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Conversations with Sai
News letter of Sri Sathya Sai Organization Japan
address: I.S.S, 2nd Fl, 1-3, Kumochi 5-Chome, Chuo Ku Kobe
Tel: 078-222-1885, Email:
June Issue.
( You can print this copy for your record )\
Sai Inspires - JUNE, 2007
To experience the joy that springs from a devotee who has developed Sannikarsha Bhakti (magnetic love towards the divine), one has to show love and reverence towards elders and serve them with humility and respect. Towards equals, one should show love and friendliness. Towards the young, one should extend sympathy and loving care. By these means, we demonstrate our love and regard for the Divine that is in each of them and in us.
Buddha Poornima is one of the main festivals celebrated by Buddhists all over the world. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Vaishaka (usually in the month of May). This day is triply significant for it is believed that Lord Buddha was born, attained enlightenment and also shed his mortal coil on this very day. This year Vaishaka Poornima, fell on 2nd May when Bhagawan was in Kodaikanal. Once Bhagawan returned to Prasanthi Nilayam, the devotees from the countries of Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei prayed to Bhagawan for the opportunity to celebrate Buddha Poornima in His Divine Presence, and Bhagawan graciously acceded to their prayers. Thus it was that more than a thousand devotees and eighty five Buddhist monks from these countries gathered at Prasanthi Nilayam for this happy occasion.
The morning programme on 21st May commenced with Swami’s Darshan at 9.10 a.m. amidst drum beats and sonorous chants of the hymn -
Buddham Saranam Gachchami (I take refuge in the blessings of Buddha)
Sangham Saranam Gachchami (I take refuge in the company of the virtuous)
Dhammam Saranam Gachchami (I take refuge in Dharma or righteousness)
Sathyam Saranam Gachchami (I take refuge in Truth)
Ekam Saranam Gachchami (I take refuge in the principle of Oneness)
Premam Saranam Gachchami (I take refuge in Love)
At 9.20 a.m., Bhagawan formally inaugurated the celebrations by lighting the lamp in front of the beautifully decorated altar of Buddha. The first programme was a dance by the Japanese youth to the accompaniment of Taiko drums. Taiko drums have been a part of the Japanese religious tradition for over 2000 years, and have been used during ceremonies in temples and shrines, inviting God to the place of ceremony. This was followed by the ritualistic bathing of Buddha’s statue with fragrant water. As a symbol of inner purification, this ritual highlights the important message that it is simple to wash away physical dirt but much more difficult to cleanse one’s inner dirt of ignorance, anger and greed.
A lady monk from Taiwan presented Bhagawan with a scripture that contained 84 different names and forms of Lord Buddha, and mantras of mercy and compassion. The morning programme concluded with Bhajans and Arati. Bhagawan returned to Yajur Mandir at 10.20 a.m. after cutting the cake specially prepared for the occasion. A Japanese jellied sweet by name ‘Yokan’ made from sugarcane was distributed as Prasadam to one and all.
In the evening, Bhagawan arrived for Darshan at 4.05 p.m. He was welcomed with Vedam chanting by the youth of Japan. Following this, Mr. Nari Chugani, Chairman, Zone-5, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, offered his salutations to Bhagawan and delivered his introductory address. Mr. Chugani began by saying that Lord Buddha is synonymous with Ahimsa (non-violence), which is one of the five fundamental human values espoused by Bhagawan Baba. He recalled what Bhagawan said during His Ugadi discourse this year. He said that without Shanti (peace) within, one cannot follow Ahimsa and without cultivating Prema (love), one cannot achieve peace. Therefore, all the values hinge upon the fundamental principle of Prema that everyone ought to cultivate. He later introduced and invited the speakers for the evening.
The first speaker was Dr. Venerable Bellanvilla Wimalaratna from Sri Lanka. Dr. Wimalaratna is the chancellor of University of Sri Jayawardhapura, Sri Lanka. He is also serving as the Secretary General of the World Buddhist Sanga Council in Sri Lanka. He has authored a number of books on Buddhism both in English and Sinhalese. The learned speaker said that noble beings like Buddha come to Earth to save the entire mankind from misery and to shower joy on them. He said that Bhagawan treats all the religions equally and advises that one should follow one’s own religion better and be true to that. The speaker then narrated the life story of Buddha briefly and told that Buddha represented the apex of human development and perfection. This perfection is latent in each and every being and can be attained by removing the weaknesses of desire and selfishness, and by cultivating detachment, compassion and wisdom.
Reverend Tulku Gyurme Sonam Rinpoche was the second speaker. Rev. Rinpoche is deeply involved in several humanitarian activities such as looking after orphans and the aged. He travels throughout the world teaching the Buddha Dharma and has established many Dharma centres in USA. The revered speaker said that 2500 years ago Buddha overcame all limitations, transcended the cycle of birth and death, and attained perfection that is the true nature of all beings. Lord Buddha demonstrated that each and everyone can thus attain perfection and eternal joy by removing the inner impurities. Thus, all are Buddhas. This is often repeated by Bhagawan also, he said drawing everyone’s attention to the similarities in the teachings of Lord Buddha and Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Rev. Rinpoche concluded by saying that Bhagawan Baba is verily the incarnation of Lord Buddha.
Next to follow was a drama by the youth of Japan based on the life of Buddha as narrated by Bhagawan Baba. The drama beautifully depicted various incidents relating to Lord Buddha’s birth, how he renounced his royal life, how he performed severe austerities which culminate in his enlightenment, his later years and his passing away. The drama was characterized by excellent acting and powerful dialogues, and conveyed the teachings of Bhagawan in the most effective manner. At the end of the drama, Bhagawan posed for photographs with all the participants.
On 22nd evening, Bhagawan was welcomed in to Sai Kulwant Hall at 4.30 p.m. to the accompaniment of Vedam chanting by the Japanese youth. After Bhagawan was seated on the dais, the evening programme commenced with traditional Japanese dances and performance on Taiko drums and cymbals. This was followed by choir music by the devotees from Hong Kong. They sang many melodious songs, some of which were in English, to the accompaniment of keyboard. The songs were in praise of Buddha and Bhagawan Baba and also contained Swami’s teachings. They concluded with the Bhajan “Sainatha Bhagawan”.
Following this, there was a closing Buddhist ceremony by name ‘Gomadaki’, which was quite similar to the Yagnas of the Hindu tradition. This ritual signifies the burning of bad karma and attainment of purity. Eight Buddhist monks from Japan headed by the high priest Nishi Mori performed the ritual for close to half an hour. The Buddha Poornima celebrations came to a conclusion at 6.05 p.m. when Bhagawan accepted Arati after Bhajans and retired to His residence.
Passing away of Sai Geetha
On the evening of 22nd May, even as the Buddha Poornima celebrations were going on in the Prasanthi Nilayam Mandir, Bhagawan’s pet elephant Sai Geetha breathed her last around 6 p.m. Bhagawan’s devotees would recall that no festival at Prasanthi Nilayam would be complete without Sai Geetha’s presence. She would lead the procession clad in regal red cloth embroidered with gold and a golden piece adorning her forehead. Her love for Swami and Swami’s love for her were unique and unmatched. She had the great fortune of growing up and spending more than half a decade under Bhagawan’s care.
On 23rd May, around 8 a.m., Bhagawan went to Sai Geetha’s stable located in the same compound as the Planetarium. Bhagawan applied Vibhuti on her trunk and eyes, and lovingly stroked her trunk for the last time. He also talked to Sri Peddi Reddy, Sai Geetha’s caretaker, about various arrangements to be made for her burial and returned to Mandir.
Later, at 10.30 a.m., Bhagawan again came to the site to inspect the arrangements. The carcass was shifted from the bathing area where she had collapsed to her palatial shed, which was constructed and inaugurated by Bhagawan just a few months back, using cranes. After Sai Geetha was laid to rest in the pit amidst Vedam chanting and Bhajans, Bhagawan blessed flowers and fruits to be placed in the pit where she was to be interred, and returned to Mandir around 12.30 p.m. There was not a single eye that was not moist seeing the emotional send off that Bhagawan gave to His beloved Sai Geetha.

-----Swami's beloved pet Sai Geetha merged at His lotus feet
Om Sairam dear Sai Family,
I am sure you will be shocked to read this but its true.. our Beloved
Sai Geetha is no more...with heavy heart and sorrow, I want to pass the news of Swami's beloved pet Sai Geetha merged at His lotus feet at around 5pm (local time) on 22nd May'2007.I thought it would be at least another 10 years that I would be narrating her obituary..but....
According to eye witness on 22nd May 2007, this morning Sai Geetha went to the water tub just behind the planetarium and slipped into the water.. She was looking very weak and had sour feet. Her leg was struck in the mud and unsuccessful attempts were made the whole day to pull her out..She was almost in a semi conscious mind. It was a difficult task for the people around her, considering her heavy body and cautious enough to not to hurt her body any further. Many veterinary doctors and others were
with her and she was given saline bottles and also a team of specialist doctors from Kerala,were on the way to Parthi, but Swami had different plans.. She breathed her last breath around 5pm, thus ending a great life, a saga of love between the CREATOR and the CREATION..

Any body who entered the premises of Parthi would definitely peep through the window of the bus to have a glance of Sai Geetha.. It was just an involuntary action. I remember in my childhood days, when the bus just passed by her, we used to scream.. there is Sai Geetha!!! Its very sad that she won't be seen any more. For devotees who are on a sight seeing visit
around the village, would definitely stop by Sai Geetha, silently watch her in adoration, great respect and a bit jealous for winning Swami's heart....

