The promise kept
I have always worked on the hypothesis that the more
I give, the more I shall receive. And every time that I have tried
it out, I have seen it to be true. Each successful trial
strengthened my faith in the statement and, therefore, I try to give
as much as I can, of all that I can. You can call this selfish
selflessness if you wish but that is the truth as the Dalai Lama put
it - “Be selfish. Be generous.” In that sense, there is no
difference between selfishness and selflessness. When one is ‘wisely
selfish’ one is automatically selfless because one realizes that the
greatest good comes out of being selfless.
Forgive that little detour of mine. What I intended
to say was that, even when it came to the matter of me sharing my
experiences with my Master and God, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, I
followed the same hypothesis. I felt that
the more I shared
my experiences, the more I would receive experiences. That is one of the
reasons why I believe in sharing my spiritual experiences. Briefly, I
did see this happening - the more I shared what Swami gave me or spoke
to me, the more Swami, as Baba is lovingly called, seemed to give me and
speak to me.
On the spiritual path, it is each man for himself; or a woman for
herself. This is not a general rule but my observations in my
Thrilled by this, I began to speak and share more. I
received more. And then, all of a sudden, on the 24th of April,
2011, He left the physical. I was devastated. Among the several
things that I asked Him and prayed, was this question.
“Swami, now, I shall share even more. I shall do so
via the internet on a much larger scale. How will you keep your end
of the promise and give me more? Is this the end?”
Today, I place my hand on my heart and say that Swami
has kept His end of the promise. Hey! Wait a minute! He never made
that promise in the first place. I just thrust my hypothesis on Him.
But loving that He is and knowing how much my hypothesis means for
me, He chose to make it ‘His promise’ and also ‘keep it up’ without
Several instances after the ‘Mahasamadhi’ (That word refers to
Baba’s leaving of the physical. It also represents the space where
His earthly remains have been enshrined. come to mind. There are the
vibhuti manifestation miracles, the miracles at the Mahasamadhi and
so on. Each instance shows a different facet of my beloved Swami.
Here, I would like to recount a couple of instances where His
beautiful playfulness is seen, even today.
leela - His divine mischief
The 14th of January every year is celebrated as
a harvest festival which also coincides with the
transmigration of the sun from one zodiac to the other. It is the
day of the prize distribution for the students of the Sri Sathya Sai
institutions. In the evening, the students put up a cultural
programme. So, on 14/01/2013, when the prize distribution programme
was on, I was in the Sai Kulwant hall in Prasanthi Nilayam, covering
the event as a photographer. My cell phone vibrated and I saw that
my father was trying to contact me. Since, it is not allowed to use
cellphones in the premises (we are allowed to carry them for
emergencies, just like the FBI is allowed guns even aboard
aircraft!), I walked into a room. My father’s voice was very
(holy ash) has appeared at home!”
“Where?” I asked.
“On the silver Ganesha pendant. It has formed as a
small heap on it. The best thing is that the
is sweet in taste. Both me and Pooja (my wife) tasted
“Wow! Let it be that way. I will come home and have a
look at it.”
Needless to say, I rushed home even as the programme
concluded. I went straight to the altar, to that little silver plate
in which the silver pendant of Ganesha rested. There was not a pinch
there. I was disappointed with my father. What was his hurry in
clearing up the
“Dad! Why did you clear the
into a box. I told you to leave it as it is.”
“I did not clear it. Nor did Pooja. It should be
It wasn’t there definitely. Pooja and dad came into
the room. They swore that they had tasted it. As proof, my dad also
showed me the picture taken a few hours before. Indeed there was
This was what my dad
and my wife saw at 10:30am on the 14th of January 2013.
This is what I saw
at 11:30 am on the 14th of January, 2013.
As it became clear that the
had disappeared as mysteriously as it appeared, my
father rejoiced. For him, this was like two miracles on the same
day. I was not happy. I would have been happier with only one
miracle instead of two! I kept pouting and complaining to everyone
at home for the rest of the day about how unfair Swami had been
towards me. The sense of injustice was magnified by the fact that I
was doing my duty in the temple while people who sat at home enjoyed
a sweet snack!
Even as I went to bed, I kept complaining. The last
thought before I slept was,
“Swami, you have been unfair to me.”
The next morning, my first thought too was the same!
