Wednesday 3 June 2015

What is the greatest gift in life? Life experiences of Kishore Madhamshettiwar_Part 3

The fall of 1988

Kishore’s first year as a student in MBA at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of HIgher Learning had turned out to be magnificently eventful but, as one would say in Hindi, “Picture Abhi Baki Hain (The movie remains to be completed).” His final year began in quite a dramatic fashion.

News reached the hostel that Bhagawan had sustained a mild hairline fracture in His hip. All the students were shocked to hear of this. How had it happened? Apparently, while having bath, Swami had slipped on a piece of soap. The slip had resulted in the fall, which had in turn caused the fracture. The whole hostel heard this announcement and immediately there was sorrow. Kishore wished that it was his hip that had got fractured instead of his beloved Swami’s. Naturally, there was no darshan for a couple of days. That only increased the sorrow because when one’s beloved is not well, one wishes to be close to the beloved. Distance, in such times, exponentially increases worry and sorrow.

On Cloud Nine with his Lord! In the hills of Kodaikanal with Swami, Kishore was
beginning to receive the greatest gifts of life...
When His children are sad, Swami too is unhappy. He immediately summoned all the students to the mandir. The instructions were that all of them should gather under the silver-door balcony. Once everyone had assembled, Swami arrived to the balcony on a wheelchair. Oh! What a sad sight it was and all the children let out groans of sorrow. They had never seen their beloved Swami like this. On hearing the sounds of agony, Swami also seemed to feel bad. So, what did He do? He rose up from the wheelchair and stood up with assistance from a student, Radhakrishna, who was serving Him in the residence. Slightly leaning on a pillar and placing all His weight on one of His legs, Swami stood in the balcony and blessed the gathered children below with smiles and Abhayahasta. He also asked Radhakrishna to bring a bag from which He began to pull out biscuit packets. He started to throw these biscuit packets for the children who had gathered below the balcony! The excitement and joy of His children seemed to give Him great joy too.

It was a memorable session which ended happily for everyone. Having granted cheer and showered blessings, Swami went back to His room on the first floor.

A day later, Swami left for Whitefield, Bangalore, to take complete rest as ‘advised’ by the doctors. Puttaparthi had lost its greatest charm and Kishore seemed to have lost the very purpose of becoming a student in the Lord’s university. Every activity at Puttaparthi used to be like a sweet dish. All those sweets had become insipid because the sugar was missing. And all because of a ‘piece of soap’!

Kishore’s heart was heavy with sorrow as he set out for jogging and morning exercises. Sometimes, all that the perseverance of faith requires, is the intensity of emotion to fructify it. Kishore’s emotion coupled with Swami’s will was about to grant him a gift greater than any that he had received so far.

{This is the concluding part of a thrilling story. In case you have arrived here directly, it is strongly recommended that you read the first two parts before proceeding here:

Fury and fire

As he completed his jogging, he circumambulated the huge Ganesha statue in front of the Higher Secondary School building. Then, he stood in front of it, offering his salutations. That was when his emotions broke all barriers and came surging out. What happened next is so drastic and dramatic that we need to pause here.

Whenever Kishore Sir narrates this experience, he stops at this point and sings a song in praise of Lord Ganesha stating that his emotional outburst should not be mistaken for irreverence. So, it is logical that we too listen to the glory of Ganesha as we read on further.

Kishore began to scold Ganesha in all vehemence.
“Hey dear friend! I have placed so much trust and faith in you and you have let me down! You are supposed to be the one who clears obstacles from everyone’s path. You could not move away a piece of soap?!?!”
Hot tears were now flowing down his red cheeks. His ears felt hot in helplessness and frustration. All the emotions joined as tributaries in the surging river of anger. He pulled out his belt and began to hit Ganesha in all fury.
“Forget the world Ganesha... Could you not clear obstacles from the path of your own Father??”
As the anger swelled, he took whatever came in his hand and continued to rain blows on the God whom he had long worshipped as his dear friend.
“Why did you do this? Why is my Swami suffering?”

Kishore had lost all sense of time, decency and propriety. He was screaming and shouting now. But it was all out of his overpowering love for God and his Ganesha. As he continued to hurl abuses in Hindi, Marathi and Punjabi and blows with anything that his hand touched, he felt a powerful force emanate from Ganesha.

In an instant, he was ‘lifted’ six feet off the ground!
“Sairam!! Sairam!! Save me... Come to my rescue... I have got into this situation for Your sake only...”, Kishore called out to the only God who he felt would be compassionate towards him.

Just as suddenly as he was lifted up, he was also brought down. He came down in perfect Padmasana (the Lotus Posture). His body went stiff as stone and everything about the world got silenced. Kishore could feel an “icy-glow” begin its ascent from the tip of his toes. It ascended though his legs into his spinal cord, passing through all the organs along the way. It travelled all the way up to the center of his forehead where it seemed to settle. At that instant, another eye opened up in the middle of his eyebrows. But this eye was different - it enabled him to see beyond the three dimensions of the material world!

The first thing he saw was Lord Ganesha in a cosmic dance. The music of drums reverberated and the vision continued. He saw a plethora of other gods. Then came the form of the youthful Baba, Sathyanarayana Raju. Smilingly, He was moving His hand as if bringing down the intensity of the experience till it gradually faded. Kishore got up from his daze. He had no idea about how much time had passed. They say that time flies when we are enjoying ourselves. What then will be the speed of time when we are in bliss? Kishore went to the warden and gently shared the day’s happenings. The warden told him to take complete physical rest.

Confirmation of the Kundalini experience

The very next day, news spread that Swami was returning from Brindavan! Kishore’s joy knew no bounds. So, he bounded out of his bed and took to the roads along with all the other students. It was an unforgettable day for everyone because Swami did something very special. He stopped the car in front of the Institute gate and then got down. He began to walk on the road towards the mandir! Seeing this, all the students who had gathered on the road immediately sat down on the road itself. This was an unexpected venue for a darshan. Swami walked about 15-20 meters to show that He was all well. The road was hot but the raingods rushed to grab this opportunity to serve their Lord. Within moments of Swami getting down from the car, a gentle drizzle began and the fragrant scent of earth filled the air. Seeing Swami’s smile in such an atmosphere, Kishore was lost in bliss divine. Swami then go into the car and drove to the mandir.

That day itself, the warden reported to Swami the experience of a student called Kishore. Swami confirmed that the ‘boy’s kundalini had risen’ and that he should take it easy for a few days. After that, Kishore was given a few days leave from college. but that did not prevent him from attending darshan!

When a special book of student-articles was being compiled, Kishore wrote about the Kundalini experience as an article. The Vice Chancellor, Dr. Saraf, read it incredulously. He actually showed it to Swami before it could be included in the book. Swami said that Kishore could write about the many “small experiences” that he had received rather than write about this “big experience” immediately.
That was the second confirmation of the experience!

The greatest blessing in life?

The same Viveka Chudamani (3rd stanza on that page) by Sri Adi Shankaracharya which states that Manushyatwam (human life) and Mumukshatwam (desire to discover purpose of life) are great boons to be obtained, emphatically states that the greatest boon is Mahapurusha-Samshraya (the support/protection of the Perfect One)! The third boon is very special because it makes it very easy for one to achieve supreme peace and perfect bliss. Kishore understood how he had been wrong in thinking that Mumukshatwam was the greatest gift Swami had given him. He had granted him with nearness and dearness to Himself. Now, wasn’t that the greatest gift? He would never ever let go of it.

And so it was that both husband and wife, Kishore and Gargi, passed their respective courses and, with Swami’s grace, became teachers! While Gargi joined as a geography teacher in the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School, Kishore got enrolled in the School of Business Management Accounting and Finance of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.

Posing with Swami for a photograph on the day of the Convocation in 1989. 
A year rolled by in this manner. At the end of it, Kishore found some deep-seated dissatisfaction. He did not know what was lacking but he wanted something more. But wait! What more could he possibly get? Hadn’t he got the proximity of the Yuga Avatar already? A deep enquiry will reveal that ‘dissatisfaction’ seems to have been planted in man to egg him to achieve the ultimate. Satisfaction does not arrive till one has achieved the ultimate goal in life. It is this dissatisfaction that ensures that man does not settle for anything less. And this dissatisfaction had returned to plague Kishore.

