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How Swami became my God - My childhood experiences with Sri Sathya Sai Baba
There are some things in life for which we can never find an answer. And experiencing the Love and Grace of Swami (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba), I have discovered many such questions for which nobody can ever provide a satisfactory answer. Some of these are,
“All are equal in the eyes of God. Why then do some people seem ‘blessed’ while others seem ‘less-blessed’?”
“At what point in time does the Lord enters one’s life?”
“Why does Swami do the things that He does?”
This article is not any attempt to delve into those questions. For now, it is best to leave these questions unanswered. However, one would have to admit, when Swami does enter one’s life or confers an experience, you just cannot miss it. Swami comes into your life with all the Love, Grandeur, Majesty, Grace and Omnipresence that you are simply awe-struck. I remember my father telling me once,
“People get possessed by Ghosts. It is our good fortune that we have been possessed by God. Our lives are sanctified for He will never leave us. If a mere ‘ghost’ has so much powers of possession, imagine how powerfully the Lord will be able to do the same!”
The narration that follows is to relive some interesting episodes through which Swami entered my life, became the center of my life and convinced me of His divinity. There are three distinct episodes from my childhood that I remember very clearly. The back -ground to these, as I have already mention in “My first memorable interaction with Sathya Sai as His student”, is that Swami had got me as a free-devotee i.e. to say, when my father told me Swami was God, I had simply accpted it - no questioning. Thus, I had missed what we can call as my ‘introduction-miracle’! :)
Episode 1 - Pre-emptive Divine action in dream
I was introduced to Swami when we was staying in Bangalore. And then, we moved to Mumbai. I had a few Darshans of Swami by then and those were enough to instill in me, love and devotion for Him. I had made a small altar for Him on the pelmet above a window in my room. I used to climb onto a table using a stool and then place flowers in worship on His photograph.
On night, I had a dream. It was the first ever dream of Swami that I remember.
In the dream, Swami was walking with my mother on a road when I caught up with them. Swami turned suddenly and held my right wrist. He held it very tight but did not speak anything. After a while, He let go of my wrist and told me to go back. I returned and He continued to walk along with my mother.
I woke up. This was the first time I was having a dream about Swami. I felt that somehow it had some inner meaning. Today I know that all dreams of Swami are true. I didn't then! So, I went and narrated the dream to my parents. They too must have been surprised because such things had not happened in our family thus far. We were only “a couple of months old” in ‘Sai’s fold’ as it is called. But both of them were very happy that I had the dream.
In the morning, as I finished my bath, according to my daily schedule, I climbed up the table to place flowers to Swami. Even as I was placing flowers, unknown to me, my sister came and took the stool away. She wanted to clean a ceiling fan, standing on the stool.
Out of sheer force of habit, I simply stepped back from the table to land on the stool. The stool was not there! And I had a fall. I fell straight on my right hand and my right wrist was in severe pain. My parents thought that I had broken my wrist. I was hurried to a doctor who said,
“You are lucky young fella! You did not suffer any fracture. Just rest your wrist for a day and it should be fine.”
On the way back home, all of us were discussing my dream that morning with great joy and excitement. That was the first time I closed my eyes and thanked Swami. My love for Him grew and my faith in Him was strengthened. His love for me was like that of a mother - no wonder He was with my mother in that dream!
Episode 2 - God is always watching
The cable TV in general and the Star TV network in particular were the ‘happening’ things in India. (1991-92) It was the beginning of the age of “addictive television” which Swami refers to as Tele Visham (poison transmitted through the telly). I had acquired a craze for watching WWF - freestyle wrestling - from my friends. WWF (now changed to WWE when the World Wildlife Fund for nature protested against using the same letters and misleading people) was what they discussed during the recess in school. There were hundreds of WWF card games and board games. Each of us had our ‘heroes’ whom we would want to watch.
My mother was not at all happy with this (and rightly so). She told me that I should stop watching such violent stuff. I pleaded to her to let me watch for about half an hour everyday but it was to no avail. One day, I got a superb opportunity.
My mother had slept in the afternoon. My father had gone to office and sister was in school. The time was 2:30pm - WWF would be starting on Star Sports any moment now. I got tempted. I slowly closed my mother’s bedroom door. Then, I went to the television and brought the volume slider (it was a manual slider in TVs of that age) to zero. I then went to flick the main switch on. Little did I know that Swami knows the thoughts even as they arise.
When my finger touched the switch to put it on, something hit me on my hand. I was shocked and instinctively withdrew my hand. I was wondering what was it that had hit me. When I saw, it was a huge marigold flower that had been placed on Swami’s photograph which was also on the same wall as the switch. The photo featured Swami looking directly with an all-knowing smile. I got very scared. I felt Swami was telling me,
“I am watching always.”
I did not switch on the television - nor did I watch WWF after that. As soon as my mother woke up, I went to her, hugged her and narrated the whole episode. She simply smiled and hugged me back. That day, I realized that God was not just Mother Love but also Father Discipline.
Episode 3 - Swami takes care even before we pray for His intervention
This was another dream experience that followed close in heels to the above two. By now, we were convinced as a family that Swami was the all-powerful and all-loving Lord, taking care of us always. At this point in time, I had a dream. In that dream, Swami advised me not to go to school the next day.
When I woke up in the morning, the first thing I did was to tell my parents that I would not be going to school. I then told them that Swami had told me not to go to school. My mother was in a doubt.
Here was a perfectly normal and healthy boy telling that he would not go to school. But he was also saying that Swami said so. Is he ‘using’ Swami to his advantage because he has some other plans for today?
She asked me,
“Did Swami really tell you not to go to school?”
That was a tone and look to which I could never lie in my life! But I had no need to lie now!
“Yes! He told me not to go to school”, I replied very confidently.
That was enough to convince my mother and make my sister feel very jealous!
The same day, within a few hours of having breakfast, I developed a fever. The temperature rose higher and by the afternoon, I had been diagnosed with chickenpox! Once more, we just offered our gratitude to Him.
Returning to the questions asked in the beginning of the article, I am now convinced that I need not know every answer. And that is because there are no ‘right answers’ - only ‘right questions’! The answer for my heart is that everything that happens is for the Good alone. And with that answer, I have lived so far - I am sure I’ll live happily ever after too because Swami has said that it is such acceptance of everything as good for one which constitutes true surrender.
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