I Am The Pilot Of Your Life…

At a time, when in dire need, he called Him out to save his life and instantaneously He responded, with He Himself piloting his plane, piloting his life, piloting him to safety…as was prophesied by Bhagawan earlier…a wonderful narration of an everlasting memory of His Life Saving Grace, by Group Captain V Mehta. Group Captain Mehta (Retd) is currently serving as Senior Aerodrome Officer at Sri Sathya Sai Airport, Prasanthi Nilayam.

An alumnus of National Defence Academy, Pune, India, one of the best defence training institutions in the world, I was commissioned at the young age of 20 as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force. I received Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘visiting card’ in 1975 and ever since Bhagawan has been guiding, protecting and taking total care of not only me but my entire family.

I was posted as an instructor at the National Defence Academy in 1974-75. My sister and brother-in-law with twin sons were also in NDA. Brother-in-law, Prof. Basant Sibal taught chemistry in NDA for many decades. One of the twins, Sanjay was not keeping well as he had a hole in the heart (systolic murmur). This kind of problem is not uncommon in infants but the hole normally gets filled up on its own and there is no requirement for any treatment. But in Sanjay’s case, it was not so. Sanjay was, therefore, being taken to all kinds of doctors but there was no relief. The doctors were of the opinion that he would have to undergo an open heart surgery. The parents naturally were keeping this as the last option. As someone informed them of Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s supernatural powers, they agreed to hold a Bhajan session in their house to seek Sai Baba’s blessings for Sanjay’s cure.

On the day of the Bhajan, I got a telephone call from my brother-in-law to join them in their planned prayers to Baba. Though unwilling because of being a staunch follower of Arya Samaj, I went with my family since the call was from my sister’s husband. The Bhajan started and everyone sat quietly listening to it. During the Bhajan, one of the singers said that she saw Sai Baba walking in the house. All the family members just exchanged smiles and within themselves thought that the Almighty is Omnipresent and she was not telling us anything out of the normal. Lo and behold, soon everyone witnessed Vibhuti appearing on Sai Baba’s photo and kept increasing in amount. It was surely a hair raising experience for all. However, my wife, Nandini did not take it too seriously and said that these were Siddhis (yogic powers) and could be got by following some spiritual practices. Sanjay did not get cured by this prayer session and was taken to Puttaparthi. In Puttaparthi, Swami blessed him and he successfully underwent open heart surgery and has fully recovered.

The shower of Vibhuti on Sai Baba’s photo on that evening in the month of November 1975 was a visiting card of Swami for me and I was totally convinced about His supernatural powers. However, it was not the same with Nandini. Every time I spoke with Nandini about the incident in Prof. Sibal’s house, it ended in a serious argument; and, at times in total disagreement, loss of peace and harmony in the house.

In October 1977, I came to Coimbatore for a course. Since I had a very strong desire to have Sai Baba’s Darshan, I took a short leave during Dasara and proceeded to Puttaparthi. In Puttaparthi, I had very blissful Darshan of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and happily returned to Coimbatore to complete the course. I continued to pray to the Lord to do something with regard to Nandini’s lack of belief in Him.

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba did graciously answer my prayers and transformed Nandini in a beautiful way. By the time I returned to Bareilly after the course, Nandini was a changed person. Sai Baba had started coming in her dreams every night and she had even been to Puttaparthi in those dreams. She said we would not only go for Bhajans at other places but start having these sessions regularly in our own house. What a miracle indeed! Later when she came to Puttaparthi, she even confirmed that these were the same places she had seen in her dreams. Since then she has an unshaken faith in Sai Baba and worships Him whole- heartedly.

Interestingly in 1983, Swami, in an interview, created a beautiful ring from thin air and put it on my right hand ring finger. Swami stated that this was for my protection. Besides this, Sai Baba pronounced, “You are a pilot. I will be the Pilot of your life.”

Instant Help in Grave Emergency

In 1986, as a supersonic fighter combat leader, I was posted on deputation for a period of two years to Iraq to train their pilots in combat flying. During my stay in Iraq, while flying with a pupil pilot in Sukhoi – 7 supersonic fighter aircraft on 1st March 1987, I inadvertently went into a right spin due to some malfunctioning of the flight controls.

This aircraft has only one engine but a very powerful one which can take the aircraft to more than twice the speed of the sound. Unfortunately, the engine also had stopped functioning. This became even more serious multiple emergency when the height was just about 10,000 ft. and the aircraft was descending at the rate of 300 ft. per second. This high rate of descent of the aircraft would give only about 30 seconds to dig a hole in the ground. The only safety in such a situation are the ejection seats in the aircraft.

However, before taking this action of ejecting from the aircraft, I called out from my heart to Sai Baba for help. Lo and behold, the Lord’s help came instantaneously. It was felt that some “Unknown Hand” had taken charge of the aircraft and it started to come out of the spin. Now it was time to restart the engine, which on ground takes almost 60 seconds to start. However, it took about 25 seconds only. By this time, the aircraft had come down to barely 100 ft., but it came out of the multiple emergency safely.

Totally shaken, I flew back the aircraft without any further problem, thanking the Lord all the way. Needless to say, the aircraft was grounded for a long time and investigated and repaired before it flew again. Iraqi authorities gave a letter of appreciation to me.

Omnipotent Saviour

At the end of the day of this incident, I returned home and narrated the incident to my wife. Both of us thanked Sai Baba for protecting me but the story does not end here.

My tenure in Iraq got over in October 1988 and I was posted as Station Commander of an Air Force Base close to Lucknow. In January 1989, Sai Baba granted an interview to me and my wife in Puttaparthi. In the interview room, I prostrated before Sai Baba and thanked Him for saving me from near death situation on 1st March 1987. Swami very lovingly started narrating the whole incident and then suddenly stopped, saying, “Past is past.” After the interview, my wife said that although she understood a lot about flying having been married to a pilot for the last 20 years, but she understood this very serious emergency better when Sai Baba narrated it.

It would be prudent to learn from the above incident that Swami saved me in the air while He Himself in physical form was in Puttaparthi. Thus, He has no barriers and He is omnipresent. Today He is not in His physical body, but in His omnipresent form continues to be with all His devotees, helping them, guiding them, protecting them.

II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II