From the Poison of Materialism to the Experience of God Within – By Kishore Y. Madhamshettiwar

Kishore YMS with Sri Sathya Sai at Kodaikanal - April 1988
I was brought up in a society which believes in God. My parents took keen interest in my overall development as a good man. Under their supervision I lived as a dependent up to the age of 20 and I started earning my first bread with my sweat at the age of 21. Then I understood how difficult it is to make a loaf of bread. Each time when I had a difficulty it seemed that God, in the photographs and at the altars, responded to my prayers. At the age of 27, answering to my prayers, God showered all the professional and material attainments. A day, however, came when I thought that I could do everything on my own. The thought could not materialize. In an extremely perplexed condition, I ran to the temples of the holy cities of Banaras and Tirupati. It was during this time. I came across a book entitled ‘Vision of the Divine’ written by Dr. Fanibunda. It actually opened my vision to an entirely different world.

The following quotations in this book brought two significant truths to my knowledge:  

1. If someone wants to see and feel what God is, let him come to Puttaparthi. 

2. Do not give up, under all circumstances, hand over your burdens to me. I will shower on you the gift of eternal happiness for having trusted me as your father. It is my duty to see that you remain happy, truly surrender, for this gift.

In January 1987, hurriedly I packed up my luggage and moved from Ashanti to Prasanthi. Ashanti refers to a place of my work and my state of mind. Prasanthi refers to Prasanthi Nilayam and also my present state of mind, which is a rare gift of Bhagavan Baba. Just at the first sight I was fully convinced that no outside agency was needed to say that BABA is God — my inner motivator, my lost identity and my goal. Just right on the first day, I could make way to the Lotus Feet. HE was, HE is always kind enough to wait for my fingers to reach His Lotus Feet. He Himself found a gap between hands of devotees and blessed my Vibhuti pack. I felt ‘Yes’. I can rely on Him for everything in my life.  

I would hold His photograph in my hand and try to match the attributes of God in my heart and mind with those present in His photograph. As time passed by, an inner familiarity developed. Though I was facing many problems of my life, totally restless, something subtly said and reassured that this Sweet Lord will lift me to the heights of realization.  

Three years ago, I was scared to mention my feelings openly as I thought people would laugh at me. I am now convinced that He is definitely taking me away from senses. I continued to pray to Bhagavan to accept me as His student in the MBA course. He granted my prayer. During the initial six months, it seemed as if I was in a workshop. I was stripped off my executive ego and made to put up in simple but vibrant way of living in His Hostel. I prayed to the loving God to give me strength to hold on to His feet. I felt miserable when I knew God is showering all His mercy but I do not possess even a little bit of good in me. There was only one thing to pray even under these circumstances ‘to raise me to my Divine Nature’. Bhagavan’s Institute has a word ‘higher’. It means that by staying with Him and receiving education in His Institute, if one desires, one will be equipped with all that is needed to enquire into Atma and become ‘That’. This was the meaning I derived as a student of His Institute. 
The Picturesque Entrance to the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Now I was determined to face anything and follow the discipline as mentioned by Bhagavan for a student. God saves those who follow Him. I would like to share two experiences to highlight how Lord Sai saved me. He not only made me to continue my journey in this body but moved me nearer to my Immortal Self. It was December 1988, I was studying till midnight. Because of the strain and change in weather, I was suffering from cough. That night at 2 a.m. I got up with a shock. My breathing had stopped. You may wonder then, how I was surviving? Yes, the chest congestion was so severe that I could not push air in me from anywhere. I was restless. One minute passed without any breathing. Mind was still working. I managed to get near the photograph of Bhagavan in my cupboard and held it in my hands. By now three minutes without breathing, were over. He alone knows how I was surviving. I prayed mentally to Bhagavan: ‘Baba, if you want I should be alive for Your cause, then let me live properly and if You want I should die, then give me a good death. At that moment. I had no desire except a good death. I remembered that Bhagavan’s Vibhuti can grant immortality. I somehow managed to put a pinch of it on my tongue. As soon as I took the Vibhuti I felt someone immediately made me sit in perfect Padmasana. By now about five minutes of survival, without breathing, were over. I again prayed to Bhagavan — Baba, please stop all these confusions. Next moment, my body became something like a stone with no breathing. I felt waves and waves of energy catching me all around, some heavy feeling and a gentle fragrance. By now, within 20 seconds after taking Vibhuti, my chest got completely clear. 

I could feel my body separate, life force separate and mind separate and all this time who was experiencing it. It was a clear experience of ‘You’ are none of these, you are truly a silent witness. I was sweating profusely, the body started breathing and it was no more like a statue.

I slept after this vibrating experience with complete ease. I got up for Suprabhatam at 5 a.m. I felt very fresh and light. I also felt that my outlook had changed, the mind had undergone a great transmutation, and my feelings towards my brothers in the hostel had changed. That morning when I went for Darshan, Bhagavan came near me and gently pressed my hands with assurance and promised me ‘Do not worry, ‘Bangaru’, I will always be with you. And one more thing He said: “I never confuse, I can only save”.  I prayed sincerely to Bhagavan to help me and take me to the Divine heights.  

My life is full of contentment. God’s mercy showered one more boon. After I started getting a calm mind, with little practice of Namasmarana Om Sri Sathya Sai Ram, I extended my hours of dwelling on His Name and Form. In the initial stages, I had a fear about my studies. Later on I discovered that it had become natural for me, even while studying, to contemplate on Him. I believed in one principle. Why should I worry for my bread? When I was born, milk was made available by God without demanding. We remain His same children all through our lives. Nothing bothers me when I spend longer and longer hours in contemplation. In fact, as I progress I am feeling that I have no need. This detachment is the first step to Atma Vidya. When I see Bhagavan constantly for a few minutes and close my eyes, His powerful vibrations transmute me so much that I get Ananda. 

In December 1988, I suffered from severe asthmatic attack and cough due to allergy. I decided I will not take any medicine except Baba’s Vibhuti. During this suffering, I used to manage to go to the Hostel Mandir for Suprabhatam. My Sadhana was not interrupted and it was further strengthened. After completing the 21st Omkaram I used to be caught in Bhagavan’s soothing powerful vibration which kept me going. I could manage to fix my mind on Bhagavan’s Lotus Feet. Just at that moment I used to forget the body and hence enjoyed bliss. The moment I used to come out of meditation, same deadly Asthma would develop. Bhagavan appeared in my dream on the eighth day. He created some Vibhuti and rubbed it on my chest. The feeling was so powerful as if Bhagavan was physically rubbing Vibhuti. That night I slept well. Bhagavan’s dreams are not mere dreams. Those are realities. By next day morning, I was cured.
Kishore YMS with Sri Sathya Sai at Ooty - April 1988
If I continue to write, I can submit that every moment of life, after my contact with Bhagavan is an experience. Bhagavan has transformed me. It is only He who has done this, He only made me progress spiritually. From the poison of materialism to the experience of God within is, in brief, a gift that Bhagavan has given me. While in the awakening state I am able to contemplate on Bhagavan, my heart blossoms in joy and my mind rests in peace, deep in meditation within, I am in perfect communion with Bhagavan. 

May Lord Sai give this Gift to all!      

- Kishore Y. Madhamshettiwar
Student (1987-1989) and Faculty (1989-2003)
Faculty of Management and Commerce
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus 

Source: Sai Vandana 1990 (65th Birthday Offering)  

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