The day Swami blessed me by telling me to join the mental hospital...

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There seems to be a fine line between the coincidental and the miraculous for the ‘scientific’ critic as well as the religious zealot. And both use this line variably, as per convenience, to see the miraculous as coincidental or the coincidental as miraculous! The truth however is that no such line exists! Coincidences are miracles where God simply chooses to be anonymous. Before I dive and delve into one such powerful yet funny ‘coincidental’ experience in my life, I must say that there are parts to this experience which I understood much later.

It was during my student days in Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School that this episode occurred. Bubbling with energy and enthusiasm, I used to strive at every opportunity to get Swami to talk to me, touch me or look at me. I felt that if a day passed with Swami doing any of the above, it would be a waste of a valuable day. Praying was one aspect, jumping around and trying hard to come into His line of sight was another! I indulged whole-heartedly and completely in both.

One thing that is true with Swami is that our plans and His plans do not always match! Our’s are plans based on very limited knowledge and infinite selfishness! His plans are part of the Masterplan - based on complete knowledge and infinite selflessness. And so, as the devotee would have certainly discovered in life, one’s plan and God’s plan seems to go out of sync on many occasions. Thus, though I thought that Swami should speak or interact with me in some manner on a daily basis, it rarely happened so. Days would pass when He would not even look at me!

And so, I was pleasantly shocked when He spoke to me on the 2nd of January, 2000. It was a ‘normal’ Sunday. (The normal is in quotes because in reality, no day with the divine can be considered normal. Everyday is special if we spend it seeing, hearing, talking about and thinking of the divine.) Sunday was the day when we would have two darshan sessions since there were no classes in the morning.

I was seated along the lines of the school students. When Swami came for darshan, gently gliding on the hem of His robe, I stretched out a letter that I had written to Him. In the letter, I had sought Him to be in my life forever. Swami looked at me and then said,

Mental hospital ko join karna better.” ( It is better if you go and get admitted in a mental hospital)

And then He walked on.

" Mental hospital ko join karna better "
" Mental hospital ko join karna better " | Source

I rejoiced! There is the story of a villager’s son who came running and told his father that the king had spoken to him. The father heard him out and jubilantly summoned the whole village to announce the glad tidings. It turned out that the lad had been lazing in the middle of the road. The king who was moving on his chariot shouted out,

“Oh! You lazy fool! Get out of this highway and do something useful in life.”

Despite the content of what the king said, the fact that he spoke was enough to thrill the lad.

My condition was something similar! I was so thrilled that Swami spoke to me. The evening darshan turned out to be memorable too.

As Swami came gliding past during darshan, I stretched out my hand with the letter. Swami stopped, turned and looked at me. He smiled and told the people around me,

“This boy has come from mental hospital. He must be sent back there.”

And so it continued for a couple more times in the next two days. Swami would look at me and make references to the mental hospital. As long as nobody took it literally and made efforts to get me enrolled into one, I was happy at these interactions. Swami was SPEAKING WITH ME!

" This boy has come from the mental hospital. He must be sent back there."
" This boy has come from the mental hospital. He must be sent back there." | Source

Then, suddenly, Swami seemed to forget about my need to get enrolled in a mental hospital. It went back to Him not ‘recognising’ me and I went back to my jumpy self making all efforts to attract His attention!

The Sports and Cultural Meet of the Sri Sathya Sai Institutions took place. The Sankranthi festival along with prize distribution was complete. It was now time for the preparatory exams before the much feared Board Examinations,( held by the central CBSE at an all-India level), that every 12th grade student has to pass through. The schedule for the preparatory exams had been put up and we were all busy studying.

The final part of the ‘mental hospital’ episode took place in this situation. It was the day before the biology exam. I was sitting on the lawns in front of the hostel and studying when I noticed some boys playing with the garden hose pipe. They were spraying and squirting water on each other in a playful manner. I got tempted to join them and gladly yielded to my temptations too!

After about 15 minutes, I realized that I had lot to study and so, though wet, returned to my books. But my determination to study lasted only about 10 minutes after which I went again to playing with the water pipe. Once again, my conscience pricked me and I returned to study. This to and fro between studies and water-sports went on for a while after which I felt frustrated. I took a step that I felt would prevent me from any further distraction. I closed my eyes and told Swami,

“Swami, I will read two chapters before I have food. If I do not do so, I shall not have my lunch.”

That promise, I thought, would stop me from indulging in the water-war that was happening on the lawns. It did not! I was soon back to spraying water when I heard the lunch gong.

I was definitely hungry and there was no time to read two chapters before lunch. The hostel is strict about timings and naturally so. (One cannot deal with 300 students if there is no strict adherence to discipline and timings.) In case I went 10-15 minutes late for lunch, I was sure to be told that I had arrived too early for dinner!

Caught in that predicament, my mind impishly schemed a plan.

“I promised Swami that I would ‘read’ two chapters and not ‘study’ two chapters. That I can accomplish in fifteen minutes!”

Consoling myself thus, I simply read through the two chapters at lightning speed. Having finished doing that, I smiled to myself and went for lunch.

The evening darshan saw me seated in the first row along the path through which Swami would walk. Seated next to me was a staff member of the Central Trust. As Swami came gliding through the path, he told this senior brother next to me,
“Take this fellow to the mental hospital and get him admitted there.”

I was happy that the good old days had come back. Swami moved on. Taking a few steps, He suddenly stopped, turned back and delivered an unforgettable line,

“And when you admit him there, do not give him food to eat!”

I had goosebumps! I was so thrilled and lost in awe at the same time. Oh my God! My promise!

And here is the punch. The staff member to whom Swami spoke was also smiling. What Swami said was special for him too. This was because, Swami had used the Telugu term ‘Annam’ to refer to food and his name happened to be Annam!

Talk about Swami’s omnifelicity where he can make multiple people feel special with a single act of His! We should add it to His standard qualities of omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience.

Was that a coincidence? I beg to differ. Though it is said that coincidences are miracles where God chooses to remain anonymous, here was case where He had not remained so.

Of all the madnesses that afflict man, God-madness is the least harmful and the most beneficia
Of all the madnesses that afflict man, God-madness is the least harmful and the most beneficia | Source

It was much later that I came across what Swami says,
“Of all the madnesses that afflict man, God-madness is the least harmful and the most beneficial.”

The complete statement of Swami is on the Radiosai page.
Some people talk caustically to Sai devotees saying: "You have gone crazy over Sai Baba". This craziness is sublime madness. There are all kinds of lunatics in the mental hospital, many of whom pose difficult problems for the doctors. If some God-mad devotee sits in a corner chanting God's name, what a relief he would be to the doctors! If you develop this kind of sublime madness, you will be supremely fortunate indeed! Everyone should be crazy about God. Only then they will get rid of the mad craving for wealth and the things of the world.

I wished that Swami’s statements of me joining the mental hospital came true and I was admitted there with God-madness.


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Comments 13 comments

Hank 23 months ago

Always a good job right here. Keep rolling on thugroh.


vivek 3 years ago

thanks for sharing aravind. you made the experiences come alive again after many years


Priya 3 years ago

How so very blessed you are brother! To have such interactions with Swami!

Thank you for sharing :-)

Priya


C.V.Rajan profile image

C.V.Rajan 4 years ago from Kerala, India

I think the last line is the acid test to judge ourselves about our God-madness: "Everyone should be crazy about God. Only then they will get rid of the mad craving for wealth and the things of the world."

Unfortunately, for most of us, God craziness is associated with the desire to fulfill "the mad craving for wealth and the things of the world."


poornimasrinath profile image

poornimasrinath 4 years ago from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA

:) I remember this from your speech for bhuddha poornima.. But with more elaboration it looks even more beautiful. I agree with you that people become sceptical and criticise when they know we are mad about Swami. Srinath and I have the pleasure of calling a friend here to come to service on Thursdays if we happen to meet, just to see her reaction which would normally be as though Swami is an infection which would affect her ..lol.. I know of a person who really went mad about God and as you said he leads life exactly the way you have described disturbing none! Good read!!!


Mark Aspa 4 years ago from Berlin, Germany

funny, very funny - this reminds us of Swami's playfulness and divine humour....


aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 4 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

Thank you Mr. Happy for highlighting every message embedded in the experience...

It forms a good summary for all! :)

@ Darshi - Yes! And I continue to be so even today....

@ an Impressed reader - Thank you as always for your encouraging words...

@ Deepak - beautiful quote.... summarizes the entire hub into a few words...

@ Ranganatha Rao - Thank you for your elaborate comment... So much of value is being added to everyone's experience of reading through your comment...

@ Jayanthi - Swami's ways were such that even His jokes conveyed so much profundity...


Jayanthi 4 years ago

Initially on seeing your post thought it must be something funny.Reading unfolded many truths.


Ranganatha.Rao 4 years ago

Wow!!! The very name God Intoxication should make a devotee mad for God. This whole world is mad for worldly things and worldly matters. But what is the end result? If one is mad after God, God also will become mad for devotee. It is like a Love-Affair between adult boy and girl. Nothing in the world can deter their love; they are even ready to sacrifice everything for that love--true it is worldly love, but the MADNESS generated in that worldly love which bonds the youngsters is the strongest.

Then what to talk of the " MADNESS FOR GOD" .

Meera was MAD for Krishna; Radha was MAD for Krishna. Kanakadas was MAD for Krishna. Hanuman was mad for Rama, Narada was MAD for Vishnu. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was MAD for Kalimatha. They were all in the God's Mental Hospital--- God Intoxication Hospital where only devotees of the highest order are admitted. Intense devotion is the criteria to get admitted in this hospital. No ordinary man, however rich or influential can find a bed here. And only God can admit such devotees in His mental/ God intoxicated hospital. When a devotee is attacked by the disease God-Madness only God takes care of them and treats them. When God's treatment is over such God-Mad devotee becomes FREE from the worldly ailments to attain Salvation.

Therefore, only God can admit devotees of the highest order in His God-Mad hospital; only God can say to his devotee that you need to be admitted in My hospital which is the Ultimate Hospital. That is what Swami has said to the very fortunate devotee Saibandhu Aravindan, not once but several times.


Deepak 4 years ago

“To a worldly man, a God-intoxicated person will appear mad and he will laugh at him, But to the God-intoxicated man, the worldly appear insane, foolish, misled, blind.”


An Impressed Reader 4 years ago

Very nice read .. Kept me smiling thorughout.

'Talk about Swami’s omnifelicity where he can make multiple people feel special with a single act of His! We should add it to His standard qualities of omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience.'

Good One .. I totally agree .. Lets add it to the list.


darshi 4 years ago

So Aravind anna was indeed rather naughty during school :P

My biggest problem during college was getting up early to study during exams! I remember sleeping and telling Swami that I will wake up at say, around 4am - but would snooze the alarm at 4am, justifying that I said 'around' 4am, and not 4am on the dot. LOL. Of course, I'd eventually be up. But He was patient with me...very patient!

So I suppose now, I must be very patient to see what He has planned for me :)


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

"Our’s are plans based on very limited knowledge and infinite selfishness" - Yes. Hence, I hunt knowledge and am often quite harsh with my ego. It's fun! : )

"The normal is in quotes because in reality, no day with the divine can be considered normal" - I agree here as well. I gave-up on "normal" quite a while ago.

"Everyone should be crazy about God. Only then they will get rid of the mad craving for wealth and the things of the world." - I think these are great words (to say the least). If we "go crazy about God" in all sincerity, we can move past this three dimensional perspective and see Spirit/Atma - we can see our true selves. : )

"I wished that Swami’s statements of me joining the mental hospital came true and I was admitted there with God-madness." - Good wish. I am glad the first part of your wish (about going to the mental institute) did not manifest itself though (lol). In this instance, perhaps we can say that: "Our’s are plans based on very limited knowledge'.

All the best Mr. Aravind! Fun read, as always! Many thanks.

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