November 23 is Baba’s birthday. For a long time I have been itching to write something about our beloved Bhagawan. May be this was destined to be written today.
My earliest memories of Bhagawan go back to the year 1975 when I heard that he was visiting a home in our neighbourhood in Mumbai. Till date, I cannot recollect if this was a reality or an illusion as I was barely 6 years old then. I had the good fortune of visiting Puttaparthi in Oct 2009. Friends, this is from the bottom of my heart – Puttaparthi is truly a heaven, a paradise on earth. Especially the sanctum sanctorum, the colours, designs, the architecture .....how wonderful they are !
On a short visit to Bangalore in the year 2003, we had en-route to our trip to Mysore, visited a house which was the home of a great devotee of Bhagawan .One elderly couple who had come from Australia informed us that in one of the places, if you kept your handkerchief on the lotus feet of Bhagawan and took it after sometime, you could smell the fragrance of a rose flower. Believe me, there was no rose shrub anywhere in the vicinity of the house. We also experienced this miracle.
To be frank, the visit to Puttaparthi was an experience mired with mixed feelings. One lady who travelled with us on the bus from Bangalore to Puttaparthi encouraged us to accompany her so that she could help us out with the accommodation. But as soon as she got out of the bus, she vanished. She had some huge bags with her which she had purportedly bought for some purchases. Then one of the so-called volunteers came forward in the guise of helping us but he too said that we needed to bring our income tax pan card or some other proof of identification to get accommodation in the ashram. After close to running around for 1 hour to avail of a decent accommodation, we got a room in a nearby place.
We refreshed ourselves and proceeded to the Ashram. One elderly lady scared us saying that the purse or bag that my wife was carrying was too big and we would be refused entry into the Ashram. We rushed back to the hotel and came back empty handed.
The darshan of Baba was splendid. I realised that Baba had become old when I saw him being brought on a wheel chair. The recitation of Rudram, the bhajans , the Nagarsankeerthana (where you walk on the road singing bhajans) .... all these were great spiritual experiences for us. Much later, my brother informed me that after Baba left the sanctum sanctorum, one has to sit and meditate there and absorb all the positive vibrations.
There are ample food counters in the ashram. But for everything, there are separate queues for ladies and gents. That can be a real problem because you are not allowed to take your mobile inside. So, one has to decide on a particular place to meet after the lunch/ dinner. The so-called volunteers are really doing a great disservice to Baba by displaying emotions like anger, arrogance and attitude. That is the main issue in Puttapardhi. Baba says – “Help ever , hurt never”, but why this message has not reached his so-called volunteers .... ? Even in Bangalore, in some of the Sai-mandirs, the behaviour of some of the volunteers is repulsive.
There are lot of reports questioning Baba’s powers to bring out objects from the air. I really am not bothered about all that.T hey say that the coterie around him is not allowing people to interact with him. Can we fault God if the priest in the temple is knowingly committing a sin ?
So, I will never ever question Baba. I have complete faith in him. For all those who ridicule him, I have a question to ask – Have you ever heard Baba’s fantastic explanation of the Gayatri Mantra ? Have you heard Baba’s religious discourses ? Those cynics who cannot understand Baba are well advised to shut up as they do not qualify to comment on such a divine phenomenon.
For the followers of Bhagawan – he is the eternal one. He is the conduit to reaching God. That is enough. Whenever I have had problems, I have poured out my heart to Bhagawan. He has never failed me. One of our neighbours in Mumbai was an ardent devotee of Baba. Once, udhi (holy ash) emanated from the photograph of Baba which was placed in the pooja room in the devotee’s residence. It was a miracle. May be this is mystical but non-believers or cynics need not bother to comment on this. Whenever I have read / heard that the benevolent Bhagawan has brought out a ring or a miniature idol I used to long for something like that. But more than that, Bhagawan Satya Sai Baba’s grace is more than enough for me.
Baba says that he is most happy when someone full of misery comes to him because he is that person who needs Baba’s help the most. One night my mother was suffering from high fever. My father was travelling at that time. I merely applied udhi on my mother and kept chanting Baba’s name the whole night. The fever vanished the next morning.
All of us need to ponder for a minute about the kind of social service that Baba has done. Forget the magic. Forget the coterie. Think about the hospitals and educational institutions that he has built. So many Westerners are greatly influenced by Bhagwan Satya Sai Baba.What are they seeking ? They are seeking peace of mind and that is what Bhagwan is assuring them. Bhagwan insists that we all should find 10-minutes of our time to pray. Whenever I miss out on my daily prayers, I feel terribly guilty.
Bhagwan Satya Sai Baba is a legend. I do not mind tolerating the idiosyncrasies of his so-called volunteers.I do not care about the restrictions laid out for entry to the Ashram. For me, his darshan is more than enough.His blessings are what I seek.
I pray to the Almighty to give Bhagawan Satya Sai Baba a long life. Let the Lotus-feeted Bhagawan continue to enthral his devotees for many many years to come....
“Prayer is the very breath of religion. For it brings Man and God together and with every sigh, nearer and nearer.” – Bhagawan Satya Sai Baba.
Long live Bhagwan Satya Sai Baba.