Tuesday, 20 August 2013

How I got my job and career at Radiosai Global Harmony (Part 4 of 4 of my career story)

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 few parts to ensure continuity and better understanding. Part 1 is posted here.

Part 2 is posted here.

Part 3 is posted here.
How God changed my disappointment into appointment.

This is the concluding Part 4
A message from the Lord can come in many ways...

Tryst with Divinity

For the second time in 3 days, the three of us went into the bhajan hall and took seats in the front. There was no ‘emergency’ as such but ever since we had received that encouraging nod from Swami, Bhagawan Baba, on 31st March, things had changed for us. We were given the front seats without any problems. We waited for the Veda chanting to begin and usher into the Sai Kulwant Hall that beautiful orange-robed form. That happened within a few minutes.

Even as I waited, I picked up an inspirational book of short stories that one of the students was reading. Suddenly, my mind said,
“Seek a message.”
It is a habit among many to randomly open a book and seek a message. I too am part of that ‘message seeking’ mass! So, I closed my eyes and opened the book. The short story that came in front of my eyes was - The meeting that was not to be.

Immediately, I did not feel so good. And the Veda chanting began, signaling Swami’s arrival for darshan. Within ten minutes, the darshan was completed and Swami came towards the interview room. As He was entering the interview room, He cast a cursory glance into the bhajan hall. His face seemed to contort in irritation (that is what I thought). It seemed to ask,
“What are these boys doing here?”
Then He went in.

I did not want to confide my fears to the other two boys. I opened the book again and went to that story which seemed to have negatively sealed my fate. As I read the story, I saw a happy ending (naturally it had to be good because it was an inspirational book). In the end, the ‘meeting’ actually took place in the story and gave me the same hope for my story too.

Swami came out within a few minutes and stopped near the bhajan hall entrance. He beckoned to us and we three moved to the wheelchair that He was seated on.
“Swami, the vice-chancellor met us...”, I began.
“The vice-chancellor met me too. He showed me the photos of you three as well”, He replied with a smile.
He then looked at Dhananjay, the other boy and asked,
“What does your mother say about this?”
“Swami, my mother is very happy. She told me to do whatever you say and be with you always...”
It was such a touching moment. Dhananjay’s story has been one filled with love and grace. (Hear Dhananjay’s interview by downloading the Morning Glory audio file.) After losing his father at a young age, Dhananjay has had Swami stand by him like a father, taking important decisions. But Swami, on His part, never goes against the words of one’s parents. He ensures that whatever the child does is in sync with his/her parents’ wishes.

“Mother is the first God. Father is the second God. A teacher is the third God. Then comes God”, He says.

He did not ask me or the other boy about what our parents feel because He already knew the answers. To take the conversation further, I started,
“Swami, the vice-chancellor gave us a choice. He told us to choose...”
“Ay”, Swami cut me midway, “if you want to make Swami happy, go make that Venkatraman (Prof.G.V) happy.”

That was it. Final! All the three of us fell at His feet and told Him that we would go and join Radiosai immediately. Swami said,
“What is the hurry? It is your vacation now. Go for your holidays. You can join after the vacation.”

The brief but fruitful meeting was complete. We were all very happy and touched. It is amazing how Swami thinks of the little things in such a perfect manner. Though I was very keen to get a ‘job’ at Prasanthi, it was definitely true that I was desperately in need of a break after a hectic examination schedule.

Doubt is a real demon

The reader would have surely concluded that by now, I was the happiest man around. I wasn’t! There was this lurking fear in my mind that I should not count my chickens till they hatch. Swami had promised to give me a job no doubt, but the job was not yet mine. So, I didn’t leave for vacation. I stayed on at Puttaparthi, regularly attending darshan and bhajan sessions. In the meanwhile, I also started going to Radiosai studios in the free time to learn photo-editing and video-editing softwares. Days turned into weeks in this manner.

Then, news arrived that Swami would be leaving for Kodaikanal in the summer. As always, He would be taking a few students along. My hopes were raised. I was hoping to be a part of the group selected by the Lord to travel with the Lord. That was not meant to be and so, I felt, I would have to take my vacation as Swami had said. But then, Dhananjay was picked by Swami to accompany Him to Kodaikanal. I felt very happy for him. At the same time, this fed the demon of doubt in me.

Why only Dhananjay and not the other two of us? Does this mean that he is in and we two are not?

