When people ask me, “What is your qualification?” I always respond saying, I am a Sai student. I strongly believe that this is the only true qualification that I have.
Born in Hyderabad, I had never known of Sathya Sai Baba, until 1992. As a schoolboy I saw a cover story in a magazine and read about Swami’s materialisation of Vibhuti. It was during college days when I became alienated from God, (while) my parents were very pious and used to visit temples, I developed a distorted perception that questioned the very existence of God. “When there is so much suffering, how can there be a God?” I stopped praying, even thinking about God.
So here was I, a regular college-going youngster, studying engineering from Hyderabad, scoffing at any form of association with anything godly. Immediately after engineering, I decided to pursue Masters in Business Administration, and applied to various institutes. After taking a job in a factory I saw an advert. for the Sathya Sai University, for the MBA degree. Informing my father, he later learnt that the University was highly reputed for its academics and discipline. We were thrilled, and after submitting an application I was called for an interview and test at Prasanthi Nilayam, for the forecoming Sunday and Monday.
My first glimpse of “The Abode of Peace”, I fell in love with the place.
Next day I wrote the written test, and one of the questions was, “Which of the teachings of Sai Baba have influenced you?” However, I was totally unaware of any of Swami’s messages, but then I remembered a sticker pasted in the room where we were put up the previous night, which said, “Start early. Drive slowly. Reach safely.” I wrote that down not knowing what Swami meant by that saying. Nevertheless, that was a lesson, the first teaching from the Lord. I qualified in the written test and in the Group Discussion. In the interview, Prof. Sampath asked me, “The students here in Prasanthi Nilayam will be interacting with Swami on a regular basis, and Swami too interacts often with the students. So how will you take this?” The answer I gave still sends shivers down my spine, I blatantly told Prof. Sampath, “No, I have come here for my MBA studies and not for Swami!” This was how my journey to Swami began.
I was delighted to learn that I was selected and asked to report immediately to Brindavan campus for the Summer Course in Indian Culture and Spirituality. I was allotted a room on the third floor and even before I could pick up my belongings, two boys came to carry my luggage upstairs. I was taken aback, I demurred and hesitated, but they gently persuaded, “No, sir. Come.”
They were actually my seniors!
That evening I had my first darshan of Bhagavan and I strongly believe that day was my date of rebirth. Lo! the doors of Trayee Brindavan opened and Bhagavan came out, and that evening He distributed diaries and pens for the Summer Course.
That was a beautiful moment in my life. Those two years of my life in P.N. campus were truly wonderful, and deep in my heart, I always felt this was the right place for me – where I always wanted to be. Slowly yet surely, unbeknown to myself, I began to accept Swami. On one occasion, I was one among the boys selected to accompany Bhagavan to Kodai Kanal. I was not well but I was engouraged to go. Every moment in Kodai Kanal was a precious moment. I never dreamt that I would be blessed with such a unique opportunity. But then I was not particularly well either through the entire trip.
Being unable to sleep there, I wrote a letter to Swami saying, “Swami, I am not well and I am unable to get sleep. My palpitations are increasing. Please help me.”
That morning, when Swami came out of His room, I showed the letter to Him. Swami read the letter, tore it into pieces and put it in my pocket saying, “You needlessly think a lot.”
It was on another occasion, when I was seated near Swami, He asked how I was. “How is your heart?” He asked. I replied I was fine. He asked a guest, Dr. Alreja, to check my pulse, who took his watch and held my wrist, and replied “Swami, 88-87 undi, Swami”. Then Swami checked my pulse saying, “Ha! 86-87 undi. See, I don’t have a watch but still I am correct.” Then He continued, “See, all animals like elephants and tortoise have a very low pulse rate, and they live very long. And people who have a high pulse rate, don’t live long. But you are My student. You will live long.”
Rubbing His hand on my chest, saying, “Okay. Nothing will happen to you. You are My student.” And He sent me away. Next morning He materialised a beautiful heart-shaped ring. I never got my heart checked after that incident. Till date, I am perfectly hale and healthy. What gratitude can I express to Bhagavan, that Compassionate Resident in the hearts of all beings, who has not just cured me of an ailment of my physical heart, but also touched my spiritual heart that I can think of no other refuge than Him and Him alone.
Posted by P.V. Krishna Mohan,
Alumnus, SSSIHL- Prashanthi Nilayam Campus
originally posted in the Sathya Sai Newsletter, Ireland, http://www.sathyasaieire.org/newsletter/newsletter111209.pdf