and said that he would explain this matter to her shortly. Swami then turned to an Australian devotee and enquired where from he had come. He replied that they were from Australia. Swami asked him the reason for his visit to Prashanthi Nilayam. Pat came the reply, “Swami, we have to come here to see God!” Swami, “Oh! Is that so? Then you do not have God in Australia?” The devotee could not say anything and felt cornered. Some how another devotee took up courage and expressed that “Swami, there is God in our country also, but we have intense desire to see God in Human form, who is none other than Baba Himself.” Baba was much pleased with this reply. Swami advised that we should love God without any conditions or reservations in mind, because God is one who is our ever lasting friend, relation, and everything to you during all our births. This intense love towards God should be continuous and constant feeling and we would then develop a feeling to be with Swami as much as possible. In far away places, when devotees think of Swami, they should pray to Him or sing of His glory, whenever they feel lonely. They could also reach out for sathsang, company of other Sai devotees, which would to some extent satisfy their longing to see Swami.
Swami continued: “There are some devotees who reply that Swami is always in their heart and they need not go to Him very often. This shows their lack of enthusiasm. What does this reply indicate? Here is kerchief, and I am holding this inside my Hands. This means my hands are bigger than the kerchief and it can hold on the same inside the hand. Likewise, when somebody claims that Swami is in his heart, then it means that he is much bigger the Swami. This is not correct. Sure, Swami is in your heart. But he is also in front of you, behind you, around you and all over the place. He is omnipresent.” “There could be some compelling reasons for the inability of the devotee to come to Me. One reason could be lack of enthusiasm. Then it could also be due to the pressure of your work from which you could not escape and come to Swami. Then there could also be another reason, that is, lack of resources. But, if only, you have the enthusiasm and intense desire to be with Swami, then the other two obstacles could be overcome by His Grace!” th
Swami suddenly reverted to the topic of our 60 birthday. He told us, “When you enter the 60 year of your existence, you are entering into a new phase of your life. By the previous wedding during your youthful days, th
you were allowed to enter Grihasthasrama, the family life. But when you put your knots today on this 60 birthday, you are coming out of all the pleasures of your family life and you should from now onwards proceed into the spiritual life. The wife and husband could only be supporting each other in their spiritual journey form now onwards. Thus, if you live for another decade, at the age of 70, you will be like Saptha Rishies who leads th
only holy life. You should soon be at the 80 birthday. What does it mean? By living like Saptha Rishies for over 10 years, you become as powerful as ASHTA DIK PALAKAS. They are the protectors of the eight sides of th the world. You become one among them. Soon you will be arriving at the 90 year, and you will be like the NAVAGRAHAS. (The nine planets in the universe). By then there will not be any effect on you, by the transitory movements of the nine planets; what is more, your very presence will protect others also from such th
effects. When you enter the 100 year, you would have lived a full divine life, you are free from all your previous karmas, and you will be liberated.” Swami instantly waved His Divine Hands, and materialized a beautiful black pearl necklace, which was to be the Mangala Soothra (Thirumaangalyam) for our wedding. He showed it to me and enquired whether this Mangala Soothra was as per our traditions. I replied in negative, since the one, which we tie, is Mangala Soothra fitted in a yellow-colored thick twine, or a gold chain. Swami said that he had made it since my wife had wanted it this way. I did not know her secret desire and hence told Swami that anything Swami gives would be a blessing and that Swami knows what is good for us. Swami showed the wonderful black pearl necklace to everybody. Finally Baba told my wife to look at the small gold pendant hanging in the chain and also a wonderful Ruby stone placed at the center of the pendent. Swami told us that this is how AMBAL (Divine mother) wears Thirumangalyam. It was so cute and beautiful, and wonderful to receive such a Grace from Swami. Swami then directed me to get up and then deposit the necklace on the neck of my wife. He showed me the special hook provided therein, and asked to hook it up properly. While I was abiding by His directions, Swami kept His Divine Hands on my wife wife’s head and chanted the Mantra, “Sathamanam Bhavathi, Sathaaya Purusha…..”! I was choked with emotion and literally in tears and somehow went through the process. When I tried to fall at His Lotus Feet, He commanded me to sit down, saying, “It is not yet over!” Swami again waved His Divine Hands, materialized a very beautiful Ring with a large emerald stone, and handed over the same to my wife. Swami Himself was holding my fingers and asked my wife to insert the ring. It was a perfect fit! Swami said that it would be a perfect fit into my finger. Swami further said that He was blessing me with an Emerald ring, to give me peace, which I needed very much at that time. My wife and myself got up and offered Pranams together at His Lotus Feet. Swami sprinkled the Akshatha, on our heads and assured us that His blessings will be with us all the time. I did not feel like getting up from His Feet. Swami patted on my head and also on my back and asked us to get up.
I have no words to put in the feelings, which we experienced by this extraordinary Grace and the kindness showered by Bhagavan. The Divine Love of Bhagavan surcharged the entire interview room and the occupant devotees. But, Swami looked unaffected, in usual poise, as if nothing had happened. The captivating Divine smile lingered in our minds and could never be erased. The blissful events are enshrined deeply in our hearts. Swami later on attended to other devotees, materializing Divine gifts to some of them and giving them spiritual advice. Swami then got up, and directed the group of Australian devotees to go into the inner room for private interview. We waited in the front room basking ourselves in the blissful recollection of our experiences with Divine Baba. The emotional feelings continued and we were unable to come out of it. We felt very small in the Divine presence and nervous as wellâ€Ś Swami opened the door of the inner room after a while and he allowed the Australian devotees to come out one by one.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter 5
I was there with you After the devotees from Australia had returned to take their seats in the front room, Swami directed us to go into the inner interview room. My wife, my son, and myself were standing inside the room as Swami entered and occupied His chair. He asked us to sit down. I took my seat by the side of Swami on the right side and my wife on the left side. My son knelt down in front of Swami. We did not miss this opportunity to offer Paada Seva. Swami looked at us lovingly and kindly. He started giving lot of advice to my son. Swami discussed various matters concerning my family and my business. Suddenly Bhagavan looked at my wife and asker her, “Did you not pray to me one day, in front of my picture in your house, asking, “will not Swami gave such a necklace to me also?” She said, “Yes Swami, but it was many years back, and I had even forgotten this”. Swami continued, and told her that she had recently visited a jewelry shop and enquired about the price for a similar chair. “You were short of funds and could not purchase it, is it not so?” She admitted and started weeping at His Lotus Feet. Now Swami asked her, very tenderly “Am I with you or not”. She did not need any further proof of His being with us all the time. Pointing me to her, Swami said, “At times, this man gets angry and shouts at you. But he is having problems and mainly financial problems in his business. What about you? You are also quarrelling and raising your voice. Do you know that I have to close both my ears whenever you both start quarreling in your house? You should know that Swami is always with you and you should behave as such!” Swami put us back at ease, with further conversations cutting lot of jokes and teasing my son. I finally told Swami, that I was tired both mentally and physically and would like to wind up my business and spend the rest of my life at His Lotus Feet. After experiencing the Divine Love and Grace, I did not feel like going back to the mundane world. Swami did not give me permission. He lovingly told me that one should engage himself in his work till he is physically fit and that he would definitely call me to His presence later on. He said that I should go through all ‘Prarabdhas’ (karmic duties) or otherwise its effect would follow me here too and that I will not be happy here also. “Let your son complete his studies, involve him into your profession, get him married and hand over the house to him and then you can come to me.” After taking Paada Namaskarams, we got back to the outer room. Swami called out, ‘Hey! Thailand!” The queen got up, walked reverently inside as on the previous occasion. After making everybody happy, Swami came to the outer room and resumed His seat. Swami got up again and asked to wait. He went into His private room and came back with gifts. He presented a lovely wedding sari of costly silk to my wife and presented me with a set of clothes for safari suit. He went inside again, came with a Polythene bag, and held it to my wife, asking her to put the clothes inside the bag. It was really an experience that Swami looks into every minutest aspects all by Himself. We did not feel like going out. But Swami filled our hands with lots of Vibhuthi pockets and opened the door signaling that we should move out. With tears in our eyes we took leave of Swami and joined the devotees sitting outside. Soon it was morning Bhajan time and we joined the group singing. There were surprises for us. In the evening, the 24 hour long Akhanda Bhajan were to start at the Mandir from 6 P.M. onwards and to go on till 6 P.M. the next day. Immediately after Arathi, there was an announcement over the public address system. It was announced that there would be a devotional music programme in the evening at Poornachandra Auditorium by the famous cine play back singer, Ms. Chitra & Party. Normally there will not be any such cultural programmes during the Akhanda Bhajan day. Anyway, Swami had willed it that way. Whatever may be the reason or it might
be just a coincidence that a cultural programme was scheduled on that day; it appeared to me, that it was an th added gift programme by Swami for my 60 birthday wedding. When Swami decides to give Ananda (bliss) to somebody, He does it in a grand manner and showers His Grace abundantly, and then He will ask us what else we want. If and when such questions do come from Him, I feel, we should not ask for anything or crave for something. We should pray to Him that we want Him only. Swami had once told a devotee what one should ask Swami in time of a crisis. The advice of Swami on this question will come up in another chapter elsewhere in the book.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI( (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter – 6
Sai Shows the spiritual Path In the first place, I wish to reproduce hereunder, the words of my dedication for this Book in the form a memoriam Sri Shankara Mani, also popularly known as V.S. Mani is no more with us now, having attained His Lotus Feet recently. I happened to be born as his youngest brother. He was with me all along in our journey towards the Sai Path. A very modern young man, holding very high Executive positions, gradually glided into the spiritual pursuit. Needless to say, it was Sai who took him into His merciful fold and then placed him under the care of a Powerful yogi, Dhyani Maharaj Madhusudan Dasji, who initiated both of us into Sidha Yoga (Kundalini Yoga) through Shakthi Path Deeksha. Our Guruji also helped us to instill in us deeper faith in the Divine incarnation of Bhagavan Sri Sai Baba. Like me, my beloved brother was also the recipient of Sai Grace many times. I had identified myself with him in some of the narrations. With Sai’s grace, I dedicate this effort of mine, to the memory of my brother late Shankara Mani (V.S.Mani). V.Srinivasan In this introductory remarks on the dedication of this book, I had referred to my eldest brother late Sri V.S.Mani. Both of us were employed for a while in a same firm in Bombay. This offered us lot of opportunities to discuss many matters, during our spare time. After the entry of Sai into our life, the name of Bhagavan Sri Sai Baba became a permanent topic. With our limited, nay, small minds we ventured to rationalize critically, the mystic miracles of Baba, as was being widely known to the world. When I recall these stupidities, I feel how grievously we had erred trying to fathom the depth of the limitless, which was nothing but an exercise in futility. Yet those were the initial days of our advent into Sai era. Even before we came to know of Baba, a friend of my brother had given a small photograph of Bhagavan Baba and spoke much about the powers of Baba. My brother accepted it very casually. He put it inside a book, and never thought about it for many months. Long after that he happened to visit New Delhi and stay there for about a couple of months in connection with office work. During this period he was steadily loosing the hearing faculty and had very difficult time when discussing anything with somebody. This hampered his normal activities. Through a very influential friend, he was taken to a specialist doctor, where he was put into lot of tests. The diagnosis was that he had a problem of jammed windpipe near his neck area and it was medically impossible for surgical correction. He was further advised to accept the situation and get used to the set back. Only “God can help you”, said the doctor.
While coming out of the Hospital area, the good friend told him, “Why not pray to your new found God, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and request Him to cure you?” My brother had no other option and replied that that is exactly what he intended to do. Once in the parking area, they were opening the doors of the car and were about to get inside. At that time, a gentleman introducing himself as an assistant of the Specialist Doctor, informed that the Doctor had forgotten to tell you something and that the had to come to tell some remedial measures which my brother could try. “Take as much air as possible into your lungs and hold it there. Close your both ears and nose tightly with your hands and try to flush in the air through the inner part of the system and this pressure generated inside may open up the jammed wind pipe. Please try.”
Back in the hotel, while putting the books on a table, the photograph of Baba, kept inside many days back fell down on the carpeted floor. My brother picked it up and thought for a while. The doctor’s casual advice while taking leave and also the unexpected visit of a gentleman in the parking area, all came in a flash in his mind. “Why not then sincerely pray to Sri Sai Baba and pray for His blessings” thought my brother. He picked up the photo from the floor, placed it reverently on the table, and went for a quick bath. With wet clothes, he prayed to Swami and requested Him to cure him of the deafness. At this moment, he again recalled the advice given by a gentleman in the parking area, and undertook the exercise as suggested by him. During his third attempt to build up pressure inside his lungs and windpipe area, he could feel a sudden opening and was frightened by the big sounds echoing in his ears. He could hear again and that too, to such an extent that it caused pain in his eardrums. He could not even bear the sound of the fan rotating on the ceiling and the sound of the cars moving around outside. On that day, he had to plug his ears with a piece of cotton. He lived a normal life from thereon for a further period of over 30 years with clear hearing faculty. The return of my brother from Delhi after the miraculous cure, coincided with the Divine visit of Bhagavan Baba to Bombay. With this first experience of His Grace in our family, we went to Worli for Darshan with increased faith and devotion. From this period onwards, our life style completely changed. We discarded the stylish way of life and without any pomp and show. We learned to live a simple and spiritual way of living. We got introduced to many Sai devotees and we were only happy to avoid the old company of fashionable. It was our endeavour to adopt spirituality in our day-to-day activities. We started reading many Sai literature and took keen interest in following His teachings in right earnestness. Perhaps this single pointed devotion and our desire for spirituality moved Lord Sai to set a path for us. It seems that He willed that he should place us for further care with an enlightened personality. Things started moving in the right direction. There were couple of known devotees with whom we happened to discuss spiritual matters. We were always having matters to be clarified, which prompted us to seek guidance from the devotees who seemed to be more spiritualized persons. These persons informed us that they are practicing yoga having been initiated by a Sidha Yogi, Dhyani Maharaj Madhusudhan Dasji. My brother started attending meditation sessions in their house, though Guruji was not physically available there. We were told that Guruji stayed in His Ashram in a remote village called “Bandhwad”, in Banaskantha District of Gujarat State. It is so remote that it used to take at least a week for a letter to reach there by post. He used to visit Bombay once in a while. Dhyani Maharaj Madhusudhan Dasji was a Sidha yogi and he initiates only those who are spiritually ripe and receptive to yogic marg. The method of this yoga is awakening of Kundalini by Shakthi Path, whereby transmitting His yogic powers to the disciple. The yoga is known as Sidha Yoga or Laya Yoga. We attended the Dhyan Center and joined the group meditation. On the first day itself, we experienced the awakening of Kundalini, loosing body consciousness. My brother told me that during the period of meditation he could see many saints appearing one by one and blessing him. To have such experiences on the first day itself is very remarkable and that too without Guruji in presence and before formal initiation by His Shakthi path Deeksha. He had various curious thoughts in his mind. “Who is this Guruji, and why these are all happening to me? Does He know me and do I deserve such Grace of a Yogi?” Next couple of days we were in blissful mood and more and more eager to practice Meditation. We also longed to have Darshan of this Guruji. The Dhyan center was at the residence of Dr. Pathak in the locality of Prarthana Samaj in Bombay. On the third day when we went as usual for meditation, Dr. Pathak informed us that he had received a letter from Guruji, and that there was a message in it for us also. Guruji had mentioned that he was happy to know that we are attending meditation regularly and we are having many experiences during meditations. “Let them not have much curiosity how these are all happening to us or whether they deserve it at all. They should only know that these experiences are due to the Grace of their new found Ishta Devatha”. I understood later on that Grace of Sai works even without our being aware of it. When once He accepts you and takes you into His fold, He then chooses the path best suitable for you. He Himself guides you and in case of
necessity, places you under the care of an able guide. Within a very short period we could find complete change in our attitude towards our life and willingly and thankfully accepted the spiritual path as shown by Sai. This was only the beginning of a long journey on the path. There were innumerable instances of His Grace during the next 3 decades. The following chapters will illustrate His mercy, His love, and His all-pervading Divinity that enveloped my life.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter –7 Vision at Thrayambaka There are some devotees who had experienced His Grace, much before they had come into the fold of Sai. They came to know of this, much later on being revealed by Swami Himself, or through by some other methods. One of the Ashtothara Archana mantras of Bhagavan Baba mentions as “Kaalaatheethaya Namaha”. It means that ‘I worship the one who is beyond the ‘Kala’ i.e. time’. He is bound by time and space; He is eternal and omnipresent. Without our being even aware of it, for reasons best known to Him only, He extends His Grace to you. He is so loving and merciful and His divine loves binds you for ever with the Divinity. I too, had such an experience, which is unforgettable. This happened even before I came to know of the Advent of Sai, the second coming. Till then, I knew Sai of Shiridi only. It was the beginning of the year 1965, when I visited Shiridi with my wife for the first time. I felt truly blessed and experienced peace after worshipping at the Samadhi. From there we proceeded to a nearby pilgrim center, Nashik which is on the banks of river Godavari. The other side of the bank is called “PANCHAVADI’. Our scriptures say that Lord Sri Rama stayed here with His consort Sita and brother Lakshmana during their sojourn in the forest. Sri Rama had paid oblations to His departed father King Dasaratha at the banks of Godavari at Panchavadi. It was from this place that Ravana had taken away mother Sita. It is a great pilgrim center. We had holy bath in Godavari river and visited various places of interest near there. We were staying at Shankara Mutt. Somebody from the Mutt informed that this Holy Godavari River is originating from a place called “Thrayambaka” which was about 25 kilometers away from Nashik, and suggested that we should visit this Holy place. He explained that Adi Shankara Himself had installed a powerful Jyothir Linga in a temple there, and the Deity is called Lord Thrayambakeswara. It means that it embodiment of all the three amsaas of divinity viz., Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, in a single piece of Lingam. We accepted his suggestion and visited the place. We reached Thrayambakam at the fag end of the day and the sun was about to set. It was a small village and there was not much crowd, only about a dozen or so pilgrims inside the temple. We entered the sanctum of the temple and was looking inside the place where the deity is installed. I could find the base of the lingam but no lingam was in the usual shape there. We could only see a cavity. Water was continuously oozing out of the cavity and the pundits were cleaning very often with cloth. It was amazing that no lingam was found, even though it was claimed that Adi Shankara had installed it. While I was thus standing there in utter confusion of mind, an elderly man called me from behind. He looked very pious with tuft in his head and wearing a neat white Dhothi like a pundit; but looked very serene. He talked to us in Tamil, which is our language. Initially he enquired wherefrom we had come etc. Later on, he took interest in us and explained about the importance of the Holy place in detail. When I enquired where is the Holy Lingam, he told us that there is not one but three small lingams placed in the sides of the cavity of the base, which is not visible from outside. The three lingams represent Brahma, Vishnu, and Lord Shiva, exactly as was explained to us at Panchavadi Shankara Mutt. In those primitive old days, Adi Shankara had traveled all the way from a remote village in Kerala to this place where Holy River Godavari originates and installed this Jyothir Lingam. I wondered how this was possible without any means of transport. Moreover, He has installed 8 such lingams in various parts of India within his short span of 32 years. We heard all these from this pious man and in the end, we prostrated before him. He blessed us that by next year we should come again with a newborn child.
He then moved away. Within a few minutes, we searched for him and went up to the nearest bus stop and he could not be seen. We wished to have his contact address in Bombay so that we could meet him again when we return. But he had just vanished. Here, I wish to mention one other factor. Since I could not get accommodation in Bombay, I had left my wife at our village in Kerala and she was forced to stay there for over three years. Ultimately by Grace of God we got a temporary accommodation and settled our family in a Bombay Suburb named ‘Goregaon’. However, for the next three years we did not have the pleasure of having a child. Due to some medical grounds the doctors had said she might not conceive again. This is the situation when we visited, Shiridi, Nashik and Thrayambakam. Shortly after our return to Bombay my wife conceived and we got a baby boy. The boy was born at her native place in Kerala, which had earlier been described in detail. Soon after her arrival with the child, we went to our Guruji, Dhyani Maharaj Sri Madhusudhan Dasji who was in the residence of His disciple Dr. Pathak at Prarthana Samaj. He took the child in his hands and fondled him. While giving back the child, he mentioned that we had got the child due to the Grace of Sai whom we had started worshipping recently. “You need not worry about the boy since Sai will Himself look after the child, protect him, guide him and help him in all his endeavour in his life”. Then we knew that the pious man whom we met at the sanctum of Thrayambakam must be Sai Himself, whom we did not know during those days. I had already enjoyed the bliss of Darshan of Bhagavan Baba for the first time, had an extraordinary experience. Yet, I asked a foolish question to our Guruji. “Guruji, excuse me, but who is this Sai Baba? Is he a magician, a saint, or what else? He is reportedly showing lot f miracles and are they all genuine?” Guruji admonished me and cautioned me not to utter such words. “Sai is Poorna Avatar and you should worship Him for all the rest of your life. In fact, it is He who had sent you to me!” I apologized for my bad thoughts and enquiry and prayed to Bhagavan Baba also, to forgive me. From that day onwards, all these years, it is only Sai and Sai only in my life and every breath of mine also vibrates with the name of Sai. I try to be very very alert not to forget Him not even for a moment. He on His part has continued to look after me, guide me and hold me close to Him ever after!
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter-8
“You should not cry hereafter” I got married quite early in age, when I was working in a Government department in the south. Due to low salary and limited scope for building up a future career, I resigned the job and mover to Bombay. All my brothers were settled there and I hoped that I would not have any problem there. But the one big problem of availability of accommodation in Bombay was completed overlooked by me,. The houses of my brothers were too small and could just accommodate me with great difficulty; there was no room for setting up a family. Nobody rents out house due to the fear that tenants would not vacate. Or they take a huge sum as one payment without receipt, which is known as pakidi. Or you should purchase your own flat, which I could not afford. As such I could not bring my wife to Bombay for the next three years. After prolonged wait I could secure some living space on a nominal rent in a suburb called Goregaon. It was an asbestos roofed tenement built by the Government for the sake of hutment dwellers. The original allottee, a Sikh, had died and his family had gone to their native place. I occupied the house and immediately my wife joined me. The locality was very bad and the inhabitants were slum dwellers. Somehow, my wife who is of very understanding nature adjusted to the situation and tried to bring about a happy home. We lived there for four years. My income was very meager. It was only while we were in this house, that we got our first son (as I had narrated earlier). My wife was at her native place in Kerala, during the days when I started hearing about the advent of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and had my first Darshan. I was in the happiest mood, now that I got inhaled the initial delights of the Living God and also benefited from His Grace by the birth of a boy. I felt eager to share so much with my wife on her arrival in Bombay with the child. But when she reached Bombay it became a different story. She entered the house with the child in hand and proceeded to the place where normally we kept the pictures of various gods and goddesses, to offer her Namaskarams. She looked with curiosity at the photograph of Bhagavan Baba occupying a place with the other deities. She enquired about the identity of the man in the photo, who, to her looked like a “villain in the films”. She asked me to remove it from its place so that she could offer her Namaskar, to the other deities. I tried to put her wise about the various experiences of mine and that of my brother in regaining hearing capacity. I told her, of the belief in the devotees, that Bhagavan Baba is a reincarnation of God in this Kali Yuga. I also brought up before her the visionary pictures of my first Darshan of Swami, my prayers to Him and the evolving faith and devotion in me on Swami. I thought that I had convinced her. But till she gained her chance of Darshan and experiences, it was not going to be that easy for her to accept Baba. Since then, it continued to be days of arguments in the house, the object of controversy being Baba Himself. In the end she would start crying and even accusing Swami for all the sufferings in life. If He is really God, she would ask, ‘Why are we placed in abject poverty? Why are we forced to live in such a dirty locality? Why not He bless us at least with a house in our own name in a better place?” We had also suffered humiliation since the house we occupied was unauthorized and the inspecting authorities subjected us to considerable inconveniences. So the question from wife, though appeared simple and naïve, emerging from the heart, failed to elicit any proper and adequate response from me.
