My family joined Bhagavan’s fold in the early sixties. My grandmother lost her parents at the age of three. Her uncle brought her up. A few years after her marriage, she became very weak due to some illness. She was suffering from nervousness and could not eat properly as a result of which she began losing weight. All the various cures in Ayurveda, Allopathy and Homeopathy were tried out but to no avail. Her health was going down day by day.
|Sri Sathya Sai in Prasanthi Nilayam - 1960s|
At the time, one of my uncles was doing his doctorate at Tata Institute, Bangalore. He had heard about a miraculous person in Puttaparthi. So, my uncle took her to Puttaparthi in April 1961. In those days, it was very difficult to reach Puttaparthi. They came by car to Puttaparthi and stayed in a room where there were no proper facilities. After three days Swami called her and told her, “Your health is very bad. Do not worry and take this Prasadam.” Saying so, He materialised Vibhuti and gave her. Swami told her to construct a Mandir in her home town at Tiruppur. They came back to Tiruppur. Slowly, my grandmother recovered from her illness by taking the Prasadam. Remembering Swami’s command, she then began the construction work of the Mandir at Tiruppur. On May 4th, 1991, Swami had come to Tiruppur and blessed the Mandir. Now there are Bhajans being held every Thursday and Sunday. This is how our family got initiated into the Sai fold.
In 1982, my grandfather wanted to celebrate his 61st birthday in the Divine presence. A few months before he had went along with my grandmother to seek permission from Swami to celebrate his birthday in ‘Parthi. Swami had given him interview and graciously permitted him to celebrate his birthday on July 4, Swami told him to come with a few close relatives to Puttaparthi. My grandparents went to Puttaparthi two days before. On the evening of July 3rd, Swami gave them silk sari, dhoti and Angavastram. Swami told them to come at 7:30 am.
My grandparents and few other relatives went at 7:00 a.m. Swami called them into the interview room and performed my grandfather’s 61st birthday. Swami created a Mangalyam and tied together with a yellow thread. This Mangalyam was exactly like the one we use in our caste. Swami told my grandfather to tie it around my grandmother’s neck. Then He created a ring and told my grandmother to put it on my grandfather’s left hand. At that time, my father was studying B. Com in Swami’s college in Brindavan. With Swami’s permission, he reached Puttaparthi in the night of 3rd. He was sitting outside in the veranda waiting for Swami’s permission. Swami asked my grandfather, “Where is your son?” He said, “Swami, he is sitting outside.” Swami called him inside and told, “See, I have blessed your father with a ring.” Then He counselled them for 10-15 minutes. Then, in the evening Swami gave them Vibhuti and Padanamaskar and sent them home.
|Sri Sathya Sai with students at the Primary School in Prasanthi Nilayam|
I joined the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School in 1995 since when I have been staying in Bhagavan’s hostel. So, from a very young age, I had the opportunity to be with my Beloved Swami. I used to feel very sick when I joined. But as days went by, I heard more about Swami and my love for Swami grew. I can only tell you that Swami’s love is beyond countless mothers’ love. When we went home, our mother Sai used to wait for us patiently. When Swami goes to Whitefield, we in Puttaparthi feel as though our mother is leaving us for many days. The students staying in this Institution are lucky to have Swami as their Chancellor. Let me narrate some of my experiences with Swami.
|Sri Sathya Sai at the Upanayanam |
Ceremony at Prasanthi Nilayam
In the year 2000, Swami performed my Upanayanam ceremony. He told us that He would perform the ceremony for all the boys. He said, “It does not matter to which caste you belong. All the boys can have the Upanayanam done with their parents’ permission.” My parents readily agreed because it was a life time opportunity. The ceremony was to be performed on 10th February, 2000. A few days before, Swami gave the Upanayanam boys all the material required for the ceremony. He also blessed us with Padanamaskar. Early on 10th morning we assembled with our parents in the Kalyana Mandapam. We were informed that only the parents should accompany the students. However we saw that most of the students brought their brothers and sisters also. We were feeling sad because we did not bring my sister. The procession started from the Mandir Mandapam with Sai Geeta (Swami’s elephant) leading it. Swami was in the portico of the Mandir waiting for us to come. When we reached the Mandir we were seated on the ladies side. My mother excused herself to bring my sister. Though there was a very large crowd my mother could locate and bring my sister. Swami came out of the interview room and started moving amongst us. When he came near us, He blessed my father and looked as though He had recognised us. Then the Upanayanam ceremony started and went on smoothly. The years went by and my love for Swami grew intense.
In the year 2002, a touching incident occurred. One day, I got to sit for Darshan in the first row. I was very expectant that Swami would bless me with His loving glance. Swami came out for Darshan and as He was nearing me He turned to bless the boys in the opposite row. He did not look at me. I felt very disappointed and started praying hard. Suddenly, as if hearing my prayers, He turned to look at me and went away. Just see, even before my prayers were completed, they were answered.
I conclude with a few lines,
How can I thank the Lord?
Whose face is like the moon!
Whose Darshan is a boon!
Whose sweet face blooms!
I can only give and take love from Him
I have only heart to heart contact with Him.
- R. Sai Vignesh Prabhu
Student (2006-09), Department of Commerce
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Currently, Administrative Officer, Sri Sai Matriculation School
Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu