The Magnificent Jyothi Darshan

Sathya Sai Baba Early Days At The Chitravathi River

Sathya Sai Baba Early Days At The Chitravathi River

The Magnificent Jyothi Darshan

One day, Sathya Sai Baba blessed all of us in Puttaparthi by partaking meals in our house. Sakkamma, who was present then, asked Baba if she could return to Bangalore. Swami, however, did not grant her permission. But Sakkamma insisted that she had to leave. My mother also tried to dissuade her. Finally, Sakkamma boldly said, “If Swami shows His darshan in a miraculous way, only then will I stay back.”

For those who are not aware, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba stated that the first period of His divine life would be characterized by leelas – the sports of the Lord. It was because this aspect was prominent then, and also because Sakamma adored and related to Swami as a young boy that she could at times take the liberty to make such demands.

And Sathya Sai Baba too was very ready to grant Sakamma’s prayer in a spectacular way on that occasion.

The next evening He took all of us along with Him to the Chitravathi River, which was a copious flow during those days. At about 6.30 p.m., Swami suddenly told us all to follow Him, and He walked up a hillock and stood there.

He showed His empty hands and then asked us if we were all ready to see what followed. We waited with bated breath to see what would unfold… There, suddenly appeared a brilliant light, and in the middle of that sublime brilliance stood Sathya Sai Baba!

All of us assembled there, at the foot of the hillock, saw this Divine spectacle and were dumbfounded in awe. A Divine aura had completely surrounded Swami as He stood there on the hillside. The light was a pulsating brightness, so dazzling that it was overwhelming. But at the same time, the luster was so soft and gentle, because of which we could withstand the purity of its luminescence.

And then, Satya Sai Baba slowly came down a few yards, but the effulgence continued to surround Him. When He further descended, the aura was still there around Him, undiminished. We were stunned and speechless. How can one describe that unprecedented event? We were just shocked with delight and overjoyed at the divine gift bestowed on us.

After this historic event, we all returned to the old Mandir and sang bhajans. At the end of this session, we offered Him arathi. Sathya Sai Baba then told us the significance of the darshan He had bestowed on us just then. He explained that there are many types of devotees and everyone worships God in the form they like the most; the choice is totally up to them. Each one will become aware of the brilliance of the Divine in the form they worship and that is dear to them.


Diesel Generator Runs on Water

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Diesel Generator Runs on Water!

During those days, there were no street lights. The roads were dark and uninviting in the evenings. A couple of bulbs glowed powered by a diesel generator for which devotees procured the fuel.

One evening, during a celebration, when the procession was about to start, the bulbs failed to light up! At that time Sathya Sai Baba was sitting in an old room at the rear of the old Mandir.

Devotees started complaining that there was no light. Hearing this, Sathya Sai Baba asked for water in a bucket from the nearby well. He then directed them to pour the water into the generator tank. Wonder of wonders! The bulbs lit up and burned beautifully throwing bright light all around!

This amazed everybody, but maybe there were still a few doubting thomases. Sathya Sai Baba again asked the devotees to fetch another bucketful of water and directed that it be poured into the generator – the bulbs continued to burn beautifully. Nobody had any doubts about His divinity that evening!


Celebrating Bhagavan’s Birthday

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Celebrating Bhagavan’s Birthday

In those days (in the 1940s), Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s birthday did not call for any major celebration. Instead we enjoyed more experiences with the Lord which we now cherish for all eternity. Elderly devotees used to apply the customary coconut oil on His head and we would garland Him with bright flowers while singing bhajans.

During one birthday, Sathya Sai Baba refused everyone who came to garland Him. The ever playful Sai Baba was enacting a divine drama. But He appeared serious all the same! The 20 or so devotees who had assembled returned with the garland still in their hands, rather downcast and perplexed. This was to have been the highlight of their year! Then they discussed how to attract the mysterious Lord to their side, and collectively requested Sathya Sai Baba to partake meals with them.

Sathya Sai Baba asked them to sit inside the Mandir and then surprised the group by serving water and food to everyone with His own hands! Needless to say, they were all moved and overjoyed after their initial disappointment.

Maybe Bhagavan was teaching them the lesson that God’s creation is full of ups and downs – but be assured that when it seems as if things have gone awry, He will always wipe away our tears in an unexpected way!

There lived an old man named Kadirappa in the village who used to wash up all the utensils after devotees had partaken their meals. Generally, he ate the leftovers from these cooking vessels, and often, this comprised of just plain steamed rice, without any salt, or garnish, and was rather lacking in nutrition. Once, when this old man was eating silently sitting beside the well, Sathya Sai Baba went into the kitchen and brought out all that my mother had personally cooked for Him.

This included boiled vegetables, curries, and chutney. Sathya Sai Baba lovingly told the old man to eat all the other items and not just plain rice. It was such a sweet sight to behold. The Lord offering His own food to the man who washed the dishes! After giving him the food, Satya Sai Baba went up to my mother and asked her if she was upset. She replied, “You are God. How can I question what You do?”

This unique spirit of sacrifice seems unparalleled except in Sathya Sai Baba’s own life as we remember incidents from His childhood recorded in His biography, Sathyam Shivam Sundaram, Part 1. Prof. Kasturi writes:

At the tender age of three and four, He showed that He had a heart that melted at human suffering. Whenever a beggar appeared at the door and raised his cry, Sathya left His play and rushed inside to force His sisters to hand out grain or food. The adults were naturally irritated by the endless procession of outstretched hands.

On one occasion, in order to put an end to what the elders thought was expensive and misplaced charity, the mother caught hold of Sathya, and with a finger raised in warning said, “Look here! You may give him food, but mind you, you will have to starve.”

That did not daunt the child. He would run inside and bring out food to the hungry man at the door and later stay away from lunch or dinner himself. Nothing and no one could persuade Him to come for His food which was left untouched!

When Sathya began running about in the streets, He sought out the maimed, the blind, the decrepit, and the diseased, and led them by the hand to the doorstep of His parents. The sisters had to secure from the store or the kitchen some grain or food, and put it into the beggar’s bowl while the Little Master looked on happily. – H2H Team


Karunamba Ramamurthy Reminisces About Her Mother

Young Sathya Sai Baba

Young Sathya Sai Baba

Karunamba Ramamurthy Reminisces About Her Mother

Question: Your mother was very devoted to Bhagavan and was fortunate to have interacted with Him. Could you narrate a few of her experiences?

Karunamba Ramamurthy: There once lived a woman called Venkata Lakshamma in a hamlet called Namadala near Dharmavaram town. This woman was referred to by the villagers as a yogini (ascetic).

This woman once visited our house. Unaware of who she was, we used to find her ways amusing. She used to be very silent, not talking too much to anyone. Often at nights, she used to sit and do japam (chanting His name); she wouldn’t lie down and sleep. My mother was impressed and thought that Venkata Lakshamma was powerful, practicing pranayama and other spiritual exercises.

My mother was enthusiastic to learn from her. And eventually, she invited my mother to her village to initiate her to a sacred mantra. She told my mother that she would be emancipated by the chanting of that mantra. That is why, as I told you in an earlier interview, Sathya Sai Baba refused to initiate my mother saying she was already initiated and asked her to continue with the same mantra.

Whenever Sathya Sai Baba went to the Chitravati river, He took devotees and children along with Him, without leaving anyone in the Mandir. Just like a flock of sheep we used to follow Him.

Once we all went for such a trip to the holy river. My mother sat a little away from the group. Sathya Sai Baba created many things and distributed to all around. He also created medicine for those in need. One minor, though interesting, point to note is that even though His hands were under the sand, not a grain of sand used to stick to His fingers.

After distributing such prasadam and things to those around, He called my mother. Sathya Sai Baba commanded her to take a handful of sand herself and see what was inside it. To her surprise, she found a small paper roll. My mother told Satya Sai Baba that as her vision was not clear, she would read it once inside the Mandir. Sathya Sai Baba agreed. When she opened the small roll of paper later, much to her surprise, she read the same mantra that Venkata Lakshamma had initiated her to. Any vapor of doubt totally vanished after that.

My mother treasured that small piece of paper all her life.

About a year later, the new Mandir came up. Hearing about Sathya Sai Baba, Venkata Lakshamma came to Puttaparthi to see Him. There she met Mother Easwaramma. She also met my mother here and enquired about her about the progress of her spiritual efforts or sadhana. My mother told her that Sathya Sai Baba had confirmed the initiation and the mantra. My mother, however, also told her that despite constant repetition of the mantra, she seemed to be going nowhere.

She had doubts about her emancipation. To this the yogini said, “You have just caught a big branch of a tree. Swami will look after you forever, don’t worry!” Mother replied, “Swami is not saying anything. He keeps silent. Will I get emancipated?” The yogini replied that Swami was retaining my mother in His presence and that He was watching her progress. She said, “Once Swami has told you to stay only here, he has to uplift you totally. Never leave this place. You need not do anything else.”

Venkata Lakshamma used to live near the old Mandir. Once, Easwaramma visited the old Mandir. When they met, they both hugged together and felt very happy. It was more than a coincidence that earlier Easwaramma and Venkata Lakshamma lived together in a house in Kothacheruvu village.


Sathya Sai Is Shakthi Swaroopini

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Is Shakthi Swaroopini

Sathya Sai Baba used to sit along with devotees and discuss with them various topics. Many came to Him for advice, which He offered with the greatest of concern. The number of devotees in the Mandir in those days often did not cross single digits; even ten people on normal days was a big number.

Everyday, turmeric powder and vermillion was placed on the deities who adorned the altar. Incense sticks and lamps were also lit, and all these duties were done in turns by the ladies staying in the Mandir.

One day, it was my mother’s chance to decorate the idols and light the lamps. While she was busy doing this, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was actually standing right behind her.

Sathya Sai Baba made a few remarks expressing his apparent displeasure in the way the idols were being adorned. When my mother heard this, she immediately turned around and what did she see? In stead of Sathya Sai Baba, it was the Divine Mother in the form of Sakthi Swaroopini!

