Aravind Balasubramanya has spent more than 2 decades with Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He has studied under Baba and been His photographer.
A different kind of Veni Vidi Vici
It was Julius Ceasar who mentioned the immortal words - Veni Vidi Vici after a short war in the city of Zela in modern day Turkey. He summarized the war very simply - “I came, I saw, I conquered.” When it comes to stories of people who have come to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and become His staunch devotees, one is reminded of the words of Ceasar. This is because, if everyone were to summarize their story into 6 words like Ceasar did, it would be
“I came, I saw, He conquered” - as simple as that.
It is indeed the fulfillment of destiny and the good fortune of many previous births that one gets the chance to live life under a Master. For my family, the Lord who has been guiding us has been Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. And just like everyone who has a fantastic story of how he/she was introduced to Him, I too have a story of how our family was introduced to Him. But before I start delving into that beautiful story, I must say one thing about coming to a Master.
If one thinks that he/she arrived at a Master, he/she cannot be more wrong! It is always the other way. Whenever a person is ready for his/her spiritual growth, the Master personally invites the person. And this invitation can come in many ways - like a great tragedy as a Christian youth discovered or a miraculous teleportation that a monk experienced. One thing is for sure - the person who has received the ‘invite’ knows beyond doubt that it is indeed something very special and divine.
The strange Haridasa is, in fact, Hari!
The short story that am about to narrate dates back to the September of 1963. The opening sequence is set in the large family home of my grandfather, which was located in Vyalikaval, Bangalore. My father was a bonny lad of 11 then while his eldest brother (my father is the youngest of six children), S.Nagaraj, was 31 years old and in his prime. He was working as a stenographer in the Tata Oil Mills Company (TOMCO).
One night, as he slept peacefully, he had a very strange dream. He saw a Haridasa with his bull. In Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and many other states of India, there is a tradition where a person moves along the streets with a decked and decorated bull. He often carries a shehnai (a wind instrument) on which he plays melodies, singing the glory of God. His job is to remind the society, in its day-to-day life, about God. In return, the society sustains him by giving him alms and food. That is why he is called the Haridasa or the servant of Lord Hari.
The Haridasa in my uncle’s dream, however, was very strange. He was short, wore a saffron robe and had a thick mop of curly hair. He placed his hand on my uncle’s head in benediction. Thus, my uncle received the first sign of grace, his calling from his going-to-be Lord.
He woke up the next morning. The dream was fresh and vivid in his memory but he did not pay any extra attention to it. Days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months - the dream was soon forgotten.
The startling 'chance discovery'
The Haridasa however came thumping back into my uncle’s life in a very ‘coincidental’ manner. He was riding his two-wheeler on his way back home. As he passed by the Seshadripuram police station, he noticed that there was a small pandal erected at the nearby Rama temple. At this small shrine dedicated to Lord Kodanda Rama (Rama with His bow), there was a gathering of 40-50 people and someone seemed to be addressing them. Even as he was riding past, he bent down to see who the speaker was.
He almost fell off his vehicle!
The speaker there was the same Haridasa who had come in his dream months earlier! It was the December of 1963 and Swami was on a visit to the city of Bangalore. (He was a frequent tourer then visiting more than 500 villages and towns in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.) My uncle got off the vehicle and stood listening to what the Haridasa was saying. Today, he does not remember what He was speaking but he was simply mesmerised and awestruck at this strange coincidence.
What were the chances of seeing some stranger in a dream and meeting the exact same stranger months later?
The exact location of the Rama Temple where Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was giving a public address
Swami enters the home...
My uncle made enquiries and found out that this ‘Swami’ was the Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, a reincarnation of the Sai Baba of Shirdi. Somebody there also gave him a small photograph of the Swami. The coincidence was so powerful that he simply took the photograph and placed it in the altar, next to a picture of Shirdi Baba. Thus it was that the Lord entered the home in the form of a picture. It was now time to enshrine Himself in the hearts of this family. How that happened is another small but interesting episode which I must mention.
In the year 1964, when curiosity got the better of him, my uncle decided to make a visit to Puttaparthi. And he decided to take along with him, his youngest brother - my father. After 10 tedious hours they reached Puttaparthi and were in time for the Dasara celebrations. They were amazed at the crowds that had gathered there. A few thousands were there! (Little did they know then that the number of devotees would swell beyond millions in the future!) They also got a chance to hear many stories of Grace and Love of Swami. Staying for a day or two, they returned to Bangalore.
A few months later, my uncle got a transfer. He had to pack up and leave to Calcutta (present day Kolkata). He did not want to leave his family and ancestral home. He tried everything possible to avoid the transfer but the only alternative offered to him was the leave the company. Not knowing what to do, he decided to try out this new ‘Swami’ who promised miracles. All alone, he set out to Puttaparthi. He sat in the darshan grounds hoping to get an interview.
Swami enters the heart, and stays there for life...
Getting an interview with Bhagawan those days was a real easy thing. Devotees say,
“If one stayed in Puttaparthi for four days, he/she was assured of an interview.” (God! How I wish those days return!)
Soon enough, my uncle got an interview. He was planning to stand and ask this tiny ‘Swami’ whether he could help cancel his transfer, at least for that year. However, his experience inside the interview room was overwhelming.
At first sight, he simply fell at Swami’s feet. Swami patted him on the head, just as He had done so in his dream more than a year ago! Then, He told him lovingly,
“You are worried so much about your transfer right?”
