|Brother Padmanabhan receiving Gold Medal for standing first in the MBA (Finance) programme at the Institute from the Revered Founder Chancellor on Convocation Day, November 22, 2009|
Whenever we speak of Swami, many people refer to His omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience. Many scholars speak of the philosophy Swami stands for. But for a small boy like me who joined in 11th class in Swami’s school, without knowing anything about Him, all these seemed too difficult to understand and comprehend. For me, God was someone who has four hands or a lion as the vehicle or some such thing. He can be seen only by the greatest of the devotees. Talking to Him is the result of many years 'tapasya'. So, I could not just take the fact, that Swami is God.
But all of us are used to the love of our parents, and their concern for us. Here, I saw someone who loves hundreds of students like His own children. Like a loving mother, He gives them cups of ice-cream as Prasadam! He enquires about their breakfast with details about the size of idli! Slowly, I started loving God rather than merely worship Him. But, what attracted me most were not His miracles, but His love and concern for all the students.
One year later, my cousin joined the music college for his foundation course in ‘Mrudangam’. He too was not a devotee of Swami before coming here. He never got an opportunity to talk to Swami or be very close to Him. In the month of July or so, he got a viral fever and was in a very bad condition. Doctors were trying their best to cure him, but all in vain. He was not able to eat anything due to severe vomitting. Since he was not in a position to go to Mandir, he could not give even a letter to Him. In those days, boys were allowed to sit in front in Bhajan hall till Bhajans started. That day, Swami came inside the Bhajan hall and started talking about some boy. Swami said that a boy is suffering from fever and vomiting. Swami even imitated how that boy was suffering. When someone asked Swami who that boy was, Swami said that his name was ‘Sriram’. Immediately, everyone thought that it was the Band leader who's name was also Sriram and he was summoned in front of Swami. But Swami said that he was not the boy. Then Swami told that he was a Tamil boy from Kerala and had a long nose. No one had any clue as to whom Swami was referring to. Then Swami said that, the previous night, around 2.am in the morning, the boy had severe pain and was crying out for help from his roommates. He also said that he was crying “Ammaa…” Then, Swami said that He had been to his room and sat next to him consoling him. But the boy was not aware of that. Slowly Swami put him to sleep and came back. It was then that one of the roommates of my brother, who was sitting in the Bhajan Hall, guessed that probably Swami was talking about my brother. He got up and told Swami about my brother and Swami confirmed it. Swami said that it would take another three days for him to get cured and told him that He would speak to him after that.
It is needless to say what happened later. But the more important thing here is that it increased the faith of many of us in Swami. In the story of 'Father Gilligan', the almighty Lord came down for a night so that His devotee could take some rest. Even in this case, He had the time and concern for a mere student while taking care of the entire creation as a whole. He looks after every one of us in a unique way that only He can do. This bond of love is what makes all of us leave everything just to be with Him. He takes care of every blade of grass in His creation.
Once Arjuna asked Krishna, “Oh Lord, how are You able to take care of all the beings in this universe. How do You remember everything? I am not able to remember my own life fully. Will You not miss out any one? Kindly enlighten me." Krishna asked Arjuna whether he remembered the day of his marriage with Draupadi, the day on which he got the 'Pashupataastra' from Lord Siva and so on. Arjuna replied in the affirmative. Krishna asked him, how it was possible for him to remember things that had happened so many years ago. Arjuna said that those were the most important days in his life and so it could not be forgotten. Krishna said that for God all are equally important and thus He remembers every one and at all times.
This is true even in the case of Swami. He remembers every one even after many years, nay many births. Nothing can escape His attention or memory. It might be a bull which carried water for Him to His house or the car that He used many years ago. We don’t even remember where we have our key bunch a few minutes earlier. If we are asked to list the things that are there in our house we may not be able to list most of them.
When I was in Brindavan as a student, one day we changed the speaker that we generally used to keep near Swami. No one knew about it except a few of us who were in the Audio-Visual department. But the moment Swami came to the stage; He asked one of the teachers as to why new speakers were kept there. That is the amount of attention He pays to things that happen around Him.
In Brindavan, the ‘PA’ system in Ramesh hall is managed by students only. Since the control room is behind the Ramesh hall, students don’t get the opportunity to have Darshan like others. Anyhow, when Swami comes behind the stage, we have Darshan. One day, the students had arranged a ‘Kavi Sammelan’ programme in the Divine presence of Swami. Swami was extremely happy and rewarded all the ‘poets’ in His own way. He was very proud of the talents of His students and was praising them even after coming behind the stage. As usual, the AVC team was standing behind waiting for His Darshan. As soon as He saw some VIPs and few of us there, He said that everyone should have watched the programme and we all had actually missed it. Then immediately He turned towards us and said, “You all keep mikes everyday and that is why you missed it, right?” Our joy knew no bounds because Swami had recognized our bit of service to Him. No one told Him that and of course no one needs to tell Him that!
He is always with us, in us and around us. He is the 'Hrudayasthaayi', (the indweller of our hearts) Over these years, I have started loving God rather than worshipping Him. Now the only thing that I ask Him is to make me love Him for love’s sake, love Him in my fellow beings, love Him in His entire creation.
- T.M. Padmanabhan
Student (2007-2009), Department of Management Studies
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam
Currently, Manager (Risk Management), Federal Bank, Kochi