How I became part of “His” Story

None comes to Him accidentally…and every one reaches Him at the right time, as willed by Him…none early, none late…and He alone decides who should stay back and enjoy…who should go out and live…with Sathya Sai, life is no more ordinary, as it turns into something Divinely Spectacular…but before coming unto Him, He allows us to exercise our will, finally to surrender to Him, for Him to decide. Sri Harishkrishan, who was with The Prasanthi Reporter from its inception, shares how he was drafted into Bhagawan, by Him in His own inimitable fashion…


I know that it is easy for us to think that He does not care about any of us leaving. After all, there are new students coming in every year. That however is far from the truth. He feels the pain of separation many times more than we do. So kindly at least give a letter and take leave off Him before you go for your job.” These words of a classmate of mine had touched me deeply. I have no idea to this day why he said this to me but that is what stopped me from leaving Parthi on the night of March 31st.

It was the All Fools Day of 2005. It was the first day after I completed my Masters of Business Administration in Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, 2 years after I had set foot in Prasanthi Nilayam for the very first time. Two very memorable years as a Sai Student.

Bhagawan arrived in my life as a photograph when I was about 7 years old through the medium of my newly-wed aunt and uncle. My mother, more out of a need to not offend the new member of the family than any real conviction, explained to me that this is the photograph of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He teaches that all religions are one and that there is only one God. He is the incarnation of the age. It was pure theory that she had read in some book.

Inspired by that statement at that easily mouldable age, I became very close to This Name and Form. No matter which temple I visited, I always addressed the deity as ‘Sai Ram’. This most pleasing phase however had to come to an end because a most dastardly thing happened: I grew up. The faith of the innocent child cannot face up to the half-baked intellectualism of the teenager. Why does He do miracles? Somebody told me that the aunt of a guy who is the neighbour of another girl who is the distant cousin of the close friend of the aforementioned somebody mentioned that Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was against miracles. Now that settles it. I am not His devotee any more. However there was a problem. I was (and am) addicted to that name.  I know no other name for God. Fortunately I have an alternative who shares the name. I can be devoted to Shirdi Baba. He is now not in this plane and therefore is beyond question. Convenient Rationalisation of Devotion. Boy, the teenage mind is muddily.

It was the final exams of the 12th standard board exams, the time when the devotion to the Lord peaks for all students of all and no faith. That is when I armed myself with the Sri Shirdi Sai Satcharitra. Completing the study of that awesome book, I could not pray for marks but could only yearn and pine and mourn over the fact that I was not able to serve Him. I then looked at the photo of Swami and thought to myself, ‘Yeah! Yeah! You are there. I know. You say you are the same Shirdi Baba but…’

All these thoughts were fluttering through my mind as the bhajans started on that Apr 1st morning. Bhagawan had not yet arrived for Darshan. Morning Darshan was taken for granted on those days. Was it possible that He will not come this morning? I was to leave for Bangalore immediately after Arati. I had an interview scheduled the next day and I had to buy a good tie for the same.

Ever the restless mind, it moved from this thought to the final year of my Engineering – an year without any focus. The year I wrote GRE, TOEFL, GATE, CAT, MAT, BAT, FAT, HAT and any other exam anyone with an institute and a printer was ready to conduct. There was one more exam to write. I had a call letter from the college in Puttaparthi whose very existence I was not aware of till my mother, who was now a big time devotee, forced me to apply. I did not want to go. It is a college without girls. ‘What self-control are they going to teach us if they don’t provide any distraction?’, I questioned my mother. ‘Let us find out. Just for my sake, write the exam. We will take a call later.’, was the silencing reply from her.

Reluctantly, I had set foot in Puttaparthi in the sweltering heat. Clearing the written exam, we were assigned teams for the group discussion. The topic was interlinking of rivers and I quoted Rajini Kanth. Do I need say more? The interview went well and I was confident of making through but not of joining.

Two days later, from our home in Chennai, I called up the Institute with hopes that I had not made it through. That way, I need not make the decision. It would be made for me. “Unfortunately”, the voice on the other side was extremely Cheery. “SaaaiRAAAM! Congratulations. You are selected.” After the high that the words, “you are selected” gives, I was down in dumps with my dilemma again.  This was free education. If after getting selected, I don’t join, I will be wasting someone else’s seat.

After much deliberation, I summoned my parents (that is how spoilt I was) and said, let Swami make the decision. Pack your bags. We are going to Kodaikanal. Standing in the serpentine lines for Darshan, I held a letter with a huge multiple choice question in my hand asking Him if I should accept the admission in University of Texas Dallas, if I should attempt CAT another year, etc.. etc.., and finally if I should join MBA in SSSIHL. My mom came excitedly towards us and said that she has got token number 1 and will be sitting in first row and asked me for the letter. I was reluctant but logically I thought it made sense and gave it to her. Once we went in, we also got to sit in the first line. So my imagination went like this: Swami will come down for darshan gliding away in His impeccable style. Accept the letter from my Mother and on reaching near me throw it at my lap with the correct option ticked Miraculously. I had decided the Miracle for Him. Now that I had given the story, He just had to act His part. How simple I had made it for Him…

There were sounds of hushes everywhere interrupting the silence that had naturally existed in Sai Shruti (Kodaikanal Ashram) that day. Bhagawan came out and stood in the balcony. I sat transfixed at that self lit countenance. He did not come down. He did not take any letters. From the balcony He showed His finger and called someone. Someone else ran towards Him, with a loving but stern smile. He indicated to the disappointed devotee to go back to his seat just with His one finger much to the amusement of all. In the land of Rajini Kanth and Kamal Hassan, here was a person who could captivate you way beyond the Kollywood stars. My naturally hero worshipping heart had fallen for this personality. I no longer felt that I am going to a religious institute for studying MBA. I realised that I am going to spend 2 years in proximity with this Personality. That was a reason more than enough. Packing my bags again. Puttaparthi here I come.

(to be continued…)

II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II