A Blessing in Disguise - By Prof. U. S. Rao

His Love has no limit 
His Grace No measure, 
His power no boundary known unto men, 
For out of His infinite riches in Sai, 
He giveth and giveth and giveth again. 

The most important decision I took in my life was in 1987; when I decided to come to Prasanthi Nilayam and join Institute of Higher Learning. Little did I know, at that time, that in about two years’ time, I and my wife would be involved in a serious accident on March 26, 1989 (Sunday) which would have left children orphans. Bhagavan’s compassion alone must have brought us to Him at the most crucial time in our life. It is my experience that, in the presence of Bhagavan, one gains infinite treasures, and even gets a new lease of life. Life becomes more peaceful and happier once we turn towards Him. 
Prof. Rao with Sri Sathya Sai in Brindavan
Bhagavan is an ocean of compassion. He knows our past, present and future. He showered a lot of grace and attention on me; knowing in his omnipresence that death was fast approaching. He gave me a few hints as He wanted to alert me. In 1988, during Darshan Bhagavan asked me once “Are you ready?”. Though I was puzzled I replied “YES SWAMI”. He then asked “For what"? As I did not know I replied, I don't know”. Bhagavan smiled and said “Yes. You should be ready for everything in life". 

Then in September 1988, when Bhagavan was in Brindavan, a few of us (staff members) went to see Him on a Sunday. That evening Bhagavan paid a lot of attention to us, and said to others, “My staff from Parthi have come to see me”. He made us sit around Him in the interview room, and spent an hour or more sharing with us several surrender stories, such as saving Draupadi in the Kaurava court, Gajendra Moksham, etc. He indicated the importance of total surrender. Immediately after that He said, “Go back quickly before it is dark, Hurry now I" We rushed to collect all the members of the party, and went off in a van back to Parthi blissfully unaware of what Bhagavan foresaw in the future for us. 

Bhagavan appeared in a dream to my wife many months prior to the accident. In that dream, Bhagavan had two patches on His head, with no hair, which He showed her. She said: “why worry Swami, you have so much hair. It can be easily covered”. “Surprisingly after the accident, my wife has exactly the same two patches on the head because of second skin grafting operation done on the head. Probably the dream also meant that He had taken the impact and suffering on Himself, so that she can withstand and survive that fatal accident.

Bhagavan in His infinite compassion, decided to save us, as is evident by the events which happened in February 1989. On the 8th February, Bhagavan gave a wonderful bright yellow silk saree for my wife (including auspiciousness), and called us for an interview on the 9th February — our 20th marriage anniversary day. In the interview, He profusely blessed us with long happy life, and to my wife, He said: “Deergha Sumangali Bhava!" meaning may your husband live very long.
Smt. Sathyavati and Prof. U.S. Rao with Sri Sathya Sai in Prasanthi Nilayam
During March 1989, the circumstances so developed that I had to go to Brindavan to seek Bhagavan's guidance and approval on official matters concerning the department. As Bhagavan was at Brindavan, my wife also joined me on this trip on the 26th march, 1989, when the serious accident took place. 

On the 25th night, one of my colleagues, while meditating heard a message that he will be seeing us for the last time. He came to us to hand over a letter to Bhagavan but did not say anything not wanting to upset us when we were planning to leave for Brindavan. On the same night, another colleague, who was to come with us, had very bad dreams wherein he was in the midst of skulls, skeletons and blood. He saw himself carrying dead bodies. His wife, on hearing about the dream, insisted on accompanying him. As there was no plate in our van they got into the next van following ours. Exactly as he dreamt, his van reached the accident site within a few minutes of the accident, and he played a major role in carrying the injured persons to the hospital in their van. It was as if Bhagavan had ordained him to follow us in the next van and save us on His behalf. 

On 26th March, 1989, early in the morning, we. along with our friends, started from Prasanthi Nilayam to Brindavan in a matador van. Having crossed Bagepalli, we were on the way to Chikballapur. The van was very fast, breeze was cool and all of us just dozed a little. As soon as my wife closed her eyes, she clearly saw Bhagavan's face and was thrilled by the vision. This happened thrice. She was just ready to share the joy and so, there was a loud thud. The van catapulting three times and landed on the ground with wheels up. A lorry had hit the side of the van behind the driver's cabin. The impact was so severe that the back door of the van opened in a jerk and threw out some of our colleagues on to the road. The driver lost balance and in panic jumped out of the vehicle. 

I received severe injuries on my head and jaw and had a black eye. Later I was told that a few chest ribs had also broken. Out of shock I had amnesia, and I started speaking disjointedly. My wife suffered severe head injury and the skin on the head was torn badly. She had to have 120 stitches on her head later at Whitefield Hospital. She bit tongue and was gulping large quantities of blood. Blood was also oozing from her head in a stream, and all her clothes were wet with blood. But through Bhagavan's grace, and His appearing just before the accident, she was very calm and serene. Thinking her end was near, she prayed to Bhagavan to take care of me and children. She did not experience any pain whatsoever either at that time or later during next one and a half month undergoing operations and recovering from accident injuries. 

Our colleague who came in the van behind our van was our savior. As ordained by Bhagavan, he reached the site of accident within minutes and quickly took charge of the situation. He started organizing all the necessary arrangements for transporting us to the nearest first aid hospital at Chikballapur. Bhagavan was immediately informed and He, like a Sweet Mother, got timely medical assistance in Bangalore Hospitals and in our own Hospital at Whitefield and personally supervised all arrangements. 

Within minutes of the arrival of the injured passengers in the vehicle at Whitefield hospital, Bhagavan came to the hospital and consoled everyone, created and poured Vibhuti on them. 
He personally poured cold water and coffee in to the mouth of my wife. He soothed her by saying "I will take care of everything. Just lie down and relax. I will send for a car now and bring Rao to Whitefield". His concern, love and compassion at that moment are just unforgettable. My wife later told me that, at that moment, she felt it was worth going through many more accidents, if one could experience so much of Bhagavan's love. 

On hearing about the accident, our University's Vice-Chancellor and Registrar rushed from Prasanthi Nilayam to Brindavan. Bhagavan took them straight, to the hospital in Bangalore to see me and other seriously injured patients. Due to amnesia, I don't remember any of the incidents in the hospital at Bangalore. I was told that Bhagavan poured so much of love, caressed my injured chest ribs, and created Vibhuti and put it into my mouth. He mentioned to me by my bedside: "See Rao, Vice-Chancellor and Registrar have come from Prasanthi Nilayam to meet you”. At that time. I opened my eyes without knowing what was happening. He rubbed Vibhuti on my arm. I had a faint glimpse of the caring Lord standing by my bedside with a loving face and compassionate eyes. 

On 28th March, 1989, I was brought to Whitefield hospital. To my wife's dismay, I just could not remember many things. I did recognize her, but would go on repeating "Where is Whitefield?” "How does Brindavan look like?” Which day is this?" and so on. Bhagavan visited us on 30th March, (Thursday), and spent some exclusive 20 minutes sitting on a small steel chair with only both of us on either side, telling us details of the accident. Unfortunately, those blissful moments are very hazy in my memory, as I was still under amnesia. Bhagavan felt that I should go in for further tests. Mrs. Rao prayed, "Swami, nothing but Your grace matters, and we don't want any tests done. Your word that all will is itself the cure". After some persuasion, Bhagavan finally said: "OK I am telling you. Absolutely nothing will be wrong with him. He will be perfectly all right." To add to our joy, He cancelled my visit to Bangalore hospital for further tests. 

On His next visit, He came silently into the room, taking us by surprise, and poured coconut water into my mouth with so much love. It will not be an exaggeration to say that we were blissfully happy during those days, soaking in Bhagavan's love and care so much so that we did not inform our own parents, brothers and sisters about the accident. The Divine Mothers love, care and affection far exceeded the love and affection we experienced from our own parents during all our life. To try and express the totality and depth of Divine love will be futile, but I will still cite a few examples to illustrate the same. 

Almost every day, Bhagavan would send a big bag containing fruits, biscuits, electrol, etc. with detailed Instructions for us. Since our trip to Brindavan was planned for a day or two, we did not take any clothes with us Bhagavan sent a tailor to take my measurements in the hospital and by the same afternoon He sent many pairs of complete clothing. Another day Bhagavan Himself brought a plastic bag containing soaps, tooth paste, tooth brushes and a huge DCM towel. To top it all, Bhagavan said: “Rao look what I have brought you. “So saying He took out a pair of cooling glasses — “For you to wear when you come for Darshan.” He felt that, with my black, swollen, bulging eye, I might not like to be seen outside and these cooling glasses will help me. 

He personally sent messages to Principals of both Anantapur College and Primary School Prasanthi Nilayam and asked them to inform my daughters who were studying there that we were all right and that we are under His care and that they should not be worried, and study for examinations well. He arranged for them to be brought by car on the very afternoon of their last examination and made them stay in Brindavan till their grandparents came and took charge. The entire expenses of the treatment were completely borne by Bhagavan. We did not spend even a single rupee under His care. We were literally being carried away in the flood of His love and we spent every day in so much Joy, that it was really "A BLESSING IN DISGUISE”. 
Prof. Rao receiving blessings from Sri Sathya Sai
My wife's words still keep ringing in my ears - "If we can receive such love and concern from SWAMI, we can go through many more such accidents." Yes. it is very true.

- Prof. U.S. Rao
Dean (1988-2009), Faculty of Business Management
Director (1995-2011), Prasanthi Nilayam Campus  
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning

Source: Sai Vandana 1990 (65th Birthday Offering)

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