So eager was my uncle to get the problem solved that he actually missed noticing Swami’s omniscience about his problem. Even before he could open his mouth, Swami said,
“Don’t worry. You will stay in Bangalore only. Is there anything else you want to ask?”
My uncle was tongue tied.
“I give you what you ask for so that one day you will ask for what I have come to give you.”
Sadly, that day somehow never seems to come! We just are tongue-tied when Swami grants us what we ask for, without us asking for it!
Today, my uncle is in his 80s. It is almost 50 years since that interview. My uncle retired at the stipulated age of 58 from TOMCO. And to this day, he has not moved out of Bangalore!
And by promising him that he would never move out of Bangalore, Swami moved into his heart forever. Using him as an instrument, Swami moved into the hearts of everyone else in the family too. And then came the episode of Swami performing the Brahmopadesham or Upanayanam for my father. This rite is considered as a second birth for a person. As far as my father is concerned, this was his true birth. That story, I shall reserve for another time.
I shall stop with saying this much that the December of 1963 is a period in time for which I shall be eternally grateful. It sowed the seeds of love for Swami in a family into which I got the chance of being born into.
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Stories of experiences from the readers...
siva on April 26, 2014:
Om Sai Ram,
April 23rd 2014 early morning around 3 a.m, I saw in my dream funeral of baba and also his soul is waking up from funeral.THIS IS MY FIRST EXPERIENCE I AM SEEING BABA IN MY DREAM. Whole day i was so happy....
Darisha Datt on December 04, 2013:
Two days back, I had a dream that Shri Satya Sai Baba came to our place, when I saw him from the window that he was standing in our compound, I opened the door immediately and touched his holy feet! He was in his organge dress attire and much to my surprised, as he entered our house, he held my forehead with his both hands and blessed me, or he was kind off sending his energy or powers inside my head and I felt like swaying abit.... then lastly I recall that he set on one of our sofa.......... I don't remember, how he left...Goddddd, I dnt know what this dream means as I don't have any pictures of him in my pooja room but I do read about him and see the pictures and of course I believe in him its just that I don't have any of his pictures....can anyone figure out what this dream means? I am still shocked and always think about this dream...I am thinking how come me??? I haven't done any pooja for Sai Baba and how come he came in my dreams? About me, I am a religious person, a vegetarian (but eat eggs only), do meditation and I am a hindu in NZ...... my email id is email@example.com pls do advise what this dream means to me.....many thanks.... God bless!
Thavam on February 21, 2013:
My first encounter with Swami was in a dream.
I had heard of Him, and my eldest brother-in-law had placed His photo in our family altar when he newly married my sister when I was around 12, but I didn't pay much attention to that. Neither did the rest of my family. But as I grew up and found many spiritual questions answered in Swami's books, I started attending bhajans at the Sai centre and taking part in Sai seva activities from my mid-twenties onwards. At satsangs, I would hear of other devotee's wonderful experiences, and I started wondering if Swami even knew I existed.
Then I had a dream where I was at the old folks' home where our centre carried out monthly seva activities. Swami was there, too, walking down the aisles between rows of the residents' beds, inspecting the work of the volunteers. And then I heard Him ask someone, "Where is Thavamalar?" (which is my full name which nobody uses to address me!)
My simple-minded yearning to be acknowledged by the Creator was granted in my first dream darshan. And Life has been a beautiful Sai journey since then. :-)
anju dhingra on February 21, 2013:
Thanks for this beautiful idea of SAI BHAGWATHAM...enjoying reading since yesterday & also got inspired to write something though don't have enough courage to express myself "How SWAMI has touched my life."
I was fortunate to be born in a family which Swami adopted at an early years of my life. In the year 1972, somewhere small town in Haryana, (my father was posted there being in Railways) my mother got to know through her friends about Sai Baba in South India & wished to visit the place with them. As usual in common houses, my father too refused to believe in any Babas & proposed to take the family to Shimla for vacations. My mother was quite upset with the new proposal & insisted to go to South India (not knowing Puttaparthy) for Baba,s darshan. Somehow my father very reluctantly got the reservations made with the group of approx20-25 people for
going to Dharmaveram via Hyderabad.
Before few days of starting of our journey, my father again became uncomfortable & declared we are not going to South India but to Shimla (being in Railways,,,it was possible for him to cancel or reschedule his tour) & went off to sleep. Lo..behold, he got up in the moring 5 am calling my mother " get ready....we are going for Baba,s darshan to South India" & explained his dream : The orange robe Baba with curly hair came in my dream & said " Kabhi Bistar (bed) bandhta....kabhi kholta (open)....Kabhi Kehta Baba ke Darshan ke liye jaaoonga....kabhi kehta Shimla jaaoonga.... Jab Swami bulata toh Swami ke paas aane kaaa.....aur kahin nahi jaane ka."
Needless to say, we set out for our most eventful journey of our life & reached Parthy after travelling for 4-5 days. Swami immediately called us for an interview & told my father his past, present, future without asking anything. Again told him the same sentence Kabhi bistar bandhata kabhi kholta......Per Swami bulata toh yahi aatta aur kahi nahi jaana& assured him Swami WILL LOOK AFTER YOU ALWAYS. I was 9 yrs old girl then & was a quiet witness to the whole thing not knowing that our Lord has searched us from the remote
corner of the world & sat not only in our alter but in our hearts
forever. From then onwards, it was a ritual for us to go to Puttaparthy every year.
