Loving Sai Ram, and greetings once again
has been a long time since I talked to you, more than four
months in fact. As you all know, Swami left Puttaparthi for
Brindavan soon after Sivarathri. I was supposed to go too,
but I had to stay back since we were about to launch our broadcasts
on AFRISTAR service to Africa and Europe. There were several
matters that needed my personal attention, and I just could
not take off till I had completed all these tasks. Finally
I was able to leave on 23rd March and be once more in the
physical presence of Bhagavan Baba. By the way please note
that right now, Radio Sai can be heard 24 hours daily, from
Ireland to Japan and in Africa too! Isn't that great?!
summer was very different from the preceding ones, last year's,
for example. As you perhaps know, when Swami is in Brindavan,
He holds what are known as Trayee sessions that Swami's boys
look forward to very much. This year there were a few such
sessions in the beginning but soon they were suspended. No
doubt there was wide-spread disappointment but I personally
was happy because to me it seemed that Swami DID need physical
Few have the foggiest idea of how heavy is Swami's physical
load. He is God in human form no doubt, but have we not heard
Him tell us again and again that where His body is concerned,
He will not invoke any of His special powers, leaving everything
to His disciplined routine? In practical terms, what it means
is that His body too requires rest because it too is bound
by the limitations He has ordained as Lord God, on all human
There was also another thing. Swami's knee appeared to be
bothering Him. He did not give any indication of it, but those
who were in His physical proximity knew about it. In fact,
after He went to Brindavan, Swami took the unusual step of
using a golf cart to return in the evening after Bhajans,
from the Sai Ramesh Kishan Hall to Trayee. After the Bhajans
were over and after taking Aarathi, Bhagavan would leave by
the door behind Krishna's statue and then ride the golf cart.
Normally, Swami bends backwards in refusing any aids or things
like that. For example, when it drizzles and He is walking,
He flatly refuses umbrellas. If such a One was now using a
golf cart, it really meant He was having a lot of difficulty
with His physical body just as you and I would have.
Incidentally, this prompts me to narrate an incident that
took place in Brindavan. This happened before the hip fracture,
and in fact Warden Narasimha Murthy made a brief reference
to it in his talk which we have broadcast many, many times.
This is what happened. One day, upstairs in the Mandir, Swami
was talking to some of the people who work inside the Mandir.
Swami asked one of them who serves Bhagavan a lot, "What
do you want?" This person replied, "I want nothing
Swami." "Don't be shy. I will give you anything
you want" - that was Swami. The other person now said,
"Swami, I really want nothing. Why at all should I want
anything when You are there for me?" "No, no, that
is different. Tell Me what you want at the personal or material
level. I shall give you immediately." This loyal devotee
then replied touching Bhagavan's knees, "Swami in that
case, please cure Yourself. I cannot bear to see You have
a problem." There were tears in the eyes of the devotee
as he spoke. Swami was deeply moved, obviously. Slowly He
said to the others present, "Look at this man! This is
I narrate this incident for an important
reason. This is the way one becomes dear to the Lord. Now
of course, people would immediately say, "Listen, you
are absolutely crazy. How many people can be physically near
to Swami and say such things? This clearly is not a suitable
way to become dear to the Lord." Legally perhaps, such
an argument would have validity. But we are here not talking
of law but about Spirituality. So, from a spiritual point
of view, what lesson does this incident have for us? Simply
1) We must wish for the well being of others without wishing
anything for ourselves.
2) We must also look upon the others as God. In that case,
wishing others well is the same as wishing Swami well. Let
me illustrate with an example.
There is a man and his mother is ill. He prays to God: "Lord,
please cure my mother. Physically she is the mother of this
body, but in terms of the love that she has showered on me,
she is God personified. In that sense, my prayer is, please
cure Yourself! You alone have the power to do that, and I
can only pray. Kindly heed to my prayers." Such things
have worked in the past and will continue to work in the future.
Some people pray in a slightly different manner asking that
the illness be transferred to them. There are many variations
possible. What I am trying to drive at is that the way to
become dear to the Lord is via the Heart. It is the Heart
to Heart connection that offers the opportunity to become
dear to the Lord.
Let me get back to the Brindavan diary, if I may call it
that. As the month of May approached, rumours were in full
swing. Some were betting that there would be a Summer Course
while others were busy trying to detect signs of an impending
Kodaikanal trip. True to His nature, Swami kept both groups
guessing! It is nice to play such guessing games and look
forward to such events, but I was concerned from a different
angle. To start with, both such events meant extra physical
strain for Swami. And then there was the expense. People little
realise how much money has to be spent for all this. It is
one thing if these were the only activities in the Avatar's
Mission. In the forties, in the days when Swami resided in
the old Mandir, things were different. At the present time,
it is an altogether different ball game. Swami has many educational
institutions to run, hospitals to look after, and added to
all this, there is the massive drinking water project for
Madras. All these cost money, a lot of it in fact. That is
why I worried about additional financial burden.
Anyway, middle of May, Swami went to Kodaikanal, but as it
turned out, the stay was unusually brief. Presently I shall
not say much about the Kodaikanal part of the stay because
we intend to broadcast a whole series on it later. Let me
just say that the timing of the Kodai trip was such that it
ruled out all possibility of a Summer Course after that.
OK, came June, and it was time for a new academic year to
start. Normally, our Institute reopens on June first but this
year, the first of June happened to be a Sunday; the reopening
was therefore scheduled for Monday, 2nd June. On 4th June
Swami was supposed to visit the residence of the Chief Minister
of Karnataka and on the 8th, He was supposed to make His annual
visit to the Sai Darshan Centre in Indiranagar in Bangalore.
It was widely expected that after these two engagements, Swami
would leave for Puttaparthi. Of course, the Bangalore people
were praying to Swami that He should extend His stay since
He could rest properly and all that, but Baba brushed aside
all those entreaties saying, "You may not have work to
do but I have!" So it seemed very much on the cards that
Swami would leave say by 9th or 10th. The betting had started.
On June first, Sanjay Sahni the Principal of the Brindavan
Campus, prayed to Swami to come to the College and bless the
commencement of the new academic year with a Divine Discourse.
In previous years, Swami has done this many times. This time
Swami said to Sanjay Sahni, "You ask the students to
assemble in the Sai Ramesh Kishen Hall, and I shall speak
to them here." Thus it was that we had a special Divine
Discourse on the morning of June 2nd. I believe we have broadcast
that Discourse, and you probably have heard it.
June 3rd went off as usual, and on June 4th we were all waiting
for Swami to come out in the morning for Darshan. He did not
come out at the usual time. May be He was busy and so we continued
to wait. Ten minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes and 40 minutes.
No sign of Swami. We were beginning to get worried. And then
word came out from inside the Mandir, "You can all disperse.
Swami is busy and will not come out in the morning. He will
give Darshan later." And so we dispersed. Some wondered
whether Swami's absence was in any way connected with His
proposed visit to the house of the Chief Minister. My mind
worked differently. As I was going back to my room, I was
beginning to have some fears. This sort of thing, namely Swami
missing Darshan, had happened on rare occasions in Puttaparthi
earlier, and on those occasions, there was always a physical
problem; once it was with the eye. What was it now? Just at
that moment, Narasimha Murthy, the Warden of Brindavan who
was walking that way, whispered "I think Swami has had
a fall." At that time, no one really knew what had happened,
and so this was I would say, an inspired guess.
Around 8.30 AM, a few of us who have access went inside the
Trayee Mandir via the back door to get some authentic news.
We discovered that all doors leading to the upstairs where
Swami's room is located, were barred; no one could really
go to Swami's room! Even the so-called close people could
not have access. All we could see from downstairs, the circular
central hall of Trayee that is, was the door of Swami's room
upstairs, and it was closed. So we all waited below. We waited
for one hour, two hours, three hours, and the vigil went on
and on. No one thought of breakfast, lunch or whatever. Occasionally,
we sipped water.
Around four O'clock in the evening, three people somehow
managed to go partially up the stairs near to Swami's room;
their idea was to somehow go to His room and find out if any
help was required. This process obviously generated some noise,
and as a result, the door of Swami's room opened. We who were
watching from below became excited. And through that door,
Satya Jit who is with Swami all the time came out. He beckoned
the people who had come there to come inside. Clearly, Swami
wanted them to go in. They went and came out in five minutes.
We were told that Swami was fine and resting and would give
Darshan soon - that is all. We dispersed.
However, there was more to all this, as I discovered only
much later. Between 4.30 PM that Wednesday and night of that
day, much happened of which I was totally ignorant, though
I was just a few feet away in the Guest House. Next morning,
as I was going for Darshan, I was informed that there would
be no Darshan. I then immediately withdrew to my room. Sometime
later, I went to the office of Mr. C.Sreenivas to talk to
him about something. I was informed, "Mr. Sreenivas has
gone to the General Hospital. He is not here now. We do not
know when he would be back." I did not attach much significance
to this answer since Sreenivas is connected with the General
Hospital in Whitefield, and it seemed a natural thing for
him to go there to attend to some matter or the other. Hours
passed and Sreenivas did not return, but this still did not
arouse any suspicion in me!
Around 1 PM, the Vice Chancellor Mr. Giri knocked on my door.
I was most surprised to see him there. He had come to Brindavan
the previous day to call on Swami, take His blessing and go
to America on a short trip. He could not see Swami, and so
he cancelled his trip at the very last minute. This I was
not aware of. He now told me, "Do you know Swami has
had a fracture and has been moved to the hospital for surgery?"
I was stunned. There I was just a few feet away and I knew
nothing of what had happened. In a way, it was because I was
immersed in work. I am made that way, and I just do not have
time to look around or talk to people and fish for information.
Anyway, the Vice Chancellor and I decided immediately that
we would rush to the hospital. In our naiveté, we both
assumed that Swami would be operated in the Super Speciality
Hospital. So we rushed there. The hospital wore a normal look
which sort of puzzled me. If Swami is here and that too as
a patient, this is not how the hospital would be looking.
What's going on? Just then we were informed that Swami had
been taken to the General Hospital. Suddenly things began
to fall into place. Sreenivas was absent because he was setting
things up in the General Hospital. It was, incidentally, a
Thursday. The authorities decided that the hospital would
remain closed that day. Around 10.30 or so, Swami was taken
there, and by the time the Vice Chancellor and I reached there,
it was close to 3 PM. Just as our car approached the hospital,
we found Seva Dals on the road furiously waving our car away.
And before we knew what was happening, we saw a convoy emerge
out of the hospital and drive away. Strange, no ambulance.
Nevertheless, it was clear that Swami was being taken back
to Trayee. We rushed behind that convoy, and by the time we
arrived, Swami had been taken to His room. It was all over,
in no time at all.
Two days later, Saturday that is, in the morning, I went
inside Trayee Mandir, just to be physically near Swami. I
did not entertain even the slimmest hope of seeing Him - it
was just unreasonable to have any such expectation. And you
know what? Swami sent for three of us who were waiting below,
Dr. Safaya, the Vice Chancellor, and myself. We went up, to
Swami's room. This was the first time I had entered it. I
saw Swami lying in bed. It was a hospital ICU bed meant for
patients. It was almost a surrealistic sight. Swami was wearing
His robe. He was partially covered with a blanket the like
of which He had distributed in thousands. And He had a gorgeous
smile. I forgot all about His fracture. To me He looked like
the Lord reclining on His bed in the Ocean of Milk, as the
scriptures say He does. He did not give us any chance to ask
any questions. With surprise He asked the Vice Chancellor,
"What, you did not go to America?" And the Vice
Chancellor replied, "How could I Swami, at a time like
this?" Swami was touched and replied, "Bangaru".
I was deeply moved and in tears. Swami then told us, "I
am fine. I have to be, bathed as I am in the torrent of Love"
- Prema Pravaham was the actual phrase He used. He then told
us not to worry and we were given permission to withdraw.
About a week later Darshan started, but in
an unusual manner. It was a Sunday I think, and the boys of
the Brindavan campus were asked to quietly come inside the
Trayee Manidir and sit in the circular hall. They then sang
Bhajans. Swami came out of His room, stood in the upper balcony,
and gazed down with much love. Swami was not quite OK, but
it was obvious He just could not keep away from devotees and
His students. Soon, this became the new style, shall I say?
Every Thursday and Sunday, Swami would come out into the upper
balcony, while boys below sang Bhajans. Besides the students,
a few devotees were also permitted into the central hall.
Slowly Bhagavan would start going round the circular upper
balcony. Half way across, He would receive aarathai. And while
completing the circuit and returning to His room, He would,
from upstairs, greet people below and ask questions, like
how is the Madras water project going, and so on. Devotees
below who were quite satisfied with just a glimpse invariably
found this too much and often wept like little children. It
was an amazing and a most moving sight. What about women?
They were gathered in the lawn outside, and Swami, after finishing
His Darshan from the upper circular veranda, would go into
His room and wave to the ladies outside from His window facing
This went on for a couple of weeks, and all
the time, Swami kept sending messages that He would soon come
out. And it did happen sooner than we expected. How? Well,
there we have an example of the Love of the Lord for His devotees.
You see, moving about after a hip fracture is no joke. First
one walks with a walker and then one takes a few steps. It
is a process that takes weeks if not months. Swami was short
circuiting the entire process into days. And mind you, He
was not doing with His Divine powers, no way! Instead, He
spent a lot of time exercising Himself! How? Every morning,
at four AM, He would go round and round the upper balcony
in Trayee for one full hour! Imagine that, all so that He
could give Darshan as early as possible.
then came finally the day when He went out from Trayee to
the Sai Ramesh Hall and the Sai Kishen Kalyana Mandapam for
the first time after the fracture. That happened as follows.
In the third week of June, a big group was supposed to come
from Texas in America to Puttaparthi - by that time, Swami
was expected to be back. After the fracture, a message was
sent to the leader of the group to postpone the trip, especially
on account of the shortage of accommodation in Whitefield.
But the group did not pay heed and came anyway. When they
arrived, the locals asked, "What's the use of your coming?
Swami will not be giving Darshan for some time to come. You
will not be able to see Him nor stage the Bal Vikas play you
have been planning." And do you know what those devotees
said? They said, "We don't care about all that. If your
father is not well, would you not rush to be by his side?
Swami is our Father, and that is why we have come. To be near
Him is important; the other things are not." They were
a model for all of us over there. They spent their time praying
and doing Seva. And the children kept on with their drama
practice even though according to all forecasts they did not
have ghost of a chance of staging the play.
never go in waste. As they say, prayer is God's only weakness.
And so it came to pass, that Swami suddenly announced, "This
Thursday, I shall give Darshan in the Sai Ramesh Hall. I shall
then go to the Kalyana Mandapam and see the play." The
reaction of the American devotees was electrifying - they
were so filled with joy. Came that Thursday, and Swami came
out in the golf cart, drove through Sai Ramesh Hall, and went
into the Kalyana Mandapam. And He sat there for the entire
play. We who were there just could not believe it. But that
is Swami's compassion.
guess there are other things I would like to say relating
to the fracture that Swami allowed to happen to His body but
that would have to wait for another talk. For the present
let me just say this: Through this hip fracture, Swami taught
us all many new lessons. Of course, the lessons would be evident
only if we are sensitive enough to observe, absorb and digest.
Hip fracture can be most painful. For sixteen hours or so,
Swami just ignored it, and later allowed it to be treated
the way anyone else would be treated for a similar fracture.
And you know what? He did not go to any fancy hospital or
even to His own Super Speciality Hospital but to the General
Hospital [which incidentally started as a tin shed with just
one tube light three decades ago]. And in that hospital, He
was operated upon by the same orthopaedic surgeon who, as
a part of his normal duty operates on thousands of poor and
needy people. The same is true of the eye surgeon who operated
on Swami's eye that day. For this country, this is a most
important lesson. Even today, many of our VIPs simply dash
off overseas for the slightest treatment they need, sometimes
for mere check-up. Or else, a doctor is imported from overseas
at enormous expense to the tax payer.
Swami chose to have administered to Him the same treatment
in the same hospital as all the poor who come to Him are treated.
That, for me, is one fantastic lesson. There are of course
many other lessons but about those, later.
Jai Sai Ram