From Puttaparthi – Photographer Shot With Love

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

From Puttaparthi – Photographer Shot With Love

The story of Mr. Kumaran Ganesan
as told to Mr. Krish Venkatasubramaniam

Kumaran Ganesan is a leading advertisement photographer based in Bangalore. While his professional life has taken him abroad to many countries, the best of his experiences came from his interactions with the Lord within. Currently living in Bangalore, with his wife and two sons, Kumaran’s life is a testimonial of how Sathya Sai Baba’s love transforms lives.

Seeing without Looking
It was in 1989 that Kumaran saw Swami for the first time. That was the beginning of his photography career when he had been to Abbotsbury, Chennai, to take photographs of Swami, during His Chennai visit. Though Kumaran had the opportunity to take photographs of Swami from very close quarters for two days, he confesses that at that time he did not feel any attachment to Swami. “I just took the photographs as part of my job and left the place,” says Kumaran.

The optical sense cannot visualize the truth. It gives only false and fogged information. ~ Baba

But when God proposes, opportunities are galore. Such was the case with Kumaran, who was blessed with yet another chance to photograph our dear Lord Sai.

“The same year, I got another opportunity. I was working for Sudhir Ramachandran, a very renowned photographer and also a devotee of Swami. Sudhir was also my mentor.” Kumaran recollects with obvious pride.

Kumaran accompanied Sudhir and his family to Kodai Kanal, where Swami was residing at that time. On reaching Kodai, Sudhir offered to take him for darshan, but Kumaran thought it is better to stay back in the room, choosing to take care of Sudhir’s children instead.

On the last day of their stay in Kodai, for reasons he finds difficult to explain, Kumaran felt an urge to have darshan. Unable to contain this desire, he expressed it to Sudhir. But since it was very crowded and also quiet late, Sudhir suggested Kumaran to go to a particular spot near the lake, from where he could see Swami, as His car would normally pass by that way.

Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter. ~ Ansel Adams

The Divine Shot – At the Right Time
Kumaran promptly went and waited at the spot. When Swami’s car passed by him very slowly, he bowed down reverently and offered his salutations, hands folded. “Swami looked at me eye to eye and showed His abhayahastha (hands raised in blessing) and I instantly fell in Love with Him,” says Kumaran.

He came, He saw, He was conquered. And when the heart is conquered, it is conquered for ever! From that instant, Swami became the guiding force in anything and everything that he engaged in. A few years later, when he got married, he spoke about Swami to his wife.

She came to Puttaparthi with him and she too instantly came into Swami’s loving fold. This was so natural and instantaneous for both of them that they can only understand this as due to the infinite love of Swami which has permeated their lives since then.

The Lesson of Patience
In the earlier years, the professional opportunities that Kumaran got were few and far between. But with his new-found pillar of support in Bhagavan, nothing seemed too difficult to handle. Once, when he prayed to Swami for guidance, concerned by the thin volumes of his business, Bhagavan came in his dream and said, “Have patience. You will get your chances.”

“Swami taught and blessed me with this quality of patience, when I most needed it. Patience is one virtue that is required for professionals, be it entrepreneurs or corporate executives…. I was patient and did not lose heart, which paved the way for my current successful and rewarding career in photography, which is my passion.”

“Every single time I take a photograph, I say ‘Om Sri Sai Ram’, says Kumaran. “And sometimes when things falter during the shoot, I just take a short break and go to my room, touch Swami’s photo and pray. When I come back, things automatically fall in place.”

The Lord of the Land
Years ago, his studio was situated in Millers Road, Bangalore. There were thefts in all apartments in that building, except his! For security reasons, he wanted to shift the studio, but hesitated since he thought he might lose the good luck that the location had brought him. A rather illusive thought, for God is everywhere and place is hardly any constraint for Him when He chooses to bestow His blessings on his devotees.

