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.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

God's plans are the best for us - the story of Siddhartha's enlightenment_ Part 1

A Gratitude Programme in the offing

The students in the final year postgraduate class in the Prasanthi Nilayam campus of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL) were an excited lot. The day was going to be a very special and memorable one for them. The 16th of March in 2009 had been chosen by destiny for them to express their feelings towards their Chancellor and their Swami, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The ‘Gratitude Programme’ had become an annual opportunity wherein every batch which was passing out (School students from Grade 12, 3rd year Undergraduates and 2nd year Postgraduates) would, via skits, songs and speaking, convey their gratitude to Swami. On His part, Swami would often make this into the most memorable session for all the students. It was therefore natural that Siddhartha’s heart was bursting at the seams with excitement.

However, mixed with that excitement was also a tinge of nervousness regarding his participation in this programme. Every year, the students try to get increasingly innovative in the portrayal of their gratitude to Swami and Siddhartha (aka Sid), with a few of his classmates, had evolved a novel idea.  The plan was to play a game of pass-the-parcel in its classic version in Swami’s presence where a ‘punishment’ lay hidden within each layer of wrapping over a ‘gift’. Each of these punishments would be something interesting which Swami enjoyed seeing. For instance, one of the participants in the game was a mimicry artist and he was ‘fixed’ as the second boy to get ‘punished’ with the task of performing mimicry. Sid had got this idea while seeing an old tape of Swami’s visit to Kodaikanal where Baba had thoroughly enjoyed the game which the students played. But this was not the cause of Sid’s nervousness.

An evening when Swami gave great joy to Sid and Sid gave great joy to Swami...
A particular punishment had been fixed for Sid - to sing the verse which Swami composed as a teenager to market a wonder medicine called Bala Bhaskara. The rationale behind the punishment was twofold - that Sid was a good singer and that the verse seemed very dear to Swami’s heart. To add Swami’s involvement in this, Sid was to act as if he had forgotten a few lines of the verse hoping that Swami would ‘help’ him with the lines. It was a nice and sweet plot to involve Swami but the warden had his own worries,
“See, the plan can backfire if Swami chooses to remain stoic. So, don’t overact. In case you do not get any reaction within a few moments, act as if you have suddenly remembered and complete the verse...”
Sid had agreed to it But secretly, he actually memorised only the first two lines of the verse:
Dorike Dorike Bala Bhaskara, Balan Lara Balaku Lara

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

What makes the Sri Sathya Sai institute of Higher Learning so special?

An attraction like never before

Navaneeth Kumar* hails from the Indian state of Kerala. (*All the names used here are original and refer to actual individuals. This has been done to lend authenticity.) In the early 2000’s, he completed high schooling and reached that point in life when he had to decide the college he would attend and, in turn, the career that he would choose. Not a student with excellent academic credentials, Navaneeth decided to pursue a course in nursing in the city of Bangalore. He got admitted in a college there and, though his heart was not in it, began a new phase of his academic life.

The motto of the University is "Speak Truth; Follow Dharma".
Navaneeth’s heart was in Cricket and that was the primary reason why he had picked a college in Bangalore - so that he could attend matches whenever possible and also try his hand at some bowling if circumstances favoured. Cricket was the only love of his life and it seemed as though it would be the only love of his life.

That was when the Sri Sathya Sai Institute ofHigher Learning (SSSIHL) came into his life and changed it forever. Navaneeth actually discontinued his nursing course midway to enrol in the SSSIHL. He did this knowing mighty well that the 1.5 lakh rupees his father had invested for his nursing education would go down the drain. And he did this without even informing his father! How could he have because fate struck a fatal blow that took his father away from his life forever? Navaneeth did this because he found the true love of his life at the SSSIHL.

What was it that he studied there? What drew him so powerfully that he was ready to make several sacrifices without a second thought?

Navaneeth graduated with a diploma degree in the Mrindangam (an Indian percussion instrument) from the Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music affiliated to the SSSIHL. Before the reader concludes that music is Navaneeth’s love of life, let me state music and Navaneeth are now worlds apart and he works as a cameraman and video editor at the Prasanthi Digital Studios in Prasanthi Nilayam.

Navaneeth’s story is a very detailed and lengthy one but it is sure to make one draw breaths of awe and wonder. However, his story is not unique in that sense because thousands of students have passed through the portals of the SSSIHL, having found the love of their lives here. And like every other student, the love of his life that Navaneeth found at the Institute in Puttaparthi is Swami, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. It was not as if Navaneeth gave his Swami a special place in his heart - he gave Him his entire heart.

Everything about the University Administrative block is symbolic. It is located on top to signify 'Higher Learning'. It sits beside the museum of Sanathana Samskruti (Eternal culture and heritage). It sits amidst nature and overlooks the stadium which is symbolic of Life being a Game which needs to be played... 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Achieving Work-Life balance through the Ultimate Experience - experience of Prof. H.J.Bhagia Part 2

Summer Course 1990 - unexpected bounty

Bhagia sir seemed to be growing more and more disinterested and detached from the ‘mundane’ daily activities which he performed on auto-pilot. His whole being seemed to burn in eager expectation for the eternal Ultimate Experience alone. The summer of 1990 arrived and, as was the practice, Swami shifted from the Puttaparthi ashram of Prasanthi Nilayam to the Bangalore ashram of Brindavan. (The devotees would find it very hot and exhausting, sitting for darshan in the hot Parthi summer. To provide respite for them, Swami would shift to Bangalore which would be cooler on account of its greater geographical altitude.)

{This is actually the second part of a beautiful and message-filled story. To enjoy it in its entirety and immensity, it is recommended that the reader completes Part 1 from the link given below and then proceeds with this Part 2.

Achieving Work-Life balance through the Ultimate Experience - experience of Prof. H.J.Bhagia Part 1}

While Swami went to Brindavan in March, Bhagia sir followed in April after the academic year had concluded. There were some industrial visits and field trips in Bangalore that the MBA students had to undertake as part of the course and Bhagia sir accompanied them. It was during this summer that Swami decided to resurrect a special course that had been discontinued for more than a decade now - the Summer Course in Indian Culture and Spirituality. This course had been Swami’s initiative in the early seventies with an objective to expose students of the University to the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of Bharath.

(The course continues on an annual basis to this day. It is always a memorable experience for participants, especially newly admitted students. It orients new students into Bhagawan Baba’s educational philosophy and gives them deep first hand insights into how they can directly benefit from this unique institution. This prepares them well to make the best of the rare opportunities that lie ahead of them.)

Bhagia sir has been blessed with the Ultimate Experience which shows that true happiness lies only in Union with God.
What thrilled Bhagia sir was the subject that Bhagawan Baba took up for the Summer Showers in Brindavan, 1990. It dealt entirely with the why, how and what of Self-Enquiry with Swami unravelling the mystery in stages. Swami dilated in great detail about the mind, the senses, the ego, the Gunas and the Atma. It was definitely a big boon for any aspirant seeking the Ultimate Experience in life.

(The summer course of 1990 is so monumental that it has been taken up for detailed discussion in the Radiosai series entitled Shravanam Mananam Nidhidhyasanam. Bhagia sir too was invited as a guest during one of the discussions which was first aired on 28th May 2014 - a discussion on the discourse that Bhagawan delivered on 30th May 1990. The whole series can be obtained via the Radiosai Audio Search, typing the phrase;


Needless to say, Bhagia sir got increasingly inspired as the days passed by. The ‘kick’ came on the last day of the Summer Course. On the 3rd of June, 1990, Swami delivered a lengthy concluding discourse of the Summer Course. He concluded by saying,
“Your entire life must become one continuous meditation.” Bhagia sir’s eyes opened wide as he drank in each and every word from Swami. He internally resolved that spending anything less than 24 hours a day in spiritual pursuit would be unacceptable. Since he had not yet mastered hunger and sleep, it would be physically impossible to spend 24 hours in seeking the Ultimate Experience. But he would definitely spend as much time as possible on that.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Achieving Work-Life balance through the Ultimate Experience - experience of Prof. H.J.Bhagia Part 1

No place to Live

In a discourse delivered on Maha Shivarathri in 1955, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba narrated an anecdote from the life of Dr. Samuel Johnson, English thinker and writer.

He was approached by a person who told him,
“Sir, I would love to lead a spiritual life in pursuit of God. But I have a problem...”
“Aha! I see... Pray what is your problem?”
“My day, sir, is filled with activities from morning till night. I have a family to tend to and a job to attend. Amidst my hobbies, social life and professional life, I don’t seem to find any time even after nightfall to dedicate to God. Time is my problem. I don’t know when to think about God...”
With a smile and his characteristic shaking gestures, Dr.Johnson replied with another question,
“My friend, I too have a problem. If you help me solve mine, I shall help you solve yours...”
“Pray what is your problem sir?”
“You see, 3/4ths of the face of earth is covered by waters.The remaining space is too full of mountains, deserts, forests, icy regions, river beds, marshes and moors. With such impossible areas abounding, space is my problem. I don’t know where to live...”

When the sky is my roof and the earth is my floor, will I ever lack in living space? But that expansive Truth dawns only
when I drape myself in the Orange of sacrifice,,,
“You certainly must be joking doctor. When millions of people (the World population hit the billion mark only in 1800) have found space to live on the earth, surely you will be able to do so... “The man laughed aloud.
Dr. Johnson now smiled broadly.
“Now, what was your question sir?”
The person was smart and he understood that him complaining of not having time for God was as absurd as Dr.Johnson complaining of the lack of living space on earth.

A flaw in the story?

This was a story that often came to my mind whenever anyone asked,
“How do we find time for God? How to achieve a balance between worldly life and spiritual life?”

While the story as such seems to answer the first question, it does not go into specifics of finding time for God. Nor does it answer the second question. While there are billions of people finding living space on earth today, I really don’t know whether there are at least thousands of people who have time for God! I mean, nobody can really say how many people on earth find time for God. So, its not as if the scarcity of time is just my problem. If I had been the person in the 18th century speaking with Dr.Johnson, i would have possibly pointed out this flaw in his argument,
“But sir, are there so many people who actually spend time for God? Your comparison makes it appear as though I am an exception whereas I am more like the general case here!”

Friday, 24 October 2014

An addiction called God - experiences of Navaneeth Kumar_ Part 3

God qualifies the called

The rules by which man judges man and the rules by which God judges man definitely vary. For instance, while man judges man based on the results produced, God judges man based on the efforts put in. While man checks a man’s qualifications before giving him a call, God calls the man who needs Him and then bestows the necessary qualifications on him! That was what Navaneeth realized with goosebumps after he joined the hostel as a student in the Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music.

It was the first week of June and Swami was in Brindavan, Bangalore. He was expected to arrive to Puttaparthi somewhere in the middle of the month. Navaneeth was among the senior-most students who had enrolled for the Foundation course. He saw that all his classmates were between 12 and 16 years of age. He was 22. That was when it struck him hard. He clearly remembered reading the statement in the prospectus:
The foundation course in these subjects is for two years and is open to boys of the age group 13-20. The diploma course is of three-year duration and is for boys of the age group 16-23.

How on earth had he secured the seat even though he was ‘overaged’? He also remembered another miracle that had played out during the final interview. Thrilled at ‘doing well’ in the entrance test and excited at the prospects of being a student in Bhagawan Baba’s college, Navaneeth had written a letter of gratitude to Swami. The icing on his cake of excitement was Swami’s acceptance of his letter. The cherry on the icing was the manner of His acceptance. As Swami took the letter from Navaneeth’s hand, their little fingers touched and Navaneeth felt electrified. He looked into Swami’s eyes and felt a warm surge within as Swami bestowed a gentle smile. Ah! Swami was fulfilling every little desire of his. It was in this happy mood that Navaneeth had gone to attend the interview.

The only qualification that the Lord requires from His devotee is that he need Him.
{This is part 3 of a riveting story. Enjoy it fully after completing the first two parts at:


Among other questions, the Vice Chancellor had asked him,
“Are you a Bal Vikas student?” (The Bal Vikas movement is a unique concept where the child is educated with the goal of inculcating character. This is done via love for God.)
Navaneeth had not attended any Bal Vikas classes and was about to answer the same, but his eyes fell on his application form that the Vice Chancellor had placed before him. To his utter amazement, the tiny box next to the statement, “Have you been a Bal Vikas student?”, had been ticked. He had definitely not ticked it, and so, in response to the VC’s question, Navaneeth just presented an awe-struck face. The question was repeated to him,
“Are you a Bal Vikas student?”
“Er... Yes sir...”, he replied.

Navaneeth recalled that episode and realized that him getting a seat in the Music College would have involved quite some work for Swami. But then, the Lord never considers it as ‘work’. On one occasion when a devotee thanked Swami for the ‘Shrama’ (efforts) He had made for him, Swami replied,
Bangaroo, idi Shrama Kaadu; Prema” (Dear one, this is not ‘effort’ but ‘love’.)

Days of darshan bliss

Navaneeth waited for Swami to arrive from Brindavan. In the meanwhile, he got reunited with his other love - cricket. Cricket seemed to be the official game in the hostel and he got opportunities to bat and bowl to his heart’s content. It is like a ‘buy one get one free’ offer when one desires for the Lord alone. The desires of the world that the individual nourished previously also get fulfilled automatically.

It was almost July by the time Swami arrived and Navaneeth now began to enjoy darshans. The Sai Kulwant hall felt like home for him because he had spent hours on the end here. He was happiest here and he seemed to know every pillar and tile that constituted the hall. It was but natural that he also knew the vantage points and vital spots to sit for a good darshan.