Mother Supreme – Mother So Sweet & So Dear

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Mother Supreme – Mother So Sweet & So Dear
By T. Ravi Kumar

Dr. T. Ravi Kumar joined the erstwhile Sri Sathya Sai College at Brindavan (Bangalore) as a student for his intermediate course in the year 1974. He continued this with his Bachelors in Science in the same college. After he completed his Masters in Science (Chemistry), he joined the Sri Sathya Sai College as a faculty member in 1981. Later, he was awarded Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry from the Sri Sathya Sai University in 1990. Currently, he is a Reader in the Department of Chemistry in the Brindavan campus of the same university. Additionally, he is a talented speaker and a keen student of Sri Sathya Sai literature.

The saddest day and the happiest day in my life fell on the same day – September 15, 1963. I was only 4 ½ years old then, and my mother had passed away that day. In the evening, as her body was being taken away for cremation, my cousin, who was slightly older than me, whispered into my ears that my mother would be taken in a procession. That somehow made me a lot happier as I imagined that it would be like the temple procession. Every image that my little mind could evoke of that religious parade was one of joy and gaiety.

But when my cousin said that “… she will not return” I was plunged in grief. All attempts to soothe me failed, and so I was taken across the street to my aunt’s house to keep me distracted. This aunt of mine was a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba, and so there was a nice photo of Baba in the front room of the house. Looking at it, I asked her who He was.

And she told me: “This is God. Pray to Swami and He will protect you”. Little did I realize then that the Divine mother’s compassionate eyes had fallen on me, at a time when my physical mother’s eyes had closed. And from that instant, I can say, my life has never been the same again.

It was in the year 1968 that my father was cured of cancer by Sathya Sai Baba by just uttering “Your cancer is cancelled”. Father lived for 38 years after that, and died of old age a couple of years ago! He was active till his last breath.

My family and I had always thought that it was only in 1968, after this miraculous curing of my father’s cancer, that we had the good fortune of being drawn to the lotus feet of Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba. But the sweet Lord was soon to remove our misconception!

One day, when I had the blessing of speaking in His Presence, I mentioned about how my family and I had come under Swami’s fold. But the all-knowing Lord corrected me by saying, “Not 1968 – 1963”.

Sathya SaiBaba went on to mention “Do you remember the day your mother died? Did you not ask your aunt, seeing My photo ‘who is this, aunty?’ From that day onwards, I have been looking after you”. And what an exciting journey it has been with Sai Maa to guide me! Swami has been a mother, nay much more than a mother to me!

Teenage Adventures
At the time it was made known that my father was suffering from cancer, our lives went through quite a few twists and turns. Since he was not expected to survive the cancer ailment, on returning to office after his trip to Puttaparthi, he found many of his colleagues, who were quite junior to him, had been promoted. This meant my father had to work extra hard to make up for lost time and opportunity.

At that time, I was studying in high school and fell into bad company. The school I studied in had the distinction of having three cinema theatres in front of it, and we – my friends and I – used to spend our afternoons in the cinema theatre watching movies and whiling away time. In fact, we would see as many movies as there were days in a week – we would even go for a morning show to make up for not seeing one on Sundays, which was a school holiday!

From ‘Good Boy’ to God’s Boy
One Sunday, my family and I went to Brindavan (Baba’s ashram in Bangalore) for Swami’s darshan, and Sathya Sai Baba picked us for an interview. Now, normally everyone looks forward for this blessing. You only need to see the joy on the faces of the devotees thus selected to understand what it means to them.

However, as we went to the interview room, I was filled with mixed feelings. There was a slight panic somewhere within my heart along with the joy that we had secured the coveted interview. As Swami returned from the darshan, He passed us and patting me on my cheeks, said “Good boy”.

Now, anyone who gets this remark, even once in his life, would feel that the purpose of life has been achieved, and would be excited and thrilled. But, believe me, it was nothing compared to the bliss I felt. The reason for this was two fold: on the one hand, Sathya Sai Baba had ‘certified’ that I was a good boy and I could wear this on my sleeve. But more importantly, on the other hand, it was also a feeling of tremendous relief as it confirmed that even Sathya Sai Baba was not aware of what I was up to!

However, the very moment this thought passed me, Sathya Sai Baba looked at my father and enquired about the other friends who had accompanied him. On being told that they were on the grounds outside, Baba sent him to fetch them.

He then turned towards me and with a sweet smile, again said, “Good boy”. I felt a glow within for a millisecond maybe, till this assertion became a question. “Good boy?” I tried to look as innocent as good boys do, but the questions followed: “Where were you yesterday at 2.30 in the afternoon?” Trying to look as pan-faced as I could, I answered confidently, “Swami, yesterday was Saturday. I must have been in the classroom…”

Satya Sai Baba quipped back saying, “That’s right, you should have been…. But where were you?” (I realized that the questions were becoming tougher and decided to remain silent). Swami continued, “Shall I tell you? You were sitting in the third row from the last in Ajanta theatre with your friends G and P on either side of you watching the film Katti patang” (a Hindi movie; the title means “a runaway kite”).

That was a precise description of my life till then! Swami’s voice trailed off, when from the corner of my eye I noticed that my father was coming with his friends. I shuddered realizing that it would be a red letter day in more than one way. Swami might choose to expose me within a second’s time and my father would punish me… my father strongly believed in the theory ‘do not spare the rod and spoil the child’. But what followed next, transformed me inside out! Instead of revealing it all to my father, Sai Maa, with the most loving smile, said, “He is a good boy. I was advising him to keep good company”.

I was moved beyond words can express. I asked myself, “Is there anyone in this world who can be and is so kind, in spite of knowing everything about you? Who could have loved me and helped as much, despite my many shortcomings?”

I reasoned that Sathya Sai Baba could have used this incident to demonstrate to my father and the others His omniscience, but chose to save me instead. From that moment, I decided to love this Mother with all my heart and serve Her lotus feet all my life!

This incident, truly, marked a new beginning in my life; I turned a new leaf. But what made it even better was when, after my schooling, Swami gave me the priceless privilege of being selected for the Sri Sathya Sai College for my intermediate class (XI and XII grade).

This meant that I could enjoy Swami’s proximity, and could grow up in the Divine Presence. That was in the year 1974. But now, when I look back at the tapestry of my life, I can see how Swami has so intricately and lovingly woven it with threads of gold.

Growing Up, Literally, with the Lord
Being in the junior most class, and that too the shortest, did not do much to boost my self-confidence. I secretly yearned to add a couple of inches to my height. One morning, in my first year, standing in front of the porch in Brindavan, Sathya Sai Baba said, “All short boys come to the front”. I was surprised to see that there were about 8 of us!

Sathya Sai Baba called the warden and instructed him to give us all a ‘medicine’ for growing tall! He handed over a box and instructed that it be given to us with hot milk in the morning everyday. The warden marched us to his office, and as an additional precaution noted down our heights. The next morning, when we were given the ‘medicine’ we were delighted to find that it was very tasty and sweet. How many times have we heard of a ‘sweet medicine’? But when the dispenser is the Divine Mother, how else would it be?

After fifteen days the ‘medicine’ was fully consumed. The warden went to Swami for the next ‘dose’. Swami just said, “There is no need. Measure their heights and see for yourself”. And of course all of us had grown taller. The evasive couple of inches had been added! Realization dawned on me that there was nothing too small to escape Swami’s attention, and nothing too big that He could not bless us with.

The Overpowering Sai Shakthi
It was a few days after the 70th birthday celebrations in the year 1995. I was sitting in the first line in the Bhajan Hall. Sathya Sai Baba had called a group of devotees and was inside the interview room.

I was reading an English translation of the Tamil classic Periya Puranam which my sister had presented to me a few days ago. It was the life story of Thirugnana Sambandar – a child devotee of Lord Shiva. In that particular story, one day, when the father wants to go to the temple tank for a bath and swim, the child, who was barely aged a couple of years, insists on accompanying him.

A tantrum follows and the father is forced to take the child to the temple tank. The father goes for his bath, leaving the child on the tank bund. After sometime, the child starts crying…….

At this moment, Sathya Sai Baba came out of the interview room and putting away the book I was reading, I looked at Him. Sathya Sai Baba came into the Bhajan Hall, went along the aisle, and talked to a devotee at the end of the hall.

When He returned, He looked into my eyes and asked, “Tell me how many litres of milk do you need?” The first thought that came into my mind was that Swami had warned me to reduce my weight six months before, and in fact, had even listed the items to be avoided! Had I failed in the attempt to diet? Swami repeated the same question thrice, and being unable to understand the purport of the question I remained silent.

For sometime after Swami returned to the interview room, His question kept bothering me… ‘Why did He ask me this question?’, I pondered. When, even after intense effort, I could not understand what the question meant, I decided to shelve it for the present, consoling myself that Swami would reveal the true meaning at the appropriate time, and returned to reading the book from where I had left off:

‘….. the child starts crying. It was hungry. Seeing its plight, Shiva and Shakthi appear before the child and the Divine Mother gives the child a golden bowl of milk. When the father returned from the swim, seeing the drops of milk on the child’s face, he questioned the child. The small child, who till then was barely lisping, sings out a poem describing the Divine couple.’

You can imagine my state. I put the book down, as tears of joy filled up my eyes. I was exhilarated when I realized that the very same Shiva and Shakthi had asked me the same question just a few moments ago!

I also realized that it was at the same spot (in the Bhajan Hall), that in 1963, on the Guru Poornima Day, Sathya Sai Baba had declared that His was the incarnation of both Shiva and Shakthi and cured Himself of the paralytic stroke.

To be a child and to enjoy the loving care of the Divine Mother is the greatest of experiences. Once in Trayee Brindavan, Swami was consoling a new student who had just joined that day, and was crying due to home sickness. He said, “I shall take very good care of you like your own mother… ask Ravi here, he knows”.

There is a famous quote which says, ‘the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world’ illustrating the supremacy of the mother’s role in shaping the citizens of tomorrow. How lucky all of us are, as the ‘Hand that rules the world, rocks our cradle!’

Reference

Happy! Happy!

Sathya Sai Baba Happy

Sathya Sai Baba Happy


Happy! Happy!

Last summer, Pete, my husband, told me of a scientific meeting in New Delhi in February. He had submitted a paper! It was accepted! Now we faced the problem of funding. We knew we would have difficulty paying two fares. Pete applied for grants from several institutions here in the U.S. No money was available. We had almost given up hope. The meetings were a month away. I was sitting meditating, one Sunday, when Sathya Sai Baba appeared to me. I was so overjoyed. He had not come to me for almost four years. Three days later we got a cable from India. Money was being sent for my husband’s fare! We had only three weeks to prepare! Many obstacles appeared and disappeared through Sathya Sai Baba’s Grace.

At last we were off! Or so we thought. Our flight out of Los Angeles was fogged in and we missed our connecting flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong. Luckily, we got an almost empty flight (the other flight was full) to Tokyo. After a day there we were booked on a late night flight to Hong Kong. It was the beginning of Chinese New Year and many people were going to Hong Kong. We had to wait a long time in the crowded airport. My “jet lag” was becoming extreme. I felt so tired and off balance. My stomach was in a knot. I felt worried about the children who were all ill when we left. In particular, I was worried about Jesse, our nine year old boy, who because of allergies, always gets severe croup when he gets ill. He had croup the day we left.

We continued on to Hong Kong and then on to New Delhi. As we were getting closer and closer to Delhi, I felt my heart soar. Mother India! I felt the tremendous blessings of the Rishis and Saints. Tears of joy ran down my cheeks. Soon I would see my Beloved.

When we arrived in Bangalore we telephoned our friend, who was the mother of my husband’s former secretary in N.Y., who was a Baba devotee. Yes! They had received our letter and were expecting us. In fact, they said, we were very lucky as Swami had just arrived at Whitefield the day before.

Can you imagine my extreme joy to step on the sacred earth of Brindavan? I had kissed that earth in my dreams because I know His Feet had walked on it. I look the dust on my heart and head. It was all exactly as in my dreams; the trees, the pandal, the beautiful red earth, the crowd of people. We took our places in the Darshan line. After about five minutes, some one came out of Swami’s house and mentioned for us to go in! I was so dumbfounded, my heart, I felt, would stop beating! My husband sat down in the foyer with the other men and I and my two lady companions sat opposite. We were looking toward the center door, expecting Swami to come through there. Instead, I felt a rush and turned, He had come through a side door right next to us!

He was like the sun. So radiant. Words cannot describe the sweetness of this precious moment, beholding Him for the first time. Smiling, He came straight to me and in His golden voice, softly, said, “Where is your husband?” I gave Him a garland of flowers and touched His precious feet and then pointed Pete out to Sathya Sai Baba. Swami went over to Pete, and as he touched Swami’s Feet, Swami gently patted him on the shoulder several times and said “So happy. So happy. Good man. Good man.” Then He told Pete to “sit, sit,” and that He would be back in a minute.

When He returned, He came to me and called Pete over to us. He then related very personal details about us, clearly showing He is with us every moment. He assured us about several personal matters. Then I showed Him a photo of our children. He said, “Yes. Yes. I know.” I told him how Jesse was sick often with allergies. Swami then said, “Don’t worry. I will take care.” Then He said, “I give Prasad” And with a gesture I was to see many times in the next two weeks, He materialized Vibhuti into my hands, my husband’s and the women we were with. “Eat! Eat!” He said, and we licked it off our fingers like small children lick cookie batter from their hands!

Then Sathya Sai Baba brought out a red basket filled with Vibhuti packets and filled our hands till it was overflowing! Swami then signed a book for Pete and one for me. As He was signing my book, I knelt down and kissed the Precious Foot of my Lord. Six years had passed since the moment I knew He would stand before me. My heart’s desire had been fulfilled. Swami said several times, “So happy, So happy,” to us and “Good man! Good man!” to my husband. Then He said, “be happy,” to both of us and turned and went out to give Darshan.

Pete had to see people in Bangalore the next day, who want him to work with them (Swami’s Grace again) and so he missed Darshan that day. The following day he had to return to Delhi to begin his teaching. He was planning to go to morning Darshan before he left, but found out the airlines had listed his flight time incorrectly. His flight left before morning Darshan.

So, you see, Sathya Sai Baba knew Pete only had that one chance to see Him. I stayed on for two weeks and came to Whitefield every day. Just the sight of Swami coming through the gate was enough. To have Him so near, to have Him walk right by us, to see His Precious Form; to see the Beloved Feet and Hand, to hear His sublime, sweet voice brought such joy. How grateful we are to have had this most precious experience. I pray to see Swami in every being I meet and in every thing I see. How blessed we are to have Swami’s precious teaching of Divine Love before us.

– Mrs. Pete Engel, California

Sanathana Sarathi, August 1979

Reference

The Divine Call From Sathya SaiBaba

Sathya Sai Baba Materialization

Sathya Sai Baba Materialization


The Divine Call From Sathya SaiBaba

When I thought of it, it was really an impossible task to bring my mother, an octogenarian, to the Abode of Supreme Peace and Love, from the distant Himalayan land of Sikkim. But no task remains impossible once His Divine Grace is showered in abundance. A comment passed by a close friend of mine is still vivid in my memory: “You should have taken your mother earlier. Now it seems to be too late for the journey because of her advanced age and ailing health and it may not be possible for her to travel. You may consider it as impossible a task as trying to fill a bamboo cane basket with water.” This in fact hurt my feelings since my dear old mother had been all the time wishing and praying to find refuge at His Lotus Feet in Prasanthi Nilayam for the last five years. Yet I did not lose heart but went on yearning and cherishing like a good optimist with all my unwavering faith in the Divine Grace of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I had given up pessimism since the time I had come to know about Bhagawan; has HE not assured that He will not forsake those who seek refuge in HIM?

Time kept on passing swiftly and my heart too kept on throbbing all the time with a worry as to how to proceed on the long journey. Yet, with a firm and steady faith, I could muster enough courage with all the patience that could be squeezed out of an ever hopeful heart.

