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.

Advertisements

SAI BHAGAWATHAM – 21

God is present in everyone: Episode of Lakshmi bai Danghe (Shirdi Baba)

Shirdi Baba too taught wisdom on many occasions, in many ways using many examples. God is everywhere, present in every being. “Isa vaasya midam sarvam!” Meaning, God is present everywhere. Lakshmi Bai Danghe was a very rich lady. Though being affluent, she used to come to Shirdi and clean the ashram and serve the devotees coming to Shirdi.
One day seeing the opportunity, she fell at the feet of Shirdi Sai Baba. Baba said, “Lakshmi Bai, I am hungry.” Lakshmi Bai thought, “O Baba himself is asking me for food today, how I can bear it?” And asking Baba to wait for a while, she ran to her house to get some food. On the way she was sad, thinking, “I have been offering food to the photos of the Lord which do not ask for food and to the asking Lord I am unable to give food promptly!” So she went and quickly prepared some chapattis. In those days Baba used to eat well. He used to eat a pile of chapattis folding them into quarters and eating them in one go. So she made many chapattis and went to Baba and offered them in a plate. Baba on seeing them exclaimed, “Aha! They are very tasty!”

In the meanwhile a black dog came there wagging its tail. Baba called it near and the dog ate all the chapattis while He petted it. Lakshmi Bai Dongle was watching all this and said to Baba, “Baba what is this you do? You said you were hungry. I thought Lord himself is asking for food and prepared chapattis with love and reverence. Right in front of me you are offering the food to this dog. What sin have I committed? What fault lies in me? Did I have any bad thoughts while preparing these chapattis? I prepared these chapattis wholeheartedly and with love. Why are you insulting me thus? Is it justified?” In this way Lakshmi Bai talked to Baba with closeness as if she were talking to her father. Baba said, “Lakshmi Bai, sit down. I have eaten all the chapattis. My stomach is full.”

Lakshmi Bai said, “Baba, how do I believe you? I saw the dog eating all the chapattis before my very eyes and you say you have eaten them. How can I believe it?” Then Baba said, “Man can ask for food if he is hungry. Animals and birds cannot ask if they are hungry. They too have hunger but cannot express it. They too are the creation of the Lord. Hence isn’t it me who is eating when they eat? Do not think that this body alone is Baba. That dog too is Baba. This bird too is Baba. This buffalo here is also Baba. All the beings are Baba. ‘Isa vaasya midam sarvam’, God is everywhere. ‘Eshwara sarva bhootanam’ God pervades all the beings. Why are you limiting Baba who is present in all?

I made you cry thus because of your narrow ideas. Get rid of this narrow mindedness and broaden your vision. Hence, develop a broad mind. Whatever others may do take it as the will of the Divine. Think that whatever, good or bad, happens, happens for your good. It is proper when such good thoughts are fostered in the hearts of the devotees.”

Divine Discourse, 22 June, 1996
Listen to the above quote in His voice – https://goo.gl/Bny7nA
Radio Sai Team

SAI BHAGAWATHAM – 20

Mr. Kadali Krishna Murthy (69), a retired teacher, shares a few of his experiences:

‘A friend of mine gave me a copy of the book, ‘Sathyam Sivam Sundaram’ by late Mr. N. Kasturi in the late fifties. When I started glancing through the book, I found it so absorbing that I got up to take meals only after reading a considerable extent at a stretch. That is how I first learnt about Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and His inspiring life and message.

Around 1958, I had the good fortune of visiting Prasanthi Nilayam. I had darshan of Bhagavan for the first time.

In 1965, I was instrumental in starting bhajans at Pekedu when I was posted as a teacher there. I am glad that the bhajans have become very popular over years and a mandir also has come up there with the efforts of devotees, and grace of Bhagavan.

In 1968, I had a dream in which Bhagavan appeared and taught me the bhajan song ‘Govinda jai jai Gopala jai jai Radha Ramana Hari Govinda jai jai’ for a considerable time. I did not hear that song earlier. The same year I came to Prasanthi Nilayam when I heard the same song being sung during bhajan in the same way Bhagavan had taught me. I was wonderstruck.

I had an attack of typhoid when I was 18 years old. As I was kept on complete fast but for some liquid diet, I became very lean and weak. I began to feel constriction of heart also. I went to several doctors and took medicines, but they were of no avail except providing some temporary relief. I suffered for several years. One day, Swami appeared in my dream after my repeated prayers. I mentioned my problem and prayed to Him to cure me. Swami said ‘light meals’ three times. Though I was a devotee those days, I had not developed necessary faith and wisdom to comply with Swami’s instructions scrupulously. As a result, I continued to suffer. Bhagavan came to Palakollu and delivered His Divine Discourse in which He said, ‘I don’t appear in any one’s dreams except by my sankalpa. Therefore, whatever I tell you either directly or in dreams ought to be followed up in your own interest’. Then I began to think over what Swami had told me in my dream years ago. I began taking light meals and, within a few days, my heart constriction released by itself without any medication by Bhagavan’s grace.

In 1985, I had an idea to start a library mainly for students, with Swami’s books and some text books, in Icompudi where I was working at that time. I bought a house there. ‘But, where to locate the library? How to run it?’ I prayed to Bhagavan for guidance. One night, I had a dream in which Swami appeared. I told Swami about my proposal and solicited His guidance. ‘Why not locate it in the verandah of your house?’ Swami asked me, ‘run it with your salary’. So I started the library in my house and began to maintain it. I did so as long as I resided in that village.

In 1985, I had developed headache. Doctors opined I had cervical spondylitis which was provoking the headache. Medication was not of much help. I suffered for about 18 years. Finally, I turned to Bhagavan and prayed to Him intensely, unable to withstand the severity of its attacks. Swami appeared in my dream and said ‘do pradakshinas to Ganesh temple and the peepal tree in Prasanthi Nilayam’. I began to do so. Within ten days, there was marked relief, and I was rid of it gradually. Even if it raises its ugly head now and then, the severity of attack is no more there as in earlier times.

In April 2005, I slipped and broke my knee cap. It was broken into four pieces. Usually, in such cases, they replace the knee cap with an artificial one. In such cases, one needs to undergo physiotherapy. Even so, the chances of regaining normal gait in walk may be bleak sometimes. Owing to Swami’s grace, I have regained the normal gait in walk. No one would even suspect that I had fractured knee cap.’

— Mr. Kadali Krishna Murthy.

SAI BHAGAWATHAM – 19

Mr. V. Mohan Babu (35), an agriculturist, shares a few of his experiences:

‘Around 1995, I shifted from my native village Narayanapeta to Kosigi where I first heard about Bhagavan.

Some devotees from Kosigi were going to Prasanthi Nilayam for darshan of Bhagavan. It was in 1994. They took me with them. We went there during Sivarathri festival.

As I saw the arrangements made for thousands of devotees, I was amazed. I had not seen the like earlier. At that time, Sai Kulwanth Hall was in finishing stages. I felt that my life would be wasted if I did not get the opportunity to touch the Divine feet of Bhagavan. That prompted me to join bhajans and also seva. I came for seva for the 70th Birthday in 1995.

Swami used to give pada namaskar after the seva period. We sat for pada namaskar in the lines. Swami was coming. I was surcharged with emotion. When Swami came and stood in front of me, I forgot myself. Tears were rolling down my cheeks. The ever compassionate and loving Sai stood in front of me and placed His hand on my head by way of blessing. He went on caressing my head – I don’t know, how long! Time stood still for me. He materialised akshatas and sprinkled on my head. I took pada namaskar. Since then, I have been coming for seva every year.

I happened to see my wife-to-be on a Thursday. By Swami’s grace, I married her the following Thursday!

In 2003, I was given seva at the birthplace of Bhagavan where a temple for Siva has been built. Mr. Bhatt, the priest, asked me one day, ‘how many children do you have?’

‘Newly married’ I replied.

‘You are doing seva to Bhagavan’ he remarked, ‘He will surely bless you with children. Come next year with your son’.

I thought Swami was blessing me, in the guise of the priest. True to his word, I was blessed with a son. We came to Prasanthi Nilayam with the newborn for Gurupurnima the next year.

Once I thought about the good fortune of talking to Bhagavan, and wondered if I would ever have such luck in my life.

After a few days, I had a dream in which Bhagavan had called me for interview. The dream was so realistic that I enjoyed the bliss of going through the interview as if it had taken place in real life.’

— Mr. V. Mohan Babu

SAI BHAGAWATHAM – 8

Mr. D. Mohan (57), DTP operator and printer, shares a few of his experiences:

‘After meddling with starting a journal for children and doing DTP work, I finally settled down in 1977 in Delhi as an employee in a DTP and printing firm. Later, I set up my own business.

