Forever Connected with Sri Sathya Sai - By A.R. Akhileswaran

I was blessed by Bhagawan to spend two great years in Prasanthi Nilayam at the Divine Lotus Feet to complete my MBA degree during the years 1993-95. As I look back, these were the best years of my life. 

The learning at the Sathya Sai Institute is not just secular learning of the books, but an integral education of the body, mind, intellect and the soul. This Institute has a unique standard of education. The teachers have come here for serving Bhagawan and they put in more than their 100% to teach us the various subjects. At the same time, Bhagawan and our teachers guide us in the spiritual education and our development. 

Our stay in the Hostel teaches us to adjust, be disciplined, systematic, and to help everyone without any expectation of return. It guides us to have faith and patience – a lesson that life teaches us through experiences. Ten years have passed since I passed out, and I would like to focus on those years of my life and on how Bhagawan has showered His Grace and Blessings from time to time.
Sri Sathya Sai Hostel for Senior Boys, Prasanthi Nilayam
The Institute always believed that students should focus on studies and Bhagawan while doing the course and did not encourage campus interviews or placements. The belief was that Bhagawan would take care of us in ensuring that we get good jobs.

I left for Chennai in April after the completion of my course, and seeking permission from Bhagawan, I started searching for a job there. Though I was attending many interviews, somehow I was not able to get a job. Meanwhile, I attended an interview with Shell which was marketing lubricants in India. There I met a foreigner in the interview panel who was keen to know more about our University, when I told him that I had passed out from Puttaparthi. He asked me whether I had studied the “Shirdi Sai Satcharita”. He also asked me as to what I had learnt about being a Manager from this book which talks about Bhagawan’s life at Shirdi.

I was reminded of an incident in the book which states that whatever happens in life happens for one’s good, and we must have the conviction that Swami decides what is the best for us at all times in our lives. The moment I narrated this incident, the foreigner told me that I was selected for the job.

However a few days passed and I still wanted to work in a Multinational Corporation. My dream job was to work in Citibank. It was then that I had a dream. It was in the early hours of a morning. Swami came in the dream and asked me “How are you?” I replied, “I am not fine. I have still not got a good job.” Swami smiled and told me, “You will get a job shortly.” I woke up, all charged! 

Within a week I got a call from Citibank. Three interviews were conducted in a single day and I was selected, much to the amazement of everyone including myself!

Few years passed, and I realised that we had to work hard to prove our worth. Swami says that we should always consider our work as an offering to Him. He wants perfection in everything. This meant late hours at office and we were seeing lesser and lesser of Bhagawan. Trips to Parthi reduced to an annual affair. As tensions increased, we slept lesser, were very discontented and did not have the peace of mind that we had enjoyed in Parthi.

It was then that one of my well-wishers advised me to visit the Shirdi Baba temple in Mylapore and also to read one chapter from ‘Sai Charitra’ everyday as part of my prayers. He told me that we must surrender at Bhagawan’s feet and hold on to them. As Swami had stopped giving Padnamaskar, he advised me to go the Shirdi Baba temple and prostrate at His feet.

Within two weeks, all obstacles in my office life seemed to fade away. I was then asked to travel to the Czech Republic. As I went to a shop for buying clothes, the shop manager, whom I had never known before, gave me a copy of Swami’s photo, some flowers and rice petals. He told me that my mission would be a great success. The project was a great success and every one was very happy. 

The moral of this incident is ‘Why fear the unknown, when Bhagawan is around us Always’. When we miss Him, we must go to the nearest Sai temple and hold on to His feet!  

I was then sent for my next assignment to London. I had by now become slightly egoistic and also money minded. I decided that I would save the money that the office gives me for taxi and take a train from the airport to the hotel. My friend had also travelled along with me in the train and reached the station which was located in a small road. As soon as we stepped out of the station with our entire luggage we got mugged and one of the thieves took away my office bag which was gifted by Swami when I was doing my MBA.

This incident was a great shock to me. We reached the hotel and I went into my room and started to pray. I prayed to Bhagawan saying that what I had done was wrong, and sought His forgiveness. It was late in the day and we went out for dinner. I returned to my room at 9.30 p.m. in the night. As soon as I reached my room, I found a voice recorded message of a person who had found my bag in another hotel where the thief had apparently left it. The Good Samaritan had opened the bag and found the hotel’s address and he was kind enough to come to the hotel and return it.

This was the great lesson that I learnt – ‘Bhagawan is Omnipresent and is constantly watching over us. He cannot tolerate us doing wrong things. However Mother Sai always forgives us when we repent and vow not to repeat the mistakes.’

Bhagawan has been with me through the highs and lows of corporate life. Today we are successful in the corporate life only due to the Integral Education that we had at Parthi. 

-    A. R. Akhileswaran
Student (1993-1995), Department of Management Studies
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus

Source: Fragrance 2005

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