Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Let Go and Let God - the life experience of Dr. Vineet Basotia

When the Master decides to step into your life

It was in desperate times that Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba entered the life of Dr. Vineet Basotia. As a teenager, Vineet found it hard to focus on academics due to the pressing financial situation at home and the regular terrorism dangers in his home-state. He had completed a large part of his education in the town of Digboi, the Oil City of Assam where the first oil well in Asia was drilled. He had then moved out to the city of Guwahati for high school education. That move however had not helped him move away from the terrorist problems that Assam constantly faced in the late 1980s and early 1990s. When things appeared bleak and hopeless, Amitabh came along and told him about Swami.

"If you need me, you deserve me." Swami entered Vineet's life in the times of his greatest need...

Amitabh had been a student of the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School till grade 10. He joined Vineet’s school at Guwahati in grade 11. Amitabh was a true friend to Vineet for he introduced him to Swami and in turn, to hope and faith. One thing led to another and soon, Vineet had convinced everyone at home that it was probably worth the shot to travel 2700 kilometers from India’s far east to the tiny town of Puttaparthi in the heart of the arid Rayalaseema. The rail journey itself would take more than three days but the financial condition at home was such that Vineet had to travel all alone. It was the May of 1994.

The summer in Puttaparthi is harsh on even it’s seasoned residents. An unsuspecting outsider often gets burnt when he faces it for the first time. Vineet found the heat unbearable. Soon, he fell sick with high fever. He was alone and very far from family at a time when cellphones weren’t even a thought in India. In fact, getting through to his family via STD itself was a herculean task. Burning at 102°F, Vineet slowly trudged his way to the examination hall in the school building at Puttaparthi. He was feeling extremely weak and the continuous bouts of vomiting had made matters worse. Fifteen minutes through the written test, he began to feel giddy as well. He got up, went to the invigilator and submitted his barely-filled test paper.
“I am very sick sir. I cannot do it...”
“This is most unfortunate”, the kind teacher replied, “but I would suggest that you spend 5  minutes and finish this paper. After all, it is only multiple choice questions. Chant ‘Sairam’ and just tick away. You never know what Swami does...”
“Thank you but I am sorry. I don’t think I’ll be able to do even that”, said Vineet as he slowly walked out of the classroom and headed back towards the ashram.

It was an ordeal for Vineet to walk back. He reached the main entrance of the Prasanthi Nilayam and almost collapsed at the Ganesha temple at its entrance. He sat there wondering how he would walk till his shed. That is when something strange happened. He began to suddenly sweat profusely. The sweat also began to cool his body rapidly. In ten minutes, he was feeling the energy return. He was able to stand and start walking. However, he was feeling so strong now that instead of heading towards the shed, he turned back and walked towards the venue of the entrance examination. He reached the classroom and called out to the teacher.
“Ah! You are back?”
“Sir, I will do as you say. If you can give me my answer sheet for 15 minutes, I shall blindly tick away and leave the rest to Swami as you said.”
The teacher smiled and handed Vineet his incomplete answer sheet. The lad went through all the sections in a hurry. He randomly ticked answers without even reading the questions. Handing back the answer sheet, he returned to the shed.

Vineet was shocked a couple of days later when he found out that he had cleared the written exam! He then cleared the interview as well after which he was told to report at the Brindavan Campus of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL) on the 3rd of June 1994 for the BCom course.
God lights the flame of divine love that enlightens one's heart. Vineet doing Arati to Swami in Kodaikanal in 1998. 
The inability to let go

The way things had turned out was too much for Vineet to digest. On the threshold of making a major life-decision, he was filled with multiple doubts. Was this the right place to be in? Could a living being really be God? Shouldn’t he take more time before making a career-decision? Can he stay so far away from his parents for such a long time? Didn’t he need to consult with his parents on whatever decision he was going to make?

Without trying to sort things out, Vineet decided to go back home and seek advice from his parents. Though he had only 4 days left to report at the campus, he used those days to travel back the 2700 kilometres to Guwahati. He had almost decided not to return when he received a phone call from Amitabh. Amitabh had managed to get a seat in the BSc course at Prasanthi Nilayam. He was shocked to know that Vineet had gone back to Assam. Though it was way beyond the reporting date, he convinced Vineet to travel back to Bangalore and plead his way into college. And Vineet heeded to his advice!

What Vineet did not know then was that God’s plans are always perfect. Based on the past, present and the future, He makes the most suitable life-plan for a being and gifts it as ‘destiny’. Man foolishly thinks that he can fight against destiny instead of letting go and rejoicing at whatever God has gifted him. He does that because at the particular point in time that he is in, he feels it is bad/fearsome - just like Vineet had felt that it would be wrong to be away from his parents, in a far away place, keeping trust in an unknown being! But then, one often meets destiny on the road one takes to avoid it. So, it is best that one just lets go. If one does not learn to let go, he will be taught that lesson in life over and over again - either in this lifetime or the next.

Destiny had already decided that Vineet’s time to come face to face with God had arrived. There was nothing he could do to escape that. Though he was 10 days late, an exception was made and Vineet joined the Brindavan campus of SSSIHL! Thus began his divine journey where he would learn many lessons, the most important one being to let go and let god.

When you start letting go

Swami spent most of the time in Puttaparthi (as He had promised His earthly mother, Easwaramma). The Brindavan students would travel to Puttaparthi many times a year. During one such visit, Vineet had his first taste of Swami’s omniscience and omnipotence. After the darshan session and interviews, Swami came out, walking gently, blessing everyone with bonus darshan. He was speaking to a few teachers. Suddenly, he beckoned to Vineet,
“Ay Assam boy! Come here...”
Then, circling His right palm, Swami materialized vibhuti and poured it into Vineet’s palm. He also applied it to his throat. Then, packing the gifted vibhuti in a piece of paper, Swami said,
“Father Ko Do (Give it to your father).”

Immediately after the evening session, Vineet went to the STD telephone booth in the ashram to place a call to Guwahati. The calls didn’t go through. He tried again the next day but his luck was the same. After a couple of days, he finally managed to connect to his mother. She seemed panic-stricken, speaking rapidly,
“Thank God you called Vineet! Your father has met with an accident. A biker crashed into him and he has sustained head injuries. He is in a coma now and I don’t know what to do...”
Spontaneously, words dropped out straight from Vineet’s heart,
“Mom! Don’t worry at all. Swami has given vibhuti for dad. It shall be reaching you soon. Father has to get better...”

The mother seemed to feel better instantly. Though she had not had any experiences with Swami, her son’s conviction rubbed off to her. Vineet’s conviction stemmed from the fact that Swami had given him the vibhuti well in advance such that, when the accident actually happened, he was calling and reassuring his mother! The omniscience and omni-concern of Swami instantly installed Him as a friend and personal God in Vineet’s heart. He had come for Bcom, but he stayed on to study MBA also in Swami’s college.

The 'bestest' friend in the Universe
Letting God

During his MBA days, Vineet felt that he put on some extra weight. Since he was not a big fan of sports and exercises, he decided to cut down on his dinner intake. Days turned into weeks and Vineet’s frugal dinners began to pay off. He could feel himself getting lighter. However, much to his dismay, none of his friends or classmates seemed to notice. None of them complimented him and Vineet felt that he probably had to lose some more weight before his friends noticed.

That very day, during the post-darshan session, Swami called out to him.
“Ay Assam boy... Idhar Aao (Come here).”
Vineet got up from his place, rushed up the dais and knelt before Swami.
Aajkal Khana Nahi Khata Hain? Itna Patla Ho Gaya Hain...(Don’t you have food nowadays? You have grown so thin...)”
Vineet’s joy knew no bounds! He simply smiled and said nothing.
“Take Padanamskar”, Swami said, as if rewarding him for his sincere efforts. Vineet did as he was told and returned to his place with the firm conviction that Swami was his 'bestest' friend in the Universe.

Years later, there would be another occasion where Vineet cut down his food intake but for a completely different reason. It was after the completion of MBA when he was one among the several ‘waiting boys’ seeking Swami’s guidance on what they should do next in life. Vineet’s financial situation at home had not improved much and he didn’t want to continue to be a burden on his father. So, he would eat only twice every day (brunch and tinner - between breakfast & lunch and between tea & dinner) and that too in the South Indian Canteen that Swami had set up. With a meager 10-15 Rupees, Vineet would get through the day.

One morning, after the interviews, Swami opened the interview room door and with a finger, beckoned to Vineet who was seated in the front.
“Assam boy, Andar Aao (Come in).”
Pleasantly surprised, Vineet got up and went into the interview room. Swami came directly to the point,
“When you don’t eat food, Swami feels bad...”
Vineet’s jaw dropped in amazement. But still, he was unable to speak anything. Swami thrust something into his hands. Vineet saw that it was a bundle of 500 Rs notes!
“Don’t go hungry ever again”, Swami said with all His love.

Vineet was overwhelmed. What could he say? Only his eyes spoke in the language of tears of gratitude as he walked out of the interview room. As told by Swami, he never went hungry again for any reason. At that point in time, Vineet thought that Swami requested him never to miss food again. Today, he understands that the statement, “Don’t go hungry ever again”, is actually a blessing from the Avatar and it is the equivalent of the Sun God gifting the Akshayapatra to the Pandavas.

Letting go AND letting God

Episodes and experiences repeat in our life because we refuse to learn the lessons that they bring. While the pain-filled and sorrowful episodes make us feel very low and weak when they repeat themselves, their intensity and impact get reduced and even reversed due to the presence of Swami in our lives. That is what Vineet learned. Every time he refused to let God and let go of his own little ideas, his suffering would prolong. But that would not stop the Divine Mother from lovingly coming to His rescue.

Vineet came to get schooled under the Master. He was
made a PhD scholar in every sense...
It was the year 2000. Vineet had enrolled as a PhD student in the SSSIHL based on Swami’s direct guidance. Four others too had joined along with him. Though they had no idea at that time, their joining would be the beginning of a regular and formal PhD programme in the University wherein research scholars would be enrolled on an annual basis.

In the summer, as was the practice, Swami moved camp from Prasanthi Nilayam to Brindavan in Bangalore. The PhD research scholars too shifted their research base to the Whitefield campus of the SSSIHL. After all, any course in the SSSIHL is done to achieve the ultimate degree of life itself - realisation of the One Truth knowing which one knows everything. So, naturally, life revolved only around Swami. Swami was interacting quite a lot with the PhD scholars and it was a golden time of their lives. The usual rumours of the possible dates of Swami’s visit to Kodaikanal were making rounds and the PhD scholars stood a very good chance of getting selected for it. That was another reason why the ‘famous five’ had come to Whitefield - to be in Swami’s entourage to Kodaikanal.

It was during the course of this stay that Vineet developed a sore throat which soon worsened into a persistent fever which just refused to abate. He became weak and experienced bouts of dizziness and giddiness. It was deja vu of the first time he had come to Puttaparthi to write the entrance examination 6 years ago. However, the lesson of letting go and letting god that Swami had been repeatedly teaching him over the years had not sunk into him.

So, he didn’t tell Swami about his suffering as he went to the general hospital for multiple checkups and blood tests. He missed many darshan sessions as well but did not want to write a letter informing Swami about his condition. It is not that Swami needs our letters to stay informed. We need our letters to Swami for our spiritual progress! It also requires a degree of surrender to be able to have the desire to share everything of our lives with God.

Vineet’s line of thought for not writing a letter was that he didn’t want to burden Swami who is already taking care of all the burdens of the world. At first, this appears like a noble feeling but a deeper enquiry will reveal that this too is the subtle working of the ego. It reminds one of a story that Swami narrated during His divine discourse delivered on 23rd October 1973.

This reminds me of a story. A poor simple villager made his first rail journey. He purchased a
ticket and entered a compartment; he found it occupied already by a few passengers who had
kept their boxes, bundles and odd items of luggage on the racks or under the benches on which
they sat. They were unconcerned with the extra effort that the engine would have to make to drag
along those boxes and bundles. How cruel of them, the villager thought. The engine has to pull
along their weights, and now they are imposing on the train, this additional burden too. He for
one was not going to inflict this extra trouble on the poor thing; so he kept his box on his
shoulder and his bundle on his head. He believed that he was carrying his box and bundle along,
and not the engine. Most people behave in the same silly fashion, ignoring the fact that God is
All; man is but an instrument in His hands, for the execution of His Plan. Faith in this fact is the
key to peace and joy.

One evening, at around 6 pm, Swami called all the PhD scholars to Trayee Brindavan, the divine residence in Bangalore. Vineet said that he did not have the strength or inclination to go and present himself before Swami but his colleague, Dibyajyoti Das, forced and helped him get ready. When they assembled as directed, Swami sprang a surprise on them. He told them to be ready at 5 am the next morning. A day-visit to the Nagarhole animal reserve had been divine planned and the five research scholars too would be part of the the entourage that included only teachers.

Vineet wondered how how he would be able to travel for hours in a bus in his condition. He confided his fears to his friends and they tried out all sorts of home remedies and medicines on him. But they were all in vain. The next day, Vineet was as bad as before but even now, he did not mention anything to Swami. In fact, he made conscious efforts to keep out of Swami’s sight so as to not burden Him with his troubles in case He noticed!

Five hours of travelling brought the group to a jungle lodge where tea and snacks were served. Soon, they would be embarking on a tour to see elephants. Again, Vineet sat in the farthest corner, carefully ensuring that Swami does not see him. Swami was seated on a chair and seemed to be searching for something - or someone. Possibly Swami had realised that it was time to reinforce a life lesson for His child.
“Where is Assam boy?” He called out aloud.
Vineet could hide no longer. He slowly rose and presented himself to Swami from a distance.
“Come near me”, Swami said. These are statements that are relevant not only for that point in time, but for life as well.
Vineet moved to Swami and knelt before Him.
“Swami se chuptha hain (You hide from Swami)?”
Even as He said that, Swami waved His right palm in circles and created vibhuti. He poured the vibhuti into Vineet’s mouth and applied some of it to his throat. Then, in order to facilitate the smooth passage of the holy ash down his throat, Swami offered Vineet some water - from His own silver tumbler! Swami picked the tumbler and asked Vineet to open the mouth. He gently poured the water into his mouth and throat. Then, He placed Vineet’s head on His lap and gently stroked his head. Everyone around sat in silence, drenched in the shower of Divine concern and love that they were witnessing. Once again, Vineet was dumbstruck.

One of the most beautiful memories of Vineet's life - when Swami cured him with love.

As he returned to eat some of the snacks, Vineet observed a drastic change within. A resolve formed. He decided that he would forever bare open his heart and mind to Swami. He would never try to be in charge. He would let go to let god. The reason for this drastic change was a dramatic change in his physical well being. Moments after Swami had administered the medicine of divine love, Vineet began to sweat profusely. Within ten minutes, the sicknesses that had been plaguing him for days were all gone! It was deja vu all over again!

Life after letting go and letting god

There are many ways of dividing one’s life into parts but spiritually, the two parts would be - life before letting go and life after letting god. Vineet’s life after letting God has been most beautiful. It has taught him to bring Swami to the fore before taking any step in life. It has made decision-making easy and accepting life’s uncertainties joyful. It has also convinced him that Swami’s physical presence is not a prerequisite for His presence in life.

When he was midway in his PhD, Swami suddenly said,
“PhD is not important. True seva is serving in a hospital. This big hospital is coming up now (the SSSIHMS in Bangalore). It will be nice if you can serve there.”
This was a shocker for the famous five. Having spent almost three years pursuing a doctoral programme, it was difficult to simply abandon all those efforts put in by themselves and their dedicated teachers. Swami continued,
“Take a few days. Talk and discuss with your parents. Let me know your decisions later.”

For the first time in his life, Vineet did not feel like he was in a dilemma. It was possibly the wisdom of all his experiences with Swami. He saw that Swami was very keen about him serving in the hospital. In fact, He hinted a couple of times to Prof Anil Kumar that service in a hospital was the greatest seva that a young man could render! The day of reckoning came and Swami asked Vineet in Trayee Brindavan,
“So, what have you decided?”
“Swami, I’ll do as you say.”
That was the answer of all the five of them. Swami looked so pleased. He smiled and said,
“Swami will not let your efforts go waste. You complete your PhD.”
Vineet had aligned his decision to take the stance of his Guru who had given him everything in life and the Guru was pleased with the surrender. His smile seemed to say,
“I have invested in the right people...”

Vineet completed the PhD and taught in the SSSIHL for a brief period. This was the time when another decision had to be taken - whether to stay on at Puttaparthi or leave to assist his aging parents and also build a career? He left the burden of that decision on Swami. It was unforgettable how Swami called him into His residence and advised him lovingly. He assured Vineet that He would be with him always, irrespective of where he was. He stroked his head and told him to go out and find a good job. He spent twenty minutes with him, reinforcing his faith and devotion. The decision was not hard to make for Vineet. Why should it be when you are simply letting go and letting god?

Years have passed since that beautiful day and Vineet is convinced that his life has been sorted out.And that is not because it is problem-free but because he chooses to be tension-free having unburdened himself on Swami. He is a dad to beautiful twins in whom he is trying to inculcate the life lesson of letting go and letting god early in life itself. By the way, like every statement from Swami, “find a good job” too had a deeper meaning. Today, Vineet is an active member of the ‘Catalyst’ programme that voluntarily assists and prepares the graduating students from the SSSIHL to get placed in the right roles and positions as they begin their careers. He “finds good jobs” for dozens of his alumni-brethren every year. He feels this is a small seva that he has got the opportunity to offer to his Bhagawan.

Dr. Vineet Basotia sharing his experiences during
a 'Samarpan' session in Brindavan on 21st May 2017.

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  1. Sairam Aravind, Very well written and truly Faith-reinforcing!

    1. Sairam brother very nutritious spiritual food this writings. All this writings in PDF format make e book, because we have to read repeatedly to get best of it, Jai Sai Ram

    2. Yes! That is my idea too. In fact, the first such book has already been released by the Books and Publications Trust in Prasanthi Nilayam. It is called - Living With God.

      The personal experiences documented on the blog have been compiled into two autobiographical books - "Memoirs of a Sai Student" and "Capturing Divinity".

  2. Sairam Aravind, very well written and truly faith reinforcing!!!

  3. Reading "Vineet’s line of thought for not writing a letter was that he didn’t want to burden Swami who is already taking care of all the burdens of the world." reminded me of an incident shared by Mrs. Geetha Mohan Ram, published in the Radio Sai site at

    The incident is so beautiful. What is one small burden of our trouble to the Lord when He has come to carry the burden of the whole universe?

    I copy paste the extract below.

    When He told me to go to America I cried that I would not, but then He finally said I have to go. So my husband came before me and two months later I came along with my children who were five years old. I had heavy baggage since all my relatives and friends were giving things for their people in America and in this way my luggage was increasing.

    Then my father started telling me, “What is this? Swami says less luggage and you are carrying so much. You are not following any of Swami’s teachings.”

    He generalizes in this way and so we had a little argument in the car about this. We went to Brindavan and there Swami said, “What - Padmanabham as usual scolding you?” My father said, “Swami she is not listening to any of Your teachings; she is taking three suitcases.”

    So Swami said, “Why are you worried - it is her suitcase, let her carry what she wants.”

    Then my father said, “Swami, it is very heavy she cannot lift it.”

    Swami said, “Are you lifting it? I will lift her suitcase.”

    All this was in fun and we all laughed. I did not give much thought to it and landed in San Francisco. As my father had predicted I could not carry my suitcases, as they were so heavy. My problem was to put them on the trolley, which I could not do and my five-year-old sons (twins) were going here and there.

    Somehow I managed but then there was an announcement on the PA system announcing my name, to come to the Singapore airlines counter. There a lady told me that there is a gentlemen here waiting to help you out with your luggage. There was a very nice Afro-American gentleman wearing identification and a badge. I forgot about what happened in Brindavan; instead I thought what a wonderful man my husband is, he has sent somebody to help me.