I tried to get her around, by telling that it was with the Blessings of Bhagavan Baba that we got this child. He would definitely do something for us. I further advised her ‘not to cry hereafter’, but start praying to Him with full devotion. I had developed full faith in Baba and if she also developed such a faith, it would prove very beneficial. I hoped that she would adjust to this situation. It is Swami Himself who instills faith and confidence and it is he himself who takes further steps to fulfill the faith of an innocent devotee. I prayed to Him to give peace and solace to my wife and take her into His fold. Within a short period, Swami convinced us that He had heard our prayers. Maharashtra Government were constructing and allotting dwellings for industrial workers and poorer sections in various places. I had long time back applied for an allotment in a colony built in the neighboring suburban city, Thane. There were about 200 single room flats offered by the housing board for which over a lakh applications for allotment had poured in. With the passage of time, I had even forgotten about it. Within a couple of months of my wife’s return to Bombay with the child, I received by mail an intimation from the Housing Board that I had been allotted a house at Vartak Nagar, Thane. Yes, we got a nice little flat, of our own, in the second floor on a very meager rent, which was being subsidized by the Government. Those who got allotments as our neighbors were all excellent God loving people. My wife liked the place. She started developing faith in Swami and was eager to have His Darshan. Swami, after fulfilling a desire of my wife with a house, happened to visit Bombay again, within a short period after the earlier visit. This time the Darshan was arranged in the compound of a bungalow in the East side of Andheri. We had to travel a long way by different modes of transport to reach the place. When we ultimately reached the place, it was too late. We were not aware of the timings of Darshan and the arrangements. We found that the compound was almost empty barring a few volunteer devotees. We came to know that Darshan was already over in the morning at about 8.00 am, and there would not be any Darshan in the evening since Swami was to attend another program at King Circle, near Matunga. We felt disappointed. This time, it was my wife, who asked me to repose confidence in Baba! “Swami would definitely know that we had come and we were sure to get His Darshan!” Her newfound faith was not misplaced. We were sitting under a tree in the compound. Swami suddenly made His appearance in the doorstep. Before I could think anything, my wife jumped, and in a trice was near Swami. She kept the child on His Lotus Feet, and caught hold of the ‘charan’ (Lotus Feet). Placing her head on His Divine Feet, she cried profusely. I joined her and offered Namaskar to Swami. Baba, in His infinite love and mercy, allowed her to weep for a while and then gently called out to her. When she looked up, Swami glanced at her lovingly and told her in Tamil, “You should not cry hereafter” (Note: Readers may remember that these were the exact words which I had uttered earlier to my wife). With our attention on the wonderful charming face of Bhagavan, He smiled at us again, blessed us and moved inside the house. We continued to stand there in a dazed condition, until the volunteers rushed to push us out. According to them, we should not have come after Darshan was over and cause inconvenience to Swami. Lest our newfound Bliss might be spoiled, we moved out of the compound with the child. This child is His gift and we felt happy to place him on his Lotus Feet. Now it is up to Him to take care of the child for the rest of his life. We felt confident then and there, that he would not let us down. And we got proof of this. Very shortly, before the child was one year old, he had an attack of diphtheria. Till late on that fateful night, we were not aware of the seriousness of the disease. This new colony, had been developed in a new location that was far from the city, and was a good 6 kilometers away from Thane and there was no hospital or clinic in our vicinity. It was raining very heavily. The child was running high fever and he was unable to take any milk. He was not even able to swallow his saliva and it was continuously coming out of his mouth. We got panicky. There was a family from the south living in the colony and we took the child to their house not knowing what to do. We could only pray. It was late in the night and still raining. We had no money whatsoever with us. My wife was inside their house and I was standing in the verandah though getting wet in the rain. When we really feel that we are helpless, the helping hand of Swami reaches out. I could not believe my own
eyes. I found a scooter coming in front of the house and a man covered with a raincoat stepped down. He was a doctor from Thane City Civil Hospital. Indeed he was God sent, at the crucial time! I rushed to him and explained the situation saying that my child was unwell and it seemed that something was seriously wrong with him. The doctor immediately attended to my child, diagnosed it to be a case of diphtheria, and advised immediate hospitalization. It was a very serious case, needing constant medical attention. I explained to the doctor of my helpless situation without any money with me not even for hiring a vehicle at this hour, leave alone medical expenses. He looked straight on my face for a while. In fact we were totally strangers. He advised me not to worry any more. He administered some medicines, for temporary relief and said he would come back immediately as he had to go to the city to get the necessary medicines. He spent his own money for purchasing the injections and other medicines. He said he would stay the whole night with us since medicines had to be administered periodically and the progress of the child had to monitored. With loving care of the kind doctor, the child crossed the danger mark before dawn. The doctor took leave, promising to visit us again during the morning hours. He visited twice again the next day. Our faith in Swami helped us in our helpless situation. We could only surrender and pray to Him. He had heard our prayers and sent a Doctor to us at the time of crisis, a doctor with a heart to spare his own money and time and who stayed throughout the night. This is the story of the child begotten by His Grace and protected by His mercy. Our pilgrimage in the Divine Path had just begun. Years and years of sweet experiences of His Divine Love, were to follow and flow into our life!
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter – 9
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SEVA “Thana” which had since been named “Thane” is suburban city some 30 kilometers away from Bombay. As I had already mentioned, this is the same suburb, in which, thanks to the Grace of Sai, I came to secure a residential accommodation. On the eastern side of the Railway line, a holy spiritual center has come up by the name “Ananda ASHRAM”. Ms. Tara Devi, now reverently called ‘Mataji’ is the head of this Ashram. Earlier she was living in the same colony where we had our accommodation, i.e. at Vatak Nagar on the western side. We just knew her as Ms.Tara. She was living with her parents and brothers who were my very close friends. She was quite young and was in the marriageable age. However, her life style got totally transformed after her first visit to Prashanthi Nilayam. She developed extreme devotion and love towards Swami and lost all interest in the mundane world affairs. All the time ‘Sai’ filled her mind and spirit. Gradually, around her, a small satsang began to emerge and she came to be known as ‘Mataji’ in the area. She organized a Sai Bhajan Group and encouraged those who came to her to participate in Nama Sankirtan. With gathering and increasing visitors, she did not wish to disturb her family members, because of her satsang activities. The inevitable happened. She left her home behind and totally dedicated herself to the devotees. Some Good Samaritan from Thane East provided her a small Ashram place, for accommodating her and facilitating the spiritual activities. This Ashram has become very popular. Sai Bhajans are conducted twice a day and various spiritual activities are also going on. The Ashram is also running a secondary school providing fee education. In the early years due to close proximity to Mataji, ample opportunities were available for us to engage in personal discussions with her on various spiritual matters, especially on the philosophy of Sai. My wife and myself had innumerable divine experiences with her. As for our own development of devotion to Swami, we had accepted Him as another deity and started worshipping Him reverently along with the other Gods. We were undoubtedly aware that mere worship in a ritualistic fashion would not suffice and would not yield results. Mataji Tara Devi advised us that we should try to understand and adopt the teachings of Swami in the conduct of our life. The day to day activities should conform to His spiritual teachings, and the worship should be a way of life itself. In short worship should consist of continuous process of living as per His teachings rather than ritualistic fixed time sitting before the deity in the Pooja Room. We cannot expect to gain the Grace of Swami simply by the usual Pooja rituals, like the ones, which we offer to the other Gods, Shri Rama, Shri Krishna, and others. We were reminded of Swami teachings, “The Hands that serve the needy is much holier than the lips that offer prayers daily” We also tried to understand the principle of universality of divinity which dwells in all the creation and this divinity is nothing but the Atma, in each one of us. If we can appreciate this principle, then we would come to experience that divinity as enshrined in all even in the poor and needy and who are less fortunate than us. The supreme offer to God is the sparing and sharing of the time and resources for and with the less fortunate brethren, sisters, sons, and daughters. Had not swami propounded “Manav Seva is Madhav Seva”? We were made wise by Mataji’s teachings of Swami during those days when we used to get much time for personal discussions. I started to attend the programmes of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations in our city. The organization offered excellent opportunities for the devotees to get together and engage in Seva activities as a group so that time and the resources could be put to best use. Our main aim had been to spread the message of
Sai to the weaker sections of the society and to try instill in them a spiritually oriented thinking and lifestyle. Swami says that without a spiritual base no Seva can result in bliss. Bhagavan is also very keen that the beneficiaries should also be exposed and enthused to adopt spiritual practices, which is the ultimate aim of Seva. We enjoyed ourselves in the Seva activities and in the company of new found satsang of Sai devotees. An important soul-awakening program, related to the Seva to the jail inmates. The authorities of the Thane Central jail gave us permission to conduct Sai Bhajans inside the jail once a month. The convicts in the jail serving their terms were persuaded to attend the Bhajan sessions. Within a short period, many of them started enjoying the Bhajans. Later, They began to take so much interest that they started keeping Baba’s picture, providing garlands and making all other necessary arrangements. In course of time, some of them even learnt a few songs and took initiative to lead the Bhajans. A tremendous change of heart had come about in the jail inmates. Many of them developed devotion towards Swami. Some of them quietly asked us, whether it would be possible for them to have Baba’s Darshan. We could only respond telling them that they should pray to Him and He would definitely make it possible. Those were the years when Swami used to visit Dharmakshethra in Bombay, almost very year. During one of His visits, Swami had planned a program for a distant suburb in Bombay, which was beyond Thane. We put forward the request of the Jail inmates to the leaders of Sai Seva Organizations in Bombay and about their eagerness to have Swami’s Darshan. In fact, we were very much aware of the serious implications of our proposals. Anyway it was decided to submit the request to Swami on His arrival in Bombay. Yes, Lord Shri Krishna was born in a “Kaaragraha”, a jail. But here, we, the devotees, had the audacity to think about inviting our dear Swami into the jail. We only thought that Swami, ever loving and willing to encourage us in our Seva activities, would accede to our prayers. Nothing could be truer than this. Baba while giving Darshan to the devotees in a program far beyond Thane, gave an indication of His merciful decision to visit the jail and meet the inmates who had become His devotees. We had very little time at our disposal. Lacking any instant telephone connectivity across suburban areas, we had to move physically to the area and make all the arrangements for the Divine visit. Invoking His Grace, the small organization in Thane swung into action and tried to do what best could be done within the shortest possible time. We had to formally obtain permission from the Jail authorities and then install necessary public address system and a stage. It was also needed to dress up the inmates and take them to the Darshan in an orderly manner. We received excellent support and encouragement from all the people within the jail premises. When the last lines of the inmates were taking their seats, Swami entered the jail. Oh, my dear, it was a sight to see! Our beloved Lord walked along the rows of the neatly dressed inmates, in their uniforms, blessing them and what not! The faces of the jail inmates were lit up with devotion. After spending considerable time with them, and giving them the fulfillment of a lifetime chance of a coveted Darshan, Swami was back in His vehicle, to get back to Dharmakshethra. And what jubilation for the Sai sevaks! This mercy visit of Swami inspired us to get motivated for more and more service activities with devotion and humility. “If you take the first step towards Me, I will take ten steps towards you”, says Swami very often. We took a small, but a first step by initiating Bhajan activity in the jail and He came there in His physical form! What Divine mercy and Divine Love! One has to experience this Bliss personally to be able to understand even a fraction of divinity!
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter –10
The Vision of Aura “Love is God” is ever the repeated maxim of Swami. The God incarnate Bhagavan Baba is Himself embodiment of Love. If only we spend a few minutes in His Divine presence with intense love and prayers, in our hearts, we can easily and positively experience the strong divine love flowing from Him. Swami’s love envelopes everybody, even in an assembly of over lakhs of devotees, who throng for His Darshan. One has only to experience this bliss all by himself to understand what Divine Love is. The Divine Love pulls multiplying millions of devotees to his very presence. In Dwapara Yuga, it was the melody of Lord Krishna’s flute which made the devotees of Brindavan to gravitate towards His presence. The Gopi's lost consciousness of their body, mind and spirit, dropped their work and other activities. They were absorbed in the melody. How lucky we are to witness today the re-enactment of the same phenomenon by Sai Krishna at Parthi. The devotees run to catch a glimpse of Swami even at a murmur of the news that Swami’s car is approaching. They feel elated and truly blessed by the chance Darshan even of a fleeting second as the car passes through. Once Swami graced me with a rare chance of following His car from Puttaparthi to Whitefield. Swami’s tour program is always unpredictable and un-announced. Nobody can dare to set the exact timings of such tour program. On that blissful day, even though some close persons accompanying Swami received information of the time of His departure, Swami left Parthi about one and half hours earlier. I was fortunate to be provided with the experience of following Swami’s car. I had been directed to take our place as the fourth car in the caravan. However, since the other cars did not show up along with Swami’s car, I made a quick decision and followed Swami’s car as the second one, for quite a long distance till other cars showed up. I could not really believe the emotionally surcharged send off given by the devotees, even at such short notice. From the Gopuram gate onwards up to and far beyond the gate of Super Specialty Hospital, devotees had lined up in good strength on both sides of the road. Even the devoted Sai Geetha turned up with her majestic presence to greet Swami as the car passed by the side of the gates of her shed. Hundreds of devotees were showering flower petal on the car. I saw many of them breaking coconuts on the street, in front of the car. Indeed it looked like a real car festival in our villages when people offer special poojas in front of the Divine Car, as it passes through the village streets. Swami’s car was bedecked with the petals offered by devotees. But the measure of attraction, which the Divinity drew all along the villages and the agricultural fields had to be seen to be believed. The villagers were out in the streets in time for the Divine Darshan. Many agricultural laborers were seen running towards the approaching caravan of Swami’s car and others on the road. How did all these villagers and agricultural workers come to know and that too the time of Swami’s moving presence in their area? It could only be divinity-induced situation, which foretold the people in the villages the possibility of the Divine Darshan! It didn't end there. The approach road towards Whitefield from the highways was also lined up with devotees. As the Car neared the gate of Thrayee Brindavan, I could see the crowd getting very thick and the whole compound was filled with devotees. Swami had declared several times, that unless He wills it, one couldn’t gain access to His Divine presence. It may seem that Divine Darshan is obtained very easily whenever we go to His abode, since Swami walks
amongst us, blessing everybody. But we should also know that we couldn’t take Swami’s Darshan for granted. Quite often Swami may test or even tease us and Darshan may become rare at times. We, the devotees, who happen to visit Him very often, may sometimes feel the pinch of Swami’s testing time. I was also subjected to such a test by agonizing experience, but only to have a blissful reward in the end! This was the time when I was employed in Bombay. I used to visit Bangalore very often on official engagements and most of the time Swami would be camping at Whitefield. I was feeling very very happy. During a particular year, I traveled to Bangalore 4 times during different months. Once we were told that there was no possibility of Darshan since Swami was unwell??!!. Some said that there was some injury in Swami’s Lotus feet. After staying for three days I had to return to Bombay without even a single Darshan. During my other visits in that year, His Darshan eluded me for one reason or other. Either Swami was on some tour or away on some other engagements and what not. The whole year passed by blank. I felt very much depressed. I could only pray and pray. I gained some hope by an announcement about the proposed Divine visit to Bombay. That brought cheer to me. I was th looking forward for May the 12 , when Swami normally comes to Dharmakshethra. I was not the only one; the whole of Bombay was eagerly expecting the arrival of Swami. And Swami did not disappoint anybody. Mercifully He did come as programmed and stayed on for 4 days. But alas! Swami continued to subject me to a test. I could not make it to His Darshan during all those days. It would seem funny, but it was the truth. My place of work, i.e. my office was situated very near to Dharmakshethra, some three kilometers away, on the other side of the hill. Sitting in my office chair, through the window, I could even have from that long distance a glimpse of the Divine abode. As ill luck would have it, I had a couple of outstation visitors to my office as our possible prospective clients, with whom we had to finalize some deals each day. On each day of the Divine visit, I was late, and by the time I reached Dharmakshethra, the devotees would have left the place after Darshan and my wife would be waiting for me alone over there. What a fate, I used to curse myself. The Divine visit was reaching the end. And it was time or Swami to leave Bombay and the only possible chance was the early morning Darshan on the last day immediately after Nagar Sankirtan. Swami was scheduled to leave after this Darshan and I could not afford to miss this opportunity. In those days adequate conveyance facilities were lacking and we had to depend on public transport systems. Reaching the railway station in Thane situated six miles from the place of our residence, changing 2 local trains and then catching a bus service, to join the group of devotees on their way to Dharmakshethra singing Bhajan songs – Nagar Sankirtan. We reached at dawn and took positions at the lower side of the small hill. In the twilight, the lotus shaped Dharmakshethra looked very beautiful. Slowly Swami emerged from His abode and moved to the brim of hilltop. There was a “Sthoopi”, the pillar as if the 5 petals on the top, are about to blossom. Underneath it, Swami took His place. Swami was accepting Arathi, looking down at the devotees. Literally I was weeping when my eyes could sight the Divine figure after many attempts. Tears were rolling down my cheeks. I dared not wipe it with my hands since I was holding both my palms in reverence. At this very moment something unbelievable was happening. A mild glow became visible to me around the crowning hair of Swami’s head. I immediately felt that it must be the Divine AURA about which I had heard several times. Still my mind was not firm on the genuineness of that vision. Just behind Swami, a glow of rising sun was appearing and I thought that it could be the bright twilight reflected on His hair. I also thought that my moist eyes could have created an illusion. When my thoughts thus turned critical to a state of negating the very divine experience, the Aura was found all over the body of Swami. And when Swami kept both His hands on the grill provided on the edge from where He was standing, the iron bars also started glowing by the mere touch of Swami. Now I had no hesitation whatsoever to accept the Grace of Swami by this rare vision. The Arathi was over and when Swami was moving back into Dharmakshethra, the Aura was also following Him to make it doubly sure about the vision of His Grace! Thus I had to wait for His Darshan despite my repeated visits and attempts, ultimately when Swami did make it
possible for me to have His Darshan, He did it in a grand style bestowing His Grace on the final chance I got. I could never forget this Divine experience of a vision of the mild aura in the colour of Jasmine flower, white and pure!. Swami blessed me again with a repeat vision after many years, but at ‘Sundaram’ Mandir in Madras. This time also it was during the Darshan after Nagar Sankirtan. Swami was accepting the Arathi from the Lotus shaped balcony at ‘Sundaram’ Mandir when the Aura appeared for full five minutes till He withdrew into His room. That day, I realized at ‘Sundaram’ in Madras that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba had accepted me unto His fold and provided divine protection. I prayed to Him with all my sincerity and devotion that he should bless me again and again to spend the rest of my allotted days in the earth, at His Lotus Feet, serving Him worshipping Him and offering my everything unto Him!
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter –11 Can we escape from fate? Other than the two Ashrams familiarly known as Prashanthi Nilayam at Puttaparthi and Brindavan at Whitefield, Bangalore, the three magnificent Sai centers, namely Sathyam in Bombay, Sivam at Hyderabad, and Sundaram in Madras would also compel a mention. Sathya Deep at Dharmakshethra in Bombay stands out as a gem of architectural beauty. It stands atop a small hill like a fully blossomed Lotus in a Pond. Swami on the 12th May1966 inaugurated Dharmakshethra. The first World Conference of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations was also held during this period, the venue being the vast grounds of Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan in Andheri East. I had the good fortune to be present and participate in these programmes. Swami was present for full five days conferring a blissful time on all of us. During the days of the conference, it became increasingly evident and clear to me that Swami belonged to the entire community spread all over the world. Bombayites had just started coming to know of Swami and it was amazing to learn of so many millions of devotees that Swami had, from all parts of the world and of thousands of Sai centers already functioning. We became aware of the concept of and the opportunities for integrated service activities. I felt very happy indeed over the ample chances available for Seva, which Swami likes very much. I got thrilled when Swami, in one of His discourses announced to the world that He is the embodiment of all the Gods being worshipped in various forms by humanity. This left a deep influence on me to be so humble and devoted from that day onwards, motivating my spiritual self-advancement. My brother Sri. V.S.Mani had a friend in New Delhi who was the then resident reporter of the American Magazine, “News week”. This man was a very much feared and respected journalist with an imposing personality in political circles. He had an assignment to interview Swami. Having come to know of Baba’s visit to Bombay, he also come down to Bombay from New Delhi. But Swami’s schedule remained very busy and tight, the Divine visit being restricted to around 5 days only, with so much demand on Swami including the International Conference in session. And we also knew that Swami would not like any introduction or recommendation. Only He decides whom He will talk to or select for personal interview. Swami had never given any interview to any journalist and He strictly put down any effort on publicity in the media. “I know how to contact my devotees and I need no publicity whatsoever” has been the command from Him. Somehow we could manage to get permission for allowing this reporter to sit in the Dharmakshethra mini hall, named Sathya Deep just below the Lotus shaped structure. Only very important personalities from the organization would wait in this hall when Swami climbed down from His room. Normally, during the morning hours, Swami would pass through this hall when He goes to give Darshan to the devotees assembled at Bharathiya Vidhya Bhavan campus, some 6 kilometers away. That day also radiant with Divine Smile, Baba appeared in the hall and immediately walked towards our friend, the reporter. Swami called him by name, patted on his chest, and asked him what he wanted. The great journalist, who normally puts any senior politicians in uncomfortable position, was dumb founded at the Divine sight and could not bring himself to reply. The avowed purpose of his visit to Bombay skipped out of his mind. Instead only a prayer from his lips for some Vibhuthi from Swami slipped. Instantly the Divine Hand moved in circular motion and poured out a pinch of Vibhuthi to him with a benign smile. Swami further had a few kind words of information to him that Devotees were waiting for the Darshan and that He would come back very soon and talk
to him. And Swami was back very soon and called out those who were outside the hall, to come and sit inside. He announced that there was a journalist present who wanted to ask a few questions and that Swami would give replies, which would be beneficial to all. Swami then invited the questions. Our friend who had come prepared with a set of questions started with the first question…
“It is mentioned that we are bound by acts of our past karma, the so called fate. Is there any way for us to escape from this fate, especially by the Grace of Divine personalities like Baba?” Swami smiled at him and started explaining. Indeed it became a fulfilling discourse lasting about an hour. “Yes, not only man, but all the creations in the universe take birth again and again based on their past karmas. The evolution takes place on the merits of their karma. From birth to birth, man very often indulges in dushkarma (bad deeds) and he will have necessarily to pay for it by way of retribution some time or other. There is no way of escape at all from the effects of such bad Karmas, which act as the preordained fate or destiny, deciding the births, the pain, the sufferings etc. If there have been good deeds to his credit, he will get good rewards of such good karmas. In short man is the author of his own destiny, from which he cannot escape” “God may choose to influence or soften the destiny of a man in some extreme situations. He himself decides how far He can come to the rescue of the devoted calls of a man who sincerely repents and engages in Sathkarmas. Or sometimes God can also make things easier for him to pass through the sufferings, which he has to undergo as a result of past bad karmas. Much depends on the efforts of the incumbent.” Swami illustrated this with an example: “In a vast slush green field, a cow is tied to a peg, with a rope of about 100 meter long. The fate of the cow is now fixed. It can choose to graze in a circular area of 100-meter diameter. By a foolish act, if the cow chooses to go round, round very often, the length of the rope gets reduced, and it cannot even enjoy the allotted area of grazing. On the contrary, if the cow uses its own strength to uproot the very peg to which it is tied down; it can reach out a much larger area without any limitation. Thus many options are available for the cow. The cow’s specific choice of the option and the effects of such option becomes it fate. By using its intelligence and making efforts, it can overcome the so called fate, or the limitations enforced upon it.” “Likewise, man can also over come the effects of the fate destined for him. He may either choose and determine to live a pure life which helps to retain what is allotted to him or opt for an easy and impure life, and further slip down. By leading a pure spiritual life, he can cleanse his chitha, his intellect. He will then engage himself in “Nishkama Karma” Seva activities, which will go beyond his self-interests and benefit people beyond him or his family. The rewards of those good acclivities will start accruing to his account, which will slowly erase the effects of past misdeeds”. “If on the contrary, resulting from pride and ego, the man indulges in dushkarmas or bad deeds, he stands to loose the opportunities available to him to bring about a purification of his thought, word and deed. (Thrikarana Sudhi) and thereby getting over his destiny or fate in the present birth. This is the lesson one should learn. Always engage in ‘sath’ karmas, engage in service activities, live a life useful to the humanity at large, and then pray to Him. In such cases, God will definitely hear your prayers and will show compassion and reward you with His merciful Grace to mitigate or overcome the so called fate, to which the human beings are bound in bondage”. During the hour-long discourse, Swami touched on various other matters also. Our friend did not ask his second or any other further questions; for whatever questions he wanted ask, had already been replied to by Swami during his long discourse.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter-12 Sai, the Omnipresent. The first world conference of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations brought in us a sea of change. We came to recognize fully, the Divine Mission of the Advent of Sai and the part we were to play in it. Life seemed to assume a meaning and purpose as we began to participate in all Seva activities with a feeling of involvement and enthusiasm. We were very careful not to miss the chances of sathsang. Our approach to the spiritual practices gained a new orientation. We took keener interest than before in our daily poojas, meditation etc. Gone were the days when we performed the rituals in a mechanical and routine way. Now utmost devotion and dedication came to characterize our performance of the daily rituals. I felt always cheerful and elated, whatever be the turn of events, petty, small or big. I attributed everything to the Grace of Sai. I further learnt to adjust myself even to adverse situations, submitting to the Will of Sai. We, as limited beings can never claim to know all about the limitless Swami. Every sathsang with a Sai devotee, or participation in any functions, provides us with an opportunity to know more and more of Swami. After all, learning is a continuous process. The glory of the Divine gets unfolded gradually and we should consider ourselves lucky to come across such glorious occasions to listen to and learn. The second World conference was one such an occasion. As a delegate from Maharashtra state I was blessed to get an opportunity to participate in the Second world conference of Sri Sathya Sai organizations held in Puttaparthi. Besides the daily Divine discourses, we could listen to talks by some of the Swami’s close devotees. Each such talk unraveled more of the Divine glory. I was particularly impressed by the talk, in the immediate presence of Swami, by Dr. Nithyananda Menon, who was at that time a faculty member of Swami’s college at Whitefield. No doubt, I was well aware of the many ‘leelas’ of Divine Avatar of Swami; but the great miracle narrated by Dr. Nithyananda Menon that day, was astounding to me. I am trying to put down a gist of that glory to the best of my memory. God is Omni Present; Sai is God; Sai is Omni Present. He can be present in all the places, at the same. He can manifest Himself in Human form anywhere any time. There are innumerable instances of His Omnipresence, many of which have gone unnoticed and un-published. This incident under narration is concerned with a gentleman in “Zimbabwe” (earlier called Southern Rhodesia) in Africa. When the incident took place, the white minorities ruled country and the native blacks were simply treated as slaves, till that country attained political independence. The natives were a poor lot and the rich landlords subjected them to very bad treatment. A rich gentleman, who owned lot of properties in that country, had come down to India and was staying in a fashionable hotel in Bombay. He came in contact with many overseas visitors in that hotel. Some of them happened to be devotees of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Naturally, in the informal dialogues, the subject matter would be Baba Himself. He was hearing about Baba for the first time and came to be impressed by some of the miracles reported by others. Incidentally, Bhagavan Baba had also come to Bombay at that time on a Divine visit and was in Dharmakshethra. Our gentleman from Zimbabwe, accompanied others to have Baba’s Darshan. Having been so strongly drawn in, by the Divinity of Bhagavan, he followed Swami to Puttaparthi and stayed there for the next few months.
