|Sri Sathya Sai celebrating Deepavali in the Prasanthi Nilayam Mandir|
It was in the year 2010 that Swami out of His immense love and grace granted me an opportunity to be His student when I joined in my XI standard in Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School. From the very beginning I used to pray to Swami to grant me an opportunity to talk to Him. This was my constant prayer during every night prayer session.
As it was the year of Bhagavan’s 85th birthday, every day was very special with new surprises. Soon came the most awaited month, November. That year Swami celebrated Deepavali with His students. The 4th of November was my father’s birthday. As my father was present at Puttaparthi itself, I requested my classmate in charge of Aarti to give me a chance on that day. Swami looked physically dull that particular year and He had reduced His conversations with students. I prayed hard and after giving Aarti, I approached Swami.
As soon as I approached Swami, He looked straight into my eyes and before I could even open my mouth, Swami asked me something. I could not hear anything and Swami repeated it twice. I still could not make out what Swami was telling me. The boy attending on Swami came to my rescue and prompted me that Swami was asking me, “Which place?” I replied “Swami, Hyderabad”. I told Swami that it was my father’s birthday and asked Swami to bless him.
Then Swami gave me the opportunity to do Padanamaskar and later, while leaving the dais, took the letter from my hand and waited near me for a while and went through the entire letter. I was totally blank and could not utter a word at that particular moment when I was face-to-face with God. Swami moved ahead and I bent down to do Padanamaskar. It was only during the prayer time in the night that I realised that Swami granted my long awaited wish of talking to Him.
I would like to narrate my father’s experience at this point of time. It was in the year 1965 that Swami visited Hyderabad and stayed at the residence of late Sri Boorgula Rama Krishna Rao, the then Governor of Uttar Pradesh. My father got a polio attack at a very young age and could even not sit straight. Someone suggested my grandfather to go and have Bhagavan’s Darshan. With lots of hope in his heart, he carried the ten year old boy there. But during Darshan, Swami walked past my grandfather without even looking at him.
All his hopes were shattered and he felt that Bhagavan would give opportunities only to the rich. As soon as this thought struck him, Swami turned back immediately, and walked straight towards my grandparents, who had the child with them. With all love and compassion Swami gave them Laddu Prasadam, blessed my father and then moved on. Gradually, my father could get the strength to sit, stand and walk normally. From then on till date Swami has been the source of strength to him, protecting him all the time.
This incident strengthened my grandfather’s faith in Swami and drew Him towards Swami. He was till then a staunch devotee of Lord Rama and did not worship any other deity. It was again during one of Swami’s visits to Shivam (Swami’s Mandir in Hyderabad) in late 70’s that he had Swami’s Darshan. Being a Telugu poet he took some of his works to be blessed by Swami but he never had the opportunity to have a close Darshan. He then wanted to test Swami one particular day and thought that if Swami was really God then He would come to him and bless his works. Swami, the Omniscient One, compassionately came all the way crossing the crowds to my grandfather to grant his wish which was merely a thought. This strengthened the faith of my grandfather who was speechless. This incident confirmed to him that Swami was God in human form.
Swami then gradually started drawing the entire family to Him. During the time of my aunt’s marriage, Swami summoned my grandfather to talk about the marriage alliance. My grandfather waited for fifteen days and Swami did not look at him even once. He felt that he had done some mistake and hence Swami was not talking to him. So he decided to do 108 Pradakshinas (circumambulations) around the idol of Shiva, installed in Bhagavan’s place of birth.
The next day he got high fever which no one knew about. Swami gave him an interview that day and in the interview acknowledged his efforts and said that it was sufficient if he thought of Swami and that he should not have strained himself at that age. Swami once again revealed His Divinity in this way. The entire marriage episode was filled with Divine interventions. Swami even told him that there is a Ganesha temple near our house and asked him to perform the marriage there.
This way Swami has been the guiding light for my entire family. In 1985, my grandfather decided to admit his son, Ravi Teja, in Swami’s College. Swami graciously blessed him often, revealing His Divinity through small instances. My uncle, being an athlete, participated in the Annual Sports and Games. The long jump event was conducted all of a sudden and the participants were asked to get ready. He was very much interested in the long jump. My uncle did not do his regular warm ups and directly attempted a long jump.
He landed in a wrong way which eventually led to a ligament tear. He was to stay in the Hostel itself and was asked not to go anywhere. He was dejected as he would miss Bhagavan’s Darshan. He covered himself with a blanket, cried and prayed to Swami. At that point he sensed a pat. He thought it was merely a dream. Lo and behold! There was Swami Himself who opened the blanket telling him, “It is not a dream, it is real”. Swami created Vibhuti and applied it on his forehead giving him an assurance that he would recover soon. A small and sincere prayer resulted in the Lord Himself coming to him while thousands of devotees were yearning for His Darshan in the Mandir at that point of time. It is a testimony to Swami’s abundant Love and Grace.
During my uncle’s stay at Puttaparthi as a student, it so happened that all his brothers and sisters were at home to celebrate Deepavali with my grandparents. The only one missing was my uncle who was at Prasanthi Nilayam. My grandmother felt very bad and prayed at the altar in front of Swami’s photo and wished her missing son also would spend some time with them. That very evening, Swami summoned my uncle and asked him to leave for Hyderabad immediately. He gave him money and asked him to return the next day. My uncle was amazed at this. He obeyed Swami and started his way home as per Swami’s instructions. My grandmother was shocked to see Ravi Teja when he arrived there on the next day. She came to know from him that Swami had heard her prayers and fulfilled her wish. She shed tears of joy and thanked Swami who is the very Embodiment of Compassion, for showering infinite love and blessings. Swami’s relationship with all of us is the ultimate relationship. We as His dearest children have to realise the true value of this Premabandham, the unique bond of love between Bhagavan and us.
- Sai Pragnan
Student (2012-2015), Department of Economics
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus