Tuesday, 30 December 2014

"Who am I" - A time travel to the least understood period of Sri Sathya Sai's life_Part 3

Living in the present

“The past is history; the future is mystery. The present is a gift. That is why it is called ‘present’.”
This quote is oft used while guiding one on how to live life. However, when the history in question is His-Story, then matters become different. When the timeless One decides to encapsulate in a form within the boundaries of time, the concept of past and future dissolves because the lifetime of the Avatar is no ordinary ‘present’. It is the Omnipresent!

Buzzing away as a little fly in the longest-ever time travel so far, I began to feel weak. I had been in Puttaparthi of the the early 1940’s for almost 3 weeks now and I realized that my lifespan was nearing an end. A normal housefly lives for only about 30 days. It was the 23rd of May and I knew that I had just about a week longer before I would have to return. It was also my sister’s birthday! Oh my God! I would not be able to wish her... But then, I realized, she was probably in her previous life now.

I still had not got the answer to the question, “Who is He?” That was the question in the minds of everyone in Puttaparthi too, I realized.

{This is the final and concluding part of an exciting journey back into time. It is recommended that the reader goes ahead having completed the first two parts at:

Ever since the erudite lawyer, P.T.Krishnamachari, had left Puttaparthi, shocked and possibly wiser, the family seemed to be at its wits’ end. Swami seemed to have lost the violent streak. Thus, He had been freed from His solitary isolation. He had been brought back home and now, He was having alternating ‘bouts’ of trance and poetry recitation. I just wished that my Telugu comprehension was better so I could understand what He was saying. I resolved to return to this time-period for a second time after mastering Telugu!  

Photo Credit: The book Love is My Form

The climactic moment took place in an unexpected manner. It happened when Swami was ‘acting normal’ on the aforesaid 23rd of May. He had just walked out of the house. He stopped a passer-by and said,
“Don’t worry about your wife’s health. She will get better.”

Friday, 26 December 2014

"Who am I" - A time travel to the least understood period of Sri Sathya Sai's life_Part 2

A different Sathyam

A new day dawned in Puttaparthi and everyone of the Raju household hoped that it would mark a new chapter in their Sathyam’s life. Their hopes were certainly about to get fulfilled but not in a manner that they expected. I had barely opened my eyes and begun my buzzing when there was a bigger buzz outside. I flew out to see that some person had arrived from the neighbouring Bukkapatnam. I gathered from the conversation that he was Mantra Lakshmana, an occultist who had been summoned to try cure Sathyam in a more civilized and humane manner. This person looked like an angel in comparison to the huge Appayyaswamy. He also had a more cheerful demeanour.

I flew back to my Swami who was sitting in a corner of the house. His eyes were closed and He seemed to be in a trance. The occultist entered the house without the slightest idea of what was in store for him. Swami flew into a rage on seeing him and, picking up a vessel, hurled it at Lakshmana. The missile was not discharged to hit and so it missed him by more than a foot. However, it chipped off a small part of the dilapidated wall. I had never seen Swami like this.
“So you have come to treat me? How is it that you have not got anything with you then?” Swami thundered.
Happy that his treatment had not been completely opposed, Lakshmana quickly handed out a list of items to be procured to the family members.

A photo of Swami adorning the shrine of a devotee at Anatapur in 1944. 
Instantly, Swami began to rattle out a few Telugu words. My tiny fly-senses could not comprehend what He was saying but they were apparently items missing from the list that the occultist had given!
“What sort of a doctor are you? You do not know your own lists?”

The occultist slunk away silently and Swami went back to His corner. I wondered why He had treated the gentlemanly occultist with such fury when He had been so patient and sweet with the gruesome ogre who had tortured Him? There was no answer forthcoming and I decided to just accept this uncertainty of my Lord with faith.

{This is actually the second part of an ongoing time-travel. If you wish to enjoy it completely, please come here after reading the first part at:

The next few days became even more difficult! Swami suddenly had become so much more violent which was very uncharacteristic of His nature. I found it very hard to believe that God could be like this! How was I to accept such intense uncertainty? Even as I pondered thus, Swami turned and looked at me. His eyes were bloodshot and my wings trembled in terror. Instantly, He seemed to melt and spoke to Himself,
“Love my uncertainty.”
He then got up and walked out of the house.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

"Who am I" - A time travel to the least understood period of Sri Sathya Sai's life_Part 1

The reason behind visiting a painful past

The beautiful and handsome - Bala Sai. (Both adjectives are apt for, after all,
is He not the Shiva-Shakti?) 
I have always loved the concept of travelling back in time. The reason for that, I feel, is that we are able to look back at events that have happened with the wisdom that we have retrospectively gained in the present! What might have seemed like a great tragedy in the past has great lessons for us in the future. At the same time, what seemed like a great blessing in the past, could turn out to be a tragedy in the future. That is why, visiting the past with retrospective wisdom is indeed a wonderful thing.

Today, if someone were to ask me as to which point in time in the 20th century I would like to travel back to, I would choose that point in time during which the second world war happened. It might seem like a crazy thing. But, the second world war can be considered as a watershed of sorts in the history of mankind. The second World War in general, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in particular, made the world and realise the futility and grave danger that a world war posed to entire humanity. That is what led to the formation of the United Nations organisation and lead to a strong resolve among the leaders of all countries that they would never indulge in a war like that again. More then five decades after that world war, humanity seems to have forgotten the lessons of that war. Little pockets of violence and war have erupted all around the globe. That is why, do a painful, it would be a good idea to travel back in time to witness the Second World War. When the wisdom of the past pain is forgotten, one might have to revisit that pain in order to gain the lost wisdom. Witnessing that war again, the wisdom about the futility of war and the importance of peace is sure to dawn upon all of us.

Often the wisdom of peace is actually gifted by the horrors of a war
When it comes to the life of my Lord, my master, my best friend, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba too, I make use of the same logic. If given the choice of turning the dials on the Time Machine to revisit his story, I would choose the same years as those of the second world war- the early 1940s. These were probably the most painful times of the avatar's life. A little reminder here-when I say painful, it is not necessarily painful for the avatar, but it is definitely painful for the devotee. However, it becomes necessary to revisit that painful period, because as devotees we seem to have forgotten the great lessons and insights that our Swami give us through that episode. With that warning I now turn the dials of my time machine as I transform myself into a little fly at Puttaparthi. I have chosen to be a fly in keeping with the fly-on-the-wall approach that I would wish to adopt in narrating the happenings that I witness in the past.The dial shows the March of 1943 and here I go.

Whirrrrr...... Swooooooooshhhhhh...... Blip...

Decision to meet a miracle-worker

Having witnessed the fascinating sequence of events at Uravakonda, (if you have come here directly, you should read that part here:

I was eager to see how much longer will the world remain blind to the reality of my Lord. It was late in the evening and, at a distance, I saw a bullock cart trudging it's way back to the village. The occupants of the cart seemed very concerned and sad. I buzzed up to the cart and, in an instant, I knew the cause for their sorrow. Surrounded by the peering faces was the serene and absolutely still frame of little Sathyam, my dear Swami. Oh my god! Had He still not ‘recovered’?

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Sri Sathya Sai is the Sanathana Sarathi but are we ready? A story in Surrender

“Sanathana Sarathi” - the origin of the term

100, Wilson Gardens, Bangalore is a very special address, because Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has written more than two hundred letters to the owner of this home! This address on the 9th Cross Road was home to Sri Vithal Rao (the father of Prof.Jayalakshmi Gopinath who served as warden to the Anantapur Girls’ College for decades), one among the foremost and earliest devotees of Swami. Early in 1958, Swami had secretly started off from Puttaparthi to visit this dear devotee.

Though the whole visit was a top secret, there was a spy, a little girl, waiting outside, at a distance from this house. She had been given a few Rupees as a tip from Prof.N.Kasturi and had been  employed to espy on Vithal Rao’s house. She had been instructed to inform him as soon as Swami arrived because he lived only a couple of streets away from Sri Vithal Rao. The girl did well to earn her tip and within a few minutes of Swami’s arrival at Sri Vithal Rao’s residence, Prof.Kasturi strode up to the door with a smile plastered on his face.

Swami leafing through the pages of an issue of Sanathana Sarathi. Of course
this is decades after Bhagawan started the magazine in 1958.
“Wait! Wait!” exclaimed Sri Vithal Rao in shock and dismay as he opened the door. This was to be a secret visit of the Lord and he did not want to receive Swami’s wrath for a ‘leak’ that he had not initiated. However, Swami walked up to the door and seemed very happy to see Prof.Kasturi. Placing a hand lovingly on his shoulder, He said,
“There is work waiting for you at Puttaparthi. A monthly magazine will be starting soon. Guess how it will be named?”
“Swami... er... The Godward Path?”
“Karma Dharma?”
“Prema Yoga?”
“No... I have decided to call it Sanathana Sarathi.”

It was the 32nd year of Advent and in keeping with His promise that the first 16 years of the Avatar’s life would be dedicated to leelas (playful sport); the next 16 years to mahimas (glorifying acts); the next 16 years to Upadesh (message), Swami had decided to start a magazine to which He would be the chief contributor!

That was the first time ever in the history of mankind that the term had been used. Thus was born the Sanathana Sarathi.

The Chariot for the journey called life

The word ‘Sanathana’ means ‘Eternal’ while ‘Sarathi’ translates into ‘Charioteer’. In the first chapter of the Gita Vahini (and on many other occasions also), Swami has compared the human body to a chariot that has been gifted to the indwelling soul to complete the journey called life. But the chariot by itself cannot move. It needs to be yoked to a horse called the mind. That is why Swami says that only human beings are capable of realizing the Divine and achieving the purpose of life - because they have a mind which can move the body towards God. Animals do not enjoy the luxury of the ‘mind-horse’ and hence, they do not have the choice of spiritual evolution.

Mana Eva Manushyanaam Karanam Bandha Mokshayoho” Swami thunders in many discourses. He says that the mind alone is responsible for both - bondage and liberation. And that is because the mind is no ordinary horse. It is a wild horse which can take the chariot in any direction. Thus it becomes very important that the reins controlling this horse be in the hands of an able charioteer who guides the chariot perfectly, the way Lord Krishna did for the warrior prince Arjuna. It also becomes important that this charioteer be there to handle the different chariots (bodies) that the soul would have to use to complete the journey. Thus, we need not just a Sarathi but the Sanathana Sarathi to ensure that we achieve the Ultimate in life.

We can emerge successful in this Karmakshetra (field of action) and Dharmakshetra (field of righteousness) if we surrender the reins of the chariot of our life into the hands of the Lord - just like Arjuna did. 

Monday, 1 December 2014

God's plans are the best for us - the story of Siddhartha's enlightenment_ Part 2

The journey back home
Who would not be devastated on getting to know that beautiful instances
like these would no longer be available? Poor Sid had to vacate the hostel
in a few days time.

In the three days since the results had been announced, Sid had gotten pale and sickly with serious acidity in the stomach. It was therefore not surprising that when his mother took him to the General Hospital on the following Monday, the doctor asked him,
“These look like classic symptoms of some deep-rooted tension. Are you tense about something?”
“I am with Swami here. Why would I be tense about anything?” Sid lied through his teeth. Prescribing medicines and bed rest in the hospital, the doctor put Sid on drips. The mother was in tears seeing her son in such a condition. She wondered what had happened to him as she fondly hugged him.

The time seemed ripe for the revelation. The warmth of the hug melted Sid’s tensions and fears. A deluge of revelations poured out from his heart and he told everything to his mother. The mother had tears in her eyes and did not know what to do. But Sid was now feeling so much better. A huge weight seemed to have lifted off his heart. That in itself made his sickness evaporate and within the next couple of hours, he was slated for discharge from the hospital. The mother wrote a letter to Swami and gave it to Sid telling him to offer it to the Lord.

( If you have arrived here directly, you have missed some crucial portions of this story. It is recommended that you read Part 1 at the link given below and then continue. Else, you may be caught unawares and unable to appreciate the whole import of this experience!

Sid returned to his home in Puttaparthi. He was no longer allowed to stay in the hostel. He grabbed a light lunch, took some rest and got ready for the evening darshan. This would possibly be his last opportunity for enjoying darshan as a student, at least for the time being. Sid sat in his favorite spot, in the bhajan hall where he had many memories of singing for his Swami. When Swami came in, He directly beckoned to Sid. Sid moved up to Swami, gave the letter to Him and said,
“Swami, Amma has given this letter. They (University authorities) have asked me to come back to join the course again only in November.”
It was evident that Sid did not want to state directly that he had failed.

Swami pored over the letter in His hand. He called Sid to His side and placed His finger on one statement that his mother had made,
“Swami, you know what is best for my child...”
“See what your mother has written,” Swami said.
“Yes Swami! That is true. You know what is best for me,” accepted Sid.
“Go now. Come back in November,”Swami said with a pat on his back.
“Swami, whenever I visit Puttaparthi in between, can I continue to sing bhajans for you (as part of the Prasanthi Bhajan Group)?”
“Definitely... definitely... Tell your mother, I will speak to her.”

Sid was in seventh heaven. Swami had promised his mother an interview. He could not believe the reversal of fortunes. The tickets were cancelled as Sid and his mother eagerly waited for the interview. But that interview never came. Four days passed and on each of those days Sid sat in the front lines, ‘showing’ his face to Swami. Swami smiled and acknowledged his presence, but that was about it. Nitin Acharya, who was ‘assisting’ Swami those days came and told him on the fifth day,
“Sir, I think you can sit back. There is no need to sit in the front lines any more.”
Sid understood that Swami’s word had not meant an interview in the next few days. It had meant something else which he would possibly understand as time passed by. As of now, it was over and he returned to Chennai with his mother.