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  Volume 4 - Issue 11 NOVEMBER 2006
 
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THERE MAY BE A DELAY BUT NOT DENIAL

By Ms. Pallavi Vedantam,
A Former Student of the
Anantapur Campus of Swami's Institute.


The best thing that can happen to anyone is when God enters one’s life and showers His blessings in various and myriad ways known only to Him. When, where, how and why are questions whose answers are unknown to anyone and will ever remain unknown to mankind.

 

The Journey Begins

My journey to Swami began when I was 12 years old. The Chinna Kathas told by Him caught my attention in the year 1989, which led to a series of events weaved by Him into memorable reminiscences.

Every person who comes to Bhagavan, no doubt, has a mysterious, scintillating Sai Katha (the story of their journey to Sai) to narrate and treasure. From the moment I first saw Swami at Prasanthi Nilayam in 1989, a desire unconsciously grew in me that I must become His child. A Bal Vikas program nourished this yearning; Swami’s discourses and visits to Parthi strengthened it.

Longing for a Photo with Swami

In 1990, I wrote a letter to Swami expressing my desire to have a divine opportunity of being photographed with Him. What an imprudent desire! How can I have the privilege of standing next to the Almighty? After posting the letter, I contemplated on this impossibility and smiled at myself. After that I never nourished that desire again.

But nothing goes to waste with Bhagavan; He reads our minutest thoughts. We may forget about them, but He will not. He is our only true friend. There may be a delay, but there is no denial in God’s realm.

Becoming His Student: A Prayer Answered

After eleven years, my passing thought and desire became crystallized. I was praying very intensely to Swami to bless me with the divine opportunity to become His student. My prayer was answered in the year 2001 when He allowed me to enroll in His University for my master’s degree in Home Science. The Institute taught me not only Home Science, but Heart Science as well.

After I joined the Anantapur Campus of the Institute, mysterious events led me to become a part of the Nadaswaram group (Nadaswaram is a non-brass band very popular in South India) of the campus. It was a Herculean task to learn as it was totally new for all of us. We had to start from scratch. Being girls, it required a great deal of stamina, willpower, physical strength, self-confidence, and above all, Swami’s grace.

We put all our hearts and souls into it just to make Swami happy. But it was not easy! We had five hours of assiduous practice sessions for days together. We rehearsed morning and evening. The constant encouragement, timely guidance, and support of our teachers and other students helped us over the hurdles. With Swami’s grace, in only three months’ time we learned this new art and were able to present it before Him.

 

Are You Going to Play?”

The long awaited day arrived. We sat next to Swami’s interview room on the ladies’ side with our instruments – four Nadaswarams and three Tavils (Tavil is a percussion instrument while Nadaswaram is wind-based). On October 12, 2001, after arathi in the evening, Swami came by and gave us a mysterious and loving look, and with a captivating smile asked, “What is this?” Before we could answer, He said with enthusiasm, “Are you going to play?” We nodded in affirmation. He blessed the instruments by gently touching them and blessed us with His Abhaya Hastha (hand raised in blessing) and graciously granted us permission to perform.

 

A Most Memorable Moment

We were blessed to lead the procession on Ladies’ Day on November 19, 2001. It was the most memorable moment in our young lives. We had practiced vigorously as we were to perform not only on Ladies’ Day but on Swami’s Birthday as well. In order to please Baba with our performance, we rehearsed for many hours at a stretch while at Parthi, sometimes even going without darshan.

With exactly one day to go, on November 18, 2001, we were at the Culvert gate devotedly practicing. Suddenly, we saw Bhagavan’s car coming towards us! Seeing it approach brought tears of joy to our eyes. Incidentally, at that point in time we were playing, “Bhaagyaada Lakshmi Baaramma.” He stopped near us and enjoyed the tune immensely. He gave us all a wonderful smile, like a proud father.

It was a torrential downpour on parched souls as we rarely get a chance to be in close proximity of Swami. We were totally drenched in His love.

A Wish Fulfilled: A Photo with Sai

On Ladies’ Day, after the function was over, we walked back in procession towards Swami’s residence followed by the Band girls. Swami graciously agreed to pose for a photograph with the Band girls. Lovingly, He turned our way and called us to take a photograph with Him.

I was dazed by this rare and wonderful opportunity. It suddenly flashed on me that I had written to Swami praying to Him to bless me with a chance to have a photograph with Him. After eleven years, He fulfilled my heartfelt desire!

More and More Blessings

After this, Baba blessed us with further opportunities to perform in His presence during various functions. He also spoke to us several times.

 

He enquired about us, our names, the courses we were pursuing, etc., and gave us advice and guidance.Each time we performed sitting at the gate, though we weren’t professionals, He encouraged us by slowing down, putting thaalam (providing rhythm by His hand), and blessing with a charming smile and loving glance for each one of us. This encouragement inspired us to work harder and aim for perfection.

 

Saris and Suitcases: Prasadam from the Divine Hand

God’s ways are mysterious and beyond our comprehension. In October 2002, we came to Prasanthi Nilayam for the Dasara celebrations. On October 8, we were recipients of Swami’s boundless love. We, the Nadaswaram girls, were called to the entrance of Swami’s residence (Poornachandra entrance) where He was waiting for us.

He spoke with us and gifted saris to each of us as a token of His appreciation and love. Receiving a gift directly from the Divine Hands of Swami was a unique and thrilling experience! While handing us the saris, He looked into our eyes and filled us with motherly love and affection. They were the most cherished moments for all of us, as we Anantapur students rarely get such opportunities to be so close to Baba.

On January 14, 2002, the day of the valedictory function of the Annual Sports and Games, we were all feeling very sad as this was our last opportunity to perform in His presence in that academic year. We were all gloomy with tears uncontrollably welling up in our eyes

. However, not a drop of a tear shed for Baba goes in vain! Swami’s heart is like butter which melts with a sincere prayer. Exactly at that moment, He called the Institute Band boys onto the stage and gave them suitcases. I was delighted on seeing that wonderful sight. I felt happy for them and told Baba inside, “Swami, we are also your children.

We have put our hearts and souls into our performance and practiced so much just to make you happy.” As these thoughts were going on within myself, an announcement over the PA System said that the Nadaswaram girls should go to the dais and receive Swami’s blessings. We were all stunned, especially me, on hearing the announcement. It was unbelievable! We went up to the dais where Swami presented us with a suitcase each and an opportunity for a group photo with Him. In the course of His Divine Discourse, He mentioned the Nadaswaram group.

 

Let me humbly submit that it was only by His grace that we were able to play the Nadaswaram as it requires a lot of stamina.


 

In God’s Time

A prayer submitted to Swami eleven years ago to bless me with a divine opportunity of having a photograph with Him was fulfilled. It took many years, but it did get materialized. Therefore, it is very clear that in the kingdom of God there may be delay, but no denial. All our prayers, big or small, will be answered in God’s time. We should remain patient and firm in our faith.

I had just prayed for one opportunity, but when it came, He bestowed several upon me. How can I ever express my gratitude to such a loving Lord? I only pray to Swami to make me worthy of His love and blessings so I may be an instrument in His Divine Mission. I will remain grateful to Him till the last breath of my life.

If you tap any Sai devotee, he or she will have stories upon stories to narrate. Even if sage Vyasa comes and turns all the oceans into ink, all the trees into pens, and the entire sky into paper, he will not be able to write the glory of our beloved Bhagavan Baba. Such is Sai Kathamrutham - the nectarine stories of the lord; it will have a beginning but no end. And such is the glory of our Lord Sai!

Jai Sai Ram.

 


 
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Vol 4 Issue 11 - NOVEMBER 2006
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