At the very outset, I would like to express my heartfelt love and gratitude to our Beloved Mother Sai. Innumerable are the instances when Swami showered His love and grace on me and our family. He is the greatest teacher and yet the most loving and tolerant one. His designs are not easily visible and conceivable. The most fascinating and immaculate aspect of Swami is His love. His love is beyond the grasp of any human mind and has to be experienced. There is a reason why Swami gives experiences. He gives experiences so that we may foster our love for Him.
Bhagavan said, “Test is My taste”. He tests us so that we are strengthened and learn to depend only on Him. I consider myself fortunate to be a student in His institution, for these institutions are the media through which He has decided to soak our lives with Divine Love and grace. He, as He said, has taken the role of the ‘Sarathi’, the ‘Divine Charioteer’. So let me share with you a few experiences of His love in my journey with Him.
Everyone who has seen Swami aspires to perform Padanamaskar to Him. Out of His infinite love, He granted me that privilege several times. But I was never satisfied and my aspiration to do Pada Seva grew when a teacher showed me the photos of students and teachers massaging His feet during one of their Kodaikanal trips. I prayed to Swami to grant me that opportunity and later, I forgot about my prayer. After a few months, as Swami was giving Darshan in the evening, He stopped in front of me and was conversing with someone on His left while I was on His right. All of a sudden, the idea to do Pada Seva clicked and immediately I plunged myself into this blessed service, softly and gently massaging His Lotus Feet which are worshipped and adored by devotees all over the world. Another time a desire to do a full stretch Shashtanga Namaskaram sprouted in me. He fulfilled this wish also of mine. Even the thought was willed by Him. He did not require physical communication. I understood through this experience that it is important to imprint those feet on the heart and enjoy His love and compassion.
I developed a severe throat infection when I was in grade six of the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School. Due to this, I found it difficult and painful to swallow food with the usual ease. Added to this, I a developed high fever and this disturbed my schedule. One night I wept and cried my heart out to Him. The following day, even as the classes were going on in the afternoon, I received the news of Swami’s arrival in the school. I suddenly gained strength and ran down to see Him. As Swami was approaching me by His car, I silently told Him in mind about my predicament.
When He came to me, He quickly glanced at the affected region of the throat and went by. Everything became normal. I was filled with gratitude for the special shower of His Grace. On the next day, I was delighted to realise that the flaring throat infection had disappeared with absolutely no trace of it. But then what was Swami’s motive behind this act of grace? It was to drive home the lesson that we must depend on Him. He is eternally there for us to depend upon completely, ensuring total attachment to Him alone.
|Sri Sathya Sai with Primary School Students|
I very vividly remember how, as tiny tots of Primary School, we eagerly awaited His interaction in Sai Kulwant Hall, when most of the students went inside Poornachandra auditorium for attending the Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yagnam during the Dussera festival. He would slowly and gracefully walk towards us, call us, pat us, speak a few words and then stand and watch all His little children with immense love in His eyes. He would then come down and we would silently gather around Him as children gather around their mother. He would permit us to massage His tender rosy feet and hold His hands. During such moments we felt as though He existed for us alone and all our attention was only on Him. Those were the moments of deep and blissful silence. The honeybee buzzes till it tastes the nectar of the lotus flower. The moment it comes in contact with that intoxicating sweetness of the nectar therein, it does not buzz anymore. Thus, His presence is akin to the presence of the lotus containing the nectar of Divine Love. And we as the bees silently sip that sweetness. When Mother Sai fills us to the brim with His love, no words can describe it, only silence speaks.
There are valid reasons why students studying in His educational institutions are engaged in other activities in addition to their usual studies. The purpose is to realise His unseen presence in every activity of ours; to witness the working of the invisible hand and much more. When we serve others we are the beneficiaries. We get closer to Him and the merit acquired in the process comes to our rescue in times of difficulty. He has shown me the working of His unseen hand several times and I would like to share one simple incident here.
|Swami at the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School, Prasanthi Nilayam|
I was a member of the Prayer Hall Decoration Team in my eleventh standard. As a part of the Holi festival, we had planned to make a beautiful floral arrangement in front of Swami’s chair. The flowers were kept in a refrigerator in a room and locked for the night. As per the plan, we woke up before Suprabhatam to complete the arrangement. That morning the concerned student in-charge of the duty could not trace the keys and he reported the matter to me. Praying to Swami to help us out, I requested the student to go into the room of a certain teacher and get the key bunch lying on his table, expecting it to contain the needed key. Without disturbing the teacher, this boy got the key bunch and fortunately, the lock was opened. When we wanted to lock the room later, we could not do it, despite both of us trying our hand at it. However, we decided to go on and complete the arrangement in time. After the Suprabhatam session when the boy approached the teacher to return the key bunch, the latter was taken by a surprise. The teacher repeatedly told this boy that his key bunch had never contained the key. We were thrilled by the manner in which Swami intervened, only to demonstrate that He is ever there to guide and rescue us. We only need to call out to Him from our heart and He responds.
Swami responds in various ways and in my case, I remember what happened during my twelfth class Board Examinations in the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School. I prepared quite well to write my Accountancy examination and was confident enough to face it. But it so happened that I got thoroughly confused with the rules which are required to perform well in the subject for the examination. I grew desperate and this further aggravated the situation. I remember leaving some important questions incomplete with their balance sheets untallied. Even while all this was going on, I was continuously praying to Swami to help me secure some decent marks. All of a sudden, I recollected having a Vibhuti packet in my pocket. I smeared it on all the pages of the answer script which contained the answers, fervently praying for His intervention. The examination ended and my expectations were terribly low about my performance. However, I was confident in my heart that Swami would definitely intervene and He did. He gave me eighty nine marks though I expected only sixty. The lesson I learnt is if we want God’s intervention in our activities, there needs to the best effort from our side. Without effort, there is no grace.
Whether Swami is physically visible or not, it is always possible for us to rely on Him. The raison d'être is that our goal of attaining oneness with Bhagavan starts with our dependence on Him for both worldly and spiritual gains. He never refuses to grant our wishes. But by fulfilling all our desires, He enters our heart and starts replacing worldly love which is based on reason with the Divine Love, which is reasonless. We reach a stage of total submission and surrender wherein, our only desire is Him and Him alone. Thus we must depend on Sai to become one with Sai.
- Raghuram Anumula
Student (2013-2016), Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus