Aravind Balasubramanya has spent more than 2 decades with Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He has studied under Baba and been His photographer.
A visitor turned up at the Radiosai Global Harmony studios yesterday, i.e. the 15th of October 2011. After a few hours, some stories about him percolated into my ears and I was so amazed. And that story that triggered me was one that tied Ananth Pandey, Anna Hazare and Sathya Sai Baba in one sentence! (For those that are unaware, Anna Hazare, an activist from the Independence Struggle of India, has taken up arms righteousness, truth and fasting against the evil called corruption in India.) I was eager to meet him and talk to him as soon as possible. And I got that chance today morning.
Ananth Pandey was a clean-shaven lad, with a bright face and a cheery disposition. After having heard of how he was orphaned at the young age of 6 and how he escaped his step-mother’s attempt to poison him when he was 9, I thought I would be meeting someone with the appearance of a war-torn soldier. He looked so familiar and had he not been introduced, I would have thought that he was a student of the Sathya Sai University. When i introduced myself, he told me that he had read the article I had written about Swami’s namaskar on the 20th of March. I smiled and told him that I was eager to know something about him.
I came straight to the point. What was his experience with Anna Hazare in the last few months? How did he get to know Anna and get involved with him?
“Brother! I got to know him after I was released from jail.”
“You had been to jail? For what?”
“I was arrested along with many others who were supporting Anna. We were placed in a connecting jail to the Central Jail in Delhi. I do not remember the name of the jail for everyone called it as ‘Anna jail’! We were 12,000 of us in that jail for about 4 days.”
“12,000! That must have been a terrible experience.”
“NO! It was so wonderful. Everyone was there - students from IIT,IIM,AIIMS, teachers, workers, farmers, salaried people - you name them. And we have so much fraternity among us. We were not given any proper food. Thousands of people in the neighborhood would pack pooris and chapaties into packets and throw them over the wall into our courtyard. I had never eaten that well in all my life (laughs)!”
And how did he happen to meet Anna? With patriotic fervour, he wanted to do something for his motherland. Inspired by Swami, (how was that? - that will be out as a separate story itself) Ananth found outlet via Anna’s movement. Based on his experience, he had some ideas to improve the effectiveness of the movement. And so, he began his efforts to contact Arvind Kejriwal ( the pioneer of the Indian Right to Information Act Movement). Weeks of labor got him replies from Mr.Kejriwal and soon Ananth found himself in the inner circle of Anna’s movement.
“I had no desire for any position or authority. I just want to serve my motherland. And so I put myself into the mission, heart and soul. I felt that was the duty my Swami wanted me to perform.”
“Tell me about that dialogue with Anna.....” I was very eager to hear that.
“Well, Anna attended most of our meetings. He is a very simple and loving man. He told us that we could battle corruption only if we adopted a good character, good words, ability to bear insults and the ability to sacrifice ourselves. I was very inspired and felt that it was Swami speaking through him. One day, after the meeting, he was asking each one of us about our background. When he asked me, I told him that I was coming from Puttaparthi.”
“When was this? Before MahaSamadhi?”
“No. Just three months ago. You should have seen Anna’s expression when he heard the name Puttaparthi!” He immediately folded his hands and bowed to me. He said,
“You are coming from the Lord - the Lord who has inspired me to do all this. I am only an instrument of Dharma (righteousness). He is the embodiment of Dharma.”
I had goosebumps. I felt so wonderful. Ananth continued and he then narrated how he decided to be independent and left home when he was 9 years of age. And then, he went to good hearted souls seeking education. He told about how he came to know Swami and about Swami’s interactions with him. I just heard and heard. Tears rolled down my cheeks for the ways of the Lord are mysterious and divine.
When you are expecting a ‘war-torn soldier’ to reveal how life has been cruel to him, if he just beams a broad smile and says,
“My life has been the greatest blessing Swami could have given me what else can you feel but inspiration and joy?"
How many lives has Swami touched in this manner! With His love, even the greatest of tragedies seem to become a blessing - and this has been the case with Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews - everyone!
An article based on the awe-inspiring journey of Ananth is available in the Heart2Heart magazine of Radiosai....Read it! It will surely thrill you... :)
Read the article on Ananth Pandey in 2 parts
- H2H Special: ORPHANED BY NATURE, ADOPTED BY GOD , Oct 2011
Heart 2 Heart E-journal is a not for profit organization dedicated to promoting the well-being of society through informative and inspirational content related to the Sri Sathya Sai Organization.
- H2H Special - ORPHANED BY NATURE, ADOPTED BY GOD - Anant Pandey - Nov 19, 2011
Heart 2 Heart E-journal is a not for profit organization dedicated to promoting the well-being of society through informative and inspirational content related to the Sri Sathya Sai Organization, an international service foundation dedicated to the s
© 2011 Aravind Balasubramanya
Rekha nair on September 20, 2013:
Always thought that it sure was Baba's hand in Anna's movement. After reading this doubt was confirmed.
Jai Sai Ram
Raju on June 14, 2013:
This is a blessing of Swamy to put our country in right direction under rightful direction and guidance with consciousness. jaisairam
ashok shetty on June 12, 2013:
i never knew that shri anna hazare is a sai devotee.great .the belief in swami gave him strength to fight against corruption.
Shruti on July 04, 2012:
Superb.... Finally one leader following HIS values for the country!
An eye opener for sai devotees ,to know HIM ,HIS omnipresence....... on February 26, 2012:
An eye opener for all sai devotees ,to know HIM more intensely ,deeply in our hearts....HIS omnipresence......
jk baraily on January 28, 2012:
group C must be in lokpal bill as they are the key player in corruption
deepa venkitesh on January 21, 2012:
sai ram, thanks aravind, swamy is working through you
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on November 17, 2011:
That is a beautiful way to put it! :)
Correct Pooja......Am learning more of that with you by my side!
Pooja on November 17, 2011:
God brings you to deep waters not to drown you,but to cleanse you! There is so much to learn from every incident,so many reasons for us to be happy & grateful!
poornimasrinath from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA on November 16, 2011:
Even I felt that he was student of Sathya sai institute when I looked at him in Radio sai website. He looks so clean and tejas in his face was enough to explain his character!
vijay sai on October 31, 2011:
saii ram brother he is the only one who can motivate every one towards the path of darma
Swagat Sahu,Odisha,Bhuabaneswar on October 28, 2011:
after reading all this wonderful experience i can only say 2 words.......Jai Sairam........as he had told to one of his famous devotee named John Hislop in the book "Conversation with John Hislop" when he asked why did Arjuna couldn't save all the people after Lord Krishna left his body because of Arjuna's attachment with the divine form of the body of Lord Krishna he thought that Krishna has gone forever...so never attach yourself with this body which is the mortal form but the "Supreme" which is the eternal.......So let us not forget that Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the eternal & miracles will continue to happen more & more in various forms...Just wait & watch....Jai Sairam
GD on October 20, 2011:
Keep it coming. Look forward to your sharing more of these. I'm speaking to a group today and shall serve this'hot from the oven' as they say.
Darshi on October 19, 2011:
I thank Swami for allowing you to be the medium in which He speaks to us all Aravind Anna!
God bless :) I yearn to hear more and more of Swami's manifestations everywhere.
Arpita Mallajosyula on October 19, 2011:
simply awesome..!! it is so nice to knw that Anna Hazaarehimslef has said Swami is behind all this..!!! lovely..!!! And yes, the wolrd is changing for good slowly...while we automatically get the thought that Swami is the doer of everythng...it is still soo thrilling to knw from such a great leader himself that Swami was the one behind all this according to Him too....!!! To me it right now looks like every single person in the world has Swami as their guru, God, leader and everythng...but the most beautiful thng i can see thru this scene is..maybe all the dots from different backgrounds bearing Swami's name are beginning to get connected...and they will all do THE wonder which NO HUMAN BEING, NO OTHER LEDER OR NO OTHER POLITICIAN HAS DONE TILL NOW....truly inspiring this is..!!! :) :)
Manoj Gadi on October 18, 2011:
Waiting for the full story.
The Lord just needs excuse to do his work and that excuse is letting ourselves become his instrument.
Bodhisatwa Mohanty on October 18, 2011:
I was puzzeled when thinking about the Golden Age Swami talked about .. how could it be possible without His Physical Presence.....But now it is much cleared to me How SWAMI Works........Anna Hazzare is His silent instrument for the fight against corruption.....and we should be SWAMI's soldiers as He wants us to be.....
BE GOOD , SEE GOOD , DO GOOD---SAIRAM
Rahul Arora on October 18, 2011:
Waiting for the complete article ...
vinod chakkaravarthy on October 17, 2011:
though missed it physically being there and listening to him .... article made me to watch the vdos ... shall post dem on our site soon ... :-))) gr8 1 ... simply superb ....
Srinivasulu Prasad on October 17, 2011:
Thanks for Bringing Unity in India in a Short Span of Time Dr.Anna .
Now every one - Industry and Politician Leaders National & International should let this India to be lamp
of the world . We have the Key for all Problem in the World , we can swallow any defects by your action , through Spiritual Process. Follow your heart . Jesus Said show your heart to Poor People , People who are Spiritually Poor , Allah i am not sure because , i have not read much, No Time. But i saw a Muslim in my Town , I will take him as an example for a friend,every thing has a deep link for future , take Good People from all Religions and Be United . We will find Solutions.All Religions People are let to do there actions Good or Evil only this Land , This land has so much Patience , See what happened in Indonesian Tsunami, It's a Lesson , I also happened to serve the people day and night in relief work, In that Process Got Purified , Today i am Kshatriya Save my Home first , Save Relatives ,Save State , Save my Country , World is not in my Hands as of now. I have taken sins of them all these days of World. Now I cannot , I Told you the way , how a leader should think. Thanks Thanks Thanks to Germany , Japan and India.
Atul Rathi on October 17, 2011:
just amazingly awesome!!! i got goose bumps just by reading...imagine the experience of arvind! god bless.
Gowri and Anuj on October 17, 2011:
swami has always extolled Bharat and wanted us to be true Bhartiyas .....and you have followed our Bhagavan's words and acted upon it.......Swami would shower his blessings and by His Grace may our beloved Motherland stand on the foundations of Satya Dharma Shanti Prema and Ahimsa......Jai sairam.....Vande Mataram.
Aceblogs from India on October 17, 2011:
Anna hazare created a world wide revolution and aftermaths of it can still be seen amongst indian govt officials. Man really made a mark .
Great article there by you my friend
Himanshu on October 17, 2011:
I was always eager to know the divinity behind Anna,I am so glad to know about Swami behind him,Please if possible go near Anna and request for a interview in Radio Sai,I am sure we will listen many more miracles by Anna.
Thank u Arvind Brother
Shankaranarayan on October 16, 2011:
Ultimate... Amazing.... Tears Tickled down... Thank You my dear Swami... Thank you dear Brother Arvind. Jai Sairam. Lord Sai bless us all... Jai Jai Sairam
cherry on October 16, 2011:
waiting for the full story
Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on October 16, 2011:
Thank you for sharing this wonderful interview. You are indeed blessed to be meeting such great people and why would this not be...aren't you a student of Sai?
Aarthi on October 16, 2011:
Just one word to sum up - 'WOW!!' Amazing how Swami touches people in so many different ways. That one sentence by Anna Hazare spoke volumes! :) Waiting for the Radio Sai article...
TusharBhai on October 16, 2011:
When I was following Anna Hazare's movement closely from the day one, I was feeling Swami's power is behind the movement. You will be happy to know that during Anna Hazare's Ram Lila fast days, Swami came to my brother's dream and said that like Anna's movement that is capturing every part of India, start the Movement of Nama Smarana at every nook and corner, all negative vibrations will vanish and there will be Golden Age soon.
I am very touched by Ananth's story and express our gratitude to Swami for having such noble Sai students like you at Radio Sai and all over parthi who share such inspiring stories with all devotees. Waiting eagerly for next 10 days for Radio Sai's Heart to Heart article " Inspiring Journey of Ananth". Thanks for sharing such a wonderful news. Swami is slowly changing the scenario all over the world, let us witness His Leela in coming days, months and rejoice and welcome our Lord in His Omnipresence Form working all over the Globe. Jai Sai Ram !
Satya Jnana Dutt V on October 16, 2011:
HE is there all round guarding and guiding HIS children......
Waiting for RADIOSAI'S, HEART 2 HEART - inspiring journey of ANANTH
Suresh on October 16, 2011:
Hatts off Arvind our swamy every where through good people to make dharma in our motherland. Great. Jai Sairam
Subbu on October 16, 2011:
Whom not has He inspired............behind all the acts and individuals.........
Varadarajan AV on October 16, 2011:
It is really heartening to read the experience of Ananth with Anna. I am sure that Swami is heralding the golden age with these people as his instruments. Waiting to read Ananth's experience with Swami.
Nikhil Subbanna on October 16, 2011:
I indeed had Goosebumps reading this! One can only imagine what Ananth must have felt when he heard it straight from Anna himself!
krishna skr on October 16, 2011:
Guruvar Naam Paavan Naam Sad Guru Naam Sai Baba Naam
Abhishek Acharya on October 16, 2011:
Hatts off to the one who wore hats of - I am Anna, written all over.