She was of great motivation, adoration and a living example to all the devotees coming to our Lord's abode with devotion but with a little of wavering faith.. Her devotion for Swami was steady, unconditional, innocent, full of love. She exists only to love and adore Him. THAT IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF DEVOTION and this is the lesson that she drove into our minds... that the whole purpose of life is to EXIST for the Lord and there is nothing greater than that.

the saga of Love started in the year 1962 when Swami went to Muddumalai forest, where in the officials spotted a tiny baby elephant who had just lost her physical mother.. Very little did the baby knew that her Sai Ma is coming, to take her to Her home. Immediately she was named Sai Geetha and was shifted to Parthi in a truck. Swami always looked after her so well and every need was full filled.. She was adorned with 27 types of ornaments, ranging from Golden head gear to the silver ankles..
Like a perfect mother, Swami was very particular about the way she should be dressed for important occasions. He would even check very keenly if her silver anklets were polished, and if her dress and ornaments were in tact.
There was no festival or function without beautifully decorated Sai Geetha in Kulwanth Hall.. Swami would make sure that He fed her with various fruits. Even this day, He used to ask the boys to wheel Him towards her or let her come to the stage and feed her..Till late 2000 She would insist Swami to feed her by putting the fruits directly into her mouth and not into her trunk.. But lately she started accepting fruits when Swami very lovingly placed on her already stretched trunk..

Before the construction of the new indoor stadium, the engineers decided to demolish the shed in which Sai Geetha
was living, when this was brought to Swami's notice, He was bit concerned and only after building a makeshift house behind the planetarium with a large bath tub that Swami gave the green signal for the construction of the stadium.

Swami insisted that the New House should be built closer to the road so that she doesn't have to walk a long distance when Swami passes by in the car.. Such was the care and concern Swami had on His darling devotee.

On a personal note, I can't forget the day when Swami inaugurated her house November 18th 2006, where I had Swami's padanamaskar.. Just after Swami left I went to her, touched her and as tears rolled down, I thanked her for the opportunity I got through her...

The days when the stadium construction was in progress were the GOLDEN DAYS for Her as She used to see Him almost every day and I made sure that I run with the car till Her house to watch the divine romance.. when ever Swami left or came to Parthi, her house was my favourite spot. Even on May 19th when Swami cut short His summer visit and drove directly
to Parthi, I was standing by Sai Geetha, watching her for more than one hour and took almost 30 pictures while she came out from her house. She took pictures with devotees and she was in fact giving various poses sometimes raising her trunk, sometimes stretching her trunk towards the devotees She moved very slowly and she seemed to be in pain while landing her left foot. the caretaker
had to force her to come out of the gate just 2 minutes before Swami's arrival. Even though she was excited to see Swami, the loud trumpet was missing.. Probably she knew she had to leave the body very shortly..
Many of us had our own reasons and conclusions for
Swami's surprise return to Parthi and I am sure this is the MAIN REASON for His comeback in the mid of May, to bid a farewell to His CHOSEN pet... beloved
Sai Geetha...

According to reports, she will be buried at her place tomorrow (23rd may 2007) around 6am...
Dear Sai Geetha, I will still stand by your house when Swami passes by.. please ask Him to stop by... even though we wont be seeing you... the memories of your presence will make us happy....

Long Live Sai Geetha.. Where ever you are.. you taught us the purest form of Love for God, the unsullied truth.
We love you... We love you.. We love you....

With pranams at the lotus Feet of our most beloved Bhagwan

Satish Naik from Puttaparthi
(member SBOI-Group)


Sai Geetha news in media
ANANTAPUR: Fifty-four-year-old Sai Geeta, a pet elephant of Satya Sai Baba, died of illness at Puttaparthi, near here, on Tuesday.

The pachyderm, with whom the Baba is emotionally attached, did not even drink water. A host of veterinary doctors and forest officials descended on Puttaparthi to help the animal regain health but in vain.

Following the news of Sai Geeta’s illness, the Baba did not offer darshan to his devotees on Tuesday. It was customary for Sai Geeta to participate in the Rathotsavam on the first day of the birthday celebrations of Satya Sai Baba.

Sai Geeta was one of the two elephants gifted to Satya Sai Baba in 1961 by the then Kerala Governor Burgula Ramkrishna Rao.

reflection of a devotee...
"....Swami always used to go to Brindavan from Kodaikanal as Swami always felt that the heat in Parthi in the month of May was unbearable for Devotees and Swami always felt that Devotees coming for His Divine Darshan should not suffer, Swami also felt that as the Entrance Exams of the Institute and the School including the Primary school would be held in the month of May and Swami did not want any disturbance from His Side to the Boy's studies, Of course, No one but Bhagawan felt that way, But this Year, Swami came back in the heat of May to Parthi, Everyone asked the question, Now they knew the answer, Only for Sai Geetha. When Swami went to see Sai Geetha 2 days back, Swami told The people there "Paapam, Look after her", A Premonition of things to come.

Sai Geetha has merged into Swami once for all.

During the 1984 Sports meet inaugural ceremony in Parthi, Swami had just then Driven into the Wonderfully Decorated Hill View Stadium and Swami's car stopped near the Pillion Riders in the Bikes, Swami was supposed to get down and walk on the Red carpet till the Stage, Suddenly Sai Geetha Refused to move inspite of everyone doing so, she started to act funnily, everyone was at a loss of words, Swami smiled and said to a Boy to "Look under the Carpet", To everybody's astonishment, the boy took out a Huge nail from under the carpet within a Few feet of where Swami was standing, As Soon as Sai Geetha saw the nail in the Boy's hand She started moving, Swami smiled and moved on, Everybody was at a loss for words.

That Was Sai Geetha's Love for Swami. She has forever merged with Swami."


Conversation with Sai Geeta's caretaker

> Q: Uncle, tell us how u first came to Swami.
> A: I did my M.Tech in Physics(!!!) and came to
> Parthi for the first
> time. I saw Swami and was instantly convinced that
> He is God. I do
> not know why.
> After that, I came to Parthi and started staying
> here. My parents
> passed away when I was studying and my siblings were
> taking care of
> me. In 1965, I was called for an interview by Swami.
> He told me in my
> first interview that I would never get married and
> that I would stay
> here for the rest of my life.
> Q: What happened then? Did you come here
> immediately?
> A: Yes, I stayed here. I thought that even if I get
> a watchman's job
> here, it is worth it when I am doing it for the
> Lord. Swami gave me a
> job as a teacher.
> Q: How did you happen to become the caretaker of Sai
> Geeta then?
> A: Swami told me to teach. As I was staying here, he
> said that since
> you stay close to where Sai Geeta is, do take care
> of her also. That
> is how I came to look after Sai Geeta. After
> sometime, the
> planetarium came up and Swami told me to take care
> of it. He told me
> to leave the teaching and take care of planetarium,
> Sai Geeta and the
> canteen. He gave me a room in East Prashanti. Sri
> Kutumb Rao was in
> charge of the Ashram those days. Swami told him to
> give me a room.
> Q: Tell us about Sai Geeta's early days.
> A: Sai Geeta was very close to Swami those days.
> Everyday her duty
> would be to wait outside the Mandir in the morning
> and she would be
> ready with a garland. As soon as Swami would come
> out of the
> interview room, she would garland Him. Swami too was
> extremely
> affectionate towards her and would keep feeding her
> with delicious
> fruits etc.
> In fact, Swami would hold her trunk in His armpit
> and take her to the
> interview room. One day, she did not fit and that
> was the last time
> she went in.
> Swami would grant her interview for more than an
> hour each day. I
> wonder what He would speak to her.
> Q: Uncle, did you never feel that you are so
> qualified and Swami has
> given you such a menial job?
> A: No. I was ready to be a watchman, remember? So,
> this is better
> than that. Moreover, how does it matter what job you
> do. I just
> decided to stay here. My needs are minimal. My
> monthly expense is
> only Rs. 45 (!!!)
> That too is only for my soap, brush and paste. Once
> in a while, when
> Swami gives clothes, I get them stitched. That's
> all. Swami has given
> me free food in the canteen. So, I don't need to
> spend more.
> Q: Uncle, have you never eaten outside the canteen?
> A: No. In the last 30 years, I have never eaten
> anywhere else. I
> don't go anywhere even when Swami is not here. I
> have not moved out
> of Parthi for the last 26 years.(!!!) What need can
> I have? Every
> need is taken care of by Swami. I am blessed with
> good health. I am
> 67 years old now. I have never had any health
> problem so far.
> Q: Uncle, its quite incredible. You have not moved
> out of Parthi!!
> Didn't you ever go to Brindavan either?
> A: No. I don't even know how it looks.
> Q: Did you never feel neglected? Did you never feel
> that Swami is not
> giving you importance?
> A: No. The only important person here is Swami. All
> others are only
> in the delusion that they are 'important'. You must
> first understand
> this.
> You will feel neglected only if you have an
> expectation. If there is
> no expectation, there is no disappointment.
> Q: When was the last time Swami called you for an
> interview?
> A: Swami has called me only 4 times. The last time
> He called me for
> an interview was in 1990(!!!).
> Q: Did Swami never speak to you after that??
> A: Yes, He does speak whenever I bring Sai Geeta to
> Mandir. I don't
> even come for Darshan on other days. He enquires
> about her health.
> Sometimes, if He comes to Sai Geeta's compound, He
> speaks. During His
> 75th birthday celebrations, all the Ashram
> authorities were
> felicitated. My name was not in the list. He
> included my name and
> blessed me with clothes and money.
> Q: Uncle, are you paid for this job?
> A: No. What made you think so?
> Q: How do you manage then?
> A: I told you, I don't have to spend for food. Apart
> from that, Swami
> gives stitching charges with clothes once a year.
> That suffices.
> (!!!!!)
> Q: What about haircut?
> A: I cut my own hair. (!!!!!)
> Q: Uncle, this is true ceiling on desires.
> A: It is not so difficult. I am not giving up
> anything actually. I
> never had anything to give up. I still eat everyday.
> I still bathe
> everyday. What else could I possibly need? But there
> is one thing I
> would like to tell you. You should not spend
> unnecessarily. Spend
> where it is required but not unnecessarily.
> Q: Uncle, don't you ever feel that there are people
> who do not
> practice even half of what you do and are very close
> to Swami
> physically whereas you are so far away doing
> something which is not
> in sync with educational qualification?
> A: I do not even know who are close physically to
> Swami. That keeps
> changing. This does not change. Why to compare? With
> whom to compare?
> I have never even expected to be spoken to by Swami.
> So, why should I
> think of all that. I should do my work and offer it
> to Swami. Let Him
> do what He wants to.
> Q: Uncle, were there any situations where you got
> into trouble with
> Ashram authorities?
> A: Ha-ha. Why do you ask? Anyway, there was a time
> when they wanted
> to dismantle the Planetarium. The then AIP, I think
> his name was
> Satyanarayana- came to me and took my signature
> saying that it was
> Swami's command. Later, Swami called me and asked me
> about it. After
> I told him what happened, He said, "Promise me that
> you will never
> put a signature on anything again". I did that and
> came away. I dont
> know what happened after that.
> Q: You are really great uncle. You have taught us so
> many valuable
> lessons of life today.
> A: No no. Its very easy to be like this. You boys
> are the true
> heroes. You have your offices, studies etc. Still,
> your love for
> Swami makes you come and work for Him. This is what
> Swami wants.
> End of the the Interview.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"He is my swami"
part - I

This is the transcript of the conversation between Mrs. Padma Kasturi, daughter of Sri N Kasturi, and Ms. Rajeshwari Patel, a former student and faculty member in the Anantapur campus of Sathya Sai University aired on Radio Sai a few weeks ago. The dialogue begins after a few words of introduction by Ms. Rajeshwari Patel.
Who has not heard of Prof. Kasturi – the famous translator of Bhagavan’s Discourses and biographer of the Divine life-story of Bhagavan Shri Sathya Sai Baba? Professor Kasturi’s style was inimitable and un-matched. He brought to life for millions of Bhagavan’s devotees’ the thrilling, exhilarating accounts of those early golden years.
One feels as if one is present on the occasion when one reads Swami’s biography Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram. He had a special Kasturi-touch – literally. It would be impossible however to bring Prof. Kasturi to the studio of Radio Sai! But we have a very special person with us today; one who has inherited his precious legacy – maybe not like that of the inheritors of the Tata’s, Birla’s (Popular business families of India) and such; but something richer and more enduring - Divine Grace and proximity.
Smt. Padma - fondly referred to by Bhagavan as Padmamma - is the privileged daughter Professor Kasturi. Less well-known by people generally, she has made her quiet presence felt in the Prasanthi Nilayam ashram for several years now.
Rajeshwari Patel (RP): Welcome Smt. Padmamma to Radio Sai Global Harmony.
Padma Kasturi (PK): Thank you Rajeshwari.
RP: Let us begin first by talking about your father. When did your father come to Bhagavan and how old were you then?
PK: We saw Bhagavan in 1948 in Bangalore; I was just 14 years old then.
RP: Tell us a little bit about your father’s early life – before he came to Bhagavan.
Early Years and First Meeting of Prof Kasturi
PK: He was born in the state of Kerala, in Tripunittura which is in Ernakulam District. He was from a very deprived family – he had lost his father when he was just four years old. His education was very poor and his grand-father wanted him to attend Vedic classes because he couldn’t afford him any English education.
But my grand-mother insisted that he should go through the English Education; so with the help of her brother, he studied up to the high school, and there he got his scholarship and thus he could graduate with Bachelor of Arts (B.A).  Then he got a job in Travancore and he was married when he was just 14 years old!
RP: But his English is so excellent! I mean, the language in Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram and in Sri Sathya Sai Speaks is marvelous!
PK: Yes. Then he came down to Mysore for a job. When he was 21 years old, he got a job in a high school as a teacher; then he was taken to the University and he continued there, and after his retirement, he came to Swami and settled here – he stayed in the ashram for 40 years.
kasturi spacer
RP: So in which year did he come to Bhagavan?
PK: We met Swami in Bangalore in 1948, and in 1947, I had lost one of my brothers – he had a typhoid attack. My father was then very attached to the Ramakrishna mission. When he was in high school, one of his teachers was very impressed by Swami Vivekananda and used to talk a lot about him, from then on my father had become very attached to Sri Ramakrishna Pramahamsa.
RP: Now, who did not get influenced by Swami Vivekananda at their younger age!
PK: My father served as secretary for the Mysore Ramakrishna Ashram for 25 years. But then, after he lost his son, he was very depressed. My mother was a very ardent devotee of Lord Venkateswara of Tirupathi, but they lost all hope.
How The Divine Prepared His Blessed Destiny…
After three months of my brother’s death, he met one of his old friends who was a devotee of Sai Baba. That person had come here for Dasara celebrations. After the function, he came down to Bangalore and gave us some prasadam and said, “There’s some Sai Baba in Puttaparthi. Why don’t you go there?” You will get some solace and peace.
But my mother didn’t like it, and rejected it saying, “No Sai Baba is going to help, because nobody helped me – not even my Tirupathi Rama! How can Sai Baba help me?”
But after that, somehow, my husband – Balachandran – was then a student, studying for IAS and used to come for tuition in the University with my father.
He was a distant relative and used to come there and they were already devotees of Sai Baba. So whenever he came, he used to talk about Swami. My father got little inquisitive and said, “This young man is saying so much about Sai Baba; let’s go and see!” Swami had come to Bangalore and so we went and visited Him there. In the very first visit, Swami gave an interview to my father!
RP: In the very first visit? Were all of you called?
PK: My mother, father and I had gone but we didn’t know if we should also follow him for the interview. He had called my father, so he went alone. And He said everything – about the death of my brother and his working in the college, and then He asked him, “After your retirement, you must come to Puttaparthi and settle down here.”
RP: So, after that first interview, what was his first impression of Swami? Did he come and tell you anything about how he felt? This was a command of settling down after retirement…
spacer sai-smile
PK: He felt some Power; but he didn’t feel that Divinity then; because at that time Swami was too young - He only 22 years old!

RP: Yes. He was only 22 then!
PK: So he said there is something wonderful in this young man. That’s all he felt.