We are fortunate enough to be in Sai Era where Sai walked with us, guided us, loved us. May we His children spread His love in each & every corner of the world. Brother...you are doing wonderful job & proving to be His precious child. KUDOS........JAI SAI RAM
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on February 21, 2013:
@ Sreenidhi - Blessed indeed that you have known Swami through generations. My salutations to your granny...
@ Subhasri Kartik - That was lovely. All of us have learnt to "walk" under His care alone.
@ Anandregunathan - Makes one wonder about Swami's statement - "life is a dream realize it." Thank you for the share.
@ Gauri Srivastava - Lucky you to have been under the Divine Umbrella. Primary School is definitely a blessed place to be in. :) Shared your comment with Pooja as well...
Ramprasad Gorripaty on February 21, 2013:
Sairam to all and this is my first experience that I come across with our Mother Sai in
Abu Dhabi the capital of U.A.E. (Middle East)
Basically I was a Marketing guy and strong devotee of Hanuman and I love him so much and always pray to the Lord to become like that to serve the lord as Hanuman served Lord Sai Rama. My job was to meet head of the departments and authorize personnel’s of large malls and along with managing the team that is working under me to improve the business. As usual during my visit to inspect mall, fortunately I have come across a Sai devotee having a key chain with Mother Sai photo hanging from the side pocket of his pant. Seeing that, I approached him to find out to know from where I can get one. Devotee with love and compassion replied to me, there are in plenty available and you can visit us to have one, in the same place we have bhajans too. Please visit us and gave the address to me and I lost the same. After few weeks and again in the same mall, I found the same devotee having the same keychain with Mother Sai photograph hanging from side pocket. I did the same exercise for getting the details as I done previously. As usual I lost it again and forgot about the incident that happened with Sai devotee and never even tried to discover to find out about the Sai devotee. Became very busy with my new job and also in getting license to drive the car and days passed away, Getting license is very essential for the sales and marketing guys. For your information it is very difficult to get license in Abu Dhabi and it takes minimum one year and maximum it goes up to three years.
Mother Sai is directs us without our knowledge as a Mother with love and care.
After a great struggle I got the license with Mother Sai blessings unknowingly. Since I got the license with great difficulty, decided to take families know to me to the large malls that are far from city and very good for shopping for everything A to Z. As it was new job and new place to me, staying alone without family and decided to bring family one’s I settle down. One fine day started the seva of taking known families to the big Malls for shopping. Days passed, one day during the dinner at mess ( Gujarti hotel) my friend requested me to take one family known to him to mall for shopping, who have recently joined Indian embassy for three years. He insisted me to act fast and informed me that they are from my place in India. Since my friend insisted, acted immediately and contacted him over phone and took appointment to go to mall. As per the time given to me to pick up, I reached home and he was not available. Over and above the lady of the house tells me to come inside and it was embracing situation to me. Accepted her request and entered and sat for a long time and finally he reached late and said sorry to me. I said no problem please get ready we will go now.
Mother Sai leela starts now, leelas are beyond our imagination.
He got freshened up and came nearer to me with a big book and sat next to me and said we will go tomorrow and today we will go through this book. I was just taken back and do not know what’s happening and it took me to a surprise and do not know what to do and said yes without my knowledge. The first word he said to me, do you know about Sai Baba of Parti, I just stared at him with expression of surprise and said I do not know. Here begins the Upadeshum ( to pass on the knowledge from guru known as Upadeshum) from a guru that was chosen for me without my knowledge. He told me about Mother Sai in and out along with his leelas and many things to convince me and to make me understand about the incarnation of God in human form as an avatar. This went on for three hours and I do not know what to do as it is getting late for my dinner and feeling hungry and helpless to escape. How a Mother can withstand the hunger of a child, as the thought raised immediately I get a call from his wife to come for dinner, I was just shocked. Entire family with their two sons had a tasty dinner, I am having good food home made after a long break and fully enjoyed. Without hesitation, he informed me to come tomorrow to visit mall for shopping.
We do not know what Mother Sai has for us in his pocket and it cannot be known even we take one lakh Zanmas.
As agreed reached in time to take them to Mall for shopping and as usual he was late. Like the above he brought the same book to me again and sat next to me and said we will go tomorrow. Again he started telling about our loving Mother Sai to me and I have no choice to escape. I was forced to sit next to him to see the photos of our loving Mother Sai and listen simultaneously and it went on for three hours again. Hunger knocked the door again with a helpless sign, immediately the lady invites me for dinner. Happiness that derived within me was just great, as I was going to eat the same food of homemade, which I was missing for a long time and enjoyed the dinner.
Mother Sai chooses us to invite to reach him as per his will and it is not as per our wish to reach him to see.
Finally he said to me, we will go to mall next time when we all are free without giving me a choice to express my gratitude for having dinner for two consecutive nights and to inform about going to mall next day. Without wasting time he invited me to come to Bhajan next day @ Thursday and it was weekend. Promised him and said I will definitely come without fail. Forgot the invitation and missed the bhajan and even not bothered to convey sorry to him. The reason is, it was weekend and next day was weekly holiday. For us Thursday was half day as a weekend and happily gone for a dinner at my friend’s house for having Non-Vegetarian food and spends happily with his family.
Mother knows how to bring the child to the path that was chosen.
