Sri Sathya Sai: The Sadguru – By Dr. N. Sivakumar

Dr. Sivakumar receiving his MBA Gold Medal from Sri Sathya Sai - SSSIHL Convocation, November 22, 1989
Guru Poornima is celebrated in veneration of the Divine Guru, Sadguru Bhagavan has explained that Guru is the person who dispels darkness of ignorance. The best way to dispel darkness is to first realise that one is living in darkness. Similarly, the most potent technique used by Bhagavan to dispel the darkness of ignorance is to make people realise their ignorance. 

Karuppan was the car driver of a wealthy merchant in Udumalpet in Tamil Nadu. He had no belief in the existence of God. His life had always been full of troubles, which made him an atheist. Fortunately his master was an ardent devotee of Bhagavan, and Bhagavan used to visit their home in Udumalpet frequently in the 1960s. Once Bhagavan wanted to go to another place called Karur near Udumalpet. The wealthy merchant was happy to take Bhagavan in his own car. Karuppan drove the car, carrying Bhagavan, the devotee and a few others to Karur. He was continually thinking meanly about Bhagavan in his mind. He felt that he would be able to prove Bhagavan a cheat, who was trying to exploit the gullible masses. On the way Bhagavan made the car stop for having some refreshments. All got down and followed Bhagavan to a place on the side of the road below a tree to have their refreshments. Karuppan stayed back near the car and started smoking. After a while Bhagavan came near him and asked him whether he would have a vada. Karuppan ignored Bhagavan and kept smoking. Bhagavan persisted and again asked the question. Karuppan got irritated and angrily told Bhagavan to leave him alone. Bhagavan then asked, “Karuppan, are you afraid of the vada? Have you been always afraid of vadas since your childhood, when, to get a vada from a plate near the stove, you tilted the pan containing boiling oil, which fell on your hand, leaving a deep scar?” Bhagavan further went near Karuppan and pulled up the sleeve on his shirt and under that could be seen the huge scar. Karuppan was aghast. No one had known this incident of his life. It dawned on Karuppan that he was standing in front of the all-knowing power. The ignorance of atheism left him immediately. He fell at the feet of Bhagavan and begged for pardon. He became an ardent devotee of Bhagavan and became involved in serving the society. His life turned towards God and he found happiness. 

Sri Sathya Sai at the Guindy
Shirdi Sai Temple, Chennai
Bhagavan had given permission in the 1950s to construct a temple for Shirdi Baba in Guindy, Madras. This temple was later to be renovated and the Kumbhabhishekam function was to be celebrated on a grand scale. Bhagavan had agreed to bless the occasion. The organiser of the function went to a prominent government official and requested him to grace the occasion. The official agreed but on one condition. He told the organiser, “I am a devout Bhakta of Lord Subramanya I will not bow to any other God or Sanyasi. So, when your Baba comes the function you should not expect me to bow to him.” Steeped in ignorance, He considered Lord Surbramanya alone as God. The organiser anyway agreed to the official’s condition. The day of the function arrived. The government official arrived before Bhagavan came to the temple. The organisers along with the official were waiting to receive Bhagavan. Bhagavan arrived soon afterwards. As soon as the car stopped and Bhagavan got down from the car, the official who had earlier put the condition that he would not bow to Bhagavan, ran towards Bhagavan and fell at His feet crying “Subramanya, Subramanya!” The organisers were surprised. Later the government official clarified that as soon as Bhagavan got down from the car, he did not see Bhagavan there but instead saw his favourite deity, Lord Subramanya Himself. This explained the transformation in the devotee’s behaviour. Bhagavan had removed the narrow concept of God, which he earlier had. 

The above incidents show how Bhagavan shows people that they are enveloped in the darkness of ignorance, and thus paves the way for the removal of that darkness. Let us all pray to Bhagavan to remove the darkness of ignorance from us and lead us on to light.

- Dr. N. Sivakumar
Student and Research Scholar (1984-1994), 
School of Business Management
Currently, Associate Professor, Department of Commerce
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Brindavan Campus


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