In Prashanthi Nilayam, several opportunities came his way to witness the Divine Miracles. He was also blessed with many interviews. Swami had explained to him the purpose of human birth in this planet and the necessity to live a pious and spiritual life. He was made to understand that divinity is inherent in all the creation and that love should be extended to and shared with all others especially those who work for him. Gradually Swami brought about in him a new orientation in his attitudes and moulded him into a good character. After a few months of stay in the Divine presence, he was directed by Swami to go back to his country. Without any mind to return, he had to leave Prashanthi Nilayam reluctantly and reached Bombay on his way back to his country. During the entire period of his blissful days in Prashanthi Nilayam, he was unaware of the happenings around the world, especially in his own country. On reaching Bombay, he came to know of the political upheaval in his country, involving the take over of the country by the black people from the white minority government. The black people’s attitude appeared hostile towards the white people especially the rich landlords. All the property had been taken over by the workers. He was very much worried. What would have happened in his ranch and the landed properties? At the earliest opportunity, he put through a long distance call to his ranch manager and enquired about the condition. He was surprised to hear from his manager that though the country was passing through a state of turbulence, his range and properties had not been affected. On the contrary, the workers were very considerate and demonstrated a total loyalty, something unbelievable. He promised to rerun back soonest by the first available flight. “All by Sai’s Grace!” he thought. On arrival in his country, the landlord found the report of the manager to be true. He invited all the workers to his ranch the same night to have food with him. A large size photograph of Bhagavan Baba brought by him from Prashanthi Nilayam, covered with a piece of cloth, was kept near the chair. He mingled very freely with his workers enquiring about their welfare, which he had never done in his earlier days. After the food was served, he addressed the workers. He conveyed his heartfelt thanks to all of them for their noble behavior even at the time of crisis in the nation. He, on his part, had returned as a changed man, after his pilgrimage to India. He told them of his meeting with the Living God in India and of the blissful days he spent in His Divine Presence, which had mellowed him into a true human being. The unique experience had fostered love and affection in his hitherto barren heart, which earlier cared only for selfish comforts and prosperity without a single thought for those who worked for him. He further announced that he was going to show them the Living God and removed the cloth covering the photograph of Bhagavan Baba. But this evoked neither any trace of surprise not curiosity among the laborers. On the contrary they were laughing by themselves. They were admonished not to think lightly of Sai Baba, whose picture he had shown to them. The labour leader got up and said; “ You might have seen Him in India. But till yesterday, we were seeing Him, here every day in our fields. First, we sighted Him one day far away in the Horizon when the sun was rising early in the morning. He raised His hands and blessed us. Later on He came down to us and conversed with us. This was going on during all these days when you were away. He used to teach us all the good manners and discipline and about various subtle spiritual matters. He had taught us the importance of remaining loyal to those who were giving work and a living to us . He had directed us to live a life of love towards everyone. He had taught us the same path of love, which had been taught to you also. It seems, the very same God who happened to be with us had taken you also under His merciful fold. Yes sir, we were seeing Him almost everyday.!” This amazing disclosure by the black laborer astonished the landlord. Would it be possible? Swami was all the time at Prashanthi Nilayam, and yet He had made Himself available to the poor people in his country as well. He felt that he and his workers were truly blessed by Swami. He assured the workers that from that day onwards; they would all live like a single family with mutual love and affection. There are innumerable such leelas (Divine sport) of Bhagavan Baba having documented in various books. Even by reading these divine glories, one can drink deep the divine bliss and gain an access to spiritual benefit. .
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter-13 The Dream comes True It never tires me to recount the loving admonition of Bhagavan Baba to my wife that she should never cry again. Yes, she had no reason to cry thereafter. True to his assurance, Sai’s Grace started pouring into our life. Slowly and steadily, the income considerably increased and with it, the comforts and conveniences also increased. We moved into a spacious flat in Andheri near Dharmakshethra. We could acquire many of the modern gadgets and fittings to make life as much easy and pleasant as possible. We had no more grumbling. We continued our spiritual path with full confidence and faith in Swami. By the Grace of Swami, we were blessed with another son. Happiness filled our lives. Not a day passed with out our thinking of and thanking Swami for all that He had been doing for us. All these days we made innumerable trips to Prashanthi Nilayam. One day, while I was going through newspapers in the morning, my wife who brought me coffee looked somewhat concerned. I enquired what was the matter. She recalled the dream she had in the previous night in which Swami warned her of some impending troubles being the backlash of past karma and advised to be careful. I reacted that if that happened to be the Will of Baba, we should suffer it reposing full faith in Him and praying to Him to protect us from any adverse situation. The dream of Sai is not illusory. Swami had Himself mentioned several times that all dreams prompted by His Will, are very much real and dream is one of the methods of Swami to communicate with His devotees. Thousands of devotees have such dream experiences, which sometimes Swami Himself had confirmed later on during a chance interview. As such I could not brush aside the import of my wife’s dream. I started observing great care and caution in my daily activities. I avoided traveling on foot boards in the electric trains even if it resulted in delays in keeping up my timings to attend office and other appointments. I was trying to be attentive whenever I visited the banks or else I used to ask someone to accompany me, so that the money would be safe. Food habits too totally changed. I tried to put a stop eating outside. Every precaution was taken to avoid oily and heavy foods. Thus, observing all possible care and caution, I continued praying to Bhagavan to shield us in the event of anything happening untoward. Nothing happened that might affect me, but this hope was short lived. Sai’s dream advice did come true. One day, in spite of all the precautions, the inevitable happened and Sai’s words in the dream came true. We fell on bad days due to my impulsive behavior and action. How did it all happen? I was occupying a fairly good position in a company, graduating from lower levels. With dedication and devotion to duty and good behavior, I earned a good name and gained confidence of the owner of the firm. I commanded good respect from his family members also, who were being inducted into the business administration gradually. One day, during some heated discussions with the youngest brother of the owner, I burst out that I would have to resign if I was pushed further. It was indeed a slip of the tongue. Has not Swami said, ‘Slip of a limb, you can repair; but slip of the tongue, you cannot repair’. The impulsive outburst of my tongue could not be repaired indeed. The other party challenged me to do so, if I dared. In a fit of temper I walked out of office, without thinking of the further consequences. However careful I was to heed of Swami’s caution, in a fleeting moment I lost my balance of mind and the inevitable happened. The family members of the
company were firm against any amicable settlement for calling me back. Even the owner, who held me in high esteem, did not wish to do anything in the interest of his family. I was left high and dry and the slide down the slope started for me. Young age had passed and I was entering middle age. I could not secure any employment, for quite long. There were prayers and prayers but nothing moved. At times, hopeful positive developments seemed to be emerging but all ended as a mere mirage in a desert. All the savings vanished and we had to part with many of our valuables too. I was indeed being squeezed by the clutches of cruel fate. Did not Bhagavan caution us timely about the impending troubles? Still I rendered myself vulnerable to get sucked into the inevitable march of events. At long last, I could sight some light at the end of the tunnel. One of the disciples of my Guruji, Dhynai Maharaj Madhusdhan Dasji, had an industry manufacturing electricity measuring meters, bulk of which were sold to the various state electricity boards. They offered me an agency for the southern states. Feeling happy at the prospects, I moved and settled down at Madras with my family. Very soon I succeeded in establishing myself. I felt elated and I was ready to start business of my own with good monetary prospects. However, the hand of the fate was much longer. This development also proved to be another mirage. The Managing Director of the manufacturing unit suddenly expired. The industry itself could not be run and it ultimately collapsed. The worst days of suffering followed us to the unknown territory of Madras. With all my savings vanished, I was stranded in a place (Madras) where I was a stranger without any friends or relatives whom I could have perhaps approached for assistance. Living with a family became a hellish experience. However, I stood firm on my faith in Swami and I utilized all my time in prayers, meditation, and sathsang. I took active part in the local Sai Center activities. It was only the love showered on me by Sai Devotees of Madras that sustained me in those turbulent days. They spent considerable time with us. Many of them visited my house regularly, gave us consolation, and tried to help us within their means. But for their love and affectionate company, I would have been a physical wreck in Madras. I was surviving with Swami’s loving concern for us manifested through innumerable experiences I had. I was passing through all the pains and sufferings in a detached manner with the full faith that Swami was protecting us and that no harm would come to us. The deliverance came at the end of the year long agony. My elders in Bombay, in spite of their limitations, invited me back asking me to prepare for the homecoming. Perhaps this was also the Will of Sai. I packed off from Madras. My wife and my son were also anxious to get away from Madras, where they could not adjust themselves having lived in a totally different situation in Bombay. We bid farewell to our Sai Brothers and Sisters in Madras who all the time acted as pillars of confidence for me during those fateful days. I could catch a glimpse of the break of bright dawn after a dark night. This time there were no more mirages and things were turning positive though in small way. I got fixed up in a very small firm. I did not mind. I accepted anything coming my way as the Mercy of Lord Sai. Miraculously, I got back my own old house at Thane from the tenant. We started our life all over again. We did not having anything left with us except a few vessels for cooking purposes. What was important to me was, that after a gap of 18 months or so, I felt secure with a house, and a job. I could manage my affairs by myself. Gradually I could work for improvements in my career and in that hope I put in my best efforts, giving my utmost to the growth the new company. It was small manufacturing unit and I played my part to bring it up. With my sincere efforts and Swami’s Grace, I could build up the new company. My new boss was very happy with my efforts and within his limits he tried to alleviate my financial problems. After seemingly an indefinite period, there was the Divine contact. One day, Swami appeared in the dream and enquired, “How do you feel now?” And said, “ One cannot escape the fate. It is better to go through the travails at a convenient time, when you have the mental and physical strength still with you. With God’s grace one can come out of it lightly. On the other hand, if such travails were to occur at early or later stages of life, it would have proved very difficult, causing irreparable damage. Because you love God so much, Swami selects an
appropriate time for you to go through the act of repentance and effects of Karma guarding you through and through. You may not be aware of it but Swami had been by your side all the way through; Otherwise you would have a different entity altogether.” Swami continued. “You had been away from your relatives and you thought that your wee stranded in a strange place where there were none to come to your rescue. Yes, I was very much with you! And you had the best friends and well-wishers in the Sai devotees in Madras. You did experience their pure love and affection. The pure love of such devotees was in no way inferior to that of the Love of Swami. Whatever might have been the situation; you were living a life of love. You felt that you had lost everything in your life. What did you lose? The luxury items? You were used to travel outstations and stay in comfortable hotels for long duration. When the job is finished, you are leaving behind everything back in the hotel and hurry back to your own home. Do you regret for leaving the costly utilities back in the hotel? No! You had a chance to enjoy and when the period was over, you had no more attachments to those items outside. You love what you have in your own home. Likewise, in your life also you had a chance to own some items, which you had to leave behind. The most important thing is that you have comeback in one piece and you should be thankful to God. You can always rise in life and get back every thing that you feel, had been lost!” This dream prompted by Swami left a deep impact on me. When we earn, we think it is our ability that makes it possible. If we loose, then we start cursing ourselves, curse God Himself. And if we happen to have some faith in God, then we say that God is testing us unnecessarily. Why should God test us? Has he no other work? No, God is not testing at all. We are tested by our own past actions. We are ourselves creating our destinies by our own acts. If God is doing something, it is only that He is helping us out, toning down the effects by His mercy and grace, provided we have deserved it. Swami is blessing us all without any partiality. But the blessing should converted into Divine Grace, if we are to benefit from such blessings.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter – 14
Back to Madras. I wished to erase from my memory, the yearlong life of agony in Madras as a bad dream. My devoted, dedicated hard work saw me through and up. During the next five years, everything was very smooth without any undue concern. Both my sons were studying well. The eldest one had finished the school finals and by Sai’s Grace, he got admission in Swami’s college at Whitefield campus in the pre-degree course. Due to the hectic building activities at Parthi, Swami used to spend considerable time at Brindavan, Whitefield. During those days my son was something like a radio transmission center conveying Swami’s leelas in some form or other to us. In all his correspondence with us, the main subject or object would be Swami. My son was a natural singer from childhood and in no time, he made his mark in the campus. In addition to Bhajan songs, he participated in many musical programmes also. Although I was well settled in Bombay, I could not write off Madras from my mind. The devotees were so loving, as confirmed later by Swami in my dream. Many long-term devotees of Swami, devotees who were with Swami during His boyhood, and who had intimate experiences with our Lord, were living in Madras. We had opportunities to spend time with them and talk to them about Sai, either in private or in public while giving talks on important functions. I felt very happy to be in their association. Moreover, I also found ample opportunities to participate in Sai Seva activities since there were integrated efforts in the organization to pool all available resources and man power to bring out the best outputs therefrom. The leaders of the organization enforced total discipline. Major General S.P.Mahadevan who was the State President of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations in Tamil Nadu State, used to express that Sai Discipline is much stricter than Military discipline, and that we should subject ourselves to it while participating in Seva activities. In fact he used to emphasize repeatedly in all his public speeches the importance of Sai’s dictum of 3-Ds; Discipline, Devotion, and Dedication. They were staunch devotees of Swami in every bit. It was so enjoyable to participate in Seva with their guidance and in their company. No wonder, I longed to go back to Madras. However, it could not be and I did not have any hope of finding a job. That situation was really frightening. Thoughts started firming up, to go and start some business on my own in Madras. Instead of myself looking for a job, why not I provide jobs for a few people within my limitations! Sai could only have prompted such thoughts. Swami in His own subtle ways set the path for me. I was provided with the opportunities to visit Madras again a couple of times for selling products of my company, where I was employed. I could succeed in securing considerable orders too. This process helped me to build a close rapport with some of the clients in Madras. They gradually took me into confidence and suggested that instead of transporting materials all the way from Bombay incurring heavy transport charges, I could think of putting up a plant in Madras and manufacture them for local requirements. The clients assured me of all possible assistance and encouragement. The seed thought was planted in my mind and it started sprouting out. With Lord on our side, anything could be possible. I took some initial steps in this direction during 1982. I needed a factory shed. During my next official visit to Madras, I approached the Tamil Nadu Industries Development Corporation to know the possibility of getting a work-shed. I learnt that new constructions were coming up in the Ambattur Industrial Estate near Madras. I submitted my application in the prescribed form before returning to Bombay. There were two other colleagues of mine who promised to become my partners in business. With their assistance, necessary advances were paid to purchase Machineries. During my next trip to Madras, a loan application was also submitted to finance the
capital cost. Everything was moving as per schedule. Without any recommendations or back up, I received the allotment of work shed in the normal course, though there were several contenders for the same. The allotment was subject a condition that 25% of cost of shed has to be paid within 15 days. Though the allotment of a shed was an encouraging and positive development, I could not raise such a big amount during the next 30 days. I received notice that in case payment was not made within the next 2 days, the shed allotment would be cancelled and the shed re-allotted to somebody who are in the waiting list. I could not find any sources for money. I placed this letter as usual before the picture of Swami. I gave up hope but Swami did not give me up. Unexpectedly I received yet another communication from the Small Industries Development Corporation, enclosing an official stamped receipt, acknowledging receipt of initial payment. I was dumb founded. I did not send any money. It was impossible. I did not have that much money. Then how did it happen? It remains a mystery for those who do not know about Swami. But I felt sure that it was apparently Swami’s intervention, which had made this possible! How do we thank Swami? He does not expect anything from us not even thanks. The mere pronouncement of the word and thoughts carry no meaning in Sai’s dictionary. We have to practice and demonstrate our thought and words in our action and devotion. It is in living on His teachings, in our daily conduct that would make Him happy. He is happy if we can bring happiness to others. If we do Seva to the needy, He acknowledges as our Seva offered to Him. The more we love Him, the more we can experience His closeness with us. He urges His devotees to reduce their own desires and divert the savings to the needy and the poor people. Seva offered to the needy, with devotion becomes worship. And I participated in all Seva activities with more vigor and devotion than before. After I had settled in Madras in my new endeavour, I got an immediate opportunity to visit Parthi as a Seva dal. There was an All India Conference of Sai Organizations at Prashanthi Nilayam. 15 Seva Dals were selected for this purpose, being the cream of talents from the large Seva dal force available in Madras. I was fortunate to be a member in this team. We were allotted the task of registering the delegates arriving at Prashanthi Nilayam from various states, and guide them to their allotted accommodations and other related jobs. With the blessings of Bhagavan Baba, we thought, that we did our best in discharging the allotted duties without any complaints from any quarter. On completion of the conference, when we were about to take leave from Prashanthi Nilayam, we were directed to be present inside the Mandir for we were likely to be offered a chance for having Pada Namaskar. Very eagerly all the 15 Seva Dals, including me, gathered in the Mandir. The office bearers of the World Council and State Presidents of the Sai Organizations in India were also present. I realized that it was Swami’s mercy, because of which all of us 15 Seva Dals got included as the chosen beneficiaries of this rare opportunity. I had earlier mentioned in the first chapter about my first encounter with Swami when I caught hold of His Divine Hands. I had then learnt the lesson that I should wait for my chance to have a ‘Sparshan” of His ‘Charan” (Pada Namaskar). Such a chance could only happen with Swami’s blessings. After waiting for 16 years, the chance has come now. Swami’s knows well, when, where and how to create a situation to bestow His Grace. We have to simply wait for such a chance. Swami entered the Mandir and quietly closed the doors behind Him. Holding a basketful of Vibhuthi pockets, Swami moved along the rows, blessing each one of us individually, and offering a chance to touch His Divine Feet. I became emotional as Swami was nearing me. And when he stood before me, I got up on my knees and prayed to Him to perform the sacred thread ceremony for my son, S.Venkatesh Iyer who was then studying In Swami’s Whitefield College. Swami patted me on my back, offered Vibhuthi pockets and whispered that He would do so. Before I could realize what had happened, Swami had moved away from me, and I missed the chance of
touching His Lotus Feet! I regretted that I missed the chance for which I had been longing for the last 16 long years! I felt like crying out to Swami. Yes, there is the rule of discipline. Swami always advises to control emotion. I could only feel sorry for myself. But who could know Swamiâ€™s intention? After finishing the line in which I was seated, Swami was gliding through the middle of the next row just behind me. I looked back. I could not believe myself. The seat just behind me was vacant and immediately I turned back and occupied the vacant seat. When Swami was again near me in the next row, I kept my head on His Lotus Feet! When I looked up, Swami was looking at me with a smile, perhaps to convey that he understood the situation. I felt fulfilled. The captivating Divine smile was lingering in my mind for many days. My application to Swami to perform the thread ceremony for my son was answered shortly. The very next year Swami arranged a mass sacred thread ceremony for a group of boys studying in his college, and my son was also selected. What was more, Swami gave us a double benefit. We went to Prashanthi Nilayam with our second son who was at that time only 8 years old to participate in the function. Swami called my second son, S. Ramesh, nearer to Him and offered him also the yellow dhoti, indicating that Ramesh was also included for the thread ceremony. Yes, Swami performed sacred thread ceremony and also Gayathri Mantra Upadesh for both my sons, on that day!
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter -- 15 ADVANCE INDICATION & THE RESCUE While I was employed in Bombay, I never thought that I would be moving over to Madras to settle down there. I had no relatives or friends there. Yet, Swami had predicted that I might go over to Madras. This indication came to me through a letter received from my eldest son, who was at that time studying in Pre-University course in Swami's college in Whitefield. He had written that Swami was teasing him, asking, "How is your girl friend at Madras." He could not make anything out of it. The teasing became a regular feature in the days that followed, and he expressed that he was unable to bear it, especially so when Swami was cutting jokes in the presence of other students. We wrote back telling him that he should feel proud to receive swamiâ€™s attention and to be engaged in constant conversation with him. He should consider it a Special Grace of Swami. We did not understand, the implications of Swami's joke, which always carried the message of a fact or development. Sai is Sathya and His words are nothing but Sathya (Truth). In the earlier chapters, I had referred to the developments leading to my shift from Bombay to Madras. My first attempt to do some business there resulted in a total failure and I had to return to Bombay in search of job. But, Swami's Will would seem, to berth me back in Madras to start my own business. By the time I was stabilizing myself in the new environment in Madras, my son Venkatesh completed his post graduation in Chemistry and joined us in Madras. Initially he was assisting me in my factory and I suggested that he should specialize in some fields, and pursue his further education, while he was with us. He joined the prestigious institution NIIT, to study Systems Management. One evening, I was attending a technical seminar with my son, in one of the five star Hotels in the city. While we were having dinner, he was trying to convey me something but was feeling shy to express himself I asked him what was the matter, and if it had anything to do with any romance. He replied in the affirmative and put me wise about it. He had met a girl in the NIIT campus and he liked her very much. Instantly the so-called jokes of Swami, flashed through my mind when He used to tease him about the girl friend in Madras. Swami's jokes came true. I had moved to Madras and my son cultivated a girlfriend in Madras. With kind words, I put my son at ease and asked him to invite the girl and her parents to our house. Soon we received their family members in our house. The father of the girl Mr. Vrudyanathan was an officer in one of the nationalized Banks. We exchanged information about each other and I told him that subject to the acceptability of the alliance, we could go ahead further in the matter. The girl, Sow. Vijaya was just completing her graduation course in one of the local colleges, and was studying in the NIIT evening classes as well. I felt that my son had not settled yet in life and I suggested that while we might agree for and settle the alliance, it would appear advisable to wait for some more time for the actual marriage. It was so agreed. I went to Whitefield with my son, handed over a letter to Swami during the Darshan time, and could have sparshan of the Lotus Feet. A little later, Mr.Vaidyanathan informed me that his aged father-in-law was suffering from cancer and that the doctors opined that he would not survive long. He pleaded that the marriage be conducted at the earliest, while his father-in-law was still alive. Although I had my own problems, after prolonged deliberations, I had to yield. We informed that we are devotees of Bhagavan Baba and we would adhere to His teachings in all our endeavors. There was no question of any expectations for us from the Bride's side. We undertook that even the Mangala soothra would be made from our side. Accordingly, the date for the marriage and a Marriage hall was fixed. All the arrangements were going on full swing. On an auspicious day, we got the Mangala soothra ready and kept it in the Pooja mandap of our house. All our relations from Bombay had arrived in time for the wedding.
According to our customs, we moved into the Wedding hall the previous day before the marriage, when we were supposed to go through certain religious preliminaries. We were very careful to take with us the "Mangala Soothra" (Thirumangalyam) and kept it in our suitcases, along with other gold ornaments. I had decorated the marriage hall to the best of my ability with an imposing photograph of Swami and a chair for Him. The members of the Sai Samithi had arranged for Bhajans. My son, Sri. Venkatesh also rendered a couple of songs. We prayed that, with His blessings, everything should go on without any hitch. In the early hours of the wedding day we all woke up and after taking bath were ready to commence the various rituals before the actual muhurtham (the auspicious time for tying he knot). The muhurtham was to take place by about 7 o'clock in the morning. The priest asked for the "Thirumangalyamâ€? in order to put it through the yellow threads before the ceremonies began. My wife went to our allotted room and opened the suitcase in which the Thirumangalyam had been kept. She was shocked to find the Thirumangalyam missing. A thorough search and Ransacking of all the suitcases, was made. We felt totally lost, since without Thirumangalyam the marriage ceremony could not be conducted. Even emergency arrangements would not be possible since the jeweler shops would not open before 10 AM., for us to buy ready made ones. The muhurtham time, fixed at 7 AM could not be delayed. In panic, I called my eldest bother, who had come from Bombay, and apprised him of the situation. He tried to calm us down and suggested that we should take our in-law Mr.Vaidyanathan into confidence and to find a way out. We did not wish to "publicize" our predicament and tried to hide our feelings within ourselves. Mr. Vridyanathan displayed a cooperative and considerate attitude and told us not to worry. He suggested that the marriage could be conducted by using a simple yellow thread with a piece of turmeric and that Thirumangalyam could be added later on. This suggestion did not find favor with the lady folks. Even we were reluctant to accept such a compromise. The elders present suggested a way out. Normally, in our practice the Thirumangalyam consists of two golden pendants specially designed. One of such pendants from the mother of the bridegroom (here it was my wife) could be used for the daughter-in- law. Even this solution presented a problem. It relates to an entirely another incident. Long back I had gone on a pilgrimage to Sabari Hills in Kerala to visit the temple of Lord Ayyappa located in the Western Ghats amid thick forests. Due to some communication gap, I did not inform my wife in Bombay about my delayed return. She feared that I was lost to her. Those days, in case somebody did not return within a reasonable period, it was presumed that he had met his end in the forest. My wife was a staunch devotee of Lord Krishna of GURUVAYUR in Kerala and she prayed to Him for my safe return and took a vow to deposit one of the pendants of her Thirumangalyam into the Hundi of the Lord Guruvayurappan. I returned home safe and subsequently we visited Guruvayur together and offered one of the "Thirumangalyam pendants" to the Lord. Hence, at the critical juncture of the wedding of my son, she was left with only one pendant and she refused to part with it. She was too sentimental absolutely normal for our ladies. My wife hurried back to our residence to make a search there also It could not be located or sighted. The pundits were going on with the rituals connected with the marriage. I did not know what to do under the circumstances. Meanwhile according to our customs, the bridegroom goes to the temple and there the father of the bride personally confirms the offer of his daughter to him. They come back and after such rituals such as sitting in Joola etc. the Thirumangalyam dharanam (tying of the sacred Thirumangalyam around the neck of the bride) is to be performed in accordance with this custom. At the appropriate time, the bridegroom and the party with the priests had gone out to the temple and would be returning back very soon when I was supposed to provide the main item required for the ceremony. There in the Mandap, Bhagavan Baba's picture beckoned me. I realized only He could rescue us from the predicament and total humiliation. I knelt before His picture and spoke out, " Swami, I do not know why I am in such a situation. I am not capable of doing anything in this situation. Only you can save us, and I am leaving it to you. Please take control of the situation." I meant every word of it, and prayed to Him with all my heart. I thought that only such surrender would impel HIM come to our rescue. I telephoned my home, and told my wife that she should return to the hall soonest and be present during the auspicious time, leaving everything to Swami. After the Jhoola function, the couple were entering the Hall. I was following them mechanically. I noted that my
wife had come back. While entering the hall, I felt that somebody was trying to place something into my palm. I halted and looked into my hands. Something, packed in a small piece of paper was thrust into my hands by my sister-in-law. She is the wife of my wife's elder brother who had also come to attend the marriage. She told me that it was a new Thirumangalyam, and requested me to make use of it and go through the marriage. She further informed that it so happened, that she had got it made for a future necessity and the present situation was much more important than her own personal needs. I was instantly in tears. With moist eyes, I opened the pocket. Lord my dear, what did I find! It was a beautiful pair of Thirumangalyam pendants put through in a thick twine made of pure gold. It looked very grand. It was handed over to the priest and other functions including the muhurtham went on well. I thanked my sister-in-law and prayed to Swami with all my heart for Swamiâ€™s profuse blessings on her I further prayed that by the Grace of Swami they should enjoy all prosperity in their life. Recalling all these events, I did not know why Swami willed it that way. Might be it was to prevent any calamities that were destined to happen later. Swami knows better. But the most important lesson we learnt learn was, that through total saranagathi (surrender unto Him) alone could we draw His Grace. He gave me the courage to withstand the pressure and even made immediate alternate arrangements through our sister-in-law. When once we surrender everything to Him and pray, he then takes complete control of the situation and then His grace envelops us and protect us.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter 16 CANCER PLUCKED AWAY By Swami's Grace, the work shed was got ready, the machinery arrived and were installed. Yet there were many other loose ends to be tied up, such as Bank finance for working capital, power connection and many other related works. Swami was always with me through and through wherever I went in connection with my work. Let us take the issue of bank loan facilities. I had opened my account with the Sate Bank of India, Guindy, a distant suburb in Madras. Mr. Subramaniam, a senior officer was entrusted with the responsibility to evaluate and recommend my proposal. As I entered his cabin for the first time, I felt happy to find a small photograph of Swami underneath the glass top of his table. Naturally, after our mutual introduction was over, our talks turned towards Sai Baba. And during the subsequent months I was rewarded with plenty of opportunities to discuss with him about Swami. In the suburban city of Guindy, there is temple dedicated to Shirdi Sai Baba, the previous incarnation of Swami, when He was still in His teens. There is a lengthy story about this temple, vividly explained by Mr. Howard Murphet, in his book on “MAN OF MIRACLES.” Scores of devotees visit this temple daily and offer worship. Sai bhajans are conducted here on all Thursdays and Sundays. Initially on my arrival in Madras, I was posted as a Seva dal to handle the bookstall on the days of Bhajans. My friend from the State Bank, Mr. Subramaniam was also a regular visitor to this temple. Mr. Subramaniam had a bereavement in his family. His father passed away in their native place. On arriving back after finishing the obsequies for his father, he joined duty. I had planned a visit to Parthi and he said that he would be giving me a cover to be submitted to Swami whenever I got the first chance. I accepted the cover and went to Parthi. In fact I was going there to attend the sacred thread ceremony of my sons and other students. Swami provided plenty of chances to me during those 4 days to give the letter to Swami. But It was not accepted. On the last possible Darshan before leaving Parthi, I again tried to submit the cover and again Swami’s avoided it. I felt sad. How could I carry back this letter and return to my friend? Or should I deposit it in the post box of the local post office? When such thoughts were passing through my mind, Swami retraced a few steps and asked me “is it Yours?” I replied that it was not but it was given to me by a close friend of mine. This time Swami extended His divine Hand and accepted the letter. I realized then that we should not normally carry letters to Swami except on personal inconveniences or when the devotees are from distant places. It was sheer mercy on the part of Swami or some other compelling reasons that made Swami accept the cover after some hesitations. And indeed there was some reason for it which I came to know after another fortnight or so. On my return back to Madras when I went to Bank, Mr.Subramaniam was not in his seat. I was told that his mother had also passed away and had to go back to his Native place. It was shocking news for me. When he returned back I offered my condolence and enquired what exactly he had written to Swami, and he could tell me if he felt so. He was very glad to give me all the information. He even mentioned that he knew that Swami had accepted the letter, for Swami had come to him in a dream one day and spoke to him. At that time he knew well what Swami said, and remembered having cried at His Feet at that time. But after waking up he did not remember anything of what Swami had told him. He said that he had written to Swami about the sad demise of his father and that his mother was very weak and had prayed that she should be looked after by Swami. But within a day or two the mother also passed away. So it was surmised that Swami might have in dream forewarned him about the impending development and then made him forget about it. Mr. Subramaniam was later on transferred to Coimbatore and then to some other cities in North India. After a
gap of about 5 years, I met him again in Madras, when he told me that he had been posted back in Madras. I felt very happy to have him with us. He attended a Bhajan held in our house with his family. His wife at that time spoke to us about the Divine Mercy which they had enjoyed sometime back and how Sai had given her a new lease of life. Mr. Subramaniam had left his wife and children in Coimbatore when he went to the North on transfer. The wife fell sick and was in very bad condition. She was frightened since her husband was also away. She was put to lots of tests and ultimately it was diagnosed she had a tumor in the brain which was found to be malignant. At that time, the cancer was almost a terminal case and doctors had given up hope of her survival. A period of less than a month was the maximum life period expected by the Doctors. Srimathi, which is her name, was frightened at these prospects, especially when her husband was away from her. She lost interest in her food and was literally starving. A heavy dosage of medicines had made her very weak. At this crucial juncture, she felt sorry, that though a Sai devotee, she had not participated in any Seva activities and she did not wish to leave the world without doing any service in the organization. As good luck would have it, Seva Dal from Coimbatore were proceeding to Parthi for their group service, and she persuaded the leaders of the organization to take her along with them. On reaching Parthi, in spite of her illness and weakness, she was discharging the duty allotted to her to the best of her ability. The Seva dal colleagues were considerate and sympathetic with her and were helpful too. In any event, she did not feel like taking food though her friends tried to persuade her. One day late in the night when all the lights were off at Prashanthi Nilayam and after the canteen had also been closed for the day, the other female Seva Dal tried to convince her of necessity of taking food, as she was already very weak. Irritated as she was, she retorted by telling that if they could bring some tamarind soup with rice and some papat, then she would relent and eat. She had expressed an impossible proposition since the canteen and other eating-houses in the area had already been closed for the day. The friends had some bread and fruits, which she refused to accept. They all slept over. Shortly afterwards Mrs. Srimathi woke up her friends and told them that she just had her food. They were surprised because she looked very fresh. They told her to go back to sleep and not to dream and wake them up again. She told them that Swami Himself had come into the dormitory to provide the same food, which she had asked for earlier. They did not believe. They were shown the left over of the Papat, which nobody could get at that time. Swami had persuaded her to partake the food, which she was refusing for many weeks now because of her illness. From that day onwards she felt stronger and was enthusiastic in her service activities. At the end of the service period, she with others, returned back to Coimbatore. Within a week or so she had a dream of Swami when she was asked to lie down and relax. Swami then plucked away the tumor from within her head. Later on she had a nice sleep, and in the morning she did not know whether it was a real experience or a dream. However the pain in her head had subsided and she felt some relief. Immediately afterwards her doctors examined her again and found that the tumor had actually vanished. Her most loving and understanding husband had since been transferred back to Madras and both of them are actively engaging themselves in Samithi activities. Swami had taken care of their children also. The eldest daughter had finished her studies at Anantapur campus of Swami's college and was working in the Sri Sathya Sai Hospital at Whitefield. By the Grace of Swami and in a miraculous way, she had since been married and leading happy life. The second one is a son and he is now studying in commerce group in the Whitefield campus. They were looking for a flat to purchase Mrs. Srimathi had another dream in which Swami had appeared and told her that she should look for a house bearing the number â€˜9â€™. It proved to be a real clue and within a very short period even without sufficient funds they were able to get a house on nominal payment and move into it. The seller waited for their convenience to get his payment Mrs. Srimathi Subramaniam and her husband Mr.Subramaniam attribute everything that happened in their life as sheer Grace of Swami and His will alone.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter. 17 ANOTHER CANCER CANCELLED The special Grace of Swami, canceling cancer had been narrated in several books in the recent years. In the last chapter I had mentioned about the recovery of Mrs. Srimathi Subramaniam from cancer. There was yet another instance of Swami’s miraculous cure of the dreaded disease Of cancer; the lucky devotee happened to be my neighbor. After setting up an industry of my own, by the Grace of Swami I was also able to purchase a residential flat for ourselves, located in the Gemini Complex in the heart of Madras city. A pious couple were living in the adjoining building within the same complex. Both Mr. Raghavan and his wife Mrs. Sulochana Raghavan were ardent devotees of “Guruvayurappan “. the Lord of Guruvayur, a pilgrim center in Kerala State and also of Lord Venkateswara of Tirupathi. And more importantly, having immense faith in Sai. Mr. Raghavan, an old time law graduate, was a retired officer from the Life Insurance Corporation of India. After retirement, he has been very active leading a busy life. Even after crossing the sixty-year mark, he has been earnestly practicing Veena because of his love for classical music. He has also enrolled himself as an advocate in the Madras High Court, and is now practicing law. We have become very close friends having common interest in many aspects of religion and sadhana. We used to exchange our views on such subject areas of mutual liking, during our daily morning walk along the Marina Beach sands. Earlier, after moving into our new flat at Gemini, my wife invited Mrs. Sulochana to our house, and introduced her to me. Subsequently I too chanced to meet her again in our house. She was very emotional and she narrated how Swami had saved her miraculously from the jaws of death. Yes, she was suffering from breast cancer and was undergoing prolonged treatment for namesake in the Tamil Nadu Hospital in a distant suburb of Madras. The administration of severe drugs and Chemotherapy, over the years had its after effects. She had become very weak and her body had been mauled by the after effects of drugs, which did not even spare her hair. Infact, the days of her physical existence in this world, according to the doctors were only numbered. It was during this crisis period that she happened to learn of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. She got into the satsang. She started praying to Bhagavan to save her. The prayers were heard, as it seemed evident from the unfolding of events. During this period, Bhagavan had been staying at Kodaikanal. She was invited by a group of devotees to accompany them to Kodaikanal to have Swami’s Darshan. Readily she agreed and accompanied them in spite of her suffering physical condition. Early next morning after her arrival at Kodaikanal, she joined the ‘Q’ of the waiting devotees and sat in the rd Darshan lines. She could get a place only in the 3 row. She was carrying with her, a letter that she was anxious to hand over to Baba. It was a letter crying out her deep agony and of her pain, sufferings and the fear of impending death. As Swami was passing along the lines, she was perhaps in a total state of surrender to HIM. Ultimately, Swami positioned Himself standing opposite her and she stretched her hands to Swami with her letter from the third line. Swami reached out to her and accepted the letter. While passing through, Swami picked up a handful of chocolates from the plates offered by a devotee and flung them. One chocolate fell on the lap of Mrs. Sulochana. She considered it a Divine Prasad and ate it with all reverence. She returned back to Madras in a couple of days after the pilgrimage, and her experience. Slowly, and miraculously her health started turning for the better. As a first indication, her hair started growing. She was feeling some relief from the persistent pain and sufferings undergone by her. She had survived and lived for a longer time than her doctors had expected. In due course, she submitted herself for further investigation. There were surprises for the doctors too. No trace of any malignancy could be detected and the cancer seemed to have disappeared. They were wondering whether this was the same lady whom they were treating all these years. Mr. Raghavan, her loving husband is however not taking any chances and he took her to the Tamil Nadu Hospital for regular check ups. By the Grace of Swami there is no more health problems for Mr. Sulochana Raghavan. She is very active and looks after all the
household works since then; they have been visiting Prashanthi Nilayam as often as possible. Tamil Nadu Seva Dals use to go to Parthi for Seva during the hot summer of May, and this couple also goes with them . Mrs. Sulochana Raghavan and Sri Raghavan have only a daughter who is married and living in the United States. The son-in-law is holding a very high position over there and living a comfortable life. And yet wholesome happiness was lacking because they did not have any issues. The tragic part of it was, that the wife had conceived several times, but the pregnancies used to get terminated prematurely, denying them of any child. However, this ‘gap’ did not last long. Their sincere prayers were answered by Swami. Last year Mrs. Raghavan informed us that her daughter had conceived again and that the danger period was over and that by Swami’s Grace everything seemed to be all right. She was proceeding to the States very soon so that she could be with her daughter when the baby was expected. In due course they conveyed to us the happy news of the arrival of a healthy grand daughter, and importantly their reverential gratitude to Swami for His blessings. SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) CHAPTER 18 THE CURING FRAGRANCE Swami’s Grace flows unto him who surrenders himself totally to the Lord. Even when we fail to cry out for Him in the critical time of our trials and tribulations, He will still respond to the devotee who has surrendered himself. Be it pain or pleasure, good or bad, the real devotee does not bother. He considers it, as His Will to go through it as fruit of his own Karma. With this attitude he prays for His Grace to carry him through the happenings and make the pain as bearable as possible. And, along with our prayers we are to play our part and take our own initiatives for possible remedial measures. His intervention or non-intervention, the timing of such intervention, the nature of such intervention etc., are all matters beyond the human comprehension and should not be a subject of reasoning or concern. They should be accepted with unshakable FAITH. Whatever happens or does not happen, be attributed to His Will only. There are innumerable instances in the Puranic stories and other Epics of the Grace of the Lord manifesting to save His devotees. In this Kali Yuga also, countless number of devotees are experiencing the saving Grace of Lord Sai from the innumerable diseases, physical, mental and spiritual. I have myself witnessed several such instances of His Grace flowing to various devotees. Some instances and such information just happen to come my way. I had mentioned in the earlier chapters how Sai blessed me, in getting an industrial shed in Madras. Those days, it was very difficult to get electricity power connection for industries due to severe shortage in the generation of power in the state. I had applied long back for the power connection and considerable delay had taken place, I took the chance of visiting and meeting a Senior Engineer of the Electricity Board. The name board on the door of the cabin displayed the name "Mr. Aravamudan". As I pushed open the door and entered into the office cabin, a beautiful photograph of Bhagavan Baba on the wall, with His "Abhaya Hastha" struck my vision. I was delighted to see Bhagavan's photo in the most unexpected place. There were a couple of smaller photos too on the table. I responded to his invitation and quietly sat down on a chair across his table. We discussed my problems including the necessity for the need of enhanced supply of power for my unit. There had been some reassuring kind words from the Engineer and after a little persuasion he informed me that the situation had since improved and my connection should be forthcoming very soon. I was about to take leave and stood up to shake hands with him. At the last moment, I told him how happy I was to spend few minutes in the presence and company of a Sai devotee, as was evident from the Sai photographs in his cabin. I introduced myself to him as a Sai devotee. He said he had heard about me, and invited me to sit a little longer, since he felt happy to talk to me. He had something to tell me about his own experience, as to how Swami had saved him miraculously from
undergoing a serious heart operation. Yes, Mr. Aravamudan happened to be a heart patient having punctures in his heart. He was advised that surgical cure alone could save him. Being a Sai devotes, he prayed to Swami, while accepting the suggestion of the doctor. He was admitted in a Hospital in Madras, but his operation got postponed twice for different reasons. At last a fresh date was fixed for the operation and he was admitted again in the hospital, a couple of days in advance so that he could be properly prepared for the surgery. Meanwhile, some happening in his ward gripped his mind with fear. A very close friend of Mr. Aravamudan had also been admitted for heart surgery but the operation was not successful, resulting in the death of his friend. He witnessed the body being removed. As the day of his own operation dawned, the fear in his mind increased. He resorted to praying to Sai with all fervor and devotion to be saved. Those days as the open heart surgery was a new medical development, the patients used to get greatly concerned and worried. Mr. Aravamudan was no exception to this fear psychosis. He prayed and prayed for His blessings to save him. He was wheeled to the operation theater and was kept outside, since another surgery was being performed inside. After finishing the earlier operation, the surgeon and the staff were coming out. The surgeon experienced the scent of some perfumes in the room, which had been earlier sterilized. He got annoyed and shouted who had lit the Incense in the sterilized room where the patients were kept ready for surgery. None was aware of any "incense" material in the room and in fact there was no incense at all. But the sweet fragrance was pervading the room. The Sai devotees know well that such manifestation of fragrance in unexpected place, indicates the Omnipresence of Sai in their midst. Mr. Aravamudan was now moved to the operation theater. All preliminary checks before the operation were conducted in his systems with the monitoring equipments. Surprisingly enough, the surgeon, on reading through the monitors, developed second thoughts on the need for subjecting him to any surgery. Everything looked normal in the heart of the patient. He arranged for further tests and found everything to be fine. After prolonged investigations, it was decided that there was no necessity for any surgery. Ultimately he came to be discharged without any operation. Back in his house, relieved of all his tensions, Mr. Aravamudan slept well for the night. He woke up very late in the morning and that too after his wife had tried to wake him up. There it was, the same fragrance of divine Vibhuthi filling the air in his house too! He remembered the scent of the fragrance in the hospital. He knew too well, that Sai had been with him through and through, responding to his prayers and that the Grace of Bhagavan had avoided the surgery which he feared most. While Mr. Aravamudan was narrating the touching events, I was watching his face intensely. His devotion and his surrender to Sai were all evident on his emotionally charged face. The very Sathsang with such devotees, listening to the Leelas of Sai would ward off many of the karmas of the devotees. "Sravana, Patana Mathrena Janma Samsaara Bandhanad Vimchyuthe."
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) CHAPTER 19 THE SUPER SPECIALITY HOSPITAL Swami has christened it as "The Super Specialty Hospital". Can there be a more appropriate and apt expression of the most noble objectives and services that inform and activate this Hospital ? The Hospital is "Super Specialtyâ€? In terms of the excelling treatments and facilities it provides. It is "Super Specialty" in terms of the most dreaded diseases it seeks to tackle. It is "Super Specialty" in terms of the category of persons it emphasizes and covers. It is "Super Specialty" in terms of the Divine impulses and vibrations that pervade the hospital activities. Above all, it is "Super Specialty" because it has happened and it is marching ahead under Bhagavanâ€™s Grace and Will. The Hospital offers health care and specialized treatments for Heart, Kidney, Liver, eye and other such diseases. The treatments for such ailments are very costly and are beyond the reach of many. Sai had willed and had made it possible to provide free treatment for those who cannot afford such expensive treatment elsewhere, by establishing such a Super Specialty Hospital in Puttaparthi. Much has been said and written about this miracle. And yet, I do not feel discouraged to add my own about this Hospital From the planning to the execution of the project, every experience has been SUPER. All the projects of Swami are time bound and He says very often that His Will or Sankalpa is "Vajra Sankalpa" It would happen according to the Divine plan. Normally all such big projects are blessed and initiated by Bhagavan during His Birthday celebrations and inaugurated by the next year Birthday celebrations. The Super Specialty Hospital is also of one of such manifestations of His Grace. Swami blessed and laid the foundation stone during the 64th birthday celebrations and announced that the first Heart Operation would be conducted on His very next birthday, i.e. the th 65 year of His Divine Advent. There was a devotee friend from Kerala present during the functions when Swami was personally blessing the foundation stone laying ceremony. He referred to the belief in Kerala that the divine bird Garuda (eagles with white bands on its necks) would circle the place during the Initiation of any Divine Program. He said that he had experienced such happenings many times in Kerala. He was wondering why the eagles were not showing up when Swami was embarking on a Divine program. Within a few minutes, we were taken aback to see 4 such eagles approaching the venue and circling the area. Quietly all the four of them flew down and perched individually on four different poles erected for decoration. They sat through the function and till Swami drove away from the scene. We were delighted at this strange and extraordinary event, happening within a few minutes of my friend's utterance. It is only a reminder that all the programs of Swami are auspicious bringing Mangalam, i.e, well being and happiness to His devotees nay, to the entire mankind. We were visiting Parthi several times during the year and nothing seemed to happen in the site after the foundation laying ceremony. During the summer, Swami had left Parthi for Kodaikanal and then Whitefield. Eventually Swami returned to Parthi by the first week of June that year. And suddenly the place was humming with lot of activities. The rocky terrain was being cleared and machinery was seen moving towards the site for construction activities. From June that year till November 22nd, it was only 5 months period left and the entire project costing couple of hundred crore of Rupees, was to be completed within this short period, something unimaginable. In Dwapara Yuga, the devotees of Sri Krishna witnessed the miracle of the Govardhana Giri being lifted by the tiny hands of the Divine Boy Krishna. Here in this Kali Yuga, the greatest miracle was unfolding - the multi crore Hospital project was coming up within the shortest possible time, something beyond human comprehension. In addition to motivating a large work force, a detailed micro level planning had to be
undertaken assessing all facilities available in the remote place. The state of art technology had to be imported and installed after establishing ground facilities. A lot of coordination was involved with the State Government and the construction contractors. And the head of the project, our own Swami had no Personal assistant, secretary or any other staff for Himself. The Will of Sai was manifesting. Only a day more was available for the inauguration. As a representative from a vernacular newspaper, and also a Seva dal of the organization, I was fortunate to witness the happenings in the work site for longer periods. Though the huge structure was ready, the floor had not been laid; the filling to the plinth level was not done and then the floor dressing had to be made with granite slabs. The latest imported equipment and other utilities needed for the Hospital were being unloaded outside the building, which was nearing completion. The old road towards Prashanthi Nilayam had been 'consumed' by the Airstrip, which was also taking shape, adjoining the Hospital. A new approach Road had been formed and asphalting was going on. By evening, I saw hundreds of students of Swami's college, in their neat white dresses, carrying granite slabs, into the building. Late in the night, l visited the site once again. In a few hours time the entire place had changed. Plinth had been leveled and granite slabs had already been laid along the corridor and things were happening inside the rooms as well. Before morning the entire department had to be made ready with all the equipment installed at their appropriate places, electricity connections given and tests and trials taken out. A couple of selected patients for the surgery had already been admitted in one of the wards. Wall coating was going on. Some of the overseas technicians were trying to assemble and install a very big chandelier in the central dome of Prayer hall. It was a marvelous piece. Many more things had to be done before the twilight of the morning. We could not sleep. Every devotee was engaged in one or the other job somewhere in the vicinity. Added to this, the existing general hospital near the bus stand in Prashanthi Nilayam was also being expanded and upgraded, awaiting inauguration the next day. One had to see it to believe; thousands of volunteers and workers were working with one pointed devotion. They were conscious that they were participating in a divine mission. We have read and heard about the devoted services of the vanara sena (monkey brigades) in the construction of a bridge over the sea to have access to Sri Lanka for Shri Rama. Something akin to that divine event was happening at Prashanthi Nilayam. On the appointed day, all the chosen devotees had taken their place in the open lawns outside the central dome of the hospital. In time, Swami arrived. The next year calendar, depicting the photograph of the hospital, and some new year diaries were distributed for those who had been lucky enough to witness the function. There was no sign of the arrival of the V.I.P dignitary, the then Prime Minister of India, Mr. P.V.Narasimha Rao and others invited for the inaugural function. Swami was waiting and all the devotees were basking in the morning sunshine and in the warmth of Swami. There were a few iron chairs placed in the pathway. They were wet due to the overnight dews and they were rusty too abruptly, our beloved Sai, sat in one of those chairs. Immediately, all those present that were wonder stuck to see Swami taking an ordinary and dirty chair to sit on could hear whispering sounds. Swami was all smiles, as if He understood the agony of the devotees. At least, the Prime Minister arrived, amidst the chanting of Vedas, by about one hundred students from the College. He walked straight and fell at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan. Swami with a benign smile, lifted the Prime Minster, had a few kind words with him and invited him to officially inaugurate the hospital by cutting the ribbon and entering the magnificent Prayer Hall in the central dome. In their presence, the first two heart surgeries commenced. The two patients already admitted earlier in the Hospital, were the lucky beneficiaries. Later in the public meeting Swami announced that the operations conducted in the morning had been successful. Swami blessed many important persons, who had bigger roles to play in the Divine Mission, with gifts on the stage. Since then, thousands of patients have received and have been receiving treatments in the Hospital; all free of charge. Swami is spending lakhs of Rupees each on such treatments. It should be noted that there is no billing department in the Hospital. Even the blood for the purpose of transfusion is organized by Hospital from among
the devotees, visiting Prashanthi Nilayam. We have to go and see the Hospital, to know what it means by NEATNESS & CLEANLINESS. Not even the most privileged private Hospital can claim to be so neat as our Lord's Super Specialty Hospital. I used to visit this Hospital as often as possible. I had seen many little boys and girls getting admitted and waiting for the surgery. When asked, if they were not frightened on the prospects of heart operation, they used to smile and say, 'Why should we be afraid of? After all this is Swami's Hospital and He would save usâ€™ Where else other than in this Hospital could we see patients so cheerful, as if they had come to participate in some functions? Later, in His Divine speech, in a function, Swami said that after the successful operation, patients got up and walked on the second day and took normal food on the third day. They were discharged very soon. The message for us was that the cure has already been effected; only the formalities of the operation are being gone through! Then, why, if Swami, by His Divine Powers, can cure the heart ailments, is there a need for such a grand Hospital? Swami had Himself replied to this point. Many of the devotees are bound by their Karmas and they have to undergo both treatment and anxiety. Many still have not developed that much firm faith in Swami. And still many other patients are not devotees and they are all poor and they have to be provided with the facilities. Bharathi Nagar is a little slum in T'Nagar, a suburb of Madras, which had been adopted by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization for offering Seva. Devoted doctors are treating patients thrice a week and free medicines are distributed, as a part of the Seva. In this slum, a small boy had heart problems. The specialists recommended surgery as the only option to save him. Since then he was given regular medicines. In one of the medical camps, conducted especially for screening the heart patients this boy was also included and the diagnosis was confirmed. The volunteers from T'Nagar took the boy to Prashanthi Nilayam, to admit him in the Super Speciality Hospital. There was a long waiting list of patients and this boy's name was registered in the waiting list. Till his turn came, he had to live on medicines and he was prohibited from over exertions by indulging in running and playing. He was subjected to dietary restrictions too. What a life for this little tot! After a prolonged waiting, the call came from the hospital. He was duly taken to Parthi once again and was admitted. On the day of operation, he was kept on a wheeled stretcher and moved towards the operation theater. During the formal preliminary checks, the doctors to their amazement found the boy to be quite all right and wondered why he had been selected for operation. Further investigations were carried out. The boy was kept under observation for another two days and then he was discharged. There was no need of any medicines and restriction on food for the boy. And he was free to play in the streets or playgrounds with his friends!
Earlier once, Swami had graced this slum, by His Divine visit and now, almost all the dwellers of Bharathi Nagar are Swamiâ€™s devotees. This event of Divine mercy strengthened their devotion further. And the volunteers doing Seva were more and more motivated in Seva activities. I spoke to the boy subsequently. I enquired as to how he feels now and how he felt earlier when he was taken inside the operation theater. He laughed and told me that he felt thrilled to experience Swamiâ€™s Blessings, which had cancelled the operation. While being taken on stretcher, he said, he had been praying to Swami whether this operation could be avoided. He felt with full conviction that Swami had heard his prayers and cancelled the operation.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) Chapter 20 BHARATHI NAGAR Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization in India was planning to celebrate Bhagavanâ€™s 60th year of advent, on a grand scale. During the 59th Birthday celebrations itself, several proposals concerning the manner and modalities of celebrating the unique event, were discussed. It was proposed initially to select about 600 villages/slums all over the country one year in advance and start rendering seva to such villagers and offer the same at His Lotus feet on His 60th Birthday. Targets for every state were fixed. The proposals were submitted to Bhagavan on His 59th Birthday. Swami blessed the project but with a minor change in the number of villages to be adopted Swami advised that seva would be a sacred form of sadhana and directed the members of the organization to adopt 6000 villages / slums for this purpose. Swami exhorted them to move into villages and assured them of His Presence in such places even before they actually arrived. By this He was also assuring them of His constant blessing in their endeavor. Swami, thus provided a strong motivation and inspiration for "seva" promising a continuous flow of His Blessings. The State Heads of the organizations decided to abide by His Will and implement the seva activities in the villages/slums with utmost devotion and dedication. The Divine Will prevailed which helped to exceed the target before the 60th Birthday celebrations. The Seva Dal volunteers visited the nearest villages and slums and persuaded the villagers to accept their services. The enthusiasm caught up and a total miracle was happening all over India. Over 6000 villages came to be adopted for service activities and was placed at His Lotus Feet during the inaugural functions of the World Conference of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations coinciding with Bhagavanâ€™s 60th Birthday celebrations. The Heads of various State Units addressed the gathering and narrated their experiences during the one year between 59th-60th birthdays. A particular incident narrated by a State President of a particular State, however, made a deep dent into my feelings. The volunteers were planning a Free Eye camp in an adopted village near a Forest in a dacoit-infected area. A couple of days before the scheduled Eye camp, they met in the village under a tree to discuss whether they could go ahead with the camp. The problem was they could not raise enough funds from within themselves. (It is a strict rule in the organization that the members must meet the requirements of money from within themselves and they should not seek donations.) The volunteers were planning to abandon the camp reluctantly regretting very much for their inability to raise funds. At this point of time, a dacoit riding a horse appeared near them. In a stern tone, he asked them what they were doing there. The Sai Seva Dal got frightened and explained that they were discussing the problems on a seva project to be undertaken in the nearby village. When asked further, they told him of their interest to hold a free eye camp in the village but which had to be abandoned for want of funds. The Dacoit, reacted by throwing before them a bag containing lot of money, and asked them to use it for going ahead with the Project. The Seva Dal were dumb founded. They believed that it was Swami's Leela and they pressed ahead with their project with all devotion and humility. Numerous such events and indications have been happening in many adopted villages. It is Swami's dictum that hands that serve, are holier than the lips that pray. The selfless service is the best form of sadhana. All creations are but the manifestation of divinity. It is important that we recognize this truth and attempt to see GOD in all His creations. It is this truth, which should inform and inspire our service to the poor and needy. Set at least 4 hours a week for the service activities; that is all what Swami is asking for. Swami has allowed us to use His Divine Name for the Service Organization, providing institutional support and opportunities to the members for
offering service activities. The Seva Dal and volunteers are expected to arrange for the basic needs of the residents in the adopted slums/villages. We are supposed to undertake an initial survey of the village and earmark the scope of service activities in that area. The scope of service activities is quite large including provision and arrangement of facilities in the areas of Health, Hygiene, Approach roads, and Education and Bal Vikas classes. The volunteers should endeavor to arrange for such facilities that are lacking in their areas. But Swami had cautioned that "service" should not end with mere provision of all the materials facilities / help. The aim of the volunteers should be to inculcate spiritual orientation amongst the villagers. The villagers should also be given training in spiritual activities. If the volunteers have helped or contributed only to the material facilities but if the villagers have not progressed in spiritual activities, then all our Seva would be a total waste. Swami has advised that we should catch them young and try to lead them to spiritual sadhana. Bharathi Nagar is a small slum village in T'Nagar area in Madras. The T'Nagar Samithi of the Sai Organizations have adopted this small slum where the members have undertaken various service activities. I was most fortunate to be rewarded with chances to participate directly in seva activities in Bharathi Nagar With Divine Blessings; we hoped to transform this slum into a model village Swami was with us always in this task. In fact this village became a holy place: Bhagavan visited this slum and walked through the streets blessing the dwellers. It was a pleasant experience to receive the Divine blessings from our Lord. The Divine visit made a big impact on the devotees and slum people and they experienced great joy having Swami amongst them. Various innovative ideas and programmes were experimented in this slum. The central leaders of the organizations stood by us giving constant guidance. I have attempted a brief resume of the activities undertaken in Bharathi Nagar, as a study case, in the modest hope that it may provide some guidance and direction for similar activities that can be thought of and put through in the adopted villages/slums. The very choice of Bharathi Nagar for our "service" was an interesting experience. Immediately after Bhagavanâ€™s 59th Birthday celebrations the members of T'Nagar Samithi were trying to locate a slum within their area for adoption in order to undertake service activities as per the guidelines provided to us. It was on Mother's Day, (Eswaramba Day) that we established contact with the leaders of Bharathi Nagar. We explained to them about Bhagavan Baba and our interest in service activities. They readily agreed to allow us to undertake service activities. We made it clear to them, that we did not wish to entangle ourselves with their personal problems and that we would not indulge in any political activities. They appreciated our idea, and assured us of their cooperation in our efforts. A general call to all the Seva Dals in Madras city was issued by the city organization calling them to be present at Bharathi Nagar on the inaugural day and join in the combined seva. The roads around the slum, were tar coated, but it was virtually impossible for the motor vehicles to go through. Heaps of garbage, even up to 6 to 7 feet height could be seen all over. The place was stinking. The children were using the surroundings as open lavatory. Civic sense was totally absent among the residents and we felt that our initial job would be to clean up the entire area and make it livable. A massive number of volunteers were deployed on the inaugural day and by evening the place had changed completely. It is a custom in South India to clean the entry doorstep of every house early morning and put KOLAMS (designs made on the floor using Rice flour or any other such smooth powder). But this practice was not being followed in this slum. They were all living like rats, with no thoughts or ideas or aspirations for good or clean living. As a first step, our lady volunteers started visiting house to house, with a bucket of water and broom, cleaned the entrance, and made beautiful kolams in front of each house. The impact was tremendous. The lady folks in the slum felt embarrassed and came out insisting that they would do the job. There were smiles and cheers all over. From that time onwards every hut in the slum looked good with kolams. Our lady volunteers did not get any second chance to do this job. We thought of another idea to attract cooperation from the lady inhabitants of the slum. Every Sunday morning we started conducing Nagar Sankeertan in this area. Immediately afterwards we distributed milk to all the
children. The mothers liked it. Very soon almost all the children were persuaded by the mothers to join the Nagar Sankeertan. â€˜Catch them youngâ€™ is the advice given by Swami. Soon our interest in the children became evident to the parents. A weekly medical camp was organized in the slum, solely for the children. A child specialist Doctor residing nearby watched our enthusiasm and offered his services every week. Initially, he himself brought all the medicines needed. A systematic door-to-door survey was conducted and relevant data was collected. During a general screening of the children, it was observed that all of them were affected by ring worms.. Many of them suffered from skin disease, and they were put on medicine during the next few weeks. The children were given tonics regularly. Mothers were provided with soaps so that they could give their children bath regularly. They were advised of the necessity of bodily cleanliness. Gradually, every evening tuition classes came to be held in the slum. When we entered the picture most children were dropouts from the school, and there was not single child who had studied rd beyond 3 or 4th standard. After our coaching and inducing interest in the studies, a totally different children education scenario emerged. About 20 boys came to complete their graduation and some boys came to pursue computer-based education. The girls were also not far behind. All the youngsters who had been trained under the scheme started earning and supporting their parents. The volunteers helped the villagers to build a small temple in their area which is a focal point for all the activities. Three years back the temple was renovated, and we prayed that Swami visit Bharathi Nagar once again during the Kumbabhishekam. Due to shortage of time, Swami directed us to bring the entire team of Pundits, Architects ( called Sthapathi) and other volunteers to Abbotsbury, where the Divine Darshan had been arranged. Swami presented clothes and gifts to Pundits and "Sthapathis", created Vibhuthi and blessed every one. It was a memorable day for all of us. In the initial period when we started offering seva at Bharathi Nagar, the elders used to participate in all the activities with us. Some of them had accompanied us to Prashanthi Nilayam for Prashanthi service together with other Seva Dals from the city. Presently the younger generation boys and girls have become full time Seva Dal. Swami had cautioned us that if the villagers did not show any inclination towards spiritual ctivities, all the efforts should be considered as waste. The desired change became however visible. Now, Bharathi Nagar has a full-fledged Bhajans Mandali. They conduct their own programs, gents and mahilas (ladies) separately. They have their seva dal wing. More than anything, the most amazing fact is that all the younger generation coming up from this slum had been trained in Veda chanting. One has to see and experience it to believe how perfectly they chant Vedas like any other trained vedic chanters. In an earlier chapter, I had narrated the experience of a small boy whose heart operation was avoided in the last minute by the Grace of Swami. This boy belongs to Bharathi Nagar. Before concluding this chapter I would like to recount another divine incident at Bharathi Nagar. All the Sathya Sai Seva Samities in Madras celebrate anniversary in their respective areas. Special spiritual activities such as special Bhajans, Bal Vikas children's cultural programme and some service activities including medical camps etc., are organized. During a particular year, immediately after Swami's visit to Bharathi Nagar, we had planned to celebrate our anniversary in this slum area. However, due to unavoidable reasons, we had to shift the venue to our Samithi Center itself. Meanwhile invitation cards had already been printed indicating the venue as Bharathi Nagar and the first copy submitted to Swami. The Nagar Sankeertan on that day started from the Samithi center and was going through various streets in T'Nagar area. It also passed through the main road of Bharathi Nagar. One of the girls from this slum reported later with excitement that she saw Swami standing near the temple, with His Divine Hands blessing the participants of the Nagar Sankeertan. This is how, Swami encourages the devotees in their endeavors, wherever selfless services are offered Swami
says that the doer of service seemingly benefits others but it really results in a spiritual gain to the "doer" himself. Swami's Grace flows to the doer of the service.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) CHAPTER 21 WIFE ALONE IS NOT LIFE Our Lord, Bhagavan Baba had chosen a tiny remote backward village in the State of Andhra Pradesh for his present Avatar. There are a number of other Holy places in this State, attracting millions of devotees from all over India, and other countries as well. To mention a few, Tirupathi (also known as Thirumala) and Sri Sailam, which are two of the well-known pilgrimage centers. Bhadrachalam is yet another renowned place of pilgrimage, situated near Kothagudam in Khammam district. There is a beautiful temple in this place and the deity is Sri Rama. Bhadradeewasra Rama had once saved a devotee who came to be famously known as Bhadrachala Ramdas, by refunding the money to the king and rescued him from imprisonment. He had been sentenced for siphoning of government funds for building this temple. More than this devotee, the king (a Muslim Nawab) got Darshan of RamJi & LakshmanJi who visited the palace to pay back the money allegedly misappropriated for the construction of a temple. It is a holy place indeed and many devotees throng here for worship. Rama Navami celebrations during the month of April are the most important function here and millions assemble there during this period. Seva Dal volunteers from Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization participate in various forms of service on this occasion. Incidentally Kothagudam is the headquarters of the coal mining company, M/s Singaneri Collieries Ltd. The Rama Temples is situated near here. This place is a big Sai Center, and there are many devotees living here. I had visited this place several times. I was trying to secure orders for my products from Singareni Collieries Ltd, and had participated in their annual tenders several times. For follow up actions, I used to visit this place very often. I was pleasantly surprised to know that the Chief Financial Officer, of this company was a Sai Devotee and was also the head of the Seva Dal group in that area. Incidentally, his son had also graduated from Swami's college. I spent happy moments with him talking about Swami. One day he took me to the Sai Baba temple. It was a small beautiful temple built by the local Samithi for our dear Lord. Weekly Bhajans, Nagar Sankeertan and all other spiritual activities are conducted in this temple. During one of my visits, I chanced to come across another Sai devotee in the office cabin of The Finance Manager. I was introduced to him, and we became friendly, since our common interest was on Swami. He was the Resident Sales Executive of Indian Explosives Ltd, which was regularly supplying explosive materials to Singareni Collieries Ltd. Being a past resident of Madras, he was planning a visit to his home. We arranged that we would travel together the next day. We shared a taxi up to Vishakapatanam from where we boarded a night train to Madras. We had so many things to converse and we did not have a wink of sleep during that night. He had a very interesting experience to narrate, and I was only too happy to hear from him. He told me, that he was employed for long in the Coal mine area at Dhanbad situated in the Eastern parts of India. He used to visit Prashanthi Nilayam, whenever he came to Madras on annual leave. His wife had conceived for the first time, and he brought her to Madras to arrange for the delivery. From there he was proceeding to Prashanthi Nilayam. The wife insisted that she would also accompany him. According to his understanding, she had not shown much interest in Swami and he was now surprised at her latest attitude. She was already 7 months pregnant then and he told her that there were not adequate medical facilities in Puttaparthi. Still she was keen to accompany him since it was not likely that any problems would arise during a short stay of one week. Ultimately the wife accompanied her husband to Swami.
The construction of Poorna Chandra Auditorium was almost complete and was undergoing final touches including painting. My friend happened to be a good painter. One day, after the Darshan, he walked over to the site and found many volunteers engaged in painting the imposing pillars and other places. He spoke to a volunteer, and requested him to allow his participation. He flatly refused the offer and told him that he could join the team only if Swami personally allowed him. My friend felt very sad, and yet he wished that he should do something as a token of seva at Parthi. He bent down and dipped one of his fingers in the paint, and placed a dot on one pillar It probably comforted him to feel that he was able to do a token job. Instantly, he sensed somebody was tapping his back. He found to his surprise that Swami was standing beside him with His Divine Benign Smile. Merciful Swami said "Mr. Painter! do not worry, I shall give you some other job." There are 2 pathways in the Nilayam, one from the main Gopuram to Mandir and another from this pathway to Poorna Chandra Auditorium. We can find polished black granite slabs engraved with Swami's messages on either side of the pathway. Previously these slabs were of rough granites. Swami showed him the rough granites that had already been positioned and instructed that he should paint these slabs with Swami's messages with appropriate designs. "You can start the work straight away. Finish the Job and then you can go to your place". He was pleased and happy to receive the Divine Command. He commenced the work in right earnest and with utmost devotion. He had only 15 days leave at his disposal. Since he could not complete the job, he sent a telegram to his office at Dhanbad requesting them to extend his leave. For another 2 months he was engaged in this Divine assignment and was sending telegraphic requests to his office periodically in between, Swami spoke to him several times. Whenever, he tried to mention to Swami about his wife Swami would cut him short every time. At last, after about 60 days of devoted and dedicated service he completed his task. During this period his wife's pregnancy was also advancing. She felt very weak and could not turn up to Mandir daily for Darshan. The time had come for my friend to leave for Madras, with his wife the next day, having fulfilled Swamiâ€™s command. He was sitting in the Darshan line. Swami had finished His rounds, and had selected a few people for interview. Immediately after the interview was over, some Seva Dal came along the waiting devotees and announced that Swami was calling for the painter. My friend knew that the call was for him and proceeded towards the Mandir. Swami took him inside the Interview Room. He fell at Swami's Lotus Feet When Swami was enquiring about hi. He told that his wife had also come with him but could not come for Darshan because of advanced pregnancy. Swami again cut him short: "Wife alone is not Life. Wife is wife, and life is life." Swami further put him at ease telling that he need not worry about her and that shortly she would give birth to a baby boy 'You can bring both of them to me next year.' Swami spoke to him on various matters. But finally he gave him a Divine message, equally applicable to all of us. "Wherever you are, whenever it is, whatever may be the problem, never pray to Swami to save you. But you should close your eyes, concentrate on Swami, and utter three times, 'Swami, I want you, Swami I want you, and Swami I want you' Swami will be with you and you will automatically be saved." My friend confirmed later that when he had to traveling the hill areas of Assam and other border states, he had to confront innumerable tight situations; but had prayed as per Swami's instructions and had been saved every time. He completed his narration of the experience with a startling disclosure. After along absence, when he reported for duty at Dhanbad, he came to know that during his absence there was a major disaster caused by floods inside the mines trapping hundreds of staff and workers. There was utter confusion everywhere. None of his telegrams had reached their hands, nor had anybody noticed his absence for such a long time. Everything looked so normal as far as his service was concerned. And the major grace he enjoyed was that Swami had detained him under his protection since he used to enter the mines several times, and who knows what would have happened to him during those fateful days, if only he had been present on duty. What a saving Grace of Swami! Bhagavan foresees everything and takes advance steps to protect his devotees, who offer selfless service.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) CHAPTER 22 ANOTHER MIRACULOUS CURE Swami often says that divinity is inherent in all His creation. Service to mankind should be spontaneously offered realizing this resident divinity principle. Such Seva becomes the highest form of worship "Hands that help are holier than the lips that Pray" is the oft-repeated advice of Swami. He further provides confidence that when we engage ourselves in seva activities as advised by Him, He would look after all our other cares, concerns and welfare. When somebody feels served and happy by our devoted and loving seva, it gladdens Swami. Being a Sai devotee, what else could be our ambition than making Swami happy? When Swami is happy, all the creation is happy and the Grace automatically accrues to us. Selfless seva pulls Swami to us in our own crisis needs even without a call or payers. This has been the experiences of many a devotee. By His Grace, I have been very fortunate having experienced or having come to know the experiences of others in my life. In some of the earlier chapters, attempts have been made to inform the readers of few instances of flow of grace to the Seva Dal for selfless service. Yet another such an instance is described in the following pages. Mr. Balaji is a Seva Dal volunteer in T'Nagar Samithi in Madras. All his father, mother, brother, wife are very much devoted to Swami and are active workers participating in service activities. They are also the ardent worshippers of Lord Ayyappa. Both father and son used to undertake pilgrimage to Sabari Hills every year. One day I went to their flat which they had recently purchased to discuss something about Samithi affairs. Only Balaji and his wife were there. I enquired the whereabouts of his father and mother. I learnt that his mother had been admitted into a hospital. She had been suffering from some stomach ailment having frequent loose motions. In spite of the doctor's attendance and consultation and medication, there was no improvement and her health had been deteriorating day by day. As such she had to be hospitalized. Before taking leave, I told him not to worry and that Swami would look after his mother. During the next two weeks I did not meet him and was hoping that the mother would have recovered. We missed them in Samithi Bhajans during the next two weeks I was very happy to see them again later on, when the entire family attended the weekly bhajans. After everybody had left, I casually enquired Balaji as to how was his mother. He replied that due to Swami's Grace she had turned around and for the next fifteen minutes, he was explaining to me how Swami's Grace had restored life to his mother. After admitting her into the hospital she was under the constant care of the doctors, but she was not responding to any medication. Being an acute diabetic it complicated matters. Day-by-day she was sinking. A number of tests (including blood rests) revealed no clue or any cause for her present condition of health disorder. By the end of the week, her condition was still very bad and she was lapsing into a coma stage. She was very weak and the pulse also started dropping causing anxiety to everybody. The condition became so critical that ultimately one evening the doctors pronounced that she might not survive the night. Meanwhile, the doctors were making all efforts to identify the reasons for and diagnose her sickness. One day during the casual enquiries and discussions with Shri Balaji, the doctors came to know that there was a 'slum' opposite to their residential flat. On this information, the doctors further enquired into the environmental condition of the locality. Pursuing further, the doctors found out that pigs used to roam in the nearby places of the flat. On a doubt, they took some more blood sample of the lady and the same was sent to veterinary hospital for analysts. Their fears were confirmed. She might have placed her feet on the excretion of the pigs and could have contact the virus of the animal. Being a diabetic patient, the matters had got complicated.
