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My First Experience with Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Aravind Balasubramanya has spent more than 2 decades with Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He has studied under Baba and been His photographer.

"If you take one step towards me, I shall take a hundred towards you" - Baba

"If you take one step towards me, I shall take a hundred towards you" - Baba

I had introduced the concept of ‘form’ in the hostel when I wrote about my first interaction with Sathya Sai. I got so enamored by this that I wanted to become a ‘form boy’. I used to see how Swami would speak to some of the students. It felt so wonderful. I also came to know of a few students who had spent almost ten years in the hostel without Swami speaking even a word with them! The way the Master ‘treats’ depends totally on the illness. As Swami put it, “When a patient goes to a doctor with a tummy ache, he prescribes medications in some cases, advises a diet in some others and in some cases, even recommends surgery. The problem may be the ‘same’ but the doctor knows best.” I was hoping to be a ‘patient’ for whom form or physical nearness would be the therapy!

I was desperate to get an opportunity to speak with Him. I would treasure and cherish every little movement He made, every word that I heard Him speak. Every small thing that happened, I would note down in my personal diary. I would sit every night writing my diary for the day. I was convinced about the importance of this habit for I was living with God and one day, I felt, my writing would be read like the writings of Jesus' apostles! I was serious and I was deeply convinced about it. But somehow, the delusion existed that physical proximity alone ensured spiritual proximity. Well, it has taken Swami years to get me to understand the difference between nearness to Him and dearness to Him. Anyway, one evening, He did speak to me!

In the darshan lines, I got up on my knees, wanting to offer a letter to Him. I was a schoolboy and the contents of the letter just reflected that. I wanted to study well and make my parents happy. However, there was also another line - Swami keep me forever with you. Knowingly or unknowingly, this statement somehow embedded itself into every letter I wrote to Him. That day, as I rose on my knees, Swami looked at me and in a somewhat serious tone said, “Ay! I shall send you to the mental hospital.” He moved on.

I do not know how to describe my feelings that day. I was on top of the world! When anyone asked me the reason for my extra happiness and dash of energy, I told them that Swami had spoken to me. When they heard the content of the ‘conversation’ they smiled (I don’t know whether they smiled with me or at me!). I was reminded of the farmer who who gathered everyone in the village because the king had spoken to his son. The whole village came to the square wanting to know what words the boy had received from the monarch of the land. The boy then revealed, “The king said, ‘You fool! Get out of my way!’ “. What was spoken did not seem to matter as much as the fact the something had been spoken!

The next day, I was seated in the third line. I stretched out my hand with the same letter and Swami gave the same response - “I shall send you away to the mental hospital!” My joy knew no bounds. Being spoken to twice in two days! I felt that I was well entrenched on the path to formhood. I even began to test the ‘strength’ of the ‘form signal’. Let me explain. The next day, I sat further away - the 4th line - and showed Swami the letter when He came. He noticed me and told a boy nearby, “Take that fellow and admit him into the mental hospital.” I felt that my ‘form’ had a range of 4 lines now! The next few days, I spent in experimenting this range and then, one day, when I sat in the 8th line, Swami did not look at me. I felt that my ‘form range’ extended till the 7th line. Such were my thoughts! I never understood what He was conveying by that statement which He had told me more than 5 times till now. I still do not know the meaning and I know that when the right time comes, it will dawn upon me!

"I always keep thinking of you. I only ask you to think of me when you are in trouble, cruelly ravaged by doubts and distress. No matter how grotesque your thoughts are, I shall not abandon you."

"I always keep thinking of you. I only ask you to think of me when you are in trouble, cruelly ravaged by doubts and distress. No matter how grotesque your thoughts are, I shall not abandon you."

Experiencing Omniscience

Getting back to the story, I was happy with the happenings of the last week. It had been fruitful for me with Swami speaking to me about 4-5 times. In the meanwhile, the monthly academic tests came up. It was the Biology test and I was studying for the subject, sitting on the lawns in front of the hostel. As I studied, I saw that there were a few students playing with a water hose. They were squirting each other with water and it seemed so much fun. I too left my books and rushed to indulge in that harmless pleasure.

