How quickly the time passed with Swami?
Time we spent with Saibaba flowed very quickly!
It is evident to all that good time pass away quickly whereas trying periods prolong for ever in our imaginations. Yes, we are not even aware how the time passed when we were with the Lord in Prasanthinilayam. I used to stay there for a minimum two weeks whenever I was blessed with a chance to go there to enjoy the blissful and peaceful atmosphere. The routines there suited my temperament. I was eager to look at the Lord very often. Somehow I have developed a deep attachment to the form of Sathya Sai. Now I can surmise, it is entirely due to His benign grace that I could land at Prasanthi Nilayam during 1965, when the crowd is not much as we see today. There was no bus stand so to say. Hardly few buses plied between Dharmavaram, Penukonda and few other places nearby. I could not decipher the telugu script written on the board of the buses. Still with some ingenuity, i could guess that a particular bus was heading to Kothacheruvu or bukkapatnam from where you have to select your mode of transport. Mostly carts driven by bullocks were the only means of transport. The cart too will stop at the edge of riverbed. We have to tread our way to Puttaparthi by looking at the distant Neon lights which depicts in Telugu, "Prasanthi Nilayam". That board itself was a light house to me guiding me to come forward.
We used to stay beneath the huge trees along with the bird kingdom. The chirping of the little birds gave us a time sense so that we could wake up in time to proceed to the river bed to finish our morning ablutions. After that we used to drink a hot cup of tea from the Nair tea stall cum hotel. Then we rushed back to the Nilayam for our first Dharsan of the Lord who used to come around 6.45 in the morning. The balcony Dharsan elevated our spirits. Mostly we would sit back to enjoy his coming down and wading through the rows. How the time quickly passed? Yes, with the Lord, every thing went on well since He was protecting us and guiding us wherever we stay. Though the living conditions were mostly primitive on those days, yet we loved our stay there. We could not foresee when there will be rain and when there will be shine. Hence we used to shift our belongings to nearby verandas of residences of permanent devotees there. I remember here vividly one incident which made a deep scar like memory.
Many holy days are observed in the Hindu calendar of festivals. I was not aware of the significance of the day. I had my own problems like dwindling of cash reserve. Dresses posed a second problem since i had to wash the cloths once in a while taking them to a distant well since there was no water in the river Chitravathi at the time. The washing exercise was taxing to me. I didn't want to miss the Dharsan times etc., Some how on that day I saw some decorative fastoons were hanging on the precincts of the Prasanthi Nilayam. But the owner of the house where i stayed feigned his ignorance when I inquired about the decorations. It was really a holy day celebrated in Hindu temples all over India known as "Vaikunta Ekadasi". Saibaba used to distribute on that holy day, a specially created nectar and pour one drop each on the tongue of devotees gathered there. However I missed the golden opportunity since I have left for my native place earlier in the morning! Only after reaching Madras, I could gather the news that Baba manifested the Nectar and distributed it to all the devotees who were present on the holy occasion. In a discourse, He exclaimed that some unfortunate devotees had left earlier since they were not destined for the precious gift from His hand. This really made me morass. But somehow Saibaba compensated this loss with the nectar that was oozing at a devotees cottage in Srirangapatnam near Mysore. One devout lady brought the gift to all the devotees in the Sai Organization where we used to gather once a week to sing Bhajans on God's name. I am relieved by narrating this experience since it removed much of the guilt I felt. Thank you for patiently reading this hub. Yes, time passed quickly in the companionship of the Lord. But every day away from Him, prolonged the burden of Time.