|Sri Ramakrishna Reddy with Sri Sathya Sai at Kodaikanal - May 2007|
Our dear Swami, who explains succinctly from the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Puranas various philosophical aspects needed for our spiritual upliftment, would talk to us about things that are necessary for our daily conduct. He told us how one should be in the society, at home, at school and College. Taking a seemingly simple example of the word WATCH, He explained the most profound truths in the simplest way. He never missed an opportune moment to impart an enchanting lesson to us. Once in Brindavan, Swami was talking to a small group of students in the dining room. After some time Swami got up from the chair, picked up a banana fruit and went towards the window saying, “Poor fellow, waiting for a long time”. We all wondered who that lucky person was. To our utter surprise, it was a small monkey. Happily it took the fruit from Swami’s outstretched hand and started eating it. Swami, after observing keenly the monkey eating the fruit uttered loudly, “Ah, look at that – how carefully it is eating! Boys do not know even that”. The monkey peeled the fruit bit by bit and ate it without dirtying its hands.
On one occasion, the Hostel students of Brindavan invited Swami for a special dinner. Though Swami visited the Hostel daily after every evening Darshan in Sai Ramesh Hall, special visits by Swami for dinner or any music programme created a festive atmosphere in the Hostel. The students would participate in various activities to please Swami. In the evenings, much before the dinner time, Swami would visit the Hostel and enquire into various arrangements being made including the menu! Students looked forward to such unexpected visits with excitement because Swami moved freely, giving advice, cracking jokes, appreciating the work of one student at one place and teasing another at some other work spot when he lagged behind in doing the work. Swami’s presence always created an enchanting atmosphere. Students always flocked around Swami to watch that bewitching smile radiating from the lotus face.
Some of us were given the duty to roll Puris. In those days not many facilities were available in the kitchen to roll Chapati or Puri. We had two rows of Kadapa stones in the Dining Hall. We cleaned the Kadapa slabs and tried to roll Puris on them while standing. None of us had the prior experience in preparing Puris. We tried our best to do the job, but the Puris were not round in shape. When we were struggling like this, Swami came, stood beside us and said “Can’t you roll a small puri? You should be good at everything”. He scraped the wet flour which stuck to the slab and made it into a ball. After two gentle strokes the wet flour ball got transformed into a perfect round Puri, round and perfect like a full moon! We all clapped our hands and said “Ah!” in appreciation. Swami was beaming with joy. Holding the Puri in His hand, He folded it into half and pressed the edges. Swami said that the people of Andhra make a particular variety of sweet (Kajjikai) by stuffing the inside with sweet. He told us to fry and eat it. Swami sent some of His framed photos the new Hostel in Brindavan to be fixed in the Dining Hall, where students do their morning and evening prayers.
On one Sunday morning, Swami came to the Hostel to guide the students to fix those photos. Swami gave several instructions like: at what height the picture has to be placed, how deep the nails have to be driven into the wall, how the frame has to be tied to the nail without tilting towards right or left. We were amazed to see Swami moving backwards and again to the sides to make sure that the pictures were placed correctly.
|Sri Sathya Sai mentioning about the author to the students at Sai Sruthi, Kodaikanal|
Sometimes Swami presented the visiting dignitaries books written by Him and written on Him. A carton of books was received at Brindavan Ashram from the Puttaparthi book stall. One day Swami noticed the box containing books in the Mandir safe room. Swami told me to arrange the books neatly on the windowsill. I started arranging the books vertically so that it would be easy to pick up any book. While I was doing so one senior student joined me and piled all the books saying more can be accommodated that way. Later Swami came in and said, “How can you take out the lower book when necessary? Have you seen in Puttaparthi how the books are arranged? Do properly”. Swami in His childhood days went to Bukkapatnam School, which is about two-to-three kilometers from Puttaparthi. Crossing Chitravati river, He had to walk all the way to the school. At Puttaparthi, Swami helped His grandfather Sri Kondama Raju in cooking their daily meals. Once Swami told the students, “I know cooking very well. People staying around Kondamaraju’s house would come and ask Me to give some Rasam to them, because of the sweet aroma of the Rasam, they were attracted like that. Anything can be cooked properly if the correct ingredients are added and special care is taken while cooking”.
During the 50th Birthday celebrations, Swami purchased a variety of clothes like saris, dhotis, pant pieces and shirt pieces for distribution. One day some students were asked to open the boxes containing the clothes and rearrange them according to colour and size. While doing so we came across a box containing readymade shirts. When Swami came near us, we asked Him where to keep them. Swami said, “Keep them back in the box and close it. They are meant for somebody else”. Swami told us to hurry up with that work and went to look into some other work. We were quickly placing the readymade shirts back into the box. Then Swami came back and said, “Keep them neatly, take out each shirt, fold it properly and place them in the box. Otherwise they get crumpled”. Nothing misses His ever watchful eyes. As Rabindranath Tagore wrote, “tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection”. Swami, tirelessly, day in and day out tried to make us perfect. Let us remember one of His dictums, ‘Dil Me Ram, Hath Me Kaam…’ Do things perfectly remembering Him.
- Sri Ramakrishna Reddy
Alumnus, Sri Sathya Sai College, Whitefield
Currently, Senior Teacher, Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School