It was three day before Guru Poornima in 1990. During darshan, as Swami was passing by him, Kishore folded his palms in reverence. Swami gently touched his folded palms with the tip of His little finger. That very second, something dramatic happened for Kishore. He could feel his mind withdrawing automatically. Everything went blank and blissful!There was such a joy and peace that he never wished to return from it. However, he soon felt another gentle pat on his head. The trance broke and Kishore opened his eyes to see Swami.

But there was something strange going on. The darshan music had ceased. The lights had come on and everyone seemed to be looking at what Swami was doing.
“What? How did it feel?”, Swami asked.
Kishore just nodded. It had definitely been some of the best moments that he had experienced.
“I shall give you a bigger prasad during Guru Poornima”, Swami said.

Then, to Kishore’s astonishment, Swami went in and retired for the day! What? Had bhajans been cancelled?

It took some time for Kishore to realize that more than two hours had elapsed between the two touches the Swami had blessed him with. After the first touch with the little finger, Swami had granted several interviews. Then, bhajans had taken place. After receiving Arati, Swami had come out and brought Kishore back to the world!

Kishore had got a taste of the timelessness of the Atma!

Guru Poornima experience

The next day, (two days before Guru Poornima), during morning darshan, Swami gave a long stare to Kishore. This was the first time that he was receiving such a stare and Kishore did not understand what it meant. He went about his daily routine normally, till the afternoon. Then, a problem began to develop. Kishore could not take his usual afternoon siesta because of a severe pain in his stomach. He also developed a 102 F temperature. He knew that he would not be able to take any classes. So, he returned to his room in the ashram - W6 A22. Wrapping himself in a blanket, he slept till about 3 pm. His fever had only reduced slightly. So, he went for darshan draping a shawl around his upper body.

“Ay, are you making Puttaparthi into Shimla?” Swami asked him during the darshan.
Kishore just smiled at the joke. Swami continued,
“You have a stomach pain? It is not stomach pain but pregnancy!”
Everyone burst out laughing at Swami’s joke. Swami too seemed to enjoy the joke so much. He went to the verandah of the mandir and told the Vice Chancellor seated there,
“Your teacher, Kishore, has developed pregnancy pains...”
“Swami? You mean... his wife...?”
“No! Kishore has pregnancy pains!”
Again, everyone there smiled at the joke. Somehow, within the next hour, Kishore’s pain reduced and his fever also went away without a trace!
Before retiring for the day, Swami told Kishore,
“I shall give you the experience tomorrow night...”

Thus it was that the night preceding the Guru Poornima celebrations was one of eager anticipation for Kishore. He could feel a tingling excitement as he wondered what was it that Swami was going to bestow on him.

The clock had ticked past 12am when Kishore suddenly woke up into an absolute silence. He could sense the same tranquility and thoughtlessness in his mind. However, there was something tingling in his backbone. It was moving very rapidly and seemed to be exuding joy into his inner being. Kishore was experiencing causeless bliss! The dull stomach ache now vanished completely. Soon, the tingling in the spine also came to a dead halt. The silence felt like a vacuum. However, while a vacuum is ‘nothingness’, this felt like ‘everythingness’!

Offering a clove which Swami graciously accepts during a Poornachandra session (PC Session). With God,
one gets everything in the Universe...
Presently Kishore heard the primeval sound, the Aumkara emanating from his own navel. {This signifies the untying of the first among the three knots of attachment - the Brahma Granthi.} The whole night passed like minutes and Kishore enjoyed bliss divine. Before he could even try to sleep, it was already Guru Poornima morning. Kishore was feeling physically exhausted and so, on Guru Poornima morning, he did not go for darshan and bhajan.

When one rises in the morning, one feels energetic and excited and the body is fresh. It was the opposite in Kishore’s case. He was tired physically but was experiencing tremendous tranquility. He felt enveloped by love all around.

Later in the morning, Kishore heard shouts of
“Swami is coming... Swami is coming...”
He realized that Swami would be passing by his building in the car. Slowly, he came out of his room and stood on the road. As Swami’s car passed by him, Swami, lowered the window, looked at him and blessed him. Then, He signalled him to go into his room, place a pillow under his head and to sleep soundly!

