Sri Sathya Sai: Most Loving Master - By Dr. Naren Ramji

A lady was sitting in the verandah of the old Mandir and was musing about Bhagavan. She started asking herself as to what made all these people so reluctant to leave Him? Why were they so attached to Him? It then dawned on her that it could only be the love that Bhagavan gave to each one of them that touched their hearts and made them yearn to be always with Him. As she was engrossed in her thoughts, she heard Bhagavan's voice telling her that she was thinking on the right lines and that if she continued thus, she would reach her goal. She turned back to find the all-knowing Lord standing there. This was the experience of my grandmother on her first visit to Puttaparthi about forty year’s ego.
Sri Sathya Sai in Puttaparthi - Early 1950s
What was it that brought my grandmother to Bhagavan? Bhagavan says that when the time comes, He calls His devotees to Him. The instrument responsible for this journey was an insignificant postcard written by a devotee to his brother in Delhi. The latter was a vocal artist working at the Delhi Station of the All India Radio. He was teaching my mother (who was a young girl at that time) Carnatic music. It was by chance that my mother came across this postcard which described Bhagavan and His miracle. 

Bathed in Bhagavan's love on the first visit, the family kept coming back every summer to Puttaparthi in order to spend the vacation in His loving presence. Attachment had grown. The family would be in tears every time while leaving Puttaparthi. In order to tease and make the trickle of tears into a flood Bhagavan used to sing a tearful song in Telugu that described the anguish of the devotees at the moment of leave taking. 
Prasanthi Nilayam in the 1950s
(Aerial view of the Mandir rear side with sheds on the right where East Prasanthi currently stands)
The translation of the song is as follows: 
However long we may stay here, 
Our feet do not permit us to leave this Swami, 
Who is born in Kaliyuga and showing all these mahimas. 
We are submerged in this Maya Samsara. Without any way out O, Baba, 
But O Lord Sai, You are sending us back. 
Saying that mukthi lies in this very same samsara, 
Please bless us that we may go and return again, 
Upon you O, Swami, lies the burden of 
Calling us back to Parthi as soon as possible. 

I have had the opportunity of enjoying Bhagavan's Darshan and proximity periodically ever since I was a child. In spite of this, the materialistic atmosphere of the world did considerably influence my thinking and sense of values. 

I recall vividly on one particular visit to Puttaparthi, Bhagavan admonished me for my way waywardness. I was touched by the loving way in which He pointed out my faults. I took His words more in the spirit of advice than of rebuke. This was a veritable miracle for I normally never accepted any admonition quietly. This was the beginning of the transforming influence of Bhagavan's love for me. 

My joining this Institute as MBA student marked the beginning of a silent but rapid change in my outlook and way of thinking. In His loving way Bhagavan gave my life a new and meaningful direction. What no force or disciplining could ever accomplish in me, was done by Swami's all-encompassing compassionate love. 
The first batch of SSSIHL MBA Students with Sri Sathya Sai in Kodaikanal - 1987
(Dr. Naren Ramji is in the last row)
From the very early days, Bhagavan had told my grandmother to come for festivals like Dasara and Birthday and serve as a volunteer. On one occasion Dasara was approaching and my grandmother was in a dilemma. My mother and aunt, who were small children then, were taking their examinations and there was no one, other than grandmother, who could stay and look after them. She decided that come what may, she was not going to attend Dasara that year. She felt what she was doing was correct. That night she had a dream in which she saw herself standing on the sea shore and Bhagavan standing nearby. In a small swimming pool, by the side of the sea, some children were learning to swim. Bhagavan turned to my grandmother and asked if she would allow her children to learn swimming in that pool. She replied in the affirmative. Then Bhagavan asked her if she had any objection to their swimming in the sea once they had learnt to swim in the pool. She said that she had no objection. She then told Bhagavan that she too wanted to learn swimming. Bhagavan's reply was "you want to learn to swim, but you are already in the sea". When she woke up, the meaning of the dream was not clear and so she went to the shrine and prayed. It then dawned on her that what Bhagavan meant was she was already floundering in the ocean of Samsara. Where was the question of her helping the children cross it? It was Bhagavan who was taking care of all of them. It was better to leave everything to Him. She then decided to go for Dasara and leave the children in His care. Just a few days before her departure, a relative arrived and offered to take care of the children while she was away at Puttaparthi. 

Once in Puttaparthi, my grandmother and another member of the family were making chapattis for their lunch. They did not take particular care to see that the chapattis were uniform and circular in shape. They reasoned that, as the chapattis were for their own consumption, they need not have to be perfect. At that moment a person came asking for a few chapattis for Bhagavan. He said, Bhagavan had sent him to them as they were from Delhi and were sure to have well-made chapattis. My grandmother was at a loss for none of the chapattis were good enough to be sent to Bhagavan. Bhagavan, in His inimitable way, was conveying the message that all the work we do should be done as worship and we should strive to perform all our tasks perfectly. 

There was a time when devotees used to prepare tasty dishes which, after being blessed by Bhagavan, were distributed as Prasadam to all present at the end of the evening Bhajan. Once, it was our family's turn to prepare the sweets for Prasadam. Instead of taking all the sweets to the Mandir, a few pieces were kept aside for the children of the family. In the evening after Bhajan, when Bhagavan was leaving the Bhajan hall, He told the priest, not to distribute the sweets. My grandmother immediately realized her mistake of retaining a few sweets. She intensely prayed to Bhagavan for forgiveness. Bhagavan had left the Bhajan hall. He was entering His room when He suddenly turned back, came to the Bhajan hall and told the priest to distribute the sweets as Prasadam. When we sincerely repent and pray to Bhagavan from the core of our heart, He responds immediately and forgives us. 
Dr. Naren Ramji (as Registrar) with his Loving Master - SSSIHL Convocation 2010
Lord, we pray that you teach us to be vigilant and tireless in Thy service.

- Dr. Naren Ramji
Student (1986-1988)
Faculty of Management & Commerce
Currently, Registrar
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam

Source: Sai Vandana 1990

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