The Love Of My Life…

Are we aware that the “Man Of Miracles” walked amongst us was…is…no ordinary a person, but the Mightiest Persona ever visited Planet Earth and blessed the entire Cosmos? Cosmos is His creation and He is The Creator, the Be All and End All of anything and everything. Students whom He often referred to as “His Property” had the most wonderful blessings, seeing and experiencing Him at the closest quarter, drinking the nectar of His Divine Love!!! Many facets of His Divinity were…are…often revealed to these blessed grateful bunch of students, who virtually become effective instruments in His hands, by disseminating ‘His Love’ into the world at large. Read on Sri Raviteja’s “The Love Of My Life” that revels and reveals many an interesting facet of Beloved Bhagawan. Sri Raviteja is an MBA from Bhagawan’s Institute and is currently serving the Bhakta Sahayak Division of Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam.

It was a bright sunny morning in Brindavan. Swami was standing on the pathway, in front of the Trayee Mandir, behind the lines of the students seated there, facing the deer park. He was talking to some of the senior devotees who were also standing close to the deer park grill. In those days, there were a lot of trees there, in a row. As Swami stood there talking, a small leaf from one of the trees slowly glided down through the wafting breeze and landed on Swami’s hair softly. Bhagawan did not seem to “notice” it and continued conversing with the senior devotees. But some of us sitting close to where Swami stood saw this and quietly nodded to each other with a smile. I, for once, thought in my mind how lucky the leaf was!

This thought was but a blip in my mind and almost immediately, as if He heard me “say” it, Swami turned back, took a few steps towards me, picked the leaf from His hair and said, “it is not the leaf, YOU are fortunate!” Saying so, He gently cast it on my lap. I was expecting a leaf to fall, but instead, a small fruit resembling a guava fell on my lap. As I sat with my mouth open in utter awe, Swami gave me a mesmerizing smile and moved on. It took some time for me to touch down to reality.

We all are very fortunate

We all are extremely fortunate to be so close to Him while the good Lord has taken Avatar. We are blessed to be able to speak to Him, touch Him, laugh and be part of His fun and sport. Sitting close to Him we can only marvel with utter adoration as He lays bare the greatest secrets of His own creation in so nonchalant a manner. But the greatest of our boons is to receive His wonderful thousand mothers’ love and grace in various forms. One life time just does not suffice for any of us to appreciate and bask in this breathtaking flow of grace of the Lord. Indeed it is the greatest privilege conferred on each one of us.

While we try our best to understand and realize the deep significance of such a wonderful blessing bestowed on us, it is but natural to revel in His leelas and mahimas (divine sport and glories) as they are verily His visiting cards, announcing at least infinitesimally, His love for us.

He is the caretaker

I always wondered how Swami takes care of people across the world and marvelled at His myriad miraculous ways of attending to and pleasing His children all the time. After we had completed MBA, some of us stayed back in Puttaparthi praying to Swami to give us a chance to live at His Lotus Feet and serve. Swami too responded favourably to our prayers and gave me and a couple of my student colleagues an opportunity to serve, albeit temporarily, in Sri Sathya Sai Gokulam (the cowshed in Prasanthi Nilayam).

We were very happy to be associated with the “divine” cows at the abode of Gopala. In fact, Swami used to address us as ‘cow boys’ too. One day, my elder brother landed in Puttaparthi for Swami’s darshan. During a conversation, he casually offered me money for my expenses. I felt a bit offended as the norm in our family was to not depend monetarily on anyone in the family once one completed his/her studies. So I vehemently rejected the offer from my brother and said “Swami is there for me and to take care of me in every way.”

This happened after morning bhajans at around 11 a.m. We used to stay in the old hostel in those days (now used for Brindavan boys as Hostel when they arrive in Puttaparthi). Even as I completed my statement, someone came rushing and said to me “Swami is calling you!” I was totally astounded because Swami had already retired for the session in the morning. In those days Swami used to stay in the Prasanthinilayam Mandir itself.

