Intuitively, I felt that somebody had robbed me of something very very precious. A close inspection of my cupboard bore no fruit. My books, my clothes, my money, my tape-recorder - everything was intact. I opened my box and rummaged the contents like a customs official, but it was of no avail. Again I found everything in order.
After many such unsuccessful attempts all over the room, I slumped on my chair, quite anxious. As soon as I sat, out from the blue came the answer, “I have lost my heart.” This is what happens to all those who come to see our Divine Lord Sai. We lose our heart to the one who is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. We lose it to the one who gave it to us, the one to whom we can lose anything and everything.
Later I understood that this had been just the beginning, not the end! This happened after I had joined the Sri Sathya Sai College. In 1979, the Sri Sathya Sai College was started and it was granted the status of a Deemed University with its name changed into Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning in 1982. Swami made me realize how He spontaneously responded to sincere prayers.
It is a well understood fact that all of us who come here to Prasanthi Nilayam expect the Loving Lord to speak to us at least a few words and I was no exception to this. One evening, all of us, boys were seated in the otherwise empty Poorna Chandra Hall, awaiting Swami’s arrival. Wearing the shirts (cotton shirts with extra pockets on the sleeves and similar other embellishments) sent to us by Bhagavan Himself, we were expectantly waiting for the Lord.
I do not know what the others were doing, but I know that for the first time I was praying intensely for Swami to come and speak to me. Swami who was inside the Green Room of the Poorna Chandra Auditorium was busily directing a drama for the Dasara festival. He came out to see us wearing the new shirts. As soon as we realized that Swami had come, we went running and stood in a semi-circular ring near the dais.
As Swami came in, He started talking to the boys and slowly and elegantly moved toward us. As the distance between Swami and me decreased, the intensity of my prayer increased. He came and stood majestically in front of me and spoke to a boy next to me, on my right and also to a boy on my left. Now it was my chance, and by this time I was quite sure that Swami was going to talk to me. Confidently, with a big grin from ear-to-ear, I looked to him. But to my surprise, and amazement, Swami nonchalantly turned and walked away. I was shattered, depressed, discontented, fatigued and sad, and with all the sadness that I could muster, I cried to the Lord, for having disappointed me. I cursed myself for not praying properly. I told myself that I was a sinner, an impure fellow and that was the reason that He did not speak to me.
That was all. Perhaps Swami felt that I had learnt my lesson. He suddenly turned and came straight to me and holding my shirt, He said, “Ah, what a shirt! With so many pockets! Good to wear it.” I was startled for I never expected this. I did not know where I was. I was sweating and shivering in awe and bewilderment.
Anybody in my place would have been in the same position, after such a shock. There was a sudden break in my thinking. My emotional turmoil came to an end abruptly. After sometime I walked back slowly to the hostel with tears rolling down my cheeks. Later on retrospect, I understood how Swami had made me enjoy the whole experience by keeping everything in suspense and by indicating clearly that He had spoken to me, because I had prayed for it. Another telling point to be understood here is that Swami had moved nearly 20 feet away from me and was about to go back from the auditorium but he came back and spoke to me two seemingly unimportant sentences. No human would walk back to talk something so unimportant.
This incident was followed by a few more in the years to come and they have made such an indelible imprint on my mind that never will I forget them in my life. Every such experience has made me realize how close He is to all of us. Watching every thought of ours, every breath, whether we are in the hostel or in the Mandir, whether we are in the hills or deltas, whether we are in Madras or Bombay, whether in the Earth or on the moon helping us, coaxing us, comforting us, guiding us and guarding us.
Alumnus, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus