Sri Sathya Sai: The Caring Gardener – By Suhash Kantamneni

Suhash with Sri Sathya Sai (first from His left - Swami is holding his folded hands) during the Primary School days
Swami is a loving and caring gardener. We all are flowers in the garden of His creation. Some of us are buds, others, on the verge of blooming and some have already blossomed. But the gardener is our true caretaker and our ultimate refuge. He waters us with the water of love and watches our every move. He sees to it that we grow into fully blossomed flowers and spread the fragrance of His love to all. He is ever patient and merciful. But, at times He is also like a strict father and a hard task master. He thus, sometimes tugs at our withering leaves and twigs, of course, out of His selfless love alone. He, the Divine gardener, knows which medicine is required for which disease. I believe that my advent in His garden occurred in the year 1999. I was five and half years old, then a very tender bud. So I needed His loving protection from the cattle and other predators of the outer world. He gave me no scope of getting in contact with any. Instead, He supported me by providing a stick called ‘Discipline’ and tied me to it using an invisible tether of love for Him. Swami has transformed all of our lives so significantly yet so silently that many of us are not aware of the Divine Supervision and may readily deny it. 

Yes! All the interactions with Him, the programmes we prepared for Him, be it the Sports Meet, Ganesh Chaturthi chariots, dramas, speeches, and all other activities in the schools and Hostels, which He designed for us, have indeed been moulding us into His fully blossomed flowers. Now, when I look at some of the interactions or experiences with the physical or invisible Lord, I can see His ways of teaching, and as always, say that His ways are incomprehensible. In my fourth standard, I had a thought, which made me feel a bit sad. The reason was that during the previous three years, Swami had patted me on my cheek but He seemed to be neglecting me in the fourth standard. Some days passed. One Thursday morning, after Bhajans, Swami, while passing by our side, asked us what the breakfast was. We chorused, “Idli, Vada and Sambhar”. Swami acted as if He did not hear us. I was sitting close by and so, I ran up to Swami and repeated the answer. Swami then patted my cheek. The Divine Gardener drenched us with His overflowing love and gave us all what we wanted (of course only if it was good for us) so that we will want what He had come to give us.

Every interaction with Him has an immense significance, which is understood sooner or later. In my 10th standard, our room (in the Hostel) was given the chance to make a greeting card for the Lord on the occasion of our Hostel’s anniversary. We made a huge model of the Hostel using thermocol sheets. We worked very hard. On the D-day, we took it to the Mandir. We were in for a shock as a programme had been scheduled for that evening. So we could not sit in the place we expected to sit. We prayed hard that Swami must bless us. Finally, Swami came, but did not bless us in the Darshan lines. Shortly, as Swami sat on the dais for the programme, our prayers intensified. The programme went on and the Lord cast some merciful looks at us but did not beckon us. Then there was Aarti and as our prayers reached a peak, unlike many other instances when Bhagavan used to bless us in the last moment, the Lord began moving towards the Interview Room. Our hopes were dampened. My mind raced back to the efforts of all those who helped us. Swami went into the Interview Room. The teacher-in-charge allowed us to wait with the greeting card in the portico, right in front of the Interview Room. The prayers resumed and as soon as we settled down in our new place, the Lord’s doors opened and with an all-knowing smile, He came near us, blessed the greeting card and all of us. He heard our prayers and distributed chocolates to all of us and then gave an additional round of Darshan to the devotees and also took a second Aarti that day. It was only later that I realised that what He had done was the best for us. 

If, Swami had blessed us in the lines, we would not have had such a close interaction. On the dais, getting such a big greeting card blessed would be a big job itself, let alone interacting with Swami. From this, I learnt that we must not ask God to give us something which we want for He knows what is best for us. I got a chance to take a tray of items to be blessed by Swami for my birthday. One of my classmates saw this as an opportunity and gave me a small packet of Vibhuti to get it blessed by Swami. 
Sri Sathya Sai blessing Suhash (front row - first from the left) on his birthday
I put it on the tray in the front. Swami blessed some other item on the tray and I returned to the Hostel. The next day that boy came to me and told me that his uncle had been suffering from some ailment which required an operation. The operation was risky and the doctors did not guarantee any success. This had created quite some anxiety among the members of his family. He then told me that Swami had appeared in His mother’s dream the previous night and said that He had given some Prasadam to her son, which must be partaken by all. The Lord then asked them to be brave. 

The Prasadam Swami referred to was none other than the Vibhuti packet that Swami actually did not touch but had already blessed. I felt happy to be an instrument of His. The next incident happened after Swami attained Maha Samadhi. It was one of those usual evening Darshans. I was participating in the Rudram chanting, sitting in front of the Samadhi. As I was chanting, I tried to close my eyes and concentrate. A thought flashed in me: I felt I was a bright light in my heart and was the master of my mind. Immediately, I opened my eyes and looked at the Samadhi. I could not believe my eyes when a rose fell from the garland which was placed on the Samadhi. He had acknowledged this blessed thought. We have had innumerable lessons in my life like these, in His physical presence and many more in His Omnipresence. Swami, today I have only one prayer to Thee: ‘Make me Thy Instrument’.

- Suhash Kantamneni
Student (2014-16), Department of Management and Commerce
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus
Currently, Consultant, EY, Chennai

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