Friday, 16 August 2013

How God changed my disappointment into appointment (Part 3 of 4 of my career story)

Adapted from Francis Thompson's Hound of Heaven.
This is Part 3 of the story of how Bhagawan Baba helped me make my career choice.

If you have arrived straight here, please take a few minutes to read the first part to ensure continuity and better understanding. Part 1 is posted here.

Part 2 is posted here.

This is part 3 now...

Emergency Excuse

The 31st of March, 2007 dawned along with trepidation in my heart. It was the final of my MBA final exams. But the trepidation was not because of the exam. It was in anticipation of what would happen once I was done with my MBA. In the meanwhile, Sai Prakash had assured me that if Swami (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) asked him about new recruits for Radiosai, he would surely suggest our names (the three of us whom he had met on the lawns during that ‘famous’ shooting star episode). I also got to know that Prof.G.V had told Swami about us; that we would be ideal to be recruited for Radiosai Global Harmony.

This was something that was happening almost for the first time - Swami giving the task of recruiting to somebody else. However, I was sure, the final decision would be made by Swami himself. And apparently, that had not happened as of yet. After writing the exam and exiting the hall, my tension grew. I was lost in thought as to what should be the plan of action. I had exactly 2 more months after which my ‘Student’ badge would lose validity. Before that, I had to get my job or face the prospects of being a ‘waiting boy’.

I met the other two and, soon, the next plan was brewing and ready. We decided to use the ‘emergency’ excuse to get a chance to seek what our hearts yearned from Swami Himself. What exactly is this ‘emergency’ excuse that am referring to?

There is a silent understanding among all the staff and students that if anyone is in any kind of emergency - medical, physical, mental or psychological - he will be given priority to sit in the front in the mandir. This was to ensure that he would be able to get proximity to Swami to share his problems and worries. Thus it was, whether the news was good or bad, the ‘emergency’ cases were given priority as far as seating was concerned.

In 2007, such ‘emergency’ cases were being given an opportunity to sit in the front in the bhajan hall where Swami would arrive for bhajans and be seated just a few feet away from them. The three of us decided to make use of this opportunity to ask Swami himself about our jobs. But there was a small catch. What would be the ‘emergency’ that we would cite in order to sit front? Not having a job was hardly an emergency in a place where students have waited for seven years. It was hardly an emergency on the same day that one has written his final examination! In fact, the University is against the policy of campus-placements. Swami has discouraged it because He wants students to concentrate on just being students while in the Institute. What were we to tell?

That was when we made use of tact. We definitely went ahead and stated that we had an ‘emergency’ and so we wanted to sit in front. When asked about it, we just replied,
“Sir! It is too personal. It is for Swami’s ears only...”
Even as we said that, we waited in bated breath. The explanation was accepted and we were made to sit in the front!

Appointment or Disappointment?

Swami was in the interview room after the darshan rounds in Sai Kulwant Hall. The three of us seated in the bhajan hall hoped that Swami would come in early so that we would have some time before the bhajans to present our case. I kept recollecting Swami’s words to me during that beautiful Ramzan interview when He had assured me that I would always be at puttaparthi. I was heavily banking on those words coming to my aid today.

Swami did not disappoint in terms of coming early into the bhajan hall. He came in at about 4:50pm, when there were ten minutes still left for bhajans to begin. He immediately noticed three ‘non-singers’ in the first row and asked,
“Why are you here?”
“MBA Swami...”, I stammered.
“What about MBA?” He asked.
“Swami, we have completed our MBA degree. Swami promised me that I would be in Parthi. Please give us a job Swami...”

Swami immediately told us to sit down. He sent us back to our places. That was it! We sat and continued to wait. Swami spoke to a few other students and teachers. Soon, it was time for bhajans. As the sounds of the Aumkaar filled the hall, Swami looked at the three of us and motioned us to move. We were blocking His view of the singers!

My heart sank immediately as we moved ahead, closer to His chair so that we didn’t block His view of the singers and the singers’ view of Him. I felt so neglected and dejected. There had been such a build-up for this moment and Swami had treated it like any other thing! What was to happen to us, me especially? There was no way I would get another chance to sit in the front based on the ‘emergency’ excuse because now, everyone knew what my ‘emergency’ was. They would not be able to understand and appreciate why it was an ‘emergency’ for me. How could they when apparently Swami Himself did not understand it? These thoughts formed a whirlpool in my head and I was caught floundering in it.

A matter of perspective

Swami had once told Prof Anil Kumar,
“These devotees keep trying to thrust their letters into my hands. I don’t know why they do that?”
Acting as an advocate for the devotees (which he often did with great success and the great amusement of Swami), Prof. Anil Kumar said,
“Swami, they may be in some emergency situation...”
“Ay!Once they have come to me, what emergency can even come in their life?”, Swami said, indicating that everything was absolutely under His control.

This is the Truth that I often forget and, thus, feel sad and disappointed. For example, in the case above, I was feeling rejected and sad instead of celebrating the fact that Swami had actually called me closer to His chair! How many times do I forget this fact that in times of sorrow, Swami is actually getting me closer to Him? Isn’t that the reason why the mother of the Pandavas, Kunti, prayed to Lord Krishna thus,
“Lord! Fill my life with troubles for those are the times I think of you...”

I was foolish then; I am foolish now. But I do hope to change this trend!

The bhajan concluded and Aarthi began. This was the time that Swami would rise from the chair and walk to the car with support. Strangely, today, He did not rise from His chair at all. He sat there for the complete Aarthi. After that, He sent word for the vice chancellor, Sri.A.V.Gokak. The vice chancellor came into the bhajan hall, to Swami’s chair. What Swami told him in my mother tongue, Kannada, took my breath away (Gokak sir’s mother tongue is also Kannada)
“You see those three boys there? Talk to them and give them jobs.”

That was it - simple and straight. Then He turned to look towards us. He moved His head and blinked His eyes to say that it was done. Then, He got up from the chair and walked to the car. Within minutes, He was gone and we were standing in front of the vice chancellor of the University.

“What did you tell Swami? He told me to give you jobs. Where should I post you boys?”
In my wildest dreams I had not thought that on the 31st of March, the vice chancellor would be asking me where I wanted to work!
“Sir, we requested Swami for jobs. Wherever He places us, we are happy to work...”
He thought for a while and then said,
“When I meet Swami during dinner, I shall seek further clarification. Meet me at my office in the morning.”
“Tomorrow morning, sir?” we asked.
“No! Tomorrow is All Fool’s Day and I don’t want such important communication happening with a sliver of doubt! Meet me on the morning of the 2nd”, he said with his characteristic laugh and nod. Then, he too walked away.

We were simply thrilled. It slowly dawned to me that when Swami told us to move so that we would not block the singers, it was not as if He had cast aside our case files. He had already solved them! And because I didn’t realize that, I felt sad and let down.

The meeting which scheduled a second meeting

On the 1st of April, when I saw the vice-chancellor, I could not contain myself. I walked to him, folded my hands in ‘Sairam’ and asked,
“Sir, could you obtain any clarification?”
He understood my eagerness and anxiety.
“Don’t worry. Meet me tomorrow in my office and all will be well.”
That was all the answer I got. I conveyed it to the other two as well. We were just waiting for the next day.

The University Administrative Block where we had to go and meet the vice-chancellor. 

The 2nd of April found the three of us sitting at the vice chancellor’s office by 9am. I was the first to be called in.
“So, Mr.Aravind”, Gokak sir began,”you have decided to stay and serve here is it?”
“Yes sir. I would consider it an honor to get that opportunity.”
“I sought clarification from Swami. He has advised me to ask you where is it that you would like to work? He wants you to be employed where you will enjoy working.”
I was so touched by Swami’s attention to detail. Though I was waiting here to work somehow or the other for Him, He wanted to find out my preferences. My heart’s desire sprouted.
“Sir, I would love to either teach at the University or enhance my skill and hobby of photography by joining Radiosai.”
“Okay. Which among the two would you prefer?”
“I am equally amenable for both sir. Whatever Swami picks from among the two, I would be delighted to do...”
“Tell me, if you had to vote, which among the two would be 51% and which would be 49%.”
He was trying his best to see which side I had leanings towards.
“Sir, honestly it is 50-50 each. I think I will be equally happy in either.”
“What if there is a need for students at Radiosai? Would you be ready to go and work there?”
I thought that Gokak sir must have been present when Prof.G.V had asked Swami about us. I was happy to note that but I replied,
“Sir, I am ready to do whatever Swami says.”
“Okay. I shall convey the same to Swami and get back to you. You may go. All the best.”

Soon, the other two also finished their interviews with the vice-chancellor. Their interviews too had gone along similar lines. As we three walked down the Vidyagiri Hill from the Administrative Block, we discussed the road ahead.
“Let us sit in the front again. This time, we can say that the vice chancellor has conveyed Swami’s message to us and we have to state our decision to Swami.”

We all agreed on that as we prepared for the second meeting of the day. And we knew that this was the more important meeting!

to be concluded in the fourth part entitled:

How I got my job and career at Radiosai Global Harmony

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  1. Sairam Brother Aravind!!! Felt really happy reading how SWAMI granted you the oppurtunity to be at parthy and serve him... This child of SWAMI is also a waiting boy..... see you soon !!! when HE calls me there....

  2. What a blessing to be geographically so close to the Lord! Beautiful story. Made me wonder if you students and staff also do a lot of prayers, thinking of Him with namasmarana while waiting for Swami's arrivals? Much empathy to the waiting boys..what a strong lesson in waiting and who knows what and how much of the karma is neutralized in waiting by His Grace. Sai Bless!

  3. Lot of take aways again. He answered me through you. :-)

    Congrats on your book and please tweet about your new articles. I'm not on facebook. :-) I read it with considerable delay after your posting.

    Nice to know that your mother tongue is Kannada. :-)


  4. this has my answer Aravid I am grateful still crying trying to break back into the google account to reply-- new pasword needed ach time - speaking of patience- need to move yet again within 60 days
    so your help in spelling it out is invaluable
    Swami said, indicating that everything was absolutely under His control.
    This is the Truth that I often forget and, thus, feel sad and disappointed
    Thanks so much

  5. Sairam . Swami says "A person driving a car concentrates on the road, for he is anxious to save
    himself and others from
    accident. Fear is what induces single-mindedness in his case. Love is a
    greater force for giving
    concentration. If you have steady and resolute love, the concentration
    becomes intense and
    unshakeable. Faith develops into love and love results in concentration.
    Prayer is possible and
    begins to yield fruit, under such conditions.
    Source:Prashaanthi Nilayam, Birthday Discourse, 23-11-1961

    The Law of Vibration & Attraction (Bob Proctor)::-
    When you hold the image of your goal on the screen of your mind, in the
    present tense, you are vibrating in harmony (in resonance) with every
    particle of energy necessary for the manifestation of your image on the
    physical plane. By holding that image, those particles of energy are
    moving toward you (attraction) and you are moving toward them - because
    that is the law. All things are merely manifestations of energy or Spirit
    Prayer written by Baba and given to Prof Kasturi, New year's Day, 1960

    I firmly believe there is none kinder than You,
    to shower Grace on me.
    Tell me, is this not the reason why
    I am at your Lotus Feet?
    I firmly believe You will respond quick
    when I do pray and plead.
    Tell me, is this the reason why
    I am crying aloud for you?
    I firmly believe You are ever beside me
    to guide my steps aright.
    Tell me, is this not the reason why
    I am Yours thro' day and night.
    I firmly believe You can never say 'No'
    Whatever I ask from You.
    Tell me, is this the reason why
    I long for a glance from You?

    What have you designed for me this time?
    Why this dire delay to offer boons?
    However long you make me wait and wail
    I will not leave, I'll be standing still
    Until your loving eyes do turn on me.

  6. Sairam Aravind,

    What else can one ask for than SWAMI himself being one's hiring manager, wow offer letter issued by DIVINE HANDS.
    I am also waiting for a job for past one year, so I too fall in the 'waiting girls' category though outside Puttaparthi.
    I am not able to find the link to the concluding part of this series. Can you help me get it please.

    1. What applies to waiting boys, applies to waiting girls as well! :) All the best. I shall keep you in my prayers.

      Oops! Sorry that I had not included the link to Part 4. Now the article has been updated! :)

      The link is:


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