She was decked in a red silk saree; Her face was shining turmeric powder and vermillion; beautiful gold jewelry adorned Her neck. What a divine blessing Satya Sai Baba has conferred on her! It was just heavenly. She often recounted this glorious darshan with great fervour.

Sathya Sai Sakti Swaroopini

Sathya Sai Sakti Swaroopini

In those cherished days, I was awed by the glory of Sathya Sai Baba. We have not seen Lord Rama or Lord Krishna, but the present Avatar is living with us, amidst us! What a great opportunity!


The Coconut of Great Wealth

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

The Coconut of Great Wealth

I remember another one of these leelas which concerned a lady from South India who asked Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to grant her material riches. This time Sathya Sai Baba gave her a coconut and told her to listen to His advice carefully. “Hear properly what I have to say. I have given you a coconut. Take it home and worship it every day. You will be given all the riches you want.”

Needless to say, she was overjoyed. She received it and started her journey back home. On the way she sat at Penukonda railway station awaiting her train. She took the coconut and moved it with her hands. While doing so she heard a sound inside that seemed to emanate from the coconut. A doubt crept into her mind. Was Sathya Sai Baba’s gift genuine? Could a coconut really offer riches?

So thinking, she decided to break it open and look inside. As the coconut cracked open, a golden idol of Lakshmi sprang out and instantly disappeared! Grief stricken, she came back to Sathya Sai Baba and told Him about her mistake of breaking the coconut; she requested Him to give her one more. Then, Satya Sai Baba told her, “You do not have faith in My words. Hence, return just as you came here.”

Many such people came to Sathya Sai Baba seeking such material wealth; very few were interested in spiritual riches.

Even during the Shirdi incarnation, there is an instance of a rich gentleman who had every worldly success in life and appeared to lack nothing, and therefore came to Baba seeking the ultimate wisdom.

The Sai Satcharita says that despite a very comfortable and prosperous life, the wealthy man came to Shirdi, went to the Masjid, saw Sai Baba, fell at His feet and said, “Baba, hearing that You show without any delay the Brahman (Almighty God) to all who come over here, I too have come all the way from my distant place. I am much fatigued by my journey and if I get the [knowledge of] Brahman from You, my troubles will be well-paid and rewarded.”

It is said that Baba replied to the rich gentleman seeking spiritual knowledge thus: “Oh, My dear friend, do not be anxious, I shall immediately show you the Brahman; all my dealings are in cash and never on credit. So many people come to Me and ask for wealth, health, power, honour, position, cure of diseases and other temporal matters. Rare is the person who comes here to Me and asks for Brahma-Gyana (Knowledge of the Self). I think it is an auspicious moment when a person like you comes and presses Me for Brahma-Gyana.…”

(However, the ensuing details of how Baba gave the seeker an experiential lesson in the supreme spiritual wisdom is very interestingly described in chapters 16 & 17 of the Shirdi Sai Satcharita and they go to show how genuine seeker’s of God’s grace are very rare, as most devotees tend to be only interested in gaining worldly favours from the God incarnate. – H2H Team)


From Puttaparthi – Raja Reddy Incidents

Sathya Sai Baba At The Chitravathi

Sathya Sai Baba At The Chitravathi

From Puttaparthi – Raja Reddy Incidents

Among the few fortunate devotees, who came to Sathya Sai Baba in the early years of His avatharhood, Mr Raja Reddy is exceptional. He was one of the most privileged who came to Bhagavan as a teenager and continued to stay in the Divine Presence enjoying His blissful divine proximity for nearly three decades. In his words:

Once I had a difference of opinion with Baba – you know ego coming out! We were stationed in Bangalore – in one devotees’ place. And I took it so much to heart that I thought I must back off! And in fact, I did back off. I took a 3 hour bus journey to return to my home.

But half way through the journey, as I was having a snack in a way-side hotel, I don’t know what happened! My whole heart was being wrung like a wet towel. I could not stand it! Automatically tears started flowing from my eyes unendingly.

So much so that the other inmates at the hotel thought: ‘Poor fellow; he must be suffering from some agony!’ The tears would not stop. It was a ceaseless flow. I could not stand it anymore; I was finished! I took the next bus to Bangalore and said, “Come what may, I am going back to Baba!”

When I reached, I saw Sathya Sai Baba sitting quietly on the bed, writing a letter to me! Yes! He was writing: “Where will you leave me and go?”

From then on I decided – He is the supreme indweller! And nothing can be done without His permission. When He has your heart under His control, you can’t do anything! You’re finished. Your brain doesn’t work. So that’s how it happened and that’s when I decided: “I will not go anywhere without Your Will – it can’t be done!”

He knows absolutely everything; it was something fantastic! And you know all the rest of it – whenever a thought rises in the mind of any one of the devotees sitting there, it at once gets registered there in Sathya Sai Baba’s Solar Consciousness; so much so that He reacts immediately!

For instance, my wife, and my son – they have also had such experiences. Once Satya Sai Baba was giving an interview; and He called my wife too. There were some rich people around Him. Then she had a faint thought in her mind: ‘He gives special attention to rich people!’

Sathya SaiBaba was talking then about something else, but He immediately turned to her as if following her thought and said: “Why? Because under them there are so many other people who are working; and they will all be benefited by it!” Everybody working under the rich person can get influenced!!! So many people will be benefited if one at the helm is corrected. Naturally, His heart goes out to other people also; so they also stand to benefit. So, instead of catching every small ant, catch hold of the queen ant! That’s what Sathya Sai Baba is doing; and that’s what Swami Vivekananda used to do too.

Gradually he put me in bhajans and in driving His car and looking to His various duties; getting His bath ready and His bed, and so many other opportunities! He has been immensely graceful to me – giving me all those chances to do seva, and so it went on.

It was in Ooty and Baba was relaxing on a cot; only we two were there in the room. Sathya Sai Baba said: “If you are a devotee of Vishnu, you will see the parama-jyoti (Supreme light) coming from my heart; if you are a devotee of Shiva, you will see it from my forehead – where the third eye or the Jnana netra (eye of wisdom) is located.” I, of course, saw a jyoti (Divine light) in the heart area, as I have been a devotee of Lord Krishna right from the very beginning.

I told you I am a born skeptic! I wouldn’t yield that easily; I have an ego too! After Sathya Sai Baba went out of the room, I took His torch which He had kept under the rug. I thought: ‘Will it give me the same effect? Let me try it!’

Immediately Sathya Baba caught me red-handed! He came inside and said: “What shall I do to make you believe?”

Heart 2 Heart Reference

How Sathya Sai Baba Cured A Cancer Patient

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

How Sathya Sai Baba Cured A Cancer Patient On 15th January 2009

The Following was Related by a very Dear Sai Brother V.Sarvothamudu from Hyderabad:

Dear all,

I would like to narrate an extraordinary incident that happened few days ago.

Brother B. Srinivas from Puttaparthy informed me that they have identified a deserving case to be taken up for medical treatment for cancer, at Hyderabad. One Smt. Narasamma aged nearly 70, a resident of Venkatareddy palli near penukonda, was certified by the doctors (after conducting the necessary tests) at Anantapur that she was suffering with Uterus cancer and to be sent for treatment to the Indo American cancer Hospital Hyderabad.

Immediately Brother BS called up and said that, they are sending her with three of her family members, by the night train and they would be at Hyderabad by 5 A.M on Saturday, the 9th of Jan. 2009. He wanted me to take care take care of their stay arrangements at Hyderabad and wanted me to show her at Indo American Cancer Hospital for treatment. As she had the coverage under Arogyasree of A.P. State medical Scheme, there was no necessity of spending any amount either for the tests or for the proposed treatment.

The next day four of them have landed in the morning and I arranged their stay at Hotel Nataraj, which is near Kacheguda station. Brother Indraneil Benerjee, who traveled along with coordinated in bringing them to the hotel and leaving them. Next day being Sunday, I could not arrange for the check up treatment.

In the meantime, with the permission of the competent authorities at Sivam, I shifted her from the Hotel accommodation to the Premises of Sivam, as I felt that, she would have the divine vibrations, which may give her some positive vibrations for getting relieved of the pain, which she was suffering.

On Monday morning, she was taken to the Hospital for treatment. Dr. Narsimham garu of Puttaparthy has helped us by contacting the known doctors over there and directed us to meet them for treatment. On 12th Morning, tests were conducted for the patient and the lady doctor there expressed with Mr. Raghunath, the son of Smt. Narsamma, that her condition is very bad and she doen’t want it to be disclosed to the patient, as she may get disturbed mentally. In fact Mr. Raghu shared this information with me and felt very sad. Doctors have asked Mr. Raghunath to come for the reports on the next working day, i.e. on 15th of Jan 2009, as Bogi and Sankranthi festivals have fallen on 13th and 14th of January 2009.

In the meanwhile, they have stayed in Sivam and attended the special programmes too. On 13th night Smt. Narsamma had a dream at about 4A.M. in the morning, and she said Bhagavan appeared to her and applied vibhuti on her stomach and rubbed it with force. Later Swami assured to take care of her. She had narrated this to me when I went to visit them that night.

Because I had heard the doctors version through her son the before day, I half heartedly consoled her, saying nothing would happen as Bhagavan has assured and treated her in His divine way. At that point of time, I never knew that this is going to be a reality. In fact this I shared with my brother and some of my collogues that her condition as per doctor is critical and I only pray Bhagavan to make her dream come true. Thursday when the reports have come, to our utter disbelief, doctors have confirmed that the reports have not revealed any malignancy. However they wanted the patient to undergo biopsy too to rule out even an iota of doubt. Hence, on Saturday, ie 17 Jan we took her again to the Hospital and got her biopsy done as per the doctor’s advice. Now the faith on the divine healing has increased in all of us to the extent of 90%, as Bhagavan always says, we are all doubting Thomases’.

This is the reason precisely, I waited till today for the biopsy reports too to come and after it is established once again that there is no problem of cancer, I am venturing to share with you the lovely Miracle of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, which has cancelled the Cancer of Smt. Narasamma, a humble devotee of the Lord.

In fact, the day they were leaving for their village on Saturday evening, I took two Photographs of Smt. Narasamma, which I attach for you to just see.

It has been our experience that whenever, His students have taken up an activity, His divine play was always there taking care with the love of thousand mothers.


Smt Narasamma

Smt Narasamma

Robert Bozzani: How Swami U-Turned My Life

Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Robert Bozzani: How Swami U-Turned My Life

One among the few devotees from the western hemisphere who came to recognise Baba’s divinity way back in the early seventies, Mr. Robert Bozzani (also known as “Bob Bozzani”) was a forty-five year old flourishing businessman from the USA when he came to Sathya Sai Baba for the first time. For more than thirty five years since then, he has visited Puttaparthi at least once every year and has been a hand-picked instrument of Bhagavan in His Divine Mission. Currently, he is a Trustee of the Sathya Sai Book Center of America, California, USA:

Robert Bozzani: God draws people to Himself in myriad ways. And every traveller bound for the Divine Pilgrimage has a different and interesting tale of how he was first drawn to the Lord. So too is my story.

My tryst with divinity began when I was a 12 year old boy, studying in a public school in Pasadina, California. My mother, giving in to the counsel and pressure from her friends, decided to switch me over to a Church school. Three weeks into this school, and I encountered something which sowed the seeds for a transformation that was to last a lifetime. For, at the Church School, our teachers told us – “You know, there is one thing we must tell you. That is, God would not like it if you went to another Church. If you do so, you will be doomed to perdition.”

Three Unanswered Questions
I did not feel too comfortable with that. Instead, three questions raised themselves to my mind.

  1. If there is a God, shouldn’t He be there for everybody?
  2. If He has manifested as Jesus Christ, does that mean that He has not manifested earlier, or will not manifest hereafter?
  3. Shouldn’t there be more to this universe than what I can think of? This thought stirred the depths of my consciousness every time I looked up at the night sky even as a young boy and saw all the beautiful stars twinkling and shimmering in the empyrean.

It was essential that I first lose my way in the labyrinths of worldly happiness, for only then it would strengthen the urge for spiritual bliss and peace. Thus, I took the path of the temporal and the mundane, because my path, being born in America, was to seek happiness in a materialistic way.

So I went, full barge as one would say, and finished school, and later went on to become a flourishing business man. Then I got married and even had wonderful children. It was essential that I first lose my way in the labyrinths of worldly happiness, for only then it would strengthen the urge for spiritual bliss and peace. Thus, I took the path of the temporal and the mundane, because my path, being born in America, was to seek happiness in a materialistic way.

I had everything that was supposed to make one happy; I could not ask for more. But, at the age 45, I was so unhappy that I didn’t want to be around any more. The feeling was, in fact, deeper than that. I just thought life was useless, but nobody could feel or know how I felt inside; absolutely nobody, not even my wife, family, or my mother. I was trying to find happiness in the pursuit of the great American dream. But I could feel that in spite of having everything, I had nothing.

‘Sai Yoga’ – Union with Sai, Through Hatha Yoga
It was around this time that Bhagavan decided to draw me to Himself. And this happened in the early seventies through my wife who had developed an interest in Hatha Yoga. Keen in her intent of pursuing this ancient form of Yoga, she got in touch with Indra Devi, the leading Yoga practitioner in the West, who was also an ardent follower of Sathya Sai Baba. My wife went twice to Tecate, to supposedly learn Hatha Yoga but when she was there with Indra Devi, they spent so much time talking about Baba.

When my wife returned to California, she told me that she had learned about Sathya Sai Baba and would like to go India sometime. Reluctant and unconvinced, I dropped it at that. But my wife wanted to go the following year, and she did.

Then, towards the end of the year 1973, about December, my wife made a statement which was so unlike her. She said, “I am going to go to India, whether you come or not.” I did not say no to Satya Sai Baba, because, fortunately, we had an open upbringing. We were brought up that way. So, I said, “Well, I guess I am going.”

He Appeared, Not in Dream, But in Person
Here, I should mention something very significant which happened in this month of December. Actually, during this period I was deeply depressed and one night Sathya Sai Baba appeared to me not in a dream, but in person. I woke up in the middle of the night on December 9, and there was Baba standing at the end of our bed! He was clothed in a white robe and with a raised hand as if blessing and comforting me, He said, “Don’t worry, everything will be alright.”

And the unique thing about this experience is that Swami spoke to me in the voice of my physical father who had actually passed away the year before! In fact, I remember, saying to Him, “How are you, father?” And Swami again answered in my father’s voice. He sweetly said, “I am fine, but working very hard.” It wasn’t until several years later that I found out that Shirdi Baba often talked to newcomers in a voice they are familiar with so that they feel comfortable.