I have been hearing about Bhagavan for a long time. I have also read much about His life and messages. But as I was devoted to Lord Balaji, I felt inhibition to place Sri Sathya Sai Baba in the place of Balaji in those days. In fact, I lost many opportunities to have darshan of Bhagavan earlier. I was in Chennai for a long time, but did not attend any darshan session of Bhagavan there. In those days, Bhagavan used to come frequently to Chennai. Once in 1972, I came to Anantapur on some work, but could not avail the opportunity to visit Prasanthi Nilayam. However, I always regarded Bhagavan with reverence and used to pray to Him whenever I was in trouble. The response was also prompt.

In around 1977, I had a feeling that Swami and Balaji are one and the same. Since then, my faith in Bhagavan has been complete.

In 1984, my son Chandra Kumar went away from the house without informing us. We felt anxious for his safety. I used to pray to Bhagavan intensely. Once I broke down and wept before the photograph of Bhagavan. Next day, I found him returning to our house, and I made pranams in my mind gratefully to Swami.

The same year I was coming with copies of some book on Bhagavan we were printing then, when the door of a lorry opened suddenly and hit me. As I was coming speedily, I fell down and copies of the book I was carrying were scattered all over. By Swami’s grace, I escaped with minor bruises. The saving aspect was that there was no speeding traffic from behind.

In 1985, we were printing the book on Swami, ‘Nara Narayana Guhaasramam’. I was coming on scooter on an urgent errand speeding at 70 kmph. Suddenly I noticed a stone by the side of the divider. A lorry was coming by my side. So, I could not swerve to a side lest I should be run over by the lorry. I tried to apply brakes in vain, and hit the stone and fell on the road. The lorry passed by my side without running over me, but there was a bus coming from behind. The driver applied sudden brakes. The bus came to a scratching halt just within inches from me. I suffered no fracture but only a few injuries. As I lay on the road bleeding helplessly, a hand was trying to lift me up. I found a Sikh gentleman trying to help me on to my feet. He was coming behind in his car, noticed the accident and came forward to help. In Delhi, usually, no one bothers about accidents or victims of accidents. They simply move on. But this gentleman took me in his car to his office, got my injuries attended to and arranged to drop me at my office besides arranging to collect my scooter. I took it to a mechanic. ‘Whoever was riding on this must have died on the spot’ the mechanic remarked as he looked at the wreck I brought to him, ‘it is so badly damaged!’ ‘I was riding over it when the accident took place’ I said. ‘Only God saved you’ the mechanic said in amazement. True, Bhagavan, the God-Incarnate saved me.

In 1988 or 1989, I don’t remember the correct period, my wife Mrs. Rukmini had severe chest-pain. We showed her to several doctors, had many tests done, but the cause could not be diagnosed. We were praying to Bhagavan. We have a brass Ganesh in our house. One day, I performed abhishekam to it, when a red rudraksha emanated from it. That night, Swami appeared to my wife in the dream. ‘Do abhishekam to rudraksha’ Swami told her, ‘and take abhisheka jalam as theertham for three days’. She did likewise. Her chest-pain disappeared in three days without trace.

I came to Prasanthi Nilayam in August 1989 for seva. I bought one photograph of Swami’s lotus feet. I spread it before me in the sevadal line seated for padanamaskar and prayed to Bhagavan in my mind to bless it by placing His feet on the photograph. But Swami put His toe only on the photograph and moved on. I took padanamaskar, but forgot to give Swami a letter I wrote. I again prayed to Him kindly to take the letter. Swami came again to me, took the letter and blessed me. After Swami left, I took the photograph, which I felt was wet. I looked around to see if any one sprinkled any water. But there was no water with any one. One of the sevadal sitting by my side said, ‘Swami gave you amrit. It is not water’. I was immensely happy to receive His Charanamrit.

Afterwards many miracles happened in our house. Vibhuti and kumkum began to emanate from His photograph. Occasionally, amrit also was oozing. Once we kept a few fruit (sapotas) before His photograph. When we saw next morning, one or two of them were totally hollow meaning that the contents were consumed by Bhagavan.

Once we kept a water melon. Swami ate it and kept the seeds in the corner of the place neatly.

Once I had bleeding of my nose. I did not go to any doctor but applied vibhuti only. The bleeding stopped in a few seconds.

In 1995, I took a medallion with Aum and lingam on it, and sat in the darshan line. Swami came and put His hand on it and blessed.

In 2000, we bought a house-site and placed the documents at the feet of Bhagavan. Next day, we found vibhuti on the second sheet (document). When we placed the house plan at the lotus-feet, pasupu and kumkum emanated thereon.

In 2000, I performed the marriages of our two sons in one month. When we placed the wedding clothes in pooja, there appeared pasupu and kumkum on them. During the marriages, we kept a life size photograph on the stage in the marriage pandal. During the marriages, amrit emanated from it as a mark of Swami’s benevolent presence.

In 1996, I was in darshan line at Prasanthi Nilayam. Swami came along and asked ‘what do you want?’ I said ‘vibhuti’. ‘I will give’ said Swami, and said so three times and moved on. He did not give me any. I was puzzled as well as a little unhappy about Swami not giving vibhuti. I opened Sanathana Sarathi and my attention was drawn to a sentence which stated that ‘vibhuti also means aiswarya (prosperity)’. From that day, our financial position has improved and there has been no looking back for me.

In 2002, the marriage of my third son Jaya Kumar took place. It was only after receiving clearance from Bhagavan that he agreed to marry. Bhagavan told him ‘santhosham (happy)’ when he mentioned to Swami about his intention to marry, and took a letter from him.

My wife intensely prayed to Bhagavan to show her some sign of His presence at the wedding. At the time of the marriage, a lotus flower put on Swami’s photograph fell down on its own when my wife was looking at it.

We used to conduct medical camps. One day a lady brought her two months old child to the camp. The head of the child was full of boils. I gave her vibhuti of Swami while doctors gave some ointment. She came to the camp again after a few days. The boils were completely cured, and hair also grew on her head to the delight of all.

In another camp, a person who was bitten long back by a stray dog was brought to us with symptoms of hydrophobia and fever. Doctors said, ‘there is no cure for this’. However they gave some medicines. I put vibhuti of Bhagavan in his mouth and gave him a packet of vibhuti. At once, there was sweating, and the temperature came down to normal in a few minutes. Later, we were told that he was completely cured of the disease with vibhuti only. There are several instances known to me where smokers have given up smoking by taking vibhuti whenever they felt the urge to smoke. A few alcoholics have given up drinking by taking vibhuti.

In 2005, we went to Kedarnath. One of the carriers of dollies was having fever. I gave him a little vibhuti. In a few minutes, he was all right owing to Swami’s grace.’

— Mr. D. Mohan

SAI BHAGWATHAM – 18

Mr. L. Prasada Rao (62), who retired as Deputy Manager (Mines), Hindustan Copper Ltd, narrates a few of his experiences:

‘I was going to places of pilgrimage with family availing leave travel concession in 1987 when I happened to touch Prasanthi Nilayam also. As I had no idea of things at Prasanthi Nilayam, I wanted to be for one day here. But after coming here and having darshan, I was so impressed by the environment of peace and spirituality reigning here that I stayed here for 6 days. I returned to Visakhapatnam happily, completing my tour. I later retired from service, and shifted from Jamshedpur where I was working then to Visakhapatnam where I bought a house and settled down.

In 2004, we were considering alliances for my daughter, Ms. Vijaya Lakshmi. There were two alliances, both from the USA. Of the two, I had some preference to the alliance from Vizag district, to the one from Hyderabad. In July that year, Sri Sathya Sai Vrathams were performed in our Sai mandir. I took part in it. At that time I made a sankalpa. ‘Swami! If the Vizag district alliance is settled for my daughter, I will come to Prasanthi Nilayam and have your darshan!’

In December 2004, the boy from Vizag district was coming to see the bride. I was doing Ramaraksha Stotram as a vow observing the strict discipline of sleeping on the floor, etc. On December 16, I had a dream in the early hours. Swami appeared to me in His bright ochre robe. He was moving His hand in His characteristic gesture. The dream ended. I opened my eyes. I was pleasantly stunned to find Swami standing before me in the same posture as he had appeared to me in the dream. This was neither a dream nor my hallucination. He was right in front of me physically.

After a few seconds, He disappeared. Owing to His grace, the alliance was settled. The date for wedding was fixed very close-by. I had no money except a few thousands. Sri Sathya Sai devotees of our area rallied behind me. They literally carried out all the marriage arrangements and did service in such a way that not even my kith and kin would have helped me thus. I sent a fax to Bhagavan on the day the muhurtham for the marriage was fixed. We all went to Prasanthi Nilayam to submit to Bhagavan the first wedding invitation card. My daughter sat in darshan line on the morning of December 29. Swami did not take the card. She sat in the evening, too. Swami did not take it. She sat with the card again in the next morning praying to Bhagavan internally. Swami was entering from the ladies side in His car, which was open on sides. He looked at my daughter straight into her eyes as He was entering Sai Kulwanth Hall. When the car was nearing the place where my daughter sat, He stretched His hand smiling benevolently and took the card from her. We returned happily. The marriage took place excellently, without any hitch, owing to His grace.’