I could not really believe this but rushed to the interview room rather confused wondering what could be the matter. I walked straight into the interview room upon instructions and Swami seemed to be waiting for me there. As soon as I walked in and presented myself at His Lotus Feet, puffing and panting, Swami presented me with a couple of hundred rupee notes saying, “Keep this for your expenses.” My heart missed a beat and tears rolled down my cheeks spontaneously. I fell at His Lotus feet with my heart full of gratitude. Swami listens to what we say, no matter where we are. When we have trust in Him He takes care of us always.

‘Picture’sque Sai

Once when my brother had come from abroad for a visit to my home town, it so happened that all our family members were present in my home except me. I was studying in Puttaparthi at that point of time. My mother felt sad for my absence and went and sat in front of Swami’s picture in our home and cried out, “Swami, all are here; alas, only my son is missing”. I must add – I was totally unaware of all of these behind-the-scene developments. That very afternoon, in the mandir, Swami walked up to me and said “Your mother is crying for you; go to your hometown; stay for a couple of days and return”. Saying so, Swami gave me prasadam and asked me to leave that very evening. Obviously, everyone in my family was surprised to find me home the very next day.

Every picture of Swami represents Swami Himself and is not merely a picture. There have been many instances when we have had a problem and wanted a message or a prompt solution. That’s when life becomes picture perfect, so to say – someone totally unknown walks up to us and gifts us a pocket size calendar. On it is Swami’s beautiful smiling face and “abhaya hastha” and silently present at the bottom of such a picture is a message from our Lord. Invariably, the message is verily the solution we just needed! The answer we just were waiting for!

When we have an earnest wish or a fervent prayer and cry out to Swami sincerely, He surely is listening, waiting to grant it.

During my student days, I always tried to spend my vacation in Puttaparthi or Brindavan depending on where Swami was. But during one summer, Swami commanded me to go home and spend some time there.

Jagamele Paramathma (Lord of the Universe)

I wondered why Swami was driving me away and even felt very miserable and thought He did not like me to be around because I may have committed some mistake. Little did I know that He intended on teaching me yet another lesson by granting a very sweet experience.

One night after supper in my home, I went upstairs and lay on an old cot on the terrace. I was dearly missing Swami as it was only during the vacations that one could really get a lot of wonderful chances of being very close to Him physically, primarily due to less number of students being there. However, I just had no choice this time around as Swami personally had commanded me to go home. So, as I lay on this cot, the song that is very close to my heart came to my mind and I began singing it to myself. The song is a composition of Saint Tyagaraja going as – “Nagu momu Gana leni Naa Jaali Telisi Nanu Brovaraadaa” (Can’t you come and take care of me even after seeing my piteous condition of not being able to view and adore your beautiful smiling face). My favourite line from the song is -“Jagamele Paramaathma yevaritho Moralidudhu, Vaga choopaku Taalanu Nannelukoraa” (Oh Lord of the Universe, who else do I explain my predicament to? Please do not disown me. I cannot take it. Please take me close to you).

As I sang this rather stirring song by myself, tears welled up in my eyes and I cried out to Swami “Swami, why did you send me away?” Soon I fell asleep and I had a fantastic dream in which Swami walked up to me and gave a very beautiful smile and asked me to take Pada Namaskar and glided away slowly. There was no word exchanged and I woke up soon after with a jolt. I was pleasantly surprised with this sudden gush of grace showered on me as the dream seemed totally real. I had tears in my eyes with my heart full of gratitude. But the story does not end here.

After my vacations, I returned to Prasanthi Nilayam. In those days, Swami used to beckon to the students sitting in the front rows of the darshan gathering to step into the interview room to arrange and stack up the saris and dhotis for distribution purposes. This, of course, was a great occasion for the boys to move closely around Swami, talk to Him and even succeed in getting a ‘padanamaskar’ in the end. Hardly a few days past the vacation, Swami called me into the interview room on the pretext of giving one of these chances to me.

