Learning in the presence of Bhagavan - Rajmata Sushiladevi Ghorpade

We came in the presence of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, in the year 1948. Since then, Bhagavan, is guiding us. In the presence of Bhagavan, we have learnt so many things. It is certain that by just sitting at his Lotus feet, one gets transformed.
Sri Sathya Sai at the Sandur Royal Court - June 1948
India became independent in the year 1947. At that time, we were the Rulers of Sandur State. The new Government of India decided that all the Indian States should accede to the Union of India. Sandur State thus merged and integrated with the Union of India. At that time, we saw a bleak prospect. How to live without any work was a big question before us. We had to chalk-out our children's future. Young children could learn new things and settle down to the new way of life. But, it was very difficult for those of the older generation like us to adjust to the new way of life after leading a princely life. 

In Indian States, Maharajas never used to take up business. After the merger of our State, we had to do something. My husband Maharaja Yeshwantrao Ghorpade, went to meet Bhagavan for seeking His guidance and blessings. At that time, Bhagavan was a young boy of about 21 years. Bhagavan told my husband to start an industry in our home town and advised him not to leave the place. Accordingly, my husband started thinking on that line. Running an industry is quite different from governing a State. To run an industry, one must have practical knowledge in that field. As it was Bhagavan's command, my husband decided to establish a mining and metallurgical industry in Sandur, and applied to the Government of India for grant of mining lease. There was lot of competition to get mining-lease in Sandur, because rich deposits of Manganese and Iron ore, are in Sandur Valley. (More details on that story can be accessed here.)

One day my husband went to Delhi, to meet Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, to explain the situation and request him to help in the matter. The people of Sandur State were also to be protected by providing work for their livelihood. Pandit Nehru was kind enough to listen and graciously told the concerned department to pass the orders for grant of mining lease. The department brought forward many difficulties, but, Nehruji said, our "Rahis" (Rulers) want to work, they must be given first preference. By Bhagavan's guidance and Panditji's help all formalities went through smoothly and we were able to set up mining and metallurgical industry. Bhagavan visited our Mines and Ferro Alloy Industry in the year 1974 and blessed us. Bhagavan always says: - 

Life is a challenge meet it
Life is a game play it
Life is a dream realise it
Life is Love enjoy it

My husband took it as challenge and succeeded in it. 

We have learnt many things just on a word of advice from Bhagavan. In the presence of Bhagavan, one gets peace of mind which is the highest gift. People come to Prasanthi Nilayam from all over the world to pay their homage to our beloved Bhagavan, because their minds are transformed. They get peace in their lives. We are really fortunate because we are born in this world when the Lord has taken a human form to help mankind. We must take full benefit of the presence of Bhagavan. 
Sri Sathya Sai in Brindavan - early 1970s
During the first Summer Course at Brindavan, one day, a devotee had brought some Alphonso Mangoes from Bombay. Bhagavan distributed those mangoes to all devotees standing there. One mango was remaining in Bhagavan's hand with which he was just playing. Everyone was looking at that mango thinking who would be the fortunate one to get that fruit. That day, we went there a little late, because the Railway gate was closed on the way. As soon as Bhagavan saw my husband, he came straight and gave that mango to my husband. It was clear that Bhagavan was waiting for my husband to give him that mango. The devotees said that my husband was lucky to receive that mango from the hand of Bhagavan. Next day, Bhagavan was to go to Bombay to attend the Dharmakshetra Annual Day function. After Bhagavan's discourse, we came back home. My husband told me, "See Bhagavan gave me a mango, he did not give you." I said, "I am happy that you got the mango from Bhagavan's hands. Bhagavan has always some purpose in doing things." My husband wanted to share that mango with me as Prasad. But, I said, 'No. Bhagavan has given to you, and only you should have that full mango. It is given to you and not to me.' 

Next morning, when my husband got up and went to the bathroom to wash his face, to his utter surprise, he saw in the mirror that his face was crooked. He had a facial paralytic attack. Doctor came and examined him and told that they couldn't say how long it would take to cure. It might take a month or even more. The doctor started treatment and advised my husband not go out in the open. He bade him to be always in the warm room. 

After two days’ visit to Bombay, Bhagavan returned to Bangalore. I took my husband against the doctor's advice to Whitefield, in a closed car. Bhagavan saw my husband from a long distance and came close to him and asked, 'What has happened to your face?' My husband said, "Doctor says that it is Facial Paralytic Attack." Bhagavan laughed and gave a slap on the affected part of his face, at once the face became normal! After listening to Bhagavan's discourse, we returned home. Next day morning the doctor came as usual for check-up, and he was surprised to see that my husband's face was absolutely normal. The doctor had no word to say except to do Namaskar to the image of Bhagavan. He folded his hands in Prayers to Bhagavan and said, only Sri Sathya Sai Baba can do such a miracle. 

My youngest daughter-in-law was expecting a child. But, she was not normal from the first month of the pregnancy itself. The doctors who were examining her from time to time, were of the opinion that the pregnancy would not last. Hence, my daughter-in-law wanted me to go to Bhagavan and bring Vibhuti for her. I went and brought to Bhagavan's notice her health problem. Bhagavan said, 'don't worry'. I came home and gave her Bhagavan's Vibhuti and told her that, Bhagavan has said not to worry. She was in a bed-rest all the time and in the beginning of ninth month, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. It was nothing but Bhagavan's grace. That child was born safely. One day Bhagavan himself named that boy as “Gautam”. He is of about fourteen years old now. 
The Sandur Royal Family under the Divine Care
Just by the blessings of Bhagavan, incurable diseases are cured. In my husband's case, once he had a tumor on his intestine. It was malignant. Doctors said that it was Cancer. My husband and I went to Puttaparthi. Bhagavan, as soon as he saw my husband, asked him, “Why have you come?" My husband said, "Bhagavan, doctors says that I must undergo an operation." Bhagavan blessed and told him to go. I could not keep quiet. I told Bhagavan that it was Cancer. Bhagavan looked at me and said, "Bhagavan has cancelled the Cancer. Go, nothing will happen to your husband." Bhagavan gave us Vibhuti and then we returned to Bangalore. The operation day was fixed, all sons and daughters were informed. They all came to Bangalore for their father's operation. They all knew that he had a cancerous tumor. My eldest daughter, Nirmala Devi, was waiting outside the Operation Theatre when the surgery was going on, and told her younger sister, "Ma seems to be very calm and peaceful, does she know the gravity of the operation?” Then her younger sister Vijayadevi Rane, told her, “Ma has full faith in Bhagavan, therefore, she is calm. She is not a fool not to know that it is a cancer case. Dada (the eldest brother) does not hide anything from Ma.” The operation was successful and after recovery, my husband came back from the hospital and lived for about 11 years without any further sign of the cancer. Bhagavan Baba had "cancelled the cancer". This is how we learnt to have firm and full faith in Bhagavan. We should learn to live like a Lotus flower which grows in muddy water. Bhagavan says: 
“The lotus is not defiled by mud nor is wetted by water
Yet it cannot survive even for a second without mud and water
Man's accumulated Samskaaraas of past lives are like mud
The present life can be compared to water.”

Like that, Bhagavan teaches us to live like a Lotus. Bhagavan always guides us with love, teaches us with love, talks with love and He tells: 

"Only through Love one can have the Vision of God One can see one's own reflection in the mirror only when a particular chemical is coated on the other side Likewise, coat the chemical of Love on your Hridaya in order to have the Vision of God. Fill your heart with Love, then there will be no place for evil qualities like jealousy, anger and hatred."

He teaches us so clearly, in a simple language. If in spite of it, we do not learn to love, we would become like nothing but lesser than the mud, and not like the lotus. 

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning was started by Bhagavan to provide education to bring young men and women to become good citizens and serve the society. At the time of Bhagavan's Birthday every year during November, the Annual Convocation of this Institution is held, when Bhagavan delivers His Benedictory Address. The 'Upadesh' of Bhagavan from that address teaches a new lesson to one and all, and it spreads all over the world. At that time thousands of people gather at Prasanthi Nilayam, from all corners of the world. Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning teaches thousands of boys and girls and carves them like lotuses for a successful living. Bhagavan always tells us about the moral and spiritual uplift of humanity through Satya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema should learn to adopt them in our daily life. Only then we will definitely enjoy the essence of Peace and Bliss in our life, and our Atma will merge in the Lotus feet of Bhagavan. 

- Smt. Sushiladevi Ghorpade
Rajmata of the Royal Family of Sandur

Source: Sai Vandana 1990

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