The next morning, Swami spoke to Kishore and the Vice Chancellor in the verandah.
“Vice Chancellor, last night Kishore’s delivery was done! It is time for you to grant him maternity leave!”
Kishore smiled and the Vice Chancellor simply nodded, bewildered. Nevertheless, he had to obey the Chancellor of the University. Swami called Kishore and his wife for an interview wherein he instructed him to take complete rest for a week and her to take care of him, cooking khichdi.

The gift of a Mahamantra

A few weeks later, Kishore was called in for another interview. In that interview, Swami changed all the sadhana-prescriptions so far,
“From today onwards, forget all the spiritual practices you did so far. Whatever, whoever told you is to be done away with. You need to just do one sadhana - eat well, sleep well and do japa. But what Japa? Not any name of God. Keep chanting, ‘I am Swami... I am Swami...’. That is all the sadhana I ask of you.”

Swami also told him to work as long as possible in the University and then quit when he feels it from within. While the story of how Kishore left the University is a long one in itself, this much can be said that he ‘retired’ in 2004.

Kishore thought that it was courtesy to inform his Guru, Malhari Baba, who had directed him towards Swami, about the changed sadhana. Before he could do anything, he received a phone call from Malhari Baba.
“Kishore Babu, yesterday you received the greatest mantra from Sathya Sai Baba. Stop doing anything else. Stop everything that i had told you. Remember that there is no guru or God above Baba. Do only what He says - nothing more, nothing less.”

One of the several letters written to Kishore by Malhari Baba. 

In order to imprint this message in his heart, Malhari Baba also wrote several letters in Marathi and Hindi to Kishore highlighting the same about Swami. Kishore was in peace and joy now.

None of us actually have an idea of the greatest gift

Based on all that I had read in my life and had heard from Kishore Sir, I said,
“Sir, you are so blessed. You have received all the greatest gifts in life...”
“I shall answer that by singing a famous ghazal...”
He began to soulfully sing “Hungama Hain Kyon Burapa Thodi Si Jo Peeli Hain.”
(Like all ghazals, this masterpiece has two meanings - one superficial and the other, deep!)

Then, Kishore sir told me,
“This ghazal asks why should one create such a commotion when one has drunk but a sip of that ambrosia! In His Jnana Vahini, Swami says that there are four obstacles to be overcome to realize the Atma: Laya (sleep), Vikshepa (waywardness, ignorance hiding truth), Kshaya (decline, disappearance) and Rasa Aaswaadanam (enjoyment of bliss). While the first three are easily understandable, one must realize that, finally, the enjoyment of bliss in itself becomes an obstacle in achieving the ultimate.  The Rasa, or the sweetness of the Subject-Object Samadhi is a temptation one has to avoid, for it is only the second-best. It is enough joy to act as a handicap. The joy is as great as that of a person who has just deposited a huge load he has been long carrying, or as that of a greedy person who has just killed a serpent guarding a vast treasure he wanted to grab. The killing of the serpent is Savikalpasamadhi. The acquisition of the treasure, that is the Nirvikalpa Samadhi, the highest stage.”

Kishore Sir believes that being satisfied with little joys in the spiritual path in itself is the biggest obstacle. Everytime he thought that he had achieved the greatest gift from Swami, Swami showed him that something greater awaits. So, while he is extremely contented with what he has, he is never contented with what he is. And he will not be until he achieves Swami’s mantra
“ I am Swami... I am Swami...”

Kishore sir adds a final statement,
“We are in no position to even evaluate what is the greatest gift that Swami can give us. What treasures of His have we sampled? Like the song says, we drink in a little and think we have all the treasure. We cannot be happy till we ‘loot’ Him completely. It is not easy to ‘loot’ Him. He is the greatest thief - the Chitta Chora - and it is only when we become a thief as big as Him can we complete the loot.”

If you enjoyed reading this, you might also enjoy the following:

1. Love is God's only weakness...and our only strength

2. Being an apple of the eye for God

3. Missing what we want because of how we want it

For all readers:

(If you enjoyed this and wish to subscribe to this blog, please go to the right hand side and choose the last 'box' which says subscribe. Also explore the many 'previous articles' listed month-wise on the top right here, in the web version of the blog. Another blog which I maintain with more than 230 articles on it is at If you wish to be added to my mailing list, please email me via this page with the subject "ADD ME TO MAILING LIST".)