It was Friday morning and having sound sleep as it was holiday not holiday for me. Around 6 AM, there was a dream and it was very clear to me and gave me a feeling as it was happening in reality. I was sleeping in the dream also, suddenly I hear sounds around the bed as a dozen ladies surrounded around my bed and waking me up by pushing from all the sides by irritating me. No choice to left to me, opened eyes and yelled at them by shouting why you are all disturbing me. It was a shocking moment for me filled with surprise and confusion as I was seeing many ladies surrounded around the bed and look like my mother only. By the time I recover and decided to say something, all shouted at me and said you are a shameless guy. Reacted instantly and asked why? They all said at a time, you buffalo you have not gone to bhajan and also not conveyed sorry to him who invited to come to bhajan.
How Mother Sai hold us and directs us when it is required.
With a force I got up immediately as somebody pushing me to get up. Without wasting time, took bath and had a breakfast in hotel and rushed to see him. As I reached to see him, he only said one word do not worry as you missed the bhjan on Thursday, you can come on Sunday. He continued in giving information and said Sunday we have common bhajan and all the centers meet together in this venue and only good singer will get an opportunity to sing. Mother Sai was holding me so tightly; this time there is no chance to escape. I was waiting for Sunday to come and finally the day as come. I want to be very sure of not missing again, reached home early. I was ready with ironed clothes looking very colorful as if going to a grand function. Before time, reached his house who invited me and waited for him to come and we all reached Bhajan venue in time before the bhajan started.
Mother Sai waits for the children with more than one thousand Mother’s love with 1,000 eyes filled with love. as a compassionate Mother.
Reached the place, shrine was placed in the hall with the photographs of Mother Sai on one side, Shirdi Baba photograph on the other side, in the center Mother Sai photograph smaller than the side one’s and a chair decorated with velvet cloth. As I saw the shrine, I was taken back to see such a beautiful site and a wonderful shrine which I never saw in my life till that date
Ratna on February 20, 2013:
Sairam Aravind. What a wonderful idea to invite everyone to post their stories of how they were drawn to Swami. As for me, my parents were brought to His folds in the early 70s, when my youngest sister, then about 1.5yrs of age, was diagnosed with a hole in her heart which needed immediate surgery. My parents, both themselves doctors, were suggested by a friend, who had read about Swami, to visit him. They were reluctant as they were very skeptical about Babas and Sadhus...but when the Master himself calls, who can resist? They landed in Parthi and soon got an interview. Swami assured them that no surgery will be needed. He materialized vibhuti and rubbed it on the baby. He also named her. Do I need to say...today she is 42, a mother of 3 kids, hail and hearty!! Since then, Swami has always been God for my family. We siblings have believed in his divinity in varying degrees....but I guess I was the black sheep of the family. I was always a little indifferent towards Him, though I was made to attend Bhajans and Bal Vikas etc. Later I married and my husband, though a very honest and upright person, was (and still is) an atheist. In fact, everyone in his family, including his parents, reject the existence of any kind of god or divine power. So, in this kind of atmosphere, what ever belief I had in Swami, also went dormant. In fact, I did not have even a single photo of Swami in my house, a fact which would always pain my parents whenever they came over to stay with us. Little did I know that when Swami would decide to pull me, I would be as helpless as a dry leaf being blown by a storm!!
One day, a sadhu dressed in saffron clothes came outside my house and rang the doorbell. I looked down from the balcony and asked him to leave(oh arrogance!!). He said he did not want anything from me...just wanted to talk to me. Being extremely wary of sadhus, I decided not to invite him in and talked from the balcony, with him standing on the road. He told me a few things about me and my family...all true. But I told myself...he has done his homework well. But one thing he said rang a bell. He said, now you are in Sai Baba's sight and he is going to call you. I asked him "which one..shirdi or Satya Sai" and he replied " Could be any. They are the same". After that I found myself visiting a Shirdi Sai Mandir near my house once in a while. Then, a few months later, I was in a troubled state of mind, and I prayed to Swami that if you are there, if you really are God, show me a sign. Just a couple of days later, my son, who was returning from his coaching class in a taxi, had a head on collision with a bus. The bus hit the car on the side on which he was sitting. The seat he was sitting on was totally wrecked, just a mangled heap. But my son just got a couple of cuts...nothing major!! That night, after I brought him home, I searched for a photo of Baba, and not finding any, opened a book left by my elder sister, which had a photo inside, prayed and thanked him with tears of repentance flowing from my eyes. Now, it's been close to 10yrs and I can't think of leaving Swami's feet ever, under any circumstances. For me, he is my one and only hope and shelter....ANYATHA SHARNAM NASTHI.... My only prayer to Him is, having once brought me to his Divine Feet, he should never let me go astray again. Sairam.
P Naik on February 20, 2013:
My family's association goes back to the Shirdi times. My great-grandmother and her daughters who were living in the Basavangudi locality of Bangalore in the early 1940s were the first to hear about this strange "Muslim" boy. Sometime in 1943-44, they were faced with the issue of resolving some property issues and being widowed, my great-grandmother was looking to find solutions when the family cook, a person named Seshachar, told them about this young Muslim boy who could predict and solve all problems and that the boy was staying in another locality nearby called Chamarajpet. So, off they went in a tonga to see Him and He told them to come to Puttaparthi, along with my great-grandmother's eldest daughter, the Rani of Chincholi. The rest of the story is chronicled in the book Sathyam Sivam Sundaram by N Kasturi. So that's how He entered our family. My own mother first saw him as a teenager in Bangalore, probably about 1944, when she was quite young. Swami had come to stay at a devotee's house in an area called "Shamey Gowda's Hill" in the Basavangudi locality of Bangalore. A distant relative couple of ours had lost a diamond ring and someone told them about this "Andhra boy" who could find it. Find it, He did and materialized the very same diamond ring to the couple. So that was the early beginning. More later... about my own first sight of Him.
