RAMAKATHA RASAVAHINI-I

CHAPTER 11. LAKSHMANA GOES WITH RAMA

LAKSHMANA ENTERS THE ARGUMENT

Lakshmana watched Kausalya’s anguish and listened. He couldn’t control his emotions. He was bursting with anger. Holding his hands tight over his chest, he said, “O revered Mother! I’ll never accept this. Is Rama to leave the kingdom and betake himself to the forest, yielding to the prattle of a woman? I can’t tolerate it. Father has become too old and his mind is unsteady. He’s entangled in sensual pursuits and has become a slave to Kaika’s enticements; he’s pitiably uxorious and has no sense of discrimination about the consequences of his actions. He’s liable to issue any kind of order in his infatuation.

“Orders of such type should not be obeyed. The king is in a state of feeble-mindedness, unable to distinguish the real from the unreal, the momentary from the momentous. When such rulers give orders out of infatuation, they can well be disobeyed. What crime did Rama commit that he should be sent into the forest? Even Rama’s cruellest enemy (if he has any), or even the most hard-hearted barbarian suffering punishment for his crimes, can’t point his finger at the slightest slur on his behaviour or action. No king on earth has the authority to drive a person of such unquestioned innocence, purity of intentions, and holy sanctity into the forest as an exile. Rama is steady in his straightforward path; he is the master of his senses; he honours and treats with respect enemies of every type. Will any father drive such a son into the jungle?

Moreover, the king is most attached to dharma; he is a hero full of sacred ideals; he is an adherent of the best in all faiths. Can such a king issue this command? Judging from this, it is certain that Dasaratha is either insane or enslaved by passion. Any command from a person who is either of these is unworthy of consideration. The words of a king who behaves like a lunatic or an infant need not be honoured at all. Forgetting the dictates of political morality, giving up the path of worldly wisdom, throwing to the winds the demands of paternal affection, he has become mad, giving free vent to his whims and fancies. Need his command be treated as valid? I won’t agree that it should be respected.”

Lakshmana turned toward Rama, clasping his hands in reverence. “Rama! Pardon me! Assume the rulership of the realm before news of this spreads and becomes known to all. I will be by your side, with my bow. Whoever stands up against you will have to meet arrows from this bow. Of course, there is no such in Ayodhya or elsewhere. But if any opposition develops, this great city will become a desert, with no human inhabitant. My sharp arrows will see to that. Why repeat a thousand things? If Bharatha or anyone on his behalf opposes, I will destroy him, root and branch. I don’t care. Even if Dasaratha stands forth as Kaika’s supporter in this struggle, I’ll capture him and shut him up in prison.”

While Lakshmana was holding forth in this strain, Rama looked at him sternly, intercepting the flow of his feelings, and admonished him. “Lakshmana! Your words are crossing the bounds. No one can deny me what I wish. None can change the march of my will. My exile in the forest cannot be avoided. You talking is prompted by your love toward me and the desire to prevent your separation from me. Forbear! That will save you against all anxiety and fear. Be patient. Don’t get agitated. Don’t entertain ideas of hatred against either father or brother Bharatha. They are pure, holy persons.

“Kaika is also highly venerable and is to be honoured and worshiped. The boons she asked are also blameless. She loved me, caressed me, fondled me, nursed me, played with me, derived more joy from me than her own son, Bharatha. When the mother prays today for such boons from father, boons quite contrary to the ways of the world, surely there must be some hidden significance in the affair. This must be the divine plan, not mere human tactics. Be quiet, give up your fears and hatreds. We will await what happens next.”

Lakshmana fell at Rama’s feet. “Rama! On what basis, under what authority is Bharatha to be given the crown that ought to be yours? Which other son has the right that the eldest has not? You are obeying this absurd, unjust order because of father; but I won’t approve of it, whatever you may say in justification.”

Lakshmana turned to Kausalya. “Revered mother! To tell you the truth, I am devoted to Rama. I speak this on oath; I can’t exist even a single moment apart from Rama. If Rama has no desire for the kingdom and moves into the forest, I will follow him. I will walk in his footsteps, I will be his shadow. If he orders it, I will jump most joyously into the blazing fire. I will heed only his orders, no one else’s. Mother! I cannot bear the sight of your sorrow. He is your son; he is my Ramachandra. How can anyone be away from his own life-breath?”

Listening to Lakshmana, Kausalya was a little comforted. She stroked his head, saying, “Your love gives me much consolation. Your words give me great strength. Brothers of your kind are rare indeed! The world considers the mother who has borne such children as venerable and holy, but we are afflicted now with the feeling that we are great sinners. Rama won’t desist from his resolve. Exile is inevitable for him. I want only this now: Take me also with you,” she wailed.

Rama looked at Lakshmana and said, “Brother! I know the extent of your love toward me. I am not unaware of your heroism, your ability and glory. Mother is suffering great grief, since she is unable to understand the true facts and the value of self-control. Besides, since I am the child born of her loins, grief is natural. But consider. For all values of life, dharma, is the very root. And, dharma is secure only on the foundation of truth.

“Truth (sathya) and righteousness (dharma) are interchangeable. One can’t exist without the other. Truth is goodness; goodness is truth. I am now achieving both truth and dharma, while acting in accordance with the command of father. No one dedicated to the good life should break the word plighted to the mother, father, or esteemed preceptor. Therefore, I won’t overstep father’s orders. That is certain.

“Kaika didn’t order me; she only communicated father’s command to me. And she did so in his very presence, so one has to bow in reverence to it. If it wasn’t father’s command when Kaika was telling me that it was, he could have declared that it wasn’t, couldn’t he? He didn’t; he simply bewailed and groaned. For this reason, it is as authentic as his own command. So I won’t deviate from any resolution. There is no possibility of my going back on it. Don’t allow your reason to slide into this terror-creating, warrior (kshatriya) mentality. Give up violence and cruelty and adopt my stand.”

Lakshmana was weighed down by anger and sorrow, and Rama stroked his back and spoke soft loving words to assuage his grief. Then, turning to his mother, Kausalya, Rama said, “Don’t obstruct my resolve and cause breach of my vow. Whatever may happen, my exile to the forest cannot be averted. Send me with your love; bless my vow, my resolution.” He fell at her feet and prayed for permission to leave.

She was shaken by the agony that was torturing her; she placed her hands on Rama’s back and wept aloud. Seeing her plight, Rama was unable to restrain his emotions. He held her feet and said, “Mother! My word is supreme truth. Listen. No hardship will happen to me while in the forest. I’ll spend these fourteen years with the largest measure of happiness and joy. I’ll come back and fall at these feet again. I’ll fulfil all your hopes about me.

Mother! It is Dasaratha’s command! It is a command that not only I but you, Lakshmana, Sumitra, and Bharatha have to carry out to the very letter. This is the ancient and eternal law (sanathana dharma). “Mother! I will make another appeal; pardon me. The arrangements made by you and others for crowning me must be used by you, with equal joy and enthusiasm, for Bharatha’s coronation. Father has entrusted the forest region to me. It is best; it is in accordance with the highest dharma, that each should do the duty allotted to him. Trying to avoid one’s duty, as hard to accomplish, is to entertain the idea of difference between me and Bharatha. You have to bless us both, asking each to carry on successfully the responsibility entrusted to each.”

Listening to Rama, Kausalya couldn’t bear the grief that descended on her. She groaned in great pain. “O my son! Father brought you up and helped you grow and was happy to see you tall and strong. So he deserves reverence and obedience. Am I too not worthy of reverence? And obedience? And consider this! The wife is the husband’s half. The husband is the wife’s right half. Thus, when each is the half of the other, I am half of Dasaratha, am I not? That is why the wife is named half the body of the husband. When you say you have been commanded by Dasaratha, it is only the command of half of him. It did not originate from all of him. It will become authoritative only when this half also agrees. When I do not, it is not valid as a command.

“You know the meaning and significance of dharma in all its varied aspects, so you must be aware of this too. Without the mother’s acceptance, no duty can be binding and nothing deserves the name dharma. More than the father’s command, the mother’s is to be followed. That is the more important duty, for it is the mother who nourished you into childhood and boyhood, not the father!

“Had the mother not borne it for nine months, there would be no child at all! You are now throwing that mother into the flames of grief and proclaiming, ‘O, it is my father’s command. I must obey it at all costs.’ I won’t accept that conduct as correct. No treasure is richer to the mother than her son. And, for mothers such as I, the son is all. When the son looks askance at me and considers the father’s order superior, what benefit is it for me to secure heaven and live on divine nectar there? I would rather be in hell. I deem it heaven wherever my son is with me.

“Rama! What can I do here? I haven’t tasted a moment’s happiness throughout my life! From birth, I was bound by the limitations imposed by mother and father; then, caught in anxiety about what kind of husband I would get and what his character and behaviour would be, I was at last wedded to your father. For years, the agony of childlessness afflicted me. Then I had to suffer from conflict with your father’s other wives. I have had no relief from that battle, from that day to this. As a result, I don’t know what merit in my previous life secured you as son. And now, separation from you is happening to me.

“When have I been happy? My life has become a vast stream of grief; I am struggling in it, unable to swim. I sink in it without any hope of being saved. I had you as a branch that I could hold on to, to save myself. If you deny me that, what will happen to me? Your father won’t suffer any feeling of loss from my absence. He has his bliss in Kaika; none else is needed by him. Therefore, instead of hanging on here, and broiling in agony and finally, giving up breath, I prefer looking at the charming face of my dear son. Though I may not have food and drink in the forest, I will sustain myself on that joy.”

Though Rama felt that there was some validity in her plea, he was forced by the need to obey his father’s wishes and his promise that he would not fail in that duty.

Lakshmana intervened. “Brother! Mother’s words are the highest truth. The mother deserves even more reverence than the father. The scripture has laid down ‘Let the mother be your God; Let the father be your God (Mathru devo bhava, Pithru devo bhava), thus placing the mother first and the father second. It’s not proper for you to stick so firmly to your resolution and cause so much grief to mother.”

Rama turned to him and interrupted. “Lakshmana, you are supporting the statements of a mother who is suffering from the clouding effect of a strong attachment to progeny. Consider the order of the father, which concerns the welfare of the empire, the world in its entirety, and the human community. You haven’t understood the inner implication and meaning of that order.

“Only dharma can ensure the other three goals: wealth, happiness, and liberation. There is no need to doubt this or argue about its correctness. When activity is merely devoted to the earning of riches, the world hates the individual. When it is devoted entirely to the selfish fulfilment of one’s desire, the world condemns it as contemptible. Therefore, activity has to be in conformity with dharma, Lakshmana! This is not all. Dasaratha is our father, preceptor, and monarch. He might give us a command, through either desire for something, anger against somebody, or attachment with and love toward someone; that is not our concern! We have only to obey; there is no justification for discarding it.

“A son who delights in sin might act against the command; I am not such a son. Whatever father commands, I bow my head in reverential homage. Regarding this, you might have a bit of doubt. Suppose a father, a fool blinded by lust, devoid of intelligence to discriminate between the momentary and the eternal, intent only on his selfish aggrandisement and putting his trust on the stratagems of others, inflicts injuries on his own son. Should the son put his trust in him and obey him? Without fail he ought to! He may be a fool or a cruel tyrant, but aren’t you his son? When that is so, your status is ever lower and his is ever higher. This decides all duties and rights. The son can at best try to clarify and explain according to his light what appears to him confused or complicated. He should not refuse to obey, dismissing it as foolish or absurd.

“Consider this aspect also. Dasaratha is a very talented person, a great warrior, heroic fighter, and a pillar of righteousness. And, he is struggling in agony to keep his plighted word! He wasn’t deluded by Kaika or blinded by lust! No. He was moved by the supreme need to abide by his promise, a promise he had solemnly made. He had told her that he would grant her two boons, whatever they be, even if the grant involved injury to his own life! I can never assent to the view that he is overcome by lust. Father is in misery because he sees no escape from the consequences of that assertion, and his heart does not agree to send me into the forest.

“Lakshmana! Father is a staunch supporter of dharma, more staunch than his predecessors on the throne. His fame has echoed and re-echoed from every corner of the three worlds. Wouldn’t it be a bad example to humanity if his queen, the anointed queen, left him and accompanied her son, deserting the husband? Life is short; its span is limited. To lose one’s reputation forever by resorting to unrighteous acts is not good, either for me or for you.”

Then, turning toward the other, he pleaded pathetically, “Mother!” Before he could continue, Kausalya was numbed into stiffness by sorrow. She realised that her efforts to change Rama’s stand were fruitless. She found that she could not escape the obligation to give him leave to go with her blessings. She felt that the more she lamented, the more Rama was pained.

Lakshmana was greatly moved. His eyes turned red; he lost all awareness of where he was and amidst whom; his lips became dry; his tongue was tied; he had a fixed stare; he bowed his head and looked on the ground; tears flowed without let or hindrance. Rama felt that it would not be proper to leave him in that state. Besides, Lakshmana might do something to himself, if left alone; he might even do injury to others. And, those acts would be deemed to have happened on account of me, he thought.

So, Rama questioned Lakshmana. “Brother! The fumes of anger are as incense to the horde of sins. Suppress them. You might be distressed at the thought that Rama was so grossly insulted and dishonoured. But the path of truth and righteousness (sathya and dharma) heed no honour and dishonour; it does not crave for one and shy away from the other. Be brave. Fill your heart with courage. Remain here and serve father; use your days thus for the fulfilment of the highest purpose of life.”

Lakshmana was startled into speech. “Brother! When Rama, my very breath, proceeds to the forest, whom am I to serve here, with this inert material physical object called the body? This Lakshmana has no desire to serve anyone except Rama. You value your dharma, your sense of duty; I too have my sense of duty, and I value it equally. Therefore, I will come with you. I don’t need to await anyone’s order. I’m not included in the people bound to the boons claimed by Kaika. Even if I am involved with them, I won’t pay heed to her commands or to the directives of her henchmen.

“Only Rama has the authority to command me or issue directives about my movements or conduct. So, here and now, I will also don the hermit’s habiliment of bark, tie up my hair into matted locks, and prepare myself to follow you.” With these words, Lakshmana divested himself of the jewels and regal paraphernalia he had burdened himself with while proceeding to the Coronation Hall; he threw the jewels and silken robes in disgust. The ear ornaments and the necklaces fell in the far corners of the room. He was fretting to accompany his brother.

Rama’s heart softened at Lakshmana’s spontaneous devotion and dedicated loyalty. He went close to him and, placing his hand on his shoulder, spoke softly, “Brother! My joy has no bounds, since I have such a brother as you! This is my great good fortune. By your coming with me, mother Kausalya will also gain some peace of mind. She is very much agitated by fear and doubt about how I will spend fourteen years in the forest, and whether I will return after the exile is over. So, tell mother to be free from fear. Go and soothe her .… While we spend the hours like this, Father must be suffering more and more anxiety. Kaika will suffer from the welling doubt that I may not leave at all! Therefore, I will go to Sita and inform her; I will go to Kaika’s palace, to take leave of father. Meanwhile, you go to your mother, Sumitra, and receive her consent to join me.”

Rama went around Kausalya full circle and fell flat at her feet in reverence. At that, the maids and attendants, as well as the other inmates of the women’s quarters, set up a loud wail, as if the deluge had come upon them. Kausalya bravely drew Rama toward her when he stood up awaiting her blessings. She embraced him and caressed his hair. With her hands on his shoulder, she said, “Son! Rama! you are the staunchest adherent of dharma. You are a resolute hero. You can have no cause to fear life in the forest. You have resolved on exile in the forest; it has become impossible for me to dissuade you from that decision. May it be well with you. Fulfil your ideal, your yearning, to respect the wish of your father! Repay the debt that you owe your father by acting according to his command.

“As for me, I wish only one thing: return happy to Ayodhya. I will be happy on that day at least. Rama! The decree of destiny is indeed inscrutable. Its text cannot be reshaped, even by the most powerful. The dharma for whose sake you are now leaving us will certainly guard you and guide you while in exile.

“Rama! How nice it would be if at this very moment the fourteen years would roll by, and I would see your return rather than your departure. Alas! Pardon my madness! Son! How shall I convey to you my blessings? Shall I say, let the fourteen years pass by as fourteen days? No, no, as fourteen winks of the eye! Come safe, come soon. And be crowned emperor, O, jewel of the Raghu dynasty! O, my dearest son! The goddess of dharma will surely shelter you during the years of exile, for it is to propitiate Her that you are entering the forest. She is the strongest and most steadfast of guardians. I will be propitiating the gods here these fourteen years and praying that no harm comes to you.

“The service you have offered to your mother, father, and preceptor will confer long life, health, and happiness on you. Your loyalty to truth will grant you impregnable courage. The mountains, rivers, bushes, anthills, beasts and birds of the forest —these will approach you in kind affection, cater to your needs, and fill you with joy. The sun, the moon, and other heavenly bodies will ward off all evil and protect you. Even the demons of the forest, intent on heinous acts of cruelty, will be drawn toward you, for your heart is full of cool comforting love, and they will surrender at your feet, accepting you as master.”

Blessing Rama, Kausalya, with some effort, gulped down the sorrow that was overwhelming her and put on a calm brave face. She smelled the crown of Rama’s head and she held him hard and close in loving embrace. She kissed his cheeks. Her lips quivered, when she spoke the parting words, “Rama! Proceed in joy and return safe.”

Rama knew the depth of affection that the mother was bestowing on him. He touched her feet many times in reverential gratitude and said, “Mother! Don’t grieve. Don’t reduce sleep or food; Don’t injure your health. Remember me at all moments with a joyful heart. Your thoughts will be reflected in my safety and prosperity. When you grieve here, how can I be happy there? If you want me to be happy there, you have to be happy here. And, with all your heart, you must bless me from here.” Praying thus, he moved out of the place, averse to leave her thus, and yet, anxious to do his duty.

Rama stepped on the royal road and started walking along, barefooted, through the concourse of citizens who had filled it. People were petrified at the sight of that resplendent symbol of truth and virtue. The citizens had heard rumours floating over the streets that Rama was leaving for the forest, and they were unable to believe it. They prayed it might be false. But when they saw him tramp barefooted, their hearts sank; the exaltation they experienced at the news of the coronation plunged into the depths of misery. Faces that bloomed in joy suddenly faded and dropped, wan and withered. Rama didn’t raise his head to look at any of the faces around him. He proceeded to Sita’s apartments.

Jai Sri Sai Rama

SAI BHAGWATHAM – 29

LONGSTANDING DEVOTEE

Mr. G. Ramdas, a longstanding devotee of Bhagavan, relates one of his experiences of the Divinity of Bhagavan in his own words.

‘This was in 1972. The first summer course was held at Brindavan, Whitefields. Swami selected the venue adjacent to His residence. In those days Brindavan was literally a large orchard. On instructions from Swami, we all worked hard to clear all weeds and wild growth, and erected there a makeshift thatched open shelter to hold classes.

While at work, one day we were discussing about cricket, as it was cricket season. During a short break, Swami came to us. In those days, Swami used to distribute prasadam and give padanamaskar daily to each one of those volunteers working there. On that day, Swami arranged to get a basket of kamala-phal (tangerine variety of oranges). He asked all of us to stand in a semi-circle. As if to tell us that He knew what we were talking about, He began throwing the fruit at each one of us as if He was bowling a cricket ball shouting, ‘catch!’ He was making a horizontal throw till my turn came. But, in my case, suddenly he scooped up the ball throwing it vertically. I was a cricket player. So I tried my best to catch the fruit by jumping forward, but, somehow, missed the catch. The fruit fell between Bhagavan and me.

As I bent down to pick it up, I was thinking that it was a bad omen to miss prasadam given by the Divine-hand. As I raised my head after picking up the fruit, I found Swami looking at me with His hand in a downward slant. He said softly, ‘to allow anyone catch the fruit is in this hand and not in yours!’ Later events pointed out that Swami had deliberately departed from horizontal throw to a vertical lift of the ball to make me miss the fruit, indicating to me on that day itself what I was going to face in the coming months in my personal life. With Bhagavan, each and every thing is deliberate and meaningful, and never a casual event or accident.

After that Swami gave a fruit to Sai Gita also. Sai Gita, the pet elephant of Swami, was brought there from Puttaparthi and was chained to a used tyre of a truck nearby. Usually elephants take with their trunk anything they eat and put it into their mouth using the trunk as a hand. That day, Sai Gita placed the fruit on the ground as we all were looking at it eagerly. It then raised its front leg and placed it on the fruit gently crushing it. When it lifted the leg, we expected to find the fruit crushed into pulp. On the other hand, the fruit was there in tact. Its outer cover was seen parted nicely at five places as if someone cut the peel with a knife, exposing the kernel nicely. Then the elephant took the kernel with its trunk carefully and placed it in its mouth nicely leaving the peels of the fruit on the ground. The gigantic creature carried out this whole operation so delicately that it pleased all onlookers immensely.

Swami then turned to us, waved His hand in a pointing gesture and said, ‘Even she knows what is to be gulped and what not. But you guys do not know even that!’

— Mr. G. Ramdas.
(As narrated to Mr. B. Parvalata Rao at Prasanthi Nilayam on 24.10.2004.)

SAI BHAGAWATHAM – 28

SAI LEELA

He longed for Baba’s darshan. But no matter what he did his plans failed. This upset and frustrated Joshi and he got angry at Baba, ” All my friends and relatives keep going to Shirdi, why am I denied this opportunity…? Baba! If you are really a saint, you will give me darshan, even without my going to Shirdi ” said Joshi.

Simultaneously at Shirdi a family from Konkan were about to return home after taking Baba’s darshan. Baba asked the man ‘ if he could do a piece of work for Him ‘ , the devotee readily agreed. Then Baba said, ” You go home by mail, and give this packet of Udi to the person who requests you to give him a span of space for sitting “. The devotee agreed to Baba’s strange request.

He and his family were comfortably seated in the train. At every station, the man looked for the gentleman. But no such person approached him. At last, the train pulled out of Kalyan. The devotee thought that he should write to Baba about his non – compliance. Then the train halted at Thana. Just as the train was moving out, a man rushed into his compartment, drenched in perspiration. He gasped and said ,
” Please pick up your child and give me a span of space to sit as I am feeling giddy “. The Konkani devotee readily picked up his child, and gladly handed over the packet of Udi. He told him of Baba’s strange request, and as Joshi had said the very words, he handed over the Udi. Joshi respectfully received the Udi packet. He thought of Baba’s kindness towards an angry child and was forever grateful.

SAI BHAGAWATHAM – 27

MAN IS MISUSING AND ABUSING THE ELEMENTS

Man today is not using properly the five elements of which the cosmos is constituted. Consequently man is afflicted with a myriad troubles. The benefits to be derived from the five elements (in the form of sound, touch, light, taste and smell) are not being rightly enjoyed. They are being misused. Because man is abusing the God-given elements and faculties he is forfeiting God’s grace and is becoming a victim of Divine displeasure. The five elements have also turned against man. They are despising man for the way he is degrading them. The result is’ the sounds that one hears are a cacophony of scandal and gossip. Are these the sounds that man should produce?

Man should manifest his sublime, perennial, Divine nature. Unfortunately, his entire vision today is tainted. He is filled with bad thoughts. Hence his sight has turned against him.

When you examine man’s faculty of hearing, what do you find? He hears all the time scandalous gossip about all and sundry, while his ears turn away from the sweet praises of the Lord. As the ears are abused in this manner, the mind gets polluted by listening to bad things.

Even the air one breathes is polluted. The entire atmosphere is polluted. The food one consumes is also polluted.

If we try to find out what is at the root of all the troubles and worries men experience today, it will be seen that man’s abuse of the five elements is the cause. Therefore, see good, hear what is good, and be good. When people behave in this manner, the five elements will shower their benefits on them. It is only when man secures the grace of the five elements that he will experience the grace of the Divine. How can we get the grace of the elements, which nourish and sustain us, if we misuse them?

-Sathya Sai Speaks, 24-28

SAI INSPIRES – PUTTAPARTHI

Why is self introspection important for devotees? Bhagawan lovingly reminds us and guides us today.

Humanness is a combination of the body and consciousness. One has to embark on self-scrutiny as the first step in spirituality. Only then the reality can be comprehended. No one undertakes self-examination, though everyone is ready to condemn others. Only the person who is prepared to examine and punish himself for his lapses is competent to judge others. Students and devotees should realise that control of the senses is quite simple. What is necessary is not to encourage negative feelings when they arise and  adopt positive attitudes. For instance, Buddha confronted the anger of a demon with his love and transformed him. Many students today are subject to depression and are confused in mind. The reason for this is their weakness owing to lack of self-confidence. When there is total faith in God, then there will be no room for depression.

  • Divine Discourse, Sep 7, 1997

Consider all your acts as worship. Duty is God, Work is Worship. Whatever happens, accept it gladly as His handiwork, and as a sign of His compassion. – BABA.

SAI BHAGAWATHAM – 26

M. S. Subbulakshmi Amma ~ The Queen of Bhakti Music:

“I am a devotee of Bhagawan. I have visited so many universities and educational centres and charitable institutions. Wherever I go the trustees ask me to give a musical concert to raise funds; and in this way so many institutions have been built.
But I went to Prashanti Nilayam where instead of asking me to perform, Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba gave me a diamond necklace and it is my experience that HE never accepts anything.” – M.S. Amma.
Swami invariably showed much love to M.S. Amma One year during Ladies Day, Swami asked her to speak. She said, “Swami I do not know how to speak. I could sing, but now, even that I am not able to do. How can I speak Swami?” Nevertheless, Swami would not take no for an answer. HE went down to where she was sitting, and helped her to walk up a few steps to the porch in Sai Kulwant Hall and took her to the podium. M.S. then said, “Swami, as I just said, I do not know how to make speeches. However, if they ask me are YOU father, I will say YOU certainly are father. If they ask me are YOU mother, I will assert that YOU are indeed mother.” In addition, in this manner she spoke just a few sentences, straight from the Heart. Later a few other women made speeches. That evening, when Swami was going round and giving Darshan in Poornachandra Hall before a cultural programme, HE told a group of women, “Today, so many people made speeches, but the speech of M.S. alone stood out. It came from the heart; all the others were artificial!” That says everything, does it not?

Photo: M. S. Amma Serving Food to Swami.

For decades, the Great M.S. Subbulakshmi and her husband were, like many in Madras very Devoted followers of the Paramacharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. One day Paramacharya asked her to go to Puttaparthi. M..S.Subbalaxmi was apparently puzzled by this command and wanted to know from the Paramacharya as to why she should go to Puttaparthi when she already had a Guru. The Paramacharya simply said: “Go and you will find the reason.”, then the Paramacharya of Kanchi said in tamil, ”Puttaparthile Ambaal Sakshaat Angirala Nadamadindruga” which means..”Goddess Durga is present in the form of a man in Puttaparthi in flesh and blood.”© ‘Sathya Sai is God’, Group.

SAI BHAGAWATHAM – 25

Dr. A.V. Manohar Rao, born on June 21, 1947, is a reputed Paediatrician who voluntarily retired from Govt. Service in 2002. He narrates his experience of how Swami saved him.

‘It happened on December 10, 1995. The day began normally. I attended the pulse polio work throughout the day. The day seemed to be heading to end normally as I completed my work in the clinic. Later I visited one or two hospitals where I usually see patients, called on the would-be-in-laws of my daughter and returned home driving my car myself all through. On returning to my house, late in the evening, I felt uneasy – I don’t know why. I lost my temper while taking my dinner. It happened never before. I had a feeling that there was not enough air to breathe, and proceeded into an open lane adjacent to our dining hall. There, all of a sudden, I slumped and fell flat. When a person slips and falls down, it will be difficult for him to get up and stand until a few minutes. But I stood up at once as if it were a spring action. I could get up very fast as if someone was physically lifting me up and putting me erect. If a person falls down due to heart attack, it could be very serious – even fatal. As a medical Doctor, I knew that I had a heart attack but could not understand how I could be back on my feet again.

Meanwhile, our daughter, Lakshmi had phoned up my brother Dr. Ranga Rao and expressed her anxiety about the way I was feeling uneasy. Like me, he too returned only then to his house after attending to pulse polio work. Immediately he came to me – from Panjagutta to Asoknagar. On his arrival I told him that we should go the hospital at once. I went into the pooja room, prayed to Lord Venkateswara and got into my brother’s car. We rushed to the Medicity Hospital. After my admission there, Doctors on duty examined me and said that I was normal and that there was no worry.

My daughter, while telephoning to my brother, also phoned up her would-be-mother-in-law, Dr. Parimala. When Dr. Parimala was about to start to call on me, her husband, Dr. Sridhar told her. ‘What is the use of your going alone? Better take with you Dr. Prasad also.’ Dr. C.V.R.Prasad is a reputed physician and cardiologist. Luckily he was available at his house when Dr. Parimala rang him up. He immediately came to Dr. Parimala’s house, picked her up and came to my house. He did not know me except as one of the members of the Medical Profession. He came to see me only due to his regard for Dr. Parimala.

When they were informed at my house that I had already been taken to the Medicity Hospital, he would have normally preferred to leave it at that point, as the Medicity Hospital was not one of the hospitals, which he normally covered for practice. It was, indeed, kind of him to have come to the Medicity Hospital. When he examined me, he realized that I had a heart attack. Though it was not proper etiquette on his part to intervene in another’s area, he persuaded the Doctors on duty to do the needful. In fact, he started to treat me himself. By that time, my BP came down. He apprised me of all the developments but was continuously striving to give me encouragement and confidence so as to keep my morale high. He remained by my bedside the whole night, and left only in the morning after my condition improved and was past the immediate risk point.

In the morning, senior Doctors came, studied my condition, and said that I needed to undergo angiogram. I was taken to their main Hospital for angiogram. Dr. Somaraju, the well-known Cardiologist, performed the angiogram. I was advised that I should not ‘cough’ during the time of conducting it. Every year in December, I generally get cough in bouts. This December was no exception. The angiogram was done on December 20, 1995 followed by angioplasty.

As the catherization started, I began coughing severely in bouts just when I should not have done that. Dr. Somaraju asked me ‘What Doctor! You are coughing?’. Though he did not say anything more, he appeared a little perturbed. As a Doctor, I, too, could realize what a risk I was running. But there was nothing I could do to keep the cough away.

Suddenly, I thought of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and prayed: ‘Baba! I am helpless. I should not cough now but I cannot refrain from coughing. You are my only hope. Rescue me.’ Soon after, I found Bhagavan standing by my side. I was not imagining things. I could perceive him clearly. He put his fingers into the hair on my head and started caressing me. I felt His touch so soothing and reassuring. The cough suddenly stopped. Even earlier, curiously, I did not feel alarm or fright though I was aware, as a Doctor, that I was passing through a critical time. Strangely, I was placid. Now I almost slept. By the time I regained my consciousness, I was on a bed in the ICU. Angioplasty also was over successfully.

Just at that moment, a young Doctor, in white uniform, came to me: ‘I have vibhuti of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai. May I apply a little on you?’ It appears he was an ex-student of Sri Sathya Sai School. I assented. Inside the theatre, Swami was by my side. The moment I came out, Swami’s vibhooti was ready for me. What a grace, indeed! No need to add that I returned home later safely.

I continue to pursue my profession in good health. Some people who undergo angioplasty will be apprehensive of a relapse after a few years. But I have no such fear because Bhagawan was present in the theatre when I underwent angioplasty. How can anything like ‘relapse’ happen in my case when it was done with Bhagavan’s grace in His Divine Presence?

Divine intervention is very clear all through. If only I had the attack while driving? I had it in my house. As it was night, my brother was available at his house and could come in time. Dr. Sridhar Rao suggested to his wife Dr. Parimala to take Dr. Prasad – who, in fact, saved me that night. When I prayed desparately, Swami appeared by my side instantaneously, and the cough stopped miraculously. The young Doctor put vibhuti on my forehead and in my mouth even though I was a stranger to him.’

— Dr. A.V. Manohar Rao

SAI BHAGAWATHAM – 24

Dr. Padma, sharing her experiences in her own way:

Can i now continue my dreams of swami ? I heard a yes !! Okay !! I have asoul sister !!!A great fan of swami !!!A doctor !! Her daughter was married living in America !!A considerable number of years passed and she was worried that she was not blessed with a grand child !! I also shared the worry of my soul sister !! My sister had gone for a vacation !! Swami came in my dream !! A girl was standing and a boy not familiar but He made me feel in the dream that they were the couple in America and the girl would be a mother !! I called my friend and her husband took the call !!i told him that they would get good news from their daughter and that i saw them all in my dream and swami was also there !!!He was in utter surprise as his daughter rang up just before me and announced that she was pregnant !!! Meenakshi the dream sequences may be mixed up because of time !! I am being right ! , in my narration !!?

Next , after my husband passed away i didnot wish to remain in chennai !!i suffered a empty house syndrome !!! I applied for job at parthy No reply !! Two years passed one day i was at parthy !! This is a part of the dream !! One person comes and tells me Swami wants water !! I rush to so many people to take water to swami !! Finally a very dirty unclean man offers to take the water and Swami has it while i stand far away watching !!!Swami call out in telugu and says How does it matter how the water came it is important that you got done what you wanted to do !!!! A month later Dr sunderarajan informed me at Apollo that he spoke about me to DrVaradachari orthopoedic surgeon who mentioned me to swami !!!and i was asked to join by a call from the ssssshospital !!!Then i remembered the long drawn water dream !!! I never asked why my application was not successful !!

Next !!! My granddaughter who was in SRM dental college refused to continue !she rang up the theatre at parthy and was sobbing onthe hostel phone !! When i went home she burst into the kichen demanding my answer !! She had a dream a foriegner rang the door bell !she opens it and asks “who is the girl who wants become a airhostess in this house Swami has sent this rudraksha bracelet for her !!This girl took it and demanded why Swami sent it through some one !?why couldnt He come and give it !!! I asked her do you want to become a airhostess and she noded !!!How did Swami know even before i knew !!! She was taken by me for the interview and joined the aviation industry !!!! Sairam

SAI BHAGAWATHAM – 23

How we become Swami’s devotees? 🙂 

A God-fearing and service minded person, who would not spend time in prayers and was hesitant about accepting Bhagawan’s Divinity saying, ‘I will not fall at anybody’s feet; Sai Baba is probably a great man and mystic, but I do not believe…’ was brought unto His Feet in His most unique and inimitable style. Read on the story of Sri Kuppam Radhakrishna’s entry into ‘Sai-fold’ along with his family. An account from Mr. Amarendra Kumar, from the book Modern Miracles.

How uniquely He brings devotees unto Him!

In those days, getting to Puttaparthi was a herculean task. We had to take a train to Penukonda. From there we had to go by bus, and the last part of the way by bullock cart. Many times we had to walk as much as 18 miles through the forest, and finally over the Chitravathi River to reach Puttaparthi.

As we arrived for the first time, we were surprised to find that Baba had crossed the river to receive us. He was actually waiting for us. Baba immediately came up to my father and asked him: ‘Are you not Radhakrishna from Kuppam?’ My father replied, ‘yes’. Then Baba said: ‘Come on! Prostrate yourself; touch My Feet; all your problems are over.’

My father answered: ‘Sorry, no. If my problems should be over, simply as a result of touching Your Feet now, I will have to touch them later.’ Baba said: ‘You are certainly going to touch My Feet. Forever you will remain My devotee.’

This statement came true; until my father breathed his last, in spite of so many things, he remained a firm devotee. Baba went on: ‘I have come all the way from Ashram to receive you, because you are all My children. ‘And we said: ‘Good. Thank You very much for all Your hospitality’ and we went to the Ashram.

At first Baba used to talk just with my father. Later on He asked us to sing a few songs as the whole family were good singers. We started doing bhajans, which used to last for three or four hours a day.

Our first trip to Puttaparthi lasted for nearly twenty days. In those days it was very difficult to stay there for even a day or two, with all the inconveniences. Yet, despite all the inconveniences, we felt really happy to stay there; we never minded them and often didn’t even notice them.

Gradually my father’s faith in Baba developed. On my part, I would say that from the beginning I felt a personal attachment to Baba rather than spiritual faith. But naturally, as the attachment grew and as we came to understand Him better, seeing Him from day to day, our faith also increased, most definitely. That is how we became devotees.

SAI BHAGAWATHAM – 22

Mr. J.B. Madhava Rao (78), a retired Railway Official, shares a few of his experiences:

‘In October 1961, I was going to Tirupati to have darshan of my ishta daivam, Lord Balaji. I met one Mr. Chalapathi Rao of Renigunta in the train. I heard about Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for the first time from him and was impressed. Later, I came into contact with some devotees and began to attend bhajans.

In 1962, I came to Prasanthi Nilayam for the first time and had darshan of Bhagavan. I was here on Sivarathri. Bhagavan came to Yelamanchili in Visakha district on March 27, 1964. We all went there and had His darshan. Swami told us to open Samithi at Visakhapatnam, Yelamanchili and Srungavarapukota.

In 1964, I had to go to Bangalore on official work. Then, I took some time off to visit Prasanthi Nilayam. I used to hear rumours about Swami printing counterfeit currency in those days, and felt immense pain. That time, Swami called me for an interview. That was the first of nearly 90 interviews that were to follow during 1964 – 92. In that very first interview, I broached with Bhagavan thoughtlessly about the rumours I was hearing. There were some others also in the interview. They were taken aback at my impudence. But Bhagavan smiled and asked me to follow him. He took me to His room on the first floor of the mandir where He was staying in those days. It was a small room with an ordinary wooden cot on which some mattress was spread. There were a few chairs. There were two cupboards. Swami opened the doors of the cupboards. I was stunned to see bundles of currency notes in both the cupboards. Both cupboards were fully packed with notes. Leaving me there, Bhagavan went into the bathroom attached to the room on the southern side. When He was coming out of it, I looked at Him in bewilderment since I had not recovered from the shock of seeing so much money in Bhagavan’s room.

‘What did you find?’ Swami asked me coming out of the bathroom. About to say ‘currency’, I looked at the cupboards, and I was stunned. There were no currency bundles, but only Swami’s robes neatly folded and arranged. There was no one in the room except myself for full ten minutes. All the time I was looking at the bundles of notes in the cupboard as my thoughts went in several directions. I looked at Swami only for a couple of seconds as He came out of the bathroom asking me about the notes. How did the notes disappear? Who arranged Swami’s robes so neatly in a trice? Swami smiled as I told Him ‘there were bundles of notes in the cupboards a few seconds back’. ‘Mad cap’ Swami remarked jocularly and said ‘well! Which deity would you like to see?’ ‘Kodanda Rama’ I replied. ‘With or without Anjaneya?’ Swami asked. ‘With Anjaneya, Swami!’ I replied.