Unfortunately, by the time the veterinary diagnosis became available, it became too late for any further medication as she was sinking and the doctors gave up hope. All the family members had gathered in the hospital and they could do the only possible thing, of surrendering to HIM. Yes, they prayed with intense devotion the entire night. The next morning, however, dawned a new development. When the doctors came to the ward for the routine round they did not expect to see the lady alive. But what they saw was simply unbelievable, the patient was not only sitting on the bed but was also chatting with her family members. There were joy and cheer all over. How could this happen! The doctors found a small photograph of Bhagavan Baba on the corner table of the room. They looked at the photograph and were wondering. Ultimately and helplessly they had to say this much. There was no medical explanation as to how she could have recovered from her helpless condition of the previous night. Might be, It was some divine mercy of intervention which had made this possible. Or might be it was the Grace of the Sai Baba whose photograph was on the table, which could have saved their mother. "We did not and could not do anything to save the lady, the cure itself was a big miracle for us to witness", the doctors concluded. The devotees, who were listening to the narration with me very attentively, were moved to hear of Swami's mercy intervention. We all congratulated Mr. Balaji and their family members for being the recipient of Sai's Grace. The Balaji family continues to be in Sai Seva and participates in all activities assisting at times in our resource mobilization for major programs.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) CHAPTER 23 HE KNOWS WHAT IS BEST "ONAM` is a festival celebrated all over the state of Kerala, like Diwali in other parts of India. People belonging to this state, are employed all over the world. And yet they do nor fail to visit their native places and join their family during the Onam festival. Though many consider it a harvest festival, it has a spiritual significance. Swami has mentioned several times, that Kerala state has been blessed by Lord Vishnu in His three separate Incarnations. The Avatar hood of Narasimha, Vamana and Parasurama had taken place in this state. So it is not surprising to see the deepest form of devotion among the Keralities. Taking bath twice everyday and offering Joint prayers in their respective homes has been an age old tradition. Elders show the way to their young children to sustain and develop the culture of joint prayers. King Mahabali, who belonged to the family of Prahlada, was a noble king though he belonged to the Asura lineage. The king was revered and loved by his subjects. His end came when Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Vamana and placed his Lotus Feet on his head, pushing him down into Pathala. Before leaving the earth the King Mahabali sought a boon. He wished to come back to the earth once in a year and see his loving subjects. It is believed that King Mahabali visits Kerala every year on Onam day and the people wish to present themselves before him in a happy frame of mind and spirit. They put on their best on this day, even if they are poor and cannot afford good food and dress. 'Kaanam vittrum Onam thinnuga ' is the proverb in Kerala. Even by selling away their house, they should eat well on Onam day, is the meaning. Kerala people are very particular in this matter. Swami once appreciated in a public discourse at Prashanthi Nilayam, the devotees from Kerala for leaving everything back and reaching Prashanthi Nilayam to celebrate the Onam every year in the immediate presence of Swami. In the calendar of 365 days a year, Swami normally allots 2 or 3 days exclusively for the devotees of Kerala during Onam. They put up with the limited facilities available in the Ashram and manage with the food offered at the Canteen, not the least worried about the sumptuous special Kerala Onam Feast. For them it is only the Darshan of Swami that matters. They organize special buses from all over the state, bringing with them the decorative materials for decorating Prashanthi Nilayam. Prashanthi Nilayam virtually turns into Kerala during Onam celebrations due to the meticulous care and concern taken by devotees. Selected Bal Vikas Children from various Samithi centers offer cultural programmes for two or three consecutive days in the Divine Presence. With the Divine Grace, Sri Sathya Sai Trust of Kerala had established a Senior Secondary School inaugurated long back by Bhagavan Himself. It is a residential school, affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi(CBSE). My second son, Sri S. Ramesh studied in this school and finished secondary education before joining the degree course in Prashanthi Nilayam Campus. This Sathya Sai Vidhya Vihar is situated atop a small hill near a village called Nandi, on the main road, about 15 kilo meters north of Calicut in northern Kerala. It is said that the great Rabindranath Tagore, while touring Kerala, was staying on this hill and he had named it "Sri Sailam" as it is known even today. When my son was studying in this school I used to visit this place very often with my wife. Once on top of the hill, the view of the breath taking scenery draws you. The blue waters of the Arabian Sea surround the three sides of the hill. Lush green coconut groves dot the place all around. The hill itself is full of grown up cashew nut trees. A beautiful and peaceful place where the institution nestles!
Whenever we visited our son in the school we used to stay in some hotel in the nearby city of Calicut, now known as Kozhikode. We became acquainted with one Mr. P. V. Chandran and family who is a leading businessman in the city. In a way he was the local guardian of our son Ramesh during his period of study at Sri Sailam. His family extended all possible help to the boy. This family owns one of the biggest transport company in India called Kerala Transport Company (K.T.C) with branches all over India. Besides various other business interests they own one of the biggest vernacular (Malayalam language) daily named 'Mathru bhoomi'. They also publish a weekly magazine bearing the same name. An ardent devotee of "Gunrvayurappan " (Deity in the Temple Guruvayur), Mr. Chandran is also a devotee of Bhagavan Baba. They bring out special issues of this weekly magazine, fully dedicated to Swami containing beautiful photographs of Bhagavan and many articles authored by eminent Kerala devotees. The issue is released during every World Conference of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization. I was fortunate to sit next to him during the last conference at Prashanthi Nilayam during darshan times. Mr. Chandran placed the first few copies of the special edition at His Lotus Feet and Swami blessed and returned a few copies to him. A magnanimous Mr. Chandran gave me a copy blessed by Divine Hands. I went through the book the same day. In one of the articles, a Sai volunteer from Whitefield had talked of the experience of a devotee. I was wonder struck reading the article as to how Swami showed His mercy to a particular devotee. With the kind courtesy of the Mathru Bhoomi, I attempt below to narrate the incident. One day Swami emerged from His Abode at White field as usual and called out the seva dal and gave him some instructions. Devotees were sitting outside, awaiting Swami to come out for Darshan. Swami gave the volunteer some identification of a devotee sitting outside and instructed that the particular devotee should be asked to leave the premises immediately. Swami further said that He would come out for Darshan only after this devotee was removed from the premises. The volunteer located the devotee and requested him to move away. Even after disclosing Swami's command to leave the devotee refused to budge and flatly refused to get up. He told the volunteer that he was suffering from the dreaded disease of leprosy and that he would not leave until he had Swami's Darshan and His blessings. The volunteer returned back. When Swami asked him whether the fellow had gone away, the volunteer pointed to the reluctance of the devotee to move out. Swami's next command was a surprise. "Either push him out or you go out" was the stern reprimand. No volunteer would feel happy to leave Swami. Hence he rushed to the Darshan line and apprehended the devotee. Since repeated persuasion did not have any effect, he took the help of a couple of others to physically lift this man up and deposit him outside the complex. He was left near the railway level crossing gate. The volunteer felt very sad for having to undertake such a job. They had no other alternative but to obey the Divine Command. Days passed and even after a month, a growing feeling was bothering the volunteer as to why Swami was so harsh on that devotee. But he could not know, or guess at that time that Swami was actually saving that devotee. Nobody can comprehend the ways in which the Divine Drama is being played. Swami was still in Whitefield. Barely 30 days after this incident, the volunteer was told that somebody was waiting outside the main gate wishing to meet him. He was surprised to find the devotee whom he had pushed out, standing outside the gate smiling at him. He was worried that the fellow might force his way inside thereby creating problems for him. He tried to shun him and go back. The devotee called out and told the volunteer that he would not attempt to force himself inside. He only wanted to tell him the wonderful experience he had. On the day when he was dragged out and deposited near the railway gate it pained him very much. He was asking himself again and again whether he was such a sinner, not to have even a Darshan of Bhagavan. He moved along to the nearby Railway station and laid down on one of the concrete benches. Before long, he fell asleep at that odd hour. He had a dream in which appeared Swami who had denied him the Darshan inside. Swami told him that it was not his physical body which he tried to push out but the very disease itself and in 30 days from then, he would be fully cured. He could then come back and have Darshan.
True to Swami's assurance and by His Grace he had been completely cured now which happened to be the 30th day as foretold by Swami in the dream. He would come inside only the next day. He only wanted to personally thank the volunteer for what he had done to him. But for his action he would not have had the chance of Swami's Darshan in his dream followed by the miraculous cure. As he was narrating the incident, there was a hush among the devotees as Swami was coming out to give Darshan to the devotees. This devotee was also enjoying the Divine Darshan though from a distance i.e. near the gate. As Swami was nearing the place the devotee could not contain himself any longer. To the utter dismay of the volunteer he rushed to Swami and fell at His Feet. He was weeping profusely. Swami lifted him and patted on his back and commanded him to go inside for the interview. We cannot even remotely imagine when and/or in what manner the Grace would flow on a devotee. We are simply to follow His teachings and practice a life as shown by him engaging ourselves in selfless service, leaving everything to Him. We should know that we are in Divine protection.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) CHAPTER 24 THE OMNI â€“ SAI In one of the earlier chapters, I had narrated an incident of Sai's Omnipresence. There are several such experiences for many devotees. And yet, when we are made to know of this Divine Omni, by our own experience it is altogether blissful. After I made it to Madras in the hope of setting up an industry of my own, I visited 'SUNDARAM' at the first available opportunity and enrolled myself as a Seva Dal volunteer. It was the year 1982 when in the whole of Madras city there were only 50 volunteers during that time. The Seva Dal was highly motivated by the inspiring leadership of the organization. No wonder, even this limited number of volunteers could achieve satisfying results in their seva activities. Those days, the service activities were mainly in the sphere of Health & Hygiene. Several medical camps were being organized by the Madras Samithi in addition to the weekly free clinics run by it. Such medical camps included free eye camps for cataract operation, Dental camps, Pediatric camps, Geriatric camp and Polio Surgical camps. When I started participating in the above medical camps, it was totally a new experience for me. I could never imagine that there would be so much scope for seva in medical camps. I was under the impression that it would all be for the doctors to attend to the patients. But a lot of preparations had to be undertaken by the volunteers. First of all the message about the camp had to be reached to the poor and needy who lived in the city slums. I joined the other senior volunteers and visited the slums and the news conveyed house to house. We even tried to identify the possible patients for each camp. On the day of the camp, the patients would have to be received and registered. The attitudes and expectations of the patients were of different kinds and each one needed care and attention till his or her turn came. The role of the volunteers during the operation and post operation stage would also be very important. The duties included assistance to the patients in answering call of nature, providing sponge bath etc. The volunteers had also to handle all the paramedical work including dispensing. Madras possessed the advantage of having a huge hall belonging to Sri Sathya Sai Seva Trust where all the camps were conducted. The patients selected for surgical cure were admitted in the make shift wards organized for this purpose. In one of the eye camps which I attended for the first time I witnessed such selfless service by the volunteers. The patients operated for cataract were very old and poor with differing demands and needs. During night time if we switched on the fans some would call out and order us to switch it off. Others would insist on having the fan. The volunteers were posted on a 3- shift basis so that they could give round the clock nursing and attendance. The volunteers posted for the night duty, were seen fanning the patients individually by hand fans so that the others who did not want would not have problems. Even in the middle of the night, when somebody wanted to pass urine, the volunteers would hold out pans and carry it to the bath room. The seva made them love the patients and do anything possible for their comforts. They had been trained in that way. Highly motivated souls indeed! There was the other Polio surgical camp. We were struck by the huge gathering of the parents carrying their polio-afflicted children to the camp. The camp did suffer a limitation in reaching the maximum level of perfection since almost all cases needed surgical correction. In some cases, three or even four parts of the limbs were to be cut open, and they were major operations on a mass scale. Naturally all the patients could not be accommodated and we felt sorry to send back many of them. We had a difficult time in persuading them to go back. The selected children were admitted in the make shift wards. The first duty of the volunteers was to carry the
children to the bathrooms and give them a good bath. The volunteers had to prepare the children carefully for the operation. The nails had to be trimmed and hair shampooed before they were wheeled to their wards. As in the case of the elders, the children were also very difficult to handle especially when they were in severe pain after surgery. One has to participate in such a seva to experience the joy and the mental satisfaction flowing from it. Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization offer unique opportunities, usefully channelizing the time and efforts of the Seva Dal volunteers to offer maximum seva and derive joy. During the initial period when I joined the seva dal in Madras, the number of seva dal members in the city was around 50 plus only. With such a small group of dedicated volunteers, so much activities were undertaken. The organization in Madras had a number of senior devotees of Swami; perhaps they have been the best in organizing service activities in the best possible manner I have ever seen. It requires an inspired leadership to motivate and get maximum seva from individual volunteers. It requires special skill to mobilize the limited manpower resources and attain greater heights of selfless service. We used to meet at SUNDARAM every Saturday night. In addition to the briefing for the next day activities, our then District President, Sri. T.G.Krishnamoorthi used to deliver talks on Swami stressing importance of selfless seva. He used to advise us that without a spiritual practice in life and discipline any service activity would not yield the desired result of Swami's Grace, and that without the spiritual approach, the enthusiasm would not last long. Participation in seva activities, embedded in spirituality alone would please our Lord. If one is to undertake seva without spiritual discipline and involvement then there would be no difference between the seva attitude by Swamiâ€™s organization and that of the various other organizations. Such advice from the senior devotees impacted us and with small numbers we were able to perform great things in seva. During my initial period of seva Sri. G. Venkatesan was our leader. He had the uncanny ability to build a team and then lead them to the highest perfection. Managing the individual seva Dals in group activity would be very difficult especially in a voluntary organization. He had to instill faith in the volunteers and motivate them by his personal example. There were many occasions when we had worked together. He used to narrate several of his experiences in the Divine Presence. He used to tell that Swami had said many a time, "Venkatesan is my son" About three years back both of us visited Prashanthi Nilayam on some important assignment. Having finished the job we were preparing to return to Madras and we informed the Secretary of the Central Trust accordingly. The same evening he told us that he had informed Swami of our intention to return and also had obtained permission from Swami for us to sit in the front line for Darshan the next morning. I was very much thrilled to know that we were to sit in the front line with Divine permission. We were staying in a private lodge in the Chitravathi Road. Early next morning we got up and finished our morning bath and were getting dressed. I found that my friend was trying to wear the same dress of the previous day. I told him that since Swami had permitted us to sit in the first line we should dress neatly like a bridegroom, (in Tamil, Maapillai). My friend replied that Swami had told him earlier that he is Swarmi's Pillai (son) and hence I could only be the maapillai (bridegroom.) We terminated our dialogue at that point and proceeded towards the Mandir for Darshan. We were ushered into the front line just opposite where the general public used to sit. The college staff, senior students and other old devotees were sitting on our block. There was not much time left for Swami to arrive. Soon after we had taken our seats the soft instrumental music started. We knew Swami would be coming very soon. All our eyes were glued towards the Poomachandra Auditorium to have the first glimpse of the Divine Form. Everybody was very eager to have Swami nearer to them as early possible. I felt that it was a long way for Swami to cover and it would take more time. After passing through the Ladies' side, Swami moved on towards the Gents, and slowly reached the place where we were sitting and stood in front of us. Just about two feet away Swami was looking at me with His Divine charming smile, and then He uttered, "Emi Pellikkoduku"? I could not understand the Telugu language and hence could not make out anything. Mr. Bhaskaran, who was our District President in Madras, was sitting just behind me and he was trying to convey to me that Swami was asking me something. Like an innocent fool I was smiling back at Swami. Swami continued to smile at me for
another few seconds and then moved away from us. Swami had entered into the Interview room with the chosen devotees and the music also stopped when the door was closed behind Swami. I was excited to know what was the meaning of Swami's words. My friend Mr. Venkatesan who speaks Telugu very well explained that Swami was asking me if I was the bridegroom. (Pellikoduku means Bridegroom) Mr. Venkatesan further told that Swami was only trying to prove that he was with us in the Lodge when we were discussing about the dress. "I told you that I am Swami's son and not the bridegroom and Swami was joking on your remarks" We have already known that Swami is Anthariyami and also Omnipresent. And yet when we get confirmation of the fact through our own direct experience, we feel happy. I felt immensely happier by Swamiâ€™s remarks than by getting any possible Pada Namaskar.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) CHAPTER 25 SRINIVASA, SAI VENKATESA Thirumala Hills in Tirupathi is a renowned pilgrim center, perhaps the biggest in our country attracting millions of devotees all through the year from all parts of India and even from overseas countries. Our Lord Sai had revealed that He is the embodiment of all forms and names. As such, the divinity of Lord Venkateswara in Tirupathi temple is our Swami Himself. I was made to realize this aspect following an experience forced on me. Until this experience, I had never been to Tirupathi till I was about 55 years old. When I moved over from Bombay to Madras to set up a business, I took a youngster with me who had contributed his mite towards a part of capital investment and became a partner in the company. He was very energetic and intelligent and had the capacity to run the factory with utmost skill. One of our main clients were M/s. Brakes India Limited, one of the TVS Group of companies. They had their foundry at a place called Sholingar about 120 kilometers away from Madras. This place is a famous pilgrim center particularly for the vaishnavaites. Atop the big hill there is a small beautiful temple. The presiding Deity is Lord Narasimha one of the ten Avatars of Vishnu. According to the scriptures, Narasimha is in a dreadful lion headed form, having killed the invincible Asura Hiranya Kasibu. Even the Gods from the heavens did not dare to go near the Lord; only the child devotee Prahlad could go to Him. But the Deity in the Sholingar, called the Sholingeswar is seen sitting calmly in Yoga posture and hence called as Yoga Narasimha. We had to make daily supplies of shell cores to Brakes India Ltd., and we found the transportation of the materials everyday from Madras to be too expensive and resulting in damages also. Our clients had problems of quality control on our products, and hence insisted that we should establish a small unit at Sholinghur. Ultimately we took a small place on rental there and commenced production. Everything went on well during the early periods. The trouble started when we had built up assets like factory shed and had developed an excellent goodwill in the industrial circles. One day my partner informed me that he wanted to go back to Bombay and wanted immediate settlement of his accounts. We were drawing minimum amounts for our maintenance and the entire earnings from four years of running the industry, had been ploughed back into the business. I did not have any reserve funds. I told him that I would need some time to think over the matter. He agreed, but made it clear that till the settlement was over we would not be eligible for any monthly withdrawals for personal expenses. He took away the cheque book with him. Without my knowledge he had already started some other minor business and he had no financial problems. The stalemate continued for more than 3 months. I found it very difficult to maintain my family as we had no relatives in Madras to help us out. My partner claimed huge cash compensation in settlement and I could go nowhere to raise such a sum. During those difficult days I had stopped visiting the factory and stayed in the house. The only activity of mine was attending the programmes of the Samithi and reading Sai literature. The developments that followed, proved that Swami was doing what was best for me and at the same time imparting certain spiritual knowledge to me in His own subtle way. We used to conduct Bhajans in our house every Friday. On a particular Friday during the period of the crisis, when the Bhajan was going on as usual I had to go to bathroom several times. I had developed diarrhea and by the time the Arati was over the problem had become very acute. I did not have any money left with me. I had in fact only a small amount with me which I gave to the harmonist who used to assist us in the Bhajan. It was about 8 PM and a doctor was available just below our flat, but I did not have any money to pay either for consultation
or for purchasing any tablets. By around 9 P.M. the condition became too severe and I collapsed on the bed and became unconscious. At this stage Swami appeared as if in dream. He was consoling me not to worry. He was advising "When you are reduced to a helpless situation, the Lord takes over your care under His control. Now you have no penny left with you and are a ZERO. Don 't be ashamed of being a zero. When you become zero I come and give you my hand and lift you up. Yes, I am lifting you up and up". As Swami was sounding into me the above words, I was slowly regaining consciousness. I felt somebody was calling and actually lifting me up holding my hands. A lady who had adopted me as her dear elder brother was calling me and lifting me. Mrs. Parvathi Ram was then working as a senior nurse in the Apollo Hospitals, Madras. In fact she was with us during the Bhajan that evening. Looking at my condition my son had rushed to her house and had brought her. As Swami was telling that "I am lifting you up" Mrs. Parvathi was trying to lift me from the bed. In no time she arranged to take me to the Apollo Hospital and admitted me in an emergency ward. The doctor on duty diagnosed that it was a case of dehydration and that my pulse was very week. They put me under glucose drip treatment and this process continued till morning. Parvathi was sitting in a chair by the side of the bed and was reading some book on Swami. She was keeping vigil on me and did not sleep a wink during the entire night though she was to resume duty the next morning. I was helpless and allowed her to look after me. The next morning I felt better and I was discharged and brought back home. It took another couple of days for complete recovery. This sudden set back in health was only a temporary phenomenon. But Swami turned it into a tremendous opportunity to infuse in me the wonderful concept and practice of saranagarhi (surrender). Mentally I gained strength and my faith in Sai. Even in the partnership crisis I left everything unto Him since I was myself a zero without any capacity to tackle the issue by myself I resorted to reading of Sai literature very vigorously. I had nothing else to do, and waited for Swami to take control of the situation. There had been several such instances of His mercy in my life. Because of my intense faith I ceased to worry. And Swami made the next move! My aged mother was still living at that time with one of my brothers in Bombay. She had recalled to me several times that she had gone to Tirupathi walking all the way and climbing the hills when she was carrying me in her pregnancy. Somebody had told her that at that point of time if a girl were to be born, it would not be good for the family. So she was praying for a boy child this time. And her prayers were answered and I was born, a boy. She wanted to call me by the name of Lord of Tirupathi, but my father was already bearing that name Venkateswara. Hence she named me Srinivasan, which is one of the many names of Lord Venkateswra. She had further taken a vow in the name of the same Lord that she would bring me to the temple and offer my hair. Though I was aged 55 I had never visited Tirupathi and could not fulfill the prayer of my mother. After becoming a devotee of Sai, I had no interest left in me to visit other temples and go on pilgrimages to sacred places. Only Sai was my God and Prashanthi Nilayam was the only place of pilgrimage. I was fanatically so strong in my devotion to Sai that I did not recognize any other form of God as worthy of worshipping, since I believed that Swami is the embodiment of all names and forms. It was at that time that I started having visions of my old mother in my dream very regularly. She used to plead with me to go to Tirupathi and offer my hair to the Lord and fulfill her prayers before she left the body. But I was trying to be â€˜rationalâ€™! Is Lord Balaji (Venkateswara) going to be benefited in any way by the offer of my Hair? Then why is this sentiment about all the foolish sentimental prayers? God is not going to punish if the hair is not offered. He always forgives and protects His devotees. This is what we learn from Sai. Nevertheless the frequent dreams of my mother continued. I happened to be reading a book of Swami as usual It was 'Sri Sathya Sai Speaks' but I do not remember which volume it was. There it was! In one His Divine discourses I accidentally stumbled upon a paragraph. It begins with a question from Swami. "Does Lord Balaji need your hair?" Swami answers that the Lord does not want
you hair. But then why such prayers are made? Swami further explains that whether the Lord require your hair or not it is the duty of the devotee to keep his words. " If you do not keep up the word to Lord how can any one expect that you will keep your promise to human beings? As such, without debating whether Lord Balaji is interested in your hair or not it is your duty to fulfill the vow taken in the name of God." Instantly I knew that Swami was teaching me another lesson on the importance of adhering to Sathya (the truth). I started pondering over the importance of that teaching. But egoistic human beings, as we are, the so-called intelligence tried to interpret that I had never made such a prayer. I tried to wriggle out of my conscious obligation towards keeping up the promise made to the divinity. I was wrong again Swami did not allow me to escape. The very next day I took another book at random for my daily reading. It happened to be "Rama Katha Rasa Vahiniâ€?. Again on casually opening a page these were the words staring at me. "Did Lord Sri Rama make any promise any time to go to forest? And yet He made up his mind to relinquish the throne and joyfully proceeded to forest. Though he had not given any word Lord Sri Rama was very eager to fulfill the promises made by His Father King Dasaratha ". I felt as if somebody had slapped me. I understood the implications of those lines. It is better to obey the command of the Lord implicitly than using our own half-baked intelligence to analyze the pros and cons. At once, I got up from the chair, and proceeded to the place where Bhagavanâ€™s photos were kept for daily pooja and prayers. I knelt before the Bhagavanâ€™s picture and prayed that I should be forgiven. I promised that I would proceed to Tirupathi very soon and fulfill the vow of my mother to shave off my head. When once, I prayed for forgiveness and affirmed my words of promise, things started moving very fast. Early next morning after my pooja was over, I decided that I would go to the factory. Why should I not? I was still one of the partners of the company and I had equal rights in the company. I became emboldened knowing fully well that Swami was with me. I decided that I would assert my authority in the company affairs and I could by then think very clearly and come to certain conclusions. In the evening when the establishment was closed for the day, I asked my partner to give me a lift in his scooter up to the nearest bus stand from where I could take a bus to my house. Half way through, an idea developed in my mind. I asked him as to why we should not part as friends in the policy of live and let live. I told him that I was willing to offer the workshop at Sholingar with the available assets there including the raw materials and the machinery as compensation and all the liabilities would be absorbed by me. I further promised him that the business with M/s. Brakes India Ltd. would also be diverted to him. I did not know what transpired in his mind and how he took it. He stopped the vehicle and looking back at me asked whether I was serious about that offer. On my assurance he fixed up the next day to draw up the deed of retirement and settlement. The very next day he signed the documents shook hands with me and walked out of the factory leaving me behind as the sole proprietor of firm. There was still a small balance amount of cash compensation to be paid to another minor partner. I did not have liquid cash and my adopted sister Parvathi came to my rescue. She offered a sizable amount as a temporary loan so that I could meet the commitment and come out of the crisis. Left alone in the factory I was in dazed condition. The things had moved very fast and an impossible solution had been found instantly and I could be of my own in the business. I tried to recall all the events that went past during the last ten days or so. Only a day before I had promised to Swami that I would gladly fulfill the vow of my mother and within 24 hours I had been rescued miraculously from a knotty situation for which I could not think of any solution. He had found the solution in His own way. In the end, the net result of the long period of agony proved to be beneficial. I knew that it was all the Grace of Bhagavan Baba. While He had willed to do something for my own good He had also taught me a few lessons on saranagathi principle. When once I had surrendered, identifying myself as a big ZERO he took control of the situation and did what was best for me. I did not forget the promise I made to Bhagavan the day earlier. From the factory I telephoned to a travel agency and organized a tourist taxi so that we could proceed to Tirupathi the same day. I also informed my wife about the developments and asked her to be ready so that we could leave for Tirupathi as soon I reached home. My partner had signed the deed and left the premises by 4.00 pm and within an hour by 5.00 pm, we were on our way to Tirupathi.
