It is beyond my ability to write about Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, since words fail miserably to portray His glory. Sai, the name itself fills our heart with immense joy, confidence and happiness. Surrendering my ego and knowledge at His Lotus Feet, let me pen down the story of my journey to Sai.
It was in the year 1998 when I came to know about Shirdi Sai Baba when we were staying in Sambalpur, a town in the western part of Odisha. On every Thursday, my mother used to make Prasadam at home and she would ask me to offer it in a Sai Baba temple which was two kilometres away from my house. With a great difficulty, managing the Prasadam box on one side of the handle of the cycle and pushing the cycle pedal, I used to go on a road full of pits and stones. It continued for years. Something in the temple made me happy and comfortable.
A few years later we shifted our house near that temple and on every other day I used to go and spend my time there, while my classmates would be playing outside in the fields and on the playground. I read Shri Sai Satcharitra in the year 2007, during my under graduation when I was staying at a Hostel in Visakhapatnam. Whenever I read it, I was filled with sadness and grief. I used to consider myself unlucky in comparison with those people who moved and lived with Sai Baba of Shirdi at Dwarakamayi.
Meanwhile my parents shifted to Visakhapatnam. One day my sister told me about a Satsang near our house where Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba used to show His presence by performing many Leelas. I went there to see the Leelas of Bhagavan. I was told that we could keep Prasadam or anything for blessings there. I was preparing for my chartered accountancy examinations at that time. I went with my admit card and placed it at the altar for blessings. Vibhuti appeared on my hall ticket and the devotees told me that Swami had blessed it.
I felt good about it and came back. I thought that since Swami had blessed it I would pass the examination in flying colours. But the reverse happened. So, this centre to me was just another place for Bhajans and service activities. My mother was a regular participant in Bhajans and service activities there. Every morning she used to wake me up singing some Bhajan which irritated me a lot. But I would keep quiet and never said anything to her. I had a big gang of friends in the year 2009. We used to go to every movie in the city and roam around. Since my parents were very particular about timings, I used to do all this during my College time, i.e. from 8.00 am to 2.00 pm.
It was in the very same year I secured top marks in the university accountancy examination. I still wonder today at this. My so called best friends doubted that I had manipulated something in the examination and obtained high marks. I started keeping distance from them, because differences of opinion which made them doubt me more.
It was during that period after finishing my UG final examinations, I used to participate in Satsang and Narayan Seva conducted in a Sai centre there. I felt very happy and thought of continuing these Seva activities. One day I felt deeply disgusted with the scandals propagated by my friends. So I went to attend the Satsang conducted in the Sai Centre and prayed to Swami that He should help me. I also prayed to Bhagavan to keep me away from my friends. I further prayed that Swami should become my only friend. The very next day, I got calls from my friends one after another telling me that they did not want to continue their friendship with me.
|Srinivas (standing second from right) with other Sai Students at the Samadhi Mandir in Sai Kulwant Hall|
At times I would feel His touch on my shoulder while riding a bike. At times I would see Him on a branch of a tree and He would suddenly disappear. For some time I thought that I was imagining or hallucinating. Either way I was happy.
On introspection, I learnt many things about Swami. Swami says, “Test is My taste”. Initially, He encourages us to get closer to Him and tests us. We learn many things during this period and we become wiser. We can pass the test of Bhagavan if we cultivate the spirit of surrender. The feeling of Anyatha Sharanam Nasthi is a source of immense strength and peace. Renouncing the feeling of the doer-ship and resigning oneself to His Will cements our bond with Him.
|Srinivas offering Arati at Samadhi|
- KJ Srinivas
Currently, Doctoral Research Scholar
Faculty of Business Management & Commerce
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus