When Sri Sathya Sai met Mahatma Gandhi...

February 27, 2002 (Wednesday)

Swami came out of the interview room at around 3:15 pm. After blessing the birthday boys, he noticed that one boy had an erratic heartbeat. Swami called Dr. Gopinath to check his heartbeat. Swami then called one of the students and asked him, “Are you from Higher Secondary School?” The student nodded in the affirmative. (Referring to the photos of Swami’s visit to the school hostel) Swami told him that photos have come and thus took him to the interview room to give him. After coming out…

Swami : To the student whom Swami took inside and gave the photos.) Separate them and give them. (Then Swami went through the photos and picked up this particular student’s photo, gave it to him, and told him to distribute the rest.) What news? Yesterday in the Hostel, you all had dinner outside. (Referring to the moon-light dinner on the terrace.) I know. Teachers were also there. You had Pulav, Kurma, Tomato Rasam. I know everything. (Swami then accepted a cover from one of the students and asked him.) Did you give the application form for M.B.A.? 

Student : Yes, Swami. 

Swami : What other news? (Looking in the direction of one elderly teacher) He has not come.

Prof. A.K. : Swami, he has gone to hospital.   

Swami : He has gone to show his eyes. (Swami notices that the student distributing the photos was giving the photos to each student whether the student was in the photo or not.) Aye! (To Prof. Anil Kumar) Tell him to see and give. (Prof. Anil Kumar conveys to the student what Swami told him.)

Prof. A.K. : Swami, he is distributing photos as if he is distributing Prasadam!
(Swami, asks for the card held by a student. He reads through the card and asks the student pointing to a picture) “What is this?”

Student : Heart, Swami.

Swami : Is the heart like this? (Swami placed the card on a table lying on a side.) Today they have written a new Telugu poem. (Swami opens the cover taken from a student a few minutes back and finds M.B.A. application form. Seeing the photograph, He asked the student who had given this cover) Who is he?

Student : Brother, Swami.

Swami : Go and give it to the Registrar in the College. What is he doing?

Student : B.Com., Swami.

Swami : What news? (Swami’s attention now got diverted to another huge card. After seeing it both inside and outside…) Why do you waste so much of paper? (The student responded with a smile.) Padho (read) (The student read the contents of the card that was in Hindi.) What is the meaning of Mauka (opportunity)? What is Zindagi (life)? Zindagi is Duniya. (Life is world.) What is Mauka? Before in Anantapur College, Mukherjee (Prof. Anima Mukherjee) was the Principal. (To Prof. A.K.) Did you understand the meaning of it?

Prof. A.K. : No, Swami. I don’t know Hindi.

Swami : (To a student) Bangalore boy? Music College boy? Sit down. (Swami takes the card given by the Institute students and asks them to go and sit down. After going through…) They have written the same thing three days back. Is it not? (Swami then turned to Prof. Anil Kumar) Once the British Prime Minister came to see Gandhi. On his table, the books were piled up one above the other, on top of which was the Bible. This made the Prime Minister very happy and he said, “See, Gandhi, our Bible is above all other books.” Gandhi then replied, “Please look at the book at the bottom. It is the sacred Ramayana, which is the foundation. Without the foundation there is no Bible.”

Sri Sathya Sai - 1947

Did any of you see Gandhi? (An expected response of silence filled the air.) I have met him five times. First was in Madras during a meeting in Andhra Maha Sabha. Hanumantha Rao, a great devotee, who was the Chairman of the Transport Corporation of composite Madras (which had parts of the current Andhra and Karnataka states), convened it. He was also the one who constructed the new Mandir. Actually Andhra Maha Sabha is mainly the brainchild of Durgabai Deshmukh (1909-1981, she was an Indian freedom fighter, lawyer, social worker and politician). Durgabai and Chengamma were sisters. Gandhiji sent word through Hanumantha Rao that he wanted to sit by My side. I agreed to that. He sat with his legs folded and leaning with the support of his hand. Later, I met him in Hyderabad. That time Jamunabai was the Chief Secretary. The next time I met him was during the meeting of the Indian National Congress, organised by Gandhiji. For collection of donation, he had spread a big cloth. As people did not come with cash to the meeting, they removed their ornaments and gave it to him. Then I told him, “You yourself are collecting money. Then how can anyone expect you to save this country?” Then he said, “Swami, this is not for me, this is for the poor people.” I then told him that he should declare this in the public, since the public would misunderstand. He then announced, “Sai Baba’s brain is very sharp. What I have done is really a mistake.” The next time I met him was in Delhi, at Kamani Hall during another meeting. He is the same Kamani who constructed this Pooranachandra auditorium. Lot of people attended that meeting. Gandhiji was full of humour.
(Turning to V.C.) Have you seen Gandhiji?

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

V.C. : Yes Swami. I saw him when I was a small boy of 10 years. It was from very far.

Swami : It was I who requested Pitapur Maharaj to hand over the grounds to National Congress. Durgabai Deshmukh was pressurising Pitapur Maharaj. But he did not agree. They all belonged to the Justice Party (officially known as the South Indian Liberal Federation, was a political party in the Madras Presidency of British India established in 1917). He did not want to accept whatever the Congress said. During this Mandir construction, it was the brother of Pitapur Maharaj who helped for the engineering works. His full name was R. Neeladri Rao. There were three brothers. They were Neeladri Rao, Simhadri Rao, and Brahmadri Rao.

Prof. A.K. : Swami, I am not sure whether they remember You or not. But Swami remembers all of them.


  1. Swami has always said perceptions are important - we should be perceived to be doing the right thing too. Gandhiji was collecting money for the poor, but if people did not perceive it that way, it would still send the wrong message. This is very important for us to practice too - that our actions do not give scope for wrong perceptions! Thank you for posting this conversation piece. Did not know that Swami and Gandhiji's paths had crossed so many times.

  2. Thank you for this post. I heard that there was a book about Gandhi's mistake and the reasons behind his killing written by the man who killed him... I wondered how such a kind soul have such bad actions linked to him. I questioned swami. As always Swami gave his answers through an article about the death of gandhi and how swami had attended to his souls arrival (such beautiful moment that touched my soul to).. and further explained how gandhi's and mandela's path met (which explains to me why swami only visited south africa and no other place on earth)... now he has given even more clarity to my “Gandhi question” via this blog. Sairam with gratitude to you and my beloved swami.

    1. Sai Ram, Swami visited Africa not South Africa...please note, thanks

    2. Do you have the link to the article where swami talked abbout Gandhi's death? I am curious. SAIRAM.

    3. Do you have the link for the article where swami talked about Gandhi's death? Curious.SAIRAM

    4. Swami visited a few countries in Africa.

  3. Thank you swami for correcting about the visit to Africa and not South Africa.

    Swami spoke via this pages on how he attended to Gandhi's soul upon his death.

    Thank you - Jai Sairam

  4. Sairam! very interesting to know about Bhagawan met Gandhiji many times. Kindly make provision for the readers to save these articles as they are very rare.

  5. Om sai ram thanks for those who made us know the interesting divine facts. Om Sai Ram.


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