Somehow I could feel an overwhelming enthusiasm within me in going on this special pilgrimage to Tirupathi, equal to that of my visit to Prashanthi Nilayam. As mentioned earlier, I had never gone to this hill temple. But I had heard from several friends that we would have to wait several hours in the large queue boxes even if we opt for special Darshan for which a charge is levied. When we arrived atop the hill, it was almost night and we decided to have our night food in one of the nearby hotels. The taxi driver later took us to the place where we had to purchase the entrance tickets for the special Darshan. We got our tickets and were shown the entrance point of the queue. We did not find anybody in the queue. As we passed through the barricaded line there were none to be seen. At last we reached the main Gopuram and then the Dwajasthamba, the metallic gold covered flag post. Still nobody was seen and as we were entering the sacred sanctum we could clearly have the darshan of the beautiful Deity, Lord Venkateswara standing there majestically. I felt that I heard him calling me "Come my son, come, I am waiting for you". I felt as if our Swami was actually calling me. I was full of tears as I heard this and dashed into the sanctum. There were a few priests in the passage. I ran in and fell down prostrating. I was weeping. My wife followed suit. The priests became alert and directed us to get up. There is a rule that nobody could offer Namaskar inside the sanctum. We did not know the rule, nor did we care for any such rules at that time. I was in a state of bliss enjoying every moment of it. We were persuaded to leave the sanctum after receiving sacred theertham. While we were coming out of the sanctum scores of devotees were streaming in chanting 'Govinda, Govinda'. Later on I was told that the Darshan had been temporarily suspended for a few hours, since there were some celebrations in the Pushkarini (temple tank). It was just a coincidence that we were first to go in after resumption of Darshan. Or was it a coincidence at all? Lord Himself had developed the situation with perfect timing! We felt grateful to Swami for making our first visit to Tirupathi so blissful. We left the temple and checked into a lodge. Early next morning, I called for a barber and got my head shaved neatly. After taking bath, we went to the temple and had one more Darshan. This Leela of our Swami taught me a lesson that we should not be fanatic in our devotion and we should accept all forms of gods as the form and name of Sai Himself.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) CHAPTER 26 THEY WERE LIBERATED There are instances when Bhagavan Baba had given extension of life to some devotees. He had by His Grace even brought some other back to life hours after they had died. And yet in some cases, Sai had by His compassion taken some blessed souls unto HIM liberating them from the cycle of birth and death. When somebody passes away we normally say that so and so has attained the Lotus Feet or attained the Paramapadham or reached Sri Vaikuntam, (the abode of Lord Vishnu; Or reached the Holy Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva). The end, which a devotee meets in this earthly sojourn indicates the level of surrender and the degree of devotion he has reached. The Lord takes special care to give them a blissful end. To many devotees, Swami had given His Darshan when they were to breath their last and Swami made the transition less painful and the passing blissful. I wish to narrate the cases of couple of such devotees. Sri. M. K. Bhaskar was a retired Senior Railway Officer. He was the District President of Sri Sathya Sai Organizations in Madras. We always cherish the days when we worked under him, engaged in various service activities. You cannot find anybody more vigilant than Mr. Bhasakar who enforced strict discipline in the organization without fear or favour. Yes, he was always strict, and yet was a very kind hearted man. Mr.Bhaskar and His wife were affectionately called by us, as Achhan (i.e. father) and Amma (i.e. Mother). Both of them derived great joy in giving sumptuous food to all those who visited their house. They never got tired of this seva. 'Athithi Devo bhava ' is one of the dictums of Vedas and they followed this dictum enthusiastically. Even now, in spite the old age and restricted movements, Amma continues to treat her guests with sumptuous food. After relinquishing the post as District President, Mr.Bhaskar was nominated by Swami as one of the members of Sri Sathya Sai Trust of Tamil Nadu. Once, while he was in Parthi it seemed that he had an heart attack. He was discharged from the general hospital the same day after keeping him in oxygen for a couple of hours. He traveled the same night in a bus along with us. By the next day, his condition had become very serious and he had to be admitted to the Railway Hospital in Madras. By the Grace of Swami he recovered very soon. Later on, Mrs. and Mr. Bhaskaran shifted their residence to Prashanthi Nilayam. Swami had assured that He would give him a good job at Parthi. He was waiting for that opportunity. It was a long wait and after a couple of years, it was the Holy festival of Shivarathri day. After the morning Darshan and devotional songs were over, I went to his residence at Parthi in the round building. Sri. Bhaskar was sitting in an easy chair in the verandah and was reading a paper. Suddenly he collapsed and on hearing our frightened call his wife came out and prayed to Swami. Vibhuthi was applied on him and after a while he recovered. We stayed back and spent some more time with him. During the chat Mr. Bhaskar insisted that my friend Sri. G. Venkatesan and myself should have lunch in their house the next day without fail. We agreed and accepted the invitation. I cannot forget the next day in my life. The morning Darshan was over and Mr. G. Venkatesan and myself were standing in the queue outside the canteen for our breakfast. Mr.Bhaskar was returning home I found him dressed in a new white safari dress, hoping that Swami might give him the promised job that day. He spotted us in the queue and told us very sternly that we should go to their house for lunch without fail. We promised to do so. It was morning Bhajan time in the Mandir. Swami had finished the interview for the chosen devotees and came out of Mandir. The Seva Dal volunteers from Madhya Pradesh who had completed Prashanthi Seva for about a
week, were sitting outside for the blessed Pada Namaskar. The Bhajan was going on as Swami walked amongst the gents Seva Dal. We were standing outside the compound wall and Mr.Bhaskar was sitting on a chair just inside along the wall almost in front of us. Swami, while walking along a row which terminated just where Mr.Bhaskar was sitting. Bhagavan Baba enquired from Mr.Bhaskar as to what he wanted. He replied 'Swami Padam'. Swami allowed him to touch His Lotus Feet. He got up blissfully and was trying to sit on the chair again. But he fell down sliding from the chair as soon as he managed to sit. All the eyes were glued to Swami and nobody noticed Mr. Bhaskar falling down from the chair. As Swami mentioned later on Mr. Bhaskar died as a chairman (sitting in a chair) and not as sick man in the bed. What a beautiful end to a devoted soul! The end happened inside the compound of the Mandir premises and that too immediately after taking Pada Namaskar. The ears were listening to the Bhajan while the eyes were feasting on the Divine Form of Bhagavan and the body just had physical contact with the Divine, while taking Pada Namaskar. The senior doctors from the Super Specialty Hospital who were there for Darshan rushed to him but could not revive the heart. I had witnessed the event quite dazed. If the end had come the previous day he would have memories of his wife and family at that critical time. But Swami extended his life by one more day and had willed that the end should come in His very Presence. Mr.Bhaskar left the body with nothing else in his mind other than Swami. Swami even undertook to organize all the religious rituals as per the customs of the family for Mr.Bhaskar. How else can we explain this liberation other than by calling it that "Mr.Bhaskar attained the Lotus Feet." There was glory to the devotee even in his end. I wish to add one more such an episode. Here the name of the devotee was Mr. Kasthuri Rangan. He was a member of our T'Nagar Samithi, at Madras. He was earlier a senior executive with Manali Refineries Ltd, and opted to retire on voluntary retirement scheme. He was always very regular in attending the weekly bhajans at Sundaram Temple and he used to reach there early so that he could enter the hall and sit almost behind the Bhajan singers. He was a regular lead singer in the Samithi. We did not know how deep-rooted devotion he had for Swami. We knew him just as another devotee and a good singer. But in the end he proved to be very close to Swami. Swami had often said that physical proximity to Him might not indicate that the person is a great devotee. Perhaps a person who is away from Swami could still be a close devotee of Swami. The weekly Bhajan at T'Nagar Samithi was regularly conducted on Saturday evenings. As usual, on that particular Saturday the Bhajan was going on and Mr. Kasthuri Rangan was singing. That song came to an end and the first line was resumed in slow rhythm as is the practice in Sai Bhajans. Immediately after finishing the song Mr. Kasthuri Rangan slipped sideways on to the lap of another singer named, Mr. Kailash, who tried to prop him up. Instantly we knew something was wrong. Mr. Kasthuri Rangan was lifted by a few devotees and taken to a clinic in a car. As is the discipline in Sai Organization the Bhajan continued. On arrival at the hospital, the doctor pronounced that Mr. Kasthuri Rangan had already passed away. What a great devotee Mr. Kasthuri Rangan must have been. Only Swami had known the depth of devotion and had liberated him. We have heard of the stories of many singer devotees in our scripture like, Meera, Purandhara Das, Vittal, Sri Krishna Chaithanya and all. But this Sai devotee had cast away his body immediately after finishing his singing. A blissful divine end of a devotee with Lord's Name dancing on his tounge!
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) CHAPTER 27 THE SEVA SADHANA In one of the group interviews, in which I had the chance to be in, Swami beautifully analyzed the theory of papam & punyam, the sin and the merit. God has bestowed on the humanity, three special faculties which is not given to any other living beings. They are, the power of thinking, the power of speech, and the power of performing. These three faculties are called “Thri karna” in Sanskrit language. The thought, word and deed, all these three should function in unison in ones life. : Manas Ekam,. Vachasyekam, Karmanyekam is called THRI KARANA SUDHI’. Swami always advises that one should say only what he thinks and do only what he says. Then the life will be blissful without any blemish and will attract divine grace. We should use these special faculties bestowed on us, used by us with utmost care and to the best use of the society, wherever we live. Now what is sin (Papam)? If we cause any harm to any body by using any one of these special powers of Thrikarana then it is a sin. We should not even think bad about others or utter anything which may cause unhappiness to others and act in the way which causes harm to others. As such bad thoughts, unpleasant words and harmful acts corrupt the Thri Karna Sudhi. Contrarily by the use of these three faculties, if some benefit could result to others, anyone other than you or your relatives, then it becomes a merit (Punyam) and earns you the Grace of Lord. We are suffering in life because of accumulated Papas (Sins) committed either earlier in this life or in our previous births. It is always carried forward, life after life unless and until the accumulations are liquidated. Likewise some enjoy the fruit of their good acts earned during this life and also the previous lives. One goes on enjoying its fruit till the accumulated punya is in balance. This also gets consumed gradually. We often say that we are suffering because of bad Karmas. Suffering Is Karma bound and the result of bad action ( i.e. sins) are known as bad karma. Nobody can escape from such bad actions and we have to endure the effects. There is only one way to come out of the bad karma which is like a negative mark earned by us. It is always in minus. We have to earn enough plus marks by practicing Sath Karma (pious deeds) and gradually reduce the minus mark. A constant practice of Sath Karma, helps to bring down the negative (i.e. the minus) marks slowly to a level of O (zero) and then the further continuing efforts (sadhana) put you on the positive side of plus marks. This has to be a constant endeavor. When you think good for somebody, or give benefits to somebody at least by your words, or your action, then plus mark accrues. Even if we curse somebody or think evil of somebody there is a minus accrual. Therefore, we have to be careful and cautious in our thought, word, and deed. When we find somebody, known or unknown, friend or foe, undergoing suffering, we should not feel unconcerned about it. On the contrary if you pray for him, think good of him, it would earn plus points. Likewise, we can also attempt to do some good to others by our mere spoken words. For example, you find somebody remaining unemployed for a very long period and he is in distress. By our mere "spoken” words, we can recommend him to someone known to us and help him to get a job and thereby his earning. This also gets you merits. We can, by our action engage ourselves constantly in selfless service to the society which is the highest level of Seva and Sadhana. Thus, paving the way for good virtue. We may have our own problems in our house. We may be busy in our work places. But still it is desirable to allot a few hours for seva every week. Sri Sathya Sat Seva Organization helps the devotees to channelize their energy and work together in offering Seva.
Baba says, "Recognize the divinity in all living beings and offer seva. And this seva becomes holier than the worship of the Lord. When service is offered blended with spiritual practices it becomes the highest form of yoga, the seva yoga, which is higher than any other yoga and it bestows the Grace and leads you to liberation". In performing seva, the spiritual practices also become important, according to Swami. There are various organizations, offering service to society, and they may do it on a much larger scale. But what is missing in their effort is the spiritual base in the thought, word and deed. We can undertake seva even in a small way, within our capacity, but backed by spiritual practices, with the underlying feeling that the seva we are doing is an attempt to please the Lord. Then we do not look for the fruit of seva. Your only intention is to please Lord, and this feeling in turn takes you step by step towards liberation. Swami further explained by another beautiful example, as to how spiritualism and seva are to be blended. Swami said. "We wash our clothes to remove the dirt from it. What do we do? We mix the detergent in the water and then use the solution for washing. You can consider the detergent as seva and the water as spirituality. In case you try to wash the cloths only in the water i.e.. Spirituality, it will not derive the desired result. Likewise, a dry soap or detergent powder cannot be used for removing the dirt. We need both water and detergent to achieve the result. So when you expect the grace of God and a way for liberation, we have to undertake seva backed up with spiritual practices" This is the basic philosophy of Sai, He urges us to do seva, but first step is to evolve ourselves into spiritual beings. Even in the 9-point code of conduct, the very first step insisted by Swami is to do pooja, prayers and meditation every day morning. Next we should attend Bhajans, Nagar Sankeertans etc arranged by the Organization. It is also necessary that all family members should join together and conduct Bhajan in our own homes. Other rules are also mentioned such as Narayana Seva, i.e. feeding the poor, attention to our character building and so on. We have to show our earnestness and while we initiate the first few spiritual practices, then Swami will take further steps towards us to make us fully eligible for Divine Grace. Sathsang and reading of Sai literature will also help to imbibe spiritual knowledge and practice. With such a spiritual back up if we offer any service, however, small it may be, it becomes the highest form of Yoga and worship. There is a risk of EGO rearing its monstrous head, when you are constantly engaged in service activities. We have to be very watchful and alert. We should feel very humble when we are engaged in activity. We have only duties and we have no rights and certainly no rights for fruits of action. Swami does not accept it if we 'talk' about the service we offer. Without expecting the fruits of action, one should only perform and move on. We can see, the devotees singing Bhajans whenever they are engaged in group activities. We should follow thus practice and engage in nama smarana even while we are busy with domestic work. Always remember the name and do your sadhana. Swami has declared what HE will be happy when other people in general are happy by your service. As such we should try to make other people happy by our devoted seva and then Swami is happy. The Divine Grace flows unto you automatically. I wish to recall a petty event to illustrate how we can bring happiness to a fellow citizen. Some years ago, I was trying to cross Mount Road in Madras, just opposite "The Hindu" news paper office to reach the Government Estate. At this point, the road takes a steep rise approaching a bridge. I noticed an old cart man who was pulling a hand cart. His legs were slipping, unable to move the cart due to heavy load and gradient. Impulsively, I moved over and started pushing the cart from behind. The cart man felt the relief in pulling the load over the gradient road. He was surprised and looked back His eyes were sparkling with gratitude. After helping him out to reach the steep road, I walked off. He stopped and was looking back to spot me, apparently to thank me. I did not give him that chance. I saw the smile on his face and I believed that was the best reward. During the years of Sai seva, I have tried to follow the above principles and the guidance provided by Swami Himself several times. At times, nay many times, there could be many hurdles in the way while attending to the assignments given to us. But when we surrender everything to Him and then engage in seva, He is there to remove all the hurdles and we can experience the signs of His Grace. Very often, the most difficult job, which
make us think that we are up against a blank wall are tackled beyond our expectation and the ananda (bliss) we derive out of it is beyond any expression. We come to know very well that but for His grace and intervention the job could not have been accomplished. By this way we experience Swami through and through, and this realization brings us more and more joy. This has been my personal experience several times. Swami has referred to three types of methods and attitudes that characterize one's performance of duty: "Duty with Love is desirable. Duty without Love is deplorable. Love without Duty is Divine". Swami has very often stressed the importance of performing selfless sea. It is sheer love without duty that is supreme. We should understand that it is not for the sake of Swami that we are engaging ourselves in seva. We should not give shelter to the feeling that by our seva somebody is getting the benefit. Swami says that the devotee engaged in seva, is himself benefited by this act. We should cheerfully undertake seva without any selfish or other motives and prompting. Seva is done out of our own inner urge and having done it we should leave the matter at that. Grace will accrue on its own. It was illustrated with a beautiful and imaginary example. Suppose, we are proceeding to Prashanthi Nilayam by bus. On the way, all the passengers alight in front of a hotel for lunch. After finishing the lunch, you are making payment at cash counter and notice a beggar sitting outside. You pay some extra money to the cashier and ask him to give food to that beggar and go to the bus and occupy your seat. In case you had told the beggar that you had paid enough money to the cashier and that he would give you food, the net benefit out of this charity is lost. Since you did not utter a word about this to the beggar, the message of your action is moving upwards to God. At this time, you should forget the whole episode of your charity and carry on with your travel. Sooner the Lord will take note of it. Suppose you could not contain your mind. A fellow devotee is sitting next to your seat. You open your mouth and tell him that you had just asked the cashier to feed the beggar and had paid for it. You felt that you had done a great charity that day. But the moment you uttered these words to your friend, the message comes down and does not reach God and you do not get any benefit out of your charity. More than doing a seva, it is important to keep the action within ourselves and offer the same to Lord, instead of speaking about it. This is the true Service without Duty.
It is not a question of how big a seva you have done. God is looking for quality, not only in the work, but also in the mind when you engage yourselves in service. When we get the chance to do the individual seva, we should keep it within ourselves. When we are given a chance to work in the organization, we should understand that we are only a tool and that we should feel happy to know that we got the chance. Our only duty is to engage in the activity to the best of our ability as per instruction of the leader. Another important factor, which we should remember is that, we should subject ourselves to the discipline of the organization. "Devotion, Duty & Discipline" These three are basic norms emphasized very often by Bhagavan. If only we could follow the dictums and engage ourselves in selfless service, Godâ€™s Grace wiII automatically come to us. Follow regular sadhana in order to control the senses and the emotions. Do not pay heed to others who may ridicule you, for your changed way of life. They may point you to others and laugh. "Look at this man! He has become a great Sai Bhaktha. Look at him with his Japa and Bhajan !'' But have your vision steady and your Will strong. Do not deviate, march straight on.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) CHAPTER 28 GOD IS LOVE, LIVE IN LOVE In one of the His Divine discourses, Bhagavan declared that He is the richest person in the world, nay, in the universe itself, richer than Kubera, the Lord of wealth. Swami further clarified that His richness does not consist of money or materials; the most valuable asset of Baba is Love. He is the embodiment of Love itself. The whole world is an expanse of love enveloping all the living beings, one way or the other. Even the most dry hearted human being or for that sake even any wild animal exhibit sparks of love in their own way. Such love may be of selfish nature with attachment or bondage to their kith and kin or to outside people who are admired or revered. It is only the consistent spiritual sadhana which slowly and steadily leads us up to a level in which we are able to transcend the narrow frontiers of selfish love into the vast expanse of divine love enveloping the whole of humanity. 'Premaswarupullara' addresses Swami very often, while delivering Divine discourses to the gathering. This is the real nature of mankind. Swami's advent of this present Avatarhood is to regenerate the mankind, with the human values informing both our view and way of life. As all of us know, what these values are viz.,, Sathya, Dharma, Shanthi, Prema and Ahimsa. If only the prime value of universal Prema is fostered and developed in our life, it will be very easy and almost automatic to develop the other values. How do we go about it ? According to Bhagavan it is very simple; it only requires a degree of earnestness in our efforts. Man is by very nature love personified. But the self and the desires of the self have come to grip our thoughts and actions in our lives, past and present. Our effort, therefore, should be to purify our chitha by removing the accumulated dirt slowly so that the ever present quality of love surfaces in all our thoughts and deeds. Swami is in fact making us aware of the inherent LOVE in us by inculcating subtle methods of spiritual sadhana. To develop universal love, we have to first realize that the universe is only a manifestation of Divinity, and that Divinity is inherent in all living beings, what Swami calls as Resident Divinity. We should extend our love to every living beings as a manifestation of the same divinity and in the same way as we love God. Swami also invariably emphasizes the need to have expansion of love and not contraction of love which means that love should be selfless and with not selfish motive. We love our family members, because they happen to be our wife, husband, son, daughter, father or mother. The love extended to all these relatives is selfish in nature. Our love is conditional and is based on our relationships. We even find variations in the intensity of love towards different relatives, depending upon the degree of attachment with each one of them. But the divine love is not conditional it is selfless. Our love to God should also be selfless. "Love is selflessness and self is lovelessness". Love is a mutual feeling. Love generates Love. When you love somebody it is always reciprocated. Even a person of very hard nature responds to love. I remember a story narrated by a senior devotee in Madras during one of his discourses in a study circle meeting. It was said that during period of boyhood Sri Krishna was undergoing Gurukula Vaasam (living in the hermitage of the Guru) with Guru Maharshi Sandeepini along with Balarama and Sudhama. In the performance of the chores all the three used to go to the forest to fetch firewood for the Ashram. One day it was late in the night, they were still in the forest and they had to camp there. They decided to take turns so that one could be awake while the other two could sleep under the tree. First it was the turn of Sudhama to keep vigil. While doing so he
noticed that a gang of tribal men were passing by close to where they were resting. Sudhama thought that they might cause harm to them and tried to scare them away by angry gestures. The tribal folk did not mean any harm to Krishna and company. And yet when Sudhama tried to threaten them by gestures they also reacted likewise. Luckily, without much ado they moved away. Next, it was the turn of Balarama to take over from Sudhama. He also noticed the tribal folks moving about in the area. Balarama too tired to scare them away by angry gestures to which they responded angrily. Balarama did not leave them at that. He gestured that he would attack them if they did not move away from that place. The tribal folk responded in the same manner and measure. They got nearer to Balarama and beat him brutally and then moved away. Balarama took it quietly and retired for the night after his time was over. Last it was for Sri Krishna to take over. The other two could not forget their respective encounters and were not able to sleep. To their horror, they found that the tribal people were once again passing through the place. They were very eager to watch how Krishna was going to tackle them. On seeing the tribal folk, Krishna waved His hands towards them smilingly conveying His good wishes. They also responded smilingly. Krishna then, by His gestures invited them to come nearer. They came nearer and were all in smiles. They hugged each other reflecting warmth and friendship. After a while they went their way. The devotee, in his talk, was further trying to explain to us, how our own feelings get reflected in others. When you show hatred to any one, the other party also responds with hatred. When you show love, they also extend their love to you. Love is reciprocated by love Swami often points out the simple analogy of a person looking at the mirror. If the person puts on an angry face the reflection is also the same. If one smiles, the reflection also smiles ! Thirty thousand feet above the earth, when an aircraft was being highjacked, the devotee heard the command of Swami "love the high jacker". How could you love a 'high jacker', when he was threatening to blow up the plane killing every body on board. And yet this was the command. The lady devotee, on hearing the message, mentally extended her love towards them. It was reported that the 'high jackers' subsequently, lost their nerve to live through the tense drama and ultimately surrendered to the authorities. It is not enough if you say that you love somebody. In case of pure love, we follow it up with positive action. When we love our child we try to express our love by purchasing and presenting something for the child to bring joy. Any sincere feeling of love manifests itself into an action. When we love God, God's love also manifests. In fact, God is ever loving and at times we are not able to feel and enjoy that divine love because of certain inherent blocks in our feelings of love. The magnetic power in iron automatically attracts the ordinary iron. But in case the ordinary iron is densely covered by rust and other impurities, the magnet can not attract it. The rust in our feelings has to be removed and our chitha purified to be able to absorb the abundant love from God. And we too should love God unconditionally. When once we develop love towards someone, we start listening to him or her with interest and act in the best way possible to please the person whom we love. When we say we love God, it implies and involves total commitment to the Divine Commands and direction. We can then claim that we love God, unconditionally. What is Swami instructing us? "Start the day with Love, Spend the day with Love and End the day with Love". We hear the sayings of Swami several times, but we fail to put it in practice in our daily life â€˜Start the day with love.... But what do we do? A slight delay in getting our morning coffee or in sighting the newspaper boy makes us agitated. We have sharp remarks in reserve for the maidservant if she comes late or slips up in work. In our conversations we exhibit irritation because it has been our way of life all along. We seem to have lost the faculty of tolerance and softness in speech. Only when we are free of mental agitation we can speak softly and sweetly. Swami has been teaching to mend our habits and has shown us the ways too. Early morning, if we sit for meditation followed by Japam and Pooja, our mind becomes calm and gets itself conditioned to accept the events
as they come and to develop tolerance, which in turns removes anger and hatred. Love resumes its place in our mind. This is what Swami wants from us. Under item No 1 of the 9 point Code of Conduct which has been prescribed for all the devotees. As we go out into the world during the day we come into contact with various personalities. Some of them,you may like and many others you may not like. We react differently to different people. You feel happy to see and talk to the one whom you like. You breed a sense of aversion to those whom you do not like. It is very difficult to condition the mind. Yet, we have to try and attempt to foster and develop a proper balanced attitude and behavior towards every one. Constant remembrance of Swami, in such a situation, to some extent directs us to stick to proper behavior. Swami teaches us to extend mentally our love towards such persons. Our smiling face would elicit the same smile from the other party too. However at times, when we are engaged in conversation with someone, the subject matter quite often turns to those on whom we may have reservations. We pass comments and criticize them. Swami warns us to be cautious and careful about this habit and behavior. Remember Swami's dictum in the 9-Point Code of Conduct, which says "Don't talk ill of others especially in their absence". As the day closes in, we prepare ourselves to retire for the day. While doing so, we should spend a while in self-retrospection. What are all the mistakes we have done during the day? Have we strayed away from the path of Love any time during the day? We should contemplate and try to improve our performance the next day. It should be a continuous process. This is the sadhana of self-discipline. As long as hatred and anger prevails in our mind, it is very difficult to cultivate love in our hearts. Anger and hatred have to be eliminated gradually by constant practice and tolerance and love assumes its place automatically. The most tolerant person may encounter a very difficult man who may even inflict mental or physical pain on us. Then what are we to do? Here too, Swami says that we should not act in the manner of 'tit for tat'. For all the pain inflicted, it is our duty to pray for forgiveness and for his welfare in spite of all that he has done to you. This pleases Swami very much. Swami wants us to live happily forever, with overwhelming love in our heart because God is Love!
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) CHATER 29 BHAJANA BINA......... A few years back Sri. B. Ganesh, an MBA student in `Swami's college was delivering a talk in the immediate presence of Bhagavan Baba expatiating on the various divine aspects of Swami. He recalled a miracle that happened in his house in the city of Karwar where his father Sri. Balakrishnan was working as an Engineer in the Telecommunication Department. One day, after the Bhajans were over, they were pleasantly surprised to find a small vighraha of Sri Krishna which had appeared miraculously in the altar where they were singing Bhajans. The whole family rejoiced over it. A vast gathering of devotees assembled in the Bhajan hall were overjoyed by this Leela of Swami. Sri. R. Balakrishnan, well known as "Sai Premi" hails from a music oriented family. He had himself undergone training in the classical music. From the early years, he like his elder brother was very much interested in singing devotional songs based on 'Sampradaya Bhajana'. Sri Balakrishnan and family became the devotees of Bhagavan Baba, from the early years. Being a natural talented singer, he was attracted by the melody of Sai Bhajans. His days were filled with Bhajans and Bhajans alone. He was so committed to Sai Bhajans that the only topic in his conversations would always be Bhajan. During the last two decades of his service in the Government, Mr. Balakrishnan was working in the Madras city. I got acquainted with him since both of us were members of the T'Nagar Samithi. At the end of the Bhajan, after Arathi is taken Mr. Balakrishnan sings in his melodious voice, the 'Laali', which is a 'lullaby' in various ragas. Just a few years back he turned 60 years of age. On this happy occasion Swami gave him interviews on three consecutive days. Swami materialized a ring of Navaratnas for him. During the personal interview, Swami told him that he is always present in his Bhajans and that Swami liked his Laali songs very much. This instilled him to greater dedication. I have witnessed many miracles happening while he sings the Bhajans. Yes, it was in the residence of a devotee at Anna Nagar, Madras, while he was singing that Vibhuthi started to flow from various pictures profusely. There were small pieces of sugar candy too. At the end of the Bhajans a Siva Lingam had also appeared in the flowers offered at the Lotus Feet. The monthly Bhajans used to be a big occasion in our house. No doubt, Mr. Balakrishnan and his team would always be present. On one such occasion, apparently he turned emotional while singing the 'Laali' in our house. The 'Laali' that day was very elaborate, rendered in different ragas. We were thrilled to witness the bunch of flowers kept at the top of a picture of Bhagavan, rising up and down keeping in tune and pace with the tala. As soon as the song was over the flower would rest at its place. Everyone who participated in the Bhajan, witnessed this great miracle. According to various saints and seers, in this Kali yuga, Naama sankeertan(Bhajans) is the best and smooth method of attaining salvation. Singing the names and glory of the Lord, with devotion, dedication and discipline purifies the mind of the devotee. How soulfully Swami renders the Bhajan, "Bhajana bina sukha shanthi nahin ". 'There is no peace or Sukh i.e., real happiness in life, without 'Nama sankeertan'. With the Lord's names constantly on the lips one is bound to reach nearer and nearer to HIM. The very process of getting proximity to Him is a process of imbibing all the divine qualities.
Bhajans mechanically and routinely rendered, do not reach Bhagavan. It is Bhajan with the bhava or devotion which carries us to our Swami. "If we switch on the rape recorder it will start singing. Has it any devotion value
?" asks Swami. When we sing the name of the Lord our mind should dwell only on the thoughts of the Lord. Bhava should be developed along with raga and thala. It is only then we are in real sense involved in Bhajan. We will be able to derive unalloyed joy, overcoming the opposing dual experiences like pain and pleasure. The sole purpose of devotion is to pray (1) for the Lord to be ever in the abode of our heart, (Hrudaya Nivasi) and (2) for leading us to contemplate on the Lord in all states of our existence. Basically, all of us are supremely good. And yet, we find ourselves whirling in the ocean of samsaara with the dual experiences of happiness and sorrow. All our knowledge and wisdom would be mere dry bones without the elevating grip of Bhakthi. Nama Smarana is the easiest and best expression of Bhakthi. It is the Bhakthi through Bhajans which rescue us from the travails of the life and take us in close proximity to the Lord. What a transformation do Bhajans bring about bodily, mentally and spiritually! "Prashanthi Bhajans" are indeed unique in this respect and have come to be renowned as such viz., Prashanthi Bhajans. A true Prashanthi style Bhajan has come to represent certain excellence of discipline, devotion, and dedication. More than the mere leading and repeating of the Bhajans, the orderly seating and sitting of Gents & Ladies separately in rows, one behind the other with eyes closed, hands clapping, with tongues & lips engaged on following the Bhajans and with minds concentrated on the Lord is something quite unique. This results in "Ananda" , a spiritual elevation. No wonder, Prashanthi Bhajans are not only an introduction to the spiritual upliftment but it helps in the spiritual realization itself. Prashanthi style Bhajans have indeed been Swami's most prized gift to humanity. Swami's Bhajan are a beautiful and effective means of developing discipline, peace, and love. The Bhajans, so subtly and continuously influence the attitudes, behavior and lives of the participant, that it results not only in bringing about a spiritual transformation of men and women but surely leads to the realization of supreme experience. As we develop supreme devotion through Bhajans, very often we go into a state of contemplation too, and our lives are enriched constantly. The palms of our hands are reverently brought together in prayer for His Grace and Protection. Our heads are bent in humble contemplation. Our bodies are thrilled by the fervor of devotion at times indicated by the hair standing on end. Our voice is choked with feelings of deep devotion and our eyes well up with tears of Joy. The constant repetition of "names" of the Lord create vibrations all over. We do not require any "Jnana" knowledge or wisdom. Only sincere devotion will lead you to the highest level of spirituality. We should always get engaged in chanting the names of the Lord. The holy names acquire power when repeated with utmost devotion. The holy name will cut off everything hostile in our way. We should develop a total faith in the name of Lord. It will rescue us from Samsaara. It helps us in the attainment of complete freedom and mastery. Ultimately, the constant chanting of sacred names of Lord enable us to reach the fruition of our life. Swami says that there are two types of Bhajans. One is the group singing which is time bound. The other Bhajan which Swami wants us to follow is the life long Bhajan, rendered in quietude and silence throughout our existence. I reproduce below extracts from Swami's Divine Discourse at the conclusion of the Sivrathri Bhajans on 24-2-1971. â€œThroughout last night, you have sung Bhajans and kept vigil as part of the Sivarathri Celebrations. This Aarathi marks the end of that Bhajan sessions; but, only of the outer, congregational, vocal part, and not of the inner solitary silent Bhajan that must be the very breath of your existence. Bhajan is one of the processes by which you can train the mind to expand into eternal values. Teach the mind to revel in the glory and majesty of God; wean it away from petty horizons of pleasure. That is all that Bhajan or Puja or Vratha can do. Bhajan induces in you a desire for experiencing the truth, to glimpse the beauty that God is; taste the Bliss that is the Self; it encourages man to dive into himself and be genuinely his real self. Once that search is desired, the path is easy. One has only to be reminded that he is divine, for malady is: its being thrust our of recognition. Exercises like Bhajan elevate the mind and exhort the individual to seek and find the source of eternal joy that lies within him.â€?
“The Maha-sivarathri Festival is over; but, the message of the Day is yet to fructify in your behavior, conduct, thinking and activity. Do not rest content with a nightlong Bhajan, make it a Life- long Bhajan of adoration and pilgrimage to the Lord within.” We should understand the significance of Swami's sermons. As we are breathing continuously, likewise, we should be always breath in Nama Smarana. When Bhagavan Baba was in His early teens, He used to compose and sing various Bhajan songs. One such song goes as under: Govindhedhi Sadha Snanam, Govindhedhi Sadha Japam, Govindhedhi Sadha Dhyanam, Sadha Govinda Keertanam The meaning thereby: Always say Govinda while taking bath. Always do japa saying Govinda. Always meditate on the Name Govinda. Always engage in singing the Name of Govinda. In the initial paragraphs of this chapter, I had made reference to Sai Premi, Sri. R. Balakrishnan. We used to sit together very often and talk about the efficacy of Nama Sankeertan. He had given me valuable points on the Prashanthi Bhajans, some of which I wish to share with you and I am reproducing them below. He quotes:
"Nama Sankeertanam Yasya Sarva papa Pranayanam Pranamo Dhuhka Samanaastham Namaami Harim Param " The meaning: "By chanting whose name, all the sins committed by anybody are eradicated, I bow to that HARI, the destroyer of all sorrows". Sai Bhajans are so simple and easy for everybody to repeat. It is not a passive Bhajan. This is an active Bhajan where everybody including children can participate. During the first All India Conference of Sai Seva Organization held in Madras, Swami had emphasized the importance of Nama Sankirtan. From then on the Sai Bhajans have become very popular. After some years, Swami gave a new direction to His devotees. It was during the First World Conference held in Bombay, that Bhagavan directed the devotees, to wake up early in the morning, and as group, to move along the roads near their place of residence, singing aloud the names and glory of the Lord. Swami named this programme as "Nagar Sankeertan ". Ultimately, this programme was made compulsory for all the active workers of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization, all over the country and overseas too and included as one of the Nine point Code of conduct to be observed by the active workers. Swami had also given detailed guidelines of this activity.
A few centuries ago, Maha Prabhu Sri Krishna Chaithanya took the Bhajans to the streets. Singing the Lord's Names aloud and dancing through the streets in ecstasy. Maha Prabhu infused highest level of devotion through Nama Sankeertan. Bhagavan Baba had perhaps revived this cult of devotion through Nagar Sankeertan. Fittingly, during the First world conference, the stage from where Bhagavan directed His devotees to organize Nagar Sankeertan, two huge Portraits of Saint Thyagaraja, and Maha Prabhu Sri Krishna Chaithanya formed the back drop. Bhagavan always commences His Divine discourses, through an Aalaap, conveying a spirutual message, and ends up with singing of one or more Bhajans. Swami sings in his Divine voice, and the capacity crowds sometimes in millions take up the lead from Swami and repeat. It is always a sight to see, the vast humanity of devotees following the Lord. Every devotee sings with delight and ecstasy. Singing the Names, in full throated voice brings Ananda to all the devotees. Swami has given assurance that, “Wherever My Name is sung, I manifest myself” Come my dear Devotees, let
us from now on, attend Sai Bhajans with deep devotion, for Bhajan is seeing God through sound i.e., realizing the Naada Brahma.
SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA NIVASI (INDWELLER OF HEARTS) CHAPTER 30 TELEGRAPHIC PRAYER My eldest son, Sri. S. Venkatesh, was studying in the final of the matriculation in Bombay and was also attending the Bala Vikas senior course. There was a Bhajan competition amongst the Bal Vikas students to coincide with the Divine visit to Bombay that year. He was declared the winner of the competition and won the first prize. Bhagawan Himself at Dharmakshethra gave a cover containing some money to my son. Baba advised him that the money should not be spent for seeing cinemas or for anything else. He suggested he could purchase nice clothes and stitch his dress out of this money. By the very next academic year he got admission in the pre-degree course in the Swami's college in Whitefield campus. He was one of the lead singers in the college. He continued to study there till the end of his graduation in B.Sc. He was somehow reluctant to pursue his post-graduation at Prashanthi Nilayam. He did not like the idea of studying at Parthi campus. He was earnestly trying to secure admission in some other universities. He had even written an entrance test in Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. My wife and myself felt very sad but allowed him to decide his future by himself. We helped him in all his endeavors. In the meanwhile, the summer vacation in Sri Sathya Sai Colleges was nearing the end and the colleges were to reopen within a couple of days. One day I had just returned home from the factory late in the evening, my son approached me and asked me whether I had visited "Sundaramâ€? and had the Darshan of Swami. I was wonder stuck by this question. There was no programme of Swami's visit to Madras at that time. I enquired what he was talking about. He told me that Swami had come to Madras all of a sudden and that Swami was staying in Sundaram. He also informed that Baba may leave Madras early next morning. My son gave me a surprise. He announced that he was proceeding to Parthi the next day and join the college, for his M.Sc. course. I enquired what was the reason for this sudden change of mind. He replied that it was because of Swami. He explained the situation further. Though he was not a regular visitor to SUNDARAM, on that particular day, he went there with an old college mate who wanted to see SUNDARAM. He understood from the small crowd gathered there that Swami was inside and was likely to come out anytime now. He was standing by 'Shantivedika' near the gate. Very soon, Swami emerged from 'Sundaram" walked straight to my son and talked to him. Swami asked him, when he was proceeding to Parthi to join the college. There was nothing more to think about the matter, since Swami had Himself asked. He replied "Swami I am going tomorrow". A reluctant boy was made to fall in line by Swami through the unexpected Divine visit and the face to face talk with Him. Now the readers might be wondering how was it that Swami was in Madras unannounced and without any real programme. Here is the story of Divine mercy which we all happened to witness. Maj. Gen. S.P. Mahadevan was then the State President of Tamil Nadu. He was a retired senior Army officer. One day while he was in Hyderabad, he collapsed after a severe cardiac arrest. His wife who was near him, called out to Swami. Swami had heard the distress call and instantly resurrected Maj. General. After some days, Swami wrote a letter to Maj. Gen. Mahadevan, a letter written by His own Divine Hands saying that Swami had saved him and he need not worry. He had also written that "Why fear when I am near". For the sake of his devotee, Swami had changed the word from 'here' to 'near'. Swami had also sent him a basketful of fruits. After convalescing for about a couple of months at Hyderabad our State President had returned back to Madras. On that particular day Maj. Gen. Mahadevan was sitting on the verandah of his house, reading some news papers. His wife was talking with the neighbor lady across the compound wall. Suddenly Swami's car stopped in
front of their house. Swami got out of the vehicle and called out to Major General who tried to run down to the gate that was locked. Swami cautioned him not to rush and waited till his wife rushed to the gate after coming to know of Swami's unexpected arrival and opened the gate. Swami, in His Divine mercy had come all the way to Madras to personally bless the devotee whom He had saved recently. This unexpected Divine visit, solved the problem of my son's continued study in Swami's college on which he was not so keen. My son had ultimately completed his post graduation from Swami's university and has since settled down in Madras running his own business. My dear Readers from various previous chapters, all of you would have by now, become aware of Swami's Grace on this boy right from his birth and at every stage of his education, the performance of his sacred thread ceremony and then his marriage. We call our son by the pet name 'Kanna'. By the Grace of Swami his business was flourishing and he had purchased a flat of his own. The couple had plans to go together to the USA for further studies. But some events or other had been cropping up which had not made it possible so far. An update please! (The latest information is that my son is now settled in U.S.A. with his wife and two little children). Now to continue with the story: In the meanwhile, his wife Sow. Vijaya conceived and was expecting a baby. She was subjected to regular monthly medical check up and was looked after by my son very tenderly. In our custom, there is a function called "SEEMANTHAM" celebrated during the 6th - 8th month of pregnancy. This is essentially a religious function, followed by Valai Kappu for the girl; all the lady friends and relative will adore the girl with lots of colorful bangles and other decorations. The essence of seemantham is to welcome a noble and pious soul in the pregnancy and also prayers to the Lord for the safe delivery of an intelligent offspring without any deformity. After the celebrations, her parents took the girl to their home according to customs, to be taken care of till the delivery was over. The date expected by the doctors for delivery had come and gone. And yet there were no symptoms of any labor pains. One day by late evening, our in-laws came to our house with Vijaya. They looked greatly anxious and concerned. They told us that, after waiting for several days, they had taken the daughter to a specialist doctor. A complete check up and scanning was also done. To their surprise, the doctors found that the size of the baby was quite large, and they estimated the weight to be somewhere around 13 pounds, almost double the weight of a normal child in advanced pregnancy. The doctors had some reservation about the safety of the mother in the normal delivery and suggested immediate operation to take out the child. The parents had come to us, directly from the doctor, as they wanted to consult us before any action was taken. Patiently I heard their reports and requested them to be cool and not to worry. They could do anything they wanted. But I suggested and requested that one more day be given to our Swami, Sri Sai Baba and after that they could take their own decision. It was late in the night and yet I proceeded to the telegraph office with my son and sent an express telegram to Swami. I tried to explain the situation in a nutshell and prayed that Swami should take control of the situation. The second day after this prayer was made, our in-laws decided in favour of cesarean operation and a baby boy of normal health was born. There was surprise for the doctors and the parents as the child was of normal weight, about 6+pounds, where as the scanning projected double the weight. Whatever others would have thought, I firmly believed that Swami by His merciful Grace had intervened to bring down the weight of the child to normal. The boy was born on an auspicious day having the birth star of SWATHI. The scholars had analyzed the horoscope of the child and opined that the timing was very appropriate and beneficial for the child. This child is now about 5 year old. They have got another male child too during last year. An important coincidence is that this child was also born on the birth star of SWATHI ! (Another update: The children are now aged 9 years and 5 years respectively.)
We firmly believe that our own elder son is a gift from Swami. He looks after him and all that happens to him is only Sai's Grace. He guides, protects and looks after the entire family and we are only His dear Children. We are striving our best to live the life as shown by HIM and to retain His Grace all along our journey, till He wills us to be in the earth. We do not wish to have another birth and if at all we have to be born again, it is our earnest prayers that we should then live again during the period of Prema Sai and be with HIM and serve HIM to the best of our ability.
OM JAI SAI RAM My Brother Late Sri Sanakra Mani (alias V.S. Mani) had left behind a small piece of paper wherein he had inscribed the following matter. Since his feelings almost echoes the advice of our beloved Sai, I thought I should give it a place in this Book. which had been dedicated to His memory. Srinivasan THE KNOWLEDGE According to Brahma -Samhita, there are two ways of acquiring Knowledge - the ascending process and the descending process. By the ascending process, one is elevated by knowledge, acquired by himself. In this way one thinks, "I do not care for any authority or authorities or books. I will attain Knowledge by meditation, philosophy etc.,. In this way I will understand God". The other process, the descending process involves receiving Knowledge from higher authorities. Brahma Samhita states that if one takes to the ascending process and travels at the speed of Mind, and wind for millions of years, he will still end up 'not knowingâ€™! For him the subject matter will remain elusive and inconceivable. But this subject matter is also given in Bhagawad Gita : Krishna says to meditate on Him without deviation from the path of devotional service, in submission. For one who worships ME, (in total surrender) in this way, --'Tasyaham sulabha" "I become easily available". If one works for Bhagavan 24 hours a day, Swami cannot forget him. By becoming submissive he will certainly attract the attention of God ! Sankara (Mani) TAKING LEAVE FOR TIME BEING: Dear Readers, Om Sri Sai Ram At this stage, I take leave of you. I had made my prayers in the beginning pages. I had also made my submissions to our dear Lord in the concluding chapter. 'I do not know what is in store for me during the remaining period of my life in this birth. He is the Director and I am only trying to play my part to the best of my ability, as directed by Him. I am well aware of the rigid disciplines and deep-rooted devotion, which He expects from us. I shall pray to Him to forgive me, if at any time by mistake I deviate from His expectations. He is Karuna Murthi and l am sure He will guide me though the right path as chosen by Him. Somewhere, later in final stages of my life, I may get a chance to share with you some more of my experiences of His Divine Mercy that may unfold . Or, by any chance, if the call comes and He takes me unto Him, then this should be my Goodbye to all my dear readers. Om Sri Sai Ram Mumbai Srinivasan