As I was counting and stacking up the dhotis on Swami’s instructions, Swami slowly walked up to me, took my right hand into His, looked into my eyes and gifting me a very beautiful smile similar to the one He had given me in my dream said, “Baadha enduku, Jagamele Paramathma neethone vundagaa? (Why do you worry when the Lord of the universe is with you). It took some time for me to realize what had happened and I was totally dumbfounded to say the least. Soon my joy knew no bounds and I fell at His Feet and took a “padanamaskar” in Jagrada Avastha (waking state) this time. I couldn’t help but wonder which was more real – the ‘padanamaskar’ in my dream or this one at the interview room? The truth is simple though – reality is nothing but being in the presence of Pure Love.

Grace Marks

Achilles had his heels. I had mine. Being a science graduate, I always felt very uncomfortable with the mumbo-jumbo of business accounting in my MBA. In fact, I fared very badly in one of the semesters and in the final exam too felt I hadn’t done well enough to feel confident and comfortable of coming out unscathed. Little did I know that He intended on teaching me yet another lesson by granting a very sweet experience. I was scared that a very adverse result here would imply that my days in the college were numbered. So whilst most of my class mates eagerly awaited the results to check their brilliant performances, I on the contrary, was praying for a miracle so that the announcement of results would get deferred, sine die. But when you have Swami, miracles are but commonplace. Hardly a few days past the examinations, Swami called me for an interview and in the interview room chided me for faring badly in the paper and said, “I am giving you grace marks only out of my grace. Be grateful.” Needless to say, I cleared the term paper and arrived unscathed! My gratitude remains evergreen.

Kodai Treats

Swami’s summer trips to Kodaikanal are always extremely memorable for every student who has had this wonderful blessing of accompanying Him. I have been blessed with that opportunity a few times. Everyone accompanying Swami would get to experience the proximity of the Lord in all its hues – a pure mother’s selfless love, a father’s discipline, a friend’s intimacy, a guru’s attentive affection and Divinity’s omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence. From the smallest of His acts to His seemingly casual utterances, everything arrived attached with a definite purport and purpose.

He would personally draw close to every student’s lunch plate to observe what he was eating and ensure that the student was served his most favourite dish just as a loving and caring mother would do. At another instance, He would chide a student “If you do not know how to shave without cutting yourself, how and when will you grow to the level of knowing the Para Brahman?”; this time more as a concerned father. He would expound the deepest insights from the Vedas, Upanishads, the epics namely, Mahabharata, Bhagavata, Ramayana, etc and with the same level of patience and passion, He would, on the other hand, descend to a learner’s level and explain how to do meditation step by step…. as an affectionate Sadguru.

On another occasion, He would quickly materialize the ring worn by the demon king Kamsa and as everyone reverentially admired the creation with wonderment He would quickly remark “Adore the creator, not the creation!” Ah, what lessons! We cannot help but just offer ourselves completely in total self surrender at His Lotus Feet. We can only pray to Him to grant us the intelligence and devotion to lead a life that will lead us all to merge into Him.

He is the In-dweller

Numerous incidents can be quoted to establish the fact the He is indeed the in-dweller of our hearts. Let me quote one here. Sometime back, I had to accompany my wife to the Super Speciality Hospital in Bangalore for her treatment very urgently. However, I wanted to pray to Swami for His blessings and permission to leave for Bangalore from Prasanthi Nilayam. I wrote a letter addressed to Swami and kept trying to give it to Him for three consecutive days. I was hoping that He would take the letter and then give me permission to go. But unfortunately for me, He did notice the letter but never did accept it from me. Then I left hope and dropped my plans to go because I couldn’t get His consent.

On the fourth day, after evening bhajans (this happened on the 9th of Dec. 2007), Swami beckoned me to come forward and as I approached him, He asked, “Bangalore Hospital Povaalaa? (Do you need to go to Bangalore Hospital?)”. I knelt down and replied in the affirmative. It was the exact last day for my departure to Bangalore as per my original plans!!! Then, I drew up closer to where He sat in His chair, explained my wife’s condition and sought His blessings and permission to leave. Swami was extremely loving and gave me prasadam. God tests us till the last minute. He is the all-knowing indweller of our hearts and when you are least expecting, He showers His abundant grace on us literally drenching us in it.