Even before I completed my reply, Kodanda Rama rose before me where Swami stood. He was eight feet tall. His aura was very brilliant! Anjaneya was there at the feet of Rama. Anjaneya was completely white. As the brilliance grew, I could not stand the sight and fainted. Swami might have sprinkled some water on me for I woke up with a shudder. ‘Go and have a glass of water’ Swami told me, ‘and rest for some time’.

In 1968, we came to Prasanthi Nilayam. Swami called my wife and me for interview on January 26. During the interview, I mentioned to Swami that I was not keeping good health. Swami materialised a gold coin on one side of which is Swami’s picture and on the other side is abhayahasta and Aum. ‘Whenever you feel any ill-health, do abhishekam to this with milk’ Swami told me, ‘and take that milk as theertham’.

After a few months, we came to know that my wife’s sister, Mrs. Subhadra was on her deathbed. She was ailing for some time with galloping TB and was vomiting blood. We went to their house in Vijayawada. I remembered Swami’s words about the gold coin. I did abhishekam with milk to the coin, and gave it to her as theertham. Within an hour, she asked for something to eat. We were told that she had had no food for days. If she took any, she was vomiting with blood. Then she ate two idlies. She did not vomit. Within a few days she recovered completely. There was no sign of TB when the doctors checked her. Everyone was amazed.

After a few weeks, I came to Prasanthi Nilayam. Swami called me for interview. ‘You have become a doctor and been curing people’ Swami said to me, ‘why did you use it for others?’ He took the coin from me and returned it after a while. ‘Take this’ Swami told me handing the gold coin back to me, ‘it has no power of healing now’.

In 1970, we began considering alliances to our eldest daughter Ms. Satya Syamala. I did not have any money. I came to Prasanthi Nilayam and told Swami about the alliance we were considering. I also told Bhagavan about my financial position. ‘Don’t worry’ Bhagavan assured me, ‘it will be done on March 10’. When I returned to Vizag, I came to know that the bridegroom’s party sent word that they had got the wedding date fixed by their astrologer. It was March 10 – the date Swami had told me. The marriage was held successfully. It is a miracle how money came from unexpected quarters.

On March 14, we were in Tirupati along with the new couple. After darshan of the Lord, we were returning. The vehicle broke down near Ongole in the night. My wife began to pray to Trinatha (Brahma, Vishnu and Siva). ‘If we reach Vizag safely’ my wife prayed, ‘I will do Trinatha Vratham next Sunday’. Soon three white ambassador cars came along and halted near our car. Drivers of those cars came to our car and repaired it. They escorted us up to Chilakaluripeta. ‘Please have a cup of tea with us’ I requested them as we were parting, ‘I don’t know how to thank you for your help’. ‘Not now’, one of them said ‘bye!’

Afterwards, when I came to Prasanthi Nilayam, Swami asked me about our Tirupati trip. I told Him what had happened. ‘Your wife prayed to Trinatha’ Swami said, ‘so I had to come as three persons in three cars. You offered me tea. You remember? I said ‘not now’. I was amazed. ‘Call me by any name, I respond’ says Bhagavan and He did so in our case.

When East Prasanthi was under construction, we came for seva from Vizag. We carried bricks and mortar and other building materials. Swami used to come often to inspect the progress of work. He used to get some panakam (water mixed with jaggery and pepper) and serve it in glasses personally to all of us.

In 1988, I was suspended from service in my Department though I was not at fault. I came to Prasanthi Nilayam. Swami called me for interview. ‘You are not at fault’ Swami told me, ‘don’t worry. You will be reinstated and paid all your dues’. It happened that way soon. I was exonerated of the charges and reinstated with pay for the period of suspension.

‘You were with me during my Shirdi Incarnation’ Swami told me in one interview, ‘and I will take care of you’. In 1992, I came to Prasanthi Nilayam for Sivarathri and worked as a volunteer. I could witness lingodbhavam from close quarters. In October, 1995, I came to Prasanthi Nilayam. ‘Have you seen Super Specialties Hospital?’ Swami asked me in the darshan line. ‘No, Swami’ I replied. ‘Go and see’, Bhagavan told me. I went there. Suddenly I had a problem passing urine. I saw there a signboard ‘Urology Department’. I went in. Doctors examined me. ‘You have to undergo surgery for removal of prostate gland’ they told me, ‘come on October 20’. As we were talking in the Department, Swami came there in the golf-cart which Bhagavan uses in that hospital.

‘What happened?’ Swami asked. I explained. ‘What?’ Swami asked the doctors, ‘you want him to undergo surgery at this age? No. Give him minipress tablets.’ So they prescribed that way. When I went to a medical shop, they told me that it was an expensive drug to be taken all through life. I went for darshan next morning. I got front line. ‘It’s very expensive drug, Swami’ I pleaded with Swami. ‘Yes, but your disease also is quite a big one’ Swami told me. ‘Really I can’t afford, Swami’ I prayed. ‘You go to the hospital tomorrow’ Swami told me, ‘they will change it’.

‘We did not know you are close to Swami’ they told me when I saw them the next day, ‘Swami was praising you like anything’. ‘I don’t know’ I replied, ‘it is all His leela’. Finally, they prescribed a cheaper drug ‘prajopress’. When I told Swami about the expensive drug in the darshan line that day, Bhagavan materialized a silver ring with gomedhikam stone and gave me to wear.’

— Mr. J. B. Madhava Rao.