Sri Sathya Sai in Hrudaya Brindavan – By P. Vijaya Bhaskar

Sri P. Vijaya Bhaskar garlanding Sri Sathya Sai
At His Command, I joined Brindavan College in 1974, where I completed the Bachelors’ course in Commerce, and further staying at His Lotus Feet, completed the Masters’ degree from Bangalore University in 1977. Remembering those days sends goose pimples all over, for Swami was so close and we practically lived with Him, day in and day out.

Such of us who have experienced Swami know that He is our own Atma, our Antaryaami who is always with us and is aware of all our innermost thoughts and feelings. A few of my experiences are shared here for the sheer joy of reliving them.
Brindavan Residence of Sri Sathya Sai at Bangalore (In the 1970s up to 1983)
The first experience which I want to share happened in Brindavan, when I was in Second year B. Com. One day at around 4 p.m. I was walking from our hostel to Gokulam situated in the inner precincts of Swami’s bungalow (the old structure and not the present Trayee). I was going to Gokulam, since I happened to be one of the first four/five lucky boys, whom Swami had graciously blessed to do Seva in Gokulam, the byre, as also in the agro-farm which was being maintained at that time. I entered the inner precincts through the side gate, jumped across the path decorated with Rangoli (which was laid for Swami from the entrance of the bungalow to Sai Ram shed which was erected under a huge tree in the outer precincts of Brindavan Campus), walked behind the row of the Ashoka trees lining the opposite side of the bungalow, on the well beaten pathway, and proceeded towards Gokulam shed, which was behind Swami’s bungalow. As I was thus proceeding, Swami, who at that time was seated in the dining room on the first floor was giving a running commentary, as it were, to Sri Sudarshan, our then the Warden of the Hostel, and to Sri Radhakrishna, who were with Him. They were stunned listening to Swami. As I reached Gokulam shed, Swami sent word for me. When I went up, Swami asked me to narrate in detail how I had come towards Gokulam from the Hostel. As I was recounting, Swami, looking at Sri Sudarshan and Sri Radhakrishna said, “See, this is what I have been narrating to you.” Swami further said endearingly that I had entered through the side gate. I realized Swami was saying that because, at times, some people in a hurry, slide open the main gate and enter that way.

He then asked me to partake of snacks. In the meantime, Swami was looking at me and narrating the story of the legendary Abu Ben Adam. Abu, in a dream, found that his name was not in the list of people who loved God, as written by an angel. The next night, the angel appeared in his dream again, and showed him the names of those whom God loved. And lo! Abu’s name was the first in the list. This is the outer story.

However, the profound inner significance was known only to Swami and me. About six months prior to this incident, Swami had sent a letter to me through my grandfather and father, when they came to Brindavan after having Swami’s darshan and interview in Prasanthi Nilayam. In that letter, He had directed me to follow a particular discipline. Since then, I had been following that discipline with all sincerity. Swami was actually confirming to me that since I had been following His command sincerely, I was in the list of persons whom Swami liked the most. Aum Sri Sai Sarvaantaryaamine Namaha. More appropriately, Aum Sri Sai Sulabhaprasannaaya Namaha.
Vijaya Bhaskar (extreme left standing with folded hands) with fello Sai Students and Sri Sathya Sai at Brindavan
The second experience was also in Brindavan. One day, when I was not feeling well, I was standing in the evening at the foot of the wooden staircase at the backside of Swami’s bungalow. I was looking rather pale. Swami opened the wooden door and looked at me from upstairs enquiringly. I told Swami, “Vontlo Bagoledu,Swami” (meaning that I was not feeling well). Swami pretended as if He had not heard me, and punned in Telugu, “Aaa… Yenti? Intlo Bagoledaa?” (meaning is something wrong in the house) He then walked away. I stood there nonplussed. Immediately thereafter, I got a message that my parents had just arrived, and were waiting outside, to be with Swami since there had been a sudden and unexpected tragic death in our family – Aum Sri Sai Sarvagnaaya Namaha – He is the all-knowing Lord.

The third experience occurred in Hyderabad. I had a very major and severe heart attack in February, 2002. The fact that I am surviving is purely a matter of Swami’s Grace. I had experienced almost all the cardiac complications like ventricular hypertrophy/ tachycardia/failure, etc. After doctors inserted a stent with great difficulty, I was convalescing in Hyderabad, when I suddenly developed severe breathlessness. Since I developed acute ventricular tachycardia, I was defibrillated externally. As I was unable to bear it, the doctors were performing overdrive pacing through the groin, in a last bid to save me. They had lost almost all hope of my survival. For two days, I was in a critical condition. Two days later, while I was lying in the ICCU in a hospital in Hyderabad, where I had come for treatment from Mumbai, Swami’s miracle took place. I was just resting, not sleeping. The ICCU had around ten beds of which about four or five were occupied. Around 3 p.m., I distinctly felt three fingers of a right hand tapping me gently but firmly on my right thigh, just below the groin from where the overdrive pacing had been done earlier. I woke up with a start to see if any nurse or doctor was trying to wake me up for some medicines, which is what normally happens in an ICCU. But, I found nobody around, except the duty doctor who was sitting at the far end. The next day around 11 a.m., I again felt the same three fingers tapping me gently on my left shoulder. I again woke up with a start to find nobody around me. The area tapped was just above the place where the doctors had subsequently implanted an Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (AICD). Who other than Swami, could have visited me in the ICCU? I instinctively knew it. What can one do on such occasions? On both the occasions, I spent my day in tearful and prayerful thanksgiving, crying my heart out. My recovery started from then on. Om Sri Sai Avyaktarupine Namaha. Om Sri Sai Sarvabaadhaharaaya Namaha.

The above experiences in which Swami saved me repeatedly, have a special significance. In the early 1970s, Swami used to bless me with interviews on every visit. Often, He used to call me both in the mornings and evenings. On one such occasion, He told me to come the following day when He would give me Raksha (protection). The next morning, as I was sitting on the sands of Prasanthi Nilayam, Swami with a nod of His head, from the entrance of the interview room, indicated to me to go and sit in the interview group. After the first batch of interviews, He called the next group in which I was present. The moment He saw me in the interview room, Bhagavan, enquired, “You have come again, what for?” I innocently told Swami, “Yesterday, You had asked me to come today and You said that You would give me Raksha.” The moment I said that, Swami looked at me endearingly and with much Love, He caught hold of my left ear, and twisting it slightly, and cradling my neck to and fro, He told me, “Ippudekaadu Ra, Jeevithanthamu Raksha Istaanu (not just for now, I’ll protect you throughout your life).” In retrospect, I know that Swami Himself has contrived a situation, wherein I was made to ask of Him protection, so that He could bless me.

The next experience happened in Mumbai in Feb 2006. I bought a cell phone with camera, which was delivered to me in my office, one morning. First and foremost, I wanted to photograph Swami’s picture with the camera. I have on my office table, a small glass encased, beautiful bust photo of Swami in Abhaya Hastam pose in yellow dress. I photographed it at a very close range. The flash was on and Swami’s picture didn’t come except some shades on the screen, due to overexposure. I was crestfallen and cursed myself for not even knowing how to adjust the camera for taking pictures. In the afternoon, I went home for lunch and told my elder daughter as to what had happened, and added rather sadly that Swami’s picture hadn’t come. My daughter, took the phone, and in a moment she exclaimed, “What? Swami’s picture is here!” Lo and Behold! On the screen was Swami’s photo in the shades – a side pose with His left hand on His chin. I continue to carry the cell with the miracle photo therein. What’s the message? Swami, time and again, is telling me that He is always with me. Om Sri Sai Sarvaantaryaamine Namaha.

Frog in the ocean

Living in the outside world, i.e., away from Swami’s physical presence, to pursue one’s personal or professional goals is an exercise in graduating from a frog in the well (in the protective and immediate care of Swami) to a frog in the ocean (out in the wide world).

How has upbringing in Swami’s presence or exposure to His ideals and teachings helped me in facing the world? Let me try an honest answer.

First and foremost, the ‘internal engineering’ which Swami performs on each one of us, who come into contact with Him, in my humble submission, is the biggest benediction. Nowadays, the word ‘engineering’ is the most fashionable yet hackneyed expression. Suffix the word with anything – semantic, financial, biotech, etc., – and that more or less is taken to be the latest in the respective field of study / endeavour. However, the engineering of Swami is at once profound and fundamental, which has the individual as the center point from where He tries to achieve His Divine Mission. In this context, Swami indicates His modus-operandi:
If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in character;
If there is beauty in character, there will be harmony in the home;
When there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation;
When there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the World.

His process is one of inside-out, transforming us from the core point of our soul, thereby fortifying us in all respects. This ‘internal engineering,’ which Swami performs, reinforced by one’s sadhana, anchors righteousness in our hearts, which shields us, from being adversely affected by the goingson in this world. The ‘internal engineering,’ in my experience, leads to the following:

• A ‘heightened inner awareness’, acquired by rekindling our conscience – the inner monitor. Consequently, we are acutely aware of the processes involving our thoughts, words and actions, leading to constant evaluation thereof. As famously said, “The greatest conflicts are not between two people / institutions / nations, but between one person and himself.” The inner monitor, which Swami turns on, helps us in resolving such conflicts and to a great extent enables us not to straying off the path. It, thereby ring-fences or cocoons us from the various vicissitudes of life.

• At a deeply spiritual level, slowly but surely, we come to palpably feel Swami’s presence with us, which is most reassuring.

• Helps us to overcome ego. We observe that ego, in one form or the other, happens to be the main cause which makes people suffer and feel miserable. ‘I am not being given importance, I am being overlooked, ignored, I, I, I… etc., etc.,’ are the thoughts tormenting many a human being – personally, professionally, socially or even spiritually. Jealousy, hatred, anger… soon follow on. Once we come into Swami’s fold, we come to insightfully realize the difference between reputation and character. Reputation is what others think we are, character is what Swami knows we are. Hence, we try and zealously protect our character.

Luckily, Swami makes us aware that no matter what the position of authority one reaches, there is no room for ego. This in particular, I must admit, has really helped me in tiding over many a ticklish problem.

• At the personal level, a great peace dawns on us since over a period of time, we come to accept everything as Swami’s Prasad. In other words, whatever happens, in our lives it is known and accepted as Swami’s Grace and Will. It is said that success is a situation where God’s plan for us and our plan for ourselves coincide, while failure is a situation where they do not coincide. Either way, it is Swami’s Will which prevails. Then, why fear? And fear what? Swami Himself has said that whatever happens to us, we should take it as His prasad and be convinced that it is for our good. Swami has told Arjuna in the Gita, “Many a Janma has been lived, Arjuna, by you and by Me; I am aware of all of them, And you are not, of any of them.” Can we ever know of the reason/s for all that we undergo in this Janma? He alone, who disposes, knows. However, I must admit that it is very difficult to come to this state of mind. In my heart of hearts, I am convinced, it is only Swami’s Grace which will take us to this state.

A Prayer

“My students are My property!” declares Swami. What good fortune! Unprecedented as it is in human history, for all of us, especially students from Bhagavan’s Alma Maters, it’s difficult even to fully comprehend the significance of Swami’s Divine Love. Let us not cashier ourselves into an illusion.

Let each one of us sincerely try to live fully, at least one of Swami’s innumerable directions and become a Prasanthi Nilayam by ourselves with Swami firmly ensconced in our hearts. Verily then, we would have lived Swami’s message to His satisfaction.
P. Vijaya Bhaskar offering the fullness of his life to His Beloved Master - Sri Sathya Sai
Our hearts shall continue to sing and dance. Our eternal prayer to Swami is to make
us worthy of Him - in thought, word and deed. Let us all become Abus. Amen!

- P. Vijaya Bhaskar
Student (1974-1977), Sri Sathya Sai College, Whitefield, Bangalore
Formerly, Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India
Currently, Trustee, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam


Source: Vidyagiri: Divine Vision (2006)

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