To be in the fold of Swami is one of the greatest and rarest opportunities, which for unknown reasons, Swami has granted to me for almost a decade. Swami has always filled my life with a lot of sweetness and joy by blessing me with small experiences which testify to His omnipotence and immense care for me. In this article I would like to pen some of the blessings Swami has showered on me and share the Love I experienced with others.
I was in class IX when our family first came under the fold of Bhagavan through the Sathya Sai Seva Samiti at our place. My mother always had more affinity towards Mother Durga and my father, towards Krishna. Time and again Swami has shown that He is indeed both. The first time when Vibhuti manifested in our house, it was from Lord Krishna’s photograph. From that time till today, many a time Vibhuti, Kumkum or honey comes from many a photograph of Swami in our home. Once, 'Nagar Sankeertan' was to start from my home and my sister was chanting Suprabhatam. My mother at that time very vividly saw Mother Durga walking in all her elegance, beauty and splendour on the other side of the hall and She came and sat on Swami’s chair. My mother could even hear the sound of her anklets very clearly.
Once, during summer, my mother had come home from Puttaparthi and then the next afternoon she had decided to go for shopping. Due to the terrible heat, she got a sun stroke. She was bedridden for three days. But she didn’t accept any medical attention with the complete faith that Swami would take care of her. On the third day, she had a dream, where a small girl was dancing on television. In the dream my brother was teasing the small girl by making different kinds of faces at the girl, and the girl was teasing back similarly. My mother immediately warned my brother that the girl was none other than Mother Durga Herself, for how can a girl in the television respond back. Then, even as she looked, the small girl jumped out of the television, came to my mother and said I know you are having high fever and you are not having any medicine. The girl said, “Take some dust from my feet and apply it on your forehead." My mother did as she was told. She woke up immediately and when she touched her forehead, she felt Vibhuti smeared all over. And the temperature which had not reduced for the last three days, disappeared completely and she was fine once again.
My father and mother used to go for Nagar Sankeertan in our locality, everyday. It was in the NTPC colony where the day’s Nagar Sankeertan was to take place. On that day amongst the ladies, only my mother was able to make it in time for the Nagar Sankeertan. Even the hosts, from whose house the Sankeertan started, were not able to make it because of their child’s ill health. As was the norm, the ladies went in front, followed by the gents. That day my mother led the Nagar Sankeertan alone. Now the interesting thing about this colony is that, all houses looked similar and had lots of confusing lanes connecting them. Anybody who was not very well acquainted with the place would have a hard time finding his way. My mother was new to the place and had the burden of leading the entire group through the terribly confusing lanes. Some of the gents in the group behind realized her predicament and started trying to help by shouting out the directions. But to my mother’s luck, she couldn’t understand much of what they were saying because my mother is not very fluent in the English language, and they were giving the directions in English. My mother found herself in a multitude of problems! Neither did she know the way nor could she understand the directions people were giving, nor could she sing and enjoy the Bhajans being sung. Finally, in sheer desperation she started cursing Swami within her mind. “If right now you don’t do something, I will leave the Nagar Sankeertan group and sit down right here in the middle of the road and go back home once the Nagar Sankeertan is over!" All of a sudden, she saw before her, Swami in His orange robe, His beautiful crown of hair, walking in front of her and leading the way. She didn’t bother to listen to the directions those men were screaming out from behind anymore. She just followed Swami immersed in singing His glory. She knew not where she walked or what route she took. Swami walked on through the winding lanes and by-lanes and soon stopped in front of a house. To her pleasant surprise, it was the same house from where they had set out and apparently she had led the entire group back safely! Swami helped my mother in an embarrassing situation so beautifully.
When my father had come for Seva for the first time in Prashanti Nilayam, he saw a very attractive life-size photo of Swami, bought it, got it blessed from Swami and brought it home. My father had thought that he would get a kind of a low bench made, where he would place Swami’s laminated photograph so that it would appear that Swami was a part of the family sitting together. But by the time the photograph came after lamination, no such arrangement could be made, so Swami’s photo was hung on the wall with strings. That night, my mother dreamt that mother Durga was hanging on the wall in the same place and was shouting at my mother that her hands and legs were aching being tied with a string. She asked my mother to get her down. My mother replied that our house was very small and therefore there wasn't enough space to place her. My mother asked the Divine Mother to kindly stay up on the wall only! And then the Goddess replied back very sweetly, “Give me a little place, just enough to keep my two feet." Immediately, my mother got up, woke up my father and got down the photograph. The very next day the kind of seat that my father wanted for Swami, arrived most unexpectedly from one of my father’s friend, who lived twenty five kms. away from our house.
Honey, 'Kumkum' and 'Vibhuti' manifested from that photo occasionally till date. Very recently, my uncle with his little son had come to our house. They were not very ardent followers of Swami. In the evening, when my mother was conducting the family prayer, the little boy was sitting beside her. All of a sudden, he started looking very intently in the direction of the altar. At the end of Bhajan session, he asked my mother, “Did you see? Did you see?" My mother asked him, “What?" Then he said, “Your Baba came out of that photo (the same photo mentioned earlier) and sat outside and kept on looking at us intently with a gentle smile."
Initially, almost every day, honey used to trickle down this photograph and then dry up. My father used to ask my mother to wipe it off with a wet cloth, against her wishes, since flies would start gathering around it. One night, in her dream she saw that Swami was sitting on His chair and was shivering. My mother covered Swami with a blanket and asked, “What happened Swami? Why are you shivering?" To that Swami replied, “What to do? Everyday you are giving me bath! I feel so cold. Tomorrow, don’t give me bath!" And on the next day, in one of the small laminated photo of Swami, nine thick streaks of honey flowed. This time my mother was wise enough not to wipe the honey. The streaks left behind by the honey are still seen on the photograph even today!
We have another big photograph of Swami, which has a plastic lamination over it. Once the plastic covering had worn off quite a bit, and therefore my mother plucked off the whole thing. Suddenly my mother felt that Swami was furious with her for that, and felt that the photograph was responding accordingly. She got so scared that she ran away from the room and told my sister that Swami was wild with her and was staring at her sternly. My sister suggested, “Why don’t you go and tell Swami that you will get the photo laminated neatly once again." My mother did as was told and immediately lots of Vibhuti manifested from Swami’s forehead. She was satisfied that Swami’s anger had subsided.
|Sri Sathya Sai during the Summer Course at Brindavan|
After my class XII, I applied in Swami’s Institute for the B.Sc. course. I had come alone for the first time to Puttaparthi to write the examination. I got through the written exam and performed well in the interview as well. I was very sure I would get a seat. I called my neighbour, since at that time we did not have a phone at home, and told him that I had got admission into Swami’s Institute. I asked him to convey to my father that he should come here to Puttaparthi immediately to help me make arrangements for the Summer Course about to start soon. News spread and in all the excitement some of the devotees who used to come home for Bhajans, decided to confirm once again with the results put up on the website of the University. To their utter shock, they could not find my name anywhere on the list of selected candidates. A lot of confusion followed. My father was very upset because he felt that I had lied to cover up for my failure to get a seat in the college. In a fit of rage, he gave my mother a piece of his mind. But my mother was very sure that there must have been some mistake. She had full faith that I would get through the entrance tests. Yet, she was very scared as I had not come back home and there was no news from me after that call. In that very disturbed mood, she sat to do her daily prayer in the evening. As she was singing Bhajans in front of the huge picture of Swami, three big streaks of honey flowed down the length of the photo. My mother had received her confirmation that I had certainly got the seat!
In my first year of joining the University, there was a Summer Course held in the Brindavan campus at Banglore. At that time, I used to get a place in the first line almost everyday during Darshan. I would smile at Swami as if He were one of my friends. During that period, everyday we had to get up at four o’clock in the morning. I was accustomed to get up at seven o’clock in the morning at home, and therefore I found it very difficult to wake so early. One morning, as I got up I had a little pain in my legs. I considered it a good reason to sleep for a little longer that day. I told my room leaders about the pain and that I would like to take rest. The room leaders were very kind and got breakfast for me in the room. I slept till late and missed that day’s morning Darshan and morning class. Truly speaking, I didn’t even feel bad as I didn’t know the importance of Darshan, and how much importance Swami Himself gives for Darshan. That evening, my father had come to Brindavan and handed over many letters to be given to Swami. As a first year boy, I thought innocently that since it was my father’s letter, Swami would come running and accept the letter. But somehow, from that day I stopped getting a place in the first line. Even if I got the first line, Swami would not come that way on that day. To me it looked very unusual that time, because till then I had always got the first line. I was very upset and I asked one of the teachers to try and give my letters to Swami, as Swami wouldn’t come my way! The teacher only advised me to pray hard. That evening, I got the second line in the Darshan hall and Swami was coming in my direction. I showed my bundle of letters to Swami. Swami accepted my letters and asked me in English, “How is your leg?" I didn’t understand what Swami said and asked back, “What Baba?” And Swami repeated, “Leg! Leg!" I thought Swami was asking me to take Padnamaskar, which I took immediately. But after Swami left, the students around me told me what Swami had really asked. I recollected the entire drama I had enacted just to sleep a little longer, not realizing the value of a lost Darshan. Even if we don’t understand the importance of every Darshan, Swami knows what a rare opportunity it is for us to have His Darshan.
After my first year Under Graduation, I was getting ready to go home. I had thought that I would keep one of the photos of Swami in my pocket. But later I realized that I had locked all the photos of Swami in a suitcase. After searching a lot, I did find one photograph of Swami which was faded. I did not like the photo much until that day. But on that day I observed it was a very beautiful photo indeed where Swami was holding letters in one hand and had rolled His lips like a small kid. I suddenly seemed to like the photograph so much, that on my way back on train, I took out the photo from my pocket many a time to look at Swami’s beautiful expression. When I went home, I showed that photo to my mother. Immediately, my mother pointed out that droplets of honey were there on the pocket photo. I was extremely happy about it!
Swami has thus constantly shown His Divine presence in our lives. Whenever we are faced with any difficulty we only had to think of Him and He was instantly there by our side with a solution. He is the unfailing friend in all our troubles; the unseen guest at every meal; the ultimate guide and guru in our journey of life!
- Govind Pratap Singh
Student (2000-07), Department of Chemistry
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus
Currently, Researcher, Department of Chemistry, University of Canterbury Christchurch, New Zealand