  1. Arvind does Kishore sir live in Parthi?

    1. Yes. Kishore sir and Gargi maam live in the staff quarters on Samadhi road in Puttaparthi.

    2. A5, Staff Quarters, Samadhi Road, Puttaparthi - to be precise.

      In case you wish to meet him, after the morning bhajans would be good. :)

    3. Thanks Arvind. Keep posting such beautiful experiences. They keep us connected to Him.

  2. wonderful experiences and wonderful are the Swamy's ways of blessing His devotee

  3. Such powerful experiences and so beautifully described. I remember Kishore Sir's kindness to me in 1991. I can never forget his friendly nature and feel blessed to read about the gifts Swami bestowed on him.

    1. That is another amazing aspect that I have been introduced to - so many people writing to me how wonderful a person Kishore sir is and how they have received kindness from him.

      Shows that goodness is the only thing that stays with us forever... Thank you for the comment Mark...

  4. Very sweet of Lord Ganesha withstanding the bashings from Kishore sir and taking the pain for HIS father. In true devotion I feel one can vent out his/her thoughts whether negative or positive to GOD as he is the doer and the receiver. Had not Kishore sir not vent his pain he would not have experienced the divinity of Ganesha and Swami that lead him to experience the Kundalini awakening which very rare and blessed souls perceive.

  5. WONDER-FULL experience. I was so thrilled to hear the part of the story when kishore fell into silence and heard AUM emanating from his navel. I had a dream a number of years ago where i walked into a shop in india and all of a sudden I was physically moved by some force where i found myself staring at a painting of the different forms of god, I instantly did namaskar , then i found myself floating in a dark void it was very peaceful and i remember thinking to myself "this is where all the yogis and rishis must come to get away from all the noise on earth " suddenly i looked down and could see the shop that i had entered earlier and i began to panic because i realised i left my body in the shop and i thought i was dead. All of a sudden i started to fall down in this void , after some time a big hand caught me and i could see swamis face taking up what seemed like the entire universe, then he whispered in my ear "don't worry , swami is taking you up " I instantly awoke from the dream and as i laid in bed i could feel my navel actually vibrating like electricity was moving around the solar plexus area. I have tried for almost 14 years by reading and internet to see if anybody else has any similar experiences and have not found anyone who had a similar experience until today, so thankyou brother for sharing this WONDER-FULL story.
    Would any body know if you actually have to hear the aumkara or would swamis voice be just as good to untie the first of the 3 knots of attachment. AUM SRI SAI RAM . steve from Australia.

    1. That was an amazing experience Steve. Thank you for sharing. :)

      Possibly you could ask Kishore sir directly when you visit Prasanthi. If that is not possible, let me know via a message on my facebook profile (Aravind Balasubramanya) and I shall see if Kishore sir is ready to converse with you via email.

    2. Thanks so much Aravind. I don't know when i will back in india , but if you could relate this experience to Kishore or if he is happy to contact me by email then that will be really appreciated. OM SRI SAI RAM, Steve.

    3. Sadly, sir does not use email at all. He lives the life of recluse/renunciant. I will show him what you have asked and send his reply by email to you if you share your id.

    4. Thankyou Aravind, is There some way i can send you my personal email address, please tell me what other details you need from me aswell. OM SRI SAI RAM , Steve.

    5. You could just put your email id in the comments. I have to "allow" each comment to be posted. rest assured that I will not publish your comment and so, the id will be seen only by me. You can also write in your questions and I shall put them as is to sir.


  6. WOW!!! great experience of the blessed Kishore Sir!!!

  7. Reading this experience itself is a bliss for me!Just wondering how it felt for kishore sir. This article is the Bestest that I have read so far. Thank you so much for sharing brother Arvind.

  8. Hi arvind bhaiya.
    I came to puttaparthi last year.want to get in touch with kishore sir
    Can he talk to me

  9. Sairam Aravind
    I was blessed with opportunity to have a one to one satsang with kishore sir on daily basis in brindavan in May 2001 .Though I am not a university student ...kishore sir in his all love used to take inside college campus near the botany garden staircase along with ram mohan sir and used to tell his experience


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