I continued to grumble and complain. I wanted Swami to feel guilty
and so, I did all the morning worship - placing flowers in the
altar, lighting lamps and the incense sticks. Having done that, I
told a bye to Swami and was leaving for office. As I reached the
main door, something stopped me. I felt an irresistible urge to go
back to the altar. And as I reached the altar, the sight simply
EXACTLY LIKE THE PREVIOUS DAY (the way I had seen in
the photo), there was a little heap of
on the Ganesha pendant! I quickly took a pinch of it
and put it on my tongue. Not only was it sweet, it also had an
elaichi (cardamom) flavor! I immediately summoned everyone. As he
on his tongue, dad remarked,
The vibhuti heap
that appeared on the morning on the 15th of January, 2013,
was similar to the
one on the previous day - only that it had cardamom
“Swami forgot the elaichi flavoring yesterday. That
is why He withdrew the stocks and sent us fresh stock today
morning!” We all laughed out aloud. I was simply happy and thrilled.
As I looked into His eyes in the picture, did I see a
gleam of mischief in them?
Swami, on several occasions has done such mischief -
taking away something and then returning it again. One interesting
episode was what I read in a Radiosai article about Mr. Joga Rao. It
brought out exactly this kind of
When the document of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust
was to be registered at Hyderabad in 1972, Baba asked Joga Rao to
coordinate all the related work apart from organising Swami’s visit
to the city. It was obligatory that the members of the Trust be
present at the time of registration. Therefore Joga Rao called up
of Nawanagar (a princely state in India) who was at
Bombay, to come to Hyderabad along with Sri Nani Palkhiwala (the
renowned jurist and economist) and Sri Indulal Shah.
The Rajamata conveyed to Joga Rao the same evening by
telephone that she would be coming to Hyderabad with Sri Indulal
Shah. She also informed him that Palkhiwala who had gone out of
station would not be able to make it to Hyderabad. Since Bhagavan
had had already retired by that time, Joga Rao could not convey the
message to Him.
Col.Joga Rao with
Bhagawan Baba. Photo courtesy - www.radiosai.org
When Joga Rao went to the post office next morning
along with Sri Prasada Rao, then the State President of Sri Sathya
Sai Organisations of Andhra Pradesh, he found a telegram sent by the
to Bhagavan confirming her arrival. When they met
Swami and handed over the telegram to Him, He read it and said,
“Joga Rao, they are not coming!”
Puzzled and bewildered, Joga Rao read the telegram
again and again. According to the telegram, what Baba had said was
perfectly right! Joga Rao showed the telegram to Prasada Rao. They
looked at each other in wonder and could not believe how they had
bothe mistaken the telegram when they read it at the post office.
During their lunch with Swami, He laughed and gave
them the telegram again. This time, it bore the same words they had
read at the post office!
So, the disappearing and appearing is a common
- done sometimes to words; sometimes to
manifestation in phases
I cannot help but recollect the most recent
prank, if I may call it so. During my student days,
I got several opportunities to witness the handkerchief mischief of
my sweet Lord. And now,
pranks seem to be the new genre! This happened on the morning of the
24th of July, 2013.
As is my practice, I woke up at 6am and put on the
lights in the altar. I wished my Swami a ‘Good Morning’ and I then
moved into the bathroom for my morning ablutions. I came to the
computer to do some typing when my wife, Pooja, called out to me.
“Come here fast....”
I did go there ‘fast’.
“I just bent down to clear these flowers. When I
stood up, this had happened!”
The ‘this’ in her statement referred to the copious
amounts of vibhuti that had appeared from two photographs of Swami.
I was happy.
As we called my dad to the altar, in the few moments
we were not at the altar, a fresh
shower had taken place! We were simply thrilled.
joy, we called out to our dear neighbors, the Deshpandes. (Amey,
about whom i have written several articles, is the son of Deshpande
uncle.) By the time uncle came to the altar, some more vibhuti had
manifested. This was simply getting thrilling. I just tapped on a
silver container up front (which contains a Shiva linga) and said,
“This is the only container that has not been touched
Even as I said that and all of us walked with uncle
to the door,
had manifested on that silver box too.
I once again looked at Swami’s eyes in the main
picture. There was so much of mischief in them. But there was so
much of love too pouring from them. I just closed my eyes in
gratitude and told Him,
“Swami, you continue to keep your promise! I shall
keep up my end of the deal too! I will share this with all.”