Bombay Sriinivasan on February 20, 2013:
"Objects are not to fall on magic wand".
It was the year 1965, when I was employed in Bombay, that I heard, many people talk about Sai Baba. I was a regular visitor to Shirdi, offering worship at the Samaadhi very often. One day I again heard the name of Sai Baba, still alive and likely to visit Bombay very shortly! I felt something mystical about this, and I started enquiring what this was all about. One of my friends gave me a copy of a recently published English magazine “Illustrated weekly of India”, and showed me the cover page. There I could see the picture of a saintly man, but with a crown of hair on the head, holding out the right hand upwards, as if blessing somebody. “This is Sai Baba, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba”, said my friend, and urged me to read the cover story inside the magazine.
The article mentioned about the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba, as Sri Sathya Sai Baba, born again at
Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh. The amazing miracles of materializing Rings, Pendants, Mangala Soothram, etc. vividly explained therein, were very difficult to believe. Something deep inside told me that there was nothing wrong in believing Him and it would still be better, if I could visit this Holy Man. There was excitement in my mind, to know that I am living during the period of an Avatar. We have only read or heard stories of various Avatars. I thought that if only it is true that Sai Baba is an Avatar, then it is really a unique chance to live during this period. We have seen Gods as idols in temples, and in pictures in our Pooja rooms. Here I hear that God is presently living on earth, in human form, and that He is available for all the humanity. The more exciting news was that Sai Baba was likely to visit Bombay shortly and that we could see this God in human form for ourselves.
I did not know what to do. Something precious was within our reach, during our lifetime. Great devotees had lived and served God during earlier Avatars. In Dwapara Yuga, it was said, that Gopies worshipped, served and lived ever in His memory. Arjuna was constantly with Krishna. The only thing that I could understand was that it would be a God sent chance to live while God is on earth and to get opportunities to serve Him. However, we should deserve HIS grace. Would I deserve His Darshan? If He is God, then, He should know everything about me (About all of us), past present and future. Oh My God, I would have committed many a sins during this life. He would be knowing all about my deficiencies and blemishes and He might not like to see me at all. When Baba might come to Bombay, lakhs of devotees would be longing for His Darshan. Could it be assumed they are all free of sins? Then why not I also go and have His Darshan at least from a long distance! I was very much confused and restless for several days - to see Him or not to see Him! I could not concentrate on my office work and could not sleep peacefully. I wanted to know more about Sai Baba and started making enquiries with whomever I happened to contact. Many did not know about Baba nor had they heard of Him. They were looking at me curiously and perhaps thought that something was really wrong with me.
Restless I was, yet I tried to engross myself in my office work. I was living alone since my wife had gone to her native place. We were waiting for the arrival of our first child. This was already causing tension. My confusing thoughts of Baba added to my tension. My wife had developed some problems during her earlier pregnancy resulting in abortion. The specialist doctors had certified that she might not conceive again. The Grace of Sai flowing unto us, even before we came to know of Him, is a different story altogether and I shall narrate it, elsewhere in this book. Here, I only wish to mention that, in spite of the complications and anxieties, my wife insisted on going to her native place for delivery. It is a small remote village in Kerala with no doctors and hospital facilities. Yet that was her wish that she wanted to be with her own mother.
Sitting alone in the house, my thoughts were oscillating between my unconfirmed faith on Baba and fears of my wife’s safe delivery. My dull mind was not able to knit the possibility of Baba’s Grace with a solution to my wife’s problems. Then the thought suddenly flashed through my mind. Why not pray, to the till then ‘unknown Baba’ and request Him to take care of the situation. Here, I was in Bombay, my wife in a remote village in Kerala, and Sri Sai Baba in Puttaparthi, also a remote village in Andhra Pradesh. If what others say to be true, that Baba is God, then He should be Omnipresent. He should be able to listen to my prayers, reach out to the Kerala Village, and bless the lady for a safe delivery. Slowly and steadily confidence started building up in me, in Baba’s divinity. At last with my sincere prayers, I placed the entire burden on Him. No more worries. No more tensions whatsoever disturbed me thereafter. I believed that He would take care of us.
The timing was very perfect. I got a telegraphic message that a son was born. The delivery was normal and that my wife’s mother herself was able to handle the situation. There were no complications, as we had feared all along. The same day, Bhagavan Baba had arrived in Bombay! Yet I was unaware of the Divine visit. I got a telephone call form one of my friends, asking me whether I had Baba’s Darshan. I said ’No’, and in turn I enquired where I should go for Darshan. I was told that Darshan had been arranged daily morning and evening in the compound of a certain palace grounds at Worli area. Nothing could prevent me any longer. I rushed to Worli, and found that there was a huge crowd of devotees, singing Bhajans and I could see Baba far away, sitting on an ornate chair, listening to Bhajans. I was very late and had to stand at the entrance gate of the palace ground. I could not proceed further inside, because right up to the gate devotees were sitting. I was told that Baba would usually go around the devotees, so that every one could have very close Darshan and even a chance to touch His feet. I learnt further that, Bhagavan had already finished the rounds and anytime now Arathi would be offered, and He would go inside.
There was no chance of seeing Him close by, on my first Darshan day. How unfortunate, I thought. Standing where I was, I prayed unto Him, thanking Him profusely for His Grace on my wife, who had no problems with her delivery. I spoke through my heart that I had come to Him and that He should accept me, in spite of all my deficiencies and to guide me through the rest of my life. I was emotionally surcharged, literally weeping and praying. Deep in my mind, I was aware that He was hearing my prayers. There was a slight movement. I watched Baba getting up. He was seen moving slowly along the central pathway. Ladies were sitting on one side and the gents on the other side. It was something strange in Bombay, to see ladies and gents sitting separately. Before I could realize it, Swami (as He is called reverently) was standing just in front of me! I was overwhelmed on seeing Sai so close to me, and I did not know what I should do. Could I talk to Him, or worship Him, but then how? Face to face with Baba, without any premeditated thought I just happened to catch hold of His both Hands. Baba, lowering His charming face to a side, just smiled at me. What a captivating and charming smile it was, which bestowed all the Divine Bliss! He did not speak. But instantly, it struck me that I had erred in holding His hands, and that Swami did not approve of my act. At the same time, a quotation in English, flashed through my mind.
“Objects are not to fall on magic wand”.
It took a few moments to realize the implications of my act and when it dawned on me, I just withdrew my hands. Benign Sai continued to smile, patted on my back and walked away.
A magician normally holds a stick in his hands and touches on any object with this stick. The magician’s stick is called ‘magic wand’. When the wand contacts any object, say a stone, it becomes an egg or something. It is the will of the magician. On the contrary
Kokila Vaidyanathan on February 20, 2013:
Reading your story of how Swami became your family deity, it has given me inspiration to write about it :-) After I moved to NZ, He started coming in my dreams. While I was in India, I had heard of HIM and visited whitefiled as picnic spot.. apart from that didn't have any major involvement. However, things changed after I moved to NZ. About a year or so later after moving, HE would come in my dreams everynight and manifest Vibhuti and appear in many forms including various Avatars. Anywhere I went I would see HIS pic or hear HIS bhajans and that made me look around for a Centre here in NZ and once I started attending bhajans the dreams were of different experience. (which can go on for a long book :-) That's how HE pulled me into HIS fold and my life changed for the better or even best from then on. SAIRAM.
Gauri Srivastava from Bangalore, India on February 20, 2013:
I have no idea what exact circumstances led Swami into my family but I'm pretty sure that as kids me n my brother never questioned anyone who He was. It was like since birth we knew He was God and had this urge of joining Swami's school at Parthi.. and yes, He did answer our prayers. We used to come to Parthi for sevadal with family and always used to pray to Swami to give us admission in His school. For me personally, I tried for admission in 1st and 2nd standard and didn't get. Somehow, I gave up hope for getting any admission when I reached 3rd std. That year, as usual, we came for sevadal and Swami was giving padnamaskar to all the sevadals who had come in our group. After that He went over to where kitchen aunty (Indu aunty) was sitting and told her something. After bhajans got over, she came running to our side and told my grandmother that Swami had told them to take me into the school. It was the most incredible thing that had happened to me and our family. Later, He even gave admission to my brother in His school and when my brother was in 7th standard, he had asked Swami for admission of my cousin into His school, and Swami said- "Why do you say Your School, Your School. It is Our school". I'm lucky to be a part of his school and college and glad that I am a part of Him in this avtar as well. I want to thank you for your posts since they motivate us a lot and keep reminding us that We do have a Great Big Wonderful Lord.
P.S.- Your wife Pooja and your sis Shruti were a year junior to me and Shruti was also my roommate at ATP :)
anandregunathan on February 20, 2013:
SAIRAM All :)
Our family has been ardently following Sri Shirdi Baba, thanks to my mom's uncle. Being in Bangalore "all these decades", we hardly knew about Swami!
Swami Blessed me with a Dream where HE and Shirdi Baba are together and when i take Padnamaskar of Swami, Swami immediately told me "first take Asirwadam(Padnamaskar) of PERIAPPA(meaning Father's Elder Brother in tamil, pointing to Shirdi Baba) then you can take MY Asirwadam", and this was on the eve of Shivarathri 2007.
In 2008, Swami Blessed me with an amazing Dream, where in i am a bad guy(like a terrorist), and HE joins our camp and pulls me out of the wrong company, and hugs me tight and says "I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU"! Tears flow while writing this! :)
And in 2010 (when i was working in Pune), 45 days before Swami's Hadshi Visit (i guess probably no one even knew if HE were to visit Hadshi then), Swami gave me a Dream of HIM being a Priest in a temple of Panduranga, and needless to say, when i came to Hadshi to have HIS 'first Physical Darshan', i was shell-shocked to see the entire Dream getting replicated!
Thanks for giving me this wonderful opportunity to share this, Aravind anna :) SAIRAM :)
Subhasri Kartik on February 20, 2013:
Sairam-We were LATE COMERS actually into the fold.The year was 1992 Dec, when my father had to undergo a very simple hernia operation.But after this very simple run of the mill surgery my dadd was paralysed hip down as the anesthesia had affected his spine.My brother was still a student.there were loans after my wedding expenses & my dad was the only earning member in the family .Doctors from far & wide were consulted,temple trips by all family members undertaken,all sorts of prayers & homams conducted-but no improvement. in my fathers condition.doctors went to the extent of saying-maybe will recover in 10/15 yrs time.At this juncture my bother informed us that he was going to pray to SATHYA SAI BABA as it was a known fact by now that only a miracle can cure my dad and babahad cured so many ( as per what we had heard).my brother went to Sundaram ,got vibhuthi & started giving my dad water with vibuthi after meticulously praying to swami.WELL,WITHIN A WEEK MY FATHER WALKED UP to THE TOILET ON HIS OWN.ever since that time swami is the elixir of our lives.,always there with us taking so much care of us,showering all his love on us.LUV U SWAMI
Sreenidhi on February 20, 2013:
My family came to know of Swami through my great grandmother (my mother's grandmother) . During one of the days in 1956, when my great grandfather and his wife were facing financial crisis and were very worried about bringing up their daughters, lots of Kumkum and Vibhuti started manifesting on the Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi photo at the altar. A neighbour who saw this, told them that Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi is known to perform such miracles and that this could be a way He is entering our family and pulling us to Him. She also suggested that they visit Parthi. However, my great grandfather, a very orthodox 'brahmin' and a Sanskrit scholar did not believe in going to a 'young man in thirties, that too a non-brahmin' But my great grandmother somehow made it to Parthi alone with the neighbour.
I have no idea what Swami spoke to them. But all I know is she was a very blessed soul.Also, I heard from my grandmother that the problems in the family miraculously disappeared.
A few months after my grandmother's marriage in was fixed in 1968, both, my grandmother and my great grandmother went to Parthi, where, they got an interview with Swami where Swami gifted my grandmother a beautifully autographed photograph of Swami which she treasures even today and blessed the wedding invitation.
My mother was not too much into all this even after my birth but she said that during my great grandmother's last days, she once picked the baby me from my mother's hands in a haste and hurried to the altar and showed me to Swami. She lost her memory during those days and hence, no one could predict what she would do. But Swami was always there in her memory. She could see Swami walking around the house and used to wake the other members of the family when she saw Swami at night.
My mother really started believeing in Swami in the year 2001 , when I, out of blue said that I wanted to be dressed up as Sai Baba for my fancy dress competition. The next year my father got a job in Oman its in Oman where my father was pulled to Swami. After that there has been no looking back. Whatever has been happening has been for our good and He is our family deity.
By the way, when my great grandmother passed away, she said that Swami is with our family and that even if we don't want to go to Him or we forget Him, He is going to pull us to Him at any cost. She said those were her prayers.
Today, if not for her prayers and of course, Swami's blessing, I don't know where we would have been and what we would have been doing with life!
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on February 20, 2013:
Dear ST - It was so wonderful reading your experience. I shared the same with my wife and parents. All of us shared your joy, relief and thrill. Thank you for the beautiful share!
ST on February 20, 2013:
31st Dec 1994. It was at a new year's party and my cousin was quietly telling me about God on Earth - Sai Baba. Little did he know that I was in a desperate situation looking for God. Some months earlier, I had gone to Australia for a second opinion and the prognosis was two more years to live. The doctor offered to make arrangements for lung transplant in the US estimated at US$1m including spending a year convalescing there. No money. Next option - PRAY! I had stopped praying for two decades. Now God was my only refuge and I planned on a pilgrimmage to India - the ancestral home of my forefathers. No one, not even my family, knew about my condition. I decided to "check out" Sai Baba when I go to India. I didn't know anything about dear Swami or where to get more info. My cousin would not be a good idea as it will get back to the family.
1st Jan 1995. After some discreet enquiries, I got contact details of Dr P a Sai devotee who had access to Swami.
2nd Jan 1995. I called Dr P for "Sai Baba's address". The good doctor enquired about my interest. I told him about the lung fibrosis which had progressively left me with half my lung capacity over 4 years. By "coinsaidence", Dr P was leaving for Parthi that evening and offered to bring me to Sai Baba if I could join 3 others coming on 4 Jan evening. "There will be one more place in the taxi" he said.
3 Jan 1995. First thing in the morning, I headed off to the Indian High Commission to apply for a visa. Next, called the travel agent for tickets to travel on 4 Jan. The Singapore Airlines flight to Chennai on which the 3 devotees were traveling was fully booked (those were the days when there was no direct flights from Singapore to Bangalore). As an afterthought, the agent shared Indian Airlines was starting its inaugural direct flight to Bangalore around midnight. The plane had plenty of seats available and asked if I was interested. I readily agreed not having been to India and not even thinking how I was going to get from airport to Parthi. Happily unknown to me the 3 Chinese devotees had also decided to switch to the direct flight to Bangalore.
4 Jan 1995. Close to midnight, I met my 3 travel companions. Two were seasoned travelers to Parthi and the third, a lady from Taiwan, was making her maiden visit.
5 Jan 1995 In the early hours, we landed in India and travelled to Parthi. Managed to catch a glimpse of Swami towards end of morning darshan.
Over the next few days, I had several wonderful personal observations and experiences and in my heart I knew that BABA IS GOD.
THE INTERVIEW. I can't recall exact date, maybe 7th or 8th Jan. Dr P signaled from the portico that Swami had called the group in. The interview was magical - with materialistions, Swami demonstrating His Omniscience about the lives of those present etc. I was tongue tied and completely overwhelmed. When Dr P asked about me, Swami pointing to His Chest said He knew my problem. But Swami did not say He will cure me. After the interview as Swami left the room, I ran after and called out to Baba if I will be fine. Swami turned around and brushed me aside (guess nobody does things like that and also that is not the discipline expected). I thought I was finished. Even God was not giving me a reprieve....
20th Feb 2013. 18 years have passed. Here I am sharing my story. Within months of returning from Parthi in 1995, I was tailed off the drugs that for 4 years had slowed down the relentless progression of the disease. My lung capacity is still about half. Some years back, a lung physician friend (and a Sai Devotee) told me that I am only the second case he knew that had survived the condition in Singapore. The first one recovered within 6 months (which I learnt from another doctor is usually the case for the few who survive and that most who are afflicted by the condition don't survive beyond a few months). It took less than a week from hearing about Sai Baba in Singapore to being dragged to Parthi and God revealing Himself to me. So, that's how me and later my family came into Sai's care. Jai Sairam!
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on February 20, 2013:
@Craighp - Wow! :)
Thank you for sharing... That is an awesome post... I will return to it and red it slowly...
craighp on February 20, 2013:
I first saw swami in a dream http://www.psychics.co.uk/blog/sai-baba-psychics/
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on February 19, 2013:
@ Nicknet - Thank you for sharing your personal experience. Indeed blessed is your mother!
Also, you have hit upon a beautiful and poignant point on which is the great miracle of Swami - the transformation of the heart. Thank you.
Nicknet on February 10, 2013:
Sai Ram Aravind. So wonderful to read your rendering of Sai experiences. Very inspiring. Yes! Swami entered our home and left 7 foot steps of vibhuti after He appeared in my mother's dream to say He will be arriving. She thought Swami was a female deity for there was kumkum on His forehead and the hair truly confused her, never having heard or seen Him before in her lfie. When she woke up, there was kumkum all over her chest sprinkled by Swami and the kumkum He applied on her forehead. She passed away before my father did with full kumkum on her forehead by His Grace! Those were the days when Swami's miracles were such but, nothing like the latter years where He has performed true miracle of transforming human beings into divine beings and others into good and virtuous beings! Jai Sai!
RAJESHWAR SINGH AMAR on January 21, 2013:
NICE TO HEAR ABOUT SWAMI ENTERING YOUR UNCLES LIFE. YOUR FATHER HAD SHARED LOTS OF STORIES OF HIS YOUNGER DAYS WHEN HE AND YOUR ELDEST UNCLE WERE SORT OF OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHERS ON MANY OCCASIONS DURING BANGALORE VISITS BY SWAMI. IT IS NICE TO SEE YOU WRITING ABOUT SWAMI BESIDES CAPTURING WITH YOUR CAMERA. KEEP IT UP ARVIND! IT IS ALWAYS REFRESHING TO READ YOUR ARTICLES. SAIRAM!
Yogesh Kamath on November 08, 2012:
Sai Ram..So deeply moved by your articles that I shed tears of joy. Please write something on 'Love without attachment'. Inspiration will come from the 'source' as always.
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on October 03, 2012:
@ PoornimaSrinath - :) Wow! That is an amazing transition and I have myself been blessed to see it happen to many people...
@Madhavi Alapaty - Hold that thought and prayer strong in the heart and I do not see why it should not happen!
@SaiSarannaga - Sairam sir! Nice to see you after a long time. Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience...
saisarannaga on October 02, 2012:
A nice rendition of Divine encounter. I too had the encounter on Christmas day at Chennai at Abbotsbury(25 Dec 1964). I was fascinated beyond expression. The days followed chasing Swami wherever He went. Finally during the last days of December, i happened to come very close to Him at Alwarpet. Prompted by Him, i asked when i can come to Puttaparthi? Swami lovingly told me, "January first weeklo randi Bangaru! It was on 7th Jan 1965, i reached the portals of sanctified heaven "Prasanthi Nilayam", went and sat in the front verandah opposite to Swami's room(Interview room). Came Swami beautifully smiling, called every one who sat at the verandah. I remember that was the last opportunity to sit there directly and subsequently, Swami used to select individuals coming outside. I had 3 or four interviews in a span of four or five years. No doubt, He is the guiding spirit of one and all throughout the Cosmos. I really envy you for getting the opportunity to serve in the Nilayam itself in Bagawan's Divine Presence to this day.
madhavi alapaty on October 02, 2012:
(God! How I wish those days return!)..Aravind..that is exactly how I feel whenever I read about all the feelings/blessings the old devotees experienced with SWAMI in their life. He came into my life in early stages of my life too..but being borned into an ignorant family at that time..i was not aware of his true identity as HE is the one and only BHAGAWAN for me. Now all our family members(mothers side) are dedicated to HIM. Thank you for sharing another beautiful event from your life.
poornimasrinath from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA on October 01, 2012:
I liked reading this episode as this gives me yet another story of Swami's calling which in each case tailored to suit only that person/ family. It gives me opportunity to wonder at greatness of Swami! One of my cousins who grew up with me was a worst critic of swami and would upset me everyday. Now his only God is Swami...the transition was really amazing and hard to believe too.