Ever since her young days, my mother had been allergic to the smell of petrol and she preferred to travel either on horseback or on foot rather than riding a motor vehicle in which she would feel very uncomfortable and suffered from nausea. Now, due to her old age and physical weakness, travelling by car was ruled out; more over, the doctors advised that she should not travel by plane either, because of her heart trouble. Yet, wonderfully enough, she had much courage in store to travel by all means with a sense of total submission to His Mercy. It was most encouraging to hear from her words that were steeped in devotion. “This time, the Lord will surely listen to my prayers and take me to His Divine Abode.”

In January 1979, I got the rarest opportunity again in my life to be blessed by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba at Brindavanam. It was a wonderful Interview. My experience at the interview reminds me all the time that even our parents cannot love and care for us so dearly and selflessly as Swami does. His Love is impartial and infinite and He is ever ready to forgive our shortcomings and mistakes. His Love is for each and every being in Creation.

A Great Moment
I prayed to the Lord with hands folded, whether it was possible for me to bring my mother for His Divine Darshan. To my relief and satisfaction, Sathya Sai Baba told me that it was possible without the least doubt and that she could travel without any fear of sickness throughout the journey. A beautiful silver locket was materialised and given to me and Sathya Sai Baba said that I should take it home very carefully to be given to my mother so that it would protect her all the time while proceeding on our journey and also throughout the rest of her life. After this great moment, I was once again back to my home in Gangtok, the capital of our Himalayan country, Sikkim, although my heart did not permit me to leave the portals of His Abode. To be candid with my views and to dwell upon the true experiences of my life, I do not have the least doubt that it is just because of Swami that I have been blessed with a new life, in pursuit of the real Destination.

Dwelling on the first stage of the journey from Gangtok, I would like to share with all the fact that my mother had the vision of our Beloved Lord, who seemed to be keeping pace with the speeding jeep even when she was wide awake. This happened when we were on our way from Rangpo to Tista, the two main check posts on the route from Gangtok to Siliguri, the nearest railway station. It was late in the evening of Monday, the 31st January 1983, when He granted this vision to my mother. The effect was so miraculous that she felt very happy and quite at ease. All the time, she sat in her seat, lost in an inexplicable sea of joy. It was as though the Lord of Parthi had touched her with His Divine magic. She did not feel travel sick or fatigued even as we arrived at Siliguri in the late hours of the night. We found her still fresh, hale and hearty and the arduous journey through the twisting and winding roads had not affected her in any way. We knew that this was the most difficult part of our journey. Yet this visible sign of His care and Grace inspired us to proceed on our journey without worries and fear. After this, the journey was quite pleasant and comfortable, and we arrived at Prasanthi Nilayam, the Divine Abode of Eternal Bliss.

Gifts Of Grace
What followed after reaching Prasanthi Nilayam can only be described as the unfolding of another chapter of how He, our Lord Sai, lives every second of the day for giving His Love to His dear and wayward children, of how He draws them to Him with all the care of a mother nursing her first born child. He granted us interviews, chiding us to crave instead, for the inner-view of our Real Self, the grandeur of the spirit, which would confer upon us the gift of Paramananda. He gave a nice and cosy room for my mother to stay in and also other gifts of His Grace. What more can a child aspire for from a mother. Even to think that the Lord cares so much for every being, even insignificant people like us, who had not been able to offer anything to HIM and had always aspired to achieve His Grace, truly unfolds volumes of His Divine Glory.

Now we all feel that the bird has at last found its refuge. It has no more destinations to reach, no more vistas to explore. This is really the final `homecoming’.

The sentiment of heartfelt gratitude that wells up within the deep recesses of my heart cannot be described in words and yet I feel so grateful to the Lord for all times to come for having opened my eyes from the deep slumber of ignorance to bring me to the path of Light and Truth.

Reference

A Garland For Sathya Sai Baba From The Children

Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Sri Sathya Sai Baba


A Garland For Sathya Sai Baba From The Children

Knowing that Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has advised against offering of garlands to Him, children of the Vidya Vihar at Ooty hit upon an acceptable method of presenting Swami with a “garland” in the entertainment programme they got up during Bhagawan’s stay there in April.

