The Missing Calculator – By Sanjay Sahni

Sri Sanjay Sahni with Sri Sathya Sai
One reads in the Bhagavata about the innumerable pranks that Balkrishna used to play on the people of Braja, showering immense delight on them. Our Sai Krishna too is not different. I cannot but recapture a particular incident whenever I think of this.

It all began in a particular statistics class. I was solving a few problems using the calculator. As the class progressed, I found myself solving even simple computations, which normally I would have been able to do mentally, on the calculator. Instantly my mind raced back in time to the occasion when Sai was explaining to an American devotee how modern man’s undue dependence on computers and calculators had led to the poor development of the human brain. I wondered what Sai would think if He saw me in my current state.

Sai’s response too was immediate and unmistakable. A couple of days later the calculator was missing. I searched my whole cupboard but all in vain. Had I left it somewhere else? Could someone have borrowed it? No solution was forthcoming. Ultimately, I resigned myself to the fact that it was Sai who had given it and it was He who was out to teach me a lesson. 

The monthly statistics test was drawing near and I was still without a calculator. I decided that if I did not find the calculator in time, I would write the test without it, no matter how urgent its need be. When a man decides upon a particular path which he thinks to be right, there are a number of temptations which come in his way inciting him to go astray. During the course of a conversation with a classmate somehow the issue of the missing calculator cropped up. I tried hard to evade the issue saying that I had perhaps misplaced it somewhere and would find it soon. Anyway, the advice given to me was not to take any risks and to borrow somebody’s calculator for the forthcoming test. As if this was not enough, another brother was also dispatched to me precisely with the same mission and with the same message. 

The more my brothers tried to convince me, the more determined I became not to use a borrowed calculator for the test. In spite of being deprived of the calculator, I fared exceptionally well in the test by Sai’s grace. 

Days passed and the calculator was now almost a forgotten entity. During this period the only change I initiated was to keep my cupboard locked without fail. The original intention was to ensure that none could return the calculator, if at all it was to come back, without my coming to know of it. Then one dry day as I was picking up my college file, the familiar calculator popped out of it. I was indeed piqued. How was it lodged there? I wondered how it could happen when I had personally checked the file several times earlier and when the cupboard had been scrupulously locked in my absence. 

Obviously, the calculator had returned as mysteriously as it had disappeared. The message of the whole episode having been grasped in the right spirit, the culprit finally revealed Its identity.

- Sanjay Sahni
Student (1982-1987), Department of Commerce
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam Campus
Warden (1990-1993), Sri Sathya Sai Hostel, Prasanthi Nilayam
Currently, Director, Brindavan Campus
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning

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