But, His ways are mysterious. So, at the time when Kumaran was contemplating moving out of his office to a new place, there was a new office in Bangalore’s Infantry Road that was readily available. The owner of this place gave Kumaran one month to decide and finalise the place. But, Kumaran was confused and could not take a decision. Both, he and his wife, prayed to Swami for guidance. Bhagavan came in his wife’s dream and said, “Shift to the new premise. You will get all good results.”

Kumaran was very happy and relieved to hear that. But soon maya came in. After a while, fear and confusion prevailed over him again. His wife suggested, “Why don’t you pray to Him again. He will clear your doubts.” He prayed and again that night, Swami came in the dream – this time around, in Kumaran’s dream and said, “I am with you. Why do you worry? You are going to work with clients like IBM. Shift your studio to the new place.”

On receiving this assurance from the Lord, he went to the landlord to give the advance and finalise the Infantry Road Office. Given the mysterious way the whole event had unfolded, Kumaran could not help but look around the owner’s house for Swami’s photos. There were none. But later, when the owner Mr. V. Krishnamurthy said, “Pay the advance to my son, Sai” Kumaran was thrilled. And once he interacted with his son, he came to know that the landlord and his family were long time devotees of Swami.

There will be times when you will be in the field without a camera. And, you will see the most glorious sunset or the most beautiful scene that you have ever witnessed. Don’t be bitter because you can’t record it. Sit down, drink it in, and enjoy it for what it is! ~ DeGriff

“Then Mr. Krishnamurthy took me inside and also shared another very interesting story. In the 1960’s, there was a bungalow on this same piece of land, where Swami had stayed during his visits to Bangalore.”

Needless to say, Kumaran relocated his studio to the new place to re-launch his career and from then onwards professional life has only been on the rise. “I got lot of new clients, of course, including IBM!” Kumaran exults. “Revenues also increased multifold.”

Do Not Compare, If You Want Peace
“Sometimes, I used to compare myself with fellow professionals, to find that some of them were doing better than me,” says Kumaran. “I used to particularly compare myself to one photographer whom I knew, who got more business and revenue than me.”

“But Swami, through my inner voice used to correct me, by asking me not to indulge in such comparisons. And once He clarified in a dream ‘The person you are comparing with, is better than you work wise. And moreover, he has the need to work harder since he has the need for that extra money.'”

Ask One – Get Two!
Four years into the marriage, the Kumarans did not have an issue. Hence, they kept praying to Swami: “Please bless us with a child, Swami” had been their prayer for long, but not too long. One night, the Lord came in Kumaran’s dream and said, “Your time has not yet come. I will give – not one, but two children.”

They have two beautiful sons and every time they see the cheerful duo, they see Swami’s infinite Love.

Undiluted Peace
“Coming to Swami’s loving fold has blessed me with, amongst other things, the most valuable thing – undiluted peace.” Kumaran says gratefully.

“At times, when an existing client of mine substitutes another photographer for certain reasons and conveys the same to me, I just think of Swami and I am calm,” says Kumaran. “Before Swami entered into my life, these kinds of adverse events would instantly unnerve me. But now, I find myself very composed and peaceful.”

“When my son, Karan, fell ill a couple of times, my wife was very perturbed, but I reminded her that he was Swami’s gift to us, and hence the Lord would surely take care of His child. Thus, in all matters, and at all times, while awake and in dreams, I feel a deep sense of peace, which is purely because of His infinite Love and blessings.

“Even when the family shares a happy moment I just say ‘Om Sri Sai Ram’. I know it is all because of His Grace. Hence, it is a kind of thankful remembrance of Him during such moments.

“Today, in all matters relating to my professional and person life, Swami’s teachings guide me and my family. For anything and everything, we seek Swami’s guidance and blessings and only then proceed.”

Kumaran has come a long way from 1989 when he was just an uninterested photographer of Swami to one who has now captured the Lord in his heart forever.

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence. ~ Ansel Adams