Many of us would sweetly recollect those good old moments when He took us close to Him. In the beginning, would be the anguish of seemingly total rejection and dodging. He would pass by us, looking around and not at us as if we did not even exist, even though we were sitting right in front of Him. One moment, He would make us feel as though “we were the world” for Him. Another moment, He would conduct Himself in a manner as though “we never existed in this world”. He would lavishly praise us in front of the many accomplished dignitaries in the portico, while at another instance He would ridicule and admonish us for no “apparent” reason known to us. At that point of time I never understood the significance of these acts, but now in the company of hindsight, I have realized that all that Swami did was only to make us tough enough to face the various challenges in our lives. To maintain an internal equilibrium by greeting these challenges with a smile on our faces and a calm in our hearts, that was the lesson. Swami never ever did encourage a caster-oil face!


Swami is no doubt beyond time and space and He has demonstrated this many times to many people – appearing at the same time in different places and doing the impossible. Once in Brindavan, I offered a letter to Swami and He gladly accepted it with a glee in His mischievous eyes. I did not understand the humour and wondered if there was something wrong with my face! But Swami moved on without a comment and walked out of Trayee Brindavan and beyond its compound walls to grant darshan to the hundreds of devotees sitting in the SaiRam shed, while we all waited for His return. After sometime, Swami slowly walked back. This time though, He had a big bunch of letters in His hand that He had collected from the numerous devotees. He moved gracefully, straight towards me and with a stare, pulled out exactly my letter from the middle of the big bunch and tossed it back at me and glided on without uttering a single word. I was rather stunned with this move and felt remorseful as I felt He had not accepted my letter. Later, I went back to my room and opened my letter to check if I had written something wrong that had displeased Swami. But amazingly, I did not find the original contents of my letter. Instead, I found 5 hundred rupee notes and a small piece of paper on which was written in Telugu “I am happy with your offering. Accept this blessing of Mine. Stitch clothes for Ugadi festival” in Swami’s own hand! When did He open my letter and read it? When did He write this note? When did He place the money in it? He is indeed Kalaatheetha!

The Master

Bhagawan always knew exactly when to contain the exuding over-enthusiasm of the boys. At the same time, He would completely encourage us enough to be ready to face all the odds. For example, in 1990, when Swami gave us a chance to serve in Gokulam, we were so enthusiastic that we would be extremely keen on showing off all our talents acquired in our MBA. From time to time, we would go to Swami to explain the results of our sincere efforts, showing the growth in productivity levels with various charts and statistics. But Swami was always keen on the welfare of the cows and offered very valuable lessons as to how to take better care of them, about their feed and medication etc. He always infused the right amounts of enthusiasm into us for us to give our best at work place, at the same time, providing purpose and focus to our efforts.

Omkara Swaroopa

Every member of the Bhajan group will fondly recollect His days with Swami as the bhajan sessions are some of the most wonderful moments in a student’s life. Here the student would get to offer himself and his talent at the Lotus Feet of our Lord. Swami too, would personally take special interest in watching who was singing a specific bhajan, or who was playing the tabla etc, in almost every session. A number of times He would very lovingly choose to correct the singers on their pronunciation, rhythm or tune. Another time He would choose to teach a lesson or two as well. For example, once when it was time for the bhajans to start, all of us began with Omkaram with Swami’s approval. Swami was standing at the entrance of the bhajan hall at this time. All the boys sincerely shut their eyes to sing the Omkaram the customary three times. Swami slowly bent over to my ear and softly whispered the ultimate truth “Here is the very embodiment of Omkara standing in front of you and what a shame, all of you are shutting off your eyes on me and singing Omkaram!” Wow, what a revelation!

Every moment that we have enjoyed in the Lord’s presence is a breathtaking experience of learning and growth. It is a blissful experience and a great inspiration to face the challenges of life, granting us immense faith in Him. Above all, every experience bestows total love and complete devotion for Him thus drawing us closer to Him and helping us lead a purposeful life.

This is not a dream, it is real!

It was early January 1989 when all of us were seriously preparing for the sports day celebrations. At the same time, even the intra-campus sports competitions were on for the Prasanthi Nilayam campus. I was very actively participating in a lot of athletic events that included the high jump and long jump events. One of the greatest motivation factor for boys to participate in as many events as possible was that if one landed a prize – be it a silver medal or even a consolation prize- one would receive it directly from Swami’s hands. To top it, one would get an opportunity to be photographed with Him.

So, whether one qualified or not, every one tested their mettle at almost every event – sports or games!

On one particular morning, soon after the march past practice, our Physical Instructor wanted us to wrap up the final of the Long Jump event as there was no time to organize this event later. Although all of us, the participants, were not totally prepared, we had no choice but to accede to the instructor’s request.

Even though I had received many prizes earlier for this event and was considered the favourite to win this event, I too was not prepared for this sudden announcement as I had not done the routine warm up that morning. Anyway, the event began marked for the mandatory three jumps, the best of which would be compared and considered for a prize. When my turn came, I too took the first jump but as soon as I took the jump I realized that I had landed on my left foot and soon understood that, either I had broken my ankle or had stretched a ligament. I just could not get up from the landing spot and had to be lifted and carried back to the hostel as I was groaning in pain. That evening in the hostel, I lay on my bed in my room feeling bad and crying for the unfortunate state of mine.

Thoughts were swirling in my mind, ‘While others had got three shots to get their jump the longest, I had to contend with only one, thanks to the injury. Any prize was but a distant dream. I had forfeited a golden chance of getting close to Swami to collect the prize. Secondly, because of the injury, I couldn’t attend any darshans. Atleast, not for the next few days. Indeed, I was in a real mess!’ Lamenting so, I turned to my left as I continued to lie down and covered myself with a blanket as I did not want anyone to notice me crying.

Very soon, I felt a tap on my right shoulder. I thought it would be one of my roommates and lazily turned to check who it was. Take a deep breath here and guess who it was? Lo! It was the Lord, the very Embodiment Of Love standing in front of me! He sported a very beautiful grin on His face. I was completely bowled over and dazed and looked blankly at Him. With twinkling eyes, a radiant smile and with a very compassionate voice He said, “This is not a dream, it is real!” I was speechless and kept staring at Him, not really understanding what was happening. As one may know, Swami does not normally just walk-in to one of the hostel rooms without prior notice or intimation to the authoritiesand that too in the evenings when thousands of devotees are waiting for Him anxiously in the mandir.

Swami was accompanied by Sri V.K. Narasimhan (the then editor of Sanathana Sarathi). Then Swami started explaining to Sri Narasimhan as to what had happened to me. How I had fallen down and stretched my ankle. He went on to say “This fellow thought he would not get the prize and so will not have the chance to receive it from My hands but he has bagged the first prize. Moreover, He was also missing Me as he could not come for darshan and that is why I came to see him!” I pulled myself to sit in a reclining position against the wall, but was totally bewildered and just kept watching the proceedings.

Soon Swami created Vibhuthi and applied it on my forehead saying “you will be alright soon. Do not worry.” I kept gazing at Him as tears flowed down my cheeks spontaneously. My throat was choked and I could not utter a word. I was so shocked at the whole incident that I even forgot to pray for Padanamaskar and express my gratitude. But Swami, a supreme Loving Lord that He is, came close to me, lifted His robe partially just a little above His Feet and asked me to take Padanamaskar. I grabbed His Feet, cried and washed His Feet with my tears to my heart’s content.

I always wonder – Will I ever be able to re-pay Him for all the love that He has bestowed on me? Or is it too arrogant on my part to even think that I could re-pay Him? Can I ever even match His expectations in terms of leading a life that He wants me to? One thing I can say – He has shown me that He has indeed created us and that He is the Ultimate Goal that we all have to reach. He has also shown me that the only way to reach Him is through simple innocent love offered with total sincerity. What can we do, really, to please Him? I can only express my feelings with the simple prayer that we all know:

My Dearest Loving Lord!

Take my Love and let it flow in fullness of devotion to Thee;

Take my Hands and let them work incessantly for Thee;

Take my Mind and Thoughts and let them be in tune with Thee;

Take my soul and let it be merged in Thee;

And Take my everything and let me be an instrument to work for Thee;

For, Thou art the Love of My Life and I am Thine forever.


Samasta Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu