Monday, 3 June 2013

God’s Grace makes everything possible

God has a Masterplan for each and everyone

Each person who comes under the divine umbrella of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba by becoming a student of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning has stories of amazing grace to share.

The world might judge some experiences as awesome and others as ‘not-so-grand’ but to the student who has gone through it, the experience is always thrilling and inspiring. The experience that is about to be related is an experience which is memorable for the student as well as for the readers. It is an experience of great highs that were punctuated by deep lows. Above all, it is an experience that shows beyond doubt the power and majesty of divine grace. This is the story of Sri Vemula Praveen. 

Praveen completed his X grade schooling at the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School in March 1995. Being confused about what he should pursue for higher studies, he sought guidance from his dear Swami. Swami told him to pursue Bio-Sciences as a subject and that is exactly what he did for five years after that. He completed his under-graduation with honours in BSc (BioSciences) and also won the academic gold medal from the University. He received his gold medal from Swami’s hands and was one happy person during the convocation ceremony.

A thrilled Praveen receiving the gold medal for excellence in BioSciences from the
revered Chancellor of the Institute - his dear Swami.

What next? That was the question that he posed to Swami  and the reply he got, stunned him,
“Do Management”, Swami said and that was it.

Thus it was that Praveen decided to shift his line in academics and concentrate on getting an MBA seat in the SSSIHL. He revisited his mathematics textbooks and brushed himself up on his logical and analytical reasoning abilities. One month of intensive and extensive preparations later, he was ready to take on the entrance examinations of the Institute.

He turned out to be one of the toppers in the examination. He cleared the group discussion easily and now faced the elite interview panel which had Sri S.V.Giri, the Vice Chancellor of the university then, on it. The Vice Chancellor expressed surprise at Praveen’s decision to take management when he was a gold medallist in pure sciences. He told him that they would like to welcome him with open arms into the Masters course in Biosciences and that the University would support him in his doctorate later on. Praveen insisted on doing management but the Vice Chancellor refused to buy into him. Thus, he did not get the MBA seat.

Praveen took recourse to the only support he knew - Swami. During a darshan session, he told Swami,
“Swami I am being refused a seat for management studies. What must I do?”
“Do Biosciences”, was the straightforward reply.

No doubt he was puzzled at the Divine logic and directions, but Praveen dutifully enrolled for the MSc course in Biosciences and won the gold medal there too! Though he had completed such a brilliant academic career, he had only one wish - to stay with Swami and serve Him in any way possible. 

Praveen was gifted an emerald-studded, gold ring by Swami when he
topped the exams during the 2001 Summer Course in
Indian Culture and Spirituality.

That is the kind of ‘magic’ Swami weaves. Staying with Him, one realizes that there is more to life than just careers, relationships and money; more to a human being than just being a superior animal! So, Praveen expressed his desire to Swami during an interview and Swami told him,
“Do PhD for a while. I shall give you another task.”
In the interview room, along with Praveen, was another student who had completed Masters in Chemistry. Swami gave the same advice to him too. From that day on, the two boys seemed to be linked in their fortunes!

The ‘Other Task’
As guided by Swami, the lads wanted to enrol themselves into the PhD programme of the Institute. Before that, they had to do some pre-study to freeze on the topics for research. Thus, they spent hours in the library, browsing and perusing through Biosciences and Chemistry books by the dozen. Just as they seemed to be zeroing onto some kind of focus areas, they were called in for another interview by Swami.

“I want you to go to America to do a small course”, Swami surprised them with His statement.
“Swami, I want to be here with you. I don’t want to leave you and go so far away - that too America.” That was Praveen’s lament.
“It is only for a short while”, Swami reassured, “and after that you will be back with me.”
Swami blessed the boys and told them that they would have to write a ‘small’ test before they could join the course in USA. Having been reassured by Swami, Praveen said,
“Whatever is your wish Swami. We shall write the test and do the course.”
Thus ended that interview.

A few days later, the boys were called in for yet another interview. This one was in the morning.
“The small test that you have to take will be held in Bangalore. Get ready to leave immediately.”
With that, Swami invited the boys to His personal dining hall. He made them sit at the table and had breakfast served for them. Praveen was just not able to eat. He was drinking in the beautiful form of Swami!

“Eat”, Swami prodded him and also had several dishes served into his plate. It was about 7:30 am. Seeing the clock Swami told them to catch the 8 am bus to Bangalore where they would be received by a devotee who would make arrangements for their exams. With only thirty minutes left to get to the bus-stand and into the bus, the boys hurriedly took namaskar and took leave of Swami. By lunchtime, they were in Bangalore. It was for the first time in his life (in August 2001) that Praveen came to know about the examination he had to take. It was called the GRE
(Graduate Record Examinations) - a standardized test which is an “admissions requirement” for many graduate schools in USA and in other English-speaking countries. He had no idea then that it is a real tough exam.
What is hard for us is easy for God. So when God says,
"small test", BEWARE! :)

The devotee of Baba in Bangalore was well-endowed and well-connected. He got the boys in touch with a Training Centre to help them prepare for the exam. They had just 7 days to take the test. Within hours of landing in Bangalore, they were face to face with the head of a reputed GRE-Coaching Centre in Bangalore.

“Well, what is the length of the course that you would like to take? We have one for 9 months, another for 6 months and the real quick one is for 3 months.”
“I want to write the exam in a week from now”, Praveen quipped.
“That is simply impossible!” said the exasperated head.

That was when Praveen explained the special circumstances to him. It was Baba’s command, he said, and he was merely fulfilling it. The magic worked. Reluctantly, the person said,
“Okay! May He bless you with success. Let me have your passports then...”

The first challenge
That statement elicited a blank look from Praveen for he did not have his passport.
“How did you dream of writing the GRE exam without even having a passport? Even Baba cannot help you now!” mocked the head at the Training Centre.
(The rules have been modified since. Back then, it was compulsory for the applicant to have a valid passport.)

The two lads returned to the devotee’s home. The devotee made arrangements for them to leave for the passport office. Now another problem arose - Praveen did not have any document as his ‘proof of address/residence’. He called up his former principal at the undergraduate campus of the Institute in Brindavan. ‘Coincidentally’, he had been provided a room in the campus itself to give him access to the library and aid his preparation for the exams. So, the principal wrote a letter to “whomsoever it might concern” that he knew Praveen well and he was currently residing on campus. That would never be sufficient but something was better than nothing because Praveen did not have time to apply for anything else.

With this flimsy proof of address and a prayer in his heart, Praveen landed at the passport office in Bangalore. There, it was outright rejection followed by Praveen narrating his story on how Swami wanted him to leave to USA immediately. Since it was deemed as an odd (or unique as one takes it) case, he was referred to the head of office there. Going through the case, the person there said,
“I have heard a lot about Sathya Sai Baba though I have never seen Him. I am really impressed by the humanitarian works He is doing and is inspiring. I have always wanted to do something for Him. Yesterday was supposed to be my last day in office here before my transfer. Maybe to do one good deed for Baba, my transfer is delayed by a day. Don’t worry. Your passports will be ready in a couple of hours because, after that, I have to leave!”

The second challenge

The next day, the head of the Training Centre dropped his jaw in awe when the passports were presented to him.
“How on earth did you get a passport in under 18 hours?!”
“Sir, God’s grace makes everything possible”, said Praveen with a smile.

Both of them were made to take a mock GRE test. At the end of gruelling hours, the lads came out with serious faces. Their scores were about 400-600 out of a maximum of 2,400 in the multiple-choice test.
“You may have God’s grace but we cannot allow you to sit for this GRE test as our candidates. Our reputation will get damaged. However, I shall allow you to use our facilities to write the exam.”