The “flowers” in the garland consisted of pearls from the Divine lips. Before making the offering, one child came forward and said to Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba: “We, the little children of our Beloved Lord Sai, have picked up a few pearls that fell from our Lord’s lips. We have made a Garland out of them. Now we pray for our Lord’s gracious permission to place them around His Lotus Feet.”

After that, one child after another came forward to recite the allotted piece and take his or her place in the semi circle in front of Sathya Sai Baba, which became a garland for Swami. The following “pearls” glittered in the garland:

“Lord, you have told us that by cultivating devotion, that is Love for God, from childhood, we can reach Him, who is the treasure of all Ananda. You have also told us that how much we think we are, and not more, are we and so help us to learn more and more and then become better and better.”

“We also know that Sathya, Dharma, Santhi, Prema and Ahimsa are the chief noble qualities that we have to cultivate from our childhood and continue it throughout our lives. Because, Swami has said, Life is a search, explore it; Life is a challenge, meet it; Life is a game, play it; Life is a dream, realise it; and Life is Love, enjoy it.”

“So, for this we have to start early, drive slowly and reach safely. But we have to remember, ‘less luggage more comfort’, and we should always remember Love is God and God is Love and so we have to live in Love. If we do so, we will enjoy our lives.”

“In order to enjoy life, we must put a ceiling or limit on our desires. We must put a limit on our expenditure of our money. We must not talk too much thus wasting our time and energy. We must not waste food, because food is God, and when time is wasted, it is equal to life being wasted.”

“So, we have to remember that one of the best ways to spend time is, by doing good service to others, because doing seva to humanity is doing seva to divinity, that means serving God and helping God’s creation is the same thing. When we please man, we please God.”

“We have also to do our duty in life with discipline and devotion. For that, we must start the day with love, spend the day with love, fill the day with love, live the day with love and end the day with love and remember love lives by giving and forgiving and self lives by getting and forgetting.”

“And when we talk, we must remember to talk soft, talk sweet and talk the truth. We must watch our words, watch our actions, watch our thoughts, watch our character and watch our heart and we must also avoid backbiting, falsehood and harsh words.”

“Also we must remember that one must not only do the work one likes, but like the work one has to do. We cannot always oblige but can always speak obligingly. Swami has said, we are all caskets of divine love and so we must share it, spread it and express that love in thoughts of compassion, words of sympathy and acts of service.”

“Not only that, we must practice Ahimsa and Brahmacharya. We must cultivate humility, fearlessness and develop a sense of sacrifice and renunciation. Also we should eradicate ego, lust, anger, breed, envy and jealousy and practice selflessness, generosity and tolerance and thus make ourselves better persons.”

“For this, what we have to do is to ‘See Good, Be Good and Do Good, because that is the way to God.’ The past is beyond recovery. The future is uncertain. The given moment is now and here. So sanctify it with holy thoughts, words and deeds and thus make life a rose that speaks silently in the language of fragrance. Remove desire, attachment, and cultivate patience, fearlessness, control tossing of mind and temper; Love God, Trust God and Surrender to God.”

“So, for making us better persons, we must take a dose of Japam and Dhyanam for breakfast; have Satchintanam, Sat sang and Satparana for lunch; do pooja and archana for Tea; consider an hour of bhajan as Dinner; and do Manana, as a cup of milk at bedtime. This diet is enough to make our being happy and healthy.”

“And so we pray to our Lord to accept this little garland of pearls. We also pray to our Lord to help us to ‘Follow the master, Face the devil, Fight to the end, and Finish the game’ and when we become big, to be considered by YOU as Your fit instruments to carry out YOUR Message to Your complete satisfaction. Lord! Bless us all for that.”