After about 15 minutes, I realized that I had to study and so I rushed back to my books. However, after reading for about 10 minutes, I was again tempted and I went back to the water games. I thus moved to and fro from my books to the hose pipe and back about 2-3 times. Then, I felt that I had wasted too much time in games and I had to seriously study. So I closed my eyes and said, “Swami, I promise you that if I don’t read two chapters, I shall not have my lunch.” Some seriousness returned and I began to study.

But the mind’s pull is so great. Soon, I found myself, once again, among the playful band of boys squirting water! And as I played, I heard the tolling of the bell that beckoned everyone in the hostel for lunch. I was shocked and time seemed to have passed so fast. What was I to do? The rules and discipline in the hostel were so strict that if one turned up late for lunch, he would be sent off with the statement, “You are too early for dinner!” I was hungry but I had a promise to keep. I decided upon a solution.

I said to myself, “Aravind! You did not promise Swami that you would study two chapters. You said that you would only read two chapters! Do that and rush for your lunch.” I listened to the devil that gave me the cunning ‘solution’. I quickly browsed through the pages of my text book and within 8-10 minutes, I had finished ‘reading’ two chapters! Happy at my intelligence, I went for lunch.

That evening, I was seated in the second line during the darshan session. Swami came gliding by and I had my letter with me. In one corner of my heart, I did not want Him to accept that letter for it had given me 4-5 opportunities of a conversation with Him! The letter did not fail me today also. When Swami saw me, He turned to one of the staff members seated there and said, “Take this boy and admit him into the mental hospital.” My heart was again rejoicing. Swami moved on. After taking 3-4 steps, He suddenly stopped and turned around.

Both, me and the staff member, became alert. Was He wanting to tell us something? He looked at me momentarily and then turned to the staff member. He simply told him

“When you admit him in the the mental hospital, ensure that he does not get food to eat!”

He then moved on.

I had goosebumps on my skin. What is the need to communicate with one who knows your thoughts even as they arise

Mind vs Conscience (This story enacted and narrated in a video)

© 2012 Aravind Balasubramanya


Radhakrishnan ,Sydney on April 20, 2015:

Thanks for sharing your experiences with Swami. Yes it really strengthens our faith in Him.

Thank you Br Arvind

Dr BALADHANDAYUDAM MDS from cuddalore on December 29, 2014:

sai ram aravind really , a great emotinal, lovable, feeling while reading .....your articles .for people like me while reading swamy miracle is a eneargy drink this only keeps me aware of his omnipresence and helps to sairam you peoples are in swamys ministry for people like me ......continue.. Sai ram

Gayathri Sharma on July 16, 2013:

What can I say! Each one of your experience conveys so much inner meaning in it. Truly mad for God!!! After reading each page, I automatically start thinking for sometime and understand that our beloved Lord teaches very tough lessons in a simple manner! Very inspiring and tempting articles. Just can't stop reading! This is how our Swamy has chosen to speak to His devotees. My desire is fulfilled. I am getting answers to many of my doubts on your hub pages. Keep writing like this brother!!! You don't know what a marvellous gift are your hub pages to devotees like me. I feel Swamy is showering His blessings on us through these pages!.! May all your wishes come true!! May our lord bless you forever!!

An Impressed Reader on April 05, 2012:

Your habit of writing a diary seems to have been God ordained!! But for the diary may be we all would not have got to read these amazing experiences in such minute detail..

Loved the 'Form Boy' deliberations :)

Maybe the diary writing went a long way in having shaped a master narrator and writer too !!

Scroll to Continue

'What is the need to communicate with one who knows your thoughts even as they arise?'

Very nice thought and very very true ..

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on January 30, 2012:

I think he said the statement because you were testing HIm eventhough you knew Him as God almighty. Thankyou for sharing your experiences.

saikrupasagar from Puttaparthi/ Visakhapatnam on January 27, 2012:

Dear Brother Arvind, Sairam,

As I read this wonderful experience of yours, I recollected the last time he spoke to our family on June 18 2010, in the interview room. As Swami was interacting with our family, I was praying silently in the corner asking Him to talk to me separately regarding some issues which I wanted to convey to Him only. As the time passed, when Swami finished with all others, He signalled us to leave, He looked at me and called me near to Him, I jumped with joy and reached Him. He told me " I will call you and talk to you separately". I was stunned because that was the assurance I was praying for, in my Heart. That was a lesson for me to realise that He is the 'Antaryami' for sure. No doubts at all. I asked Swami to increase my faith and devotion towards Him. He gave me a beautiful smile, patted on my cheeks and said "tappakunda" means 'surely'. With that assurance we left the room, not knowing that it was the last interaction with him in this Avatar. It Has been a tough time for me after April 2011. But then slowly I realised that He already started His mission through many of the people like You. He is always taking care of us.

Dear brother keep writing, by reading those experiences, we feel the closeness of swami everyday and every moment.. Keep writing .. I eagerly wait for your articles.. Thanks for doing all this for us..


Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on January 26, 2012:

Thank you Sunaina..... It is all His inspiration and Grace....

I feel very happy and nice that am able to share all this...

Sunaina on January 26, 2012:

Your experiences are wonderful...this is the first time i logged in here and I couldn't move out from this site until I read all of your hubs...

It is undoubtedly being read like the writing of Jesus' Apostles!

Kusuma on January 24, 2012:

Enjoyed every single word. Thanks you so much for sharing. Can't wait to read your next Divine experience.

himanshu on January 24, 2012:

Just Amazing...............feels gr8 ..........

hema b on January 24, 2012:

...regarding jesus & his you think, so you become...god bless...

saisarannaga from Chennai in Tamilnadu, India. on January 24, 2012:

Your narration in a nonchalant way as though it happens to somebody."admission to mental hospital" is intriguing! Have you deciphered it? i liked the narration as it comes from your heart. Good that you have recorded all events with Swami.

S.Sridhar on January 24, 2012:

Normally I shed tears whenever I read incidents with HIM, this one I laughed... wonderfuL Aravind.

Teekay63 on January 23, 2012:

I like how He kept telling to have you admitted to the mental hospital, and how you were so thrilled by that! :)

anonymous on January 23, 2012:

Thank You Mr. Aravind. Another wonderful story.

Cheers! : )

deepa venkitesh on January 23, 2012:

ha ha ha, cant stop laughing dear Aravind, your hubs are so so good. you reveal to us the exact happenings without any false ego. anyway, let me share one of my similar exp. In 1995, I had gone for onam festival and participated in the morning special nagarsankeerthan. we were able to sit in the first row. so before swamy came along, I gave one picture of swamy to my friend and kept one myself so that when swamy passes he will bless them if we have luck and his blessings. swamy did come and we extended our hands and swamy passed along without looking at first, a few steps forward and he turned back and scolded in tamil- enna, enna theriyaatha -meaning what don't you know me?. I was on the top of the world like you said and started grinning and smiling and went and told everyone, swamy spoke to me, swamy spoke to me. now only I realize it was a preparation for the long physical separation but swamy has become very close to me and dear to me even though I am 'miles' apart from him. thank you dear.

Pardhu on January 23, 2012:

Beautiful one, brother. Sairam!

Simi on January 23, 2012:

Love this!!! I remember hearing it in Parthi last summer and it really made me laugh. love it!

Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on January 23, 2012:

Thank you sis Aarthi! :)

You have succinctly penned down the thoughts and feelings of thousands. We are indeed blessed to have known Swami and experienced Him! :)

Aarthi on January 23, 2012:

Every experience of yours is truly worth reading, for it offers an insight into the life of a student in Swami's school or college. Really nice! I esp liked the last line "What is the need to communicate with one who knows your thoughts even as they arise?"

So true! He is with us every single microsecond. He knows every fleeting thought we have, even as they originate in our mind. He alone knows our deepest fears and prayers and wishes, which we would not divulge to anybody, not even to our parents or dearest friend. That is the uniqueness of the magnificent Lord.

Even though He is the Master of the entire cosmos, He is still so loving and endearing as a mother and friend. :) He always has time for each of us, and gets involved in minute details of our life, if only we allow Him to. He thereby grants us immense joy.

Keep writing, Aravind. As you said, you've lived with God and your experiences are definitely being read like the writings of Jesus' apostles. Keep sharing your exps with us readers! :)

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