Reflections with Sri Sathya Sai – By K. Chakravarthi

Sri Chakravarthi and Smt. Sudha with Sri Sathya Sai
In February 1976, in response to our prayers, Bhagavan came to our house at Anantapur. It was the day of my father-in-law's death anniversary. While taking food Bhagavan told my wife "l have given liberation to your father”. We were rendered speechless. Tears welled up in our eyes. Not only was Bhagavan looking after us in this life and on this earth. He was looking after those who had departed from amidst our family. indeed, a Savior in this life and in the life beyond. 

In July, I was transferred to Hyderabad from Anantapur. I had sought Bhagavan's permission to take leave for about 20 days and spend the time with Him, before joining my new assignment. After spending the days with Him, the time came for us to leave for Hyderabad. My wife was feeling quite sad the night before the day of our departure, she sat outside the room, well past midnight. The next morning when Bhagavan came to our room, He said "You did not sleep last night and were crying. I will give you the rare opportunity of looking after the school at Hyderabad, which I have set up recently. I shall appoint you as the Director and Correspondent of My school. Do you think, you are losing a link with Me? Don't worry, I shall provide you a hundred links with Me". Looking at me, He said, "Government may send you away from here. But I shall not send you". Once again, I did not understand then what those words meant. But looking back, we know that the assurance He gave then was fulfilled by Him. He appointed me as the Registrar of His Deemed University when it was set up. But it was another five years before that happened. During those five years, there had been many instances of His Grace and Mercy expressing itself. 
Sri Chakravarthi garlanding Sri Sathya Sai as the Registrar of SSSIHL
On one occasion, I was driving the car from Madras to Hyderabad. My wife and children accompanied me then. After we crossed Nellore on the highway, was speeding up. It was nearing six in the evening. I had overtaken a lorry just ahead of a bridge. As I overtook the lorry, I suddenly found that the road got narrowed and the earth on the ground had been washed away, perhaps during the rains a few days earlier. I was driving the car at about 100 kms speed. I applied the brake and my wife and children shouted "SAI RAM". The car stopped within a few feet. I got out and asked others to sit still. I found the right front wheel was projecting out, and below was a chasm. Even to this day I do not know how the car got so precariously poised. I cannot claim to have stopped the car by effectively applying the brake. We believe that a more efficient braking system was applied from wherever Swami was! 

In 1977, I was deputed to undergo a refresher course in one of this stations for a fortnight After about a week of the course I had a nasty fall in the bathroom when I felt something like a temporary blackout. When I regained consciousness, I found that there was a gash in my jaw and the bone was visible. I must have hit some sharp edge as I fell down. There was a rusty water closet over my head, and I seemed to have pulled it as I fell. When I got up I found that it had not luckily fallen on my head. was taken to the hospital and the doctor put a few stitches. 

I did not inform my wife about it over the telephone or telegram. I returned with the bandage and stitches on, after two days when the course was over. She was visibly upset seeing me in that condition. She asked me as to what happened and when. I narrated it to her. She then said that around the time the accident happened to me, her Mangalasutra gave way as she was playing with our dogs. She got panicky with the thought that something bad had happened to me or is about to happen. Her immediate response was to convey what she considered as a bad omen to Bhagavan and got assurance from Him that He will look after me. She was able to convey the message to Bhagavan and in less than half an hour she got the return message from Puttaparthi - "Your message to Swami conveyed. Swami said that He will be always with Chakravarthi and look after him. Madam, one more thing. Swami told that you should not take Calmpose tablets. Actually, she was planning to take calmpose tablets to overcome her agitation and restlessness. A day or two later, Bhagavan sent Vibhuti Prasadam to my wife through some devotees who were returning to Hyderabad. Again, after another few days Bhagavan enquired from a few more devotees coming from Hyderabad whether they had seen me before coming to Puttaparthi. Bhagavan mentioned to them as to how He saved me from what would have otherwise been a fatal accident. He sent word through them that when I get better I should come to Puttaparthi with my wife. As soon as the stitches were removed, my wife and I came to Puttaparthi. He called me and my wife for interview, during the course of which He said that He had given me another life in order to fulfil His promise to my wife during the first interview that He will keep her a Sumangali! To reaffirm it, He solemnized our marriage again. That was indeed a touching moment.

Sri Chakravarthi with Sri Sathya Sai
in the SSSIHL Admin Building
Such Divine intervention guards, protects, modifies; and some time the Divine does not apparently intervene. What does one make out of these? It is very difficult to say. Divine intervention in the way we wish things to happen reaffirms our faith. But faith built on such incidents can be fragile. One cannot prove or disprove the existence or otherwise of the Divine on this basis. True faith in the spiritual sense does not depend on anything good happening or bad not happening, because it is founded on the belief that whatever happens to one it is the gift of God, and further that there is nothing like joy and sorrow because both are equally temporary; and real happiness lies in developing an attitude of equanimity which treats joy and sorrow alike. To read a well-known Shloka as the following in Bhagavad Gita is one thing "Treating alike pain and pleasure, gain and loss victory and defeat, engage yourself in battle. Thus you will incur no sin." But to conduct oneself in life accordingly is yet another. That's why Bhagavan tells us often that instead of memorizing or getting by heart a string of shlokas from Gita, observe in practice just one shloka, and life would then be sanctified, and spirituality attained. 

Through the years of my stay at Hyderabad, I was able to visit Puttaparthi and Brindavan to have Darshan of Bhagavan. Slowly deep within me was also growing a feeling that even as my physical and mental faculties are reasonably alright, I should seek Bhagavan's permission to take voluntary retirement and come to Puttaparthi and do whatever work was assigned. For more than a year, almost every month when I came for Darshan I made repeated requests. Every time Bhagavan put me off with one explanation or other as to why I should continue to be in the Indian Administrative Service. 

Sri Chakravarthi leading the SSSIHL Convocation procession as Registrar
But in October 1981, He gave me permission to come and join as Registrar of His Institute. He said that it is time to leave IAS and join SAI. Reversal of alphabets! It has been more than that. I had moved from my incessant journey in the external world to my voyage inwards. 
The last nine years of my association with the Institute has been providing me many opportunities to be in the proximity of Bhagavan both as the Revered Chancellor of the institute and as the Divine Chancellor of the Universe. it has been a constant process of unlearning, learning and relearning. 
Sri Chakravarthi as Registrar addressing the SSSIHL Convocation at the Poornachandra Auditorium - November 22, 1983
I have been asked by many, such questions as the following:
Do such experiences with Baba prove His Divinity? In fact, how does one recognize the Divine? Do experiences occur because of Faith? OR Faith is born out of such experiences? Why are similar experiences not felt by many more? If the Divine has to claim scientific validity, should not all people get similar experiences under similar circumstances? Some are saved from accidents and some are not; some are cured of the diseases and some continue to suffer from the diseases. There are rich and poor; strong and weak; lucky and unlucky; successful and unsuccessful, bright and foolish. If all such inequalities are inborn, then the Divine is irrelevant; if they cannot be cured, then the Divine is not Omnipotent. I used to get upset by such questions earlier. But I have now come to feel that there are no intellectual answers to such questions. There is a simple and straight answer — The Divine is with us in the form of BHAGAVAN SRI SAI BABA, for those with eyes to see and mind to accept. All such questions relate to the realm of dichotomy and division. We cannot try to mechanically reconcile life's contradictions. We can only experience the transmutation of the opposites. And such transmutation can come only from a constant consciousness that the world of external objects and experiences are not the Final and Total Reality. 

Life will have to move from inconsistent multiplicity to transcendent unity. That is to say, we will have to understand the limitations of body, mind and senses through which we perceive only the multiplicities and contradictions and recognize the expansiveness of Soul and Spirit which harmonizes and unifies. We will have to recognize that the real can be obtained only through the unreal, the permanent through the fleeting, the eternal through the perishable. 
Sri Chakravarthi with Sri Sathya Sai at the Hill View Stadium
Have I found the place where I started? I seem to be in the process of finding. How long will it take? Can it be found in this lifetime itself? Or will it take more lives? At least I know I am on the royal road, though many miles to go. But with Bhagavan as the Goal, as the road and as the Guide, I am sure to cover the miles. 

About The Author:
Mr. K. Chakravarthi, I.A.S. (Retd.) held several high positions under the Government of Andhra Pradesh. He joined the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of High Learning (Deemed University) as Registrar from its very inception November 1981. Since 1995, he served as Secretary of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust at Prasanthi Nilayam. From 2011, he is a Trustee of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.

Source: Sai Vandana 1990 (65th Birthday Offering)

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