Calls were made to find out whether there were any free seats for the examination. They found out that there were the only two seats available for the next ten days and they were available on the coming Thursday! Praveen did not miss the Thursday connection with Swami and readily agreed to the day. Since the Centre was not ready to coach them, they went to the Brindavan campus of the Institute and picked up a few books from the library to study. They spent about 5-6 hours a day studying for the next 5 days.

The D-day dawned. Praveen sat in front of the computer, nervous and scared. As the questions were presented, it felt like a planetarium show for him - seeing stars during daytime! After a while, he gave up thinking. With a prayer on his lips, he randomly selected choices. At the midway break, he exchanged depressed looks with the other student who had an equally depressed look on his face. Both then went back to their tests and completed them. The computer asked for the Universities to which the score had to be submitted. Praveen had been given a list of 6 Universities and he keyed in those names.

He hit enter and waited for the system to tabulate his score. When the score blinked on the screen, he almost collapsed in shock. It read, 2080/2400!! And his friend? He got 2100/2400!!

Needless to say, everyone concerned were shocked. 

“God’s grace makes everything possible”, Praveen repeated, the smile coming back to his face now. From among the several universities that offered the course, the duo chose the Lomalinda University based on ‘instinct’ and ‘gut feeling’. Then, they happily drove back to Puttaparthi, to their Swami who awaited them.

...move to Part 2 of this experience in another post entitled

No God, No Miracles; Know God, Know Miracles

(If you wish to share the entire article on the web, please provide the readers a link to the original article. That way, new readers can also discover the blog! :) )


  1. sai raam...great miracles... totally swami's grace. I'm very happy after read this.. love you swami... jaisairaam

  2. Timely. Very timely. He knows what to send to who, when, and through who. :) Thanks anna. See you next week!

    1. :)

      Surely! Meet you soon. Happy that the article came timely for you...

    2. Sairam . waiting to read further. .

  3. Really a miracle- Praveen is so blessed by Swami. Eagerly awaiting second part. Sairam.

  4. Sai Ram, please brother....can't wait anymore. Thank you for sharing the thrilling experience.

    1. I shall share it within the next 22 hours! :)

    2. So beautiful and inspiring Satsang. Swami bless all of us...

  5. Yes! God's grace makes even the impossible possible. :) Waiting for the next part.

  6. "The grace of GOD is like insurance. It will help you in your time of need without any limit" - Sathya Sai Baba.

    Yes, every word of Swamy is true. Thank you for sharing this Aravind brother. Praveen brother is very lucky.

  7. Sairam.................waiting for the next episode

  8. sairam lovely ,our lord can do anything

  9. Scintillating account ! thanks for sharing brother.

  10. So beautiful and inspiring Satsang. Thank you. Swami bless all of us, so much!

  11. Sai Ram Aravind. Your blog has inspired me and many others and I use it as part of spiritual reading.Thank you Swami for giving us such a fine instrument in Aravind.
    Today I would like to share with you an article on Feeling of oneness and the theory of Quantum Entanglement which proves what Swami keeps repeating that everything is one and everything is just reflection ,resound and reaction.
    Just some food for thought.

    1. Thank you for your liberal praise and warmth. It is all Swami's love.

      Also thank you for the links... I shall definitely have a look at them.

  12. Master who controls five elements of the universe and materializes objects of divine association and protection to the needy should be finding it easy to control any other existing system on Earth. For a devotee it should be easy to recognize that anything is possible for Bhagawan to bring about from this world Maya. That also gives us a clone picture how less meaningful are all those things that we now project as premium and great - GRE, Visa, America and University Degree from US (we must ofcourse acknowledge the hard work, commitment and submission made by these brothers during their study in Sai university).

    For a devotee, this experience is more like watching a Rajinikant movie - only impossibles happening to make loving devotee recognize that any thing is possible while you walk with god, while you are love with god and while you live for god.

  13. Hahahahahaah. Finally people accept that God = Rajnikant! :)

    Beware Ajesh, Rajni fans might take offence at you! ;)


  15. :-) Lovely... Very interesting....

  16. Lovely..Very interesting... Swami and his beautiful ways... :-)


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