Having had the opportunity to stay at the lotus feet of Lord for many years, studying in His College and performing His work, one usually tends to forget the circumstances, which, in the first place had led us to Swami and to his gradual acceptance. It is indeed the way of the Lord who plays His infinite game with us, mere mortals, breaking us away from our set mundane routine and drawing our attention to His Divinely beautiful self.
My experience may not be different from those of many others, whom Swami calls to Him in mysterious ways. But, whatever it may be, I have taken it to be His Divine gift. His mercy and grace know no bounds, and this is truly what I have been able to learn.
It was just after my tenth standard final examinations, my father, who till then had been working abroad, came back home and one day announced that we would all visit Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in a remote village, called Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh. My view of all religious men then, being biased, I was obviously bent on not going. This eventually resulted in a small misunderstanding at home. I would not listen to them and my only desire at that time was that while they visited Puttaparthi, I would enjoy my holidays at Bangalore. But eventually it was my parents’ will, which prevailed and despite my vehement objection, I was made to accompany them on this particular trip to Prasanthi Nilayam. It is said that God allows only those, whom He wishes to come to Him, and even if a person desires, he cannot come until the Lord wills it.
My first impression was one of bewilderment. I was not used to seeing so many people waiting patiently for Swami. It was the first time I saw people falling at someone’s feet. Also it was strange seeing people going into ecstasy at the sight of Swami, losing control over their demeanor. Thus the first two days were those of thoughtful observation, with Swami occasionally looking towards my direction, and yet not seeing me. On the third evening, Swami came up to me, and asked me my name and the place I came from. After Swami had proceeded further away from me, I could feel myself trembling and for the first time I felt something stirring inside me. With it came two days of beautiful interviews, immediately one after the other. These interviews gave me an experience of His omnipotence and omnipresence. After this, acceptance became easy. When I left Prasanthi Nilayam after a few days, I was sad. A deep identification had developed within me for this lovely place.
It is said that when you take one step towards God, He takes a hundred steps towards you. He touches the chords within the heart, and sets forth a theme of longing and yearning. I do not know whether to call this particular incident a miracle or just a fortunate chance. But in this I see the hand of Swami working in advance, shaping the future.
It so happened that on one Sunday, a few weeks after our return from Puttaparthi, I was sitting in front of the TV set watching a movie. After some time passed, a feeling of deep sickness and despair filled me. A sense of hollowness and passivity invaded me. Distressed, I decided to go for a walk. Wearing my jogging clothes, I stepped out onto the street. The street was deserted except for the occasional passersby. I started to jog, taking my usual route towards the park. Occupied with my thoughts, I jogged into a street unknown to me. It occurred to me after some time that I was going on a path I did not know. But within me was a kind of force which was guiding me in that direction. It was as if something was pulling and attracting me, and over which I had no control. After having covered some distance, I crossed over and entered a private road, leading to a beautiful, pink and white temple gleaming in the late evening sun. Sounds of Bhajans came drifting over to me, with sweet melodious sounds of a number of instruments in the background. The temple itself had been recently built but with a touch of our ancient architectural beauty. I was stunned for a moment. A person with a blue and white scarf, gracefully ushered me in, telling me, “You are late for Sai Bhajans.” Then it occurred to me that the magical pull which I had felt in me was indeed Swami Himself, binding and pulling me away from the TV, to His threshold, into His Divine soothing atmosphere of Bhajans and Keertans.
No doubt, I was amazed but I was also happy, for within my heart, I then began to realise the fact that when Swami had decided something for me, no matter, what happened, no matter how lost I was, He would pull me to Him. The bliss and joy I had felt at this little experience made me yearn for more. From then on, I became a regular visitor to Sundaram, that ‘lovely temple.’ With His grace I was made a member of one of the activity groups, and through His Divine grace, I was admitted into His College.
This is a small, but yet a sweet experience. The recollection of such experiences however small or big, will serve as a purifier of our thoughts, words and deeds.
- Ramesh Sabnani
Alumnus, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus