My Experiences With Sri Sathya Sai – By Saiganesh Balasubramanian

As is the case with every single one of the Sai students, my joining in this hallowed Institution is also purely because of His Grace. My parents were devotees of Swami before I was born. So I grew up seeing Bhagavan’s photo in our Puja altar. 
Sri Sathya Sai Darshan at Kodaikanal
My parents used to take me to Puttaparthi whenever they went for Seva. But my first closest interaction with Swami was when He had come to Kodaikanal. My parents and I went for Swami’s Darshan and that day it was Eswaramma Day. Swami had instructed all Bal Vikas students to sit in the front. As I was also a Bal Vikas student that time, I was made to sit with other students. My mother had given me a letter for Swami which I was holding in my hands and sitting there. I did not really expect Swami to take that letter from me because I thought Swami is God Himself, why would He take a letter from such an insignificant person as me. To my utter surprise, Swami came and took that letter from my hand and blessed all of us with a blanket with ‘Om Sri Sai Ram’ written on it. Now when I reflect upon it, I understand that there is no one insignificant for Swami. Once you come to Him, He takes care of you by showering His love.

After I finished my schooling, I wanted to do engineering. But my parents wanted me to join Swami’s institution. So I applied for B.Sc. (Hons.) course and wrote the entrance examination. I was selected by Swami’s grace and I was placed in the Brindavan campus. Now, this was the first time I was leaving my parents and going very far. I was feeling very bad and came to Brindavan on 31st of May, 2008 to join the Hostel. And there was Swami in Brindavan, welcoming all the new students. That very evening Swami in His discourse announced that He was hosting a feast for all the students the next day. On the next day, a grand feast was arranged for all the students in the Kalyana Mandap which is next to Swami’s Trayee Brindavan. We were seated at the tables that were arranged for us and Swami came, enquiring whether everything was comfortable, whether the food was good. Then Swami also joined us in the feast. Lunch with God! What more can you ask for? And of course, Swami gave us more. He called all the students to Trayee for an interview. I asked a few of my seniors as to how this interview would be. They told me it was called ‘Trayee Session’ and you would see a totally different Swami. I did not understand it. But anyway we all went inside Trayee.
Sathya Sai with Students and Staff during a Trayee Sessions
Inside Trayee, there was a long hallway and at one end there was Swami’s Jhoola. Since we were newly admitted students we were made to sit right in front of the Jhoola and the senior students were seated behind us. Swami came and started asking the students sitting in front whether they had food or not. Then He started enquiring with the warden about the daily menu. As he was telling Swami that buttermilk was also being served to the students, Swami stopped him and looked at us and told, “Buttermilk but no butter in it”. Everybody burst out laughing and Swami also started laughing along with us. That was the first time I saw Swami casually laughing and joking. Then I understood what my seniors had told about a different Swami. Swami told us not to feel bad that we are away from our home. He told us this is your home. He even asked us if anybody was feeling homesick. The Trayee experience was so great and Swami ended the session by advising us to be good and to get a good name for Swami and our parents.

I was part of the drama for the Sports Meet that year and the previous night before our performance in front of Swami we were doing our final rehearsal. After the practice, our teachers told us that once the drama is over generally Swami comes down and stands in between the actors for a group photo. He may call us to the stage for individual photos. Naturally all of us were praying that Swami should call us for individual group photos so that we can go physically close to Him. And the ever gracious Swami indeed called us for group photos. I was blessed to hold Swami’s hand and have a picture. Later in my third year, I was given the chance to give a rose to Swami. 
Saiganesh with Sri Sathya Sai
Generally, the boy who is supposed to give the rose for the day is made to sit near Vedam block pillar. But to my luck, that day there was a violin programme and so the Bhajan group was sitting in the Vedam block. So I along with one more student who was supposed to give Aarti was made to sit on stage behind Swami. When Aarti was over I was told to go and give the rose to Swami. I went near Swami and gave the rose to Him. He took it from my hand kept it in my pocket and gave me permission to take Padanamaskar. After that I came back and sat along with the other student, behind Swami, just in front of the Ganesha idol which used to be there on the stage. Swami turned and was leaving. He stopped in front of the student next to me and took some Vibhuti packets and gave it to him through the brother who was pushing Swami’s chair. He started moving on. I felt very bad and screamed inside my head “Swami, don’t leave me. Please bless me also with the Prasadam”. I could not believe my eyes. Swami stopped after a few feet and gave a few Vibhuti packets to the brother who was pushing Swami’s chair and told him something. The brother came straight to me and gave me the packets saying Swami has sent this for you. That time I realised, no matter what, if you hold on to Swami He will even grant your smallest desire. Even though Swami is physically not with us right now, we all can still feel His presence, guiding us, guarding us, loving us…

- Saiganesh Balasubramanian
Student (2008-2013), Department of Chemistry
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Currently, Student, European Management School, Germany

Source: Sai Nandana 2015 (90th Birthday Offering)

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