— Mr. L. Prasada Rao

SAI BHAGWATHAM – 17

Mr. Rao K. Garuda (63), President and CEO, Associated Concepts Agency Inc., USA, shares a few of his experiences:

‘I am grateful to my wife, Mrs. Radha Garuda, M.D., for bringing with her Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba into my heart and life after our wedlock in January 1969. Since I began to learn more and more about His glorious life and message, I have been experiencing His grace in every turn in my life. I have always been thinking of what I could do to make Bhagavan happy as a measure of gratitude for all that He has been doing for all of us.

In 1986, I had a dream in which I saw Bhagavan very clearly as if in real life. ‘Your parents are not happy at Visakhapatnam’ Bhagavan told me, ‘make them happy. That will make me happy’. My father distributed his business among his four sons. He did not keep anything for him. I contacted him, and arranged to get a new house bought for him on the beach road where both my parents could lead a peaceful and comfortable life. After that I had another dream. Swami visited my parents in their new home in that dream. I had not seen that house till then. I saw it only in the dream with Swami. Swami then turned to me beaming with His Divine smile.

I rang up my father that I wanted to go to Prasanthi Nilayam and he, too, wanted to come with me for darshan of Bhagavan. Therefore, I came to India and took my father with me to Prasanthi Nilayam. We got token No.1 and could sit in the front line. This was in 1987. When we go to a superior, it is customary to go in formal and full dress. So I wore a blue suit with a tie. May be I looked odd man out. Swami came to my father and me. He pulled His sleeve up, turned His palm downwards making circular movement with it, and materialised vibhuti and gave my father and me. ‘Chesuko (take pada namaskar)’, He told my father. We both took pada namaskar.

I had a letter with me. Swami took my letter. In that letter I asked Him five questions. Swami did not open the letter, but then and there answered all my five questions one by one in the same order in which I had written them in my letter guiding me what to do on each. One interesting and amazing thing was that Bhagavan gave me darshan as Lord Siva when I saw Him walking towards us. I was a devotee of Lord Venkateswara, but Bhagavan gave darshan as Siva, may be, to emphasize His Siva-shakti aspect or to assert that Siva and Kesava are one and the same. Incidentally, I was named Sivakesava Rao originally.

My son was studying in the Medical School at Akron, 50 miles from Cleveland. Once my wife and I wanted to go to his hostel, pick him up and take him for dinner with us. That day, there was snowfall. The road was covered with snow. As I was taking a turn, my car skidded. I cried ‘Sairam’ three times in total helplessness as the car got out of control. Then the car came to a halt on the road very miraculously after 20 feet without going astray. We were saved by Bhagavan. ‘Now I understand’ my son told me, ‘why you are so attached to Baba’.

In 1991, I had been to New York to see one of my clients. He is Bhagavan’s devotee. We all went to a Chinese vegetarian restaurant and had dinner. During dinner, we discussed his investments. He put all his money only in real estate. ‘Why keep all eggs in one basket?’ I told my client, ‘better diversify your investments’. ‘I will follow your advice’ my client told me, ‘if Bhagavan indicates thus to me’. Meanwhile, the waiter brought us ‘fortune cookie’ that contains a message for each diner. I opened my message which read: ‘It is ok to put all eggs in one basket, and keep an eye on the basket’. I was amazed and felt happy at the spontaneous response of Bhagavan.

In 2005 (this year), four hurricanes struck the American continent. I own an apartment in Palm Beach, Florida, which was devastated time and again because of the hurricanes. Mine is on the 5th floor of a five storied building. The impact of hurricane will be usually on the high side as we go up. So I phoned up the manager of the apartment about the damage caused to my flat. He went round, inspected and rang me back. What he told me is, indeed, amazing. The apartment was spread from north to south. The thick concrete roof was ripped open from the southern side, and rose up to the force of the hurricane, as a table cloth rises up to the force of wind. The damage occurred to the building was devastating. But the stunning miracle is that my flat remained untouched and safe without any damage amidst that horrible scene of total devastation. I had put a photograph of Bhagavan in that apartment when I left it some time ago, and prayed to Bhagavan to protect it. And He did protect it.’

— Mr. Rao K. Garuda