RP: Did he get that solace for which he had gone?
PK: No. Not in the first interview. It all happened only after my marriage. Because when Balachandran was coming to our house from the University tuitions, my father and mother felt that it would be nice if we give our daughter in marriage to him – because he was very mild mannered.
“This is My agya!”
So they went and asked his parents but they were not willing. But through them, they made another alliance! It was almost certain that they would be coming. There is that formality procedure that they had to go through.
So one day – it was a Thursday – my father went to their house. All this was arranged through the Balachandran family. He asked them to bring the other family to our house to see the girl. But that time, Swami was in Bangalore and on that Thursday morning, He came in the dream of my father-in-law and told him: “Come to see Me immediately; I have arranged your son’s marriage!”
RP: So before this meeting could be arranged with that other boy, Swami had already changed it!
PK: Yes. My father-in-law took leave from work and went to see Swami. Swami said: “See, we have arranged for your son’s marriage. For the past six years they have been asking you but you have been rejecting it! She is a very good girl and you must go and get him married with that family. Her father is a Professor and their house is near Wilson Garden…” and He gave all the details! And then He said: “This is My agya (command)!”
RP: His command!
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PK: Yes. So when my father went to their house, they said, “Swami has already arranged, so we should get them married!” My father was very happy when he came home. And the next day both our families went to Him - Swami was staying in Mrs. Nagamani Purnaiya’s house. We all went there and Swami called both - my father and my father-in-law - and said: “This is a very good alliance and you should get these two people married. The marriage will be celebrated here in Puttaparthi itself. You can fix up some date and come to Puttaparthi.”
RP: You had never been to Puttaparthi?
PK: No. So He asked my father to come once to visit Puttaparthi and see the place.
RP: So did he retire after your marriage?
PK: He retired in ’54. We got married in ’50.
RP: And since then he has been in Puttaparthi!
PK: Yes. My father and mother came to Puttaparthi and saw the place then.
RP: But in the intermediate period, before his retirement, did he have any meetings with Swami?
PK: No. Nothing.
RP: So even when Swami came to Bangalore he just went for Darshan?
PK: Yes, just for Darshan – not for any interview. It was only after marriage which was celebrated here.
RP: And of course it coincided somewhat with his retirement too.
PK: Yes. He came in ’54 and then he went back to Bangalore because he was appointed in the All-India Radio as an Assistant Producer. He came back in ’56 because the Sanathana Sarathi (Ashram magazine) had to be started.
RP: Then he passed away in ’87…after practically 30 yrs of retirement!
PK: Yes, after 30 years.
Divine Intimacy At Its Best
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RP: Now, what was the relation between your father and Bhagavan like?
PK: It was very, very close – I could say like a father and son; and even friends. Swami used to like him very much. He would give him good food and would ask him to eat with Him, and also would take him with Him wherever He went on His tours.
RP: He was a translator in those early days as far as I remember – he went with Bhagavan to East Africa too; because that’s where I saw him!
PK: Yes, he went to East Africa and he followed Him on almost all the tours!
RP: And he was a really good translator too!
PK: Yes.
RP: You were saying that he was born in Kerala, then how did he learn the Telegu language?
PK: He learnt Kannada too and after coming to Mysore he wrote so many books in Kannada. And after coming to Andhra Pradesh, he learnt Telegu too.
RP: And he was so proficient that he could translate. He could easily translate Bhagavan’s poetic language too!
PK: Yes, it was a gift for him from Bhagavan!
RP: So pertaining to that intimate relationship, do you have any experiences that you could share with us?
PK: They were very close! When Swami had that paralytic attack, it happened when my father was there and my father was with Him through that entire episode. Also, when Swami was in Goa and had that appendicitis operation, father had to go to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and had booked everything for Swami to go with him!
RP: He was a witness to many of these momentous events in Swami’s life. He was very fortunate to be so close to Him and that is why he was such a good biographer too because he saw everything with his own eyes.
PK: Yes. Actually, when he came to Puttaparthi, Swami told him: “After retirement, you come and stay here and write my biography.”
RP: Oh! So He had commanded him already! So had he started taking notes then?
PK: Yes. Swami told him: “I will help you and will tell you who you must interview. The biography was ready but I think, it was published in 1964.
Prof. Kasturi - A Heart of Gold
RP: Now what about your relationship with your father?
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PK: Since my father was a teacher, he was a guide too for us. Because my family was with Sri Ramakrishna, and since he had liked all those villages and harijan (deprived) colonies, he used to take all of us and the students to serve in the villages – like what Swami does - Grama Seva. At that time there was no feeding but he used to teach them about cleanliness and health all that. Also, if there was any dispute in the villages, he would help.
RP: Oh, so he used to go around door to door talking to them about health and hygiene?
PK: Yes. And he used to ask us children to play with those children so that they would keep themselves clean and the next day their mothers used to give them a bath and keep them neat so that they can play with us! Sometimes he used to bring the villagers and the people of the harijan colony to see the Mysore city!
RP: You were just saying that it was after your marriage, that your father virtually, physically came to Swami – even though he knew Swami since 1948. But do you think that it is your father essentially who brought you all to Swami then? He was already in the Ramakrishna Mission and he was very deeply involved with all those activities so it was a very natural corollary to that, that he should actually come to Swami!
PK: Of course! It was there.
RP: So what sort of an influence did your father have upon you?
PK: My father never liked these japam, dhyanam (chanting, meditation, etc.) and all those things because Swami was very much for these social services and feeding the poor. My father liked that because in the Ramakrishna Ashram too they did these Daridra Narayana Seva - Swami Vivekananda was very much for that too.
RP: So your father was very drawn to that ‘upliftment of the oppressed’.
PK: Yes. He liked those teachings of Swami a lot and was very attracted to that.
RP: So your mind must also have been shaped in that way.
PK: Yes, of course.
Divine Mystery Drowns the Professor in Bliss
RP: What were your reactions to some of the experiences that your father had with Swami? Did he come home and tell you about them? I have heard of an incident, in which Prof. Kasturi was asked by Bhagavan to get properly dressed for a photograph that Bhagavan was to take Himself – apparently for a newspaper article!
We were talking just a while back about the intimacy between the two of them; so anyway, as it turned out that it was a trick that Swami had played on him; because the camera was just a toy one! And Bhagavan had a hearty laugh at the discomfiture of Prof. Kasturi. Were you present then? Did he come home and talk about it?
PK: No. I wasn’t present here, I was in Bangalore.
RP: Any other incidences that you can tell us?
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PK: Yes. I can tell you another incident. Formerly, Swami used to go in trance and give Darshan to some in some distant places.
And after He used to come out of the trance, He used to tell us all that happened there. But father was not very much satisfied – he was not very sure about all that Swami had said after coming out of the trance.
RP: Whether it was authentic or not?
PK: Yes. But once, when father was there in Swami’s room, Swami suddenly fell and went into a trance, and vibhuti came out of His mouth and hands. And after He came out of the trance, He said: “I had been to Dehradun because one Dr. Krishnamurthi – who is coming here to Puttaparthi – his mother had passed away and she was asking for My Darshan and at her last moment, I went and gave her Darshan.”
Then He started telling him who else was there and my father got interested and asked Swami if he could take down notes? Swami gave him a slip of paper and father took down notes as to who else was there and all that happened, etc.
Then Swami said: “A letter will come after 3-4 days and then you can bring your list and tally it!” Then after 4 days a letter came but He didn’t open it however! He sent word for my father.
RP: He knew all along that Professor was not very convinced!
PK: Yes! Then my father went up and He asked him to read both – the letter and the notes - and it was exactly the same!
RP: It exactly tallied with what Swami had told him!
PK: Yes! So my father was very much excited and came running home from the mandir shouting: “Anandam! Anandam!” (Bliss! Bliss!) I was there but I didn’t know what had happened to him! He said: “Oh! We have got Bhagavan! How fortunate we are! Bhagavan! Bhagavan!” He didn’t take any food – he was so excited!
RP: He was himself in a state of bliss!
PK: Yes! My grandmother who was there was very worried: “Oh! What has happened to my son?” When we offered him tea, he didn’t want that either! He said: “No! Bhagavan is here! I don’t want anything when our Bhagavan is here! We have got Bhagavan! Why do I need anything else?”
In those days, during the evening bhajans, Swami used to come in people’s houses. He passed our house and asked my grand-mother: “How is Kasturi? What is he doing?” She cried: “Oh Swami! He is not taking any food! All he is saying is: “‘We have got Bhagavan!’ I don’t know what has happened to him!” Then Swami said: “When the Truth is revealed, that’s what happens. So don’t worry! I will make him alright.”
Then after bhajans, He called him upstairs to His room and He joked with him and gave him something to eat and then He brought him down!
RP: Back to the plane of earth!
PK: Yes. That was a really great thing.
RP: What does it feel like to be Prof. Kasturi’s daughter?
Being Kasturi’s Daughter…
PK: Of course, I am very proud. My father led a very saintly life and everybody liked him and loved him; there was nobody who said anything against him. So to keep it up – as Kasturi’s daughter – it is very difficult. Because as soon as someone says: “She is Kasturi’s daughter!” everybody looks at me in a different way!
RP: Of course, they would! I think some of the nobility has rubbed off on you too. Now, what are your feelings of some of the changes that have occurred in recent years - what Bhagavan was then, and what He is now? Swami is no longer very accessible to us – He was so very accessible to all of you then – does this change hurt?
PK: Yes. Sometimes it hurts me – because I can say that for the past 25 years I didn’t get an interview or anything like that. But I am very proud of it; I am very happy about it – because the whole world has come to Him and they have all realized that He is God.
At that time, the intimacy was so much that I can say – at least for myself – that I didn’t feel the Divinity in Him. The relation was different then. He was like a family member – He used to come home and talk to us and play with the children…
“He is my Swami!”
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RP: And yet, He was closer than a family member!
PK: Yes. But now, even though that intimacy is not there, just the way the whole world is craving to have a glimpse of that Darshan; that makes me proud – because He is my Swami!
RP: Who is being worshipped now by so many people!
PK: Yes. Sometimes I do feel bad that He is not accessible and that those days are gone. I do feel: “Won’t He call me ‘Padmamma’ once more?” I want to hear that sweet voice but it is not there! But I have to satisfy myself…
RP: How do you sustain yourself then? I mean during this period when you know that He is not accessible to us as He was to you – from what do you take strength then?
PK: You just remember all that happened and are happy with those memories.
RP: So you have a lot of memories, isn’t it?
PK: Yes. I have not forgotten those things even though I lived with my father for 19 years. I have forgotten so many other things, but with Swami – from all the interviews that I have got – I have a lot of good memories of all that. I can remember everything and even narrate everything.
(to be continued...)
- Heart2Heart Team
- By Sri Sanjay Sahani
Sri Sanjay Sahani, a former Sai student, was ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
earlier the warden of Sri Sathya Sai Boys' Hostel in Prasanthi Nilayam,
and is currently the Principal of the Brindavan Campus of Sri Sathya Sai University in Bangalore.

"You must have not only freedom from fear, but freedom from hope and expectation. Trust in My Wisdom. I do not make mistakes. Love My uncertainty, for it is not a mistake. It is My intent and Will. Remember nothing happens without My Will. Be still. Do not ask to understand. Do not want to understand. Relinquish the imperative that demands understanding."
- Bhagavan Baba, Sanathana Sarathi, August, 1984
One Last Darshan - The Predicament…
"When are your examinations ending?" enquired Bhagavan, not once, twice, but thrice over a span of a couple of weeks. Each time I replied, "Thirtieth May, Swami."
It was the summer of 1983. We were at that time completing our first year of the five-year integrated programme, launched by the newly born Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (which was renamed recently to Sri Sathya Sai University ).
The mind refused to explore the purport of the repeated questioning as the heart was immersed in the bliss of sambhasanam (divine conversation).
Swami left Puttaparthi for Brindavan on May 8, and we got busy with the University examinations, which commenced the next day. As the days passed, I felt that it would be highly inappropriate to leave for my native town without seeking Bhagavan's permission and blessings, especially after He had so lovingly enquired about the date of the last examination. Thus, it happened that on May 30 with a few of my classmates and the grandmother of one of the students, we boarded the bus for Bangalore and checked into a hotel late in the evening.
The next day we reached Brindavan and waited for our beloved Lord in the Kalyan Mandapam. Bhagavan's residential bungalow had been demolished and ‘Trayee Brindavan’ was under construction. Bhagavan had made Devi Nivas, the house of the Rajmata of Nawanagar (which lies between the ashram and the college), His temporary residence. He would come every day in a car from there; give Darshan to devotees in the Sai Ram shed and then sit with the students and the teachers in the Kalyan Mandapam. As it was vacation time, we appeared to be the only students around and were dreaming of the golden opportunity that awaited us. However, after Darshan Bhagavan moved over to inspect the construction site and thereafter got into the car and returned to Devi Nivas. The disappointment in our group of eight students was palpable for we had railway bookings for that day's departure and our purpose of visiting Brindavan seemed to have been defeated with this turn of events.
A drowning man is willing to clutch even a straw. One of our teachers suggested that we go to Devi Nivas and try our luck. We rushed there but the gates were closed. Bhagavan was inside and we were outside.
Suddenly, a familiar face appeared on the scene. He was one of Bhagavan's car drivers. We recognized each other and he offered to take inside our letters, if there were any. We handed him all the letters for Bhagavan except one, which was with me. Just before leaving Puttaparthi, a senior brother had come to me and cautioning me that it was an important letter, requested that it be handed over to Bhagavan personally. I enquired with him whether I could deliver it through somebody else, in case I did not get the chance to do so myself. The boy was reluctant and said that in such a case I could return his letter after the vacations.
Some time later the warden of Brindavan boys’ hostel came out in his car and we met him at the gate. We explained to him our predicament and he suggested that we write to Bhagavan a letter, which he would then take inside after a few minutes on his return. Thus, we sat and wrote this joint letter to our Lord:
Dearest Lord,
We are your children from Puttaparthi, enroute to our native towns. We pray for your Darshan and blessings before our departure.
All eight of us signed the above letter. Within a few minutes the warden returned and took the letter inside. A few anxious moments passed. Then we saw someone waving to us from the portico of the building. The gates of heaven opened. We threw our chappals nearby and rushed in. As we were climbing the steps of the portico, the door opened and out walked Bhagavan with His charming smile.
“If you need Me, you deserve Me!”
Oh, the bliss of that moment! From the depths of despair we were transported to the heights of ecstasy. Bhagavan had already retired and for the sake of just a handful of students had come out once again. Even at that moment we did not fail to recognize the fortune that was ours. My hands were trembling when I held out my senior brother's letter. "Haath me dene ko bola naa. Haath me dene ko bola" (He asked you to give this to Me in My hands only, isn't it?), observed Bhagavan knowingly. My hair stood on end and a delightful current of thrill passed through my entire frame hearing His words. We were face to face with our God, the Omniscient Lord, the Eternal witness of the entire Cosmic play, but the very next moment we got deluded again. Bhagavan lovingly enquired about our native towns and we foolishly began to inform the All Knowing One. His awesome Omniscience was subsumed in the sweetness of His intimacy.
He distributed vibhuti prasadam to all of us. A student prayed for prasadam for parents and we had a second round of prasadam distribution. Another boy informed Swami that his grandmother was also accompanying us. "Take her in a helicopter." Bhagavan's response again revealed His Omniscience for she had been grumbling the previous evening about all the difficulties we had in securing hotel accommodation for the night.
As Bhagavan turned to go inside, one of the boys, (who had to leave by 1.00 p.m. that afternoon) shouted, unable to contain his joy, "Sairam, Swami." "Sairam", responded Bhagavan and blessed us with His 'abhaya hasta'. We were in raptures over His unexpected greeting and with it He sealed for all of us a cherished memory of a lifetime.
The poet William Blake once said,

To see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.
The Vedas describe the Lord as 'Kalateetaya namah' (The one who transcends time - the timeless being). Truly, in the presence of Bhagavan time stood still and what in reality must have been just a few minutes seemed like eternity.
We had no qualification whatsoever to recommend our case - neither wealth nor social status. We were literally nobody. All that we knew was that we were hungry for Him, hungry for His love. "If you need Me, you deserve Me", declares Bhagavan. "Love My uncertainty." We were being initiated into the ABC of His spiritual vocabulary.
Unpredictable, But Sure, is His Grace!
Years rolled by and I was nearing completion of my final year M. Com. The door of our classroom at the Institute in Puttaparthi opened into the corridor of the first floor and was always locked. Thus, entry to our classroom was possible only through the adjacent classroom. One morning as our class was going on, suddenly the door opened and there stood Bhagavan. It was very unusual and it had never happened before. Even when He had come earlier to the college, He would visit only the science labs, but not the commerce classrooms. That day He had brought some sadhus (saints), who were organizing the Sadhu Sammelan at Puttaparthi. They happened to have a commerce background and so the Lord decided to show them the commerce department.
We all stood up in awe and delight as Swami greeted our professor. The Vice-Chancellor, Mr. S. N. Saraf, who followed Bhagavan into the class noticed one of my classmates and told Bhagavan - "Swami, this boy spoke in the prayer hall today on Swami Vivekananda." “How did he speak?" queried Bhagavan. "Very well", replied the Vice-chancellor. Bhagavan beckoned the student and asked him to take padanamaskar. Then, blessing all of us, He left. Later my classmate told me, "You have spoken many times in the presence of Bhagavan, and I never got that opportunity. The only time I gave a speech, was in the college. But Swami came all the way to our classroom to give me padanamaskar." When, where, how and on whom the Lord showers His grace nobody can predict. We have to love His uncertainty and be ever ready to receive His Grace.
A Divine Lesson
It was 30 December, 1997, the day of the Sri Sathya Sai Unity Cup match, the first-ever international cricket match at Puttaparthi between India XI and International XI. The students and the staff of the university had their task cut out as our Institute was hosting the match with the Prime Minister of India, Mr. I. K. Gujral, as the chief guest. There was excitement in the air, but we were busy with the background preparations. I was allotted the duty of transporting food preparations to different destinations from the three canteens in the ashram.
Nothing seemed to go right for me that day. From the disappearance of vehicle drivers, to the advancing of the lunch break by one hour, to the traffic jam on the road and the resulting confusion - many things went awry that day, upsetting all my plans. After a bizarre sequence of events, when all the guests had left, I was seated in the mandir portico that evening, dejected and utterly disappointed with myself that I had failed the trust Bhagavan had reposed on us with regard to the day's arrangements. I had done my best against all odds, at times even beyond my known capacities and against my own temperament. Yet it was not enough.
Bhagavan came amidst us and told the warden, "I am very happy with the work of the boys and the teachers." Then He walked upto the place where the teachers were seated and pointing to a couple of teachers enquired, "Who all worked today?" "We all worked together Swami," chorused all the teachers and Swami was pleased with our answer. Instantly, my spirits were lifted and the dejection and disappointment that clouded my mind vanished as if in a dream. On deeper reflection I realized that Sai had willed the day's events to be so. What He appreciated and applauded was the sincere, determined and devoted effort put in by each one of us. While the world enjoyed a cricket match, we were learning our own spiritual lessons of devotion and surrender.
Happiness Lies in Trusting His Wisdom!
Bhagavan's birthday festival in 1989 was fast approaching. Bhagavan had permitted me to leave for Delhi after the birthday celebrations to attend to some personal work and return in fifteen days. On November 24, I sought His guidance regarding my departure. He instructed me to leave the next day. After the bhajans, I went to a devotee who had reserved my ticket for that day as requested by me earlier. I apologized to Him and explained the new development. The devotee said that there was nothing to worry and that He would cancel the ticket. It did seem odd to abandon a confirmed railway ticket from Puttaparthi after the birthday and to travel unreserved. But if it was the Lord's plan, then that was it.
I reached Dharmavaram railway station on November 25 night to board the Karnataka Express to Delhi. As the train steamed into the station, I found the train strangely half empty. It was the time Mr. V. P. Singh got elected as the Prime Minister of India. Being election day, most people were in their respective native places and very few were traveling. I boarded one of the compartments and sat on an empty seat. No ticket collector came that night. Perhaps, they were also relaxing with the train being almost empty. I had a blissful sleep that night and the next day I got my ticket reserved. Literally, I could choose my seat as it were. I was mentally thanking Bhagavan for the comfortable journey in spite of traveling on an unreserved ticket.
As I reached Delhi another revelation occurred. My sister, who was an artist, was putting up a painting exhibition. For some reason the date of the exhibition was postponed to the very day of my return journey. Had Bhagavan not delayed my departure from Puttaparthi, I would have left one day earlier as per Bhagavan's direction to return in fifteen days and missed my sister's exhibition. This would have disappointed her immensely. As it happened, due to lack of time I left our residence for the exhibition and from there proceeded straight to the railway station to embark on the return journey. When we live with Bhagavan, the frightening levels of uncertainty that surrounds Him may at times unnerve us, but if we learn to trust His Wisdom and love His uncertainty, He takes meticulous care of everything.
As we look at our chaotic world today, we may believe that God has a plan but it has gone hopelessly awry. The Divine mystery is revealed little by little, step by step. It is like an action packed thriller movie where the suspense is dispelled only after you sit through the entire movie.
We are indeed fortunate to be contemporaries of the living and loving Avatar of our age. It is our duty to rally around Him and join hands with Him in His glorious mission.
The play is His; the role is His gift; the lines are written by Him; He directs; He decides the dress and the decor, the gesture and the tone, the entrance and the exit.
We have to act the role well and receive His applause when the curtain falls. We have to earn by our efficiency and enthusiasm to play higher and higher roles - that is the meaning and purpose of life.
- Courtesy: “Hridaya Brindavan 2005”

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All That Remains is My Sai - Aham Brahmasmi!
By Mrs. Karuna Munshi
Mrs. Karuna Munshi, a former student of Sri Sathya Sai University, Anantapur Campus, after a small stint as a lecturer at the same college in Anantapur, is now keenly involved in the Sathya Sai School of Toronto, Canada.

Happiness is union with God. There is no place without God. Whatever you do, you should feel that it is God’s work. God is acting through your body. He is thinking through your mind. He is working through your hands. If you work with this feeling, there is no chance for the ego to arise. The body is lifeless, just matter. The mind is a bundle of desires. It is just imagination. You are not the body; you are not the mind; you are the Atma (soul). - Baba
It was inevitable! I was born, embedded with the Sai chip. My genome map was carved along the Sai path. The Consciousness of the Avatar of the Kali age, Sri Sathya Sai was embedded in my DNA code. That Sai is an integral part of my genetic make-up became apparent when I took a natural plunge towards Him in my early childhood, upon seeing a picture of His. In Swami I found everything my soul was seeking in order to make sense of my existence and its purpose, including the last piece that completed my puzzle. Finally, my search had come a full circle. All seemed well with life once He came in. My quest was over and all questions had been answered.
From then on, I have pretty much lived a Sai-fi, or rather a Sai-hi life; often going through my daily routine, performing my worldly duties, while being high on the Sai awareness at the same time. There is no fiction in this experience, but only a reality that fulfils my consciousness, yet my limited vocabulary fails to describe.
Everyone has their one special moment with Swami. I clearly remember mine and it is was quite un-dramatic compared to the accounts of people where Swami emerged from a wall or made a sudden physical appearance at an off-site location. Yet, this low key but deeply personal connection has continued to characterize my relationship with the Avatar of the Kali age - my personal hero, role model, my mentor, friend, Saichiatrist and the ultimate love and aim of my life - my beloved Sai, my true Self.
When God Casts His Divine Spell…
It was in July of 1978 at Whitefield that I had my first close darshan of Swami as an impressionable teenager. All I remember is my Mom and I stood in the porch of the college auditorium, waiting for Swami to come out after delivering His summer course Discourse. The volunteer had been unfriendly with us for quite some time and we were desperately hoping for a close encounter despite all her efforts to shoo us away. Somehow, we survived and lingered long enough till He came to the porch to get into the car. There, in that porch, as He walked up towards us, perhaps to take a letter, He came very close to where we stood and looked me straight in the eyes. His powerful gaze peered through me, at something deep within me. It was my Tat Twam Asi (‘I Am That’) moment. My gaze was locked with God’s gaze. He had cast His Divine spell on me and my soul had been awakened in the most sacred and pure way.
A floodgate of emotions just welled up from within me. All I remember was feeling extreme embarrassment - as any self-conscious teenager would - at my inability to stop crying uncontrollably. It wasn’t just few drops of tears flowing down my eyes; I felt an intense need to unburden my soul of something. I had to wash it off with unstoppable tears. I wished the earth would swallow me and somewhere far away from the public gaze, I could just bury my face and cry uninhibited – forever! Strangely, the more I wept, the better I felt. In fact, not just better, but happy, indeed very happy, light and joyous. The connection had been made.
The Crests, Troughs and His Caring Touch
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The Anantapur campus of Sai University
My next close darshan was a ‘car darshan’ at the airport, in our hometown in North India in the summer of 1980. Our flight had just landed and we were surprised to see our entire extended family there to receive us. The welcome was somewhat overwhelming. We soon figured out that they were actually there to have Swami’s darshan as He was leaving by the same plane shortly. So we too joined the line along the road to the tarmac. As His car drove past us, we had another close darshan. A month or so later, I was in Parthi seeking admission in the Arts program at the Anantapur campus of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.
The six years I spent at His College and hostel bore a deep impact on my character development and outlook in life. Those years had many highs and lows and the highs centered around close encounters with Bhagavan and the lows hit us when He was away in Whitefield, Kodaikanal or elsewhere, and we were not able to behold Him, hear Him and receive His direct Grace. I must however point out that the education and exposure to Sai values that I received at Anantapur was within a simulated environment where almost everyone was like-minded in their devotion to Swami and His teachings. And surprisingly, despite the conducive environment, it wasn’t that easy to stay on path, razor thin as it has been described by the Vedas.
It was only after six year's of stay in Anantapur, when I returned home and got married did I really realize how much harder it is to live up to Sai ideals in the outside world. The challenge was to live in the world without letting the world suck me in. I suddenly realized that Swami had now enrolled me in the school of some really hard knocks. Till then, I had been subconsciously programmed to view the world from the Sai lens. Needless to say, my naivety and a serious lack of worldly wisdom proved my biggest challenges. I had so much learning and growing to do. And through my many failures, I learned and continue to learn all the time.
Initially, I was shocked to find that just being a good and sincere person was not enough to get on in life. I was flooded with so many conflicting expectations, values and opinions. It was hard to make sense of the world and my place in it. At times, it felt like I was hurtling down a dark tube, like the one in amusement parks, at super speed and had no control over anything. At all such moments, I held on to Swami’s Lotus Feet in my heart and recalled His Divine Form before my mind’s eye. Chanting His name controlled the flow of my breath. Every time I took recourse in this medication, my palpitation subsided and I felt strong and courageous.
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Mrs. Karuna (far left) in a group interview
Inside the dinning hall in the Anantapur campus hostel
My Courage and Constant Companion - My Sai
When I got married, my parents sent me off with a beautiful picture of Swami, which He had autographed. This lovely gift came just in time from my friend in Anantapur. It was the most important item in my trousseau. I carried it as my shield and armor. Did I ever need it!
I vividly recall how I had stuck this picture of Swami, inside the back wall of my steel cupboard, which stood in a corner on the balcony of my flat. Every time I wanted a reassurance or needed to reset my internal button, I would step out into my secret corner on the balcony, part my saris on hangers to reveal the Beautiful Form of my Sai with a smile on His lips. I had my private moment with Swami right there, in that corner. My home bore no other image of my Sai at that time. I guess, as they say, the time was not right then. Everything must happen at the right moment; and the right moment continued to elude me.
Sai Baba - Sanjay
Precious moments with the lord...
Talking of time, what a strange control it has over our destinies. It is the eternal flow that defines an infinitely changing continuum - as past, present and future. When the going in my life got tough, I held on to Swami’s advise to us during our final interview where He said that as long as we live well in the present moment, the future will be take care of itself. The present had emerged from the womb of the past just as the future lies dormant in our present, He had counseled.
Embracing such consoling words and holding on to my faith that all would eventually settle down and become “normal”, I continued to pray to Swami to become a wholesome part of my family life, so that I could claim my Sai heritage fearlessly.
Nearly two decades and a million humbling lessons later, I can stand tall and claim with utmost confidence that my Sai stood by me, with me and in me throughout, at every single moment, even though I consciously forgot Him many, many times.
With time, my expectations continued to evolve and the reality set in as I matured. Swami fulfilled so many of my desires beyond my wildest expectations. Even in the most bitter of experiences, I saw His saving Grace come to my rescue. He consoled me, chided me, corrected me and held me by His hand and guided me to the right decisions. As I look at my life now, in its every twist and turn I see His caring touch. I can never forget that New Year day, nearly two decades ago.
Wonders of His Grace
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I had been married for less than a year and lived in New Delhi, India then. I woke up on January 1, 1988 totally ecstatic and proudly announced to my husband that the coming year would be a wonderful one for us because I had seen Swamiji in my dream that morning and He had clearly granted me a padnamaskar and placed His hand on my head to bless me. I knew Swamiji’s dreams were visions that conveyed deep meanings.
Soon after, my husband left for Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh on some business. He had an early morning train or flight to catch. A few hours later, on my way to my office - not too far from our flat in Mayur Vihar - on the very first day of the new year, I met with a severe road accident where I was flung off a scooter on which I was pillion riding. I only remember sensing some danger, even as I was chanting the Mahamrithyumjaya mantra and then everything went blank.
I was later told that I somersaulted across a very busy road at one of Delhi’s worst intersections at peak rush hour and landed on the other side of the road with my head hitting the curbside. By the time I gained consciousness - a kind family whose last name I still remember being Goyal - took me in their Maruti van back to my flat where my Dad was visiting us and then along with my Dad, they drove us to the Emergency ward at the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital. I was hurting everywhere and was diagnosed with multiple cuts, a dislocated shoulder and broken rib(s). And my head hurt unbearably due to a massive head concussion.
What was worse was that through all that pain, I was left to wait for a doctor to stitch the deep gash in my knee in a ward where some police officers were most callously recording the statement of a lady on a nearby bed. The dying person was burnt badly by her vicious husband and his mother because of some dowry dispute. I was traumatized by being within that poor victim’s earshot and by hearing her heart-wrenching tale. What further aggravated my pain was the apparent heartless nature of the two police officers who were recording the dying woman’s statement in such a matter-of-fact manner. I wanted to scream out of fear. My Dad knew I would just break down by the tragedy of that other person more than by my own injuries.
So we decided to forego the stitching up of my knee and instead filled the deep gash with some vibhuthi, the sacred ash that he had in his wallet. He also applied it over my face and everywhere else where I was bleeding. There in that ward, together we prayed to Swami, cleansed the wounds and did what in our minds was the best cure and the fastest route to escape from that torture chamber where no medical professional was keen to attend to either the dying burn victim or I. We collected our X-rays and fled home in a taxi.
With time, my knee healed completely and the dislocated shoulder and ribs too were on the mend. Till date my chest x-ray shows a crack or two in my ribs. However, those ghastly headaches continued to haunt me and my parents and I continued to pray to Swamiji for help and guidance as He is and has always been our only anchor in life. I was advised to go for a CAT scan and consult a neurologist. Being new to the city, I did not know where to begin but then I immediately remembered Dr. A. N. Safaya, the Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and currently the Director of the Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospitals in Prashanthi Nilayam, who I had met with my parents at Parthi when I was a student. I suggested to my husband that we seek his help in getting me a quick CAT scan and neurologist appointment.
Sai Baba - Sanjay
I arrived at Dr. Safaya’s office feeling a bit anxious. I wrote Aum Sai Ram on the visiting card that I sent in with his personal assistant, hoping that the sacred name on it may jog his memory and he may make the connection and somehow remember me. I was getting nervous as I did not want him to get upset at my taking the liberty of calling on him without any prior notice. He was, as he still is, such an important and busy person. It had been a while and I had not kept in touch. I was hoping he hadn’t forgotten me completely. As usual I was counting on Swami to do something.
He soon called us in to his office and was pleasantly surprised to see me. The first thing he said was that he and his wife had been remembering me just the other day as they were watching a video of Baba’s 60th birthday celebrations and the University Convocation the previous day where they had seen me receive my degree from Swamiji. They both had wondered what had become of me and where I was. And now I was in his office, seeking his help with my head concussion! Is there a detail that Swamiji ever misses? Needless to say, my CAT scan for the head concussion went off without a hitch and soon those awful headaches disappeared as well.
I have had countless experiences where Swamiji has showered His protection and Grace upon me in the face of imminent grave danger and protected me just as the lid protects the eye. Such instances were usually preceded by a dream where He granted me a padnamaskar. I later changed my prayer, seeking dreams where we could converse and avoid the padnamaskars, ominous as they proved to be. The blessing He conferred upon me in my dream on January 1, 1988 was to brace me for the big bang that awaited me later that morning.
I am happy to share this one of my many experiences to illustrate how He has watched over me for decades after I graduated from His University and continues to guide and protect my family. I am convinced that Swamji’s Love and protection gave me the gift of life and saved me that day from something far worse.
Reconnecting With Him Everywhere
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In those days, when I was still deeply attached to Him by this invisible and secret umbilical cord in my heart, I often prayed for His dreams to feel connected to Him. At times, I just pinned for Him with a broken heart. I begged for His sacred and blessed presence in my life. The pangs of separation were the hardest to bear on festival days because I was so used to celebrating them in Parthi with such devotion.
To make up for this lost inheritance, my visits to places of worship increased significantly, and I gladly seized every opportunity to visit temples, churches, gurudwaras and mosques. I felt His presence in the hallowed premises of every cathedral I set foot in and saw His Divine Face in every deity I beheld. In Goddess Durga, I beheld His compassionate and understanding gaze. In Krishna, I visualized His mischievous smile, taunting at my misery and severe separation anxiety.
I remember vividly one day when I was scared for some reason, and I found a match box with an image of some deity on it and instantly I remembered Swami and prayed hard to Him, holding the match box tight in my sweaty palm as my talisman. Even though His physical form was not visible around me, He was the unseen centre of my being, filling all my experiences with His presence.
While I joyfully shared all my dreams and visions of Baba with my husband, the experience of His endless help and love through the course of my day at home and office was entirely mine. Who in their right mind would believe that a “person” no matter how special, living in a distant village in South India could possibly be so involved in all my thoughts and actions? Each of us is destined to grow into that understanding in our own time.
The Superlative Sai-fi life
Today, nearly twenty years after graduating from His University, I continue to be His student, His child and daughter. My need to learn and grow never ends. In my newly acquired wisdom, I have chosen to hand over the responsibility of raising me upright to my Divine parent. And what a good job Swami is doing of teaching me to trust His sense of timing!
Time, the great determinator, has chosen the present moment when nearly all members of my family are directly or indirectly involved in Sai work and support my interest and enthusiasm towards the Sai movement.
His Grace has been the blissful anesthesia that has lulled my senses to any pain during bad times. His Grace has also kept me awake to His presence in all happy and good times. His Grace further makes me aware and reminds me to accept all times, good or otherwise as His prasadam and with unwavering confidence in His judgment. I keep enjoying my Sai-fi life, savoring every blissful moment and accepting every not so blissful moment as His will also. Once I surrender this sense of doership, all that remains is my Sai, my friend, my mentor, my hero, my role model, my Bhagavan and my true Self. What a peaceful realization, to be one with my Tat essence! Aham Brahmasmi!

A Mother Like No Other
By Mrs. Mallika Desu

Mrs. Mallika Desu is a former student of the Anantapur campus of Sri Sathya Sai University. Actively engaged in various community service activities in the USA, she is the former president and current vice-president of SSS Centre, Amherst, Massachusetts.
Without Swami, Parthi felt like a lifeless place. I was staying in the Anantapur students’ dormitory in Prashanthi Nilayam, along with a few other girls waiting for Swami’s return to Parthi from Whitefield. At that time, my family lived in Assam in Northeast India. I had chosen to stay in Parthi for the short winter vacation instead of traveling all the way to Assam where the political climate was highly disturbed at that time.
The Un-Nerving News…
Soon a telegram arrived at the girls’ dormitory, addressed to me. It bore a message that sent a chill down my spine and made me feel sick to my stomach. I was so scared and confused. I learnt that my mother had been involved in a fire accident. She had suffered severe burns. The telegram read that my mother’s condition was “precarious”. Being a young student, I was unnerved beyond capacity and had to ask my friends what exactly the word meant.
On realizing the gravity of the situation, I prayed to Swami to help her and my family in this crisis. Soon another message was received of her being airlifted to New Delhi, the Indian capital, for better treatment. I was gripped with fear and felt very lost. At that moment, I needed Swami more than ever. In the confusion that followed with regards to the news of her condition, Swami arrived in Parthi. He gave a fleeting Darshan and retired to the Mandir.
I so much wanted to tell Him the state of my mother and plead with Him to save her life. However, before I could even get to the Darshan ground, the news of my mother’s passing away arrived. Needless to say, I was devastated. I felt so helpless and miserable. I was 18 years old, all by myself in Parthi. My Dad was in Delhi where my mother had passed away and my two younger sisters were by themselves in Assam during this moment of intense grief and loss. As a family, we were scattered and shattered by the shocking death of my mother.
Only a Divine Mother Can Understand!
Finally, a long, sorrowful night ended and I sat for Darshan in the first line, close to the Mandir, right off the verandah on the ladies side. It was the morning Darshan of November 11 in 1982 and a Darshan I will never forget. Looking kind and compassionate, Swami started the morning round by coming straight to me. Our Professor of English, Dr. Zeba Bashiruddin spoke to Swami about my loss the previous day. I was too shell-shocked and grief-stricken to verbalize anything. My mind was numb with sorrow.
Swami looked at me with His eyes filled with compassion, and spoke to me very kindly. He said “Yes, yes, life dene se bhi prayojan nahi. Eye sight bhi nahi hai” (‘Even giving life was not an option…she lost even her eyesight’). Those around me later told me that while I was weeping inconsolably at that time, Swami paused several times and gave me many opportunities to control myself, in my own time, so that I could listen to what He had to say next.
Then with the patience and calmness that only a Divine Mother can display, He explained to me that my Mom was in such agony that even if I saw her, I would have thought that it was better for her to pass on than to live such a life of misery. He waited again for me to finish another round of crying. This was the only time anyone had spoken to me about the situation or given me some details about it. My entire information was based on the couple of telegrams with one-line messages. He understood my need to deal with such chilling details, which were later confirmed by my family.
“You have Mother Sai, don’t cry”
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My sole refuge, my dearest Swami, was standing in front of me and all I could do was to cry harder. And He let me do so, since I hadn’t had a private moment to grieve till then, staying as I was in a dormitory with other girls from our college.
Finally Swami gave me an assurance that has become my maha mantra for life, my ray of hope, my pillar of strength, my sole refuge and my personal beacon of light. He said to me: “Kya ho gaya, ek ma gaya, to thousand mother hai. Sai Mata Hai. Don’t cry.” (‘What is the matter, one mother is gone. You have a thousand mothers. You have Mother Sai. Don’t cry’).
He then materialized vibhuthi and gave it to me, followed by a padnamaskar where I washed His feet with the tears of my pain. After that, He just walked away to continue His usual darshan.
Even though He had given me complete attention for several minutes, when He resumed darshan, I was stunned. For me, my whole world had changed and nothing at all seemed normal with the world. How could He just walk away and resume His normal routine? I wanted everyone and everything to come to a stand still. Life around me had to stop, just as mine had.
Most Important Lesson - Devotion to Duty
Swami always says, “My life is My message”. After consoling me, when Swami walked away from me and resumed His usual Darshan, He imparted to me the priceless lesson of equanimity and devotion to duty, both of which constitute the value of Dharma or Right Action. Bhagavan always says pleasure is an interval between two pains.
Sai Mother
Mrs. Mallika Desu in smiles with Swami
We should treat both dualities with an equal calmness. Moreover, ups and downs in life need not bog us down and are not an excuse to stray from the path of righteousness. Often times, even though I recall these lessons in hindsight or simply struggle to remember them at critical moments in my life, Swami never fails to deliver His promises.
Soon, both my younger sisters arrived from Assam and we grieved together. Being the oldest, I felt very protective of my sisters. A few days later, I pleaded with Bhagavan, “Swami, will you protect us?” The Divine Lord assured us “Yes, I will always protect you.”
During subsequent weeks, Bhagavan allowed me to continue staying in Parthi, even though college had reopened in Anantapur. He gave me much attention in terms of materialized vibhuthi, prasadam and padnamaskars till I felt ready to return to college and hostel.
The entire experience of grieving such a deep loss at His Lotus Feet proved to be a profoundly life altering experience, a lesson that has come to my rescue many times ever since. His promise to be my Sai Mata or Divine Mother, equivalent to a thousand mothers and the assurance of protection, have always both come true for me.
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During the Convocation of the Institute in 1984...
Any Danger Can Be Averted By Her!
After completing my education at His University in Anantapur, I got married and moved to the United States of America. It was in the summer of 1986 when my husband and I were driving on a highway at 80 miles an hour. A nail punctured the tire, sending the car out of control at very high speed. In panic, I started shouting ‘Sai Ram’, ‘Sai Ram’.
The car spun a complete 360 degrees and finally stopped on the shoulder (unused part of the road), out of harm’s way. Amazingly, while our car was spinning out of control at such high speed, no other car came in our way or hit us. Everyone managed to somehow avoid us or stop in time. Soon, someone helped us out by mounting a spare tire. Such a close tryst with danger left us shaken but safe. It also served to remind me of Swami’s assurance to always protect us.
Sometime later, I developed acute abdominal pain and was rushed to the emergency. Tests revealed an ovarian cyst, which needed to be removed surgically, given its size. The entire procedure called for a week of hospital stay. I was scared and nervous as there was no one with us, in terms of family or friends for support. As always, I prayed to my Sai Mother, my thousand mothers, to come to my aid.
No sooner had the doctors taken me to the operation theatre than my cyst burst and a simple procedure was enough to deal with the situation. I was allowed to return home the next day. Doctors were puzzled at the sudden turn of events.
Sai Maa Keeps Her Promise Again!
Again, on July 24th 1990, I was expecting our second child, my daughter Suma in Blacksburg. Other than my husband, there was no one else, such as a motherly figure around to calm me during labour.It had been 22 hours since I had started to experience contractions but was still not ready to deliver. Moreover, I felt very weak from such a prolonged labour.
At this point in time, the doctors determined that I should consider taking the epidural. The very thought of having to endure that big needle on my spine in addition to the terrible labour pain I was already undergoing was highly distressing. I was so tired, upset and fed up by now that in my anger, I yelled at Swami and most sarcastically reminded Him of His Sai Mata promise.
I blamed Him for depriving me of my mother as well. Immediately, at that moment, in the maternity ward of the Montgomery County Hospital, I beheld a clear vision of Swami and my mom standing right beside me, on either side of my bed. Immediately, almost without any effort, our daughter arrived.
The delivery happened so fast that my husband had to rush to get the nurse. Everyone was amazed as only a few moments ago, the gynecologists had determined that the delivery was still a fair bit away and since the labour was not progressing too well, I needed the epidural. My Divine Mother had arrived, along with my own mother in an astral form to reassure me and help me tide over the crisis miraculously.
Over the years, as I struggle to cope with the many challenges as a wife and a mother of two teenagers, I find my solace in the awareness that no matter what, I always have a Mother, an eternal Mother who is ever ready to help me, guide me and comfort me, right here, with me. She transcends the limitations of time, space and mortality.
She is the most compassionate, forgiving and all accepting. She is the coolest Mom in the universe. She is my Sai Mata and I am Her darling daughter! What a privilege and an assurance! I can never be grateful enough for this blessing of Unconditional Divine Love and acceptance. My world makes a lot more sense when I see it as an expression of Sai Mata’s Divine Will and accept life’s challenges, knowing that with Her by my side, I can deal with just about anything.

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Teach Children The Joy of Giving
By Mrs. Rita Bruce

Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba called Mrs. Rita Bruce and her husband for two interviews to guide them with the publishing of a new manuscript. When the manuscript was complete, Bhagavan said, "Call it Sathya Sai Parenting; it is for all my devotees".
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'Teaching self-discipline to children' is a chapter from the book 'Sathya Sai Parenting'. It is about the importance of inculcating discipline in children. In this interview Bhagavan stresses on the need for morality-based education and discipline-based parenting.
Character Through Example
Have you ever thought that if we don't tell our children, "No," how will they ever learn to tell themselves ‘No’? Stop and think about this, it is very important. Swami says, "Parents have the primary responsibility to mould the character of their children." The character is moulded through our example, instruction, love and discipline.
The subject of discipline has been continuously emphasized by our Beloved Baba. He says, "Ninety percent of the blame for spoiling the behaviour and character of children, go to the parents. They show too much unintelligent affection and give too indiscriminate a freedom to them."
Apply the 'Brake' of Self-Discipline
Why is discipline so important? Because we would not even get out of bed in the morning without discipline. It is the function of the conscience that tells us to ‘Stop’. To stop sleeping too long, eating too much, crying too long, etc. It is the conscience mechanism that controls our behaviour. Would you put your child in a car without a brake?
Can you imagine yourself driving a car without a brake? It is the same with our behaviour; discipline is the brake. The car is our body, our action, our personality. As of now, the children are driving their bodies without using the brake of discipline. They are out of control. Their behaviour is not in accordance with Swami's teachings.
Now, what we are seeing in the Western culture is children who control their parents. In a way, the children are ruling the parents, instead of the parents governing the children. This is not a correct situation. Sai says, "The parents are to blame for three-fourths of their children's behaviour. When parents allow the children to go astray, sometime or other they will suffer the consequences. It has become fashionable in the Kali Age (present times of value degeneration) to let the children have their own way. The parents give a free rein to the children instead of controlling them."
Materialism vs. Morality
In my opinion, our generation has seen the greatest "annihilation of morality." We have experienced the great revolution of immorality. Many of the values that existed for our parents are non-existent today. We have had to emotionally and psychologically accept what is, while longing for our memory of family values that once existed.
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Divorce was the rare exception and only for extreme cases. Swami says, "When materialism goes up; morality goes down. When morality goes up; materialism goes down."
This is our dilemma. Our society has lost its moral fibre because of its focus on enhancing our physical life with more and better products, as well as pleasing ourselves, fulfilling desires, regardless of spiritual expense.
What has happened to the moral strength gained by the struggle to overcome difficulties which sustained the pioneering spirit of the older generation? We live in such physical comfort that our children are pampered into indolence.
It has cheated and impaired their spiritual character. Spoiling them has made them weak. They do not know how to fight for survival. We have certainly failed them.
Because of the industrial and technological age, we became consumers of comfort and pleasure. We wanted our children to have everything. We watch the commercials on television, followed their advice, and bought and purchased and consumed ad nauseam. We discovered that happiness couldn't be purchased for ourselves or our children.
You can't buy happiness, period. The children only want more......why? Because we did not teach them or ourselves how to apply the brake of self-discipline. We are programmed to be consumers. We have bought into the marketing strategy, hook, line and sinker.
The 'Me' Generation: A Subconscious Conditioning
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We work, work, and work. Why? To have a higher standard of living? Do we really need as much as we have? When we keep purchasing goods, we are teaching our children by our example to continue the same behaviour. The manufacturing companies love it.
Swami says, "Waste of money is evil, teach children not to receive anything for nothing. Let them earn by hard work the things they seek."
Love and discipline have been replaced by purchasing power. We buy items to tell our children how much we love them. We reward our children with gifts if they study, do a chore, or correct a negative behaviour.
We are controlling them with rewards, physical rewards, not teaching them the self - discipline that rewards the child by building their self esteem.
It is the inner reward that counts. People need character to sustain themselves. Just think about yourself. Don't we all want to earn our own way? We seek independence, not dependence.
Often, people find receiving more difficult than giving. But we are not teaching our children to give, thus we have a "me" generation, with very low self-esteem.
One night, Swami gave me an insightful dream. I was struggling to understand the cause of the "me" generation. In the dream Swami told me that my generation, the first to raise children with television, was unknowingly, subconsciously programmed by the commercials on television.
All of the commercials were targeted for parents who had the money to buy items for their children and family. For example, only the best detergent for diapers, the best baby food, the best products for cooking, etc. Every household had been subtly programmed to create parent peer pressure, in addition to the peer pressure created for our children.
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If the neighbour's child gets a Barbie Doll that was advertised on television, the other parents in the neighbourhood feel obligated to do the same for their child. The same peer pressure is extended in countless ways. For example: birthday parties, dancing lessons, sports events, etc. Rarely on television are the children programmed to give to the parents.
In previous generations, children were trained to help. The parents taught the children to support them and to be grateful for their parents. They learned to help them grow crops, take care of the small children, do chores, assist in the family business, etc. The emphasis was on the children helping the parents.
In this modern age of material comfort, the emphasis is on parents doing everything for the child. Very rarely do you see anything on television, in the commercials, films or sit-coms that addresses the issue of children helping and respecting their parents? How are they to learn? How do we stop this avalanche of self-centeredness instead of selflessness?
Swami says, "Apart from educational programs, do not look at television at all, especially while taking food. Concentrate on the work at hand, whether it be eating or anything else."
Since parents are responsible for developing the character of their children, it is our duty to teach them the joy of giving to others.
Parents Must Take Back Responsibility
Few are going to teach them in our western society. We parents must take the reins. How can we do this? When the children are very young, we talk to them about the joy of giving to others. The small child can bring the newspaper for dad to read, the diaper for the new born member in the family, the napkin for grandma's lap, the cookie for a friend. This is character development.
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The emphasis is on the child helping first its parents, then its family members and friends which eventually extends outwardly into society ending in service to God, and service to man is service to God. The husband and wife set the example by giving to each other. The child will observe and learn.
But example is never enough. Teaching must also be there; speak Swami's truths and use discipline to influence the behaviour that is desired. If the child will not bring a napkin to the grandparents, then you tell them why they need to help others.
"We can only give love through serving others," says Swami. It is the joy and love that we extend to others that brings true happiness or union with God.
Now a small child may not understand what you are teaching, but you are planting seeds to programme his sub-conscience with Swami's wisdom; you are creating and developing his future behaviour.
If your emotions express joy while you are explaining, the child will respond to the emotion. If the child does not comply, you will need to correct the behaviour with some form of discipline. Swami says, "Discipline means the observance of certain well-designed rules. Without such regulation it is not possible to maintain humanness."


- A Little Story from Bhagavan
The Winning Smile

Once it happened that Krishna, Balarama and Satyaki who were quite little boys at that time, scarce four or five years old, strayed into a thick jungle, all alone. Darkness fell, and there was no way of reaching Gokulam! Of course, as you must have guessed already, it was a stratagem of Krishna. Even at that age, he would do nothing without a deep purpose behind it and the purpose would invariably be teaching someone some good lesson.
They decided to spend the night, just where they were. Krishna put fright into them with his descriptions of ghosts, ghouls, and demons roaming in search of human prey. He proposed that two of them sleep for three hours at a stretch while the other one keeps watch.
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Sai Chinna Katha
Little Krishna, Satyaki and Balarama stray into the forest
Satyaki takes on the demon
It was Krishna’s duty to keep awake and be on the lookout from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Satyaki was to be vigilant from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Balarama was to start his part of the duty at 1:00 a.m. and keep on till 4:00 a.m. Satyaki sat up at ten and Balarama and Krishna laid themselves on beds of dried leaves and slept soundly. Meanwhile a demon did actually present himself before the little Satyaki.
He fell upon the boy, who resisted heroically, dealing and receiving hammer strokes with fists with a good deal of clawing and biting in between. The demon had to retreat at last, leaving Satyaki badly mauled, but happy. The two brothers were sound asleep. They had not been disturbed in the least by noise of the encounter. Satyaki had met blow with blow, and dealt injury for injury. At 1:00, he awakened Balarama and stretched his body on the heap of leaves, as if nothing had happened.
The demon invited Balarama, too, for combat and had to retreat humiliated, because Balarama too was as fierce as he, and his blows were even more terrible than Satyaki’s. Balarama too curled himself into the bed at 4:00 a.m. after awakening Krishna who was to keep watch in Brahmamuhurta, the auspicious hour when Gods are to be propitiated, that is, until dawn.
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Sai Chinna Katha
Krishna keeping watch over an exhausted
Satyaki and Balarama
A smile of love that disarms a thousand demons
The demon came roaring like a wounded tiger, and advanced furiously at the little Divine Boy. Krishna turned his sweet charming face at him, and rewarded him with a lovely smile. That smile disarmed the demon. The longer he came under its influence, the weaker became his vengeance and venom. At last, the demon became as docile as a lamb. When the other two awoke, they were surprised at the victory that Krishna had won by the weapon of Love. You cannot destroy anger by anger, cruelty by cruelty, hatred by hatred. Anger can be subdued only by forbearance. Cruelty can be overcome only by non-violence. Hatred yields only to charity and compassion.
- Baba
Illustrations: Ms Vidya, Kuwait.
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1.Sai Inspire,2.Buddha Poornima prog.2.Swami's Beloved Pet Sai Geetha.4.Conversation with Sai Geeta's Caretaker.5.He is My Swami by Mrs Padma Kasturi's daughter.6.Love My Uncertainity by Sri Sanjay Sahani.7. All remains is My Swami by Mrs Karuna Munshi. 8.A Mother like no other,by Mrs Malika Desu.9. Teach the Children "The Joy of Giving By Mrs Rita Bruce. 10.Chinna Katha A little story from Bhagavan "The Winning Smile"

Ram Chugani
Kobe, Japan