One of the most beautiful aspects of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has been the way He connects with men and women; children and adults. The children from the Primary School especially have evoked the child in Him on many occasions. One that I remember very well is the episode of the hot-water tap which has become a sort of legend among the students. Those were the days when Swami would find the slightest reasons to visit the hostel. One such visit was to inaugurate the new ‘hot-water tap’ in the Primary School hostel.
Swami was to open the tap which would then allow the flow of hot water for the first time. Swami arrived at the hostel much to the delight of all the children and teachers. But as He opened the tap, something went terribly wrong! The top of the valve flew off and the hot water sprayed all over Swami. Everyone stood in shocked silence while someone rushed to fetch a towel maybe. Swami immediately dissolved the tension with a gleeful smile saying,
“I inaugurated the new tap by having the first bath!”
On other occasions, Swami has shown that He completely understands a child’s heart - its hopes and aspirations; its fears and worries. And the story that am about to narrate is one such sweet episode. It was told to me by Sri Krishna Rao who is the protagonist of the story (second to Swami of course) and who was a mischievous 6-year old in 1986 when the incident happened.
The pen which did not write
This little boy had received special attention from everyone because, on the very first day when he had joined first grade in Primary School, he had gone out of the hostel, jumping over the compound wall! Swami had been informed of this act and He had told the warden and headmistress of the school to keep a special eye on the boy. Thus, even during the darshan sessions in the mandir Krishna Rao would be seated near where the headmistress would be seated.
One day, in the mandir, Swami distributed pens to all the children from Primary School. As soon as our little Krishna got his pen, he began to scribble with it on a piece of paper and to his dismay, he saw that it was not working! And so, what did he do? He simply decided to bring the matter to Swami’s notice!
Getting up from his place, the little boy began to walk up to Swami to lodge his complaint. Swami was on His way to complete the darshan rounds. In the perfectly disciplined darshan grounds, the sight of a little boy walking up like this towards Swami horrified the Primary School teachers. One of the teachers got up and rushed to restrain the boy. However, before she could catch up with him, he had crossed over from the ladies’ side (where the kids sit) to the gents’ side. The teacher froze in her tracks for there was no way she would be going to the gents’ side. The little boy proceeded on his ‘journey to God’!
The Divine Response
Having reached Swami, the little boy cooly tugged at Swami arm! Swami stopped in His tracks and looked at this boy who told Him,
“Swami, my pen is not writing. Can I get another one?”
There was a person, ‘Khyaldas uncle’, as he was called, walking behind Swami assisting Him by holding the letters He collected during darshan rounds. Swami told Khyaldas uncle to hold the hand of this little boy and ensure that he does not ‘escape’. Thus it was that the little Krishna also walked the entire darshan rounds with Swami! Having completed that, Swami moved into the interview room and called the little boy inside. With a broad smile, Swami took a bunch of pens, a dozen or so, and put them into Krishna’s pocket. He then told him,
“All of these work well. You take them and keep them.”
Patting him on his cheek, He told him to go back to his place. A smiling Krishna walked out of the interview room. He was happy! He now had a dozen good pens in place of the one that wasn’t working. However, as he turned to go back to his place among the boys of the Primary School, the smile on his face faded. He realized what awaited him.
He could see the stern look on the face of the headmistress. Among his many mischievous acts this would certainly rate high. It was also an act of indiscipline which could inspire others too to do the same! No wonder that the headmistress who has to look after nearly a thousand children had that upset look on her face.
As he neared his place, the headmistress caught hold of him by his ear. She twisted the ear and told him,
“You naughty boy! You sit right next to me. You keep running about too much and do not understand even the basics of discipline.”
The ultimate succour
A child has a wild and vivid imagination at times. In this case, Krishna worried about the worst. He had noted the seriousness in the headmistress’ voice but he had missed the relief too that was present in the same voice. And the relief in the voice was because things had ended well in this episode of ‘indiscipline’. On many previous occasions, Swami had often taken the teachers to task for not imparting discipline among the children!
Even as Krishna began to imagine all the punishment that might possibly be meted out on him - no games for days, staying with the headmistress, being made to sit amidst the girls for dining sessions - he began to get scared. Gone was the joy of the Divine encounter that had occurred just a few minutes back.
Suddenly, a hush fell over the place. Swami, in between the interviews, had actually walked up to the first floor of the building and had made a surprise appearance in the balcony area! And from there, He was looking down straight at little Krishna. The minute Krishna saw this, he smiled at Swami. Swami then signalled to the headmistress and indicated to her to forgive the little child and not punish him. A broad smile now blossomed on the headmistress’ face too. Swami went back.
A succour for life
Today the little Krishna has grown into Krishna Rao, a vital member of team Nevvee, a company of freelance design professionals which undertakes projects in graphic design, web and TV commercials. In the world which is not the ‘protective cocoon’ that his Primary School provided, there have been many instances where his heart has felt low, fearful and worried. But all those times, this episode comes flashing in his mind.
“I know that when dark clouds seem to fill the skies hiding the sunshine from my eyes, I just need to look up to my Swami. And He is there smiling and blessing!”
Hearing Krishna Rao travel down memory lane in nostalgia, the refrain of a song which all the children here have learnt, comes to my mind.
There is someone above to guide me,
There is someone above to hold my hand,
There is someone above to love me,
There is someone above to care.
And its love, love all the way,
It is sunshine on a rainy day.
No clouds can hide my happiness,
With everlasting joy He blessed!
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Chandan Lad on January 15, 2016:
A very touching story. Thank you for sharing.
Sai Aanchal on August 01, 2014:
Sai Ram Brother Sri.Arvind,
I couldn't just resist myself from replying. Well your reply was purely Sociological and Psychological in nature. Being a Sociology Asst.Professor ; I am very well aware of the "Agents of Socialization for children". Actually you are absolutely right. Thank you for the smiley. 10/10 for your reply.
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on July 31, 2014:
@Sai Aanchal - The observation of the 'punishment' is right. It is not a punishment but a pleasure as you mentioned. :) However, peer pressure is such. Among the boys, there is a stigma about being "girly" and this peer pressure would have made it a 'punishment'. So, the boy feels that this is a punishment simply based on reactions from his peers. Isn't it paradoxical that the same boy will consider it as 'cool' to sit among the girls when he reaches teenage years? :) Again, that is because of the reactions from the peers.
Sai Aanchal on July 31, 2014:
Sai Ram Brother,
The story of Krishna was indeed a wonderful story. Even I have experienced how much Swami goes beyond the limits to shower his grace on us. For loving him you have to be as sweet as a child.On a lighter note- one thing which I have been wondering is if it is really bad when a boy child is made sit amidst the girls . Little Girls are not so bad. They are always caring and sweet in nature. Well you don't call it punishment but an act of kindness in which you get to know how a little girl treats a little boy when he gets hurt. Her feelings are motherly and sisterly in nature. I have observed this among girls, but the little boys are mischievous... Above all surely we get to learn so many things from our experiences and when such experiences are with Swami then surely they turn out to be memorable and inspiring for the rest of our life.
I really like reading your posts. Thank you for this post. Truly humorous and spiritually entertaining. It is like something which makes you remind of your first love with Swami, first encounter with Swami who always acts as our divine mother and father, and above all our best friend.
Vijay Sai on August 26, 2013:
Well narrated Aravind !!!
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on August 26, 2013:
@Spirit Whisperer - Nice to see meet you again friend! :) Thank you for dropping by
Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on July 16, 2013:
A wonderful story. Thank you.
Deepa on January 18, 2013:
protagonist of the story (second to Swami of course).. what a statement.. excellent!!..appreciate your writing skill..Sairam.
Murali Mullapudi on January 09, 2013:
SWAMI's mercy and love for children is more than what anyone else can show on this earth. The protogonist 'Krishna' is indeed very talented & SWAMI gave him so many Pens - it was just a sign for the world to know that 'Krishna' will be a force to recon in the world of creativity! It is a pleasant surprise to read this beautiful story about Krishna Rao. May SWAMI continue to shower HIS Love on you forever Krishna! Thanks Arvind for sharing this!
Disillusioned from Kerala, India on January 08, 2013:
So joyous to read!
poornimasrinath from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA on January 08, 2013:
I am amazed at the profundity of the song! The incident is so touching and sweet. I could only imagine swami as a grandfather :) in this experience.
Mark Aspa on January 07, 2013:
oh wow, that's one of the sweetest stories, thanks!
saisarannaga from Chennai in Tamilnadu, India. on January 07, 2013:
It is always love. But the discipline there protects them in the journey of life. Krishna Rao is lucky in this way.
Prashanth on January 07, 2013:
Hats off, Aravind! Every hub of yours is wonderful in its own way.It would be childish to say things like "This one is the best" and stuff. I really admire the amount of 'research' you put into each of your articles.
Be it the appropriate quotes, the beautiful photographs or relevant ideas; it shows your love and dedication to Him.
We can only be more "selfish" by demanding more and more of such gems from you. May Swami bless you.
Lakshmi Gopal on January 07, 2013:
The innocence and spontaneity of a child touches God's heart and His divine Divine motherly love is beyond compare. A heart warming story that fills one's heart with so much love. This is just beautiful , simply beautiful !
Aarthi on January 07, 2013:
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing Aravind. These lines touched me a lot -- “I know that when dark clouds seem to fill the skies hiding the sunshine from my eyes, I just need to look up to my Swami. And He is there smiling and blessing!” 'coz there is something that has come as a blow to me yesterday and these lines provide me the much-needed reassurance from Swami that He's always with me, whatever be the troubles I face.
Archana on January 07, 2013:
Swami's Love can only be felt, sometimes words do not suffice to explain the bliss we feel in his love. Tears sometimes take place of the feelings inside which has yet again happened to me listening to this wonderful story, especially the poem which reassures of HIS divine and selfless love. Jai Sai Ram.