It did not stop at that on that momentous night. Baba, next, took me out of my body and I remember looking down on the bed where my wife and I were actually sleeping. It was such a unique experience. He then put me back into my body and told again, “Don’t worry, every thing will be alright.” After this, Swami left. But again, it wasn’t until a year later that I completely understood the message that Swami wanted to give me that night. It was very clearly this: “I wasn’t the body”.

So, filled with such experiences, we came in February 1974 to Bangalore, India. And as per our plan, I was to escort my wife to Puttaparthi, ensure that she was safe, and then I was to go back to Bangalore, and from there, start touring. I was still, not so convinced about His divinity.

But way back in 1974, having come to Puttaparthi, it wasn’t easy to turn around. We reached Puttaparthi into the evening and it was impossible to go back. So I decided to stay on for the night and return the next morning to Bangalore. In fact, I hadn’t checked out of the hotel even, since I knew I was going back.

Answering the Three Divine Puzzles
The next morning, Swami was very kind to call our group in the Mandir. It was not an official interview, but a sort of a small discourse. Professor Kasturi was there who translated His words for us. And then, something very beautiful transpired. It was actually quite extraordinary for me then. For, as I was to learn later on, Bhagavan talks to each one of us – heart to heart. And one is sure of a message from Him, whether it is in a discourse, or whether one is in darshan. Directly or otherwise, Swami has a message for each of us, if we are alert to it. Sometimes we get it, sometimes we don’t. But in my case, it was direct.

For, here was Swami giving us a sweet talk. But suddenly I could feel Swami answering the three questions that I had asked of an unseen Creator when I was a twelve-year old. I could hear His message distinctly, addressed straight to my heart, though not verbally, and felt their import and impact.

  1. Yes, there is a God and He is here for everyone.
  2. He has come before Jesus, and He is here now and He will come even after.
  3. No doubt, there is much more to this universe than what man thinks there is.

After the discourse and that wonderful get-together, I walked out of the Mandir, found my wife and said to her, “He is God. We are staying.” And I sent somebody, who was going to Bangalore, to check out of my hotel and send my luggage to Puttaparthi.

Instantaneous Realisation
Then came the dramatic twist to my tale. My wife, who was very enchanted by Sathya Sai Baba, and wanted to come and see Him in the first place, was dumbfounded. For I, the non-seeker, had realized Baba’s divinity instantly. Whereas, it took her three years to accept the fact that Sathya Sai Baba was God Incarnate and the Avatar of the Avatars. That’s interesting. I got it like that! She took a little bit longer.

But acceptance or not, Bhagavan ensured that He made us feel comfortable all the time when we were with Him. Let me share one instance. We were fortunate to have a private interview with Swami. On that occasion, He told us things that we didn’t know. He revealed us about our past and present; it was surprising He knew events about our lives that nobody would know. But what struck me the most, more than His overwhelming omniscience, was this: He had such a beautiful way of personalizing any moment that you were/are with Him, by making you think – ‘Here is God of the Universe, and I am the only thing existing at this moment’. That is the divine love that He is able to pour out. You cannot explain it. But it’s there.

I still remember that, sometime later, we were standing up with Baba, and so was He. But we did not have to look down at Him. For, He had raised Himself up to our height! And Swami and we were looking at each other eye to eye, and were just in a natural flow, back and forth, at that particular time. It was an unforgettable experience of how He made us so comfortable. And He did so not just for ‘that’ moment, but during all the moments that we’ve been with Him, in all these 34 years.

That first time, we stayed at Puttaparthi for about two weeks. We were even fortunate to follow Bhagavan to Anantapur, where He stayed for a couple of days. And from there, we left for America.

Baba came to be a major turning point in my life. For, when I returned to the USA, I was absolutely sure that my life was to take a total U-turn from thenceforth. During that one interview which we had with Baba, Swami had said to me, “You are very unhappy.” I must say that I added to myself, “Even though He is God, He doesn’t know how unhappy I am right now, which I know now He did.”

Then Bhagavan in His infinite mercy reassured me, saying, “Do not worry. Things will change… You are unhappy with your work. Don’t worry. That will change.” So I came back, invigorated by hope and suffused with optimism, thinking, “Oh, wow, work is going to change. A new job on my way! How exciting!” Soon I was to discover that it is not my work which was going to change; it was I who was about to change. And that was the beginning of my transformation.

Swami Sows the Seeds of Change
The seeds of change had already been sown by a discourse that Bhagavan Baba gave in 1968. That particular message to me is still one of those which is most important; I replay it even today. In that discourse, Bhagavan clearly stated the reason behind His Divine Descent. He said that this time He had come to protect the righteous.

However, since everybody was tainted with sin at this particular time, He had come to ‘Transform’. To me, that really hit home. I tried to dive deep into that, and listen intently to the Voice of Bhagavan to put into practice any particular idea that He might point at me in my path of transformation.

Guiding me also on my individual path of transformation was Swami’s message to me, which He pointed out in that interview. Swami told us – “Duty without love is deplorable. Duty with love is desirable. Love without duty is divine.” And that is where I started my journey from. For, though I always did my duty with a sense of moral righteousness, I could not say that it stemmed so much from Love. Thus, Swami decided to set to me on to this path of ‘Love without Duty’.

It has been 34 years now, since I first met Swami. And I am now beginning to get His message. I would not say that I practice ‘Love without duty’ in the truest spirit, but I’ve been fortunate enough to get parts of that, and it is really beautiful.

Swami’s message is Love. “Love is God. Live in Love. And do everything with Love”. That is where Swami has been dragging me along – to really dive in and get that message. More importantly, practising this Love was very important to my personal and spiritual growth, because at that time, my heart was very dry and I didn’t know it. I thought I was being nice but the fact was that I felt completely devoid of Love from within.

Sai Can Spot You, Wherever You May Be
The next time we arrived at Puttaparthi was in 1975 for the World Conference of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation. That was the time when the American chapter of the Sri Organization was first put together. Dr. John Hislop was appointed as the first chairman of the American Council. And it so happened that I was appointed as one of the Council Members. It was again a very interesting experience. I was seated half way back in the Poornachandra Auditorium during the function. Bhagavan Baba was present even as Dr. Hislop announced the names. And when my name was called out, Swami acknowledged me in that crowd, even though I was seated right in the midst of a jam-packed hall. It is amazing how Swami can directly see you even in the midst of a multitude of people. I was touched, truly overwhelmed!

Swami has this inimitable way of uplifting one’s spirits. With His soothing words, He would make you feel that when you are returning to your world, you are going to be happy immediately and everything is going to be perfect. And I learnt that it was not quite so, because things begin to happen slowly. They neither change overnight, nor by themselves. I encountered this fact of life, even in my work, where I found it difficult sometimes to handle people; there were a few with whom I had to necessarily interact. But I realized that Swami sent such people to me so that I could learn to open my heart.

Thus it was that, when I began getting His message of Love and doing everything in Love, I could feel the change, both in my workplace and in the Sai work. This has been my wonderful and fortunate path all the way. Because, when you begin to get this subtext of Love, you become a happier person. Thus, I went back to the same society and environment, and yet I was able to fit in an entirely different way. It was a slow yet steady process of metamorphosis. For, on the one hand was the wonderful feeling that God is here and now. Yet, on the other hand, my desires took awhile to loosen their hold on me. Although I wasn’t too happy with the endless merry-go-rounds of pleasures and pain, I was still getting entrapped in their vicious cycle in my quest for happiness.

Swami has this inimitable way of uplifting one’s spirits. With His soothing words, He would make you feel that when you are returning to your world, you are going to be happy immediately and everything is going to be perfect. And I learnt that it was not quite so, because things begin to happen slowly. They neither change overnight, nor by themselves. I encountered this fact of life, even in my work, where I found it difficult sometimes to handle people; there were a few with whom I had to necessarily interact. But I realized that Swami sent such people to me so that I could learn to open my heart.

Bhagavan told me that everything would change for the better, and I thought that it was going to happen instantly. But Swami taught me through my personal experience that first I needed to put His Words into practice. What mattered was not the change, which would, in due course, effect itself, but the effort that went behind working that change. And that’s the effort that really pays off. That’s when I understood that if I took one step towards God, He’d take a hundred, even a thousand steps towards me; that He would pour His grace on me. But what was essential was the first individual step.

Bhagavan Roots Out an Unseen Weed
When I made that conscious effort to transform myself, Swami would pitch in with more lessons and guidelines so that I made some headway on this path to progress. There is one instance of this transformation which is very dear to my heart. We’ve been fortunate to come to Puttaparthi every year since our first trip; sometimes we’d be there at least once for a length of time. Many times, we undertook two trips, even were blessed with three trips in a year. This incident occurred in the 1980s when we arrived once more to this Holy Abode of Peace. But this one time, Bhagavan walked up to me when I arrived, and pointing His finger, said, “No ill-will”.

When Swami turned and left, I said to myself, “One thing in my heart, I’ve never had any ill-will against people. That’s not in there. But Swami, You know even if there is a little bit of those ‘weeds’, and I know that You are going to pull them out.”
Nevertheless, Swami’s statement got me thinking, and triggered in response a self-introspection as to what I had done in all these days to warrant such a statement from Him. I tossed and turned in my bed, and finally, after 10 days, the ‘why’ of Swami’s message dawned on me. And when it came, it came as a revelation!

The day after I was supposed to return, I was scheduled to meet a manufacturer that we represent. I was in the automobile business. And this was a meeting with the factory representative, who I felt, beforehand, was not comfortable with me and I too wasn’t compatible with him. In fact, I thought he had an “ill-will” against me. I somehow felt that he wanted me out of his path. And when that struck me, I said to myself “Oh my goodness, that’s the ill-will I hold against this person.” The next morning, during darshan time, Swami came up to me and said, “When did you come?” Then I knew I had got the message right!

Indeed, Swami’s message has a great meaning in today’s complicated setup where everyone looks at the other with suspicion and malice. And if only we would go out and reach out to people, the world can be a different place.

So I returned to my country. The meeting was to be held the next day. This gentleman came with his team of managers, and my team of executives were supposed to meet them at this big meeting. I do not recollect the agenda of that meeting now. But I remember, I said to this man, “Before we meet, won’t you come into my office?” Once in my office room, I told him, “You know, I really understand that you are doing the best that you want for your company and I admire you for that.” I really said that. Wonder of wonders! This gentleman began to cry. We hugged and we went out; there was no meeting. We had coffee and tea, and it was over. That’s the divine guidance that Bhagavan Baba can give us. And since then, we were just very good friends.

Indeed, Swami’s message has a great meaning in today’s complicated setup where everyone looks at the other with suspicion and malice. And if only we would go out and reach out to people, the world can be a different place.

And this miracle can be achieved by the simple yet powerful word – Love.

With Swami, it is not U-turns, it is L-Turns – Transforming through Love!
Talking of Love takes me back to that 1968 discourse wherein Swami said that He would be known all over the world by how we devotees conduct ourselves and put into practice His teachings. And that discourse has always been my touchstone in these 34 years whenever I keep getting off-base from Swami’s teachings.

Because whatever we do in a moment of true Love or sharing catches the attention of people. And I have encountered this even in far-away America, with people wondering as to who is this guy who goes to India so often.

The point is I realized that as I began to practice what this Beautiful Avatar is trying to teach, I began to see a nice relationship. I observed a change was occurring. It was not that the people were changing; in fact, whether they changed or not became irrelevant to me. What was important was that I was changing. And what really mattered was how I interacted with them.

The point is I realized that as I began to practice what this Beautiful Avatar is trying to teach, I began to see a nice relationship. I observed a change was occurring. It was not that the people were changing; in fact, whether they changed or not became irrelevant to me. What was important was that I was changing. And what really mattered was how I interacted with them.

I knew that a metamorphosis had been effected for certain when my mother told me – “You know, I don’t quite understand who your Satya Sai Baba is, but He must be something really special because you have changed so much.” And that’s a beautiful statement to come from your own physical mother.


Experience The Divine Essence Of Darshan

Bliss Of Darshan

Bliss Of Darshan

Experience The Divine Essence Of Darshan
22 Nov 2008, 0000 hrs IST, Shammi Paranjape

Once a large crowd collected at a big city venue for darshan of a Divine Master.

The place was packed to capacity with eager devotees, including the rich and the famous. A chauffeur became curious about the person who his employer was so keen to see. Standing at a distance, he managed to get a fleeting glimpse of the ‘holy man’. He thought that had he got closer he could have unburdened his problems and got blessings. However, that was not to be.

A strange thing happened after that. His life took an inexplicable turn for the better and his situation improved dramatically. Some years passed and he got a chance to travel to the ashram of the same holy personage whose brief darshan he once had. From amongst the thousands seated for darshan he was picked for an audience by this Divine Master. Face to face with him he was nonplussed when the divine personage said to him: “We have met once before, when you ferried your employer for darshan . Your plea from the heart reached me.”

The story exemplifies the power of darshan the sight or vision of a holy being, experienced with sincerity. `Darshan’ is different from ‘mere seeing’, as it is imbued with a sacred attitude of reverence and faith. So it has spiritual consequences. Devotees testify to experiencing a sense of ineffable peace in the act of darshan of a holy being as also to a sense of being spiritually rejuvenated.

Holy personages are store houses of divine energy and just being in their presence nourishes the soul. Kirlian photography which captures the auras of human beings has recorded that the aura of light around divine masters is significantly different; it extends far beyond the normal range and is layered with incredible hues of gold and pink, signifying divine compassion and love. Anybody in the proximity of such beings is touched and enveloped by the aura.

When adharma is rampant and moral structures are crumbling divine masters restore the faith and spread the light. Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita underlined the importance of the presence of these holy souls on earth whose ordained task it is to help humanity. Saints and holy men like Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, Paramhamsa Yogananda, Meher Baba and Ramana Maharishi all helped to raise the spiritual quotient of humanity. Just being in their presence and having their darshan became an edifying experience for followers. Ramana Maharishi would sit in perfect silence in God-communion and devotees would have darshan in silent retreat. In this simple act, everything of real value was gained. In darshan , when a divine master glances at us, he’s viewing our stainless parts and bestowing the grace needed to make it more manifest in our lives.

Darshan in its purest essence, however, is the vision of the Lord Himself. In most religious traditions, this darshan or blessed vision remains the central motif of devotion where the inner eye is opened and dependence on external darshan is shed. Sri Sathya Sai Baba says: “Outer darshan is essentially insufficient and transitory… but God is omnipresent. The limitations of the body and the outer senses do not hold for the inner vision. Therein you can see Him at any time and any place and receive Darshan .”

Truly, once God’s invisible beauty is revealed through the Self in this manner, one is utterly charmed and is impelled to turn inward. The vision confers everything including deep satisfaction and bliss.

Tomorrow is Sri Sathya Sai Baba‘s birthday.