    Since this was the first time I was coming many papers had to be cleared and all this time this tall man was with me. And when we came to customs, he said, “Are you going to open up the suitcases - the poor lady has been here for an hour.” So customs cleared us.

    We came out and my husband was there, he turned the car and as he put the luggage in I said, “We have to pay the porter.” We searched for him but he was not there. And then as we were going in the car I narrated all that had happened in the interview with Swami: the argument with my father and the final word of Swami that He would carry my luggage. As I said these words it struck me.

    The next morning as my father saw Swami, He said “You were right Padmanabham - what did she carry in those suitcases, they were so heavy.” Ever since then, I make sure that if I ask Him for help I will never pray to Him to lift my luggage. When I later met Swami I said, “Swami, I made you lift my heavy suitcases,” Swami replied “What? I came to lift the burden of the world, how do your suitcases matter?”

    1. WOW!! What a beautiful incident... reinforces the lesson so much... Thank you for sharing it here... I am sure everyone will enjoy reading it.

  4. I dunno about the surrender part mentioned in "It also requires a degree of surrender to be able to have the desire to share everything of our lives with God."

    But this much I can say. For me Swami is the bestest friend and I know that if I share everything with Him, He will not judge me and He will listen to me patiently. He is the only friend who will do this for me. So I share every little and big thing with Him. I write a letter daily to Him. In fact, I write multiple times through the day and keep updating Him about every thing. I thank Him for the good things and crib about the not-so-good things. Thus I constantly feel connected to Him. If we take this one step of wanting to share everything with Him considering Him as our only priority, He too will make us feel as if we are the only priority for Him and He will keep showing His presence in our lives.

  5. Amazed and delighted to read Dr Vineet,sai geetha mohan incident and sai sister aarthi habit. Lots of messages for me. Thanks Swamy for prompting me to read this post. Kudos to Sai bro Arvind on his continuing mission. Bro Arvind these posts mean a lot to us, the readers. Pray Swamy for you

    1. Thank you so much for your wishes and prayers. Sairam. :)

  6. Sairam Aravind!!! Thanks for giving an insight into Vineet's life. I feel I know him already. Now watching his talk on Samarpan will take it to another level. What a life he has had.

    1. Oh yes! Do watch it. It was the first ever time he spoke in public. He has many beautful experiences with Swami. Do leave comments there also so that he speaks more and more often! :)

    2. Beautiful story..if we allow Swami into our life He takes care of every detail..

  7. Sairam Aravind, what an eye opening narrative of Dr Vineet's experiences. I always thought that as SWAMI knows everything why should any one write a letter etc. as HE knows us in and out, HE knows our thoughts when they arise. Now I get the point of surrender and the act of writing a letter is actually reinforce one's faith, clearing my doubting Thomas mind. Thanks a lot.

  8. Very beautifully narrated. Thanks a lot! Sairam brother.

  9. Dear Brother - Sairam

    Thank You so much for gifting us with a very beautiful article of a Sai Student. Thank You so much for the very beautiful photos with heart capturing captions of Swami's assurance and love beneath every photo. Reading the article gives us the same happiness as listening to Brother Dr.Vineeth in the Samarpan session. Brother - Thank you for the eternal truths - "Any course in the SSSIHL is done to achieve the ultimate degree of life itself - realization of the One Truth knowing which one knows everything and life revolves only around Swami." Brother - Thank you for the Chinna Katha. Thank you so much Brother for this blessing and gift.

  10. Let go and Let God...what a profound message. Thank you Bro. Aravind. Tears of joy rolling down.....Stay Blessed.

  11. Sairam brother, whatever blogs u put really it helps me to connect with Swamy as he's giving me answers for the same issue of mine at the right time. When am in my heardest times am getting the solutions through you, directed by our beloved Swamy. Thank you so much brother, u r been my great admirer.

  12. Sairam brother, really feeling blessed after reading this blog, at this moment I needed it most to understand the same let go n let God. I really connected to Swamy through your blogs which really gives the solution for my issues at the right time.stay blessed bro n Sairam.


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