My blissful journey with Swami began at the tender age of four. It was Bhagavan’s love that pulled me towards Him at such an early age. Just as a potter shapes the pot slowly but methodically, Bhagavan has shaped my life all these years. When I was a little boy, my mother used to take me to Bal Vikas classes every Sunday, even in the midst of heavy rainfall. There I learnt humility and the importance of respecting others, and slowly the guidelines given by the Gurus of Balvikas helped me become an ideal person.
I grew older with the passage of time and the quest for the purpose of life increased as days passed. I really want to thank my Gurus as they played the role of a lighthouse showing me the way through the darkness all around me. Right at that young age, I learnt the importance of silence and realised the value of time. I learnt not only how to manage both the academics and the spiritual life, but also found the right avenue to express my talents. Bal Vikas gave us ample opportunities to excel in our fields of interest. Very soon I had happily completed nine years of the Bal Vikas course and it was time for me to leave.
But I did not want to break the bond that had been built between me and Bhagavan over these years. Therefore, I joined the youth wing of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation at our place. There I transformed my ideas into actions. This youth wing served as a learning platform where we learnt Vedas, Bhajans and gained a lot of self confidence. Apart from these, the most important thing we learnt was to learn from our own mistakes. It was during this phase that I got a chance to act in a drama on the occasion of the Independence Day, and it was this performance that inspired me to act even at the District level. Until then I was a novice in the field of dramatics, but by Swami’s grace, I was adjudged the best actor at such a large forum.
Swami is very concerned about the rural development of our country. This led us to embark on Sai Seva, where I came to know about the life of the people in the villages. As Swami’s instruments, we gave our best to provide them the basic amenities of life and I think it was Swami’s will, that took me there and understand the problems confronting our country.
I was happy with this peaceful life; but along the journey I happened to notice a sign board indicating a turning point in my life, as my school days were about to end, and the members of my family had already planned to send me to Delhi for my further education. I was in complete depression because I was about to leave the organization of Bhagavan. But our merciful Swami gave me a solution to my prayers, when my mother brought the admission form of Swami’s University on her return from Prasanthi Nilayam. It was a great gift to me by Swami. Seeking Swami’s grace I posted the form on the Poornima day. The anticipation of becoming Swami’s student was creating a sort of restlessness within my heart. But even after one month of my posting the letter, there was no response from the authorities. My mother had by then decided not to send me to college at all, if not at the Sri Sathya Sai University. I had not even applied to any other college elsewhere. The only alternative I had applied for was for the Mirpuri College of Music, also at Puttaparthi.
|Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music|
I was initiated into singing of Bhajans right from an early age. Because of this association, Swami had bestowed upon me some knowledge of music and banking on this knowledge, I decided to apply for an admission into the Music College also. However, there was no response from either of the colleges and my mother was greatly worried. She performed every possible prayer in order to please God. Seeing the postman in our village, I used to run towards him to enquire about any letter in my name. Receiving no response, I used to return with great disappointment; yet, I had complete faith in Bhagavan.
One fine day when I was studying in my room, I heard a call from my mother. Hearing this, I rushed towards her and I saw her holding the admit card of the Mirpuri College of Music. Seeing the first call-letter itself gave me the greatest happiness. Swami says that He always wants to see us happy and that is why He bestowed on me another boon when I received another letter informing me that I was eligible for the admission test in Swami’s University as well.
We started for Prasanthi Nilayam. But on reaching there I found myself inferior to other students, as they were extremely talented and confident. With very little knowledge of music, I was diffident even to say that I have applied for the Diploma Course and I had only three days left before the tests.
Swami however, knew everything and decided to send help through some of the prominent Bhajan singers in the Sai Kulwant Hall. On my mother’s request they agreed to guide me for the remaining days. Practicing with Bhagavan’s students boosted my confidence and I was in a position to present myself before the maestros of the Music College. It was Swami who sang through me and spoke through me inside the interview room. It is only because of Swami’s love that I got admission in the Music College.
But all this while, I was yet to knock on the other door that would lead me towards Swami, that is the University test. Without much preparation, I went to answer that test also and I realized that if I had to get through I would require His grace in abundance.
On the day of the exam, while on our way, we found a crowd of people standing on either side of the road and Swami’s car was in the middle. We ran towards Swami and seeing me, He gave a blissful smile which gave me confidence to do well in the entrance exams. Till then Swami had fulfilled my every wish and as per His wish I got admission in the University.
The boy who always ran on seeing the postman for the call-letter from the University, now had two gifts before him. This was the greatest gift from my Lord that made me an instrument in His great mission.
Swami’s Darshan on the very first day of the college brought tears to my eyes, because I had no words to express my gratitude to Him. Within one month there was an opportunity before the students to put up a dance programme before Swami. I, from my past experience gathered courage and gave my name to the concerned teacher.
After our performance was over, Swami gave us a charming smile and said, "Chala Manchidi". I felt that the effort we had put in, to see a smile on Swami’s face had pleased Him. Also all were surprised to see Swami walking down the steps to pose for a photograph with us. Swami gave me His hand to hold which I cannot forget all my life. We had a photo session with Him and Swami permitted me to hold on to His hand even after He was seated. I totally forgot everything when Swami looked straight into my eyes. Mustering some courage I said to Swami, "Swami, I love You." I do not know how these words came out of my mouth but I was sure that He was really happy as He also replied, "I love you," thrice.
As everyone wishes for wonderful gifts on our birthday, I got more than what I expected. Earlier I used to celebrate it with my friends and parents dancing and chatting, but this time my birthday celebration was totally unforgettable. Blessings from Swami on my birthday were the real, everlasting gift and a chance to offer my actions at His Lotus feet. Swami kept His hand on my hand when I bowed down before Him. One after the other Swami fulfilled my wishes and I also wish for Swami’s proximity in my near future.
Realising the purpose of our birth and pleasing Swami should be the prime goal of everyone.
- Bishal Chetri
Student (2008-11), Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus