|Viswanath with Sri Sathya Sai|
On morning of 22nd November, immediately after the Nagar Sankirtan, I rushed and sat in front of the East Prasanthi gate. Devotees sat on the road leading from the Ganesh temple past the East Prasanthi Block and till the end of Sai Kulwant hall, all waiting for a glimpse of Bhagavan. We were having Swami’s Darshan in the T.V sets that were installed on the East Prasanthi Building with every step that Swami walked, we were becoming more and more eager to have His physical Darshan. I was praying to Swami to bless me for my examinations. As Swami came closer, the gates were opened. Swami, with His very charming gait, walked towards us and came out of the gate. Swami came closer to me and as He was walking in front of me, I knelt down and prayed, “Swami, twelfth class Swami, next year mee daggara chaduvukovalani unnadi Swami.” (“I have a desire to study near You, next year.”) Swami looked straight into my eyes and like a loving mother bent towards me and said, “Hmm,” as if asking me to repeat what I had said. I repeated it and Swami, who is ever ready to give, waved His hand and materialised Vibhuti for me. I never expected that Swami would bless me so profusely and so lovingly, talking to me and creating Vibhuti for me.
I just expected Swami to raise His Abhayahasta and bless me. But the most compassionate Mother chose to walk all the way to us and shower Her love on us. It is because of this blessing that I secured distinction in my twelfth class examinations and that I am here today with the very prestigious badge of a student. Such is the love of our Hridaya Nivasi.
When Swami forgets that He is the Lord of the Universe and we forget that we are just His insignificant creations, and the Lord takes the form of the mother and makes us His children, it is certain that there will be a heavy downpour of bliss, grace, compassion and immense joy.
The 25th of August 2001, the final day of the Ganesh Chaturti festival where the idols were to be immersed was an unforgettable day in my life. Like every year, a procession of idols of Lord Ganesh from the hostels to the Mandir was to be taken. At two in the afternoon, we placed the idols on our palanquins and were ready for the procession. The sky was clear but surprisingly just at that moment it started raining. It seemed as if the Gods from the heaven were performing Abhisheka to our Lord Ganesha! The rain failed to dampen our spirits. With the chanting of Vedamantras, singing of Bhajans in praise of our beloved Lord Ganesh, the procession commenced.
The atmosphere was electrifying. Every class was carrying their respective idols of Ganesha on their palanquins and chariots. The enthusiasm and excitement increased with every step we took towards the Mandir. Soon, we reached Mandir and entered the Sai Kulwant Hall through the main gate. Swami, who was waiting for us, standing outside was very carefully observing each and every chariot. Swami was all smiles as if waiting to pour His boundless love on us. We circumambulated the Mandir main hall along with our palanquins and kept the down in front of Swami one beside the other. Swami very graciously and loving went to each chariot and allowed photographs to be taken. He had literally given Himself to His children. He allowed the boys to come close to Him, take photographs with Him, allowed the boys to hold His hands, talked to all of us, blessed us and patted our backs.
|Viswanath (with folded hands and smiling face) and Sri Sathya Sai on the Ganesh Immersion Day in 2001|
Later I realised that surprisingly it was not I who was holding Swami hand, but Swami Himself who was firmly holding my hand all the while He was standing beside us! I will cherish the touch of his soft, tender hands through my life, an experience craved for by the Gods of the highest heavens. Where the Lord went, there was a shower of grace and bliss. Swami finally came and stood on the portico. He called a small boy, who was having a tray of coconuts near him. Swami took the coconuts into His hands one after the other and until the vessel became empty, went on breaking them. As Swami breaking the coconuts, the water sprinkled all around. A few drops fell on Swami’s hair too. The lower part of His robe touching the feet was completely drenched in coconut water but He seemed to be completely unmindful about it. Swami was too full of maternal affection towards His children to bother about such things. Then Swami slowly walked towards us and stood in front of us. It is an experience of thousands of lifetimes when the ‘Brahmandanayaka’, the Creator of the Universe, stands just before you for such a long time. We all started chanting the Sai Gayatri Mantram in the very presence of ‘Sayeeshwara’. As I looked up, I could see the love in the eyes of Swami. They were so beautiful that fail to describe even a fraction of their beauty. A beautiful smile was there on the lips all the time. Then Swami lighted the Mangala Arati. Swami was unmindful of the scorching heat when He was with us. These moments of eternal when Bhagavan showered His unfathomable love on all His children remain forever etched in our hearts.
“When you shed a tear for Him, He wipes away a thousand.” True indeed! Bhagavan’s love for His students is infinite, immeasurable, boundless, and the relationship between a student and Bhagavan is that of a child and a mother, the unbreakable bond of love between heart and heart. Our mid semester examinations were to start from 28th January. A few days before that, Swami had stopped coming out onto the portico and talking to the boys. During the entire week, when our examinations were going on, Bhagavan avoided coming out. We thought Swami wanted us to concentrate on studies. When our examinations ended we rushed to Mandir expecting Bhagavan to come out and talk to us. He did not come out. A day passed, two days, and three days. Swami did not even look at the students. We could sense that something was wrong.
The next day Swami called the warden for an interview. The warden later informed us that Swami was apparently unhappy with the boys, their behaviour, and their discipline. He was pained. We were all hurt on hearing this. We prayed to Bhagavan to forgive us. The only way we could talk to Him was through our hearts. The next day when Swami came out, we all ran and surrounded Him. We then begged for His forgiveness. He said, “I am not angry, I am happy, happy. How can I forgive you when I am not angry?” We were crying and we knew that He was pained because of us. Like a stern father He commanded us to go and sit, yet His tone was that of a loving mother. The next day we voiced our prayers in the form of songs sung from the bottom of our hearts. It was a heart to heart message from the children to their loving mother. Swami was moved. He called a few teachers and the warden inside the interview. In a couple of minutes, the warden came out and announced that Swami has responded to our prayers and had agreed to come to the hostel on Sunday, the 9th February, 2003.
Our happiness knew no bounds. We were ecstatic. Perhaps for this very reason, this embodiment of love is called Sulabha Prasanna. A sincere prayer can melt Him in seconds. His heart is like butter, which melts instantaneously with the slightest warmth of love. Later on, I came to know of a few things, which really touched me.
That day when Bhagavan was standing in front of the portico and talking to one of our teachers, the concerned teacher requested Swami to talk to the boys. Swami said. “I am standing here for so much time.
I am waiting for them. They are not coming to Me.” Though at times He seems to avoid us, He really loves us. Unaware of this conversation, we sang our hearts out. He listened to the song, glanced at us and called a few teachers and went inside the interview room. Left the door open, quite unusually. One of the teachers tried to close the door, Swami immediately turned towards him and sternly said, “Don’t close the door Keep it open. The waves of love are flowing in, they should not be obstructed”. Indeed, Swami is the mother of all mothers, to whom we can talk in the language of love. We love Him more than words can express, He loves us more than that.
The next day all were decorating the hostel, our sweet little home that Bhagavan had given us. The hostel is a place where each lives for the other and live for God. Our Mother was coming Home. Bhagavan came to the hostel at 3o’clock in the afternoon, and with every step He took, there was a downpour of immense Love and Grace. He very lovingly walked amidst us. He walked up to the stage and sat on His chair. It was wonderful to have Bhagavan in our host We had a variety of presentations and in spite of the duration of the programme and the inconvenience caused to Him, He was unmindful of it and sat through programme. At the end of the programme, we prayed to Bhagavan to give Divine discourse. Though initially reluctant, due to our persistent pleading, He accepted our prayers. He said that He was thoroughly pleased with the boys and it was only because of our love that He accepted our prayers. We were all touched when He said that due to the immense love flowing between us, He had no words to speak. In the course of the discourse, Swami said that there is only one relationship between Him and the students and that is the relationship of love. He ended His discourse on a beautiful note. We all were moved. We requested Him to have dinner with us. He said, “Trupti pettukovali Bangaru.” As He walked, towards the dining hall, in spite of all the inconvenience to Him He placed hands on everyone and allowed the boys to touch His hands. His robe was s brushing the faces and shoulders of the boys. We all forgot ourselves for we were all basking in the love of our Universal Mother. At times we do forget that this sweet Mother of ours is someone who is beyond the comprehension of even great sages and saints.
His love knows no bounds. As He walked out of the hostel, He noticed Sai Geeta, the elephant. Moving away from his car, He rushed towards Sai Geeta, offered her bananas to eat. She was in tears and couldn’t eat. Swami was saying, “Thinu Geeta thinu” repeatedly. He patted it and got into His car. It was 6:30p.m. We were all drenched in the nectarine Love of our Bhagavan. We bade farewell and came back to the hostel with those eternal moments etched in our hearts. He is ours and we are eternally His.
- Jandhyala Viswanath
Student (2001-2006), Department of Economics
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus
Currently, Chief Manager, Research and Analysis, EXIM Bank, Mumbai