Reference

Sai Baba And The Irate Missionary

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Sai Baba And The Irate Missionary

One March evening I found myself dropped like a hot cake within the towering grey walls of a convent school run by foreign missionaries in a Himalayan town and the gates closed behind me. I found myself amidst sons of ministers, aristocrats, diplomats, and what not. I found something missing in them. I could not help stealing away from their company. At times I felt lost in this big world, but slowly learnt to accept it as a part of my life. I kept myself at a safe distance from the stern looking missionaries. Not a day passed without my hearing the “whoosh! Whoosh!” of a cane and uncontrollable sobs and cries of some unfortunate child. I was destined to spend a fraction of my life there.

One day I received a rude shock. A photograph of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba which I had with me was taken away and was locked in a cupboard. In my loneliness I derived consolation from the book, “Sathya Sai Speaks” which was kept well hidden beneath my bed as I feared it would be confiscated too.

One cold night, just before supper, the warden came in with a grim face and announced, “Henceforth none shall keep any books beneath their beds. If books are found they shall be confiscated. Even if any religious books are found, they shall be torn into bits. The boys found guilty shall be caned severely.” My heart leaped on hearing this and it raced fast. The supper refused to pass down my gullets. I rose and walked out of the dining hall.

I tucked my gloved hands into the pockets of my overcoat and went out into the open grounds behind the convent. An icy wind from the snow covered mountains greeted me. I brooded, “what am I to do with that book of Swami. How could I give it away! It was my only source of joy and consolation, whose support and companionship I sought during those deserted moments.” My mind was now determined that I would continue to keep it beneath my pillow and face the consequences. I knew it was a severe test, and my Lord would make me pass.

A week passed and nothing happened. None had come to check. One night, it was roundabout 10. I was still wide awake in my bed. The cold wind from the Himalayas whistled outside my window and it made the glass window rattle loudly. All the boys in my dormitory were fast asleep, perhaps dreaming of angels and fairies, unaware of the terror that was to strike that night.

The lights of the dormitory were suddenly put on. There stood the warden with another missionary with a thick cane in his hand, that knew no compassion. They pulled the sleeping boys out of the bed and the beds were checked. Many had comics and fairy tale books which were found beneath their beds. Blows rained upon them. The cane fell upon them terribly, its sound came rhythmically, and the cries for mercy; equally kept pace with it.

While it was freezing outside, I was perspiring profusely. I covered myself and lay still and chanted the Gayatri Mantra frantically. I could hear the soft footsteps of the missionary approaching my bed. It was my turn now. I felt a light tap. My lips went dry. My tongue refused to chant any mantram. But I felt myself yelling within, “Baba! Baba! Baba!” I opened my eyes and tried to present an innocent look. I slowly got off my bed. The missionary gave me a sarcastic smile. I was afraid, surely not of the cane, as I was cocksure that my soul would jump out before the cane could land on me. I feared the dreadful fate that awaited the book. The missionary overturned my pillow with his cane and “Sathya Sai speaks” showed itself lovingly. He looked at me ferociously. He hit the book with the cane. I felt the blow, a little cry escaped from my lips. He asked me, raising his gruff voice, “What is that I see?” I remained silent. The boys stood motionless in dreadful silence, while tears streamed down the cheeks of some. The angry missionary pounced on the book, and took it in his big rough hands. The story of Prahlada and the saviour Lord Narasimha flashed back in my mind! I stood in terror expecting him to tear it into bits. But I found the book still safe in his hands. He was staring at it and kept muttering: “Sathya Sai Speaks! Sathya Sai Speaks! Sathya Sai Speaks!” He stared at it unceasingly and after a few minutes he opened the book. The picture of our benevolent Sai stared at him. He stared at the beautiful picture and it stared back at him. I wondered what had happened to him.

A few minutes later the missionary asked me softly, “Who is he?” I was silent, and felt I had lost my voice. He repeated his question again, “Who is He?” Finding my voice, I said, “SAI BABA!” The cane fell from his hand. He stared at the picture with greater concentration. I did not know what was happening to him. Even now I am at a loss to know what happened in those few fleeting moments between the missionary and Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. It remains still a baffling mystery to me.

The missionary placed the book gently on my bed, to the astonishment of all, and tip toed out of the room. Tears of joy and gratitude trickled down my cheeks, for my beloved Lord had made me feel the warmth of His Love even in the distant Himalayan region.

Reference