Swami and His Students: The Eternal Relationship - By Praveen Sachwani

The Eternal Relationship: Sathya Sai with His Students
After completing school, I applied for an admission into the undergraduate course at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. Unfortunately, I could not make it for the entrance examination. And as ill-luck would have it, an attempt to get into the Engineering course proved unsuccessful too. But, without giving up hopes, I put in efforts for one whole year, determined to get into Bhagavan’s college in my second attempt. After the entrance examination was over, I waited for the results with tension, and hopes. Finally when the results were out, there it was, my name, on the list! The dream was fulfilled! My mother was overwhelmed with tears of joy. The lord had not let us down.

When I joined the Institute, I felt I was in heaven and with God. And I was aware of this fact all the time. I deeply longed for His look, yearned for His touch and for His words. He would often come in my dreams and relieve me of my worries with His soothing words, and even grant me Padanamaskar - a precursor to the reality that was shaping up round the corner.

Sathya Sai With Students in the Interview Room at Prasanthi Nilayam
It was the 70th year of the advent of the Avatar. That year, Bhagavan bestowed a unique and unprecedented fortune on His children - granting an interview to each and every class of the school and the college. It was September 22nd that He called our class for an interview. No sooner had He signalled us to go in than we rushed into that most coveted room in the world. All sixty-three of us were huddled together around the Lord in that small room. We overflowed with bliss in those moments of His close proximity - we were transported to a different world. 

A Child Among Children
He is a child among children, a youth among youth and a man among men. On that day, He became one among us. He listened to our doubts with all attention and lovingly replied in that inimitable style of His. He gave us a glimpse of His timeless and mighty power with a few materialisations. He puts us at ease, asking a boy’s name here and another’s native place there, teaching us the great truths of life laced with good humour at one moment and explaining the dangers of pollution with all the seriousness it requires at another - He was our friend. As He was explaining something, suddenly, He looked straight into my eyes and posed a question. I heard myself answering, “Uncle gave, Bhagavan” (It was only after the interview that the boys told me that Bhagavan had asked “What’s that ring on your hand?”). “And now tinkle will give,” He said and waved His hand. The Lord willed and there it was, lovely three diamond ring. I was at a loss for words and even thoughts. That unexpected shower of love overwhelmed me. The ring was a perfect fit for my finger. 

A proverb in Hindi says that when God gives He gives in abundance. The ring that was perfect in size when it took shape seemed to have expanded through the night. Perhaps, He did it so that He could call me again for reasons He alone knew. On 25th September, Bhagavan called me along with one of my classmates for an interview. He smiled as He saw us in the Mandir portico and signalled us to go inside. There was group of Italian devotees along with us inside. He praised us to the skies before them - a mother proudly extolling Her children before Her guest. He took my ring and blew on it three times and lo! It had turned into a one diamond ring that slid perfectly onto my finger. And when He said “Good Boy,” I was filled with a deep sense of gratitude when I discovered that He had been guiding me through lives, up to that moment in that room. 

Finally, when the interview came to an end, Bhagavan got up to distributed Vibhuti Prasadam to all. One of the devotees came forward and offered to help Him carry the bag. But, He politely refused with a smile, saying, “No, no! My boys are there,” and blessed me with that chance. We are His, and He is ours. 

In spite of having seen much and having heard much, humans that we are, we often become clouded by illusion and ignorance. But the compassionate Lord gives us innumerable chances to perceive that reality by giving us glimpses of His Omnipresence. It was the time when my family was going through a difficult period. One day when my mother was quietly weeping, she heard my sister suddenly say, “Mother, Bhagavan’s photograph is full of Vibhuti!” My mother couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the Vibhuti on Bhagavan’s photograph. She collected the Vibhuti from the photograph and prayed to Bhagavan to reveal His presence again. And there it was, in front of her eyes, Vibhuti appearing on Bhagavan’s forehead in the photograph. 

On another occasion, my sister had met with a serious accident. The people who had witnessed the accident did not see any chances of survival for the victim. But God’s will reigned Supreme - she survived without any serious injury. There was a minor wrist fracture. Two days later it was discovered that her spinal column had suffered a hairline fracture. One evening at Parthi when Bhagavan came near me, I prayed, “Bhagavan, sister had met with an accident.” He looked at me and asked, “What happened?” “Bhagavan, wrist fracture,” I said. The all-knowing Lord knew that there was more to it. He continued, “Is that all?” I then mentioned to Him about the backbone, “Bhagavan, a minor fracture in the backbone.” Then He said as though correcting me, “Backbone or spinal column?” He further added, “No, no! No fracture.” He created Vibhuti and told me to send it to my sister. Needless to say, she recovered almost immediately and was off the bed with a perfect spinal column. 

During my second year of Undergraduation, once our class had prepared to present a drama in the college auditorium. We had all fervently prayed to Bhagavan to bless us with His physical presence for the drama. But apparently our prayers seemed to have gone unanswered. The drama was a big success but we felt it was incomplete without Him. That evening when Bhagavan came near me inside the Mandir Bhajan Hall, almost quite suddenly or unconsciously I got up and asked Him “Bhagavan, how was the drama?” And what He said unveiled the omnipresent reality that He is. He said, “It was nice. You had adopted the same strategy, as did the Chinese in their recent drama to convey your ideas. The theme was not very explicit, it was conveyed indirectly. And there was lot of humour”; and walked away, leaving me amazed. 

Apart from the timely revelations of His Divine power, Bhagavan constantly teaches us in various ways; with all His love and compassion so that we may never go astray from the path He has laid out for us and lose our way. As freshers in the college, we prayed to Bhagavan to give us His guidance and blessings. One night, He came in the dream of one of my classmates and asked, “What is devotion to God?” My friend did not know the answer and told Bhagavan, so Bhagavan continued “What! No one has told about devotion? Devotion to God means loving God, and loving God means following God.” No one could have put it better than that. 

Every student of Bhagavan has his own story of love to tell - a story about the intimate and the ultimate. This Divine romance is beyond the words of the greatest poet or the understanding of the greatest philosopher. It is an eternal relationship between Him and us. 

Praveen Sachwani
MTech (2000-02 Batch), 
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning;
Currently Employed at Veriphone Technology Pvt. Ltd.

Source: Sai Nandana 2000 (75th Birthday Issue)


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