I had no answers and had troubled thoughts. I was thinking,
“Tomorrow, Swami will leave. Will He remember to give me a job when He returns? I am sure Dhananjay will get through, but what about us two?”
I did not want to bank on being a tag-along to Dhananjay because of my previous experience during MSc days (as mentioned in Part 1 of this article). What was I to do?

I decided that I would make myself as ‘visible’ as possible to Swami so that He doesn't forget!

The vacation

Armed with my camera, I moved towards the Sri Sathya Sai Airport to bid goodbye to Swami who would be flying to Madurai and then going to Kodaikanal. Soon, His car arrived and I started firing away at the shutter release button. In the process of taking pictures, I even boarded the aircraft (without a boarding pass)! Swami sat in the first seat along the aisle in the aircraft. I took a picture of Him and He smiled. Then, I took a picture of His feet which were covered in beautiful sandals. He again smiled and granted padanamaskar to both me and Sai Prakash who was on the video camera. Then, we ‘shooters’ alighted from the aircraft, craning our necks to catch a last glimpse of Swami through the window.

The plane taxied on the runway and took off. A day later, I too took off to Mumbai, to spend the vacation with my parents. Before leaving, I told Sai Prakash,
“The minute you receive news that Swami is returning to Puttaparthi, please let me know. I will rush back. I was the last person whose face Swami saw when He took off. Mine should be the first face He sees when He lands back in Puttaparthi.”

My body went to Mumbai no doubt, but my heart and mind were left behind with Swami. All my focus was on when Swami would return I hoped that in Kodaikanal, Dhananjay would ‘remind’ Swami once or twice about the pending appointments. As a family, we took a vacation to Ganapatipule in Maharashtra. One day, as I was swimming in the resort there, I got a call. It was from Sai Prakash.
“Swami is coming back the day after”, he said, “Are you planning a return?”

That was the end of my vacation. I pleaded with my father to get me a flight ticket back to Bangalore ASAP. We left Ganapatipule the same day and were back in Mumbai. The way things panned out, I would be flying back the same day that Swami would be flying back to Puttaparthi. I was in the taxi from Bangalore airport to Puttaparthi, when I got another call from Sai Prakash.
“Swami is due to land in about an hour’s time. I am going to the airport now.”
“Please bring along my camera kit too”, I told him desperately.

Now, I turned to the driver.
“How fast can you take me to Puttaparthi from here?”
“It takes about an hour sir. But I can do it in 45 minutes...”
“My life is at stake here. Please do it as fast as you can.”
He nodded and stepped on the gas. I opened my suitcase and began to rummage through it for my whites. In the speeding taxi, I changed from my T-shirt and jeans into whites. I wet my hair and combed it in place and then applied the vibhuti dot on my forehead.

It was the 17th of May 2007 and my heart raced faster than even the speeding taxi.

Welcome and anti-climax

I made it in time! And just as I had thought, mine was indeed among the first few faces (if not the first one) that Swami saw as He descended from the aircraft. I was there again, taking photographs of the rousing welcome that Swami was given as He returned to Puttaparthi. My body united with my mind and soul and thus, it felt very welcome to me too!

From the next day onwards, it was back to waiting for me. I asked Dhananjay whether Swami had made any references to our appointments during the dozen or so days of the Kodaikanal trip. He said that on one occasion, Swami had asked him where he would work and he had replied,
“Swami, in Venkatraman sir’s studio...”
Swami had then looked at Prof.G.V and had said,
“So, it has now become your studio is it?”
Dhananjay continued,
“Sir came to me after that session and told me that I should never make that stupid mistake of calling the studio as his studio. Everything is Swami’s alone and all were just custodians.”

That, I felt, was an important point to remember for all. Whatever we have been given do not belong to us. They belong to God and we are just custodians.

Dhananjay and I decided to contact the third boy, Raju, to tell him to come over. However, we received some shocking news. Raju would not be returning to Puttaparthi. Many personal pressures had forced him to look out for a job elsewhere. Amid tears he said that he would not be able to come to Puttaparthi. We were taken aback. This was definitely a setback. For the first time, Swami had been a little ‘lax’ and ‘easy’ with taking others’ advice for appointments and here was a dropout even before the appointment! We were told that it could be detrimental for our appointments too. I feared for mine because I felt Dhananjay was through already. I continued with my prayers and daily sitting in the front.

The D-Day

The 30th of May arrived. I longingly looked at my ‘Student’ badge. It said, ‘Valid till: 31/05/2007’. I knew that this would be the second-last day for my student privileges. The same was the case with Dhananjay and Swami had not told him anything too. We decided to foray once again to the front lines of the bhajan hall. The emergency now was - no deliverance for us even after the arrival of the due date!

Swami came into the bhajan hall a few minutes before bhajans. He saw Dhananjay and me right up in the front.
“Now what?”, He saked, “You have come again?”
“Swami, we are ready to join for the job”, I said.
“Job? Where?”
Dhananjay got up on his knees, “Swami in Venkat...”
He was cut mid-sentence by the sharp pinch I gave his leg.
“Swami, in your studio...” I completed.
“Hmm”, said Swami, “What work will you do?”
“Swami, I will do photography, video-shooting, video-editing, writing articles and radio programmes...”
“Ah! That is a lot of work... And you?”
“Swami, I will do audio-recording, audio-editing and audio-mastering”, replied Dhananjay.
“Very nice... very happy.”
We immediately bent and took padanamaskar. Now, I felt, we had finally clinched it. But a little surprise packet had still been reserved by Swami.

“Don’t join now”, He said and I had surprise written all over my face. But that soon transformed into a smile as He continued,
“Join tomorrow. It is a good day.”
He gave us padanamaskar for a second time. We had feared that He would ask about the third boy. He didn’t. He knows everything right?

And so, on the 31st of May, 2007, the day my ‘Student’ badge expired, a Thursday which is Swami’s special day, I was officially a staff member of Radiosai Global Harmony. The next day, I was issued my ‘Staff’ badge and I happily ‘retired’ the ‘Student’ badge. Indeed, Swami had ensured that I would not be a ‘waiting boy’ for even a single day. The transition from ‘student’ to ‘staff’ happened for me like night transitions into day and we were the first two students from our batch to be placed in our careers.
This truly became my 'official' home page... www.radiosai.org... 

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  1. Read all 4 parts back to back and got a few important lessons that I can reflect in my life too.. Thanks the April 1st all fools day joke was too cute :)

    1. Glad that you enjoyed it! :)
      Shared it in as much detail as I remember...

  2. Splendid finale! I love the photo of Swami's feet and the wonderful quote there. That quote is sure something I am living by. :) I will not leave Swami's feet even if He kicks me about. Thanks for all the 4 parts Aravind. U sure r blessed!

    1. Thank you Aarthi. That quote was told to me by Sri.B.N.Narasimhamoorthy sir. :) He said that his teacher told him the same!

  3. That's really awesome play of our Swami...You're indeed blessed.

  4. very very nice - I enjoyed working with you!

    1. The same here Mark! Was wonderful working with a gentleman like you...

  5. Sai RAm from New SAiland/Zealand dear Aravind. A well-told story with the requisite hi's and lows and a most satisfying ending-- and a perfectly conveyed message for us all encoded throughout. I especially love the bit about "not Venkateraman's studio=-= Swami's studio.. GV would love that too. All the best and hoping to see you all soon with a LARGE goody bag of chocolates, lollipops, CAdbury gems, bhuja and chips. with love
    Lyn Kriegler

    1. Sairam Lyn! Yes... We shall meet soon... Would be good to have your bubbling energy back at the studios again...

  6. So very beautiful! Bhagawan ensures that complacency doesnt set in and then grants what the heart pines for.. In the most gratifying manner and at the time he deems right. Its a very valuable lesson for all of us.. Only he knows best!
    You and everyone else at Radiosai are doing complete justice to this divine appointment.. Bringing Swami to us in our homes. Thank you and Jai Sai Ram!

    1. Thank you for your kind and gracious comment. We, at Radiosai, are beholden to Him and want to please Him with every endeavour of ours. :)

  7. very good one .read all the parts.i heard this in your singapore visit,but writing makes it more interesting.every write up of yours has something to learn and must try to follow which SWAMY always loves it

    1. One often misses some portions in a talk as it is limited by time. :) Writing can be pulled into many parts. :)

  8. Arvind you are a blessed child of Swami....always remain blessed...Sairam

  9. very very nice brother Aravind. When He gave you a job at Radio Sai, He surely had all of us in His Mind!!! Thank you and keep the good work going. I really enjoy reading your articles. Sairam.

    1. I am touched and overwhelmed with your comment...

  10. Aha! Now we know whom to bother at RadioSai.org for interesting Sai videos to be posted daily without any procrastination!!! Glad to hear I was not the only one to break the 'drive slowly' rule....;-) All pun aside, a beautiful and fit ending as only Swami would to your career story. Yes! I can seriously see how elated one could be to transition from 'Student' badge to 'Staff' badge without a second's wait! Swami knows it all being Omnisceint and you truly are blessed to have been close to His physical form. He has beautifully blossomed his student buds!

  11. Thanks Bhaiyya for sharing this. I am in a similar situation.
    Sai Ram

  12. Sairam. This pic of Swamis padam is so cute, When I kept looking, it did ring a bell in my heart.. the story goes as early as Nov 2010 Swamis b'day. I have never made it for Swamis b'day &this time I thought I must make it. I bought the train tickets for 19th Nov from Chennai to Parthi. One of my friends was going & she said I can stay with them. Just two days before the journey, she just ditched. I was in my office & was praying to Swami "Swami, what is this, w/out any accomm., company, how can I come?" I suddenly had an urge to go out of the office and when I came to the road side, I saw a two wheeler passing by with 2 big stickers of both Shirdi Sai & Satya Sai with big bold letters "why fear when I am here" (in tamil)! I was relieved. But for our Swami tests are his taste! I got a call after I boarded the train @ 1130pm that the alternate accom was also not available! I thought that Swami will do something. A Swami student (guy) was also travelling. When I landed at Parthi my head swam looking at the crowd &I just broke down & I was scared to stay alone! I was so upset with Swami. I just returned to bus stand to go back to chennai, but no tkts, I bought for Bgl & detour to chennai. there was still 4 hours to go & I just sat there in the first bench next to the shop near the public toilet closing my eyes.Just then some sevadals came &hung one b'ful dbl hand blessing of Swamis pic on top of my head.(I saw that poster even in Feb2013) I tightly closed my eyes to show my bad mood.I came back to Chennai very upset that He didn't get me accom. Next day in my anger, I just opened (Sunday) Sri Satya Sai Divya Kripa.. by ShBN Narasimha Murthy (one of my fav authors besides Sh Kasturi) it read...(pg 181) Swami continued "Why did you go away from PNilayam that morn in such a hurry?.." next page it read the right attitude ..."If you kick me with Your Left foot, I shall hold .." It hit me like anything. Now I very badly wanted but no tkts.Next day (Monday)in the off. my inner voice kept on telling to buy bus tkts.I asked Swami to 4give me.Fortunately there was 1 canceled tkt &I made it along with Uma(befriended in the bus) just on time to sit in the Hillview stadium.we were sitting near the 2nd arch & when Swami came near, unmindful of the sevadals, we both went & sat just beneath the road. Swami was looking so b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l gentle breeze caressing His jet black hair & the robe matching his skin color,WOW.But I was just praying"Swami pls get well soon get well soon You shd live long" He was looking so frail. He just turned directly towards both of us & gave a dbl blessing.This is the photo adorning my FB cover.I tried during my two visits to Parthi for this photo at Prashanti Digital, they had only video. This phto also taken from video which Uma sent on our wedding anniv. When we print the clarity is not good. I saw in the video someone sitting & taking a photo near the 2nd arch..I wish someday I will get a copy.

    1. That is such a beautiful incident which you have narrated. Thank you. :)
      I am sure that some day, you will get that picture (if it has been taken).

  13. Sairam Aravind,

    Oh the words on the picture showing Swami's Lotus feet is so true. I keep leaving him time and again when I he does not answer my prayers. One person with whom I argue a lot is Swami. I keep telling him every second "Swami if my requests are wrong, please make it right and grant my wish". No wonder Swami is so confused with this adamant child of his..
    Way back in 2002 when I was writing my CA exam (I had given many attempts, so I thought this should be my final try) every night Swami came in my dream and the flower kept on Swami's photo used to fall down. I took it as Swami's blessings and gave my exams. I was so confident I would clear and so gave my best.
    But the result was the same........I failed. That was it, I was so angry with Swami, I refused to talk to him, even didn't want to look at his picture in our home.
    My friends in office kept talking about Swami and a colleague's brother works in Library at Puttaparthi. So one day he got Swami's orange robe to office and we all got the opportunity to hold it....... but my anger towards Swami didn't ease out.
    Though I didn't clear my CA, Swami gave me a flourishing career and has made me financially strong.
    I quit my job in Nov 2011 to recover from any hand injury. I hope to start working again soon and hope Swami shows me the right career for this 'waiting girl'.

    1. Sairam Bhooma,

      It was very inspiring for me to read your comment. Trust me, it came at the perfect time when I needed it! I mean, quite a few people tell me that the article conveyed to them exactly what they were searching for. Today, I had that experience. Your experienec of patience and perseverance and, finally, trusting in the Lord's wisdom has inspired me a lot.

      Thank you for sharing. I am sure that you will be shown the perfect career! "waiting girl", nice usage...

  14. Swami sure kicks us around like foot -ball ! :-) I think all He wants to test is our yearning and longing to get closer to Him. The harder the kick...the stronger the re -bound(bounce?) That's His divine and playful game plan to kick us about and around the (battle)field of Life so that the will to bounce back is more focused on the ultimate 'GOAL' .Thanx aravind :-) The four parts were like watching four shows in a single day ! Satisfied and happy that my life is definitely proceeding towards my goal as defined and designed by the master Himself. Jai sai Ram !!

  15. Yes Its Swamy Swamy's Grace that clinches every issue.
    But your perseverance also needs to be taken note of.

  16. You are one lucky guy...that's all I have got to say.

  17. "Fortune favors the Brave"... for yourself it should be "Fortune favors the Crave".. The crave or thirst to be with Swami always, to enjoy his Love... blessed yourself with what has been desired the most in a life time.. Congratulations.. Good Luck.... SAIRAM....

  18. Sai Ram Aravind, Firstly, let me thank you for religiously documenting and penning such gems of experiences with Swami. I am a devotee of Baba, now living abroad since 2005 when i moved to Canada at the age of 17 for pursuing University education. I was always in two minds and (then) too young to understand if being abroad I shall be taken care of and looked after by Swami. This drives me to share a possibly my most memorable moment(s) with Swami.It was in the Guru Poornima of 2005, when I got this golden opportunity. I was picked by my mother's (who is an ardent devotee of Baba as is her whole family) Hindustani classical guru Smt. Sumitra Guha. Her entire performance is present in a series of videos on Youtube. She was asked to perform in front of swami and she took me, my mother, two accompanying artists to play the flute, tabla and one more of her students with her. During the entire period, I felt why do I deserve to be here? I am just a kid who is 17 years old, i was timid, out of shape due to my sedentary life and had no idea of the future time. And yet i was "picked" quite splendidly to lay the manjira! (only later did i find a video of swami playing the manjira during a trayee session and i could only wonder what he must've thought of my "performance"). Our entire group stayed in the Guest area towards the back of the ashram (i believe near the western canteen area) and it was the most amazing time ever! Since I was an "artist" everyday i got to sit up on the verandah! right next to swami's chair area. I sat next to VVS Laxman, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Ustad Dilshaad Khan to name a few.it was so surreal.i still don't know what I had merited to be given this opportunity. I still believe to this date that since i was heavy set and tall and had been keeping a moustache, I looked way older than 17. Combine that with my white kurta pyjama "artist" attire.I assumed the seva dal people simply thought i was another "distinguished artist".but somewhere i believe is swami's leela in this. On the day of the program, it was simply bliss.it was as if swami took over me to play the entire manjira.during the "setting up" of the mic and instrument tuning before a song, i remember the mic and instruments made a rather funny sound which everyone ignored since it's expected and something people are accustomed to. However I could not suppress a chuckle of sorts and immediately swami saw that and gave a brief chuckle of his own while locking eyes with me.it was so subtle and sweet! After the ladies first were called up by swami to take padanamaskar and given sarees. While we were wondering if we should go too.swami himself came down in his little chair and and we were asked to take padanamaskar and given silk upper garments. When I came up from my namaskar, Swami looked into my eyes and said " Singer, na?" as if asking me/telling me that it's my secret desire and talent! Till this date that has been my most memorable moment in the history of all moments. After that, I moved abroad in sept. gained confidence and developed my panache for singing. I have not mastered it at all and have not had any serious training whatsoever, but it seems like swami "freed" me to sing. sing bhajans, songs, whatever made me happy. During the course of my life abroad I have often been hit by situations and question similar to some of your memories (and i still do)..so let me thank you for these because I used to wonder and even blame my fate for I thought all his students being so close to him were immune to all these vagaries of the mind and of life in general. Never have i felt that i was so wrong and yet I feel so happy to be wrong! Swami's magical seed of love grows in all countries, conditions and cultures. I am going through a tough time with friends and relationships in general and let me tell you your articles have come as blessings for me.Sai Ram, May swami bless you and your family. Looking forward to more such excellent narratives!

  19. Sairam brother... just finished all 4 parts... what to say about your steadfastness and the love of Swami... stay blessed...


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